Nu 13:1-33. The Names of
the Men Who Were Sent to Search the Land.
1, 2. The Lord spake unto Moses, Send thou men,
that they may search the land, of Canaan—Compare De 1:22, whence it appears, that while the
proposal of delegating confidential men from each tribe to explore the
land of Canaan emanated from the people who petitioned for it, the
measure received the special sanction of God, who granted their request
at once as a trial, and a punishment of their distrust.
3. those men were heads of the children of
Israel—Not the princes who are named (Nu
10:14-16, 18-20, 22-27), but
chiefs, leading men though not of the first rank.
16. Oshea—that is, "a desire of
salvation." Jehoshua, by prefixing the name of God, means "divinely
appointed," "head of salvation," "Saviour," the same as Jesus [Mt 1:21, Margin].
17. Get you up this way … , and go up into
the mountain—Mount Seir (De 1:2), which lay directly from Sinai across
the wilderness of Paran, in a northeasterly direction into the southern
parts of the promised land.
20. Now the time was the time of the first
grapes—This was in August, when the first clusters are
gathered. The second are gathered in September, and the third in
October. The spies' absence for a period of forty days determines the
grapes they brought from Eshcol to have been of the second period.
21-24. So they … searched the
land—They advanced from south to north, reconnoitering the
the wilderness of Zin—a long level
plain, or deep valley of sand, the monotony of which is relieved by a
few tamarisk and rethem trees. Under the names of El Ghor and El Araba,
it forms the continuation of the Jordan valley, extending from the Dead
Sea to the Gulf of Akaba.
Rehob—or, Beth-rehob, was a city and
district situated, according to some, eastward of Sidon; and, according
to others, it is the same as El Hule, an extensive and fertile
champaign country, at the foot of Anti-libanus, a few leagues below
as men come to Hamath—or, "the
entering in of Hamath" (2Ki 14:25),
now the valley of Balbeck, a mountain pass or opening in the northern
frontier, which formed the extreme limit in that direction of the
inheritance of Israel. From the mention of these places, the route of
the scouts appears to have been along the course of the Jordan in their
advance; and their return was by the western border through the
territories of the Sidonians and Philistines.
22. unto Hebron—situated in the heart of
the mountains of Judah, in the southern extremity of Palestine. The
town or "cities of Hebron," as it is expressed in the Hebrew,
consists of a number of sheikdoms distinct from each other, standing at
the foot of one of those hills that form a bowl round and enclose it.
"The children of Anak" mentioned in this verse seem to have been also
chiefs of townships; and this coincidence of polity, existing in ages
so distant from each other, is remarkable [Vere
Monro]. Hebron (Kirjath Arba, Ge 23:2) was one of the oldest cities in the
Zoan—(the Tanis of the Greeks) was
situated on one of the eastern branches of the Nile, near the lake
Menzala, and was the early royal residence of the Pharaohs. It boasted
a higher antiquity than any other city in Egypt. Its name, which
signifies flat and level, is descriptive of its situation in the low
grounds of the Delta.
23. they came unto the brook of
Eshcol—that is, "the torrent of the cluster." Its location
was a little to the southwest of Hebron. The valley and its sloping
hills are still covered with vineyards, the character of whose fruit
corresponds to its ancient celebrity.
and cut down from thence a branch with one
cluster of grapes—The grapes reared in this locality are
still as magnificent as formerly—they are said by one to be equal
in size to prunes, and compared by another to a man's thumb. One
cluster sometimes weighs ten or twelve pounds. The mode of carrying the
cluster cut down by the spies, though not necessary from its weight,
was evidently adopted to preserve it entire as a specimen of the
productions of the promised land; and the impression made by the sight
of it would be all the greater because the Israelites were familiar
only with the scanty vines and small grapes of Egypt.
26. they came … to Kadesh—an
important encampment of the Israelites. But its exact situation is not
definitely known, nor is it determined whether it is the same or a
different place from Kadesh-barnea. It is supposed to be identical with
Ain-el-Weibeh, a famous spring on the eastern side of the desert [Robinson], or also with Petra [Stanley].
27, 28. they told him, and said, We came unto the
land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and
honey—The report was given publicly in the audience of the
people, and it was artfully arranged to begin their narrative with
commendations of the natural fertility of the country in order that
their subsequent slanders might the more readily receive credit.
29. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the
south—Their territory lay between the Dead and the Red Seas,
skirting the borders of Canaan.
Hittites … dwell in the
mountains—Their settlements were in the southern and
mountainous part of Palestine (Ge 23:7).
the Canaanites dwell by the sea—The
remnant of the original inhabitants, who had been dispossessed by the
Philistines, were divided into two nomadic hordes—one settled
eastward near the Jordan; the other westward, by the Mediterranean.
32. a land that eateth up the
inhabitants—that is, an unhealthy climate and country. Jewish
writers say that in the course of their travels they saw a great many
funerals, vast numbers of the Canaanites being cut off at that time, in
the providence of God, by a plague or the hornet (Jos 24:12).
men of a great stature—This was
evidently a false and exaggerated report, representing, from timidity
or malicious artifice, what was true of a few as descriptive of the
33. there we saw the giants, the sons of
Anak—The name is derived from the son of Arba, a great man
among the Arabians (Jos 15:14),
who probably obtained his appellation from wearing a splendid collar or
chain round his neck, as the word imports. The epithet "giant"
evidently refers here to stature. (See on Ge 6:4).
And it is probable the Anakims were a distinguished family, or perhaps
a select body of warriors, chosen for their extraordinary size.
we were in our own sight as
grasshoppers—a strong Orientalism, by which the treacherous
spies gave an exaggerated report of the physical strength of the people