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Numbers Seventeen

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Numbers 17:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

Numbers 17:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of every one of them a rod according to the house of their fathers, of all their princes according to the house of their fathers twelve rods: write thou every man's name upon his rod.

Numbers 17:3 And thou shalt write Aaron's name upon the rod of Levi: for one rod shall be for the head of the house of their fathers.

Numbers 17:4 And thou shalt lay them up in the tabernacle of the congregation before the testimony, where I will meet with you.

Numbers 17:5 And it shall come to pass, that the man's rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you.

whom I shall choose. The man whom God chooses must be uniquely associated with resurrection life, as typified by the one rod out of all the rest. These rods were nothing but dead sticks of wood as they were placed before the Lord, yet the one miraculously brought to life and “brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds” (Numbers 17:8)—all in just one night! Similarly, Paul told the pagans who worshipped many “gods” that the true God will judge the whole world by that one “man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).

Numbers 17:6 And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, and every one of their princes gave him a rod apiece, for each prince one, according to their fathers' houses, even twelve rods: and the rod of Aaron was among their rods.

Numbers 17:7 And Moses laid up the rods before the LORD in the tabernacle of witness.

Numbers 17:8 And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.

Numbers 17:9 And Moses brought out all the rods from before the LORD unto all the children of Israel: and they looked, and took every man his rod.

Numbers 17:10 And the LORD said unto Moses, Bring Aaron's rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me, that they die not.

kept for a token. Thus Aaron's rod that budded, demonstrated to the people once and for all that the priesthood appertained only to Aaron and his descendants. Any others who tried to intrude on the priesthood would die like the dead sticks of their leaders. Aaron was already aged and only two sons, Ithamar and Eleazar, were left (Nadab and Abihu had died because of their disobedience—Leviticus 10:1-2). Nevertheless, God had shown in no uncertain terms that He had ordained the Aaronic Priesthood only. Aaron's rod eventually join the manna and the tables of the law in the ark (Hebrews 9:4).

Numbers 17:11 And Moses did so: as the LORD commanded him, so did he.

Numbers 17:12 And the children of Israel spake unto Moses, saying, Behold, we die, we perish, we all perish.

Numbers 17:13 Whosoever cometh any thing near unto the tabernacle of the LORD shall die: shall we be consumed with dying?