More Judgments On The Isrealites For Sin; And The Occupation Of The Territory Of Two Kings

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 5 (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.

In the Old Testament books of Exodus and Numbers, the Bible says:

Exodus chapter 25 (TEV)

1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 "Tell the Israelites to make an offering to me. Receive whatever offerings anyone wishes to give. 3 These offerings are to be:
gold, silver, and bronze;
4 fine linen;
blue, purple, and red wool;
cloth made of goats' hair;
5 rams' skin dyed red;
fine leather;
acacia wood;
6 oil for the lamps;
spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet-smelling incense;

8 The people must make a sacred Tent for me, so that I may live among them.

Exodus chapter 31 (NIV)

1 Then the LORD said to Moses, 2 "See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts - 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship. 6 Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you: Ö

Exodus chapter 36 (TEV)

2 Moses called Bezalel, Oholiab, and all the other skilled men to whom the Lord had given ability and who were willing to help, and Moses told them to start working. 3 They received from him all the offerings which the Israelites had brought for constructing the sacred Tent. But the people of Israel continued to bring Moses their offerings every morning.

4 Then the skilled men who were doing the work went 5 and told Moses, "The people are bringing more than is needed for the work which the Lord commanded to be done." 6 So Moses sent a command throughout the camp that no one was to make any further contribution for the sacred Tent; so the people did not bring any more.

In the Letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament, the Bible says:

Hebrews chapter 9 (NLT)

1 Now in that first covenant between God and Israel, there were regulations for worship and a sacred tent here on earth. 2 There were two rooms in this tent. In the first room were a lampstand, a table, and loaves of holy bread on the table. This was called the Holy Place. 3 Then there was a curtain, and behind the curtain was the second room called the Most Holy Place. 4 In that room were a gold incense altar and a wooden chest called the Ark of the Covenant, which was covered with gold on all sides.

In the Old Testament, the Bible says:

Exodus chapter 25 (TEV)

1 The Lord said to Moses,

Exodus chapter 28 (TEV)

1 "Summon your brother Aaron and his sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. Separate them from the people of Israel, so that they may serve me as priests.

Deuteronomy chapter 10 (TEV)

8 The Lord appointed the men of the tribe of Levi to be in charge of the Covenant Box, to serve him as priests, and to pronounce blessings in his name. And these are still their duties.

Exodus chapter 33 (NIV)

7 Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the "tent of meeting." Anyone inquiring of the LORD would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. 8 And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. 9 As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the LORD spoke with Moses. 10 Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to his tent. 11 The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.

Numbers chapter 16 (TEV)

1 Korah son of Izhar, from the Levite clan of Kohath, rebelled against the leadership of Moses. He was joined by three members of the tribe of Reuben-Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth-and by 250 other Israelites, well-known leaders chosen by the community. 3 They assembled before Moses and Aaron and said to them, "You have gone too far! All the members of the community belong to the Lord, and the Lord is with all of us. Why, then, Moses, do you set yourself above the Lord's community?" 4 When Moses heard this, he threw himself on the ground and prayed.

5 Then he said to Korah and his followers, "Tomorrow morning the Lord will show us who belongs to him; he will let the one who belongs to him, that is, the one he has chosen, approach him at the altar. 6 Tomorrow morning you and your followers take fire pans, put live coals and incense on them, and take them to the altar. Then we will see which of us the Lord has chosen. You Levites are the ones who have gone too far!"

8 Moses continued to speak to Korah. "Listen, you Levites! 9 Do you consider it a small matter that the God of Israel has set you apart from the rest of the community, so that you can approach him, perform your service in the Lord's Tent, and minister to the community and serve them? 10 He has let you and all the other Levites have this honor-and now you are trying to get the priesthood too! 11 When you complain against Aaron, it is really against the Lord that you and your followers are rebelling."

12 Then Moses sent for Dathan and Abiram, but they said, "We will not come! 13 Isn't it enough that you have brought us out of the fertile land of Egypt to kill us here in the wilderness? Do you also have to lord it over us? 14 You certainly have not brought us into a fertile land or given us fields and vineyards as our possession, and now you are trying to deceive us. We will not come!" 15 Moses became angry and said to the Lord, "Do not accept any offerings these men bring. I have not wronged any of them; I have not even taken one of their donkeys."

16 Moses said to Korah, "Tomorrow you and your 250 followers must come to the Tent of the Lord's presence; Aaron will also be there. 17 Each of you will take his fire pan, put incense on it, and then present it at the altar." 18 So they each took their fire pans, put live coals and incense on them, and stood at the entrance of the Tent with Moses and Aaron. 19 Then Korah gathered the whole community, and they stood facing Moses and Aaron at the entrance of the Tent. Suddenly the dazzling light of the Lord's presence appeared to the whole community, 20 and the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 21 "Move back from these people, and I will destroy them immediately." 22 But Moses and Aaron bowed down with their faces to the ground and said, "O God, you are the source of all life. When one of us sins, do you become angry with the whole community?"

23 The Lord said to Moses, 24 "Tell the people to move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram." 25 Then Moses, accompanied by the leaders of Israel, went to Dathan and Abiram. 26 He said to the people, "Get away from the tents of these wicked men and don't touch anything that belongs to them. Otherwise, you will be wiped out with them for all their sins."
27 So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.

Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing at the entrance of their tents, with their wives and children.

28 Moses said to the people, "This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things and that it is not by my own choice that I have done them. 29 If these men die a natural death without some punishment from God, then the Lord did not send me. 30 But if the Lord does something unheard of, and the earth opens up and swallows them with all they own, so that they go down alive to the world of the dead, you will know that these men have rejected the Lord."

31 As soon as he had finished speaking, the ground under Dathan and Abiram split open 32 and swallowed them and their families, together with all of Korah's followers and their possessions. 33 So they went down alive to the world of the dead, with their possessions. The earth closed over them, and they vanished. 34 All the people of Israel who were there fled when they heard their cry. They shouted, "Run! The earth might swallow us too!"

35 Then the Lord sent a fire that blazed out and burned up the 250 men who had presented the incense.

Numbers chapter 16 (GWT)

36 Then the LORD said to Moses, 37 "Tell Eleazar, son of the priest Aaron, to take the incense burners out of the fire and scatter the coals and incense somewhere else, because the incense burners have become holy. 38 The incense burners of these men who sinned and lost their lives are holy, because they were offered to the LORD. Hammer them into thin metal sheets to cover the altar. This will be a sign to the Israelites."

39 So the priest Eleazar took the bronze incense burners which had been brought by those who had been burned to death. The incense burners were then hammered into thin metal sheets to cover the altar, 40 following the command that the LORD had given through Moses. The bronze-covered altar will remind Israel that no one but a descendant of Aaron can come near to burn incense to the LORD. Everyone else will die like Korah and his followers.

41 The next day the whole community of Israel complained to Moses and Aaron. They said, "You have killed the LORD's people." 42 The community came together to confront Moses and Aaron. When they turned toward the tent of meeting, they saw the smoke covering it, and the glory of the LORD appeared. 43 Then Moses and Aaron went to the front of the tent of meeting. 44 The LORD said to Moses, 45 "Get away from these people, and let me destroy them in an instant!" Immediately, they bowed with their faces touching the ground. 46 Moses said to Aaron, "Take your incense burner, put burning coals from the altar and incense in it, and go quickly into the community to make peace with the LORD for the people. The LORD is showing his anger; a plague has started." 47 Aaron took his incense burner, as Moses told him, and ran into the middle of the assembly, because the plague had already begun among the people. He put incense on the incense burner to make peace with the LORD for the people. 48 He stood between those who had died and those who were still alive, and the plague stopped. 49 Still, 14,700 died from the plague in addition to those who had died because of Korah. 50 By the time Aaron came back to Moses at the entrance to the tent of meeting, the plague had stopped.

Numbers chapter 17 (TEV)

1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 "Tell the people of Israel to give you twelve walking sticks, one from the leader of each tribe. Write each man's name on his stick 3 and then write Aaron's name on the stick representing Levi. There will be one stick for each tribal leader. 4 Take them to the Tent of my presence and put them in front of the Covenant Box, where I meet you. 5 Then the stick of the man I have chosen will sprout. In this way I will put a stop to the constant complaining of these Israelites against you." 6 So Moses spoke to the Israelites, and each of their leaders gave him a stick, one for each tribe, twelve in all, and Aaron's stick was put with them. 7 Moses then put all the sticks in the Tent in front of the Lord's Covenant Box.

8 The next day, when Moses went into the Tent, he saw that Aaron's stick, representing the tribe of Levi, had sprouted. It had budded, blossomed, and produced ripe almonds! 9 Moses took all the sticks and showed them to the Israelites. They saw what had happened, and each leader took his own stick back. 10 The Lord said to Moses, "Put Aaron's stick back in front of the Covenant Box. It is to be kept as a warning to the rebel Israelites that they will die unless their complaining stops." 11 Moses did as the Lord commanded.

Numbers chapter 17 (GWT)

12 The Israelites said to Moses, "Now we're going to die! We're lost! We're all lost! 13 Anyone who comes near the LORD's tent will die! Are we all going to die?"

An Explanation as to Why the Punishments in the Old Testament were so Harsh

The Bible continues:

Numbers chapter 20 (NLT)

1 In early spring the people of Israel arrived in the wilderness of Zin and camped at Kadesh. While they were there, Miriam died and was buried.

Numbers chapter 20 (GWT)

2 Since the community was without water, they came together to confront Moses and Aaron. 3 The people complained to Moses and said, "If only we had died when the other Israelites died in the LORD's presence! 4 Did you bring the LORD's assembly into this desert just to have us and our animals die here? 5 Why did you make us leave Egypt and bring us into this terrible place? This is no place to plant crops. Even figs, grapes, and pomegranates won't grow here. And there's no water to drink!"

6 Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting. Immediately, they bowed with their faces touching the ground, and the glory of the LORD appeared to them. 7 The LORD said to Moses, 8 "Take your staff, then you and your brother Aaron gather the community. Right before their eyes, tell the rock to give up its water. In this way you will give the community water from the rock for them and their animals to drink." 9 Moses took his staff out of [the tent in] the LORD's presence as he had been commanded. 10 Then Moses and Aaron assembled the community in front of the rock and said to them, "Listen, you rebels, must we bring water out of this rock for you?" 11 Moses raised his hand and hit the rock twice with the staff. Water came pouring out, and all the people and their animals drank. 12 But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "You didn't trust me! You didn't show the Israelites how holy I am! So you will not bring this congregation into the land I'm giving them." 13 This was the oasis of Meribah [Complaining], where the Israelites complained about the LORD and where he showed them he was holy.

14 Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom. He said, "This is what your brother Israel says: You know all the hardships we've had. 15 Our ancestors went to Egypt, and we lived there for many years. The Egyptians mistreated us and our ancestors. 16 When we cried out to the LORD, he heard us, sent a messenger, and brought us out of Egypt. "Now we're here in Kadesh, a city on the edge of your territory. 17 Please let us go through your country. We won't go through any of your fields or vineyards, or drink any of the water from your wells. We'll stay on the king's highway and never leave it until we've passed through your territory." 18 But the Edomites answered, "You may not pass through our country. If you try, we'll come out and attack you." 19 The Israelites replied, "We'll stay on the main road, and if we or our livestock drink any of your water, we'll pay for it. We want to pass through on foot. That's all." 20 But the Edomites said, "You may not pass through." Then they came out and attacked with many well-armed troops. 21 Since the Edomites refused to let Israel go through their territory, the Israelites turned around and went a different way.

Numbers chapter 20 (GWT)

22 The whole community of Israel left Kadesh and came to Mount Hor. 23 At Mount Hor, near the border of Edom, the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 24 "Aaron must now join his ancestors [in death], since he cannot enter the land I'm giving the Israelites. This is because you both rebelled against my command at the oasis of Meribah. 25 Bring Aaron and his son Eleazar up on Mount Hor. 26 Take off Aaron's priestly clothes, and put them on his son Eleazar. Then Aaron will die there and join [his ancestors]." 27 Moses did as the LORD commanded. The whole community saw them go up on Mount Hor. 28 Moses took off Aaron's priestly clothes and put them on his son Eleazar. Aaron died there on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. 29 The whole community saw that Aaron had died, and all the Israelites mourned for Aaron 30 days.

Numbers chapter 21 (NLT)

4 Then the people of Israel set out from Mount Hor, taking the road to the Red Sea to go around the land of Edom. But the people grew impatient along the way, 5 and they began to murmur against God and Moses. "Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?" they complained. "There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this wretched manna!" 6 So the LORD sent poisonous snakes among them, and many of them were bitten and died. 7 Then the people came to Moses and cried out, "We have sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take away the snakes." So Moses prayed for the people. 8 Then the LORD told him, "Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to the top of a pole. Those who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!" 9 So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to the top of a pole. Whenever those who were bitten looked at the bronze snake, they recovered!

Numbers chapter 21 (TEV)

10 The Israelites moved on ...

21 Then the people of Israel sent messengers to the Amorite king Sihon to say: 22 "Let us pass through your land. We and our cattle will not leave the road and go into your fields or vineyards, and we will not drink water from your wells; we will stay on the main road until we are out of your territory." 23 But Sihon would not permit the people of Israel to pass through his territory. He gathered his army and went out to Jahaz in the wilderness and attacked the Israelites. 24 But the Israelites killed many of the enemy in battle and occupied their land from the Arnon River north to the Jabbok, that is, to the Ammonites, because the Ammonite border was strongly defended. 25 So the people of Israel captured all the Amorite cities, including Heshbon and all the surrounding towns, and settled in them. 26 Heshbon was the capital city of the Amorite king Sihon, ... 33 Then the Israelites turned and took the road to Bashan, and King Og of Bashan marched out with his army to attack them at Edrei. 34 The Lord said to Moses, "Do not be afraid of him. I will give you victory over him, all his people, and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon, the Amorite king who ruled at Heshbon." 35 So the Israelites killed Og, his sons, and all his people, leaving no survivors, and then they occupied his land.

Numbers chapter 22 (TEV)

1 The Israelites moved on and set up camp in the plains of Moab east of the Jordan and opposite Jericho.

Numbers chapter 25 (TEV)

1 When the Israelites were camped at Acacia Valley, the men began to have sexual intercourse with the Moabite women who were there. 2 These women invited them to sacrificial feasts, where the god of Moab was worshiped. The Israelites ate the food and worshiped the god 3 Baal of Peor. So the Lord was angry with them 4 and said to Moses, "Take all the leaders of Israel and, in obedience to me, execute them in broad daylight, and then I will no longer be angry with the people." 5 Moses said to the officials, "Each of you is to kill every man in your tribe who has become a worshiper of Baal of Peor."

6 One of the Israelites took a Midianite woman into his tent in the sight of Moses and the whole community, while they were mourning at the entrance of the Tent of the Lord's presence. 7 When Phinehas, the son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the priest, saw this, he got up and left the assembly. He took a spear, 8 followed the man and the woman into the tent, and drove the spear through both of them. In this way the epidemic that was destroying Israel was stopped, 9 but it had already killed twenty-four thousand people. 10 The Lord said to Moses, 11 "Because of what Phinehas has done, I am no longer angry with the people of Israel. He refused to tolerate the worship of any god but me, and that is why I did not destroy them in my anger. 12 So tell him that I am making a covenant with him that is valid for all time to come. 13 He and his descendants are permanently established as priests, because he did not tolerate any rivals to me and brought about forgiveness for the people's sin." 14 The name of the Israelite who was killed with the Midianite woman was Zimri son of Salu, the head of a family in the tribe of Simeon. 15 The woman's name was Cozbi. Zur, her father, was chief of a group of Midianite clans.

16 The Lord commanded Moses, 17 "Attack the Midianites and destroy them, 18 because of the evil they did to you when they deceived you at Peor, and because of Cozbi, who was killed at the time of the epidemic at Peor."

The people of Israel spared the women and children, but were then told to kill all the women who weren't virgins, but to keep the girls who were. The worst interpretation has been put on this incident. To read an explanation of why the Behaviour of the Midianites would have been considered serious enough to have prompted such action, and why the motives for the captivity of the girls and the consequences of it for them wouldn't have been as bad as they sound, visit: What About Godís Cruelty Against the Midianites?

In Paul's first letter to the Corinthian Christians in the New Testament, the Bible says:

1 Corinthians chapter 10 (NLT)

1 I don't want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, what happened to our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. God guided all of them by sending a cloud that moved along ahead of them, and he brought them all safely through the waters of the sea on dry ground. 5 Yet after all this, God was not pleased with most of them, and he destroyed them in the wilderness.

6 These events happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did 7 or worship idols as some of them did. For the Scriptures say, "The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged themselves in pagan revelry." 8 And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day. 9 Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. 10 And don't grumble as some of them did, for that is why God sent his angel of death to destroy them. 11 All these events happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us, who live at the time when this age is drawing to a close. 12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you, too, may fall into the same sin. 13 But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. ... 14 So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols.

In the Letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament, the Bible says:

Hebrews chapter 3 (NLT)

6 ... we are God's household, if we keep up our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.

7 ... the Holy Spirit says, "... 8 Don't harden your hearts against him as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested God's patience in the wilderness. 9 There your ancestors tried my patience, even though they saw my miracles for forty years. 10 So I was angry with them, and I said, 'Their hearts always turn away from me. They refuse to do what I tell them.' 11 So in my anger I made a vow: 'They will never enter my place of rest.'"

12 Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. 13 You must warn each other every day, as long as it is called "today," so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. 14 For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. 15 But never forget the warning: "Today you must listen to his voice. Don't harden your hearts against him as Israel did when they rebelled."

Hebrews chapter 4 (NLT)

1 God's promise of entering his place of rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to get there. 2 For this Good News - that God has prepared a place of rest - has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn't believe what God told them. 3 For only we who believe can enter his place of rest. As for those who didn't believe, God said, "In my anger I made a vow: 'They will never enter my place of rest,'" even though his place of rest has been ready since he made the world.

8 This new place of rest was not the land of Canaan, where Joshua led them. If it had been, God would not have spoken later about another day of rest. 9 So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. 10 For all who enter into God's rest will find rest from their labors, just as God rested after creating the world.

11 Let us do our best to enter that place of rest. For anyone who disobeys God, as the people of Israel did, will fall. 12 For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are. 13 Nothing in all creation can hide from him. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes. This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done.

This is the last file in this section. The next section is entitled "Some of the laws of Moses", and the first file in it is entitled "Laws About Incest and Other Sexual Behaviour; and Social Welfare".

The main Bible pages on this site:

Bible 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:

Warning Against Believing Everything you Hear or Read

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There are a lot of pages on this website with quotations from the Old Testament on them. Many of these are unfortunately rather gruesome, since the main theme of the Old Testament is warnings and stories about how it says societies were punished for mass lawless and hurtful behaviour, even to the extent of having war brought on them by God, that seem to have been designed to scare societies where crime and violence were rampant into behaving more ethically. In case there is any misunderstanding, it should be understood that this website does not endorse war as anything other than a last resort. The position of the website owner can be gleaned from the articles:

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