|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:1-20 A memorable and melancholy history is related in this and the following chapter, of the turning back of Israel from the borders of Canaan, and the sentencing them to wander and perish in the wilderness, for their unbelief and murmuring. It appears, De 1:22, that the motion to search out the land came from the people. They had a better opinion of their own policy than of God's wisdom. Thus we ruin ourselves by believing the reports and representations of sense rather than Divine revelation. We walk by sight not by faith. Moses gave the spies this charge, Be of good courage. It was not only a great undertaking they were put upon, which required good management and resolution; but a great trust was reposed in them, which required that they should be faithful. Courage in such circumstances can only spring from strong faith, which Caleb and Joshua alone possessed.
Verse 16. - Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua. The change was from הושֵׁעַ (Hoshea, help or salvation) to יְהושֻׁעַ (Jehoshua - the same name with the first syllable of the sacred name prefixed, and one of the vowel points modified). It was afterwards contracted into יֵשׁוּעַ (Jeshua; cf. Nehemiah 8:17), and has come to us in its current form through the Vulgate. The Septuagint has here ἐπωνόμασε τὸν Αὐσὴ Ιησοῦν, and so the name appears in the New Testament. It is an obvious difficulty that Joshua has already been called by his new name at Exodus 17:9, and in every other place where he has been mentioned. In fact he is only once elsewhere called Hoshea, and that in a place (Deuteronomy 32:44) where we should certainly not have expected it. There are two ways of explaining the difficulty, such as it is. We may suppose that the change of name was really made at this time, as the narrative seems (on the face of it) to assert; and then the previous mentions of Joshua by his subsequent and more familiar name will be cases of that anticipation which is so common in Scripture (cf., e.g., Matthew 9:9 with Mark 2:14). Or we may suppose, what is perhaps more in harmony with the course of Joshua's life, that the change bad been already made at the time of the victory over Amalek. In that case the Vav consec. in וַיִּקִרָא (and... called) must be referred to the order of thought, not of time, and a sufficient reason must be shown for the interpolation of the statement in this particular place. Such a reason may fairly be found in the probable fact that the names of the spies were copied out of the tribal registers, and that Joshua still appeared under his original name in those registers. As to the significance of the change, it is not easy to estimate it aright. On the one hand, the sacred syllable entered into so many of the Jewish names that it could not have seemed a very marked change; on the other hand, the fact that our Saviour received the same name because he was our Saviour throws a halo of glory about it which we cannot ignore. In the Divine providence Hoshea became Joshua because he was destined to be the temporal saviour of his people, and to lead them into their promised rest.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land,.... Which is observed after the catalogue is given of them, Numbers 13:4; and this is repeated that their names may be taken notice of, which stand on record to the disgrace of the greater number of them, and to the honour of two only, Joshua and Caleb; and on the former the following remark is made:
and Moses called Oshea the son of Nun, Jehoshua; whether it was at this time that Moses gave him this name is not certain; if it was, then he is called so before by anticipation, for he is several times called so before this, and even the first time we hear of him, Exodus 17:9; wherefore Chaskuni reads it, Moses had called; but Jarchi thinks it was now given him, and that Moses prayed for him , "Jah" or "Jehovah" save thee from the counsel of the spies: the name is the same with Jesus, as appears from Hebrews 4:8; and a type he was of Christ the Saviour, whose name is so called, because he saves his people from their sins, Matthew 1:21; and brings them to heaven, as Joshua was the instrument of saving the Israelites and bringing them into the land of Canaan.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. Oshea—that is, "a desire of salvation." Jehoshua, by prefixing the name of God, means "divinely appointed," "head of salvation," "Saviour," the same as Jesus [Mt 1:21, Margin].
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