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Numbers 14 Expanded Bible (EXB)

The People Complain Again

14 That night all the ·people [community; congregation; assembly] in the camp began crying loudly. All the ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel] ·complained [grumbled] against Moses and Aaron, and all the ·people [community; congregation; assembly] said to them, “We wish we had died in Egypt or in this ·desert [wilderness]. Why is the Lord bringing us to this land to ·be killed with [L make us fall by] swords? Our wives and children will be ·taken away [war plunder]. We would be better off going back to Egypt.” They said to each other, “Let’s choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”

Then Moses and Aaron ·bowed [L fell] facedown in front of all the ·Israelites [L assembly/crowd of the community/congregation/assembly of the sons/T children of Israel] gathered there. Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who had ·explored [spied on] the land, tore their clothes [C ritual of grief]. They said to all of the ·Israelites [L community/congregation/assembly of the sons/T children of Israel], “The land we ·explored [spied on] is very good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land and give us that ·fertile land [L land flowing with milk and honey; Ex. 3:8]. Don’t ·turn [rebel] against the Lord! Don’t be afraid of the people in that land! We will chew them up. They have no protection, but the Lord is with us. So don’t be afraid of them.”

10 Then all the ·people [community; congregation; assembly] talked about ·killing them with stones [stoning them]. But the glory of the Lord [C representing his manifest presence] appeared at the Meeting Tent to all the ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel]. 11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people ·ignore [despise] me? How long will they not believe me in spite of the ·miracles [signs] I have done among them? 12 I will ·give them a terrible sickness [L strike them with disease/pestilence] and ·get rid of [disinherit; dispossess] them. But I will make you into a great nation that will be stronger than they are [Ex. 32:10].”

13 Then Moses said to the Lord, “The Egyptians will hear about it! You brought these people from there by your great power [Ex. 12–15], 14 and the Egyptians will tell this to those who live in this land [C Canaan]. They have already heard about you, Lord. They know that you are with your people and that you were seen face to face. They know that your cloud [C representing God’s presence] stays over your people and that you lead your people with that cloud during the day and with fire at night [Ex. 13:20–22]. 15 If you put these people to death all at once, the nations who have heard about your power will say, 16 ‘The Lord was not able to bring them into the land he ·promised [swore to] them. So he ·killed [slaughtered] them in the ·desert [wilderness].’

17 “So show your strength now, Lord. Do what you said: 18 ‘The Lord ·doesn’t become angry quickly [is slow to anger], but he has great ·love [covenant love; loyalty; Ex. 34:6; Neh. 9:17; Ps. 86:15; 103:8; 145:8; Nah. 1:3]. He forgives sin and ·law breaking [transgression]. But the Lord never forgets to punish guilty people. ·When parents sin, he will also punish [L He visits the sin/iniquity/guilt of the fathers on] their children, their grandchildren, their great-grandchildren, and their great-great-grandchildren [Ex. 20:5–6].’ 19 By your great ·love [covenant love; loyalty], forgive these people’s sin, just as you have forgiven them from the time they left Egypt until now.”

20 The Lord answered, “I have forgiven them as you asked. 21 But, as surely as I live and as surely as my glory fills the whole earth, I make this promise: 22 All these people saw my glory and the ·miracles [signs] I did in Egypt and in the ·desert [wilderness], but they ·disobeyed me [L did not listen to my voice] and tested me ten times [C symbolic for many times]. 23 So not one of them will see the land I ·promised [swore to give] to their ancestors. No one who ·rejected [despised] me will see that land. 24 But my servant Caleb ·thinks differently [L has a different spirit] and follows me completely. So I will bring him into the land he has already seen, and his ·children [seed] will ·own [possess] that land [Josh. 15:13–19; Judg. 1:9–15]. 25 Since the Amalekites and the Canaanites are living in the valleys, leave tomorrow and follow the ·desert [Wilderness] road toward the ·Red [or Reed; Ex. 10:19] Sea.”

The Lord Punishes the People

26 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 27 “How long will these evil ·people [community; congregation; assembly] ·complain [grumble] about me? I have heard the ·complaining [grumbling] of these ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel]. 28 So tell them, ‘This is ·what the Lord says [L the utterance/decree of the Lord]. I heard what you said, and as surely as I live, I will do those very things to you: 29 ·You will die [L Your dead bodies will fall] in this ·desert [wilderness]. Every one of you who is twenty years old or older [C of military age] and who was counted with the people [1:1–54]—all of you who ·complained [grumbled] against me—will die. 30 Not one of you will enter the land where I ·promised [L lifted my hand; C as when swearing an oath] you would live; only Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun will go in. 31 You said that your children would be ·taken away [war plunder], but I will bring them into the land to enjoy what you refused. 32 As for you, ·you will die [L your bodies will fall] in this ·desert [wilderness]. 33 Your children will be shepherds here for forty years. Because you were ·not loyal [unfaithful; C the term suggests sexual unfaithfulness as a metaphor of spiritual unfaithfulness], they will suffer until ·you lie dead [the last of your bodies lie] in the ·desert [wilderness]. 34 For forty years you will suffer for your sins—a year for each of the forty days you ·explored [spied on] the land. You will know me as your enemy.’ 35 I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will certainly do these things to all ·these evil people [this evil community/congregation/assembly] who have come together against me. So they will all die here in this ·desert [wilderness].”

36 The men Moses had sent to ·explore [spy on] the land had returned and ·spread complaints [grumbled] among all the ·people [community; congregation; assembly]. They had given a bad report about the land. 37 The men who gave a very bad report died; the Lord killed them with a terrible ·sickness [plague]. 38 Only two of the men who ·explored [spied on] the land did not die—Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh.

39 When Moses told these things to all the ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel], they ·were very sad [mourned greatly]. 40 Early the next morning they started to go toward the top of the mountains, saying, “We have sinned. We will go where the Lord told us.”

41 But Moses said, “Why are you ·disobeying [transgressing] the Lord’s command? You will not ·win [succeed]! 42 Don’t go, because the Lord is not with you and you will be ·beaten [struck down] by your enemies. 43 You will run into the Amalekites and Canaanites, who will ·kill [L fell] you with swords. You have turned away from the Lord, so the Lord will not be with you.”

44 But they were ·proud [presumptuous; reckless]. They went toward the top of the mountains, ·but [or even though] Moses and the Ark of the ·Agreement [Treaty; Covenant; Ex. 25:10] with the Lord did not leave the camp. 45 The Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in those mountains came down and ·attacked the Israelites [L struck them down] and beat them back all the way to Hormah.

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