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Water from the Rock

20 In the first month the whole community of Israel came into the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. Miriam died and was buried there.

Since the community was without water, they came together to confront Moses and Aaron. The people complained to Moses and said, “If only we had died when the other Israelites died in Yahweh’s presence! Did you bring Yahweh’s assembly into this desert just to have us and our animals die here? Why did you make us leave Egypt and bring us into this terrible place? This is no place to plant crops. Even figs, grapes, and pomegranates won’t grow here. And there’s no water to drink!”

Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting. Immediately, they bowed with their faces touching the ground, and the glory of Yahweh appeared to them.

Yahweh said to Moses, “Take your staff, then you and your brother Aaron gather the community. Right before their eyes, tell the rock to give up its water. In this way you will give the community water from the rock for them and their animals to drink.”

Moses took his staff out of the tent in Yahweh’s presence as he had been commanded. 10 Then Moses and Aaron assembled the community in front of the rock and said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring water out of this rock for you?” 11 Moses raised his hand and hit the rock twice with the staff. Water came pouring out, and all the people and their animals drank.

12 But Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron, “You didn’t trust me! You didn’t show the Israelites how holy I am! So you will not bring this congregation into the land I’m giving them.”

13 This was the oasis of Meribah [Complaining], where the Israelites complained about Yahweh and where he showed them he was holy.

Edom Refuses to Allow Israel to Pass through Its Territory

14 Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom. He said, “This is what your brother Israel says: You know all the hardships we’ve had. 15 Our ancestors went to Egypt, and we lived there for many years. The Egyptians mistreated us and our ancestors. 16 When we cried out to Yahweh, he heard us, sent a messenger, and brought us out of Egypt.

“Now we’re here in Kadesh, a city on the edge of your territory. 17 Please let us go through your country. We won’t go through any of your fields or vineyards, or drink any of the water from your wells. We’ll stay on the king’s highway and never leave it until we’ve passed through your territory.”

18 But the Edomites answered, “You may not pass through our country. If you try, we’ll come out and attack you.”

19 The Israelites replied, “We’ll stay on the main road, and if we or our livestock drink any of your water, we’ll pay for it. We want to pass through on foot. That’s all.”

20 But the Edomites said, “You may not pass through.” Then they came out and attacked with many well-armed troops. 21 Since the Edomites refused to let Israel go through their territory, the Israelites turned around and went a different way.

Aaron’s Death

22 The whole community of Israel left Kadesh and came to Mount Hor. 23 At Mount Hor, near the border of Edom, Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron, 24 “Aaron must now join his ancestors in death, since he cannot enter the land I’m giving the Israelites. This is because you both rebelled against my command at the oasis of Meribah. 25 Bring Aaron and his son Eleazar up on Mount Hor. 26 Take off Aaron’s priestly clothes, and put them on his son Eleazar. Then Aaron will die there and join his ancestors.”

27 Moses did as Yahweh commanded. The whole community saw them go up on Mount Hor. 28 Moses took off Aaron’s priestly clothes and put them on his son Eleazar. Aaron died there on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. 29 The whole community saw that Aaron had died, and all the Israelites mourned for Aaron 30 days.