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Exodus 17:7-9 New English Translation (NET Bible)

He called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the contending of the Israelites and because of their testing the Lord,[a] saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Victory over the Amalekites

[b] Amalek came[c] and attacked[d] Israel in Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our[e] men and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.”

Footnotes:

  1. Exodus 17:7 sn The name Massah (מַסָּה, massah) means “Proving”; it is derived from the verb “test, prove, try.” And the name Meribah (מְרִיבָה, merivah) means “Strife”; it is related to the verb “to strive, quarrel, contend.” The choice of these names for the place would serve to remind Israel for all time of this failure with God. God wanted this and all subsequent generations to know how unbelief challenges God. And yet, he gave them water. So in spite of their failure, he remained faithful to his promises. The incident became proverbial, for it is the warning in Ps 95:7-8, which is quoted in Heb 3:15: “Oh, that today you would listen as he speaks! Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of testing in the wilderness. There your fathers tested me and tried me, and they saw my works for forty years.” The lesson is clear enough: to persist in this kind of unbelief could only result in the loss of divine blessing. Or, to put it another way, if they refused to believe in the power of God, they would wander powerless in the wilderness. They had every reason to believe, but they did not. (Note that this does not mean they are unbelievers, only that they would not take God at his word.)
  2. Exodus 17:8 sn This short passage gives the first account of Israel’s holy wars. The war effort and Moses’ holding up his hands go side by side until the victory is won and commemorated. Many have used this as an example of intercessory prayer—but the passage makes no such mention. In Exodus so far the staff of God is the token of the power of God; when Moses used it, God demonstrated his power. To use the staff of God was to say that God did it; to fight without the staff was to face defeat. Using the staff of God was a way of submitting to and depending on the power of God in all areas of life. The first part of the story reports the attack and the preparation for the battle (8, 9). The second part describes the battle and its outcome (10-13). The final section is the preservation of this event in the memory of Israel (14-16).
  3. Exodus 17:8 tn Heb “and Amalek came”; NIV, NCV, TEV, CEV “the Amalekites.”
  4. Exodus 17:8 tn Or “fought with.”
  5. Exodus 17:9 tn This could be rendered literally “choose men for us.” But the preposition ל (lamed) probably indicates possession, “our men,” and the fact that Joshua was to choose from Israel, as well as the fact that there is no article on “men,” indicates he was to select some to fight.
New English Translation (NET)

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