Study Guide

Book of Numbers Chapter 20

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Chapter 20

Time For Some More Whining

  • Meanwhile, the Israelites are still wandering in the wilderness. In fact, they've probably been doing this for about forty years at this point, so they're getting kind of exhausted.
  • Naturally, the complainers start to come out. We wish we were dead! Why did God free us from slavery so we could die out here?┬áThere's no food or water! Wah-waaah!
  • This time, God hears their complaints and has some compassion. He tells Moses and Aaron to take Aaron's staff (the flowery one from a few chapters ago) and use it to bring water out of a rock for the people. Cool trick, bro.
  • So, Moses and Aaron tells everyone that they're being jerks but that they're gonna give them water. Moses hits the rock with his hand and water comes flowing out. Yay, liquid refreshment!
  • But it turns out, God is annoyed by this and accuses Moses and Aaron of not trusting him. (Guess they weren't supposed to get the water from the rock by hitting it.) Their punishment? They're not gonna make it to the Promised Land either. Harsh, God. Way harsh.

When In Edom

  • Meanwhile, Moses figures that the Israelites need to travel through Edom, so he asks the King of Edom if this is okay. But the king turns him down.
  • Seriously? Moses asks. We won't mess up your stuff if that's what you're worried about.
  • No, his royal grumpiness replies. Get off our lawn!
  • For reals? Because if we eat or drink anything we'll pay for it, Moses tells him.
  • No means no, Moses, the king replies and threatens to attack them if they set foot in Edom. The Israelites are forced to go around. This would be way easier if they were travelling by map.
  • Eventually, the people come to Mount Hor, which is on the border of Edom.
  • God is still really ticked about the whole water out of a rock thing, so he tells Moses to strip Aaron of his priestly attire and pass it along to his son, Eleazar. He also tells him that Aaron is gonna die. Bummer.
  • Sure, enough, that's what happens. Everyone mourns for thirty days because it's just so super sad. Tissues anyone?

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