Numbers 13:33
And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
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(33) And there we saw the giants.—The same word, nephilim. is here used which is found in Genesis 6:4. See Note in loc.

Numbers 13:33. We were in our own sight as grasshoppers — Thus their fear magnified these sons of Anak above measure, so that in comparison of them they thought themselves as weak and contemptible as insignificant insects. And so we were in their sight — An hyperbole, signifying that the Anakims looked down upon them with the utmost contempt.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.A land that eateth up ... - i. e. it is a land which from its position is exposed to incessant attacks from one quarter and another, and so its occupants must be always armed and watchful. 33. there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak—The name is derived from the son of Arba, a great man among the Arabians (Jos 15:14), who probably obtained his appellation from wearing a splendid collar or chain round his neck, as the word imports. The epithet "giant" evidently refers here to stature. (See on [79]Ge 6:4). And it is probable the Anakims were a distinguished family, or perhaps a select body of warriors, chosen for their extraordinary size.

we were in our own sight as grasshoppers—a strong Orientalism, by which the treacherous spies gave an exaggerated report of the physical strength of the people of Canaan.

i.e. Small and contemptible. And there we saw the giants,.... Not throughout the land, and yet it is so expressed, and in such connection with what goes before, that it might be so understood, and as they might choose it should; that as there were men everywhere of an uncommon size, and were generally so, there were some larger than they in all places, of a prodigious size, of a gigantic stature; and yet this was only in Hebron where they saw them:

the sons of Anak; whose names are given, Numbers 13:22; and there were but three of them:

which came of the giants; they, were of the race of giants; for not only Anak their father, but Arba their grandfather was one; Joshua 14:15,

and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers; little diminutive creatures in comparison of them; an hyperbolical exaggeration of the greatness of the giants, and of their own littleness:

and so we were in their sight; but this they could not be so certain of, and could only make conjectures by their neglect or supercilious treatment of them. Jarchi makes them to speak of them more diminutively still, as that they heard those giants saying one to another,"there are ants in the vineyards like men.''

And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
33. the Nephilim] Mentioned in Genesis 6:4 in connexion with the ‘sons of Elohim,’ but not elsewhere in the O.T. The derivation and meaning of the name are obscure. Aq. [Note: q. The Greek translation by Aquila.] ἐπιπίπτοντες (‘falling upon’) connects it with nâphal (נפל) ‘to fall,’ as though the name described the violence with which the Nephilim fell upon their enemies. But LXX. γίγαντες (‘giants’) and Sym. βιαῖοι (‘violent’) are only paraphrases. The name appears to be a relic of primitive mythology, but little more can be said of it. If the Nephilim were thought of as superhuman or semi-divine beings, the spies may have used the name to heighten the effect of their description of the ‘sons of Anak’ (Numbers 13:28).

the sons of Anak, which come of the Nephilim] the sons of Anak are of the Nephilim. A separate sentence, which is absent from the LXX. , and was probably added to the Heb. text by a late scribe. He may have meant that the sons of Anak were either descended from, or of the number of, the Nephilim.

as grasshoppers] Very small and helpless. Oriental speech abounds in similes from nature. Insignificance and weakness are also expressed by ‘flocks of kids’ (1 Kings 20:27), ‘a dead dog’ and ‘a flea’ (1 Samuel 24:14), ‘a partridge’ (1 Samuel 26:20).Verse 33. - The giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants, אֶת־הַנְּפִילים בְּנִי עַנָק מִן־הַנְּפִלים. The Nephilim, Beni-Anak, of the Nephilim. The Septuagint has only τοὺς γίγαντας. The Nephilim are, without doubt, the primaeval tyrants mentioned under that name in Genesis 6:4. The renown of these sons of violence had come down from those dim ages, and the exaggerated fears of the spies saw them revived in the gigantic forms of the Beni-Anak. There is no certainty that the Nephilim had been giants, and no likelihood whatever that the Beni-Anak had any real connection with them. As grasshoppers. We have no means of judging of the actual size of these men, unless the height assigned to Goliath (six cubits and a span) be allowed to them. Probably men of this stature were quite exceptional even among the Anakim. The report of the spies was thoroughly false in effect, although founded on isolated facts. 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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