Moses marries a black woman. This causes Aaron and Miriam to freak out.
Humanity doesn’t really change, does it?
This causes them to complain and ask why Moses in in charge.
I don’t know, guys, it might be that whenever anyone asks why Moses should be in charge, God burns with fire or sends a pestilence or opens the ground underneath them. Being backed by a homicidal deity seems like a pretty good argument for why you should be the leader.
But they don’t listen and they want the top job or at least to share in the top job.
And look, they make God angry.
God: Get your butts to my tent NOW.
He probably used their full names to make sure they knew they were in trouble.
Anyway they get out to the tent and God tells them that Moses is so great that He speaks to Moses face to face while He only speaks to His other prophets in confusing sayings and dark dreams. Which… why? Do you know how much easier things would be if God would just talk to all of us? He could solve our religious conflicts. He could solve our political conflicts. He could tell us if He hates abortion. He could tell us if He likes gay folks. He could tell us if He’s for gun control. No more guess work.
Anyway, God strikes Miriam with leprosy for seven days, and Moses is the most humble man ever.
God: Go send spies in the land of Canaan, so they can bring back a report of its strengths and weaknesses.
Moses: Why would we do that?
God: What do you mean?
Moses: Well, you’re God… and you’re all knowing, so you already know the land, and you’re all powerful, like you just killed Egypt, so can’t we just march up to the first city you tell us to go to and you’ll make the walls fall down or something and we’ll charge in an kill everyone and take control of the land?
God: Ummmmmm… I’m… busy… doing… stuff… yeah… God stuff… you wouldn’t understand…. Send out some spies.
And these are the names of all of the spies and what families they’re from, but you only have to know two of them: Joshua and Caleb, because Spoiler Alert, God kills the rest of them very soon.
So they go and walk around and look at the land and find some giant grapes and come back where Moses has apparently called all of Israel to hear the intelligence report.
Joshua: Uh… are you sure that’s wise… I mean, I know movies haven’t been invented yet, but publicly broadcasting information gleaned from spies seems like a REALLY bad idea, Moe.
Moses: I don’t see how…
Spies: The land is awesome, but we’re all going to die.
Israel: You suck, Moses… we should go back to Egypt… where there’s no food… or animals… and everyone hates us and probably want to kill us…
Caleb: No one’s really been paying attention for the last few books, have they? God’s a killer, man…stone cold killer… all we need to do is walk in and just let God loose…
Israel: You suck too! We should kill Moses and Aaron and Joshua and Caleb.
God: Oh, hey, I’m back… how’d the spying thing… go… O-kay, I’m going to kill everyone now.
Moses: Whoa… whoa… sloooow down there, Lord… think of what the Egyptians will say.
God: There aren’t any Egyptians left. They all starved to death. I destroyed all the food, remember?
Moses: Okay, but still, it’s bad form to just kill everyone all willy nilly.
God: Fine. Go march around the desert until everyone dies. Except Joshua and Caleb.
Moses: Uh… and Moses… right?
Moses: And Moses… right?
God: … It’s cool if I kill the other spies, right?
Moses: Sigh… sure, Lord… knock yourself out.
Spies: URK! (falls to the ground dead)
Israel: We really made a mistake, didn’t we? Okay, we’ll go into the land.
Moses: Sigh… I’ll wait here.
Several hours later, they return looking beaten up and bloody and missing quite a few people.
Israel: Okay, let’s get wandering.