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The Lord Gives Israel Water Out of the Rock

20 In the first month the whole community of Israel arrived at the Desert of Zin. They stayed at Kadesh. Miriam died there. Her body was also buried there.

2The people didn’t have any water. So they gathered together to oppose Moses and Aaron. 3They argued with Moses. They said, “We wish we had died when our people fell dead in front of the Lord.

4Why did you bring the Lord’s people into this desert? We and our livestock will die here. 5Why did you bring us up out of Egypt? Why did you bring us to this terrible place? It doesn’t have any grain or figs. It doesn’t have any grapes or pomegranates. There isn’t even any water for us to drink!”

6Moses and Aaron left the people. They went to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. There they fell with their faces to the ground.

Then the glory of the Lord appeared to them. 7The Lord spoke to Moses. He said, 8“Get your wooden staff. You and your brother Aaron gather the people together. Then speak to that rock while everyone is watching. It will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community. Then they and their livestock can drink it.”

9So Moses took the wooden staff from the tent. He did just as the Lord had commanded him. 10He and Aaron gathered the people together in front of the rock. Moses said to them, “Listen, you who refuse to obey! Do we have to bring water out of this rock for you?”

11Then Moses raised his arm. He hit the rock twice with his staff. Water poured out. And the people and their livestock drank it.

12But the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron. He said, “You did not trust in me enough to honor me. You did not honor me as the holy God in front of the people of Israel. So you will not bring this community into the land I am giving them.

13Those were the waters of Meribah. That’s where the people of Israel argued with the Lord. And that’s where he showed them he is holy.

Edom Doesn’t Let Israel Pass Through Its Territory

14Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom. The messengers said,

“The nation of Israel is your brother. They say, ‘You know about all of the hard times we’ve had. 15Long ago our people went down into Egypt. We lived there for many years. The Egyptians treated us and our people badly. 16But we cried out to the Lord. He heard our cry. He sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt.

“ ‘Now here we are at the town of Kadesh. It’s on the edge of your territory. 17Please let us pass through your country. We won’t go through any field or vineyard. We won’t drink water from any well. We’ll travel along the king’s highway. We won’t turn to the right or the left. We’ll just go straight through your territory.’ ”

18But the people of Edom answered,

“You can’t pass through here. If you try to, we’ll march out against you. We’ll attack you with our swords.”

19The people of Israel replied,

“We’ll go along the main road. We and our livestock won’t drink any of your water. If we do, we’ll pay for it. We only want to walk through your country. That’s all we ask.”

20Again the people of Edom answered,

“You can’t pass through here.”

Then the people of Edom came out against them. They came with a large and powerful army. 21Edom refused to let Israel go through their territory. So Israel turned away from them.

Aaron Dies

22The whole community of Israel started out from Kadesh. They arrived at Mount Hor. 23It was near the border of Edom. There the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron. He said, 24“Aaron will join the members of his family who have already died. He will not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel. Both of you refused to obey my command. You did it at the waters of Meribah.

25“So get Aaron and his son Eleazar. Take them up Mount Hor. 26Take Aaron’s official robes off him. Put them on his son Eleazar. Aaron will die on Mount Hor. He will join the members of his family who have already died.”

27Moses did just as the Lord had commanded. The three men went up Mount Hor while the whole community was watching. 28Moses took Aaron’s official robes off him. He put them on Aaron’s son Eleazar. And Aaron died there on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain.

29The whole community found out that Aaron had died. So the entire nation of Israel sobbed over him for 30 days.


About New International Reader’s Version

The New International Reader’s Version (NIrV) was developed to help early readers understand the Bible. Begun in 1992, the NIrV is a simplification of the New International Version (NIV). The NIrV uses shorter words and sentences so that those with a typical fourth grade reading level can comprehend what they are reading. The chapters have been separated into shorter sections and most have titles that clearly indicate what the section is all about. The NIrV will be a valuable translation to those for whom English is a second language. The NIrV still relies on the best and oldest copies of the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts for its translation, guaranteeing that those who read it are getting the actual Word of God.


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