In Numbers 20, why did Moses and Aaron sin when they struck the rock?

Full Question

When Moses and Aaron got water from the rock in Numbers 20, what exactly did they do wrong that caused them to be punished?


If you re-read Numbers 20:6–11, you’ll see that Moses and Aaron did not do as the Lord commanded them to do. He asked them to speak to the rock and told them that it would bring forth water. Instead, Moses and Aaron decided to strike the rock for water, which was a method of obtaining water that had previously been successful for them (Ex. 17:5–7). In other words, they decided to ignore the Lord’s request and go with what had worked before, which demonstrated a lack of faith (Num. 20:12) and, arguably, superstition (CCC 2111).

What do you think?

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  1. Please forgive my ignorance of the scriptures but I was of the mind that Moses struck the rock TWICE instead of the one strike he was instructed to make thus displaying a little doubt in the Lord.

  2. The Water of Meribah
    8 “Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink.”
    9 So Moses took the rod from before the Lord, just as He had commanded him; 10 and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank.

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Written by Raphael Benedict

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