Why Is Aaron's Rod So Important In Religious Texts?

In the Christian Bible and the Torah, Moses' brother, Aaron, has a rod that's capable of miracles, similar to Moses's own staff (via Jewish Encyclopedia). In fact, the two walking sticks are similar enough that some interpretations of the Moses stories hold that Aaron's rod and Moses' shepherd staff are one and the same (such as BibleAsk).

If you believe the two staffs are separate, however, it's Aaron's rod that is responsible for some of the most stunning miracles in the Old Testament — and it's Aaron's rod that's later kept in the Ark of the Covenant, according to a New Testament account (via Bible Gateway).

You don't get stored next to Moses's tablets and manna from heaven based on nothing. Aaron's rod turns into a serpent in one section of the Bible, sprouts flowers in another, and turns water to blood in a third. It helps lead the Jews out of Egypt and make some members of Aaron's tribe into priests. Here's why Aaron's rod is so important.

A rod that eats other rods

In Exodus 7, God instructs Moses and Aaron to go to the pharaoh and throw Aaron's rod on the ground (via Bible Gateway). They do this and the rod turns into a serpent. The pharaoh's magicians are able to turn their rods into snakes as well, but then Aaron's serpent eats the other snakes.

Moses is later instructed by God to dip Aaron's rod into the river. Moses does so, in full view of the pharaoh, and the water turns into blood and all the fish die. Later, the rod also brings the plague of frogs and gnats (via Got Questions).

In Numbers, to end an ongoing rebellion by the different tribes of Israel, Moses collects rods from all 12 leaders, including Aaron, after God says the tribe chosen to the priesthood will see his rod sprout with flowers. The rod of Aaron sprouts flowers and ripe almonds. To this day, certain long-stemmed flowers (such as great mullein) are sometimes given the nickname of Aaron's rod (via Merriam-Webster).

Some rabbinical interpretations hold that Moses's staff is the same as Aaron's rod, which means the rod is also responsible for the parting of the Red Sea. It may be responsible for other miracles as well. Midrash Yelamdenu (via Jewish Encyclopedia) says the staff was used for Jacob to cross the Jordan and David to slay Goliath. "When the Messiah comes it will be given to him for a scepter in token of his authority over the heathen," Midrash says.