Do Moses and Aaron Sin at the waters of Meribah?

Daniel Nascimento*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Num 20,1-13 apparently re-edits the water miracle of Exod 17,1-7. The outcome, however, is far more dramatic. By striking a rock in the wilderness, Moses manages again to supply water to the thirsting people, but he and Aaron receive a heavy sanction. They will not be able to lead the people into the Promised Land. The reason for this punishment is obscure, and many interpreters throughout the centuries have ventured to propose different motives. By a close reading of the text as it stands, particularly the discrepancies between the commands of God and their execution by the leaders, we argue that a more holistic solution can be found to this difficult problem. Instead of a specific action or gesture, it is the overall posture of Moses and Aaron that conditions the outcome.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-213
Number of pages22
JournalHorizons in Biblical Theology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2023


  • Meribah
  • Rebellion in the wilderness
  • Transgression of the leaders


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