After reading all the commentaries in the Tanakh, I could not come to a certain conclusion. I did however, have a comment of my own: I believe that it may be a possibility that Moses’ punishment/consequence was so harsh (denied entry into the Promised Land) because after everything God has done for Bnei Yisrael, it’s almost as if Moses, by striking the rock, he is taking credit not only for this particular event but every other previous event. Moses may have unintentionally turned himself into God in the eyes of the people as this event was the last event before entering the Promised Land. By taking matters into the power of his own hands and taking the credit for the last event, people may think that it was Moses’ power all along, instead of God. So not only would Moses’ be credited, God would be discredited which is surely a serious sin. After all God has done, it’s like Moses sweeping in at the end and taking it all for himself. If Moses entered the Promised Land, Bnei Israel would perhaps make the mistake of worshiping Moses instead of God, the One behind the miraculous events. Therefore, God does not allow him to proceed. Just speculation.. Any thoughts? Do you think I am way off, or could this be a possibility? Thanks בשלום Darryl
The idea of Moshe purposely trying to "take credit" at the "expense" of God, isn't so logical, for someone who actually spoke to God and knows, and even mentions, his own comparative worthlessness and true humility (Bamidbar 12, 3). It is possible, as you said, that unintentionally (!), Moshe's actions may have led to this mistaken impression. This suggestion is actually mentioned in the Ramban, who deduces from the phrase, "from this rock can we (!) bring water?" (Bamidbar 20, 10), where Moshe should have said "from this rock can God bring water?!", that the nation could have mistakenly understood Moshe's intent, thus limiting the effect of God's miracle. Nevertheless, at no point does the Ramban or anyone "worry" here about anyone turning Moshe into a god.