While Moses was at Kadesh, he sent ambassadors to the king of Edom with this message: “This is what your relatives, the people of Israel, say: You know all the hardships we have been through.
Our ancestors went down to Egypt, and we lived there a long time, and we and our ancestors were brutally mistreated by the Egyptians.
But when we cried out to the , he heard us and sent an angel who brought us out of Egypt. Now we are camped at Kadesh, a town on the border of your land.
Please let us travel through your land. We will be careful not to go through your fields and vineyards. We won’t even drink water from your wells. We will stay on the king’s road and never leave it until we have passed through your territory.”
But the king of Edom said, “Stay out of my land, or I will meet you with an army!”
The Israelites answered, “We will stay on the main road. If our livestock drink your water, we will pay for it. Just let us pass through your country. That’s all we ask.”
But the king of Edom replied, “Stay out! You may not pass through our land.” With that he mobilized his army and marched out against them with an imposing force.
Because Edom refused to allow Israel to pass through their country, Israel was forced to turn around.