Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, July 17th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 17

Grant's Commentary on the BibleGrant's Commentary

Verses 1-13



Though God had shown His deep displeasure against those who challenged the priesthood of Aaron, he used this occasion to illustrate the truth concerning the positive side of priesthood, in order to press upon Israel both the seriousness and the blessedness of true priestly character. He instructed Moses to have a representative from each of the twelve tribes of Israel bring a rod with his name written on it (vs.1-2). Aaron's name was to be written on the rod of Levi. These were to be placed in the tabernacle before the Testimony (apparently the ark of the testimony), with the promise that the rod of the man God chose would blossom (vs.4-5), thus silencing the complaints of the children of Israel.

The rods therefore being placed before the Lord, the next day Moses entered the tabernacle and found that Aaron's rod had sprouted, also budded, produced blossoms and yielded almonds (v.8). all these were present at the same time, not only with the promise of resurrection, but with the full ripe fruit of resurrection. The almond (meaning "wakeful") is the earliest of the fruits to appear in Israel's springtime, and is significant of the resurrection of Christ -- "Christ the firstfruits" (1 Corinthians 15:23). Also, just as the almond is the beginning of a great harvest, the resurrection of Christ is the promise of the great resurrection of His saints, for when He is said to be "the firstfruits," the above verse immediately adds. "afterward those who are Christ's at His coming."

The high priesthood of Christ then is established by His resurrection, and as High Priest He indentifies Himself with all who are His, and will unfailingly bring them to the same glory with which God has exalted Him today. Because He is first, they too must be blessed.

The proofs laid before the eyes of all the children of Israel (v.9), and Moses was told to bring Aaron's rod back before the Testimony, to be kept as a witness against the rebels. In Chapter 20:9 it is said the rod was "before the Lord." InHebrews 9:4; Hebrews 9:4 we are told that Aaron's rod that budded was in the ark. Of course, it might have been put there at a date later than this history ofNumbers 17:1-13; Numbers 17:1-13.

The people were seriously affected by this miracle of God's intervention, but in fear of possibly dying themselves, rather than in submissive faith (vs.12-13). They would not die just for coming into the vicinity of the tabernacle, but if wanting to usurp the place of priest, they might well fear. Today, all believers are priests, but an unbeliever trying to assume that place is exposing himself to the judgment of God. Also anyone assuming a place of importance above other saints of God is virtually taking the place of Christ, and must expect God's judgment too.

Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Numbers 17". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lmg/numbers-17.html. 1897-1910.
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