King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Exodus 17

The Israelites murmur for water at Rephidim, God sendeth it out of the rock. (1-7) Amalek overcome, The prayers of Moses. (8-16)

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The Israelites murmur for water at Rephidim, God sendeth it out of the rock

1 And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink.

2 Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?

3 And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?

4 And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.

5 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go.

6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

7 And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?

Amalek overcome, The prayers of Moses

8 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.

9 And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.

10 So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.

11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.

12 But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.

13 And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

14 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.

15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi:

16 For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Mansions, at Daphca, (Num. xxxiii. 12,) and perhaps at Aluz. C. — Raphidim, the 11th station mentioned by Moses, which was afterwards called Massa, “temptation,” because the people murmured in this place. M.

Ver. 2. Chode, quarrelled and murmured. H. — Tempt, requiring a miracle, v. 7.

Ver. 6. Before thee, ready to grant thy request at Horeb, a rock to the west of Sinai, and a figure of Jesus Christ, according to S. Paul; who says, (1 Cor. x. 4,) that the spiritual rock followed the Hebrews. Some say a part of the real rock was carried in a chariot. S. Chrys. Others, that the rivulet of waters accompanied them till it fell into the sea near Asiengaber. Usher. — The Rabbins say, that these waters never failed the Israelites till the death of Mary, for whose sake they were given, and that the bright cloud disappeared with Aaron, and manna at the decease of Moses.

Ver. 7. Temptation. Massa and Meriba “quarrel,” as the Heb. reads.

Ver. 8. Amalec. The descendants of Esau by his grandson, living about the Red Sea.

Ver. 9. Josue, who was before called Osee, or Ausem, was the son of Nun. From the victory obtained over the Amalecites, he was ever after called Josue, Jehosuah, or Jesus, “Saviour.” He attached himself to Moses, and is styled his servant, as Patroclus and Merione are called servants of Achilles and of Idomen, by Homer; though they were men of high birth. — Hand, to defend the cause of the Hebrews by a miracle, if it be requisite.

Ver. 10. Hur, grandfather of Beseleel, (1 Par. ii. 19,) grandson of Esron by Caleb.

Ver. 11. And when Moses lifted up his hands. Here Moses was a figure of Christ on the cross, by whose power and mediation we overcome our spiritual enemies. Ch. — Hands, forming the sign of the cross, as the fathers observe, in the posture of a suppliant. S. Jerom says, the people fasted also till the evening, c. Jos. ii. C. — If heretics deride the priests of God, standing with their hands extended at the altar, let them reflect on Moses, and on Jesus Christ, who, lifting up his hands, blessed his disciples; and hence learn, that such ceremonies are not vain. W.

Ver. 14. Of Josue, and of all who shall govern after him, that they may remember to execute my decree of extermination, against these cruel Amalecites, who have first dared to oppose the progress of my dejected people. H. — Moses mentions, that they particularly attacked the feeble and stragglers, (Deut. xxv. 18,) though their army was very formidable. Judith iv. 13. Saul received an express order to destroy this nation; and he made such havoc among them, that they never rose again to any importance, and were confounded with the Idumeans. 1 K. xv. 3. C.

Ver. 15. Exaltation. He has given me the victory. He has supported my hands on high, holding the rod as a standard. H.

Ver. 16. Hand of the throne. The Lord hath lifted up his hand, and sworn on his throne, that war, &c. (Chald.) or the hand of Amalec hath attacked the throne (Israel, the inheritance) of the Lord; therefore shall he pursue them for ever. The Sept. have followed a different reading, “because with a secret hand the Lord will fight; and some suggest, that instead of ces, throne, we should read nos, signal, or standard.“ Since the hand has attacked the standard of the Lord, the war of the Lord is against Amalec. Le Clerc. — Or “the Lord has taken his standard into his hand to destroy the Amalecites for ever.” Chateillon. C.