Numbers 14:10-24

A. 10 … And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel. 11 And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs (0226)  which I have shewed among them? 12 I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.

B. 13 And Moses said unto the LORD, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;) 14 And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou LORD art among this people, that thou LORD art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.

C’. 15 Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying, 16 Because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness.

D. 17 And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my LORD be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, 18 The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.

C’. 19 Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.

B’. 20 And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word: 21 But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.

A’. 22 Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles (0226), which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; 23 Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:24 But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.

Note: The centre of the chasm is the declaration of the character of YHWH. The well known verse 21 which describes God’s purpose in creation and its fulfilment in the Kingdom of God on earth is parallel to the point Moses makes that the surrounding nations are aware of God’s presence in the camp of Israel. Israel were then, and are today God’s witnesses. In the Kingdom all people will know the glory of the character of YHWH. 

2 thoughts on “Numbers 14:10-24”

  1. This is confirmed through the account in Nehemiah. The record says:
    “And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not.”

  2. This is a chiasm beginning with verse 16 where three of its words are reversed in verses 22-4. The centre also divides up further:

    A (16) Because Yahweh was not able TO BRING this people

    B (16) into the land which HE SWARE unto them,

    C (16) therefore He hath slain them in THE WILDERNESS.

    D (17) And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, SAYING,

    E (18) Yahweh is longsuffering, and of great MERCY, FORGIVING

    F (18) INIQUITY and transgression,

    G (18) AND BY NO MEANS CLEARING THE GUILTY, VISITING THE INIQUITY OF THE FATHERS UPON THE CHILDREN UNTO THE THIRD AND FOURTH GENERATION.

    F′ (19) Pardon, I beseech thee, THE INIQUITY of this people

    E′ (19) according unto the greatness of thy MERCY, and as THOU HAST FORGIVEN this people, from Egypt even until now.

    D′ (20,21) And Yahweh SAID, I have pardoned according to thy word: But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of Yahweh.

    C′ (22) Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in THE WILDERNESS, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;

    B′ (23) Surely they shall not see the land which I SWARE unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:

    A′ (24) But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him WILL I BRING into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.

    There is also a chiasm from verses 18 to 23:

    A (18) Yahweh is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of THE FATHERS upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.

    B (19) Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from EGYPT even until now.

    C (20,21) AND YAHWEH SAID, I HAVE PARDONED ACCORDING TO THY WORD: BUT AS TRULY AS I LIVE, ALL THE EARTH SHALL BE FILLED WITH THE GLORY OF YAHWEH.

    B′ (22) Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in EGYPT and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;

    A′ (23) Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their FATHERS, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:

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