What exactly happened at Meribah ?

by aligot ripounsous 6 Replies latest jw experiences

  • aligot ripounsous
    aligot ripounsous

    I attended this WE the meeting of an English speaking congregation, where they happened to have their CO, an American ex- bethelite with his French wife. He sounded quite sensible in his concluding prayer, saying that JWs are in search of the truth, in connection, I assumed, with the WT article of the day. That was the least he could say since, as I told him at the end of the meeting, we had seen three different definitions of the generation of the end within the last 13 years. He sighed and agreed.

    On another topic, he mentioned in his talk Moses who was forbidden entrance into the promised land because he failed to recognize that his getting water shoot out of the crag was due to Jehovah's power, and he went on emphasizing how unwise it would be to be unfaithful now and therefore lose the reward as we are so close to the term, etc, etc. Checking into the Bible, I was impressed by the fact that Moses got irritated because the Israelites were whining and regretted Egypt and the text focuses on the Israelites' grumbling and their, rather than Moses', lack of faith (this to answer an explanation (not the WT's) which we find sometimes about Moses hitting the rock, out of doubt, twice instead of once) :

    "So he called the name of the place Mas´sah and Mer´i·bah, because of the quarrelling of the sons of Israel and because of their putting Jehovah to the test, saying : "Is Jehovah in our midst or not?" "(Ex. 17 : 7)

    "These are the waters of Mer´i·bah, because the sons of Israel quarrelled with Jehovah, so that he was sanctified among them" (Num. 20 : 13).

    Poor old Moses definitely paid for the Israelites' fault : "And Jehovah got incensed at me on YOUR account" (Deut. 4 : 21), "they caused provocation at the waters of Mer´i·bah, so that it went badly with Moses by reason of them" (Ps. 106 :32). Too harsh a punishment on him, just because he lost his temper for a short while. There is a lot to learn, yet, about the circumstances of this event, which are far from being clear, and the way, which may look unfair at first sight, Jehovah dealt with Moses, and some other people in various instances, in the OT.

  • BabaYaga


    That Old Testament (g)od was a cantankerous testy sort, at best. Jealous, blood-thirsty...and moody and vindictive, too.

    Moses should have seen it coming.

  • Hope4Others
    Too harsh a punishment on him, just because he lost his temper for a short while.

    I have thought this many times, He really put up with a lot from their constant whining. I don't know if anyone back then would

    have picked up on what he had really done according to God. Do you think so? They were too busy complaining about their lot in life.


  • Narkissos

    Bonsoir a.r.

    Interesting story about the C.O.

    It must be noted that the "Meribah" story exists in several versions in the Torah and is not always connected to the independent motif of Moses' being prevented from entering into the Promised Land (there's nothing about it in Exodus 17, for instance). The notion of "lack of faith" appears in Numbers 20:12. On the other hand, the punishment of Moses is connected with the spies story in the introduction to Deuteronomy (1:37), to which 3:26 and 4:21 also belong. So it looks like a marginal (and rather obscure) connection of independent themes...

  • aligot ripounsous
    aligot ripounsous


    beware of fluctuating forgetful crowds, in fact just crowds !

    Bonsoir Narkissos

    As I was working on my thread, I googled Meribah and found the different narratives of the event along with their explanations. In the current state of information where I am (but of course I'm not an expert, whether in translation or other ;-) I understand that Moses' punishment was linked to his behaviour at Meribah but I take note of your qualified observation and will read again these passages in this new light. Thanks for your take.

  • Ima Apostate
    Ima Apostate

    I recently studied this in a bible study. I think what really happened was that Moses took credit for the water coming from the rock. If you read Number 20:6-9, which provides another account, Moses was to SPEAK to the rock, but instead he STRUCK it and said "Must WE bring you water out of this rock?"

    Moses was too embarrassed to speak to the rock and took the credit for the water. Hope that helps.

  • aligot ripounsous
    aligot ripounsous

    Hei, Ima

    Thanks for your take, by launching the topic I just meant that various Bible passages lead us to believe that, for some reason which the text doesn't show clearly, Moses got the blow from Jehovah whilst the fault seemed in fact to be the Israelites' and, at any rate, Moses paid a price, for whatever mistake he made in this instance, out of proportion with the latter. I'm afraid this thread is well buried, now. Thanks anyway.

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