Search Bible
Click for Help   Click for QuickNav   Click for Advanced Search Options
Search KJV
Version Selector Down Arrow

Search a pre-defined list

OR Select a range of biblical books



OR Custom Selection:

Use semicolons to separate groups:
'Gen;Jdg;Psa-Mal' or 'Rom 3-12;Mat 1:15;Mat 5:12-22'

Your Bible Version is the KJV
Version Selector Up Arrow
KJV King James Version
NKJV New King James Version
NLT New Living Translation
NIV New International Version
ESV English Standard Version
CSB Christian Standard Bible
NASB New American Standard Bible
NET New English Translation
RSV Revised Standard Version
ASV American Standard Version
YLT Young's Literal Translation
DBY Darby Translation
WEB Webster's Bible
HNV Hebrew Names Version
RVR60 Reina-Valera 1960
VUL Latin Vulgate
WLC Westminster Leningrad Codex
LXX Septuagint
Go to Top
Link to This PageCite This Page
Version Selector Up Arrow
Version Selector Up Arrow

Cite this page

MLA format Copy link to clipboard

Note: MLA no longer requires the URL as part of their citation standard. Individual instructors or editors may still require the use of URLs.

APA format Copy link to clipboard
Chicago format Copy link to clipboard
Share this pageFollow the BLB
Version Selector Up Arrow

Share this page using one of these tools:




Or email this page to a friend:

Version Selector Up Arrow

Follow the Blue Letter Bible on:



Or subscribe to our Newsletter:

Printable Page
Left Contextbar EdgeLeft Contextbar Edge BackgroundRight Contextbar Edge2Return to CommentariesReturn to Author BiographyRight Contextbar Edge2Right Contextbar Edge BackgroundRight Contextbar Edge1
Choose a new font size and typeface

Customize your font sizeIncrease your font sizeDecrease your font sizeReturn to default font size

Choose a Bible text color
Read the Bible in blackRead the Bible in dark blueRead the Bible in blue

Customize your text type
Arial font
Trebuchet MS font
Georgia font
Times New Roman font

Customize your Hebrew text type
SBL Hebrew font
Times New Roman font
Arial font

Customize your Greek text type
Gentium font
Times New Roman font
Arial font

Close font preferences
The Blue Letter Bible
BLB Searches
Search the Bible
Search KJV
Version Selector Down Arrow

Advanced Options

Search a pre-defined list

OR Select a range of biblical books



OR Custom Selection:

Use semicolons to separate groups: 'Gen;Jdg;Psa-Mal' or 'Rom 3-12;Mat 1:15;Mat 5:12-22'


Advanced Options

Exact Match
Beginning of the Word
Any Part of the Word
Theological FAQs
Multi-Verse Retrieval
Search KJV
Version Selector Down Arrow

Line-By-Line Order:
Line-By-Line Verse-Reference  Verse-Reference
Line-By-Line Reference-Verse  Reference-Verse
Line-By-Line Separate Line  Separate Line
Line-By-Line Verse Only  Verse Only
Line-By-Line Reference Only  Reference Only
Reference Delimiters:
No Reference Delimiters  None — Jhn 1:1 KJV
Square Reference Delimiters  Square — [Jhn 1:1 KJV]
Curly Reference Delimiters  Curly — {Jhn 1:1 KJV}
Parenthesis Reference Delimiters  Parens — (Jhn 1:1 KJV)
Paragraph Order:
Paragraph Verse-Reference  Verse-Reference
Paragraph Reference-Verse  Reference-Verse
Paragraph Reference-Only  Reference-Only
Number Delimiters:*
No Verse Numbers  No Number
No Verse Delimeters  No Delimiter — 15
Square Verse Delimiters  Square — [15]
Curly Verse Delimiters  Curly — {15}
Parenthesis Verse Delimiters  Parens — (15)
Other Options:
Abbreviate Books  Abbreviate Books
Quotes Around Verses  Quotes around Verses
Remove Square Brackets  Remove Square Brackets
Sort Canonically  Sort Canonically

* 'Number Delimiters' only apply to 'Paragraph Order'

Let's Connect

Connect on Facebook Connect on Twitter Connect on Instagram Connect on Pinterest Connect on YouTube

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Daily Devotionals

Blue Letter Bible offers several daily devotional readings in order to help you refocus on Christ and the Gospel of His peace and righteousness.

Daily Bible Reading Plans

Recognizing the value of consistent reflection upon the Word of God in order to refocus one’s mind and heart upon Christ and His Gospel of peace, we provide several reading plans designed to cover the entire Bible in a year.

One-Year Plans

Two-Year Plan

David Guzik :: Study Guide for Numbers 17

toggle collapse

The Budding of Aaron's Rod

A. The test commanded.

1. (Num 17:1-3) Gathering rods, identified with each tribe.

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: "Speak to the children of Israel, and get from them a rod from each father's house, all their leaders according to their fathers' houses; twelve rods. Write each man's name on his rod. And you shall write Aaron's name on the rod of Levi. For there shall be one rod for the head of each father's house."

a. Get from them a rod from each father's house: A rod was a symbol of authority, because shepherds would use a rod to guide and correct the sheep (Psalm 23:4).

i. Moses, as a shepherd, had a rod in his hand when tending sheep in the wilderness (Exodus 4:2); this rod later became known as the rod of God - a symbol of the authority God gave to Moses (Exodus 4:20).

ii. This same rod demonstrated Moses' authority in action, by miraculously becoming a serpent, and then becoming a rod again (Exodus 7:9-10), by turning the waters of the Nile into blood (Exodus 7:17), by bringing forth plagues of frogs (Exodus 8:5) lice (Exodus 8:16-17), hail (Exodus 9:23), and locusts (Exodus 10:13); God commanded Moses to raise the rod over the Red Sea when it was to be parted (Exodus 14:16), the rod that was raised in prayer over Israel in victorious battle (Exodus 17:9), the rod that struck the rock and brought forth water (Numbers 20:11); the rod is a picture of God's authority over man (Psalm 2:9, 23:4, 89:32; Isaiah 10:24; 11:4, Ezekiel 20:37); Jesus, in His divine authority, is given the title "the Rod" (Isaiah 1:11; Micah 6:9); the rod is an emblem of an apostle's authority in the church (1 Corinthians 4:21).

b. Write each man's name on his rod. And you shall write Aaron's name on the rod of Levi: In gathering rods, and inscribing each with the name of a tribe, and on Levi's rod inscribing Aaron's name, God would declare which tribe possessed priestly authority by choosing one of the rods. This was the issue at hand in light of Korah's rebellion.

2. (Num 17:4-5) The rods to be placed in the tabernacle for God's choosing.

"Then you shall place them in the tabernacle of meeting before the Testimony, where I meet with you. And it shall be that the rod of the man whom I choose will blossom; thus I will rid Myself of the complaints of the children of Israel, which they make against you."

a. The rod of the man whom I choose will blossom: Not only would this obviously be a miraculous sign, the blossoming of dead wood spoke of fruitfulness. Fruitfulness - miraculous fruitfulness - is present when godly authority and leadership is being practiced.

b. Thus I will rid Myself of the murmurings: This did not mean that after this, the children of Israel would never complain again. But God, having demonstrated more than sufficient evidence to the murmurers, would no longer regard their murmuring. Indeed, He would then judge their murmuring.

i. Murmurers (complainers) are rarely satisfied by evidence or the resolution of one issue. Complainers are not issue-motivated, though they claim to be and appear to be; they are heart-motivated. They murmur because they have complaining, discontent hearts. The complaining heart is demonstrated when people murmur about one issue after another, never being satisfied.

ii. So, God will give them an unmistakable answer to this matter of contention - then rid Himself of their murmurings.

B. The test vindicates Aaron as God's priestly leader.

1. (Num 17:6-7) The rods are placed before the LORD in the tabernacle of witness.

So Moses spoke to the children of Israel, and each of their leaders gave him a rod apiece, for each leader according to their fathers' houses, twelve rods; and the rod of Aaron was among their rods. And Moses placed the rods before the LORD in the tabernacle of witness.

2. (Num 17:8-9) The budding of Aaron's rod.

Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses went into the tabernacle of witness, and behold, the rod of Aaron, of the house of Levi, had sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds. Then Moses brought out all the rods from before the LORD to all the children of Israel; and they looked, and each man took his rod.

a. And behold, the rod of Aaron: When Moses checked on the rods the next day, Aaron's rod - and only Aaron's rod - had sprouted. It not only sprouted, it had put forth buds. It had not only put forth buds, it had produced blossoms. It had not only produced blossoms, it had yielded … almonds. It had not only yielded almonds, it yielded ripe almonds!

i. This was a place where a "small" miracle would have been convincing. After all, God could have merely made a little green sprout come forth from Aaron's rod alone, and that would have - or should have - been enough.

ii. But God gave, as in the words of Acts 1:3, many infallible proofs, to demonstrate His approval of Aaron's leadership. God gives us more than enough evidence; our problem is a lack of willingness to see what He has made clear.

iii. "We are probably to understand that some parts were in bud, other in bloom and others had fruited." (Wenham) Fruit from a godly leader may come in all different stages.

iv. There is nothing remarkable about a piece of wood with buds, blossoms, or fruit on it. But a piece of dead wood with all these things appearing in one night after sitting in a tent is remarkable. "Miracles in the Bible are often of this sort: natural events in unnatural conditions, timing, and placement." (Allen)

b. Behold, the rod of Aaron, of the house of Levi, had sprouted: God's choice of Aaron's rod did not mean that Aaron was the most spiritual man in the nation. God's chosen leaders will have godly character according to the principles of 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9, but it wasn't a contest to determine the most spiritual man among them.

i. It also did not mean that Aaron had not and would not sin or fail significantly. God's chosen leaders may fail (we do not believe in the Roman Catholic idea of "papal" or "pastoral" infallibility), but must set things right when they fail.

ii. It meant Aaron was God's chosen priest, and the nation was required to recognize it.

c. Each man took his rod: This was a dramatic scene. Each murmurer from the different tribe took his rod, and clearly saw that his had not budded or borne fruit, and that Aaron's had.

3. (Num 17:10-11) The command to preserve Aaron's rod in the ark of the covenant.

And the LORD said to Moses, "Bring Aaron's rod back before the Testimony, to be kept as a sign against the rebels, that you may put their complaints away from Me, lest they die." Thus did Moses; just as the LORD had commanded him, so he did.

a. To be kept as a sign against the rebels: The rod of Aaron was to be kept as a museum piece, to remind the children of Israel that God had chosen a priesthood, and nothing would change that - Aaron's priesthood would always be Aaron's priesthood.

i. If God demonstrated His choice of Aaron and his descendants as priests for Israel, how can Jesus be our high priest, as Hebrews 2:17 says? Because Jesus is a high priest of the order of Melchizedek, not Aaron (Hebrews 7).

b. Bring Aaron's rod back before the Testimony: Aaron's rod was to be kept in the ark of the covenant, as another example of Israel's failure and rebellion. When God looked down from heaven into the ark, He saw emblems of Israel's sin: The tablets of law they broke, the manna they complained about, and Aaron's rod meant to answer their rebellion. The covering blood of sacrifice was applied to the lid covering over these reminders of Israel's sin, so God "saw" the blood "covering" their sin, and atonement was made.

4. (Num 17:12-13) The reaction of the children of Israel.

So the children of Israel spoke to Moses, saying, "Surely we die, we perish, we all perish! Whoever even comes near the tabernacle of the LORD must die. Shall we all utterly die?"

a. Surely we die, we perish, we all perish: This shows they the people of Israel were clearly convicted of their sin. They now clearly knew that it was wrong to rebel against the leadership of Aaron.

b. Shall we all utterly die? After seeing all what God did in the rebellion of Korah - destroying Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, along with their 250 followers among the leading men of Israel; the retrieval and hammering out of the censers for a covering on the altar; the plague destroying 14,700 of those who sympathized with Korah and his followers, and the miraculous confirmation of Aaron's priesthood - the people fear they are next to be judged, which was not an unreasonable fear.

i. This kind of hysterical fear doesn't necessarily mean their hearts were changed. This will not be the last account of a complaining, murmuring Israel. This shows that dramatic events don't take away our complaining and rebelliousness. The heart has to be changed by God.

© 2006 David Guzik - No distribution beyond personal use without permission


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


Bible Search

Multiverse Retrieval

LexiConc Search

FAQ Search

Browse Dictionary Topics

Bible Reference

Encyclopedias / Dictionaries

Introductions to the Bible

Topical Indexes

Charts and Outlines


Maps / Images

Bible Commentaries

Text Commentaries

Audio & Video Commentaries

Theological Resources

Articles / Books

Women's Resources

Don Stewart

BLB Theological

Creeds, Catechisms, and Confessions





Digital Books

Mobile Apps for iPhone / iPad

Mobile blb.org

BLB Offline CDs

Free Web Tools


Email Devotional Sign-Up

BLB Daily Promises

Day by Day by Grace

Morning and Evening

Daily Bible Reading Plan


Video Tutorials


Theological Questions

Website Support

iApp Support

General Questions


Sowing Circle

Co-Laboring Ministries


About the BLB

Statement of Faith




Ministry FAQs


Donation Information

Contact the BLB

Hotjar - Unlimited insights from your web and mobile sites

BLB Institute

BLB Blog

Email Newsletters



Blue Letter Bible study tools make reading, searching and studying the Bible easy and rewarding.

Blue Letter Bible is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

©2017 Blue Letter Bible


Verse Tools Arrow

Email / username or password was incorrect!

Check your email for password retrieval

Enter Your
Email or Username




Did you forget your password?

Register a new BLB account

Why won't my login from the old site work?

Complete the form below to register  [?]

Error: That Email is already registered

Error: Please provide a valid Email

Error: Passwords should have at least 6 characters

Error: Passwords do not match

Error: Please provide a valid first name

Error: That username is already taken

Error: Usernames should only contain letters, numbers, dots, dashes, or underscores

Enter Your EmailUsername

First Name


[ Cancel ]


Passwords should have at least 6 characters.
Usernames should only contain letters, numbers, dots, dashes, or underscores.

Thank you for registering. A verification email has been sent to the address you provided.

Error: That Email / Username is not registered

Enter Your Email or Username


Return to Login

Close Login