New English Translation
Theological Justification of the Conquest
1 Listen, Israel: Today you are about to cross the Jordan so you can dispossess the nations there, people greater and stronger than you who live in large cities with extremely high fortifications. 2 They include the Anakites, a numerous and tall people whom you know about and of whom it is said, "Who is able to resist the Anakites?" 3 Understand today that the LORD your God who goes before you is a devouring fire; he will defeat and subdue them before you. You will dispossess and destroy them quickly just as he has told you. 4 Do not think to yourself after the LORD your God has driven them out before you, "Because of my own righteousness the LORD has brought me here to possess this land." It is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out ahead of you. 5 It is not because of your righteousness, or even your inner uprightness, that you have come here to possess their land. Instead, because of the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God is driving them out ahead of you in order to confirm the promise he made on oath to your ancestors, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 6 Understand, therefore, that it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is about to give you this good land as a possession, for you are a stubborn people!
The History of Israel's Stubbornness
7 Remember - don't ever forget - how you provoked the LORD your God in the desert; from the time you left the land of Egypt until you came to this place you were constantly rebelling against him. 8 At Horeb you provoked him and he was angry enough with you to destroy you. 9 When I went up the mountain to receive the stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant that the LORD made with you, I remained there forty days and nights, eating and drinking nothing. 10 The LORD gave me the two stone tablets, written by the very finger of God, and on them was everything he said to you at the mountain from the midst of the fire at the time of that assembly. 11 Now at the end of the forty days and nights the LORD presented me with the two stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant. 12 And he said to me, "Get up, go down at once from here because your people whom you brought out of Egypt have sinned! They have quickly turned from the way I commanded them and have made for themselves a cast metal image." 13 Moreover, he said to me, "I have taken note of these people; they are a stubborn lot! 14 Stand aside and I will destroy them, obliterating their very name from memory, and I will make you into a stronger and more numerous nation than they are."
15 So I turned and went down the mountain while it was blazing with fire; the two tablets of the covenant were in my hands. 16 When I looked, you had indeed sinned against the LORD your God and had cast for yourselves a metal calf; you had quickly turned aside from the way he had commanded you! 17 I grabbed the two tablets, threw them down, and shattered them before your very eyes. 18 Then I again fell down before the LORD for forty days and nights; I ate and drank nothing because of all the sin you had committed, doing such evil before the LORD as to enrage him. 19 For I was terrified at the LORD's intense anger that threatened to destroy you. But he listened to me this time as well. 20 The LORD was also angry enough at Aaron to kill him, but at that time I prayed for him too. 21 As for your sinful thing that you had made, the calf, I took it, melted it down, ground it up until it was as fine as dust, and tossed the dust into the stream that flows down the mountain. 22 Moreover, you continued to provoke the LORD at Taberah, Massah, and Kibroth-Hattaavah. 23 And when he sent you from Kadesh-Barnea and told you, "Go up and possess the land I have given you," you rebelled against the LORD your God and would neither believe nor obey him. 24 You have been rebelling against him from the very first day I knew you!
Moses' Plea on Behalf of the LORD's Reputation
25 I lay flat on the ground before the LORD for forty days and nights, for he had said he would destroy you. 26 I prayed to him: O, LORD God, do not destroy your people, your valued property that you have powerfully redeemed, whom you brought out of Egypt by your strength. 27 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; ignore the stubbornness, wickedness, and sin of these people. 28 Otherwise the people of the land from which you brought us will say, "The LORD was unable to bring them to the land he promised them, and because of his hatred for them he has brought them out to kill them in the desert." 29 They are your people, your valued property, whom you brought out with great strength and power.
King James Version
1 Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven,
2 A people great and tall, the children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest, and of whom thou hast heard say, Who can stand before the children of Anak!
3 Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee.
4 Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee.
5 Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
6 Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.
7 ¶ Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the LORD thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the LORD.
8 Also in Horeb ye provoked the LORD to wrath, so that the LORD was angry with you to have destroyed you.
9 When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water:
10 And the LORD delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the LORD spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly.
11 And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the LORD gave me the two tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant.
12 And the LORD said unto me, Arise, get thee down quickly from hence; for thy people which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt have corrupted themselves; they are quickly turned aside out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten image.
13 Furthermore the LORD spake unto me, saying, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:
14 Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven: and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they.
15 So I turned and came down from the mount, and the mount burned with fire: and the two tables of the covenant were in my two hands.
16 And I looked, and, behold, ye had sinned against the LORD your God, and had made you a molten calf: ye had turned aside quickly out of the way which the LORD had commanded you.
17 And I took the two tables, and cast them out of my two hands, and brake them before your eyes.
18 And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
19 For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure, wherewith the LORD was wroth against you to destroy you. But the LORD hearkened unto me at that time also.
20 And the LORD was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also the same time.
21 And I took your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire, and stamped it, and ground it very small, even until it was as small as dust: and I cast the dust thereof into the brook that descended out of the mount.
22 And at Taberah, and at Massah, and at Kibroth-hattaavah, ye provoked the LORD to wrath.
23 Likewise when the LORD sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, Go up and possess the land which I have given you; then ye rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God, and ye believed him not, nor hearkened to his voice.
24 Ye have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you.
25 Thus I fell down before the LORD forty days and forty nights, as I fell down at the first; because the LORD had said he would destroy you.
26 I prayed therefore unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand.
27 Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; look not unto the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin:
28 Lest the land whence thou broughtest us out say, Because the LORD was not able to bring them into the land which he promised them, and because he hated them, he hath brought them out to slay them in the wilderness.
29 Yet they are thy people and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and by thy stretched out arm.