The Report Of The Hebrew Spies
Moses sent certain men to explore the land of Canaan and said to them,
"Go up into the South Country and on into the highlands, and see what
the land is and whether the people who live there are strong or weak,
whether they are few or many, and whether the land in which they live is
good or bad, and what kinds of cities they live in, whether in camps or
in strongholds. See whether the land is fertile or barren, whether there
is wood in it or not. Be courageous and bring some of the fruit of the
land," for it was the time when the grapes first begin to ripen.
So they went up to the South Country and came to Hebron. When they came
to the valley of Eshcol, they cut down from there a branch with one
cluster of grapes and brought it away on a pole carried by two men. They
also took some pomegranates and figs. That place was called the valley
of the Grape Cluster because of the cluster which the Israelites cut
Then they returned to Moses and Aaron and all the Israelites at Kadesh
and brought back word to them and showed them the fruit of the land.
They reported to Moses, "We went to the land to which you sent us; and
it indeed is full of milk and honey; and this is some of its fruit. But
the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are very
large and have high walls about them."
Then Caleb quieted the people and said, "Let us go up at once and take
it, for we are well able to conquer it." But the men who had gone up
with him said, "We are not able to conquer the people, for they are
stronger than we, and all the people whom we saw there are very tall and
large. There we saw the giants; we were as grasshoppers in our own
sight, and so we seemed to them."
All the people wept that night and cried out, "Why did Jehovah bring us
to this land to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will be
taken captive. Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?" So
they said to one another, "Let us choose a leader and return to Egypt."
Then Moses and Aaron bowed low before all the Israelites who were
gathered there, and Joshua and Caleb, who were among those who explored
the land, tore their clothes and said to them, "The land which we went
to explore is a very good land. If Jehovah is pleased with us, he will
bring us into this land and give it to us, a land which is full of milk
and honey. Only do not rebel against Jehovah. Fear not the people of the
land, for they will supply us with food. Their defense is taken away
from over them, and Jehovah is with us; fear them not." But the people
would not trust Jehovah.
Then Jehovah said to Moses, "How long will this people despise me? How
long will they refuse to trust me in spite of all of the wonders which I
have performed before their eyes? I will send sickness upon them and
destroy them, and I will make you and your family a nation greater and
mightier than theirs."
But Moses said to Jehovah, "When the Egyptians hear it, they will say,
'Jehovah has killed them in the wilderness because he was not able to
bring this people into the land which he solemnly promised to them.'
Forgive, I pray thee, the guilt of this people, because thy love is
great, even as thou hast forgiven them from the time they left Egypt
even until now."
Jehovah said, "I have forgiven as you have asked; but as surely as I
live and as surely as the whole earth shall be filled with the glory of
Jehovah, none of the men who have seen my glory and my wonders which I
performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have tested me these
ten times and have not listened to my voice, shall see the land which I
have solemnly promised to their fathers, neither shall any of those who
despise me see it. But I will bring my servant Caleb to the land to
which he went, for he has shown a different spirit and has faithfully
followed me, and his children shall possess it. But your little ones,
who, you said, would be captives of war, I will bring in, and they shall
possess the land which you have refused. Your dead bodies shall fall in
this wilderness, and your children shall be wanderers there forty years
and shall suffer for your unfaithfulness until your bodies have all
decayed in the wilderness."