Numbers 13:17-20 NASB

17 When Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, he said to them, “Go up [b]there into the [c]Negev; then go up into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like, and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many. 19 How is the land in which they live, is it good or bad? And how are the cities in which they live, are they [d]like open camps or with fortifications? 20 How is the land, is it fat or lean? Are there trees in it or not? [e]Make an effort then to get some of the fruit of the land.” Now the time was the time of the first ripe grapes.

After sending spies to go and scout out the land Moses tells them what to look out for:

1) Giants

2) Fortifications

3) People are numerous

4) Fruit of the land

The spies bring an almost similar report to what Moses had told them to look out for.

Numbers 13:25-28 NASB

25 When they returned from spying out the land, at the end of forty days, 26 they proceeded to come to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the sons of Israel [l]in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; and they brought back word to them and to all the congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 Thus they told him, and said, “We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the [m]descendants of Anak there.

Could Moses instructions had been partly to blame for the rebellion that ensured?

2 Answers 2


I would reject the notion that Moses could have "led the witness" by giving them "either/or" choices. I believe the source of their "bad report" was strictly due to a lack of faith and fear. Note the reference to "we were IN OUR OWN SIGHT AS GRASSHOPPERS". Clearly fear drove their report.

Numbers 13: 29-33 (KJV)

29 The 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. 30 And 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. 31 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. 32 And 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. 33 And 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.


It sounds like a possibility except it’s a stretch in my view. A spy report needs to be accurate and portray the truth. Instructions to be accurate is not also an instruction on how to react to what you see. These 12 were the cream of the crop and most likely the most valiant warriors of their tribe.

Notice what Elohim promises to Isra’el before they even come to the promised land

“Be on your guard before him and obey his voice; do not be rebellious toward him, for he will not pardon your transgression, since My name is in him. But if you truly obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. For My angel will go before you and bring you in to the land of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites; and I will completely destroy them.” ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭23:21-23‬ ‭NASB‬‬

The promise was that the angel will do the destroying

It is more likely that they didn’t MAGNIFY Hashem but magnified the physical giants and in doing so forgot His promises to them, minimizing Him in their own eyes. It wasn’t Moses’ fault it was their own fault for choosing not to believe the words promised to them. Clearly Caleb remembered and said about the giants that they were leashed and bread for them.

“Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them."” ‭‭Numbers‬ ‭14:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

So what did happen to the giants? And how tall were they? Consider that a cedar tree grows anywhere from 20’-+60’.

“"Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, Though his height was like the height of cedars And he was strong as the oaks; I even destroyed his fruit above and his root below.” ‭‭Amos‬ ‭2:9‬ ‭NASB‬‬

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