Events at Horeb Recalled
Appointment of Tribal Leaders
9 “At that time I said to you, ‘I am not able alone to bear you; 10 the Lord your God has multiplied you, and behold, you are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude. 11 May the Lord, the God of your fathers, make you a thousand times as many as you are, and bless you, as he has promised you! 12 How can I bear alone the weight and burden of you and your strife? 13 Choose wise, understanding, and experienced men, according to your tribes, and I will appoint them as your heads.’ 14 And you answered me, ‘The thing that you have spoken is good for us to do.’ 15 So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and experienced men, and set them as heads over you, commanders of thousands, commanders of hundreds, commanders of fifties, commanders of tens, and officers, throughout your tribes. 16 And I charged your judges at that time, ‘Hear the cases between your brethren, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alien that is with him. 17 You shall not be partial in judgment; you shall hear the small and the great alike; you shall not be afraid of the face of man, for the judgment is God’s; and the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.’ 18 And I commanded you at that time all the things that you should do.
Israel’s Refusal to Enter the Land
19 “And we set out from Horeb, and went through all that great and terrible wilderness which you saw, on the way to the hill country of the Amorites, as the Lord our God commanded us; and we came to Ka′desh-bar′nea. 20 And I said to you, ‘You have come to the hill country of the Amorites, which the Lord our God gives us. 21 Behold, the Lord your God has set the land before you; go up, take possession, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has told you; do not fear or be dismayed.’ 22 Then all of you came near me, and said, ‘Let us send men before us, that they may explore the land for us, and bring us word again of the way by which we must go up and the cities into which we shall come.’ 23 The thing seemed good to me, and I took twelve men of you, one man for each tribe; 24 and they turned and went up into the hill country, and came to the Valley of Eshcol and spied it out. 25 And they took in their hands some of the fruit of the land and brought it down to us, and brought us word again, and said, ‘It is a good land which the Lord our God gives us.’
26 “Yet you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of the Lord your God; 27 and you murmured in your tents, and said, ‘Because the Lord hated us he has brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to give us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us. 28 Whither are we going up? Our brethren have made our hearts melt, saying, “The people are greater and taller than we; the cities are great and fortified up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakim there.”’ 29 Then I said to you, ‘Do not be in dread or afraid of them. 30 The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, 31 and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the Lord your God bore you, as a man bears his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place.’ 32 Yet in spite of this word you did not believe the Lord your God, 33 who went before you in the way to seek you out a place to pitch your tents, in fire by night, to show you by what way you should go, and in the cloud by day.
The Penalty for Israel’s Rebellion
34 “And the Lord heard your words, and was angered, and he swore, 35 ‘Not one of these men of this evil generation shall see the good land which I swore to give to your fathers, 36 except Caleb the son of Jephun′neh; he shall see it, and to him and to his children I will give the land upon which he has trodden, because he has wholly followed the Lord!’ 37 The Lord was angry with me also on your account, and said, ‘You also shall not go in there; 38 Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall enter; encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it. 39 Moreover your little ones, who you said would become a prey, and your children, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, shall go in there, and to them I will give it, and they shall possess it. 40 But as for you, turn, and journey into the wilderness in the direction of the Red Sea.’
41 “Then you answered me, ‘We have sinned against the Lord; we will go up and fight, just as the Lord our God commanded us.’ And every man of you girded on his weapons of war, and thought it easy to go up into the hill country. 42 And the Lord said to me, ‘Say to them, Do not go up or fight, for I am not in the midst of you; lest you be defeated before your enemies.’ 43 So I spoke to you, and you would not hearken; but you rebelled against the command of the Lord, and were presumptuous and went up into the hill country. 44 Then the Amorites who lived in that hill country came out against you and chased you as bees do and beat you down in Se′ir as far as Hormah. 45 And you returned and wept before the Lord; but the Lord did not hearken to your voice or give ear to you. 46 So you remained at Kadesh many days, the days that you remained there.