An encampment of the Israelites between the wilderness of Sin and mount Sinai, where the people murmured, and God gave them water from the rock. Here also the Amalekites attacked them, and were defeated, Ex 17. It is thought to have been in the valley now called esh-Sheikh, a day's march northwest of Sinai, and near the western border of the Horeb group of mountains. SEE SINAI.
supports, one of the stations of the Israelites, situated in the Wady Feiran, near its junction with the Wady esh-Sheikh. Here no water could be found for the people to drink, and in their impatience they were ready to stone Moses, as if he were the cause of their distress. At the command of God Moses smote "the rock in Horeb," and a copious stream flowed forth, enough for all the people. After this the Amalekites attacked the Israelites while they were here encamped, but they were utterly defeated (Ex 17:1,8-16). They were the "first of the nations" to make war against Israel (Nu 24:20).
Leaving Rephidim, the Israelites advanced into the wilderness of Sinai (Ex 19:1-2; Nu 33:14-15), marching probably through the two passes of the Wady Solaf and the Wady esh-Sheikh, which converge at the entrance to the plain er-Rahah, the "desert of Sinai," which is two miles long and about half a mile broad. (See Sinai; Meribah.)
("rests" or "stays") (Ex 17:1,8; 19:2). Here Israel first suffered from want of water, and here they defeated Amalek. Captains Wilson and Palmer make the battle in wady Feiran, near the ancient city of Feiran (amidst traces of building and cultivation) under Mount Serbal. But Holland (Canon Cook's essay on Exodus 16; 17; 19; Speaker's Commentary) places Rephidim after Israel traversed the wady es Sheikh at the pass el Watiyeh shut in by perpendicular rocks on either side; a choice position for Amalek as it commands the entrance to the wadies round the central group of Sinai. On the N. is a plain without water, Israel's encampment. N. of the defile is a hill and bore cliff such as Moses struck with his rod. S. of the pass is another plain, Amalek's encampment, within reach of abundant water. At the foot of the hill whereon Moses sat (Ex 17:12 or else Ex 18:13) the Arabs call a rock "the seat of the prophet Moses." (See EXODUS.)
The fertility of Feiran is Stanley's argument for it as the site of Rephidim, Amalek being likely to contend for it against Israel. The "hill" in Ex 17:9-10, he identifies with that on which the church of Paran stood (Nu 33:12-13). Holland's view is probably the truer one, for wady es Sheikh is the only open broad way from the N.W. into the "wilderness of Sinai", Ras Sufsafeh before the open er Rahah or "desert of Sinai" being the true Mount Sinai, not Serbal. The Bir Musa, "well of Moses," in the wide part of wady es Sheykh, is immediately outside or N. of the pass out of Horeb. Wady es Sheykh, "the valley of the chiefs," may allude to the elders appointed at Jethro's suggestion to be rulers and judges under Moses (Ex 18:21-26). Forster (if his reading be correct: Voice of Israel, p. 118) interprets an inscription with a man's figure with uplifted hands on a rock, "the prophet upon a hard great stone prayeth unto God, Aaron and Hur sustaining his hands." It was after receiving the water supply at Rephidim from God that Israel conquered Amalek.
So it is only after the Christian receives the living water front Christ the smitten Rock that he can effectively conquer his spiritual foes (1Jo 5:4). Faith and prayer go together, as at Rephidim. Lift up, not an empty hand, but like Moses grasping the rod hold fast God's word of promise, filling the hand with this effectual plea (Ex 17:9,11-12; Job 23:4; Ps 119:49; Isa 43:26; Jas 5:16). (See MASSAH; MERIBAH.) Moses struck the rock in Horeb at some point not in the people's sight, therefore not near the summit, but in the presence of selected witnesses, the elders (Ex 17:5-6). The "spiritual rock, Christ, followed all the Israelites" (1Co 10:4). The repetition of the miracle (Nu 20:11) at Kadesh shows that the rabbinical tradition is incorrect, that the rock or the stream followed them literally in all their journeys. Rather He of whom the rock was type accompanied them and supplied all their needs (1Co 10:4).
A stage in the Wanderings, between the wilderness of Sin and the wilderness of Sinai (Ex 17:1,8; 19:2; cf. Nu 33:14 f.). Here water was miraculously supplied, and Israel fought with Amalek. Those who accept the traditional Sinal generally place Elim in W
Place near Horeb, where the Israelites encamped; water gushed from the rock when Moses had smitten it, and there Joshua fought with Amalek, while Moses lifted up his hands to heaven, assisted by Aaron and Hur. Ex 17:1,8; 19:2; Nu 33:14-15. Not identified.
The name means rests or stays, i.e. resting places. The place lies in the march of the Israelites from Egypt to Sinai. Its site is not certain, but it is perhaps Wady Feiran, a rather broad valley about 25 miles from Jebel Musa (Mount Sinai). Others place it in Wady es Sheikh, an eastern continuation of Feiran, and about 12 miles from Sinai. Here the Israelites fought their first battle and gained their first victory after leaving Egypt, the Amalekites having attacked them; here also the people murmured from thirst, and Moses brought water for them out of the rock. From this murmuring the place was called "Massah" and "Meribah."
REPHIDIM, a station or encampment of the Israelites, Ex 17:1. At this station, adjoining to Mount Horeb, the people again murmured for want of water; and they chid Moses, saying, "Give us water that we may drink." And "they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us or not?" Moses, therefore, to convince them that he was, by a more obvious miracle than at Marah, smote the rock with his rod, by the divine command, and brought water out of it for the people to drink: wherefore, he called the place Meribah, "chiding," and the rock Massah, "temptation." On their way to Rephidim, the Amalekites, the original inhabitants of the country, who are noticed in Abraham's days, Ge 14:7, not having the fear of God before their eyes, nor regarding the judgments recently inflicted on the Egyptians, attacked the rear of the Israelites when they were faint and weary; but were defeated by a chosen party, under the command of Joshua, the faithful lieutenant of Moses, who is first noticed on this occasion, and even then pointed out by the Lord as his successor. This victory was miraculous; for while Moses held up his hand Israel prevailed, but when he let it down Amalek prevailed. So Aaron and Hur (the husband of Miriam, according to Josephus) held up both his hands steadily till sunset, and thereby gave a decided victory to Israel. This unprovoked aggression of the Amalekites drew down upon them from the Lord the sentence of "war from generation to generation," between them and the Israelites, and of final extermination, which was commanded go be written or registered in a book, for a memorial to Joshua and his successors, the judges and kings of Israel, and was carried into execution by Saul, 1Sa 15:8, by David, 1Sa 30:17, and finally accomplished by the Simeonites in Hezekiah's reign, Ex 17:8-13; De 25:17; 1Ch 4:43. While the Israelites were encamped at Rephidim, on the western side of Horeb, the mount of God, Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, who lived in that neighbourhood, and was priest and prince of Midian, came to visit him, with his wife Zipporah, and his two sons, Eleazar and Gershom, who had accompanied him part of the way to Egypt, but returned home again; and they rejoiced with him "for all the goodness which the Lord had done for Israel, whom he had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians;" and upon this occasion, Jethro, as "a priest of the most high God," of the order of Melchizedek, "offered a burnt-offering and sacrifices of thanksgiving to God, at which Aaron and all the elders of Israel ate bread with Jethro before God," by a repetition of the eucharistic feast upon a sacrifice which Melchizedek formerly administered to Abraham, Ge 14:18; Ex 18:1-12. Thus was fulfilled the prophetic sign which the Lord had given to Moses when he first appeared to him in the burning bush: "This shall be a token unto thee that I have sent thee: when thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain," Ex 3:12. The speedy accomplishment, therefore, of this sign, at the beginning of their journey, was well calculated to strengthen their faith or reliance on the divine protection throughout. Jethro appears to have been distinguished not only for his piety, but also for his political wisdom. By his advice, which also was approved by the Lord, Moses, to relieve himself from the fatigue of administering justice to the people, the whole day, from morning until evening, instituted inferior judges or magistrates over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens, as his deputies, who were to relieve him from the burden of judging the smaller causes, but to refer the greater or more difficult to Moses, for his decision.