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The Israelites had come from the wilderness of Sin. At Rephidim, the Israelites found no water to drink, and in their distress they blamed Moses for their troubles, to the point where Moses feared that they would stone him ([Exodus 17:4|). God commanded Moses to speak to a certain "rock in Horeb," which would cause a stream to flow from it, thus providing ample water for all of the people and animals(Numbers 20:8). Moses spoke to the people with whom he had become angry, "Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?"(Numbers 20:10) Moses spoke to the people instead of the rock, which would have sanctified God. God had also instructed Moses to strike the rock (Exodus 17:6) Because of his failure to sanctify God and for striking the rock twice, God punished Moses by not letting him enter into the promised land (Numbers 20:12).
One proposal places Rephidim in the Wadi Feiran, near its junction with the Wadi esh-Sheikh. Leaving Rephidim, the Israelites advanced into the Sinai Wilderness (Exodus 19:1-2; Numbers 33:14-15), possibly marching through the two passes of the Wadi Solaf and the Wadi esh-Sheikh, which converge at the entrance to the er-Rahah plain (which would then be identified with the "Sinai Wilderness"), which is two miles (3 km) long and about half a mile broad. See also Meribah.
The name "Rephidim" (Hebrew: רְפִידִם) may mean supports.
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Desert of Sinai
This entry incorporates text from the public domain Easton's Bible Dictionary, originally published in 1897.