International Children’s Bible
Water from the Rock
20 In the first month all the people of Israel arrived at the Desert of Zin. They stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried. 2 There was no water for the people. So they came together against Moses and Aaron. 3 They argued with Moses. They said, “We should have died in front of the Lord as our brothers did. 4 Why did you bring the Lord’s people into this desert? Are we and our animals to die here? 5 Why did you bring us from Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain, figs or pomegranates. And there’s no water to drink!”
6 So Moses and Aaron left the people. Then they went to the entrance of the Meeting Tent. They bowed facedown. And the glory of the Lord appeared to them. 7 The Lord said to Moses, 8 “You and your brother Aaron should gather the people. Also take your walking stick. Speak to that rock in front of them. Then water will flow from it. Give that water to the people and their animals.”
9 So Moses took the stick from in front of the Lord. He did as the Lord had said. 10 He and Aaron gathered the people in front of the rock. Then Moses said, “Now listen to me, you complainers! Do you want us to bring water out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses lifted his hand and hit the rock twice with his stick. Water began pouring out. And the people and their animals drank it.
12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “You did not believe me. You did not honor me as holy before the people. So you will not lead them into the land I will give them.”
13 These are the waters of Meribah.[a] Here the Israelites argued with the Lord. And the Lord 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 we have had. 15 Our ancestors went down into Egypt. And we lived there for many years. The people of Egypt were cruel to our ancestors. 16 But we cried out to the Lord. He heard us and sent us an angel to bring us out of Egypt.
“Now we are here at Kadesh, a town on the edge of your land. 17 Please let us pass through your country. We will not touch any fields of grain or vineyards. We will not drink water from the wells. We will travel only along the king’s road. We will not turn right or left until we have passed through your country.”
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 answered: “We will go along the main road. If 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. So the Israelites turned back.
22 All the Israelites moved from Kadesh to Mount Hor. 23 It was near the border of Edom. The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 24 “Aaron will die. He will not enter the land that I’m giving to the Israelites. This is because you both acted against my command at the waters of Meribah. 25 Take Aaron and his son Eleazar up on Mount Hor. 26 Take off Aaron’s special clothes and put them on his son Eleazar. Aaron will die there. He will join his ancestors.”
27 Moses obeyed the Lord’s command. They climbed up Mount Hor. All the people saw them go. 28 Moses took off Aaron’s clothes. He put them on Aaron’s son Eleazar. Then Aaron died there on top of the mountain. And Moses and Eleazar came back down the mountain. 29 Then all the people learned that Aaron was dead. So everyone in Israel cried for him for 30 days.
- 20:13 Meribah This name in Hebrew means “argument.”