According to Moses:

English Standard Version Deuteronomy 1:37

Even with me [Moses] the LORD was angry on your account and said, ‘You also shall not go in there.

According to God:

Numbers 20:12

But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust Me to show My holiness in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them."

3 Answers 3


I think that conclusion is inescapable. Moses sinned but was severely provoked by the whining, whinging people. Moses lost his temper.

Note the comments of Matthew Poole:

For your sakes; upon occasion of your wickedness and perverseness, by which you provoked me to speak unadvisedly, Psalm 106:32,33.

This does not excuse Moses, but the leader must be judged more severely as James 3:1 says:

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.


Moses was warned that there would be no tolerance for breaking the Law ...

EXODUS 23:21 Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions;

They were ‘under Law’. And Moses broke it, therefore had to pay the penalty - death!

EXODUS 20:7 You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

Mose was Gods mediator, he represented God to the children of Israel. When they saw him, they saw God. Just as when he came down from Sinai, only then he wore a veil, but not here ..

NUMBERS 20:10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?”

Moses was mis-representing God, misrepresenting his [Gods] name. A clear violation of Law.

Now, did he blame ‘Israel’ for him breaking the Law? Just like Adam blaming someone? We have these words from Moses in Deuteronomy:

3:26 “But the Lord was angry with me because of you, and he would not listen to me. ‘That’s enough!’ he declared. ‘Speak of it no more.

4:21 “But the Lord was angry with me because of you. He vowed that I would not cross the Jordan River into the good land the Lord your God is giving you as your special possession.

You could certainly argue that they played a part by constantly aggravating him.

  • Moses was not a perfect man. In any case, +1
    – user35953
    Mar 11, 2021 at 23:17

Amos 3:2, “Because you only have I known of the families of the earth, therefore I will visit your iniquities upon you.” The most exacting standard of obedience is for the sake of the ministers to demonstrate (a) faith and (b) God’s mercy. The water would have been easier to draw with a rhema word only, and the people would have been shown an example of Moses’ high level of trust in God’s personality with an “ever-present help” heart to be entreated; He is not an impersonal, “divine” force to be measured by any number of attributes! So now, for Moses to revert to a revelation of how He had previously given a command that was not at present being spoken, was typical of that religious attitude that Isaiah (and other prophets quoted by Jesus) denounced in Chapter 29:13-14 - “I will AGAIN do a marvelous work” (JPS for H3254.)

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