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Numbers 20:1–21:35

The Death of Miriam

20 And the people of Israel, the whole congregation, came kinto the wilderness of Zin in the first month, and the people stayed in Kadesh. And lMiriam died there and was buried there.

The Waters of Meribah

mNow there was no water for the congregation. nAnd they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. And the people oquarreled with Moses and said, “Would that we had perished pwhen our brothers perished before the Lord! Why have you brought the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness, that we should die here, both we and our cattle? And qwhy have you made us come up out of Egypt to bring us to this evil place? It is no place for grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, and there is no water to drink.” Then Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting and rfell on their faces. sAnd the glory of the Lord appeared to them, and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, t“Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So uyou shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.” And Moses took the staff vfrom before the Lord, as he commanded him.

Moses Strikes the Rock

10 Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, w“Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” 11 And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, uand water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. 12 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because xyou did not believe in me, yto uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” 13 zThese are the waters of Meribah,1 where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord, and through them he showed himself holy.

Edom Refuses Passage

14 aMoses sent messengers from Kadesh to bthe king of Edom: “Thus says cyour brother Israel: You know all the hardship that we have met: 15 dhow our fathers went down to Egypt, eand we lived in Egypt a long time. fAnd the Egyptians dealt harshly with us and our fathers. 16 And gwhen we cried to the Lord, he heard our voice and hsent an angel and brought us out of Egypt. And here we are in Kadesh, a city on the edge of your territory. 17 iPlease let us pass through your land. We will not pass through field or vineyard, jor drink water from a well. We will go along the King’s Highway. We will not turn aside to the right hand or to the left until we have passed through your territory.” 18 But Edom said to him, “You shall not pass through, lest I come out with the sword against you.” 19 And the people of Israel said to him, “We will go up by the highway, kand if we drink of your water, I and my livestock, lthen I will pay for it. Let me only pass through on foot, nothing more.” 20 But he said, m“You shall not pass through.” And Edom came out against them with a large army and with a strong force. 21 Thus Edom nrefused to give Israel passage through his territory, so Israel oturned away from him.

The Death of Aaron

22 And they journeyed from pKadesh, and the people of Israel, the whole congregation, came to qMount Hor. 23 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron at Mount Hor, on the border of the land of Edom, 24 r“Let Aaron be gathered to his people, for he shall not enter the land that I have given to the people of Israel, because syou rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah. 25 Take Aaron and Eleazar his son and bring them up to Mount Hor. 26 And strip Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son. And Aaron rshall be gathered to his people and shall die there.” 27 Moses did as the Lord commanded. And they went up Mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation. 28 tAnd Moses stripped Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son. And Aaron died there uon the top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. 29 And when all the congregation saw that Aaron had perished, vall the house of Israel wept for Aaron thirty days.

Arad Destroyed

21 When wthe Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in xthe Negeb, heard that Israel was coming by the way of Atharim, he fought against Israel, and took some of them captive. yAnd Israel vowed a vow to the Lord and said, “If you will indeed give this people into my hand, then I will devote their cities to destruction.”1 And the Lord heeded the voice of Israel and gave over the Canaanites, and they devoted them and their cities to destruction. So the name of the place was called zHormah.2

The Bronze Serpent

From Mount Hor athey set out by the way to the Red Sea, bto go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the people cspoke against God and against Moses, d“Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and ewe loathe this worthless food.” fThen the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and gthey bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. hAnd the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. iPray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So jMoses made a bronze3 serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

The Song of the Well

10 And the people of Israel set out and kcamped in Oboth. 11 kAnd they set out from Oboth and kcamped at Iye-abarim, in the wilderness that is opposite Moab, toward the sunrise. 12 From there they set out and camped in lthe Valley of Zered. 13 From there they set out and camped on the other side of the Arnon, which is in the wilderness that extends from the border of the Amorites, for the mArnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14 Therefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of the Lord,

“Waheb in Suphah, and the valleys of the Arnon,

15  and the slope of the valleys

that extends to the seat of nAr,

and leans to the border of Moab.”

16 And from there they continued oto Beer;4 that is the well of which the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people together, so that pI may give them water.” 17 Then Israel sang this song:

“Spring up, O well!—Sing to it!—

18  the well that the princes made,

that the nobles of the people dug,

with qthe scepter and with their staffs.”

And from the wilderness they went on to Mattanah, 19 and from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20 and from Bamoth to the valley lying in the region of Moab by the top of Pisgah rthat looks down on the desert.5

King Sihon Defeated

21 Then sIsrael sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, 22 t“Let me pass through your land. We will not turn aside into field or vineyard. We will not drink the water of a well. We will go by the King’s Highway until we have passed through your territory.” 23 uBut Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his territory. He gathered all his people together and went out against Israel to the wilderness and vcame to Jahaz and fought against Israel. 24 wAnd Israel defeated him with the edge of the sword and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the xJabbok, as far as to the Ammonites, for the border of the Ammonites was strong. 25 And Israel took all these cities, and Israel settled in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all its villages. 26 For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab and taken all his land out of his hand, as far as the Arnon. 27 Therefore the yballad singers say,

“Come to zHeshbon, let it be built;

let the city of Sihon be established.

28  For afire came out from zHeshbon,

flame from the city of Sihon.

It devoured nAr of Moab,

and swallowed6 the heights of the Arnon.

29  aWoe to you, O Moab!

You are undone, O people of bChemosh!

He has made his sons fugitives,

and his daughters captives,

to an Amorite king, Sihon.

30  So we overthrew them;

Heshbon, as far as cDibon, perished;

and we laid waste as far as Nophah;

fire spread as far as dMedeba.”7

King Og Defeated

31 Thus Israel lived in the land of the Amorites. 32 And Moses sent to spy out eJazer, and they captured its villages and dispossessed the Amorites who were there. 33 Then they turned and went up by the way to Bashan. And Og the king of Bashan came out against them, he and all his people, to battle fat Edrei. 34 gBut the Lord said to Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have given him into your hand, and all his people, and his land. And hyou shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.” 35 So they defeated him and his sons and all his people, until he had no survivor left. And they possessed his land.

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Meribah means quarreling

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That is, set apart (devote) as an offering to the Lord (for destruction); also verse 3

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Hormah means destruction

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Or copper

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Beer means well

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Or Jeshimon

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Septuagint; Hebrew the lords of

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Compare Samaritan and Septuagint; Hebrew and we laid waste as far as Nophah, which is as far as Medeba

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