Numbers 13:31
But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.
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Numbers 13:31. The men — All of them, Joshua excepted. Stronger — Both in stature of body and numbers of people. Thus they question the power, and truth, and goodness of God, of all which they had such ample testimonies.13:26-33 We may wonder that the people of Israel staid forty days for the return of their spies, when they were ready to enter Canaan, under all the assurances of success they could have from the Divine power, and the miracles that had hitherto attended them. But they distrusted God's power and promise. How much we stand in our own light by our unbelief! At length the messengers returned; but the greater part discouraged the people from going forward to Canaan. Justly are the Israelites left to this temptation, for putting confidence in the judgment of men, when they had the word of God to trust in. Though they had found the land as good as God had said, yet they would not believe it to be as sure as he had said, but despaired of having it, though Eternal Truth had engaged it to them. This was the representation of the evil spies. Caleb, however, encouraged them to go forward, though seconded by Joshua only. He does not say, Let us go up and conquer it; but, Let us go and possess it. Difficulties that are in the way of salvation, dwindle and vanish before a lively, active faith in the power and promise of God. All things are possible, if they are promised, to him that believes; but carnal sense and carnal professors are not to be trusted. Unbelief overlooks the promises and power of God, magnifies every danger and difficulty, and fills the heart with discouragement. May the Lord help us to believe! we shall then find all things possible.The Amalekites - See Numbers 14:25 note.

The Canaanites - i. e. those of the Phoenician race: the word is here used in its narrow sense: compare Genesis 10:15-18 note.

29. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south—Their territory lay between the Dead and the Red Seas, skirting the borders of Canaan.

Hittites … dwell in the mountains—Their settlements were in the southern and mountainous part of Palestine (Ge 23:7).

the Canaanites dwell by the sea—The remnant of the original inhabitants, who had been dispossessed by the Philistines, were divided into two nomadic hordes—one settled eastward near the Jordan; the other westward, by the Mediterranean.

The men that went up with him; all of them, Joshua excepted.

They are stronger than we, both in stature of body and numbers of people. Thus they wickedly question the power, and truth, and goodness of God, of all which they had such ample testimonies. But the men that went up with him,.... With Caleb, all but Joshua: the other ten

said, we be not able to go up against the people; this they had not said before, though they plainly suggested it, and, to make the people believe this, had represented the inhabitants of the land of Canaan in the light they did; but now, in direct opposition to Caleb, fully expressed it, giving this reason for it:

for they are stronger than we; being both of a larger size and more numerous.

But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.
Verse 31. - For they are stronger than we. In point of numbers the enormous superiority of the Israelites over any combination likely to oppose them must have been evident to the most cowardly. But the existence of numerous walled and fortified towns was (apart from Divine aid) an almost insuperable obstacle to a people wholly ignorant of artillery or of siege operations; and the presence of giants was exceedingly terrifying in an age when battles were a series of personal encounters (cf. 1 Samuel 17:11, 24). In forty days the spies returned to the camp at Kadesh (see at Numbers 16:6), and reported the great fertility of the land ("it floweth with milk and honey," see at Exodus 3:8), pointing, at the same time, to the fruit they had brought with them; "nevertheless," they added (כּי אפס, "only that"), "the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are fortified, very large: and, moreover, we saw the children of Anak there." Amalekites dwelt in the south (see at Genesis 36:12); Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites in the mountains (see at Genesis 10:15-16); and Canaanites by the (Mediterranean) Sea and on the side of the Jordan, i.e., in the Arabah or Ghor (see at Genesis 13:7 and Genesis 10:15-18).
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