The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving the people of Israel. From each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a chief among them.” So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran, according to the command of the LORD, all of them men who were heads of the people of Israel… Numbers 13:1-3
You probably have heard the story of the 12 spies that Moses sent into Canaan as the people of Israel came into Kadesh-Barnea. I learned something recently that I thought I would pass along. When I thought about this event I didn’t consider some of the practical realities of their excursion. Did you know…?
- 12 men – all leaders, all chiefs (Since all 12 men were leaders, I wonder if there were ever power struggles on their mission?)
- They traveled from the Negeb (in the south) to Rehob (in the north).
- Round trip
- In round numbers they traveled about 500 miles!!!!
- In 40 days
- That averages 12-13 miles a day for 40 days
This was no small task. They didn’t have automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles or hover boards in those days.
It is details like this that often give us a better understanding of what life was like for people in Biblical times. It takes the people off the 2-D page and adds clarity in 3-D. So instead of just being 12 spies, they were real men who probably got blisters and calluses on their feet and maybe sunburn and more than a few bug bites along the way.
Oh yeah, we forget things like that when we read the Bible simply as history rather than the living, breathing Word of God. Do you ever find yourself reading the Bible as a nice story but forgetting the people really lived and the events really happened?
Guilty as charged.
After serving 16 years full-time on the staff of America’s Keswick, Diane Hunt and her husband moved to North Carolina where she continues to serve part-time as a contributing writer and Partner Care Consultant. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.