Jesus tells us that it was not God's will that there might be divorce and remarriage (as it's still the case to day)... Moses was the one that brought it in as a concession due to the hardness of men's hearts.

It's clear that this concession was not with permission from God, as Jesus came to tear up that permit, calling divorce and remarriage what it always was ADULTERY, Mark 10:11-12, Luke 16:18. The Prophet Malachi tells us that God hates divorce Malachi 2:14-16.

Malachi 2:14-16 Yet you ask, “Why?” The Lord is testifying against you on behalf of the wife you married when you were young, to whom you have become unfaithful even though she is your companion and wife by law. No one who has even a small portion of the Spirit in him does this. What did our ancestor do when seeking a child from God? Be attentive, then, to your own spirit, for one should not be disloyal to the wife he took in his youth. “I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel, “and the one who is guilty of violence,” says the Lord who rules over all. “Pay attention to your conscience, and do not be unfaithful.” [NET Bible]

Was that one of the reasons Moses was not allowed into the Promised Land the fact that he made concessions when God had not told him to do so?

  • 3
    Numbers 20.2-12 gives the reason, and divorce is not mentioned at all.
    – user2910
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 21:02
  • 1
    Also Deuteronomy 32:48-52 makes the reason clear, and - again - divorce is not the reason.Psalm 106:32-33 also comments on the incident.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 21:03
  • She wrote "divorce and remarriage concession"
    – user33515
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 23:53
  • Why did people downvote the question? Because the answer should have been obvious?
    – user33515
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 23:59
  • Her reputation is 1. If you down vote her, she'll be restricted on the site. And she was down voted in silence. The reason was not given.
    – user20490
    Commented Dec 16, 2017 at 9:26

5 Answers 5


The answer comes from Deuteronomy 32:51-52:

because you trespassed against Me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the Wilderness of Zin, because you did not hallow Me in the midst of the children of Israel.Yet you shall see the land before you, though you shall not go there, into the land which I am giving to the children of Israel.” - Deuteronomy 32:51-52

  • Hi Bonnie, welcome to the site. Good straightforward answer, upvoted +1. I added a little formatting for readability, I can roll back the changes if you don't like them. Please be sure to take the site tour, and thanks for contributing! Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 1:04

Number 20 7The Lord said to Moses, 8“Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”

9So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. 10He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” 11Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.

12But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

God told Moses to speak to the rock and Moses struck the rock instead. Moses dishonored God's holiness in the eyes of the Israelites. So God punished him and did not allow him to enter the promised land.

  1. This is the reason that God didn't allow Moses to enter the Promised Land:

Num. 20:7 - And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying,

Num. 20:8 - Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.

Num. 20:9 - And Moses took the rod from before, the LORD, as he commanded him.

Num. 20:10 - And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together, before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?

Num. 20:11 - And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts .

Num. 20:12 - And the LORD spoke unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.

Num. 20:13 - This the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the LORD, and he was sanctified in them. [See #5 below.]

  1. Perhaps Moses recalled the earlier 'fetching of water' and didn't think just speaking to the rock would do the trick - lacked trust based on the previous procedure:

Exo. 17:5 - 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.

Exo. 17:6 - 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.

Exo. 17:7 - 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?

  1. Still, tho, I find it hard to believe that God didn't take offense at the arrogance of, "Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?."

  1. As to your original reference of the NT and OT on divorce, there is a an article on this website that addresses the points:


While I don't agree that the Malachi reference belongs to this topic, perhaps other connections may be useful.

  1. Better translation? [Num. 20:13 - Growl (hamah - H1993) mi (from all) Meribah which they-contended sons-of Israel ath-with Yahweh and he [Aaron]-is-defiling-(himself) with them.]

Side Note: I never understood why Aaron was also denied the Promised Land. (Saying that it was because he was with Moses when he whacked the second rock...just didn't satisfy. Ex. 17:7 (above) says that his fatal flaw occurred at Meribah (first water-fetching in Exodus). Reading the English made no sense. Even the Hebrew inerlinear made no sense.

Tonight, I dug a little harder. Turns out that Strong's for 'qadash' has not only the meaning of 'holy' but also 'defiled' (H-6942). And on the internet, "mi" could mean "from all":

Biblical Hebrew Linguistics

www.ancient-hebrew.org/bible_linguistics.html מִכָּל (mi-kol). This base word is כל (kol) meaning "all." The prefix מ (mi) means "from." Combined, this word means "from all." מְלַאכְתֹּו (me-lakh-to). The base word is מלאכה (melakhah) meaning "business. The suffix ו (v) is the third person, masculine, singular, possessive pronoun – "of him." This word means "business of ...

It's a work in progress, but at least a new thread has been found that makes more sense - at least to me. Perhaps Aaron (as well as Miriam) complained about Moses/God.

  • I think your answer comes close to being correct, but in my opinion it is heavily obfuscated. You might consider eliminating all the Strong's references (I assume that's what they are) and simply quoting the Scriptures without all the annotations.
    – user33515
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 11:57

No. The reason that God did not allow Moses to enter the Promised Land was because Moses was the Law Giver. Think about the metaphor of Israel entering the Promised Land. Israel represents the believer and the Promised Land represents heaven. By allowing Moses to enter the Promised Land, that by allegory, would say that you could enter heaven by the works of the law. We now understand that no one is justified by the works of the law. God in keeping with the theme of His covenants (law vs grace) does not allow Moses to enter the land as entrance into His Kingdom is only by His mercy and grace via the sacrifice of Christ alone.

Also, you have some misconceptions about the law and divorce.

  • 1
    God was the "Law Giver", who gave the Law to the people through Moses. Moses wasn't the only one 'under Law' - all the Israelites were - and many entered the Promised Land. Plus, God tells us why Moses was excluded.
    – tblue
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 5:37
  • Moses was the lawgiver in the eyes of the people. Interesting to note the the version of the commandments that God actually wrote never made it to the Israelites. God instructed Moses to rewrite the commandments and that was the copy given to Israel. Also, Moses is also referred to as the lawgiver (Numbers 21:18). Fully understand about the "speaking to the rock vs strike the rock" incident. However,
    – alb
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 21:48
  • 1
    Fully understand about the "speaking to the rock vs strike the rock" incident. However, we must look at the bigger contextual picture. Remember, in order to receive the blessing of God, Israel must do "everything" written in the law (Deut 28:1-2). Allowing Moses to enter the promised land by his own strength would symbolically negate the purpose of the law. Also remember, "if you offend in one point you are guilty of all," (James 2:10)
    – alb
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 22:07
  • Okay, Moses gave the Law to the people = Law giver. If keeping all parts of the Law perfectly was required to enter the Promised Land, no one would have gotten in. Moses, however, was held to a higher standard. "To whom much is given..."
    – tblue
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 23:59
  • 1
    Exactly, that's the whole point of the law vs grace covenants. The only way Israel was sustained was by the grace of God. It was never by the works of the Law. "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." The only way anyone gets into the promised land is by the grace and mercy of God and never by the works of the Law.
    – alb
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 0:30

Its not a question of culpability, but of purpose. [[Joh 1:17]] ASV For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ./[[Joh 8:56]] ASV Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad./[[Rom 5:13]] ASV for until the law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law.[[Rom 5:14]] ASV Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the likeness of Adam's transgression, who is a figure of him that was to come./[[Gal 3:19]] ASV What then is the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise hath been made; and it was ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator./[[Gal 3:8]] ASV And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all the nations be blessed./ But Abraham is still dead! /[[Joh 6:49]] ASV Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died*[[Joh 6:51]] ASV* I am the living bread which came down out of heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: yea and the bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world./[[Joh 6:63]] ASV It is the spirit that giveth life; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I have spoken unto you are spirit, and are life./If there's a first resurrection then there's a "second" one so to speak /[[Heb 11:39]] ASV And these all, having had witness borne to them through their faith, received not the promise, /[[Heb 11:40]] ASV God having provided some better thing concerning us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect." The Talmud is another form of" ethical humanism in response to the question of" what do we do now? !".. Do not think above that which is written" see [[Pro 30:6]] ASV Add thou not unto his words, Lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar... Lord bless!

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