Numbers 14
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  The whole community broke into loud cries, and the people wept that night.

va-ti-SA kol HA-ay-DAH va-yi-t’-NU et ko-LAM va-yiv-KU ha-AM ba-LAI-lah ha-HU

א  וַתִּשָּׂא כָּל־הָעֵדָה וַיִּתְּנוּ אֶת־קוֹלָם וַיִּבְכּוּ הָעָם בַּלַּיְלָה הַהוּא׃

14:1   And the people wept that night

The Sages explain that Hashem intentionally selected the ninth day of the month of Av as the day upon which both the first and second Temples would be destroyed. According to Jewish tradition, this is because it was on this day that the twelve spies returned from their mission to scout out Eretz Yisrael. As reported in the coming verses, following their pessimistic and libelous report, the people cried out to God in fear: “If only we had died in the land of Egypt… or if only we might die in this wilderness! Why is Hashem taking us to that land to fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be carried off! It would be better for us to go back to Egypt!” (Numbers 14:2-3).  The Talmud (Taanit 29a) records that Hashem reprimanded the people for their lack of faith and said: “As you cried on the ninth of Av for no reason, this day will become a day of crying for all future generations.”  The events surrounding the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash are linked back to the biblical account of the twelve spies, to illustrate that all of Jewish history is inexorably interwoven, and is the unfolding of Hashem’s plan. We must never forget that one of the keys to the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash and the heralding in of the Messianic Era is our unquestioning trust in God, the very trait the spies and the nation failed to exhibit, and which we must constantly seek to demonstrate.1 comment

2  All the Israelites railed against Moshe and Aharon. “If only we had died in the land of Egypt,” the whole community shouted at them, “or if only we might die in this wilderness!

ב  וַיִּלֹּנוּ עַל־מֹשֶׁה וְעַל־אַהֲרֹן כֹּל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֲלֵהֶם כָּל־הָעֵדָה לוּ־מַתְנוּ בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם אוֹ בַּמִּדְבָּר הַזֶּה לוּ־מָתְנוּ׃

3  Why is Hashem taking us to that land to fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be carried off! It would be better for us to go back to Egypt!”

ג  וְלָמָה יְהוָה מֵבִיא אֹתָנוּ אֶל־הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת לִנְפֹּל בַּחֶרֶב נָשֵׁינוּ וְטַפֵּנוּ יִהְיוּ לָבַז הֲלוֹא טוֹב לָנוּ שׁוּב מִצְרָיְמָה׃

4  And they said to one another, “Let us head back for Egypt.”

ד  וַיֹּאמְרוּ אִישׁ אֶל־אָחִיו נִתְּנָה רֹאשׁ וְנָשׁוּבָה מִצְרָיְמָה׃

5  Then Moshe and Aharon fell on their faces before all the assembled congregation of the Israelites.

ה  וַיִּפֹּל מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן עַל־פְּנֵיהֶם לִפְנֵי כָּל־קְהַל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

6  And Yehoshua son of Nun and Kalev son of Jephunneh, of those who had scouted the land, rent their clothes

ו  וִיהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן־נוּן וְכָלֵב בֶּן־יְפֻנֶּה מִן־הַתָּרִים אֶת־הָאָרֶץ קָרְעוּ בִּגְדֵיהֶם׃

7  and exhorted the whole Israelite community: “The land that we traversed and scouted is an exceedingly good land.

va-YO-m’-RU el kol a-DAT b’-nay yis-ra-AYL lay-MOR ha-A-retz a-SHER a-VAR-nu VAH la-TUR o-TAH to-VAH ha-A-retz m’-OD m’-OD

ז  וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֶל־כָּל־עֲדַת בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר עָבַרְנוּ בָהּ לָתוּר אֹתָהּ טוֹבָה הָאָרֶץ מְאֹד מְאֹד׃

14:7-8   If Hashem is pleased with us

After the negative report of ten of the twelve spies, Kalev responds by saying that if Hashem desires that the People of Israel live in Eretz Yisrael, He will make sure that they will inherit it, despite the many obstacles. Hashem desired to give the land to His chosen nation then, and He desires for them to have it now. There are certainly deterrents from living in, and loving, the land of Israel. For example, it is surrounded by hostile neighbors and there are constant security threats.  Nevertheless, God has returned the land to the Children of Israel. Let us not repeat the mistake of the ten spies by minimizing God’s great gift to our generation.1 comment

8  If Hashem is pleased with us, He will bring us into that land, a land that flows with milk and honey, and give it to us;

im kha-FAYTZ BA-nu a-do-NAI v’-hay-VEE o-TA-nu el ha-A-retz ha-ZOT u-n’-ta-NAH LA-nu E-retz  a-sher HEE za-VAT kha-LAV u-d’-VASH

ח  אִם־חָפֵץ בָּנוּ יְהוָה וְהֵבִיא אֹתָנוּ אֶל־הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת וּנְתָנָהּ לָנוּ אֶרֶץ אֲשֶׁר־הִוא זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבָשׁ׃

9  only you must not rebel against Hashem. Have no fear then of the people of the country, for they are our prey: their protection has departed from them, but Hashem is with us. Have no fear of them!”

ט  אַךְ בַּיהוָה אַל־תִּמְרֹדוּ וְאַתֶּם אַל־תִּירְאוּ אֶת־עַם הָאָרֶץ כִּי לַחְמֵנוּ הֵם סָר צִלָּם מֵעֲלֵיהֶם וַיהוָה אִתָּנוּ אַל־תִּירָאֻם׃

10  As the whole community threatened to pelt them with stones, the Presence of Hashem appeared in the Tent of Meeting to all the Israelites.

י  וַיֹּאמְרוּ כָּל־הָעֵדָה לִרְגּוֹם אֹתָם בָּאֲבָנִים וּכְבוֹד יְהוָה נִרְאָה בְּאֹהֶל מוֹעֵד אֶל־כָּל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

11  And Hashem said to Moshe, “How long will this people spurn Me, and how long will they have no faith in Me despite all the signs that I have performed in their midst?

יא  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה עַד־אָנָה יְנַאֲצֻנִי הָעָם הַזֶּה וְעַד־אָנָה לֹא־יַאֲמִינוּ בִי בְּכֹל הָאֹתוֹת אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתִי בְּקִרְבּוֹ׃

12  I will strike them with pestilence and disown them, and I will make of you a nation far more numerous than they!”

יב  אַכֶּנּוּ בַדֶּבֶר וְאוֹרִשֶׁנּוּ וְאֶעֱשֶׂה אֹתְךָ לְגוֹי־גָּדוֹל וְעָצוּם מִמֶּנּוּ׃

13  But Moshe said to Hashem, “When the Egyptians, from whose midst You brought up this people in Your might, hear the news,

יג  וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל־יְהוָה וְשָׁמְעוּ מִצְרַיִם כִּי־הֶעֱלִיתָ בְכֹחֲךָ אֶת־הָעָם הַזֶּה מִקִּרְבּוֹ׃

14  they will tell it to the inhabitants of that land. Now they have heard that You, Hashem, are in the midst of this people; that You, Hashem, appear in plain sight when Your cloud rests over them and when You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night.

יד  וְאָמְרוּ אֶל־יוֹשֵׁב הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת שָׁמְעוּ כִּי־אַתָּה יְהוָה בְּקֶרֶב הָעָם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר־עַיִן בְּעַיִן נִרְאָה אַתָּה יְהוָה וַעֲנָנְךָ עֹמֵד עֲלֵהֶם וּבְעַמֻּד עָנָן אַתָּה הֹלֵךְ לִפְנֵיהֶם יוֹמָם וּבְעַמּוּד אֵשׁ לָיְלָה׃

15  If then You slay this people to a man, the nations who have heard Your fame will say,

טו  וְהֵמַתָּה אֶת־הָעָם הַזֶּה כְּאִישׁ אֶחָד וְאָמְרוּ הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר־שָׁמְעוּ אֶת־שִׁמְעֲךָ לֵאמֹר׃

16  ‘It must be because Hashem was powerless to bring that people into the land He had promised them on oath that He slaughtered them in the wilderness.’

טז  מִבִּלְתִּי יְכֹלֶת יְהוָה לְהָבִיא אֶת־הָעָם הַזֶּה אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁבַּע לָהֶם וַיִּשְׁחָטֵם בַּמִּדְבָּר׃

17  Therefore, I pray, let my Lord’s forbearance be great, as You have declared, saying,

יז  וְעַתָּה יִגְדַּל־נָא כֹּחַ אֲדֹנָי כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ לֵאמֹר׃

18  ‘Hashem! slow to anger and abounding in kindness; forgiving iniquity and transgression; yet not remitting all punishment, but visiting the iniquity of fathers upon children, upon the third and fourth generations.’

יח  יְהוָה אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם וְרַב־חֶסֶד נֹשֵׂא עָוֺן וָפָשַׁע וְנַקֵּה לֹא יְנַקֶּה פֹּקֵד עֲוֺן אָבוֹת עַל־בָּנִים עַל־שִׁלֵּשִׁים וְעַל־רִבֵּעִים׃

19  Pardon, I pray, the iniquity of this people according to Your great kindness, as You have forgiven this people ever since Egypt.”

יט  סְלַח־נָא לַעֲוֺן הָעָם הַזֶּה כְּגֹדֶל חַסְדֶּךָ וְכַאֲשֶׁר נָשָׂאתָה לָעָם הַזֶּה מִמִּצְרַיִם וְעַד־הֵנָּה׃

20  And Hashem said, “I pardon, as you have asked.

כ  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה סָלַחְתִּי כִּדְבָרֶךָ׃

21  Nevertheless, as I live and as Hashem’s Presence fills the whole world,

כא  וְאוּלָם חַי־אָנִי וְיִמָּלֵא כְבוֹד־יְהוָה אֶת־כָּל־הָאָרֶץ׃

22  none of the men who have seen My Presence and the signs that I have performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, and who have tried Me these many times and have disobeyed Me,

כב  כִּי כָל־הָאֲנָשִׁים הָרֹאִים אֶת־כְּבֹדִי וְאֶת־אֹתֹתַי אֲשֶׁר־עָשִׂיתִי בְמִצְרַיִם וּבַמִּדְבָּר וַיְנַסּוּ אֹתִי זֶה עֶשֶׂר פְּעָמִים וְלֹא שָׁמְעוּ בְּקוֹלִי׃

23  shall see the land that I promised on oath to their fathers; none of those who spurn Me shall see it.

כג  אִם־יִרְאוּ אֶת־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי לַאֲבֹתָם וְכָל־מְנַאֲצַי לֹא יִרְאוּהָ׃

24  But My servant Kalev, because he was imbued with a different spirit and remained loyal to Me—him will I bring into the land that he entered, and his offspring shall hold it as a possession.

כד  וְעַבְדִּי כָלֵב עֵקֶב הָיְתָה רוּחַ אַחֶרֶת עִמּוֹ וַיְמַלֵּא אַחֲרָי וַהֲבִיאֹתִיו אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר־בָּא שָׁמָּה וְזַרְעוֹ יוֹרִשֶׁנָּה׃

25  Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites occupy the valleys. Start out, then, tomorrow and march into the wilderness by way of the Sea of Reeds.”

כה  וְהָעֲמָלֵקִי וְהַכְּנַעֲנִי יוֹשֵׁב בָּעֵמֶק מָחָר פְּנוּ וּסְעוּ לָכֶם הַמִּדְבָּר דֶּרֶךְ יַם־סוּף׃

26  Hashem spoke further to Moshe and Aharon,

כו  וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל־אַהֲרֹן לֵאמֹר׃

27  “How much longer shall that wicked community keep muttering against Me? Very well, I have heeded the incessant muttering of the Israelites against Me.

כז  עַד־מָתַי לָעֵדָה הָרָעָה הַזֹּאת אֲשֶׁר הֵמָּה מַלִּינִים עָלָי אֶת־תְּלֻנּוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר הֵמָּה מַלִּינִים עָלַי שָׁמָעְתִּי׃

28  Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says Hashem, ‘I will do to you just as you have urged Me.

כח  אֱמֹר אֲלֵהֶם חַי־אָנִי נְאֻם־יְהוָה אִם־לֹא כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתֶּם בְּאָזְנָי כֵּן אֶעֱשֶׂה לָכֶם׃

29  In this very wilderness shall your carcasses drop. Of all of you who were recorded in your various lists from the age of twenty years up, you who have muttered against Me,

כט  בַּמִּדְבָּר הַזֶּה יִפְּלוּ פִגְרֵיכֶם וְכָל־פְּקֻדֵיכֶם לְכָל־מִסְפַּרְכֶם מִבֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וָמָעְלָה אֲשֶׁר הֲלִינֹתֶם עָלָי׃

30  not one shall enter the land in which I swore to settle you—save Kalev son of Jephunneh and Yehoshua son of Nun.

ל  אִם־אַתֶּם תָּבֹאוּ אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נָשָׂאתִי אֶת־יָדִי לְשַׁכֵּן אֶתְכֶם בָּהּ כִּי אִם־כָּלֵב בֶּן־יְפֻנֶּה וִיהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן־נוּן׃

31  Your children who, you said, would be carried off—these will I allow to enter; they shall know the land that you have rejected.

לא  וְטַפְּכֶם אֲשֶׁר אֲמַרְתֶּם לָבַז יִהְיֶה וְהֵבֵיאתִי אֹתָם וְיָדְעוּ אֶת־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר מְאַסְתֶּם בָּהּ׃

32  But your carcasses shall drop in this wilderness,

לב  וּפִגְרֵיכֶם אַתֶּם יִפְּלוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר הַזֶּה׃

33  while your children roam the wilderness for forty years, suffering for your faithlessness, until the last of your carcasses is down in the wilderness.

לג  וּבְנֵיכֶם יִהְיוּ רֹעִים בַּמִּדְבָּר אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה וְנָשְׂאוּ אֶת־זְנוּתֵיכֶם עַד־תֹּם פִּגְרֵיכֶם בַּמִּדְבָּר׃

34  You shall bear your punishment for forty years, corresponding to the number of days—forty days—that you scouted the land: a year for each day. Thus you shall know what it means to thwart Me.

לד  בְּמִסְפַּר הַיָּמִים אֲשֶׁר־תַּרְתֶּם אֶת־הָאָרֶץ אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם יוֹם לַשָּׁנָה יוֹם לַשָּׁנָה תִּשְׂאוּ אֶת־עֲוֺנֹתֵיכֶם אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה וִידַעְתֶּם אֶת־תְּנוּאָתִי׃

35  I Hashem have spoken: Thus will I do to all that wicked band that has banded together against Me: in this very wilderness they shall die to the last man.’”

לה  אֲנִי יְהוָה דִּבַּרְתִּי אִם־לֹא זֹאת אֶעֱשֶׂה לְכָל־הָעֵדָה הָרָעָה הַזֹּאת הַנּוֹעָדִים עָלָי בַּמִּדְבָּר הַזֶּה יִתַּמּוּ וְשָׁם יָמֻתוּ׃

36  As for the men whom Moshe sent to scout the land, those who came back and caused the whole community to mutter against him by spreading calumnies about the land—

לו  וְהָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר־שָׁלַח מֹשֶׁה לָתוּר אֶת־הָאָרֶץ וַיָּשֻׁבוּ וילונו [וַיַּלִּינוּ] עָלָיו אֶת־כָּל־הָעֵדָה לְהוֹצִיא דִבָּה עַל־הָאָרֶץ׃

37  those who spread such calumnies about the land died of plague, by the will of Hashem.

לז  וַיָּמֻתוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים מוֹצִאֵי דִבַּת־הָאָרֶץ רָעָה בַּמַּגֵּפָה לִפְנֵי יְהוָה׃

38  Of those men who had gone to scout the land, only Yehoshua son of Nun and Kalev son of Jephunneh survived.

לח  וִיהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן־נוּן וְכָלֵב בֶּן־יְפֻנֶּה חָיוּ מִן־הָאֲנָשִׁים הָהֵם הַהֹלְכִים לָתוּר אֶת־הָאָרֶץ׃

39  When Moshe repeated these words to all the Israelites, the people were overcome by grief.

לט  וַיְדַבֵּר מֹשֶׁה אֶת־הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה אֶל־כָּל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיִּתְאַבְּלוּ הָעָם מְאֹד׃

40  Early next morning they set out toward the crest of the hill country, saying, “We are prepared to go up to the place that Hashem has spoken of, for we were wrong.”

מ  וַיַּשְׁכִּמוּ בַבֹּקֶר וַיַּעֲלוּ אֶל־רֹאשׁ־הָהָר לֵאמֹר הִנֶּנּוּ וְעָלִינוּ אֶל־הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר־אָמַר יְהוָה כִּי חָטָאנוּ׃

41  But Moshe said, “Why do you transgress Hashem’s command? This will not succeed.

מא  וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה לָמָּה זֶּה אַתֶּם עֹבְרִים אֶת־פִּי יְהוָה וְהִוא לֹא תִצְלָח׃

42  Do not go up, lest you be routed by your enemies, for Hashem is not in your midst.

מב  אַל־תַּעֲלוּ כִּי אֵין יְהוָה בְּקִרְבְּכֶם וְלֹא תִּנָּגְפוּ לִפְנֵי אֹיְבֵיכֶם׃

43  For the Amalekites and the Canaanites will be there to face you, and you will fall by the sword, inasmuch as you have turned from following Hashem and Hashem will not be with you.”

מג  כִּי הָעֲמָלֵקִי וְהַכְּנַעֲנִי שָׁם לִפְנֵיכֶם וּנְפַלְתֶּם בֶּחָרֶב כִּי־עַל־כֵּן שַׁבְתֶּם מֵאַחֲרֵי יְהוָה וְלֹא־יִהְיֶה יְהוָה עִמָּכֶם׃

44  Yet defiantly they marched toward the crest of the hill country, though neither Hashem’s Aron HaBrit nor Moshe stirred from the camp.

מד  וַיַּעְפִּלוּ לַעֲלוֹת אֶל־רֹאשׁ הָהָר וַאֲרוֹן בְּרִית־יְהוָה וּמֹשֶׁה לֹא־מָשׁוּ מִקֶּרֶב הַמַּחֲנֶה׃

45  And the Amalekites and the Canaanites who dwelt in that hill country came down and dealt them a shattering blow at Hormah.

 

מה  וַיֵּרֶד הָעֲמָלֵקִי וְהַכְּנַעֲנִי הַיֹּשֵׁב בָּהָר הַהוּא וַיַּכּוּם וַיַּכְּתוּם עַד־הַחָרְמָה׃

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Numbers 13
Numbers 15

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Numbers 14

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