That night all the people of the community raised their voices and wept aloud.
All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, "If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert!
Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn't it be better for us to go back to Egypt?"
And they said to each other, "We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt."
Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there.
Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes
and said to the entire Israelite assembly, "The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good.
If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us.
Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them."
But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the LORD appeared at the Tent of Meeting to all the Israelites.
The LORD said to Moses, "How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?
I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they."
Moses said to the LORD, "Then the Egyptians will hear about it! By your power you brought these people up from among them.
And they will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have already heard that you, O LORD, are with these people and that you, O LORD, have been seen face to face, that your cloud stays over them, and that you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
If you put these people to death all at one time, the nations who have heard this report about you will say,
'The LORD was not able to bring these people into the land he promised them on oath; so he slaughtered them in the desert.'
"Now may the Lord's strength be displayed, just as you have declared:
'The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.'
In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now."
The LORD replied, "I have forgiven them, as you asked.
Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth,
not one of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times--
not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.
But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.
Since the Amalekites and Canaanites are living in the valleys, turn back tomorrow and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea."
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron:
"How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites.
So tell them, 'As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very things I heard you say:
In this desert your bodies will fall--every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me.
Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.
As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected.
But you--your bodies will fall in this desert.
Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the desert.
For forty years--one year for each of the forty days you explored the land--you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.'
I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will surely do these things to this whole wicked community, which has banded together against me. They will meet their end in this desert; here they will die."
So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it--
these men responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the LORD.
Of the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.
When Moses reported this to all the Israelites, they mourned bitterly.
Early the next morning they went up toward the high hill country. "We have sinned," they said. "We will go up to the place the LORD promised."
But Moses said, "Why are you disobeying the LORD's command? This will not succeed!
Do not go up, because the LORD is not with you. You will be defeated by your enemies,
for the Amalekites and Canaanites will face you there. Because you have turned away from the LORD, he will not be with you and you will fall by the sword."
Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up toward the high hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the LORD's covenant moved from the camp.
Then the Amalekites and Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and attacked them and beat them down all the way to Hormah.
The LORD said to Moses,
"Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'After you enter the land I am giving you as a home
and you present to the LORD offerings made by fire, from the herd or the flock, as an aroma pleasing to the LORD--whether burnt offerings or sacrifices, for special vows or freewill offerings or festival offerings--
then the one who brings his offering shall present to the LORD a grain offering of a tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with a quarter of a hin of oil.
With each lamb for the burnt offering or the sacrifice, prepare a quarter of a hin of wine as a drink offering.
" 'With a ram prepare a grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with a third of a hin of oil,
and a third of a hin of wine as a drink offering. Offer it as an aroma pleasing to the LORD.
" 'When you prepare a young bull as a burnt offering or sacrifice, for a special vow or a fellowship offering to the LORD,
bring with the bull a grain offering of three-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with half a hin of oil.
Also bring half a hin of wine as a drink offering. It will be an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the LORD.
Each bull or ram, each lamb or young goat, is to be prepared in this manner.
Do this for each one, for as many as you prepare.
" 'Everyone who is native-born must do these things in this way when he brings an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to the LORD.
For the generations to come, whenever an alien or anyone else living among you presents an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to the LORD, he must do exactly as you do.
The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien living among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the alien shall be the same before the LORD:
The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the alien living among you.' "
The LORD said to Moses,
"Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When you enter the land to which I am taking you
and you eat the food of the land, present a portion as an offering to the LORD.
Present a cake from the first of your ground meal and present it as an offering from the threshing floor.
Throughout the generations to come you are to give this offering to the LORD from the first of your ground meal.
" 'Now if you unintentionally fail to keep any of these commands the LORD gave Moses--
any of the LORD's commands to you through him, from the day the LORD gave them and continuing through the generations to come--
and if this is done unintentionally without the community being aware of it, then the whole community is to offer a young bull for a burnt offering as an aroma pleasing to the LORD, along with its prescribed grain offering and drink offering, and a male goat for a sin offering.
The priest is to make atonement for the whole Israelite community, and they will be forgiven, for it was not intentional and they have brought to the LORD for their wrong an offering made by fire and a sin offering.
The whole Israelite community and the aliens living among them will be forgiven, because all the people were involved in the unintentional wrong.
" 'But if just one person sins unintentionally, he must bring a year-old female goat for a sin offering.
The priest is to make atonement before the LORD for the one who erred by sinning unintentionally, and when atonement has been made for him, he will be forgiven.
One and the same law applies to everyone who sins unintentionally, whether he is a native-born Israelite or an alien.
" 'But anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or alien, blasphemes the LORD, and that person must be cut off from his people.
Because he has despised the LORD's word and broken his commands, that person must surely be cut off; his guilt remains on him.' "
While the Israelites were in the desert, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day.
Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly,
and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him.
Then the LORD said to Moses, "The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp."
So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the LORD commanded Moses.
The LORD said to Moses,
"Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel.
You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes.
Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God.
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the LORD your God.' "