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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Numbers 13

Verses 1-33

The twelve spies (13:1-33)

Israel pushed on towards the promised land. The long and tiresome journey through the wilderness of Paran was relieved by stoppages at various points where the people set up camp for a few days (see 10:12; 11:35; 12:16; 13:3). As they moved nearer to Canaan, Moses sent twelve spies, one from each tribe, to see what they could find out about the country - its terrain, its people, its defences and its productivity (13:1-20). The spies probably split up, going in different directions to search out the required information. They covered the land from south to north, west to east (21-24).
Meanwhile the people had journeyed closer to Canaan and set up camp at Kadesh, in the north of the wilderness of Paran. There the spies rejoined the camp after their forty days fact-finding mission (25-26). In brief, their report was that the land was very fruitful but its inhabitants were fearsome. For ten of the spies, this observation about the local inhabitants was sufficient reason to cancel all plans for the invasion of Canaan, and they persuaded the people to agree with them. Only two spies, Joshua and Caleb, suggested Israel go ahead as planned and occupy the land (27-33; 14:6).

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Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Numbers 13". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". 2005.