1The whole community then cried out in dismay, and the people wept al that night. 2Al the Israelites muttered at Moses and Aaron, and the whole community said to them, 'Would toGod we had died in Egypt, or even that we had died in this desert! 3Why has Yahweh brought us to this country, for us to perish by the sword and our wives and childrento be seized as booty? Should we not do better to go back to Egypt?' 4And they said to one another, 'Let us appoint a leader and go back to Egypt.' 5At this, Moses and Aaron threw themselves on their faces in front of the whole assembled communityof Israelites, 6while Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, two of the men who had reconnoitred thecountry, tore their clothes 7and addressed the whole community of Israelites as fol ows, 'The country we went to reconnoitre is agood country, an excel ent country. 8If Yahweh is pleased with us, he will lead us into this country and give it to us. It is a country flowingwith milk and honey. 9But do not rebel against Yahweh or be afraid of the people of the country, for we shal gobble themup. Their protecting shade has deserted them, while we have Yahweh on our side. Do not be afraid of them.' 10The whole community was talking of stoning them, when the glory of Yahweh appeared to al theIsraelites, inside the Tent of Meeting, 11and Yahweh said to Moses: 'How much longer wil these people treat me with contempt? How muchlonger will they refuse to trust me, in spite of al the signs I have displayed among them? 12I shall strike them with pestilence and disown them. And of you I shall make a new nation, greaterand mightier than they are.' 13Moses said to Yahweh: 'Suppose the Egyptians hear about this -- for by your power you broughtthese people out of their country- 14and tel the people living in this country. They have heard that you, Yahweh, are with this people,and that you, Yahweh, show yourself to them face to face; that your cloud stands over them and that you gobefore them in a pil ar of cloud by day and a pil ar of fire by night. 15If you kil this people now as though it were one man, then the nations who have heard about youwil say, 16"Yahweh was not able to bring this people into the country which he had sworn to give them, and sohe has slaughtered them in the desert." 17No, my Lord! Now is the time to assert your power as you promised when you said, earlier, 18"Yahweh, slow to anger and rich in faithful love, forgiving faults and transgression, and yet lettingnothing go unchecked, punishing the parents' guilt in the children to the third and fourth generation." 19In your most faithful love, please forgive this people's guilt, as you have done from Egypt until now.' 20Yahweh said, 'I forgive them as you ask. 21But -- as I live, and as the glory of Yahweh fills the whole world- 22of all these people who have seen my glory and the signs that I worked in Egypt and in the desert,who have put me to the test ten times already and not obeyed my voice, 23not one shal see the country which I promised to give their ancestors. Not one of those who havetreated me contemptuously will see it. 24However, since my servant Caleb is of another spirit and since he has obeyed me completely, I shallbring him into the country where he has been, and his descendants will own it 25(the Amalekites and Canaanites occupy the plain). Tomorrow you wil turn about and go back intothe desert, in the direction of the Sea of Suph.' 26Yahweh then spoke to Moses and Aaron and said: 27'How much longer am I to endure this perverse community muttering against me? I have heard whatthe Israelites mutter against me. 28Say to them, "As I live, Yahweh declares, I shal do to you what I have heard you saying. 29In this desert your dead bodies wil fal , al you who were counted in the census, from the age oftwenty years and over who have muttered against me. 30I swear none of you will enter the country where I swore most solemnly to settle you, except Calebson of Jephunneh, and Joshua son of Nun. 31Your children, who you said would be seized as booty, wil be the ones whom I shal bring in so thatthey get to know the country you disdained, 32but, as for you, your dead bodies wil fall in this desert 33and your children wil be nomads in the desert for forty years, bearing the consequences of yourfaithlessness, until the last one of you lies dead in the desert. 34For forty days you reconnoitred the country. Each day wil count as a year: for forty years you willbear the consequences of your guilt and learn what it means to reject me." 35I, Yahweh, have spoken: this is how I swear to treat this entire perverse community united againstme. In this desert, to the last man, they shall die.' 36The men whom Moses had sent to reconnoitre the country and who on their return had incited thewhole community of Israel to mutter about him by disparaging it, 37these men who had disparaged the country were al struck dead before Yahweh. 38Of the men who had gone to reconnoitre the country, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son ofJephunneh were left alive. 39When Moses told all the Israelites what had been said, the people set up a great outcry. 40Early next morning they set out for the heights of the hil country saying, 'Look, we wil set out for theplace about which Yahweh said that we have sinned.' 41To which, Moses said, 'Why disobey Yahweh's order? No success wil come of doing so. 42Do not go, for Yahweh is not among you, and you wil be defeated by your enemies. 43For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are ahead of you, and you wil be put to the sword, since youhave turned away from Yahweh, and Yahweh is not with you.' 44All the same, they presumptuously set off for the heights of the hil country. Neither the ark of thecovenant of Yahweh nor Moses left the camp. 45The Amalekites and Canaanites living in those highlands then came down, defeated them andharried them al the way to Hormah.
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