A Humanist perspective on what we can learn about what is morality from the Bible.
Numbers 14: Woe is us
The congregation whines – we should have stayed in Egypt. God has had enough of the whining. He wants to kill everyone except for Caleb and Joshua and Moses and Aaron and give them a fresh congregation to work with. Moses asks him not to. So instead he only kills the princes who had spied on the land and spoke against invasion. Caleb and Joshua were spared because they advocated for invasion. Everyone else over the age of 20 is condemned to die in the wilderness and God will allow their children to enter into the land of Canaan 40 years from now. The people repent and agree to go in, but it is too late. God is pissed and everyone who tries is killed by the Amalekites and Canaanites who dwell in that land.
In other words:
The people complain, yet again, and God kills a bunch of them in anger.
Numbers 14:2 0 Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!
Second Favorite bit:
That Moses talks God out of killing everyone by telling him, look – if you kill everyone, it will be seen as a failure. You are the leader. If you have to kill all your followers, you aren’t a very good leader. Let them live. (Numbers 14:13-16) The best part is the God buys this argument.
Least favorite bit:
Numbers 14:40-45 – Too little too late. We’re sorry – we’ll do what you want – oops – all dead.
My moral commentary on this chapter:
I have mixed feelings about the whininess of the congregation. They are acting like normal humans. I can totally understand God’s frustration with them, on the other hand, I’m a parent. And as a parent, yeah – sometimes you have to threaten to take away a child’s reward to get them to comply with your wishes. But when they comply, you should reward them. Punishing them with death for finally complying because they took a while to get with the program seems counterproductive to me.
Moral Lesson Learned:
Don’t blame your followers for your failure of leadership (Numbers 14)