Numbers 17

* Twelve rods laid up before the Lord. (1-7) Aaron's rod buds,

and is kept for a memorial. (8-13)

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.
8-13 While all the other rods remained as they were. Aaron's

rod became a living branch. In some places there were buds, in

others blossoms, in others fruit, at the same time; all this was

miraculous. Thus Aaron was manifested to be under the special

blessing of Heaven. Fruitfulness is the best evidence of a

Divine call; and the plants of God's setting, and the boughs cut

off them, will flourish. This rod was preserved, to take away

the murmurings of the people, that they might not die. The

design of God, in all his providences, and in the memorials of

them, is to take away sin. Christ was manifested to take away

sin. Christ is expressly called a rod out of the stem of Jesse:

little prospect was there, according to human views, that he

should ever flourish. But the dry rod revived and blossomed to

the confusion of his adversaries. The people cry, Behold, we

die, we perish, we all perish! This was the language of a

repining people, quarrelling with the judgments of God, which by

their own pride and obstinacy they brought upon themselves. It

is very wicked to fret against God when we are in affliction,

and in our distress thus to trespass yet more. If we die, if we

perish, it is of ourselves, and the blame will be upon our own

heads. When God judges, he will overcome, and will oblige the

most obstinate gainsayers to confess their folly. And how great

are our mercies, that we have a clearer and a better

dispensation, established upon better promises!
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