God orders Moses to send men to spy out Canaan because God is going to give this land, which is well established with villages and families, to the Israelites because…apparently he promised it to them. So we get a long list of names who were the sons of other names from the tribes of still other names. I swear, the Bible was written for NaNoWriMo. At the end of this paragraph, and I guess for the purpose of aesthetics, Moses renames Hoshea to Joshua.
I have a problem with this next paragraph, but I want to preface it with the verse:
17Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, “Go up there into the Negeb, and go up into the hill country, 18and see what the land is like, and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many, 19and whether the land they live in is good or bad, and whether the towns that they live in are unwalled or fortified, 20and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are trees in it or not.Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (p. 309). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
What could Moses (with the blessing of God) be planning? Notice that he doesn’t tell his spies to find out if the people are friendly or if maybe they have enough space to house the Israelites so that they can live in peace. No, this is recon for an attack. Also, it’s another strike against God’s omniscience, because he tells Moses to send the men out to find out about the land. Shouldn’t perhaps an all-knowing deity already know what’s going on in the land?
The spies returned to tell Moses and Aaron that the people are strong and the towns fortified and large. Caleb thought that they should go and occupy it because they could overcome, but the rest of the men gave a big ol’ nope to that. They also reported seeing the Nephilim which made the spies seem really small.