Deuteronomy 1:22
(22) And ye came near . . . and said, We will send.--A new aspect is here given to the sending of the twelve spies. In Numbers 13:1 the incident is introduced thus: "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Send thou men." We learn here that the proposal in the first instance came from the people. Moses would naturally refer it to Jehovah; and, when approved, the scheme was carried out.

They shall search us out the land, and bring us word again by what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come.--We read in Deuteronomy 1:33 that the Lord "went in the way before them to search out a place" for them to encamp in. But here the spies and Israel proposed to take the guidance of their march into their own hands. It is noticeable that in the campaigns of Joshua, not one step was taken without Divine direction. Thus the sending of the twelve spies, in the light in which the people intended it, was an act of unbelief. "In this thing (Deuteronomy 1:32) ye did not believe the Lord your God." (See also Note on Joshua 2:1.)

1:19-46 Moses reminds the Israelites of their march from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea, through that great and terrible wilderness. He shows how near they were to a happy settlement in Canaan. It will aggravate the eternal ruin of hypocrites, that they were not far from the kingdom of God. As if it were not enough that they were sure of their God before them, they would send men before them. Never any looked into the Holy Land, but they must own it to be a good land. And was there any cause to distrust this God? An unbelieving heart was at the bottom of all this. All disobedience to God's laws, and distrust of his power and goodness, flow from disbelief of his word, as all true obedience springs from faith. It is profitable for us to divide our past lives into distinct periods; to give thanks to God for the mercies we have received in each, to confess and seek the forgiveness of all the sins we can remember; and thus to renew our acceptance of God's salvation, and our surrender of ourselves to his service. Our own plans seldom avail to good purpose; while courage in the exercise of faith, and in the path of duty, enables the believer to follow the Lord fully, to disregard all that opposes, to triumph over all opposition, and to take firm hold upon the promised blessings.And ye came near unto me everyone of you,.... Not every individual of them, but the heads of their tribes, that represented them; this is not to be understood of the present generation personally, but of their fathers, who all died in the wilderness, save a very few of them; but they being the same people and nation, it is so expressed:

and said, we will send men before us; that is, they thought it was proper and prudent so to do, and came to Moses to consult him about it; for we are not to suppose that they had determined upon it, whether he approved of it or not:

and they shall search us out the land: that they might know what sort of land it was, whether good or bad, fruitful or not, and whether woody or not: see Numbers 13:19.

and bring us word again by what way we must go up; or, "concerning the way (m) in which we must go"; which is the best way of entering it, most easy and accessible, where the passes are most open and least dangerous:

and into what cities we shall come; which it would be the most proper to attack and subdue first.

(m) , "de via", Noldius, p. 117. No. 594. so the Arabic version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

Deuteronomy 1:21
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