17 [a]Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,2 “Speak to the sons of Israel, and obtain from them a staff for each father’s household: twelve staffs, from all their leaders for their fathers’ households. You shall write each man’s name on his staff,3 and write Aaron’s name on the staff of Levi; for there is to be one staff for the head of each of their fathers’ households.4 You shall then leave them in the tent of meeting in front of the testimony, where I meet with you.5 And it will come about that the staff of the man whom I choose will sprout. So I will relieve Myself of the grumblings of the sons of Israel, who are grumbling against you.”6 So Moses spoke to the sons of Israel, and all their leaders gave him a staff, one for each leader, for their fathers’ households, twelve staffs in all, with the staff of Aaron among their staffs.7 Then Moses left the staffs before the Lord in the tent of the testimony.
8 Now on the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony; and behold, Aaron’s staff for the house of Levi had sprouted and produced buds and bloomed with blossoms, and it yielded ripe almonds.9 Moses then brought out all the staffs from the presence of the Lord to all the sons of Israel; and they looked, and each man took his staff.10 But the Lord said to Moses, “Put the staff of Aaron back in front of the testimony [b]to be kept as a sign against the [c]rebels, so that you may put an end to their grumblings against Me and they do not die.”11 Moses did so; just as the Lord had commanded him, so he did.
12 Then the sons of Israel spoke to Moses, saying, “Behold, we are passing away, we are perishing, we are all perishing!13 Everyone who comes near, who comes near to the tabernacle of the Lord, must die. Are we to perish completely?”
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