Biblical Principle #166: Israel Sent Spies into Canaan

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Israel sent 12 spies into the land of Canaan.


Having left Mount Sinai, Israel was headed for the land of Canaan. GOD told Moses to send a spy from each tribe (except Levi) to scout out the land and bring back a report.

1 Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a ruler among them.” 3 So Moses sent them from the Desert of Paran at the Lord’s voice, and all the men were rulers of the children of Israel.

4 Now these were their names:

from the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur;
5 from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori;
6 from the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh;
7 from the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph;
8 from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea
 the son of Nun;
9 from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti the son of Raphu;
10 from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel the son of Sodi;
11 from the tribe of Joseph, that is, from the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi the son of Susi;
12 from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gemalli;
13 from the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael;
14 from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi;
15 from the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi.

16 These are the names of the men Moses sent to spy out the land. Now Moses called Hoshea, the son of Nun, Joshua.

17 Then Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan and said to them, “Go up to this desert, and go up to the mountain; 18 and you will see the land, and the people who dwell upon it. What are they? Are they strong or weak, few or many? 19 Also, what is the land they dwell in? Is it good or bad? Then too, what about the cities they inhabit? Are they walled or unwalled? 20 Then again, what about the ground? Is it fertile or neglected? Are there trees on it? Persevere, and you shall receive some of the fruits of the land.” Now the days were the days of spring, the forerunner of the grapes. 21 So they went up and spied out the land from the Desert of Zin as far as Rehob, near the entrance of Hamath. 22 Then they went up through the desert and came to Hebron; Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, were there. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23 Then they came to the Valley of Eshcol and surveyed it, and cut down a branch there with one cluster of grapes; they carried it between two of them on a pole. They also brought some of the pomegranates and figs. 24 The place was called the Valley of Eshcol because of the cluster the sons of Israel cut down there.

25 Then they returned from spying out the land after forty days.

Numbers 13:1-25 OSB (line breaks added in vv4-16)

Twelve spies spent forty days scouting the land.

How many of these twelve do you know by name? Two. There’s a reason for that. 

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