New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Threats of Revolt. 1 At this, the whole community broke out with loud cries, and the people wept into the night. 2 (A)All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, the whole community saying to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt,” or “If only we would die here in the wilderness! 3 Why is the Lord bringing us into this land only to have us fall by the sword? Our wives and little ones will be taken as spoil. Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 So they said to one another, “Let us appoint a leader and go back to Egypt.”
5 But Moses and Aaron fell prostrate before the whole assembled community of the Israelites; 6 while Joshua, son of Nun, and Caleb, son of Jephunneh, who had been among those that reconnoitered the land, tore their garments 7 and said to the whole community of the Israelites,(B) “The land which we went through and reconnoitered is an exceedingly good land. 8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us in to this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey. 9 (C)Only do not rebel against the Lord! You need not be afraid of the people of the land, for they are but food for us![a] Their protection has left them, but the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.”
The Lord’s Sentence. 10 The whole community threatened to stone them. But the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites. 11 And the Lord said to Moses: How long will this people spurn me? How long will they not trust me, despite all the signs I have performed among them?(D) 12 I will strike them with pestilence and disown them. Then I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.(E)
13 (F)But Moses said to the Lord: “The Egyptians will hear of this, for by your power you brought out this people from among them. 14 They will tell the inhabitants of this land, who have heard that you, Lord, are in the midst of this people; you, Lord, who directly revealed yourself! Your cloud stands over them, and you go before them by day in a column of cloud and by night in a column of fire.(G) 15 If now you slay this people all at once, the nations who have heard such reports of you will say, 16 ‘The Lord was not able to bring this people into the land he swore to give them; that is why he slaughtered them in the wilderness.’(H) 17 Now then, may my Lord’s forbearance be great, even as you have said, 18 (I)‘The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in kindness, forgiving iniquity and rebellion; yet certainly not declaring the guilty guiltless, but punishing children to the third and fourth generation for their parents’ iniquity.’ 19 Pardon, then, the iniquity of this people in keeping with your great kindness, even as you have forgiven them from Egypt until now.”(J)
20 The Lord answered: I pardon them as you have asked. 21 Yet, by my life and the Lord’s glory that fills the whole earth, 22 of all the people who have seen my glory and the signs I did in Egypt and in the wilderness,(K) and who nevertheless have put me to the test ten times already and have not obeyed me, 23 not one shall see the land which I promised on oath to their ancestors. None of those who have spurned me shall see it. 24 But as for my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and follows me unreservedly,(L) I will bring him into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall possess it. 25 But now, since the Amalekites and Canaanites are living in the valleys,[b] turn away tomorrow and set out into the wilderness by way of the Red Sea road.
26 The Lord also said to Moses and Aaron: 27 How long will this wicked community grumble against me?(M) I have heard the grumblings of the Israelites against me. 28 Tell them:[c] “By my life”—oracle of the Lord—“I will do to you just what I have heard you say. 29 Here in the wilderness(N) your dead bodies shall fall. Of all your men of twenty years or more, enrolled in your registration, who grumbled against me, 30 not one of you shall enter the land where I solemnly swore to settle you, except Caleb, son of Jephunneh, and Joshua, son of Nun. 31 Your little ones, however, who you said would be taken as spoil, I will bring in, and they shall know the land you rejected.(O) 32 But as for you, your bodies shall fall here in the wilderness, 33 while your children will wander for forty years, suffering for your infidelity, till the last of you lies dead in the wilderness.(P) 34 Corresponding to the number of days you spent reconnoitering the land—forty days—you shall bear your punishment one year for each day: forty years. Thus you will realize what it means to oppose me. 35 I, the Lord, have spoken; and I will surely do this to this entire wicked community that conspired against me: here in the wilderness they shall come to their end and there they will die.”
36 And the men whom Moses had sent to reconnoiter the land(Q) and who on returning had set the whole community grumbling against him by spreading discouraging reports about the land— 37 these men who had spread discouraging reports about the land were struck down by the Lord and died. 38 Only Joshua, son of Nun, and Caleb, son of Jephunneh, survived of all the men who had gone to reconnoiter the land.(R)
Unsuccessful Invasion. 39 When Moses repeated these words to all the Israelites, the people mourned greatly. 40 Early the next morning they started up high into the hill country, saying, “Here we are, ready to go up to the place that the Lord spoke of:(S) for we did wrong.” 41 But Moses said, “Why are you now transgressing the Lord’s order? This cannot succeed. 42 Do not go up, because the Lord is not in your midst; do not allow yourself to be struck down by your enemies.(T) 43 For there the Amalekites and Canaanites will face you, and you will fall by the sword. You have turned back from following the Lord; therefore the Lord will not be with you.”
44 Yet they dared to go up high into the hill country,(U) even though neither the ark of the covenant of the Lord nor Moses left the camp. 45 And the Amalekites and Canaanites who dwelt in that hill country came down and defeated them, beating them back as far as Hormah.[d]
- 14:9 They are but food for us: lit., “for they are our bread.” “Bread” (Heb. lechem) is here used in the sense of “prey, spoils” to be consumed by an invader. This is the answer to the pessimistic report that this land “consumes its inhabitants” (13:32).
- 14:25 The valleys: the low-lying plains in the Negeb and along the seacoast and in the Jordan depression, as well as the higher valleys in the mountains farther north: cf. v. 45.
- 14:28–29 God punished the grumblers by giving them their wish; cf. v. 2. Their lack of trust in God is cited in 1 Cor 10:10 and Hb 3:12–18 as a warning for Christians.
- 14:45 Hormah: one of the Canaanite royal cities in southern Judah, according to the tradition attested in Jos 12:14, although Nm 21:1–3 gives it as the new name for the city of Arad when it was destroyed by Israel. According to the list of conquered cities preserved in Jgs 1, the earlier name for the city of Hormah was Zephath. The precise location is unknown.
New International Version
The People Rebel
14 That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud.(A) 2 All the Israelites grumbled(B) against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt!(C) Or in this wilderness!(D) 3 Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword?(E) Our wives and children(F) will be taken as plunder.(G) Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?(H)” 4 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.(I)”
5 Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown(J) in front of the whole Israelite assembly(K) gathered there. 6 Joshua son of Nun(L) and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes(M) 7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good.(N) 8 If the Lord is pleased with us,(O) he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey,(P) and will give it to us.(Q) 9 Only do not rebel(R) against the Lord. And do not be afraid(S) of the people of the land,(T) because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with(U) us.(V) Do not be afraid of them.”(W)
10 But the whole assembly talked about stoning(X) them. Then the glory of the Lord(Y) 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?(Z) How long will they refuse to believe in me,(AA) in spite of all the signs(AB) I have performed among them? 12 I will strike them down with a plague(AC) and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation(AD) greater and stronger than they.”(AE)
13 Moses said to the Lord, “Then the Egyptians will hear about it! By your power you brought these people up from among them.(AF) 14 And they will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have already heard(AG) that you, Lord, are with these people(AH) and that you, Lord, have been seen face to face,(AI) that your cloud stays over them,(AJ) and that you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.(AK) 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,(AL) so he slaughtered them in the wilderness.’(AM)
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.(AN) Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.’(AO) 19 In accordance with your great love, forgive(AP) the sin of these people,(AQ) just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.”(AR)
20 The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them,(AS) as you asked. 21 Nevertheless, as surely as I live(AT) and as surely as the glory of the Lord(AU) fills the whole earth,(AV) 22 not one of those who saw my glory and the signs(AW) I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times(AX)— 23 not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath(AY) to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt(AZ) will ever see it.(BA) 24 But because my servant Caleb(BB) has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly,(BC) I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.(BD) 25 Since the Amalekites(BE) and the Canaanites(BF) are living in the valleys, turn(BG) back tomorrow and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea.[a](BH)”
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.(BI) 28 So tell them, ‘As surely as I live,(BJ) declares the Lord, I will do to you(BK) the very thing I heard you say: 29 In this wilderness your bodies will fall(BL)—every one of you twenty years old or more(BM) who was counted in the census(BN) and who has grumbled against me. 30 Not one of you will enter the land(BO) I swore with uplifted hand(BP) to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh(BQ) and Joshua son of Nun.(BR) 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.(BS) 32 But as for you, your bodies will fall(BT) in this wilderness. 33 Your children will be shepherds here for forty years,(BU) suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the wilderness. 34 For forty years(BV)—one year for each of the forty days you explored the land(BW)—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 things(BX) to this whole wicked community, which has banded together against me. They will meet their end in this wilderness; here they will die.(BY)”
36 So the men Moses had sent(BZ) to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble(CA) against him by spreading a bad report(CB) about it— 37 these men who were responsible for spreading the bad report(CC) about the land were struck down and died of a plague(CD) before the Lord. 38 Of the men who went to explore the land,(CE) only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.(CF)
39 When Moses reported this(CG) to all the Israelites, they mourned(CH) bitterly. 40 Early the next morning they set out for the highest point in the hill country,(CI) saying, “Now we are ready to go up to the land the Lord promised. Surely we have sinned!(CJ)”
41 But Moses said, “Why are you disobeying the Lord’s command? This will not succeed!(CK) 42 Do not go up, because the Lord is not with you. You will be defeated by your enemies,(CL) 43 for the Amalekites(CM) and the Canaanites(CN) will face you there. Because you have turned away from the Lord, he will not be with you(CO) and you will fall by the sword.”
44 Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up(CP) toward the highest point in the hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the Lord’s covenant moved from the camp.(CQ) 45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites(CR) who lived in that hill country(CS) came down and attacked them and beat them down all the way to Hormah.(CT)
- Numbers 14:25 Or the Sea of Reeds