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Moses Disobeys God

20 In the first month all the ·people [L sons; T children] of Israel, the community [congregation; assembly] arrived at the ·Desert [Wilderness] of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam [C Moses’ sister; Ex. 15:20–21; Num. 12:1–13] died and was buried. There was no water for the ·people [community; congregation; assembly], so they ·came together [assembled] against Moses and Aaron. They ·argued with [contended with; brought a case against] Moses and said, “We should have died in front of the Lord as our brothers did. Why did you bring the Lord’s ·people [community; congregation; assembly] into this ·desert [wilderness]? Are we and our animals to die here? Why did you bring us from Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain, figs, grapevines, or pomegranates, and there’s no water to drink!”

So Moses and Aaron left the ·people [community; congregation; assembly] and went to the entrance of the Meeting Tent. There they ·bowed facedown [L fell on their faces], and the glory of the Lord [C his manifest presence] appeared to them. The Lord said to Moses, “Take your ·walking stick [staff], and you and your brother Aaron should gather the ·people [community; congregation; assembly]. Speak to that rock in front of them so that its water will flow from it. When you bring the water out from that rock, give it to the ·people [community; congregation; assembly] and their animals.”

So Moses took the ·stick [staff] from in front of the Lord, as he had said. 10 Moses and Aaron ·gathered [assembled] the ·people [community; congregation; assembly] in front of the rock, and Moses said, “Now listen to me, you ·who turn against God [L rebels]! Do you want us [C rather than God] to bring water out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses lifted his hand and hit the rock twice with his ·stick [staff; C he was supposed to speak to it, 20:8]. Water began pouring out, and the ·people [community; congregation; assembly] and their animals drank it.

12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not ·believe [trust] me, and because you did not ·honor me as holy [show my holiness] before the ·people [L sons/T children of Israel], you will not lead ·them [L this community; congregation; assembly] into the land I will give them [20:22–29; Deut. 34:1–12].”

13 These are the waters of Meribah [C “Argument”], where the ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel] ·argued with [contended with; brought a case against] the Lord and where he showed them he was holy.

Edom Will Not Let Israel Pass

14 From Kadesh, Moses sent messengers to the king of Edom. He said, “Your brothers, the Israelites, say to you: You know about all the ·troubles [hardship] we have had, 15 how our ·ancestors [fathers] went down into Egypt and we lived there for many years. The people of Egypt ·were cruel to [oppressed] us and our ·ancestors [fathers], 16 but when we cried out to the Lord, he heard ·us [L our voice] and sent us an ·angel [messenger] to bring us out of Egypt.

“Now we are here at Kadesh, a town on the edge of your ·land [boundaries]. 17 Please let us pass through your country. We will not ·touch [pass through] any fields of grain or vineyards, and will not drink water from the wells. We will travel only along the ·king’s road [King’s Highway; C a north-south international highway], not turning right or left until we have passed through your ·country [boundaries].”

18 But the king of Edom answered: “You may not pass through here. If you try, I will come and meet you with swords.”

19 The ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel] answered: “We will go along the ·main road [highway], and if we or our animals drink any of your water, we will pay for it. We only want to walk through. That’s all.”

20 But he answered: “You may not pass through here.”

Then the Edomites went out to meet the Israelites with a large and powerful army. 21 The Edomites refused to let them pass through their ·country [boundaries], so the Israelites turned back.

Aaron Dies

22 ·All the Israelites [L The sons/T children of Israel, all the community/assembly/congregation] moved from Kadesh to Mount Hor, 23 near the border of Edom. There the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 24 “Aaron will ·die [L be gathered to his people]. He will not enter the land that I’m giving to the ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel], because you both ·acted [rebelled] against my command at the waters of Meribah [20:1–13]. 25 Take Aaron and his son Eleazar up on Mount Hor, 26 and take off Aaron’s special clothes and put them on his son Eleazar. Aaron will die there; he will ·join his people [L be gathered].”

27 Moses obeyed the Lord’s command. They climbed up Mount Hor, and all the ·people [community; assembly; congregation] saw them go. 28 Moses took off Aaron’s clothes and put them on Aaron’s son Eleazar. Then Aaron died there on top of the mountain. Moses and Eleazar came back down the mountain, 29 and when all the ·people [community; assembly; congregation] learned that Aaron was dead, ·everyone in [L all the house of] Israel cried for him for thirty days.

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