Remembering the journey. Appointing leaders. The Twelve Spies. Rebellion. Their penalty. Their failed invasion.
VERSE 1. These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah opposite Suf, between Paran, Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab.
Moses spoke to all Israel. The nation is gathered around Moses.
VERSE 2. It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh Barnea.
VERSE 3. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, Moses spoke to the children of Israel according to all that the LORD had given him in commandment to them,
the LORD. When rendered in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, “LORD” or “GOD” is the translation of God’s Proper Name.
VERSE 4. after he had struck Sihon the king of the Amorites who lived in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan who lived in Ashtaroth, at Edrei.
VERSE 5. Beyond the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses began to declare this law, saying,
VERSE 6. “The LORD our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying, ‘You have lived long enough at this mountain.
our God. The Hebrew word rendered “God” is אֱלֹהִ֑ים (Elohim).
You have lived long enough at this mountain. It was time to move on. The LORD God had even better things in store for them.
They couldn’t move up to a higher level until they left behind where they were. They had to take a step of faith.
VERSE 7. Turn, and take your journey, and go to the hill country of the Amorites and to all the places near there: in the Arabah, in the hill country, in the lowland, in the South, by the seashore, in the land of the Canaanites, and in Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates.
Turn, and take your journey. It was time to get going. They were to break camp and move on.
Their lives were not about remaining static, but about moving on toward the prize for which God had called them.
This is true for us Christians as well:
Philippians 3:13. Brothers, I don’t regard myself as yet having taken hold, but one thing I do: Forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before,
Philippians 3:14. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
VERSE 8. Behold, I have set the land before you. Go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to your fathers—to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob—to give to them and to their offspring after them.’ ”
Behold. This is from the Hebrew word הִנֵּה, which means look at, take notice, observe, see, or gaze at. It is often used as an interjection.
Go in and possess. Their time of waiting was over. Now it is time to act.
It is time to make changes and take bold steps of faith.
offspring. Or “seed.”
VERSE 9. I spoke to you at that time, saying, “I am not able to bear you myself alone.
VERSE 10. The LORD your God has multiplied you, and behold, you are today as the stars of the sky for multitude.
VERSE 11. 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!
make you a thousand times as many as you are. That is:
may the LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times more than you are.
The LORD God is about to multiply their lives. He is about to make them a thousand times better.
VERSE 12. How can I myself alone bear your problems, your burdens, and your strife?
VERSE 13. Take wise men of understanding who are respected among your tribes, and I will make them heads over you.”
VERSE 14. You answered me, and said, “The thing which you have spoken is good to do.”
VERSE 15. So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and respected men, and made them heads over you, captains of thousands, captains of hundreds, captains of fifties, captains of tens, and officers, according to your tribes.
made them heads over you. Moses establishes an hierarchical structure:
- captains of thousands
- captains of hundreds
- captains of fifties
- captains of tens
VERSE 16. I commanded your judges at that time, saying, “Hear cases between your brothers and judge righteously between a man and his brother, and the foreigner who is living with him.
VERSE 17. You shall not show partiality 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. The case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.”
not show partiality in judgment. They couldn’t discriminate against people.
VERSE 18. I commanded you at that time all the things which you should do.
VERSE 19. We traveled from Horeb and went through all that great and terrible wilderness which you saw, by the way to the hill country of the Amorites, as the LORD our God commanded us; and we came to Kadesh Barnea.
VERSE 20. I said to you, “You have come to the hill country of the Amorites, which the LORD our God gives to us.
VERSE 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 spoken to you. Don’t be afraid, neither be dismayed.”
VERSE 22. You came near to me, everyone of you, and said, “Let’s send men before us, that they may search the land for us, and bring back to us word of the way by which we must go up, and the cities to which we shall come.”
You … said. It was the people who wanted to send the spies into the Promised Land.
VERSE 23. The thing pleased me well. I took twelve of your men, one man for every tribe.
VERSE 24. They turned and went up into the hill country, and came to the valley of Eshcol, and spied it out.
VERSE 25. They took some of the fruit of the land in their hands and brought it down to us, and brought us word again, and said, “It is a good land which the LORD our God gives to us.”
VERSE 26. Yet you wouldn’t go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God.
VERSE 27. You murmured in your tents, and said, “Because the LORD hated us, he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites to destroy us.
You murmured in your tents. This is how people lose their courage. They murmur to each other.
In those days they murmured to each other in their tents. In our day people murmur to each other in social media.
For that reason, social media can be a platform that enforces the status quo.
VERSE 28. Where are we going up? Our brothers have made our heart melt, saying, ‘The people are greater and taller than we. The cities are great and fortified up to the sky. Moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakim there!’ ”
Don’t be afraid of them. They are about to face mortal enemies. They must not turn away.
VERSE 30. The LORD your God, who goes before you, he will fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes,
he will fight for you. The LORD God grants the victory. But it is up to us to act.
all that he did for you in Egypt. In Egypt, the LORD God did stupendous miracles for them.
VERSE 31. and in the wilderness where you have seen how that the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went, until you came to this place.”
and in the wilderness. Not only in Egypt, but also in the desert, the LORD God did stupendous miracles for them.
VERSE 32. Yet in this thing you didn’t believe the LORD your God,
VERSE 33. who went before you on the way, to seek out a place for you to pitch your tents in: in fire by night, to show you by what way you should go, and in the cloud by day.
in fire by night. That is, the Pillar of Fire.
in the cloud by day. That is, the Pillar of Cloud.
VERSE 34. The LORD heard the voice of your words and was angry, and swore, saying,
VERSE 35. “Surely not one of these men of this evil generation shall see the good land which I swore to give to your fathers,
VERSE 36. except Caleb the son of Jephunneh. He shall see it. I will give the land that he has trodden on to him and to his children, because he has wholly followed the LORD.”
Caleb the son of Jephunneh. He and Joshua the son of Nun were the two righteous spies.
VERSE 37. Also the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, saying, “You also shall not go in there.
VERSE 38. Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, shall go in there. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.
Joshua the son of Nun. He and Caleb the son of Jephunneh were the two righteous spies.
he shall cause Israel to inherit it. Joshua will lead them into the Promised Land.
VERSE 39. Moreover your little ones, whom you said would be captured or killed, your children, who today have no knowledge of good or evil, shall go in there. I will give it to them, and they shall possess it.
VERSE 40. But as for you, turn, and take your journey into the wilderness by the way to the Sea of Suf.”
Because of their lack of faith, they couldn’t enter the Promised Land. Instead, they had to wander in the desert for 40 years.
VERSE 41. Then you answered and said to me, “We have sinned against the LORD. We will go up and fight, according to all that the LORD our God commanded us.” Every man of you put on his weapons of war, and presumed to go up into the hill country.
We will go up and fight. Instead of heading out into the desert for 40 years, some of them tried to invade the Promised Land.
VERSE 42. The LORD said to me, “Tell them, ‘Don’t go up and don’t fight; for I am not among you, lest you be struck before your enemies.’ ”
VERSE 43. So I spoke to you, and you didn’t listen; but you rebelled against the commandment of the LORD, and were presumptuous, and went up into the hill country.
VERSE 44. The Amorites, who lived in that hill country, came out against you and chased you as bees do, and beat you down in Seir, even to Hormah.
VERSE 45. You returned and wept before the LORD; but the LORD didn’t listen to your voice, nor turn his ear to you.
VERSE 46. So you stayed in Kadesh many days, according to the days that you remained.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.