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Numbers Chapter 20 | Parsha: Hukkat

1The Israelites arrived in a body at the wilderness of Zin on the first new moon, and the people stayed at Kadesh. Miriam died there and was buried there.

2The community was without water, and they joined against Moses and Aaron. 3The people quarreled with Moses, saying, “If only we had perished when our brothers perished at the instance of the Lord! 4Why have you brought the Lord’s congregation into this wilderness for us and our beasts to die there? 5Why did you make us leave Egypt to bring us to this wretched place, a place with no grain or figs or vines or pomegranates? There is not even water to drink!”

6Moses and Aaron came away from the congregation to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, and fell on their faces. The Presence of the Lord appeared to them, 7and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 8“You and your brother Aaron take the rod and assemble the community, and before their very eyes order the rock to yield its water. Thus you shall produce water for them from the rock and provide drink for the congregation and their beasts.”

9Moses took the rod from before the Lord, as He had commanded him. 10Moses and Aaron assembled the congregation in front of the rock; and he said to them, “Listen, you rebels, shall we get water for you out of this rock?” 11And Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod. Out came copious water, and the community and their beasts drank.

12But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust Me enough to affirm My sanctity in the sight of the Israelite people, therefore you shall not lead this congregation into the land that I have given them.” 13Those are the Waters of Meribah—meaning that the Israelites quarrelled with the Lord—through which He affirmed His sanctity.

14From Kadesh, Moses sent messengers to the king of Edom: “Thus says your brother Israel: You know all the hardships that have befallen us; 15that our ancestors went down to Egypt, that we dwelt in Egypt a long time, and that the Egyptians dealt harshly with us and our ancestors. 16We cried to the Lord and He heard our plea, and He sent a messenger who freed us from Egypt. Now we are in Kadesh, the town on the border of your territory. 17Allow us, then, to cross your country. We will not pass through fields or vineyards, and we will not drink water from wells. We will follow the king’s highway, turning off neither to the right nor to the left until we have crossed your territory.”

18But Edom answered him, “You shall not pass through us, else we will go out against you with the sword.” 19“We will keep to the beaten track,” the Israelites said to them, “and if we or our cattle drink your water, we will pay for it. We ask only for passage on foot—it is but a small matter.” 20But they replied, “You shall not pass through!” And Edom went out against them in heavy force, strongly armed. 21So Edom would not let Israel cross their territory, and Israel turned away from them.

22Setting out from Kadesh, the Israelites arrived in a body at Mount Hor. 23At Mount Hor, on the boundary of the land of Edom, the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 24“Let Aaron be gathered to his kin: he is not to enter the land that I have assigned to the Israelite people, because you disobeyed my command about the waters of Meribah. 25Take Aaron and his son Eleazar and bring them up on Mount Hor. 26Strip Aaron of his vestments and put them on his son Eleazar. There Aaron shall be gathered unto the dead.”

27Moses did as the Lord had commanded. They ascended Mount Hor in the sight of the whole community. 28Moses stripped Aaron of his vestments and put them on his son Eleazar, and Aaron died there on the summit of the mountain. When Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain, 29the whole community knew that Aaron had breathed his last. All the house of Israel bewailed Aaron thirty days.

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