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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Numbers 17



Verses 1-13

Aaron's Authority Confirmed

Korah and his followers having questioned the authority of Aaron and the claim of his family to the priesthood, the matter is put beyond the possibility of further doubt by the Blossoming of Aaron's rod.

2. A rod] The common symbol of authority: cp. Psalms 110:2.

4. The testimony] i.e. the ark in which the 'testimony' is kept: see on Exodus 16:34.

8-11. On the morrow Aaron's rod is found to have put forth almond buds and fruit, while the others show no sign of life. In this way the exclusive right of the tribe of Levi and family of Aaron to exercise the priestly functions is decided. Aaron's rod is ordered to be laid up before the ark as a token to succeeding generations.

8. Yielded almonds] Observe that the three stages of vegetable life are simultaneously visible, blossoms, buds, and fruit. As the almond tree blossons in January when other trees are bare and before its own leaves appear, it is used to symbolise the way in which God fulfils His promises when men least expect it: see Jeremiah 1:11-12, and cp. Isaiah 11:1; Isaiah 53:2; Matthew 4:13-16.

10. Before the testimony] According to Hebrews 9:4 the rod was kept in the ark. This, however, is nowhere asserted in OT. and may be a later tradition: cp. 1 Kings 8:9.

12, 13. The people are awe-struck and impressed with the danger of approaching the sanctuary in any unauthorised manner.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Numbers 17:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.

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