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Numbers 6-15 Common English Bible (CEB)

Instructions for the nazirite

The Lord spoke to Moses: Speak to the Israelites and say to them: If a man or a woman makes a binding promise to be a nazirite in order to be dedicated to the Lord, that person must refrain from wine and brandy. He or she may not drink wine vinegar or brandy vinegar, nor drink any grape juice or eat grapes, whether fresh or dried. While a nazirite, the person may not eat anything produced from the grapevine, not even its seeds or skin.

For the term of the nazirite promise, no razor may be used on the head until the period of dedication to the Lord is fulfilled. The person is to be holy, letting his or her hair grow untrimmed. The period of dedication to the Lord also requires that the person not go near a corpse, whether father, mother, brother, or sister. Nazirites should not defile themselves because of the death of these people, because they bear the sign of their dedication to God on their heads.

While a nazirite, the person is holy to the Lord. If someone suddenly dies nearby, defiling the head of the nazirite, he or she will shave the head on the day of cleansing; they will shave it on the seventh day. 10 On the eighth day the person will bring two turtledoves or two young doves to the priest at the entrance of the meeting tent. 11 The priest will offer one for a purification offering and the other as an entirely burned offering. He will seek reconciliation for the person on account of the guilt acquired from the corpse, and he will make the head holy again on that same day. 12 The person will be rededicated to the Lord as a nazirite and bring a one-year-old male lamb for a compensation offering. The previous period will be invalid, because the nazirite promise was defiled.

13 This is the Instruction for the nazirite. When the term as a nazirite is completed, the person will be brought to the entrance of the meeting tent 14 and offer a gift to the Lord, consisting of a flawless one-year-old male lamb as an entirely burned offering, a flawless one-year-old female lamb as a purification offering, one flawless ram as a well-being sacrifice, 15 and a basket of loaves of unleavened bread made with fine flour and mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers spread with oil, along with their grain offering and their drink offering. 16 The priest will come close to the Lord and offer the purification and entirely burned offerings. 17 The ram he will offer as a well-being sacrifice to the Lord with the basket of unleavened bread; then the priest will offer the grain offering and the drink offering. 18 The nazirite will shave his ordained head at the meeting tent’s entrance, take the hair from his ordained head, and put it in the fire under the well-being sacrifice. 19 The priest will take the shoulder from the ram after it is boiled, one piece of unleavened bread from the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and place them in the hands of the nazirite after the ordained head is shaved. 20 Then the priest will raise them as an uplifted offering before the Lord; they are holy to the priest, with the breast of the uplifted offering and the thigh of the gift offering. After this the nazirite may drink wine.

21 This is the instruction for the nazirite who takes the solemn promise. That person’s offering to the Lord will be in accordance with the nazirite promise, in addition to whatever else the person may have offered. The person must do just as they have promised, in adherence with the nazirite promise.

Priestly blessing

22 The Lord spoke to Moses: 23 Tell Aaron and his sons: You will bless the Israelites as follows. Say to them:

24 The Lord bless you and protect you.
25 The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
26 The Lord lift up his face to you and grant you peace.

27 They will place my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.

The dwelling’s dedication

On the day when Moses finished setting up the dwelling, he anointed and made it holy. All its equipment, as well as the altar and all its equipment, he also anointed and made holy. The chiefs of Israel, the leaders of their households, made their presentations. They were the tribal chiefs and those who were in charge of the enlistment. They brought their offerings before the Lord: six covered wagons and twelve oxen—a wagon for every two chiefs, and an ox for every chief. They brought them near before the dwelling.

The Lord said to Moses: Take these from them and use them for service in the meeting tent. Give them to the Levites according to their duties.

So Moses took the wagons and the oxen, and he gave them to the Levites. Two wagons and four oxen he gave to the Gershonites for their duty. Four wagons and eight oxen he gave to the Merarites for their duty under the supervision of Ithamar, Aaron the priest’s son. But to the Kohathites he gave nothing because their duty concerned the holy things that had to be carried on the shoulders. 10 The chiefs made their presentations for the dedication of the altar on the day it was anointed. The chiefs presented their offerings before the altar.

11 The Lord said to Moses: One chief per day will present their offering for the dedication of the altar.

12 The one presenting his offering on the first day was Nahshon, Amminadab’s son, from the tribe of Judah. 13 His offering was one silver dish weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels according to the sanctuary shekel, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering; 14 one gold bowl weighing ten shekels full of incense; 15 one bull from the herd, one ram, and one year-old male lamb for an entirely burned offering; 16 one male goat for a purification offering; 17 and for the well-being sacrifice two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old. This was the offering of Nahshon, Amminadab’s son.

18 On the second day Nethanel, Zuar’s son, the chief of Issachar, presented his offering. 19 He presented as his offering one silver dish weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels according to the sanctuary shekel, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering; 20 one gold bowl weighing ten shekels full of incense; 21 one bull from the herd, one ram, and one year-old male lamb for an entirely burned offering; 22 one male goat for a purification offering; 23 and for the well-being sacrifice two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old. This was the offering of Nethanel, Zuar’s son.

24 On the third day Zebulun’s Chief Eliab, Helon’s son: 25 his offering was one silver dish weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels according to the sanctuary shekel, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering; 26 one gold bowl weighing ten shekels full of incense; 27 one bull from the herd, one ram, and one year-old male lamb for an entirely burned offering; 28 one male goat for a purification offering; 29 and for the well-being sacrifice, two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old. This was the offering of Eliab, Helon’s son.

30 On the fourth day Reuben’s Chief Elizur, Shedeur’s son: 31 his offering was one silver dish weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels according to the sanctuary shekel, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering; 32 one gold bowl weighing ten shekels full of incense; 33 one bull from the herd, one ram, and one year-old male lamb for an entirely burned offering; 34 one male goat for a purification offering; 35 and for the well-being sacrifice two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old. This was the offering of Elizur, Shedeur’s son.

36 On the fifth day Simeon’s Chief Shelumiel, Zurishaddai’s son: 37 his offering was one silver dish weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one basin weighing seventy shekels according to the sanctuary shekel, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering; 38 one gold bowl weighing ten shekels full of incense; 39 one bull from the herd, one ram, and one year-old male lamb for an entirely burned offering; 40 one male goat for a purification offering; 41 and for the well-being sacrifice two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old. This was the offering of Shelumiel, Zurishaddai’s son.

42 On the sixth day Gad’s Chief Eliasaph, Deuel’s son: 43 his offering was one silver dish weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels according to the sanctuary shekel, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering; 44 one gold bowl weighing ten shekels full of incense; 45 one bull from the herd, one ram, and one year-old male lamb for an entirely burned offering; 46 one male goat for a purification offering; 47 and for the well-being sacrifice two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old. This was the offering of Eliasaph, Deuel’s son.

48 On the seventh day Ephraim’s Chief Elishama, Ammihud’s son: 49 his offering was one silver dish weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels according to the sanctuary shekel, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering; 50 one gold bowl weighing ten shekels full of incense; 51 one bull from the herd, one ram, and one year-old male lamb for an entirely burned offering; 52 one male goat for a purification offering; 53 and for the well-being sacrifice two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old. This was the offering of Elishama, Ammihud’s son.

54 On the eighth day Manasseh’s Chief Gamaliel, Pedahzur’s son: 55 his offering was one silver dish weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels by the sanctuary scale, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering; 56 one gold bowl weighing ten shekels full of incense; 57 one bull from the herd, one ram, and one year-old male lamb for an entirely burned offering; 58 one male goat for a purification offering; 59 and for the well-being sacrifice two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old. This was the offering of Gamaliel, Pedahzur’s son.

60 On the ninth day Benjamin’s Chief Abidan, Gideoni’s son: 61 his offering was one silver dish weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels according to the sanctuary shekel, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering; 62 one gold bowl weighing ten shekels full of incense; 63 one bull from the herd, one ram, and one year-old male lamb for an entirely burned offering; 64 one male goat for a purification offering; 65 and for the well-being sacrifice two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old. This was the offering of Abidan, Gideoni’s son.

66 On the tenth day Dan’s Chief Ahiezer, Ammishaddai’s son: 67 his offering was one silver dish weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels according to the sanctuary shekel, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering; 68 one gold bowl weighing ten shekels full of incense; 69 one bull from the herd, one ram, and one year-old male lamb for an entirely burned offering; 70 one male goat for a purification offering; 71 and for the well-being sacrifice two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old. This was the offering of Ahiezer, Ammishaddai’s son.

72 On the eleventh day Asher’s Chief Pagiel, Ochran’s son: 73 his offering was one silver dish weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels according to the sanctuary shekel, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering; 74 one gold bowl weighing ten shekels full of incense; 75 one bull from the herd, one ram, and one year-old male lamb for an entirely burned offering; 76 one male goat for a purification offering; 77 and for the well-being sacrifice two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old. This was the offering of Pagiel, Ochran’s son.

78 On the twelfth day Naphtali’s Chief Ahira, Enan’s son: 79 his offering was one silver dish weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels according to the sanctuary shekel, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering; 80 one gold bowl weighing ten shekels full of incense; 81 one bull from the herd, one ram, one year-old male lamb for an entirely burned offering; 82 one male goat for a purification offering; 83 and for the well-being sacrifice two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old. This was the offering of Ahira, Enan’s son.

84 This is what the Israelite chiefs provided for the dedication of the altar on the day it was anointed: twelve silver dishes, twelve silver basins, and twelve gold bowls; 85 each silver dish weighing one hundred thirty shekels and each basin seventy shekels—all the silver equipment weighed two thousand four hundred shekels according to the sanctuary shekel; 86 the twelve gold bowls full of incense weighing ten shekels each according to the sanctuary shekel—all the gold of the bowls weighed one hundred twenty shekels; 87 all the animals for the entirely burned offering were twelve bulls, twelve rams, twelve male lambs a year old, with their grain offering; twelve male goats for the purification offering; 88 and all the animals for the well-being sacrifice were twenty-four bulls, sixty rams, sixty male goats, and sixty male lambs a year old. This was the dedication offering for the altar after it was anointed.

Moses in the dwelling

89 When Moses entered the meeting tent to speak with the Lord,[a] he would hear the voice speaking to him from above the cover[b] that was on the chest containing the covenant, from between the two winged creatures. In this way he spoke to Moses.

The lampstand

The Lord spoke to Moses: Speak to Aaron and say to him: When you set them up, the seven lamps will give light in front of the lampstand.

Aaron did so. He set up its lamps in front of the lampstand as the Lord commanded Moses. This is how the lampstand was made: it was hammered gold; from its base to its flower it was hammered. Moses made the lampstand according to the vision that the Lord had shown Moses.

Dedication of the Levites

The Lord spoke to Moses: Separate the Levites from the Israelites and cleanse them. This is what you will do to them to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purification on them, have them shave their bodies, wash their clothes, and cleanse themselves. They will take a bull from the herd, with its grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil. You will take a second bull from the herd for a purification offering. You will bring the Levites before the meeting tent and gather the entire Israelite community. 10 Then you will bring the Levites into the Lord’s presence, and the Israelites will lay their hands on the Levites. 11 Aaron will present the Levites as an uplifted offering in the Lord’s presence from the Israelites so that they may do the Lord’s service. 12 Then the Levites will lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, and Aaron will offer one as a purification offering and the other as an entirely burned offering to the Lord in order to seek reconciliation for the Levites.

13 You will have the Levites stand before Aaron and his sons and you will present them as an uplifted offering to the Lord. 14 You will separate the Levites from the Israelites, and the Levites will be mine. 15 The Levites will enter to serve the meeting tent, after you have cleansed them and presented them as an uplifted offering. 16 They are given over to me from the Israelites in place of all the newborn, the oldest of all the Israelites. I take them for myself. 17 Every oldest male among the Israelites is mine, whether human or animal. When I killed all the oldest males in the land of Egypt, I dedicated them to myself. 18 I have taken the Levites in place of all the oldest among the Israelites. 19 I have selected the Levites from the Israelites for Aaron and his sons to perform the service of the Israelites in the meeting tent and to seek reconciliation for the Israelites so that there will not be a plague when the Israelites approach the sanctuary.

20 Moses, Aaron, and the entire Israelite community carried out for the Levites everything the Lord had commanded Moses. That is what the Israelites did for the Levites. 21 The Levites purified themselves and washed their clothes. Aaron presented them as an uplifted offering in the Lord’s presence, and he sought reconciliation for them in order to cleanse them. 22 After this the Levites went in to perform their service in the meeting tent before Aaron and his sons. They did for the Levites just as the Lord had commanded Moses concerning them.

23 The Lord spoke to Moses: 24 This rule applies[c] to the Levites: Everyone 25 years old and above will enter into service, performing the duties for the meeting tent. 25 At 50 years old each will retire from service. They will perform their duties no longer. 26 Each may assist his fellow Levites in the meeting tent with some responsibilities, but he may not perform service. This is how you should assign responsibilities to the Levites.

Passover

The Lord spoke to Moses in the Sinai desert in the first month[d] of the second year after they had left the land of Egypt: Let the Israelites keep the Passover at its appointed time. On the fourteenth day of this month at twilight you will keep it at its appointed time. Keep it according to all its regulations and its customary practices.

Moses instructed the Israelites to keep the Passover. At twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month[e] they kept the Passover in the Sinai desert. The Israelites did everything just as the Lord commanded Moses.

But there were persons who were unclean from contact with a human corpse, and they were unable to keep the Passover on that day. They approached Moses and Aaron that day. These persons said to him, “Although we are unclean from contact with a human corpse, why must we be prohibited from presenting the Lord’s offering at its appointed time with the rest of the Israelites?”

Moses said to them, “Wait while I listen for what the Lord will command concerning you.”

The Lord spoke to Moses: 10 Tell the Israelites: When any of you or your descendants are unclean from contact with a corpse or are on a long trip, they may still keep the Passover to the Lord. 11 They will keep it at twilight on the fourteenth day of the second month.[f] They will eat the Passover lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 12 They must not leave any of it until morning, nor break any of its bones. They will keep the Passover according to all its regulations. 13 But any persons who are clean and not on a trip, yet don’t keep the Passover, those persons will be cut off from their people, because they didn’t present the Lord’s offering at its appointed time. Those persons will bear their sin. 14 If an immigrant resides among you and wishes to keep the Passover to the Lord, that one also will keep it according to its regulations and its customary practices. There will be one set of regulations for both of you, for the immigrant and for the native of the land.

Cloud over the dwelling

15 On the day the dwelling was erected, the cloud covered the dwelling, the covenant tent. At night until morning, the cloud appeared with lightning over the dwelling. 16 It was always there. The cloud covered it by day,[g] appearing with lightning at night. 17 Whenever the cloud ascended from the tent, the Israelites would march. And the Israelites would camp wherever the cloud settled. 18 At the Lord’s command, the Israelites would march, and at the Lord’s command they would camp. As long as the cloud settled on the dwelling, they would camp. 19 When the cloud lingered on the meeting tent for many days, the Israelites would observe the Lord’s direction and they wouldn’t march. 20 Sometimes the cloud would be over the dwelling for a number of days, so they would camp at the Lord’s command, marching again only at the Lord’s command. 21 Sometimes the cloud would settle only overnight, and they would march when the cloud ascended in the morning. Whether it was day or night, they would march when the cloud ascended. 22 Whether it was two days, or a month, or a long time, the Israelites would camp so long as the cloud lingered on the dwelling and settled on it. They wouldn’t march. But when it ascended, they would march. 23 They camped at the Lord’s command and they marched at the Lord’s command. They followed the Lord’s direction according to the Lord’s command through Moses.

Trumpets

10 The Lord spoke to Moses: Make two silver trumpets and make them from hammered metalwork. Use them for summoning the community and for breaking camp. When both are blown, the entire community will meet you at the entrance of the meeting tent. When one is blown, the chiefs, the leaders of Israel’s divisions, will meet you. When you blow a series of short blasts, the camp on the east side will march. And when you blow a second series of short blasts, the camp on the south side will march. You will blow a series of short blasts to announce their march.

To gather the assembly, blow a long blast, not a series of short blasts. Aaron’s sons the priests will blow the trumpets. This will be a permanent regulation for you throughout time.

When you go to war in your land against an enemy who is attacking you, you will blow short blasts with the trumpets so that you may be remembered by the Lord your God and be saved from your enemies.

10 On your festival days, your appointed feasts, and at the beginning of your months, you will blow the trumpets over your entirely burned offerings and your well-being sacrifices. They will serve as a reminder of you to your God. I am the Lord your God.

Organization of the wilderness march

11 On the twentieth day of the second month in the second year, the cloud ascended from the covenant dwelling. 12 The Israelites set out on their march from the Sinai desert, and the cloud settled in the Paran desert.

13 They marched for the first time at the Lord’s command through Moses. 14 The banner of Judah’s camp marched first with its military units. Nahshon, Amminadab’s son, commanded its military. 15 Nethanel, Zuar’s son, commanded the military of the tribe of Issachar. 16 Eliab, Helon’s son, commanded the military of the tribe of Zebulun. 17 The dwelling was taken down, and the Gershonites and the Merarites, who carried the dwelling, marched. 18 The banner of Reuben’s camp marched with its military units. Elizur, Shedeur’s son, commanded its military. 19 Shelumiel, Zurishaddai’s son, commanded the military of the tribe of Simeon. 20 Eliasaph, Deuel’s son, commanded the military of the tribe of Gad. 21 The Kohathites, who carried the holy things, marched. The dwelling would be set up before their arrival. 22 The banner of Ephraim’s camp marched with its military units. Elishama, Ammihud’s son, commanded its military. 23 Gamaliel, Pedahzur’s son, commanded the military of the tribe of Manasseh. 24 Abidan, Gideoni’s son, commanded the military of the tribe of Benjamin. 25 The banner of Dan’s camp, at the rear of the whole camp, marched with its military units. Ahiezer, Ammishaddai’s son, commanded its military. 26 Pagiel, Ochran’s son, commanded the military of the tribe of Asher. 27 Ahira, Enan’s son, commanded the military of the tribe of Naphtali. 28 This was the order of departure of the Israelites with their military units when they set out.

The chest leads

29 Moses said to Hobab the Midianite, Reuel’s son and Moses’ father-in-law, “We’re marching to the place about which the Lord has said, ‘I’ll give it to you.’ Come with us and we’ll treat you well, for the Lord has promised to treat Israel well.”

30 Hobab said to him, “I won’t go; I’d rather go to my land and to my folk.”

31 Moses said, “Please don’t abandon us, for you know where we can camp in the desert, and you can be our eyes. 32 If you go with us, whatever good the Lord does for us, we’ll do for you.”

33 They marched from the Lord’s mountain for three days. The Lord’s chest containing the covenant marched ahead of them for three days to look for a resting place for them. 34 Now the Lord’s cloud was over them by day when they marched from the camp. 35 When the chest set out, Moses would say, “Arise, Lord, let your enemies scatter, and those who hate you flee.” 36 When it rested, he would say, “Return, Lord of the ten thousand thousands of Israel.”

Complaint at Taberah

11 When the people complained intensely in the Lord’s hearing, the Lord heard and became angry. Then the Lord’s fire burned them and consumed the edges of the camp. When the people cried out to Moses, Moses prayed to the Lord, and the fire subsided. The name of that place was called Taberah,[h] because the Lord’s fire burned against them.

Complaint over the lack of meat

The riffraff among them had a strong craving. Even the Israelites cried again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish we ate in Egypt for free, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. Now our lives are wasting away. There is nothing but manna in front of us.”

The manna was like coriander seed and its color was like resin. The people would roam around and collect it and grind it with millstones or pound it in a mortar. Then they would boil it in pots and make it into cakes. It tasted like cakes baked in olive oil. When the dew fell on the camp during the night, the manna would fall with it.

Moses’ complaint about leadership

10 Moses heard the people crying throughout their clans, each at his tent’s entrance. The Lord was outraged, and Moses was upset. 11 Moses said to the Lord, “Why have you treated your servant so badly? And why haven’t I found favor in your eyes, for you have placed the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give birth to them, that you would say to me, ‘Carry them at the breast, as a nurse carries an unweaned child,’ to the fertile land that you promised their ancestors? 13 Where am I to get meat for all these people? They are crying before me and saying, ‘Give us meat, so we can eat.’ 14 I can’t bear this people on my own. They’re too heavy for me. 15 If you’re going to treat me like this, please kill me. If I’ve found favor in your eyes, then don’t let me endure this wretched situation.”

16 The Lord said to Moses, “Gather before me seventy men from Israel’s elders, whom you know as elders and officers of the people. Take them to the meeting tent, and let them stand there with you. 17 Then I’ll descend and speak with you there. I’ll take some of the spirit that is on you and place it on them. Then they will carry the burden of the people with you so that you won’t bear it alone. 18 To the people you will say, ‘Make yourselves holy for tomorrow; then you will eat meat, for you’ve cried in the Lord’s hearing, “Who will give us meat to eat? It was better for us in Egypt.” The Lord will give you meat, and you will eat. 19 You won’t eat for just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month until it comes out of your nostrils and nauseates you. You’ve rejected the Lord who’s been with you and you have cried before him, saying, “Why did we leave Egypt?” ’”

21 Moses said, “The people I’m with are six hundred thousand on foot and you’re saying, ‘I will give them meat, and they will eat for a month.’ 22 Can flocks and herds be found and slaughtered for them? Or can all the fish in the sea be found and caught for them?”

23 The Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s power too weak? Now you will see whether my word will come true for you or not.”

24 So Moses went out and told the people the Lord’s words. He assembled seventy men from the people’s elders and placed them around the tent. 25 The Lord descended in a cloud, spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and placed it on the seventy elders. When the spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but only this once. 26 Two men had remained in the camp, one named Eldad and the second named Medad, and the spirit rested on them. They were among those registered, but they hadn’t gone out to the tent, so they prophesied in the camp. 27 A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”

28 Joshua, Nun’s son and Moses’ assistant since his youth, responded, “My master Moses, stop them!”

29 Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? If only all the Lord’s people were prophets with the Lord placing his spirit on them!”

Quail from the sea

30 Moses and Israel’s elders were assembled in the camp. 31 A wind from the Lord blew up and brought quails from the sea. It let them fall by the camp, about a day’s journey all around the camp and about three feet deep on the ground. 32 Then the people arose and gathered the quail all that day, all night, and all the next day. The least collected was ten homers,[i] and they laid them out around the camp. 33 While the meat was still between their teeth and not yet consumed, the Lord’s anger blazed against the people. The Lord struck the people with a very great punishment. 34 The name of that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah,[j] because there they buried the people who had the craving.

Miriam and Aaron challenge Moses

35 From Kibroth-hattaavah the people marched to Hazeroth.

12 When they were in Hazeroth, Miriam and Aaron criticized Moses on account of the Cushite woman whom he had married—for he had married a Cushite woman. They said, “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” The Lord heard it. Now the man Moses was humble, more so than anyone on earth.

The Lord defends Moses

Immediately, the Lord said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “You three go out to the meeting tent.” So the three of them went out. Then the Lord descended in a column of cloud, stood at the entrance of the tent, and called to Aaron and Miriam. The two of them came forward. He said, “Listen to my words: If there is a prophet of the Lord among you,[k] I make myself known to him in visions. I speak to him in dreams. But not with my servant Moses. He has proved to be reliable with all my household. I speak with him face-to-face, visibly, not in riddles. He sees the Lord’s form. So why aren’t you afraid to criticize my servant Moses?” The Lord’s anger blazed against them, and they went back.

The Lord punishes Miriam

10 When the cloud went away from over the tent, Miriam suddenly developed a skin disease flaky like snow. Aaron turned toward Miriam and saw her skin disease. 11 Then Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my master, please don’t punish us for the sin that we foolishly committed. 12 Please don’t let her be like the stillborn, whose flesh is half eaten as it comes out of the mother’s womb.”

13 So Moses cried to the Lord, “God, please heal her!”

14 The Lord said to Moses, “If her father had spit in her face, would she not be shamed for seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp for seven days, and afterward she will be brought back.” 15 So they shut Miriam out of the camp seven days. And the people didn’t march until Miriam was brought back. 16 Afterward the people marched from Hazeroth, and they camped in the Paran desert.

Leaders explore the land of Canaan

13 The Lord spoke to Moses: Send out men to explore the land of Canaan, which I’m giving to the Israelites. Send one man from each ancestral tribe, each a chief among them. So Moses sent them out from the Paran desert according to the Lord’s command. All the men were leaders among the Israelites. These are their names:

from the tribe of Reuben, Shammua, Zaccur’s son;

from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat, Hori’s son;

from the tribe of Judah, Caleb, Jephunneh’s son;

from the tribe of Issachar, Igal, Joseph’s son;

from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea, Nun’s son;

from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti, Raphu’s son;

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

11 from the tribe of Joseph:

from the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi, Susi’s son;

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

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

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

15 from the tribe of Gad, Geuel, Machi’s son.

16 These are the names of the men whom Moses sent out to explore the land. Moses changed the name of Hoshea, Nun’s son, to Joshua.

17 When Moses sent them out to explore the land of Canaan, he said to them, “Go up there into the arid southern plain and into the mountains. 18 You must inspect the land. What is it like? Are the people who live in it strong or weak, few or many? 19 Is the land in which they live good or bad? Are the towns in which they live camps or fortresses? 20 Is the land rich or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Be courageous and bring back the land’s fruit.” It was the season of the first ripe grapes.

21 They went up and explored the land from the Zin desert to Rehob, near Lebo-hamath. 22 They went up into the arid southern plain and entered Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of the Anakites, lived. (Hebron was built seven years before Tanis[l] in Egypt.) 23 Then they entered the Cluster[m] ravine, cut down from there a branch with one cluster of grapes, and carried it on a pole between them. They also took pomegranates and figs. 24 That place was called the Cluster ravine because of the cluster of grapes that the Israelites cut down from there.

Report about the land of Canaan

25 They returned from exploring the land after forty days. 26 They went directly to Moses, Aaron, and the entire Israelite community in the Paran desert at Kadesh. They brought back a report to them and to the entire community and showed them the land’s fruit. 27 Then they gave their report: “We entered the land to which you sent us. It’s actually full of milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 There are, however, powerful people who live in the land. The cities have huge fortifications. And we even saw the descendants of the Anakites there. 29 The Amalekites live in the land of the arid southern plain; the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the mountains; and the Canaanites live by the sea and along the Jordan.”

30 Now Caleb calmed the people before Moses and said, “We must go up and take possession of it, because we are more than able to do it.”

31 But the men who went up with him said, “We can’t go up against the people because they are stronger than we.” 32 They started a rumor about the land that they had explored, telling the Israelites, “The land that we crossed over to explore is a land that devours its residents. All the people we saw in it are huge men. 33 We saw there the Nephilim (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We saw ourselves as grasshoppers, and that’s how we appeared to them.”

The Israelites’ complaint

14 The entire community raised their voice and the people wept that night. All the Israelites criticized Moses and Aaron. The entire community said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt or if only we had died in this desert! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land to fall by the sword? Our wives and our children will be taken by force. Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” So they said to each other, “Let’s pick a leader and let’s go back to Egypt.”

Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before the assembled Israelite community. But Joshua, Nun’s son, and Caleb, Jephunneh’s son, from those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite community, “The land we crossed through to explore is an exceptionally good land. If the Lord is pleased with us, he’ll bring us into this land and give it to us. It’s a land that’s full of milk and honey. Only don’t rebel against the Lord and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are our prey.[n] Their defense has deserted them, but the Lord is with us. So don’t be afraid of them.” 10 But the entire community intended to stone them.

The Lord’s anger and Moses’ intercession

Then the Lord’s glory appeared in the meeting tent to all the Israelites. 11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people disrespect me? And how long will they doubt me after all the signs that I performed among them? 12 I’ll strike them down with a plague and disown them. Then I’ll make you into a great nation, stronger than they.”

13 Moses said to the Lord, “The Egyptians will hear, for with your power you brought these people up from among them. 14 They’ll tell the inhabitants of this land. They’ve heard that you, Lord, are with this people. You, Lord, appear to them face-to-face. Your cloud stands over them. You go before them in a column of cloud by day and in a column of lightning by night. 15 If you kill these people, every last one of them, the nations who heard about you will say, 16 ‘The Lord wasn’t able to bring these people to the land that he solemnly promised to give them. So he slaughtered them in the desert.’ 17 Now let my master’s power be as great as you declared when you said, 18 ‘The Lord is very patient and absolutely loyal, forgiving wrongs and disloyalty. Yet he doesn’t forgo all punishment, disciplining the grandchildren and great-grandchildren for their ancestors’ wrongs.’ 19 Please forgive the wrongs of these people because of your absolute loyalty, just as you’ve forgiven these people from their time in Egypt until now.”

20 Then the Lord said, “I will forgive as you requested. 21 But as I live and as the Lord’s glory fills the entire earth, 22 none of the men who saw my glory and the signs I did in Egypt and in the desert, but tested me these ten times and haven’t listened to my voice, 23 will see the land I promised to their ancestors. All who disrespected me won’t see it. 24 But I’ll bring my servant Caleb into the land that he explored, and his descendants will possess it because he has a different spirit, and he has remained true to me. 25 Since the Amalekites and the Canaanites live in the valley, tomorrow turn and march into the desert by the route of the Reed Sea.”[o]

The Israelites’ punishment

26 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 27 How long will this wicked community complain against me? I’ve heard the Israelites’ dissent as they continue to complain against me. 28 Say to them, “As I live,” says the Lord, “just as I’ve heard you say, so I’ll do to you. 29 Your dead bodies will fall in this desert. None of you who were enlisted and were registered from 20 years old and above, who complained against me, 30 will enter the land in which I promised[p] to settle you, with the exception of Caleb, Jephunneh’s son, and Joshua, Nun’s son. 31 But your children, whom you said would be taken by force, I’ll bring them in and they will know the land that you rejected. 32 Your bodies, however, will fall in this desert, 33 and your children will be shepherds in the desert for forty years. They will suffer for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies fall in the desert. 34 For as many days as you explored the land, that is, forty days, just as many years you’ll bear your guilt, that is, forty years. This is how you will understand my frustration.” 35 I the Lord have spoken. I will do this to the entire wicked community who gathered against me. They will die in this desert. There they’ll meet their end.

36 The men whom Moses sent out to explore the land had returned and caused the entire community to complain against him by starting a rumor about the land. 37 These men died by a plague in the Lord’s presence on account of their false rumor. 38 But Joshua, Nun’s son, and Caleb, Jephunneh’s son, survived from those men who went to explore the land.

39 Moses spoke these words to all the Israelites, and the people mourned bitterly. 40 They rose early in the morning and went up to the top of the mountain range, saying, “Let’s go up to the place the Lord told us to, for we have sinned.”

41 But Moses said, “Why do you disobey the Lord’s command? It won’t succeed. 42 Don’t go up, for the Lord isn’t with you. Don’t be struck down before your enemies. 43 The Amalekites and the Canaanites will be there in front of you and you will fall by the sword because you turned away from the Lord, and the Lord is no longer with you.” 44 Yet they recklessly[q] ascended toward the top of the mountains, even though Moses and the Lord’s chest containing the covenant didn’t depart from the camp. 45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites, who lived in those mountains, descended, struck them down, and beat them all the way to Hormah.

Immigrants in the land of Canaan

15 The Lord spoke to Moses: Speak to the Israelites and say to them: When you enter the land where you will live, which I am giving you, and you make a food gift[r] to the Lord as a soothing smell for the Lord from the herd or the flock—whether an entirely burned offering, or a sacrifice to fulfill a solemn promise, or a spontaneous gift, or at your sacred seasons— the one presenting the offering to the Lord will bring a grain offering of one-tenth of fine flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin[s] of oil. You will also offer one-fourth of a hin of wine as a drink offering with either the entirely burned offering or the sacrifice, for each lamb. For a ram you will offer a grain offering of two-tenths of a measure of fine flour mixed with one-third of a hin of oil. You will also present one-third of a hin of wine for a drink offering as a soothing smell for the Lord. When you offer a bull for an entirely burned offering, or a sacrifice to fulfill a solemn promise, or a well-being sacrifice to the Lord, you will present[t] with the bull a grain offering of three-tenths of a measure of fine flour mixed with a half hin of oil. 10 You will present a half hin of wine for a drink offering as a food gift that is a soothing smell to the Lord. 11 So will it be done with each ox, each ram, or for any sheep or goat. 12 However many you offer, you will do the same for each one.

13 Every citizen will perform these rituals in bringing a food gift that is a soothing smell to the Lord. 14 If an immigrant lives with you or has settled among you for many years and would also like to offer a food gift that is a soothing smell to the Lord, that person must do just as you do. 15 The assembly will have the same regulation for you and for the immigrant. The regulation will be permanent for all time. You and the immigrant will be the same in the Lord’s presence. 16 There will be one set of instructions and one legal norm for the immigrant and for you.

17 The Lord spoke to Moses: 18 Speak to the Israelites and say to them: When you enter the land to which I’m bringing you, 19 whenever you eat the land’s food you will present a gift offering to the Lord. 20 You will present a gift offering from the first bread you bake just like you present a gift offering from the threshing floor. 21 You will give a gift offering from the first bread you bake for all time.

Offerings for accidental sin

22 If by accident you don’t obey all these commands that the Lord spoke to Moses, 23 or everything that the Lord commanded you through Moses from the day of the Lord’s command onward for all time, 24 then if it was done unintentionally without the knowledge of the community, the entire community must offer one bull from the herd as an entirely burned offering, a soothing smell to the Lord, with its grain and drink offering according to the specific instruction, and one male goat for a purification offering. 25 The priest will seek reconciliation for the entire Israelite community. They will be forgiven, because it was unintentional and because they brought their food gift to the Lord, along with their purification offering in the Lord’s presence for their accidental error. 26 The entire Israelite community and the immigrant residing among them will be forgiven, because all the people acted unintentionally.

27 If an individual sins unintentionally, that person must present a one-year-old female goat for a purification offering. 28 The priest will seek reconciliation in the Lord’s presence for the person who sinned unintentionally, when the sin is an accident, seeking reconciliation so that person will be forgiven. 29 There will be one set of instructions for the Israelite citizen and the immigrant residing with you for anyone who commits an unintentional sin.

Punishment for intentional sin

30 But the person who acts deliberately,[u] whether a citizen or an immigrant, and insults the Lord, that person will be cut off from the people 31 for despising the Lord’s word and breaking his commands. That person will be completely cut off and bear the guilt.

Instructions for Sabbath observance

32 When the Israelites were in the desert, 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 wasn’t clear what should be done to him. 35 Then the Lord said to Moses: The man should be put to death. The entire community should stone him outside the camp. 36 The entire community took him outside the camp and stoned him. He died as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Fringes on garments

37 The Lord said to Moses: 38 Speak to the Israelites and say to them: Make fringes on the edges of your clothing for all time. Have them put blue cords on the fringe on the edges. 39 This will be your fringe. You will see it and remember all the Lord’s commands and do them. Then you won’t go exploring the lusts of your own heart or your eyes. 40 In this way you’ll remember to do all my commands. Then you will 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.

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 7:89 Or him
  2. Numbers 7:89 Or mercy seat or perhaps reconciliation cover (Heb kapporet)
  3. Numbers 8:24 Heb lacks rule applies.
  4. Numbers 9:1 March–April, Nisan
  5. Numbers 9:5 March–April, Nisan
  6. Numbers 9:11 April–May, Iyar
  7. Numbers 9:16 LXX; MT lacks by day.
  8. Numbers 11:3 Or the place of burning
  9. Numbers 11:32 Five hundred gallons; one homer is two hundred quarts.
  10. Numbers 11:34 Or graves of craving
  11. Numbers 12:6 Heb uncertain; LXX If there is a prophet of you for the Lord
  12. Numbers 13:22 Heb Zoan
  13. Numbers 13:23 Or cluster of grapes
  14. Numbers 14:9 Or our bread
  15. Numbers 14:25 Or Red Sea
  16. Numbers 14:30 Or raised my hand
  17. Numbers 14:44 Heb uncertain
  18. Numbers 15:3 Or offering by fire (cf Lev 3:11)
  19. Numbers 15:4 One hin is approximately one gallon.
  20. Numbers 15:9 Or he will present
  21. Numbers 15:30 Or with a high hand
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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