Numbers 14:11 Commentary

Num 14:11  And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them? 

In Numbers 14:11 God wonders how long Israel will reject Him. God has brought Israel out of Egypt and to the border of the Promised Land. The people send in spies, but those spies return with bad news. The people long for the days when they were in Egypt.

God appears at the tent of the people of Israel and engages in a conversation with Moses. The conversation plays out much like Exodus 32. God tells Moses His plans, and informs Moses that God will make a new nation from Moses. But Moses prays for the people. Moses wins out.

No emotions are ascribed to God, except exasperation that can be seen in verse 11. God is making a calculation. God has waited for Israel to become a loyal nation, but His hopes have not materialized. He wishes to start again with a new nation to see if that will work. He tells Moses this plan. Moses prays for the people, and God repents.

But God’s change of heart is not one that will allow Israel to go unpunished, because God has been waiting for a faith that never materialized, and there is no end in site, God resolves to send Israel back into the wilderness and watch their dead bodies fall (v29). God’s exasperation is repeated in verse 27.

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