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Num 13:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Ver. 1. And the Lord spake. ] Yielding to the people’s importunity, and winking at their infidelity; for he had before spied out the land for them, Eze 20:6 and searched it out, Deu 1:33 but that satisfied them not; seeing was, with them, believing. See Deuteronomy 1:22 .
Num 13:2 Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.
Ver. 2. Every one a ruler amongst them. ] That might be, as Uriah and Zachariah, Isa 8:2 faithful witnesses; for lying lips become not a prince. Pro 17:7
Num 13:3 And Moses by the commandment of the LORD sent them from the wilderness of Paran: all those men [were] heads of the children of Israel.
Ver. 3. By the commandment of the Lord. ] That is, by his permission; See Trapp on " Num 13:1 " God’s command was, that they should forthwith, without any further search, go up and possess the land. Deu 1:21 Now wicked men are esteemed unjust, because they act against God’s command, though according to his decree; like as believers are esteemed just, not because they obey God’s decree, but his command.
Num 13:6 Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh.
Ver. 6. Caleb. ] A hearty man, according to his name; as Bishop Hooper, martyr, was called hearty Hooper; and as one of our Richards was called Coeur-de-lion. It is now but two days since, from a sweet friend, a living at Hartford in New England, I received a loving letter, dated Sept. 12, 1659, and therein this following passage, "Old Mr John Wilson, pastor at Boston, b is in very good health, a hearty old good man still." A hearty good man indeed; I have for forty years almost known him to be a cordial Caleb, one who from his youth up, hath "fulfilled after God - followed him fully," and been of "another spirit" than the most are found to be. And to hear that the Lord still lengtheneth out his life, and keepeth up his young zeal with his old discretion, which was Mr Greenham’s great desire to his last, as it is no small comfort unto me; so, for the good respect I do deservedly bear to that good old man, I could not but here tell my reader so. Oh how well may he, with a very little variation, take up Caleb’s words to Joshua, hic fidus Achates, and say, "Forty years old was I" when many worthy zealots of old England "sent me to espy out this good land, and I brought them word again, as it was in my heart. Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me, made the heart of the people melt; but I wholly followed the Lord my God. And now behold the Lord hath kept me alive these forty and five years. And now, lo, I am well toward fourscore year old: As yet I am as strong this day as I was many years since: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now for the Lord’s wars, both to go out and to come in." Joshua 14:7-8 ; Jos 14:10-11 I add no more but, Go forth in this thy might, thou valiant man: and do thou still "worthily in Ephrata," and be "famous in Bethlehem." Serus in coelum redeas, Iohannes; come thou to thy grave in a lusty old age, c "like as a shock of corn cometh in his season." Job 5:26
a That religious matron Mrs Mary Willis, of Hertford, in Connecticut. This was written Nov. 25, 1659.
b Mr Wilson was one of the first that went over to plant there. At his return he encouraged and drew over not a few.
c εν ευγηρια .
Num 13:16 These [are] the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua.
Ver. 16. And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua. ] His name was now changed from Save us O God, to God shall save us. Under the law which brings us, as it were, into a wilderness, we may desire, wish, and pray that there were a Saviour: but under the gospel, we are sure of salvation, and that our Jehoshua hath bound himself "to fulfil all righteousness" for us.
Num 13:17 And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this [way] southward, and go up into the mountain:
Ver. 17. Go up into the mountain. ] This was the great mountain of Seir, which encloseth Palestine on that side.
Num 13:18 And see the land, what it [is]; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they [be] strong or weak, few or many;
Ver. 18. See the land. ] Two and two likely he sent them, and by several ways: as our Lord also did his seventy disciples.
Num 13:22 And they ascended by the south, and came unto Hebron; where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, [were]. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)
Ver. 22. Was built seven years before Zoan. ] And so was one of the ancientest cities of the world, seeing it did contend with the ancientest and chiefest city of Egypt. Isa 19:11 Hebron signifies an association: there lay buried those three reverend couples, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah. Genesis 23:19 ; Gen 35:27-29 Here David began his reign over Israel, 2Sa 2:1 and hither came Mary to visit Elizabeth. Luk 1:39
Num 13:23 And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and [they brought] of the pomegranates, and of the figs.
Ver. 23. And they bare it between two. ] Christum utrique portamus, ut botrum Israelitae, tum illi qui adventum Christi antecesserunt, tum nos, &c. So Christ is borne between the believers of both Testaments.
Num 13:27 And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this [is] the fruit of it.
Ver. 27. And this is the fruit of it. ] Plutarch a tells of the Gauls, that after they had once a taste of the sweet wine of the grapes that grew in Italy, they inquired in what country such sweet wine was: and after they had understood where such grapes grew, they would never be at rest, till they had got that country. Sextus Rufus, writing of Cyprus, saith, Cyprus famosa divitiis, paupertatem populi Rom. ut occuparetur, solicitavit, Cyprus by her wealth tempted the Romans to seize it into their hands. The pearls usually cast out with the flood, and gathered with the ebb, drew Caesar’s affection for the conquest of Britain, as Suetonius b saith: God hath given us here a grape of the heavenly Canaan, to edge our desires.
a In Vita Camilli.
b In Vita Caesar.
Num 13:28 Nevertheless the people [be] strong that dwell in the land, and the cities [are] walled, [and] very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.
Ver. 28. Nevertheless the people be strong. ] Thus many amongst us wish very well to heaven, speak glorious things of it, and could gladly go to it; but there is a lion in the way: they complain, with these malcontents, of the strength of the Anakims, and the impossibility of the conquest. It is a hard thing doubtless, to watch continually against a spiritual enemy, to keep up the banks against the sea of lusts and passions; to bear daily crosses without stooping; to carry the cup of prosperity without spilling; to climb the hill of good duties without fainting; to go against the crowd without sweating; to bear the reproach of Christ without buckling, &c. But hard though it be, should we be discouraged? The sweetness of the honey makes the bears break in upon the hives, contemning the stings. The merchant refuseth no adventure for hope of gain: the hunter shrinketh at no weather for love of game: the soldier declineth no danger for desire of spoil. The sweetness of God’s face, though to be seen only in the dark glass of the ceremonies, cheered up those good souls, in their hard and tedious travel to Zion. Psalms 84:6 , &c.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Numbers 13". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany