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Numbers 14:1–45

The People Rebel

14 That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud.d All the Israelites grumblede against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt!f Or in this wilderness!g Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword?h Our wives and childreni will be taken as plunder.j Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?kAnd they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.l

Then Moses and Aaron fell facedownm in front of the whole Israelite assemblyn gathered there. Joshua son of Nuno and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothesp and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good.q If the Lord is pleased with us,r he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey,s and will give it to us.t Only do not rebelu against the Lord. And do not be afraidv of the people of the land,w because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is withx us.y Do not be afraid of them.”z

10 But the whole assembly talked about stoninga them. Then the glory of the Lordb 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?c How long will they refuse to believe in me,d in spite of all the signse I have performed among them? 12 I will strike them down with a plaguef and destroy them, but I will make you into a nationg greater and stronger than they.”h

13 Moses said to the Lord, “Then the Egyptians will hear about it! By your power you brought these people up from among them.i 14 And they will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have already heardj that you, Lord, are with these peoplek and that you, Lord, have been seen face to face,l that your cloud stays over them,m and that you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.n 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,o so he slaughtered them in the wilderness.’p

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.q Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.’r 19 In accordance with your great love, forgives the sin of these people,t just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.”u

20 The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them,v as you asked. 21 Nevertheless, as surely as I livew and as surely as the glory of the Lordx fills the whole earth,y 22 not one of those who saw my glory and the signsz I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten timesa23 not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oathb to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contemptc will ever see it.d 24 But because my servant Calebe has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly,f I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.g 25 Since the Amalekitesh and the Canaanitesi are living in the valleys, turnj back tomorrow and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea.a k

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.l 28 So tell them, ‘As surely as I live,m declares the Lord, I will do to youn the very thing I heard you say: 29 In this wilderness your bodies will fallo—every one of you twenty years old or morep who was counted in the censusq and who has grumbled against me. 30 Not one of you will enter the landr I swore with uplifted hands to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneht and Joshua son of Nun.u 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.v 32 But as for you, your bodies will fallw in this wilderness. 33 Your children will be shepherds here for forty years,x suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the wilderness. 34 For forty yearsy—one year for each of the forty days you explored the landz—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 thingsa to this whole wicked community, which has banded together against me. They will meet their end in this wilderness; here they will die.b

36 So the men Moses had sentc to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumbled against him by spreading a bad reporte about it—37 these men who were responsible for spreading the bad reportf about the land were struck down and died of a plagueg before the Lord. 38 Of the men who went to explore the land,h only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.i

39 When Moses reported thisj to all the Israelites, they mournedk bitterly. 40 Early the next morning they set out for the highest point in the hill country,l saying, “Now we are ready to go up to the land the Lord promised. Surely we have sinned!m

41 But Moses said, “Why are you disobeying the Lord’s command? This will not succeed!n 42 Do not go up, because the Lord is not with you. You will be defeated by your enemies,o 43 for the Amalekitesp and the Canaanitesq will face you there. Because you have turned away from the Lord, he will not be with your and you will fall by the sword.”

44 Nevertheless, in their presumption they went ups toward the highest point in the hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the Lord’s covenant moved from the camp.t 45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanitesu who lived in that hill countryv came down and attacked them and beat them down all the way to Hormah.w

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