Numbers 13:21
So they went up, and searched the land from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, as men come to Hamath.
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(21) From the wilderness of Zin.—The name of the wilderness of Zin, in which Kadesh was situated, appears to have been given to the northern or northeastern part of the wilderness of Paran. Comp. Numbers 20:1; Numbers 27:14; Numbers 33:36; Numbers 34:3-4; Deuteronomy 32:51; Joshua 15:1; Joshua 15:3.

Unto Rehob, as men come to Hamath.—Or, unto Rehob, at the entrance of Hamath. Rehob is supposed to be identical with the Beth-rehob of Judges 18:28, in the tribe of Naphtali, which was near Dan-Laish. “The entrance of Hamath” formed the northern boundary of the land assigned to the Israelites (Numbers 34:8).

Numbers 13:21. Zin — In the south of Canaan, differing from the wilderness of Sin, which was nigh unto Egypt. To Hamath — From the south they passed through the whole land to the northern parts of it; Rehob was a city in the north-west part, Hamath a city in the north-east.13:21-25 The searchers of the land brought a bunch of grapes with them, and other fruits, as proofs of the goodness of the country; which was to Israel both the earnest and the specimen of all the fruits of Canaan. Such are the present comforts we have in communion with God, foretastes of the fulness of joy we expect in the heavenly Canaan. We may see by them what heaven is.The wilderness of Zin was the northeastern portion of the wilderness of Paran.

Rehob ("mod." Khurbeh) was probably the Beth-rehob of Judges 18:28, near Dan-Laish; and apparently to the north of it, since it gave its name to a Syrian kingdom 2 Samuel 8:3. The southern approach to Hamath from the plain of Coele-Syria, lay between those two ranges of Lebanon called Libanus and Antilibanus. A low screen of hills connects the northernmost points of these two ranges; and through this screen the Orontes bursts from the upper Coele-Syrian hollow into the open plain of Hamath.

21-24. So they … searched the land—They advanced from south to north, reconnoitering the whole land.

the wilderness of Zin—a long level plain, or deep valley of sand, the monotony of which is relieved by a few tamarisk and rethem trees. Under the names of El Ghor and El Araba, it forms the continuation of the Jordan valley, extending from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Akaba.

Rehob—or, Beth-rehob, was a city and district situated, according to some, eastward of Sidon; and, according to others, it is the same as El Hule, an extensive and fertile champaign country, at the foot of Anti-libanus, a few leagues below Paneas.

as men come to Hamath—or, "the entering in of Hamath" (2Ki 14:25), now the valley of Balbeck, a mountain pass or opening in the northern frontier, which formed the extreme limit in that direction of the inheritance of Israel. From the mention of these places, the route of the scouts appears to have been along the course of the Jordan in their advance; and their return was by the western border through the territories of the Sidonians and Philistines.

The wilderness of Zin, in the south of Canaan, Numbers 34:3 Joshua 15:3; differing from the wilderness of Sin, which was nigh unto Egypt, Exodus 16:1.

To Hamath; i.e. from the south they passed through the whole land even to the northern parts of it,

Rehob, a city in the northwest part, Joshua 19:28 Judges 1:31; and Hamath, a city in the north-east part, Joshua 19:35 Ezekiel 47:17. And that they might more expeditiously and securely perform this office, it is probable that they divided themselves into several shall parties, and informed themselves not only by their eye, but also by their ear, and the information of persons, of whom they inquired about the nature and condition of their land. So they went up and searched the land,.... Went up the mountains as they were directed, and passed through the whole land; diligently inquired into everything material belonging to it, according to their instructions, and made their observations on it, and on the inhabitants, and their habitations:

from the wilderness of Zin unto Rehob, as men come to Hamath; this wilderness, from whence they went, seems to be the same with the wilderness of Paran, called Zin; perhaps from the multitude of thorns in it; but different from the wilderness of Sin, Exodus 16:1, which was nearer Egypt; but this was on the south quarter of the land of Canaan, along by the coast of Edom, Numbers 34:3; Rehob, they are said to come to first from thence, was in the tribe of Asher in later times, Joshua 19:28; and lay to the north or northwest of the land of Canaan. Jerom says (r), that in his times there was a village called Rooba, four miles from Scythopolis. Hamath was the northern boundary of the land of Israel, and was in the tribe of Naphtali, when it came into the hands of the Israelites, and lay to the northeast, as the former place to the northwest, Numbers 34:7; so that their direction, as they went, was south and north, and west and east: their journey is described by Jarchi thus; they went on the borders of it, length and breadth, in the form of the capital of the letter "gamma"; they went on the south border from the east corner to the west corner, as Moses commanded them: "get you up this way southward", Numbers 13:17; the way of the southeast border unto the sea, which is the western border; and from thence they returned, and went on all the western border by the sea shore, until they came to Hamath, which is by Mount Hor, at the northwest corner; but Hamath was on the northeast; nor did they go thither, it was too far off for them, but they went as far as Rehob, which was "as men go to Hamath", as it should be rendered, that is, it lay in the way to Hamath.

(r) De loc. Heb. fol. 94. A.

So they went up, and searched the land from the wilderness of {e} Zin unto Rehob, as men come to Hamath.

(e) Which was in the wilderness of Paran.

21. the wilderness of Zin] The geographical statements regarding the tracts south of Judah are vague. In Numbers 13:26 Paran and Kadesh are placed by the compiler in juxtaposition, but in Numbers 20:1 Zin and Kadesh. See prelim, note on ch. 20.

Rehob] Probably the same as Beth-rehob (Jdg 18:28) near the sources of the Jordan.

the entrance of Hamath] Hamath (a district mentioned in Egyptian inscriptions) lay to the north of Palestine; and the ‘entrance’ to it seems to have been a well-known pass, formed by a depression between Lebanon and Hermon. It was, according to P , a point on the northern border of Israel’s possessions in Canaan (Numbers 34:8).Verse 21. - From the wilderness of Zin. The extreme southern boundary of the promised land (Numbers 34:3, 4; Joshua 15:1, 3). There seems to be but one marked natural feature which could have been chosen for that purpose - the broad sandy depression called the Wady Murreh, which divides the mountain mass of the Azazimeh from the Rakhmah plateau, the southern extremity of the highlands of Judah. The plain of Kudes communicates with it at its upper or western end, and maybe counted a part of it. Unto Rehob, as men come to Hamath. Septuagint, ἕως Ροὸβ εἰσπορευομένων Αἰμάθ. Hamath, now Hamah, was in Greek times Epiphaneia, on the Orontes, outside the limits of Jewish rule. The southern entrance to it lay between the ranges of Libanus and Anti-libanus (see note on Numbers 34:8). The Rehob here mentioned is not likely to have been either of the Rehobs in the territory of Asher (Joshua 19:28-30), but the Beth-rehob further to the east, and near to where Dan-Laish was afterwards built (Judges 18:28). It lies on the route to Hamath, and was at one time a place of some importance in the possession of the Syrians (2 Samuel 10:6). Despatch of the Spies of Canaan. - Numbers 13:1. The command of Jehovah, to send out men to spy out the land of Canaan, was occasioned, according to the account given by Moses in Deuteronomy 1:22., by a proposal of the congregation, which pleased Moses, so that he laid the matter before the Lord, who then commanded him to send out for this purpose, "of every tribe of their fathers a man, every one a ruler among them, i.e., none but men who were princes in their tribes, who held the prominent position of princes, i.e., distinguished persons of rank; or, as it is stated in Numbers 13:3, "heads of the children of Israel," i.e., not the tribe-princes of the twelve tribes, but those men, out of the total number of the heads of the tribes and families of Israel, who were the most suitable for such a mission, though the selection was to be made in such a manner that every tribe should be represented by one of its own chiefs. That there were none of the twelve tribe-princes among them is apparent from a comparison of their names (Numbers 13:4-15) with the (totally different) names of the tribe-princes (Numbers 1:3., Numbers 7:12.). Caleb and Joshua are the only spies that are known. The order, in which the tribes are placed in the list of the names in Numbers 13:4-15, differs from that in Numbers 1:5-15 only in the fact that in Numbers 13:10 Zebulun is separated from the other sons of Leah, and in Numbers 13:11 Manasseh is separated from Ephraim. The expression "of the tribe of Joseph," in Numbers 13:11, stands for "of the children of Joseph," in Numbers 1:10; Numbers 34:23. At the close of the list it is still further stated, that Moses called Hoshea (i.e., help), the son of Nun, Jehoshua, contracted into Joshua (i.e., Jehovah-help, equivalent to, whose help is Jehovah). This statement does not present any such discrepancy, when compared with Exodus 17:9, Exodus 17:13; Exodus 24:13; Exodus 32:17; Exodus 33:11, and Numbers 11:28, where Joshua bears this name as the servant of Moses at a still earlier period, as to point to any diversity of authorship. As there is nothing of a genealogical character in any of these passages, so as to warrant us in expecting to find the family name of Joshua in them, the name Joshua, by which Hosea had become best known in history, could be used proleptically in them all. On the other hand, however, it is not distinctly stated in the verse before us, that this was the occasion on which Moses gave Hosea the new name of Joshua. As the Vav consec. frequently points out merely the order of thought, the words may be understood without hesitation in the following sense: These are the names borne by the heads of the tribes to be sent out as spies, as they stand in the family registers according to their descent; Hosea, however, was named Joshua by Moses; which would not by any means imply that the alteration in the name had not been made till then. It is very probable that Moses may have given him the new name either before or after the defeat of the Amalekites (Exodus 17:9.), or when he took him into his service, though it has not been mentioned before; whilst here the circumstances themselves required that it should be stated that Hosea, as he was called in the list prepared and entered in the documentary record according to the genealogical tables of the tribes, had received from Moses the name of Joshua. In Numbers 13:17-20 Moses gives them the necessary instructions, defining more clearly the motive which the congregation had assigned for sending them out, namely, that they might search out the way into the land and to its towns (Deuteronomy 1:22). "Get you up there (זה in the south country, and go up to the mountain." Negeb, i.e., south country, lit., dryness, aridity, from נגב, to be dry or arid (in Syr., Chald, and Samar.). Hence the dry, parched land, in contrast to the well-watered country (Joshua 15:19; Judges 1:15), was the name given to the southern district of Canaan, which forms the transition from the desert to the strictly cultivated land, and bears for the most part the character of a steppe, in which tracts of sand and heath are intermixed with shrubs, grass, and vegetables, whilst here and there corn is also cultivated; a district therefore which was better fitted for grazing than for agriculture, though it contained a number of towns and villages (see at Joshua 15:21-32). "The mountain" is the mountainous part of Palestine, which was inhabited by Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites (Numbers 13:29), and was called the mountains of the Amorites, on account of their being the strongest of the Canaanitish tribes (Deuteronomy 1:7, Deuteronomy 1:19.). It is not to be restricted, as Knobel supposes, to the limits of the so-called mountains of Judah (Joshua 15:48-62), but included the mountains of Israel or Ephraim also (Joshua 11:21; Joshua 20:7), and formed, according to Deuteronomy 1:7, the backbone of the whole land of Canaan up to Lebanon.
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