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Numbers Chapter 13
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Deuteronomy

Exploring the Promised Land
13:1 God spoke to Moses, saying,
13:2 'Send out men for yourself to explore the Canaanite territory that I am about to give the Israelites. Send out one man for each patriarchal tribe. Each one shall be a person of high rank.'
13:3 Moses sent them from the Paran Desert at God's bidding. All the men were leaders of the Israelites.
13:4 Their names were as follows:

From the tribe of Reuben, Shamua son of Zakur.

13:5 From the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat son of Chori.
13:6 From the tribe of Judah, Caleb son of Yefuneh.
13:7 From the tribe of Issachar, Yig'al son of Joseph.
13:8 From the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea son of Nun.
13:9 From the tribe of Benjamin, Palti son of Raphu.
13:10 From the tribe of Zebulun, Gadiel son of Sodi.
13:11 From the tribe of Manasseh (from Joseph), Gaddi son of Susi.
13:12 From the tribe of Dan, Amiel son of Gemalli.
13:13 From the tribe of Asher, Sethur son of Michael.
13:14 From the tribe of Naphtali, Nachbi son of Vafsi.
13:15 From the tribe of Gad, Geu'el son of Makhi.
13:16 These are the names of the men Moses sent to explore the land. [However,] Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the [new] name Joshua (Yehoshua).
13:17 When Moses sent [the men] to explore the Canaanite territory, he said to them, 'Head north to the Negev, and then continue north to the hill country.
13:18 See what kind of land it is. Are the people who live there strong or weak, few or many?
13:19 Is the inhabited area good or bad? Are the cities where they live open or fortified?
13:20 Is the soil rich or weak? Does [the land] have trees or not? Make a special effort to bring [back] some of the land's fruits.'

It was the season when the first grapes begin to ripen.

13:21 The men headed north and explored the land, from the Tzin Desert all the way to Rechov on the road to Chamath.
13:22 On the way through the Negev, they came to Hebron where [they saw] Achiman, Sheshai and Talmi, descendants of the Giant. Hebron had been built seven years before Tzoan in Egypt.
13:23 When they came to Cluster Valley (Nachal Eshkol), they cut a branch and a cluster of grapes, which two men carried on a frame.
13:24 Because of the grape-cluster that the Israelites cut there, the place was named Cluster Valley.
13:25 At the end of forty days they came back from exploring the land.
13:26 When they arrived, they went directly to Moses, Aaron and the entire Israelite community, [who were] in the Paran Desert near Kadesh. They brought their report to [Moses, Aaron], and the entire community, and showed them fruit from the land.
13:27 They gave the following report: 'We came to the land where you sent us, and it is indeed flowing with milk and honey, as you can see from its fruit.
13:28 However, the people living in the land are aggressive, and the cities are large and well fortified. We also saw the giant's descendants there.
13:29 Amalek lives in the Negev area, the Hittites, Yebusites and Amorites live in the hills, and the Canaanites live near the sea and on the banks of the Jordan.'
13:30 Caleb tried to quiet the people for Moses. 'We must go forth and occupy the land,' he said. 'We can do it!'
13:31 'We cannot go forward against those people!' replied the men who had gone with him. 'They are too strong for us!'
13:32 They began to speak badly about the land that they had explored. They told the Israelites, 'The land that we crossed to explore is a land that consumes its inhabitants. All the men we saw there were huge!
13:33 While we were there, we saw the titans. They were sons of the giant, who descended from the [original] titans. We felt like tiny grasshoppers! That's all that we were in their eyes.



Commentary:

Paran Desert
  Some say that they were then in Rithma, which was the next stop after Chatzeroth as we see in Numbers 33:18 (Sforno on Numbers12:16). Other sources, however, indicate that they were in Kadesh Barnea, as evident from Numbers 13:26 (Chizzkuni on Numbers 12:16; Lekach Tov on Numbers 13:17). See Numbers 32:8; Deuteronomy 1:19,22, 9:23, Joshua 14:7. However, it appears that Kadesh Barnea is simply another name for Rithmah (Chizzkuni on Numbers 33:16). Kadesh Barnea is not to be confused with the Kadesh to which the Israelites came at the end of the 40 years (Numbers, 20:1; Ramban, Chizzkuni, ad loc.).

Shamua
  Possibly a form of Samuel or Sh'muel (cf. Septuagint). See 1 Chronicles 4:26.

Caleb son of Yefuneh
  See Numbers 13:30, 14:6, etc. He was 40 years old at the time (Joshua 14:6,7). According to tradition, he is the same as Caleb son of Chetzron mentioned in 1 Chronicles 2:9 (Yerushalmi, Yevamoth 10:7), and was thus a great-grandson of Judah (cf. Genesis 46:12). He was the step-brother of Othniel son of Kenaz (Joshua 15:17; Sotah 11b). Caleb married Miriam and was the father of Chur (1 Chronicles 2:19,20; Targum ad loc; Sifri). He also married Bithia, the daughter of Pharaoh who raised Moses (Megillah 13a, from 1 Chronicles 4:18; see note on Exodus 2:5). Also see 1 Chronicles 2:42-50, 4:15.

Joseph
  Yosef in Hebrew. Possibly named after Jacob's son Joseph.

Hoshea...
  Joshua, see Numbers 13:16. See note on Exodus 17:9.

Michael
  Like the angel

Vafsi
  Or Vofsi.

Moses gave Hoshea...
  Some say that Moses renamed him Joshua earlier, when he first became Moses' servant, so the name Joshua is used earlier in Exodus 17:9, etc. (Rashbam; Chizzkuni). Others say that his true name was Joshua, but he used the anonym Hoshea because he would be passing dangerously near Amalekite territory (Chizzkuni). Other sources, however, indicate that he was given the name of Joshua at this time (Rashi; Ralbag), but the Torah uses the name Joshua earlier because this became his final name (Sforno).

Head north
  Literally, 'go up.' See note on Genesis 12:10.

Negev
  'Drylands' to the south of the Holy Land.

It was the...
  According to tradition, it was 29 Sivan (Targum Yonathan; Taanith 29a; Seder Olam Rabbah 8). This was the early summer.

Tzin Desert
  This is in the southern Negev, north of Kadesh.

Rechov
  This is to the north-west of the Holy Land (Chizzkuni). Some say that it is in Asher (cf. Joshua 19:28,30, 21:31, Judges 1:31, 2 Samuel 10:8, 1 Chronicles 6:60). Some identify it with Beth Rechov (Judges 18:28). Other sources, however, translate it as 'the highway heading to Chamath' (Targum Yonathan).

Chamath
  A large city, some 160 miles north of the Holy Land on the Orontes River. It was a major city in ancient times (cf. Numbers 34:8). Some sources identify it with Antioch (Targum Yonathan).

they
  Literally, 'he.' Some say that only Caleb went to Hebron (Sotah 34b; Rashi; Rashbam). He was therefore given Hebron as his inheritance, see Numbers 14:24.

Achiman...
  See note on Genesis 23:2. They were later driven out by Caleb (Joshua 15:14), and killed (Judges 1:10).

Giant
  (Targum; Saadia). Some say that Anak is a proper name (Targum Yonathan; Septuagint).

Tzoan
  This is identified with Tanis (Targum; Septuagint), a city south of the Delta. According to tradition, Hebron was built at the time of the Tower of Babel in 1996 or 1764 b.c.e. (Seder HaDoroth 1996). This would indicate that Tanis was built in 2003 or 1757 b.c.e. However, if we allow for the 163 year discrepancy (see Genesis 12:15, Exodus 2:23), then Tanis was built in 1920 b.c.e. Tanis was the capital of the Hyksos.

Cluster Valley...
  See Numbers 32:9.

frame
  See Numbers 4:10. Some say that the frame was made out of the branch that they cut (Chizzkuni). Talmudic sources state that the frame consisted of two poles, carried by eight men (Sotah 34b).

At the end of forty days
  8 Av (Taanith 29b; Seder Olam 8). See Numbers, 14:1.

Kadesh
  See Numbers 13:3. Also see Genesis 14:7, 16:14, 20:1.

Amalek
  See Exodus 17:8.

Hittites...
  See Genesis 10:15, 15:20.

Canaanites
  The other tribes. See Genesis 15:21.

sea
  The Mediterranean.

huge
  (Rashi; Ibn Ezra; Septuagint). Literally, 'men of measure.'

titans
  Nefilim in Hebrew. See Genesis 6:4.

tiny grasshoppers
  Chagavim in Hebrew, the smallest kosher species of locust (see Leviticus 11:22).





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