Numbers 13-15 New Living Translation (NLT)
Twelve Scouts Explore Canaan
13 The Lord now said to Moses, 2 “Send out men to explore the land of Canaan, the land I am giving to the Israelites. Send one leader from each of the twelve ancestral tribes.” 3 So Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He sent out twelve men, all tribal leaders of Israel, from their camp in the wilderness of Paran. 4 These were the tribes and the names of their leaders:
16 These are the names of the men Moses sent out to explore the land. (Moses called Hoshea son of Nun by the name Joshua.)
17 Moses gave the men these instructions as he sent them out to explore the land: “Go north through the Negev into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like, and find out whether the people living there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 See what kind of land they live in. Is it good or bad? Do their towns have walls, or are they unprotected like open camps? 20 Is the soil fertile or poor? Are there many trees? Do your best to bring back samples of the crops you see.” (It happened to be the season for harvesting the first ripe grapes.)
21 So they went up and explored the land from the wilderness of Zin as far as Rehob, near Lebo-hamath. 22 Going north, they passed through the Negev and arrived at Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai—all descendants of Anak—lived. (The ancient town of Hebron was founded seven years before the Egyptian city of Zoan.) 23 When they came to the valley of Eshcol, they cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes so large that it took two of them to carry it on a pole between them! They also brought back samples of the pomegranates and figs. 24 That place was called the valley of Eshcol (which means “cluster”), because of the cluster of grapes the Israelite men cut there.
The Scouting Report
25 After exploring the land for forty days, the men returned 26 to Moses, Aaron, and the whole community of Israel at Kadesh in the wilderness of Paran. They reported to the whole community what they had seen and showed them the fruit they had taken from the land. 27 This was their report to Moses: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. 28 But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak! 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev, and the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country. The Canaanites live along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea[a] and along the Jordan Valley.”
30 But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”
31 But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” 32 So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. 33 We even saw giants[b] there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”
The People Rebel
14 Then the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. 2 Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they complained. 3 “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 Then they plotted among themselves, “Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt!”
5 Then Moses and Aaron fell face down on the ground before the whole community of Israel. 6 Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. 7 They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! 8 And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. 9 Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!”
10 But the whole community began to talk about stoning Joshua and Caleb. Then the glorious presence of the Lord appeared to all the Israelites at the Tabernacle.[c] 11 And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? Will they never believe me, even after all the miraculous signs I have done among them? 12 I will disown them and destroy them with a plague. Then I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they are!”
Moses Intercedes for the People
13 But Moses objected. “What will the Egyptians think when they hear about it?” he asked the Lord. “They know full well the power you displayed in rescuing your people from Egypt. 14 Now if you destroy them, the Egyptians will send a report to the inhabitants of this land, who have already heard that you live among your people. They know, Lord, that you have appeared to your people face to face and that your pillar of cloud hovers over them. They know that you go before them in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. 15 Now if you slaughter all these people with a single blow, the nations that have heard of your fame will say, 16 ‘The Lord was not able to bring them into the land he swore to give them, so he killed them in the wilderness.’
17 “Please, Lord, prove that your power is as great as you have claimed. For you said, 18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations.’ 19 In keeping with your magnificent, unfailing love, please pardon the sins of this people, just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt.”
20 Then the Lord said, “I will pardon them as you have requested. 21 But as surely as I live, and as surely as the earth is filled with the Lord’s glory, 22 not one of these people will ever enter that land. They have all seen my glorious presence and the miraculous signs I performed both in Egypt and in the wilderness, but again and again they have tested me by refusing to listen to my voice. 23 They will never even see the land I swore to give their ancestors. None of those who have treated me with contempt will ever see it. 24 But my servant Caleb has a different attitude than the others have. He has remained loyal to me, so I will bring him into the land he explored. His descendants will possess their full share of that land. 25 Now turn around, and don’t go on toward the land where the Amalekites and Canaanites live. Tomorrow you must set out for the wilderness in the direction of the Red Sea.[d]”
The Lord Punishes the Israelites
26 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 27 “How long must I put up with this wicked community and its complaints about me? Yes, I have heard the complaints the Israelites are making against me. 28 Now tell them this: ‘As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will do to you the very things I heard you say. 29 You will all drop dead in this wilderness! Because you complained against me, every one of you who is twenty years old or older and was included in the registration will die. 30 You will not enter and occupy the land I swore to give you. The only exceptions will be Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.
31 “‘You said your children would be carried off as plunder. Well, I will bring them safely into the land, and they will enjoy what you have despised. 32 But as for you, you will drop dead in this wilderness. 33 And your children will be like shepherds, wandering in the wilderness for forty years. In this way, they will pay for your faithlessness, until the last of you lies dead in the wilderness.
34 “‘Because your men explored the land for forty days, you must wander in the wilderness for forty years—a year for each day, suffering the consequences of your sins. Then you will discover what it is like to have me for an enemy.’ 35 I, the Lord, have spoken! I will certainly do these things to every member of the community who has conspired against me. They will be destroyed here in this wilderness, and here they will die!”
36 The ten men Moses had sent to explore the land—the ones who incited rebellion against the Lord with their bad report— 37 were struck dead with a plague before the Lord. 38 Of the twelve who had explored the land, only Joshua and Caleb remained alive.
39 When Moses reported the Lord’s words to all the Israelites, the people were filled with grief. 40 Then they got up early the next morning and went to the top of the range of hills. “Let’s go,” they said. “We realize that we have sinned, but now we are ready to enter the land the Lord has promised us.”
41 But Moses said, “Why are you now disobeying the Lord’s orders to return to the wilderness? It won’t work. 42 Do not go up into the land now. You will only be crushed by your enemies because the Lord is not with you. 43 When you face the Amalekites and Canaanites in battle, you will be slaughtered. The Lord will abandon you because you have abandoned the Lord.”
44 But the people defiantly pushed ahead toward the hill country, even though neither Moses nor the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant left the camp. 45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in those hills came down and attacked them and chased them back as far as Hormah.
Laws concerning Offerings
15 Then the Lord told Moses, 2 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel.
“When you finally settle in the land I am giving you, 3 you will offer special gifts as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. These gifts may take the form of a burnt offering, a sacrifice to fulfill a vow, a voluntary offering, or an offering at any of your annual festivals, and they may be taken from your herds of cattle or your flocks of sheep and goats. 4 When you present these offerings, you must also give the Lord a grain offering of two quarts[e] of choice flour mixed with one quart[f] of olive oil. 5 For each lamb offered as a burnt offering or a special sacrifice, you must also present one quart of wine as a liquid offering.
6 “If the sacrifice is a ram, give a grain offering of four quarts[g] of choice flour mixed with a third of a gallon[h] of olive oil, 7 and give a third of a gallon of wine as a liquid offering. This will be a pleasing aroma to the Lord.
8 “When you present a young bull as a burnt offering or as a sacrifice to fulfill a vow or as a peace offering to the Lord, 9 you must also give a grain offering of six quarts[i] of choice flour mixed with two quarts[j] of olive oil, 10 and give two quarts of wine as a liquid offering. This will be a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord.
11 “Each sacrifice of a bull, ram, lamb, or young goat should be prepared in this way. 12 Follow these instructions with each offering you present. 13 All of you native-born Israelites must follow these instructions when you offer a special gift as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 14 And if any foreigners visit you or live among you and want to present a special gift as a pleasing aroma to the Lord, they must follow these same procedures. 15 Native-born Israelites and foreigners are equal before the Lord and are subject to the same decrees. This is a permanent law for you, to be observed from generation to generation. 16 The same instructions and regulations will apply both to you and to the foreigners living among you.”
17 Then the Lord said to Moses, 18 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel.
“When you arrive in the land where I am taking you, 19 and you eat the crops that grow there, you must set some aside as a sacred offering to the Lord. 20 Present a cake from the first of the flour you grind, and set it aside as a sacred offering, as you do with the first grain from the threshing floor. 21 Throughout the generations to come, you are to present a sacred offering to the Lord each year from the first of your ground flour.
22 “But suppose you unintentionally fail to carry out all these commands that the Lord has given you through Moses. 23 And suppose your descendants in the future fail to do everything the Lord has commanded through Moses. 24 If the mistake was made unintentionally, and the community was unaware of it, the whole community must present a young bull for a burnt offering as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. It must be offered along with its prescribed grain offering and liquid offering and with one male goat for a sin offering. 25 With it the priest will purify the whole community of Israel, making them right with the Lord,[k] and they will be forgiven. For it was an unintentional sin, and they have corrected it with their offerings to the Lord—the special gift and the sin offering. 26 The whole community of Israel will be forgiven, including the foreigners living among you, for all the people were involved in the sin.
27 “If one individual commits an unintentional sin, the guilty person must bring a one-year-old female goat for a sin offering. 28 The priest will sacrifice it to purify[l] the guilty person before the Lord, and that person will be forgiven. 29 These same instructions apply both to native-born Israelites and to the foreigners living among you.
30 “But those who brazenly violate the Lord’s will, whether native-born Israelites or foreigners, have blasphemed the Lord, and they must be cut off from the community. 31 Since they have treated the Lord’s word with contempt and deliberately disobeyed his command, they must be completely cut off and suffer the punishment for their guilt.”
Penalty for Breaking the Sabbath
32 One day while the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they discovered a man gathering wood on the Sabbath day. 33 The people who found him doing this took him before Moses, Aaron, and the rest of the community. 34 They held him in custody because they did not know what to do with him. 35 Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must be put to death! The whole community must stone him outside the camp.” 36 So the whole community took the man outside the camp and stoned him to death, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
Tassels on Clothing
37 Then the Lord said to Moses, 38 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: Throughout the generations to come you must make tassels for the hems of your clothing and attach them with a blue cord. 39 When you see the tassels, you will remember and obey all the commands of the Lord instead of following your own desires and defiling yourselves, as you are prone to do. 40 The tassels will help you remember that you must 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 that I might be your God. I am the Lord your God!”
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