Numbers 17:1-6 (ANIV)
The Budding of Aaron’s Staff
1 The Lord said to Moses, 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. 3 On the staff of Levi write Aaron’s name, for there must be one staff for the head of each ancestral tribe. 4 Place them in the Tent of Meeting in front of the Testimony, where I meet with you. 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.”
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.
TIME OF DAY:
Unspecified by the Bible narrative. I have set the scene in the mid morning.
The sun (unseen & high in the sky on the left) illuminates this scene, casting shadows to the right & below figures & objects.
Six Israelite tribal leaders facing the viewer, holding staffs in their hands.
Two men, with their backs to the viewer, one of which is a tribal leader (the man on the right, with brown turban & staff).
To the right of the scene stands Aaron (brother of Moses, representing the tribe of Levi) with his staff in hand & Moses holding staffs of four leaders unseen in this picture.
This scene shows Moses holding 4 staffs of 4 leaders (unseen in my picture), with the remaining leaders of tribal families in front of him. These men are going to place their staffs in Moses’ arms, after which he takes them to the Tabernacle, as directed by the Lord God.
In Numbers chapter 16 (the story of the rebellion by Korah, Dathan and Abiram) the Israelites were grumbling & complaining, but actively rebelling against the Lord, & specifically Aaron’s priestly authority was been challenged. In chapter 17 the Lord showed all the Israelites that Aaron retained God’s authority to the exclusion of all other claimants. The miraculous budding of Aaron’s staff is the divine proof of Aaron’s unique priesthood position.
In this first scene, the Lord told Moses to get a staff from the leader of each tribe and write that leader’s name on it. Aaron was also to write his name on the tribal staff of Levi. Then all 12 staffs were placed in the tabernacle in front of the Testimony (the cover over the Ark of the covenant, the most holy place) where the Lord would meet Moses and cause the staff of the legitimate priestly tribe to sprout like a tree.
In the background are some of the Israelite’s tents, with Acacia trees behind them. There are some mountains in the distance.
Here is the scene without the figures in the foreground.
Numbers 17 – The budding of Aaron’s staff – Scene 01 – 12 staffs – Background