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Fausset's Bible Dictionary


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("chiding".) The designation which Moses gave the place at Rephidim where Israel, just before they reached Sinai in the second year after leaving Egypt, did chide with Moses, "give us water that we may drink," and tempted (from whence came the other name Massah) Jehovah, saying "is Jehovah among us or not?" (Exodus 17:7; compare as to the sin, Matthew 4:7.) The severity of Israel's trial, however, is to be remembered; our Lord's own only expression of bodily suffering on the cross was cf6 "I thirst." Thirty-eight years afterward at Kadesh, bordering on the promised laud, again, untaught by the severe discipline of the wilderness (Isaiah 9:13), Israel in want of water cried, "would God we had died when our brethren died before the Lord!"

God's glory appeared, and the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "take the rod, and speak unto the rock before their eyes, and it shall give forth his water." But here Moses' old hastiness of spirit, which he had showed in the beginning of his career (Exodus 2), returned; "they provoked his spirit so that he spoke unadvisedly with his lips" (Psalms 106:32-33): "ye rebels, must we (forgetting that the power was that of God alone) fetch you water out of this rock?" Then lifting up his hand he smote twice, whereas God had told him, "speak unto the rock." So Jehovah excluded Moses and Aaron from entering Canaan, for not "sanctifying" Him (Numbers 20:1-13). This repetition of the miracle disproves the notion from 1 Corinthians 10:4 that the stream literally "followed" them from Rephidim (Exodus 17) to Canaan; all that is meant is a supply of water from time to time was provided naturally or miraculously, so that they never perished from thirst (so Exodus 15:24-25; Numbers 21:16).

Christ is the Rock (John 7:38); the water flowed, and the people drank, at Meribah Kadesh. Moses and Aaron typify ministers. The Rock Christ was smitten once for all, never to be so again (Hebrews 9:25-28; Hebrews 10:10; Hebrews 10:14). If Moses was so severely chastised for smiting again in violation of the type, what peril ministers run who pretend to offer Christ the Antitype in the Eucharist again! Psalms 95:8, "provocation ... temptation," alludes to Meribah Massah. Also Numbers 27:14; Deuteronomy 32:51. The Hebrew for "rock" in Exodus 17 at Rephidim is tsur , but in Numbers 20 cela' at Kadesh, marking undesignedly the distinctness of the miracles.

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Meribah'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. 1949.

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