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Spies Sent into Canaan


The L ord said to Moses, 2“Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites; from each of their ancestral tribes you shall send a man, every one a leader among them.” 3So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran, according to the command of the L ord, all of them leading men among the Israelites. 4These were their names: From the tribe of Reuben, Shammua son of Zaccur; 5from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat son of Hori; 6from the tribe of Judah, Caleb son of Jephunneh; 7from the tribe of Issachar, Igal son of Joseph; 8from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea son of Nun; 9from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti son of Raphu; 10from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel son of Sodi; 11from the tribe of Joseph (that is, from the tribe of Manasseh), Gaddi son of Susi; 12from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel son of Gemalli; 13from the tribe of Asher, Sethur son of Michael; 14from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi son of Vophsi; 15from the tribe of Gad, Geuel son of Machi. 16These were the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses changed the name of Hoshea son of Nun to Joshua.

17 Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, “Go up there into the Negeb, and go up into the hill country, 18and see what the land is like, and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many, 19and whether the land they live in is good or bad, and whether the towns that they live in are unwalled or fortified, 20and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are trees in it or not. Be bold, and bring some of the fruit of the land.” Now it was the season of the first ripe grapes.

21 So they went up and spied out the land from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, near Lebo-hamath. 22They went up into the Negeb, and came to Hebron; and Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the Anakites, were there. (Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23And they came to the Wadi Eshcol, and cut down from there a branch with a single cluster of grapes, and they carried it on a pole between two of them. They also brought some pomegranates and figs. 24That place was called the Wadi Eshcol, because of the cluster that the Israelites cut down from there.

The Report of the Spies

25 At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land. 26And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the Israelites in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. 27And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us; it flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28Yet the people who live in the land are strong, and the towns are fortified and very large; and besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. 29The Amalekites live in the land of the Negeb; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live by the sea, and along the Jordan.”

30 But Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” 31Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against this people, for they are stronger than we.” 32So they brought to the Israelites an unfavorable report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land that we have gone through as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people that we saw in it are of great size. 33There we saw the Nephilim (the Anakites come from the Nephilim); and to ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”

32. But the men that went up with him said. We here see, as in a mirror, how impiety gradually gathers audaciousness in evil. At the outset, the authors of the rebellion were ambiguous in their expressions, and contented themselves with obscure insinuations; they now throw aside all shame, and openly and acrimoniously oppose the address of Caleb, which was certainly nothing less than casting discredit on God’s words, and setting at naught His power. God had promised to give the land to the Israelites; they deny that He will do so. He had afforded them many proofs that nothing is difficult to Him: they deny that His aid will suffice against the forces of their enemies. Moreover, they at length break out into such impudence, that in their falsehood they contradict themselves. They had confessed that the land was rich; they now declare that it consumes or devours its inhabitants, which is entirely the reverse. For this is equivalent to saying, that the wretched men, who cultivated it, wore themselves out with their assiduous labors; or, at ally rate, that it was pestilential from the inclemency of its climate; either of which statements was utterly false. The mode in which some understand it, viz., that the giants 5252     Corn. a Lapide has the following note on verse 33; “נפלים, nephilim, i.e., giants, who are called nephilim, that is, falling, because they were so tall, that those who saw them fell from terror, or rather falling, i.e., making to fall, (the Kal being put for the Hiphil,) laying prostrate and slaying other men in all directions, for these giants were savage men and truculent tyrants.” in their violence committed indiscriminate slaughter, is without foundation; for this evil was by no means to be feared by the people, after the extermination of the inhabitants. I do not doubt, then, but that it means that the cultivation of the land was difficult, and full of much inconvenience.

At the end of the last verse, where it is said, “as grasshoppers,” etc., I think the words are inverted, and ought to be thus connected; “As grasshoppers are despised in our eyes, so we were looked down upon by these giants on account of our lowness of stature.”

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