1At this all the people of Isra’el cried out in dismay and wept all night long. 2Moreover, all the people of Isra’el began grumbling against Moshe and Aharon; the whole community told them, “We wish we had died in the land of Egypt! or that we had died here in the desert! 3Why is Adonai bringing us to this land, where we will die by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will be taken as booty! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4And they said to each other, “Let’s appoint a leader and return to Egypt!”
5Moshe and Aharon fell on their faces before the entire assembled community of the people of Isra’el. 6Y’hoshua the son of Nun and Kalev the son of Y’funeh, from the detachment that had reconnoitered the land, tore their clothes 7and said to the whole community of Isra’el, “The land we passed through in order to spy it out is an outstandingly good land! (iii) 8If Adonai is pleased with us, then he will bring us into this land and give it to us — a land flowing with milk and honey. 9Just don’t rebel against Adonai. And don’t be afraid of the people living in the land — we’ll eat them up! Their defense has been taken away from them, and Adonai is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!”
10But just as the whole community were saying they should be stoned to death, the glory of Adonai appeared in the tent of meeting to all the people of Isra’el. 11Adonai said to Moshe, “How much longer is this people going to treat me with contempt? How much longer will they not trust me, especially considering all the signs I have performed among them? 12I am going to strike them with sickness, destroy them and make from you a nation greater and stronger than they are!”
13However, Moshe replied to Adonai, “When the Egyptians hear about this — [and they will,] because it was from among them that you, by your strength, brought this people up — 14they will tell the people living in this land. They have heard that you, Adonai, are with this people; that you, Adonai, are seen face to face; that your cloud stands over them; that you go ahead of them in a column of cloud by day and a column of fire by night. 15If you kill off this people at a single stroke, then the nations that have heard of your reputation will say 16that the reason Adonai slaughtered this people in the desert is that he wasn’t able to bring them into the land which he swore to give them. 17So now, please, let Adonai’s power be as great as when you said, 18‘Adonai is slow to anger, rich in grace, forgiving offenses and crimes; yet not exonerating the guilty, but causing the negative effects of the parents’ offenses to be experienced by their children and even by the third and fourth generations.’ 19Please! Forgive the offense of this people according to the greatness of your grace, just as you have borne with this people from Egypt until now.”
20Adonai answered, “I have forgiven, as you have asked. 21But as sure as I live, and that the whole earth is filled with the glory of Adonai, 22none of the people who saw my glory and the signs I did in Egypt and in the desert, yet tested me these ten times and did not listen to my voice, 23will see the land I swore to their ancestors! None of those who treated me with contempt will see it. 24But my servant Kalev, because he had a different Spirit with him and has fully followed me — him I will bring into the land he entered, and it will belong to his descendants.
25“Now, since the ‘Amaleki and the Kena‘ani are living in the valley, tomorrow turn around and get yourselves into the desert along the way to the Sea of Suf.”
(iv) 26Adonai said to Moshe and Aharon, 27“How long am I to put up with this evil community who keep grumbling about me? I have heard the complaints of the people of Isra’el, which they continue to raise against me. 28Tell them this: ‘As surely as I live, Adonai swears, as surely as you have spoken in my ears, I will do this to you: 29your carcasses will fall in this desert! Every single one of you who were included in the census over the age of twenty, you who have complained against me, 30will certainly not enter the land about which I raised my hand to swear that I would have you live in it — except for Kalev the son of Y’funeh and Y’hoshua the son of Nun. 31But your little ones, who you said would be taken as booty — them I will bring in. They will know the land you have rejected. 32But you, your carcasses will fall in this desert; 33and your children will wander about in the desert for forty years bearing the consequences of your prostitutions until the desert eats up your carcasses. 34It will be a year for every day you spent reconnoitering the land that you will bear the consequences of your offenses — forty days, forty years. Then you will know what it means to oppose me! 35I, Adonai, have spoken.’ I will certainly do this to this whole evil community who have assembled together against me — they will be destroyed in this desert and die there.”
36The men whom Moshe had sent to reconnoiter the land and who, when they returned, made the entire community complain against him by giving an unfavorable report about the land — 37those men who gave the unfavorable report about the land died by the plague in the presence of Adonai. 38Of the men who went to reconnoiter the land, only Y’hoshua the son of Nun and Kalev the son of Y’funeh remained alive.
39When Moshe told these things to all the people of Isra’el, the people felt great remorse. 40They arose early the next morning, came up to the top of the mountain and said, “Here we are, and we did sin, but now we’ll go up to the place Adonai promised.” 41Moshe answered, “Why are you opposing what Adonai said? You won’t succeed! 42Don’t go up there, because Adonai isn’t with you. If you do, your enemies will defeat you. 43The ‘Amalekim and the Kena‘anim are there ahead of you, and you will be struck down by the sword. The reason will be that you have turned away from following Adonai, so that Adonai won’t be with you.”
44But they were presumptuous and went on up toward the high parts of the hill-country, even though the ark for the covenant of Adonai — and Moshe — stayed in the camp. 45So the ‘Amalekim and the Kena‘anim living in that hill-country descended, struck them down and beat them back all the way to Hormah.