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Moses' first discourse

1THESE are the words that Moses addressed to all Israel in the wilderness beyond the Jordan, that is to say, in the Arabah opposite Suph, between Paran on the one side and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab on the other.

2(The journey from Horeb through the hill-country of Seir to Kadesh-barnea takes eleven days.)

3On the first day of the eleventh month of the fortieth year, Moses repeated to the Israelites all the commands that the LORD had given him for them.

4This was after the defeat of Sihon king of the Amorites who ruled in Heshbon, and the defeat at Edrei of King Og of Bashan who ruled in Ashtaroth,

5and it was beyond the Jordan, in Moab, that Moses resolved to expound this law. These were his words.

6The LORD our God speaking to us at Horeb said, “You have stayed at this mountain long enough;

7up, break camp, and make for the hill-country of the Amorites, and pass on to all their neighbours in the Arabah, in the hill-country, in the Shephelah, in the Negeb, and on the coast: in short, all Canaan and the Lebanon as far as the Great River, the Euphrates.

8I have laid the land open before you; go in and occupy it, the land which the LORD swore to give to your forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to their descendants after them.”

9At that time I said to you, “You are too heavy a burden for me to bear unaided.

10The LORD your God has so increased you that today you are as numerous as the stars in the heavens.

11May the LORD, the God of your forefathers, increase your numbers a thousand times and bless you as he promised!

12How can I bear unaided the heavy burden you are to me, and put up with your complaints?

13Choose men of wisdom, understanding, and repute for each of your tribes, and I shall set them in authority over you.”

14Your answer was, “What you propose to do is good.”

15So I took leading men of your tribes, men of wisdom and repute, and set them in authority over you, some as commanders over units of a thousand, of a hundred, of fifty, or of ten, and others as officers, for each of your tribes.

16At that time also I gave your judges this command: “Hear the cases that arise among your kinsmen and judge fairly between one person and another, whether fellow-countryman or resident alien.

17You must be impartial and listen to high and low alike: have no fear of your fellows, for judgement belongs to God. But should any case be too difficult for you, refer it to me and I shall hear it.”

18At the same time I instructed you in all your duties.

19We set out from Horeb, in obedience to the orders of the LORD our God, and made our way through that vast and terrible wilderness, as you found it to be, on the way to the hill-country of the Amorites. When we came to Kadesh-barnea,

20I said to you, “You have reached the hill-country of the Amorites which the LORD our God is giving us.

21The LORD your God has now laid the land open before you. Go forward and occupy it in fulfilment of the promise which the LORD the God of your forefathers made you; do not be afraid or discouraged.”

22But you all came to me and said, “Let us send men ahead to explore the country and report back to us about the route we should take and the towns we shall find.”

23I approved of the plan and picked twelve of your number, one from each tribe.

24They set out and made their way up into the hill-country which they reconnoitred as far as the wadi of Eshcol.

25They collected samples of the fruit of the country to bring back to us, and in their report they said: “It is a rich land that the LORD our God is giving us.”

26However, you refused to go up, rebelling against the command of the LORD your God,

27muttering treason in your tents and saying, “It was because the LORD hated us that he brought us out of Egypt to hand us over to the Amorites to be wiped out.

28What shall we find up there? Our kinsmen have discouraged us by their report of a people bigger and taller than we are, and of great cities with fortifications towering to the sky. Besides, they saw the descendants of the Anakim there.”

29I said to you, “You must not dread them or be afraid.

30The LORD your God, who goes at your head, will fight for you; he will do again what you saw him do for you in Egypt

31and in the wilderness. You saw there how the LORD your God carried you all the way to this place, as a father carries his son.”

32In spite of this you persisted in not trusting the LORD your God,

33who went ahead on the journey to find a place for your camp. He went in fire by night and in a cloud by day to show you the route you should take.

34When the LORD heard your complaints, he was angry and solemnly swore:

35“Not one of these men, this wicked generation, will see the good land which I swore to give your forefathers,

36none except Caleb son of Jephunneh; he will see it, and to him and his descendants I shall give the land on which he has set foot, because he followed the LORD loyally.”

37On your account the LORD was angry with me also and said, “Neither will you yourself go in there;

38only Joshua son of Nun, who is in attendance on you, will go. Support him, for he will put Israel in possession of that land.

39Your dependants who, you thought, would become spoils of war, and your children who do not yet know good from evil, they will enter; I shall give it to them, and they are to occupy it.

40You yourselves must turn and set out for the wilderness making towards the Red Sea.”

41You answered me, “We have sinned against the LORD; we ourselves shall go up and make the attack just as the LORD our God commanded us.” Every man of you, thinking it an easy thing to invade the hill-country, fastened on his weapons.

42But the LORD said to me, “Warn them not to go up and fight, for I shall not be with them, and the enemy will defeat them.”

43I told you this, but you would not listen; you rebelled against the LORD's command and defiantly went up to the hill-country.

44Then the Amorites living there came out against you and swarmed after you like bees; they crushed you at Hormah in Seir.

45When you came back you wept before the LORD, but he would not hear you or listen to you.

46That is why you remained in Kadesh as long as you did.

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