וַיָּבֹאוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל כָּל־הָעֵדָה מִדְבַּר־צִן בַּחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשֹׁון וַיֵּשֶׁב הָעָם בְּקָדֵשׁ וַתָּמָת שָׁם מִרְיָם 20:1
Numb. 20:1 And the children of Israel, the whole congregation, came upon the wilderness of Zin in the first month and the people dwelled in Kadesh, and Miriam died there and she was buried there.
וְלֹא־הָיָה מַיִם לָעֵדָה וַיִּקָּהֲלוּ עַל־מֹשֶׁה וְעַל־אַהֲרֹן 20:2
Numb. 20:2 And there was no water for the congregation, so they gathered against Moses and against Aaron.
וַיָּרֶב הָעָם עִם־מֹשֶׁה וַיֹּאמְרוּ לֵאמֹר וְלוּ גָוַעְנוּ בִּגְוַע אַחֵינוּ לִפְנֵי יְהוָה 20:3
Numb. 20:3 And the people pleaded with Moses and they spoke saying, “Oh, would that we had perished in the destruction of our brothers before the Lord!”
וְלָמָה הֲבֵאתֶם אֶת־קְהַל יְהוָה אֶל־הַמִּדְבָּר הַזֶּה לָמוּת שָׁם אֲנַחְנוּ וּבְעִירֵנוּ 20:4
Numb. 20:4 “And why have you brought the assembly of the Lord to this wilderness? To die in it, we and our cattle?”
Once more we encounter the mysterious phrase “assembly of the Lord” that we saw in Numb. 16:3. Remember that there we tentatively concluded that it referred to the elite of Israel, the Levites and priests. How may we interpret the phrase here? At first glance It would appear to apply to the whole congregation of Israel. However, there’s a strange phrase in the preceding verse that we have to examine first. It is “the destruction of our brothers.” What can this mean? Who were their brothers who were destroyed? I can only conclude that it refers to the first-born Egyptians who died during the pass over of the angel of death. If this guess is reasonable, then the people are comparing themselves with the Egyptians, who they were led to believe were “inferior” to them, although they are referred to as their brothers. After all, they were not chosen to live and become free. Because of this reasoning, I now conclude that the first supposition (in regard to Numb. 16:3) is supported here, and I will interpret the phrase in this way when we meet it in Deuteronomy Chapter 23.
[Return to Numb. 16:3] [Return to Deut. 23:2]
וְלָמָה הֶעֱלִיתֻנוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם לְהָבִיא אֹתָנוּ אֶל־הַמָּקֹום הָרָע הַזֶּה לֹא מְקֹום זֶרַע וּתְאֵנָה וְגֶפֶן וְרִמֹּון 20:5
וּמַיִם אַיִן לִשְׁתֹּות
Numb. 20:5 “And why did you make us come up from Egypt to bring us to this evil place? It is a place of no seed or fig tree or vine or pomegranate, and there is no water to drink.”
וַיָּבֹא מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן מִפְּנֵי הַקָּהָל אֶל־פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מֹועֵד וַיִּפְּלוּ עַל־פְּנֵיהֶם וַיֵּרָא כְבֹוד־יְהוָה אֲלֵיהֶם 20:6
Numb. 20:6 And Moses went, with Aaron, from the front of the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting and they fell on their faces, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them.
וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר 20:7
Numb. 20:7 And the Lord spoke to Moses saying,
קַח אֶת־הַמַּטֶּה וְהַקְהֵל אֶת־הָעֵדָה אַתָּה וְאַהֲרֹן אָחִיךָ וְדִבַּרְתֶּם אֶל־הַסֶּלַע לְעֵינֵיהֶם וְנָתַן מֵימָיו 20:8
וְהֹוצֵאתָ לָהֶם מַיִם מִן־הַסֶּלַע וְהִשְׁקִיתָ אֶת־הָעֵדָה וְאֶת־בְּעִירָם
Numb. 20:8 “Take the rod and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron, your brother, and you shall speak to the rock in their sight that it should give forth its water, and you shall bring forth water for them from the rock, and you shall let the congregation and their cattle drink.”
Please note that the Lord refers to the Israelites’ cattle in this verse. This is the important clue to the miraculously unrecognized miracle that God wrought in the wilderness. See the discussion relating to Exod. 16:3.
[Return to Deut. 8:3]
וַיִּקַּח מֹשֶׁה אֶת־הַמַּטֶּה מִלִּפְנֵי יְהוָה כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּהוּ 20:9
Numb. 20:9 And Moses took the rod from before the Lord as He had commanded him.
וַיַּקְהִלוּ מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן אֶת־הַקָּהָל אֶל־פְּנֵי הַסָּלַע וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם שִׁמְעוּ־נָא הַמֹּרִים הֲמִן־הַסֶּלַע הַזֶּה 20:10
נֹוצִיא לָכֶם מָיִם
Numb. 20:10 Then Moses and Aaron assembled the congregation at the face of the rock and he said to them, “Witness now, you rebels, how we will bring forth water from this rock for you!”
וַיָּרֶם מֹשֶׁה אֶת־יָדֹו וַיַּךְ אֶת־הַסֶּלַע בְּמַטֵּהוּ פַּעֲמָיִם וַיֵּצְאוּ מַיִם רַבִּים וַתֵּשְׁתְּ הָעֵדָה וּבְעִירָם 20:11
Numb. 20:11 And Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod, and water issued forth abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their cattle.
Please note that here once more, Moses doesn’t follow the Lord’s instructions. See Exod. 3:18, Exod. 9:23, Exod. 10:13, Exod. 14:21, Levi. 8:13, and Levi. 20:14. In this verse, Moses’ apparent disregard for the Lord’s instructions is said to be his most egregious mistake, the error that kept him from entering the promised land. See the next verse.
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל־אַהֲרֹן יַעַן לֹא־הֶאֱמַנְתֶּם בִּי לְהַקְדִּישֵׁנִי לְעֵינֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לָכֵן לֹאּ 20:12
תָבִיאו אֶת־הַקָּהָל הַזֶּה אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר־נָתַתִּי לָהֶם
Numb. 20:12 Then the Lord said to Moses and to Aaron, “Because you did not trust in Me, to sanctify Me in the sight of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this congregation into the land that I have given to them.”
[Return to Numb. 27:14] [Return to Deut. 1:37] [Return to Deut. 3:26] [Return to Deut. 4:21]
הֵמָּה מֵי מְרִיבָה אֲשֶׁר־רָבוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־יְהוָה וַיִּקָּדֵשׁ בָּם 20:13
Numb. 20:13 These are the waters of Meribah, where the children of Israel contended with the Lord, but He sanctified Himself with them.
וַיִּשְׁלַח מֹשֶׁה מַלְאָכִים מִקָּדֵשׁ אֶל־מֶלֶךְ אֱדֹום כֹּה אָמַר אָחִיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל אַתָּה יָדַעְתָּ אֵת 20:14
כָּל־הַתְּלָאָה אֲשֶׁר מְצָאָתְנוּ
Numb. 20:14 And Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom: “Thus says your brother, Israel: You know all the trouble that has befallen us,
וַיֵּרְדוּ אֲבֹתֵינוּ מִצְרַיְמָה וַנֵּשֶׁב בְּמִצְרַיִם יָמִים רַבִּים וַיָּרֵעוּ לָנוּ מִצְרַיִם וְלַאֲבֹתֵינו 20:15
Numb. 20:15 that our fathers went down to Egypt and we had to dwell in Egypt a great time and the Egyptians were cruel to us and to our fathers,
The fourth word in the verse, translated as and we had to dwell, is a first-person imperfect verb with a non-inverting vav.
וַנִּצְעַק אֶל־יְהוָה וַיִּשְׁמַע קֹלֵנוּ וַיִּשְׁלַח מַלְאָךְ וַיֹּצִאֵנוּ מִמִּצְרָיִם וְהִנֵּה אֲנַחְנוּ בְקָדֵשׁ עִיר קְצֵה גְבוּלֶךָ 20:16
Numb. 20:16 but we could cry out to the Lord and He heard our voice and sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt, and behold, we are in Kadesh, a city outside your territory.”
The first word in this verse, translated as but we could cry out, is a first-person imperfect verb with a non-inverting vav.
נַעְבְּרָה־נָּא בְאַרְצֶךָ לֹא נַעֲבֹר בְּשָׂדֶה וּבְכֶרֶם וְלֹא נִשְׁתֶּה מֵי בְאֵר דֶּרֶךְ הַמֶּלֶךְ נֵלֵךְ לֹא נִטֶּה יָמִין 20:17
וּשְׂמֹאול עַד אֲשֶׁר־נַעֲבֹר גְּבוּלֶךָ
Numb. 20:17 “Please let us pass through your land. We will not cross over through field or through vineyard, and we will not drink the water of a well. We will walk the road of the king. We will not spread out to the right or to the left until the time that we will have passed over your border.”
וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אֱדֹום לֹא תַעֲבֹר בִּי פֶּן־בַּחֶרֶב אֵצֵא לִקְרָאתֶךָ 20:18
Numb. 20:18 And Edom said to him, “You shall not cross through me, lest I would come out to meet you with sword.”
וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּמְסִלָּה נַעֲלֶה וְאִם־מֵימֶיךָ נִשְׁתֶּה אֲנִי וּמִקְנַי וְנָתַתִּי מִכְרָם רַק אֵין־דָּבָר 20:19
Numb. 20:19 And the children of Israel said to him, “We will go up by the highway, and if we drink any of your water, I or my cattle, then I will give its price, only let me pass through on my feet without harm.”
וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא תַעֲבֹר וַיֵּצֵא אֱדֹום לִקְרָאתֹו בְּעַם כָּבֵד וּבְיָד חֲזָקָה 20:20
Numb. 20:20 And he said, “You will not pass through.” And Edom came out to meet him with many people and with a strong hand.
וַיְמָאֵן אֱדֹום נְתֹן אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲבֹר בִּגְבֻלֹו וַיֵּט יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵעָלָיו 20:21
Numb. 20:21 So Edom refused to permit Israel to pass through his territory, and Israel turned away from him.
וַיִּסְעוּ מִקָּדֵשׁ וַיָּבֹאוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל כָּל־הָעֵדָה הֹר הָהָר 20:22
Numb. 20:22 And they journeyed from Kadesh, and the children of Israel -- the entire congregation -- arrived at the mountain of Hor.
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל־אַהֲרֹן בְּהֹר הָהָר עַל־גְּבוּל אֶרֶץ־אֱדֹום לֵאמֹר 20:23
Numb. 20:23 And the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron in the mountain of Hor near the border of the land of Edom, saying,
יֵאָסֵף אַהֲרֹן אֶל־עַמָּיו כִּי לֹא יָבֹא אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נָתַתִּי לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל עַל אֲשֶׁר־מְרִיתֶם אֶת־פִּי 20:24
Numb. 20:24 “Aaron shall be gathered to his people, for he will not go in to the land that I have given to the children of Israel, for the reason that you disobeyed My command regarding the waters of Meribah.”
קַח אֶת־אַהֲרֹן וְאֶת־אֶלְעָזָר בְּנֹו וְהַעַל אֹתָם הֹר הָהָר 20:25
Numb. 20:25 “Take Aaron and Eleazar, his son, and bring them up the mountain of Hor.”
וְהַפְשֵׁט אֶת־אַהֲרֹן אֶת־בְּגָדָיו וְהִלְבַּשְׁתָּם אֶת־אֶלְעָזָר בְּנֹו וְאַהֲרֹן יֵאָסֵף וּמֵת שָׁם 20:26
Numb. 20:26 “Then strip off Aaron his garments and put them on Eleazar, his son, and Aaron will be gathered and die there.”
This verse presents another example of inverted sequence of events in the Hebrew text. Notice that the picture of Aaron’s demise is that he will be gathered first and then die. The actual events are to transpire in reverse order, Aaron must die first, then be gathered.
וַיַּעַשׂ מֹשֶׁה כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה וַיַּעֲלוּ אֶל־הֹר הָהָר לְעֵינֵי כָּל־הָעֵדָה 20:27
Numb. 20:27 And Moses did as the Lord had commanded, and they ascended to the mountain of Hor in the sight of the entire congregation.
וַיַּפְשֵׁט מֹשֶׁה אֶת־אַהֲרֹן אֶת־בְּגָדָיו וַיַּלְבֵּשׁ אֹתָם אֶת־אֶלְעָזָר בְּנֹו וַיָּמָת אַהֲרֹן שָׁם בְּרֹאשׁ הָהָר וַיֵּרֶד 20:28
מֹשֶׁה וְאֶלְעָזָר מִן־הָהָר
Numb. 20:28 And Moses stripped off Aaron his garments and put them on Eleazar, his son, and Aaron died there on top of the mountain; then Moses came down from the mountain with Eleazar.
וַיִּרְאוּ כָּל־הָעֵדָה כִּי גָוַע אַהֲרֹן וַיִּבְכּוּ אֶת־אַהֲרֹן שְׁלֹשִׁים יֹום כֹּל בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל 20:29
Numb. 20:29 And all of the congregation saw that Aaron had perished, and all of the house of Israel mourned Aaron thirty days.
[Return to Numbers Chapters] [Prev: Numb. 19] [Next: Numb. 21]