Scouting Out Canaan

13 The Lord spoke to Moses: “Send men to scout out the land of Canaan(A) I am giving to the Israelites. Send one man who is a leader among them from each of their ancestral tribes.” Moses sent them from the Wilderness of Paran at the Lord’s command. All the men were leaders in Israel.(B) These were their names:

Shammua son of Zaccur from the tribe of Reuben;

Shaphat son of Hori from the tribe of Simeon;

Caleb(C) son of Jephunneh from the tribe of Judah;

Igal son of Joseph from the tribe of Issachar;

Hoshea son of Nun(D) from the tribe of Ephraim;

Palti son of Raphu from the tribe of Benjamin;

10 Gaddiel son of Sodi from the tribe of Zebulun;

11 Gaddi son of Susi from the tribe of Manasseh (from the tribe of Joseph);

12 Ammiel son of Gemalli from the tribe of Dan;

13 Sethur son of Michael from the tribe of Asher;

14 Nahbi son of Vophsi from the tribe of Naphtali;

15 Geuel son of Machi from the tribe of Gad.

16 These were the names of the men Moses sent to scout out the land, and Moses renamed Hoshea son of Nun, Joshua.

17 When Moses sent them to scout out the land of Canaan, he told them, “Go up this way to the Negev, then go up into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like, and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 Is the land they live in good(E) or bad? Are the cities they live in encampments or fortifications?(F) 20 Is the land fertile or unproductive?(G) Are there trees in it or not? Be courageous. Bring back some fruit from the land.” It was the season for the first ripe grapes.(H)

21 So they went up and scouted out the land from the Wilderness of Zin[a] as far as Rehob near the entrance to Hamath.[b] 22 They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of Anak,(I) were living. Hebron was built seven years before Zoan(J) in Egypt. 23 When they came to Eshcol(K) Valley, they cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes, which was carried on a pole by two men. They also took some pomegranates and figs.(L) 24 That place was called Eshcol[c] Valley because of the cluster of grapes the Israelites cut there. 25 At the end of forty days(M) they returned from scouting out the land.

Report about Canaan

26 The men went back to Moses, Aaron, and the entire Israelite community in the Wilderness of Paran at Kadesh. They brought back a report for them and the whole community, and they showed them the fruit of the land.(N) 27 They reported to Moses, “We went into the land where you sent us. Indeed it is flowing with milk and honey,(O) and here is some of its fruit. 28 However, the people living in the land are strong, and the cities are large and fortified.(P) We also saw the descendants of Anak(Q) there. 29 The Amalekites(R) are living in the land of the Negev; the Hethites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live by the sea and along the Jordan.”

30 Then Caleb(S) quieted the people in the presence of Moses and said, “Let’s go up now and take possession of the land because we can certainly conquer it!”

31 But the men who had gone up with him responded, “We can’t attack the people because they are stronger than we are!” 32 So they gave a negative report to the Israelites about the land they had scouted: “The land we passed through to explore is one that devours its inhabitants, and all the people we saw in it are men of great size. 33 We even saw the Nephilim(T) there—the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim!(U) To ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and we must have seemed the same to them.”

Israel’s Refusal to Enter Canaan

14 Then the whole community broke into loud cries, and the people wept that night. All the Israelites complained about Moses and Aaron,(V) and the whole community told them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land to die by the sword? Our wives and children will become plunder.(W) Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” (X) So they said to one another, “Let’s appoint a leader and go back to Egypt.”

Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole assembly of the Israelite community. Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who scouted out the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite community, “The land we passed through and explored is an extremely good land.(Y) If the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us into this land, a land flowing with milk and honey,(Z) and give it to us. Only don’t rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land, for we will devour them.(AA) Their protection(AB) has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us. Don’t be afraid of them!”

10 While the whole community threatened to stone them,(AC) the glory of the Lord appeared to all the Israelites at the tent of meeting.

God’s Judgment of Israel’s Rebellion

11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people despise me? How long will they not trust in me despite all the signs I have performed among them?(AD) 12 I will strike them with a plague and destroy them. Then I will make you into a greater and mightier nation than they are.”(AE)

13 But Moses replied to the Lord, “The Egyptians will hear about it, for by your strength you brought up this people from them. 14 They will tell it to the inhabitants of this land.(AF) They have heard that you, Lord, are among these people, how you, Lord, are seen face to face, how your cloud stands over them, and how you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night.(AG) 15 If you kill this people with a single blow,[d](AH) the nations that have heard of your fame(AI) will declare, 16 ‘Since the Lord wasn’t able to bring this people into the land he swore to give them,(AJ) he has slaughtered them in the wilderness.’(AK)

17 “So now, may my Lord’s power be magnified just as you have spoken: 18 The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in faithful love,(AL) forgiving iniquity and rebellion.(AM) But he will not leave the guilty unpunished,(AN) bringing the consequences of the fathers’ iniquity on the children to the third and fourth generation.(AO) 19 Please pardon the iniquity of this people, in keeping with the greatness of your faithful love,(AP) just as you have forgiven them from Egypt until now.”

20 The Lord responded, “I have pardoned them as you requested. 21 Yet as I live and as the whole earth is filled with the Lord’s glory,(AQ) 22 none of the men who have seen my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tested me these ten times and did not obey me, 23 will ever see the land I swore to give their ancestors.(AR) None of those who have despised me(AS) will see it. 24 But since my servant Caleb has a different spirit and has remained loyal to me, I will bring him into the land where he has gone, and his descendants will inherit it.(AT) 25 Since the Amalekites and Canaanites are living in the lowlands,[e] turn back tomorrow and head for the wilderness in the direction of the Red Sea.”(AU)

26 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 27 “How long must I endure this evil community that keeps complaining about me? I have heard the Israelites’ complaints that they make against me.(AV) 28 Tell them: As I live—this is the Lord’s declaration—I will do to you exactly as I heard you say. 29 Your corpses will fall in this wilderness—all of you who were registered in the census, the entire number of you twenty years old or more(AW)—because you have complained about me. 30 I swear that none of you will enter the land I promised[f] to settle you in, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 31 I will bring your children whom you said would become plunder(AX) into the land you rejected, and they will enjoy it.(AY) 32 But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness. 33 Your children will be shepherds in the wilderness for forty years and bear the penalty for your acts of unfaithfulness until all your corpses lie scattered in the wilderness. 34 You will bear the consequences of your iniquities forty years based on the number of the forty days that you scouted the land, a year for each day.[g](AZ) You will know my displeasure.[h] 35 I, the Lord, have spoken. I swear that I will do this to the entire evil community that has conspired against me.(BA) They will come to an end in the wilderness, and there they will die.”(BB)

36 So the men Moses sent to scout out the land, and who returned and incited the entire community to complain about him by spreading a negative report about the land— 37 those men who spread the negative report about the land were struck down by the Lord. 38 Only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh remained alive of those men who went to scout out the land.

Israel Routed

39 When Moses reported these words to all the Israelites, the people were overcome with grief. 40 They got up early the next morning and went up the ridge of the hill country, saying, “Let’s go to the place the Lord promised, for we were wrong.”(BC)

41 But Moses responded, “Why are you going against the Lord’s command? It won’t succeed. 42 Don’t go, because the Lord is not among you and you will be defeated by your enemies. 43 The Amalekites and Canaanites are right in front of you, and you will fall by the sword. The Lord won’t be with you, since you have turned from following him.”

44 But they dared to go up the ridge of the hill country, even though the ark of the Lord’s covenant and Moses did not leave the camp. 45 Then the Amalekites and Canaanites who lived in that part of the hill country came down, attacked them, and routed them as far as Hormah.(BD)


  1. 13:21 Southern border of the promised land
  2. 13:21 Or near Lebo-hamath
  3. 13:24 = Cluster
  4. 14:15 Lit people as one man
  5. 14:25 Lit valley
  6. 14:30 Lit I raised my hand
  7. 14:34 Lit a day for the year, a day for the year
  8. 14:34 Or my opposition

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