Meribah means chiding, or quarrel, and is from the root rub, or rib, translated "chide" in Exodus 17:2, and rendered elsewhere generally by "strive," or "contend." The name Meribah was given also to the place where water was again produced miraculously by Moses striking the rock (Numbers 20:13.) It is this latter "Meribah" to which reference is made in Deuteronomy 33:8, and Psalm 81:7, and which is called by way of distinction in Deuteronomy 32:51, "Meribah-Kadesh."
and because they tempted the Lord; therefore it had the former name of Massah:
saying, is the Lord among us or not? as if they should say, if we perish through thirst, the Lord is not among us, nor takes any care of us; nor was it he that brought us out of Egypt, but Moses; nor is he in the pillar of cloud and fire, as is said; but if he works a miracle, and gives us water, for us, our children, and cattle, then it will appear he is among us; and thus they tempted the Lord, though without this they had full proof, by many instances, that he was among them, and even in a very extraordinary manner.