In the previous chapter of Numbers, God handed down some ridiculous rules involving the cleansing of oneself after touching a corpse. The process takes seven days and to disobey God in any part of this process results in being banished from the Israelites. That’s God’s true love for His people. Chapter 20 is going to show us how to extract water from a rock!!!
“There Miriam died and was buried.” – Numbers 20:1
Miriam is Moses’ and Aaron’s sister. There’s no lead up to this verse nor is there any follow up. She’s a female, so she just suddenly dies, end of story.
“Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. They quarreled with Moses and said, ‘If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! Why did you bring the Lord’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!’” – Numbers 20:2-5
Let’s remember that God has NOT shown Himself to the Israelites, so they have every right to question Moses and Aaron’s leadership. If there truly is a God, He just has to show himself once to be believed, but nope, nothing.
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.’” – Numbers 20:7-8
This is going to be fun. Water magically appearing from a rock! 🙂
“Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.” – Numbers 20:11
Bullshit. Not true. Not possible. To believe this is to ignore all of reality. It’s like the talking snake in Genesis. If you really believe a snake talked then you do not live in reality.
“But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.’” – Numbers 20:12
Wow! God lays down the smack on Moses and Aaron. Moses and Aaron are God’s two most devoted followers and God chose them to lead His people to the promised land. They make one little mistake and God punishes them severely. It’s hard to not feel just a bit sorry for Moses and Aaron in this verse. Well, they’re making the whole thing up, so maybe not. 🙂
Next Moses and the Israelites pass near a territory ruled over be Edom. They ask for passage and Edom says:
“You may not pass through here; if you try, we will march out and attack you with the sword.” – Numbers 20:18
Edom saying no is a dick move, no doubt, but I wonder how much choice Edom has in the matter. Remember that God hardened the hearts of the Egyptians many times. Is God hardening the heart of Edom here?
“Aaron will be gathered to his people. He will not enter the land I give the Israelites, because both of you rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah.” – Numbers 20:24
Sucks to be Aaron, although he and Moses did not really rebel against the Lord. They simply bowed down and prayed to God for water. I guess asking God for something is a rebellion. God sets the rebellion bar very low!
“Moses removed Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar. And Aaron died there on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain, and when the whole community learned that Aaron had died, all the Israelites mourned for him thirty days.” – Numbers 20:28-29
Mourning for a loved one is a very tough situation and nothing to take lightly. I do wonder, however, why Aaron had to die naked? Was that really necessary?
That concludes Numbers 20. Moses magically makes water appear from a rock (yeah, right). God gets pissed at Moses and Aaron and declares they will not reach the promised land. I guess that land wasn’t so promised after all! Finally Aaron dies. Compare Aaron’s death to Miriam’s. Aaron gets a full set of rules and several verses. Miriam gets a half verse that says she’s dead. Biblical misogyny.
Coming Soon: Numbers – Chapter 21: Arad Destroyed