March 18, 2019

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Numbers 16:41-17:13, NLT

41But the very next morning the whole community of Israel began muttering again against Moses and Aaron, saying, “You have killed the Lord’s people!” 42As the community gathered to protest against Moses and Aaron, they turned toward the Tabernacle and saw that the cloud had covered it, and the glorious presence of the Lord appeared.

43Moses and Aaron came and stood in front of the Tabernacle, 44and the Lord said to Moses, 45“Get away from all these people so that I can instantly destroy them!” But Moses and Aaron fell face down on the ground.

46And Moses said to Aaron, “Quick, take an incense burner and place burning coals on it from the altar. Lay incense on it, and carry it out among the people to purify them and make them right with the Lord.*16:46 Or to make atonement for them.  The Lord’s anger is blazing against them—the plague has already begun.”

47Aaron did as Moses told him and ran out among the people. The plague had already begun to strike down the people, but Aaron burned the incense and purified*16:47 Or and made atonement for.  the people. 48He stood between the dead and the living, and the plague stopped. 49But 14,700 people died in that plague, in addition to those who had died in the affair involving Korah. 50Then because the plague had stopped, Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance of the Tabernacle.


The Budding of Aaron’s Staff

1*17:1 Verses 17:1-13 are numbered 17:16-28 in Hebrew text. Then the Lord said to Moses, 2“Tell the people of Israel to bring you twelve wooden staffs, one from each leader of Israel’s ancestral tribes, and inscribe each leader’s name on his staff. 3Inscribe Aaron’s name on the staff of the tribe of Levi, for there must be one staff for the leader of each ancestral tribe. 4Place these staffs in the Tabernacle in front of the Ark containing the tablets of the Covenant,*17:4 Hebrew in the Tent of Meeting before the Testimony. The Hebrew word for “testimony” refers to the terms of the Lord’s covenant with Israel as written on stone tablets, which were kept in the Ark, and also to the covenant itself.  where I meet with you. 5Buds will sprout on the staff belonging to the man I choose. Then I will finally put an end to the people’s murmuring and complaining against you.”

6So Moses gave the instructions to the people of Israel, and each of the twelve tribal leaders, including Aaron, brought Moses a staff. 7Moses placed the staffs in the Lord’s presence in the Tabernacle of the Covenant.*17:7 Or Tabernacle of the Testimony; also in 17:8.  8When he went into the Tabernacle of the Covenant the next day, he found that Aaron’s staff, representing the tribe of Levi, had sprouted, budded, blossomed, and produced ripe almonds!

9When Moses brought all the staffs out from the Lord’s presence, he showed them to the people. Each man claimed his own staff. 10And the Lord said to Moses: “Place Aaron’s staff permanently before the Ark of the Covenant*17:10 Hebrew before the Testimony; see note on 17:4.  to serve as a warning to rebels. This should put an end to their complaints against me and prevent any further deaths.” 11So Moses did as the Lord commanded him.

12Then the people of Israel said to Moses, “Look, we are doomed! We are dead! We are ruined! 13Everyone who even comes close to the Tabernacle of the Lord dies. Are we all doomed to die?”

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