(1) The whole community broke into loud cries, and the people wept that night. (2) All the Israelites railed against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in the land of Egypt,” the whole community shouted at them, “or if only we might die in this wilderness! (3) Why is the LORD taking us to that land to fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be carried off! It would be better for us to go back to Egypt!” (4) And they said to one another, “Let us head back for Egypt.” (5) Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembled congregation of the Israelites. (6) And Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, of those who had scouted the land, rent their clothes (7) and exhorted the whole Israelite community: “The land that we traversed and scouted is an exceedingly good land. (8) If the LORD is pleased with us, He will bring us into that land, a land that flows with milk and honey, and give it to us; (9) only you must not rebel against the LORD. Have no fear then of the people of the country, for they are our prey: their protection has departed from them, but the LORD is with us. Have no fear of them!” (10) As the whole community threatened to pelt them with stones, the Presence of the LORD appeared in the Tent of Meeting to all the Israelites. (11) And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people spurn Me, and how long will they have no faith in Me despite all the signs that I have performed in their midst? (12) I will strike them with pestilence and disown them, and I will make of you a nation far more numerous than they!” (13) But Moses said to the LORD, “When the Egyptians, from whose midst You brought up this people in Your might, hear the news, (14) they will tell it to the inhabitants of that land. Now they have heard that You, O LORD, are in the midst of this people; that You, O LORD, appear in plain sight when Your cloud rests over them and when You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. (15) If then You slay this people to a man, the nations who have heard Your fame will say, (16) ‘It must be because the LORD was powerless to bring that people into the land He had promised them on oath that He slaughtered them in the wilderness.’ (17) Therefore, I pray, let my Lord’s forbearance be great, as You have declared, saying, (18) ‘The LORD! slow to anger and abounding in kindness; forgiving iniquity and transgression; yet not remitting all punishment, but visiting the iniquity of fathers upon children, upon the third and fourth generations.’ (19) Pardon, I pray, the iniquity of this people according to Your great kindness, as You have forgiven this people ever since Egypt.” (20) And the LORD said, “I pardon, as you have asked. (21) Nevertheless, as I live and as the LORD’s Presence fills the whole world, (22) none of the men who have seen My Presence and the signs that I have performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, and who have tried Me these many times and have disobeyed Me, (23) shall see the land that I promised on oath to their fathers; none of those who spurn Me shall see it. (24) But My servant Caleb, because he was imbued with a different spirit and remained loyal to Me—him will I bring into the land that he entered, and his offspring shall hold it as a possession. (25) Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites occupy the valleys. Start out, then, tomorrow and march into the wilderness by way of the Sea of Reeds.” (26) The LORD spoke further to Moses and Aaron, (27) “How much longer shall that wicked community keep muttering against Me? Very well, I have heeded the incessant muttering of the Israelites against Me. (28) Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the LORD, ‘I will do to you just as you have urged Me. (29) In this very wilderness shall your carcasses drop. Of all of you who were recorded in your various lists from the age of twenty years up, you who have muttered against Me, (30) not one shall enter the land in which I swore to settle you—save Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. (31) Your children who, you said, would be carried off—these will I allow to enter; they shall know the land that you have rejected. (32) But your carcasses shall drop in this wilderness, (33) while your children roam the wilderness for forty years, suffering for your faithlessness, until the last of your carcasses is down in the wilderness. (34) You shall bear your punishment for forty years, corresponding to the number of days—forty days—that you scouted the land: a year for each day. Thus you shall know what it means to thwart Me. (35) I the LORD have spoken: Thus will I do to all that wicked band that has banded together against Me: in this very wilderness they shall die to the last man.’” (36) As for the men whom Moses sent to scout the land, those who came back and caused the whole community to mutter against him by spreading calumnies about the land— (37) those who spread such calumnies about the land died of plague, by the will of the LORD. (38) Of those men who had gone to scout the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived. (39) When Moses repeated these words to all the Israelites, the people were overcome by grief. (40) Early next morning they set out toward the crest of the hill country, saying, “We are prepared to go up to the place that the LORD has spoken of, for we were wrong.” (41) But Moses said, “Why do you transgress the LORD’s command? This will not succeed. (42) Do not go up, lest you be routed by your enemies, for the LORD is not in your midst. (43) For the Amalekites and the Canaanites will be there to face you, and you will fall by the sword, inasmuch as you have turned from following the LORD and the LORD will not be with you.” (44) Yet defiantly they marched toward the crest of the hill country, though neither the LORD’s Ark of the Covenant nor Moses stirred from the camp. (45) And the Amalekites and the Canaanites who dwelt in that hill country came down and dealt them a shattering blow at Hormah.