1 These are the words Moses spoke to all of the people of Israel. At that time, they were in the desert east of the Jordan River. It’s in the Arabah Valley across from Suph. They were between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth and Dizahab. 2It takes 11 days to go from Mount Horeb to Kadesh Barnea if you travel on the Mount Seir road.
3It was now the 40th year since the people of Israel had left Egypt. On the first day of the 11th month, Moses spoke to them. He told them everything the Lord had commanded him to tell them. 4They had already won the battle over Sihon. Sihon was the king of the Amorites. He had ruled in Heshbon. Israel had also won the battle over Og at Edrei. Og was the king of Bashan. He had ruled in Ashtaroth.
6The Lord our God spoke to us at Mount Horeb. He said, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. 7Take your tents down. Go into the hill country of the Amorites. Go to all of the people who are their neighbors. Go to the people who live in the Arabah Valley. Travel to the mountains and the western hills. Go to the people in the Negev Desert and along the coast. Travel to the land of Canaan and to Lebanon. Go as far as the great Euphrates River.
8“I have given you all of that land. Go in and take it as your own. I took an oath. I promised I would give the land to your fathers. I promised it to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I also said I would give it to their children after them.”
9At that time I spoke to you. I said, “You are too heavy a load for me to carry alone. 10The Lord your God has increased your numbers. Today you are as many as the stars in the sky. 11The Lord is the God of your people. May he increase your numbers a thousand times. May he bless you, just as he promised he would. 12But I can’t handle your problems and troubles all by myself. I can’t settle your arguments.
15So I took the leading men of your tribes who were wise and respected. I appointed them to have authority over you. I made them commanders of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. I appointed them to be officials over the tribes.
16Here is what I commanded your judges at that time. I said, “Listen to your people’s cases when they argue with one another. Judge them fairly. It doesn’t matter whether the case is between fellow Israelites or between an Israelite and an outsider. 17When you judge them, treat everyone the same. Listen to those who are important and those who are not. Don’t be afraid of any man. God is the highest judge. Bring me any case that is too hard for you. I’ll listen to it.” 18At that time I told you everything you should do.
19The Lord our God commanded us to start out from Mount Horeb. So we did. We went toward the hill country of the Amorites. We traveled all through the huge and terrible desert you saw. Finally, we reached Kadesh Barnea.
20Then I said to you, “You have reached the hill country of the Amorites. The Lord our God is giving it to us. 21The Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take it. Do what the Lord says. He’s the God of your people. Don’t be afraid. Don’t lose hope.”
22Then all of you came to me. You said, “Let’s send some men ahead of us. They can check out the land for us and bring back a report. They can suggest to us which way to go. They can tell us about the towns we’ll come to.”
23That seemed like a good idea to me. So I chose 12 of you. I picked one man from each tribe. 24They left and went up into the hill country. There they came to the Valley of Eshcol. They checked it out. 25They got some of the fruit of that land. They brought it down to us and gave us their report. They said, “The Lord our God is giving us a good land.”
26But you wouldn’t go up. You refused to obey the command of the Lord your God. 27You spoke against him in your tents. You said, “The Lord hates us. That’s why he brought us out of Egypt to hand us over to the Amorites. He wanted to destroy us. 28Where can we go? The men who checked out the land have made us lose hope. They say, ‘The people are stronger and taller than we are. The cities are large. They have walls that reach up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there.’ ”
32In spite of that, you didn’t trust in the Lord your God. 33He went ahead of you on your journey. He was in the fire at night and in the cloud during the day. He found places for you to camp. He showed you the way you should go.
34The Lord heard what you said. So he became angry. He took an oath and made a promise. He said, 35“I promised to give this good land to your people long ago. But not one of you evil men who are alive today will see it.
37Because of you, the Lord became angry with me also. He said, “You will not enter the land either. 38But Joshua, the son of Nun, is your helper. Joshua will enter the land. Help him to be brave. Give him hope. He will lead Israel to take the land as their own.
39“You said your little ones would be taken prisoner. But they will enter the land. They do not know right from wrong yet. But I will give them the land. They will take it as their own. 40As for you, turn around. Start out toward the desert. Go along the road that leads to the Red Sea.”
41Then you replied, “We have sinned against the Lord. We will go up and fight. We’ll do just as the Lord our God has commanded us.” So all of you got your swords and put them on. You thought it would be easy to go up into the hill country.
43So I told you what the Lord said. But you wouldn’t listen. You refused to obey his command. You were so filled with pride that you marched up into the hill country. 44The Amorites who lived in those hills came out and attacked you. Like large numbers of bees they chased you. They beat you down from Seir all the way to Hormah.