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northern boundary. And it was about the time of the first ripe grapes; and they cut down a branch with a cluster of grapes, and carried it between two upon a staff; they brought also with them pomegranates, and figs, and other fruits of the land. After forty days, they came back to the camp, and said, “We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are large, and have high walls; and we saw giants there : so that we were but as grasshoppers before them.”
And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, “Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! And wherefore hath the Lord brought us into this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey ? Were it not better for us to return into Egypt?” And they said one to another, “ Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes : and they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, “The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which flow
eth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us : fear them not.” But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. a
Then the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before the people; and God said, “How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be.ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have showed among them? As ye have spoken in my ears, so will I do to you: your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and your children shall wander in this wilderness forty years.
So then all the people that were twenty years of
age, who had come out of Egypt, except Joshua and Caleb, were to die in the wilderness; and the children of Israel were to remain in the wilderness nine and thirty years more.
Their principal encampments were in the wilderness of Sinai, in the wilderness of Kadesh, and in Paran, where they remained several years. They had altogether twenty different encampments during the nine and thirty years.
28. THE MURMURING OF ISRAEL.
But this was not the last rebellion of the Israelites. One of the heads of families of the tribe of Levi, Korah, a cousin of Moses, joined himself with Dathan and Abiram, heads of families of the
tribe of Reuben, and rebelled against Moses and Aaron. They accused them of ambition, and demanded for the whole congregation an equal participation in the government and in the priesthood. And Moses said, “ Come to-morrow with your incense before the Lord, and the Lord will show whom he hath chosen.
And Korah assembled all the people before the tabernacle of the congregation. And Moses said to the people, “ Depart from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins." And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and all that belonged to them ; and there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense. The whole congregation, however, murmured against Moses and Aaron, and accused them of having caused the death of these men. Then there went out a plague from the Lord among the people, and there died at that time fourteen thousand seven hundred men.
In Kadesh the people had no water; and they contended with Moses. And the Lord said, “ Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water." And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, “Hear now, ye rebels ; must we fetch you water out of this rock ?” Moses, however, did not speak to the rock, but lifted up his hand, and smote the rock with his rod twice; and the
a Numb. xvi. 16-49.
water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. But the Lord said unto Moses and Aaron, “Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.” b This water was called Meribah; that is, the water of strife.
In the fortieth year, when the people were journeying round the country of the Edomites, the people murmured again, and said, “There is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread," (manna.) Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, and a great multitude of them died.
And they came to Moses, and said, “ We have sinned, fon we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” And Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said unto Moses, “ Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole : and it shall come to pass, that
every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.”c And Moses made a serpent of brass ; and it came to pass that if the serpent had bitten any one, when he beheld the serpent of brass he lived.
29. BALAAM. When the forty years were nearly expired, the conquest of the land began. The Israelites slew
b Numb. xx. 7–13.
Numb. xxi. 49.
Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan; and they encamped on the plains of Moab, on the banks of Jordan. But Balak, the king of the Moabites, sent messengers to a soothsayer in Mesopotamia, named Balaam, saying,
Come, and curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me.” But God said to Balaam, “ Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed.” Balak, however, sent to Balaam again, and he sent more honourable princes than the first were. Balaam yielded to their persuasions, and went. And the angel of the Lord came to meet him in the way, and his ass saw the angel of the Lord standing with a drawn sword in his hand, and turned aside out of the way. Balaam did not see the angel, and he smote the ass. The ass fell down upon her knees, and Balaam smote her again. Then the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she spake with the voice of a man, “ What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me?” Then the Lord opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the angel. And the angel said to him, “Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak."a
And Balaam came to Balak, and offered sacrifices with him upon a high place; and then he took up his parable, and said, “How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed ? or how shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied? Behold, I have received commandment to bless : and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.” And he blessed them three times. And Balak said to Balaam, “ What
a Numb. xxii. 5–35.