And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?
And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock,.... To which they were directed, and were to speak unto; before this they gathered not only the elders of the people, but as many of the congregation as could be well assembled together:
and he said unto them; Moses, who was bid to take the rod, and was the principal person concerned in this affair:
Hear now, ye rebels; such their fathers had been, and such they now were, a rebellious generation ever since they were known by him; not only rebellious against him their chief magistrate, but against the Lord himself, murmuring against him, being discontented and disobedient, see Deuteronomy 9:23:
must we fetch you water out of this rock? not only signifying their unworthiness of having such a miracle wrought for them, and as showing some degree of reluctance to attempt it, but as expressing diffidence about it; not of the power of God to bring water out of the rock, but of his will to do it for such a rebellious people; or else their unreasonableness to expect any such thing should be done for them: when they were so wicked, how could they think that such a miracle should be wrought for them? so the Targum of Jonathan,
"out of this rock is it possible for us to fetch out water for you?''
so Aben Ezra, have we power to bring out water to you from it? This was said in a passion, as the manner of speaking shows; see Ps 106:32 many of the congregation as could be well assembled together: