During these years of wandering in the wilderness, Moses`
patience was continually tested by the murmurings,
grumblings, and complaints of the people. At one point,
Moses` patience reached its breaking point and he sinned
against the Lord, in anger against the people. When the
people again grumbled against Moses, saying they had no
water, the Lord told Moses to speak to the rock and water
would flow forth. Instead, Moses lifted his hand and struck
the rock twice with his rod. Apparently because he
disobeyed the Lord in this act, Moses was not permitted to
enter the Promised Land (Num. 20:1-13). That privilege
would belong to his successor, Joshua.
Moses sent 12 spies, one from each of the 12 tribes of
Israel, into Canaan to explore the land. The spies returned
with glowing reports of the fruitfulness of the land. They
brought back samples of its figs and pomegranates and a
cluster of grapes so large that it had to be carried
between two men on a pole (Num. 13:1-25). The majority of
the spies, however, voted against the invasion of the land
because of the huge inhabitants of Canaan, and fortified
cities "walled to heaven". It was a report of doom. Yet two
of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, brought back a report full
of faith and encouragement.
But the people lost heart and rebelled, refusing to enter
Canaan and crying for a new leader who would take them back
to Egypt. To punish them for their lack of faith, God
condemned all of that generation, except Caleb and Joshua,
to perish in the wilderness for 40 years (Num. 14:26-38).
All those 20 years old and up would indeed perish in the
wilderness with the exception of Joshua and Caleb.
After 40 years the sandglass ran out and Moses brought the
tribes back to Kadesh. They camped on the plains of Moab
where Moses spoke to them for the last time. Moses then
turned his leadership over to Joshua. God led him to the
top of Mount Nebo to see the land and there Moses died.