Numbers 13:22
And they ascended by the south, and came to Hebron; where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, were. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)
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(22) And they ascended by the south, and came.—The latter verb is in the singular number in the Hebrew text: he came. It is quite possible that the twelve spies may not always have been together, and that one only may have gone to Hebron.

Animan, Sheshai, and Talmai.—Some suppose these to be the names of tribes, not of individuals. It is quite possible, however, that the same individuals may have been still alive when the city of Hebron was assigned to Caleb, about fifty years later, and when he drove out these three sons of Anak (Joshua 15:14).

The children of Anak.—Better, the children of the Anakim. (Comp. Deuteronomy 1:28; Deuteronomy 9:2.) When Anak, as an individual, is mentioned, as in Numbers 13:33, the article is omitted.

Before Zoan in Egypt.—Zoan, or Tanis, on the eastern bank of the Tanitic arm of the Nile, appears to have been the residence of Pharaoh in the days of Moses (Psalm 78:12). Hebron was in existence in the days of Abraham (Genesis 13:18; Genesis 23:2, &c.).

Numbers 13:22. By the south — Moses having described their progress from south to north, more particularly relates some memorable places and passages. They came — Hebrew, He came; namely, Caleb, as appears from Joshua 14:9; Joshua 14:12; Joshua 14:14. For the spies distributed their work among them, and went either severally, or by pairs; and it seems the survey of this part was left to Caleb. Anak — A famous giant, whose children these are called, either more generally, as all giants sometimes were, or rather more specially because Arbah, from whom Hebron was called Kiriath-arbah, was the father of Anak, Joshua 15:13. And this circumstance is mentioned as an evidence of the goodness of that land, because the giants chose it for their habitation. Before Zoan — This seems to be noted to confront the Egyptians, who vainly boasted of the antiquity of their city Zoan above all places.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 progenitor of the Anakim was Arba "the father of Anak" Joshua 15:13, from whom the city of Hebron took its name of Kirjath-Arba. Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai were probably not individual warriors, but names of three tribes of the Anakim. Hence, we find them still in existence half a century later, when Caleb, who now brought tidings of them, became their eventual destroyer Joshua 15:14.

Now Hebron ... - This parenthesis explains that these two cities had a common founder, and were built, or perhaps, at least in the case of Zoan (Tanis, see Exodus 1:8, note; Exodus 2:5, note) rebuilt, by the Hyksos, to which nations, once the conquerors of Egypt, the Anakim perhaps belonged. The Hyksos fortified and garrisoned Zoan as a defense of their Eastern frontier.

22. unto Hebron—situated in the heart of the mountains of Judah, in the southern extremity of Palestine. The town or "cities of Hebron," as it is expressed in the Hebrew, consists of a number of sheikdoms distinct from each other, standing at the foot of one of those hills that form a bowl round and enclose it. "The children of Anak" mentioned in this verse seem to have been also chiefs of townships; and this coincidence of polity, existing in ages so distant from each other, is remarkable [Vere Monro]. Hebron (Kirjath Arba, Ge 23:2) was one of the oldest cities in the world.

Zoan—(the Tanis of the Greeks) was situated on one of the eastern branches of the Nile, near the lake Menzala, and was the early royal residence of the Pharaohs. It boasted a higher antiquity than any other city in Egypt. Its name, which signifies flat and level, is descriptive of its situation in the low grounds of the Delta.

Here Moses having generally described their process and course from south to north, now returns more particularly to relate some memorable places and passages, as that having entered the land in the southern parts, they travelled then till they came to

Hebron. Came, Heb. he came, to wit, Caleb, as appears from Joshua 14:9,12,14; for, as was now intimated, the spies distributed their work among them, and went either severally, or by pairs: and, it seems, the survey of this part was left to Caleb.

Anak; a famous giant so called, whose children these are called, either more generally, as all giants sometimes were, or rather more specially, because Arba, from whom Hebron was called Kirjath-arba, was the father of Anak, Joshua 15:13. And this circumstance is mentioned as an evidence of the goodness of that land and soil, because the giants chose it for their habitation.

Before Zoan in Egypt: this seems to be noted to confront the Egyptians, who vainly boasted of the antiquity of their city Zoan above all places. And they ascended by the south,.... When they returned, after they had searched the land, then they came into the south country again, which was in their way to Kadesh, where the camp of Israel remained; they are said to ascend, because of the hill country they again came to; for their coming to Hebron, and carrying a cluster of grapes from that place, not far from thence, was upon their return:

and came unto Hebron; which was in the hill country of Judea, in the tribe of Judah afterwards, which before was called Kirjatharba; in the original text it is, "he came" (s), Caleb, and he only, according to Jarchi and the Rabbins in Abendana; and certain it is that he was there, and he had this place on which his feet trod given him for an inheritance, Joshua 14:9; and it is very probable that the spies did not go together, but perhaps singly, and at most but two together, which seems to be the case here by what follows:

where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, were; where Anak, and these his three sons, dwelt, who were giants; and perhaps from thence Hebron before this was called Kirjatharbah, "the city of the four"; or from Arba, the father of Anak:

now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt; or Tanais, as the Targum of Jonathan, whence one of the nomes of Egypt was called the Tanitic nome: it was the metropolis of that country, and may be observed, to abate the pride and vanity of that kingdom, which boasted of its antiquity. Josephus says (t), that the inhabitants of Hebron not only reckoned it more ancient than any of the cities of the land, but than Memphis in Egypt, accounting it (then in his time) 2300 years old; but who it was built by is not certain; Jarchi thinks it is possible that Ham built Hebron for Canaan his younger son, before he built Zoan for Mizraim his eldest son; which does not seem likely.

(s) "et venit", Montanus, Tigurine version, Drusius, so Onkelos; "et venit Caleb", Junius & Tremellius. (t) De Bello Jud. l. 5. c. 9. sect. 7.

And they ascended by the south, and came unto Hebron; where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of {f} Anak, were. (Now {g} Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)

(f) Which were a type of giant.

(g) Declaring the antiquity of it: also Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob were buried there.

22. the children of Anak] lit. ‘the sons of neck,’ a Heb. idiom for the long-necked people. The natives of the Negeb were very tall and lanky. It is very improbable that Anak was thought of as a proper name of an individual. In Deut. the expression is mostly ‘sons of Anakim’ (plural). The tradition of a race of giants would easily grow up if the natives, as a whole, were taller than the Israelites. Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai are probably the names of three clans.

Now Hebron &c.] The date of the first building of Zoan (Tanis) is unknown, but was earlier than 2000 b.c. Perhaps the reference is to the re-building of it, which took place at the beginning of the 19th dynasty, i.e. shortly before the Exodus.Verse 22. - And came unto Hebron. This and the following details of their journey are appended to the general statement of verse 21 in that inartificial style of narrative still common in the East. On the name Hebron, and the perplexities which it causes, see on Genesis 13:18; 23:2. Where Amman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, were. יְלִידֵי הָעֲנָק "Anak's progeny." Septuagint, γενεαὶ Ἐνάχ (as in verse 28 and Joshua 15:14 b.), means simply "descendants of Anak." The Beni-Anak (Beni-Anakim in Deuteronomy 1:28; Anakim in Deuteronomy 2:10, &c.) were a tribe whose remote and perhaps legendary ancestor was Anak son of Arba (see on Joshua 14:15). These three chiefs of the Beni-Anak are said to have been expelled from Hebron fifty years later by Caleb (Joshua 15:14; Judges 1:20). The gigantic size which the Anakim shared with the Emim and Rephaim, other remnants of the aboriginal inhabitants, may have been accompanied by remarkable longevity; or they may have been quite young at the time of this visit; or, finally, they may not have been individuals at all, but families or clans. Now Hebron was built seven years before Zean in Egypt. Hebron was in existence at the time of Abraham. Zoan was Tanis, near the mouth of the eastern branch of the Nile (see on Psalm 78:12, 43). If it be true that the Pharaoh of the exodus had his royal residence at Zoan, Moses may have had access to the archives of the city, or he may have learnt the date of its foundation from the priests who gave him his Egyptian education. That there was any real connection between the two places is extremely problematical, nor is it possible to give any reason for the abrupt insertion here of a fragment of history so minute and in itself so unimportant. There is, however, no one but Moses to whom the statement can with any sort of likelihood be traced; a later writer could have had no authority for making the statement, and no possible reason for inventing it. 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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