good men and told
them, "Cross over the plain and go up into the hills. See
what the land is like. See what kind of people live there, whether
they are weak or strong, few or many. Find out whether the land is
good or bad, whether there is wood on it. Notice what kind of
cities they have, whether they live in tents or strongholds. Bring
back fruit from the land. The first grapes should be ripe now.
Finally, go with good courage."
For forty days
the spies went here and there through the Promised Land. They saw
strong cities and small towns. They saw fields of grain and large
vineyards of grapes. The land was beautiful and full of all kinds
of food. In this land they would not become hungry for meat,
fruit, or vegetables.
When the spies
returned to Israel's camp, they brought samples of the fruit that
grew in Canaan. Two men carried one large cluster of grapes on a
pole between them. Never before had the people seen such wonderful
Then ten of the
spies told about Canaan. "It is a rich land. We brought you
some of the fruit that grows there. But the people live in great
walled cities." And the Israelites talked to one another
about the report.
another spy, quieted the people and told them, "Let us go at
once and take the land, for we are well able to overcome it."
But the ten spies
did not agree. They said, "We cannot go into the land, for
the people are stronger than we." The people were frightened
when the spies said, "The men of that land are so big they
make us look like grasshoppers."
The people were
so disappointed that they cried all night. When morning came, they
complained against Moses and Aaron. "We wish we had stayed in
Egypt! We wish we had died back in the wilderness rather than be
killed by the giants of Canaan. Why has God brought us out here to
die? Our wives and our children will be taken prisoners." The
people even planned to choose a captain and go back go Egypt.
When Moses and
Aaron heard about the plan, they fell on their faces and begged
the people to obey God. How could these people doubt God's great
power after he had brought them out of Egypt, led them through the
Red Sea on dry land, given them water from a solid rock, rained
food from heaven, and protected them from their enemies?
Caleb and Joshua,
the two spies who had faith in God, tore their clothes because the
people did not trust God to give them Canaan. They pleaded with
the people, "The land we searched is a wonderful land. The
Lord promised it to us. Do not turn back or be afraid. The Lord is
with us. Let us go forward!"
The people would
not listen to Caleb and Joshua. Instead they wanted to kill the
two faithful spies. But as the people looked for stones to throw
at Caleb and Joshua, they saw the glory of the Lord come down upon
The Lord said to
Moses, "How long will these people provoke me? How long will
it be before they have faith in me?" The Lord was so angry
with the children of Israel that He thought He could not put up
with them any longer.
earnestly for his people. He reminded the Lord, "If our
people die here in the wilderness, the Egyptians will say you were
not able to take the Israelites to Canaan." And Moses
pleaded, "Pardon, I beg you, the sin of this people according
to your great mercy, even as you have forgiven them from the day
they left Egypt until now."
For Moses' sake
God forgave the Israelites, but he refused to let them change
their minds and enter Canaan now. God said, "All of you who
are twenty years old and older will never live in Canaan because
you have complained against me." To punish them, God
commanded them to turn back into the wilderness and camp until
every person who had complained was dead.
After forty years
of wandering in the wilderness, the Hebrews reached the plains of
Moab. Moses was growing old and knew that he would not be with his
people when they finally reached the Promised Land of Canaan. Now
his work was done.
Joshua, and before all the Hebrews said to him, "Be strong
and have courage. You must lead these people to the land of their
fathers. The Lord will be with you. He will not forsake you, so do
not fear." And he gave Joshua the book of laws to put in the
ark with the stone tablets.
Then Moses went
up on the mountain of Nebo - across the Jordan from Jericho - and
from there the Lord showed him the plain of the valley of Jericho,
the city of palm trees, and all the land that spread between the
valley and the River Jordan which they would have to cross. And
the Lord said to him, "Behold the land of Canaan. I swore to
Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob that I would give that land to
their children. You have seen it with your eyes, but you shall not
cross over into it." Moses called the children of Israel to
him and gave them his blessing.
thereafter Moses died, and was buried in the land of Moab. The
children of Israel mourned for thirty days, for he had been a very
great prophet, and had led the Hebrews out of their slavery in
Joshua was a good
leader, full of the spirit of wisdom, but there never again rose a
prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.