The Twelve Spies

The Twelve Spies

The Israelites left Mount Sinai and traveled through the desert of Paran to a place called Kadesh. There Jehovah told Moses: ‘Send 12 men, one from each tribe, to spy out Canaan, the land that I will give to the Israelites.’ So Moses chose 12 men and said to them: ‘Go to Canaan, and find out if the land is good for growing food. See whether the people are weak or strong and whether they live in tents or in cities.’ The 12 spies, including Joshua and Caleb, left for Canaan.

After 40 days, the spies returned, bringing back figs, pomegranates, and grapes. The spies reported: ‘It is a good land, but the people are strong and the cities have high walls.’ Then Caleb said: ‘We can conquer them. Let’s go right away!’ Do you know why Caleb said that? Because he and Joshua trusted in Jehovah. But the other ten spies said: ‘No! The people there are huge, like giants! We seemed like grasshoppers next to them.’

The Israelites were discouraged. They began to complain and say to one another: ‘Let’s choose a different leader and go back to Egypt. Why should we go to this place and be killed?’ Joshua and Caleb said: ‘Do not disobey Jehovah, and do not be afraid. Jehovah will protect us.’ But the Israelites would not listen. They even wanted to kill Joshua and Caleb!

What did Jehovah do? He said to Moses: ‘After everything I have done for the Israelites, they still do not obey me. So they will stay in the wilderness for 40 years, and here they will die. Only their children and Joshua and Caleb will live in the land that I promised to give them.’

“Why are you so afraid, you with little faith?”​—Matthew 8:26