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After the Exodus, Rephidim was one of the Bible Places where the Israelites camped prior to their arrival at Mount Sinai. Difficulties were encountered at Rephidim, at least one of which was a direct result of their lack of faith. When they ran out of water, rather than trusting The Lord, Who had been displaying one miracle after another before them since they left Egypt, they threatened to stone Moses. Not long after, they were attacked by the Amalekites, but again The Lord delivered them.

Map Of Israel's Wilderness Journey


They should have known better; The Lord had just days before miraculously fed them with manna (Exodus 16:31). But, when they then ran out of water, the carnal-minded people again ran out of what little faith that they had (it was their lack of faith that made their journey much longer than it needed to have been, and for many, a journey that was never completed - see the Fact Finder question below). Nevertheless, another miracle was provided to them, through Moses :

"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 [see Rock Of Ages], and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink."

"Wherefore the people did chide 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?"

"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?"

"And Moses cried unto The Lord, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me."

"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. 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. 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?" (Exodus 17:1-7 KJV)

With the water problem solved, they then came under attack by the Amalekites. The battle was taken up by Israelites under the command of Joshua, keeping in mind that Moses was then over 80 years old - without doubt still formidable (considering that he lived to 120), but the field of battle has always been a place for young men (most of the best battlefield commanders tend to be in their 30s and 40s, while most of the best battlefield troops are in their late teens and 20s; lots of hutzpah, but not yet too many memories and lessons of the consequences of it, that sometimes results in excessive caution later - young men win battles, old men win wars). That's not to say that Moses wasn't involved in the engagement; he well-served the role of a headquarters general and strategist, overseeing the success of the operation from the high ground:

"Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. 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."

"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."

"And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed."

"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."

"And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword."

"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."

"And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi: For he said, Because The Lord hath sworn that The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation." (Exodus 17:8-16 KJV)

From their encampment at Rephidim, the Israelites proceeded to Mount Sinai:

"In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai.For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount." (Exodus 19:1-2 KJV)

Fact Finder: Why did almost none of the adult Israelites who came out of Egypt in the Exodus make it to the Promised Land? Why did they spend 40 years on a journey that could have been completed in 40 days?
See A Journey Without A Destination

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