Two Spies

The SELECTION (13:1-16)

  1. They should not have needed spies, but God allowed them this faithless liberty (Deut 1:22-23).
  2. A leading man in each of the twelve tribes was selected to lend credibility to their report.
    1. Caleb was selected from the tribe of Judah, whom we shall come to love a little later.
    2. Oshea was selected from the tribe of Ephraim, whom we shall also love a little later.
      1. Oshea means salvation, but it does not tell what salvation or who is the Saviour.
      2. Moses renamed him Jehoshua, meaning Jehovah is salvation, as our Lord. Amen!

The ASSIGNMENT (13:17-25)

  1. They were to determine what kind of land it was and what the people were like living there.
  2. A parenthetical note humbles the Egyptians, who presumed their own great antiquity (13:22).
  3. Due to the time of firstripe grapes, they brought a cluster of grapes on a pole between two men.
  4. They were gone 40 days on this assignment, as they traveled from the Sinai Peninsula to Syria.

The DISAGREEMENT (13:26-33)

  1. Ten spies opened with an honest commendation of the land, but with fear of the difficulties.
  2. Caleb stilled the people, who must have been moaning, by calling for them to take it at once.
  3. When the disagreement was clearly visible, the compromisers embellished their negative story.

The CHOICE (14:1-4)

  1. The people got emotional and bemoaned their horrible fate, by rejecting faith in God’s Word!
  2. They murmured against their leaders, who were only doing God’s duty, to blame it on them.
  3. They reacted and spoke foolishly with their lips about dying in either Egypt or the wilderness.
  4. God will grant their stupid request, and they will all die in the wilderness. Watch your words!
  5. They sure didn’t talk that way when they were back in Egypt; they hated the place greatly.
  6. They wanted to find a new preacher to leader their church back into the cesspool of Egypt.

The WARNING (14:5-10)

  1. Four men, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb, begged these rebels to reconsider their choices.
  2. They warned the congregation not to rebel against the Lord, for He was with them for victory.
  3. As is often the case, the wickedness of man blinds them, and they seek to stone the four men.
  4. The LORD intervened and protected His four men by revealing His intimidating glory! Amen!

The INTERCESSION (14:11-21)

  1. The LORD threatens to destroy His people and make a greater and mightier nation of Moses.
  2. Moses reasons with the Lord that such a move would harm His reputation among the nations.
  3. Moses reasons with the Lord to show the glory He had earlier revealed (Exodus 33:18 – 34:9).
  4. The Lord agrees to pardon the people, but He is going to fill all the earth with His holy glory.

The JUDGMENT (14:22-39)

  1. Ten times are too many, and the Lord is not going to let these people enter the Promised Land.
  2. He tells the people plainly, through Moses, that they are now to turn back into the wilderness.
  3. He swore in His wrath, by the truth of His own existence, that they would die in the wilderness.
  4. He drew the line at 20 on this occasion, with those under 20 being allowed to enter the land.
  5. Only Joshua and Caleb, because of a better spirit and following Him fully, were the exceptions.
  6. One year for each day of spying would be used to entirely consume the older generation.
  7. While the Lord explained these things to Moses, the ten compromising spies died right there.

The REPENTANCE (14:40-45)

  1. The people mourned greatly, repented, and got up early in the morning to go into Canaan.
  2. But Moses warned them they were transgressing another commandment now and not to do it.
  3. They presumed to go up anyway, and the Amalekites and Canaanites defeated them easily.

The PROPHECY (Psalm 95)

  1. The blessed Lord used this event in prophecy to warn of the times of Messiah and His rest.
  2. Though 500 years later, David prophesied of another day that would bring similar temptation.


  1. Stephen and Paul preached about Israel’s wickedness for those 40 years (Acts 7:42-43; 13:18).
  2. The great example of that church was used by Paul to provoke the Corinthians (I Cor 10:1-11).
  3. Paul used the prophecy to warn Jews of another, similar oath against them (Heb 3:7 – 4:11).