ADONAI said to Moshe,
"Speak to the people of Isra'el, and take from them staffs, one for each ancestral tribe from each leader of a tribe, twelve staffs. Write each man's name on his staff;
and write Aharon's name on the staff of Levi, for each tribe's leader is to have one staff.
Put them in the tent of meeting in front of the testimony, where I meet with you.
The staff of the man I am going to choose will sprout buds - in this way I will put a stop to the complaints the people of Isra'el keep making against you."
Moshe spoke to the people of Isra'el, and all their leaders gave him staffs, one for each leader, according to their ancestral tribes, twelve staffs. Aharon's staff was among their staffs.
Moshe put the staffs before ADONAI in the tent of the testimony.
The next day Moshe went into the tent of the testimony, and there he saw that Aharon's staff for the house of Levi had budded - it had sprouted not only buds but flowers and ripe almonds as well.
Moshe brought out all the staffs from before ADONAI to all the people of Isra'el, and they looked, and each man took back his staff.
ADONAI said to Moshe, "Return Aharon's staff to its place in front of the testimony. It is to be kept there as a sign to the rebels, so that they will stop grumbling against me and thus not die."
Moshe did this; he did as ADONAI had ordered him.
But the people of Isra'el said to Moshe, "Oh no! We're dead men! Lost! We're all lost!
Whenever anyone approaches the tabernacle of ADONAI, he dies! Will we all perish?"