Exodus 17:1-7

Water From the Rock

1 The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink.
2 So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD to the test?”
3 But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”
4 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”
5 The LORD answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go.
6 I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel.
7 And he called the place Massah[a] and Meribah[b] because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?”

Exodus 17:1 in Other Translations

KJV
1 And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink.
ESV
1 All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the LORD, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink.
NLT
1 At the LORD ’s command, the whole community of Israel left the wilderness of Sin and moved from place to place. Eventually they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there for the people to drink.
MSG
1 Directed by God, the whole company of Israel moved on by stages from the Wilderness of Sin. They set camp at Rephidim. And there wasn't a drop of water for the people to drink.
CSB
1 The entire Israelite community left the Wilderness of Sin, moving from one place to the next according to the Lord's command. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink.

Exodus 17:1-7 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO EXODUS 17

The children of Israel coming to Rephidim, want water, and chide with Moses about it, who, crying to the Lord, is bid to smite the rock, from whence came water for them, and he named the place from their contention with him, Ex 17:1-7 at this place Amalek came and fought with Israel, who, through the prayer of Moses, signified by the holding up of his hands, and by the sword of Joshua, was vanquished, Ex 17:8-13, for the remembrance of which it was ordered to be recorded in a book, and an altar was built with this inscription on it, "Jehovahnissi": it being the will of God that Amalek should be fought with in every generation until utterly destroyed, Ex 17:14-16.

Exodus 17:1-7 In-Context

1 The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink.
2 So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD to the test?”
3 But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”
4 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”
5 The LORD answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go.
6 I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel.
7 And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?”
8 The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim.
9 Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”
10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill.
11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.

Cross References 17

  • 1. S Exodus 16:1
  • 2. ver 8; Exodus 19:2; Numbers 33:15
  • 3. Numbers 20:5; Numbers 21:5; Numbers 33:14
  • 4. Numbers 20:2; Numbers 33:14; Psalms 107:5
  • 5. S Exodus 14:12
  • 6. Deuteronomy 6:16; Psalms 78:18,41; Psalms 106:14; Matthew 4:7; 1 Corinthians 10:9
  • 7. S Exodus 15:22
  • 8. S Exodus 15:24; Exodus 16:2-3
  • 9. S Exodus 14:11
  • 10. Numbers 14:10; 1 Samuel 30:6; S John 8:59
  • 11. S Exodus 4:2; S Exodus 10:12-13
  • 12. Exodus 7:20
  • 13. S Exodus 3:1
  • 14. Numbers 20:8
  • 15. Numbers 20:11; Deuteronomy 8:15; Judges 15:19; 2 Kings 3:20; Nehemiah 9:15; Psalms 74:15; Psalms 78:15-16; Psalms 105:41; Psalms 107:35; Psalms 114:8; Isaiah 30:25; Isaiah 35:6; Isaiah 43:19; Isaiah 48:21; 1 Corinthians 10:4
  • 16. Deuteronomy 6:16; Deuteronomy 9:22; Deuteronomy 33:8; Psalms 95:8
  • 17. Numbers 20:13,24; Numbers 27:14; Psalms 81:7; Psalms 106:32

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. "Massah" means "testing."
  • [b]. "Meribah" means "quarreling."
Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.