Add parallel Print Page Options

The People Rebel against the Lord

14 Then all the people in the Israelite community raised their voices and cried out loud all that night. They complained to Moses and Aaron, “If only we had died in Egypt or this desert! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land—just to have us die in battle? Our wives and children will be taken as prisoners of war! Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” They said to each other, “Let’s choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”

Immediately, Moses and Aaron bowed with their faces touching the ground in front of the whole community of Israel assembled there. At the same time, two of those who had explored the land, Joshua (son of Nun) and Caleb (son of Jephunneh), tore their clothes in despair. They said to the whole community of Israel, “The land we explored is very good. If Yahweh is pleased with us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us. This is a land flowing with milk and honey! Don’t rebel against Yahweh, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. We will devour them like bread. They have no protection, and Yahweh is with us. So don’t be afraid of them.”

10 But when the whole community of Israel talked about stoning Moses and Aaron to death, they all saw the glory of Yahweh shining at the tent of meeting. 11 Yahweh said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to trust me in spite of all the miraculous signs I have done among them? 12 I’ll strike them with a plague, I’ll destroy them,[a] and I’ll make you into a nation larger and stronger than they are.”

13 But Moses said to Yahweh, “What if the Egyptians hear about it? (You used your power to take these people away from them.) 14 What if the Egyptians tell the people who live in this land? Yahweh, they have already heard that you are with these people, that they have seen you with their own eyes, that your column of smoke stays over them, and that you go ahead of them in a column of smoke by day and in a column of fire by night. 15 But if you kill all these people at the same time, then the nations who have heard these reports about you will say, 16 Yahweh wasn’t able to bring these people into the land he promised them, so he slaughtered them in the desert.’

17 Adonay, let your power be as great as when you said, 18 Yahweh . . . patient, forever loving. . . . He forgives wrongdoing and disobedience. . . . He never lets the guilty go unpunished, punishing children . . . for their parents’ sins to the third and fourth generation. . . .’ 19 By your great love, please forgive these people’s sins, as you have been forgiving them from the time they left Egypt until now.”

20 Yahweh said, “I forgive them, as you have asked. 21 But as I live and as the glory of Yahweh fills the whole earth, I solemnly swear that 22 none of the people who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I did in Egypt and in the desert will see the land which I promised their ancestors. They have tested me now ten times and refused to obey me.[b] 23 None of those who treat me with contempt will see it! 24 But because my servant Caleb has a different attitude and has wholeheartedly followed me, I’ll bring him to the land he already explored. His descendants will possess it. 25 (The Amalekites and Canaanites are living in the valleys.) Tomorrow you must turn around, go back into the desert, and follow the road that goes to the Red Sea.”

26 Then Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron, 27 “How long must I put up with this wicked community that keeps complaining about me? I’ve heard the complaints the Israelites are making about me. 28 So tell them, ‘As I live, declares Yahweh, I solemnly swear I will do everything to you that you said I would do. 29 Your bodies will drop dead in this desert. All of you who are at least 20 years old, who were registered and listed, and who complained about me will die. 30 I raised my hand and swore an oath to give you this land to live in. But none of you will enter it except Caleb (son of Jephunneh) and Joshua (son of Nun). 31 You said your children would be taken as prisoners of war. Instead, I will bring them into the land you rejected, and they will enjoy it. 32 However, your bodies will drop dead in this desert. 33 Your children will be shepherds in the desert for 40 years. They will suffer for your unfaithfulness until the last of your bodies lies dead in the desert. 34 For 40 days you explored the land. So for 40 years—one year for each day—you will suffer for your sins and know what it means for me to be against you.’ 35 I, Yahweh, have spoken. I swear I will do these things to all the people in this whole wicked community who have joined forces against me. They will meet their end in this desert. Here they will die!”

36 So the men Moses sent to explore the land died in front of Yahweh from a plague. 37 They died because they had returned and made the whole community complain about Moses by spreading lies about the land.[c] 38 Of all the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua (son of Nun) and Caleb (son of Jephunneh) survived.

The Amalekites and Canaanites Defeat Israel

39 When Moses told these things to all the Israelites, the people mourned bitterly, as if someone had died. 40 Early the next morning they headed into the mountain region. They said, “We have sinned. Now we’ll go to the place Yahweh promised.”

41 But Moses asked, “Why are you disobeying Yahweh’s command? Your plan won’t work! 42 Don’t go! You will be defeated by your enemies because Yahweh is not with you. 43 The Amalekites and Canaanites are there, and you will die in battle. Now that you have turned away from Yahweh, Yahweh will not be with you.”

44 But they headed into the mountain region anyway, even though the ark of Yahweh’s promise and Moses stayed in the camp. 45 The Amalekites and Canaanites who lived there came down from those mountains, attacked the Israelites, and defeated them at Hormah.[d]

Footnotes

  1. Numbers 14:12 Or “I’ll take away the land I promised them.”
  2. Numbers 14:22 Part of verse 23 (in Hebrew) has been placed in verse 22 to express the complex Hebrew sentence structure more clearly in English.
  3. Numbers 14:37 Part of verse 37 (in Hebrew) has been placed at the end of verse 36 to express the complex Hebrew sentence structure more clearly in English.
  4. Numbers 14:45 Or “and defeated them, chasing them all the way to Hormah.”

The People Rebel

14 That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud.(A) All the Israelites grumbled(B) against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt!(C) Or in this wilderness!(D) Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword?(E) Our wives and children(F) will be taken as plunder.(G) Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?(H) And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.(I)

Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown(J) in front of the whole Israelite assembly(K) gathered there. Joshua son of Nun(L) and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes(M) and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good.(N) If the Lord is pleased with us,(O) he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey,(P) and will give it to us.(Q) Only do not rebel(R) against the Lord. And do not be afraid(S) of the people of the land,(T) because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with(U) us.(V) Do not be afraid of them.”(W)

10 But the whole assembly talked about stoning(X) them. Then the glory of the Lord(Y) appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites. 11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt?(Z) How long will they refuse to believe in me,(AA) in spite of all the signs(AB) I have performed among them? 12 I will strike them down with a plague(AC) and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation(AD) greater and stronger than they.”(AE)

13 Moses said to the Lord, “Then the Egyptians will hear about it! By your power you brought these people up from among them.(AF) 14 And they will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have already heard(AG) that you, Lord, are with these people(AH) and that you, Lord, have been seen face to face,(AI) that your cloud stays over them,(AJ) and that you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.(AK) 15 If you put all these people to death, leaving none alive, the nations who have heard this report about you will say, 16 ‘The Lord was not able to bring these people into the land he promised them on oath,(AL) so he slaughtered them in the wilderness.’(AM)

17 “Now may the Lord’s strength be displayed, just as you have declared: 18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion.(AN) Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.’(AO) 19 In accordance with your great love, forgive(AP) the sin of these people,(AQ) just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.”(AR)

20 The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them,(AS) as you asked. 21 Nevertheless, as surely as I live(AT) and as surely as the glory of the Lord(AU) fills the whole earth,(AV) 22 not one of those who saw my glory and the signs(AW) I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times(AX) 23 not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath(AY) to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt(AZ) will ever see it.(BA) 24 But because my servant Caleb(BB) has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly,(BC) I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.(BD) 25 Since the Amalekites(BE) and the Canaanites(BF) are living in the valleys, turn(BG) back tomorrow and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea.[a](BH)

26 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: 27 “How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites.(BI) 28 So tell them, ‘As surely as I live,(BJ) declares the Lord, I will do to you(BK) the very thing I heard you say: 29 In this wilderness your bodies will fall(BL)—every one of you twenty years old or more(BM) who was counted in the census(BN) and who has grumbled against me. 30 Not one of you will enter the land(BO) I swore with uplifted hand(BP) to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh(BQ) and Joshua son of Nun.(BR) 31 As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected.(BS) 32 But as for you, your bodies will fall(BT) in this wilderness. 33 Your children will be shepherds here for forty years,(BU) suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the wilderness. 34 For forty years(BV)—one year for each of the forty days you explored the land(BW)—you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.’ 35 I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will surely do these things(BX) to this whole wicked community, which has banded together against me. They will meet their end in this wilderness; here they will die.(BY)

36 So the men Moses had sent(BZ) to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble(CA) against him by spreading a bad report(CB) about it— 37 these men who were responsible for spreading the bad report(CC) about the land were struck down and died of a plague(CD) before the Lord. 38 Of the men who went to explore the land,(CE) only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.(CF)

39 When Moses reported this(CG) to all the Israelites, they mourned(CH) bitterly. 40 Early the next morning they set out for the highest point in the hill country,(CI) saying, “Now we are ready to go up to the land the Lord promised. Surely we have sinned!(CJ)

41 But Moses said, “Why are you disobeying the Lord’s command? This will not succeed!(CK) 42 Do not go up, because the Lord is not with you. You will be defeated by your enemies,(CL) 43 for the Amalekites(CM) and the Canaanites(CN) will face you there. Because you have turned away from the Lord, he will not be with you(CO) and you will fall by the sword.”

44 Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up(CP) toward the highest point in the hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the Lord’s covenant moved from the camp.(CQ) 45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites(CR) who lived in that hill country(CS) came down and attacked them and beat them down all the way to Hormah.(CT)

Footnotes

  1. Numbers 14:25 Or the Sea of Reeds

Bible Gateway Sponsors