Brothers At War


Are there broken relationships you need to attend to?


Lord, awaken my heart and awaken Your church. Let us be the light that shows the way of life to the world.


Numbers 20:14-29


What is the posture of Edom toward Israel in their troubles?

It's not clear what year out of the 40 we are in (verse 1 doesn't say), but it sounds like Moses is setting a course for the Promised Land now. A "fax" arrives in Edom's central intelligence service: "Israelites coming through--claiming they were badly treated in Egypt--they're bringing their own bottled water with them. Can we let them through?" And the answer is "No." This is not just a disaster for Israel. It is also extraordinarily harsh, since Edom was the alternative name for Esau, Jacob's brother (cf. Gen. 25:30--"Edom" meant "red," so perhaps it was a nickname; cf. Gen. 36:1).

So, in theory, the Edomites were like a brother nation to them, though with a long history of hostility (cf. Gen. 25:22). Deuteronomy 23:7 suggests that one outcome from this incident might be that Israel will hate Edom. But God holds them to a higher standard than that.

In the remainder of the passage, Aaron gets the same judgment as Moses did. He dies. And Israel mourns.

There's not a lot of hope in this passage. The Bible's okay with that. At least sometimes.


Israel and Esau are not yet walking in God's design for unity. Are there broken relationships you need to attend to?


Lord, thank You that You walk with us in the valleys and that we can depend on You when others fail us.

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