Truth, Understanding, Insight

Spies, Espionage and Faith

17th July 2005, hej


6) The 12 Spies and Israelite Faith

The report given by the two spies, reflecting Rahab's influence, is in marked contrast to that given by the spies forty years before, and the difference seems another aspect of the intertwined effects of those who act in faith. The ten spies opposed Caleb's statement of faith and caused the people to fear.

And Caleb said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we... The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eats up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. (Num 13:30-32 KJV)

The contrast in the assessment could not be greater. The faith of Caleb is in contrast to the lack of faith of the other ten leaders. In the next passage we a see a younger Joshua in action, who seems fearless. The effect is that he is almost stoned.

Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, ..spake saying, The land, an exceeding good land. If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us;.. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not. But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. (Num 14:6-10 KJV)

One noteworthy aspect is that the ten spies focussed on the size of the people they saw, whereas Caleb and Joshua focussed on the fact Yahweh was with Israel, so “their defence was departed.”