Numbers 20:1–22:41

Water From the Rock

20 In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin,k and they stayed at Kadesh.l There Miriamm died and was buried.

Now there was no watern for the community,o and the people gathered in oppositionp to Moses and Aaron. They quarreledq with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell deadr before the Lord!s Why did you bring the Lord’s community into this wilderness,t that we and our livestock should die here?u Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates.v And there is no water to drink!w

Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meetingx and fell facedown,y and the glory of the Lordz appeared to them. The Lord said to Moses, “Take the staff,a and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water.b You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”

So Moses took the staffc from the Lord’s presence,d just as he commanded him. 10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly togethere in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?”f 11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Waterg gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.

12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holyh in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”i

13 These were the waters of Meribah,a j where the Israelites quarreledk with the Lord and where he was proved holy among them.l

Edom Denies Israel Passage

14 Moses sent messengers from Kadeshm to the king of Edom,n saying:

“This is what your brother Israel says: You knowo about all the hardshipsp that have come on us. 15 Our ancestors went down into Egypt,q and we lived there many years.r The Egyptians mistreateds us and our ancestors, 16 but when we cried out to the Lord, he heard our cryt and sent an angelu and brought us out of Egypt.v

“Now we are here at Kadesh, a town on the edge of your territory.w 17 Please let us pass through your country. We will not go through any field or vineyard, or drink water from any well. We will travel along the King’s Highway and not turn to the right or to the left until we have passed through your territory.x

18 But Edomy answered:

“You may not pass through here; if you try, we will march out and attack you with the sword.z

19 The Israelites replied:

“We will go along the main road, and if we or our livestocka drink any of your water, we will pay for it.b We only want to pass through on foot—nothing else.”

20 Again they answered:

“You may not pass through.c

Then Edomd came out against them with a large and powerful army. 21 Since Edom refused to let them go through their territory,e Israel turned away from them.f

The Death of Aaron

22 The whole Israelite community set out from Kadeshg and came to Mount Hor.h 23 At Mount Hor, near the border of Edom,i the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 24 “Aaron will be gathered to his people.j He will not enter the land I give the Israelites, because both of you rebelled against my commandk at the waters of Meribah.l 25 Get Aaron and his son Eleazar and take them up Mount Hor.m 26 Remove Aaron’s garmentsn and put them on his son Eleazar, for Aaron will be gathered to his people;o he will die there.”

27 Moses did as the Lord commanded: They went up Mount Horp in the sight of the whole community. 28 Moses removed Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar.q And Aaron died therer on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain, 29 and when the whole community learned that Aaron had died,s all the Israelites mourned for himt thirty days.

Arad Destroyed

21 When the Canaanite king of Arad,u who lived in the Negev,v heard that Israel was coming along the road to Atharim, he attacked the Israelites and captured some of them. Then Israel made this voww to the Lord: “If you will deliver these people into our hands, we will totally destroya x their cities.” The Lord listened to Israel’s plea and gave the Canaanitesy over to them. They completely destroyed themz and their towns; so the place was named Hormah.b a

The Bronze Snake

They traveled from Mount Horb along the route to the Red Sea,c c to go around Edom.d But the people grew impatient on the way;e they spoke against Godf and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egyptg to die in the wilderness?h There is no bread! There is no water!i And we detest this miserable food!”j

Then the Lord sent venomous snakesk among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.l The people came to Mosesm and said, “We sinnedn when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lordo will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayedp for the people.

The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole;q anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snaker and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.s

The Journey to Moab

10 The Israelites moved on and camped at Oboth.t 11 Then they set out from Oboth and camped in Iye Abarim, in the wilderness that faces Moabu toward the sunrise. 12 From there they moved on and camped in the Zered Valley.v 13 They set out from there and camped alongside the Arnonw, which is in the wilderness extending into Amorite territory. The Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites.x 14 That is why the Book of the Warsy of the Lord says:

“… Zahabd in Suphah and the ravines,

the Arnon 15 ande the slopes of the ravines

that lead to the settlement of Arz

and lie along the border of Moab.”

16 From there they continued on to Beer,a the well where the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people together and I will give them water.”

17 Then Israel sang this song:b

“Spring up, O well!

Sing about it,

18 about the well that the princes dug,

that the nobles of the people sank—

the nobles with scepters and staffs.”

Then they went from the wilderness to Mattanah, 19 from Mattanah to Nahaliel, from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20 and from Bamoth to the valley in Moab where the top of Pisgahc overlooks the wasteland.

Defeat of Sihon and Og

21 Israel sent messengersd to say to Sihone king of the Amorites:f

22 “Let us pass through your country. We will not turn aside into any field or vineyard, or drink water from any well. We will travel along the King’s Highway until we have passed through your territory.g

23 But Sihon would not let Israel pass through his territory.h He mustered his entire army and marched out into the wilderness against Israel. When he reached Jahaz,i he fought with Israel.j 24 Israel, however, put him to the swordk and took over his landl from the Arnon to the Jabbok,m but only as far as the Ammonites,n because their border was fortified. 25 Israel captured all the cities of the Amoriteso and occupied them,p including Heshbonq and all its surrounding settlements. 26 Heshbon was the city of Sihonr king of the Amorites,s who had fought against the former king of Moabt and had taken from him all his land as far as the Arnon.u

27 That is why the poets say:

“Come to Heshbon and let it be rebuilt;

let Sihon’s city be restored.

28 “Fire went out from Heshbon,

a blaze from the city of Sihon.v

It consumedw Arx of Moab,

the citizens of Arnon’s heights.y

29 Woe to you, Moab!z

You are destroyed, people of Chemosh!a

He has given up his sons as fugitivesb

and his daughters as captivesc

to Sihon king of the Amorites.

30 “But we have overthrown them;

Heshbon’s dominion has been destroyed all the way to Dibon.d

We have demolished them as far as Nophah,

which extends to Medeba.e

31 So Israel settled in the land of the Amorites.f

32 After Moses had sent spiesg to Jazer,h the Israelites captured its surrounding settlements and drove out the Amorites who were there. 33 Then they turned and went up along the road toward Bashani,j and Og king of Bashan and his whole army marched out to meet them in battle at Edrei.k

34 The Lord said to Moses, “Do not be afraid of him, for I have delivered him into your hands, along with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon.l

35 So they struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army, leaving them no survivors.m And they took possession of his land.n

Balak Summons Balaam

22 Then the Israelites traveled to the plains of Moabo and camped along the Jordanp across from Jericho.q

Now Balak son of Zipporr saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites, and Moab was terrified because there were so many people. Indeed, Moab was filled with dreads because of the Israelites.

The Moabitest said to the elders of Midian,u “This horde is going to lick up everythingv around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.w

So Balak son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, sent messengers to summon Balaam son of Beor,x who was at Pethor, near the Euphrates River,y in his native land. Balak said:

“A people has come out of Egypt;z they cover the face of the land and have settled next to me. Now come and put a cursea on these people, because they are too powerful for me. Perhaps then I will be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land.b For I know that whoever you bless is blessed, and whoever you curse is cursed.”

The elders of Moab and Midian left, taking with them the fee for divination.c When they came to Balaam, they told him what Balak had said.

“Spend the night here,” Balaam said to them, “and I will report back to you with the answer the Lord gives me.d” So the Moabite officials stayed with him.

God came to Balaame and asked,f “Who are these men with you?”

10 Balaam said to God, “Balak son of Zippor, king of

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