Numbers 20:4
And why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there?
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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.The language of the murmurers is noteworthy. It has the air of a traditional remonstrance handed down from the last generation. Compare marginal references. 2-13. there was no water for the congregation—There was at Kadesh a fountain, En-Mishpat (Ge 14:7), and at the first encampment of the Israelites there was no want of water. It was then either partially dried up by the heat of the season, or had been exhausted by the demands of so vast a multitude. No text from Poole on this verse.

And why have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into this wilderness,.... The wilderness of Zin, whither by various marches and journeys, and through different stations, they were at length come:

that we and our cattle should die there? with thirst; they seem to represent it, as if this was the end, design, and intention of Moses and Aaron in bringing them thither; their language is much the same with their fathers on a like occasion; which shows the bad influence of example, and how careful parents should be of their words and actions, that their posterity be not harmed by them; see Exodus 17:3.

And why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there?
Verse 4. - Why have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into this wilderness? These words are almost exactly repeated from Exodus 17:3. They, and those which follow, are no doubt out of place if considered as expressing the feelings of the great bulk of the people, who had no knowledge of Egypt, and had grown up in the wilderness. But on such occasions it is always the few who put words into the months of the many, and the ringleaders in this gainsaying would naturally be the survivors of the elder generation, whose dis. position was exactly the same as ever, and who had always shown a remarkable want of originality in their complaints. Numbers 20:4Sin of Moses and Aaron at the Water of Strife at Kadesh. - In the arid desert the congregation was in want of water, and the people quarrelled with Moses in consequence. In connection with the first stay in Kadesh there is nothing said about any deficiency of water. But as the name Kadesh embraces a large district of the desert of Zin, and is not confined to one particular spot, there might easily be a want of water in this place or the other. In their faithless discontent, the people wished that they had died when their brethren died before Jehovah. The allusion is not to Korah's company, as Knobel supposes, and the word גּוע, "to expire," would be altogether inapplicable to their destruction; but the reference is to those who had died one by one during the thirty-seven years. "Why," they murmured once more against Moses and Aaron, "have ye brought the congregation of God into this desert, to perish there with their cattle? Why have ye brought it out of Egypt into this evil land, where there is no seed, no fig-trees and pomegranates, no vines, and no water to drink?"
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