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Numbers - Chapter 13

Bible Study Notes

Numbers 13:1-16 The Lord instructed Moses to send a leader from each of the 12 tribes as a spy into the land of Canaan. The two significant leaders were Caleb from Judah and Hoshea (or Joshua – which means the Lord is salvation – another name for the Latin/Greek name, Jesus).

Numbers 13:17-20 Moses instructed the 12 to see if the men of the land were strong or weak, and their number. They were to report if the land was good or bad, if their cities were camp-like or strongholds, whether the land appeared rich or poor, and whether there were trees in it or not. If trees, they were instructed to bring back some of the fruit.

Numbers 13:21-24 The 12 spied out the land from Zin to Rehob and to Hebron. The descendants of Anak were living there. The 12 gathered grapes, pomegranates, and figs.

Notes: Hebron was the first major city the spies came to in Canaan. Abraham had earlier built an altar to the Lord here. Abraham and Isaac were buried here. Hebron would later become the inheritance of Caleb of Judah and later, King David’s capital when he first reigned over Judah. David would later reign in Jerusalem (20 miles north of  Hebron), the new capital of all Israel.

Numbers 13:25-29 After 40 days (From the time they left until the time they returned), they returned to Moses with their fruit and their report of the land. The reported that the land flowed with milk and honey, the people are strong, their cities fortified and large. The reported that they saw of the descendants of Anak, the Amalekites (land of Negeb), the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites (in the hills), and Canaanites by the sea.

Numbers 13:30-33 Caleb was all for going into the land right away and taking it over. The other leaders (not including Joshua), warned against it for they feared that the inhabitants were too strong to conquer which discouraged the Israelites. They said that the descendants of Anak were very tall (giants - who come from the Nephilim) and they compared themselves as like grasshoppers in their sight.

Notes: The report of the 10 spies was evil because it exaggerated the dangers of the people in the land, sought to stir up and instill fear in the people of Israel and, most important, it expressed their faithless attitude toward God and his promises. As a result, they have no courage. By contrast, trust in the Lord would produce genuine courage, as it does when the people of Israel are given a second opportunity to enter and conquer the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.

Nephilim. This term was used in Gen. 6:4 for a group of strong men who lived on the earth before the flood. The descendants of Anak were, in exaggeration, compared to these giants, which led the spies to view themselves as grasshoppers before them.

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