The method by which Moses caused a miraculous judgment as to which tribe should be invested with the priesthood, is detailed in the Book of Numbers (chapter xvii). He directed that twelve rods should be laid up in the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle, one for each tribe; that of Aaron, of course, represented the tribe of Levi. On the next day these rods were brought out and exhibited to the people, and while all the rest remained dry and withered, that of Aaron alone budded and blossomed and yielded fruit. There is no mention in the Pentateuch of this rod having been placed in the ark, but only that it was put before it. But as Saint Paul, or the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews ix, 4), asserts that the rod and the pot of manna were both within the ark, Royal Arch Masons have followed this later authority. Hence the rod of Aaron is found in the ark; but its import is only historical, as if to identify the substitute ark as a true copy of the original, which had been lost. No symbolical instruction accompanies its discovery.
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