And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.
And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!
And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?
And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.
Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.Already Caleb had endeavored to still the people before Moses Numbers 13:30; already Moses himself (Deuteronomy 1:29 ff) had endeavored to recall the people to obedience. After the failure of these efforts Moses and Aaron cast themselves down in solemn prayer before God (compare Numbers 16:22); and the appearance of the glory of the Lord in the "tabernacle of the congregation" Numbers 14:10 was the immediate answer.
And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:
And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.
If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.
Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.Their defense - literally, "their shadow," i. e. their shelter as from the scorching sun: an Oriental figure. Compare the marginal references.
But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.
And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?
I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.And disinherit them - By the proposed extinction of Israel the blessings of the covenant would revert to their original donor.
And Moses said unto the LORD, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;)The syntax of these verses is singularly broken. As did Paul when deeply moved, so Moses presses his arguments one on the other without pausing to ascertain the grammatical finish of his expressions. He speaks here as if in momentary apprehension of an outbreak of God's wrath, unless he could perhaps arrest it by crowding in every topic of deprecation and intercession that he could mention on the instant.
And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou LORD art among this people, that thou LORD art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.
Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying,
Because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness.
And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying,
The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.
Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.
And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word:
But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.Render: But as truly as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord; Numbers 14:22 all those men, etc.; Numbers 14:23 shall not see, etc.
Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;These ten times - Ten is the number which imports completeness. Compare Genesis 31:7. The sense is that the measure of their provocation was now full: the day of grace was at last over. However, some enumerate 10 different occasions on which the people had tempted God since the exodus.
Psalm 90, which is entitled "a Prayer of Moses," has been most appropriately regarded as a kind of dirge upon those sentenced thus awfully by God to waste away in the wilderness.
Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:
But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.My servant Caleb - Caleb only is mentioned here as also in Numbers 13:30 ff. Both passages probably form part of the matter introduced at a later period into the narrative of Moses, and either by Joshua or under his superintendence. Hence, the name of Joshua is omitted, and his faithfulness together with its reward are taken for granted. In Numbers 14:30, Numbers 14:38, both names are mentioned together; and these verses in all likelihood belong to the same original composition as Numbers 14:6-10.
(Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwelt in the valley.) To morrow turn you, and get you into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea.Render: And now the Amalekites and the Canaanites are dwelling (or abiding) in the valley: wherefore turn you, etc. (that so ye be not smitten before them). The Amalekites were the nomad bands that roved through the open pastures of the plain Numbers 14:45 : the Canaanites, a term here taken in its wider sense, were the Amorites of the neighboring cities (compare Numbers 14:45 with Deuteronomy 1:44), who probably lived in league with the Amalekites.
By the way of the Red sea - That is, apparently, by the eastern or Elanitic gulf.
And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.
Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you:
Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,
Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.
But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.
But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness.
And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.Your whoredoms - Their several rebellions had been so many acts of faithless departure from the Lord who had taken them unto Himself. And as the children of the unchaste have generally to bear in their earthly careers much of the disgrace and the misery which forms the natural penalty of their parents' transgression; so here the children of the Israelites, although suffered to hope for an eventual entry into Canaan, were yet to endure, through many long years' wandering, the appropriate punishment of their fathers' willfulness.
After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.My breach of promise - In the original, a word, found elsewhere only in Job 30:10, and meaning "my withdrawals" "my turning away." See the margin.
I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.
And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land,
Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD.
But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of the men that went to search the land, lived still.
And Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly.
And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the LORD hath promised: for we have sinned.
And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the LORD? but it shall not prosper.
Go not up, for the LORD is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies.
For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the LORD, therefore the LORD will not be with you.
But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and Moses, departed not out of the camp.
Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah.Unto Hormah - literally, "the Hormah:" i. e. "the banning," or "ban-place." Compare Numbers 21:3; Joshua 12:14. According to the view taken of Kadesh (see Numbers 13:26), Hormah is identified, through its earlier name, Zephath Judges 1:17, with es-Safah on the southeastern frontier of Canaan, by which the Israelites quitted the Arabah for the higher ground, (or with Sebaita, which lies further to the west, about 25 miles north of Ain Gadis).