Numbers 20:10
And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said to them, Hear now, you rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) Must we fetch you water out of this rock?—In the case of the former miracle at Rephidim the rock is spoken of only under the Hebrew word zur (Exodus 17:6). Throughout the present narration the rock is invariably spoken of under the word sela. In Psalm 78:15-16, where reference appears to be made to both miracles, both words are used.

20:1-13 After thirty-eight years' tedious abode in the wilderness, the armies of Israel advanced towards Canaan again. There was no water for the congregation. We live in a wanting world, and wherever we are, must expect to meet with something to put us out. It is a great mercy to have plenty of water, a mercy which, if we found the want of, we should more own the worth of. Hereupon they murmured against Moses and Aaron. They spake the same absurd and brutish language their fathers had done. It made their crime the worse, that they had smarted so long for the discontent and distrusts of their fathers, yet they venture in the same steps. Moses must again, in God's name, command water out of a rock for them; God is as able as ever to supply his people with what is needful for them. But Moses and Aaron acted wrong. They took much of the glory of this work of wonder to themselves; Must we fetch water? As if it were done by some power or worthiness of their own. They were to speak to the rock, but they smote it. Therefore it is charged upon them, that they did not sanctify God, that is, they did not give to him alone that glory of this miracle which was due unto his name. And being provoked by the people, Moses spake unadvisedly with his lips. The same pride of man would still usurp the office of the appointed Mediator; and become to ourselves wisdom, righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. Such a state of sinful independence, such a rebellion of the soul against its Saviour, the voice of God condemns in every page of the gospel.Take the rod - That with which the miracles in Egypt had been performed (Exodus 7:8 ff; Exodus 7:19 ff; Exodus 8:5 ff, etc.), and which had been used on a similar occasion at Rephidim (Exodus 17:5 following). This rod, as the memorial of so many divine interpositions, was naturally laid up in the tabernacle, and is accordingly Numbers 20:9 described now as taken by Moses "from before the Lord." 10. [Moses] said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?—The conduct of the great leader on this occasion was hasty and passionate (Ps 106:33). He had been directed to speak to the rock [Nu 20:8], but he smote it twice [Nu 20:11] in his impetuosity, thus endangering the blossoms of the rod, and, instead of speaking to the rock, he spoke to the people in a fury. No text from Poole on this verse. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock,.... To which they were directed, and were to speak unto; before this they gathered not only the elders of the people, but as many of the congregation as could be well assembled together:

and he said unto them; Moses, who was bid to take the rod, and was the principal person concerned in this affair:

hear now, ye rebels; such their fathers had been, and such they now were, a rebellious generation ever since they were known by him; not only rebellious against him their chief magistrate, but against the Lord himself, murmuring against him, being discontented and disobedient, see Deuteronomy 9:23,

must we fetch you water out of this rock? not only signifying their unworthiness of having such a miracle wrought for them, and as showing some degree of reluctance to attempt it, but as expressing diffidence about it; not of the power of God to bring water out of the rock, but of his will to do it for such a rebellious people; or else their unreasonableness to expect any such thing should be done for them: when they were so wicked, how could they think that such a miracle should be wrought for them? so the Targum of Jonathan,"out of this rock is it possible for us to fetch out water for you?''so Aben Ezra, have we power to bring out water to you from it? This was said in a passion, as the manner of speaking shows; see Psalm 106:32 many of the congregation as could be well assembled together:

And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; {e} must we fetch you water out of this rock?

(e) The punishment which followed declared that Moses and Aaron did not believe the Lord's promise as it appeared in Nu 20:12.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10, 11. As in Numbers 20:8, part of the narrative seems to have been lost. The sin which Moses and Aaron committed is not clearly defined. In Numbers 20:10 they appear to shew anger; and that is alluded to in Psalm 106:32 f. In Numbers 20:11 Moses is said to have struck the rock twice. He may have been commanded to strike only once, or to raise the staff (cf. Exodus 8:5) and speak to the rock without striking. Whatever his sin was, the action of Moses and Aaron in these verses hardly corresponds to the expression ‘rebelled against my word’ in Numbers 20:24 (cf. Numbers 27:14), and still less to unbelief (Numbers 20:12). The obscurity is increased by Deuteronomy 1:37 (cf. Numbers 3:26, Numbers 4:21), where we read that Moses was forbidden to enter Canaan on account of the people’s sin at the return of the spies, which occurred (like the present incident) at Kadesh, but 37 years earlier.Verse 10. - Hear now, ye rebels. הַמֹּרִים. Septuagint, οἱ ἀπειθεῖς. The verb is used in a similar sense of Moses and Aaron themselves in verse 24. It has been suggested that this was the word really used by our Lord in Matthew 5:22, and translated μωρός. This, however, is extremely precarious, and is indeed to accuse the Evangelist of a blunder, for there is no real correspondence between the words. Must we fetch you water. Septuagint, μὴ ἐξάξομεν ὑμῖν ὕδωρ. And this is no doubt the sense. It has been rendered by some "Can we fetch you water," on the supposition that Moses really doubted the possibility of such a miracle, but this seems to be an entire mistake (see next note). Sin of Moses and Aaron at the Water of Strife at Kadesh. - In the arid desert the congregation was in want of water, and the people quarrelled with Moses in consequence. In connection with the first stay in Kadesh there is nothing said about any deficiency of water. But as the name Kadesh embraces a large district of the desert of Zin, and is not confined to one particular spot, there might easily be a want of water in this place or the other. In their faithless discontent, the people wished that they had died when their brethren died before Jehovah. The allusion is not to Korah's company, as Knobel supposes, and the word גּוע, "to expire," would be altogether inapplicable to their destruction; but the reference is to those who had died one by one during the thirty-seven years. "Why," they murmured once more against Moses and Aaron, "have ye brought the congregation of God into this desert, to perish there with their cattle? Why have ye brought it out of Egypt into this evil land, where there is no seed, no fig-trees and pomegranates, no vines, and no water to drink?"
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