|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 13. - This is the water of Meribah, or "water of strife." Septuagint, ὕδωρ ἀντιλογίας. The word "Meribah" appears, however, to form part of a proper name in Deuteronomy 32:51. A similar use of the word is recorded in Exodus 17:7. That the same name was more or less definitely attached to these two scenes is only another way of saying that there was a strong similarity between the two sets of associations. At the same time the differences are so marked in the narratives that they leave very distinct impressions upon the mind. And he was sanctified in them, i.e., he revealed there his holiness and power, and put to silence their evil murmurings against him. He was sanctified in them all the more abundantly because Moses and Aaron failed to sanctify him in the eyes of the people; but what they failed to do he brought to pass without their agency.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
This is the water of Meribah,.... Or "strife": this is the name by which the water had in this place, and from this rock, was called; and which is the same name given to the place at Horeb, where a rock had been smitten, and water had flowed, as now, the first year they came out of Egypt; and to distinguish this from that, this is sometimes called Meribah-Kadesh, Deuteronomy 32:51, this being at Kadesh, as that was at Rephidim:
because the children of Israel strove with the Lord: for their chiding and striving with Moses was interpretatively striving with the Lord himself, whose ministers and servants they were:
and he was sanctified in them; that is, the glory of his divine perfections was displayed in them; either in the waters fetched out of the rock, which was a proof of the almighty power of God, and of his truth and faithfulness to his promises; or in the children of Israel, in whose sight, and for whose sake this miracle was wrought: the Targum of Jonathan expressly says, in Moses and Aaron, in not sparing these his saints, but expressing severity towards them for their sin; so Jarchi and Aben Ezra interpret it.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. This is the water of Meribah—The word "Kadesh" is added to it [De 32:51] to distinguish it from another Meribah (Ex 17:7).
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