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AND the people marched from Haseroth, and pitched their tents in the desert of Pharan.

Ver. 1.  Pharan, at Rethma, C. xxxiii. 48.; though Barradius confounds that station with that at Cades-barne.  The Samaritan copy inserts here a long passage, taken probably from Deut. i. 20. 21. and 22, which shews that the Hebrews first proposed the sending spies, out of timidity; which God severely punished in the sequel, though in his anger he here consents to their proposal, which seemed to originate in motives of prudence, v. 3.


2 And there the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 3 Send men to view the land of Chanaan, which I will give to the children of Israel, one of every tribe, of the rulers.

Ver. 3.  Rulers of a hundred men, according to Hiscuni, inferior to those mentioned, C. x. 14.  C.


4 Moses did what the Lord had commanded, sending from the desert of Pharan, principal men, whose names are these:

5 Of the tribe of Ruben, Sammua the son of Zechur. 6 Of the tribe of Simeon, Saphat the son of Huri.

Ver. 6.  Huri: Sept. "Souri."  None of the tribe of Levi, the third son of Jacob, are sent; but two represent the different branches of the tribe of Joseph, v. 9. 12.  The tribe of Ephraim comes out of its natural order, and has been overlooked by Calmet.  H.

7 Of the tribe of Juda, Caleb the son of Jephone.

8 Of the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph. 9 Of the tribe of Ephraim, Osee the son of Nun. 10 Of the tribe of Benjamin, Phalti the son of Raphu. 11 Of the tribe of Zabulon, Geddiel the son of Sodi. 12 Of the tribe of Joseph, of the sceptre of Manasses, Gaddi the son of Susi.

Ver. 12.  Sceptre.  Heb. matte, means also "a tribe."

13 Of the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gemalli. 14 Of the tribe of Aser, Sthur the son of Michael. 15 Of the tribe of Nephtali, Nahabi the son of Vapsi. 16 Of the tribe of Gad, Guel the son of Machi. 17 These are the names of the men, whom Moses sent to view the land: and he called Osee the son of Nun, Josue.

Ver. 17.  Josue.  His former name Osee, or Hoseah, means "one saved, or salvation:" but the addition of the i, taken from the name of the Lord, intimates, "he shall save, or the Saviour of God."  Some think that Moses had given him this name after the defeat of the Amalecites; but the Book of Exodus, where the name is found, might have been written after he received this commission.  C.


--- The Sept. have, "Ause, the son of Nave, Jesus," as he was a striking figure of our blessed Saviour, and their names are written with the same letters, Yehoshuah.  This Moses foresaw, and also that he should be the happy instrument, in the hand of God, of saving the Israelites, by introducing them to the land of promise, and establishing them in peace therein.  M.


--- The changing of his name imported, likewise, that he should be the chief leader.  Theod. q. 25.  W.


18 And Moses sent them to view the land of Chanaan, and said to them: Go you up by the south side. And when you shall come to the mountains,

Ver. 18.  South side, which is to the north of where you now dwell.  Moses enters into several details for the satisfaction of the people, though they had probably a general idea of the country and of its fruitfulness already, having lived not far off.  They might not know, however, but that some part of the inhabitants might dwell in tents, instead of towns, as many of the Arabians did.

19 View the land, of what sort it is: and the people that are the inhabitants thereof, whether they be strong or weak: few in number or many: 20 The land itself, whether it be good or bad: what manner of cities, walled or without walls: 21 The ground, fat or barren, woody or without trees. Be of good courage, and bring us of the fruits of the land. Now it was the time when the first ripe grapes are fit to be eaten.

Ver. 21.  First ripe (præcoquæ:)  Heb. lit. "the first-born."  Sept. "the days of spring, forerunners of the grape."  In Madeira, grapes ripen in March.  Some suppose the messengers departed in June, others in July.  In Palestine, they have fresh grapes from the end of June till Martinmas, and three vintages, in August, and in each of the two following months.


22 And when they were gone up, they viewed the land from the desert of Sin, unto Rohob as you enter into Emath.

Ver. 22.  Sin.  The desert of Pharan was contiguous to that of Sin.  They departed from Cades-barne, and went along the Jordan to Rohob, at the foot of Mount Libanus, and on the road to Emath; then they returned by the confines of the Sidonians and Philistines, through Hebron, to the camp at Cades.

23 And they went up at the south side, and came to Hebron, where were Achiman and Sisai and Tholmai the sons of Enac. For Hebron was built seven years before Tanis the city of Egypt.

Ver. 23.  And came.  The printed Heb. has, "and he came:" but the Sam. and all the versions, as well as some MSS. properly retain the plural, which the Massorets allow is right.  Kenn. Diss. 1.


--- Enac, the founder of Hebron, and father of the giants of Chanaan.  Jos. xv. 13.  The Greek word anax, "king," was perhaps derived from him, as also the famous Inachides, who settled in Greece, after they were driven out by Josue.  Grot.


--- Tanis, where the tyrants of the Hebrews resided; a city, which the Egyptians represented as the most ancient in the world.  Moses represses their vain boasting, by informing them that Hebron was of greater antiquity.  It was afterwards assigned to the priests, and for a city of refuge, in the tribe of Juda.  Jos. xx. 7.



A city in the Delta of the Nile: Zoan.

24 And going forward as far as the torrent of the cluster of grapes, they cut off a branch with its cluster of grapes, which two men carried upon a lever. They took also of the pomegranates and of the figs of that place:

Ver. 24.  Torrent.  Sept. "vale."


--- Its. Heb. "one cluster."


--- Two men, Josue and Caleb; (S. Maximus) though the Rabbins say they carried nothing.


--- Lever, or staff, suspending it thus, in order that it might not be crushed.  In that valley, Doubdan (i. 21,) was assured by the religious, that clusters, weighing twelve pounds, might still be found.  Pliny (xiv. 1,) says, there are some in Africa, larger than a male infant.  Strabo (xi.) describes some in Carmania, two cubits high.  Forster saw a religious man at Nurenberg, who had lived eight years in Palestine, and assured him that two men could hardly carry a bunch of grapes, such as grew in the vale of Hebron: (C.) but this may seem to be an hyperbole.  H.


--- Lucas (T. i. p. 310,) assures us, that he had seen a bunch at Damascus, weighing above forty pounds.  The Fathers here contemplate Jesus Christ, suspended between the two testaments, the synagogue and the Church: the juice, or blood of the grape, (Gen. xlix. 2.  Deut. xxii. 14,) denotes his passion.  S. Jer. ep. ad Fab.  S. Bern. in Cant. ser. 44.  C.


Return Of The Israelite Spies

Return Of The Israelite Spies

And going forward as far as the torrent of the cluster of grapes, they cut off a branch with its cluster of grapes, which two men carried upon a lever. They took also of the pomegranates and of the figs of that place:

25 Which was called Nehelescol, that is to say, the torrent of the cluster of grapes, because from thence the children of Israel had carried a cluster of grapes. 26 And they that went to spy out the land returned after forty days, having gone round all the country, 27 And came to Moses and Aaron and to all the assembly of the children of Israel to the desert of Pharan, which is in Cades. And speaking to them and to all the multitude, they shewed them the fruits of the land:

Ver. 27.  Cades.  The desert of Pharan, or of Cades, is the same.  H.


--- The town is sometimes called Cades-barne, or Recem, (Chald.) which is Petra, the capital of the stony Arabia, and lies rather nearer to the Dead Sea than to the Mediterranean.  It was on the high road from the Red Sea to Hebron.  In one part of the desert of Cades, the people murmured for want of water.  C. xx. 1.  But there was plenty near the city.  Moses continued here a long time after the return of the spies.  Deut. i. 19. 46.  C.

Return Of Spies From The Land Of Promise

Return Of Spies From The Land Of Promise

And came to Moses and Aaron and to all the assembly of the children of Israel to the desert of Pharan, which is in Cades. And speaking to them and to all the multitude, they shewed them the fruits of the land:


Cades, not far from Mount Hor, on the confines of Idumea, v. 22. and Jud. xi. 16. C. --- Misphat, or of judgment and contradiction, because there the Hebrews contended with Moses and Aaron: it was afterwards called Cadez. Num. xx. 11. --- Cades. The desert of Pharan, or of Cades, is the same. H. --- Sin, or Tsin. Cades is another name of the same desert. Near the city of Cades-barne, the Hebrews encamped a long while, and had plenty of water; but here they murmured for want of it, and Mary departed this life. C. xx. C.

28 And they related and said: We came into the land to which thou sentest us, which in very deed floweth with milk and honey as may be known by these fruits: 29 But it hath very strong inhabitants, and the cities are great and walled. We saw there the race of Enac. 30 Amalec dwelleth in the south, the Hethite and the Jebusite and the Amorrhite in the mountains: but the Chanaanite abideth by the sea and near the streams of the Jordan.

Ver. 30.  South.  They had already routed the Amalecites; but the spies insidiously recall to their remembrance, that they would be again in arms to obstruct their passage.


--- Hethites, dwelt nearest the Philistines, in the country which fell to the shares of Simeon and of Dan.  The Jebusites occupied Jerusalem; and the Amorrhites, the most powerful of all those nations, held possession of most of the territory which was allotted to Juda.  Nearer the Dead Sea, on the same mountains, dwelt the Cinezeans and the Cineans.  Bonfrere places the Chanaanites on the banks of the Jordan, from the lake of Sodom as far as the sea of Tiberias.  But they dwelt also near the Mediterranean; and the Phœnicians maintained themselves at Tyre and Sidon, against the most powerful kings of the Jews, and extended their commerce over the old world, to many parts of which they sent out colonies.  C.


The people dwelt in tents, and removed from one place to another. So in Ethiopia there are properly no cities, the place where the prince encamps is deemed the capital. C.

31 In the mean time Caleb, to still the murmuring of the people that rose against Moses, said: Let us go up and possess the land, for we shall be able to conquer it.

Ver. 31.  Caleb, to whom Josue alone joined himself, to bear witness of the truth against the other ten; whom the people were, however, more inclined to believe, (C. xiv. 6. Eccli. xlvi. 9,) paying more attention to numbers than to authority, when it suited their humour.  H.

32 But the others, that had been with him, said: No, we are not able to go up to this people, because they are stronger than we. 33 And they spoke ill of the land, which they had viewed, before the children of Israel, saying: The land which we have viewed, devoureth its inhabitants: the people, that we beheld, are of a tall stature.

Ver. 33.  Spoke ill, &c.  These men, who, by their misrepresentations of the land of promise, discouraged the Israelites from attempting the conquest of it, were a figure of worldlings, who, by decrying or misrepresenting true devotion, discourage Christians from seeking in earnest and acquiring so great a good, and thereby securing to themselves a happy eternity.  Ch.


--- Devoureth, by being exposed to continual wars from the Arabs, Idumeans, and from its own inhabitants, the monsters of the race of Enac.  With this God had threatened the Hebrews, if they proved rebellious.  Lev. xxvi. 38.  See Ezec. xxxvi. 13.  C.

34 There we saw certain monsters of the sons of Enac, of the giant kind: in comparison of whom, we seemed like locusts.

Ver. 34.  Monsters.  Heb. "giants."


--- Locusts, or grasshoppers.  So much inferior in size were we to them.  Heb. insinuates that the spies entertained these sentiments when they beheld the giants, and the latter seemed to look down upon them with contempt; "and so we were in their sight."  These wicked men scrupled not to exaggerate in order to fill the people with dismay.  H.


--- Their suggestions tended to make them distrust the goodness or the power of God; and therefore he would not suffer them to enjoy the sweets of the land.  C. xiv. 23. 29.  W.  See Deut. i. 28.  Isai. xl. 21.

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