Numbers 17

1The Lord said to Moses, 2“Speak to the people of Israel. Get twelve wooden walking sticks from them. Get one from the leader of each of the twelve family groups. Write the name of each man on his walking stick. 3On the stick from Levi, write Aaron’s name. There must be one stick for the head of each of the twelve family groups. 4Put these walking sticks in the Meeting Tent in front of the Box of the Agreement. This is the place where I meet with you. 5I will choose one man to be the true priest. You will know which man I choose because his walking stick will begin to grow new leaves. In this way, I will stop the people from always complaining against you and me.” 6So Moses spoke to the people of Israel. Each of the leaders gave him a walking stick. There were twelve walking sticks. There was one stick from each leader of each family group. One of the walking sticks belonged to Aaron. 7Moses put the walking sticks before the Lord in the Tent of the Agreement. 8The next day Moses entered the Tent. He saw that Aaron’s walking stick, the stick from the family of Levi, was the one that had grown new leaves. That walking stick had even grown branches and made almonds. 9So Moses brought out all the sticks from the Lord’s place. Moses showed the walking sticks to the people of Israel. They all looked at the sticks, and each man took his own stick back. 10Then the Lord said to Moses, “Put Aaron’s walking stick ˻back into the Tent˼ in front of the Agreement. This will be a warning for these people who are always turning against me. This will stop their complaining against me, so that I won’t destroy them.” 11So Moses did what the Lord commanded him. 12The people of Israel said to Moses, “We know that we will die! We are lost! We will all be destroyed! 13Any person who even comes near the Lord’s holy place will die. Is it true that we will all die?”

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