Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Aaron's Rod Bursts Into a Tree

By Mary Vee
Numbers 17

Eleazar's Thoughts

Uncle Moses came out of the Tabernacle this morning and spoke with my dad.  Since I'm a priest in training, Dad invited me to many of their talks. 

The wrinkles on Uncle Moses' forehead pushed down. I wondered what deep thoughts he had. The people had rebelled against God, Moses, and now several men wanted my dad's job. Uncle Moses sighed. "Aaron, God has decided to show the people who He chose as head priest. He's tired of their complaining."

Dad groaned. "Not anything bad, is it?"

Uncle Moses shook his head. "No. The Lord wants us to call the people--"  He stopped and turned to me. "Eleazar, gather the people in the meeting place while I tell Aaron the Lord's instructions."

I raced down the hill to each family leader. "Go to the meeting place. Uncle Moses has a message."  Surprisingly, the families hurried. Maybe they're finally willing to listen to him.

Uncle Moses's eyes drooped; he hadn't slept well. "The Lord asks each family to bring their rod."  The eleven leaders pushed through the crowd and held out their almond rods to him. 

"Now write your name on it." Each man wrote his name then set their rod on the ground. 

Uncle Moses turned to Aaron, "You need to write your name for the tribe of Levi on your rod and put it here, too." Dad did as Uncle Moses asked then stepped back.

"The rods will be taken into the inner part of the Tabernacle and laid in front of the Ark of the Covenant. Tomorrow morning they will be brought out to you. The rod with blossoms will belong to the man God has chosen as head of the priesthood."

We all watched Uncle Moses scoop up the twelve family rods, including Dad's, and carry them into the Tabernacle.  When he came out empty handed, everyone returned to their chores.

The next morning, the whole camp met Uncle Moses at the meeting place. We watched him get the rods from the Tabernacle.  It was easy to see one had blossoms, but no one knew who it belonged to. The family leaders whispered, "I think it's my rod." "No, that's my rod."

Uncle Moses set the rods on the ground.  He picked up the one that had blossomed, turned it sideways and read the name. "Aaron."

The family leaders must not have believed him. They rushed forward to see the rod. They turned the rod up and down and side to side then read the name "Aaron."

Each man shuffled through the pile of rods and found his own. They felt along the wood of their rod to confirm it was truly theirs.

One man shouted. "Moses sneaked into the Tabernacle to switched Aaron's rod for this one."

I knew it wasn't true. Uncle Moses rolled his eyes. "Look again. Tell me what you see."

The leaders looked closer. "Oh, there's blossoms here and fruit over here.  No branch has blossoms AND fruit at the same time. Moses couldn't have found a rod like this. Only the Lord could make a branch with both blossoms and fruit. God has chosen Aaron as priest."

Here is a freebie for you--do you want to know more about the rods in this story?

R. K. Harrison wrote, "Why the Levites chose an almond branch is uncertain; it may have constituted an unofficial tribal emblem. The almond is one of the earliest trees to blossom after winter, and its beautiful clusters of white flowers, which precede the growth of the leaves, is a welcome harbinger of spring. It blooms in Palestine about the beginning of February, and there as elsewhere it brings joy in the promise of new life," p. 244   Exegetical Commentary on Numbers, Copywrite 1992, Baker Book House Company, P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287

1. What did God want the leaders to do?
2. Why did He ask the leaders to do that?
3. Whose job did the leaders want?
4. What happened to Aaron's rod?
5. How did the leaders know for sure that God changed Aaron's rod?
6. What did you learn from this story?

Thank you Pastor Kaufman for helping me with today's research. :)


Anonymous said...

Why did the Levites choose an almond tree? Because Mt Sinai, the mountain they were camped at is Jabal Al Lawz in Saudi Arabia. The name means mountain of almonds. They chose an almond branch because almond trees were what was growing there on the mountain. Aaron and Moses took a branch from one of these trees and put it in the tabernacle.

Also, the burning bush was one of these almond trees. See Exodus chapter 25.

So you have two occurrences of almonds while the Israelites were camped at Mt Sinai and you have Jabal Al Lawz, the mountain of almonds in Saudi Arabia. By the way, almond tress do not grow in the Sinai Peninsula, where the supposed real Mt Sinai is located.

Mary Vee said...

Thank you for the information. Hopefully other readers will stop by and also read what your comment.