The LORD spoke to Moses. He said,
"Speak to the people of Israel. Get 12 wooden staffs from them. Get one from the leader of each of Israel's tribes. Write the name of each man on his staff.
Write Aaron's name on the staff of Levi. There must be one staff for the head of each of Israel's tribes.
"Put the staffs in the Tent of Meeting. Place them in front of the ark where the tablets of the covenant are kept. That is where I meet with you.
The staff that belongs to the man I choose will begin to grow new shoots. The people of Israel are never happy with what you do. I will put an end to what they are saying."
So Moses spoke to the people of Israel. Their leaders gave him 12 wooden staffs. They gave one for the leader of each of Israel's tribes. Aaron's staff was among them.
Moses put the staffs in front of the LORD in the tent where the tablets of the covenant were kept.
The next day Moses entered the tent. He looked at Aaron's staff. It stood for the tribe of Levi. Moses saw that it had not only begun to grow new shoots. It had also produced buds and flowers and almonds.
Then Moses brought out all of the staffs from in front of the Lord. He brought them to all of the people of Israel. They looked at them. And each man took his own staff.
The LORD said to Moses, "Put Aaron's staff back in front of the ark where the tablets of the covenant are kept. The staff will be kept there as a warning to those who refuse to obey. They are never happy with what I do. Aaron's staff will put an end to what they are saying. Then they will not die."
Moses did just as the LORD commanded him.
The people of Israel said to Moses, "We'll die! We are lost! All of us are lost!
Anyone who even comes near the LORD's holy tent will die. Are all of us going to die?"