Numbers 17:5
And it shall come to pass, that the man's rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you.
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(5) The man’s rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom.—Or, shall sprout forth or put forthi.e., leaves or blossoms. Achilles, when enraged against Agamemnon, is made to swear a solemn oath by his sceptre which, having once left its stock on the mountains, shall never again grow. King Latinus is represented by Virgil as confirming his covenant with Æneas by a similar oath.

17:1-7 It is an instance of the grace of God, that, having wrought divers miracles to punish sin, he would work one more to prevent it. Twelve rods or staves were to be brought in. It is probable that they were the staves which the princes used as ensigns of their authority; old dry staves, that had no sap in them. They were to expect that the rod of the tribe, or prince, whom God chose to the priesthood, should bud and blossom. Moses did not object that the matter was sufficiently settled already; he did not undertake to determine it; but left the case before the Lord.Before the testimony - See Numbers 17:10 note. 2-5. Speak unto the children of Israel—The controversy with Moses and Aaron about the priesthood was of such a nature and magnitude as required a decisive and authoritative settlement. For the removal of all doubts and the silencing of all murmuring in the future regarding the holder of the office, a miracle was wrought of a remarkable character and permanent duration; and in the manner of performing it, all the people were made to have a direct and special interest.

take of every one … princes … twelve rods—As the princes, being the oldest sons of the chief family, and heads of their tribes, might have advanced the best claims to the priesthood, if that sacred dignity was to be shared among all the tribes, they were therefore selected, and being twelve in number—that of Joseph being counted only one—Moses was ordered to see that the name of each was inscribed—a practice borrowed from the Egyptians—upon his rod or wand of office. The name of Aaron rather than of Levi was used, as the latter name would have opened a door of controversy among the Levites; and as there was to be one rod only for the head of each tribe, the express appointment of a rod for Aaron determined him to be the head of that tribe, as well as that branch or family of the tribe to which the priestly dignity should belong. These rods were to be laid in the tabernacle close to the ark (compare Nu 17:10 and Heb 9:4), where a divine token was promised that would for all time terminate the dispute.

No text from Poole on this verse.

And it shall come to pass, that the man's rod whom I shall choose,.... Or make it manifest that he had chosen him, and so confirm the choice he had made of him and his family, for the priesthood to be and continue in:

shall blossom; bud and blossom, and yield fruit, as it afterwards did, which is here declared beforehand, that the miracle might appear the greater, exactly answering to a prediction delivered out before of it:

and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you; against Moses for setting up his brother as an high priest, and establishing the priesthood in his family; and against Aaron for accepting of it, and officiating in it; but by this method now taken, God would for ever silence their murmurings, so that they should never be able, with any face, to object any more to the authority of the Aaronic priesthood, which should appear by the predicted miracle beyond all dispute and contradiction.

And it shall come to pass, that the man's rod, whom I shall {b} choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you.

(b) To be the chief priest.

Verse 5. - Whom I shall choose. For the special duty and service of the priesthood (cf. chapter Numbers 16:5). I will make to cease. הַשִׁכֹּתִי מֵעָֹלַי. I will cause to sink so that they shall not rise again. Numbers 17:5(Or ch.17:16-28). Confirmation of the High-Priesthood of Aaron. - Whilst the Lord had thus given a practical proof to the people, that Aaron was the high priest appointed by Him for His congregation, by allowing the high-priestly incense offered by Aaron to expiate His wrath, and by removing the plague; He also gave them a still further confirmation of His priesthood, by a miracle which was well adapted to put to silence all the murmuring of the congregation.

Numbers 17:1-5

He commanded Moses to take twelve rods of the tribe-princes of Israel, one for the fathers' house of each of their tribes, and to write upon each the name of the tribe; but upon that of the tribe of Levi he was to write Aaron's name, because each rod was to stand for the head of their fathers' houses, i.e., for the existing head of the tribe; and in the case of Levi, the tribe-head was Aaron. As only twelve rods were taken for all the tribes of Israel, and Levi was included among them, Ephraim and Manasseh must have been reckoned as the one tribe of Joseph, as in Deuteronomy 27:12. These rods were to be laid by Moses in the tabernacle before the testimony, or ark of the covenant (Exodus 25:21; Exodus 29:42). And there the rod of the man whom Jehovah chose, i.e., entrusted with the priesthood (see Numbers 16:5), would put forth shoots, to quiet the murmuring of the people. שׁכך, Hiph., to cause to sink, to bring to rest, construed with מעל in a pregnant signification, to quiet in such a way that it will not rise again.

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