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Aaron’s Staff Is Chosen

17 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the Israelites,[a] and take from among them twelve staffs, a staff from each family[b] from among all their leaders according to their families’ households. Write the name of each man on his staff, and the name of Aaron on the staff of Levi, because one staff is for the head of each of their families.[c] You must then put them in the tent of assembly before[d] the testimony[e] where I meet with you. And it will happen, the man whom I will choose, his staff will blossom, and so I will rid from upon myself the grumblings of the Israelites,[f] who are grumbling against you.” Moses spoke to the Israelites,[g] and all their leaders gave him a staff for each leader, one from each of their families,[h] twelve staffs, and the staff of Aaron was in the midst of their tribes. And Moses put the staffs before Yahweh in the tent of testimony.

Then the next day, Moses went into the tent of the testimony, and behold the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi blossomed and put forth a flower and produced blossoms, and it produced almonds. Then Moses brought out to all the Israelites[i] all the staffs before the presence of Yahweh, and they saw, and each man took his staff. 10 And Yahweh said to Moses, “Bring back the staff of Aaron before the testimony[j] as a guard and sign for the children of rebellion, and let them finish their grumblings before me and not die.” 11 So Moses did; just as Yahweh commanded him, so he did.

12 And the Israelites[k] said to Moses, saying, “Look! We will die! We will be destroyed! All of us will perish! 13 Anyone who approaches the tabernacle of Yahweh will die. Will we all die?”[l]


  1. Numbers 17:2 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  2. Numbers 17:2 Literally “a staff from a house of a father”
  3. Numbers 17:3 Literally “the house of their fathers”
  4. Numbers 17:4 Literally “in the presence of”
  5. Numbers 17:4 Or “the statute”
  6. Numbers 17:5 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  7. Numbers 17:6 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  8. Numbers 17:6 Literally “each from the house of their fathers”
  9. Numbers 17:9 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  10. Numbers 17:10 Or “the statute”
  11. Numbers 17:12 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  12. Numbers 17:13 Literally “Will we all die to perish?”

The Budding of Aaron’s Staff

17 [a]The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and get twelve staffs(A) from them, one from the leader of each of their ancestral tribes.(B) Write the name of each man on his staff. On the staff of Levi write Aaron’s name,(C) for there must be one staff for the head of each ancestral tribe. Place them in the tent of meeting(D) in front of the ark of the covenant law,(E) where I meet with you.(F) The staff belonging to the man I choose(G) will sprout,(H) and I will rid myself of this constant grumbling(I) against you by the Israelites.”

So Moses spoke to the Israelites, and their leaders gave him twelve staffs, one for the leader of each of their ancestral tribes, and Aaron’s staff was among them. Moses placed the staffs before the Lord in the tent of the covenant law.(J)

The next day Moses entered the tent(K) and saw that Aaron’s staff,(L) which represented the tribe of Levi, had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds.(M) Then Moses brought out all the staffs(N) from the Lord’s presence to all the Israelites. They looked at them, and each of the leaders took his own staff.

10 The Lord said to Moses, “Put back Aaron’s staff(O) in front of the ark of the covenant law, to be kept as a sign to the rebellious.(P) This will put an end to their grumbling against me, so that they will not die.” 11 Moses did just as the Lord commanded him.

12 The Israelites said to Moses, “We will die! We are lost, we are all lost!(Q) 13 Anyone who even comes near the tabernacle of the Lord will die.(R) Are we all going to die?”


  1. Numbers 17:1 In Hebrew texts 17:1-13 is numbered 17:16-28.

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