Why 40 Years of wandering and plagues and punishment for the Jews, the children of Israel?

Because the ancient Jews constantly murmured against God and rejected God and his overtures (like all of us have at times).  Even though they should have

“Sinai Desert” – Credit: dreamstime.com

known that God had taken them out of slavery to SERVE God not for GOD to serve them.



Even today, many if not most human beings, seem to think that God is their servant, and most continue to reject the creator of the Universe. Below are many examples of how they rejected God:

Exodus 14:11 –Just before the parting of the sea, the Israelites were already complaining when they heard that Egypt’s army was chasing after them , they said:Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?
Exodus 15:24 – The people murmured against God  for water
Exodus 16:2 They murmured against God for food wishing that they had died in Egypt……..Then God gave them Mana to gather every day (God was testing them to see if they would walk in his instruction 16:4).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ex 16:20 They hoarded the Mana overnight, in disobedience to Moses, due to lack of trust in God .  Exodus 17:3 and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst.                                                                                                                                                                                                  Exodus 32:1 They worshipped a molten calf. “And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him,  make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him”.
Numbers 11:1 And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled (about no Meat to eat, they were tired of Mana.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Numbers 11:11 Moses complained about his difficult job = And Moses said unto the LORD, “Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favor in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me?”
Numbers 11:21:  Moses doubted God “ And Moses said, The people, among whom I am, are six hundred thousand footmen; and thou hast said, I will give them flesh, that they may eat
a whole month.   22Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them, to suffice them? or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to suffice them?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Numbers 14:2 And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron: “Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! (Due to the 12 spies bad report on the promised land – they spied out land for 40 days and thus God made the Israelites wander 1 year for every day that the spies were. surveying the land.
Also the children whom the Israelites said would become Prey, only they would go into the promised land.  Thus a whole generation would perish in the 40 years Num 14: 29-34; Numbers 14:23: 23Surely they shall not see the land which I swore unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it”)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Numbers 16:3: Mutiny against Moses by some saying why does he or Aaron exalt themselves greater than the congregation.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Numbers 16:41 Mutiny against Moses and Aaron again – all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, “Ye have killed the people of the LORD”.

Numbers 20:3 Murmured again for lack of water saying, “if only we had perished when our brothers perished before the Lord”.
Numbers 21:5 They murmured against God and Moses due to lack of food and water and saying they loathed the “miserable food”.
Numbers 25:1 they played the harlot with the daughters of Moab.

Here is the chapter which highlights the events culminating in the 40 year punishment:

Numbers 14 1And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.    2And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!  3And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? Were it not better for us to return into Egypt?

4And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.  5Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of
20And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word: 21But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD. 22Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;   23Surely they shall not see the
land which I swore unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: 24But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.   25(Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwelt in the valley.) Tomorrow turn you, and get you into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea.

26And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, 27How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.  28Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you:  29Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward which have murmured against me. 30Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I swore to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.

31But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.  32But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness.    33And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.

34After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.    35I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.

36And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land,

37Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD.

38But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of the men that went to search the land, lived still.

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