Dave Burnette's Commentary

Numbers Chapter 13

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses
Date Penned: (1450-1410 BC)
Overview: A Record of Israel's Unbelief (c 1-27)
Theme: The First Approach to the Promised Land (c 10-14)
Message: The Spies Incite Rebellion (v 1-33)

Numbers 13 Commentary

(13:1-20) Making the Best Decision - Moses decided what information was needed before the people could enter the Promised Land, and he took careful steps to get that information. When you are making decisions or assuming new responsibilities, remember these two important steps: Ask yourself what you need to know about the opportunity, and then obtain that knowledge. This often involves getting advice from the wise people in your life. Common sense is a valuable aid in accomplishing God's purposes. (See Proverbs 12:15; 15:22.)

(13:25-29) Trusting what God Said - God told the Israelites that the Promised Land was rich and fertile. Not only that, but he also promised that this bountiful land would be theirs. When the spies reported back to Moses, they gave plenty of good reasons for entering the land, but they couldn't stop focusing on their fear. Talk of giants (children of Anak) and walled cities made it easy to forget about God's promise to help. When facing a tough decision, don't let the negatives cause you to lose sight of the positives. Weigh both sides carefully. Don't let potential difficulties blind you to God's power to help and his promise to guide you.

(13:26) Kadesh, a Place of Decision - Although Kadesh was only a desert oasis, it was a crossroads in Israel's history. When the spies returned to Kadesh from scouting the new land, the people had to decide either to enter the land or to retreat. They chose to retreat and were condemned to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. It was also at Kadesh that Moses disobeyed God (20:7-12). For this, he, too, was denied entrance into the Promised Land. Aaron and Miriam died in this same area, for they could not enter the new land either. Kadesh was near Canaan's southern border, but because of the Israelites' lack of faith, they needed more than a lifetime to go from Kadesh to the Promised Land.

(13:27) Canaan, a Land Promised - The land of Canaan, also called the Promised Land, was indeed bountiful, as the 12 spies discovered. The Bible often refers to it as "a land flowing with milk and honey." Although the land was relatively small --150 miles long and 60 miles wide--its lush hillsides were covered with olive, fig, date, and nut trees. It was the land God had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

(13:28) The "children of Anak" were a race of abnormally large people. The family of Goliath may have been descended from these people (see 2 Samuel 21:16-22).

(13:29) Facing a Challenge - The fortified cities the spies talked about were surrounded by high walls as much as 20 feet thick and 25 feet tall. Guards were often stationed on top, where they had a commanding view of the countryside. According to the spies, some of the inhabitants were of such a formidable size-from seven to nine feet tall-that the Israelites felt like grasshoppers next to them 43:33). The walled cities and the giants struck fear into the hearts of most of the spies. 

(13:30-31) Caleb Takes a Stand - Imagine standing before a crowd and loudly voicing an unpopular opinion! Caleb was willing to take the stand to do as God had commanded. To be effective when you go against the crowd, you must (1) have the facts (Caleb had seen the land himself); (2) have the right attitude (Caleb trusted God's promise to give Israel the land); and (3) state clearly what you believe (Caleb said, "We are well able to overcome it").

(13:32) A negative Attitude - The negative opinion of ten men caused a great rebellion among the people. Because it is human nature to accept opinion as fact, we must be especially careful when voicing our negative opinions. What we say may heavily influence the actions of those who trust us to give sound advice.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

Faith Over Fear

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue the book of Numbers with Chapter 13 and in today's text we see the spies are sent out to view Canaan. Their report was one of great land flowing with milk and honey but 10 of the 12 lacked faith to proceed with this land the Lord Promised. In making application Canaan is picture of the victorious Christian life and this life is attained when we exercise faith in what the Lord has promised. We can act in fear when we face difficult decisions and not walk in victory or we can walk by faith and receive that which the Lord has promised. A victorious Christian life. How about you? Are you walking by faith or reacting in fear? Let us learn from our text today and see what the Lord has promised for us, then walk in victory by faith. 


Numbers 13

Numbers 13

 1And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

 2Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.

 3And Moses by the commandment of the LORD sent them from the wilderness of Paran: all those men were heads of the children of Israel.

 4And these were their names: of the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur.

 5Of the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori.

 6Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh.

 7Of the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph.

 8Of the tribe of Ephraim, Oshea the son of Nun.

 9Of the tribe of Benjamin, Palti the son of Raphu.

 10Of the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel the son of Sodi.

 11Of the tribe of Joseph, namely, of the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi the son of Susi.

 12Of the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gemalli.

 13Of the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael.

 14Of the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi.

 15Of the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi.

 16These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua.

 17And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain:

 18And see the land, what it is, and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many;

 19And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds;

 20And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the firstripe grapes.

 21So they went up, and searched the land from the wilderness of Zin unto Rehob, as men come to Hamath.

 22And they ascended by the south, and came unto Hebron; where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, were. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)

 23And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs.

 24The place was called the brook Eshcol, because of the cluster of grapes which the children of Israel cut down from thence.

 25And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.

 26And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land.

 27And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.

 28Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.

 29The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.

 30And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.

 31But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.

 32And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.

 33And 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.