Numbers 14

1 And all the multitude cryed out and the people wepte thorow out that nyght
2 and all the childern of Ysrael murmured agenst Moses and Aaron. And the hole congregacion sayed vnto them: wolde god that we had dyed in the lond of Egipte ether we wolde that we had dyed in thys wildernesse.
3 Wherfore hath the Lorde broughte vs vnto this londe to fall apon the swerde that both oure wyues and also oure childre shulde be a praye? is it not better that we returne vnto Egipte agayne?
4 And they sayde one to another: let vs make a captayne and returne vnto Egipte agayne.
5 And Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the congregacion of the multitude of the childern of Israel.
6 And Iosua the sonne of Nun and Caleb the sonne of Iephune which were of them that serched the londe rent their clothes
7 and spake vnto all the companye of the childern of Ysrael saynge: The londe which we walked thorowe to serche it is a very good lande.
8 Yf the Lorde haue lust to vs he will bringe vs in to this londe and geue it vs which is a lond yt floweth with mylke and hony.
9 But in any wise rebell not agenst the Lorde Moreouer feare ye not the people of the londe for they are but bred for vs. Their shylde is departed from them and the Lorde is with vs: feare them not therfore.
10 And all the whole multitude bade stone them with stones. But the glorie of the Lorde appered in the tabernacle of witnesse vnto all the childern of Israel.
11 And the Lorde sayed vnto Moses: Howe longe shall thys people rayle apon me and how longe will it be yet they beleue me for all my signes whiche I haue shewed amonge them ?
12 I will smyte them with the pestilence and destroy the and will make of the a greatter nacion and a mightier then they.
13 And Moses sayed vnto the Lorde: then the Egiptians shall heare it for thou broughtest this people with thy mighte from amonge them.
14 And it wilbe tolde to the inhabiters of this lande also for they haue herde likewise that thou the Lorde art amoge this people ad yt thou art sene face to face and yt thy cloude stondeth ouer them and that thou goest before them by daye tyme in a piler of a cloude and in a piler of fyre by nyght.
15 Yf thou shalt kill all this people as thei were but one ma then the nacions which haue herde the fame of the will speake sayenge:
16 because ye Lorde was not able to bringe in this people in to ye londe which he swore vnto them therfore he slewe them in the wildernesse.
17 So now lat the power of my Lord be greate acordynge as thou hast spoken sayenge:
18 the Lorde is longe yet he be angrye ad full of mercy and suffereth synne and trespace and leaueth no man innocent and visiteth the vnryghtuousnesse of the fathers vppon ye childern eue vpo yt thirde and fourth generacion.
19 be mercyfull I beseche ye therfore vnto ye synne of this people acordinge vnto thi greate mercy and acordinge as thou hast forgeue this people from Egipte euen vnto this place.
20 And the Lorde sayed: I haue forgeue it acordynge to thy request.
21 But as trulye as I lyue all the erth shalbe fylled with my glorye.
22 For of all those me whiche haue sene my glorye and my miracles which I dyd in Egipte and in ye wildernesse and yet haue tempted me now this .x. tymes and haue not herkened vnto my voyce
23 there shall not one se the lond whiche I sware vnto their fathers nether shall any of the that rayled apo me se it.
24 But my servaute Caleb. because there is another maner sprite with hi and because he hath folowed me vnto the vttmost: him I will bringe in to the lond which he hath walked in and his seed shall conquere it
25 and also the Amalechites ad Cananites which dwell in the lowe contrees Tomorowe turne you and gete you in to the wildernesse; euen the waye towarde the red see.
26 And the Lorde spake vnto Moses ad Aaron sayenge
27 how longe shall this euell multitude murmure agenst me?
28 I haue herde ye murmurynges of ye childern of Ysrael whyche they murmure agenste me. Tell them yt the Lorde sayeth. As truely as I lyue I wil do vnto you euen as ye haue spoken in myne eares.
29 Youre carkasses shall lye in this wildernesse nether shall any of these numbres which were numbred from .xx. yere and aboue of you which haue murmured agenst me
30 come in to the londe ouer which I lifted mynehande to make you dwell therein saue Caleb the sonne of Iephune and Iosua the sonne of Nun.
31 And youre childern whiche ye sayed shuld be a praye the I will bringe in and they shall knowe the londe which ye haue refused
32 and youre carkesses shall lye in this wildernesse
33 And youre childern shall wadre in this wildernesse .xl. yeres and suffre for youre whoredome vntill your carkasses be wasted in the wildernesse
34 after the numbre of the dayes in which ye serched out yt londe .xl. dayes and euery daye a yere: so that they shall bere your vnrightuousnes .xl. yere and ye shall fele my vengeaunce
35 I the Lorde haue sayed yt I will do it vnto all this euell congregacion yt are gathered together agenst me: euen in thys wildernesse ye shalbe consumed and here ye shall dye.
36 And the men which Moses sent to serche the londe and which (when they came agayne) made all the people to murmure agenst it in that they broughte vpp a slaunder apon ye londe:
37 dyed for their bryngenge vp that euell slaunder apon it and were plaged before the Lorde.
38 But Iosua the sonne of Nun and Caleb the sonne of Iephune which were of ye me that went to serche the londe lyued still.
39 And Moses tolde these sayenges vnto all the childern of Ysrael and the people toke great sorowe.
40 And they rose vp yerlee in the mornynge and gatt them vpp in to the toppe of the mountayne sayenge: lo we be here ad will goo vpp vnto the place of which the Lorde sayed for we haue synned.
41 And Moses sayed: wherfore will ye goo on this maner beyonde the worde of the Lorde? it will not come well to passe
42 goo not vpp for the Lorde is not amonge you that ye be not slayne before youre enemyes.
43 For the Amalechytes and the Cananites are there before you and ye will fall apon the swerde: because ye are turned a waye from ye Lorde and therfore the Lorde wyll not be with you.
44 But they were blynded to goo vpp in to ye hylltoppe: Neuer the lather the arke of the testament of the Lorde and Moses departed not out of the hoste.
45 Then the Amalekytes ad the Cananites which dwelt in that hill came doune and smote them and hewed the: euen vnto Horma.

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Numbers 14 Commentary

Chapter 14

The people murmur at the account of the spies. (1-4) Joshua and Caleb labour to still the people. (5-10) The Divine threatenings, The intercession of Moses. (11-19) The murmurers forbidden to enter the promised land. (20-35) Death of the evil spies. (36-39) Defeat of the people, who now would invade the land. (40-45)

Verses 1-4 Those who do not trust God, continually vex themselves. The sorrow of the world worketh death. The Israelites murmured against Moses and Aaron, and in them reproached the Lord. They look back with causeless discontent. See the madness of unbridled passions, which makes men prodigal of what nature accounts most dear, life itself. They wish rather to die criminals under God's justice, than to live conquerors in his favour. At last they resolve, that, instead of going forward to Canaan, they would go back to Egypt. Those who walk not in God's counsels, seek their own ruin. Could they expect that God's cloud would lead them, or his manna attend them? Suppose the difficulties of conquering Canaan were as they imagined, those of returning to Egypt were much greater. We complain of our place and lot, and we would change; but is there any place or condition in this world, that has not something in it to make us uneasy, if we are disposed to be so? The way to better our condition, is to get our spirits in a better frame. See the folly of turning from the ways of God. But men run on the certain fatal consequences of a sinful course.

Verses 5-10 Moses and Aaron were astonished to see a people throw away their own mercies. Caleb and Joshua assured the people of the goodness of the land. They made nothing of the difficulties in the way of their gaining it. If men were convinced of the desirableness of the gains of religion, they would not stick at the services of it. Though the Canaanites dwell in walled cities, their defence was departed from them. The other spies took notice of their strength, but these of their wickedness. No people can be safe, when they have provoked God to leave them. Though Israel dwell in tents, they are fortified. While we have the presence of God with us, we need not fear the most powerful force against us. Sinners are ruined by their own rebellion. But those who, like Caleb and Joshua, faithfully expose themselves for God, are sure to be taken under his special protection, and shall be hid from the rage of men, either under heaven or in heaven.

Verses 11-19 Moses made humble intercession for Israel. Herein he was a type of Christ, who prayed for those that despitefully used him. The pardon of a nation's sin, is the turning away the nation's punishment; and for that Moses is here so earnest. Moses argued that, consistently with God's character, in his abundant mercies, he could forgive them.

Verses 20-35 The Lord granted the prayer of Moses so far as not at once to destroy the congregation. But disbelief of the promise forbids the benefit. Those who despise the pleasant land shall be shut out of it. The promise of God should be fulfilled to their children. They wished to die in the wilderness; God made their sin their ruin, took them at their word, and their carcases fell in the wilderness. They were made to groan under the burden of their own sin, which was too heavy for them to bear. Ye shall know my breach of promise, both the causes of it, that it is procured by your sin, for God never leaves any till they first leave him; and the consequences of it, that will produce your ruin. But your little ones, now under twenty years old, which ye, in your unbelief, said should be a prey, them will I bring in. God will let them know that he can put a difference between the guilty and the innocent, and cut them off without touching their children. Thus God would not utterly take away his loving kindness.

Verses 36-39 Here is the sudden death of the ten evil spies. They sinned in bringing a slander upon the land of promise. Those greatly provoke God, who misrepresent religion, raise dislike in men's minds toward it, or give opportunity to those to do so, who seek occasion. Justly are murmurers made mourners. If they had mourned for the sin, when they were faithfully reproved, the sentence had been prevented; but as they mourned for the judgment only, it did them no service. There is in hell such mourning as this; but tears will not quench the flames, nor cool the tongue.

Verses 40-45 Some of the Israelites were now earnest to go forward toward Canaan. But it came too late. If men would but be as earnest for heaven while their day of grace lasts, as they will be when it is over, how well would it be for them! That which has been duty in its season, when mistimed, may be turned into sin. Those who are out of the way of their duty, are not under God's protection, and go at their peril. God bade them go, and they would not; he forbade them, and they would go. Thus is the carnal mind enmity against God. They had distrusted God's strength; they now presume upon their own without his. And the expedition fails accordingly; now the sentence began to be executed, that their carcases should fall in the wilderness. That affair can never end well, which begins with sin. The way to obtain peace with our friends, and success against our enemies, is, to have God, as our Friend, and to keep in his love. Let us take warning from the fate of Israel, lest we perish after the same example of unbelief. Let us go forth, depending on God's mercy, power, promise, and truth; he will be with us, and bring our souls to everlasting rest.

Chapter Summary


This chapter treats or the murmurings of the children of Israel upon the evil report of the spies, which greatly distressed Moses and Aaron, Nu 14:1-5; and of the endeavours of Joshua and Caleb to quiet the minds of the people with a good account of the land, and of the easy conquest of it, but to no purpose, Nu 14:6-10; and of the Lord's threatening to destroy the people with the pestilence, Nu 14:11,12; and of the intercession of Moses for them, which so far succeeded as to prevent their immediate destruction, Nu 14:13-20; nevertheless they are assured again and again, in the strongest terms, that none of them but Joshua and Caleb should enter into the land, but their carcasses should fall in the wilderness, even all the murmurers of twenty years old and upwards, Nu 14:21-35; and the ten men that brought the evil report of the good land died of a plague immediately, but the other two lived, Nu 14:36-38; and the body of the people that attempted to go up the mountain and enter the land were smitten and discomfited by their enemies, after they had with concern heard what the Lord threatened them with, Nu 14:39-45.

Numbers 14 Commentaries

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