In the first month, the entire company of the People of Israel arrived in the Wilderness of Zin. The people stayed in Kadesh. Miriam died there, and she was buried.
There was no water there for the community, so they ganged up on Moses and Aaron.
They attacked Moses: "We wish we'd died when the rest of our brothers died before God.
Why did you haul this congregation of God out here into this wilderness to die, people and cattle alike?
And why did you take us out of Egypt in the first place, dragging us into this miserable country? No grain, no figs, no grapevines, no pomegranates - and now not even any water!"
Moses and Aaron walked from the assembled congregation to the Tent of Meeting and threw themselves facedown on the ground. And they saw the Glory of God.
God spoke to Moses:
"Take the staff. Assemble the community, you and your brother Aaron. Speak to that rock that's right in front of them and it will give water. You will bring water out of the rock for them; congregation and cattle will both drink."
Moses took the staff away from God's presence, as commanded.
He and Aaron rounded up the whole congregation in front of the rock. Moses spoke: "Listen, rebels! Do we have to bring water out of this rock for you?"
With that Moses raised his arm and slammed his staff against the rock - once, twice. Water poured out. Congregation and cattle drank.
God said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you didn't trust me, didn't treat me with holy reverence in front of the People of Israel, you two aren't going to lead this company into the land that I am giving them."
These were the Waters of Meribah (Bickering) where the People of Israel bickered with God, and he revealed himself as holy.
Moses sent emissaries from Kadesh to the king of Edom with this message: "A message from your brother Israel: You are familiar with all the trouble we've run into.
Our ancestors went down to Egypt and lived there a long time. The Egyptians viciously abused both us and our ancestors.
But when we cried out for help to God, he heard our cry. He sent an angel and got us out of Egypt. And now here we are at Kadesh, a town at the border of your land.
"Will you give us permission to cut across your land? We won't trespass through your fields or orchards and we won't drink out of your wells; we'll keep to the main road, the King's Road, straying neither right nor left until we've crossed your border."
The king of Edom answered, "Not on your life. If you so much as set a foot on my land, I'll kill you."
The People of Israel said, "Look, we'll stay on the main road. If we or our animals drink any water, we'll pay you for it. We're harmless - just a company of footsore travelers."
He answered again: "No. You may not come through." And Edom came out and blocked the way with a crowd of people brandishing weapons.
Edom refused to let them cross through his land. So Israel had to detour around him.
The People of Israel, the entire company, set out from Kadesh and traveled to Mount Hor.
God said to Moses and Aaron at Mount Hor at the border of Edom,
"It's time for Aaron to be gathered into the company of his ancestors. He will not enter the land I am giving to the People of Israel because you both rebelled against my orders at the Waters of Meribah.
So take Aaron and his son Eleazar and lead them up Mount Hor.
Remove Aaron's clothes from him and put them on his son Eleazar. Aaron will be gathered there; Aaron will die."
Moses obeyed God's command. They climbed Mount Hor as the whole congregation watched.
Moses took off Aaron's clothes and put them on his son Eleazar. Aaron died on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain.
The whole congregation, getting the news that Aaron had died, went into thirty days of mourning for him.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)