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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Numbers

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PART 4: Rebellion & Corrections

In the fourth part it is difficult to know quite where the jump of forty years takes place but in it we find a rebellion and judgment but then a re-establishing of Aaron and the Priesthood, a clarification of the role of the Levites, and an additional set of rules that can be applied outside the priesthood.

Ch.16: [Action] Rebellion

- the rebellion and judgment of Korah etc.

Ch.17: [Action] The Lord Elevates Aaron

- the budding of Aaron's staff

Ch.18: [Law] Priests versus Levites

- roles of both

Ch.19: [Law] Water for Cleansing ‘Uncleanness'

- cleansing with ashes of a red heifer


FRAMEWORKS: Numbers 17: The Lord Elevates Aaron


v.1-5 The Lord instructs Moses what to do

v.6,7 Moses carries out the instructions

v.8-13 Aaron's authority is recognised



v.1-5 The Lord instructs Moses what to do


v.1 The Lord said to Moses,

v.2 “Speak to the Israelites and get twelve staffs from them, one from the leader of each of their ancestral tribes. Write the name of each man on his staff.

v.3 On the staff of Levi write Aaron's name, for there must be one staff for the head of each ancestral tribe.

v.4 Place them in the tent of meeting in front of the ark of the covenant law, where I meet with you.

v.5 The staff belonging to the man I choose will sprout, and I will rid myself of this constant grumbling against you by the Israelites.”


[Notes: After this debacle and the further grumbling of the people, it is as if the Lord says, “Very well, the people need to see very clearly that Aaron is my chosen priest and no one outside his family is to challenge that.” The Lord instructs that staffs identified as being from each tribe are put overnight before the ark in the Holy Place, the other side of the curtain from the ark [remember access was only by the chief priest one a year] together with Aaron's and then they will see what happens to them.]



v.6,7 Moses carries out the instructions


v.6 So Moses spoke to the Israelites, and their leaders gave him twelve staffs, one for the leader of each of their ancestral tribes, and Aaron's staff was among them.

v.7 Moses placed the staffs before the Lord in the tent of the covenant law.


[Notes: This they do.]



v.8-13 Aaron's authority is recognised


v.8 The next day Moses entered the tent and saw that Aaron's staff, which represented the tribe of Levi, had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds.

v.9 Then Moses brought out all the staffs from the Lord 's presence to all the Israelites. They looked at them, and each of the leaders took his own staff.

v.10 The Lord said to Moses, “Put back Aaron's staff in front of the ark of the covenant law, to be kept as a sign to the rebellious. This will put an end to their grumbling against me, so that they will not die.”

v.11Moses did just as the Lord commanded him.

v.12 The Israelites said to Moses, “We will die! We are lost, we are all lost!

v.13 Anyone who even comes near the tabernacle of the Lord will die. Are we all going to die?”


[Notes: Next day, amazingly, Aaron's staff (only) has not only budded but produced blossom AND almonds – a miracle! The point has been made!]