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thy fathers hath said unto you: fear not, neither bę discouraged.
And they came near unto him every one of them, and said, We will send men before us, to search out the land, and bring us word again by what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Send thou men that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of
shall send a man which is a ruler among them.
And Moses, by the commandment of the LORD, sent them, and said, Go up into the mountain, and see the land what it is, and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many.
So they went up and searched the land, and came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it be: tween two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs.
And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.
And they came to Moses and to Aaron, and all the congregation, and said unto them, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.
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.
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. And Caleb stilled the people before Moges, and said, D 6
Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.
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.
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.
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:
And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.
And all the children of Israel murmared against Moses, and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt, or would God we had died in this wilderness.
And wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should be a prey ? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?
And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.
Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.
And Moses said unto them, Dread not; neither be afraid of them.
The Lord your Gov which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes:
And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came to this place.
Who went in the way before you to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night to shew you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day.
And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caled the son of Jephu nneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes.
And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.
If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us ; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear
ye the people of the land ; for they are bread for us : their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us : fear them not.
But all the congreation bade stone them with stonès : and the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation, before all the children of Israel.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
It seems, that the people distrusted the LORD, and preferred the witness of men to the witness of God Himself; in consequence of which, they formed a scheme to satisfy themselves whether the land of Canaan was really worth the pains of conquest or not.
Though it is not expressly mentioned, it appears, that Moses consulted the will of the Lord, who permitted him to indulge the wishes of the people.
The crime of the spies was not falsehood, but disbelief of God's promises. It was very true, that the inhabitants of the country were such as they described; but the Lord had promised to send His fear before his people *, to go up in the midst of them t, and assured them, that their enemies, however formidable, should fall before them; that five of them should be able to chase an hundred; and an hundred of them put ten thousand to flight : they should therefore have reposed entire confidence in His Almighty aid, and not have compared themselves to grasshoppers ; for, supposing that their natural force was as unequal to that of the enemy they were to encounter, as the spies represented, they had seen that, under the conduct of their heavenly King, even an army of grasshoppers ♡ was irresistible by a powerful and warlike nation.
In what an amiable light do Moses and Aaron appear grieving for the wickedness of the Israelites, and endeavouring to awaken in their minds, those sentiments of gratitude so jusíly due to their Divine Cons ductor!
Caleb and Joshua gave an eminent example of faith; and we shall find, that it did not lose its reward of the people. The arguments they employed to still the tumult, were perfectly just and reasonable ; for what is the most mighty nation, when their defence is departed from them? And who can overcome those, whose God is the LORD: and whom He hath chosen for his own inheritance ? It was very wicked in the spies to distrust the
power of God, and disbelieve the divine promises themselves; and they greatly increased their guilt by imparting their
* Exod. xxiii. 27. + Ibid. xxxiii. 14. # Lev. xxvi. 8. g. Alluding to the plague of locusts in Egypt.
doubts and fears to others ; crimes of a similar nature are too often committed by Christians, nay even by those who profess to instruct others. They read the Scriptures with prejudiced minds, resolved beforehand to believe nothing but what they can fully understand by their own unassisted reason; and for want of humility become blind to the truth, and conceive doubts, which they communicate to the world; and lead many a one into a distrust of God's promises respecting the king. dom of Heaven; but we should remember that it is our duty to helieve all that is revealed, and promised in Scripture.
THE PUNISHMENT OF THE ISRAELITES, AND THE
DEATH OF THE SPIES.
From Numbers, Chap. xiv. AND the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? And how long will it be ere they believe
for all the signs which I have shewed among them?
I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation, and mightier than they.
And Moses said unto the Lord, Then the Egyptians shall hear it (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them.)
And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land; for they have heard that thou, LORD, art among this people, that thou, LORD, art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest be fore them, by day-time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.