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Numbers 13:26-33

Context
The Spies’ Reports

13:26 They came back 1  to Moses and Aaron and to the whole community of the Israelites in the wilderness of Paran at Kadesh. 2  They reported 3  to the whole community and showed the fruit of the land. 13:27 They told Moses, 4  “We went to the land where you sent us. 5  It is indeed flowing with milk and honey, 6  and this is its fruit. 13:28 But 7  the inhabitants 8  are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. Moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. 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 9  of the Jordan.” 10 

13:30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses, saying, “Let us go up 11  and occupy it, 12  for we are well able to conquer it.” 13  13:31 But the men 14  who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against these people, because they are stronger than we are!” 13:32 Then they presented the Israelites with a discouraging 15  report of the land they had investigated, saying, “The land that we passed through 16  to investigate is a land that devours 17  its inhabitants. 18  All the people we saw there 19  are of great stature. 13:33 We even saw the Nephilim 20  there (the descendants of Anak came from the Nephilim), and we seemed liked grasshoppers both to ourselves 21  and to them.” 22 

1 tn The construction literally has “and they went and they entered,” which may be smoothed out as a verbal hendiadys, the one verb modifying the other.

2 sn Kadesh is Ain Qadeis, about 50 miles (83 km) south of Beer Sheba. It is called Kadesh-barnea in Num 32:8.

3 tn Heb “They brought back word”; the verb is the Hiphil preterite of שׁוּב (shuv).

4 tn Heb “told him and said.” The referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

5 tn The relative clause modifies “the land.” It is constructed with the relative and the verb: “where you sent us.”

6 sn This is the common expression for the material abundance of the land (see further, F. C. Fensham, “An Ancient Tradition of the Fertility of Palestine,” PEQ 98 [1966]: 166-67).

7 tn The word (אֶפֶס, ’efes) forms a very strong adversative. The land was indeed rich and fruitful, but….”

8 tn Heb “the people who are living in the land.”

9 tn Heb “by the side [hand] of.”

10 sn For more discussion on these people groups, see D. J. Wiseman, ed., Peoples of Old Testament Times.

11 tn The construction is emphatic, using the cohortative with the infinitive absolute to strengthen it: עָלֹה נַעֲלֶה (’aloh naaleh, “let us go up”) with the sense of certainty and immediacy.

12 tn The perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive brings the cohortative idea forward: “and let us possess it”; it may also be subordinated to form a purpose or result idea.

13 tn 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.”

14 tn The vav (ו) disjunctive on the noun at the beginning of the clause forms a strong adversative clause here.

15 tn Or “an evil report,” i.e., one that was a defamation of the grace of God.

16 tn Heb “which we passed over in it”; the pronoun on the preposition serves as a resumptive pronoun for the relative, and need not be translated literally.

17 tn The verb is the feminine singular participle from אָכַל (’akhal); it modifies the land as a “devouring land,” a bold figure for the difficulty of living in the place.

18 sn The expression has been interpreted in a number of ways by commentators, such as that the land was infertile, that the Canaanites were cannibals, that it was a land filled with warlike dissensions, or that it denotes a land geared for battle. It may be that they intended the land to seem infertile and insecure.

19 tn Heb “in its midst.”

20 tc The Greek version uses gigantes (“giants”) to translate “the Nephilim,” but it does not retain the clause “the sons of Anak are from the Nephilim.”

sn The Nephilim are the legendary giants of antiquity. They are first discussed in Gen 6:4. This forms part of the pessimism of the spies’ report.

21 tn Heb “in our eyes.”

22 tn Heb “in their eyes.”



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