The report of the envoys (Num 13:25-13:33)

“At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land.   They came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the Israelites in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh.  They brought back word to them and to the entire congregation.  They showed them the fruit of the land.  They told him, ‘We came to the land to which you sent us.  It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.   Yet the people who live in the land are strong.   The towns are fortified and very large.  Besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there.  The Amalekites live in the land of the Negeb.  The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites live in the hill country.  The Canaanites live by the sea, and along the Jordan.”

At the end of 40 days they returned from their spying expedition.  The number 40 is important.  They came to all the Israelites in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh, and gave their report along with the fruit that they took back. They said that it was a land flowing with milk and honey, but they never quite explained what that meant.  They showed the fruit from there.  However, they warned that the people were strong and the towns were fortified and large.  They also remarked that saw the very tall descendants of Anak there.  The setup as they saw it was that the Amalekites were in the lowland Negeb, while the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites were in the hill country.  The Canaanites, however, lived along the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.

“But Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, ‘Let us go up at once, and occupy it.  We are well able to overcome it.’  Then the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We are not able to go up against the people.  They are stronger than we are.’ So they brought to the Israelites an unfavorable report of the land that they had spied out, saying, ‘The land, that we have gone through as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants.  All the people that we saw in it are men of great stature.   There we saw the Nephilim.  The Anakites come from the Nephilim.  We seemed like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”

Caleb, the leader of the tribe of Judah wanted to attack right away.  However, the others who were on the same mission were more cautious.  They felt that the people there were stronger than them.  They brought a more unfavorable report.  The men there were very tall so that they seemed like grasshoppers.  The Anakites and Nephilim seem like very tall people.  However, it is difficult to tell whether these Israelites were small or whether these other groups were large.

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