Numbers 17

1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 ‘Tell the Israelites that they must give to you 12 sticks, one for each tribe. Write the name of the leader of each tribe on each stick. 3 Write Aaron's name on the stick from the tribe of Levi. 4 Take the sticks to the Tent of Meeting and put them in front of the Covenant Box. 5 Leaves will start to grow on the stick of the man that I have chosen as priest. In that way I will stop the bad words that the Israelites are always saying against you.’

6 Moses spoke to the Israelites and the leaders gave him 12 sticks. 7 Moses put the sticks in front of the Covenant Box of the Lord in the Tent of Meeting.

8 The next day, Moses went to the Tent of Meeting. He saw that the stick of the tribe of Levi had started to make leaves. That stick had the name of Aaron on it. Flowers and almonds were growing on it! 9 Moses brought all the sticks out of the Tent of Meeting. He showed them to the leaders and they saw what had happened. Each leader took his own stick.

10 The Lord said to Moses, ‘Put Aaron's stick in front of the Covenant Box again. The people will see it there like a sign. Then they will remember that they must not turn against me. If they continue to complain, they will die.’ 11 Moses did what the Lord told him.

12 The Israelites said to Moses, ‘We will all die! 13 Any person who comes near the Lord's special Tent will die. So we will all die!’