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Numbers 14:28-37

Context
14:28 Say to them, ‘As I live, 1  says 2  the Lord, I will surely do to you just what you have spoken in my hearing. 3  14:29 Your dead bodies 4  will fall in this wilderness – all those of you who were numbered, according to your full number, from twenty years old and upward, who have murmured against me. 14:30 You will by no means enter into the land where 5  I swore 6  to settle 7  you. The only exceptions are Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 14:31 But I will bring in your little ones, whom you said would become victims of war, 8  and they will enjoy 9  the land that you have despised. 14:32 But as for you, your dead bodies will fall in this wilderness, 14:33 and your children will wander 10  in the wilderness forty years and suffer for your unfaithfulness, 11  until your dead bodies lie finished 12  in the wilderness. 14:34 According to the number of the days you have investigated this land, forty days – one day for a year – you will suffer for 13  your iniquities, forty years, and you will know what it means to thwart me. 14  14:35 I, the Lord, have said, “I will surely do so to all this evil congregation that has gathered together against me. In this wilderness they will be finished, and there they will die!”’”

14:36 The men whom Moses sent to investigate the land, who returned and made the whole community murmur against him by producing 15  an evil report about the land, 14:37 those men who produced the evil report about the land, died by the plague before the Lord.

1 sn Here again is the oath that God swore in his wrath, an oath he swore by himself, that they would not enter the land. “As the Lord lives,” or “by the life of the Lord,” are ways to render it.

2 tn The word נְאֻם (nÿum) is an “oracle.” It is followed by the subjective genitive: “the oracle of the Lord” is equal to saying “the Lord says.”

3 tn Heb “in my ears.”

sn They had expressed the longing to have died in the wilderness, and not in war. God will now give them that. They would not say to God “your will be done,” so he says to them, “your will be done” (to borrow from C. S. Lewis).

4 tn Or “your corpses” (also in vv. 32, 33).

5 tn The relative pronoun “which” is joined with the resumptive pronoun “in it” to form a smoother reading “where.”

6 tn The Hebrew text uses the anthropomorphic expression “I raised my hand” in taking an oath.

7 tn Heb “to cause you to dwell; to cause you to settle.”

8 tn Or “plunder.”

9 tn Heb “know.”

10 tn The word is “shepherds.” It means that the people would be wilderness nomads, grazing their flock on available land.

11 tn Heb “you shall bear your whoredoms.” The imagery of prostitution is used throughout the Bible to reflect spiritual unfaithfulness, leaving the covenant relationship and following after false gods. Here it is used generally for their rebellion in the wilderness, but not for following other gods.

12 tn The infinitive is from תָּמַם (tamam), which means “to be complete.” The word is often used to express completeness in a good sense – whole, blameless, or the like. Here and in v. 35 it seems to mean “until your deaths have been completed.” See also Gen 47:15; Deut 2:15.

13 tn Heb “you shall bear.”

14 tn The phrase refers to the consequences of open hostility to God, or perhaps abandonment of God. The noun תְּנוּאָה (tÿnuah) occurs in Job 33:10 (perhaps). The related verb occurs in Num 30:6 HT (30:5 ET) and 32:7 with the sense of “disallow, discourage.” The sense of the expression adopted in this translation comes from the meticulous study of R. Loewe, “Divine Frustration Exegetically Frustrated,” Words and Meanings, 137-58.

15 tn The verb is the Hiphil infinitive construct with a lamed (ל) preposition from the root יָצָא (yatsa’, “to bring out”). The use of the infinitive here is epexegetical, that is, explaining how they caused the people to murmur.



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