Exodus 17:1-7

1 From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink.
2 The people quarreled with Moses, and said, "Give us water to drink." Moses said to them, "Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?"
3 But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, "Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?"
4 So Moses cried out to the Lord, "What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me."
5 The Lord said to Moses, "Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go.
6 I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink." Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel.
7 He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, "Is the Lord among us or not?"

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 From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink.
2 The people quarreled with Moses, and said, "Give us water to drink." Moses said to them, "Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?"
3 But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, "Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?"
4 So Moses cried out to the Lord, "What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me."
5 The Lord said to Moses, "Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go.
6 I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink." Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel.
7 He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, "Is the Lord among us or not?"
8 Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim.
9 Moses said to Joshua, "Choose some men for us and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand."
10 So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
11 Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed; and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed.

Footnotes 2

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.