Numbers 20:4
And why have you 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. Ceremony of purification. They were to take for the unclean person some of the dust of the burning of the cow, i.e., some of the ashes obtained by burning the cow, and put living, i.e., fresh water (see Leviticus 14:5), upon it in a vessel. A clean man was then to take a bunch of hyssop (see Exodus 12:22), on account of its inherent purifying power, and dip it in the water, on the third and seventh day after the defilement had taken place, and to sprinkle the tent, with the vessels and persons in it, as well as every one who had touched a corpse, whether a person slain, or one who had died a natural death, or a grave; after which the persons were to wash their clothes and bathe, that they might be clean in the evening. As the uncleanness in question is held up as the highest grade of uncleanness, by its duration being fixed at seven days, i.e., an entire week, so the appointment of a double purification with the sprinkling water shows the force of the uncleanness to be removed; whilst the selection of the third and seventh days was simply determined by the significance of the numbers themselves. In Numbers 19:20, the threat of punishment for the neglect of purification is repeated from Numbers 19:13, for the purpose of making it most emphatic.
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