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Home » Daily Gospel, Daily Readings, Old Testament

The Meribah Incident (Numbers 20)

Submitted by on Thursday, 4 August 2011No Comment

Today’s Readings

  • Reading I:  Numbers 20:1-13
  • Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 95
  • Gospel Reading: Matthew 16:13-23

moses-drawing-water-sm

The Meribah incident echoes the one in Exodus 17:1-7 where the people were made to drink from the waters that came out of a Rock. We are informed that the place was called the place of testing (Massah) and of contention (Meribah). In the oral traditions, the place could have been confused. The first occurence of waters from the Rock occurs at Rephidim. In Numbers 20, the Israelites find themselves in Kadesh where they have just buried Miriam. Here again we hear the Israelites grumble about the lack of water. Once more, they contend (wayyareb) with Moses and Aaron (v.3). And once more, the Lord instructs Moses about the Rock to make it give forth water. In Exodus 17:6, Yahweh tells Moses to strike the Rock with his rod. Here, he tells Moses simply to address the Rock. Moses, however, thinking that this was the same case as at Massah, struck the Rock twice. Water does gush forth, but Yahweh has been slighted. Moses did not obey.

Journey

We have already noted that in the book of Numbers, the stature of Moses grows. As the people continue to grumble the role of Moses as the Lord’s prophet and designated leader of the people is highlighted. Perhaps Moses’ growing authority before God and the people has gone into his head and for this reason he — by striking the Rock — showboated before Israel? Or perhaps Moses made a mistake by thinking that this was the same as before, and so he acted the way he did the first time? But the Lord wanted a new action, and this Moses did not obey.

Moses’ action that day cost him his place in the Promised Land because he failed to show forth the glory of the Lord.

Peter and the Keys

The Gospel selection from Matthew 16:13-23 can be divided into two parts: (a)13-20 about the Peter and the Keys, and (b) 21-23, the cross of discipleship and Peter’s misunderstanding of Jesus’ Messiahship.

We have uploaded the podcast (in Filipino) about Peter’s mission as Rock. You may listen to it below.

Inspite of Peter’s correct knowledge of Jesus’ identity, he however fails to understand Jesus’ Messiahship. He does not understand that His Messiahship is that of the Servant, and the way to His glory is through the Cross.

St. Jean-Marie Vianney on the Web

Numbers 20:1-13
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
1And the children of Israel, and all the multitude came into the desert of Sin, in the first month: and the people abode in Cades. And Mary died there, and was buried in the same place.
2And the people wanting water, came together against Moses and Aaron:
3And making a sedition, they said: Would God we had perished among our brethren before the Lord.
4Why have you brought out the church of the Lord into the wilderness, that both we and our cattle should die?
5Why have you made us come up out of Egypt, and have brought us into this wretched place which cannot be sowed, nor bringeth forth figs, nor vines, nor pomegranates, neither is there any water to drink?
6And Moses and Aaron leaving the multitude, went into the tabernacle of the covenant, and fell flat upon the ground, and cried to the Lord, and said: O Lord God, hear the cry of this people, and open to them thy treasure, a fountain of living water, that being satisfied, they may cease to murmur. And the glory of the Lord appeared over them.
7And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
8Take the rod, and assemble the people together, thou and Aaron thy brother, and speak to the rock before them, and it shall yield waters. And when thou hast brought forth water out of the rock, all the multitude and their cattle shall drink.
9Moses therefore took the rod, which was before the Lord, as he had commanded him,
10And having gathered together the multitude before the rock, he said to them: Hear, ye rebellious and incredulous: Can we bring you forth water out of this rock?
11And when Moses had lifted up his hand, and struck the rock twice with the rod, there came forth water in great abundance, so that the people and their cattle drank,
12And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron: Because you have not believed me, to sanctify me before the children of Israel, you shall not bring these people into the land, which I will give them.
13This is the Water of contradiction, where the children of Israel strove with words against the Lord, and he was sanctified in them.
Matthew 16:13-23
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
13And Jesus came into the quarters of Cesarea Philippi: and he asked his disciples, saying: Whom do men say that the Son of man is?
14But they said: Some John the Baptist, and other some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15Jesus saith to them: But whom do you say that I am?
16Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.
17And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven.
18And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
19And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.
20Then he commanded his disciples, that they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ.
21From that time Jesus began to shew to his disciples, that he must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the ancients and scribes and chief priests, and be put to death, and the third day rise again.
22And Peter taking him, began to rebuke him, saying: Lord, be it far from thee, this shall not be unto thee.
23Who turning, said to Peter: Go behind me, Satan, thou art a scandal unto me: because thou savourest not the things that are of God, but the things that are of men.
Exodus 17:1-7
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
1Then all the multitude of the children of Israel setting forward from the desert of Sin, by their mansions, according to the word of the Lord, encamped in Raphidim, where there was no water for the people to drink.
2And they chode with Moses, and said: Give us water, that we may drink. And Moses answered them: Why chide you with me? Wherefore do you tempt the Lord?
3So the people were thirsty there for want of water, and murmured against Moses, saying: Why didst thou make us go forth out of Egypt, to kill us and our children, and our beasts with thirst?
4And Moses cried to the Lord, saying: What shall I do to this people? Yet a little more and they will stone me.
5And the Lord said to Moses: God before the people, and take with thee of the ancients of Israel: and take in thy hand the rod wherewith thou didst strike the river, and go.
6Behold I will stand there before thee, upon the rock Horeb: and thou shalt strike the rock, and water shall come out of it that the people may drink. Moses did so before the ancients of Israel:
7And he called the name of that place Temptation, because the chiding of the children of Israel, and for that they tempted the Lord, saying: Is the Lord amongst us or not?
Exodus 17:6
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
6Behold I will stand there before thee, upon the rock Horeb: and thou shalt strike the rock, and water shall come out of it that the people may drink. Moses did so before the ancients of Israel:
Matthew 16:13-23
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
13And Jesus came into the quarters of Cesarea Philippi: and he asked his disciples, saying: Whom do men say that the Son of man is?
14But they said: Some John the Baptist, and other some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15Jesus saith to them: But whom do you say that I am?
16Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.
17And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven.
18And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
19And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.
20Then he commanded his disciples, that they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ.
21From that time Jesus began to shew to his disciples, that he must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the ancients and scribes and chief priests, and be put to death, and the third day rise again.
22And Peter taking him, began to rebuke him, saying: Lord, be it far from thee, this shall not be unto thee.
23Who turning, said to Peter: Go behind me, Satan, thou art a scandal unto me: because thou savourest not the things that are of God, but the things that are of men.

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