The People RebelThen all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. 2 And all the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and 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 And why is Yahweh bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 So they said to one another, “Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.” 5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces in the presence of all the assembly of the congregation of the sons of Israel. 6 And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, of those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; 7 and they spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, “The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. 8 If Yahweh is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us—a land which flows with milk and honey. 9 But as for you, only do not rebel against Yahweh; and do not fear the people of the land, for they are our bread. Their protection has been removed from them, and Yahweh is with us; do not fear them.” 10 But all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Then the glory of Yahweh appeared in the tent of meeting to all the sons of Israel.
Moses Prays for the People11 Yahweh said to Moses, “How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have done in their midst? 12 I will strike them with pestilence and dispossess them, and I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they.” 13 But Moses said to Yahweh, “Then the Egyptians will hear of it, for by Your power You brought up this people from their midst, 14 and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, O Yahweh, are in the midst of this people, for You, O Yahweh, are seen eye to eye, while Your cloud stands over them; and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. 15 Now if You put this people to death as one man, then the nations who have heard of Your fame will say, 16 ‘Because Yahweh was not able to bring this people into the land which He swore to them, therefore He slaughtered them in the wilderness.’ 17 So now, I pray, let the power of the Lord be great, just as You have declared, 18 ‘Yahweh is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generations.’ 19 Pardon, I pray, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness, just as You also have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.”
Evil Complainers20 So Yahweh said, “I have pardoned them according to your word; 21 but indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of Yahweh. 22 Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I have done in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice, 23 shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it. 24 But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his seed shall take possession of it. 25 Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites live in the valleys; turn tomorrow and set out to the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea.” 26 Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 27 “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who are grumbling against Me? I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel, which they are making against Me. 28 Say to them, ‘As I live,’ declares Yahweh, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you; 29 your corpses will fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me. 30 Surely you shall not come into the land in which I swore to make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. 31 Your little ones, however, who you said would become plunder—I will bring them in, so that they will know the land which you have rejected. 32 But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness. 33 And your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they will suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your corpses come to an end in the wilderness. 34 According to the number of days which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day you shall bear your guilt a year, even forty years, and you will know My opposition. 35 I, Yahweh, have spoken, surely this I will do to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall come to an end, and there they will die.’” 36 As for the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land and who returned and made all the congregation grumble against him by bringing out a bad report concerning the land, 37 even those men who brought out the very bad report of the land died by a plague before Yahweh. 38 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive out of those men who went to spy out the land.
Israel Struck Down39 Then Moses spoke these words to all the sons of Israel, and the people mourned greatly. 40 In the morning, however, they rose up early and went up to the ridge of the hill country, saying, “Here we are; we will go up to the place which Yahweh has promised because we have indeed sinned.” 41 But Moses said, “Why then do you trespass against the command of Yahweh, when it will not succeed? 42 Do not go up, for Yahweh is not among you, so that you are not defeated before your enemies. 43 For the Amalekites and the Canaanites will be there in front of you, and you will fall by the sword, inasmuch as you have turned back from following Yahweh. And Yahweh will not be with you.” 44 But they went up heedlessly to the ridge of the hill country; neither the ark of the covenant of Yahweh nor Moses moved from the camp. 45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down, and struck them and beat them down as far as Hormah.