The People Rebel
1 Then all the congregation 1lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept 2that night.
2 All the sons of Israel agrumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, “bWould that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness!
3 “Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, ato fall by the sword? bOur wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?”
4 So they said to one another, “aLet us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.”
5 aThen Moses and Aaron fell on their faces in the presence of all the assembly of the congregation of the sons of Israel.
6 Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, of those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes;
7 and they spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, “aThe land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land.
8 “aIf the Lord is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us—ba land which flows with milk and honey.
9 “Only ado not rebel against the Lord; and do not bfear the people of the land, for they will be our 1prey. Their 2protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.”
10 aBut all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Then bthe glory of the Lord appeared in the tent of meeting to all the sons of Israel.
Moses Pleads for the People
11 aThe Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will bthey not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst?
12 “I will smite them with 1apestilence and dispossess them, and I bwill make you into a nation greater and mightier than they.”
13 aBut Moses said to the Lord, “Then the Egyptians will hear of it, for by Your strength You brought up this people from their midst,
14 and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, O Lord, are in the midst of this people, for aYou, O Lord, are seen eye to eye, while Your cloud stands over them; and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night.
15 “Now if You slay this people as one man, athen the nations who have heard of Your fame will 1say,
16 ‘Because the Lord acould not bring this people into the land which He promised them by oath, therefore He slaughtered them in the wilderness.’
17 “But now, I pray, let the power of the Lord be great, just as You have 1declared,
18 ‘aThe Lord is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but bHe will by no means clear the guilty, cvisiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children 1to the third and the fourth generations.’
19 “aPardon, I pray, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness, just as You also have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.”
The Lord Pardons and Rebukes
20 So the Lord said, “aI have pardoned them according to your word;
21 but indeed, aas I live, 1ball the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.
22 “Surely aall the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet bhave put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice,
23 ashall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it.
24 “But My servant Caleb, abecause he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, 1bI will bring into the land 2which he entered, and his 3descendants shall take possession of it.
25 “aNow the Amalekites and the Canaanites live in the valleys; turn tomorrow and set out to the wilderness by the way of the 1Red Sea.”
26 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,
27 “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who are agrumbling against Me? I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel, which they are 1making against Me.
28 “Say to them, ‘aAs I live,’ says the Lord, ‘just as byou have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you;
29 ayour corpses will fall in this wilderness, even all byour 1numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me.
30 ‘Surely you shall not come into the land in which I 1swore to settle you, aexcept Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.
31 ‘aYour children, however, whom you said would become a prey—I will bring them in, and they will know the land which you have rejected.
32 ‘aBut as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness.
33 ‘Your sons shall be shepherds for aforty years in the wilderness, and they will 1suffer for your 2unfaithfulness, until your corpses 3lie in the wilderness.
34 ‘According to the anumber of days which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day you shall bear your 1guilt a year, even forty years, and you will know My opposition.
35 ‘aI, the Lord, have spoken, surely this I will do to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be destroyed, and there they will die.’ ”
36 aAs for the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land and who returned and made all the congregation grumble against him by bringing out a bad report concerning the land,
37 even athose men who brought out the very bad report of the land died by a bplague before the Lord.
38 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive out of those men who went to spy out the land.
39 When Moses spoke athese words to all the sons of Israel, bthe people mourned greatly.
40 In the morning, however, they rose up early and went up to the 1ridge of the hill country, saying, “aHere we are; 2we have indeed sinned, but we will go up to the place which the Lord has promised.”
41 But Moses said, “aWhy then are you transgressing the 1commandment of the Lord, when it will not succeed?
42 “aDo not go up, or you will be struck down before your enemies, for the Lord is not among you.
43 “For the Amalekites and the Canaanites will be there in front of you, and you will fall by the sword, inasmuch as you have turned back from following the Lord. And the Lord will not be with you.”
44 But they went up heedlessly to the 1ridge of the hill country; neither athe ark of the covenant of the Lord nor Moses left the camp.
45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down, and struck them and beat them down as far as aHormah.