Exodus 17 - Outline of Exodus (Book Notes menu page)
17:1 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
{meaning: "resting places"}:
and [there was] no water for the people to drink.
17:2 Wherefore the people did chide
{ie., strive, contend} 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?
17:3 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?
17:4 And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying,
What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.
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.
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.
17:7 And he called the name of the place Massah
{"temptation"}, and Meribah {"contention"},
because of the chiding of the children of Israel,
and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?
the people thirsted... murmured... tested God {cp. v.7b}... -
Unbelief questions God: 'What shall we eat' (Ex 16:3) and 'What shall we drink' (v.3).
Faith is satisfied with God, and finds in Him its 'resting place' (cp. Mat 6:25-34).
the rock...- A picture of the One who is faithful and true, even when our faith falters.
cp. Deu 32:4; Psa 61:2; 78:35; Gen 49:24; 1Pet 2:6-8
thou shalt smite the rock...- with the rod which smote the river...
  • In Egypt, the rod smote the river, exercising judgment upon a false god, and making the LORD known (Ex 7:17-21).
  • Here, the rod is exercised in judgment upon the sin of Israel (ie., their faithless murmuring and complaining), but the judgment falls upon the smitten Rock. cp. Isa 53:4,5
water out of the rock - cp. 1Cor 10:1-4; Joh 7:37-39
  • When judgment fell upon Egypt, the waters became blood because of sin, and no one could drink.
    When judgment fell upon the Savior, His blood was shed for our sin, so that we may drink living water, the life giving stream, which flows from Him...
  • The outflowing of the Holy Spirit, opened to us by the smitten Rock (the Christ who died for us), supplies life to believers,
    enabling them to endure trials and to overcome temptations. Rom 8:2,10,11; cp. 1Cor 10:13 (the Lord will "make a way of escape" {alternate translation: "bring forth an issue"} out of temptation...)
  • The Rock, smitten once, was not to be smitten again.-
    • Moses' disobedience, on this point (at a later occasion, Num 20:8-12), distorted the picture of Christ's finished work.
      Christ's one sacrifice, offered once for all, is sufficient to meet all our need.
      The believer, having obtained access by Him, is simply to approach and speak to Him regarding his need. cp. Heb 9:25-28; 10:11-22; 4:14-16
      To 'smite Him again' would be a shameful demonstration of unbelief (cp. Heb 6:6).
    • Also observe that, in contrast to Moses' second approach to the Rock (in Num 20:8-12),
      the believer's approach should be in humility, with an attitude of waiting upon Him, rather than of demanding or commanding Him to take an action. 1Pet 5:5-8
17:8 Then came Amalek {a nation descended from a grandson of Esau, Gen 36:12},
and fought with Israel in Rephidim.
17:9 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.
17:10 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.
...Amalek... fought with Israel in Rephidim {ie., 'resting places'}.-
While Israel was at rest and refreshed by water from the Rock, Amalek ambushed the camp, taking advantage of those who were weak and on the periphery (Deu 25:17,18).
Hur - Four men with this name are mentioned in scripture, in different time periods.
According to Josephus, Jewish tradition identifies this Hur as the husband of Miriam, Moses' sister.
17:11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed:
and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
17:12 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.
17:13 And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
17:14 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.
17:15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi:
17:16 For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn
[that] the LORD [will have] war with Amalek from generation to generation.
go out... fight with Amalek.-
Up to this point, the LORD fought for His people (Ex 14:14). Now, He fights in or by them.
Christ defeated Satan (corresponding to Pharaoh) for us. Now, the Holy Spirit wars against the flesh (corresponding to Amalek) within us (Rom 7:18; 2Cor 10:3-5; Gal 5:16,17).
when Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed...-
Note that the battle was not won on the battlefield, but in the place of prayer. cp. Eph 6:17,18
but Moses's hands were heavy...-
The flesh, being weak, could neither prevail in battle, nor continue in prayer. cp. Mat 26:41
But the One to whom we lift our hands, helps us in our weakness, and never wearies in His work of intercession for us. Rom 8:26; Heb 7:25
with the rod of God in mine hand... (v.9) - The power was not in Moses' hands,
but in the "rod of God" by which judgment was exercised upon sin, whether the unbelief of Egypt, the contention of Israel at Meribah, or the opposition of Amalek at Rephidim. The LORD's judgment upon sin will finally prevail to put away sin entirely. (cp. Isa 49:1-6; Heb 9:28)
Jehovah-nissi - meaning: The LORD is my banner.
He is the believer's assurance of victory. He is our King. Our battles are fought with His resources, not our own.
the remembrance of Amalek to be wiped out... (v.14) -
  • Because the descendants of Amalek sought to destroy Israel, though they were related to them, God would destroy Amalek's name and nation. cp. Deu 25:17-19; 1Sam 15:1-3,7-11
       Yet, because Israel could not (or would not) complete this task, Amalek would continue to trouble them throughout OT times. But final victory is assured. cp. Psa 83
  • Amalek, like his father Esau, pictures the flesh, which is contrary to God and His ways.
       In this life, believers continually struggle against their own fleshly nature, prevailing to the extent that they yield to the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:16-26). But there is coming a day, when the battle will be done, and the flesh will no longer trouble God's people. 1Cor 15:51-58; Php 3:20,21

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