Numbers 13:18
And see the land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many;
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(18) And see the land.—Or, inspect the land. The same word is used of the inspection of the leper by the priest in Leviticus 13:3; Leviticus 13:5-6; Leviticus 13:10; Leviticus 13:13, &c.

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.Southward - Rather, "by the Negeb," or south-country; a well-defined tract of territory forming the southernmost and least fertile portion of the land of Canaan and of the subsequent inheritance of Judah. It extended northward from Kadesh to within a few miles of Hebron, and from the Dead Sea westward to the Mediterranean (see especially Joshua 15:21-32).

Into the mountain - The hill-country of southern and central Canaan, mostly within the borders of Judah and Ephraim. It commences a few miles south of Hebron, and extending northward to the plain of Jezreel, runs out eventually northwest-ward into the sea in the headland of Carmel.

17. Get you up this way … , and go up into the mountain—Mount Seir (De 1:2), which lay directly from Sinai across the wilderness of Paran, in a northeasterly direction into the southern parts of the promised land. What it is, both for largeness, and for nature and quality; as is more particularly expressed, Numbers 13:19,20.

And see the land what it is, and the people that dwelleth therein,.... The situation and condition of the country, and the nature, temper, disposition, and constitution of the inhabitants, by which it might be judged whether it was a desirable thing to possess it, and whether it was practicable to subdue and take it:

whether they be strong or weak, few or many; whether able-bodied men fit for war, and of spirit, strength, and courage, or feeble and pusillanimous, weak and timorous; and whether their number was small or great, by which they would be capable of judging whether they were in a state and condition to defend themselves or not, and whether a conquest of them was easy or not; the last of the two things in the preceding clause is first particularly explained and enlarged upon, as is usual in the Hebrew language.

And see the land, what it is, and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many;
Verse 18. - Whether they be strong or weak, few or many. It would appear that Moses was guilty of some indiscretion at least in giving these directions. Whether the people were strong or weak, many or few, should have been nothing to the Israelites. It was God that gave them the land; they had only to take possession boldly. Numbers 13:18They were to see the land, "what it was," i.e., what was its character, and the people that dwelt in it, whether they were strong, i.e., courageous and brave, or weak, i.e., spiritless and timid, and whether they were little or great, i.e., numerically; (Numbers 13:19) what the land was, whether good or bad, sc., with regard to climate and cultivation, and whether the towns were camps, i.e., open villages and hamlets, or fortified places; also (Numbers 13:20) whether the land was fat or lean, i.e., whether it had a fertile soil or not, and whether there were trees in it or not. All this they were to search out courageously (התחזק, to show one's self courageous in any occupation), and to fetch (some) of the fruits of the land, as it was the time of the first-ripe grapes. In Palestine the first grapes ripen as early as August, and sometimes even in July (vid., Robinson, ii. 100, ii. 611), whilst the vintage takes place in September and October.
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