(Hebrews Meribah', מרַיבָה, quarrel, or "strife," as in Ge 13:8; Nu 27:14), the designation of two places, each marked by a spring.
1. (Sept. λοιδόρησις; Vulg. joins with the preceding name in one, tentatio, Ex 17:7; but in Ps 81:8, λοιδορία, contradictio.) The latter of the two names given by Moses to the fountain in the desert of Sin, on the western gulf of the Red Sea, which issued from the rock which he smote by the divine command, the other equivalent name being MASSAH; and the reason is assigned, "because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they did there tempt the Lord" (Ex 17:1-7). This spot is only named once again by this title (Ps 82:8). The general locality is designated by the name REPHIDIM (ver. 1, 8). SEE EXODE. The monks of Sinai still pretend to show the identical rock from which Moses brought forth the water (Olin's Tavels, i,,416). Stephens describes it as an isolated stone, about twelve feet high, with several artificial gashes from which water trickles (Trav. 1:285). Burckhardt, also, who was one of the first travellers that critically examined the locality, thinks it bears indubitable marks of art, yet one of the later travellers, D. Roberts, holds that the orifice has been naturally formed by the oozing of water for a long period (Holy Land, Egypt, etc., vol. iii, pl. iii). The rock rests isolated where it has fallen from the face of the mountain. It is of red granite, fifteen feet long, and ten feet wide. Down the front of the block, in an oblique direction, runs a seam, twelve or fourteen inches wide, of apparently a softer material; the rock also has ten or twelve deep horizontal crevices, at nearly equal distances from each other. There are also other apertures upon its surface from which the water is said to have issued-in all about twenty in number, and lying nearly in a straight line around the three sides of the stone, and for the most part ten or twelve inches long, two or three inches broad, and from one to two inches deep; but a few are as deep as four inches. The rock is highly revered both by the Christians and Bedouins. It lies in the valley called Wady el-Lejah, in the very highest region of the Sinai group, running up narrow and choked with fallen rocks between the two peaks that claim to be the Mount of Moses, and contains the deserted convent of El-Abein (Kitto, Pict. Bible, ad loc.).
2. (Sept. ἀντιλογαί, in Nu 20:13; Nu 27:14; De 32:51; λοιδορία in Nu 20:24; Vulg. contradictio; but in Ps 95:8, πειρασμός, tentatio, AuthVers. "provocation;" and in Eze 47:19, Μαριμώθ; 48:28, Βαριμώθ-in which last two passages, as well as in Ps 106:32, the AuthVers. has " strife.") Another fountain produced in the same manner, and under similar circumstances, in the desert of Zin (Wady Arabah), near Kadesh; to which the name was given with a similar reference to the previous misconduct of the Israelites (Nu 20:13,24; De 33:8). In the last text, which is the only one where the two places are mentioned together, the former is called Massah only, to prevent the confusion of-the two Meribahs, "Whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah." Indeed, this latter Meribah is almost always indicated by the addition of "waters," as if further to distinguish it from the other (Nu 20:13,24; De 33:8; Ps 81:8; Ps 106:32; Eze 47:19; Eze 48:28), a title that is but once applied to the other Meribah (Ps 81:8); and the locality we are now considering is still more distinctly called "waters of Meribah in Kadesh" (Nu 27:14), and even Meribah of Kadesh (AV. "Meribah-Kadesh," De 32:51). Only once is this place called simply Meribah (Ps 95:8). It is strange that, with all this carefulness of distinction in Scripture, the two places should rarely have been properly discriminated. Indeed many commentators have regarded the one as a mere duplicate of the other, owing to a mixture of earlier and later legend. The above monkish tradition has contributed to confound the two localities. But, besides the differences already noted, there was this very important one, that in smiting the rock at the second place Moses himself exhibited impatience with the multitude (Nu 20:10-12); whereas he showed no signs of passion on the former occasion. SEE MOSES. The distance of place from the former Meribah, the distance of time, and the difference of the people in a new generation, are circumstances which, when the positive conditions of the two wells were so equal, explain why Moses might give the same name to two places. SEE KADESH.