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1IN the first month the whole community of Israel arrived in the wilderness of Zin and stayed some time at Kadesh. Miriam died and was buried there.

2As the community was without water, the people gathered against Moses and Aaron.

3They disputed with Moses. “If only we had perished when our brothers perished before the LORD!” they said.

4“Why have you brought the LORD's assembly into this wilderness for us and our livestock to die here?

5Why did you make us come up from Egypt to land us in this terrible place, where nothing will grow, neither grain nor figs nor vines nor pomegranates? There is not even water to drink.”

6Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, where they prostrated themselves, and the glory of the LORD appeared to them.

7The LORD said to Moses,

8“Take your staff, and then with Aaron your brother assemble the community, and in front of them all command the rock to yield its waters. Thus you will produce water for the community out of the rock, for them and their livestock to drink.”

9Moses took his staff from before the LORD, as he had been ordered.

10He with Aaron assembled the people in front of the rock, and said to them, “Listen, you rebels. Must we get water for you out of this rock?”

11Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out in abundance and they all drank, men and animals.

12But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “You did not trust me so far as to uphold my holiness in the sight of the Israelites; therefore you will not lead this assembly into the land I am giving them.”

13Such were the waters of Meribah, where the people disputed with the LORD and through which his holiness was upheld.

The approach to the promised land

14FROM Kadesh Moses sent envoys to the king of Edom: “This message is from your brother Israel. You know all the hardships we have encountered,

15how our ancestors went down to Egypt, and we lived there for many years. The Egyptians ill-treated us and our fathers before us,

16and we cried to the LORD for help. He listened to us, sent an angel, and brought us out of Egypt. “Now we are here at Kadesh, a town on your frontier.

17Grant us, we ask, passage through your country. We shall not trespass on field or vineyard, nor drink from your wells. We shall keep to the king's highway, not turning off to right or left until we have crossed your territory.”

18But the Edomites answered, “You shall not cross our land. If you do, we shall march out and attack you.”

19The Israelites said, “But we shall keep to the main road. If we and our flocks drink your water, we shall pay you for it. Ours is a trifling request: we would simply cross your land on foot.”

20But the Edomites refused, and marched out to oppose them with a large army in full strength.

21Since the Edomites would not allow Israel to cross their frontier, Israel turned and went a different way.

22The whole community of Israel set out from Kadesh and came to Mount Hor.

23There, near the frontier of Edom, the LORD said to Moses and Aaron,

24“Aaron is now to be gathered to his father's kin. He will not enter the land which I am giving to the Israelites, because over the waters of Meribah you both rebelled against my command.

25Take Aaron and his son Eleazar, and go up Mount Hor.

26Strip Aaron of his robes and invest Eleazar his son with them, for Aaron is to be taken from you: he will die there.”

27Moses did as the LORD had commanded: in full view of the whole community they went up Mount Hor,

28where Moses stripped Aaron of his robes and invested his son Eleazar with them. Aaron died there on the mountaintop. When Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain,

29the whole Israelite community saw that Aaron had died, and all the people mourned for thirty days.


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