The Israelites Respond in Unbelief 1
Then all the community raised a loud cry, 2 and the people wept 3 that night. 14:2 And all the Israelites murmured 4 against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died 5 in the land of Egypt, or if only we had perished 6 in this wilderness! 14:3 Why has the Lord brought us into this land only to be killed by the sword, that our wives and our children should become plunder? Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” 14:4 So they said to one another, 7 “Let’s appoint 8 a leader 9 and return 10 to Egypt.”
14:5 Then Moses and Aaron fell down with their faces to the ground 11 before the whole assembled community 12 of the Israelites. 14:6 And Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, two of those who had investigated the land, tore their garments. 14:7 They said to the whole community of the Israelites, “The land we passed through to investigate is an exceedingly 13 good land. 14:8 If the Lord delights in us, then he will bring us into this land and give it to us – a land that is flowing with milk and honey. 14 14:9 Only do not rebel against the Lord, and do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. 15 Their protection 16 has turned aside from them, but the Lord is with us. Do not fear them!”
14:10 However, the whole community threatened to stone them. 17 But 18 the glory 19 of the Lord appeared to all the Israelites at the tent 20 of meeting.
The Punishment from God
14:11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people despise 21 me, and how long will they not believe 22 in me, in spite of the signs that I have done among them? 14:12 I will strike them with the pestilence, 23 and I will disinherit them; I will make you into a nation that is greater and mightier than they!”
14:13 Moses said to the Lord, “When the Egyptians hear 24 it – for you brought up this people by your power from among them – 14:14 then they will tell it to the inhabitants 25 of this land. They have heard that you, Lord, are among this people, that you, Lord, are seen face to face, 26 that your cloud stands over them, and that you go before them by day in a pillar of cloud and in a pillar of fire by night. 14:15 If you kill 27 this entire people at once, 28 then the nations that have heard of your fame will say, 14:16 ‘Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land that he swore to them, he killed them in the wilderness.’ 14:17 So now, let the power of my Lord 29 be great, just as you have said, 14:18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in loyal love, 30 forgiving iniquity and transgression, 31 but by no means clearing 32 the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children until the third and fourth generations.’ 33 14:19 Please forgive 34 the iniquity of this people according to your great loyal love, 35 just as you have forgiven this people from Egypt even until now.”
14:20 Then the Lord said, “I have forgiven them as you asked. 36 14:21 But truly, as I live, 37 all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord. 14:22 For all the people have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have tempted 38 me now these ten times, 39 and have not obeyed me, 40 14:23 they will by no means 41 see the land that I swore to their fathers, nor will any of them who despised me see it. 14:24 Only my servant Caleb, because he had a different spirit and has followed me fully – I will bring him into the land where he had gone, and his descendants 42 will possess it. 14:25 (Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites were living in the valleys.) 43 Tomorrow, turn and journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea.”
14:26 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 14:27 “How long must I bear 44 with this evil congregation 45 that murmurs against me? I have heard the complaints of the Israelites that they murmured against me. 14:28 Say to them, ‘As I live, 46 says 47 the Lord, I will surely do to you just what you have spoken in my hearing. 48 14:29 Your dead bodies 49 will fall in this wilderness – all those of you who were numbered, according to your full number, from twenty years old and upward, who have murmured against me. 14:30 You will by no means enter into the land where 50 I swore 51 to settle 52 you. The only exceptions are Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 14:31 But I will bring in your little ones, whom you said would become victims of war, 53 and they will enjoy 54 the land that you have despised. 14:32 But as for you, your dead bodies will fall in this wilderness, 14:33 and your children will wander 55 in the wilderness forty years and suffer for your unfaithfulness, 56 until your dead bodies lie finished 57 in the wilderness. 14:34 According to the number of the days you have investigated this land, forty days – one day for a year – you will suffer for 58 your iniquities, forty years, and you will know what it means to thwart me. 59 14:35 I, the Lord, have said, “I will surely do so to all this evil congregation that has gathered together against me. In this wilderness they will be finished, and there they will die!”’”
14:36 The men whom Moses sent to investigate the land, who returned and made the whole community murmur against him by producing 60 an evil report about the land, 14:37 those men who produced the evil report about the land, died by the plague before the Lord. 14:38 But Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among 61 the men who went to investigate the land, lived. 14:39 When Moses told 62 these things to all the Israelites, the people mourned 63 greatly.
14:40 And early 64 in the morning they went up to the crest of the hill country, 65 saying, “Here we are, and we will go up to the place that the Lord commanded, 66 for we have sinned.” 67 14:41 But Moses said, “Why 68 are you now transgressing the commandment 69 of the Lord? It will not succeed! 14:42 Do not go up, for the Lord is not among you, and you will be 70 defeated before your enemies. 14:43 For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and you will fall by the sword. Because you have turned away from the Lord, the Lord will not be with you.”
14:44 But they dared 71 to go up to the crest of the hill, although 72 neither the ark of the covenant of the Lord nor Moses departed from the camp. 14:45 So the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country swooped 73 down and attacked them 74 as far as Hormah. 75