Lawsuit over water and Moses’ disobedience
1In the first month,#March–April, Nisan the entire Israelite community entered the Zin desert and the people stayed at Kadesh. Miriam died and was buried there. 2Now there was no water for the community, and they assembled against Moses and Aaron. 3Then the people confronted Moses and said to him, "If only we too had died when our brothers perished in the Lord’s presence! 4Why have you brought the Lord’s assembly into this desert to kill us and our animals here? 5Why have you led us up from Egypt to bring us to this evil place without grain, figs, vines, or pomegranates? And there’s no water to drink!"
6Moses and Aaron went away from the assembly to the entrance of the meeting tent and they fell on their faces. Then the Lord’s glory appeared to them. 7The Lord spoke to Moses: 8"You and Aaron your brother, take the staff and assemble the community. In their presence, tell the rock to provide water. You will produce water from the rock for them and allow the community and their animals to drink."
9Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, as the Lord had commanded him. 10Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. He said to them, "Listen, you rebels! Should we produce water from the rock for you?" 11Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice. Out flooded water so that the community and their animals could drink.
12The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you didn’t trust me to show my holiness before the Israelites, you will not bring this assembly into the land that I am giving them." 13These were the waters of Meribah,#Or confrontation where the Israelites confronted the Lord with controversy and he showed his holiness to them.
The Israelites confront Edom
14Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom: "This is what your brother Israel says: ‘You know all the adversity that has happened to us. 15How our ancestors went down to Egypt and lived in Egypt for a long time. The Egyptians oppressed us as they had our ancestors, 16and we cried out to the Lord. He heard our voice, sent a messenger, and brought us out of Egypt. Now here we are in Kadesh, a city on the edge of your border. 17Please let us cross through your land. We won’t pass through any field or vineyard, or drink water from any well. We will walk on the King’s Highway and not turn to the right or to the left until we have crossed your border.’"
18Edom said to him, "You won’t cross through, or I will come out against you with a sword."
19The Israelites said to him, "We’ll go up by the road. If we drink from your water, either we or our livestock, we’ll pay for it. It’s a small matter. We would only ask to cross on foot."
20But he said, "You won’t cross." Then Edom came out against them with a powerful army and a strong hand. 21Edom refused to allow Israel to cross his border. And Israel turned away from him. 22They marched from Kadesh.
Aaron’s death at Mount Hor
The entire Israelite community came to Mount Hor. 23The Lord said to Moses and Aaron at Mount Hor on the border of the land of Edom: 24Aaron will join his ancestors, for he may not enter the land that I’ve given to the Israelites, because you rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah. 25Take Aaron and his son Eleazar, and bring them up Mount Hor. 26Strip Aaron of his clothes and put them on Eleazar his son. Then Aaron will die there.
27Moses did as the Lord commanded. They went up Mount Hor in the sight of the entire community. 28Moses stripped Aaron of his clothes and put them on Eleazar his son. Aaron died there at the top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar descended from the mountain. 29When the entire community saw that Aaron had died, the entire household of Israel wept thirty days for Aaron.