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CHAPTER 13 Mar. 30 
Spies Sent Out and Return with a Negative Message
Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 2Send men, that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I give to the children of Israel. Of every tribe of their fathers, you shall send a man, every one a prince among them. 3Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran according to the commandment of Yahweh: all of them men who were heads of the children of Israel. 4These were their names. Of the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur. 5Of the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori. 6Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh. 7Of the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph. 8Of the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Nun. 9Of the tribe of Benjamin, Palti the son of Raphu. 10Of the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel the son of Sodi. 11Of the tribe of Joseph, of the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi the son of Susi. 12Of the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gemalli. 13Of the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael. 14Of the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi. 15Of the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi. 16These are the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land. Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun ‘Joshua’. 17Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, Go up this way by the South, and go up into the hill country; 18and see the land, what it is, and the people who dwell therein, whether they are strong or weak, whether they are few or many; 19and what the land is that they dwell in, whether it is good or bad; and what cities they are that they dwell in, whether in camps, or in fenced cities; 20and what the land is, whether it is fat or lean, whether there is wood therein, or not. Be courageous, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the first-ripe grapes. 21So they went up, and spied out the land from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, to the entrance of Hamath. 22They went up by the South, and came to Hebron; and Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, were there. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23They came to the valley of Eshcol, and cut down from there a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they carried it on a staff between two. They also brought some of the pomegranates and figs. 24That place was called the valley of Eshcol because of the cluster which the children of Israel cut down from there. 25They returned from spying out the land at the end of forty days. 26They went and came to Moses and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, to the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh, and brought back word to them, and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. 27They told him, and said, We came to the land where you sent us and surely it flows with milk and honey and this is its fruit. 28However the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. Moreover, we saw the children of Anak there. 29Amalek dwells in the land of the South; and the Hittite, and the Jebusite, and the Amorite, dwell in the hill country; and the Canaanite dwells by the sea, and along by the side of the Jordan. 30Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. 31But the men who went up with him said, We aren’t able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. 32They brought up an evil report of the land which they had spied out to the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that eats up its inhabitants; and all the people who we saw in it are men of great stature. 33There we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak, who come of the Nephilim, and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.


13:28 The people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified- Rahab informed the later spies that the cities were fortified from fear of Israel, and the Canaanites were weak and fearful before Israel at this time (Josh. 2:10,11). Those obstacles to our inheritance of the Kingdom which seem to us huge and too strong for us may actually be very weak and far easier to overcome than we imagine.
13:30 Let us go up at once- The Bible often records the immediacy of response in faithful people. Procrastination and endlessly weighing up the difficulties often leads to failure to act as we should.
13:32 A land that eats up its inhabitants- This was effectively calling God’s descriptions of the promised land untrue. If we don’t believe we can inherit the Kingdom prepared for us (Mt. 25:34), then we are effectively calling God a liar. Ps. 106:24 says that they didn’t believe God’s word of promise that they would possess the land (Gen. 15:18; 17:8; Ex. 23:30). These promises were clear and unambiguous; but the immediate and the visible seemed more true to them than the promises of God’s word. Perhaps they had forgotten those promises, not recited them to themselves, not bothered to attend Moses’ sessions of instruction, of which the Pentateuch is likely a transcript. Unless God’s words of promise are regularly in our consciousness, we will likewise fail to believe it when we come up against the human obstacles in our paths.