God Proves Aaron Is the High Priest
1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the Israelites. Get twelve wooden walking sticks from them. Get one from the leader of each of the twelve tribes. Write the name of each man on his walking stick. 3 On the stick from Levi, write Aaron’s name. There must be one stick for the head of each of the twelve tribes. 4 Put these walking sticks in the Meeting Tent in front of the Box of the Agreement. This is the place where I meet with you. 5 I 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.”
6 So Moses spoke to the Israelites. Each of the leaders gave him a walking stick. There were twelve walking sticks. There was one stick from each leader of each tribe. One of the walking sticks belonged to Aaron. 7 Moses put the walking sticks before the LORD in the Tent of the Agreement.
8 The 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. 9 So Moses brought out all the sticks from the LORD’S place. He showed the walking sticks to the Israelites. They all looked at the sticks, and each man took his own stick back.
10 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Put Aaron’s walking stick back in front of the Box that holds the Agreement.* Box that holds the Agreement Literally, “Testimony.” See “Agreement” in the Word List. This will be a warning for these people who are always turning against me. This will stop their complaining against me so that I will not destroy them.” 11 So Moses did what the LORD commanded him.
12 The Israelites said to Moses, “We know that we will die! We are lost! We will all be destroyed! 13 Anyone who even comes near the LORD’S holy place will die. Is it true that we will all die?”
*17:10 Box that holds the Agreement Literally, “Testimony.” See “Agreement” in the Word List.