Add parallel Print Page Options

The People Complain

14 Then all the community lifted up their voices,[a] and the people wept during that night. And all the Israelites[b] grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and all the community said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt or in this desert! Why did Yahweh bring us into this land to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little children will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” They said to each other,[c] “Let us appoint a leader, and we will return to Egypt.”

Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before[d] the assembly of the community of the Israelites.[e] Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, from the explorers of the land, tore their garments. And they said to all the community of the Israelites,[f] “The land that we went through to explore is an exceptionally good land.[g] If Yahweh delights in us, then he will bring us into this land, and he will give it to us, a land that is flowing with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against Yahweh, and you will not fear the people of the land, because they will be our food. Their protection[h] has been turned from them; Yahweh is with us. You should not fear them.” 10 And all the community said to stone them with stones, but the glory of Yahweh appeared in the tent of assembly among the Israelites.[i]

11 And Yahweh said to Moses, “How long until this people will despise me, and how long until they will not believe in me, and in all the signs that I have done in their[j] midst? 12 I will strike them[k] with disease, and I will dispossess them;[l] I will make you into a greater and stronger nation than them.”[m]

13 And Moses said to Yahweh, “Then the Egyptians will hear that you brought up this people from their[n] midst in your power, 14 and they will tell it[o] to the inhabitants of this land. They heard that you, Yahweh, are in the midst of this people, that you are seen eye to eye, and your cloud is standing over them, and in a column of cloud you go before them by day and in a column of fire at night. 15 But if you destroy this people all at once,[p] the nations that will have heard your message will say, 16 ‘Yahweh was unable to bring this people in the land that he swore by an oath, and he slaughtered them in the desert.’ 17 But now, please, let the power of my Lord be great, just has you spoke,

18 ‘Yahweh is slow to anger[q]
    and great of loyal love,
forgiving[r] sin and rebellion;
    but surely he leaves nothing unpunished,
visiting the sin of the fathers on the sons
    to the third and fourth generations.’

19 Please forgive the sin of this people according to the greatness of your loyal love, just as you forgave[s] this people, from Egypt until now.”

20 Yahweh said, “I have forgiven them according to your word; 21 but as I am alive, the glory of Yahweh will fill all the earth. 22 But because all the men who have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the desert yet tested me these ten times and did not listen to my voice, 23 they will not see the land that I swore by oath to their ancestors,[t] and all those who despised me will not see it. 24 But my servant Caleb, because another spirit was with him, he remained true after me, and I will bring him into the land that he entered,[u] and his offspring will take possession of it. 25 And the Amalekites and the Canaanites live in the valleys; tomorrow turn and set out for the desert by way of the Red Sea.”[v]

26 And Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 27 “How long will I bear this evil community who are grumbling against me? I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites[w] which they are making[x] against me. 28 Say to them, ‘Surely as I live,’ declares[y] Yahweh, ‘just as you spoke in my hearing,[z] so I will do to you; 29 in this desert your corpses will fall, and all your counted ones, according to all your number, from twenty years old[aa] and above who grumbled against me. 30 You yourselves will not come into the land that I swore by oath[ab] to make you to dwell in it, but Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 31 But your little children, whom you said would be plunder, I will bring them, and they will know the land that you rejected. 32 But for you, all your corpses will fall in this desert. 33 And your children will be shepherds in the desert forty years,[ac] and you will bear your unfaithfulness until all your corpses have fallen[ad] in the desert. 34 According to the number of the days[ae] that you explored the land, forty days,[af] a day for each year,[ag] you will bear your sins forty years,[ah] and you will know my opposition.’ 35 I, Yahweh, have spoken; I will surely do this to all this evil community who has banded together against me. In this desert they will come to an end, and there they will die.”

36 As for the men whom Moses sent to explore the land, who returned and made the community grumble against him by spreading a report over the land, 37 the men who spread the evil report of the land died by the plague before Yahweh.[ai] 38 But Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh lived from among the men who went to explore the land.

39 And Moses spoke words to all the Israelites,[aj] and the people mourned greatly. 40 They rose early in the morning and went to the top of the mount, saying, “Here we are. We will go up to the place that Yahweh said, because we have sinned.” 41 But Moses said, “Why are you going against the command of Yahweh? It will not succeed. 42 You should not go up because Yahweh is not in your midst; do not let yourselves be defeated in the presence of your enemies, 43 because the Amalekites[ak] and the Canaanites[al] are there before you,[am] and you will fall by the sword; because you have turned back from Yahweh, and Yahweh will not be with you.” 44 But they dared to go to the top of the mountain, and the ark of the covenant of Yahweh and Moses did not depart from the midst of the camp. 45 So the Amalekites[an] and the Canaanites[ao] who were living on the mountain descended, and they beat them down, up to Hormah.


  1. Numbers 14:1 Hebrew “they lifted up and gave their voice”
  2. Numbers 14:2 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  3. Numbers 14:4 Literally “A man said to his brother”
  4. Numbers 14:5 Literally “in the presence of”
  5. Numbers 14:5 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  6. Numbers 14:7 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  7. Numbers 14:7 Literally “the land is very very good”
  8. Numbers 14:9 Literally “Their shadow”
  9. Numbers 14:10 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  10. Numbers 14:11 Hebrew “his”
  11. Numbers 14:12 Hebrew “him”
  12. Numbers 14:12 Hebrew “him”
  13. Numbers 14:12 Hebrew “him”
  14. Numbers 14:13 Hebrew “his”
  15. Numbers 14:14 Literally “say”
  16. Numbers 14:15 Literally “as one man”
  17. Numbers 14:18 Literally “slow of noses”
  18. Numbers 14:18 Literally “lifting up”
  19. Numbers 14:19 Literally “lifted up”
  20. Numbers 14:23 Or “fathers”
  21. Numbers 14:24 Or “he went to”
  22. Numbers 14:25 Literally “sea of reed”
  23. Numbers 14:27 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  24. Numbers 14:27 Literally “they are grumbling”
  25. Numbers 14:28 Literally “declaration of”
  26. Numbers 14:28 Literally “in my ears”
  27. Numbers 14:29 Literally “a son of twenty years”
  28. Numbers 14:30 Literally “I lifted up my hand”
  29. Numbers 14:33 Hebrew “year”
  30. Numbers 14:33 Literally “until to complete your corpses”
  31. Numbers 14:34 Hebrew “day”
  32. Numbers 14:34 Hebrew “day”
  33. Numbers 14:34 Literally “a day for a year a day for a year”
  34. Numbers 14:34 Hebrew “year”
  35. Numbers 14:37 Literally “in the presence of Yahweh”
  36. Numbers 14:39 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  37. Numbers 14:43 Hebrew “Amalekite”
  38. Numbers 14:43 Hebrew “Canaanite”
  39. Numbers 14:43 Literally “in your presence”
  40. Numbers 14:45 Hebrew “Amalekite”
  41. Numbers 14:45 Hebrew “Canaanite”