The People Rebel against the LORD
14 1 The whole community was in an uproar, wailing all night long. 2 All the People of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The entire community was in on it: "Why didn't we die in Egypt? Or in this wilderness? 3 Why has God brought us to this country to kill us? Our wives and children are about to become plunder. Why don't we just head back to Egypt? And right now!" 4 Soon they were all saying it to one another: "Let's pick a new leader; let's head back to Egypt."
5 Moses and Aaron fell on their faces in front of the entire community, gathered in emergency session. 6 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, members of the scouting party, ripped their clothes 7 and addressed the assembled People of Israel: "The land we walked through and scouted out is a very good land - very good indeed. 8 If God is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land that flows, as they say, with milk and honey. And he'll give it to us. 9 Just don't rebel against God! And don't be afraid of those people. Why, we'll have them for lunch! They have no protection and God is on our side. Don't be afraid of them!" 10 But, up in arms now, the entire community was talking of hurling stones at them.
11 God said to Moses, "How long will these people treat me like dirt? How long refuse to trust me? And with all these signs I've done among them! 12 I've had enough - I'm going to hit them with a plague and kill them. But I'll make you into a nation bigger and stronger than they ever were." 13 But Moses said to God, "The Egyptians are going to hear about this! You delivered this people from Egypt with a great show of strength, and now this? 14 The Egyptians will tell everyone. They've already heard that you are God, that you are on the side of this people, that you are present among them, that they see you with their own eyes in your Cloud that hovers over them, in the Pillar of Cloud that leads them by day and the Pillar of Fire at night. 15 If you kill this entire people in one stroke, all the nations that have heard what has been going on will say, 16 'Since God couldn't get these people into the land which he had promised to give them, he slaughtered them out in the wilderness.' 17 "Now, please, let the power of the Master expand, enlarge itself greatly, along the lines you have laid out earlier when you said, 18 God, slow to get angry and huge in loyal love, forgiving iniquity and rebellion and sin; Still, never just whitewashing sin. But extending the fallout of parents' sins to children into the third, even the fourth generation. 19 "Please forgive the wrongdoing of this people out of the extravagance of your loyal love just as all along, from the time they left Egypt, you have been forgiving this people."
God's Punishment on Israel
20 God said, "I forgive them, honoring your words. 21 But as I live and as the Glory of God fills the whole Earth - 22 not a single person of those who saw my Glory, saw the miracle signs I did in Egypt and the wilderness, and who have tested me over and over and over again, turning a deaf ear to me - 23 not one of them will set eyes on the land I so solemnly promised to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with such repeated contempt will see it. 24 "But my servant Caleb - this is a different story. He has a different spirit; he follows me passionately. I'll bring him into the land that he scouted and his children will inherit it. 25 "Since the Amalekites and Canaanites are so well established in the valleys, for right now change course and head back into the wilderness following the route to the Red Sea." 26 God spoke to Moses and Aaron: 27 "How long is this going to go on, all this grumbling against me by this evil-infested community? I've had my fill of complaints from these grumbling Israelites. 28 Tell them, As I live - God's decree - here's what I'm going to do: 29 Your corpses are going to litter the wilderness - every one of you twenty years and older who was counted in the census, this whole generation of grumblers and grousers. 30 Not one of you will enter the land and make your home there, the firmly and solemnly promised land, except for Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 31 "Your children, the very ones that you said would be taken for plunder, I'll bring in to enjoy the land you rejected 32 while your corpses will be rotting in the wilderness. 33 These children of yours will live as shepherds in the wilderness for forty years, living with the fallout of your whoring unfaithfulness until the last of your generation lies a corpse in the wilderness. 34 You scouted out the land for forty days; your punishment will be a year for each day, a forty-year sentence to serve for your sins - a long schooling in my displeasure. 35 "I, God, have spoken. I will most certainly carry out these things against this entire evil-infested community which has banded together against me. In this wilderness they will come to their end. There they will die."
The Death of the Ten Evil Spies
36 So it happened that the men Moses sent to scout out the land returned to circulate false rumors about the land causing the entire community to grumble against Moses - 37 all these men died. Having spread false rumors of the land, they died in a plague, confronted by God. 38 Only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh were left alive of the men who went to scout out the land.
The Defeat of Israel at Hormah
39 When Moses told all of this to the People of Israel, they mourned long and hard. 40 But early the next morning they started out for the high hill country, saying, "We're here; we're ready - let's go up and attack the land that God promised us. We sinned, but now we're ready." 41 But Moses said, "Why are you crossing God's command yet again? This won't work. 42 Don't attack. God isn't with you in this - you'll be beaten badly by your enemies. 43 The Amalekites and Canaanites are ready for you and they'll kill you. Because you have left off obediently following God, God is not going to be with you in this." 44 But they went anyway; recklessly and arrogantly they climbed to the high hill country. But the Chest of the Covenant and Moses didn't budge from the camp. 45 The Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in the hill country came out of the hills and attacked and beat them, a rout all the way down to Hormah.
Laws concerning Offerings
15 1 God spoke to Moses: 2 "Speak to the People of Israel. Tell them, When you enter your homeland that I am giving to you 3 and sacrifice a Fire-Gift to God, a Whole-Burnt-Offering or any sacrifice from the herd or flock for a Vow-Offering or Freewill-Offering at one of the appointed feasts, as a pleasing fragrance for God, 4 the one bringing the offering shall present to God a Grain-Offering of two quarts of fine flour mixed with a quart of oil. 5 With each lamb for the Whole-Burnt-Offering or other sacrifice, prepare a quart of oil and a quart of wine as a Drink-Offering. 6 "For a ram prepare a Grain-Offering of four quarts of fine flour mixed with one and a quarter quarts of oil 7 and one and a quarter quarts of wine as a Drink-Offering. Present it as a pleasing fragrance to God. 8 "When you prepare a young bull as a Whole-Burnt-Offering or sacrifice for a special vow or a Peace-Offering to God, 9 bring with the bull a Grain-Offering of six quarts of fine flour and two quarts of oil. 10 Also bring two quarts of wine as a Drink-Offering. It will be a Fire-Gift, a pleasing fragrance to God. 11 "Each bull or ram, each lamb or young goat, is to be prepared in this same way. 12 Carry out this procedure for each one, no matter how many you have to prepare. 13 "Every native-born Israelite is to follow this procedure when he brings a Fire-Gift as a pleasing fragrance to God. 14 In future generations, when a foreigner or visitor living at length among you presents a Fire-Gift as a pleasing fragrance to God, the same procedures must be followed. 15 The community has the same rules for you and the foreigner living among you. This is the regular rule for future generations. You and the foreigner are the same before God. 16 The same laws and regulations apply to both you and the foreigner who lives with you." 17 God spoke to Moses: 18 "Speak to the People of Israel. Tell them, When you enter the land into which I'm bringing you, 19 and you eat the food of that country, set some aside as an offering for God. 20 From the first batch of bread dough make a round loaf for an offering - an offering from the threshing floor. 21 Down through the future generations make this offering to God from each first batch of dough.
22 "But if you should get off the beaten track and not keep the commands which God spoke to Moses, 23 any of the things that God commanded you under the authority of Moses from the time that God first commanded you right up to this present time, 24 and if it happened more or less by mistake, with the congregation unaware of it, then the whole congregation is to sacrifice one young bull as a Whole-Burnt-Offering, a pleasing fragrance to God, accompanied by its Grain-Offering and Drink-Offering as stipulated in the rules, and a he-goat as an Absolution-Offering. 25 The priest is to atone for the entire community of the People of Israel and they will stand forgiven. The sin was not deliberate, and they offered to God the Fire-Gift and Absolution-Offering for their inadvertence. 26 The whole community of Israel including the foreigners living there will be absolved, because everyone was involved in the error. 27 "But if it's just one person who sins by mistake, not realizing what he's doing, he is to bring a yearling she-goat as an Absolution-Offering. 28 The priest then is to atone for the person who accidentally sinned, to make atonement before God so that it won't be held against him. 29 "The same standard holds for everyone who sins by mistake; the native-born Israelites and the foreigners go by the same rules.
30 "But the person, native or foreigner, who sins defiantly, deliberately blaspheming God, must be cut off from his people: 31 He has despised God's word, he has violated God's command; that person must be kicked out of the community, ostracized, left alone in his wrongdoing."
The Stoning of a Sabbath Breaker
32 Once, during those wilderness years of the People of Israel, a man was caught gathering wood on the Sabbath. 33 The ones who caught him hauled him before Moses and Aaron and the entire congregation. 34 They put him in custody until it became clear what to do with him. 35 Then God spoke to Moses: "Give the man the death penalty. Yes, kill him, the whole community hurling stones at him outside the camp." 36 So the whole community took him outside the camp and threw stones at him, an execution commanded by God and given through Moses.
Fringes on Garments
37 God spoke to Moses: 38 "Speak to the People of Israel. Tell them that from now on they are to make tassels on the corners of their garments and to mark each corner tassel with a blue thread. 39 When you look at these tassels you'll remember and keep all the commandments of God, and not get distracted by everything you feel or see that seduces you into infidelities. 40 The tassels will signal remembrance and observance of all my commandments, to live a holy life to God. 41 I am your God who rescued you from the land of Egypt to be your personal God. Yes, I am God, your God."