1aThe LORD spoke to Moses:
Speak to the Israelites and take from them a staff from each household, from each of the chiefs of their households, twelve staffs. Write each person's name on his staff.
Write Aaron's name on Levi's staff, for there will be one staff for the leader of each household.
Then you will place them in the meeting tent in front of the chest containing the covenant, where I meet you.
The staff of the person I choose will sprout. Then I will rid myself of the Israelites' complaints that they make against you.
Moses spoke to the Israelites, and each of their chiefs gave him a staff, one staff for each chief and his household, twelve staffs, and the staff of Aaron was with their staffs.
Moses placed the staffs before the LORD in the meeting tent.
The next day Moses entered the covenant tent, and Aaron's staff of Levi's household had sprouted. It grew shoots, produced blossoms, and bore almonds.
Moses brought out all the staffs from the LORD's presence to the Israelites. They saw what happened, and each person took back his staff.
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Return Aaron's staff in front of the chest containing the covenant to serve as a sign to the rebels so that their complaints against me end and they don't die."
Moses did exactly as the LORD commanded him.
The Israelites said to Moses, "We are perishing. We are being destroyed. All of us are being destroyed.
Anyone who approaches the LORD's dwelling will die. Are we doomed to perish?"