Numbers 20:2-13

2 Now there was no water for the congregation; so they gathered together against Moses and against Aaron.
3 The people quarreled with Moses and said, "Would that we had died when our kindred died before the Lord!
4 Why have you brought the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness for us and our livestock to die here?
5 Why have you brought us up out of Egypt, to bring us to this wretched place? It is no place for grain, or figs, or vines, or pomegranates; and there is no water to drink."
6 Then Moses and Aaron went away from the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting; they fell on their faces, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them.
7 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
8 Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and your brother Aaron, and command the rock before their eyes to yield its water. Thus you shall bring water out of the rock for them; thus you shall provide drink for the congregation and their livestock.
9 So Moses took the staff from before the Lord, as he had commanded him.
10 Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, "Listen, you rebels, shall we bring water for you out of this rock?"
11 Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his staff; water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their livestock drank.
12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust in me, to show my holiness before the eyes of the Israelites, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them."
13 These are the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord, and by which he showed his holiness.

Numbers 20:2-13 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO NUMBERS 20

In this chapter is an account of the children of Israel coming to the wilderness of Zin, where Miriam died, and where wanting water they murmured, Nu 20:1-5, upon which Moses and Aaron applied to the Lord, who ordered Moses to speak to a rock, which should give forth water, and which being smitten by him, accordingly did, Nu 20:6-11, but Moses and Aaron, in their conduct of this affair, displeased the Lord, Nu 20:12,13, after this, Moses sent to the king of Edom to desire a passage through his country, which request was refused, Nu 20:14-21, upon Israel's coming to Mount Hor, Aaron, by order, went up to the mount, and, when stripped of his clothes, which were put on his son Eleazar, he died, lamented by all the people, Nu 20:22-29.

Numbers 20:2-13 In-Context

1 The Israelites, the whole congregation, came into the wilderness of Zin in the first month, and the people stayed in Kadesh. Miriam died there, and was buried there.
2 Now there was no water for the congregation; so they gathered together against Moses and against Aaron.
3 The people quarreled with Moses and said, "Would that we had died when our kindred died before the Lord!
4 Why have you brought the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness for us and our livestock to die here?
5 Why have you brought us up out of Egypt, to bring us to this wretched place? It is no place for grain, or figs, or vines, or pomegranates; and there is no water to drink."
6 Then Moses and Aaron went away from the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting; they fell on their faces, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them.
7 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
8 Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and your brother Aaron, and command the rock before their eyes to yield its water. Thus you shall bring water out of the rock for them; thus you shall provide drink for the congregation and their livestock.
9 So Moses took the staff from before the Lord, as he had commanded him.
10 Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, "Listen, you rebels, shall we bring water for you out of this rock?"
11 Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his staff; water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their livestock drank.
12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust in me, to show my holiness before the eyes of the Israelites, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them."
13 These are the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord, and by which he showed his holiness.
14 Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom, "Thus says your brother Israel: You know all the adversity that has befallen us:
15 how our ancestors went down to Egypt, and we lived in Egypt a long time; and the Egyptians oppressed us and our ancestors;
16 and when we cried to the Lord, he heard our voice, and sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt; and here we are in Kadesh, a town on the edge of your territory.

Footnotes 1

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.