February 18

Numbers 20:1 — 22:19

And the sons of Israel, the entire assembly, proceeded to come into the wilderness of Zin in the first month, and the people took up dwelling in Kadesh. It was there that Miriam died and there that she was buried.

2 Now there proved to be no water for the assembly, and they began to congregate themselves against Moses and Aaron. 3 And the people went quarreling with Moses and saying: “If only we had expired when our brothers expired before Jehovah! 4 And why have YOU men brought Jehovah’s congregation into this wilderness for us and our beasts of burden to die there? 5 And why have YOU conducted us up out of Egypt to bring us into this evil place? It is no place of seed and figs and vines and pomegranates, and there is no water to drink.” 6 Then Moses and Aaron came from before the congregation to the entrance of the tent of meeting and fell upon their faces, and Jehovah’s glory began to appear to them.

7 Then Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying: 8 “Take the rod and call the assembly together, you and Aaron your brother, and YOU must speak to the crag before their eyes that it may indeed give its water; and you must bring out water for them from the crag and give the assembly and their beasts of burden drink.”

9 So Moses took the rod from before Jehovah, just as he had commanded him. 10 After that Moses and Aaron called the congregation together before the crag, and he proceeded to say to them: “Hear, now, YOU rebels! Is it from this crag that we shall bring out water for YOU?” 11 With that Moses lifted his hand up and struck the crag with his rod twice; and much water began to come out, and the assembly and their beasts of burden began to drink.

12 Later Jehovah said to Moses and Aaron: “Because YOU did not show faith in me to sanctify me before the eyes of the sons of Israel, therefore YOU will not bring this congregation into the land that I shall certainly give them.” 13 These are the waters of Meribah, because the sons of Israel quarreled with Jehovah, so that he was sanctified among them.

14 Subsequently Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom: “This is what your brother Israel has said, ‘You yourself well know all the hardship that has overtaken us. 15 And our fathers proceeded to go down to Egypt, and we continued to dwell in Egypt many days; and the Egyptians began doing harm to us and our fathers. 16 Finally we cried out to Jehovah and he heard our voice and sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt; and here we are in Kadesh, a city at the extremity of your territory. 17 Let us pass, please, through your land. We shall not pass through a field or a vineyard, and we shall not drink the water of a well. On the king’s road we shall march. We shall not bend toward the right or the left, until we shall pass through your territory.’”

18 However, Edom said to him: “You must not pass through me, for fear I may come out with the sword to meet you.” 19 In turn the sons of Israel said to him: “By the highway we shall go up; and if I and my livestock should drink your water, I shall also certainly give the value of it. I want nothing more than to pass through on my feet.” 20 Still he said: “You must not pass through.” With that Edom came on out to encounter him with a great many people and a strong hand. 21 So Edom refused to grant Israel to pass through his territory. Hence Israel turned away from him.

22 And the sons of Israel, the entire assembly, proceeded to pull away from Kadesh and come to Mount Hor. 23 Then Jehovah said this to Moses and Aaron in Mount Hor by the border of the land of Edom: 24 “Aaron will be gathered to his people, for he will not enter into the land that I shall certainly give to the sons of Israel, on the ground that YOU men rebelled against my order respecting the waters of Meribah. 25 Take Aaron and Eleazar his son and bring them up into Mount Hor. 26 And strip Aaron of his garments, and you must clothe with them Eleazar his son; and Aaron will be gathered and must die there.”

27 So Moses did just as Jehovah had commanded; and before the eyes of all the assembly they went climbing Mount Hor. 28 Then Moses stripped Aaron of his garments and clothed Eleazar his son with them, after which Aaron died there on the top of the mountain. And Moses and Eleazar came on down from the mountain. 29 And all the assembly got to see that Aaron had expired, and all the house of Israel continued weeping for Aaron thirty days.

Now the Canaanite the king of Arad, who dwelt in the Negeb, got to hear that Israel had come by the way of Atharim, and he began to fight with Israel and carry away some of them as captives. 2 Consequently Israel made a vow to Jehovah and said: “If you will without fail give this people into my hand, I shall also certainly devote their cities to destruction.” 3 So Jehovah listened to Israel’s voice and gave the Canaanites over; and they devoted them and their cities to destruction. Hence they called the name of the place Hormah.

4 While they continued trekking from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea to go around the land of Edom, the soul of the people began tiring out because of the way. 5 And the people kept speaking against God and Moses: “Why have YOU brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no bread and no water, and our soul has come to abhor the contemptible bread.” 6 So Jehovah sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they kept biting the people, so that many people of Israel died.

7 Finally the people came to Moses and said: “We have sinned, because we have spoken against Jehovah and against you. Intercede with Jehovah that he may remove the serpents from upon us.” And Moses went interceding in behalf of the people. 8 Then Jehovah said to Moses: “Make for yourself a fiery snake and place it upon a signal pole. And it must occur that when anyone has been bitten, he then has to look at it and so must keep alive.” 9 Moses at once made a serpent of copper and placed it upon the signal pole; and it did occur that if a serpent had bitten a man and he gazed at the copper serpent, he then kept alive.

10 After that the sons of Israel pulled away and encamped in Oboth. 11 Then they pulled away from Oboth and encamped in Iye-abarim, in the wilderness that is toward the front of Moab, toward the rising of the sun. 12 From there they pulled away and took up camping by the torrent valley of Zered. 13 From there they pulled away and went camping in the region of the Arnon, which is in the wilderness that extends from the border of the Amorites; for the Arnon is the boundary of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14 That is why it is said in the book of the Wars of Jehovah:
       “Vaheb in Suphah and the torrent valleys of Arnon,
15 and the mouth of the torrent valleys, which has bent itself toward the seat of Ar and has leaned against the border of Moab.”

16 Next from there on to Be'er. This is the well about which Jehovah said to Moses: “Gather the people, and let me give them water.” 17 At that time Israel proceeded to sing this song:
       Spring up, O well! Respond to it, YOU people!
18 A well, princes dug it. The nobles of the people excavated it, With a commander’s staff, with their own staffs.”

Then from the wilderness on to Mattanah. 19 And from Mattanah on to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel on to Bamoth. 20 And from Bamoth on to the valley that is in the field of Moab, at the head of Pisgah, and it projects over toward the face of Jeshimon.

21 Israel now sent messengers to Sihon the king of the Amorites, saying: 22 “Let me pass through your land. We shall not turn off into a field or a vineyard. We shall drink water of no well. On the king’s road we shall march until we pass through your territory.” 23 And Sihon did not allow Israel to pass through his territory, but Sihon gathered all his people and went out to meet Israel in the wilderness, and came to Jahaz and began fighting with Israel. 24 At that Israel struck him with the edge of the sword and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, near the sons of Ammon; because Jazer is the border of the sons of Ammon.

25 So Israel took all these cities, and Israel began dwelling in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon and all its dependent towns. 26 For Heshbon was the city of Sihon. He was the king of the Amorites, and it was he who fought with the king of Moab formerly and went taking all his land out of his hand as far as the Arnon. 27 That is why the sayers of mock verses would say:

   “Come to Heshbon.

        Let the city of Sihon be built and be proved firmly set up.

28 For a fire has come out of Heshbon, a flame from the town of Sihon.

        It has consumed Ar of Moab, the owners of the high places of the Arnon.

29 Woe to you, Moab! You will certainly perish, O people of Chemosh!

        He will certainly give his sons as escaped ones and his daughters in the captivity to the king of the Amorites, Sihon.

30 So let us shoot at them.

        Heshbon will certainly perish up to Dibon,

        And the women up to Nophah, the men up to Medeba.”

31 And Israel began to dwell in the land of the Amorites. 32 Then Moses sent some to spy on Jazer. So they captured its dependent towns and dispossessed the Amorites who were there. 33 After that they turned and went up by the way of Bashan. At this Og the king of Bashan came out to meet them, he and all his people, to the battle of Edrei. 34 Jehovah now said to Moses: “Do not be afraid of him, for into your hand I shall certainly give him and all his people and his land; and you must do to him just as you did to Sihon, the king of the Amorites, who used to dwell in Heshbon.” 35 So they went striking him and his sons and all his people, until there was no survivor remaining to him; and they went taking possession of his land.

Then the sons of Israel pulled away and encamped on the desert plains of Moab across the Jordan from Jericho. 2 And Balak the son of Zippor got to see all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3 And Moab became very frightened at the people, because they were many; and Moab began to feel a sickening dread of the sons of Israel. 4 And Moab proceeded to say to the older men of Midian: “Now this congregation will lick up all our surroundings like the bull licking up the green growth of the field.”

And Balak the son of Zippor was king of Moab at that particular time. 5 He now sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is by the River of the land of the sons of his people, to call him, saying: “Look! A people has come out of Egypt. Look! They have covered the earth as far as one can see, and they are dwelling right in front of me. 6 And now do come, please; do curse this people for me, for they are mightier than I am. Perhaps I may be able to strike them and I may drive them out of the land; for I well know that the one whom you bless is a blessed one and the one whom you curse is cursed.”

7 So the older men of Moab and the older men of Midian traveled with the payments for divination in their hands and went to Balaam and spoke to him Balak’s words. 8 At that he said to them: “Lodge here tonight, and I shall certainly return YOU word just as Jehovah may speak to me.” Accordingly the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam.

9 Then God came to Balaam and said: “Who are these men with you?” 10 So Balaam said to the [true] God: “Balak the son of Zippor, the king of Moab, has sent to me, saying, 11 ‘Look! The people who are coming out of Egypt, and they go covering the earth as far as the eye can see. Now do come, do execrate them for me. Perhaps I may be able to fight against them and I shall actually drive them out.’” 12 But God said to Balaam: “You must not go with them. You must not curse the people, for they are blessed.”

13 After that Balaam got up in the morning and said to the princes of Balak: “Go to YOUR country, because Jehovah has refused to let me go with YOU.” 14 So the princes of Moab got up and came to Balak and said: “Balaam has refused to come with us.”

15 However, Balak sent again other princes in greater number and more honorable than the former. 16 In turn they came to Balaam and said to him: “This is what Balak the son of Zippor has said, ‘Do not be detained, please, from coming to me. 17 For I shall without fail honor you greatly, and everything you may say to me I shall do. So do come, please. Do execrate this people for me.’” 18 But Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak: “If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I should not be able to pass beyond the order of Jehovah my God, so as to do something small or great. 19 And now YOU men also stay here, please, tonight that I may know what further Jehovah will speak with me.”