Bible: Numbers 12-14


Miriam and Aaron Oppose Moses


Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against 2  Moses because of the Cushite 3  woman he had married 4  (for he had married an Ethiopian woman). 12:2 They 5  said, “Has the Lord only 6  spoken through Moses? Has he not also spoken through us?” 7  And the Lord heard it. 8 

12:3 (Now the man Moses was very humble, 9  more so than any man on the face of the earth.)

The Response of the Lord

12:4 The Lord spoke immediately to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam: “The three of you come to the tent of meeting.” So the three of them went. 12:5 And the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the tent; he then called Aaron and Miriam, and they both came forward.

12:6 The Lord 10  said, “Hear now my words: If there is a prophet among you, 11  I the Lord 12  will make myself known to him in a vision; I will speak with him in a dream. 12:7 My servant 13  Moses is not like this; he is faithful 14  in all my house. 12:8 With him I will speak face to face, 15  openly, 16  and not in riddles; and he will see the form 17  of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? 12:9 The anger of the Lord burned against them, and he departed. 12:10 When 18  the cloud departed from above the tent, Miriam became 19  leprous 20  as snow. Then Aaron looked at 21  Miriam, and she was leprous!

The Intercession of Moses

12:11 So Aaron said to Moses, “O my lord, 22  please do not hold this sin against us, in which we have acted foolishly and have sinned! 12:12 Do not let her be like a baby born dead, whose flesh is half-consumed when it comes out of its 23  mother’s womb!

12:13 Then Moses cried to the Lord, “Heal her now, O God.” 24  12:14 The Lord said to Moses, “If her father had only spit 25  in her face, would she not have been disgraced for seven days? Shut her out from the camp seven days, and afterward she can be brought back in again.”

12:15 So Miriam was shut outside of the camp for seven days, and the people did not journey on until Miriam was brought back in. 26  12:16 After that the people moved from Hazeroth and camped in the wilderness of Paran.


Spies Sent Out


The Lord spoke 28  to Moses: 13:2 Send out men to investigate 29  the land of Canaan, which I am giving 30  to the Israelites. You are to send one man from each ancestral tribe, 31  each one a leader among them.” 13:3 So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran at the command 32  of the Lord. All of them were leaders 33  of the Israelites.

13:4 Now these were their names: from the tribe of Reuben, Shammua son of Zaccur; 13:5 from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat son of Hori; 13:6 from the tribe of Judah, Caleb son of Jephunneh; 13:7 from the tribe of Issachar, Igal son of Joseph; 13:8 from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea son of Nun; 13:9 from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti son of Raphu; 13:10 from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel son of Sodi; 13:11 from the tribe 34  of Joseph, namely, the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi son of Susi; 13:12 from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel son of Gemalli; 13:13 from the tribe of Asher, Sethur son of Michael; 13:14 from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi son of Vopshi; 13:15 from the tribe of Gad, Geuel son of Maki. 13:16 These are the names of the men whom Moses sent to investigate the land. And Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the name Joshua. 35 

The Spies’ Instructions

13:17 When Moses sent 36  them to investigate the land of Canaan, he told them, “Go up through the Negev, 37  and then go up into the hill country 13:18 and see 38  what the land is like, 39  and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, few or many, 13:19 and whether the land they live in is good or bad, and whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or fortified cities, 13:20 and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether or not there are forests in it. And be brave, 40  and bring back some of the fruit of the land.” Now it was the time of year 41  for the first ripe grapes. 42 

The Spies’ Activities

13:21 So they went up and investigated the land from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, 43  at the entrance of Hamath. 44  13:22 When they went up through the Negev, they 45  came 46  to Hebron where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, 47  descendants of Anak, were living. (Now Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan 48  in Egypt.) 13:23 When they came to the valley of Eshcol, they cut down from there a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they carried it on a staff 49  between two men, as well as some of the pomegranates and the figs. 13:24 That place was called 50  the Eshcol Valley, 51  because of the cluster 52  of grapes that the Israelites cut from there. 13:25 They returned from investigating the land after forty days.

The Spies’ Reports

13:26 They came back 53  to Moses and Aaron and to the whole community of the Israelites in the wilderness of Paran at Kadesh. 54  They reported 55  to the whole community and showed the fruit of the land. 13:27 They told Moses, 56  “We went to the land where you sent us. 57  It is indeed flowing with milk and honey, 58  and this is its fruit. 13:28 But 59  the inhabitants 60  are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. Moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. 13:29 The Amalekites live in the land of the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live by the sea and along the banks 61  of the Jordan.” 62 

13:30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses, saying, “Let us go up 63  and occupy it, 64  for we are well able to conquer it.” 65  13:31 But the men 66  who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against these people, because they are stronger than we are! 13:32 Then they presented the Israelites with a discouraging 67  report of the land they had investigated, saying, “The land that we passed through 68  to investigate is a land that devours 69  its inhabitants. 70  All the people we saw there 71  are of great stature. 13:33 We even saw the Nephilim 72  there (the descendants of Anak came from the Nephilim), and we seemed liked grasshoppers both to ourselves 73  and to them.” 74 


The Israelites Respond in Unbelief


Then all the community raised a loud cry, 76  and the people wept 77  that night. 14:2 And all the Israelites murmured 78  against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died 79  in the land of Egypt, or if only we had perished 80  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, 81 Let’s appoint 82  a leader 83  and return 84  to Egypt.”

14:5 Then Moses and Aaron fell down with their faces to the ground 85  before the whole assembled community 86  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 87  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. 88  14:9 Only do not rebel against the Lord, and do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. 89  Their protection 90  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. 91  But 92  the glory 93  of the Lord appeared to all the Israelites at the tent 94  of meeting.

The Punishment from God

14:11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people despise 95  me, and how long will they not believe 96  in me, in spite of the signs that I have done among them? 14:12 I will strike them with the pestilence, 97  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 98  it – for you brought up this people by your power from among them – 14:14 then they will tell it to the inhabitants 99  of this land. They have heard that you, Lord, are among this people, that you, Lord, are seen face to face, 100  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 101  this entire people at once, 102  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 103  be great, just as you have said, 14:18 The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in loyal love, 104  forgiving iniquity and transgression, 105  but by no means clearing 106  the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children until the third and fourth generations.’ 107  14:19 Please forgive 108  the iniquity of this people according to your great loyal love, 109  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. 110  14:21 But truly, as I live, 111  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 112  me now these ten times, 113  and have not obeyed me, 114  14:23 they will by no means 115  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 116  will possess it. 14:25 (Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites were living in the valleys.) 117  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 118  with this evil congregation 119  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, 120  says 121  the Lord, I will surely do to you just what you have spoken in my hearing. 122  14:29 Your dead bodies 123  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 124  I swore 125  to settle 126  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, 127  and they will enjoy 128  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 129  in the wilderness forty years and suffer for your unfaithfulness, 130  until your dead bodies lie finished 131  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 132  your iniquities, forty years, and you will know what it means to thwart me. 133  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 134  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 135  the men who went to investigate the land, lived. 14:39 When Moses told 136  these things to all the Israelites, the people mourned 137  greatly.

14:40 And early 138  in the morning they went up to the crest of the hill country, 139  saying, “Here we are, and we will go up to the place that the Lord commanded, 140  for we have sinned.” 141  14:41 But Moses said, “Why 142  are you now transgressing the commandment 143  of the Lord? It will not succeed! 14:42 Do not go up, for the Lord is not among you, and you will be 144  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 145  to go up to the crest of the hill, although 146  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 147  down and attacked them 148  as far as Hormah. 149 

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