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Numbers 14 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

The People Complain Again

14 That night all the people in the camp began shouting loudly. The Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron. All the people came together and said to Moses and Aaron, “We should have died in Egypt or in the desert. Did the Lord bring us to this new land to be killed in war? The enemy will kill us and take our wives and children! It would be better for us to go back to Egypt.”

Then the people said to each other, “Let’s choose another leader and go back to Egypt.”

Moses and Aaron bowed low to the ground in front of all the people gathered there. Joshua and Caleb became very upset. (Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh were two of the men who explored the land.) These two men said to all the Israelites gathered there, “The land that we saw is very good. It is a land filled with many good things. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land. And he will give that land to us. So don’t turn against the Lord! Don’t be afraid of the people in that land. We can defeat them. They have no protection, nothing to keep them safe. But we have the Lord with us, so don’t be afraid!”

10 All the people began talking about killing Joshua and Caleb with stones. But the Glory of the Lord appeared over the Meeting Tent where all the people could see it. 11 The Lord spoke to Moses and said, “How long will these people continue to turn against me? They show that they don’t trust me or believe in my power, in spite of the many miracles I have done among them. 12 I will kill them all with a terrible sickness. I will destroy them, and I will use you to make another nation. Your nation will be greater and stronger than these people.”

13 Then Moses said to the Lord, “If you do that, the Egyptians will hear about it! They know that you used your great power to bring your people out of Egypt. 14 The Egyptians have already told the people in Canaan about it. They already know you are the Lord. They know that you are with your people. They know that the people saw you. Those people know about the special cloud. They know you use the cloud to lead your people during the day. And they know the cloud becomes a fire to lead your people at night. 15 So you must not kill these people now. If you kill them, all the nations who have heard about your power will say, 16 ‘The Lord was not able to bring them into the land he promised them. So he killed them in the desert.’

17 “So now, Lord, show your strength! Show it the way you said you would. 18 You said, ‘The Lord is slow to become angry. He is full of great love. He forgives[a] those who are guilty and break the law. But he always punishes those who are guilty. He punishes them, and he also punishes their children, their grandchildren, and even their great-grandchildren for those bad things.’ 19 Now, show your great love to these people. Forgive their sin. Forgive them the same way you have been forgiving them since the time they left Egypt until now.”

20 The Lord answered, “Yes, I will forgive the people as you asked. 21 But I tell you the truth. As surely as I live and as surely as the Glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, I make you this promise: 22 None of the people I led out of Egypt will ever see the land of Canaan. They saw my glory and the great signs that I did in Egypt and in the desert. But they disobeyed me and tested me ten times. 23 I promised their ancestors that I would give them that land. But none of those people who turned against me will ever enter that land! 24 But my servant Caleb was different. He follows me completely. So I will bring him into the land that he has already seen, and his people will get that land. 25 The Amalekites and the Canaanites are living in the valley. So tomorrow you must leave this place. Go back to the desert on the road to the Red Sea.”

The Lord Punishes the People

26 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 27 “How long will these evil people continue to complain against me? I have heard their complaints and their griping. 28 So tell them, ‘The Lord says that he will surely do all those things to you that you complained about. This is what will happen to you: 29 You will die in this desert. Every person who is 20 years old or older and was counted as one of my people will die. You complained against me. 30 So none of you will ever enter and live in the land that I promised to give you. Only Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun will enter that land. 31 You were afraid and complained that your enemies in that new land would take your children away from you. But I tell you that I will bring them into the land. They will enjoy what you refused to accept. 32 As for you people, you will die in this desert.

33 “‘Your children will wander around like shepherds here in the desert for 40 years. They will suffer because you were not faithful to me. They must suffer until all of you lie dead in the desert. 34 For 40 years you will suffer for your sins. (That is one year for each of the 40 days that the men explored the land.) You will know that it is a terrible thing for me to be against you.’

35 “I am the Lord, and I have spoken. And I promise that I will do these things to all these evil people. They have come together against me. So they will all die here in this desert.”

36 The men Moses sent to explore the new land were the ones who came back complaining about him to all the Israelites. They said that the people were not strong enough to enter that land. 37 The men were responsible for spreading the trouble among the Israelites. So the Lord caused a sickness to kill all those men. 38 But Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh were among the men who were sent out to explore the land. They are the only ones who did not get the sickness that caused the others to die.

The People Try to Go Into Canaan

39 When Moses told the Israelites this, they were very sad. 40 Early the next morning the people started to go up to the high hill country. They said, “We have sinned. We are sorry that we did not trust the Lord. We will go to the place that the Lord promised.”

41 But Moses said, “Why are you not obeying the Lord’s command? You will not be successful! 42 Don’t go into that land. The Lord is not with you, so your enemies will easily defeat you. 43 The Amalekites and Canaanites will fight against you there. You have turned away from the Lord, so he will not be with you when you fight them. And you will all be killed in battle.”

44 But the people did not believe Moses. They went toward the high hill country. But Moses and the Box of the Lord’s Agreement did not go with the people. 45 The Amalekites and the Canaanites living in the hill country came down and attacked the Israelites and easily defeated them and chased them all the way to Hormah.

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 14:18 forgives Or “spares.”
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International

Numbers 14 New International Version (NIV)

The People Rebel

14 That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt? And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.

Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

10 But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites. 11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them? 12 I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they.”

13 Moses said to the Lord, “Then the Egyptians will hear about it! By your power you brought these people up from among them. 14 And they will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have already heard that you, Lord, are with these people and that you, Lord, have been seen face to face, that your cloud stays over them, and that you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. 15 If you put all these people to death, leaving none alive, the nations who have heard this report about you will say, 16 ‘The Lord was not able to bring these people into the land he promised them on oath, so he slaughtered them in the wilderness.’

17 “Now may the Lord’s strength be displayed, just as you have declared: 18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.’ 19 In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.”

20 The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked. 21 Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, 22 not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times 23 not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. 24 But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. 25 Since the Amalekites and the Canaanites are living in the valleys, turn back tomorrow and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea.[a]

26 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: 27 “How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites. 28 So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will do to you the very thing I heard you say: 29 In this wilderness your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. 30 Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 31 As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected. 32 But as for you, your bodies will fall in this wilderness. 33 Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the wilderness. 34 For forty years—one year for each of the forty days you explored the land—you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.’ 35 I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will surely do these things to this whole wicked community, which has banded together against me. They will meet their end in this wilderness; here they will die.

36 So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it— 37 these men who were responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the Lord. 38 Of the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.

39 When Moses reported this to all the Israelites, they mourned bitterly. 40 Early the next morning they set out for the highest point in the hill country, saying, “Now we are ready to go up to the land the Lord promised. Surely we have sinned!

41 But Moses said, “Why are you disobeying the Lord’s command? This will not succeed! 42 Do not go up, because the Lord is not with you. You will be defeated by your enemies, 43 for the Amalekites and the Canaanites will face you there. Because you have turned away from the Lord, he will not be with you and you will fall by the sword.”

44 Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up toward the highest point in the hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the Lord’s covenant moved from the camp. 45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and attacked them and beat them down all the way to Hormah.

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 14:25 Or the Sea of Reeds
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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