The Lord Provides for the Children of Israel
The Israelites took up their journey again in the wilderness. Day after day they marched forward, led by Moses and Aaron until at last all their food had been eaten and even their cattle had been devoured. The men and women were very tired and hungry and the children began to cry out in distress.
Not knowing where they were going and how they would be fed, they began to complain and murmur against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. They said: "It was better for us to die in the land of Egypt when we sat by the flesh pots and when we had plenty of bread to eat. Why has Moses brought us into this wilderness to kill us with hunger?" And the air was full of their cries and complaints and Moses did not know what to do.
The Lord spoke again unto Moses and said: "I have not forgotten the people of Israel in the wilderness, but I know they need food to eat, therefore, I will rain bread from heaven and the people shall go out and gather it every morning, one day's supply at a time and on the sixth day they shall gather two days' supply that they may have food for the Sabbath."
The Lord told Moses that in the evenings he would send flesh for the people of Israel to eat and in the mornings he would send bread for them to eat. And so it happened that every evening quails came up and covered the camp and the people gathered them and had meat to eat. In the morning there lay upon the ground a small round thing which the people called manna and which was bread for them to eat. When the people had gathered enough quail for one day then all the quails were gone and when the people had gathered enough manna for one day then all the manna was gone. The Lord gave only one day's supply at a time except on the sixth day when he gave enough also for the Sabbath.
Those who were greedy and gathered too much found they had just enough, and those who had gathered less found they had no lack, every man had enough for his eating. In this way the Lord fed the children of Israel as long as they wandered in the wilderness.
But a wilderness is also a very dreary place and there is not much water in such a land. At one place there was no water for the people to drink and thousands of them were thirsty and began again to murmur against Moses and Aaron saying: "We will die of thirst in this land. Why have you brought us out of the land of Egypt to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst? There are in Egypt many wells and springs of water and here in this desert our tongues are parched and our children cry unto us for drink." And they were almost ready to stone Moses.
Moses went again unto the Lord and asked him what he was to do. The Lord said unto Moses:
"Take your rod in your hand and stand upon the rock in Horeb and smite the rock and water shall come out of it that the people may drink." And Moses did as the Lord told him and smote the rock with his rod in the presence of the people of Israel. A great stream of pure clear water came out of the rocks for the thirsty people, and they knelt down and drank and relieved their thirst. Then again they knew that the Lord would care for them in their journey through the wilderness.
There were also enemies in the land of the wilderness who sought to hinder the people of Israel as they went on their journey. There were savage tribes who fought with them and while the people of Israel were a peaceful people and were not well provided with instruments of war yet the Lord was on their side and did not allow their enemies to prevail against them.
Upon one occasion the Amalekites attacked the children of Israel and fought with them. The Amalekites were very fierce and the people of Israel were afraid of them. Moses said unto Joshua, who was one of his captains: "Choose the best men that you have and make them go out and fight with the Amalekites, and I will go and stand upon the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand."
Joshua did as Moses told him, gathered his bravest men and went out to fight with the Amalekites upon the plains of the wilderness, while Moses and Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. The men of Israel and the Amalekites began a terrible fight, for Joshua wished to drive away the Amalekites who had come to destroy the children of Israel.
Moses stood on the hill and saw the men of Israel engage in battle with their enemies. Then Moses held up his hand and so long as his hand was held up the hosts of Israel prevailed. When Moses became too tired to hold up his hand and let it down the Amalekites prevailed.
Moses' hands were heavy and he was old and tired and so they took a stone and put it under him and he sat down, then Aaron held up one of his hands and Hur held up the other hand and so they were steady until the sun went down.
Joshua overthrew the Amalekites and slew many of them with the sword and they came no more to disturb the hosts of Israel. Moses came down from the mount and built an altar in the name of the Lord who had given him victory.