December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- The LORD said to Moses,
- "Send men to reconnoiter the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. You shall send one man from each ancestral tribe, all of them princes."
- So Moses dispatched them from the desert of Paran, as the LORD had ordered. All of them were leaders among the Israelites;
- by name they were: Shammua, son of Zaccur, of the tribe of Reuben;
- Shaphat, son of Hori, of the tribe of Simeon;
- Caleb, son of Jephunneh, of the tribe of Judah;
- Igal (son of Joseph), of the tribe of Issachar;
- Hoshea, son of Nun, of the tribe of Ephraim;
- Palti, son of Raphu, of the tribe of Benjamin;
- Gaddiel, son of Sodi, of the tribe of Zebulun;
- Gaddi, son of Susi, of the tribe of Manasseh, for the Josephites, with
- Ammiel, son of Gemalli, of the tribe of Dan;
- Sethur, son of Michael, of the tribe of Asher;
- Nahbi, son of Vophsi, of the tribe of Naphtali;
- Geuel, son of Machi, of the tribe of Gad.
- 1 These are the names of the men whom Moses sent out to reconnoiter the land. But Hoshea, son of Nun, Moses called Joshua.
- In sending them to reconnoiter the land of Canaan, Moses said to them, "Go up here in the Negeb, up into the highlands,
- and see what kind of land it is. Are the people living there strong or weak, few or many?
- Is the country in which they live good or bad? Are the towns in which they dwell open or fortified?
- Is the soil fertile or barren, wooded or clear? And do your best to get some of the fruit of the land." It was then the season for early grapes.
- 2 So they went up and reconnoitered the land from the desert of Zin as far as where Rehob adjoins Labo of Hamath.
- 3 Going up by way of the Negeb, they reached Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, descendants of the Anakim, were living. (Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)
- 4 They also reached the Wadi Eshcol, where they cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes on it, which two of them carried on a pole, as well as some pomegranates and figs.
- It was because of the cluster the Israelites cut there that they called the place Wadi Eshcol.
- After reconnoitering the land for forty days they returned,
- met Moses and Aaron and the whole community of the Israelites in the desert of Paran at Kadesh, made a report to them all, and showed them the fruit of the country.
- They told Moses: "We went into the land to which you sent us. It does indeed flow with milk and honey, and here is its fruit.
- However, the people who are living in the land are fierce, and the towns are fortified and very strong. Besides, we saw descendants of the Anakim there.
- Amalekites live in the region of the Negeb; Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites dwell in the highlands, and Canaanites along the seacoast and the banks of the Jordan."
- Caleb, however, to quiet the people toward Moses, said, "We ought to go up and seize the land, for we can certainly do so."
- But the men who had gone up with him said, "We cannot attack these people; they are too strong for us."
- So they spread discouraging reports among the Israelites about the land they had scouted, saying, "The land that we explored is a country that consumes its inhabitants. And all the people we saw there are huge men,
- 5 veritable giants (the Anakim were a race of giants); we felt like mere grasshoppers, and so we must have seemed to them."
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1  Joshua: in Hebrew, "Jehoshua," which was later modified to "Jeshua," the Hebrew pronunciation of the name "Jesus." Hoshea and Joshua are variants of one original name meaning "the LORD saves." Cf Matthew 1:21.
2  The desert of Zin: north of Paran and southwest of the Dead Sea. It is quite distinct from "the desert of Sin" near the border of Egypt (Exodus 16:1; 17:1; Numbers 33:11). Labo of Hamath: a town near Riblah (Jeremiah 39:5-6) at the southern border of Hamath, an independent kingdom in southern Syria. David's conquests extended as far as Hamath (2 Sam 8:9-11), and Labo thus formed the northern border of the ideal extent of Israel's possessions (Numbers 34:7-9; Ezekiel 47:15; 48:1). Some commentators think that this verse is a later addition to the text; cf Deut 1:24.
3 [22, 28] Anakim: an aboriginal race in southern Palestine, largely absorbed by the Canaanites before the Israelite invasion. Either because of their tall stature or because of the massive stone structures left by them the Israelites regarded them as giants.
4  Eshcol means "cluster."
5  Giants: in Hebrew, "nephilim." Cf Genesis 6:4.
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