Summary of passage: The people are camped in the Desert of Paran. The Lord told Moses to send out leaders from each tribe to explore the land of Canaan. Moses obeyed and sent out 12 men, including Joshua from the tribe of Ephraim. Moses sent them up through the Negev to explore the land and see if it was fertile, who lived there, what were the towns like, etc. After 40 days of traveling throughout the land, they returned.
3a) The Lord told Moses to sent out leaders from each tribe to explore the land of Canaan (the land He is giving them–that’s the promise).
b) To see what they were up against. Every good leader does reconnaissance. Like Moses says in verses 17-20, he lists some reasons: to see what the land is like, if the people are few and if they are strong, what the towns are like, the soil, the fruit, etc.
c) (Same answer I just gave in b): To see what they were up against. Every good leader does reconnaissance. Like Moses says in verses 17-20, he lists some reasons: to see what the land is like, if the people are few and if they are strong, what the towns are like, the soil, the fruit, etc. He tells them to explore Canaan.
d) Personal Question. My answer: Don’t compare this question to Moses’ directive. Moses was ordered by God to explore the land first. Note the word “consider”. My answer: If it is on God’s order, you go without consideration. If you are unsure, you pray first. You then need to be prepared either way: know what you are getting into so you can better serve God in your circumstances. Research the area, etc.
4a) Some of the land is a desert but it is fruitful as exhibited by the cluster of grapes, pomegranates, and figs.
b) 40 days
c) Deuteronomy tells us they are strong and tall. Joshua tells us that he gave Caleb, a descendant of Anak, land in Judah called Hebron. Numbers tells us the descendants of Anak are stronger than the Israelites (or so they believe–this is Numbers 13:31) and are of great size. They say the Nephilim live there and the Israelites are afraid to go.
Conclusions: I liked the idea of 3d. We should know what we are getting into when the Lord calls us to something new. However, that doesn’t mean we should not do it if if is not to our liking (like we’ll see in the rest of Numbers 13 and 14 where the Israelites rebels and through a huge fit out of their fears). There is a fine line between obedience and dissent and turning away from God when we don’t like something He presents to us.
Map of Negev and Hebron: http://www.cathydeaton.com/The%20Negev%20-%20Concise%20Bible%20ATlas%20.bmp
Map showing route of 12 explorers (really small though): http://www.visualbiblealive.com/image-bin/Public/014/01/014_01_0164_TH-Atlas_prev.jpg
Map of the 12 scouts with explanation: http://www.israel-a-history-of.com/old-testament-bible-maps.html#gallery[pageGallery]/3/
End Notes: Deuteronomy contradicts Numbers. Deuteronomy 1:22 makes it seem like the idea to send out spies was the people’s idea and not directly from God. Moses just tells them to go and take the land the people want to check it out first. This leads scholars to speculate that maybe Moses asked God how to send out the spies and not whether or not he should send them out or not. Either way: the people’s faith is tested and that is God’s plan.
Joshua’s first name of Hoshea means “salvation”. Moses changes it to Joshua, meaning “Yahweh is salvation.”
Scholars believe Moses doubted God’s word of what the land was like (flowing of milk and honey–Exodus 3:8 and good–Exodus 13:5) and wanted to find out for sure. Here, Moses exhibits unbelief. So we are left wondering: would they have turned around if the land had been a barren wasteland?
Note the 40 days–a favorite testing period of God’s from the ark to wandering the desert for 40 years.
More on the Nephilim and the Anak tomorrow when we are assigned to study them.