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The Command to Leave Horeb

1 These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel in the wilderness east of the Jordana—that is, in the Arabahb—opposite Suph, between Paranc and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth and Dizahab. (It takes eleven days to go from Horebd to Kadesh Barneae by the Mount Seirf road.)g

In the fortieth year,h on the first day of the eleventh month,i Moses proclaimedj to the Israelites all that the Lord had commanded him concerning them. This was after he had defeated Sihonk king of the Amorites,l who reigned in Heshbon,m and at Edrei had defeated Ogn king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth.o

East of the Jordan in the territory of Moab,p Moses began to expound this law, saying:

The Lord our God said to usq at Horeb,r “You have stayed long enoughs at this mountain. Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites;t go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah,u in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negevv and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanitesw and to Lebanon,x as far as the great river, the Euphrates.y See, I have given you this landz.a Go in and take possession of the land the Lord sworeb he would give to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—and to their descendants after them.”

The Appointment of Leaders

At that time I said to you, “You are too heavy a burdenc for me to carry alone.d 10 The Lord your God has increasede your numbersf so that today you are as numerousg as the stars in the sky.h 11 May the Lord, the God of your ancestors, increasei you a thousand times and bless you as he has promised!j 12 But how can I bear your problems and your burdens and your disputes all by myself?k 13 Choose some wise, understanding and respected menl from each of your tribes, and I will set them over you.”

14 You answered me, “What you propose to do is good.”

15 So I tookm the leading men of your tribes,n wise and respected men,o and appointed them to have authority over you—as commandersp of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens and as tribal officials.q 16 And I charged your judges at that time, “Hear the disputes between your people and judger fairly,s whether the case is between two Israelites or between an Israelite and a foreigner residing among you.t 17 Do not show partialityu in judging; hear both small and great alike. Do not be afraid of anyone,v for judgment belongs to God. Bring me any case too hard for you, and I will hear it.”w 18 And at that time I told you everything you were to do.x

Spies Sent Out

19 Then, as the Lord our God commanded us, we set out from Horeb and went toward the hill country of the Amoritesy through all that vast and dreadful wildernessz that you have seen, and so we reached Kadesh Barnea.a 20 Then I said to you, “You have reached the hill country of the Amorites, which the Lord our God is giving us. 21 See, the Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take possessionb of it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, told you. Do not be afraid;c do not be discouraged.”d

22 Then all of you came to me and said, “Let us send men ahead to spye out the landf for us and bring back a report about the route we are to take and the towns we will come to.”

23 The idea seemed good to me; so I selectedg twelve of you, one man from each tribe. 24 They left and went up into the hill country, and came to the Valley of Eshkolh and explored it. 25 Taking with them some of the fruit of the land, they brought it down to us and reported,i “It is a good landj that the Lord our God is giving us.”k

Rebellion Against the Lord

26 But you were unwilling to go up;l you rebelledm against the command of the Lord your God. 27 You grumbledn in your tents and said, “The Lord hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us. 28 Where can we go? Our brothers have made our hearts melt in fear. They say, ‘The people are stronger and tallero than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakitesp there.’ ”

29 Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraidq of them.r 30 The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fights for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, 31 and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carriedt you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”u

32 In spite of this,v you did not trustw in the Lord your God, 33 who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day,x to searchy out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.

34 When the Lord heardz what you said, he was angrya and solemnly swore:b 35 “No one from this evil generation shall see the good landc I swore to give your ancestors, 36 except Calebd son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the Lord wholeheartedly.e

37 Because of you the Lord became angryf with me also and said, “You shall not enterg it, either. 38 But your assistant, Joshuah son of Nun, will enter it. Encouragei him, because he will leadj Israel to inheritk it. 39 And the little ones that you said would be taken captive,l your children who do not yet knowm good from bad—they will enter the land. I will give it to them and they will take possession of it. 40 But as for you, turn around and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea.a n

41 Then you replied, “We have sinned against the Lord. We will go up and fight, as the Lord our God commanded us.” So every one of you put on his weapons, thinking it easy to go up into the hill country.

42 But the Lord said to me, “Tell them, ‘Do not go up and fight, because I will not be with you. You will be defeated by your enemies.’ ”o

43 So I told you, but you would not listen. You rebelled against the Lord’s command and in your arrogance you marched up into the hill country. 44 The Amorites who lived in those hills came out against you; they chased you like a swarm of beesp and beat you down from Seirq all the way to Hormah.r 45 You came back and wept before the Lord,s but he paid no attentiont to your weeping and turned a deaf earu to you. 46 And so you stayed in Kadeshv many days—all the time you spent there.


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