Some Things that Happened to the Israelites in the Desert

For many years the Israelite people wandered in the desert country. At last they returned to Kadesh, south of Canaan. Here Miriam, the sister of Moses, died and was buried. But this time at Kadesh they found no water. So once again the Israelites began to complain to Moses, then God told Moses, "Take Aaron's walking stick from the tabernacle and you and Aaron gather the Israelite people by the rock over there in front of them. Speak to the rock and water will come out of it. So Moses got the walking stick and gathered the Israelite people at the rock. He and Aaron stood in front of the rock, but instead of speaking to the rock like God had said to do, he spoke angrily to the people, "Listen, you rebels! Do we have to get water out of this rock for you?" then he hit the rock twice with the stick. Even though he had not done what God told him to do, God still caused water to pour out of the rock because the people needed it. But God told Moses and Aaron, "Because you two did not believe me and honor me as holy in front of the people, you will not lead the people into the land that I will give them. So later Moses and Aaron had to die in the desert country themselves because they did not obey God just like he said.

Now the people of Edom were descendents of Esau, the brother of Jacob, the father of the Israelite people. So Moses sent a message to the king of Edom, please let us pass through your land. We will not take any of your things. We will just stay on the main road." But the Edomite people would not let the Israelites pass through their land. So the Israelites had to go around the land of Edom.

Along the way, the Israelites camped at the Mount Hor. There God told Moses, "Aaron is going to die because you two did not obey my command. Take Aaron and his son Eleazar up on mount Hor and there put Aaron's priestly clothes on Eleazar. Aaron is going to die there." So Moses, Aaron, and Eleazar climbed the mountain, and Moses took the priestly cloths off Aaron and put them on Eleazar. Then Aaron died there on the top of the mountain, and Moses and Eleazar went back down. When the people learned that Aaron had died they mourned for him for thirty days.

After the Israelites left Mount Hor, they started complaining again. They said, "Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in this desert? We hate this no-good food!" So God sent poisonous snakes among the people to bite and kill them. Then the people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned, pray to the Lord to take these snakes away. " Moses prayed for the people, and God told him to make an image of a snake and put it on a pole, and have anyone who was bitten by a poisonous snake look at it. So Moses made a snake out of Bronze and put it on a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a Poisonous snake would look at it and would not die. Jesus later said that just like Moses lifted up the snake on the pole, so he had to be lifted up on the cross, so that everyone who believes in him would have eternal life.

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