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Numbers 13-16 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Scouting Out Canaan

13 The Lord spoke to Moses: “Send men to scout out the land of Canaan I am giving to the Israelites. Send one man who is a leader among them from each of their ancestral tribes.” Moses sent them from the Wilderness of Paran at the Lord’s command. All the men were leaders in Israel. These were their names:

Shammua son of Zaccur from the tribe of Reuben;

Shaphat son of Hori from the tribe of Simeon;

Caleb son of Jephunneh from the tribe of Judah;

Igal son of Joseph from the tribe of Issachar;

Hoshea son of Nun from the tribe of Ephraim;

Palti son of Raphu from the tribe of Benjamin;

10 Gaddiel son of Sodi from the tribe of Zebulun;

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

12 Ammiel son of Gemalli from the tribe of Dan;

13 Sethur son of Michael from the tribe of Asher;

14 Nahbi son of Vophsi from the tribe of Naphtali;

15 Geuel son of Machi from the tribe of Gad.

16 These were the names of the men Moses sent to scout out the land, and Moses renamed Hoshea son of Nun, Joshua.

17 When Moses sent them to scout out the land of Canaan, he told them, “Go up this way to the Negev, then go up into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like, and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 Is the land they live in good or bad? Are the cities they live in encampments or fortifications? 20 Is the land fertile or unproductive? Are there trees in it or not? Be courageous. Bring back some fruit from the land.” It was the season for the first ripe grapes.

21 So they went up and scouted out the land from the Wilderness of Zin[a] as far as Rehob near the entrance to Hamath.[b] 22 They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, were living. Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt. 23 When they came to the Valley of Eshcol, they cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes, which was carried on a pole by two men. They also took some pomegranates and figs. 24 That place was called the Valley of Eshcol[c] because of the cluster of grapes the Israelites cut there. 25 At the end of forty days they returned from scouting out the land.

Report about Canaan

26 The men went back to Moses, Aaron, and the entire Israelite community in the Wilderness of Paran at Kadesh. They brought back a report for them and the whole community, and they showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They reported to Moses: “We went into the land where you sent us. Indeed it is flowing with milk and honey, and here is some of its fruit. 28 However, the people living in the land are strong, and the cities are large and fortified. We also saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites are living in the land of the Negev; the Hethites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live by the sea and along the Jordan.”

30 Then Caleb quieted the people in the presence of Moses and said, “Let’s go up now and take possession of the land because we can certainly conquer it!”

31 But the men who had gone up with him responded, “We can’t attack the people because they are stronger than we are!” 32 So they gave a negative report to the Israelites about the land they had scouted: “The land we passed through to explore is one that devours its inhabitants, and all the people we saw in it are men of great size. 33 We even saw the Nephilim there—the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim! To ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and we must have seemed the same to them.”

Israel’s Refusal to Enter Canaan

14 Then the whole community broke into loud cries, and the people wept that night. All the Israelites complained about Moses and Aaron, and the whole community told them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land to die by the sword? Our wives and children will become plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let’s appoint a leader and go back to Egypt.”

Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole assembly of the Israelite community. Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who scouted out the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite community: “The land we passed through and explored is an extremely good land. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us into this land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and give it to us. Only don’t rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land, for we will devour them. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us. Don’t be afraid of them!”

10 While the whole community threatened to stone them, the glory of the Lord appeared to all the Israelites at the tent of meeting.

God’s Judgment of Israel’s Rebellion

11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people despise me? How long will they not trust in me despite all the signs I have performed among them? 12 I will strike them with a plague and destroy them. Then I will make you into a greater and mightier nation than they are.”

13 But Moses replied to the Lord, “The Egyptians will hear about it, for by your strength you brought up this people from them. 14 They will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that you, Lord, are among these people, how you, Lord, are seen face to face, how your cloud stands over them, and how you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. 15 If you kill this people with a single blow,[d] the nations that have heard of your fame will declare, 16 ‘Since the Lord wasn’t able to bring this people into the land he swore to give them, he has slaughtered them in the wilderness.’

17 “So now, may my Lord’s power be magnified just as you have spoken: 18 The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in faithful love, forgiving iniquity and rebellion. But he will not leave the guilty unpunished, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ iniquity on the children to the third and fourth generation. 19 Please pardon the iniquity of this people, in keeping with the greatness of your faithful love, just as you have forgiven them from Egypt until now.”

20 The Lord responded, “I have pardoned them as you requested. 21 Yet as surely as I live and as the whole earth is filled with the Lord’s glory, 22 none of the men who have seen my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tested me these ten times and did not obey me, 23 will ever see the land I swore to give their fathers. None of those who have despised me will see it. 24 But since my servant Caleb has a different spirit and has remained loyal to me, I will bring him into the land where he has gone, and his descendants will inherit it. 25 Since the Amalekites and Canaanites are living in the lowlands,[e] turn back tomorrow and head for the wilderness in the direction of the Red Sea.”

26 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 27 “How long must I endure this evil community that keeps complaining about me? I have heard the Israelites’ complaints that they make against me. 28 Tell them: As surely as I live—this is the Lord’s declaration—I will do to you exactly as I heard you say. 29 Your corpses will fall in this wilderness—all of you who were registered in the census, the entire number of you twenty years old or more—because you have complained about me. 30 I swear that none of you will enter the land I promised[f] to settle you in, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 31 I will bring your children whom you said would become plunder into the land you rejected, and they will enjoy it. 32 But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness. 33 Your children will be shepherds in the wilderness for forty years and bear the penalty for your acts of unfaithfulness until all your corpses lie scattered in the wilderness. 34 You will bear the consequences of your iniquities forty years based on the number of the forty days that you scouted the land, a year for each day.[g] You will know my displeasure.[h] 35 I, the Lord, have spoken. I swear that I will do this to the entire evil community that has conspired against me. They will come to an end in the wilderness, and there they will die.”

36 So the men Moses sent to scout out the land, and who returned and incited the entire community to complain about him by spreading a negative report about the land— 37 those men who spread the negative report about the land were struck down by the Lord. 38 Only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh remained alive of those men who went to scout out the land.

Israel Routed

39 When Moses reported these words to all the Israelites, the people were overcome with grief. 40 They got up early the next morning and went up the ridge of the hill country, saying, “Let’s go to the place the Lord promised, for we were wrong.”

41 But Moses responded, “Why are you going against the Lord’s command? It won’t succeed. 42 Don’t go, because the Lord is not among you and you will be defeated by your enemies. 43 The Amalekites and Canaanites are right in front of you, and you will fall by the sword. The Lord won’t be with you, since you have turned from following him.”

44 But they dared to go up the ridge of the hill country, even though the ark of the Lord’s covenant and Moses did not leave the camp. 45 Then the Amalekites and Canaanites who lived in that part of the hill country came down, attacked them, and routed them as far as Hormah.

Laws about Offerings

15 The Lord instructed Moses: “Speak to the Israelites and tell them: When you enter the land I am giving you to settle in, and you make a fire offering to the Lord from the herd or flock—either a burnt offering or a sacrifice, to fulfill a vow, or as a freewill offering, or at your appointed festivals—to produce a pleasing aroma for the Lord, the one presenting his offering to the Lord is also to present a grain offering of two quarts[i] of fine flour mixed with a quart[j] of oil. Prepare a quart of wine as a drink offering with the burnt offering or sacrifice of each lamb.

“If you prepare a grain offering with a ram, it is to be four quarts[k] of fine flour mixed with a third of a gallon[l] of oil. Also present a third of a gallon of wine for a drink offering as a pleasing aroma to the Lord.

“If you prepare a young bull as a burnt offering or as a sacrifice, to fulfill a vow, or as a fellowship offering to the Lord, a grain offering of six quarts[m] of fine flour mixed with two quarts[n] of oil is to be presented with the bull. 10 Also present two quarts of wine as a drink offering. It is a fire offering of pleasing aroma to the Lord. 11 This is to be done for each ox, ram, lamb, or goat. 12 This is how you are to prepare each of them, no matter how many.

13 “Every Israelite is to prepare these things in this way when he presents a fire offering as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 14 When an alien resides with you or someone else is among you and wants to prepare a fire offering as a pleasing aroma to the Lord, he is to do exactly as you do throughout your generations. 15 The assembly is to have the same statute for both you and the resident alien as a permanent statute throughout your generations. You and the alien will be alike before the Lord. 16 The same law and the same ordinance will apply to both you and the alien who resides with you.”

17 The Lord instructed Moses: 18 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them: After you enter the land where I am bringing you, 19 you are to offer a contribution to the Lord when you eat from the food of the land. 20 You are to offer a loaf from your first batch of dough as a contribution; offer it just like a contribution from the threshing floor. 21 Throughout your generations, you are to give the Lord a contribution from the first batch of your dough.

22 “When you sin unintentionally and do not obey all these commands that the Lord spoke to Moses 23 all that the Lord has commanded you through Moses, from the day the Lord issued the commands and onward throughout your generations— 24 and if it was done unintentionally without the community’s awareness, the entire community is to prepare one young bull for a burnt offering as a pleasing aroma to the Lord, with its grain offering and drink offering according to the regulation, and one male goat as a sin offering. 25 The priest will then make atonement for the entire Israelite community so that they may be forgiven, for the sin was unintentional. They are to bring their offering, one made by fire to the Lord, and their sin offering before the Lord for their unintentional sin. 26 The entire Israelite community and the alien who resides among them will be forgiven, since it happened to all the people unintentionally.

27 “If one person sins unintentionally, he is to present a year-old female goat as a sin offering. 28 The priest will then make atonement before the Lord on behalf of the person who acts in error sinning unintentionally, and when he makes atonement for him, he will be forgiven. 29 You are to have the same law for the person who acts in error, whether he is an Israelite or an alien who resides among you.

30 “But the person who acts defiantly,[o] whether native or resident alien, blasphemes the Lord. That person is to be cut off from his people. 31 He will certainly be cut off, because he has despised the Lord’s word and broken his command; his guilt remains on him.”

Sabbath Violation

32 While the Israelites were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering wood on the Sabbath day. 33 Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses, Aaron, and the entire community. 34 They placed him in custody because it had not been decided what should be done to him. 35 Then the Lord told Moses, “The man is to be put to death. The entire community is to stone him outside the camp.” 36 So the entire community brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Tassels for Remembrance

37 The Lord said to Moses, 38 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them that throughout their generations they are to make tassels for the corners of their garments, and put a blue cord on the tassel at each corner. 39 These will serve as tassels for you to look at, so that you may remember all the Lord’s commands and obey them and not prostitute yourselves by following your own heart and your own eyes. 40 This way you will remember and obey all my commands and be holy to your God. 41 I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God; I am the Lord your God.”

Korah Incites Rebellion

16 Now Korah son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took two hundred and fifty prominent Israelite men who were leaders of the community and representatives in the assembly, and they rebelled against Moses. They came together against Moses and Aaron and told them, “You have gone too far! Everyone in the entire community is holy, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?”

When Moses heard this, he fell facedown. Then he said to Korah and all his followers, “Tomorrow morning the Lord will reveal who belongs to him, who is set apart, and the one he will let come near him. He will let the one he chooses come near him. Korah, you and all your followers are to do this: take firepans, and tomorrow place fire in them and put incense on them before the Lord. Then the man the Lord chooses will be the one who is set apart. It is you Levites who have gone too far!”

Moses also told Korah, “Now listen, Levites! Isn’t it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the Israelite community to bring you near to himself, to perform the work at the Lord’s tabernacle, and to stand before the community to minister to them? 10 He has brought you near, and all your fellow Levites who are with you, but you are pursuing the priesthood as well. 11 Therefore, it is you and all your followers who have conspired against the Lord! As for Aaron, who is he[p] that you should complain about him?”

12 Moses sent for Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, but they said, “We will not come! 13 Is it not enough that you brought us up from a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the wilderness? Do you also have to appoint yourself as ruler over us? 14 Furthermore, you didn’t bring us to a land flowing with milk and honey or give us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Will you gouge out the eyes of these men? We will not come!”

15 Then Moses became angry and said to the Lord, “Don’t respect their offering. I have not taken one donkey from them or mistreated a single one of them.” 16 So Moses told Korah, “You and all your followers are to appear before the Lord tomorrow—you, they, and Aaron. 17 Each of you is to take his firepan, place incense on it, and present his firepan before the Lord—250 firepans. You and Aaron are each to present your firepan also.”

18 Each man took his firepan, placed fire in it, put incense on it, and stood at the entrance to the tent of meeting along with Moses and Aaron. 19 After Korah assembled the whole community against them at the entrance to the tent of meeting, the glory of the Lord appeared to the whole community. 20 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, 21 “Separate yourselves from this community so I may consume them instantly.”

22 But Moses and Aaron fell facedown and said, “God, God who gives breath to all,[q] when one man sins, will you vent your wrath on the whole community?”

23 The Lord replied to Moses, 24 “Tell the community: Get away from the dwellings of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.”

25 Moses got up and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 He warned the community, “Get away now from the tents of these wicked men. Don’t touch anything that belongs to them, or you will be swept away because of all their sins.” 27 So they got away from the dwellings of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Meanwhile, Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the entrance of their tents with their wives, children, and infants.

28 Then Moses said, “This is how you will know that the Lord sent me to do all these things and that it was not of my own will: 29 If these men die naturally as all people would, and suffer the fate of all, then the Lord has not sent me. 30 But if the Lord brings about something unprecedented, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them along with all that belongs to them so that they go down alive into Sheol, then you will know that these men have despised the Lord.”

31 Just as he finished speaking all these words, the ground beneath them split open. 32 The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, all Korah’s people, and all their possessions. 33 They went down alive into Sheol with all that belonged to them. The earth closed over them, and they vanished from the assembly. 34 At their cries, all the people of Israel who were around them fled because they thought, “The earth may swallow us too!” 35 Fire also came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men who were presenting the incense.

36 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 37 “Tell Eleazar son of Aaron the priest to remove the firepans from the burning debris, because they are holy, and scatter the fire far away. 38 As for the firepans of those who sinned at the cost of their own lives, make them into hammered sheets as plating for the altar, for they presented them before the Lord, and the firepans are holy. They will be a sign to the Israelites.”

39 So the priest Eleazar took the bronze firepans that those who were burned had presented, and they were hammered into plating for the altar, 40 just as the Lord commanded him through Moses. It was to be a reminder for the Israelites that no unauthorized person outside the lineage of Aaron should approach to offer incense before the Lord and become like Korah and his followers.

41 The next day the entire Israelite community complained about Moses and Aaron, saying, “You have killed the Lord’s people!” 42 When the community assembled against them, Moses and Aaron turned toward the tent of meeting, and suddenly the cloud covered it, and the Lord’s glory appeared.

43 Moses and Aaron went to the front of the tent of meeting, 44 and the Lord said to Moses, 45 “Get away from this community so that I may consume them instantly.” But they fell facedown.

46 Then Moses told Aaron, “Take your firepan, place fire from the altar in it, and add incense. Go quickly to the community and make atonement for them, because wrath has come from the Lord; the plague has begun.” 47 So Aaron took his firepan as Moses had ordered, ran into the middle of the assembly, and saw that the plague had begun among the people. After he added incense, he made atonement for the people. 48 He stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was halted. 49 But those who died from the plague numbered 14,700, in addition to those who died because of the Korah incident. 50 Aaron then returned to Moses at the entrance to the tent of meeting, since the plague had been halted.

Footnotes:

  1. 13:21 Southern border of the promised land
  2. 13:21 Or near Lebo-hamath
  3. 13:24 = Cluster
  4. 14:15 Lit people as one man
  5. 14:25 Lit valley
  6. 14:30 Lit I raised my hand
  7. 14:34 Lit a day for the year, a day for the year
  8. 14:34 Or my opposition
  9. 15:4 Lit a tenth (of an ephah)
  10. 15:4 Lit a fourth hin, also in v. 5
  11. 15:6 Lit two-tenths (of an ephah)
  12. 15:6 Lit a third hin, also in v. 7
  13. 15:9 Lit three-tenths (of an ephah)
  14. 15:9 Lit a half hin, also in v. 10
  15. 15:30 Lit with a high hand
  16. 16:11 Or Aaron, what has he done
  17. 16:22 Or God of the spirits of all flesh
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

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