God ordered him to smite the rock, and fetch water out of it;
and he did so, ver. 5, 6.
The place named from it, ver. 7.
The defeating of the host of Amalek.
The victory obtained by the prayer of Moses, ver. 8 - 12.
By the sword of Joshua, ver. 13
A record kept of it, ver.14 - 16.
1: They journeyed according to the commandment of the Lord, led by
the pillar of cloud and fire, and yet they came to a place where there was
no water for them to drink - We may be in the way of our duty, and yet
meet with troubles, which Providence brings us into for the trial of our
5: Go on before the people - Though they spake of stoning him. He
must take his rod with him, not to summon some plague to chastise them,
but to fetch water for their supply. O the wonderful patience and
forbearance of God towards provoking sinners! He maintains those that are
at war with him, and reaches out the hand of his bounty to those that lift
up the heel against him. If God had only shewed Moses a fountain of
water in the wilderness, as he did to Hagar, not far from hence,(Ge 21:19), that had been a great favour; but that he might shew his
power as well as his pity, and make it a miracle of mercy, he gave them
water out of a rock. He directed Moses whither to go, appointed him
to take of the elders of Israel with him, to be witnesses of what was
done, ordered him to smite the rock, which he did, and immediately water
came out of it in great abundance, which ran throughout the camp in
streams and rivers, (Ps 78:15,16), and followed them wherever they
went in that wilderness: God shewed his care of his people in giving them
water when they wanted it; his own power in fetching it out of a rock, and
put an honour upon Moses in appointing the water to flow out upon his
smiting of the rock. This fair water that came out of the rock is called
honey and oil, (De 32:13), because the people's thirst made it
doubly pleasant; coming when they were in extreme want. It is probable that
the people digged canals for the conveyance of it, and pools for the
reception of it. Let this direct us to live in a dependance,
Upon God's providence even in the greatest straits and difficulties;
And upon Christ's grace; that rock was Christ, (1Co 10:4).
The graces and comforts of the Spirit are compared to rivers of living
waters, (Joh 7:38,39,4:14). These flow from Christ. And nothing
will supply the needs and satisfy the desires of a soul but water out of
this rock. A new name was upon this occasion given to the place, preserving
the remembrance of their murmuring, Massah - Temptation, because they
tempted God, Meribah - Strife, because they chide with Moses.
8: Then Amalek came and fought with Israel - The Amalekites were
the posterity of Esau, who hated Jacob because of the birth - right
and blessing. They did not boldly front them as a generous enemy, but
without any provocation given, basely fell upon their rear, and smote them
that were faint and feeble.
9: I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my
land - See how God qualifies his people for, and calls them to various
services for the good of his church; Joshua fights, Moses prays, and
both minister to Israel. This rod Moses held up, not so much to
Israel as to animate them; as to God by way of appeal to him; Is not the
battle the Lord's? Is not he able to help, and engaged to help? Witness
this rod! Moses was not only a standard - bearer, but an intercessor,
pleading with God for success and victory.
10: Hur is supposed to have been the husband of Miriam.
11: And when Moses held vp his hand in prayer (so the
Chaldee explains it) Israel prevailed, but when he let down his
hand from prayer, Amalek prevailed - To convince Israel that the
hand of Moses (with whom they had just now been chiding) contributed
more to their safety than their own hands; the success rises and falls, as
Moses lifts up or lets down his hand. The church's cause is ordinarily
more or less successful, according as the church's friends are more or less
fervent in prayer.
13: Though God gave the victory, yet it is said Joshua discomfited
Amalek, because Joshua was a type of Christ, and of the same name,
and in him it is that we are more than conquerors.
15: And Moses built an altar, and called it Jehovah - niffi - The
Lord is my banner. The presence and power of Jehovah was the banner
under which they were lifted, by which they were animated, and kept
together, and therefore which they erected in the day of their triumph. In
the name of our God we must always lift up our banners: He that doth all the
work should have all the praise. Write this for a memorial - This is the
first mention of writing we find in scripture; and perhaps the command
was not given till after the writing of the law on tables of stone.