That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud.12
All the Israelites grumbled2 against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, "If only we had died in Egypt!3 Or in this wilderness!43
Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword?5 Our wives and children6 will be taken as plunder.7 Wouldn't it be better for us to go back to Egypt?8"
And they said to each other, "We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.9"
Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown10 in front of the whole Israelite assembly11 gathered there.
Joshua son of Nun12 and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes137
and said to the entire Israelite assembly, "The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good.148
If the LORD is pleased with us,15 he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey,16 and will give it to us.179
Only do not rebel18 against the LORD. And do not be afraid19 of the people of the land,20 because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with21 us.22 Do not be afraid of them."2310
But the whole assembly talked about stoning24 them. Then the glory of the LORD 25 appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites.
The LORD said to Moses, "How long will these people treat me with contempt?26 How long will they refuse to believe in me,27 in spite of all the signs28 I have performed among them?
I will strike them down with a plague29 and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation30 greater and stronger than they."3113
Moses said to the LORD, "Then the Egyptians will hear about it! By your power you brought these people up from among them.3214
And they will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have already heard33 that you, LORD, are with these people34 and that you, LORD, have been seen face to face,35 that your cloud stays over them,36 and that you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.3715
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,38 so he slaughtered them in the wilderness.'3917
"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.40 Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.'4119
In accordance with your great love, forgive42 the sin of these people,43 just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now."4420
The LORD replied, "I have forgiven them,45 as you asked.
Nevertheless, as surely as I live46 and as surely as the glory of the LORD 47 fills the whole earth,4822
not one of those who saw my glory and the signs49 I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times50--
not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath51 to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt52 will ever see it.5324
But because my servant Caleb54 has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly,55 I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.5625
Since the Amalekites57 and Canaanites58 are living in the valleys, turn59 back tomorrow and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea.a60"
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.6128
So tell them, 'As surely as I live,62 declares the LORD, I will do to you63 the very thing I heard you say:
In this wilderness your bodies will fall64--every one of you twenty years old or more65 who was counted in the census66 and who has grumbled against me.
Not one of you will enter the land67 I swore with uplifted hand68 to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh69 and Joshua son of Nun.7031
As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected.7132
But as for you, your bodies will fall72 in this wilderness.
Your children will be shepherds here for forty years,73 suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the wilderness.
For forty years74--one year for each of the forty days you explored the land75--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 things76 to this whole wicked community, which has banded together against me. They will meet their end in this wilderness; here they will die.77"
So the men Moses had sent78 to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble79 against him by spreading a bad report80 about it--
these men who were responsible for spreading the bad report81 about the land were struck down and died of a plague82 before the LORD.
Of the men who went to explore the land,83 only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.8439
When Moses reported this85 to all the Israelites, they mourned86 bitterly.
Early the next morning they set out for the highest point in the hill country,87 saying, "Now we are ready to go up to the land the LORD promised. Surely we have sinned!88"
But Moses said, "Why are you disobeying the LORD's command? This will not succeed!8942
Do not go up, because the LORD is not with you. You will be defeated by your enemies,9043
for the Amalekites91 and Canaanites92 will face you there. Because you have turned away from the LORD, he will not be with you93 and you will fall by the sword."
Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up94 toward the highest point in the hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the LORD's covenant moved from the camp.9545
Then the Amalekites and Canaanites96 who lived in that hill country97 came down and attacked them and beat them down all the way to Hormah.98