Exodus 17

God gives water out of a rock

1 Then all the Israelites continued to travel on from the desert called Sin. They moved from one place to another, as the Lord told them. When they arrived at Rephidim, they put up their tents there. But there was no water for the people to drink. 2 Because of this, the people quarrelled with Moses. They said, ‘Give us water to drink!’ Moses said to them, ‘You should not quarrel with me! You should not try to test the Lord!’

3 But the people needed water to drink. They complained against Moses. They said, ‘You should not have brought us out of Egypt! You will kill us and our children and our animals. We will all die, because we have no water to drink.’

4 Then Moses called to the Lord for help. He said, ‘What can I do with these people? They will soon be throwing stones at me to kill me.’

5 The Lord said to Moses, ‘Take some of the leaders of the Israelites with you and go in front of the people. Take your stick in your hand. Take the stick that you used to hit the River Nile. Now go! 6 I will stand there, in front of you, by the rock at Horeb. Hit the rock with your stick, and water will come out of it. Then the people can drink.’ So Moses did this, while the leaders of the Israelites watched him.

7 Moses called that place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarrelled there. They tried to test the Lord to see what he would do. They said, ‘Let us see if the Lord is really with us. Will he help us, or not?’

17:7‘Massah’ means ‘a test’. ‘Meribah’ means ‘a quarrel’.

The Israelites fight the Amalekites

8 At Rephidim, the Amalekites came and they fought against the Israelites. 9 Moses said to Joshua, ‘Choose some of our men. Then go out with them and fight against the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill, and I will hold God's stick in my hand.’

10 So Joshua fought against the Amalekites. He did what Moses had told him to do. Moses, Aaron and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 When Moses lifted up his hands, the Israelites were winning in the fight. But when Moses brought his hands down, the Amalekites were winning. 12 Moses hands became very tired. So Aaron and Hur put a big stone under Moses for him to sit on. Then Aaron and Hur held up Moses' hands. Aaron stood on one side of Moses, and Hur stood on the other side. They held his hands up, until sunset. 13 As a result, Joshua and his men won against the Amalekite army in the fight.

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Write down what happened here in a book. Then people will remember it. Read it aloud for Joshua to hear. Say that I will completely destroy all the Amalekites. Nobody in the whole world will think about them.’

15 Then Moses used big stones to build an altar. He called it ‘The Lord is my flag in war’. 16 Moses said, ‘Take hold of the Lord's flag! The Lord will always continue to fight against the Amalekites.’

17:16A flag is a large piece of cloth that someone fixes to a stick. Soldiers carry flags when they go to fight in a war. The flag is like a sign for the soldiers.