1a The Lord instructed Moses:
"Speak to the Israelites and take one staff from them for each ancestral house, 12 staffs from all the leaders of their ancestral houses. Write each man's name on his staff.
Write Aaron's name on Levi's staff, because there must be one staff for the head of each ancestral house.
Then place them in the tent of meeting in front of the testimony where I meet with you.
The staff of the man I choose will sprout, and I will rid Myself of the Israelites' complaints that they have been making about you."
So Moses spoke to the Israelites, and each of their leaders gave him a staff, one for each of the leaders of their ancestral houses, 12 staffs [in all]. Aaron's staff was among them.
Moses placed the staffs before the Lord in the tent of the testimony.
The next day Moses entered the tent of the testimony and saw that Aaron's staff, representing the house of Levi, had sprouted, formed buds, blossomed, and produced almonds!
Moses then brought out all the staffs from the Lord's presence to all the Israelites. They saw [them], and each man took his own staff.
The Lord told Moses, "Put Aaron's rod back in front of the testimony to be kept as a signb for the rebels, so that you may put an end to their complaints before Me, or else they will die."
So Moses did as the Lord commanded him.
Then the Israelites declared to Moses, "Look, we're perishing! We're lost; we're all lost!
Anyone who comes near the Lord's tabernacle will die.c Will we all perish?"