Numbers 13

1 And the Lorde spake vnto Moses sayenge:
2 Sende men out to serche the londe of Canaan which I geue vnto the childern of Israel: of euery trybe of their fathers a man and let them all be soche as are melars amonge them.
3 And Moses at the commaundement of the Lorde sent forth out of the wildernesse of Pharan: soche men as were all herdes amonge the childern of Israel whose names are these.
4 In the trybe of Ruben Sammua ye sonne of Zacur:
5 In the trybe of Symeon Saphat the sonne of Hori.
6 In the trybe of Iuda Caleph the sonne of Iephune.
7 In the trybe of Isachar Igeal the sonne of Ioseph.
8 In the trybe of Ephraim Hosea the sonne of Nun.
9 In the trybe of Ben Iamin Paltithe sonne of Raphu.
10 In the trybe of Zabulon Gadiel the sonne of Sodi.
11 In the trybe of Ioseph: In the trybe of Manasse Gaddi the sonne of Susi.
12 In the trybe of Dan Amiel the sonne of Gemali.
13 In the trybe of Asser Sethur the sonne of Micheel.
14 In the trybe of Nephtali Nahebi the sonne of Vaphsi.
15 In the trybe of Gad Guel the sonne of Machi.
16 These are the names of the men whiche Moses sent to spie out the londe. And Moses called the name of Hosea the sonne of Nun Iosua.
17 And Moses sent them forth to spie out the lande of Canaan and sayed vnto them: get you southwarde and goo vpp in to the hye contre
18 and see the londe what maner thynge it is ad the people that dwelleth therein: whether they be stronge or weke ether fewe or many
19 and what the londe is that they dwell in whether it be good or bad and what maner of cities they dwell in: whether they dwell in tentes or walled townes
20 ad what maner of londe it is: whether it be fatt or leane and whether there be trees therein or not. And be of a good corage and brynge of the frutes of the londe. And it was aboute the tyme that grapes are first rype.
21 And they went vp and serched out the lande from the wildernesse of Zin vnto Rehob as men goo to Hemath
22 and they ascended vnto the south and came vnto Hebron where Ahiman was and Sesai and Thalmani the sonnes of Enacke. Hebron was bylt .vij. yere before Zoan in Egipte.
23 And they came vnto the ryuer of Escol and they cutt doune there a braunch with one clouster of grapes and bare it apo a staffe betwene twayne and also of the pomgranates and of the fygges of the place.
24 The ryuer was called Escol because of the clouster of grapes whiche the childern of Israel cutt doune there.
25 And they turned backe agayne from serchinge the londe at .xl. dayes ende.
26 And thei went and came to Moses and Aaron and vnto all the multitude of the childern of Israel vnto the wildernesse of Pharan: euen vnto Cades and brougthe them worde and also vnto all the congregacion and shewed them the frute of the lande.
27 And they tolde him sayenge: we came vnto the londe wether thou sendedst vs and surely it is a lode that floweth with milke and honye and here is of the frute of it
28 Neuerthelesse the people be stronge yt dwell in the londe and the cities are walled and exceadinge greate and moreouer we sawe the childre of Enack there.
29 The amaleckes dwel in the south cuntre and the Hethires Iebusites and the Amorites dwell in the moutaynes and the Cananites dwell by the see ad alonge by the coste of Iordayne.
30 And Caleb stylled the murmure of the people agenst Moses sayenge: let vs goo vp and conquere it for we be able to ouercome it.
31 But the men that went vpp with him sayde: We be not able to goo vpp agenst the people for they are stronger then we:
32 And they broughte vpp an euell reporte of the londe which they had serched vnto the childern of Israel sayenge. The londe which we haue gone thorowe to serche it out is a londe that careth vpp the inhabiters thereof and the people that we sawe in it are men of stature.
33 And there we sawe also geantes the childre of Enack which are of the geautes. And we semed in oure syght as it were greshoppers and so we dyd in their sighte.

Numbers 13 Commentary

Chapter 13

Twelve men sent to search the land of Canaan, Their instructions. (1-20) Their proceedings. (21-25) Their account of the land. (26-33)

Verses 1-20 A memorable and melancholy history is related in this and the following chapter, of the turning back of Israel from the borders of Canaan, and the sentencing them to wander and perish in the wilderness, for their unbelief and murmuring. It appears, ( Deuteronomy 1:22 ) , that the motion to search out the land came from the people. They had a better opinion of their own policy than of God's wisdom. Thus we ruin ourselves by believing the reports and representations of sense rather than Divine revelation. We walk by sight not by faith. Moses gave the spies this charge, Be of good courage. It was not only a great undertaking they were put upon, which required good management and resolution; but a great trust was reposed in them, which required that they should be faithful. Courage in such circumstances can only spring from strong faith, which Caleb and Joshua alone possessed.

Verses 21-25 The searchers of the land brought a bunch of grapes with them, and other fruits, as proofs of the goodness of the country; which was to Israel both the earnest and the specimen of all the fruits of Canaan. Such are the present comforts we have in communion with God, foretastes of the fulness of joy we expect in the heavenly Canaan. We may see by them what heaven is.

Verses 26-33 We may wonder that the people of Israel staid forty days for the return of their spies, when they were ready to enter Canaan, under all the assurances of success they could have from the Divine power, and the miracles that had hitherto attended them. But they distrusted God's power and promise. How much we stand in our own light by our unbelief! At length the messengers returned; but the greater part discouraged the people from going forward to Canaan. Justly are the Israelites left to this temptation, for putting confidence in the judgment of men, when they had the word of God to trust in. Though they had found the land as good as God had said, yet they would not believe it to be as sure as he had said, but despaired of having it, though Eternal Truth had engaged it to them. This was the representation of the evil spies. Caleb, however, encouraged them to go forward, though seconded by Joshua only. He does not say, Let us go up and conquer it; but, Let us go and possess it. Difficulties that are in the way of salvation, dwindle and vanish before a lively, active faith in the power and promise of God. All things are possible, if they are promised, to him that believes; but carnal sense and carnal professors are not to be trusted. Unbelief overlooks the promises and power of God, magnifies every danger and difficulty, and fills the heart with discouragement. May the Lord help us to believe! we shall then find all things possible.

Chapter Summary


In this chapter an order is given by the Lord, to send twelve men into the land of Canaan, to search and spy it, and which was accordingly executed, Nu 13:1-3; and the names of the twelve persons are given, Nu 13:4-16; the instructions they received from Moses, what part of the land they should enter into first, and what observations they should make on it, Nu 13:17-20; which they attended to, and on their return brought some of the fruit of the land with them, Nu 13:21-26; and gave an account of it, that it was a very fruitful land, but the inhabitants mighty, and their cities walled, Nu 13:27-29; which threw the people into confusion, but that they were stilled by Caleb, one of the spies, who encouraged them, Nu 13:30; but all the rest, excepting Joshua, brought an ill report of it, as not to be subdued and conquered by them, Nu 13:31-33.

Numbers 13 Commentaries

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