Numbers 20: 14-
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An Israelite Messenger's Thoughts
The time had finally come for us Israelites to move toward the Promised Land.
I was only a kid when the ten spies talked my parents and all their friends into staying away from the land God promised. Now that I'm older, and we're about to go into the land, I can't understand why my parents listened to them.
We'd camped in Kadesh, a city to the south of the Promised Land, to spend time learning the Lord's rules. Classes ended, next we needed to leave. The best way to get to the Promised Land would be to cross over the mountains into Edom then head north.
Moses chose a few of us to take a message to the king of Edom, asking permission to enter the land. Before we left he said, "Tell the king this message:
You know all the hardship we've been through, our slavery in Egypt and how they beat us. When we cried out to the Lord, He heard our voice, sent the Angel, and brought us up out of Egypt.
We're camped in Kadesh, a city on the edge of your border. Please let us pass through your country. We won't go into your fields, vineyards, or drink from your wells. We'll stay on the King's Highway until we pass through your territory.
Moses sent us off with a blessing. The two other messengers and I crossed over the mountains into Edom, found the king then asked for permission to speak with him. He didn't serve us any drink or offer a meeting place. That was my first clue he didn't want us there.
The king picked up his drink down then walked toward us. "You must be kidding me. Why would the my people, the children of Esau, let your people, the children of Jacob pass through our land?" He shook his head and gave a dastardly laugh. "After Jacob stole the family birthright, it'd dishonor our father, Esau, to deal with you kindly. No, go away and stay off our land."
He sipped his drink then slammed the goblet down on a table. "If any of you dare set a foot on this land, I will come against you with the sword."
I bowed to the king. "If it pleases my Lord, I speak for our leader, Moses. He wishes you to know we would go only by the Highway, and if any of us or our livestock drink any of your water, we will gladly pay for it."
His face grew red. "It doesn't please me. You shall not pass through this great land of Edom, not you, or any member of Jacob's family."
Well, that didn't go well. His soldiers pushed us out of the chamber with the tips of their sword in our back. We ran like jackrabbits across the border back to Kadesh.
Moses came out to greet us. "What did the king say?" He only had to look at our faces to know the answer.
"He said if we stepped on their land, he'd bring his army against us."
Moses looked to the north. "All right then, even though the road is rough, we'll have to travel on this side of the mountains. The Lord will protest us."
He called the camp to the meeting place. "People of Israel, we'll move forward tomorrow. Our path will keep us on this side of the mountains since the king of Edom refuses to let us pass through his land. The journey won't be the best, but be sure in your heart the Lord will protect us."
We prepared to leave the next morning. As we set out, the great army from Edom appeared in mountain pass. They held out their swords, ready to attack.
After seeing the Edomite army, the Israelites gladly stayed off their land.
1. What wouldn't the king of Edom share?
2. Why wouldn't he share?
3. The king talked about Jacob and Esau, who were they?
4. What did the Israelites decide to do?
The Bible tells us in a later book (Ezekiel 35) that the land of Edom was punished for not allowing the Israelites pass through their King's Highway.