Numbers 13

Numbers 13 has Moses sending out men to take a look at the Promised Land that God has given them.  “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel”.  God instructs Moses to send one leader from each tribe, and to select one “from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man….men who were heads of the people of Israel”.  They don’t send out volunteers or anybody, but the leaders of each tribe that would be believed when they brought back their report.

Here were their names:

  • From the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur
  • from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori
  • from the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh
  • from the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph
  • from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Nun (called Joshua)
  • from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti the son of Raphu
  • from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel the son of Sodi
  • from the tribe of Joseph (that is, from the tribe of Manasseh), Gaddi the son of Susi
  • from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gemalli
  • from the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael
  • from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi
  • from the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi

These were the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land.

Moses sends them with a specific set of instructions that they were to accomplish:

“see what the land is

whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak

whether they are few or many

whether the land that they dwell in is good or bad

whether the cities that they dwell in are camps or strongholds

whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are trees in it or not

bring some of the fruit of the land”

They went with a purpose and were to come back with their observations on what the people of God were walking into.

At the end of forty days they returned” and brought their report to Moses and the other leaders.  Here is what they described:  “it flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit….the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large”.  Not a very positive report.  Plenty of negatives in it.  “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.”  He was the one who gave a green light to go take the land.  But “the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are…..they brought to the people of Israel a bad report”.   Now what?  We’ll see what Moses does next.


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