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It appears that the people of Israel during the time of Exodus were so stubborn. They rebelled many times, grumbled against Moses and God over and over again. In spite of seeing all the miracles that God performed right before their very eyes, they were always questioning God. But the next generation were obedient under the leadership of Joshua.

What could be the reason of their stubbornness? Was it because they were illiterate? Was it because they were raised as slaves which made them hard and obstinate?

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2 Answers 2

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Ultimately, I believe scripture would say that they were stubborn because they were people. Their education and position had nothing to do with their rebellion against God. They were rebellious simply because it was in their character.

This nature isn't limited to the Jews only, but also to everyone in the world. As Paul says in Romans 3:9-18:

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

This rebelliousness and stubbornness of people is the foundation for why Christ came to die. We were rebellious and did not love Christ, but He loved us anyways, so he came to die to pay the penalty for our sin.

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The next generation under Joshua seemed obedient, how can we explain this? –  Mawia Mar 1 '13 at 4:49
    
Well, on the whole, the Israelites did obey God, but that doesn't mean that there were those among them who didn't. Achan was a good example, who took some of the devoted things, and in Joshua 7:1, God's anger burned against the Israelites. They were also deceived by the Gibeonites because they didn't consult the Lord. For a while they obeyed better than their parents, but more than likely out of fear. That being said, their fear-based obedience didn't last. Keep in mind that Judges is immediately after Joshua. –  David Morton Mar 1 '13 at 12:26

They refused the knowledge of God for the same reasons many do today. The life that the God of the Old Testament wants you to lead is hard. We cannot just do as we please. There are consequences to our actions. Though you may escape earthly punishment for your evil deeds you will not escape them in your afterlife. It is easy to see why such a message would be unpopular with people. Hedonism had just as much of a pulling power on people's lives then as what they do now.

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