Numbers 13 Commentary

Numbers: Journey to God's Rest-Land by Irving Jensen- used by permission

Source: Ryrie Study Bible
"Wilderness Wandering"
Numbers 1-12
Numbers 13-25
Numbers 26-36
Counting &
Nu 1-4
Cleansing &
Nu 5-8
Carping &
Nu 9-12
12 Spies &
Death in Desert
Nu 13-16
Aaron & Levites in
Nu 17-18
Serpent of Brass & Story of Balaam
Nu 21-25
Second Census 7 Laws of Israel
Nu 26-30
Last Days of Moses as Leader
Nu 31-33
Sections, Sanctuaries &
Nu 34-36
& Order
& Disorder
New Laws
for the New Order
Preparation for the Journey:
Moving Out
Participation in the Journey:
Moving On
Prize at end of the Journey:
Moving In
At Sinai
Mt Sinai
To Moab
Mt Hor
At Moab
Mt Nebo
En Route to Kadesh
(Mt Sinai)
En Route to Nowhere
En Route to Canaan
(Plains of Moab)
A Few Weeks to
2 Months
38 years,
3 months, 10 days
A Few
Christ in Numbers = Our "Lifted-up One"
(Nu 21:9, cp Jn 3:14-15)
Author: Moses

Numbers 13:1  Then the LORD spoke to Moses saying,

Faith Life Study Bible observes that "Chapter 13 records the second of the two greatest sins during Israel’s journey to the promised land, the first being the golden calf incident in Exod 32."

Brian Bell entitles this chapter "Walking by Sight, Not by Faith! - A Reconnaissance Mission" Reconnaissance - military observation of a region to locate an enemy or ascertain strategic features. Deut 1:19-33 is necessary to read to find out it was the peoples idea to do this. The command (v2 - Send out for yourself men) followed the people’s determination to do this very thing. God had already told them what he land was like, so why did they have to investigate it? Faith takes God at His Word.

Mattoon entitles this chapter "Spies in the Ointment!"

There is an expression or saying in our country for those times when everything is going well and we are close to reaching our goal, yet, one thing spoils our plans, hinders us, or messes up everything. We say, "There is a fly in the ointment." Such is the case for the nation of Israel. They are so close to the finish line of receiving everything that God has for them. Victory and the blessings of the Promised Land are imminent. Israel is like the English Marathon runner, Jim Peters, who was leading the 26 mile race in the Commonwealth Games at Vancouver in 1954. As Jim entered the stadium, he was overcome by exhaustion and did not finish the race or win the victory. This describes what Israel is about to do. They are so close but there is a problem. There is not a fly in the ointment; there are spies in the ointment that are spoiling the hearts of the people with fear and doubt in the Lord.

Wiersbe - God delivered His people from Egypt that they might enter the Promised Land and enjoy the blessings prepared for them. Forty years later, Moses reminded the new generation, “And He brought us out from there [Egypt], that He might bring us in, to give us the land which He swore to give unto our fathers” (Deut. 6:23; see Ezek. 20:6). The Lord had promised the land to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Gen. 12:7; 13:15; 17:8; 28:13; 35:12) and had reaffirmed that promise through Moses (Ex. 3:8, 17; 6:4, 8; 13:5; 33:3). But even more, the Lord had reminded the people of His promise when they broke camp at Sinai (Deut. 1:6–8) and when they arrived at Kadesh (vv. 20–21). God’s promise was Israel’s title deed to the land as well as His guarantee that they would defeat their enemies. God’s promise was all Israel needed, but the nation doubted God’s Word and began to walk by sight instead of by faith. They took their first wavering step of doubt when they asked Moses to let them search out the land before the entire nation went in to engage the enemy in battle (Deut. 1:22; James 1:5–8). Moses endorsed their request (Deut. 1:23) and got permission from the Lord to carry out the plan (Num. 13:1–3). However, it appears that God was letting the Jews have their own way, not because their way was the right way, but because He wanted to teach them a lesson. They needed to learn to trust the Word of God and do the will of God His way and not their own way (Prov. 3:5–6).

NET NOTE - Chapter 13 provides the names of the spies sent into the land (vv. 1–16), their instructions (vv. 17–20), their activities (vv. 21–25), and their reports (vv. 26–33). It is a chapter that serves as a good lesson on faith, for some of the spies walked by faith, and some by sight.

Irving Jensen - As the Israelites moved closer to their target, the journey took on more of the somber color and critical air of a military assault. For so major an issue as this, strategy must be God-planned and God-accomplished. (EvBC-Nu)

The background for God's declaration here in Numbers 13 is found in Deuteronomy...

“Then all of you (SONS OF ISRAEL) approached me and said, ‘Let us send men before us, that they may search out the land (OF MILK AND HONEY) for us, and bring back to us word of the way by which we should go up and the cities which we shall enter.’ 23 “The thing pleased me and I took twelve of your men, one man for each tribe. (Deuteronomy 1:22-23)

Comment - Moses makes it clear that the sending of the spies was the desire of the people, not the commandment of the Lord.

Then the LORD spoke to Moses saying - God apparently spoke in response to the people's request. God had said He would give them the land. Why did they need to check it out first? Sadly once again God gave the people what they wanted (to check out the land), but as it would play out this would reveal to the people what their hearts were really like! As Wiersbe says "God had already told them many times what Canaan was like, what nations were there, and how He would defeat their enemies and give them their promised inheritance; so what need was there for men to go in and spy out the land? Sad to say, human nature prefers to walk by sight, not by faith." (WEOOT)

 Faith takes God at His word and needs no other evidence (Heb. 11:1+). 
-- Wiersbe

This phrase the LORD spoke to Moses occurs 70x in the OT.

Exod. 6:10; Exod. 6:29; Exod. 13:1; Exod. 14:1; Exod. 16:11; Exod. 25:1; Exod. 30:17; Exod. 30:22; Exod. 31:1; Exod. 31:12; Exod. 40:1; Lev. 4:1; Lev. 5:14; Lev. 6:1; Lev. 6:8; Lev. 6:19; Lev. 6:24; Lev. 7:22; Lev. 7:28; Lev. 8:1; Lev. 12:1; Lev. 14:1; Lev. 17:1; Lev. 18:1; Lev. 19:1; Lev. 20:1; Lev. 21:16; Lev. 22:1; Lev. 22:17; Lev. 22:26; Lev. 23:9; Lev. 23:23; Lev. 23:26; Lev. 23:33; Lev. 24:1; Lev. 24:13; Lev. 27:1; Num. 3:5; Num. 3:11; Num. 3:44; Num. 4:21; Num. 5:1; Num. 5:5; Num. 5:11; Num. 6:1; Num. 6:22; Num. 7:4; Num. 8:1; Num. 8:5; Num. 8:23; Num. 9:9; Num. 13:1; Num. 15:1; Num. 15:17; Num. 16:23; Num. 16:36; Num. 16:44; Num. 17:1; Num. 18:25; Num. 20:7; Num. 25:10; Num. 25:16; Num. 26:52; Num. 27:6; Num. 28:1; Num. 31:1; Num. 31:25; Num. 34:1; Num. 34:16; Num. 35:9

Warren Wiersbe's Outline of Number 13

  • Seeing the opportunities (1–25).
  • Seeing the obstacles (26–33)
  • Seeing the Lord (30).

Related Resources:

Numbers 13:2  "Send out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I am going to give to the sons of Israel; you shall send a man from each of their fathers' tribes, every one a leader among them."

  • Send: Nu 32:8 De 1:22-25 Jos 2:1-24 
  • of each: Nu 1:4 34:18 
  • a leader: Nu 11:16 Ex 18:25 De 1:15 
  • Numbers 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


They were now camped at Kadesh-barnea a good place to rest for it had three oases. The journey from Mount Sinai to Kadesh Barnes had taken eleven days (Dt 1:2) which would make it about a 200 mile journey, give or take a few miles.

Mattoon comments that "As we will see, Kadesh will be considered as a place of failure. Miriam will die here. Moses will disobey the Lord at Kadesh (Numbers 20:7-12). God's people will fail too because of spies in the ointment. Their failure begins with the choosing of spies. This was not God's perfect or original plan. The idea for the spies was not God's, it was the idea of the people.

Send out for yourself men The people thought they should spy out the land before conquering it, and Moses let them do it (Dt 1:19-25). God had already told them what the Promised Land was like, so why did they have to investigate? Faith takes God at His word and needs no other evidence (Heb 11:1). The spies discovered that the land was indeed all that God had promised it to be. 

So that (term of purpose) they may spy out the land of Canaan, Whose idea was it to send in the spies? Was it God's idea? Was it His thought to spy out the land? No! According to Dt 1:20-23 the people had first requested the spies be sent out after Moses challenged them to take the land.

I said to you, ‘You have come to the hill country of the Amorites which the LORD our God is about to give us. 21 ‘See, the LORD your God has placed the land before you; go up, take possession, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has spoken to you. Do not fear or be dismayed.’  22 “Then (NOTICE THIS MARKS SEQUENCE - AFTER MOSES' EXHORTATION TO NOT FEAR OR BE DISMAYED!) all of you approached me and said, ‘Let us send men before us, that they may search out the land for us, and bring back to us word of the way by which we should go up and the cities which we shall enter.’ 23“The thing pleased me and I took twelve of your men, one man for each tribe.

It was not God’s idea to send spies into the land. The sending in of the spies denoted a weakness and a fear on the part of the people. There was a fear that maybe they wouldn’t be able to take the land. It was so easy for them to rationalize and decide on spies as a matter of wisdom. God was leading Israel to the land He has promised them [Dt 1:20 ,21]. Their request for spies reveals a lack of faith on their part. They are not trusting Him. God had already been in and spied out the land. He knew all about it. He would not have sent them into the land unless He knew they could take it. When they finally did enter the land, the giants were still there; all the difficulties and problems were still there, yet they took the land.

THOUGHT - What an important message! Am I really walking by faith? Of course we need to take precautions, but there is a time when we must commit our way unto the Lord. (Ps 37:5). We need to come to the place in our lives when we commit our way to Him without reservation, totally trusting in His trustworthy promises. Absolute surrender. Wholehearted obedience. Have you come to that point? Has God brought you a "promise" and told you to lay hold of it by faith and yet you failed to believe Him? Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6).  We find this to be another instance where God yields to the desires of His people. He permits them to do this thing. It was said of them in another context that “He gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul” (Ps 106:15).

Mattoon adds - God's original plan was "Follow me and conquer." Think for a minute. Why do they need spies when the Lord is leading? He defeated Pharaoh. God already told them what the land was like. It was flowing with milk and honey. In other words, it was fertile and fruitful land. Why should they send the spies? The people are procrastinating and are slow to obey the Lord because of doubt and unbelief. They are having difficulty taking God at His word. God allows the spies as a form of judgment and chastening upon His people. Moses was pleased with the plan, but it does not mean that God was pleased. Getting our own way does not always mean we will be blessed or happy. Many Christians are no different than the nation of Israel. When it comes to obeying God, serving Him, trusting Him with their lives, they doubt the Lord and procrastinate in faith and obedience. God says, "Do it today!" Satan says, "Do it tomorrow or not at all." Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the year. The Devil does not care how much we do as long as it is tomorrow.

I've gone for a drink and sharpened my pencils,
Searched through my desk for forgotten utensils.
I reset my watch, I adjusted my chair,
I've loosened my tie and straightened my hair.
I filled my pen and tested the blotter

And gone for another drink of water.
Adjusted the calendar, and I've raised the blind
And I've sorted erasers of all different kinds.
Now down to work I can finally sit,
Oops, too late, it's time to quit
Author Unknown

Spy (08446)(tur) means to to seek out, spy out, explore, to go into a land and search it out (Nu 10:33; 13:2, 16, 17, 21, 25, 32; 14:6, 7, 34, 36, 38). Baker adds that tur "depicts persons following their own hearts or desires, seeking them out to pursue them rather than the Lord's will (Num. 15:39). It refers to merchants, those who seek out wares (1 Ki. 10:15; 2 Chr. 9:14). It is used of the instincts and inclinations of an animal to search out its habitat (Job 39:8). It refers to a person serving as a guide who explores the way for others (Prov. 12:26). It is used figuratively of exploring and investigating wisdom and its ways (Eccl. 1:13; 2:3; 7:25). It refers to the Lord's previous exploration (nasb selection) of the land of Canaan before giving it to His people (Ezek. 20:6). (CWD-OT)

FSB adds "The Hebrew word tur, means “to turn about, wander about.” The term does not speak of information that would lead to specific military strategies (denoted by the verb ragal; compare 21:32; Josh 7:2), although the imperative to take notice of whether the people lived in camps or cities may hint at a military spirit to the trip.

Tur - 24x in 23v - explore(1), explored(1), explores(1), follow(1), guide(1), investigate(1), seek(2), selected(1), spied(5), spy(6), spying(2), traders*(2). Num. 10:33; Num. 13:2; Num. 13:16; Num. 13:17; Num. 13:21; Num. 13:25; Num. 13:32; Num. 14:6; Num. 14:7; Num. 14:34; Num. 14:36; Num. 14:38; Num. 15:39; Deut. 1:33; Jdg. 1:23; 1 Ki. 10:15; 2 Chr. 9:14; Job 39:8; Prov. 12:26; Eccl. 1:13; Eccl. 2:3; Eccl. 7:25; Ezek. 20:6

Which I am going to give to the sons of Israel - This was God's promise, but men still had to take responsibility in order to realize the promise. This principle permeates the passages from Genesis to Revelation. God's promises are laid hold of by faith and genuine faith obeys.

THOUGHT Don't misread the words of Yahweh. He does not say "Which I might give to the sons of Israel" but "I am going to give to the sons of Israel." The first is a "hope so," but the latter is a "hope sure!" 

You shall send a man from each of their fathers' tribes, every one a leader among them Note that those sent out were not just scouts, but leaders, representing Israel. Surely sending out the leaders would assure the success of the mission, but alas, that did not prove true.

Jensen - God further stipulated that the spies should be leaders, representative of each tribe, and that each tribe should be represented by one man. Since the people themselves must eventually make the decision of assault or retreat, they should be fairly informed by a group representing all the tribes.

Numbers 13:3  So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran at the command of the LORD, all of them men who were heads of the sons of Israel.

So - Term of conclusion. Based on the Jehovah's command, Moses complied. 

Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran at the command of the LORD- FSB says Paran "probably refers to an area of the northeastern Sinai Peninsula, west of Midian, but it may also have been used as a name for the entire northern half of the Sinai Peninsula."

All of them men who were heads of the sons of Israel - Again their headship is emphasized. Note however that the names listed in Nu 13:4-16 are not the leaders of the tribes identified at Mount Sinai (Nu 1:3ff and Nu 7:11ff.).

Hard Sayings of the Bible - F F Bruce -   Where Did the Spies Start Out?

Why does Numbers 13:3 say that the spies left from the desert of Paran while Numbers 32:8 says it was from Kadesh Barnea? Were these two different sites or is there some way of explaining how both may be correct?

The desert of Paran is a poorly defined area in the east-central portion of the Sinai peninsula, bordered on the northwest by the wilderness of Shur, on the northeast by the wilderness of Zin and by the Sinai desert on the south. For most of the forty years of their wandering the Israelites were camped at Kadesh Barnea (Num 14:34; Deut 1:19–20).

Topographically, the site of Kadesh Barnea was a part of the wilderness of Paran. In fact, the Greek Septuagint of Numbers 33:36 had a gloss, that is, an explanatory appositional note, that read “in the desert of Paran, this is Kadesh.”

From Genesis 14:5–7 we learn that El-paran was located south of Kadesh, therefore one could properly describe Kadesh as being located on the border of the Paran wilderness.

Numbers 13:4  These then were their names: from the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur;

Mattoon - Do names like Igal, Nabbis, Gaddi ring a bell? No? What about Joshua and Caleb? The list of leaders who would spy out the land are given here. These were some of the best in man's eyes, but not God's. Within eight weeks, ten of them will be dead. (Nu 14:37) Two of them will continue to their destiny of faith in God and in victory. The two men are Joshua and Caleb. It is men of faith and obedience to the Lord that are remembered. They were two men of two million. You could say they are one in a million.

These then were their names: from the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur

Numbers 13:5  from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori;

from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori;

Numbers 13:6  from the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh;

  • Caleb: Nu 13:30 14:6,24,30,38 26:65 27:15-23 34:19 De 31:7-17 Jos 14:6-15 Jos 15:13-19 Lu 1:10-15 1Ch 4:15 
  • Numbers 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

from the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh - As we see in Numbers 14:24+ this man was unique and was recognized by Yahweh "But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it."

FSB - This name is from the Hebrew term kelev, meaning “dog.” In the ancient Near East, the dog could symbolize an obedient servant.

Caleb - 31x in 31v - Num. 13:6; Num. 13:30; Num. 14:6; Num. 14:24; Num. 14:30; Num. 14:38; Num. 26:65; Num. 32:12; Num. 34:19; Deut. 1:36; Jos. 14:6; Jos. 14:13; Jos. 14:14; Jos. 15:13; Jos. 15:14; Jos. 15:16; Jos. 15:17; Jos. 15:18; Jos. 21:12; Jdg. 1:12; Jdg. 1:14; Jdg. 1:15; Jdg. 1:20; 1 Sam. 30:14; 1 Chr. 2:18; 1 Chr. 2:19; 1 Chr. 2:42; 1 Chr. 2:49; 1 Chr. 2:50; 1 Chr. 4:15; 1 Chr. 6:56

See note below on Who is Caleb in the Bible?

Numbers 13:7  from the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph;

from the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph;

Numbers 13:8  from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Nun;

  • Hoshea: Nu 13:16, Nu 11:28 27:18-22 Ex 17:9-13 24:13 32:17 De 31:7,8,14,23 34:9 Jos 1:1-9,16 24:1-33,
  • Numbers 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Nun - For reasons not entirely clear, Moses changed the name of Hoshea (”salvation“ or “desire for salvation”) to Joshua (”Yahweh is salvation“) (v16).

Wiersbe on Joshua - It is interesting to note the “promotion” of Joshua. In Num. 11:28 he is called “Moses’ servant”; ultimately, he becomes Moses’ successor (Josh. 1). We see him as a soldier in Ex. 17:8–16; Ex. 24:13 shows him with Moses on Sinai; Ex. 33:11 has him in charge of the tent of meeting; and Num. 13 shows him as one of the spies. Because he was faithful in whatever task God gave him, Joshua was advanced from one responsibility to another.

Related Resource:

Numbers 13:9  from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti the son of Raphu;

from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti the son of Raphu;

Numbers 13:10  from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel the son of Sodi;

from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel the son of Sodi

Numbers 13:11  from the tribe of Joseph, from the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi the son of Susi;

from the tribe of Joseph, from the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi the son of Susi

Numbers 13:12  from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gemalli;

from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gemalli

Numbers 13:13  from the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael;

from the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael

Numbers 13:14  from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi;

from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi;

Numbers 13:15  from the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi.

from the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi.

Numbers 13:16  These are the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land; but Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun, Joshua.

  • Hoshea: Ho 1:1 Ro 9:25 
  • Joshua: Nu 13:8 14:6,30 Ex 17:9 Mt 1:21-23 Ac 7:45 Heb 4:8
  • Numbers 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


These are the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land - These names are different then the earlier lists of men in each tribe and some suggest they were younger men who would be up to the task.  

but Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun, Joshua - Hoshea means "He saves" and Joshua means "the LORD saves." The Septuagint translates with the name Yeshua, which would later be the Name of Jesus. 

Guzik - We can even imagine when Moses first met Joshua, and asked who he was. “I’m Hoshea” [“I’m salvation”], Joshua would reply. Moses would have smiled and replied, “YaHoshea!” [“Yahweh is salvation!”]. Joshua became his name—and the name of the Messiah, who is our salvation.

Jensen on Hoshea...Joshua - While Hoshea (literally, “help”) was the name on the official register, Joshua (from Jehoshua, literally, “Jehovah-help”) was the name given him by Moses (13:16b).

Norman Geisler -   NUMBERS 13:16—How can this passage say that Moses called Hoshea by the name Joshua since he was called Joshua in Exodus 17:9?

PROBLEM: Numbers 13:16 says that Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun, Joshua. But, as early as Exodus 17:9 Joshua is referred to by that name. How can this passage say that Moses was the one to give Hoshea the name Joshua?

SOLUTION: First, it must be remembered that Moses probably wrote this toward the end of the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. Although Joshua may not have been given this name until the time referred to in Numbers 13:16, it would have been natural for Moses to refer to Hoshea as Joshua while composing the final drafts of the books of the Pentateuch. Also, the point at which Moses notes the fact that he referred to Hoshea as Joshua is quite appropriate. In recording the names of the spies whom he sent into the land, Moses endeavored to make it clear that Hoshea was the very same person to whom he had frequently made reference in other parts of the Pentateuch by the name Joshua.
  Second, it is not necessarily the case that Hoshea was not called Joshua until this point in the process of the historical events. Perhaps it was simply the case that Hoshea was commonly known as Hoshea, but that Moses had called him Joshua from the beginning. The text does not say that Moses began to call Hoshea, Joshua at this point in time. The text simply states that Moses called Hoshea by the name Joshua. It may be significant to realize that the name Hoshea means “salvation,” while the name Joshua means “Yahweh is salvation.” (When Critics Ask)

Don Fortner - Jehoshua: Jehovah is salvation

When Moses changed the name of Oshea, the son of Nun, to Jehoshua, he was making a declaration. The name Jehoshua means, “Jehovah is salvation”. And that is the essence of all that is taught in the Book of God.

When Moses stood before the unbelieving Children of Israel at the Red Sea, he cried, “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord”. The entire Book of Jonah is a declaration of what he said while he was yet in the whale’s belly: “Salvation is of the Lord”. David, in his psalms of praise, declares this over and over again. He sang, “The salvation of the righteous is of the Lord”. “In God is my salvation and glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God”. These were his last words, “Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire”.

As this was the message of the Prophets in the Old Testament, it is the message of the Apostles in the New. “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast”. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us”.

If this is the message of all the Prophets and all the Apostles who spoke for God in the past, it is the message of every preacher who speaks for God today. Any doctrine that departs from this message departs from the Scriptures, departs from the Gospel, and is heresy. All heresy has its beginning with the addition of something man does to the work of Christ. All heresy either adds to or in some way diminishes this fact: “Jehovah is salvation”.

This is my doctrine. This is my hope. This is my message. “Jehovah is salvation”. The whole of the work whereby a son of Adam is delivered from the power of sin, the kingdom of darkness, the guilt of transgression, the curse of the law, and the bondage of iniquity into the glorious liberty of the sons of God is of the Lord. Salvation is God’s work alone!

Numbers 13:17  When Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, he said to them, "Go up there into the Negev; then go up into the hill country.

  • Negev: Nu 13:21,22 Ge 12:9 13:1 Jos 15:3 Jud 1:15 
  • hill: Nu 14:40 Ge 14:10 De 1:44 Jdg 1:9,19 
  • Numbers 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


When Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, he said to them,

"Go up there into the Negev - This is the southern desert of the land where rainfall averages 8–12 inches per year  making it semi-arid.

then go up into the hill country - This would be the land to the north. If we compare where the spies went in Nu 13:21-23 it appears that Moses also instructed them to go to the region of what we today know as Lebanon. So basically Moses is telling them to observe the whole land from south to north. FSB adds this "Refers to the central hill country of Palestine, the mountainous strip of land running from just north of the Negev to the Sea of Galilee on the western side of the Jordan River."

Jensen has an interesting comment - The implication given by the situations to be observed was that if the land looked impregnable, the decision of Moses should be to forego assault. The reconnaissance report, while one of its purposes would be to indicate from what direction assault should be made (Deut. 1:22), was intended more to indicate whether assault should be made at all. This was the point of the people’s suggesting such a reconnaissance. God chose to use this situation as the terminal test of faith. He knew what the report would be—overwhelmingly fearful from a human standpoint. What God wanted to do was to face the people with the ultimate in the test of their faith: would they move on in faith into the jaws of annihilation? (Ibid)

Doubt Brings Failure Numbers 13:17–32; Hebrews 3:18–19 - Croft Pentz

I.  THE PREVIEW—Nu 13:17–20
    The people of Israel had been slaves for over four hundred years in Egypt. Now they were ready to leave Egypt and enter Canaan, the promised land.
      A.      Command—vv. 17–18. Twelve spies were sent to spy out the land to see how many people there were.
      B.      Characters—vv. 19–20. They were sent to see if they were good or bad people. Notice: “Be of good courage”—don’t be fearful. When God leads us, He will encourage us and help us.

      A.      Faithfulness—vv. 21–25. They obeyed and went. They did not know the dangers or problems that were ahead, yet they obeyed and went. Oh, how we need obedient people today, people who will obey God’s Word!
      B.      Faith—v. 26. Faith caused these spies to go and to search out this land. They were gone for forty days. The entire Christian life is a life of faithfully following the Lord.
      C.      Fruit—v. 27. This was a land of milk and honey, that is, it was the best of all countries. This was the promised land, Canaan!
    When God tells us to do something, let us be faithful in obeying and following Him!

III. THE PEOPLE—Nu 13:28–32
      A.      Faithless—vv. 28–29. Doubt and unbelief is sin. Remember, God can do all things! All things are possible with Him. Doubt and unbelief will lead you away from the Lord.
      B.      Faith—v. 30. Caleb was an old man, but had faith in God that they could go in and possess the land. Only Joshua and Caleb had faith they could take the land!
      C.      Fear—vv. 31–32. Don’t look at circumstances—have faith in God! God is not dead. God is anxious to meet our needs!

 IV. THE PERIL— Nu 3:18–19
     A.      Faithless—v. 18. They could not enter because of their unbelief. We must have faith in God to please Him (Heb. 11:6). Satan always places doubt in the minds of Christians.
      B.      Fear—v. 19. Fear is a type of unbelief. Why fear when God will take care of us? (See Ps. 37:25; Phil. 4:19.) He promised never to leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5).

Numbers 13:17-33 Only a Scarecrow

"He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." - 1 John 4:4

Like the children of Israel in today's Bible reading, Hannah Hurnard, author of "Hinds' Feet on High Places," was once paralyzed by fear. Then she heard a sermon on scarecrows that challenged her to turn her fear to faith.

The preacher said, "A wise bird knows that a scarecrow is simply an advertisement. It announces that some very juicy and delicious fruit is to be had for the picking. There are scarecrows in all the best gardens… If I am wise, I too shall treat the scarecrow as though it were an invitation. Every giant in the way which makes me feel like a grasshopper is only a scarecrow beckoning me to God's richest blessings." He concluded, "Faith is a bird which loves to perch on scarecrows. All our fears are groundless."

Hannah testified that this humble parable has encouraged her to walk along some frightening but fruitful pathways

more times than she could number.

What is your scarecrow today? Difficult circumstances? Personal inadequacy? Uncertainty? The enemy of your soul wants to keep you away from the place of God's blessing. Perch on your scarecrow by faith, start singing, and expect an abundant feast! -- J E Yoder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

So let us trust Him in our troubles,
For He is loving, kind, and wise;
And most often trials and troubles
Are but blessings in disguise.
-- Jarvis

When you fix your eyes on God, your fears will vanish.


Do You See Giants?

My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land. —Numbers 14:24

Today's Scripture: Numbers 13:17-30

The 12 spies who were sent out by Moses scouted the land of Canaan for 40 days. When they returned, all but Joshua and Caleb gave this pessimistic report: “We were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight” (Num. 13:33).

These faithless ones saw only difficulties and defeat. Yes, the giants were great, but wasn’t their God greater? How could they so easily forget the way God led them through the wilderness?

The 10 spies who were filled with doubt died in the wilderness. We know that Joshua led the people into the Promised Land. But what about Caleb? God blessed him and brought him into the land too because he had a different spirit and followed Him wholeheartedly (14:24).

Think for a moment of two balloons. One is filled with carbon dioxide and cannot rise. The other balloon is filled with helium and immediately goes up. So too, if our hearts are filled with doubts and fears, we will not be able to rise in faith to do what God wants us to do.

We need more Calebs—willing to follow the leading of the Lord because they are filled with His Holy Spirit. Are you a Caleb of faith, or are you among the doubters who always see the giants of difficulty? —Henry G. Bosch (ODB Editor 1956-1981) By:  Henry G. Bosch (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees,
And looks to God alone,
Laughs at impossibilities,
And cries, "It shall be done!" 

Fear sees the obstacle; faith sees the opportunity.

Numbers 13:18  "See what the land is like, and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many.


See what the land is like, and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak - How could they assess this? Presumably observing for fortifications (walled cities), any evidence of standing armies (like in Egypt), etc. 

Whether they are few or many - This would be relatively easy to assess. 

Numbers 13:19  "How is the land in which they live, is it good or bad? And how are the cities in which they live, are they like open camps or with fortifications?


How is the land in which they live, is it good or bad? Now think about this question for a moment. What had God already told Moses at the burning bush about the land in Exodus 3:8+ "So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite." In Ex 13:5+ (cf Lev 20:24+) Moses had said it would be a gift from God and "a land flowing with milk and honey." Guzik may be correct when he says "Moses’ direction to the spies was a subtle manifestation of unbelief. Did he really doubt that the land was good? Did he doubt that the land was rich? Did he doubt that there were useful forests? Did it matter if the people were strong or many, or if they lived in strongholds?"

And how are the cities in which they live, are they like open camps or with fortifications

Numbers 13:20  "How is the land, is it fat or lean? Are there trees in it or not? Make an effort then to get some of the fruit of the land." Now the time was the time of the first ripe grapes.

BGT  Numbers 13:20 καὶ τίς ἡ γῆ εἰ πίων ἢ παρειμένη εἰ ἔστιν ἐν αὐτῇ δένδρα ἢ οὔ καὶ προσκαρτερήσαντες λήμψεσθε ἀπὸ τῶν καρπῶν τῆς γῆς καὶ αἱ ἡμέραι ἡμέραι ἔαρος πρόδρομοι σταφυλῆς

NET  Numbers 13:20 and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether or not there are forests in it. And be brave, and bring back some of the fruit of the land." Now it was the time of year for the first ripe grapes.

NLT  Numbers 13:20 Is the soil fertile or poor? Are there many trees? Do your best to bring back samples of the crops you see." (It happened to be the season for harvesting the first ripe grapes.)

ESV  Numbers 13:20 and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are trees in it or not. Be of good courage and bring some of the fruit of the land." Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes.

NIV  Numbers 13:20 How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees on it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land." (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.)

KJV  Numbers 13:20 And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the firstripe grapes.

YLT  Numbers 13:20 And what the land is, whether it is fat or lean; whether there is wood in it or not; and ye have strengthened yourselves, and have taken of the fruit of the land;' and the days are days of the first-fruits of grapes.

LXE  Numbers 13:20 And what the land is, whether rich or poor; whether there are trees in it or no: and ye shall persevere and take of the fruits of the land: and the days were the days of spring, the forerunners of the grape.

ASV  Numbers 13:20 and what the land is, whether it is fat or lean, whether there is wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the first-ripe grapes.

CSB  Numbers 13:20 Is the land fertile or unproductive? Are there trees in it or not? Be courageous. Bring back some fruit from the land." It was the season for the first ripe grapes.

NKJ  Numbers 13:20 "whether the land is rich or poor; and whether there are forests there or not. Be of good courage. And bring some of the fruit of the land." Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes.

NRS  Numbers 13:20 and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are trees in it or not. Be bold, and bring some of the fruit of the land." Now it was the season of the first ripe grapes.

  • is it: Ne 9:25,35 Eze 34:14 
  • make every effort: Nu 13:30,31 De 31:6-8,23 Jos 1:6,9 2:3,22,23 1Ch 22:11 Heb 13:6 
  • first ripe: Nu 13:23,24 Mic 7:1 
  • Numbers 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


How is the land, is it fat or lean? Are there trees in it or not? - As discussed below procurement of fruit would substantiate their verbal testimony of what they saw. 

Make an effort then to get some of the fruit of the land - The marginal note in the NAS make every effort has "use your strength." NET has "be brave." KJV has "be ye of good courage." NIV and NLT are probably a bit soft rendering it "do your best." The idea is strengthening oneself by summoning all their remaining strength. Why would Moses ask for the fruit of the land? Obviously he was not asking so they would have something to eat, but if they procured fruit, it would be evidence that they really had seen the land. And it would be evidence to the people that it was a fruitful land as God had described. So in a sense it would be some visual evidence to undergird their trust in the promises God had made.

Make an effort (02388)(chazaq) conveys the basic meaning of to be or become strong, to make strong or strengthen and in this verse is in the Hithpael which means to strengthen oneself (to take courage 1 Sa 30:6). This is the same verb with which Moses charge Joshua to be "strong (chazaq) and courageous"(Josh 1:6, 7). The Lxx uses the verb proskartereo in Nu 13:20, which Liddell-Scott says means "to persist obstinately in." The idea is devote oneself to, to persevere. TDNT says the root verb kartereo means to be strong or to endure steadfastly. 

Now the time was the time of the first ripe grapes - Near the end of July. FSB has an interesting note that "This underscores the idea that the goal of the expedition is to give the people a preview of the land’s bounty and to energize them (in addition to getting them to stop complaining about food; compare Num 11)."

Numbers 13:21  So they went up and spied out the land from the wilderness of Zin as far as Rehob, at Lebo-hamath.

  • from the wilderness of Zin: The wilderness of Zin, is different from that called Sin. (Ex 16:1.)  The latter was near Egypt, but the former was near Kadesh Barnea, not far from the borders of Canaan.  It seems to be the valley mentioned by Burckhardt; which, under the names of El Ghor and El Araba, form a continuation of the valley of the Jordan, extending from the Dead sea to the eastern branch of the Red sea.  The whole plain presents to the view an appearance of shifting sands, whose surface is broken by innumerable undulations and low hills.  A few talk, tamarisk, and rethem trees grow among the sand hills; but the depth of sand precludes all vegetation of herbage. Nu 20:1 27:14 33:36 34:3,4 De 32:51 Jos 15:1 
  • Rehob: Rehob was a city, afterwards given to the tribe of Asher, situated near mount Lebanon, at the northern extremity of the Promised Land, on the road which leads to Hamath, and west of Laish or Dan:  compare Jdg 1:31; 18:28; Jos 19:28.
  • Lebo-hamath: 2Sa 8:9 Am 6:2 
  • Numbers 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

JOURNEY OF SPIES - Click to enlarge
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So they went up and spied out the land from the wilderness of Zin - This is the southern edge of the land which was later identified as marking the southern border of the promised land (Nu 34:3–4; Josh 15:1).

as far as Rehob - This is far north of Canaan (near Mount Hermon) and will later be part of the territory of Asher (Josh 19:28).

at Lebo-hamath - This means  “on the way that people go to Hamath.” "Lebo-hamath (v. 21) stood about 50 miles north of Damascus, 100 miles north of the Sea of Chinnereth (Galilee)." (Constable)

FSB adds that Lebo-hamath was "A city on the Orontes River (See Hama in Wikipedia) in the northern part of the Levant. This area is later used to mark the northern extent of the kingdom of Israel (1 Ki 8:65; 2 Ki 14:25). The spies therefore surveyed the length of the land."

Related Resources:

Numbers 13:22  When they had gone up into the Negev, they came to Hebron where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak were. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)

  • Ahiman: Jos 11:21,22 15:13,14 Jud 1:10 
  • the descendants: Nu 13:33 
  • Hebron: Ge 13:18 23:2 Jos 14:13-15 21:13 2Sa 2:1,11 
  • Zoan: Ps 78:12,43 Isa 19:11 30:4 
  • Numbers 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

When they had gone up into the Negev - The preceding verse gave the account of their journey over the whole land; this section focuses on what happened in the area of Hebron, which would be the basis for the false report. (NET)

Believer's Study Bible - The spies came from the south, or Negev, and journeyed to Hebron (also known as Mamre, Machpelah, and Kirjath-Arba), the home and burial place of the patriarchs. Since it was the only part of the Promised Land the patriarchs had ever possessed (cf. Gen. 13:14-18; 14:13; 23:19; 25:9; 35:27-29; 50:13), it served as a pledge of the fulfillment of God's promises. The spies, however, were evidently more impressed by the size of the city and its inhabitants (vv. 28, 31-33, note) than by its relationship to God's promises. Caleb later conquered it (Josh. 15:14). "Zoan" refers to the Egyptian city of Tanis (its Greek name), probably identified as modern San el-Hagar, a site occupied before 2,000 B.C. The "seven years" may refer to a date known to the Hebrews when the city was fortified or rebuilt. Hebron was not yet a city at the time of the patriarchs.

they came to Hebron where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak were - "These names are thought to be three clans that were in the Hebron area (see Josh 15:14; Judg 1:20). To call them descendants of Anak is usually taken to mean that they were large or tall people (2 Sam 21:18–22). They were ultimately driven out by Caleb." (NET) 

FSB - It was at Hebron that Abraham was first promised the land of Canaan—which makes the Israelites’ apprehension about entering the land all the more shameful (Num 14:1–4).

Constable Hebron was a large fortified town. Moses gave it special emphasis here because it was near Hebron that God had promised to give Abraham the land (Gen. 13:14–18). From there Abraham had set out to defeat a coalition of kings (Gen. 14:13). The only piece of real estate Abraham possessed in Canaan was in Hebron, and there he and the other patriarchs lay buried. The spies, of course, knew these historical facts, and memories of these patriarchal events should have strengthened their faith in Yahweh as they passed through Hebron.

(Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) - "The text now provides a brief historical aside for the readers. Zoan was probably the city of Tanis, although that is disputed today by some scholars. It was known in Egypt in the New Kingdom as “the fields of Tanis,” which corresponded to the “fields of Zoar” in the Hebrew Bible (Ps 78:12, 43)." (NET

Numbers 13:23  Then they came to the valley of Eshcol and from there cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes; and they carried it on a pole between two men, with some of the pomegranates and the figs.

  • valley, Nu 13:24 32:9 De 1:24,25 Jdg 16:4 
  • Numbers 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Carrying Cluster of Grapes


Then - Indicates sequence in their journey. The are heading back home to the camp at Kadesh-Barnea. 

They came to the valley of Eshcol - means "cluster" (or "valley of grapes"). 

and from there cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes; and they carried it on a pole between two men - A single cluster of grapes was so large it needed to be carried by two men! Even today in Israel clusters grow as large as twelve to twenty pounds!

Kitto on carried it on a pole between two men - The cluster was doubtless large; but the fact that it was carried in this manner does not, as usually understood, imply that the bunch was as much as two men could carry, seeing that it was probably so carried to prevent its being bruised in the journey....This valley is now full of vineyards and olive-yards; the former chiefly in the valley itself, the latter up the sides of the enclosing hills. 'These vineyards are still very fine, and produce the finest and largest grapes in all the country.'

Faussett adds "A wady in southern Canaan, somewhere in the vinebearing district (miles of hill sides and valleys covered with small stone heaps for training vines) between Hebron (Genesis 13:18; Genesis 14:13) and Kadesh, but nearer Kadesh (Ain-el-Gadis) on the northern frontier of the peninsula, the Negeb or the "south." From Kadesh the spies went and returned with grapes of Eshcol, which cannot be near Hebron, for grapes could not well be brought such a distance as that between Hebron and Kadesh, and the spies would court secrecy and haste (Numbers 13:24). 

NET Note on staff - The word is related etymologically to the verb for “slip, slide, bend, totter.” This would fit the use very well. A pole that would not bend would be hard to use to carry things, but a pole or stave that was flexible would serve well.

Symbol of Israel

Constable - A huge cluster of grapes carried on a pole between two men has long been a symbol of the land of Israel. This figure illustrates the great agricultural productivity of the land. It still is a popular symbol of modern Israel today (see depiction above) and is the logo of the Department of Tourism.

Pole (04132)(mot) means a shaking, pole, bar (of a yoke). Only 4x in OT - Num. 4:10; Num. 4:12; Num. 13:23; Nah. 1:13.

With some of the pomegranates (picture) and the figs (picture) -  Pomegranates were a symbol of plenty.

Pomegranates - 30x in 25v - Exod. 28:33; Exod. 28:34; Exod. 39:24; Exod. 39:25; Exod. 39:26; Num. 13:23; Num. 20:5; Deut. 8:8; 1 Sam. 14:2; 1 Ki. 7:18; 1 Ki. 7:20; 1 Ki. 7:42; 2 Ki. 25:17; 2 Chr. 3:16; 2 Chr. 4:13; Cant. 4:3; Cant. 4:13; Cant. 6:7; Cant. 6:11; Cant. 7:12; Cant. 8:2; Jer. 52:22; Jer. 52:23; Joel 1:12; Hag. 2:19

Figs - 39x in 35v - Gen. 3:7; Num. 13:23; Num. 20:5; Deut. 8:8; Jdg. 9:10; Jdg. 9:11; 1 Ki. 4:25; 2 Ki. 18:31; 2 Ki. 20:7; Neh. 13:15; Ps. 105:33; Prov. 27:18; Cant. 2:13; Isa. 34:4; Isa. 36:16; Isa. 38:21; Jer. 5:17; Jer. 8:13; Jer. 24:1; Jer. 24:2; Jer. 24:3; Jer. 24:5; Jer. 24:8; Jer. 29:17; Hos. 2:12; Hos. 9:10; Joel 1:7; Joel 1:12; Joel 2:22; Amos 4:9; Mic. 4:4; Nah. 3:12; Hab. 3:17; Hag. 2:19; Zech. 3:10

Related Resources:

Robert Hawker —Numbers 13:23.

WAS not this single cluster God’s earnest to the people of the sure possession of the land where those delicious fruits grew? And was not the size and weight of this one branch a sample how full and extensive all the blessings, both of the covenant and of the promised land, should be to the after possessions of God’s people? My soul! dost thou not see in it then a precious representation of Jesus, that one Branch, and of all that cluster of blessings which are in him. Well might the church cry out concerning the Redeemer, “My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi.” For whether this camphire, this copher, denotes the vine of Cyprus, or the fruit of the palm-tree, in either, or in both, the soul-strengthening, soul-exhilarating, soul-healing virtues of his unnumbered excellencies, may well be set forth under the beautiful similitude of the cluster of grapes from the brook of Eshcol. Yes! thou dear Lord! thou hast condescended to compare thyself to the vine; and to thy people thou art indeed a cluster of all that is lovely, sweet, gracious, and endearing. In thee dwelleth, like the berries of the richest cluster, all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. In thee is found all the purity, holiness, harmlessness, and perfection of the human nature, as God manifest in flesh. In thee, as God-man Mediator, we behold the cluster of all spiritual graces; all spiritual, temporal, eternal, blessings, all divine promises; all, all are in thee, to give out to thy people. Neither is there a mercy thy people can want, of grace here, or glory hereafter, but what is treasured up in thee, in a fulness perfectly inexhaustible. Precious Jesus! revive my spirits this day with this view of thee. Give me to see when my soul desireth the first ripe fruit, that thou thyself art all my soul can need. Bring me to the brook of Eshcol, and there let my eyes, my heart, my whole soul, and body, and spirit, feast itself in the contemplation and enjoyment of thy Person, thy graces, gifts, and fulness, until under the full satisfaction my soul findeth, in being eternally filled with thy goodness, I cry out with the church, My beloved is unto me as the richest of all the clusters of copher in the vineyards of Engedi.

Numbers 13:24  That place was called the valley of Eshcol, because of the cluster which the sons of Israel cut down from there.

That place was called the valley of Eshcol - Or "Wadi Eshcol" where wadi is the Hebrew word nachal the path a temporary stream may take. It was like the bed of a river that is dry except during the rainy season, when it becomes a torrent.

because of the cluster which the sons of Israel cut down from there - The Hebrew word for cluster is eshkol (0811 - Ge 40:10; Nu 13:23, 24; Dt. 32:32; Song. 1:14,  7:7, 8; Isa 65:8; Mic 7:1)

Numbers 13:25  When they returned from spying out the land, at the end of forty days,

  • forty days: Nu 14:33,34 Ex 24:18 34:28 
  • Numbers 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


When they returned from spying out the land, at the end of forty days - It is interesting that Moses nor God had said you must take 40 days t spy out the land but that is the number that they attained in the providence of God. God is in control of everything beloved! Forty days of spying would turn out to be somewhat prophetic for it would be turned into 40 years of wandering as punishment for their unbelief (Nu 14:33). The distance they traversed in 40 days was about 250 miles each way. (Mattoon says "The land was searched for forty days. It was 150 miles by 60 miles in area and took forty days to scout.")

Jensen - Their trip of forty days took them, as directed, from the wilderness of Zin in the south to the entrance of Hamath in the far north. In between, they spied on such places as Hebron, south of what was later named Jerusalem, and the nearby valley of Eshcol (literally “cluster”).

FSB Forty is symbolic in the OT and NT as a period of purging and purification, therefore, we expect the report to be a favorable one. However, the spies—except for Caleb and Joshua—return tainted by fear and disbelief. (Mattoon adds "These spies have plenty of time to decide for the Lord, but they don't. When God brings judgment upon men, they can't complain that they did not have time to repent.")

Wiersbe - The twelve spies traveled about 500 miles during the forty days of their survey of Canaan, but they discovered nothing that God hadn’t already told them! They already knew the names of the pagan nations that lived in the land (Ge 15:18–21), that it was a good land (Ex. 3:8) and a rich land flowing with milk and honey (Ex 3:8, 17). They saw the incredible fruit of the land and brought back a huge bunch of grapes for the people to see. They even visited Hebron, where the patriarchs of Israel were buried with their wives (Num. 13:22; Gen. 23:2, 19; 49:29–31; 50:13). Did the reminder of the faith of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph encourage their own trust in God? For ten of the spies, the answer is no. (Be Counted)

Question: What is the significance of 40 days in the Bible? |

Answer: The number 40 shows up often in the Bible. Because 40 appears so often in contexts dealing with judgment or testing, many scholars understand it to be the number of “probation” or “trial.” This doesn’t mean that 40 is entirely symbolic; it still has a literal meaning in Scripture. “Forty days” means “forty days,” but it does seem that God has chosen this number to help emphasize times of trouble and hardship.

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Here are some examples of the Bible’s use of the number 40 that stress the theme of testing or judgment:

In the Old Testament, when God destroyed the earth with water, He caused it to rain 40 days and 40 nights (Genesis 7:12). After Moses killed the Egyptian, he fled to Midian, where he spent 40 years in the desert tending flocks (Acts 7:30). Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights (Exodus 24:18). Moses interceded on Israel’s behalf for 40 days and 40 nights (Deuteronomy 9:18, 25). The Law specified a maximum number of lashes a man could receive for a crime, setting the limit at 40 (Deuteronomy 25:3). The Israelite spies took 40 days to spy out Canaan (Numbers 13:25). The Israelites wandered for 40 years (Deuteronomy 8:2-5). Before Samson’s deliverance, Israel served the Philistines for 40 years (Judges 13:1). Goliath taunted Saul’s army for 40 days before David arrived to slay him (1 Samuel 17:16). When Elijah fled from Jezebel, he traveled 40 days and 40 nights to Mt. Horeb (1 Kings 19:8).

The number 40 also appears in the prophecies of Ezekiel (4:6; 29:11-13) and Jonah (3:4).

In the New Testament, Jesus was tempted for 40 days and 40 nights (Matthew 4:2). There were 40 days between Jesus’ resurrection and ascension (Acts 1:3).

Whether or not the number 40 really has any significance is still debated. The Bible definitely seems to use 40 to emphasize a spiritual truth, but we must point out that the Bible nowhere specifically assigns any special meaning to the number 40.

Some people place too much significance on numerology, trying to find a special meaning behind every number in the Bible. Often, a number in the Bible is simply a number, including the number 40. God does not call us to search for secret meanings, hidden messages, or codes in the Bible. There is more than enough truth in the plain words of Scripture to meet all our needs and make us “complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17)

Numbers 13:25–14:9 Trouble Ahead

By Joe Stowell

Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land; … the Lord is with us. Do not fear them. —Numbers 14:9

Inevitably, trouble will invade our lives: A bad report from a medical test, the betrayal of a trusted friend, a child who rejects us, or a spouse who leaves us. The list of possibilities is long, but there are only two options: forge ahead on our own, or turn to God.

Flying solo into the face of trouble is not a good idea. It can lead to bad behavior patterns, blaming God, and retreating into defeat. Like the Israelites, we may spin out of control and into despair (Num. 14:1-4).

When the majority of the spies brought a report of intimidating giants and dangers ahead, they used the pronoun “we” seven times with no reference to the Lord (13:31-33). The Israelites were on the cusp of the ultimate blessing that God promised to them. They were eyewitnesses to the miracles in Egypt and their feet had walked the dry bottom of the Red Sea in jaw-dropping victory. God’s faithfulness had been amazingly evident. What short memories! What disappointing faithlessness! Sadly, they turned their backs on God and left the blessing behind.

Caleb and Joshua, on the other hand, opted to turn to the Lord with this confidence: “The Lord is with us” (14:9). When your giants show up, what will you do? (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

In this world of sin and trouble
Where so many ills are known,
If I shun the ways of evil,
I am kept by Him alone.

God’s presence is a life preserver that keeps the soul from sinking in a sea of trouble.

Numbers 13:25–14:19 House-Hunting Ants

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. —Psalm 90:1

According to researchers from the University of Bristol, the European rock ant may be better than we are at staying on top of the housing market. The researchers found that the ant colonies use scout ants to continually monitor their colonies’ living conditions. Using social skills complex enough to stun the scientists, the rock ants work together to find the right living space, darkness, and security needed to give the queen mother and her larvae the best available housing.

In the days of Moses, the families of Israel were looking for a new home. The slave yards of Egypt had been brutal. The wilderness of Sinai was no place to settle down. But there was a problem. According to Israelite scouts, the homeland to which God was leading them was already occupied—by walled cities and giants who made the scouts feel like grasshoppers in their own eyes (Num. 13:28,33).

Sometimes it may be helpful to compare ourselves to insects. House-hunting rock ants instinctively follow the ways of their Creator. But we often let our fears keep us from following and trusting God. When we rest in the assurance of His presence and love, we can say, “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.”

Father in heaven, please help us to see that today there is no better place to live than in Your presence and love. Help us learn to settle in and be comfortable with our place in You.

Finding ourselves at home in God is a good place to be. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Numbers 13:26  they proceeded to come to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the sons of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; and they brought back word to them and to all the congregation and showed them the fruit of the land.

  • the wilderness: Nu 13:3 
  • Kadesh: Nu 20:1,16 32:8 33:36 De 1:19 Jos 14:6 
  • Numbers 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

they proceeded to come to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the sons of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh - Kadesh-Barnea in Nu 32:8 which is about 50 miles sought of Beersheba. 

And they brought back word to them and to all the congregation and showed them the fruit of the land - They showed them the cluster of grapes, some pomegranates and figs (Nu 13:23).

How Is Your Vision?

By faith [Moses] forsook Egypt, . . . for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. — Hebrews 11:27

Today's Scripture: Numbers 13:26-14:10

Several months ago, I visited two professing Christians who were terminally ill. I was struck by their contrasting attitudes. One man was glum and quite listless even when I read Scripture and prayed and spoke about our hope in Christ. His spiritual eyesight seemed dim.

When I visited the other man, I found him talking cheerfully with two of his granddaughters. He expressed his desire that they would have a good life, and he urged them to live for Jesus. This man had 20/20 spiritual vision. By faith he saw the invisible God as he was facing death.

We read of similar responses in Numbers 13 and 14. Twelve spies had been sent out to explore the Promised Land. All 12 saw the lush, green, fertile areas. It was truly a land of great agricultural promise. But 10 of them were intimidated by the size and number of the hostile people who lived there. They said it would be foolhardy to invade. The other two spies, Joshua and Caleb, insisted that with the Lord on their side they could take the territory. By faith they saw God beyond the obstacles.

What do we focus on? Do we see only the size of our problems, or do we see the greatness of our God? Only He can give us 20/20 spiritual vision. By:  Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The eyes of faith when fixed on Christ
Give hope for what's ahead,
But focus on life's obstacles
And faith gives way to dread.

In every difficulty you can find an opportunity.

Numbers 13:27  Thus they told him, and said, "We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.

  • Nu 14:8 Ex 3:8,17 13:5 33:3 Lev 20:24 De 1:25-33 6:3 11:9 De 26:9,11-15 27:3 31:20 Jos 5:6 Jer 11:5 32:22 Eze 20:6,15 
  • Numbers 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Thus they told him, and said, "We went in to the land where you sent us - What they should have said is to the land that God is giving us. They are already starting off on the wrong foot! 

Mattoon -The spies proclaim, "It's just like God said! It is flowing with milk and honey!" The evidence was on their shoulders, but they carried unbelief in their hearts!

and it certainly does flow with milk and honey -  What God promises, God will fultill! It is worth noting that the first promise of the land of milk and honey was while Israel was still enslaved in Egypt. Moses records

“So I (JEHOVAH'S PROMISE TO MOSES) have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite." (Exodus 3:8+ )

Milk and honey - 20x in 20v - Exod. 3:8; Exod. 3:17; Exod. 13:5; Exod. 33:3; Lev. 20:24; Num. 13:27; Num. 14:8; Num. 16:13; Num. 16:14; Deut. 6:3; Deut. 11:9; Deut. 26:9; Deut. 26:15; Deut. 27:3; Deut. 31:20; Jos. 5:6; Jer. 11:5; Jer. 32:22; Ezek. 20:6; Ezek. 20:15

NIVSB - The traditional and proverbial description of the hill country of Canaan—in its original pastoral state, providing abundant grazing land for milk-producing sheep and goats. The Hebrew for “honey” refers to both bees’ honey and the sweet, syrupy juice of grapes or dates.

And this is its fruit - Here is the proof it is a fruitful land.

Believer's Study Bible - "Milk and honey" is the traditional phrase to emphasize the fruitfulness of the Promised Land (Ex. 3:8; Lev. 20:24; Deut. 6:3; Josh. 5:6; Jer. 11:5).


So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

By nature, we are people of belief because faith is the foundation of our relationship to God. But every once in a while, we experience what can be called a faith failure. Often, these failures happen when we hesitate or cease to trust God during challenging times. Yet there are many other causes for faith failures:

   •      Fear of being unsuccessful
   •      Failure to understand the nature of God
   •      Forgetting God’s power
   •      Focusing on our obstacles

As you read through today’s Scripture passage from Numbers, ask yourself this question: Which of these factors do you think played a role in the Israelites’ hesitance to enter the land of Negev?

Actually, it can be argued that a combination of all these issues suddenly caused the Israelites to doubt God and become fearful. This massive faith failure then led to a crisis among the people.

So, how do we avoid faith failures? Truthfully, we will all experience doubts from time to time. But we can be prepared for these episodes by filling our minds with God’s truth. When we know the character of our heavenly Father, we will be prepared to respond with spiritual maturity when our faith is tested.

As you spend time with God today, focus on His true nature. Which of His characteristics has He shown you: faithfulness, goodness, mercy? The Lord longs for you to know and trust Him so that His perfect will may be carried out in your life.

Lord, there are lands of the Negev in my life—places where I fear to go. I want to immerse myself in Your truth so that my bolstered faith will carry me through. (Pathways to His Presence)

Question: Why was Israel called the land of milk and honey?

Answer: Repeatedly in the Old Testament, God describes the Promised Land as “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8; Numbers 14:8; Deuteronomy 31:20; Ezekiel 20:15). This poetic description of Israel’s land emphasizes the fertility of the soil and bounty that awaited God’s chosen people. The reference to “milk” suggests that many livestock could find pasture there; the mention of “honey” suggests the vast farmland available—the bees had plenty of plants to draw nectar from.

In Exodus 3:8, God says to Moses, “I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.” A couple things to note about this verse:

First, before the plagues, the land of Egypt supported Israel and the Egyptians quite well, yet God called the new land “good and spacious.” The Hebrew word translated “good” means “pleasant, beautiful, and fruitful, with economic benefits.”

Second, simultaneously with promoting the goodness of the land, God mentions the enemies in the land that must be overcome. The nations displaced by Israel from the land “flowing with milk and honey” were significant in number, and they valued that land enough to fight and die for it.

Later, we have the record of the ten faithless spies who were sent into the Promised Land by Moses. The ten spies disagreed that Israel was able to conquer the inhabitants of the land, but they did agree on this: it was a land of flowing with milk and honey. “They gave Moses this account: ‘We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit’” (Numbers 13:27). The “fruit” the spies showed Moses was a single cluster of grapes that had to be carried on a pole between two men (verse 23). They also brought some pomegranates and the figs from Canaan.

It is true that there are areas of very arid land in Israel, but this does not negate the fact that, overall, it is a land flowing with milk and honey. There are many areas of Israel that are extremely fertile and produce many types of fruits and vegetables. The area north of present-day Israel is biblical Mesopotamia, also known as the “Fertile Crescent,” which is just that—fertile (and crescent-shaped). It is also true that the Bible records severe drought and famine in the land of Israel, but those times were connected to God’s judgment on the sinful people (Deuteronomy 11:16–17; 1 Kings 18:1–2, 18).

God’s description of the Promised Land as “a land flowing with milk and honey” is a beautifully graphic way of highlighting the agricultural richness of the land. God brought His people out of slavery in Egypt to a prosperous land of freedom and blessing and the knowledge of the Lord.  |

Numbers 13:28  "Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there.

BGT  Numbers 13:28 ἀλλ᾽ ἢ ὅτι θρασὺ τὸ ἔθνος τὸ κατοικοῦν ἐπ᾽ αὐτῆς καὶ αἱ πόλεις ὀχυραὶ τετειχισμέναι καὶ μεγάλαι σφόδρα καὶ τὴν γενεὰν Εναχ ἑωράκαμεν ἐκεῖ

NET  Numbers 13:28 But the inhabitants are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. Moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there.

NLT  Numbers 13:28 But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak!

ESV  Numbers 13:28 However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there.

NIV  Numbers 13:28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there.

KJV  Numbers 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.

YLT  Numbers 13:28 only, surely the people which is dwelling in the land is strong; and the cities are fenced, very great; and also children of Anak we have seen there.

LXE  Numbers 13:28 Only the nation that dwells upon it is bold, and they have very great and strong walled towns, and we saw there the children of Enach.

ASV  Numbers 13:28 Howbeit the people that dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.

CSB  Numbers 13:28 However, the people living in the land are strong, and the cities are large and fortified. We also saw the descendants of Anak there.

NKJ  Numbers 13:28 "Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there.

  • strong: De 1:28 2:10,11,21 3:5 9:1,2 
  • saw the: Nu 13:22,23,33 Jos 11:22 15:14 Jud 1:20 
  • Numbers 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Nevertheless - Despite all the positive aspects. Despite the fact that what they saw about the goodness of the land was exactly what Yahweh had promised it would be like. Nevertheless is a strong term of contrast in this context. Yes the land is fruitful BUT it is fortified. It is fruitful BUT impregnable according to their natural, human logic. If our mind is not renewed by God's Word, we begin to think worldly thoughts. God's Word had already given then a sure promise, but they either forgot God's Word or despised God's Word, always a dangerous thing to do! 

Mattoon on nevertheless - The word "nevertheless" is what I call an "Oh! Oh!" word. In spite of the blessings the spies proclaim, "The people are too strong for us. There are really big guys in the land and the walls of the cities are twenty feet thick and twenty-five feet high." Their problem is they are fearful and disobedient.

The wicked flee when no one is pursuing,
But the righteous are bold as a lion.
Proverbs 28:1

Guzik - At that moment, Moses, and every man of faith in Israel should have cried out and said, “Nevertheless nothing! How can one say, ‘We went to the land, found it good, and God’s promise true,’ and then say, ‘Despite all this …’?”

  • Despite God’s faithful promise, the people who dwell in the land are strong.
  • Despite God’s faithful promise, the cities are fortified and very large.
  • Despite God’s faithful promise, we saw the descendants of Anak [a tribe of large men] there.
  • Despite God’s faithful promise, the Amalekites dwell … the Amorites dwell … the Canaanites dwell—all the land is taken up, there are no vacancies!

Wiersbe - The ten spies described the glories of the land, and then added, “Nevertheless …” This word is usually a sign of unbelief.

Constable - Everything the spies said from this word on was uncalled for. Their commission had been to view the land and to report back on what they saw. It was not their job to determine if the Israelites could overcome the Canaanites. God had promised that He would give the land to His people.

Jensen on nevertheless - The report by the spies was made semi-objectively, but the men could not help injecting their own pessimism and defeatism into it. The word “howbeit” (Nu 13:28) indicates this. Also, by the time they finished their report, the people were beginning to catch the spirit of defeatism and violent objection, so much so that Caleb had to still the mob (Nu 13:30). (Ibid)

Nevertheless (0657)(ephes from aphes = to cease, fail, come to an end) means a ceasing, then end, extremity, nautht, nonexistence, cessation of, nought. Basically, the noun indicates that a thing "comes to an end" and "is no more." Gilbrant - The first meaning of ʾephes is "end" in the sense of "extremity." The most common phrase using this word, especially in the Psalms, is ʾephes ʾerets, which means "the ends of the earth." The second range of meanings is "end" in the sense of being at the end or "nothing." Isaiah employs ʾephes in this way when speaking of: Edom's kingdom becoming "nothing" (34:12); people being "insignificant" (41:12, 24); "no one" (47:8, 10). Daniel 8:25 notes the defeat of the Antichrist who will be defeated, but "by nothing of hands." In other words, it will not be by human power. The adverbial uses of ʾephes are found in nine places and in three variations. Twice, both in the Balaam account, ʾephes is translated "only" (Num. 22:35, 23:13). Most of the occasions of ʾephes are translated in various ways but are contained in the meaning of "yet" (Num. 13:28, Deut. 15:4, Judg. 4:9, Amos 9:8, 2 Sam. 12:14). Once, in Isa. 54:15, ʾephes means "not." (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary) Baker - It is used essentially in three ways meaning ceasing, nonexistence, no effect: 1) to cease to exist or effect (Isa. 34:12; 41:29); to act with no effect (Isa. 52:4); 2) a cessation of something, such as until there is no place (Deut. 32:36; 2 Ki. 14:26; Isa. 45:6; Amos 6:10); 3) the idea of limiting, such as only (Num. 22:35; 23:13) or except that (Num. 13:28; Deut. 15:4; Judg. 4:9). The word is also used to mean ceasing in the sense of end or extremity: the ends of the earth (Deut. 33:17; 1 Sam. 2:10; Prov. 30:4; Jer. 16:19; Mic. 5:4[3]). )Complete Word Study Dictionary)

Ephes - 42v - dearth(1), ends(14), however(2), lack(1), less...nothing(1), neither(1), nevertheless*(3), no more(1), no one(6), no other(1), non-existent(1), nor(1), nothing(2), only(2), there(1), there is no one(3), there is none(1), without(2), without cause(1), worthless(1). Num. 13:28; Num. 22:35; Num. 23:13; Deut. 15:4; Deut. 32:36; Deut. 33:17; Jdg. 4:9; 1 Sam. 2:10; 2 Sam. 9:3; 2 Sam. 12:14; 2 Ki. 14:26; Job 7:6; Ps. 2:8; Ps. 22:27; Ps. 59:13; Ps. 67:7; Ps. 72:8; Ps. 98:3; Prov. 14:28; Prov. 26:20; Prov. 30:4; Isa. 5:8; Isa. 34:12; Isa. 40:17; Isa. 41:12; Isa. 41:24; Isa. 41:29; Isa. 45:6; Isa. 45:14; Isa. 45:22; Isa. 46:9; Isa. 47:8; Isa. 47:10; Isa. 52:4; Isa. 52:10; Jer. 16:19; Dan. 8:25; Amos 6:10; Amos 9:8; Mic. 5:4; Zeph. 2:15; Zech. 9:10

Wiersbe - Someone has defined a committee as “a group of people who individually can do nothing and collectively decide nothing can be done.” Because they lacked faith, all the spies except Caleb and Joshua were discouraged at the prospect of entering the land and fighting the enemy, and their discouragement quickly spread throughout the camp. Doubt had turned into unbelief, and unbelief is rebellion against God (Num. 14:9; Heb. 3:16–19). (Be Counted)

The people who live in the land are strong, Ten spies emphasized the obstacles instead of the opportunities and concluded that Israel was too weak to conquer the enemy. They walked by sight and not by faith. The people of the land were giants, the city walls were high, and the men felt like grasshoppers! Unbelief blinds you to God’s greatness and magnifies your own weakness. The Septuagint for strong is thrasus which can mean arrogant but here is used in a positive sense meaning they are bold and full of confidence. 

And the cities are fortified and very large; This part was true but they forgot Who was bigger. This truth indicates that even though God had given Israel the land, they would have to fight to possess their promised possessions.

THOUGHT - Beloved, that same principle pervades the pages of Scripture. God gives us promises, but we must lay hold of them by faith and obedience (genuine faith obeys!) This is why Paul said we have to fight the good fight of faith (1 Ti 6:12+). The Christian life is not a playground, but a battleground. Yes, the battle is the LORD'S, but He is still calling us as good soldiers to suffer hardship (2 Ti 2:3+) and fight for our possessions (don't misunderstand - for even then it is not to fight that we might "earn" or "merit" them for they are still ALL bestowed by His infinite grace. He simply wants us to manifest our faith in our good fight). 

and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there - The Anakim were also big, but guess Who is bigger! The report of the spies was factual: the land was fruitful, the cities were fortified, and the population mixed. All had the same facts; but Joshua and Caleb had faith to see through the obstacles. (Heb 3:18,19+). The problem of the 10 was that they were walking by SIGHT not by FAITH, not by trust in the powerful arm of the Almighty, the Deliverer Who had brought them out to bring them in! The fear of man is always a snare (Pr 29:25) Perfect love casts out all fear but they did not have that love (1 Jn 4:18+; see also What does “perfect love casts out fear” mean?)  They did not truly love God with all their heart (cf Mk 12:29-31+), but to the contrary they continually tried (tested) Him and provoked Him (read Heb 3:9,10+)

Related Resource:

C Campbell Morgan - Howbeit (aka "Nevertheless") - Nu 13.28.
This is the revealing word as to the report of the majority of the spies. The Hebrew word means cessation, an end; and when used adverbially it signifies, no further! It suggests that what has already been said is all that can be said in that direction; and therefore that now other things are to be said, which will have a corrective effect on the things already said. The report of these men so far has been entirely favorable concerning the land. They were convinced of its desirability. They had clearly seen its excellencies. "Howbeit," they had also seen the difficulties, the strength of the inhabitants, the fenced cities, and the compactness of the enemies they would have to encounter. They had seen themselves also in comparison with these enemies, and they were but as grasshoppers. The remarkable fact is that in their report there was no reference to God. They would seem to have lost sight of Him completely for the time being. In that lay the secret of their failure. Human calculations are not wrong. They are wrong when they do not take account of all the quantities; and unutterably wrong when they omit the chief quantity. What a revealing story it is! How constantly we are all in danger of making the same mistake! The way of God is revealed to us; we see it, and recognize all its advantages; "howbeit," we see the difficulties, and become so occupied with them as to lose sight of God. Then our hearts fail us, and fear paralyses us, and quite naturally. The foes massed against the people of God are always mightier than are they, if they are called upon to act alone. (Life Applications)

Rod Mattoon - People today have a "nevertheless" attitude toward God.
    • I know I shouldn't live this way, BUT...... 
    • I know God answers prayer, BUT...... 
    • I know the tithe belongs to the Lord, BUT...... 
    • I know I should serve the Lord, BUT..... 

Israel failed to consider the "God Factor." When a person is focused on their problems or obstacles, he fails to see the Lord.
    • Where will I get the money to pay this bill? 
    • How will I get well? 
    • What am I to do with my kids, wife, or husband? 
    • How will I solve this problem? 
    • I know the Lord can solve my problem, BUT.... 

Numbers 13:29  "Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan."

BGT  Numbers 13:29 καὶ Αμαληκ κατοικεῖ ἐν τῇ γῇ τῇ πρὸς νότον καὶ ὁ Χετταῖος καὶ ὁ Ευαῖος καὶ ὁ Ιεβουσαῖος καὶ ὁ Αμορραῖος κατοικεῖ ἐν τῇ ὀρεινῇ καὶ ὁ Χαναναῖος κατοικεῖ παρὰ θάλασσαν καὶ παρὰ τὸν Ιορδάνην ποταμόν

NET  Numbers 13:29 The Amalekites live in the land of the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan."

NLT  Numbers 13:29 The Amalekites live in the Negev, and the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country. The Canaanites live along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan Valley."

ESV  Numbers 13:29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb. The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and along the Jordan."

NIV  Numbers 13:29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan."

KJV  Numbers 13:29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.

YLT  Numbers 13:29 Amalek is dwelling in the land of the south, and the Hittite, and the Jebusite, and the Amorite is dwelling in the hill country, and the Canaanite is dwelling by the sea, and by the side of the Jordan.'

LXE  Numbers 13:29 And Amalec dwells in the land toward the south: and the Chettite and the Evite, and the Jebusite, and the Amorite dwells in the hill country: and the Chananite dwells by the sea, and by the river Jordan.

ASV  Numbers 13:29 Amalek dwelleth in the land of the South: and the Hittite, and the Jebusite, and the Amorite, dwell in the hill-country; and the Canaanite dwelleth by the sea, and along by the side of the Jordan.

CSB  Numbers 13:29 The Amalekites are living in the land of the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live by the sea and along the Jordan."

NKJ  Numbers 13:29 "The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan."

NRS  Numbers 13:29 The Amalekites live in the land of the Negeb; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live by the sea, and along the Jordan."

  • Amalek: Nu 14:43 24:20 Ge 14:7 Ex 17:8-16 Jud 6:3 1Sa 14:48 15:3-9 30:1 Ps 83:7 
  • the Hittites: Ge 15:19-21 Ex 3:8,17 
  • Numbers 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan - The 10 spies accentuated the negative focusing on the 4 "ites" (I surprised they didn't mention the "parasites"!) and essentially disregarded the positive (1) God's promise and (2) the land's plenty. 

Constable - It was the people and cities in Canaan that discouraged the spies (v. 28). These Hittites (v. 29) were one of the native tribes in Canaan, not the great Anatolian Hittites (cf. Josh. 1:4; Jdg. 1:26). As they had despised God’s provisions and plans (Numbers 11–12), the 10 spies now disbelieved God’s promises that He would give the land and its people into their hands. They reckoned only on their own natural ability and failed to rely on God’s supernatural ability (Nu 13:31).

Wiersbe - Ten spies emphasized the obstacles instead of the opportunities and concluded that Israel was too weak to conquer the enemy. They walked by sight and not by faith. The people of the land were giants, the city walls were high, and the men felt like grasshoppers! Unbelief blinds you to God’s greatness and magnifies your own weakness. (WWBC)

Related Resource:

Numbers 13:30  Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, "We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it."

BGT  Numbers 13:30 καὶ κατεσιώπησεν Χαλεβ τὸν λαὸν πρὸς Μωυσῆν καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ οὐχί ἀλλὰ ἀναβάντες ἀναβησόμεθα καὶ κατακληρονομήσομεν αὐτήν ὅτι δυνατοὶ δυνησόμεθα πρὸς αὐτούς

NET  Numbers 13:30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses, saying, "Let us go up and occupy it, for we are well able to conquer it."

NLT  Numbers 13:30 But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. "Let's go at once to take the land," he said. "We can certainly conquer it!"

ESV  Numbers 13:30 But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, "Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it."

NIV  Numbers 13:30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it."

KJV  Numbers 13:30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.

YLT  Numbers 13:30 And Caleb stilleth the people concerning Moses, and saith, 'Let us certainly go up -- and we have possessed it; for we are thoroughly able for it.'

LXE  Numbers 13:30 And Chaleb stayed the people from speaking before Moses, and said to him, Nay, but we will go up by all means, and will inherit it, for we shall surely prevail against them.

  • Nu 14:6-9,24 Jos 14:6-8 Ps 27:1,2 60:12 118:10,11 Isa 41:10-16 Ro 8:31,37 Php 4:13 Heb 11:33 
  • Numbers 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

Numbers 10:9+  “When you go to war in your land against the adversary who attacks you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered before the LORD your God, and be saved from your enemies.


Brian Bell - The Israeli spies saw giants, but Joshua & Caleb saw God! Those who doubt today say, “We can’t attack; they are stronger than we are”. Those who believe say, “Let us go up at once & take possession, for we are well able to overcome it”. The 10 spies walked by sight & not by faith; Caleb & Joshua walked by faith & not by sight. Pr.3:5,6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths

Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses - Notice Caleb is not addressing the 10 but the 2 million, the people who have become infected and rattled by the fear mongering spies! Caleb steps up to shut down the negative vibe and calls out Hush. Be Quiet. Silence (this negative talk)! The Lxx has katasiopao (used in Neh 8:11) meaning to reduce to silence or make silent. It looks like Caleb gained their attention for he was then able to speak. Joshua is not mentioned here as siding with Caleb but he is in Nu 14:6+ where "Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, of those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes." 

Mattoon - Caleb then proceeds to be politically incorrect. He gives an unpopular message and takes a stand, "Let's obey God! He is with us!" He is like a bull-dog that wants to sink his teeth into God's will. It's interesting to note that his name means "dog."

Quieted (02013)(has) means "Hush!" or "Keep silence!" In each instance, the word is used to instruct someone to reduce volume or stop producing sound altogether! "An interjection with imperative force meaning be silent," "hush." It is used seven times: to command people to refrain from speaking (Amos 6:10) or weeping (Neh. 8:11); to demand awesome or respectful silence before the Lord (Habakkuk 2:20); in grief for the dead (Amos 8:3)." (TWOT) Baker adds that "is a serious request or an order to keep quiet: as the order of a king to his attendants (Jdg. 3:19); as a command to not mention the name of the Lord (Amos 6:10); as a command for silence in a time of pestilence and destruction (Amos 8:3); as the proper response before the Lord in His holy temple (Hab. 2:20); as the day of the Lord approaches (Zeph. 1:7) when He will act on behalf of Jerusalem (Zech. 2:13[17]). It is used to indicate the proper response to a holy day of the Lord (Neh. 8:11, but is pointed as a verb form here). (secondly it could be) A verb indicating to hush, to quiet, to silence, to still. It is employed in the causal form of the verb meaning caused to be silent or stilled (Nu. 13:30). (Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament). 

Has used 8 x - keep quiet(1), keep silence(1), quieted(1), silence(1), silent(3), still(1). Num. 13:30; Jdg. 3:19; Neh. 8:11; Amos 6:10; Amos 8:3; Hab. 2:20; Zeph. 1:7; Zech. 2:13

and said "We should by all means go up and take possession of it - NET = "Let us go up and occupy it." Caleb stands alone (at this point) against the 10 and recommends that they go up and take possession. As I interpret his reaction to the negative opinions, it seems clear that he is standing firm not only on the fact that the land is good, but that God is good and He would never give Israel a promise of this land of milk and honey if He did not intend to fulfill it. The words in Numbers 10:9+ would undergird Caleb's faith in Israel's assurance of a successful outcome.  In short, Caleb was wholly leaning on God's word, trusting in His faithfulness to complete the good work He had begun in Israel by delivering them from bondage (cf NT parallel - Php 1:6+). 

Caleb had the spirit of Romans 3:4: Let God be true but every man a liar.
--David Guzik

NET Note on by all means go up - The construction is emphatic, using the cohortative with the infinitive absolute to strengthen it: עָלֹה נַעֲלֶה (’aloh na’aleh, “let us go up”) with the sense of certainty and immediacy.

Irving Jensen - Caleb reasoned on the basis of a strong faith in the supernatural. He did not deny seeing the formidable fortifications or the imposing giants. He saw them, but he also remembered what God had earlier promised when the people were still at Sinai. God had said, “And ye shall be remembered before Jehovah your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies” (Nu 10:9+). In light of this, Caleb could say, “We are well able to overcome [the land]” (Nu 13:30). And then, to wed his conclusion to an exhortation, he appealed, “Let us go up at once, and possess it.”

For - Term of explanation. In this case Caleb explains why they should go up and take possession

The people showed unbelief when they said, “We are not able!” 

We will surely overcome it - Caleb showed true faith when he said "we are well able (yakol) to overcome (yakol)" the repetition of yakol emphasizing that Israel would be able to to possess the land which God promised them. The Lxx uses two words, dunatos (powerful, mighty, strong, able) and dunamai which speaks of ability to be able to accomplish something. Caleb is confident in conquering because of his confidence in the LORD and His Word of promise.

THOUGHT - NLT has "WE CAN certainly conquer it." Caleb's affirming testimony reminds me of the words of Major Ian Thomas who said “Lord Jesus, I can’t, You never said I could; but You can, and always said You would. That is all I need to know. rom that moment life became the adventure that God always intended it to be.” (Major W. Ian Thomas) Caleb (and the Major) were not saying "Let go and let God," but "Let God and let's go!" God's promises and power coupled with man's trust and obedience makes for an unbeatable combination! Beloved, is this the response of your heart as you look out today at the overwhelming obstacle in your life? We all encounter them sooner or later, usually sooner, and usually again and again! The question is not will the "giants" come at us in our spiritual life, but in Whom will we trust when they come? Paul said "For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know Whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day." (2 Ti 1:12+) He added "Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." (Php 4:11-13+) Dear Father in Heaven please give us all Your grace by Your Spirit to learn the secret of Paul, of Caleb, of Major Ian, that we might be supernaturally enabled to run this relatively short race with endurance for Your glory. In Jesus' Name. Amen. 

NET Note on we will surely overcome - Here again the confidence of Caleb is expressed with the infinitive absolute and the imperfect tense: יָכוֹל נוּכַל (yakhol nukhal), “we are fully able” to do this. The verb יָכַל (yakhal) followed by the preposition lamed means “to prevail over, to conquer.” 

Overcome (03201)(yakol) means to be able, to have power, to prevail, meaning "can" (can do something). Baker "It indicates to be able to endure something, to be capable, to have the ability or power to do something: of God's ability (Num. 14:16; 2 Chr. 32:13, 15; Jer. 44:22) or a person's ability (Gen. 13:16); it is used of God not being able to stand Israel's false worship any longer (Isa. 1:13); not being able to endure a prideful, arrogant person (Ps. 101:5). It takes on the meaning of being incapable of maintaining an attitude or state of condition (Hos. 8:5); or indicates the ability to cause something to happen, as when Balak hoped he would be able to defeat Israel and drive them out of the land (Nu 22:6, 11). It indicates the ability to render or not to render (if negated) judgment about an issue (Gen. 24:50). It may take on the inference of daring to do something, e.g., eating in a restricted area, which, when negated, means people dare not or are not allowed to eat (Dt. 12:17). It indicates being an overcomer, a victor, to prevail over something or someone (Gen. 30:8); Rachel prevailed (yāk̠al) over her sister. (See also Ps. 13:4; Isa. 16:12). In an intellectual discussion, it means to grasp or understand something (Job 31:23; Ps. 139:6), to attain a mastery of it. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament)

In the Septuagint yakol is often translated with dunamai describing capacity or ability, to  be able, be capable of, can, have power to. 

Gilbrant - Cognates of this verb occur in all branches of Semitic. Its most common meanings are "to be able," "to succeed" and "to prevail," although other senses occur rarely, such as "to be allowed," "to be superior," "to be victorious over," "to grasp," "to bear" and "to endure." The word occurs nearly 200 times in the OT, always in the Qal stem. It is usually followed by an infinitive, either with the preposition le (HED #3937) to complete the verbal idea (122 times) or without le (27 times). When it appears with an infinitive only implied, the meaning is always negative, as in Gen. 29:8, "We cannot" (go and feed them). In fact, it is used with a negative about 85 percent of the time; the text speaks more often about what people are not able to do. The most common usage of the word is "to be able," usually in regard to humans and their lack of ability. For instance, Joseph was unable to control his emotions (Gen. 45:1). Other people were unable to control circumstances, as in the case of Moses' mother and her inability to hide the baby (Exo. 2:3; cf. also Gen. 13:6; Exo. 7:21). Often, a person cannot perform some act because one simply does not have the capacity or ability required to complete it. The Egyptian magicians could not duplicate the miracles of Moses after a certain point (Exo. 9:11). The twelve tribes were unable to finish driving out the remaining Canaanite pockets of resistance (Josh. 15:63; 17:12; Judg. 2:14). A blind man cannot see (Gen. 48:10; 1 Sam. 4:15), nor can one see in the dark (1 Sam. 3:2). Moses could not "go in and out" any more because of his advanced age (Deut. 31:2). The nation of Israel was to grow so populous that they would not be able to be counted (Gen. 13:16). The king of Assyria boasted that no one could be rescued from his power (2 Ki. 18:29). The prophets described the wicked as being like a sea that cannot rest (Isa. 57:20; Jer. 49:23). Ecclesiastes stresses the powerlessness of humanity and our inability to find meaning in life (Ecc. 6:10; 7:13; 8:17). Sometimes, a human can do nothing because one is powerless to oppose the might of God. Laban and Bethuel could not refuse to send their daughter to become Isaac's bride, because God had clearly made his will known (Gen. 24:50). David could not make his dead child return to life (2 Sam. 12:23). Job could not stand up before the presence of God (Job 31:23). Balaam could not speak in opposition to the Lord (Num. 22:18, 37f). When God moves to bring judgment, gold cannot rescue anyone from his hand (Ezek. 7:19; Zeph. 1:18). In some situations, a person can do nothing because one's action is blocked by a prohibition from God. The regulations in Deuteronomy are stated in legal format, so that the word takes on the legal sense "be permitted by law." Israelites were not allowed to choose a foreigner as king (Deut. 17:15). A man with two wives could not discriminate harshly against the sons of the least-loved wife (Deut. 21:16). Anyone who found property lost by a neighbor could not avoid the duty to return it (22:19, 29). Rules for worship also placed limitations on the people of God. In Exo. 19:23, the Israelites were not allowed to approach Mount Sinai. The Passover sacrifice could not be killed within any of the towns of the land (Deut. 16:5). Any person who was ceremonially unclean could not participate in the Passover (Num. 9:6). Sometimes it was the presence or glory of God that made something impossible. Joshua 24:19 warned that the people could not serve Yahweh because of his holiness. Moses could not view God's face in Exo. 33:20. And the glory of the Lord was so overpowering that Moses could not enter the Tabernacle (Exo. 40:35), nor could the priests, under Solomon, enter the Temple (1 Ki. 8:11; 2 Chr. 5:14). This verb is used with God as the subject occasionally. Although it would seem appropriate to describe the power of the Lord, it actually appears most often in negative expressions. In Num. 14:16 and Deut. 9:28, Moses raises the possibility that God's reputation might be marred if He were to destroy the Israelites in the wilderness, since the pagan nations might assume that He was not able to bring them safely into Canaan. God is described as being too pure to look at sin (Jer. 44:22; Hab. 1:13). In Ps. 78:19, skeptics mock at God's ability to provide for his people. And in 2 Chr. 32:14, the Assyrians scoff at the idea that Yahweh or any other god could rescue Jerusalem from destruction. Of course, equating the Lord with other gods led to the destruction of the besieging Assyrian army. Only three passages describe God's positive ability. In Job 42:2, God can do all things, and no purpose of his can be thwarted. Jeremiah 20:7 speaks of God's power prevailing over the prophet, and Jer. 18:6 compares the Lord to a potter, who can do whatever he wishes with his clay. When the word is used without an infinitive, it carries additional meanings. It can mean "bear" or "endure." For instance, God cannot endure Israel's "iniquity and solemn assembly" (Isa. 1:13) or those who are haughty and arrogant (Ps. 101:5). A more frequent use without an infinitive is in the setting of a battle or wrestling match, where it means "to overcome" or "to be superior." This meaning is found in Goliath's boastful challenge (1 Sam. 17:9) and Jacob's wrestling with the angel in Gen. 32:26. It occurs with this sense in Gen. 30:8; Num. 13:30; Est. 6:13; Pss. 13:4; 21:11; 129:2; Isa. 16:12; Jer. 1:19; 20:7; 20:10f; 38:22; Hos. 12:4 and Obad. 7. (Complete Biblical Library - Incredible Resource)

Yakol - 183v - able(41), able at all(1), allowed(4), can(15), can i endure(2), can do(1), cannot*(47), could(41), endure(3), had your way(1), incapable*(1), may(1), overcome(3), overpower(2), overpowered(1), prevail(8), prevailed(6), succeed(1), surely overcome(1), surely prevail(1), unable*(10). Gen. 13:6; Gen. 13:16; Gen. 15:5; Gen. 19:19; Gen. 19:22; Gen. 24:50; Gen. 29:8; Gen. 30:8; Gen. 31:35; Gen. 32:25; Gen. 32:28; Gen. 34:14; Gen. 36:7; Gen. 37:4; Gen. 43:32; Gen. 44:1; Gen. 44:22; Gen. 44:26; Gen. 45:1; Gen. 45:3; Gen. 48:10; Exod. 2:3; Exod. 7:21; Exod. 7:24; Exod. 8:18; Exod. 9:11; Exod. 10:5; Exod. 12:39; Exod. 15:23; Exod. 18:18; Exod. 18:23; Exod. 19:23; Exod. 33:20; Exod. 40:35; Num. 9:6; Num. 11:14; Num. 13:30; Num. 13:31; Num. 14:16; Num. 22:6; Num. 22:11; Num. 22:18; Num. 22:37; Num. 22:38; Num. 24:13; Deut. 1:9; Deut. 7:17; Deut. 7:22; Deut. 9:28; Deut. 12:17; Deut. 14:24; Deut. 16:5; Deut. 17:15; Deut. 21:16; Deut. 22:3; Deut. 22:19; Deut. 22:29; Deut. 24:4; Deut. 28:27; Deut. 28:35; Deut. 31:2; Jos. 7:12; Jos. 7:13; Jos. 9:19; Jos. 15:63; Jos. 17:12; Jos. 24:19; Jdg. 2:14; Jdg. 8:3; Jdg. 11:35; Jdg. 14:13; Jdg. 14:14; Jdg. 16:5; Jdg. 21:18; Ruth 4:6; 1 Sam. 3:2; 1 Sam. 4:15; 1 Sam. 6:20; 1 Sam. 17:9; 1 Sam. 17:33; 1 Sam. 17:39; 1 Sam. 26:25; 2 Sam. 3:11; 2 Sam. 12:23; 2 Sam. 17:17; 1 Ki. 3:9; 1 Ki. 5:3; 1 Ki. 8:11; 1 Ki. 9:21; 1 Ki. 13:4; 1 Ki. 13:16; 1 Ki. 14:4; 1 Ki. 20:9; 1 Ki. 22:22; 2 Ki. 3:26; 2 Ki. 4:40; 2 Ki. 16:5; 2 Ki. 18:23; 2 Ki. 18:29; 1 Chr. 21:30; 2 Chr. 5:14; 2 Chr. 7:2; 2 Chr. 7:7; 2 Chr. 18:21; 2 Chr. 29:34; 2 Chr. 30:3; 2 Chr. 32:13; 2 Chr. 32:14; 2 Chr. 32:15; Ezr. 2:59; Neh. 4:10; Neh. 6:3; Neh. 7:61; Est. 6:13; Est. 8:6; Job 4:2; Job 31:23; Job 33:5; Job 42:2; Ps. 13:4; Ps. 18:38; Ps. 21:11; Ps. 36:12; Ps. 40:12; Ps. 78:19; Ps. 78:20; Ps. 101:5; Ps. 129:2; Ps. 139:6; Prov. 30:21; Eccl. 1:8; Eccl. 1:15; Eccl. 6:10; Eccl. 7:13; Eccl. 8:17; Cant. 8:7; Isa. 1:13; Isa. 7:1; Isa. 16:12; Isa. 29:11; Isa. 36:8; Isa. 36:14; Isa. 46:2; Isa. 47:11; Isa. 47:12; Isa. 56:10; Isa. 57:20; Isa. 59:14; Jer. 1:19; Jer. 2:13; Jer. 3:5; Jer. 5:22; Jer. 6:10; Jer. 11:11; Jer. 13:23; Jer. 14:9; Jer. 15:20; Jer. 18:6; Jer. 19:11; Jer. 20:7; Jer. 20:9; Jer. 20:10; Jer. 20:11; Jer. 36:5; Jer. 38:5; Jer. 38:22; Jer. 44:22; Jer. 49:10; Jer. 49:23; Lam. 1:14; Lam. 4:14; Ezek. 7:19; Ezek. 33:12; Ezek. 47:5; Dan. 10:17; Hos. 5:13; Hos. 8:5; Hos. 12:4; Amos 7:10; Obad. 1:7; Jon. 1:13; Hab. 1:13; Zeph. 1:18

Mattoon - What is the difference in Caleb?

His focus is upon the power and greatness of God Almighty. Let me ask, "Can you take a stand for God like Caleb? When you are in the minority or when people think you are crazy, can you stand for Christ?" True faith and confidence in the Lord will lead to prompt obedience. There will be no "wondering" if you should do what the Lord commands or trying to make up your mind. You will just "obey." Doubt and disobedience to the Lord...
    • denies the promises of God. 
    • distracts from godly priorities. 
    • delays or discourages disobedience to the Lord. 
The evidence of God's promises is in front of them, but they reject the evidence. Unbelief pays no attention to evidence. It refuses to obey and for this reason, men reject Christ, in spite of the evidence that He is the Son of God.

Recipe For Victory

The word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. —Hebrews 4:2

Today's Scripture: Numbers 13:1-2,26-33

A visitor was taking a tour of a mill where power was generated by a fast-flowing river that ran close by its walls. All the gears inside, however, were inactive. “How do you make things work?” the visitor inquired. She was told to pull a handle that the guide pointed out. Immediately the wheels turned and the place was alive with motion.

In a similar way, the power of God surges into the heart of those who reach out by faith. Our belief or unbelief determines whether we receive or reject those things that the Lord promises.

For example, when the children of Israel were confronted with the problem of advancing against the Canaanites, most of them were terrified by the strength of the enemy. Caleb, however, was not alarmed by the giant opponents and their walled cities. With a courage born of faith he said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it” (Num. 13:30). The promise of God that Israel was to inherit the land was mixed with faith in his heart, and he did not shrink back from what seemed to be impossible odds.

What difficulties are you facing today? You too can be victorious by trusting in God’s promises. By:  Henry G. Bosch (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Increase our faith, and clear our vision, Lord;
Help us to take Thee at Thy simple Word,
No more with cold distrust to bring Thee grief;
Lord, we believe! Help Thou our unbelief.

Faith is the link that connects our weakness to God's strength.

Brian Bell - Caleb was a man of faith who didn’t worry about the size of the problem because he trusted a great God! The question in life is not “How big is the problem?” Or, “How big am I?” But, “How big is my GOD?” :) This is another case where there is a majority report & a minority report.  And it was the minority report that was right!  Remember, “Noah, went in a minority & came out a majority!”  The Majority saw the excellencies for the land, but they had seen the difficulties and beyond these they had seen nothing. The Minority first saw Jehovah, & then excellencies, & finally the difficulties. The essential difference is the vision of God! (Obstacles? oh you sure see them, but they become nothing, after seeing God! (ED: cf "Turn your eyes upon Jesus Look full, in his wonderful face And the things of earth will grow strangely dim In the light of his glory and grace ). What was the promise in Nu 13:2? Was Israel a great people? Nope, but they were loved by a great God, who did great things for them, & thereby led them to marvelous achievements.. Do not look at God through circumstances, but at circumstances through God!

ILLUSTRATION: Several generations ago, during one of the most turbulent of the desert wars in the Middle East, a spy was captured and sentenced to death by a general of the Persian army. The general, a man of intelligence and compassion, had adopted a strange and unusual custom in such cases. He permitted the condemned person to make a choice. The prisoner could either face the firing squad or pass through the Black Door. As the moment of the execution drew near, the general ordered the spy to be brought before him for a short, final interview, the primary purpose of which was to receive the answer of the doomed man to the query: “What shall it be—the firing squad or the Black Door?” This was not an easy decision and the prisoner hesitated, but soon made it known that he much preferred the firing squad to the unknown horrors that might await him behind the ominous and mysterious door. Not long thereafter, a volley of shots in the courtyard announced that the grim sentence had been fulfilled. The general, staring at his boots, turned to his aide and said, “You see how it is with men; they will always prefer the known way to the unknown. It is characteristic of people to be afraid of the undefined. Yet I gave him his choice.” “What lies behind the Black Door?” asked the aide. “Freedom,” replied the general, “and I’ve known only a few brave enough to take it.”

Numbers 14:30, 14:26-35 So Near And Yet So Far

Back in Canada’s early days, pioneers were taking shelter in Fort Babine. When supplies were nearly exhausted, Victor Clark and a young guide left the fort and walked to the town of Hazelton to get food.

On their way back to the fort, snow began to fall. Soon the two travelers were chilled to the bone by a stinging wind and were unable to follow the trail in the darkness. Forced to stop, they built a fire and spent a miserable night. Then as light slowly dawned, they saw the fort with its warmth and comfort—only a few hundred yards away from where they had stopped. So near and yet so far!

The Israelites were at the very border of the Promised Land (Numbers 13). Caleb and Joshua, the two courageous spies, had brought back the lush foods of Canaan and encouraged the people to take possession of the land (Nu 13:26,30). But the people doubted and condemned themselves to 40 years of wandering and death in the desert (14:28-30). They too were so near and yet so far away!

Have you heard many times about Jesus’ love for you but remain uncommitted to Him? Are you near yet so far away? Choose now to cross over into the “promised land” of salvation found in Jesus. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

A Prayer

Dear Jesus, I admit that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness.
I believe that You died and took my punishment.
I trust You as my Savior and Lord.
Now is the time to choose the Lord—later may never come.


Because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. Numbers 14:24

Today's Scripture & Insight: Numbers 13:26–32; 14:20–24

Caleb was a “wholehearted” person. He and Joshua were part of a twelve-man reconnaissance team that explored the Promised Land and gave a report to Moses and the people. Caleb said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Num. 13:30). But ten members of the team said they couldn’t possibly succeed. In spite of God’s promises, they saw only obstacles (vv. 31–33).

Ten men caused the people to lose heart and grumble against God, which led to forty years of wandering in the desert. But Caleb never quit. The Lord said, “Because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it” (14:24). Forty-five years later God honored His promise when Caleb, at the age of 85, received the city of Hebron “because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly” (Josh. 14:14).

Centuries later an expert in the law asked Jesus, “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matt. 22:35–38).

Today Caleb is still inspiring us with his confidence in a God who deserves our wholehearted love, reliance, and commitment. By:  David C. McCasland  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Lord, may we love You wholeheartedly today and follow You every day of our journey on this earth.

Commitment to Christ is a daily calling.

Question: Who is Caleb in the Bible?

Answer: The story of Caleb, a faithful man of God, begins in the book of Numbers. After being delivered from bondage in Egypt, the Israelites were led by God to the border of the land of Canaan, a land “flowing with milk and honey” that God had promised they would inherit (Exodus 3:8, 17). Moses had chosen twelve men, one from each tribe, to scout the land before entering. Among them was Caleb, representing the tribe of Judah. The twelve men spied out the land for forty days and then came back to Moses. They reported that the land was indeed fruitful but its inhabitants were the mighty descendants of Anak. Terrified by the size and strength of the Canaanites, ten of the spies warned Moses not to enter Canaan (Numbers 13:23–33).

Caleb silenced the murmuring, fearful men by saying, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Numbers 13:30). Caleb took his stand because he followed the Lord wholeheartedly (Joshua 14:8–9). Caleb knew of the promises of God to the Israelites, and, despite the evidence of his own eyes regarding the obstacles, he had faith that God would give them victory over the Canaanites.

Unfortunately, the people of Israel ignored Caleb and listened to the report of the other spies. They were so frightened that they wept all night and even wished they had died at the hands of their slave masters in Egypt (Numbers 14:1–4). They turned on Caleb and Joshua (the spy from Ephraim) and wanted to stone them on the spot (Numbers 14:6–10). God was exceedingly angry with the people and threatened to destroy them until Moses interceded for them. God relented, but He decreed that the people would wander in the wilderness until all of that faithless generation had died. But God said that “my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly” and gave him the promise that he would own all the land he had seen as a spy (Numbers 14:11–24).

The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years until all of that generation, except Joshua and Caleb, died (Numbers 14:29–30). After the forty years of wandering and five more years of war within Canaan, Caleb was 85 years old; yet he was as strong as ever and able to fight the same Anakites that had frightened his countrymen. His confidence was born out of his absolute faith in the promises of God (Joshua 15:13–14).

Caleb’s territory in Canaan included “Kiriath Arba, that is, Hebron. (Arba was the forefather of Anak.) From Hebron Caleb drove out the three Anakites—Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai, the sons of Anak. From there he marched against the people living in Debir (formerly called Kiriath Sepher)” (Joshua 15:13–15). Othniel, a nephew of Caleb, captured Kiriath Sepher and was given Caleb’s daughter Aksah to wed (verses 16–17). Later, Aksah asked her father to include some springs of water as part of her inheritance (verses 18–19), and Caleb gave them to her. Later still, Othniel, Caleb’s son-in-law, became Israel’s first judge (Judges 3:7–11).

From the accounts of the life of Caleb, we see a faithful man who trusted God to fulfill His promises when others allowed their fears to override their small faith. Even into his later years, Caleb remained steadfast in his faith. God blessed Caleb for his faithfulness and patience, an encouragement to us to believe God. Like Caleb, we should be prepared to follow God in every circumstance, patiently waiting for Him to fulfill His promises and ready to take action when the time is right.

Robert Morgan - Ten to Two January 18

Several years ago a group of fledging students sat around the old oak table in Ruth Bell Graham’s kitchen, listening to her stories. They were lonely and homesick. College life had been ruder than expected. Ruth’s eyes glowed as she told of her own bouts with loneliness while a boarding student in Korea, and again during her husband’s extended absences while preaching. But the joy of God’s presence during Bible study helped ease the pain, she said. “Bible students are wide-eyed travelers in the midst of wonders.”

She showed them her little notebook, one she had worn out several times. “I’ve found a leather craftsman who rebinds it for me when necessary,” she explained. “Here I jot journal entries, stories I hear, and spiritual lessons God teaches me. As you record your Bible studies, over the years you’ll actually be compiling your own personal Bible commentary.”

The next day, one of the students opened his heart to her in private, admitting defeat in his Christian life. The depth of her wisdom was veiled only by the simplicity of her response. She told him of the twelve spies in Numbers 13. They were sent by Moses to scrutinize the Promised Land. It was theirs for the taking, for God had assured them of his presence and of his conquering power. But ten of the spies lost their nerve, seeing only giants, walled cities, and strong defenses. Joshua and Caleb, on the other hand, were undaunted and full of faith. “Let us go up at once and possess the land,” they said, “for the Lord our God is with us.”

“Now,” asked Ruth, “what was the difference between the two sets of spies? Just this … ” She paused for effect. “The ten compared themselves to their problems, but the two compared their problems with God!”

And I will never forget her words that day, or the discerning smile that punched them home. (From this Verse)

What, Me Worry?

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. —Philippians 4:6

Today's Scripture: Numbers 13:26-33

Whenever a preacher begins to talk about worry, I sense a pair of eyes staring at me. Without even turning my head, I know that my husband is looking at me to see if I’m paying attention.

I hate to admit it, but I’m a worrier. And precisely because there are a lot of people just like me, Jesus addressed this problem in Matthew 6:25-34 when He said: “Do not worry.” Don’t worry about the basic needs of life—food, clothing, shelter—and don’t worry about tomorrow.

Worry may be a symptom of a bigger problem. Sometimes it’s a lack of gratitude for the way God has cared for us in the past. Or perhaps it’s a lack of faith that God really is trustworthy. Or it may be a refusal to depend on God instead of ourselves.

Some people expand the worry circle to their families, friends, and churches. They’re a lot like the 10 spies in Numbers 13:26-33 who spread their fear and doubt to everyone else. But those who put their trust in God alone can stand alongside Joshua and Caleb, the only ones in the group of 12 whom God allowed to enter the Promised Land.

Don’t let worries hold you back from what God may be trying to teach you. He invites you to bring your anxious thoughts directly to Him (Phil. 4:6). By:  Cindy Hess Kasper  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When you feel the tension mounting,
And across the busy day
Only gloomy clouds are drifting,
As you start to worry—pray!

To be anxious about nothing, pray about everything.

You're Afraid Of Whom?

The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. —Proverbs 29:25

Today's Scripture: Numbers 13:30-14:10

Mrs. Ima Terror chased her husband through the crowds at the zoo, waving her umbrella and unleashing insults like invisible missiles. Her perspiring and winded husband, seeing that the lock on the lion’s cage had not quite closed, yanked it open, jumped into the cage, slammed the door, pushed the astonished lion hard against the bars, and peered over its shoulder. His frustrated wife shook her umbrella, stuttered in anger, and finally managed to explode, “Ralph, come out of there, you coward!”

Ralph, in this fictitious story, is like the people of Israel that we read about in the book of Numbers. They were confused about whom they should really fear. They saw themselves as grasshoppers when compared to the giants in the land where God wanted them to go (13:32-33).

If we are so afraid of people that we stop following the Lord, we’re not trusting Him. It shows that we have doubted His plan, His power, and His promises. We have failed to recognize that He, above all others, is the One to be feared—which means that He is to be reverenced, trusted, loved, and obeyed.

Father, forgive us for fearing what we should not be afraid of, and for not fearing and trusting You.  By:  Mart DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Our love for God should always move
Our hearts to do what's good and right;
Love also fears His judgments true
And stands in awe of His great might. 
—D. De Haan

Fear God, and you'll have nothing else to fear.

Numbers 13:31  But the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us."

BGT  Numbers 13:31 καὶ οἱ ἄνθρωποι οἱ συναναβάντες μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ εἶπαν οὐκ ἀναβαίνομεν ὅτι οὐ μὴ δυνώμεθα ἀναβῆναι πρὸς τὸ ἔθνος ὅτι ἰσχυρότερόν ἐστιν ἡμῶν μᾶλλον

NET  Numbers 13:31 But the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against these people, because they are stronger than we are!"

NLT  Numbers 13:31 But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. "We can't go up against them! They are stronger than we are!"

ESV  Numbers 13:31 Then the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are."

NIV  Numbers 13:31 But the men who had gone up with him said, "We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are."

KJV  Numbers 13:31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.

YLT  Numbers 13:31 And the men who have gone up with him said, 'We are not able to go up against the people, for it is stronger than we;'

LXE  Numbers 13:31 But the men that went up together with him said, We will not go up, for we shall not by any means be able to go up against the nation, for it is much stronger than we.

ASV  Numbers 13:31 But the men that went up with him said, We are not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.

CSB  Numbers 13:31 But the men who had gone up with him responded, "We can't go up against the people because they are stronger than we are!"

NKJ  Numbers 13:31 But the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we."

NRS  Numbers 13:31 Then the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against this people, for they are stronger than we."


But - This is a strong, strategic term of contrast, In Hebrew it is a strong adversative clause (expressing antithesis or opposition). It marks the critical turning point in the lives of the first generation of Israel to come out of Egypt. 

THOUGHT - Notice that one disastrous effect of foundless fear is that it often gives rise to uncalled for unbelief as it did in Numbers 13-14 with the disastrous effect that the "leaven" of unbelief of the ten soon permeated all two million (except for two)! 

the men who had gone up with him said - Ten men against one man Caleb. The majority cannot be wrong can they? Yes, absolutely they can be wrong. They were seriously wrong, because they had their eyes fixed on their earthly enemies, not their heavenly Helper! The 10 saw the problem with "horizontal vision" whereas Caleb saw the problem in the light of "vertical vision." 

THOUGHT - The Bible repeatedly exhorts us to set our "mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth." (Col 3:2), to ", prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:13) and to fix your "eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2) 

We are not able to go up against the people - The 10 directly counter Caleb's "we are well able (yakol yakol)" (NET) with "we are not able (yakol)." The Septuagint even uses the strongest double negative (ou and me) signifying "we are ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY not able to go up against the people." 

for - Term of explanation. This explains their strong double negative and why they are so convinced they would be defeated. 

they are too strong for us - These men are the same ones who had seen Jehovah defeat the Egyptian army by drowning them in the Red Sea. The saw Joshua lead Israel to victory over the Amalekites with the help of Jehovah. They focus on the problem not the Problem Solver. 

 Unbelief always sees the obstacles.
Faith always sees the opportunities.

Believer's Study Bible - The 10 cowardly spies were so impressed with the inhabitants of Hebron that they imagined the whole land was inhabited by the sons of Anak, nephilim = "giants." The etymology of the term nephilim is uncertain, but on the basis of this statement and the reference in Dt 9:2, it is tentatively translated "giants" here in Nu 13:33 and in Ge 6:4 (only 2 uses).

A Warning To Grumblers

They did not believe His word, but complained. — Psalm 106:24-25

Today's Scripture: Psalm 106:6-25

Most of us do our share of complaining, but few of us see it for what it is. Although we condemn some sins in others, we tolerate our own murmuring as nothing more than a negative attitude. But in the Scriptures, God condemns it as a grievous sin. One example of its seriousness is found in Numbers 13 when Israel refused to enter the Promised Land, objecting that the people were stronger than they were (vv.26-33).

Psalm 106:24-25 lists three sins that kept the Israelites in the wilderness: They “despised” the blessings of the Promised Land, they “did not believe” God’s word that all would be well there, and they “did not heed” His voice of direction. Instead, they sat in their tents and “complained.”

God wanted to bless His people, yet they preferred to hang on to the barren familiarity of the wilderness. So God did not allow any of that generation to enter the land. Author Ian Thomas warns today’s grumblers: “Ignoring what you need, you will begin to clamor for what you want, and if you are not careful—God will give it to you!”

If you’re a grumbler, ask God to change you. It’s a sad thing to impoverish yourself with what you think you need, when He is longing to bless you with His best! By:  Joanie Yoder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When things go wrong, I would not be a grumbler,
Complaining, seeing everything as grim;
For when I think of how the Lord has blessed me,
I cannot help but give my praise to Him.

God always gives his best to those who leave the choice with him.

Numbers 13:31-33 Trouble Ahead

Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land; . . . the Lord is with us. Do not fear them. —Numbers 14:9

Today's Scripture: Numbers 13:25–14:9

Inevitably, trouble will invade our lives: A bad report from a medical test, the betrayal of a trusted friend, a child who rejects us, or a spouse who leaves us. The list of possibilities is long, but there are only two options: forge ahead on our own, or turn to God.

Flying solo into the face of trouble is not a good idea. It can lead to bad behavior patterns, blaming God, and retreating into defeat. Like the Israelites, we may spin out of control and into despair (Num. 14:1-4).

When the majority of the spies brought a report of intimidating giants and dangers ahead, they used the pronoun “we” seven times with no reference to the Lord (Nu 13:31-33). The Israelites were on the cusp of the ultimate blessing that God promised to them. They were eyewitnesses to the miracles in Egypt and their feet had walked the dry bottom of the Red Sea in jaw-dropping victory. God’s faithfulness had been amazingly evident. What short memories! What disappointing faithlessness! Sadly, they turned their backs on God and left the blessing behind.

Caleb and Joshua, on the other hand, opted to turn to the Lord with this confidence: “The Lord is with us” (14:9). When your giants show up, what will you do? By:  Joe Stowell (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

 In this world of sin and trouble
Where so many ills are known,
If I shun the ways of evil,
I am kept by Him alone.

  God’s presence is a life preserver that keeps the soul from sinking in a sea of trouble.  

Brian Bell - Unbelief & folly & falsehood all are bound together. (For full outline see Numbers 13)
             1. (Nu 11:27) it truly flows w/milk & honey; (32) its a land that devours its inhabitants;
                  1. we are like grasshoppers in their sight. How did they know that?
         6. The 10 spies emphasized the obstacles instead of the opportunities & concluded that Israel was too weak to conquer the enemy.
             1. People were too strong & too tall; city walls too fortified & too high.
             2. Unbelief blinds you to God’s greatness & magnifies your own weakness.
         7. Unbelief sees giants & spells them with a big “G”; Faith sees God, & spells giants with a little “g”.
             1. Abraham staggered not at the promise of God. Rom.4:20
             2. How do you spell giants, with a big “G” or a little “g”?
             3. How do you spell God, with a big “G” or a little “g”?
         8. Giants represent great difficulties & they stalk us everywhere.
             1. They’re in our families, our churches, our social life & even our own hearts!
             2. We must overcome them or they will devour us like the 10 thought, “it’s a land that devours its inhabitants”.
             3. Read Nu 14:8,9 - It’s as if Joshua & Caleb said, “We will be stronger by overcoming them, than if there had been no giants to defeat.”
            4. Unless we have overcoming faith, we will be swallowed up - consumed by the giants who block our path! (Streams in the Desert)
         9. We encounter Giants especially when we are serving God & following Him.
             1. It’s when Israel was moving forward that the giants appeared; when they turn back to the wilderness they found none.
             2. Many people think that the power of God in a person’s life should keep him from all trials & conflicts.
                  1. However, the power of God actually brings conflict & struggles.
                  2. Was Paul kept from violent storms, enemies, fierce winds, poisonous snakes?
             3. Does this sound like a God of infinite power? Yes, it is just like Him!
                  1. For Paul, his conflict never ended from when Jesus 1st came into his life!
                      1. Pressure was persistent, but he always emerged victorious through the strength of Jesus.

2 Cor. 4:8-10 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed - always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

                  2. Hard-pressed - Enemies completely surrounding & pressuring you. {“we’re crowded from all sides, but not defeated”}
                      1. Do you feel crowded in/pressed in from all sides? (insurmountable)
                  3. Perplexed - Someone whose way is completely blocked/thwarted by the enemy. {lit. “w/o a road, but not w/o a side road of escape”}
                      1. Do you see big road blocks in your life? Can you see the escape route?
                  4. Persecuted - Your enemy is in hot pursuit, while the divine defender stands nearby. {“pursued but not left alone”}
                      1. Do you know you are not alone?
                  5. Struck down - [vivid & dramatic illustration] The enemy has overtaken him, struck him, & knocked him down...but it’s not a fatal blow. He’s able to rise again! {lit. “overthrown but not overcome”}
                      1. Do you feel like the boxer who’s been knocked down & the ref is counting to 10, & he’s on 8?
                 6. Carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus - Gives us the picture that appears as death itself. Yet he doesn’t die, as Jesus comes to his aid, & he lives through Christ’s life, until his lifework is complete.
                      1. Do you expect to receive all the blessings w/o any struggle?
                           1. There is no land worth possessing that has not its giants; but like Caleb, faith looks not at giants but to the living God!!!
                           2. Anything worth having is expensive.
             4. Dear child of God, you may be suffering, but you cannot fail if you will only dare to believe, stand firm, & refuse to be overcome!

Numbers 13:32  So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, "The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size.

BGT  Numbers 13:32 καὶ ἐξήνεγκαν ἔκστασιν τῆς γῆς ἣν κατεσκέψαντο αὐτήν πρὸς τοὺς υἱοὺς Ισραηλ λέγοντες τὴν γῆν ἣν παρήλθομεν αὐτὴν κατασκέψασθαι γῆ κατέσθουσα τοὺς κατοικοῦντας ἐπ᾽ αὐτῆς ἐστιν πᾶς ὁ λαός ὃν ἑωράκαμεν ἐν αὐτῇ ἄνδρες ὑπερμήκεις

NET  Numbers 13:32 Then they presented the Israelites with a discouraging report of the land they had investigated, saying, "The land that we passed through to investigate is a land that devours its inhabitants. All the people we saw there are of great stature.

NLT  Numbers 13:32 So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: "The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge.

ESV  Numbers 13:32 So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, "The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height.

NIV  Numbers 13:32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, "The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size.

KJV  Numbers 13:32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.

YLT  Numbers 13:32 and they bring out an evil account of the land which they have spied unto the sons of Israel, saying, 'The land into which we passed over to spy it, is a land eating up its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in its midst are men of stature;

LXE  Numbers 13:32 And they brought a horror of that land which they surveyed upon the children of Israel, saying, The land which we passed by to survey it, is a land that eats up its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of extraordinary stature.

ASV  Numbers 13:32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had spied out unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of great stature.

CSB  Numbers 13:32 So they gave a negative report to the Israelites about the land they had scouted: "The land we passed through to explore is one that devours its inhabitants, and all the people we saw in it are men of great size.

  • gave: Nu 14:36,37 De 1:28 Mt 23:13 
  • land: Nu 13:28 Eze 36:13 Am 2:9 
  • great size: , 2Sa 21:20 *Heb: 1Ch 20:6
  • Numbers 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land - 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 and doubt in the people of Israel (which it in fact did) and, most importantly, it expressed their faithless attitude toward God and His promises. In sum, their bad report spread the leaven discouragement of discouragement through the tribes.

The BAD report of the faithless ten was not just a BAD report about the land but was a BAD report about the LORD Who through Moses had said "the LORD has promised GOOD concerning Israel." (Nu 10:29+)

Mattoon - Caleb says, "We can win!" The other ten men said, "No, we can't!" We are not ABLE! They brought an "evil report" which means they uttered a slander. The people ended up hating the Promised Land.

Psalm 106:24+ Then they despised the pleasant land; They did not believe in His word, 

Spurgeon - they despised the pleasant land. They spoke lightly of it, though it was the joy of all lands: they did not think it worth the trouble of seeking and conquering; they even spoke of Egypt, the land of their iron bondage, as though they preferred it to Canaan, the land which floweth with milk and honey. It is an ill sign with a Christian when he begins to think lightly of heaven and heavenly things; it indicates a perverted mind, and it is, moreover, a high offence to the Lord to despise that which he esteems so highly that he in infinite love reserves it for his own chosen. To prefer earthly things to heavenly blessings is to prefer Egypt to Canaan, the house of bondage to the land of promise.

They believed not his word. This is the root sin. If we do not believe the Lord's word, we shall think lightly of his promised gifts. "They could not enter in because of unbelief" —this was the key which turned the lock against them. When pilgrims to the Celestial City begin to doubt the Lord of the way, they soon come to think little of the rest at the journey's end, and this is the surest way to make them bad travellers. Israel's unbelief demanded spies to see the land; the report of those spies was of a mingled character, and so a fresh crop of unbelief sprang up, with consequences most deplorable.

Wiersbe - If only they had looked by faith to God, they would have seen the One who was able to conquer every enemy and who sees the nations of the world as grasshoppers (Isa. 40:22). “We are not able” is the cry of unbelief (Num. 13:31), but, “Our God is able” is the affirmation of faith (Dan. 3:17; see Phil. 4:13). (Be Counted)

“We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.” 
--John Gardiner

Irving Jensen - The other spies’ conclusion was that a conquest of the land was impossible. Military might against military might, Canaan was seen to be stronger, especially because of its fortified cities. Even if the Israelites were able to get into the land eventually, barely squeezing out the various nations of the land, they would ultimately in turn be driven out again; for the different nations would never give up striving for a land of such wealth: it was “a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof” (Nu 13:32). 

Guzik- Significantly, two men could see the exact same sights—the same grapes, the same men, the same land, the same cities—one can come away singing in faith, and the other is filled with a sense of certain doom. Ultimately, faith or unbelief does not spring from circumstances or environment, but from our hearts, which God must change.

which they had spied out, saying, "The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants;  and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size (cp Amos 2:9): Is this true? The entire land was not inhabited by the Anakin (Nephilim) so surely they must have seen some "normal" sized men. This was surely an exaggeration and motivated by fear. 

THOUGHT-  This refusal to enter the land is a type of the believer’s refusal to claim his or her inheritance in Christ (Heb. 3–4). Instead of entering into full rest in Christ, and trusting Him for every need, doubting Christians see the problems and obstacles, and wander around restlessly, blind to their blessings. (Wiersbe)

And without faith it is impossible to please Him,
for he who comes to God must believe that He is
and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
-- Hebrews 11:6

Rod Mattoon - Doubt and disbelief despise the things of God. Doubt despises morality, the Word of God, decency, honesty, prayer, church, tithing, soul-winning, and Jesus Christ. When you forget God, you tend to focus on your circumstances. When you leave God out of the picture, nothing seems possible. Without God, the picture looks dark and black. This is why people say, "The grave ends it all. There is no God or Heaven." This is why they feel so hopeless. Some folks say, "Live it up!" When they do, they still feel "down" and hopeless. When you measure your life, trials, struggles, and difficulties by your own strength, you will be overwhelmed by the smallest of problems. You will sound like Israel, "We are not ABLE!" Beloved, realize that God is able even though we are not. He helps us with our battles.

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
Romans 8:37+

Norman Geisler -  NUMBERS 13:32—How could the ten spies report that the land devoured its inhabitants?

PROBLEM: In Numbers 13:32, ten of the spies who had been sent by Moses reported that the land was “a land that devours its inhabitants.” However, in addition to the fact that Joshua and Caleb had reported that the land flowed with milk and honey (Num. 13:27), the spies had come back with evidence of the abundance of the land (Num. 13:26). How could the ten spies claim that the land was “a land that devours its inhabitants”?

SOLUTION: It would be a misunderstanding of the text to assume that this epithet indicated that the land was actually a desolate place. The testimony of all the spies agreed upon the richness of the land in its capacity to produce food and sustain life. Rather, it was precisely because the land was so rich that the ten spies could give their pessimistic report. The fertility of the land caused many different peoples to desire to dwell in the land, which caused much blood shed between inhabitants and invaders. There is no contradiction in this statement. The land was so rich, and desired by so many different peoples, it facilitated many conflicts resulting in the inhabitants being devoured in the midst of the conflicts to own the land. (When Critics Ask)

Gleason Archer - How could the Israelite spies describe Canaan as a land that devours its inhabitants (Num. 13:32) if indeed it was a fertile land of milk and honey (Num. 13)?

It would be an obvious misinterpretation to take the expression in Numbers 13:32, which describes Canaan as “a land that devours its inhabitants,” as implying that it was a poverty-stricken land that could not adequately support its population. In this context it can only mean that its lush fertility (enjoying a higher rate of precipitation than it has had in recent centuries) rendered it so desirable to aggressively competing nations and tribes as to make it a center of bloody strife. As rival claimants battled one another for possession of this desirable terrain, they suffered many casualties through warfare. There is no contradiction here whatsoever. The description of Canaan as a land flowing with milk and honey occurs at least thirteen times in the Pentateuch, as well as in Joshua, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. There is absolutely no basis for interpreting the metaphor of Numbers 13:32 as relating to poverty or starvation. (NIEBD)

Not Fear but Faith

The Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them. Numbers 14:9

Today's Scripture: Numbers 13:25–14:9

“My husband was offered a promotion in another country, but I feared leaving our home, so he reluctantly declined the offer,” my friend shared with me. She explained how apprehension over such a big change kept her from embracing a new adventure, and that she sometimes wondered what they missed in not moving.

The Israelites let their anxieties paralyze them when they were called to inhabit a rich and fertile land that flowed “with milk and honey” (Ex. 33:3). When they heard the reports of the powerful people in large cities (Num. 13:28), they started to fear. The majority of the Israelites rejected the call to enter the land.

But Joshua and Caleb urged them to trust in the Lord, saying, “Do not be afraid of the people in the land” for the “Lord is with us” (14:9). Although the people there appeared large, they could trust the Lord to be with them.

My friend wasn’t commanded to move to another country like the Israelites were, yet she regretted letting fear close off the opportunity. What about you—do you face a fearful situation? If so, know that the Lord is with you and will guide you. With His never-failing love, we can move forward in faith. By:  Amy Boucher Pye (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Loving Father, may I not let my fear stop me from following You, for I know that You will always love me and will never leave me.

Fear can paralyze but faith propels us to follow God.

Numbers 13:33  "There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight."

NET  Numbers 13:33 We even saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak came from the Nephilim), and we seemed liked grasshoppers both to ourselves and to them."

NLT  Numbers 13:33 We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that's what they thought, too!"

ESV  Numbers 13:33 And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them."

NIV  Numbers 13:33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them."

KJV  Numbers 13:33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

YLT  Numbers 13:33 and there we saw the Nephilim, sons of Anak, of the Nephilim; and we are in our own eyes as grasshoppers; and so we were in their eyes.'

LXE  Numbers 13:33 And there we saw the giants; and we were before them as locusts, yea even so were we before them.

ASV  Numbers 13:33 And there we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak, who come of the Nephilim: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

CSB  Numbers 13:33 We even saw the Nephilim there-- the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim! To ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and we must have seemed the same to them."

NKJ  Numbers 13:33 "There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight."

NRS  Numbers 13:33 There we saw the Nephilim (the Anakites come from the Nephilim); and to ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them."

  • saw the Nephilim: Nu 13:22 De 1:28 2:10 3:11 9:2 1Sa 17:4-7 2Sa 21:20-22 1Ch 11:23 
  • and we became: 1Sa 17:42 Isa 40:22 
  • Numbers 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries



Unbelief can really "mess with your mind." You began to see things and think things about what you see ("I am just a grasshopper") that are simply not true, especially if you are a child of the Living God by grace through faith. These ten needed the faith of another Israelite who saw the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple and was still able to declare "Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You!" (Jeremiah 32:17+). In this case the 10 faithless spies forgot that God made grasshoppers and that He was able to use their relative the locust to decimate lands! 

There also we saw the Nephilim - When the twelve spies went into the land of Canaan, most came back with a negative report, full of fear and discouragement. Ten spies somehow forgot that God had already promised to give them the land. What God promises, God fulfills! Instead they evaluated their chance for success in terms of their own abilities and resources. This temptation to look at circumstances from an earthly perspective is very natural-and dangerous. We have far more than our own strength to count on; we can depend on the resources and promises of Almighty God.   Father, deliver us from the "grasshopper complex." Help us to see possibilities for world evangelization in light of Your completely adequate resources.  

NIVSB may be correct is saying that "The reference to the Nephilim seems deliberately intended to evoke fear."

(the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim) - (Joshua 11:21,22 ): Reference to Nephilim does not mean that these giants survived the Flood. The Israelites had surely heard about the Nephilim that lived before the Flood, and they identified these giants with them. (See  Who were the Anakim?)

Wenham writes that Nephilim were, “the demi-gods who lived on the earth before the flood (Ge. 6:4).”

Ronald Allen has an interesting comment that "The use of the term Nephilim seems to be deliberately provocative of fear, a term not unlike the concept of bogeymen and hobgoblins.” (EBC) 

Irving Jensen - man for man, the odds were seen to be against the Israelites, because in Canaan the spies saw with their own eyes the Nephilim, who were giants or supermen. It was simply a matter of a giant against a grasshopper (13:33). The conclusion of the spies was a rational one; but because it did not reach a higher level than the human, it was a wrong conclusion. (Ed comment: It was rationale but faithless! It was the natural conclusion based on the facts, whereas Caleb's was the supernatural conclusion based upon the faithfulness of Yahweh!) 

THOUGHT - The ten unbelieving spies illustrate many Christians today: they have “spied out” their inheritance in Christ and have even tasted some of the fruits of His blessing; but their unbelief keeps them from entering in by faith. (Wiersbe)

and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight - What an interesting contrast they give. Giants and grasshoppers! Do you know what they left out? They forgot to include God! They compared themselves to the giants and saw themselves as grasshoppers.  They left God out of the picture. If only they had put Him in, what a different story it would have been. Joshua and Caleb saw Israel from God’s point of view, well able to conquer the land. To the ten unbelieving spies the problem of giants was insurmountable. To the two believing spies the presence of giants was insignificant.

Caleb's opinion versus ten leader's opinion! As Jensen says "The people were now faced with two opinions. They could not halt between them because the exigencies of wilderness living would forbid that. They must make a choice. Would it be on the basis of a reasonable faith in the perfect word of God, or on the basis of fallible reasoning on the temporal, mundane level?"

Wiersbe - The survey of the land may have been a good idea from a conventional military point of view, but not from a spiritual point of view. God had already given them the land and had commanded them to go in and take it. He had promised them victory, so all they had to do was “trust and obey.” The Lord would go before them and scatter His enemies (Nu 10:33–36), but His people had to follow by faith. That was where they failed. They doubted that God was able to keep His promises and give them the land.

Scarecrows In The Garden

There we saw the giants . . . and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight. —Numbers 13:33

Today's Scripture: Numbers 13:1-2,26-33

In my garden I have four rows of everbearing strawberries—a fact that evidently has been proclaimed from the housetops to all the robins, starlings, and brown thrashers in the neighborhood. They have been having a picnic! So I spent quite some time building a scarecrow from broomsticks, an old coat, a pair of trousers, and a white hat.

I was in for a surprise, for one morning soon afterward, a wise robin was perched on top of the hat and seemed to be singing at the top of his voice, “Free strawberries here!”

I saw two kinds of birds: wise ones and foolish ones. The foolish birds sat in the trees, afraid of the scarecrow. The wise birds knew that the scarecrow was simply an advertisement in disguise.

The Bible tells us about some wise and foolish people. Moses sent 12 spies to check out the Promised Land, a land of fabulous fruits and blessings. Ten of them feared the “scarecrows”—the giants and the walled cities. Two wise “birds,” Caleb and Joshua, believed God had given them the land. They weren’t fooled. They said, “Let us go up at once and take possession” (Num. 13:30).

God richly blesses those who live by faith and are not stopped by the scarecrows of doubt and fear. By:  M.R. DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The foolish see giants when troubles appear,
They tremble in weakness, their hearts filled with fear;
The wise are undaunted when trouble they scan,
They go forth to battle, for God's in their plan.

Our God is bigger than any problem.

F B Meyer - The ten spies differed from Caleb and Joshua in their report of the land of Canaan. There are three words here beginning with G—the word “God,” the word “giant,” and the word “grasshopper.” Now, note, these spies made a great mistake as to the position of these three words; they compared themselves with the people of the land and said, “And in their sight we were as grasshoppers.” If they had compared the people of the land with God, they would have come back, as Caleb and Joshua did, who said in effect, “We have compared the giants with God, and the giants are as grasshoppers.”

From Our Daily Homily - There is a good deal of talk in this chapter about giants and fenced cities. But the way of speaking about them was very different on the part of the ten, and on that of the two. The ten said: “The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.” But the two said: “Let us go up at once and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” They saw the same spectacles in their survey of the land; but the result in the one case was panic, in the other confidence and peace. What made the difference? It lay in this, that the ten spies compared themselves with the giants, whilst the two compared the giants with God. The Lord is with us, fear them not.”

Faith looks away from the greatness of her difficulty to the greatness of her God. “If considered in itself, it is dear that this difficulty is too great for me to combat; but it is nothing to my God. The wall is too solid and high for me; but before God’s touch it will fall down like cardboard. These ropes are stout; but before God they are only as tow before flame. I will not consider the man that shall die, and the son of man that shall be made as grass; but will look away resolutely to my Maker, who made heaven and earth, and who can still the roaring of the sea.”

Do you want a fearless faith, be careful not to measure the comparative forces of yourself and others; but remember that God is working for you to will and do of his own good pleasure. If He is for you, who can be against you? When compared with Primrose Hill, Snowdon is high; but where is it when compared with the Himalayas? 

ILLUSTRATION - A shoe salesman was sent to a remote part of the country. When he arrived, he was dismayed because everyone went around barefooted. So he wired the company, “No prospect for sales. People don’t wear shoes here.” Later another salesman went to the same territory. He too immediately sent word to the home office. But his telegram read, “Great potential! People don’t wear shoes here!” The Promise land! The covenant keeping God made a promise to Abraham which was about to be fulfilled. Oh, so close!

Spurgeon - The report of the spies

Every unguarded word you use, every inconsistent act, puts a slur on Christ. The world, you know, does not find fault with you—they lay it all to your Master. If you make a slip tomorrow, they will not say, “That is John Smith’s human nature;” they will say, “That is John Smith’s religion.” They know better, but they will be sure to say it; they will be sure to put all the mischief at the door of Christ. Now, if you could bear the blame yourself you might bear it manfully; but do not allow Christ to bear the blame—do not suffer his reputation to be tarnished—do not permit his banner to be trampled in the dust. Then there is another consideration. You must remember, if you do wrong, the world will be quite sure to notice you. The world carries two bags: in the bag at the back they put all the Christian’s virtues—in the bag in front they put all our mistakes and sins. They never think of looking at the virtues of holy men; all the courage of martyrs, all the fidelity of confessors, and all the holiness of saints, is nothing to them; but our iniquities are ever before them. Please do recollect, that wherever you are, as a Christian, the eyes of the world are upon you; the Argus eyes of an evil generation follow you everywhere. If a church is blind the world is not. It is a common proverb, “As sound asleep as a church,” and a very true one, for most churches are sound asleep; but it would be a great falsehood if anyone were to say, “As sound asleep as the world,” for the world is never asleep. Sleeping is left to the church. And remember, too, that the world always wears magnifying glasses to look at Christians’ faults.

Rod Mattoon - If the eyes of the people were on the Lord, their enemies would have looked like grasshoppers. Their doubts are going to rob them of blessings, victories, joy, peace, and security. Our doubts affect us the same way today. Doubt in the Lord disables the Christian from doing what the Lord wants him to do.

What Causes Doubt?

1. Satan—
Genesis 3:4—And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

2. Skepticism—
Luke 1:20—And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
Zacharias was skeptical of God's message from the angel.

3. Society's wisdom and reasoning—
1 Corinthians 1:18-19—For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. [19] For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

4. Spiritual Instability—
James 1:6-8—But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. [7] For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. [8] A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

5. Small Faith—
Matthew 14:31—And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

How Does One Deal With Doubt? How do You Keep From Being a Fly in the Ointment?

1. Search the Scriptures—
Acts 17:11—These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
Romans 10:17—So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

2. Serve the Lord—
John 7:17—If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself

3. Substantiate the Lord's Power—
Malachi 3:10—Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

4. Supplications should be Made to the Lord-(pray)
1 Timothy 2:8—I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

5. Surrender Your Will to the Lord-(yield to Him)
Psalm 37:5—Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

Question - Who / what were the Nephilim?

Answer - The Nephilim (“fallen ones, giants”) were the offspring of sexual relationships between the sons of God and daughters of men in Genesis 6:1–4. There is much debate as to the identity of the “sons of God.” It is our opinion that the “sons of God” were fallen angels (demons) who mated with human females or possessed human males who then mated with human females. These unions resulted in offspring, the Nephilim, who were “heroes of old, men of renown” (Genesis 6:4). For a discussion of the various interpretations, please read our article on identity of the sons of God and daughters of men.

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Why would the demons do such a thing? The Bible does not specifically give us the answer. Demons are evil, twisted beings—so nothing they do should surprise us. As to a distinct motivation, one speculation is that the demons were attempting to pollute the human bloodline in order to prevent the coming of the Messiah. God had promised that the Messiah would one day crush the head of the serpent, Satan (Genesis 3:15). The demons in Genesis 6 were possibly attempting to prevent the crushing of the serpent and make it impossible for a sinless “seed of the woman” to be born. Again, this is not a specifically biblical answer, but it is biblically plausible.

What were the Nephilim? According to Hebraic and other legends (the Book of Enoch and other non-biblical writings), they were a race of giants and super-heroes who did acts of great evil. Their great size and power likely came from the mixture of demonic “DNA” with human genetics. According to the movie Noah, starring Russell Crowe (reviewed by us here), the Nephilim were fallen angels encased in rock. All that the Bible directly says about them is that they were “heroes of old, men of renown” (Genesis 6:4). The Nephilim were not aliens, angels, “Watchers,” or rock monsters; they were literal, physical beings produced from the union of the sons of God and the daughters of men (Genesis 6:1–4).

What happened to the Nephilim? The Nephilim were one of the primary reasons for the great flood in Noah’s time. Immediately after the mention of Nephilim, God’s Word says, “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, ‘I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them’” (Genesis 6:5–7). God proceeded to flood the entire earth, killing everyone and everything other than Noah, his family, and the animals on the ark. All else perished, including the Nephilim (Genesis 6:11–22).

Were there Nephilim after the flood? Genesis 6:4 tells us, “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward.” It seems that the demons repeated their sin sometime after the flood as well. However, it likely took place to a much lesser extent than it did prior to the flood. When the Israelites spied out the land of Canaan, they reported back to Moses: “We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them” (Numbers 13:33). This passage does not say the Nephilim were genuinely there, only that the spies thought they saw the Nephilim. It is more likely that the spies witnessed very large people in Canaan and in their fear believed them to be the Nephilim. Or it is possible that after the flood the demons again mated with human females, producing more Nephilim. It is even possible that some traits of the Nephilim were passed on through the heredity of one of Noah’s daughters-in-law. Whatever the case, these “giants” were destroyed by the Israelites during their invasion of Canaan (Joshua 11:21–22) and later in their history (Deuteronomy 3:11; 1 Samuel 17).

What prevents the demons from producing more Nephilim today? It seems that God put an end to demons mating with humans by placing all the demons who committed such an act in isolation. Jude verse 6 tells us, “The angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.” Obviously, not all demons are in “prison” today, so there must have been a group of demons who committed further grievous sin beyond the original fall. Presumably, the demons who mated with human females are the ones who are “bound with everlasting chains.” This would prevent any more demons from attempting such sin.

Related Resources:

Streams in the Desert - “There we saw the giants.” (Num. 13:33.)

YES, they saw the giants, but Caleb and Joshua saw God! Those who doubt say, “We be not able to go up.” Those who believe say, “Let us go up at once and possess it, for we are well able.”

Giants stand for great difficulties; and giants are stalking everywhere. They are in our families, in our churches, in our social life, in our own hearts; and we must overcome them or they will eat us up, as these men of old said of the giants of Canaan.

The men of faith said, “They are bread for us; we will eat them up.” In other words, “We will be stronger by overcoming them than if there had been no giants to overcome.”

Now the fact is, unless we have the overcoming faith we shall be eaten up, consumed by the giants in our path. Let us have the spirit of faith that these men of faith had, and see God, and He will take care of the difficulties.—Selected.

It is when we are in the way of duty that we find giants. It was when Israel was going forward that the giants appeared. When they turned back into the wilderness they found none.

There is a prevalent idea that the power of God in a human life should lift us above all trials and conflicts. The fact is, the power of God always brings a conflict and a struggle. One would have thought that on his great missionary journey to Rome, Paul would have been carried by some mighty providence above the power of storms and tempests and enemies. But, on the contrary, it was one long, hard fight with persecuting Jews, with wild tempests, with venomous vipers and all the powers of earth and hell, and at last he was saved, as it seemed, by the narrowest margin, and had to swim ashore at Malta on a piece of wreckage and barely escape a watery grave.

Was that like a God of infinite power? Yes, just like Him. And so Paul tells us that when he took the Lord Jesus Christ as the life of his body, a severe conflict immediately came; indeed, a conflict that never ended, a pressure that was persistent, but out of which he always emerged victorious through the strength of Jesus Christ.

The language in which he describes this is most graphic. “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed, always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be manifested in our body.”

What a ceaseless, strenuous struggle! It is impossible to express in English the forcible language of the original. There are five pictures in succession. In the first, the idea is crowding enemies pressing in from every side, and yet not crushing him because the police of heaven cleared the way just wide enough for him to get through. The literal translation would be, “We are crowded on every side, but not crushed.”

The second picture is that of one whose way seems utterly closed and yet he has pressed through; there is light enough to show him the next step. The Revised Version translates it, “Perplexed but not unto despair.” Rotherham still more literally renders it, “Without a way, but not without a by-way.”

The third figure is that of an enemy in hot pursuit while the divine Defender still stands by, and he is not left alone. Again we adopt the fine rendering of Rotherham, “Pursued but not abandoned.”

The fourth figure is still more vivid and dramatic. The enemy has overtaken him, has struck him, has knocked him down. But it is not a fatal blow; he is able to rise again. It might be translated, “Overthrown but not overcome.”

Once more the figure advances, and now it seems to be even death itself, “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus.” But he does not die, for “the life also of Jesus” now comes to his aid and he lives in the life of another until his life work is done.

The reason so many fail in this experience of divine healing is because they expect to have it all without a struggle, and when the conflict comes and the battle wages long, they become discouraged and surrender. God has nothing worth having that is easy. There are no cheap goods in the heavenly market. Our redemption cost all that God had to give, and everything worth having is expensive. Hard places are the very school of faith and character, and if we are to rise over mere human strength and prove the power of life divine in these mortal bodies, it must be through a process of conflict that may well be called the birth travail of a new life. It is the old figure of the bush that burned, but was not consumed, or of the Vision in the house of the Interpreter of the flame that would not expire, notwithstanding the fact that the demon ceaselessly poured water on it, because in the background stood an angel ever pouring oil and keeping the flame aglow.

No, dear suffering child of God, you cannot fail if only you dare to believe, to stand fast and refuse to be overcome.—Tract.

James Hastings

My servant Caleb, because he … hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went.—Num. 14:24.

CALEB is one of the finest characters in the Bible. He is a stalwart, honest character, a man who obeyed God without question, who never feared to do his duty, and never turned his back on an enemy. His father, Jephunneh, is described as “the Kenezite.” The Kenezites were outside the pale of the chosen people. Thus Caleb was not of Israelitish birth or descent. He was of an alien people. He was one of the first-fruits of the Gentile harvest of which Jethro, Rahab, Ruth, Naaman, and many others were samples and signs. Yet this man, a stranger to Israel by birth, became one of Israel’s most illustrious ornaments. In spirit and service he was “an Israelite indeed.” The son of the Kenezite was a true son of God.


And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.—Num. 13:30.

1. The year that followed the Exodus was a wonderful one for the children of Israel. It was spent at the foot of Mount Sinai, where measures were taken to organize them into a theocratic commonwealth. It was here that they received the Decalogue. It was here that Moses, as God’s viceroy, gathered about him the princes and the forty elders, the former of whom constituted the Upper and the latter the Lower House of Parliament. And it was here that an army of able-bodied men was mustered and mobilized under Joshua as commander-in-chief. Thus, in twelve months, the people who had escaped from Egypt a mere rabble of slaves were transformed into a well-organized and formidable nation.

And now at length they stood facing the land towards which all hearts were yearning. The time was ripe. Everything hinged upon a concerted movement to take possession. But the people must deliberately choose. Moses could lead them only with their will. Accordingly, a committee was representatively appointed, one member from each tribe, through whose eyes the people might see the land and upon the basis of whose report they might act.

2. The men did their work thoroughly, traversing the valleys and climbing the hills, viewing the oliveyards and vineyards, and skirting the slopes of Hebron where the Anakim dwelt. After forty days’ search they returned, bringing with them a branch with one cluster of grapes, and also a specimen of the pomegranates and the figs. On the whole, their report was very gloomy. They had, of course, some good things to say about the productiveness of the land, but they gave a very alarming account of the people: “The people be strong that dwell in the land.” “All the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature;.… we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”

¶ Thou camest to spy out the land of promise; go not back without one cluster of grapes to show thy brethren for their encouragement. Let them see that thou hast tasted of the wine, by the gladness of thy heart; and that thou hast been anointed with the oil, by the cheerfulness of thy countenance; and hast fed of the milk and honey, by the mildness of thy disposition, and the sweetness of thy conversation. This heavenly fire would melt thy frozen heart, and refine and spiritualize it, but it must have time to operate. Thus pursue the work till something be done, till thy grace be in exercise, thy affections raised, and thy soul refreshed with thy delights above. Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when He cometh shall find so doing.

3. The children of Israel, who had counted on an easy victory, gave way to a cowardly despair, even before the report was brought to its conclusion. They heard the words, “The people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great,” and there was an immediate outburst of panic and confusion. Caleb, and at this point in the history he alone, “stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” His associates in the exploration, however, repeated their discouraging reports. The whole work of the Exodus and of Sinai seemed on the point of being frustrated: First, there was the despairing wish, “Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! Would God, we had died in this wilderness!” Then there was the natural result of that backward look, “Were it not better for us to return into Egypt?” Then the thought passed into a deliberate purpose, “Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.” And then the two who had not yielded to the first impulse of fear—Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun—stood forward against the madness of the people. They “rent their clothes” in passionate protest against the rebellious cowardice of the people. They testified once more that the land to which they had been sent was an exceedingly good land; that the Lord Jehovah was able to bring them into it, and give it them; that the people of the land would be as “bread” for them to devour. They ended with the watchword of all true hero-souls, “The Lord is with us: fear them not.” The others had measured themselves against the trained soldiers and giants, and were in despair. These two measured Amalekites and Anakim against God, and were jubilant. They do not dispute the facts, but they reverse the implied conclusion, because they add the governing fact of God’s help.

¶ Once Frederick the Great wrote to one of his generals, “I send you against the enemy with 60,000 men.” But, when the troops were numbered, it was found that there were only 50,000; and the officer was surprised and displeased. “There is no mistake,” Frederick replied, “I counted you for 10,000 men.” But who will say for how many God counts?

4 Caleb and Joshua saw two things. First, they saw and put prominently forward the greatness of the opportunity; and they saw also that behind the land’s strength there was a real weakness. It may have been that they detected the moral rottenness of the people among whom they had gone. But, whether or not, there was certainly in them the conviction that God was with Israel to carry through the purpose which He had begun—that astonishing conviction, one of the greatest of the world’s miracles, which went with Israel through its history, and which still binds into unity for us the whole of the Old Testament. With that conviction burning in them they gave their voice for the forward policy.

But the heart had gone out of the people. They feared and trembled and refused to advance. It was in vain that Caleb pointed to the grapes he had gathered at Eshcol; it was in vain he tried to tempt his countrymen. There were even some who would have slain Caleb for his earnest exhortations. “Stone him! Stone him!” they cried; and there is no telling what would have happened, but for the fact that just then the cloud appeared above the tabernacle of the congregation to signify that God would speak with the people. And through Moses He delivered this message: “How long will this people despise me? and how long will they not believe in me?… Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my signs, which I wrought in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have tempted me these ten times and have not hearkened to my voice; surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that despised me see it: but my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.”

¶ If Mistrust and Timorous had been prepared to face the dangers of the way, they, like Christian, would have reached the Celestial City. “Now when he was got up to the top of the Hill, there came two men running to meet him amain; the name of the one was Timorous, and the other Mistrust. To whom Christian said, Sirs, what’s the matter you run the wrong way? Timorous answered, That they were going to the City of Zion, and had got up that difficult place; but said he, the further we go, the more danger we meet with, wherefore we turned, and are going back again. Yes, said Mistrust, for just before us lies a couple of Lyons in the way, (whether sleeping or waking we know not) and we could not think, if we came within reach but they would presently pull us in pieces.

Chr. Then said Christian, Yon make me afraid, but whither shall I fly to be safe? If I go back to mine own Countrey, That is prepared for Fire and Brimstone, and I shall certainly perish there. If I can get to the Celestial City, I am sure to be in safety there, I must venture; To go back is nothing but death, to go forward is fear of death, and life everlasting beyond it. I will yet go forward. So Mistrust and Timorous ran down the Hill; and Christian went on his way.”

5. Caleb was an optimist. He dreamed dreams and saw visions. No wonder he possessed such a spirit, for he “wholly followed the Lord his God.” This is a striking expression. In the Hebrew it is a pictorial word, and describes a ship going out at full sail. This was the reason of his optimism: he flung every power of body and soul and spirit like a free sheet to the winds of God’s grace and God’s Spirit and God’s providence. He went in whole-heartedly for God and His cause, unhampered by any spirit of limitation. Caleb had something of Moses in him. He had an eye for the future. He was capable of Pisgah glimpses. His was one of those lives which seem always to be pitched upon a hill; he could see things afar off. He is the real hero of this enterprise; he has made the work of exploration his own. Joshua is the actual conqueror of Canaan; Caleb is the man who predicted the advantage of possessing it. But Caleb’s confidence that “we are well able to overcome” was more than natural optimism; it was religious trust, as is plain from God’s eulogium on him in Num. 14:24.

¶ We may compare Caleb, to use the metaphor of good old Gotthold, to a tree. The wind had been blowing—it was a dreadful hurricane, and Gotthold walked into a forest and saw many trees torn up by the roots; he marvelled much at one tree which stood alone and yet had been unmoved in the tempest. He said, “How is this? The trees that were together have fallen, and this alone stands fast!” He observed that when the trees grow too closely they cannot send their roots into the earth; they lean too much upon each other; but this tree, standing alone, had space to thrust its roots into the earth, and lay hold on the rock and stones; and so when the wind came it fell not. It was so with Caleb—he always would lay hold upon his God, not upon men; and so when the wind came he stood.

¶ The Rev. F. B. Meyer, in course of an appreciation of the life and work of Dr. Paton, wrote: An invincible optimist! For him, no good cause can ever be a lost cause. I question if he has ever been permanently disappointed, or ever absolutely failed. “Impossible” and “impracticable” are words for which he has no use; and though they have probably been hurled often enough at his schemes, when first announced, they have been found to be inappropriate and untrue. A visionary, whose visions have been realized; a dreamer, whose dreams have clothed themselves in fact! At an age when ninety-nine men out of a hundred leave the conduct of affairs to others, he is in the forefront and thick of the fight; and the rest of us gladly recognize that he is in his right place, and that years have not diminished but enhanced his competence to lead in all that makes for the betterment of the people. His optimism and enthusiasm are so contagious that statesmen, bishops, deans, ministers of every religious body, philanthropists, and shrewd business men are swept into his orbit and become inspired by his aims. His motives are absolutely selfless; his soul is simple and pure as a child’s; and the strength of his personality is fairly irresistible. When he begins to weave his web around you to secure your interest and co-operation, you may as well yield at once to his genial persuasiveness, for you will have to do so sooner or later. In fact, you would feel it mean to leave a load on those broad and burdened shoulders which you could lighten or remove.

¶ Florence Nightingale did many things herself, but she was also the inspirer and instigator of more things which were done by others. She was able of her own initiative to institute considerable reforms; but she was a reformer on a larger scale through the influence which she exercised. Though she was in truth no magician, there were men on the spot who, not being able to understand the secret and sources of her power, seemed to find something uncanny in it. Our good friend, Colonel Sterling, who hated the intrusion of petticoats into a campaign, was very much puzzled. The thing seemed to him “ludicrous,” as we have heard, but he had to admit that “Miss Nightingale queens it with absolute power”; and elsewhere he speaks of “the Nightingale power” as something mysterious and “fabulous.” The secret, however, is simple. “The Nightingale power” was due to causes of which some were inherent in herself and others were adventitious. The inherent strength of her influence lay in the masterful will and practical good sense which gave her dominion over the minds of men. The adventitious sources of her power were that she had both the ear and the confidence of Ministers, and the interest and sympathy of the Court. I have called this accession of influence “adventitious,” but it also accrued to her, in a secondary degree, from the inherent force of her character.


Now therefore give me this mountain.—Josh. 14:12.

1. Now followed a period of thirty-nine years in which the children of Israel wandered to and fro, entangled in the wilderness. The life of Caleb, during those weary years, is recorded in the single sentence, “He wholly followed the Lord.” In other words, he was doing his duty and biding his time. Not for a moment did he lose his confidence in the promise of God. Nor was he discontented or over-eager for action. He who “wholly follows the Lord,” knows how to labour and to wait. So Caleb kept his soul in patience. He acquiesced in the postponement of his own heaven. He concealed his aspiration. He hid his contempt for the sordid throng. He gave no hint that he was above their business. He joined them on their own level, in their own work. He took up his brothers’ cares—cares about inferior things. He put his hand to the duties of the desert when his heart was up in Canaan. He saw the people dropping out, one by one, until the entire generation that had come out of Egypt lay in graves along the way. He saw Moses climb to his lonely sepulchre, and heard his last farewell: “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” And still the faith of Caleb failed not.

2. Then came the crossing of the Jordan, the taking of Jericho, the driving out of the native tribes and the distribution of the land. The deadly plague which befell the ten, and the nearly forty years’ wandering which befell the people, the preservation of the lives of Caleb and Joshua only of all the nation above twenty years of age who came out of Egypt, followed by the ultimate conquest of the land, had been a sufficient vindication of the faithfulness of God and the truthfulness of Caleb and Joshua. Now, however, that the land was to be distributed among the conquerors, and there were still a few unconquered, although greatly weakened, districts—and notably the main stronghold of the Anakim of the south, within whose walls the last chief of the tribe held out against the conquerors—Caleb went to Joshua, his old comrade, repeated the story of forty years before, referred to the promise of Moses that he should possess this stronghold, and pleaded that the privilege might be given him to take it.

His case was a very strong one, his record good and fair. He had been frank when truth was unpopular and hard to speak, and loyal when defection was widespread; he had experienced Providential help and deliverances; he had retained the capacity, and won the moral right, to essay the capture of Hebron; he was an efficient man, but he was in absolute dependence on the sufficiency of God. His estate that was to be was still occupied by the enemy. He was not about to enter upon a peaceful occupation; it was a conquest that lay before him. The Lord had preserved his life during these forty years—preserved it, as he believes, that he might be permitted to conquer the sons of Anak.

3. It makes the blood run fast in a man’s veins to read the courageous words of the grim old soldier. He stands there before Joshua and says: “I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, and to go out and to come in. Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakim were there, and cities great and fenced: it may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out, as the Lord spake.” There is nothing in the Bible more wonderful in its way than Caleb’s testimony at eighty-five years of age. Nor was this a mere boast. The old man was not self-deluded in the matter of his strength. He was ready for war, ready to storm the stronghold of Hebron. Jubilant in prospect of driving out the Anakim, Caleb had youth’s strength and valour and optimism in extreme old age.

¶ One day when Signor had ended a delightful talk with Sir William Richmond, as this sympathetic friend was leaving the studio he said to me that he found Signor’s interests and range of thought wider even than they were. “Well, to grow still at seventy-eight is youth,” he added. Sir James Knowles spoke in much the same terms, and gave me his interpretation of the saying, “Whom the Gods love die young”; which was, that in mind they never grew old. Of this Sir James Knowles wrote to me later: “I am so glad you like my interpretation of that old proverb. This is how I put it down:—

      ‘Whom the Gods love die young,’ the proverb told;
      The meaning is they never can grow old
      However long their list of labours past;
      God-given youth is with them to the last.

You have the proof of this before your eyes every day, and long may it be so! I send him my best regards.” Once, speaking of his own feeling, Signor told me the only difference he found in himself as he grew older was this—“I am interested in more things, and I feel younger instead of older. I know I am quite as eager, quite as much striving for improvement in my work, as I was at the beginning of life.”

         Therefore I summon age
         To grant youth’s heritage,
    Life’s struggle having so far reached its term:
         Thence shall I pass, approved
         A man, for aye removed
    From the developed brute; a god though in the germ.

         And I shall thereupon
         Take rest, ere I be gone
    Once more on my adventure brave and new:
         Fearless and unperplexed
         When I wage battle next,
    What weapons to select, what armour to indue.

4. There is something very noble in Caleb’s conception of a possession worth the having as that which involves toil and heroism on our part. God’s best gifts are after all given on these conditions. It is “to him that overcometh” that the choicest blessings of the Apocalypse are given. The inheritance of the saints in light, like that of Caleb, is to be the inheritance of the conqueror. Caleb had caught this essential aspect of a noble life. The reward of the man who has done well is that he shall do more.

The fire had been smouldering in the heart of this man for forty-five years; and now in sight of the mountain it flamed up. All that time he had been waiting for an opportunity to have at the giants; and now that the hour had come, he proved himself no idle boaster. He drove the giants from one town to another, and finally they seem to have made their last stand in a strong town called Kirjath-sepher. In his eagerness to gain this town he offered the hand of his daughter Achsah to any warrior who should obtain possession of it, and the prize was claimed by Othniel. It was followed, in the striking story, which breathes in every word the spirit of a remote antiquity, by the grant with it of the “upper and the nether springs,” that the city might not be, in any sense of the word, a barren and unfruitful heritage.

Of all the Israelites who received their inheritance in the Land of Promise, Caleb appears to have been the only one who succeeded in entirely expelling the native occupiers of the country. The Israelites generally seem to have made but poor headway against their strong and mighty foes, with their chariots of iron and fenced walls. Repeatedly we encounter the sorrowful affirmation that they were not able to drive them out. But Caleb was a notable exception. What though Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim (Josh. 14:15), what though his three grandsons, Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai, the sons of Anak, were prepared to yield their lives rather than give up possession (15:14), Caleb drove them out—not he indeed, but the Lord, who was with him, and gave him a victory that must have otherwise eluded even his strong hands. The man who “wholly followed the Lord” was alone wholly victorious.

¶ Nowhere is thoroughness more needed than in religious work, nowhere is slackness more prevalent. There are Christians who serve Christ as diligently and faithfully as they do their earthly work, and they shall not miss their reward; but many of Christ’s servants would not be tolerated for a week by any other master. The poorest joint-stock company in the land is better served by its directors than many congregations are by their office-bearers. There are no teachers anywhere so ignorant and so casual as certain Sunday-school teachers; there is no clerk in a dry-goods store dare treat his duty as lightly as some of the voluntary officers of the Christian Church. They will absent themselves without leave and without excuse; they will never inquire how their work is being done or whether it is done at all; they will not take the trouble to prepare themselves to do it, and they are not concerned when it fails in their hands. They will place their pleasure and their fancies, and their social engagements, and their imaginary ailments before their Christian duty. And it would be difficult to say how little must be the burden, how short must be the time, that they would be willing to count an obligation upon them and would be prepared to face. One is sometimes inclined to propose a general resignation of the Christian staff, and then an invitation to all who are prepared to do Christ’s work as well as the work of the world is done, and it might be that three hundred thoroughgoing men like the Band of Gideon would do more for Christ than ten times the number of irresponsible casuals.

5. How much longer Caleb lived after he claimed Hebron for his inheritance we do not know; but the language he uttered in his eighty-fifth year is very remarkable. What a sublime retrospect! He can look back on the voyage of his life and say, “I wholly followed the Lord.” Such a retrospect can be won only by years of fighting the good fight. The people also acknowledged his faithful service. “Joshua blessed him,” we read of Caleb in his mellow old age (Josh. 14:13). Joshua prayed for the aged hero and saint. Joshua sought God’s anointing for the venerable soldier of Israel. Caleb reaped a harvest of sympathetic prayer. Joshua not only prayed for Caleb but commended him in the sight of Israel. He held him up to honour. He enthroned the brave veteran on the approbation of the people. So the man of complete devotion to God received honour of man.

¶ In February 1889, when he reached his seventieth birthday, Lowell was entertained to dinner by his friends in Boston. Describing the event in a letter to the wife of his English friend Leslie Stephen, Lowell says: “I was dined on my birthday, and praised to a degree that would have satisfied you, most partial even of your sex. But somehow I liked it, and indeed none but a pig could have helped liking the affectionate way it was done. I suppose it is a sign of weakness in me somewhere, but I can’t help it. I do like to be liked. It gives me a far better excuse for being about (and in everybody’s way) than having written a fine poem does. That’ll be all very well when one is under the mould. But I am not sure whether one will care for it much. So keep on liking me, won’t you?”

¶ 19th Feb. 1826.—J(ames) B(allantine) came and sat an hour. I led him to talk of Woodstock; and, to say truth, his approbation did me much good. I am aware it may—nay, must—be partial; yet is he Tom Telltruth, and totally unable to disguise his real feelings. I think I make no habit of feeding on praise, and despise those whom I see greedy for it, as much as I should an under-bred fellow, who, after eating a cherry-tart, proceeded to lick the plate. But when one is flagging, a little praise (if it can be had genuine and unadulterated by flattery, which is as difficult to come by as the genuine mountain-dew) is a cordial after all.

13th May 1826.—I think very lightly in general of praise; it costs men nothing, and is usually only lip-salve. They wish to please, and must suppose that flattery is the ready road to the good will of every professor of literature. Some praise, however, and from some people, does at once delight and strengthen the mind, and I insert in this place the quotation with which Lord Chief Baron Shepherd concluded a letter concerning me to the Chief Commissioner (Adam): “Magna etiam ilia laus et admirabilis videri solet tulisse casus sapienter adversos, non fractum esse fortunâ, retinuisse in rebus asperis dignitatem.” I record these words, not as meriting the high praise they imply, but to remind me that such an opinion being partially entertained of me by a man of character so eminent, it becomes me to make my conduct approach as much as possible to the standard at which he rates it.