1 These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel, at the other side of the Jordan River, in the Arabah desert. They were facing Suf, between Paran, Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth and Dizahab. 2 From Mount Horeb to Kadesh-Barnea they had had a journey of eleven days through the mountains of Seir. 3 But now it was the first day of the eleventh month of the fortieth year after they left Egypt, when Moses told the children of Israel all that Yahweh had commanded him regarding them.
4 After defeating Sihon, the king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and Og, the king of Bashan who ruled in Ashta roth and in Edrei, 5 Moses began to ex plain this law. They were in the land of Moab, at the other side of the Jordan.
First discourse of Moses: the judges
6 Moses said, “Yahweh, our God, spoke to us at Mount Horeb: ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain. 7 Leave this place and go into the territory of the Amorites and to its neighboring peoples in the Arabah, the Mountains, the Lowlands, the Negeb and the seacoast, into the land of Canaan and Lebanon up to the great Euphrates River.
8 Look: I offer you this land; you will take possession of it and live in the land which Yahweh swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and to all their descendants.’
9 I said to you at that time: ‘I alone can not be responsible for all of you. 10 Yah weh, your God, has multiplied you, and now, you are as numerous as the stars in heaven. 11 May Yahweh, the God of your fathers, increase you a thousand times more and bless you just as he promised.
12 But how can I alone resolve all your problems and disputes? 13 Look for intelligent, keen-sighted and experienced men from each of your tribes, and I will place them over the people.’
14 And you answered: ‘What you ask us to do is right.’ 15 Thus, I chose from among the heads of your tribes wise and experienced men and placed them over you as leaders of the thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens, and also as secretaries for each tribe. 16 And I gave this order to the judges: ‘Attend to the complaints of your brothers, and judge with justice the law suit between an Israelite and his brother, or between an Israelite and a foreigner who lives in your midst.
17 Do not be influenced by anyone when you judge, but listen to the poor and the rich alike, to the powerful as well as the weak, and do not be afraid of anyone because you act in place of God. And if there arises a very difficult case for you, refer this to me and I will attend to it.’
18 At that time, I established what you had to do.
Rebellion at Kadesh
19 Finally, having left Horeb, we passed through that wide and terrible desert that we saw, on the way to the hill country of the Amorites, as Yahweh had commanded us, and arriving at Kadesh-Barnea, 20 I said to you:
20 ‘We have come to the mountain of the Amorites which Yahweh, our God, gives us. 21 Look, Israel, at the land which Yah weh gives you; take possession of that which was promised to your ancestors. Do not be afraid or discouraged.’
22 Then all of you gathered around me and said to me: ‘Better send some men before us to explore the land and map out the roads leading to the cities where we are to go.’
23 That was a good suggestion, so I took twelve men from among you, one from each tribe, 24 who set out and climbed the mountains on foot until they came to the Valley of the Grapevines. 25 And once there, they took with them the fruits of the valley, and upon their return recounted to us what they had seen. They told us: ‘The land which Yah weh gives us is a good land.’
26 Nevertheless, you did not want to go up into the mountains but rebelled against the commands of Yahweh. 27 And you began to murmur in your tents: ‘Yahweh does not like us; he made us leave Egypt to turn us over to the Amo rites who in turn will kill us all. 28 Where shall we go? The messengers have frightened us with what they told us: The people who live in the land are greater and taller than us. The cities are great and are fortified with high walls. We have seen giants there as in times past.’
29 Then I said to you: ‘Have no fear and do not be afraid of them. 30 Yahweh who leads you will likewise fight for you as he did in Egypt. 31 You have also seen what he did in the desert where he carried you all the way just as a father carries his son, until we came to this place.’
32 But still you would not believe Yahweh, our God, 33 who went before you in all your journeys, and has instructed you where to set up camp; by night he has shown you the way with fire and by day with a cloud.
34 And when Yahweh heard the rumblings of your complaints, he was angry and he swore: 35 Not one from this perverse generation will see the beautiful land which I swore to give to your ancestors 36 except Caleb, the son of Jephun neh. He shall see it and I will give him and his children the land upon which he trod because he has faithfully followed Yah weh.
37 Yahweh was angry with me as well because of your fault, and he said to me: ‘Nei ther will you enter there; 38 but your assistant, Joshua, the son of Nun, will enter. En courage him because he will be the one to give Israel its inheritance. 39 Your children will enter there; to them will I give the land, and they will possess it although you feared they would become the prey of your enemies. 40 But as for you, go back into the desert by the Red Sea.’
41 And you answered me: ‘We have sinned against Yahweh, our God. Now, we will go and fight as he has commanded us.’ So each one took his weapons and thought it easy to climb the mountains. 42 But Yahweh told me: ‘Tell them not to go and fight because I am not with them, or else they will be defeated by the enemy.’
43 I told you this but you did not listen. You disobeyed the order of Yahweh and went up to the mountains instead. 44 Then the Amorites who live on those mountains came out to meet you; they struck you and pursued you like bees from Seir to Hormah. 45 And you returned with much weeping in the presence of Yahweh who did not want to hear you nor listen to your voice. 46 So you were to remain at Kadesh for many days; and you know how long it was.