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17 Now, at God’s command, the people of Israel left the Sihn Desert, going by easy stages to Rephidim. But upon arrival, there was no water!

So once more the people growled and complained to Moses. “Give us water!” they wailed.

“Quiet!” Moses commanded. “Are you trying to test God’s patience with you?”

But, tormented by thirst, they cried out, “Why did you ever take us out of Egypt? Why did you bring us here to die, with our children and cattle too?”

Then Moses pleaded with Jehovah. “What shall I do? For they are almost ready to stone me.”

5-6 Then Jehovah said to Moses, “Take the elders of Israel with you and lead the people out to Mount Horeb. I will meet you there at the rock. Strike it with your rod[a]—the same one you struck the Nile with—and water will come pouring out, enough for everyone!” Moses did as he was told, and the water gushed out! Moses named the place Massah (meaning “tempting Jehovah to slay us”), and sometimes they referred to it as Meribah (meaning “argument” and “strife!”)—for it was there that the people of Israel argued against God and tempted him to slay them[b] by saying, “Is Jehovah going to take care of us or not?”

But now the warriors of Amalek came to fight against the people of Israel at Rephidim. Moses instructed Joshua to issue a call to arms to the Israelites, to fight the army of Amalek.

“Tomorrow,” Moses told him, “I will stand at the top of the hill, with the rod of God in my hand!”

10 So Joshua and his men went out to fight the army of Amalek. Meanwhile Moses, Aaron, and Hur[c] went to the top of the hill. 11 And as long as Moses held up the rod in his hands, Israel was winning; but whenever he rested his arms at his sides, the soldiers of Amalek were winning. 12 Moses’ arms finally became too tired to hold up the rod any longer; so Aaron and Hur rolled a stone for him to sit on, and they stood on each side, holding up his hands until sunset. 13 As a result, Joshua and his troops crushed the army of Amalek, putting them to the sword.

14 Then the Lord instructed Moses, “Write this into a permanent record, to be remembered forever, and announce to Joshua that I will utterly blot out every trace of Amalek.” 15-16 Moses built an altar there and called it “Jehovah-nissi” (meaning “Jehovah is my flag”).

“Raise the banner of the Lord!” Moses said. “For the Lord will be at war with Amalek generation after generation.”


  1. Exodus 17:5 Strike it with your rod, implied.
  2. Exodus 17:7 to slay them, implied.
  3. Exodus 17:10 Hur. Hur was a man of Judah, of the family of Hezron, house of Caleb (1 Chronicles 2:18-19). He was the grandfather of Bezalel (31:1-2).

Water From the Rock

17 The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin,(A) traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim,(B) but there was no water(C) for the people to drink. So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water(D) to drink.”(E)

Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?”(F)

But the people were thirsty(G) for water there, and they grumbled(H) against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die(I) of thirst?”

Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone(J) me.”

The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff(K) with which you struck the Nile,(L) and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb.(M) Strike(N) the rock, and water(O) will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the place Massah[a](P) and Meribah[b](Q) because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

The Amalekites Defeated

The Amalekites(R) came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim.(S) Moses said to Joshua,(T) “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff(U) of God in my hands.”

10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur(V) went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning,(W) but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.(X) 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite(Y) army with the sword.

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write(Z) this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out(AA) the name of Amalek(AB) from under heaven.”

15 Moses built an altar(AC) and called(AD) it The Lord is my Banner. 16 He said, “Because hands were lifted up against[c] the throne of the Lord,[d] the Lord will be at war against the Amalekites(AE) from generation to generation.”(AF)


  1. Exodus 17:7 Massah means testing.
  2. Exodus 17:7 Meribah means quarreling.
  3. Exodus 17:16 Or to
  4. Exodus 17:16 The meaning of the Hebrew for this clause is uncertain.