The Canaanite king of the city of Arad lived in the Negev Desert. He heard that Israel was coming along the road to Atharim. So he attacked the Israelites. He captured some of them.
Then Israel made a promise to the Lord. They said, “Hand these people over to us. If you do, we will set their cities apart to you in a special way to be destroyed.”
The Lord gave Israel what they asked for. He handed the Canaanites over to them. Israel completely destroyed them and their towns. So that place was named Hormah.
The Israelites traveled from Mount Hor along the way to the Red Sea. They wanted to go around Edom. But they grew tired on the way.
So they spoke against God and against Moses. They said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt? Do you want us to die here in the desert? We don’t have any bread! We don’t have any water! And we hate this awful food!”
Then the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the Israelites. The snakes bit them. Many of the people died.
The others came to Moses. They said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake. Put it up on a pole. Then anyone who is bitten can look at it and remain alive.”
So Moses made a bronze snake. He put it up on a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake remained alive.