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Bible Commentaries

Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible

Numbers 13

Verses 1-33

Here we have another story of failure. It is closely associated with the movement of the people toward the promised land. The hour had come in which they should go forward. In this account in Numbers it is stated sending the spies was in obedience to the divine command. However, a comparison of this with the reference to the matter in the first chapter of Deuteronomy will show that the command followed the people's determination to do this very thing. This was in itself an act of suspicion and of practical unbelief. However, as they had decided, so they were commanded to do.

After forty days the men returned. Here perhaps we have the first occasion in history of two reports resulting from one commission, a majority report, and a minority report. Here, as has so often been the case, it was the minority report, rather than the majority report, that was right.

All were agreed on the desirability of the land on which they had looked. The emphasis of the majority, however, is gathered from the word, "Howbeit" They had seen the excellencies of the country, but they had seen the difficulties and beyond these they had seen nothing. The minority had seen, fist Jehovah, and then the excellencies, and finally the difficulties. The essential difference is the vision of God. In the one case it was lacking and men were shut out from of the desirable by the foes of whom they were afraid. In the other it was present and obstacles were accounted as nothing.

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Bibliographical Information
Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Numbers 13". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". 1857-84.