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Israel Refuses to Enter Canaan
1So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people #Num. 11:4; Deut. 1:45wept that night. 2#Ex. 16:2; 17:3; Num. 16:41; Ps. 106:25; 1 Cor. 10:10And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! 3Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and #Num. 14:31; Deut. 1:39children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4So they said to one another, #Neh. 9:17“Let us select a leader and #Deut. 17:16; Acts 7:39return to Egypt.”
5Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.
6But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; 7and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: #Num. 13:27; Deut. 1:25“The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. 8If the Lord #Deut. 10:15; 2 Sam. 15:25, 26; 1 Kin. 10:9; Ps. 147:11delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, #Ex. 3:8; Num. 13:27‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ 9Only #Deut. 1:26; 9:7, 23, 24; 1 Sam. 15:23do not rebel against the Lord, #Deut. 7:18nor fear the people of the land, for #Num. 24:8they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, #Gen. 48:21; Ex. 33:16; Deut. 20:1, 3, 4; 31:6–8; Josh. 1:5; Judg. 1:22; 2 Chr. 13:12; Ps. 46:7, 11; Zech. 8:23; Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.”
10#Ex. 17:4And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now #Ex. 16:10; Lev. 9:23the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel.
Moses Intercedes for the People
11Then the Lord said to Moses: “How long will these people #Ps. 95:8; Heb. 3:8reject Me? And how long will they not #Deut. 9:23; (John 12:37)believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? 12I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will #Ex. 32:10make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.”
13And #Ps. 106:23Moses said to the Lord: #Ex. 32:12; Deut. 9:26–28; 32:27“Then the Egyptians will hear it, for by Your might You brought these people up from among them, 14and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have #Deut. 2:25heard that You, Lord, are among these people; that You, Lord, are seen face to face and Your cloud stands above them, and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. 15Now if You kill these people as one man, then the nations which have heard of Your fame will speak, saying, 16‘Because the Lord was not #Deut. 9:28able to bring this people to the land which He swore to give them, therefore He killed them in the wilderness.’ 17And now, I pray, let the power of my Lord be great, just as You have spoken, saying, 18#Ex. 34:6, 7; Deut. 5:10; 7:9; Ps. 103:8; 145:8; Jon. 4:2‘The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, #Ex. 20:5; Deut. 5:9visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.19#Ex. 32:32; 34:9Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, #Ps. 51:1; 106:45according to the greatness of Your mercy, just #Ps. 78:38as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.”
20Then the Lord said: “I have pardoned, #2 Sam. 12:13; Mic. 7:18–20; (1 John 5:14–16)according to your word; 21but truly, as I live, #Ps. 72:19; Is. 6:3; 66:18, 19; Hab. 2:14all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord22#Deut. 1:35; 1 Cor. 10:5; Heb. 3:17because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now #Gen. 31:7these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, 23they certainly shall not #Num. 26:65; 32:11; Heb. 3:18see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it. 24But My servant #Josh. 14:6, 8, 9Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and #Num. 32:12has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it. 25Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwell in the valley; tomorrow turn and #Num. 21:4; Deut. 1:40move out into the wilderness by the Way of the Red Sea.”
Death Sentence on the Rebels
26And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 27#Ex. 16:28“How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? #Ex. 16:12I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me. 28#Deut. 1:35; 2:14, 15; Heb. 3:16–19Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you: 29The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, #Num. 1:45, 46; 26:64; Josh. 5:6all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. 30#Num. 26:65; 32:12; Deut. 1:36–38; Josh. 14:6–15Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in. 31#Num. 14:3; Deut. 1:39But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which #Ps. 106:24you have despised. 32But as for you, #Num. 26:64, 65; 32:13; 1 Cor. 10:5your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness. 33And your sons shall #Num. 32:13; Ps. 107:40be shepherds in the wilderness #Deut. 2:14forty years, and #Ezek. 23:35bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness. 34#Num. 13:25According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, #Ps. 95:10; Ezek. 4:6forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, #1 Kin. 8:56; (Heb. 4:1)and you shall know My rejection. 35#Num. 23:19I the Lord have spoken this. I will surely do so to all #1 Cor. 10:5this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.’ ”
36Now the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation complain against him by bringing a bad report of the land, 37those very men who brought the evil report about the land, #Num. 16:49; (1 Cor. 10:10); Heb. 3:17, 18died by the plague before the Lord. 38#Josh. 14:6, 10But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive, of the men who went to spy out the land.
A Futile Invasion Attempt
39Then Moses told these words to all the children of Israel, #Ex. 33:4and the people mourned greatly. 40And they rose early in the morning and went up to the top of the mountain, saying, #Deut. 1:41–44“Here we are, and we will go up to the place which the Lord has promised, for we have sinned!”
41And Moses said, “Now why do you transgress the command of the Lord? For this will not succeed. 42#Deut. 1:42; 31:17Do not go up, lest you be defeated by your enemies, for the Lord is not among you. 43For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and you shall fall by the sword; #2 Chr. 15:2because you have turned away from the Lord, the Lord will not be with you.”
44#Deut. 1:43But they presumed to go up to the mountaintop. Nevertheless, neither the ark of the covenant of the Lord nor Moses departed from the camp. 45Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who dwelt in that mountain came down and attacked them, and drove them back as far as #Num. 21:3Hormah.