Numbers 17

Aaron’s Rod Buds

17 [a]Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel, and get from them a rod for each father’s household: twelve rods, from all their leaders according to their fathers’ households. You shall write each name on his rod, and write Aaron’s name on the rod of Levi; for there is one rod for the head of each of their fathers’ households. You shall then deposit them in the tent of meeting in front of the testimony, where I meet with you. It will come about that the rod of the man whom I choose will sprout. Thus I will lessen from upon Myself the grumblings of the sons of Israel, who are grumbling against you.” Moses therefore spoke to the sons of Israel, and all their leaders gave him a rod apiece, for each leader according to their fathers’ households, twelve rods, with the rod of Aaron among their rods. So Moses deposited the rods before the Lord in the tent of the testimony.

Now on the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony; and behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds. Moses then brought out all the rods from the presence of the Lord to all the sons of Israel; and they looked, and each man took his rod. 10 But the Lord said to Moses, “Put back the rod of Aaron before the testimony [b]to be kept as a sign against the [c]rebels, that you may put an end to their grumblings against Me, so that they will not die.” 11 Thus Moses did; just as the Lord had commanded him, so he did.

12 Then the sons of Israel spoke to Moses, saying, “Behold, we perish, we are dying, we are all dying! 13 Everyone who comes near, who comes near to the tabernacle of the Lord, must die. Are we to perish completely?”

So this is almost ex-scriptural, but after the last verses, it would seem only natural that Moses would tell them what God had told him just before. It doesn’t say that anywhere, but this was the whole point. Was God really wearied by their grumbling?

He doesn’t ever get tired, so probably not. But he did want to protect the Israelites from themselves. They had just gotten around 15,000 people killed because of their murmuring and complaining against Aaron. So the whole point of this exercise wasn’t just to prove that Aaron and the Levites were chosen for God’s service.

It was to protect the people from their natural tendency. We always think the grass is greener on the other side, and so it was here. Folks thought Aaron and his family had it easy, but they had to depend completely on others for their daily meal. No doubt they had the same thoughts too, “if only we could go out and get a day job like everyone else!” So God put it right in front of them, once and for all, that Aaron was the chosen one for the priesthood, and everyone should be thankful for their occupation and the blessings of God.

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