Old Testament

Numbers 14
The People Rebel
141The entire community raised a loud cry. The people wept that night. 2All of the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The entire community said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! If only we had died in this wilderness! 3Why is the Lord bringing us to this land to fall by the sword? Our wives and our children will be taken as captives! Wouldn't it be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4So they said to one another, “Let's put someone in charge and return to Egypt.”
5Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown before the entire assembly of the Israelite community.
6Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, two of those who had scouted the land, tore their clothes. 7They spoke to the entire Israelite community, “The land that we explored and scouted is a very good land. 8If the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that is flowing with milk and honey. 9Only do not revolt against the Lord. Do not fear the people of the land, for we will eat them up.[] Their protection is taken away from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.”
10Still the entire community threatened to stone them to death. The Glory of the Lord appeared to all the Israelites over the Tent of Meeting. 11The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them? 12I will strike them with a plague and disown them. Then I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they are.”
Moses Intercedes for Israel
13Moses said to the Lord, “The Egyptians will hear it, since by your own power you brought these people up from the midst of the Egyptians. 14They will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have heard that you, the Lord, are in the midst of this people. You, the Lord, are seen face-to-face.[] Your cloud stands over them. You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. 15If you killed these people, leaving no one, then the nations which have heard about your fame will say, 16‘Because the Lord was not able to bring these people into the land which he swore to them, he has slaughtered them in the wilderness.’ 17Now please let the power of the Lord be great, just as you have said, 18‘The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in mercy, forgiving guilt and rebellion. He certainly does not leave the guilty unpunished, following up on the guilt of the fathers with the children unto the third and the fourth generation.’ 19According to your great mercy, please pardon the guilt of these people, just as you have forgiven these people from Egypt until now.”
The Lord Decrees Forty Years of Wandering
20The Lord said, “I have pardoned them just as you have said. 21But as surely as I live, and as surely as the entire earth is filled with the glory of the Lord, 22not one of the men who has seen my glory and my signs, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and who has tested me these ten times and has not listened to my voice— 23I promise that none of them will see the land which I swore to their fathers. None of those who treated me with contempt will see it. 24But because my servant Caleb had a different spirit and has followed me completely, I will bring him into the land to which he traveled. His descendants will possess it. 25Since the Amalekites and the Canaanites are living in the valleys and lowlands, tomorrow you are to turn back and set out into the wilderness along the route to the Red Sea.”
26The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, 27“How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the Israelites' constant grumblings against me. 28Tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will do to you just as I have heard you say. 29In this wilderness your corpses will fall. All of you who were registered in the census, every one of you twenty years old and up who have grumbled against me, 30I swear that none of you will go into the land where I promised to settle you, except for Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 31But your children, whom you said would become plunder, I will bring in, and they will experience the land which you have rejected. 32But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness. 33Your children will be shepherds in the wilderness for forty years. They will have to endure your prostitution until your corpses perish in the wilderness. 34You will bear the consequences of your guilt for forty years, based on the number of days that you scouted the land, forty days, one year for every day. You will experience my opposition.’ 35I, the Lord, have spoken. I swear that I will do this to this entire wicked community, who are gathered together against me. In this wilderness they will perish. There they will die.”
36The men whom Moses had sent to scout the land, who returned and made the entire community grumble against him by giving a negative report about the land, 37those men who brought the wicked, negative report about the land, died by the plague before the Lord. 38Of those men who had gone to scout the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh remained alive.
Israel Defeated in Battle at Hormah
39Moses told these things to all the Israelites, and the people mourned bitterly. 40They got up early in the morning and went up to the heights of the hill country. They said, “We are ready. We will go up to the place which the Lord spoke about. We admit we have sinned.”
41Moses said, “What is this? Why are you going against the Lord's command? This will not succeed. 42Do not go up, because the Lord is not among you. You will be struck down before your enemies, 43because the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there to oppose you. You will fall by the sword because you turned away from following the Lord. Therefore the Lord will not be with you.”
44But they dared to go up to the heights of the hill country. Nevertheless, the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord and Moses did not leave the camp. 45Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites, who lived in that hill country, came down, attacked them, and beat them down all the way to Hormah.


  • 14:9 Literally they are bread to us
  • 14:14 Literally eye to eye