All the people wept and murmured against Moses and Aaron.
The whole congregation: If only God had allowed us to die in the land of Egypt or in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to die by the sword and leave our wives and children unprotected to become a prey? Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?
The whole congregation (one to another): Let’s make a captain and return into Egypt.
Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.
Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes.
Joshua and Caleb (to all of the children of Israel): The land, which we search is an exceeding good land. If the Lord delights in us, then he will bring us into this land, which flows with milk and honey, and give it to us. Do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land. We will devour them. Their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us.
All the congregation wanted to stone them. But the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.
The Lord (to Moses): How long will this people provoke me? How long will it be before they believe me, after all the signs which I have shown them? I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of you a greater nation and mightier than they.
Moses (to the Lord): You brought up this people from among the Egyptians with your might. And they shall hear of it and shall tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that you Lord are among this people, that the Lord is seen face to face, and that your cloud stands over them, and that you go before them, by day in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if you kill all this people, then the nations which have heard the fame of you will speak, saying, Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which he swore to them, therefore he has slain them in the wilderness. And now, I beg you, let the power of my Lord be great, according as you have spoken, saying, The Lord is long-suffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation. I beg you, pardon the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of your mercy, and as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.
The Lord: I have pardoned according to your word: But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. 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 listened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I swore to their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: But I will bring my servant Caleb into the land which he searched, because he had another spirit with him and has followed me fully, and his seed shall possess that land. (Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwelt in the valley.) Tomorrow turn and go into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea.
The Lord (to Moses and Aaron): 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 to them, The Lord says, as you have spoken, so will I do to you. All of you from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, shall fall in this wilderness. You shall not come into the land, except Caleb and Joshua. But your little ones, which you said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised. But as for you, you shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, until you die in the wilderness. A year for each day that you searched the land…
And the men, who searched the land and returned and made all the congregation to murmur against the Lord by bringing the evil report about the land, died by the plague before the Lord. But Joshua and Caleb lived.
When Moses told these sayings to all the children of Israel, the people mourned greatly.
The people rose up early in the morning and went to the top of the mountain.
The people: We are here and will go up to the place which the Lord has promised: for we have sinned.
Moses: Why do you transgress the commandment of the Lord now? It shall not prosper. Do not go up, for the Lord is not among you; that you be not killed before your enemies… For you shall fall by the sword: because you are turned away from the Lord, therefore the Lord will not be with you.
But they presumed to go up to the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the Lord and Moses did not departed out of the camp. Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites came down and defeated them and chased them all the way to Hormah.