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.