Good News Translation (GNB)

The People Complain

141All night long the people cried out in distress. 2They complained against Moses and Aaron, and said, “It would have been better to die in Egypt or even here in the wilderness! 3Why is the LORD taking us into that land? We will be killed in battle, and our wives and children will be captured. Wouldn't it be better to go back to Egypt?” 4So they said to one another, “Let's choose a leader and go back to Egypt!”

5Then Moses and Aaron bowed to the ground in front of all the people. 6And Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, two of the spies, tore their clothes in sorrow 7and said to the people, “The land we explored is an excellent land. 8If the LORD is pleased with us, he will take us there and give us that rich and fertile land. 9

Heb 3.16
Do not rebel against the LORD and don't be afraid of the people who live there. We will conquer them easily. The LORD is with us and has defeated the gods who protected them; so don't be afraid.” 10The whole community was threatening to stone them to death, but suddenly the people saw the dazzling light of the LORD's presence appear over the tent.

Moses Prays for the People

11The LORD said to Moses, “How much longer will these people reject me? How much longer will they refuse to trust in me, even though I have performed so many miracles among them? 12I will send an epidemic and destroy them, but I will make you the father of a nation that is larger and more powerful than they are!”


Ex 32.11–14
But Moses said to the LORD, “You brought these people out of Egypt by your power. When the Egyptians hear what you have done to your people, 14they will tell it to the people who live in this land. These people have already heard that you, LORD, are with us, that you are plainly seen when your cloud stops over us, and that you go before us in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. 15Now if you kill all your people, the nations who have heard of your fame will say 16that you killed your people in the wilderness because you were not able to bring them into the land you promised to give them. 17So now LORD, I pray, show us your power and do what you promised when you said, 18
Ex 20.5–6
Deut 5.9–10
‘I, the LORD, am not easily angered, and I show great love and faithfulness and forgive sin and rebellion. Yet I will not fail to punish children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation for the sins of their parents.’ 19And now, LORD, according to the greatness of your unchanging love, forgive, I pray, the sin of these people, just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt.”

20The LORD answered, “I will forgive them, as you have asked. 21

Heb 3.18
But I promise that as surely as I live and as surely as my presence fills the earth, 22none of these people will live to enter that land. They have seen the dazzling light of my presence and the miracles that I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, but they have tried my patience over and over again and have refused to obey me. 23They will never enter the land which I promised to their ancestors. None of those who have rejected me will ever enter it. 24
Josh 14.9–12
But because my servant Caleb has a different attitude and has remained loyal to me, I will bring him into the land which he explored, and his descendants will possess the land 25in whose valleys the Amalekites and the Canaanites now live. Turn back tomorrow and go into the wilderness in the direction of the Gulf of Aqaba.”

The Lord Punishes the People for Complaining

26The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 27“How much longer are these wicked people going to complain against me? I have heard enough of these complaints! 28Now give them this answer: ‘I swear that as surely as I live, I will do to you just what you have asked. I, the LORD, have spoken. 29

Heb 3.17
You will die and your corpses will be scattered across this wilderness. Because you have complained against me, none of you over twenty years of age will enter that land. 30I promised to let you live there, but not one of you will, except Caleb and Joshua. 31You said that your children would be captured, but I will bring them into the land that you rejected, and it will be their home. 32You will die here in this wilderness. 33
Acts 7.36
Your children will wander in the wilderness for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last one of you dies. 34You will suffer the consequences of your sin for forty years, one year for each of the forty days you spent exploring the land. You will know what it means to have me against you! 35I swear that I will do this to you wicked people who have gathered together against me. Here in the wilderness every one of you will die. I, the LORD, have spoken.’ ”

36-37The men Moses had sent to explore the land brought back a false report which caused the people to complain against the LORD. And so the LORD struck them with a disease, and they died. 38Of the twelve spies only Joshua and Caleb survived.

The First Attempt to Invade the Land

(Deut 1.41–46)

39When Moses told the Israelites what the LORD had said, they mourned bitterly. 40Early the next morning they started out to invade the hill country, saying, “Now we are ready to go to the place which the LORD told us about. We admit that we have sinned.”

41But Moses said, “Then why are you disobeying the LORD now? You will not succeed! 42Don't go. The LORD is not with you, and your enemies will defeat you. 43When you face the Amalekites and the Canaanites, you will die in battle; the LORD will not be with you, because you have refused to follow him.”

44Yet they still dared to go up into the hill country, even though neither the LORD's Covenant Box nor Moses left the camp. 45Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived there attacked and defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hormah.


Laws about Sacrifice

151The LORD gave Moses 2the following regulations for the people of Israel to observe in the land that he was going to give them. 3A bull, a ram, a sheep, or a goat may be presented to the LORD as a burnt offering or as a sacrifice in fulfilment of a vow or as a freewill offering or as an offering at your regular religious festivals; the smell of these food offerings is pleasing to the LORD. 4-5Whoever presents a sheep or a goat as a burnt offering to the LORD is to bring with each animal a kilogramme of flour mixed with one litre of olive oil as a grain offering, together with one litre of wine. 6When a ram is offered, two kilogrammes of flour mixed with 1.5 litres of olive oil are to be presented as a grain offering, 7together with 1.5 litres of wine. The smell of these sacrifices is pleasing to the LORD. 8When a bull is offered to the LORD as a burnt offering or as a sacrifice in fulfilment of a vow or as a fellowship offering, 9a grain offering of three kilogrammes of flour mixed with two litres of olive oil is to be presented, 10together with two litres of wine. The smell of this sacrifice is pleasing to the LORD.

11That is what shall be offered with each bull, ram, sheep, or goat. 12When more than one animal is offered, the accompanying offering is to be increased proportionately. 13All native Israelites are to do this when they present a food offering, a smell pleasing to the LORD. 14And if at any time foreigners living among you, whether on a temporary or a permanent basis, make a food offering, a smell that pleases the LORD, they are to observe the same regulations. 15For all time to come, the same15.15 Some ancient translations the same; Hebrew the congregation the same. rules are binding on you and on the foreigners who live among you. You and they are alike in the LORD's sight; 16

Lev 24.22
the same laws and regulations apply to you and to them.

17The LORD gave Moses 18the following regulations for the people of Israel to observe in the land that he was going to give them. 19When any food produced there is eaten, some of it is to be set aside as a special contribution to the LORD. 20When you bake bread, the first loaf of the first bread made from the new corn is to be presented as a special contribution to the LORD. This is to be presented in the same way as the special contribution you make from the corn you thresh. 21For all time to come, this special gift is to be given to the LORD from the bread you bake.

22But suppose someone unintentionally fails to keep some of these regulations which the LORD has given Moses. 23And suppose that in the future the community fails to do everything that the LORD commanded through Moses. 24If the mistake was made because of the ignorance of the community, they are to offer a bull as a burnt offering, a smell that pleases the LORD, with the proper grain offering and wine offering. In addition, they are to offer a male goat as a sin offering. 25The priest shall perform the ritual of purification for the community, and they will be forgiven, because the mistake was unintentional and they brought their sin offering as a food offering to the LORD. 26The whole community of Israel and the foreigners living among them will be forgiven, because everyone was involved in the mistake.


Lev 4.27–31
If an individual sins unintentionally, he is to offer a one-year-old female goat as a sin offering. 28At the altar the priest shall perform the ritual of purification to purify the person from his sin, and he will be forgiven. 29The same regulation applies to all who unintentionally commit a sin, whether they are native Israelites or resident foreigners.

30But any person who sins deliberately, whether he is a native or a foreigner, is guilty of treating the LORD with contempt, and he shall be put to death, 31because he has rejected what the LORD said and has deliberately broken one of his commands. He is responsible for his own death.

The Man who Broke the Sabbath

32Once, while the Israelites were still in the wilderness, a man was found gathering firewood on the Sabbath. 33He was taken to Moses, Aaron, and the whole community, 34and was put under guard, because it was not clear what should be done with him. 35Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man must be put to death; the whole community is to stone him to death outside the camp.” 36So the whole community took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the LORD had commanded.

Rules about Tassels

37The LORD commanded Moses 38

Deut 22.12
to say to the people of Israel: “Make tassels on the corners of your garments and put a blue cord on each tassel. You are to do this for all time to come. 39The tassels will serve as reminders, and each time you see them you will remember all my commands and obey them; then you will not turn away from me and follow your own wishes and desires. 40The tassels will remind you to keep all my commands, and you will belong completely to me. 41I am the LORD your God; I brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the LORD.”


The Rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram


Jude 1.11
Korah son of Izhar, from the Levite clan of Kohath, rebelled against the leadership of Moses. He was joined by three members of the tribe of Reuben — Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth — and by 250 other Israelites, well-known leaders chosen by the community. 3They assembled before Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! All the members of the community belong to the LORD, and the LORD is with all of us. Why, then, Moses, do you set yourself above the LORD's community?”

4When Moses heard this, he threw himself on the ground and prayed. 5Then he said to Korah and his followers, “Tomorrow morning the LORD will show us who belongs to him; he will let the one who belongs to him, that is, the one he has chosen, approach him at the altar. 6-7Tomorrow morning you and your followers take firepans, put live coals and incense on them, and take them to the altar. Then we will see which of us the LORD has chosen. You Levites are the ones who have gone too far!”

8Moses continued to speak to Korah. “Listen, you Levites! 9Do you consider it a small matter that the God of Israel has set you apart from the rest of the community, so that you can approach him, perform your service in the LORD's Tent, and minister to the community and serve them? 10He has let you and all the other Levites have this honour — and now you are trying to get the priesthood too! 11When you complain against Aaron, it is really against the LORD that you and your followers are rebelling.”

12Then Moses sent for Dathan and Abiram, but they said, “We will not come! 13Isn't it enough that you have brought us out of the fertile land of Egypt to kill us here in the wilderness? Do you also have to lord it over us? 14You certainly have not brought us into a fertile land or given us fields and vineyards as our possession, and now you are trying to deceive us. We will not come!”

15Moses was angry and said to the LORD, “Do not accept any offerings these men bring. I have not wronged any of them; I have not even taken one of their donkeys.”

16Moses said to Korah, “Tomorrow you and your 250 followers must come to the Tent of the LORD's presence; Aaron will also be there. 17Each of you will take his firepan, put incense on it, and then present it at the altar.” 18So every man took his firepan, put live coals and incense on it, and stood at the entrance of the Tent with Moses and Aaron. 19Then Korah gathered the whole community, and they stood facing Moses and Aaron at the entrance of the Tent. Suddenly the dazzling light of the LORD's presence appeared to the whole community, 20and the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 21“Stand back from these people, and I will destroy them immediately.”

22But Moses and Aaron bowed down with their faces to the ground and said, “O God, you are the source of all life. When one person sins, do you get angry with the whole community?”

23The LORD said to Moses, 24“Tell the people to move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.”

25Then Moses, accompanied by the leaders of Israel, went to Dathan and Abiram. 26He said to the people, “Stand away from the tents of these wicked men and don't touch anything that belongs to them. Otherwise, you will be wiped out with them for all their sins.” 27So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.

Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing at the entrance of their tents, with their wives and children. 28Moses said to the people, “This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me to do all these things and that it is not by my own choice that I have done them. 29If these men die a natural death without some punishment from God, then the LORD did not send me. 30But if the LORD does something unheard of, and the earth opens up and swallows them with all they own, so that they go down alive to the world of the dead, you will know that these men have rejected the LORD.”

31As soon as he had finished speaking, the ground under Dathan and Abiram split open 32and swallowed them and their families, together with all of Korah's followers and their possessions. 33So they went down alive to the world of the dead, with their possessions. The earth closed over them, and they vanished. 34All the people of Israel who were there fled when they heard their cry. They shouted, “Run! The earth might swallow us too!”

35Then the LORD sent a fire that blazed out and burnt up the 250 men who had presented the incense.

The Firepans

36Then the LORD said to Moses, 37“Tell Eleazar son of Aaron the priest to remove the bronze firepans from the remains of the men who have been burnt, and scatter the coals from the firepans somewhere else, because the firepans are holy. 38They became holy when they were presented at the LORD's altar. So take the firepans of these men who were put to death for their sin, beat them into thin plates, and make a covering for the altar. It will be a warning to the people of Israel.” 39So Eleazar the priest took the firepans and had them beaten into thin plates to make a covering for the altar. 40This was a warning to the Israelites that no one who was not a descendant of Aaron should come to the altar to burn incense for the LORD. Otherwise he would be destroyed like Korah and his men. All this was done as the LORD had commanded Eleazar through Moses.

Aaron Saves the People

41The next day the whole community complained against Moses and Aaron and said, “You have killed some of the LORD's people.” 42After they had all gathered to protest to Moses and Aaron, they turned towards the Tent and saw that the cloud was covering it and that the dazzling light of the LORD's presence had appeared. 43Moses and Aaron went and stood in front of the Tent, 44and the LORD said to Moses, 45“Stand back from these people, and I will destroy them on the spot!”

The two of them bowed down with their faces to the ground, 46and Moses said to Aaron, “Take your firepan, put live coals from the altar in it, and put some incense on the coals. Then hurry with it to the people and perform the ritual of purification for them. Hurry! The LORD's anger has already broken out and an epidemic has already begun.” 47Aaron obeyed, took his firepan and ran into the middle of the assembled people. When he saw that the plague had already begun, he put the incense on the coals and performed the ritual of purification for the people. 48This stopped the plague, and he was left standing between the living and the dead. 49The number of people who died was 14,700, not counting those who died in Korah's rebellion. 50When the plague had stopped, Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance of the Tent.