1 All the Israelite congregation raised their voices and cried out loud all that night.
2 They complained to Moses and Aaron: »If only we had died in Egypt or in this desert!
3 »Why is Jehovah bringing us to this land? Is it just to have us die in battle? Our wives and children will be taken as prisoners of war! Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?«
4 They said to each other: »Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.«
5 Immediately, Moses and Aaron bowed with their faces touching the ground in front of the whole congregation of Israel assembled there.
6 At the same time, two of those who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothes in despair.
7 They said to the entire congregation of Israel: »The land we explored is very good.
8 »If Jehovah is pleased with us, he will take us there and give us that rich and fertile land.
9 »Do not rebel against Jehovah. Do not be afraid of the people who live there. We will conquer them easily. Jehovah is with us and has defeated the gods who protected them. Do not be afraid.«
10 The whole congregation threatened to stone them to death. Then suddenly the people saw the dazzling light of Jehovahs presence glorysplendor appear over the tent.
11 Jehovah said to Moses: »How much longer will these people reject me? How much longer will they refuse to trust in me, even though I have performed many miracles among them?
12 »I will send an epidemic and destroy them. I will make you the father of a nation that is larger and more powerful than they are!«
13 Moses said to Jehovah: »You brought these people out of Egypt by your power. When the Egyptians hear what you have done to your people,
14 they will tell it to the people who live in this land. These people have already heard that you, Jehovah, are with us, that you appear in plain sight when your cloud stops over us, and that you go before us in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
15 »But if you kill all these people at the same time the nations who have heard these reports about you will say,
16 »Jehovah was not able to bring these people into the land he promised them, so he slaughtered them in the desert.
17 »Jehovah, let your power be as great as when you said,
18 »Jehovah is patient, forever loving; He forgives wrongdoing and disobedience. He never lets the guilty go unpunished. In fact he punishes children for their parents sins to the third and fourth generation.
19 »By your great love, please forgive these peoples sins, as you have forgiven them from the time they left Egypt until now.«
20 Jehovah said: »I forgive them, as you have asked.
21 »But as I live and as the glory of Jehovah fills the whole earth, I solemnly swear that
22 none of the people who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I did in Egypt and in the desert will see the land I promised their ancestors. They have tested me now ten times and refused to obey me.
23 »None of those who treat me with contempt will see it!
24 »My servant Caleb has a different attitude and has wholeheartedly followed me, I will bring him to the land he already explored. His descendants will possess it.
25 »The Amalekites and Canaanites are living in the valleys. Tomorrow you must turn around, go back into the desert. Follow the road that goes to the Red Sea.«
26 Then Jehovah said to Moses and Aaron:
27 »How long must I put up with this wicked congregation that keeps complaining about me? I have heard the complaints the Israelites are making about me.
28 »Therefore tell them: As I live, declares Jehovah, I solemnly swear I will do everything to you that you said I would do.
29 »Your bodies will drop dead in this desert. All of you who are at least twenty years old, who were registered and listed, and who complained about me will die.
30 »I raised my hand and swore an oath to give you this land to live in. But none of you will enter it except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.
31 »You said your children would be taken as prisoners of war. Instead, I will bring them into the land you rejected, and they will enjoy it.
32 »But your bodies will drop dead in this desert.
33 »Your children will be shepherds in the desert for forty years. They will suffer for your unfaithfulness until the last of your bodies lies dead in the desert.
34 »You explored the land for forty days. So for forty years, one year for each day, you will suffer for your sins and know what it means for me to be against you.
35 »I, Jehovah, have spoken. I swear I will do these things to all the people in this whole wicked congregation. For they have joined forces against me. They will meet their end in this desert. Here they will die!«
36 The men Moses sent to explore the land died in front of Jehovah from a plague.
37 They died because they had returned and made the whole community complain about Moses. They spread lies about the land.
38 Of all the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.
39 Moses told these things to all the Israelites. The people mourned bitterly, as if someone had died.
40 Early the next morning they headed into the mountains. They said: »We have sinned. Now we will go to the place Jehovah promised.«
41 Moses asked: »Why are you disobeying Jehovahs command? Your plan will not work!
42 »Do not go! Your enemies will defeat you because Jehovah is not with you.
43 »The Amalekites and Canaanites are there. You will die in battle. Now that you have turned away from Jehovah, he will not be with you.«
44 But they headed into the mountains anyway. The Ark of the Jehovahs promise and Moses stayed in the camp.
45 The Amalekites and Canaanites who lived there came down from those mountains, attacked the Israelites, and defeated them at Hormah.