Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Mansions, at Daphca, (Numbers xxxiii. 12,) and perhaps at Aluz. (Calmet) — Raphidim, the 11th station mentioned by Moses, which was afterwards called Massa, “temptation,” because the people murmured in this place. (Menochius)
Ver. 2. Chode, quarrelled and murmured. (Haydock) — Tempt, requiring a miracle, ver. 7.
Ver. 6. Before thee, ready to grant thy request at Horeb, a rock to the west of Sinai, and a figure of Jesus Christ, according to St. Paul; who says, (1 Corinthians x. 4,) that the spiritual rock followed the Hebrews. Some say a part of the real rock was carried in a chariot. (St. Chrysostom) Others, that the rivulet of waters accompanied them till it fell into the sea near Asiengaber. (Usher.) — The Rabbins say, that these waters never failed the Israelites till the death of Mary, for whose sake they were given, and that the bright cloud disappeared with Aaron, and manna at the decease of Moses.
Ver. 7. Temptation. Massa and Meriba “quarrel,” as the Hebrew reads.
Ver. 8. Amalec. The descendants of Esau by his grandson, living about the Red Sea.
Ver. 9. Josue, who was before called Osee, or Ausem, was the son of Nun. From the victory obtained over the Amalecites, he was ever after called Josue, Jehosuah, or Jesus, “Saviour.” He attached himself to Moses, and is styled his servant, as Patroclus and Merione are called servants of Achilles and of Idomen, by Homer; though they were men of high birth. — Hand, to defend the cause of the Hebrews by a miracle, if it be requisite.
Ver. 10. Hur, grandfather of Beseleel, (1 Paralipomenon ii. 19,) grandson of Esron by Caleb.
Ver. 11. And when Moses lifted up his hands. Here Moses was a figure of Christ on the cross, by whose power and mediation we overcome our spiritual enemies. (Challoner) — Hands, forming the sign of the cross, as the fathers observe, in the posture of a suppliant. St. Jerome says, the people fasted also till the evening. (contra Jos. ii.) (Calmet) — If heretics deride the priests of God, standing with their hands extended at the altar, let them reflect on Moses, and on Jesus Christ, who, lifting up his hands, blessed his disciples; and hence learn, that such ceremonies are not vain. (Worthington)
Ver. 14. Of Josue, and of all who shall govern after him, that they may remember to execute my decree of extermination, against these cruel Amalecites, who have first dared to oppose the progress of my dejected people. (Haydock) — Moses mentions, that they particularly attacked the feeble and stragglers, (Deuteronomy xxv. 18,) though their army was very formidable, Judith iv. 13. Saul received an express order to destroy this nation; and he made such havoc among them, that they never rose again to any importance, and were confounded with the Idumeans, 1 Kings xv. 3. (Calmet)
Ver. 15. Exaltation. He has given me the victory. He has supported my hands on high, holding the rod as a standard. (Haydock)
Ver. 16. Hand of the throne. The Lord hath lifted up his hand, and sworn on his throne, that war, &c., (Chaldean) or the hand of Amalec hath attacked the throne (Israel, the inheritance) of the Lord; therefore shall he pursue them for ever. The Septuagint have followed a different reading, “because with a secret hand the Lord will fight; and some suggest, that instead of ces, throne, we should read nos, signal, or standard.” Since the hand has attacked the standard of the Lord, the war of the Lord is against Amalec. (Le Clerc.) — Or “the Lord has taken his standard into his hand to destroy the Amalecites for ever.” (Chateillon.) (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The people murmur again for want of drink: the Lord giveth them water out of a rock. Moses lifting up his hand in prayer, Amalec is overcome.
1 Then all the multitude of the children of Israel setting forward *from the desert of Sin, by their mansions, according to the word of the Lord, encamped in Raphidim, where there was no water for the people to drink.
2 *And they chode with Moses, and said: Give us water, that we may drink. And Moses answered them: Why chide you with me? Wherefore do you tempt the Lord?
3 So the people were thirsty there for want of water, and murmured against Moses, saying: Why didst thou make us go forth out of Egypt, to kill us and our children, and our beasts with thirst?
4 And Moses cried to the Lord, saying: What shall I do to this people? Yet a little more and they will stone me.
5 And the Lord said to Moses: Go before the people, and take with thee of the ancients of Israel: and take in thy hand the rod wherewith thou didst strike the river, *and go.
6 Behold I will stand there before thee, upon the rock Horeb: and thou shalt strike the rock, and water shall come out of it that the people may drink. Moses did so before the ancients of Israel:
7 And he called the name of that place Temptation, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and for that they tempted the Lord, saying: Is the Lord amongst us or not?
8 *And Amalec came, and fought against Israel in Raphidim.
9 And Moses said to Josue: Choose out men; and go out and fight against Amalec: to-morrow I will stand on the top of the hill, having the rod of God in my hand.
10 Josue did as Moses had spoken, and he fought against Amalec; but Moses, and Aaron, and Hur, went up upon the top of the hill.
11 And when Moses lifted up his hands, Israel overcame: but if he let them down a little, Amalec overcame.
12 And Moses’ hands were heavy: so they took a stone, and put under him, and he sat on it: and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands on both sides. And it came to pass, that his hands were not weary until sunset.
13 And Josue put Amalec and his people to flight, by the edge of the sword.
14 And the Lord said to Moses: Write this for a memorial in a book, and deliver it to the ears of Josue; for I will destroy the memory of Amalec from under heaven.
15 And Moses built an altar; and called the name thereof, The Lord, my exaltation, saying:
16 Because the hand of the throne of the Lord, and the war of the Lord shall be against Amalec, from generation to generation.
1: Year of the World 2513.
2: Numbers xx. 41.
5: Exodus xiv. 21.; Psalm lxxvii. 15.; 1 Corinthians x. 4.
8: Deuteronomy xxv. 17.; Judith iv. 13.; Wisdom xi. 3.