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The staff is first mentioned in the Book of Exodus (chapter 4, verse 2), when God appears to Moses in the burning bush. God asks what Moses has in his hand, and Moses answers "a staff" ("a rod" in the KJV version). The staff is miraculously transformed into a snake and then back into a staff. The staff is thereafter referred to as the "rod of God" or "staff of God" (depending on the translation).
{{quote|"And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs." And Moses went and returned to Jethro, his father in law, and said unto him, "Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren which are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive." And Jethro said to Moses, "Go in peace." And theThe LORD said unto Moses in Midian, "Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life." And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass,; and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand.|{{bibleverse|Exodus|4|KJV}} ([[King James version|KJV]])}}
Moses and Aaron appear before the pharaoh, when Aaron's rod is transformed into a serpent. The pharaoh's sorcerers are also able to transform their own rods into serpents, but Aaron's swallows them. Aaron's rod is again used to turn the Nile blood-red. It is used several times on God's command to initiate the plagues of Egypt.
During the Exodus, Moses stretches out his hand with the staff to part the Red Sea. While in the "wilderness" after leaving Egypt, Moses follows God's command to strike a rock with the rod to create a spring for the Israelites from which to drink from. ButHowever, Moses strikes the rock twice with the staff, when the water does not immediately appear after the first strike. For striking the rock twice, implying lack of faith, God punished Moses by not letting him enter into the Promised Land (Numbers 20:12).
Finally, Moses uses the staff in the battle at Rephidim between the Israelites and the Amalekites. When he holds up the "rod of God", the Israelites "prevail",. whenWhen he drops it, their enemies gain the upper hand. Aaron and Hur help him to keep the staff raised until victory is achieved.
== Official use ==