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Aaron's Rod

Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception

Aaron – Aniconism

Volume 1
Editor(s): Hans-Josef Klauck, Volker Leppin, Bernard McGinn, Choon-Leong Seow, Hermann Spieckermann, Barry Dov Walfish, Eric J. Ziolkowski
De Gruyter (Berlin, New York) 2012

Hebrew Bible/Old Testament

Lester L. Grabbe

The word “rod” or “staff” is maṭṭeh in Hebrew, a word used frequently of a wooden staff employed to assist in walking or standing. The “rod/staff” is also often a symbol for authority and power; the term is even translated “tribe” in many passages because each tribe had its own identifying staff. These meanings all come out in any discussion of “Aaron’s rod.” The first passage in which Aaron’s rod plays a prominent role is the plague narrative (Exod 7–11). God had originally demonstrated to Mos…

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