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 neighbouring 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 that 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 towards 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 round and set out towards 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.
11-2 These are the sermons Moses preached to all Israel when they were east of the Jordan River in the Arabah Wilderness, opposite Suph, in the vicinity of Paran, Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab. It takes eleven days to travel from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea following the Mount Seir route.
3-4 It was on the first day of the eleventh month of the fortieth year when Moses addressed the People of Israel, telling them everything God had commanded him concerning them. This came after he had defeated Sihon king of the Amorites, who ruled from Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who ruled from Ashtaroth in Edrei. It was east of the Jordan in the land of Moab that Moses set out to explain this Revelation.
Moses Preaches to Israel on the Plains of Moab
5 He said:
6-8 Back at Horeb, God, our God, spoke to us: “You’ve stayed long enough at this mountain. On your way now. Get moving. Head for the Amorite hills, wherever people are living in the Arabah, the mountains, the foothills, the Negev, the seashore—the Canaanite country and the Lebanon all the way to the big river, the Euphrates. Look, I’ve given you this land. Now go in and take it. It’s the land God promised to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their children after them.”
9-13 At the time I told you, “I can’t do this, can’t carry you all by myself. God, your God, has multiplied your numbers. Why, look at you—you rival the stars in the sky! And may God, the God-of-Your-Fathers, keep it up and multiply you another thousand times, bless you just as he promised. But how can I carry, all by myself, your troubles and burdens and quarrels? So select some wise, understanding, and seasoned men from your tribes, and I will commission them as your leaders.”
14 You answered me, “Good! A good solution.”
15 So I went ahead and took the top men of your tribes, wise and seasoned, and made them your leaders—leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens, officials adequate for each of your tribes.
16-17 At the same time I gave orders to your judges: “Listen carefully to complaints and accusations between your fellow Israelites. Judge fairly between each person and his fellow or foreigner. Don’t play favorites; treat the little and the big alike; listen carefully to each. Don’t be impressed by big names. This is God’s judgment you’re dealing with. Hard cases you can bring to me; I’ll deal with them.”
18 I issued orders to you at that time regarding everything you would have to deal with.
19-21 Then we set out from Horeb and headed for the Amorite hill country, going through that huge and frightening wilderness that you’ve had more than an eyeful of by now—all under the command of God, our God—and finally arrived at Kadesh Barnea. There I told you, “You’ve made it to the Amorite hill country that God, our God, is giving us. Look, God, your God, has placed this land as a gift before you. Go ahead and take it now. God, the God-of-Your-Fathers, promised it to you. Don’t be afraid. Don’t lose heart.”
22 But then you all came to me and said, “Let’s send some men on ahead to scout out the land for us and bring back a report on the best route to take and the kinds of towns we can expect to find.”
23-25 That seemed like a good idea to me, so I picked twelve men, one from each tribe. They set out, climbing through the hills. They came to the Eshcol Valley and looked it over. They took samples of the produce of the land and brought them back to us, saying, “It’s a good land that God, our God, is giving us!”
26-28 But then you weren’t willing to go up. You rebelled against God, your God’s plain word. You complained in your tents: “God hates us. He hauled us out of Egypt in order to dump us among the Amorites—a death sentence for sure! How can we go up? We’re trapped in a dead end. Our brothers took all the wind out of our sails, telling us, ‘The people are bigger and stronger than we are; their cities are huge, their defenses massive—we even saw Anakite giants there!’”
29-33 I tried to relieve your fears: “Don’t be terrified of them. God, your God, is leading the way; he’s fighting for you. You saw with your own eyes what he did for you in Egypt; you saw what he did in the wilderness, how God, your God, carried you as a father carries his child, carried you the whole way until you arrived here. But now that you’re here, you won’t trust God, your God—this same God who goes ahead of you in your travels to scout out a place to pitch camp, a fire by night and a cloud by day to show you the way to go.”
34-36 When God heard what you said, he exploded in anger. He swore, “Not a single person of this evil generation is going to get so much as a look at the good land that I promised to give to your parents. Not one—except for Caleb son of Jephunneh. He’ll see it. I’ll give him and his descendants the land he walked on because he was all for following God, heart and soul.”
37-40 But I also got it. Because of you God’s anger spilled over onto me. He said, “You aren’t getting in either. Your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will go in. Build up his courage. He’s the one who will claim the inheritance for Israel. And your babies of whom you said, ‘They’ll be grabbed for plunder,’ and all these little kids who right now don’t even know right from wrong—they’ll get in. I’ll give it to them. Yes, they’ll be the new owners. But not you. Turn around and head back into the wilderness following the route to the Red Sea.”
41 You spoke up, “We’ve sinned against God. We’ll go up and fight, following all the orders that God, our God, has commanded.” You took your weapons and dressed for battle—you thought it would be so easy going into those hills!
42 But God told me, “Tell them, ‘Don’t do it; don’t go up to fight—I’m not with you in this. Your enemies will waste you.’”
43-46 I told you but you wouldn’t listen. You rebelled at the plain word of God. You threw out your chests and strutted into the hills. And those Amorites, who had lived in those hills all their lives, swarmed all over you like a hive of bees, chasing you from Seir all the way to Hormah, a stinging defeat. You came back and wept in the presence of God, but he didn’t pay a bit of attention to you; God didn’t give you the time of day. You stayed there in Kadesh a long time, about as long as you had stayed there earlier.