Numbers 20:14-29

14 From Kadesh Moses then sent messengers to the king of Edom: “Thus your brother Israel has said, ‘You know all the hardship that has befallen us; 15 that our fathers went down to Egypt, and we stayed in Egypt a long time, and the Egyptians treated us and our fathers badly. 16 But when we cried out to the Lord, He heard our voice and sent an angel and brought us out from Egypt; now behold, we are at Kadesh, a town on the edge of your territory. 17 Please let us pass through your land. We will not pass through field or through vineyard; we will not even drink water from a well. We will go along the king’s highway, not turning to the right or left, until we pass through your territory.’”

18 Edom, however, said to him, “You shall not pass through [e]us, or I will come out with the sword against you.” 19 Again, the sons of Israel said to him, “We will go up by the highway, and if I and my livestock do drink any of your water, then I will [f]pay its price. Let me only pass through on my feet, [g]nothing else.” 20 But he said, “You shall not pass through.” And Edom came out against him with a heavy [h]force and with a strong hand. 21 Thus Edom refused to allow Israel to pass through his territory; so Israel turned away from him.

22 Now when they set out from Kadesh, the sons of Israel, the whole congregation, came to Mount Hor.

Death of Aaron

23 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron at Mount Hor by the border of the land of Edom, saying, 24 “Aaron will be gathered to his people; for he shall not enter the land which I have given to the sons of Israel, because you rebelled against My [i]command at the waters of Meribah. 25 Take Aaron and his son Eleazar and bring them up to Mount Hor; 26 and strip Aaron of his garments and put them on his son Eleazar. So Aaron will be gathered to his people, and will die there.” 27 So Moses did just as the Lord had commanded, and they went up to Mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation. 28 After Moses had stripped Aaron of his garments and put them on his son Eleazar, Aaron died there on the mountain top. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. 29 When all the congregation saw that Aaron had died, all the house of Israel wept for Aaron thirty days.

The Edomites were close kin to the Israelites (literally descended from brothers, Jacob and Esau), so Moses’ request was totally reasonable. But some folks don’t care about family, and that ought not to be. You should hold family closer than anyone. The king of Edom goes down forever as a stubborn and unreasonable man, a toddler in a tyrant’s garb.

On the other side, while some had squabbled with Aaron in the past, we see that when he died, the whole country mourned for thirty days. But I think this points to a quandary of sorts. We should not strive to be remembered, but work to make God known. When we do that, he reveals to us the true value that he has placed within. And who knows, you may be exalted or remembered on this earth after you are gone, but in heaven you will have eternal reward if you put God first.

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