We have been told that Moses didn't enter the Promised Land because he struck the rock rather than speak to the rock. But did God ever say that Moses would enter the Promised Land? I find that Moses was called to lead them out of Egypt...but I can't find where God say that Moses would arrive in Canaan.

Num 20:11, 12 - Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with his staff, so that a great amount of water gushed out, and the congregation and their livestock were able to drink.

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.”

  • 1
    Could you clarify this question? It appears to be two questions.
    – Perry Webb
    May 27, 2023 at 16:33
  • Welcome to the group, @deborah. Please take the tour to learn more about how it works. BTW, if I understand right, the answer is simply "no," God did not say that Moses himself would enter the promised land. May 27, 2023 at 18:00
  • 1
    Excellent question (up-voted + 1) and @Der Ubermensch has picked up on the important detail (below).
    – Nigel J
    May 27, 2023 at 18:31
  • I've edited my answer to more directly address your question,
    – Perry Webb
    May 28, 2023 at 11:33

5 Answers 5


The question is did God ever say that Moses would enter the Promised Land?

The Background why Moses didn't enter the Promise Land

In Exodus 17:6 Moses was commanded to strike the rock to get water, which he did. In Numbers 20:8 God commanded Moses to speak to the rock to get water, but he struck it. In response to Moses disobeying God by striking the rock instead of speaking to it, God said in Numbers 20:12:

And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” (Num. 20:12, ESV)

God confirmed this to Moses in Deuteronomy 3:23–26.

What God did tell Moses

God did tell Moses:

... I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.  I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the LORD.’ ” (Exodus 6:7–8, ESV)

When God called Moses, Moses would expect it to mean that he (Moses) would lead the children of Israel into the promise land. However, God only promised Moses he would lead the people to Mount Sinai. That is because God knew the future, but He concealed that from Moses for Moses to make his choice. Here is the call:

 Then the LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.  And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.  Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”  But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”  He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” (Exodus 3:7–12, ESV)

Conclusion: God did not tell Moses that he (Moses himself) would enter the promise land. That would have contradicted what actually happened. However, before the striking the stone incident, Moses would have originally expected to lead the children of Israel into the promise land by implication because of God's call.


In Gen. 17:8, God promised Abraham that He would give the land of Canaan to Abraham and his seed.

And I will give to you, and to your seed after you, the land wherein you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.

  • the OP was interested to know "did God ever say that Moses [himself] would enter the Promised Land?" May 27, 2023 at 17:58
  • 3
    This answers the question (up-voted +1) in a generic way : the promise was to all the seed of whom Moses was one. Except that Paul interprets 'seed' as singular and therefore relating to Christ, not to the plurality of seed. The question could focus on 'seed' being singular or plural (in the Hebrew) in Genesis 17:8. The spirituality of this is that the promise is of the everlasting Testament and relates to Christ and the church and the world to come.
    – Nigel J
    May 27, 2023 at 18:29
  • 1
    @NigelJ it is clearly plural - in the same verse it is written "וְהָיִ֥יתִי לָהֶ֖ם לֵֽאלֹהִֽים".
    – A. Meshu
    May 27, 2023 at 20:23

God keeps His promises. Even if He did tell Moses that He would bring him into the Promised Land. He still kept His end of the bargain. Just not as you might expect. We find in Matthew 17:1

Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.

Where is Moses here? In the Promised Land with Christ. God did bring him into the Promised Land.


The divine call of Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt into the promised land is contained in the conversation between God and Moses in Ex 3

Ex 3:16, 17 - Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—has appeared to me and said: I have surely attended to you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. And I have promised to bring you up out of your affliction in Egypt, into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’

The primary reason for this is given in Ex 6 - God wanted to fulfil His covenant of the gift of the promised land to the descendants of Abraham:

Ex 6:2-5 - God also told Moses, “I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by My name the LORD I did not make Myself known to them. I also established My covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land where they lived as foreigners. Furthermore, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered My covenant.


So many say Moses was never promised to enter the Promised land, the issue is, if he wasnt promised to enter the land, then theirs no punishment for him not making it. God told him to take his people UNTO the land that was promised unto Abraham and his seeds. Keyword UNTO meaning on the land.


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