Then they "camped at Rephidim, and there was no water for the people to drink" (Ex 17:1). "The people quarreled with Moses . . . [and he] "said to them, 'Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord'" (:2). The Greek word for "test" is peirazo meaning to test with a view toward destruction. It is associated with the geographical location Massah which is called temptation. Moses said, "'What shall I do to this people? A little more and they will stone me'" (:4). God told Moses, "'I will stand before you on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock [with your staff], and water will come out of it'" (:6). Moses "named the place Massah and Meribah because of the quarrel of the sons of Israel, and because they tested the Lord, saying, 'Is the Lord among us, or not?'" (:7). The author quotes, "'Your fathers tried Me by testing Me, and saw My works for forty years'" (Heb 3:9). The psalm phrased it, "'When your fathers tested Me, they tried Me, though they had seen My work'" (Ps 95:9). The words 'try' and 'test' are reversed but synonymous in context. "Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice'" (Nu 14:22).
"The Lord said to Moses, 'How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst?'" (:11). "Yet they still continued to sin against Him, to rebel against the Most High in the desert, and in their heart they put God to the test by asking food according to their desire. Then they spoke against God; they said, 'Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?'" (Ps 78:17-19). "How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who are grumbling against Me? I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel, which they are making against Me'" (Nu 14:27). "'I, the Lord, have spoken, surely this I will do to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be destroyed, and there they will die'" (:35). It is the result of a people who "'always go astray in their heart, and they did not know My ways'" (Heb 3:10). A rule was later made official when Moses said, "This is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you" (Dt 6:1). "'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah'" (:16).