On the way to Moab
Water from a rock
1The people of Israel arrived at the Zin Desert during the first month#20.1 first month: See the note at 9.3. and set up camp near the town of Kadesh. It was there that Miriam died and was buried.
2 # Exod 17.1–7. The Israelites had no water, so they went to Moses and Aaron 3and complained, “Moses, we'd be better off if we had died along with the others in front of the LORD's sacred tent.#20.3 if we had died … sacred tent: See 16.41–49. 4You brought us into this desert, and now we and our livestock are going to die! 5Egypt was better than this horrible place. At least there we had grain and figs and grapevines and pomegranates.#20.5 pomegranates: See the note at 13.23,24. But now we don't even have any water.”
6Moses and Aaron went to the entrance to the sacred tent, where they bowed down. The LORD appeared to them in all his glory 7-8and said, “Moses, get your walking stick.#20.7,8 walking stick: A symbol of his authority. Then you and Aaron call the people together and command that rock to give you water. That's how you will provide water for the people of Israel and their livestock.”
9Moses obeyed and took his stick from the sacred tent. 10After he and Aaron had gathered the people around the rock, he said, “Look, you rebellious people, and you will see water flow from this rock!” 11He raised his stick in the air and struck the rock two times. At once, water gushed from the rock, and the people and their livestock had water to drink.
12But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you refused to believe in my power, these people did not respect me. And so, you will not be the ones to lead them into the land I have promised.”
13The Israelites had complained against the LORD, and he had shown them his holy power by giving them water to drink. So they named the place Meribah, which means “Complaining”.
Israel isn't allowed to go through Edom
14Moses sent messengers from Israel's camp near Kadesh with this message for the king of Edom:
We are Israelites, your own relatives, and we're sure you have heard the terrible things that have happened to us. 15Our ancestors settled in Egypt and lived there a long time. But later the Egyptians were cruel to us, 16and when we begged our LORD for help, he answered our prayer and brought us out of that land.
Now we are camped at the border of your territory, near the town of Kadesh. 17Please let us go through your country. We won't go near your fields and vineyards, and we won't drink any water from your wells. We will stay on the main road#20.17 the main road: The Hebrew text has “the King's Highway”, which was an important trade route through what is today the country of Jordan. It connected the city of Damascus in Syria with the Gulf of Aqaba in southern Jordan. until we leave your territory.
18But the Edomite king answered, “No, I won't let you go through our country! And if you try, we will attack you.”
19Moses sent back this message: “We promise to stay on the main road, and if any of us or our livestock drink your water, we will pay for it. We just want to pass through.”
20But the Edomite king insisted, “You can't go through our land!”
Then Edom sent out its strongest troops 21to keep Israel from passing through its territory. So the Israelites had to go in another direction.
22After the Israelites had left Kadesh and had gone as far as Mount Hor 23on the Edomite border, the LORD said, 24“Aaron, this is where you will die. You and Moses disobeyed me at Meribah, and so you will not enter the land I promised the Israelites. 25Moses, go with Aaron and his son Eleazar to the top of the mountain. 26Then take Aaron's priestly robe from him and place it on Eleazar. Aaron will die there.”
27Moses obeyed, and everyone watched as he and Aaron and Eleazar walked to the top of Mount Hor. 28#Exod 29.29; Num 33.38; Deut 10.6.Moses then took the priestly robe from Aaron and placed it on Eleazar. Aaron died there.
When Moses and Eleazar came down, 29the people knew that Aaron had died, and they mourned his death for thirty days.