Numbers 14Revised Standard Version (RSV)
The People Rebel
14 Then all the congregation raised a loud cry; and the people wept that night. 2 And all the people of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron; the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! 3 Why does the Lord bring us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey; would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?”
4 And they said to one another, “Let us choose a captain, and go back to Egypt.” 5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the people of Israel. 6 And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephun′neh, who were among those who had spied out the land, rent their clothes, 7 and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. 8 If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey. 9 Only, do not rebel against the Lord; and do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us; their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.” 10 But all the congregation said to stone them with stones.
Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel. 11 And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs which I have wrought among them? 12 I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.”
Moses Intercedes for the People
13 But Moses said to the Lord, “Then the Egyptians will hear of it, for thou didst bring up this people in thy might from among them, 14 and they will tell the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that thou, O Lord, art in the midst of this people; for thou, O Lord, art seen face to face, and thy cloud stands over them and thou goest before them, in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. 15 Now if thou dost kill this people as one man, then the nations who have heard thy fame will say, 16 ‘Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which he swore to give to them, therefore he has slain them in the wilderness.’ 17 And now, I pray thee, let the power of the Lord be great as thou has promised, saying, 18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of fathers upon children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation.’ 19 Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray thee, according to the greatness of thy steadfast love, and according as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.”
20 Then the Lord said, “I have pardoned, according to your word; 21 but truly, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, 22 none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs which I wrought in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the proof these ten times and have not hearkened to my voice, 23 shall see the land which I swore to give to their fathers; and none of those who despised me shall see it. 24 But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it. 25 Now, since the Amal′ekites and the Canaanites dwell in the valleys, turn tomorrow and set out for the wilderness by the way to the Red Sea.”
An Attempted Invasion is Repulsed
26 And the Lord said to Moses and to Aaron, 27 “How long shall this wicked congregation murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the people of Israel, which they murmur against me. 28 Say to them, ‘As I live, says the Lord, what you have said in my hearing I will do to you: 29 your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness; and of all your number, numbered from twenty years old and upward, who have murmured against me, 30 not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephun′neh and Joshua the son of Nun. 31 But your little ones, who you said would become a prey, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised. 32 But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness. 33 And your children shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and shall suffer for your faithlessness, until the last of your dead bodies lies in the wilderness. 34 According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day a year, you shall bear your iniquity, forty years, and you shall know my displeasure.’ 35 I, the Lord, have spoken; surely this will I do to all this wicked congregation that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall come to a full end, and there they shall die.”
36 And the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, and who returned and made all the congregation to murmur against him by bringing up an evil report against the land, 37 the men who brought up an evil report of the land, died by plague before the Lord. 38 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephun′neh remained alive, of those men who went to spy out the land.
39 And Moses told these words to all the people of Israel, and the people mourned greatly. 40 And they rose early in the morning, and went up to the heights of the hill country, saying, “See, we are here, we will go up to the place which the Lord has promised; for we have sinned.” 41 But Moses said, “Why now are you transgressing the command of the Lord, for that will not succeed? 42 Do not go up lest you be struck down before your enemies, for the Lord is not among you. 43 For there the Amal′ekites and the Canaanites are before you, and you shall fall by the sword; because you have turned back from following the Lord, the Lord will not be with you.” 44 But they presumed to go up to the heights of the hill country, although neither the ark of the covenant of the Lord, nor Moses, departed out of the camp. 45 Then the Amal′ekites and the Canaanites who dwelt in that hill country came down, and defeated them and pursued them, even to Hormah.