Miriam and Aaron Oppose Moses

12 Miriam(A) and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife,(B) for he had married a Cushite. “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?”(C) And the Lord heard this.(D)

(Now Moses was a very humble man,(E) more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)

At once the Lord said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, “Come out to the tent of meeting, all three of you.” So the three of them went out. Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud;(F) he stood at the entrance to the tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When the two of them stepped forward, he said, “Listen to my words:

“When there is a prophet among you,
    I, the Lord, reveal(G) myself to them in visions,(H)
    I speak to them in dreams.(I)
But this is not true of my servant Moses;(J)
    he is faithful in all my house.(K)
With him I speak face to face,
    clearly and not in riddles;(L)
    he sees the form of the Lord.(M)
Why then were you not afraid
    to speak against my servant Moses?”(N)

The anger of the Lord burned against them,(O) and he left them.(P)

10 When the cloud lifted from above the tent,(Q) Miriam’s skin was leprous[a]—it became as white as snow.(R) Aaron turned toward her and saw that she had a defiling skin disease,(S) 11 and he said to Moses, “Please, my lord, I ask you not to hold against us the sin we have so foolishly committed.(T) 12 Do not let her be like a stillborn infant coming from its mother’s womb with its flesh half eaten away.”

13 So Moses cried out to the Lord, “Please, God, heal her!(U)

14 The Lord replied to Moses, “If her father had spit in her face,(V) would she not have been in disgrace for seven days? Confine her outside the camp(W) for seven days; after that she can be brought back.” 15 So Miriam was confined outside the camp(X) for seven days,(Y) and the people did not move on till she was brought back.

16 After that, the people left Hazeroth(Z) and encamped in the Desert of Paran.(AA)

Exploring Canaan

13 The Lord said to Moses, “Send some men to explore(AB) the land of Canaan,(AC) which I am giving to the Israelites.(AD) From each ancestral tribe(AE) send one of its leaders.”

So at the Lord’s command Moses sent them out from the Desert of Paran. All of them were leaders of the Israelites.(AF) These are their names:

from the tribe of Reuben, Shammua son of Zakkur;

from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat son of Hori;

from the tribe of Judah, Caleb son of Jephunneh;(AG)

from the tribe of Issachar, Igal son of Joseph;

from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea son of Nun;(AH)

from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti son of Raphu;

10 from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel son of Sodi;

11 from the tribe of Manasseh (a tribe of Joseph), Gaddi son of Susi;

12 from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel son of Gemalli;

13 from the tribe of Asher, Sethur son of Michael;

14 from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi son of Vophsi;

15 from the tribe of Gad, Geuel son of Maki.

16 These are the names of the men Moses sent to explore(AI) the land. (Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun(AJ) the name Joshua.)(AK)

17 When Moses sent them to explore Canaan,(AL) he said, “Go up through the Negev(AM) and on into the hill country.(AN) 18 See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? 20 How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.(AO)” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.)(AP)

21 So they went up and explored the land from the Desert of Zin(AQ) as far as Rehob,(AR) toward Lebo Hamath.(AS) 22 They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron,(AT) where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai,(AU) the descendants of Anak,(AV) lived. (Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)(AW) 23 When they reached the Valley of Eshkol,[b](AX) they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates(AY) and figs.(AZ) 24 That place was called the Valley of Eshkol because of the cluster of grapes the Israelites cut off there. 25 At the end of forty days(BA) they returned from exploring the land.(BB)

Report on the Exploration

26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh(BC) in the Desert of Paran.(BD) There they reported to them(BE) and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land.(BF) 27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey!(BG) Here is its fruit.(BH) 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.(BI) We even saw descendants of Anak(BJ) there.(BK) 29 The Amalekites(BL) live in the Negev; the Hittites,(BM) Jebusites(BN) and Amorites(BO) live in the hill country;(BP) and the Canaanites(BQ) live near the sea and along the Jordan.(BR)

30 Then Caleb(BS) silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.”(BT) 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report(BU) about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours(BV) those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size.(BW) 33 We saw the Nephilim(BX) there (the descendants of Anak(BY) come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers(BZ) in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”


  1. Numbers 12:10 The Hebrew for leprous was used for various diseases affecting the skin.
  2. Numbers 13:23 Eshkol means cluster; also in verse 24.

Bible Gateway Recommends