17 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel and get twelve walking sticks from them—one from the leader of each tribe. Write the name of each man on his stick, and 3 on the stick from Levi, write Aaron’s name. There must be one stick for the head of each tribe. 4 Put them in the Meeting Tent in front of the Ark of the Agreement, where I meet with you. 5 I will choose one man whose walking stick will begin to grow leaves; in this way I will stop the Israelites from always complaining against you.”
6 So Moses spoke to the Israelites. Each of the twelve leaders gave him a walking stick—one from each tribe—and Aaron’s walking stick was among them. 7 Moses put them before the Lord in the Tent of the Agreement.
8 The next day, when Moses entered the Tent, he saw that Aaron’s stick (which stood for the family of Levi) had grown leaves. It had even budded, blossomed, and produced almonds. 9 So Moses brought out to the Israelites all the walking sticks from the Lord’s presence. They all looked, and each man took back his stick.
10 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Put Aaron’s walking stick back in front of the Ark of the Agreement. It will remind these people who are always turning against me to stop their complaining against me so they won’t die.” 11 So Moses obeyed what the Lord commanded him.
12 The people of Israel said to Moses, “We are going to die! We are destroyed. We are all destroyed! 13 Anyone who even comes near the Holy Tent of the Lord will die. Will we all die?”
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