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Monday, July 15th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary

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Rephaim, Valley of
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("rests" or "stays") (Exodus 17:1; Exodus 17:8; Exodus 19:2). Here Israel first suffered from want of water, and here they defeated Amalek. Captains Wilson and Palmer make the battle in wady Feiran, near the ancient city of Feiran (amidst traces of building and cultivation) under Mount Serbal. But Holland (Canon Cook's essay on Exodus 16; 17; 19; Speaker's Commentary) places Rephidim after Israel traversed the wady es Sheikh at the pass el Watiyeh shut in by perpendicular rocks on either side; a choice position for Amalek as it commands the entrance to the wadies round the central group of Sinai. On the N. is a plain without water, Israel's encampment. N. of the defile is a hill and bore cliff such as Moses struck with his rod. S. of the pass is another plain, Amalek's encampment, within reach of abundant water. At the foot of the hill whereon Moses sat (Exodus 17:12 or else Exodus 18:13) the Arabs call a rock "the seat of the prophet Moses." (See EXODUS.)

The fertility of Feiran is Stanley's argument for it as the site of Rephidim, Amalek being likely to contend for it against Israel. The "hill" in Exodus 17:9-10, he identifies with that on which the church of Paran stood (Numbers 33:12-13). Holland's view is probably the truer one, for wady es Sheikh is the only open broad way from the N.W. into the "wilderness of Sinai", Ras Sufsafeh before the open er Rahah or "desert of Sinai" being the true Mount Sinai, not Serbal. The Βir Μusa , "well of Moses," in the wide part of wady es Sheykh, is immediately outside or N. of the pass out of Horeb. Wady es Sheykh , "the valley of the chiefs," may allude to the elders appointed at Jethro's suggestion to be rulers and judges under Moses (Exodus 18:21-26). Forster (if his reading be correct: Voice of Israel, p. 118) interprets an inscription with a man's figure with uplifted hands on a rock, "the prophet upon a hard great stone prayeth unto God, Aaron and Hur sustaining his hands." It was after receiving the water supply at Rephidim from God that Israel conquered Amalek.

So it is only after the Christian receives the living water front Christ the smitten Rock that he can effectively conquer his spiritual foes (1 John 5:4). Faith and prayer go together, as at Rephidim. Lift up, not an empty hand, but like Moses grasping the rod hold fast God's word of promise, filling the hand with this effectual plea (Exodus 17:9; Exodus 17:11-12; Job 23:4; Psalms 119:49; Isaiah 43:26; James 5:16). (See MASSAH; MERIBAH.) Moses struck the rock in Horeb at some point not in the people's sight, therefore not near the summit, but in the presence of selected witnesses, the elders (Exodus 17:5-6). The "spiritual rock, Christ, followed all the Israelites" (1 Corinthians 10:4). The repetition of the miracle (Numbers 20:11) at Kadesh shows that the rabbinical tradition is incorrect, that the rock or the stream followed them literally in all their journeys. Rather He of whom the rock was type accompanied them and supplied all their needs (1 Corinthians 10:4).

Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Rephidim'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​fbd/​r/rephidim.html. 1949.
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