Moses Disobeys God
1In the first month all the people of Israel arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried. 2There was no water for the people, so they came together against Moses and Aaron. 3They argued with Moses and said, “We should have died in front of the Lord as our brothers did. 4Why did you bring the Lord’s people into this desert? Are we and our animals to die here? 5Why did you bring us from Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain, figs, grapevines, or pomegranates, and there’s no water to drink!”
6So Moses and Aaron left the people and went to the entrance of the Meeting Tent. There they bowed facedown, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. 7The Lord said to Moses, 8“Take your walking stick, and you and your brother Aaron should gather the people. Speak to that rock in front of them so that its water will flow from it. When you bring the water out from that rock, give it to the people and their animals.”
9So Moses took the stick from in front of the Lord, as he had said. 10Moses and Aaron gathered the people in front of the rock, and Moses said, “Now listen to me, you who turn against God! Do you want us to bring water out of this rock?” 11Then Moses lifted his hand and hit the rock twice with his stick. Water began pouring out, and the people and their animals drank it.
12But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe me, and because you did not honor me as holy before the people, you will not lead them into the land I will give them.”
13These are the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites argued with the Lord and where he showed them he was holy.
Edom Will Not Let Israel Pass
14From Kadesh, Moses sent messengers to the king of Edom. He said, “Your brothers, the Israelites, say to you: You know about all the troubles we have had, 15how our ancestors went down into Egypt and we lived there for many years. The people of Egypt were cruel to us and our ancestors, 16but when we cried out to the Lord, he heard us and sent us an angel to bring us out of Egypt.
“Now we are here at Kadesh, a town on the edge of your land. 17Please let us pass through your country. We will not touch any fields of grain or vineyards, and will not drink water from the wells. We will travel only along the king’s road, not turning right or left until we have passed through your country.”
18But the king of Edom answered: “You may not pass through here. If you try, I will come and meet you with swords.”
19The Israelites answered: “We will go along the main road, and if we or our animals drink any of your water, we will pay for it. We only want to walk through. That’s all.”
20But he answered: “You may not pass through here.”
Then the Edomites went out to meet the Israelites with a large and powerful army. 21The Edomites refused to let them pass through their country, so the Israelites turned back.
22All the Israelites moved from Kadesh to Mount Hor, 23near the border of Edom. There the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 24“Aaron will die. He will not enter the land that I’m giving to the Israelites, because you both acted against my command at the waters of Meribah. 25Take Aaron and his son Eleazar up on Mount Hor, 26and take off Aaron’s special clothes and put them on his son Eleazar. Aaron will die there; he will join his ancestors.”
27Moses obeyed the Lord’s command. They climbed up Mount Hor, and all the people saw them go. 28Moses took off Aaron’s clothes and put them on Aaron’s son Eleazar. Then Aaron died there on top of the mountain. Moses and Eleazar came back down the mountain, 29and when all the people learned that Aaron was dead, everyone in Israel cried for him for thirty days.
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3They argued with Moses and said, “We should have died in front of the Lord as our brothers did.