|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 4. - These were their names. None of these names occur elsewhere, except those of Caleb and Joshua. The order of the tribes is the same as in ch. 1, except that Zebulun is separated from the other sons of Leah, and placed after Benjamin, while the two sons of Joseph are separated from one another. In verse 11 "the tribe of Joseph" is explained to be "the tribe of Manasseh;" elsewhere it is either common to both, or confined to Ephraim (see Revelation 7:8, and cf. Ezekiel 37:16). No spy was sent for the tribe of Levi, because it was now understood to have no territorial claims upon the land of promise, and to stand altogether by itself in relation to the national hopes and duties.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And these were their names, of the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur. From Numbers 13:4, there is nothing but the names of the said persons, whose sons they were, and of what tribe; and the several tribes are mentioned, not according to the order of the birth of the patriarchs, nor according to the dignity of their mothers that bore them, but, very likely, according to the order in which they were sent, two by two, to search the land; for had they gone all twelve in a body, they would have been liable to suspicion: the signification of their names is of no importance to know, and will give us no light into their characters or the reason of their choice, nor are their parents elsewhere taken notice of, nor any of them but Joshua and Caleb, of whom we shall hear more hereafter.
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