In 14:28-38, Hashem announces the punishment for the sin of the spies. - the spies themselves would die in a plague, and the people would be forced to wander the desert for 40 years (1 year per day of the spies trip through Israel), and the people would die in the desert and not enter the land - only their children would be able to.
I do not udnerstand what the people did so bad here to deserve the punishment they received. If one looks at the psukim, all we see is the spies returning, giving their report of the land and their recommendation, even a demand, that they refuse to enter the land.
The people then complained that Hashem brought them up just to kill them in the desert and maybe they should go back to Egypt.
Is this the first time the people complained? Is this the first time the people suggested they return to Egypt? They have been complaining non-stop since they left Egypt, constantly talking about how good they had it!
The punishment of the spies I understand. But the punishment of the people perplexes me. What did they do so bad to deserve what they got? Why is the complaining this time different than any other time?
No answer I have thought has been satisfactory, so if you can suggest anything, I would appreciate it....