This article is part of a series of Bible passages, which together are mainly about how the Bible says the Jewish race developed and were given laws, how they settled in ancient Israel, and how it says God sometimes punished them for disobeying his commands, which led to them changing their ways.
This is Part 4 (of 5) in Section 3: "The life and leadership of Moses".
Some parts of the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation are very unpleasant. If you become offended by anything, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.
Psalm 106 (NLT)
1 Praise the LORD!
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
2 Who can list the glorious miracles of the LORD?
Who can ever praise him half enough?
3 Happy are those who deal justly with others
and always do what is right.
4 Remember me, too, LORD, when you show favor to your people;
come to me with your salvation.
6 Both we and our ancestors have sinned.
We have done wrong! We have acted wickedly!
7 Our ancestors in Egypt were not impressed by the LORD's miracles.
They soon forgot his many acts of kindness to them.
Instead, they rebelled against him at the Red Sea.
8 Even so, he saved them -
to defend the honor of his name
and to demonstrate his mighty power.
9 He commanded the Red Sea to divide, and a dry path appeared.
He led Israel across the sea bottom that was as dry as a desert.
10 So he rescued them from their enemies
and redeemed them from their foes.
11 Then the water returned and covered their enemies;
not one of them survived.
12 Then at last his people believed his promises.
Then they finally sang his praise.
13 Yet how quickly they forgot what he had done!
They wouldn't wait for his counsel!
14 In the wilderness, their desires ran wild,
testing God's patience in that dry land.
Exodus chapter 24 (TEV)
1 The Lord said to Moses, "Come up the mountain to me, you and Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the leaders of Israel; and while you are still some distance away, bow down in worship. 2 You alone, and none of the others, are to come near me. The people are not even to come up the mountain."
Exodus chapter 24 (NIV)
3 When Moses went and told the people all the LORD's words and laws, they responded with one voice, "Everything the LORD has said we will do." 4 Moses then wrote down everything the LORD had said.
9 Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up 10 and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself. 11 But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.
12 The LORD said to Moses, "Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and commands I have written for their instruction." 13 Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God. 14 He said to the elders, "Wait here for us until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur are with you, and anyone involved in a dispute can go to them."
15 When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, 16 and the glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from within the cloud. 17 To the Israelites the glory of the LORD looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. 18 Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.
Exodus chapter 32 (TEV)
1 When the people saw that Moses had not come down from the mountain but was staying there a long time, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, "We do not know what has happened to this man Moses, who led us out of Egypt; so make us a god to lead us."
2 Aaron said to them, "Take off the gold earrings which your wives, your sons, and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me." 3 So all the people took off their gold earrings and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took the earrings, melted them, poured the gold into a mold, and made a gold bull-calf. The people said, "Israel, this is our god, who led us out of Egypt!" 5 Then Aaron built an altar in front of the gold bull-calf and announced, "Tomorrow there will be a festival to honor the Lord."
6 Early the next morning they brought some animals to burn as sacrifices and others to eat as fellowship offerings. The people sat down to a feast, which turned into an orgy of drinking and sex.
Exodus chapter 32 (NIV)
7 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. 8 They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, 'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.'
9 "I have seen these people," the LORD said to Moses, "and they are a stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation."
11 But Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God. "O LORD ," he said, "why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, 'It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth'? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. 13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: 'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.' "
14 Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.
15 Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. 16 The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.
17 When Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting, he said to Moses, "There is the sound of war in the camp."
18 Moses replied:
"It is not the sound of victory,
it is not the sound of defeat;
it is the sound of singing that I hear."
19 When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. 20 And he took the calf they had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it. 21 He said to Aaron, "What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?"
22 "Do not be angry, my lord," Aaron answered. "You know how prone these people are to evil. 23 They said to me, 'Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him.' 24 So I told them, 'Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.' Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!"
25 Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. 26 So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, "Whoever is for the LORD , come to me." And all the Levites rallied to him. 27 Then he said to them, "This is what the LORD , the God of Israel, says: 'Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.' " 28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. 29 Then Moses said, "You have been set apart to the LORD today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day."
30 The next day Moses said to the people, "You have committed a great sin. But now I will go up to the LORD ; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin."
31 So Moses went back to the LORD and said, "Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. 32 But now, please forgive their sin-but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written."
33 The LORD replied to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book. 34 Now go, lead the people to the place I spoke of, and my angel will go before you. However, when the time comes for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin." 35 And the LORD struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.
Exodus chapter 33 (TEV)
1 The Lord said to Moses, "Leave this place, you and the people you brought out of Egypt, and go to the land that I promised to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and to their descendants. 2 I will send an angel to guide you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 3 You are going to a rich and fertile land. But I will not go with you myself, because you are a stubborn people, and I might destroy you on the way."
4 When the people heard this, they began to mourn and did not wear jewelry any more. 5 For the Lord had commanded Moses to tell them, "You are a stubborn people. If I were to go with you even for a moment, I would completely destroy you. Now take off your jewelry, and I will decide what to do with you." 6 So after they left Mount Sinai, the people of Israel no longer wore jewelry.
Numbers chapter 11 (TEV)
1 The people began to complain to the Lord about their troubles. When the Lord heard them, he became angry and sent fire on the people. It burned among them and destroyed one end of the camp. 2 The people cried out to Moses for help; he prayed to the Lord, and the fire died down. 3 So the place was named Taberah, because there the fire of the Lord burned among them.
4 There were foreigners traveling with the Israelites. They had a strong craving for meat, and even the Israelites themselves began to complain: "If only we could have some meat! 5 In Egypt we used to eat all the fish we wanted, and it cost us nothing. Remember the cucumbers, the watermelons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic we had? 6 But now our strength is gone. There is nothing at all to eat-nothing but this manna day after day!" 7 (Manna was like small seeds, whitish yellow in color. 8 It fell on the camp at night along with the dew. The next morning the people would go around and gather it, grind it or pound it into flour, and then boil it and make it into flat cakes. It tasted like bread baked with olive oil.)
10 Moses heard all the people complaining as they stood around in groups at the entrances of their tents. He was distressed because the Lord had become angry with them, 11 and he said to the Lord,
"Why have you treated me so badly?
Why are you displeased with me?
Why have you given me the responsibility for all these people?
12 I didn't create them or bring them to birth!
Why should you ask me to act like a nurse and carry them in my arms like babies all the way to the land you promised to their ancestors?
13 Where could I get enough meat for all these people? They keep whining and asking for meat.
14 I can't be responsible for all these people by myself; it's too much for me!
15 If you are going to treat me like this, have pity on me and kill me, so that I won't have to endure your cruelty any longer."
16 The Lord said to Moses, "Assemble seventy respected men who are recognized as leaders of the people, bring them to me at the Tent of my presence, and tell them to stand there beside you. 17 I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the spirit I have given you and give it to them. Then they can help you bear the responsibility for these people, and you will not have to bear it alone.
18 Now tell the people, "Purify yourselves for tomorrow; you will have meat to eat. The Lord has heard you whining and saying that you wished you had some meat and that you were better off in Egypt. Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will have to eat it. 19 You will have to eat it not just for one or two days, or five, or ten, or even twenty days, 20 but for a whole month, until it comes out of your ears, until you are sick of it. This will happen because you have rejected the Lord who is here among you and have complained to him that you should never have left Egypt.' "
21 Moses said to the Lord, "Here I am leading 600,000 people, and you say that you will give them enough meat for a month? 22 Could enough cattle and sheep be killed to satisfy them? Are all the fish in the sea enough for them?" 23 "Is there a limit to my power?" The Lord answered. "You will soon see whether what I have said will happen or not!"
24 So Moses went out and told the people what the Lord had said. He assembled seventy of the leaders and placed them around the Tent.
Numbers chapter 11 (NLT)
25 And the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses. He took some of the Spirit that was upon Moses and put it upon the seventy leaders. They prophesied as the Spirit rested upon them, but that was the only time this happened. 26 Two men, Eldad and Medad, were still in the camp when the Spirit rested upon them. They were listed among the leaders but had not gone out, ... so they prophesied there in the camp.
27 A young man ran and reported to Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp!" 28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses' personal assistant since his youth, protested, "Moses, my master, make them stop!" 29 But Moses replied, "Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD's people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his Spirit upon them all!" 30 Then Moses returned to the camp with the leaders of Israel.
Numbers chapter 11 (TEV)
31 Suddenly the Lord sent a wind that brought quails from the sea, flying three feet above the ground. They settled on the camp and all around it for miles and miles in every direction. 32 So all that day, all night, and all the next day, the people worked catching quails; no one gathered less than fifty bushels. They spread them out to dry all around the camp.
33 While there was still plenty of meat for them to eat, the Lord became angry with the people and caused an epidemic to break out among them. 34 That place was named Kibroth Hattaavah (which means "Graves of Craving"), because there they buried the people who had craved meat.
35 From there the people moved to Hazeroth, where they made camp.
Numbers chapter 12 (GWT)
1 Miriam and Aaron began to criticize Moses because he was married to a woman from Sudan. 2 They asked, "Did the LORD speak only through Moses? Didn't he also speak through us?" The LORD heard their complaint. 3 (Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on earth.)
4 Suddenly, the LORD said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, "All three of you come to the tent of meeting." So all three of them came. 5 Then the LORD came down in the column of smoke and stood at the entrance to the tent. He called to Aaron and Miriam, and they both came forward. 6 He said, "Listen to my words: When there are prophets of the LORD among you, I make myself known to them in visions or speak to them in dreams. 7 But this is not the way I treat my servant Moses. He is the most faithful person in my household. 8 I speak with him face to face, plainly and not in riddles. He even sees the form of the LORD. Why weren't you afraid to criticize my servant Moses?" 9 The LORD was angry with them, so he left.
10 When the smoke left the tent, Miriam was covered with an infectious skin disease. She was as white as snow. Aaron turned to her and saw she was covered with the disease. 11 So he said to Moses, "Please, sir, don't punish us for this foolish sin we committed. 12 Don't let her be like a stillborn baby that's not completely developed." 13 So Moses cried to the LORD, "Please, God, heal her!" 14 The LORD replied to Moses, "If her own father had spit in her face, wouldn't she be excluded from the community for seven days? She must be put in isolation outside the camp for seven days. Then she can be brought back." 15 So Miriam was put in isolation outside the camp for seven days. The people didn't break camp until she was brought back. 16 After that, the people moved from Hazeroth and set up camp in the Desert of Paran.
Numbers chapter 13 (NLT)
1 The LORD now said to Moses, 2 "Send men to explore the land of Canaan, the land I am giving to Israel. Send one leader from each of the twelve ancestral tribes." 3 So Moses did as the LORD commanded him. He sent out twelve men, all tribal leaders of Israel, from their camp in the wilderness of Paran.
17 Moses gave the men these instructions as he sent them out to explore the land:
"Go northward ... into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like and find out whether the people living there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? Do their towns have walls or are they unprotected? 20 How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there many trees? Enter the land boldly, and bring back samples of the crops you see." (It happened to be the season for harvesting the first ripe grapes.)
21 So they went up and explored the land ...
23 When they came to what is now known as the valley of Eshcol, they cut down a cluster of grapes so large that it took two of them to carry it on a pole between them! They also took samples of the pomegranates and figs. 24 At that time the Israelites renamed the valley Eshcol - "cluster" - because of the cluster of grapes they had cut there.
25 After exploring the land for forty days, the men returned 26 to Moses, Aaron, and the people of Israel at Kadesh in the wilderness of Paran. They reported to the whole community what they had seen and showed them the fruit they had taken from the land. 27 This was their report to Moses: "We arrived in the land you sent us to see, and it is indeed a magnificent country - a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is some of its fruit as proof. 28 But the people living there are powerful, and their cities and towns are fortified and very large.
30 Caleb tried to encourage the people as they stood before Moses. "Let's go at once to take the land," he said. "We can certainly conquer it!" 31 But the other men who had explored the land with him answered, "We can't go up against them! They are stronger than we are!" 32 So they spread discouraging reports about the land among the Israelites: "The land we explored will swallow up any who go to live there. All the people we saw were huge. 33 We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. We felt like grasshoppers next to them, and that's what we looked like to them!"
Numbers chapter 14 (GWT)
1 Then all the people in the Israelite community raised their voices and cried out loud all that night. 2 They complained to Moses and Aaron, "If only we had died in Egypt or this desert! 3 Why is the LORD bringing us to this land--just to have us die in battle? Our wives and children will be taken as prisoners of war! Wouldn't it be better for us to go back to Egypt?" 4 They said to each other, "Let's choose a leader and go back to Egypt."
5 Immediately, Moses and Aaron bowed with their faces touching the ground in front of the whole community of Israel assembled there. 6 At the same time, two of those who had explored the land, Joshua (son of Nun) and Caleb (son of Jephunneh), tore their clothes in despair. 7 They said to the whole community of Israel, "The land we explored is very good. 8 If the LORD is pleased with us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us. This is a land flowing with milk and honey! 9 Don't rebel against the LORD, and don't be afraid of the people of the land. We will devour them like bread. They have no protection, and the LORD is with us. So don't be afraid of them."
10 But when the whole community of Israel talked about stoning Moses and Aaron to death, they all saw the glory of the LORD [shining] at the tent of meeting.
Numbers chapter 14 (TEV)
11 The Lord said to Moses, "How much longer will these people reject me? How much longer will they refuse to trust in me, even though I have performed so many miracles among them? 12 I will send an epidemic and destroy them, but I will make you the father of a nation that is larger and more powerful than they are!"
13 But Moses said to the Lord, "You brought these people out of Egypt by your power. When the Egyptians hear what you have done to your people, 14 they will tell it to the people who live in this land. These people have already heard that you, Lord, are with us, that you appear in plain sight when your cloud stops over us, and that you go before us in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. 15 Now if you kill all your people, the nations who have heard of your fame will say 16 that you killed your people in the wilderness because you were not able to bring them into the land you promised to give them.
17 So now, Lord, I pray, show us your power and do what you promised when you said, 18 "I, the Lord, am not easily angered, and I show great love and faithfulness and forgive sin and rebellion. Yet I will not fail to punish children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation for [carrying on] the sins of their parents.' 19 And now, Lord, according to the greatness of your unchanging love, forgive, I pray, the sin of these people, just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt."
20 The Lord answered, "I will forgive them, as you have asked. 21 But I promise that as surely as I live and as surely as my presence fills the earth, 22 none of these people will live to enter that land. They have seen the dazzling light of my presence and the miracles that I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, but they have tried my patience over and over again and have refused to obey me. 23 They will never enter the land which I promised to their ancestors. None of those who have rejected me will ever enter it. 24 But because my servant Caleb has a different attitude and has remained loyal to me, I will bring him into the land which he explored, and his descendants will possess the land 25 in whose valleys the Amalekites and the Canaanites now live. Turn back tomorrow and go into the wilderness in the direction of the Gulf of Aqaba."
26 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 27 "How much longer are these wicked people going to complain against me? I have heard enough of these complaints! 28 Now give them this answer: "I swear that as surely as I live, I will do to you just what you have asked. I, the Lord, have spoken. 29 You will die and your corpses will be scattered across this wilderness. Because you have complained against me, none of you over twenty years of age will enter that land.
30 I promised to let you live there, but not one of you will, except Caleb and Joshua. 31 You said that your children would be captured, but I will bring them into the land that you rejected, and it will be their home. 32 You will die here in this wilderness. 33 Your children will wander in the wilderness for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last one of you dies. 34 You will suffer the consequences of your sin for forty years, one year for each of the forty days you spent exploring the land. You will know what it means to have me against you! 35 I swear that I will do this to you wicked people who have gathered together against me. Here in the wilderness every one of you will die. I, the Lord, have spoken.'"
36 The men Moses had sent to explore the land brought back a false report which caused the people to complain against the Lord. And so the Lord struck them with a disease, and they died. 38 Of the twelve spies only Joshua and Caleb survived.
39 When Moses told the Israelites what the Lord had said, they mourned bitterly.
40 Early the next morning they started out to invade the hill country, saying, "Now we are ready to go to the place which the Lord told us about. We admit that we have sinned." 41 But Moses said, "Then why are you disobeying the Lord now? You will not succeed! 42 Don't go. The Lord is not with you, and your enemies will defeat you. 43 When you face the Amalekites and the Canaanites, you will die in battle; the Lord will not be with you, because you have refused to follow him." 44 Yet they still dared to go up into the hill country, even though neither the Lord's Covenant Box nor Moses left the camp. 45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived there attacked and defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hormah.
The next file in this section (Part 5), is entitled "More Judgments On The Isrealites For Sin; And The Occupation Of The Territory Of Two Kings".
The main Bible pages on this site:
|Bible Part 1: Bible Quotations, The Holy Spirit, People And Their Stories|
|Bible Part 2: The Lives and Suffering of the Ancient Israelites|
|Bible Part 3: The Bible, Articles About Alleged Inaccuracies in it, And Stories of People who Became Christians.|
|If you have found parts of the Old Testament or the Book of Revelation offensive, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.|
The selections of Bible quotations have been put together by Diana Holbourn.
Throughout this series, wherever the initials TEV appear, they stand for Today's English Version (The Good News Bible).Other initials:
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