1. The Israelites, the whole community, arrived in the first month at the desert of Zin. The people settled at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried.
2. There was no water for the community, so they banded together against Moses and Aaron.
3. The people laid the blame on Moses. 'We would rather have died', they said, 'as our brothers died before Yahweh!
4. Why have you brought Yahweh's community into this desert, for us and our livestock to die here?
5. Why did you lead us out of Egypt, only to bring us to this wretched place? It is a place unfit for sowing, it has no figs, no vines, no pomegranates, and there is not even water to drink!'
6. Leaving the assembly, Moses and Aaron went to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. They threw themselves on their faces, and the glory of Yahweh appeared to them.
7. Yahweh then spoke to Moses and said,
8. 'Take the branch and call the community together, you and your brother Aaron. Then, in full view of them, order this rock to release its water. You will release water from the rock for them and provide drink for the community and their livestock.'
9. Moses took up the branch from before Yahweh, as he had directed him.
10. Moses and Aaron then called the assembly together in front of the rock. He then said to them, 'Listen now, you rebels. Shall we make water gush from this rock for you?'
11. Moses then raised his hand and struck the rock twice with the branch; water gushed out in abundance, and the community and their livestock drank.
12. Yahweh then said to Moses and Aaron, 'Because you did not believe that I could assert my holiness before the Israelites' eyes, you will not lead this assembly into the country which I am giving them.'
13. These were the Waters of Meribah, where the Israelites laid the blame on Yahweh and where, by their means, he asserted his holiness.
14. Moses sent messengers from Kadesh: 'To the king of Edom. Your brother Israel says this: You are aware of the great hardships we have encountered.
15. Our ancestors went down to Egypt and there we stayed for a long time. But the Egyptians treated us badly, as they had our ancestors.
16. When we appealed to Yahweh, he heard our cry and, sending an angel, brought us out of Egypt, and here we are, now, at Kadesh, a town on the borders of your territory.
17. We ask permission to pass through your country. We shall not go through the fields or vineyards; we shall not drink the water from the wells; we shall keep to the king's highway without turning to right or left until we have passed through your territory.
18. To which, Edom replied, 'You will not pass through my country; if you do, I shall oppose you by force of arms.'
19. To which the Israelites replied, 'We shall keep to the high road; if I and my flocks drink any of your water, I am willing to pay for it. All I am asking is to pass through on foot.'
20. Edom replied: 'You shall not pass,' and Edom opposed them in great numbers and great force.
21. At Edom's refusal to grant Israel passage through his territory, Israel turned away.
22. They set out from Kadesh, and the Israelites, the whole community, came to Mount Hor.
23. Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron at Mount Hor, on the frontier of Edom, and said,
24. 'Aaron is to be gathered to his people; he will not enter the country which I have given to the Israelites, since you both disobeyed my order at the Waters of Meribah.
25. Take Aaron and his son Eleazar and bring them up Mount Hor.
26. Then take Aaron's robes off him and dress his son Eleazar in them. Aaron will then be gathered to his people; that is where he will die.'
27. Moses did as Yahweh ordered. With the whole community watching, they went up Mount Hor.
28. Moses took Aaron's robes off him and dressed his son Eleazar in them, and there Aaron died, on the mountain-top. Moses and Eleazar then came back down the mountain.
29. The whole community saw that Aaron had died, and for thirty days the whole House of Israel mourned for Aaron.