The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Numbers
A new year was beginning, when the Israelites, marching in their full strength, reached the desert of Sin. Here, while they were halting at Cades, Mary died and was buried.
And now, hard put to it for want of water, the people made common cause against Moses and Aaron,
rebelling against their authority. Better for us, they said, if we had died when our brethren died, by the Lord’s visitation!
What need was there you should call the Lord’s people out into a desert that is death to us and to our cattle?
Why must you take us away from Egypt, and bring us out to this sorry place we cannot cultivate? Figs and grapes and pomegranates it yields none, and we have no water, even, to drink.
At this, when they had broken up the gathering, Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle that bore record of the covenant, and there cast themselves down to earth in entreaty. Lord God, they said, listen to the plea made by this people of thine, and open to them thy store-house of fresh water, to content them and put an end to their complaints! Then the bright presence of the Lord was revealed to them;
and the Lord said to Moses,
Take thy rod with thee, and do thou and thy brother Aaron gather all the people together. Before their eyes, lay thy command upon the rock here, and it will yield water. This water thou bringest out of the rock will suffice to give drink to the whole multitude, and to their cattle.
So Moses took up the rod, there in the Lord’s presence, as he was bidden,
and they made the people gather before the rock. Listen to me, he said, faithless rebels; are we to get you water out of this rock?
Twice Moses lifted his hand, and smote the rock with his rod; whereupon water gushed out in abundance, so that all the people and their cattle had enough to drink.
But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, Why did you not trust in me, and vindicate my holiness in the sight of Israel? It will not be yours to lead this multitude into the land I mean to give them.
This is the place called the Water of Rebellion, where the Israelites challenged the Lord, and he vindicated his holiness before them.
From Cades, Moses sent envoys to the king of Edom, with a message to him from his brethren of Israel: Thou knowest what hardships have overtaken us;
how our fathers made their way into Egypt, how they and we were ill-used by the Egyptians during the long time we spent there,
how we cried out to the Lord, till he listened to us and sent an angel to rescue us from Egypt. And now we are here at Cades, on the frontier of thy dominions;
what we ask of thee is leave to pass through this land of thine. There shall be no marching through fields or vineyards, no drinking at thy wells; we will travel by the high road, not to right or left, until we have passed beyond thy frontiers.
But the Edomites refused to let them pass, threatening armed resistance.
Let Israel promise as they would to use only the public highway, to pay in full for all they or their beasts might drink, without haggling over the price, to make a quick passage of it;
still Edom refused, coming out to meet them there and then in great force, ready to overpower them.
The Israelites, then, since no entreaties could move them to grant the right of passage, left the Edomites alone and turned elsewhere.
So, leaving Cades behind them, they reached Mount Hor, on the edge of the Edomite country;
and here it was that the Lord said to Moses,
Aaron must become a part of his people. For him, there is no entering the land which is your promised home, so unfaithful was he to my word at the Water of Rebellion.✻
Take Aaron and his son with thee to the top of mount Hor,
strip the father of his priestly garments and clothe his son Eleazar with them instead; there Aaron shall die, and become part of his race.
So Moses did as the Lord bade him; together they went up mount Hor in the sight of the whole multitude,
and there he stripped Aaron of his garments and put them on his son Eleazar,
and came back with Eleazar alone, leaving Aaron dead on the mountain top.
And the whole people, thus apprised of Aaron’s death, mourned over him, all alike, for thirty days.
The Holy Bible