“I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.”


Numbers 20:1-13

Numbers 20:1

Here was a great sorrow for Moses. Excepting her one fault in once being jealous of her brother, she was a noble woman—a true princess and prophetess. Moses, no doubt, sorrowed greatly under the bereavement.

Numbers 20:2, 3

They evidently laid the destruction of Korah and his company to heart, and resented it upon Moses, instead of being held in awe by it. While the two holy brothers were yet sorrowing over their departed sister, the unfeeling crowd raised a clamour against them, and laid the deficiency of water at their door; as if they could be expected to dig rivers in the desert.

Numbers 20:5

They taunted Moses with the old, wornout cry that he brought them out to die in the wilderness, and added the new sting—that he had not brought them into the goodly land of promise; though, indeed, it was only their own sin which kept them out of it. Those who want to murmur are never very long without a peg to hang their complaints upon.

Numbers 20:6

These holy men knew where their great strength was, they fell down in prayer and adoration, leaving the matter with the Lord, who was not slow in appearing for them.

Numbers 20:7, 8

To show that the Lord is not tied to any one mode of action, the rock is not to be smitten this time, but only spoken to.

Numbers 20:9-11

Were they not wrong in calling the people rebels, and in saying “must we fetch you water?” Certainly Moses erred in smiting the rock, for he was bidden to speak to it. The best of men are men at the best.

Numbers 20:12

See how jealous the Lord is of those whom he most loves. He will have them obey him in every particular, or else he will chasten them. A whole life of service shall not excuse us for one glaring offence. What manner of persons ought we to be? How careful should we be in thought, and word, and deed; and how doubly anxious lest we transgress by unbelief!

Numbers 20:13

This was one of the most memorable of Israel’s sins, because it was a repetition of an old crime; in the face of former mercies and judgments. May the Lord save us from repeating our sins, lest we be made bitterly to smart for them! Keep us, dear Saviour, that we rebel not against thee.


Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

Let me hide myself in Thee!

Let the water and the blood,

From thy riven side which flow’d,

Be of sin the double cure,

Cleanse me from its guilt and power.


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