Numbers 14 – The People Rebel

English: The spies showing the fertility of Ca...

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Once again, the people who have seen the power and the Glory of the Lord with their own eyes forget His promise and this time, believing the report of the spies and (as Joshua and Caleb aptly put it in verse 9) rebelling against the Lord will cost them dearly.  God is once again fed up with their disobedience; and in verse 12, He tells Moses (as He did in Exodus 32:10) that He will destroy them and start over with Moses.

But Moses again intercedes and passionately pleads with the Lord in verses 13-19.  It is this blogger’s opinion that the Lord relented on their destruction not because of Moses’ argument in those verses about what the nations around them will think.  The Lord’s time is His own, and He would do as He wills and the nations would see His power anyway.  Consider instead, His simple statement afterward in verse 20.  “I have pardoned, according to your word.”  That was it.  Moses favor and his request were enough to grant their pardon.

So just as Pharaoh decided the fate of his own in Exodus 11:5, siding with the spies and disobeying God would mean that these people decided their own fate.  Instead of their little ones becoming a prey as they said in verse 3, those little ones will be the ones to enter Canaan – only after these people all die in the wilderness.  But except for Caleb and Joshua, the spies would all meet their doom more quickly (verse 38).

Having received this news, the people have a change of heart and despite Moses’ warning that God would no longer be with them, they make an attempt to enter Canaan anyway – and are soundly defeated (verses 40-45).  The time for obeying God is always now.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.


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