The Lord Commands Israel to Leave Mount Horeb
1These are the words Moses spoke to all the Israelites. At that time, they were in the desert east of the Jordan River. It’s in the Arabah Valley across from Suph. The people were between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth and Dizahab. 2It takes 11 days to go from Mount Horeb to Kadesh Barnea if you travel on the Mount Seir road.
3It was the 40th year since the Israelites had left Egypt. On the first day of the 11th month, Moses spoke to them. He told them everything the Lord had commanded him to tell them. 4They had already won the battle over Sihon. Sihon was the king of the Amorites. He had ruled in Heshbon. Israel had also won the battle over Og at Edrei. Og was the king of Bashan. He had ruled in Ashtaroth.
5The people were east of the Jordan River in the territory of Moab. There Moses began to explain the law. Here is what he said.
6The Lord our God spoke to us at Mount Horeb. He said, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. 7Take your tents down. Go into the hill country of the Amorites. Go to all the people who are their neighbors. Go to the people who live in the Arabah Valley. Travel to the mountains and the western hills. Go to the people in the Negev Desert and along the coast. Travel to the land of Canaan and to Lebanon. Go as far as the great Euphrates River. 8I have given you all this land. Go in and take it as your own. The Lord promised he would give the land to your fathers. He promised it to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He also said he would give it to their children after them.”
Some Officials Are Chosen to Help Moses
9At that time I spoke to you. I said, “You are too heavy a load for me to carry alone. 10The Lord your God has caused there to be many of you. Today you are as many as the stars in the sky. 11The Lord is the God of your people. May he cause there to be a thousand times more of you. May he bless you, just as he promised he would. 12But I can’t handle your problems and troubles all by myself. I can’t settle your arguments. 13So choose some wise men from each of your tribes. They must understand how to give good advice. The people must have respect for them. I will appoint those men to have authority over you.”
14You answered me, “Your suggestion is good.”
15So I chose the leading men of your tribes who were wise and respected. I appointed them to have authority over you. I made them commanders of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. I appointed them to be officials over the tribes. 16Here is what I commanded your judges at that time. I said, “Listen to your people’s cases when they argue with one another. Judge them fairly. It doesn’t matter whether the case is between two Israelites or between an Israelite and an outsider living among you. 17When you judge them, treat everyone the same. Listen to those who are important and those who are not. Don’t be afraid of anyone. God is the highest judge. Bring me any case that is too hard for you. I’ll listen to it.” 18At that time I told you everything you should do.
Twelve Men Check Out the Land of Canaan
19The Lord our God commanded us to start out from Mount Horeb. So we did. We went toward the hill country of the Amorites. We traveled all through the huge and terrible desert you saw. Finally, we reached Kadesh Barnea. 20Then I said to you, “You have reached the hill country of the Amorites. The Lord our God is giving it to us. 21The Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take it. Do what the Lord says. He’s the God of your people. Don’t be afraid. Don’t lose hope.”
22Then all of you came to me. You said, “Let’s send some men ahead of us. They can check out the land for us and bring back a report. They can suggest to us which way to go. They can tell us about the towns we’ll come to.”
23That seemed like a good idea to me. So I chose 12 of you. I picked one man from each tribe. 24They left and went up into the hill country. There they came to the Valley of Eshkol. They checked it out. 25They got some of the fruit of that land. Then they brought it down to us and gave us their report. They said, “The Lord our God is giving us a good land.”
Israel Refuses to Obey the Lord
26But you wouldn’t go up. You refused to obey the command of the Lord your God. 27You spoke against him in your tents. You said, “The Lord hates us. That’s why he brought us out of Egypt to hand us over to the Amorites. He wanted to destroy us. 28Where can we go? The men who checked out the land have made us afraid. They say, ‘The people are stronger and taller than we are. The cities are large. They have walls that reach up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there.’ ”
29Then I said to you, “Don’t be terrified. Don’t be afraid of them. 30The Lord your God will go ahead of you. He will fight for you. With your own eyes you saw how he fought for you in Egypt. 31You also saw how the Lord your God brought you through the desert. He carried you everywhere you went, just as a father carries his son. And now you have arrived here.”
32In spite of that, you didn’t trust in the Lord your God. 33He went ahead of you on your journey. He was in the fire at night and in the cloud during the day. He found places for you to camp. He showed you the way you should go.
34The Lord heard what you said. So he became angry. He made a promise. He said, 35“I promised to give this good land to your people of long ago. But no one alive today will see it. 36Only Caleb will see the land. He is the son of Jephunneh. I will give him and his children after him the land he walked on. He followed me with his whole heart.”
37Because of you, the Lord became angry with me also. He said, “You will not enter the land either. 38But Joshua, the son of Nun, is your helper. Joshua will enter the land. Help him to be brave. Give him hope. He will lead Israel to take the land as their own. 39You said your little ones would be taken prisoner. But they will enter the land. They do not yet know right from wrong. But I will give them the land. They will take it as their own. 40As for you, turn around. Start out toward the desert. Go along the road that leads to the Red Sea.”
41Then you replied, “We have sinned against the Lord. We will go up and fight. We’ll do just as the Lord our God has commanded us.” So all of you got your swords and put them on. You thought it would be easy to go up into the hill country.
42But the Lord spoke to me. He said, “Tell them, ‘Do not go up and fight. I will not be with you. Your enemies will win the battle over you.’ ”
43So I told you what the Lord said. But you wouldn’t listen. You refused to obey his command. You were so filled with pride that you marched up into the hill country. 44The Amorites who lived in those hills came out and attacked you. Like large numbers of bees they chased you. They beat you down from Seir all the way to Hormah. 45You came back and wept in front of the Lord. But he didn’t pay any attention to your weeping. He wouldn’t listen to you. 46So you stayed in Kadesh for many years. You spent a long time in that area.
The Command to Leave Horeb
1These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel in the wilderness east of the Jordan—that is, in the Arabah—opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth and Dizahab. 2(It takes eleven days to go from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea by the Mount Seir road.)
3In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses proclaimed to the Israelites all that the Lord had commanded him concerning them. 4This was after he had defeated Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, and at Edrei had defeated Og king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth.
5East of the Jordan in the territory of Moab, Moses began to expound this law, saying:
6The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. 7Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. 8See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore he would give to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—and to their descendants after them.”
The Appointment of Leaders
9At that time I said to you, “You are too heavy a burden for me to carry alone. 10The Lord your God has increased your numbers so that today you are as numerous as the stars in the sky. 11May the Lord, the God of your ancestors, increase you a thousand times and bless you as he has promised! 12But how can I bear your problems and your burdens and your disputes all by myself? 13Choose some wise, understanding and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will set them over you.”
14You answered me, “What you propose to do is good.”
15So I took the leading men of your tribes, wise and respected men, and appointed them to have authority over you—as commanders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens and as tribal officials. 16And I charged your judges at that time, “Hear the disputes between your people and judge fairly, whether the case is between two Israelites or between an Israelite and a foreigner residing among you. 17Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike. Do not be afraid of anyone, for judgment belongs to God. Bring me any case too hard for you, and I will hear it.” 18And at that time I told you everything you were to do.
Spies Sent Out
19Then, as the Lord our God commanded us, we set out from Horeb and went toward the hill country of the Amorites through all that vast and dreadful wilderness that you have seen, and so we reached Kadesh Barnea. 20Then I said to you, “You have reached the hill country of the Amorites, which the Lord our God is giving us. 21See, the Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
22Then all of you came to me and said, “Let us send men ahead to spy out the land for us and bring back a report about the route we are to take and the towns we will come to.”
23The idea seemed good to me; so I selected twelve of you, one man from each tribe. 24They left and went up into the hill country, and came to the Valley of Eshkol and explored it. 25Taking with them some of the fruit of the land, they brought it down to us and reported, “It is a good land that the Lord our God is giving us.”
Rebellion Against the Lord
26But you were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. 27You grumbled in your tents and said, “The Lord hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us. 28Where can we go? Our brothers have made our hearts melt in fear. They say, ‘The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there.’ ”
29Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. 30The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, 31and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”
32In spite of this, you did not trust in the Lord your God, 33who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.
34When the Lord heard what you said, he was angry and solemnly swore: 35“No one from this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, 36except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the Lord wholeheartedly.”
37Because of you the Lord became angry with me also and said, “You shall not enter it, either. 38But your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will enter it. Encourage him, because he will lead Israel to inherit it. 39And the little ones that you said would be taken captive, your children who do not yet know good from bad—they will enter the land. I will give it to them and they will take possession of it. 40But as for you, turn around and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea.1:40 Or the Sea of Reeds”
41Then you replied, “We have sinned against the Lord. We will go up and fight, as the Lord our God commanded us.” So every one of you put on his weapons, thinking it easy to go up into the hill country.
42But the Lord said to me, “Tell them, ‘Do not go up and fight, because I will not be with you. You will be defeated by your enemies.’ ”
43So I told you, but you would not listen. You rebelled against the Lord’s command and in your arrogance you marched up into the hill country. 44The Amorites who lived in those hills came out against you; they chased you like a swarm of bees and beat you down from Seir all the way to Hormah. 45You came back and wept before the Lord, but he paid no attention to your weeping and turned a deaf ear to you. 46And so you stayed in Kadesh many days—all the time you spent there.