Exodus chapter 17

Water from a rock. Joshua mows down the Amalekites.





VERSE 1. All the congregation of the children of Israel traveled from the wilderness of Sin, starting according to the LORD’s commandment, and encamped in Rephidim; but there was no water for the people to drink.

the wilderness of Sin.  The name “Sin” is a geographic region. It is related to Sinai.

It has nothing to do with the English word “sin.”


VERSE 2. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD?”

the people quarreled with Moses. As soon as troubles arose, the people turned on Moses.

It is rare to find a person whose loyalty to their spiritual leader does not go through ups and downs.


VERSE 3. The people were thirsty for water there; so the people murmured against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?”

Why have you brought us up out of Egypt. They are twisting around the facts.

The truth was that they were slaves. They were treated with cruelty. They wanted to flee. Moses provided that possibility, and they took it.


VERSE 4. Moses cried to the LORD, saying, “What shall I do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”

What shall I do with these people? Moses found the people impossible to lead.


VERSE 5. The LORD said to Moses, “Walk on before the people, and take the elders of Israel with you, and take the rod in your hand with which you struck the Nile, and go.


VERSE 6. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb. You shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

You shall strike the rock. Moses was told to hit the rock.

However, in a different situation, Moses was told to SPEAK to the rock:

Exodus 17:6. “Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb. You shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

Numbers 20:8. Take the rod, and assemble the congregation, you, and Aaron your brother, and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it pour out its water. You shall bring water to them out of the rock; so you shall give the congregation and their livestock drink.”

Numbers 20:11. Moses lifted up his hand, and struck the rock with his rod twice, and water came out abundantly. The congregation and their livestock drank.


VERSE 7. He called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because the children of Israel quarreled, and because they tested the LORD, saying, “Is the LORD among us, or not?”

Massah. The Hebrew word is מַסָּ֖ה (“mas·sāh”). It is a proper noun, used as a name for this location. But it also means “testing.”

Meribah. The Hebrew word is וּמְרִיבָ֑ה (“mer-ee-baw”). It means “quarreling.”




VERSE 8. Then Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim.


VERSE 9. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose men for us, and go out to fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with God’s rod in my hand.”

Joshua. This is the first time we encounter Joshua son of Nun.


VERSE 10. So Joshua did as Moses had told him, and fought with Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.

Joshua did as Moses had told him. Joshua is unique. He does what his leader says.

Joshua is not out there in the crowd with the angry complainers. Instead, he is working with his leader for real change!


VERSE 11. When Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed. When he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.


VERSE 12. But Moses’ hands were heavy; so they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side. His hands were steady until sunset.

Aaron and Hur held up his hands. This scene is very famous. Lots of artists have painted depictions of it.


VERSE 13. Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

Joshua defeated Amalek. This was their first battle. And they won.

Joshua son of Nun mowed down the Amalekites.


VERSE 14. The LORD said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under the sky.”


VERSE 15. Moses built an altar, and called its name “The LORD our Banner”.

The LORD our Banner. The Hebrew expression is “Yahweh Nissi.”


VERSE 16. He said, “The LORD has sworn: ‘The LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.’ ”


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

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