Water From the Rock

20 In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin,(A) and they stayed at Kadesh.(B) There Miriam(C) died and was buried.

Now there was no water(D) for the community,(E) and the people gathered in opposition(F) to Moses and Aaron. They quarreled(G) with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead(H) before the Lord!(I) Why did you bring the Lord’s community into this wilderness,(J) that we and our livestock should die here?(K) Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates.(L) And there is no water to drink!(M)

Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting(N) and fell facedown,(O) and the glory of the Lord(P) appeared to them. The Lord said to Moses, “Take the staff,(Q) and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water.(R) You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”

So Moses took the staff(S) from the Lord’s presence,(T) just as he commanded him. 10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together(U) in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?”(V) 11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water(W) gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.

12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy(X) in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”(Y)

13 These were the waters of Meribah,[a](Z) where the Israelites quarreled(AA) with the Lord and where he was proved holy among them.(AB)

Edom Denies Israel Passage

14 Moses sent messengers from Kadesh(AC) to the king of Edom,(AD) saying:

“This is what your brother Israel says: You know(AE) about all the hardships(AF) that have come on us. 15 Our ancestors went down into Egypt,(AG) and we lived there many years.(AH) The Egyptians mistreated(AI) us and our ancestors, 16 but when we cried out to the Lord, he heard our cry(AJ) and sent an angel(AK) and brought us out of Egypt.(AL)

“Now we are here at Kadesh, a town on the edge of your territory.(AM) 17 Please let us pass through your country. We will not go through any field or vineyard, or drink water from any well. We will travel along the King’s Highway and not turn to the right or to the left until we have passed through your territory.(AN)

18 But Edom(AO) answered:

“You may not pass through here; if you try, we will march out and attack you with the sword.(AP)

19 The Israelites replied:

“We will go along the main road, and if we or our livestock(AQ) drink any of your water, we will pay for it.(AR) We only want to pass through on foot—nothing else.”

20 Again they answered:

“You may not pass through.(AS)

Then Edom(AT) came out against them with a large and powerful army. 21 Since Edom refused to let them go through their territory,(AU) Israel turned away from them.(AV)

The Death of Aaron

22 The whole Israelite community set out from Kadesh(AW) and came to Mount Hor.(AX) 23 At Mount Hor, near the border of Edom,(AY) the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 24 “Aaron will be gathered to his people.(AZ) He will not enter the land I give the Israelites, because both of you rebelled against my command(BA) at the waters of Meribah.(BB) 25 Get Aaron and his son Eleazar and take them up Mount Hor.(BC) 26 Remove Aaron’s garments(BD) and put them on his son Eleazar, for Aaron will be gathered to his people;(BE) he will die there.”

27 Moses did as the Lord commanded: They went up Mount Hor(BF) in the sight of the whole community. 28 Moses removed Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar.(BG) And Aaron died there(BH) on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain, 29 and when the whole community learned that Aaron had died,(BI) all the Israelites mourned for him(BJ) thirty days.

Arad Destroyed

21 When the Canaanite king of Arad,(BK) who lived in the Negev,(BL) heard that Israel was coming along the road to Atharim, he attacked the Israelites and captured some of them. Then Israel made this vow(BM) to the Lord: “If you will deliver these people into our hands, we will totally destroy[b](BN) their cities.” The Lord listened to Israel’s plea and gave the Canaanites(BO) over to them. They completely destroyed them(BP) and their towns; so the place was named Hormah.[c](BQ)

The Bronze Snake

They traveled from Mount Hor(BR) along the route to the Red Sea,[d](BS) to go around Edom.(BT) But the people grew impatient on the way;(BU) they spoke against God(BV) and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt(BW) to die in the wilderness?(BX) There is no bread! There is no water!(BY) And we detest this miserable food!”(BZ)

Then the Lord sent venomous snakes(CA) among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.(CB) The people came to Moses(CC) and said, “We sinned(CD) when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord(CE) will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed(CF) for the people.

The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole;(CG) anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake(CH) and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.(CI)

The Journey to Moab

10 The Israelites moved on and camped at Oboth.(CJ) 11 Then they set out from Oboth and camped in Iye Abarim, in the wilderness that faces Moab(CK) toward the sunrise. 12 From there they moved on and camped in the Zered Valley.(CL) 13 They set out from there and camped alongside the Arnon(CM), which is in the wilderness extending into Amorite territory. The Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites.(CN) 14 That is why the Book of the Wars(CO) of the Lord says:

“. . . Zahab[e] in Suphah and the ravines,
    the Arnon 15 and[f] the slopes of the ravines
that lead to the settlement of Ar(CP)
    and lie along the border of Moab.”

16 From there they continued on to Beer,(CQ) the well where the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people together and I will give them water.”

17 Then Israel sang this song:(CR)

“Spring up, O well!
    Sing about it,
18 about the well that the princes dug,
    that the nobles of the people sank—
    the nobles with scepters and staffs.”

Then they went from the wilderness to Mattanah, 19 from Mattanah to Nahaliel, from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20 and from Bamoth to the valley in Moab where the top of Pisgah(CS) overlooks the wasteland.

Defeat of Sihon and Og

21 Israel sent messengers(CT) to say to Sihon(CU) king of the Amorites:(CV)

22 “Let us pass through your country. We will not turn aside into any field or vineyard, or drink water from any well. We will travel along the King’s Highway until we have passed through your territory.(CW)

23 But Sihon would not let Israel pass through his territory.(CX) He mustered his entire army and marched out into the wilderness against Israel. When he reached Jahaz,(CY) he fought with Israel.(CZ) 24 Israel, however, put him to the sword(DA) and took over his land(DB) from the Arnon to the Jabbok,(DC) but only as far as the Ammonites,(DD) because their border was fortified. 25 Israel captured all the cities of the Amorites(DE) and occupied them,(DF) including Heshbon(DG) and all its surrounding settlements. 26 Heshbon was the city of Sihon(DH) king of the Amorites,(DI) who had fought against the former king of Moab(DJ) and had taken from him all his land as far as the Arnon.(DK)

27 That is why the poets say:

“Come to Heshbon and let it be rebuilt;
    let Sihon’s city be restored.

28 “Fire went out from Heshbon,
    a blaze from the city of Sihon.(DL)
It consumed(DM) Ar(DN) of Moab,
    the citizens of Arnon’s heights.(DO)
29 Woe to you, Moab!(DP)
    You are destroyed, people of Chemosh!(DQ)
He has given up his sons as fugitives(DR)
    and his daughters as captives(DS)
    to Sihon king of the Amorites.

30 “But we have overthrown them;
    Heshbon’s dominion has been destroyed all the way to Dibon.(DT)
We have demolished them as far as Nophah,
    which extends to Medeba.(DU)

31 So Israel settled in the land of the Amorites.(DV)

32 After Moses had sent spies(DW) to Jazer,(DX) the Israelites captured its surrounding settlements and drove out the Amorites who were there. 33 Then they turned and went up along the road toward Bashan(DY),(DZ) and Og king of Bashan and his whole army marched out to meet them in battle at Edrei.(EA)

34 The Lord said to Moses, “Do not be afraid of him, for I have delivered him into your hands, along with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon.(EB)

35 So they struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army, leaving them no survivors.(EC) And they took possession of his land.(ED)


  1. Numbers 20:13 Meribah means quarreling.
  2. Numbers 21:2 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them; also in verse 3.
  3. Numbers 21:3 Hormah means destruction.
  4. Numbers 21:4 Or the Sea of Reeds
  5. Numbers 21:14 Septuagint; Hebrew Waheb
  6. Numbers 21:15 Or “I have been given from Suphah and the ravines / of the Arnon 15 to

Stages in Israel’s Journey

33 Here are the stages in the journey(A) of the Israelites when they came out of Egypt(B) by divisions under the leadership of Moses and Aaron.(C) At the Lord’s command Moses recorded(D) the stages in their journey(E). This is their journey by stages:

The Israelites set out(F) from Rameses(G) on the fifteenth day of the first month, the day after the Passover.(H) They marched out defiantly(I) in full view of all the Egyptians, who were burying all their firstborn,(J) whom the Lord had struck down among them; for the Lord had brought judgment(K) on their gods.(L)

The Israelites left Rameses and camped at Sukkoth.(M)

They left Sukkoth and camped at Etham, on the edge of the desert.(N)

They left Etham, turned back to Pi Hahiroth, to the east of Baal Zephon,(O) and camped near Migdol.(P)

They left Pi Hahiroth[a](Q) and passed through the sea(R) into the desert, and when they had traveled for three days in the Desert of Etham, they camped at Marah.(S)

They left Marah and went to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped(T) there.

10 They left Elim(U) and camped by the Red Sea.[b]

11 They left the Red Sea and camped in the Desert of Sin.(V)

12 They left the Desert of Sin and camped at Dophkah.

13 They left Dophkah and camped at Alush.

14 They left Alush and camped at Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink.(W)

15 They left Rephidim(X) and camped in the Desert of Sinai.(Y)

16 They left the Desert of Sinai and camped at Kibroth Hattaavah.(Z)

17 They left Kibroth Hattaavah and camped at Hazeroth.(AA)

18 They left Hazeroth and camped at Rithmah.

19 They left Rithmah and camped at Rimmon Perez.

20 They left Rimmon Perez and camped at Libnah.(AB)

21 They left Libnah and camped at Rissah.

22 They left Rissah and camped at Kehelathah.

23 They left Kehelathah and camped at Mount Shepher.

24 They left Mount Shepher and camped at Haradah.

25 They left Haradah and camped at Makheloth.

26 They left Makheloth and camped at Tahath.

27 They left Tahath and camped at Terah.

28 They left Terah and camped at Mithkah.

29 They left Mithkah and camped at Hashmonah.

30 They left Hashmonah and camped at Moseroth.(AC)

31 They left Moseroth and camped at Bene Jaakan.(AD)

32 They left Bene Jaakan and camped at Hor Haggidgad.

33 They left Hor Haggidgad and camped at Jotbathah.(AE)

34 They left Jotbathah and camped at Abronah.

35 They left Abronah and camped at Ezion Geber.(AF)

36 They left Ezion Geber and camped at Kadesh, in the Desert of Zin.(AG)

37 They left Kadesh and camped at Mount Hor,(AH) on the border of Edom.(AI) 38 At the Lord’s command Aaron the priest went up Mount Hor, where he died(AJ) on the first day of the fifth month of the fortieth year(AK) after the Israelites came out of Egypt.(AL) 39 Aaron was a hundred and twenty-three years old when he died on Mount Hor.

40 The Canaanite king(AM) of Arad,(AN) who lived in the Negev(AO) of Canaan, heard that the Israelites were coming.

41 They left Mount Hor and camped at Zalmonah.

42 They left Zalmonah and camped at Punon.

43 They left Punon and camped at Oboth.(AP)

44 They left Oboth and camped at Iye Abarim, on the border of Moab.(AQ)

45 They left Iye Abarim and camped at Dibon Gad.

46 They left Dibon Gad and camped at Almon Diblathaim.

47 They left Almon Diblathaim and camped in the mountains of Abarim,(AR) near Nebo.(AS)

48 They left the mountains of Abarim(AT) and camped on the plains of Moab(AU) by the Jordan(AV) across from Jericho.(AW) 49 There on the plains of Moab they camped along the Jordan from Beth Jeshimoth(AX) to Abel Shittim.(AY)

50 On the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho(AZ) the Lord said to Moses, 51 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan,(BA) 52 drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places.(BB) 53 Take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess.(BC) 54 Distribute the land by lot,(BD) according to your clans.(BE) To a larger group give a larger inheritance, and to a smaller group a smaller one.(BF) Whatever falls to them by lot will be theirs. Distribute it according to your ancestral tribes.(BG)

55 “‘But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns(BH) in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live. 56 And then I will do to you what I plan to do to them.(BI)’”


  1. Numbers 33:8 Many manuscripts of the Masoretic Text, Samaritan Pentateuch and Vulgate; most manuscripts of the Masoretic Text left from before Hahiroth
  2. Numbers 33:10 Or the Sea of Reeds; also in verse 11

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