The Spies Revisited

Deuteronomy 1:19-46

Moses now turns to discuss the reason the Israelites are still in the wilderness. Moses reminds them that 38 years earlier  the people had approached him asking to send spies to check out the land they were about to inherit, ostensibly to form a battle plan. Moses had selected 12 leaders from among them for the task who, he says, brought proof of the glory of the Promised Land. But, the people rejected God’s gift saying it would be impossible to conquer a land inhabited by giants.


According to Moses, he then tried to calm the people, assuring them that with God’s help, they could accomplish anything. The people did not believe him, though, and despaired of ever reaching the Land of Israel.


God heard the complaints of the people, Moses continues, and decided to wipe out the generation that slandered the land, save Caleb and Joshua, who alone spoke well of the land. Upon hearing the news, Moses reminds the people, the generation of the desert regretted their rejection and tried to enter the land anyway, but it was too late. God did not help them and those who tried were wiped out. The survivors were destined to wander the desert for forty years, slowly dying out. In this way only their children, those now standing before Moses, could enter the land.


The Israel Bible points out that this account emphasizes how special the Land of Israel is. Even the spies, who came back with slander, determined to bad-mouth the Promised Land, could not help but praise its bounty.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

There are many discrepancies between the account of the spies described here by Moses and that recorded in Numbers 13-14. Why do you think that is? Why might Moses have opted to modify the details for this audience?


Comments ( 5 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

Post a Reply

Comments must adhere to our guidelines or they may be removed.

  • Herman Arentsen

    First of all Moshe wanted to warn the descendants of the in the desert deceased ones that why his account is so lengthy. He also wanted to teach them while he was till alive. He wanted them to convince of the importance of the words of the leadership. (now his passing away was close. Moshe had tried to open up the eyes of their fathers for the bounty of the country G-d is planning them to give. They only looked at the dangers. (except for Caleb and Jehoshua.) Look for the good things the heavenly Father is going togive you and trust Him.

  • Doreen Poole

    Those who did not believe the report were already gone, no need to put it on their children but just a reminder should have been sufficient. The narrative was enough to remind them why those loved ones were no longer with them.

  • Diana Brown

    Moses wanted Israel to know they should trust the Lord when He commands His People. Listening to man’s counsel instead turned an eleven day hike into a 40 year marathon march. He is a leader who loves them and He wants to remind them to follow the Leader that Moses talked to face to face. Time is running out for Moses. When someone knows they will soon be gathered unto their people, they choose on what words to speak carefully because they know the time is short. Would that be why he spoke about what he saw as the most important issues to remember?

    • Tsivya Fox

      Good insight. I also believe that people know what they have done wrong. We do not always have to remind them clearly. By simply stating a situation, it reminds people to do better,especially when it comes to the Land of Israel. (remember The Sound of Music when Maria thanks the children for their warm welcome and they burst out crying?)

    • Angela B

      I agree, it was a summary this time, a reminder of sorts, they had already witnessed the things he was now talking about.

Skip to toolbar