Israel Provoked God
1“Hear, O Israel! You are crossing over the Jordan today to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you, great cities fortified to heaven, 2a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know and of whom you have heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the sons of Anak?’ 3Know therefore today that it is the Lord your God who is crossing over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and He will subdue them before you, so that you may drive them out and destroy them quickly, just as the Lord has spoken to you.
4“Do not say in your heart when the Lord your God has driven them out before you, ‘Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess this land,’ but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is dispossessing them before you. 5It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God is driving them out before you, in order to confirm the oath which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
6“Know, then, it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people. 7Remember, do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness; from the day that you left the land of Egypt until you arrived at this place, you have been rebellious against the Lord. 8Even at Horeb you provoked the Lord to wrath, and the Lord was so angry with you that He would have destroyed you. 9When I went up to the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which the Lord had made with you, then I remained on the mountain forty days and nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water. 10The Lord gave me the two tablets of stone written by the finger of God; and on them were all the words which the Lord had spoken with you at the mountain from the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly. 11It came about at the end of forty days and nights that the Lord gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant. 12Then the Lord said to me, ‘Arise, go down from here quickly, for your people whom you brought out of Egypt have acted corruptly. They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them; they have made a molten image for themselves.’ 13The Lord spoke further to me, saying, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed, it is a stubborn people. 14Let Me alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven; and I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they.’
15“So I turned and came down from the mountain while the mountain was burning with fire, and the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands. 16And I saw that you had indeed sinned against the Lord your God. You had made for yourselves a molten calf; you had turned aside quickly from the way which the Lord had commanded you. 17I took hold of the two tablets and threw them from my hands and smashed them before your eyes. 18I fell down before the Lord, as at the first, forty days and nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all your sin which you had committed in doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord to provoke Him to anger. 19For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure with which the Lord was wrathful against you in order to destroy you, but the Lord listened to me that time also. 20The Lord was angry enough with Aaron to destroy him; so I also prayed for Aaron at the same time. 21I took your sinful thing, the calf which you had made, and burned it with fire and crushed it, grinding it very small until it was as fine as dust; and I threw its dust into the brook that came down from the mountain.
22“Again at Taberah and at Massah and at Kibroth-hattaavah you provoked the Lord to wrath. 23When the Lord sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, ‘Go up and possess the land which I have given you,’ then you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God; you neither believed Him nor listened to His voice. 24You have been rebellious against the Lord from the day I knew you.
25“So I fell down before the Lord the forty days and nights, which I did because the Lord had said He would destroy you. 26I prayed to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord God, do not destroy Your people, even Your inheritance, whom You have redeemed through Your greatness, whom You have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 27Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; do not look at the stubbornness of this people or at their wickedness or their sin. 28Otherwise the land from which You brought us may say, “Because the Lord was not able to bring them into the land which He had promised them and because He hated them He has brought them out to slay them in the wilderness.” 29Yet they are Your people, even Your inheritance, whom You have brought out by Your great power and Your outstretched arm.’