New International Reader's Version

Numbers 17

Aaron’s Walking Stick Produces Buds

1The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites. Get 12 walking sticks from them. Get one from the leader of each of Israel’s tribes. Write the name of each man on his walking stick. Write Aaron’s name on Levi’s walking stick. There must be one stick for the head of each of Israel’s tribes. Put the walking sticks in the tent of meeting. Place them in front of the ark where the tablets of the covenant law are kept. That is where I meet with you. The walking stick that belongs to the man I choose will begin to grow new shoots. The Israelites are never happy with what you do. I will put an end to what they are saying.”

So Moses spoke to the Israelites. Their leaders gave him 12 walking sticks. They gave one for the leader of each of Israel’s tribes. Aaron’s walking stick was among them. Moses put the sticks in front of the Lord in the tent where the tablets of the covenant law were kept.

The next day Moses entered the tent. He looked at Aaron’s walking stick. It stood for the tribe of Levi. Moses saw that it had begun to grow new shoots. It had also produced buds and flowers and almonds. Then Moses brought out all the walking sticks from in front of the Lord. He brought them to all the Israelites. They looked at them. And each man took his own walking stick.

10 The Lord said to Moses, “Put Aaron’s walking stick back in front of the ark where the tablets of the covenant law are kept. The stick will be kept there as a warning to those who refuse to obey. They are never happy with what I do. Aaron’s walking stick will put an end to what they are saying. Then they will not die.” 11 Moses did just as the Lord commanded him.

12 The Israelites said to Moses, “We’ll die! We are lost! All of us are lost! 13 Anyone who even comes near the Lord’s holy tent will die. Are all of us going to die?”