New Living Translation

Numbers 20

Moses Strikes the Rock

1In the first month of the year,[a] the whole community of Israel arrived in the wilderness of Zin and camped at Kadesh. While they were there, Miriam died and was buried.

There was no water for the people to drink at that place, so they rebelled against Moses and Aaron. The people blamed Moses and said, “If only we had died in the Lord’s presence with our brothers! Why have you brought the congregation of the Lord’s people into this wilderness to die, along with all our livestock? Why did you make us leave Egypt and bring us here to this terrible place? This land has no grain, no figs, no grapes, no pomegranates, and no water to drink!”

Moses and Aaron turned away from the people and went to the entrance of the Tabernacle,[b] where they fell face down on the ground. Then the glorious presence of the Lord appeared to them, and the Lord said to Moses, “You and Aaron must take the staff and assemble the entire community. As the people watch, speak to the rock over there, and it will pour out its water. You will provide enough water from the rock to satisfy the whole community and their livestock.”

So Moses did as he was told. He took the staff from the place where it was kept before the Lord. 10 Then he and Aaron summoned the people to come and gather at the rock. “Listen, you rebels!” he shouted. “Must we bring you water from this rock?” 11 Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with the staff, and water gushed out. So the entire community and their livestock drank their fill.

12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them!” 13 This place was known as the waters of Meribah (which means “arguing”) because there the people of Israel argued with the Lord, and there he demonstrated his holiness among them.

Edom Refuses Israel Passage

14 While Moses was at Kadesh, he sent ambassadors to the king of Edom with this message:

“This is what your relatives, the people of Israel, say: You know all the hardships we have been through. 15 Our ancestors went down to Egypt, and we lived there a long time, and we and our ancestors were brutally mistreated by the Egyptians. 16 But when we cried out to the Lord, he heard us and sent an angel who brought us out of Egypt. Now we are camped at Kadesh, a town on the border of your land. 17 Please let us travel through your land. We will be careful not to go through your fields and vineyards. We won’t even drink water from your wells. We will stay on the king’s road and never leave it until we have passed through your territory.”

18 But the king of Edom said, “Stay out of my land, or I will meet you with an army!”

19 The Israelites answered, “We will stay on the main road. If our livestock drink your water, we will pay for it. Just let us pass through your country. That’s all we ask.”

20 But the king of Edom replied, “Stay out! You may not pass through our land.” With that he mobilized his army and marched out against them with an imposing force. 21 Because Edom refused to allow Israel to pass through their country, Israel was forced to turn around.

The Death of Aaron

22 The whole community of Israel left Kadesh and arrived at Mount Hor. 23 There, on the border of the land of Edom, the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 24 “The time has come for Aaron to join his ancestors in death. He will not enter the land I am giving the people of Israel, because the two of you rebelled against my instructions concerning the water at Meribah. 25 Now take Aaron and his son Eleazar up Mount Hor. 26 There you will remove Aaron’s priestly garments and put them on Eleazar, his son. Aaron will die there and join his ancestors.”

27 So Moses did as the Lord commanded. The three of them went up Mount Hor together as the whole community watched. 28 At the summit, Moses removed the priestly garments from Aaron and put them on Eleazar, Aaron’s son. Then Aaron died there on top of the mountain, and Moses and Eleazar went back down. 29 When the people realized that Aaron had died, all Israel mourned for him thirty days.

Notas al pie

  1. 20:1 The first month of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar usually occurs within the months of March and April. The number of years since leaving Egypt is not specified.
  2. 20:6 Hebrew the Tent of Meeting.

New International Reader's Version

Numbers 20

The Lord Gives Israel Water Out of the Rock

1In the first month the whole community of Israel arrived at the Desert of Zin. They stayed at Kadesh. Miriam died and was buried there.

The people didn’t have any water. So they gathered together to oppose Moses and Aaron. They argued with Moses. They said, “We wish we had died when our people fell dead in front of the Lord. Why did you bring the Lord’s people into this desert? We and our livestock will die here. Why did you bring us up out of Egypt? Why did you bring us to this terrible place? It doesn’t have any grain or figs. It doesn’t have any grapes or pomegranates. There isn’t even any water for us to drink!”

Moses and Aaron left the people. They went to the entrance to the tent of meeting. There they fell with their faces to the ground. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to them. The Lord said to Moses, “Get your walking stick. You and your brother Aaron gather the people together. Then speak to that rock while everyone is watching. It will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community. Then they and their livestock can drink it.”

So Moses took the walking stick from the tent. He did just as the Lord had commanded him. 10 He and Aaron gathered the people together in front of the rock. Moses said to them, “Listen, you who refuse to obey! Do we have to bring water out of this rock for you?” 11 Then Moses raised his arm. He hit the rock twice with his walking stick. Water poured out. And the people and their livestock drank it.

12 But the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron. He said, “You did not trust in me enough to honor me. You did not honor me as the holy God in front of the Israelites. So you will not bring this community into the land I am giving them.”

13 Those were the waters of Meribah. That’s where the Israelites argued with the Lord. And that’s where he was proven to be holy among them.

Edom Doesn’t Let Israel Pass Through Its Territory

14 Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom. The messengers said,

“The nation of Israel is your brother. They say, ‘You know about all the hard times we’ve had. 15 Long ago our people went down into Egypt. We lived there for many years. The Egyptians treated us and our people badly. 16 But we cried out to the Lord. He heard our cry. He sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt.

“ ‘Now here we are at the town of Kadesh. It’s on the edge of your territory. 17 Please let us pass through your country. We won’t go through any field or vineyard. We won’t drink water from any well. We’ll travel along the King’s Highway. We won’t turn to the right or the left. We’ll just go straight through your territory.’ ”

18 But the people of Edom answered,

“We won’t let you pass through here. If you try to, we’ll march out against you. We’ll attack you with our swords.”

19 The Israelites replied,

“We’ll go along the main road. We and our livestock won’t drink any of your water. If we do, we’ll pay for it. We only want to walk through your country. That’s all we ask.”

20 Again the people of Edom answered,

“We won’t let you pass through here.”

Then the people of Edom marched out against them. They came with a large and powerful army. 21 Edom refused to let Israel go through their territory. So Israel turned away from them.

Aaron Dies

22 The whole community of Israel started out from Kadesh. They arrived at Mount Hor. 23 It was near the border of Edom. There the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron. He said, 24 “Aaron will join the members of his family who have already died. He will not enter the land I am giving to the Israelites. Both of you refused to obey my command. You did it at the waters of Meribah. 25 So get Aaron and his son Eleazar. Take them up Mount Hor. 26 Take Aaron’s official robes off of him. Put them on his son Eleazar. Aaron will die on Mount Hor. He will join the members of his family who have already died.”

27 Moses did just as the Lord had commanded. The three men went up Mount Hor while the whole community was watching. 28 Moses took Aaron’s official robes off of him. He put them on Aaron’s son Eleazar. And Aaron died there on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. 29 The whole community found out that Aaron had died. So all the Israelites mourned for him for 30 days.