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.
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?
I will disown them and destroy them with a plague. Then I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they are!”
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.
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.
Now if you slaughter all these people with a single blow, the nations that have heard of your fame will say,
‘The LORD was not able to bring them into the land he swore to give them, so he killed them in the wilderness.’
“Please, Lord, prove that your power is as great as you have claimed. For you said,
‘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.’
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.”
Then the LORD said, “I will pardon them as you have requested.