God will protect us

At the burning bush (Shmot 3:8) God promised Moshe that He would save B’nai Yisrael and bring them into the Land of C’naan:

“I will come down to deliver them out of the hands of Egypt and bring them up out of that land to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey; to the place of the C’naani and the Chiti and the Emori and the Prizi and the Chivi and the Yevusi.”

Before B’nai Yisrael went to inherit the land, they wanted to send spies to check it out. Ahead of the scouts going in, Moshe asked them the following questions (Bamidbar 13:18-20):

“See what the land is; and the people living on it; are they strong or weak, if they are few or many; and how is the land in which they live, is it good, or bad? And how are the cities in which you reside; are they open or are they fortified? How is the land (soil) is it fat (rich) or lean (poor), does it have trees or not?

When the spies returned, they answered (Bamidbar 13:27-29) “We came into the land into which you sent us, and it indeed flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the nation is mighty (those who inhabit the land) and the cities are greatly fortified to the utmost, and we also saw the offspring of the giant there. Amalek dwells in the Negev (southern part of the land) and the Chiti, Yevusi and Emori dwell in the mountain and the C’naani dwell by the sea and next to the Yarden.”

Due to the report of the spies, B’nai Yisrael were destined to wander in the desert for forty years and only the next generation would be permitted to enter the land.

After forty years in the desert, when B’nai Yisrael were finally ready to enter the land, Moshe was very open about who was living in the land (Dvarim 9:1-2):

“Listen, Israel! You are crossing the Yarden to come inherit nations greater and more powerful than you; cities great and fortified to the sky. A great and powerful people, descendents of the Anakim (giants) about whom you know and heard, ‘Who can stand up to the descendents of Anak?’”

Why did the spies get in trouble the first time around for saying the same thing that Moshe ended up saying the second time around?

The reason that the spies got into trouble is found in Bamidbar 13:31-33:

“‘We are not able to go up against the nation, for they are more powerful than we.’ They spread slander about the land that they had scouted, to B’nai Yisrael, saying: ‘The land which we have passed to scout it, is a land which consumes its inhabitants; and every one of the people we saw in it, are men of dimensions. There we saw the giants, the sons of the giant, of the Nephilim, and we were like grasshoppers in our eyes, and so we appeared in their eyes.’”

The downfall of the spies (aside from Yehoshua and Calev) is that they did not have enough faith in God to believe that He would save them from their enemies.

In Dvarim 9:3, Moshe made it very clear that despite the strong people who were already living there, God will protect B’nai Yisrael and help them fight their wars:

“You may know today that HaShem, your God, is the One crossing before you, a consuming fire, He will destroy them and He will subdue them before you; you will expel them and destroy them quickly, as God promised you.”

Ramban points out that God’s promise came true in the Book of Yehoshua (10:14) where it says: “…for God did battle for Israel.” In addition, God conquered the fortified city of Yericho (Yehoshua 6:20) “The people cried out and (the Kohanim) blew with the shofars. And when the people heard the sound of the shofar that the people cried out with a great shout: The wall fell in its place and the people went up to the city- each man straight ahead- and they conquered the city.” As well, in Yehoshua 11:21 we read “At that time, Yehoshua came and cut down the Anakim (giants) from the mountain, from Hevron, from Dvir, from Anav and from the Mountains of Yehuda and from all of Mount Yisrael; Yehoshua destroyed them with their cities.”

Yehoshua, who had faith in God, was able to go into battle and miraculously fight the strong enemies.

The same is true today. Israel still has many issues including enemies on all sides but we see miracles every day where God together with a strong IDF helps us fight our battles. We must continue to have confidence in God the way that Moshe, Calev and Yehoshua did and not give up like the other ten spies.

About the Author
Sharona holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College and an MS in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Sharona was the first Congregational Intern and Madricha Ruchanit at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY. After making aliya in 2004, Sharona founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim, a non profit organization based in Jerusalem which provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds.
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