Numbers Chapter 13

In this chapter, the Lord speaks to Moses after they leave Hazeroth and settle in the Paran desert. He orders him to send spies to explore Canaan, the land He had promised.

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Moses Chooses the Spies

All of spies chosen were leaders of each ancestral tribe of Israel. They were sent to determine the best routes, the kind of people they would encounter, and the cities they would inherit.

In Numbers chapter 13, the 12 leaders were carefully chosen. Two of the men selected by tribe was Caleb of Judah and Hoshea of Ephraim, whom Moses renamed to Joshua, which means “Yahweh is salvation.” From the other tribes, Moses chose Shammua from Reuben, Igal from Issachar, Palti from Benjamin, Gaddiel from Zebulun, Gaddi from Manasseh, Ammiel from Dan, Sethur from Asher, Hahbi from Naphtali, and Geuel from the tribe of Gad.

Moses Dispatches the Spies

Moses dispatched these leaders and told them to go through the Negev towards the Hill valley. Essentially, through faith rather than sight, the 12 leaders were to report back what they found concerning the strength and weaknesses of the people who occupied the land and also how productive it was. They travelled 250 miles for 40 days and when they returned, they brought grapes, pomegranates, and figs back with them to prove how blessed the land was.

The Spies Have Conflicting Reports

According to Caleb and Joshua, the land flowed with milk and honey and they suggested that they repossess it immediately. They saw opportunities galore in the land. However, the other ten leaders saw a threat. Their fear was that the land was occupied with the Amalekites, Hittites, Amorites, Jebusites and Canaanites who were supposedly very strong and made the Israelites seem like grasshoppers in their eyes.

This argument brought out fear that spread among the Israelites. They had forgotten that the almighty God had promised them this land and He had delivered them from Egypt.

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Numbers 13 (King James Version)

1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

2 Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.

3 And Moses by the commandment of the LORD sent them from the wilderness of Paran: all those men were heads of the children of Israel.

4 And these were their names: of the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur.

5 Of the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori.

6 Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh.

7 Of the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph.

8 Of the tribe of Ephraim, Oshea the son of Nun.

9 Of the tribe of Benjamin, Palti the son of Raphu.

10 Of the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel the son of Sodi.

11 Of the tribe of Joseph, namely, of the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi the son of Susi.

12 Of the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gemalli.

13 Of the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael.

14 Of the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi.

15 Of the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi.

16 These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua.

17 And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain:

18 And see the land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many;

19 And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds;

20 And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the firstripe grapes.

21 So they went up, and searched the land from the wilderness of Zin unto Rehob, as men come to Hamath.

22 And they ascended by the south, and came unto Hebron; where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, were. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)

23 And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs.

24 The place was called the brook Eshcol, because of the cluster of grapes which the children of Israel cut down from thence.

25 And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.

26 And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land.

27 And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.

28 Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.

29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.

30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.

31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.

32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.

33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

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