Numbers 13

Moses sends men to explore Canaan

1 Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 ‘I will give the land of Canaan to the Israelites. Now you must send men to explore that land. Choose one man from each tribe of your ancestors. Each man must be a leader among his tribe.’

3 So Moses obeyed the Lord's command. He sent the men from the Paran desert into Canaan. Each man was a leader among the Israelites. 4 This is a list of their names:

  • From Reuben's tribe: Shammua, the son of Zaccur.
  • 5 From Simeon's tribe: Shaphat, the son of Hori.
  • 6 From Judah's tribe: Caleb, the son of Jephunneh.
  • 7 From Issachar's tribe: Igal, the son of Joseph.
  • 8 From Ephraim's tribe: Hoshea, the son of Nun.
  • 9 From Benjamin's tribe: Palti, the son of Raphu.
  • 10 From Zebulun's tribe: Gaddiel, the son of Sodi.
  • 11 From Manasseh's tribe: Gaddi, the son of Susi.
  • 12 From Dan's tribe: Ammiel, the son of Gemalli.
  • 13 From Asher's tribe: Sethur, the son of Michael.
  • 14 From Naphtali's tribe: Nahbi, the son of Vophsi.
  • 15 From Gad's tribe: Geuel, the son of Maki.
  • 16 Those are the names of the men that Moses sent to explore the land. Moses changed the name of Hoshea, the son of Nun, to Joshua.

    13:16Hoshea means ‘God saves.’ Joshua means ‘the Lord saves.’

    17 Moses sent them to explore the land of Canaan. He said to them, ‘Go north from here, through the Negev desert. Then continue to go north, into the place where there are hills. 18 Look at the land to see what it is like. See whether the people who live there are strong or weak. See whether few people or many people live there. 19 See whether their land is good or bad. Look at the towns where the people live. See if they have strong walls or they are in the open. 20 See whether the land is able to make good food grow there, or not. See whether there are forests that grow there. Then try to get some fruit from the land and bring it back here.’ (It was the time of year for the first grapes to be ready to eat.)

    21 So the men went and they explored the land of Canaan. They started in the desert called Zin, and they continued to Rehob, near Lebo-Hamath. 22 When they had gone up through the Negev desert in the south of the land, they arrived at Hebron. That was where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, were living. They had built Hebron seven years before the Egyptians built Zoan.

    23 Then the men came to the valley called Eshcol. They cut a branch which had one group of grapes on it. It was so large that two men carried it between them on a pole. They also brought some other fruits called pomegranates and figs. 24 They called that valley ‘Eshcol’ because of the large group of grapes that the Israelites cut down there.

    25 The men returned after they had explored the land for 40 days.

    The men bring news to Moses

    26 The men came back to Kadesh in the Paran desert. They brought their message to Moses and Aaron and to all the Israelites there. They told them all about the land of Canaan and they showed its fruit to them. 27 They said to Moses, ‘We went to look at the land where you sent us. It is certainly a land where there is plenty of food and drink, enough for everyone. This is some of its fruit. 28 But the people who live in the land are strong. Their towns are very big, and strong walls keep them safe. Also, we saw some descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites are living in Negev, the land in the south of the country. The Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hills. And the Canaanites live by the sea and by the edge of Jordan River.’

    30 Then Caleb stood in front of Moses and he told the Israelites to be quiet. He said, ‘We should go into the land and get power over it. We will certainly be able to do it!’

    31 But the men who had gone into Canaan with him said, ‘These people are stronger than we are. So we cannot go and fight against them.’ 32 Those men gave to the Israelites a bad report about the land that they had explored. They said, ‘We went through that whole land and we explored it. The land seems to eat the people who live there! All the people that we saw there were very big and strong. 33 We also saw descendants of the Nephilites there. And we felt like very small insects when we looked at them. And we seemed like very small insects to them too.’ (The descendants of Anak are also descendants of the Nephilites.)

    13:33See Genesis 6:4.