Numbers 14:6
And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) Rent their clothes.—Comp. Leviticus 10:6 and Note.

Numbers 14:6. Rent their clothes — To testify their hearty grief for the people’s blasphemy against God and sedition against Moses, and that dreadful judgment which they easily foresaw this must bring upon the congregation.

14:5-10 Moses and Aaron were astonished to see a people throw away their own mercies. Caleb and Joshua assured the people of the goodness of the land. They made nothing of the difficulties in the way of their gaining it. If men were convinced of the desirableness of the gains of religion, they would not stick at the services of it. Though the Canaanites dwell in walled cities, their defence was departed from them. The other spies took notice of their strength, but these of their wickedness. No people can be safe, when they have provoked God to leave them. Though Israel dwell in tents, they are fortified. While we have the presence of God with us, we need not fear the most powerful force against us. Sinners are ruined by their own rebellion. But those who, like Caleb and Joshua, faithfully expose themselves for God, are sure to be taken under his special protection, and shall be hid from the rage of men, either under heaven or in heaven.Already Caleb had endeavored to still the people before Moses Numbers 13:30; already Moses himself (Deuteronomy 1:29 ff) had endeavored to recall the people to obedience. After the failure of these efforts Moses and Aaron cast themselves down in solemn prayer before God (compare Numbers 16:22); and the appearance of the glory of the Lord in the "tabernacle of the congregation" Numbers 14:10 was the immediate answer. 6. Joshua … and Caleb, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes—The two honest spies testified their grief and horror, in the strongest manner, at the mutiny against Moses and the blasphemy against God; while at the same time they endeavored, by a truthful statement, to persuade the people of the ease with which they might obtain possession of so desirable a country, provided they did not, by their rebellion and ingratitude, provoke God to abandon them. To testify their hearty grief for the people’s blasphemy against God and sedition against Moses, and that dreadful judgment which they easily foresaw this must bring upon the congregation and people of God.

And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh,.... Rose up and interposed in this affair, looking upon themselves under a special obligation so to do, as they were capable of confronting the other spies, and contradicting what they had said:

which were of them that searched the land; they were two of that number, and were the more concerned to hear such a false account given, and distressed to observe the mutiny of the people, and therefore judged themselves in duty bound to do all they could to stop it:

rent their clothes; in token of sorrow for the sins of the people; and at their blasphemy and ingratitude against God, and in dread of his wrath and fury breaking forth upon them.

And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, {d} rent their clothes:

(d) For sorrow, hearing their blasphemy.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 6. - And Joshua. In a last hopeless effort to bring the people to a better mind, or at least to deliver their own souls, there was no reason why Joshua should hold back any more. Rent their clothes. Another token of grief and horrer practiced from patriarchal times (cf. Genesis 37:29, 34; Job 1:20). Numbers 14:6At this murmuring, which was growing into open rebellion, Moses and Aaron fell upon their faces before the whole of the assembled congregation, namely, to pour out their distress before the Lord, and move Him to interpose; that is to say, after they had made an unsuccessful attempt, as we may supply from Deuteronomy 1:29-31, to cheer up the people, by pointing them to the help they had thus far received from God. "In such distress, nothing remained but to pour out their desires before God; offering their prayer in public, however, and in the sight of all the people, in the hope of turning their minds" (Calvin). Joshua and Caleb, who had gone with the others to explore the land, also rent their clothes, as a sign of their deep distress at the rebellious attitude of the people (see at Leviticus 10:6), and tried to convince them of the goodness and glory of the land they had travelled through, and to incite them to trust in the Lord. "If Jehovah take pleasure in us,"; they said, "He will bring us into this land. Only rebel not ye against Jehovah, neither fear ye that people of the land; for they are our food;" i.e., we can and shall swallow them up, or easily destroy them (cf. Numbers 22:4; Numbers 24:8; Deuteronomy 7:16; Psalm 14:4). "Their shadow is departed from them, and Jehovah is with us: fear them not!" "Their shadow" is the shelter and protection of God (cf. Psalm 91; Psalm 121:5). The shadow, which defends from the burning heat of the sun, was a very natural figure in the sultry East, to describe defence from injury, a refuge from danger and destruction (Isaiah 30:2). The protection of God had departed from the Canaanites, because God had determined to destroy them when the measure of their iniquity was full (Genesis 15:16; cf. Exodus 34:24; Leviticus 18:25; Leviticus 20:23). But the excited people resolved to stone them, when Jehovah interposed with His judgment, and His glory appeared in the tabernacle to all the Israelites; that is to say, the majesty of God flashed out before the eyes of the people in a light which suddenly burst forth from the tabernacle (see at Exodus 16:10).
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