The Israelites Rebel against Moses
14 After the Israelites heard the report from the twelve men who had explored Canaan, the people cried all night 2 and complained to Moses and Aaron, “We wish we had died in Egypt or somewhere out here in the desert! 3 Is the Lord leading us into Canaan, just to have us killed and our women and children captured? We’d be better off in Egypt.” 4 Then they said to one another, “Let’s choose our own leader and go back.”
5 Moses and Aaron bowed down to pray in front of the crowd. 6 Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes in sorrow 7 and said:
We saw the land ourselves, and it’s very good. 8 If we obey the Lord, he will surely give us that land rich with milk and honey. 9 So don’t rebel. We have no reason to be afraid of the people who live there. The Lord is on our side, and they won’t stand a chance against us!
10 The crowd threatened to stone Moses and Aaron to death. But just then, the Lord appeared in a cloud at the sacred tent.
Moses Prays for the People
11 The Lord said to Moses, “I have done great things for these people, and they still reject me by refusing to believe in my power. 12 So they will no longer be my people. I will destroy them, but I will make you the ancestor of a nation even stronger than theirs.”
13-16 Moses replied:
With your mighty power you rescued your people from Egypt, so please don’t destroy us here in the desert. If you do, the Egyptians will hear about it and tell the people of Canaan. Those Canaanites already know that we are your people, and that we see you face to face. And they have heard how you lead us with a thick cloud during the day and flaming fire at night. But if you kill us, they will claim it was because you weren’t powerful enough to lead us into Canaan as you promised.
17 Show us your great power, Lord. You promised 18 that you love to show mercy and kindness. And you said that you are very patient, but that you will punish everyone guilty of doing wrong—not only them but their children and grandchildren as well.
19 You are merciful, and you treat people better than they deserve. So please forgive these people, just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt.
20 Then the Lord said to Moses:
In answer to your prayer, I do forgive them. 21 But as surely as I live and my power has no limit, 22-23 I swear that not one of these Israelites will enter the land I promised to give their ancestors. These people have seen my power in Egypt and in the desert, but they will never see Canaan. They have disobeyed and tested me too many times.
24 But my servant Caleb isn’t like the others. So because he has faith in me, I will allow him to cross into Canaan, and his descendants will settle there.
The Israelites Are Punished for Complaining
26 The Lord told Moses and Aaron 27-28 to give this message to the people of Israel:
You sinful people have complained against me too many times! Now I swear by my own life that I will give you exactly what you wanted.[c] 29 You will die right here in the desert, and your dead bodies will cover the ground. You have insulted me, and none of you men who are over twenty years old 30 will enter the land that I solemnly promised to give you as your own—only Caleb and Joshua[d] will go in.
31 You were worried that your own children would be captured. But I, the Lord, will let them enter the land you have rejected. 32 You will die here in the desert! 33 Your children will wander around in this desert forty years, suffering because of your sins, until all of you are dead. 34 I will cruelly punish you every day for the next forty years—one year for each day that the land was explored. 35 You sinful people who ganged up against me will die here in the desert.
36 Ten of the men sent to explore the land had brought back bad news and had made the people complain against the Lord. 37 So he sent a deadly disease that killed those men, 38 but he let Joshua and Caleb live.
The Israelites Fail To Enter Canaan
39 The people of Israel were very sad after Moses gave them the Lord’s message. 40 So they got up early the next morning and got ready to head toward the hill country of Canaan. They said, “We were wrong to complain about the Lord. Let’s go into the land that he promised us.”
41 But Moses replied, “You’re disobeying the Lord! Your plan won’t work, 42-43 so don’t even try it. The Lord refuses to help you, because you turned your backs on him. The Amalekites and the Canaanites are your enemies, and they will attack and defeat you.”
44 But the Israelites ignored Moses[e] and marched toward the hill country, even though the sacred chest and Moses did not go with them. 45 The Amalekites and the Canaanites came down from the hill country, defeated the Israelites, and chased them as far as the town of Hormah.
Laws about Sacrifices
15 The Lord told Moses 2 to give the Israelites the following laws about offering sacrifices:
3 Bulls or rams or goats[f] are the animals that you may burn on the altar as sacrifices to please me.[g] You may also offer sacrifices voluntarily or because you made a promise, or because they are part of your regular religious ceremonies. The smell of the smoke from these sacrifices is pleasing to me.
4-5 If you sacrifice a young ram or goat, you must also offer two pounds of your finest flour mixed with a quart of olive oil as a grain sacrifice. A quart of wine must also be poured on the altar.
6-7 And if the animal is a full-grown ram, you must offer four pounds of flour mixed with one and a half quarts of olive oil. One and a half quarts of wine must also be poured on the altar. The smell of this smoke is pleasing to me.
8 If a bull is offered as a sacrifice to please me or to ask my blessing,[h] 9 you must offer six pounds of flour mixed with two quarts of olive oil. 10 Two quarts of wine must also be poured on the altar. The smell of this smoke is pleasing to me.
11-13 If you are a native Israelite, you must obey these rules each time you offer a bull, a ram, or a goat as a sacrifice. 14 And the foreigners who live among you must also follow these rules. 15-16 This law will never change. I am the Lord, and I consider all people the same, whether they are Israelites or foreigners living among you.
- 14.25 The Amalekites and the Canaanites. . . valleys of Canaan: That is, all possible ways into Canaan were blocked.
- 14.25 Red Sea: Hebrew yam suph, here referring to the Gulf of Aqaba, since the term is extended to include the northeastern arm of the Red Sea (see also the note at Exodus 13.18).
- 14.27,28 wanted: See verse 2.
- 14.30 Caleb and Joshua: Hebrew “Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.”
- 14.44 ignored Moses: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 15.3 goats: See the note at 7.12-83.
- 15.3 sacrifices to please me: See the note at 6.11.
- 15.8 to ask my blessing: See the note at 6.14.
Jesus Is Questioned by the Council
53 Jesus was led off to the high priest. Then the chief priests, the nation’s leaders, and the teachers of the Law of Moses all met together. 54 Peter had followed at a distance. And when he reached the courtyard of the high priest’s house, he sat down with the guards to warm himself beside a fire.
55 The chief priests and the whole council tried to find someone to accuse Jesus of a crime, so they could put him to death. But they could not find anyone to accuse him. 56 Many people did tell lies against Jesus, but they did not agree on what they said. 57 Finally, some men stood up and lied about him. They said, 58 “We heard him say he would tear down this temple that we built. He also claimed that in three days he would build another one without any help.” 59 But even then they did not agree on what they said.
60 The high priest stood up in the council and asked Jesus, “Why don’t you say something in your own defense? Don’t you hear the charges they are making against you?” 61 But Jesus kept quiet and did not say a word. The high priest asked him another question, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the glorious God?”[a]
62 “Yes, I am!” Jesus answered.
“Soon you will see
the Son of Man
sitting at the right side[b]
of God All-Powerful,
and coming with the clouds
63 At once the high priest ripped his robe apart and shouted, “Why do we need more witnesses? 64 You heard him claim to be God! What is your decision?” They all agreed that he should be put to death.
65 Some of the people started spitting on Jesus. They blindfolded him, hit him with their fists, and said, “Tell us who hit you!” Then the guards took charge of Jesus and beat him.
Peter Says He Doesn’t Know Jesus
66 While Peter was still in the courtyard, a servant girl of the high priest came up 67 and saw Peter warming himself by the fire. She stared at him and said, “You were with Jesus from Nazareth!”
68 Peter replied, “That isn’t true! I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t have any idea what you mean.” He went out to the gate, and a rooster crowed.[c]
69 The servant girl saw Peter again and said to the people standing there, “This man is one of them!”
70 “No, I’m not!” Peter replied.
A little while later some of the people said to Peter, “You certainly are one of them. You’re a Galilean!”
71 This time Peter began to curse and swear, “I don’t even know the man you’re talking about!”
72 Right away the rooster crowed a second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had told him, “Before a rooster crows twice, you will say three times that you don’t know me.” So Peter started crying.
(A special psalm by David for the music leader. To the tune “Mahalath.”[a])
No One Can Ignore God
53 Only a fool would say,
“There is no God!”
People like that are worthless!
They are heartless and cruel
and never do right.
2 From heaven God
looks down to see
if anyone is wise enough
to search for him.
3 But all of them
are crooked and corrupt.
Not one of them does right.
4 Won’t you lawbreakers learn?
You refuse to pray,
and you gobble down
the people of God.
5 But you will be terrified
worse than ever before.
God will scatter the bones
of his enemies,
and you will be ashamed
when God rejects you.
6 I long for someone from Zion
to come and save Israel!
Our God, when you bless
your people again,
Jacob’s family will be glad,
and Israel will celebrate.
- Psalm 53 Mahalath: Or “For flutes,” one possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
4 When God is angry,
money won’t help you.
Obeying God is the only way
to be saved from death.