Following the rebellion recorded in the previous chapter and Yahweh's dealing with it, it seems that when that matter was settled, the princes of the rest of the tribes began to murmur. If the head of a tribe must be a priest, why not the head of some other tribe than that of Levi? He that searches the heart knew this thought to be in some of them, and before it broke out into any visible action, graciously anticipated it to prevent bloodshed. So it is in ch. 17 that it is done by [1] A miracle, not a miracle of wrath, as before, but of grace: vv. 1-7. The matter is put on trial by the bringing of twelve rods, one for each prince, before Yahweh. Upon trial, the matter is determined by the miraculous blossoming of Aaron's rod. [2] Firstly buds, then blossoms, then almonds, concluding the complete process of resurrection: vv. 8-9. [3] The decision of the controversy is registered by the preservation of the rod: vv. 10-11. [4] The people agree to it with some reluctance: vv. 12-13.  GEM - Logos

1 And Yahweh spake unto Moses, saying,

2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of every one of them a rod according to the house of their fathers, of all their princes according to the house of their fathers 12 rods: write thou every man's name upon his rod.

3 And thou shalt write Aaron's name upon the rod of Levi: for one rod shall be for the head of the house of their fathers.

The budded rod stood for the principle of divine choice and appointment as the basis of acceptable service.

4 And thou shalt lay them up in the tabernacle of the congregation before the testimony, where I will meet with you.

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.

6 And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, and every one of their princes gave him a rod apiece, for each prince one, according to their fathers' houses, even twelve rods: and the rod of Aaron was among their rods.

7 And Moses laid up the rods before Yahweh in the tabernacle of witness.

8 And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.

9 And Moses brought out all the rods from before Yahweh unto all the children of Israel: and they looked, and took every man his rod.

10 And Yahweh said unto Moses, Bring Aaron's rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me, that they die not.

The budded rod (secreted in the ark of the testimony) stood for the principle of divine appointment as against the voice of the people in the matter of divine service. It was fitting that this principle should receive expression in the allegorical ark: for it not only lay at the bottom of the whole Mosaic institution as a system in literal use in Israel, but is at the root of the anti-typical Christ institution, and is, we might say, the natural basis of that institution and of all corporate arrangements among men capable of yielding them blessedness.

As divine appointment preceded and caused physical creation, it is the natural precursor and foundation of heaven and earth, political, religious, and social. Divorced from this foundation, both government and religion must work confusion, as we see in the present unhappy state of the world. Let God give rulers, and He will give peace. This is His purpose, and He will work it out. The rod in the ark is the allegorical pledge of this.

There is something in the budding of the rod peculiarly appropriate to the anti-typical bearings of the case. The budding was the resuscitation of life in a dead rod by divine power as proof of a divine selection. Who can fail to see in this the foreshadowing of the kind of "assurance unto all men", which Paul declared at Athens God had already given of His purpose in Christ in raising him from the dead, and which He will again give in the resurrection of His people?

Christ was not only the chosen of God, to draw near to him as the antitypical Aaron, but he was proved to be such in being brought to life again after being put to death by the murmuring people. The budded rod deposited inside the ark of the covenant seems a prophecy of this. That an ark representing him should contain the foreshadowing of such a detail is beautiful. -

Law of Moses Ch 13

11 And Moses did so: as Yahweh commanded him, so did he.

12 And the children of Israel spake unto Moses, saying, Behold, we die, we perish, we all perish.

13 Whosoever cometh any thing near unto the tabernacle of Yahweh shall die: shall we be consumed with dying?