Note; In this section the dismal faithlessness of the congregation is paralleled by the faithful assessment of Joshua and Caleb. Maybe the captain to return to Egypt is contrasted with the captain that God would appoint to take them to the promised land – Joshua. If this is introverted parallelism then the centre is Moses and Aaron’s dismay at the people. Neither of these great characters would enter the land.
A. 1 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. 2 And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron:
B. and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! 3 And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?
C. 4 And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.
D. 5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.
C’. 6 And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:
B’. 7 And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. 8 If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. 9 Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.
A’. 10 But all the congregation bade stone them with stones …