1The 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 one tribe on each stick. 3On the stick from the tribe of Levi write the name of Aaron. 4Take the sticks to the Tent of Meeting and put them in front of the Covenant Box. 5Then leaves will start to grow on the stick of the man that I choose. In that way I will stop the bad words that the Israelites are always saying against you.’
6Moses spoke to the Israelites. The leaders gave him 12 sticks. 7Moses put the sticks in front of the Covenant Box of the LORD. It was in the Tent of Meeting.
8The next day, Moses went to the Tent of Meeting. He saw that the stick of the tribe of Levi was growing. It had the name of Aaron on it. It was growing flowers and almonds. 9Moses brought all the sticks out of the LORD's Tent of Meeting. Each leader took his own stick.
10But 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. And then they will remember that they must not refuse to obey me. That will stop their bad words against me so that they will not have to die.’ 11Moses did as the LORD said to him.
12The Israelites said to Moses, ‘We will die. 13Any person who comes near the Tent of the LORD will die. We will all die!’