Parashah 37: Shlach L'kha “send for yourself”
B'midbar '(Numbers) 13:1-15:41 Psalm 64
Y'hoshua (Joshua) 2:1-24 Hebrews 3:7-4:11
by Messianic Teacher Dr. Daniel Boley
1 Adonai said to Moshe, 2 “Send men on your behalf to reconnoiter the land of Kena'an, which I am giving to the people of Isra'el. From each ancestral tribe send someone who is a leader in his tribe.” 3 Moshe dispatched them from the Pa'ran Desert as Adonai had ordered; all of them were leading men among the people of Isra'el.
• Adonai said to Moses … Moses dispatched them … as Adonai had ordered
• Moses received a clear order from the LORD and he did it
• And Moses did it as the LORD had ordered
• He not only did what God told him, but it did it how God told him
• “Send men on your behalf to reconnoiter the land”
• HaShem already knew all about the Land: this reconnaissance mission was not for the LORD, but for the benefit of the people.
• “which I am giving to the people of Israel”
• “giving” here is נֹתֵן [no-tehn] in the Hebrew, the active participle of נָתַן [nah-tahn] which means:
• Strong's: to give, used with greatest latitude of application (put, make, etc.)
• BDB: (in the Qal verb form)
◦ to give, to bestow, to grant, to permit, to ascribe, to employ, to devote, to consecrate, to dedicate, to pay wages, to sell, to exchange, to lend, to commit, to entrust, to give over, to deliver up, to yield produce, to occasion, to produce, to requite to, to report, to mention, to utter, to stretch out, to extend
◦ to put, to set, to put on, to put upon, to set, to appoint, to assign, to designate
◦ to make, to constitute
• Being an active participle it is translated into English here using the “-ing” suffix indicating present action; something that is happening now.
• יהוה the great Sovereign of the Universe, the great I AM, Who had proven Himself over and over again is here declaring that He is at this point actively engaged in giving this land to the children of Israel.
• We know the account from that follows, how the spies reported it was a good land, BUT we can't take possession of it. There are giants here, and there are giants there. There is this problem and that obstacle, and the people as a whole did not trust the LORD.
• Yeshua (Jesus) faced the same problem with His talmidim in Matthew 8:
18 When Yeshua saw the crowd around Him, He gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. … 23 He boarded the boat, and His talmidim followed. 24 then, without warning, a furious storm arose on the lake, so that waves were sweeping over the boat. But Yeshua was sleeping. 25 So they came and roused Him, saying, “Sir! Help! We're about to die!” 26 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? So little trust you have!” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and there was a dead calm.
• He gave orders to cross to the other side, not go out to the middle and drown!
• In so many ways we see it – over 5,000 years of recorded history proves the nature of man has not changed!
• Compare this with what Yeshua calls “great faith” in Matt 8:5-13 and 15:21-28.
• How often do we step out in faith and obedience to the Word of the LORD only to falter at the first sign of opposition? (cf Matt 13:19-23)
• If God said it, it will be. We see this pattern in the precedence He set in the beginning:
• Gen 1:3 Then God said, “Let there be light”' and there was light.
• Gen 1:6 God said … 7 … that is how it was
• Gen 1:9 God said … and that is how it was
• Gen 1:11 God said … and that is how it was
• Gen 1:14 God said … 15 … and that is how it was
• Gen 1:20 God said … 21 God created … and there was
• Gen 1:24 God said … and that is how it was
• Gen 1:26 Then God said … 30 … And that is how it was
6 from the tribe of Y'hudah, Kalev the son of Y'funeh
• יְהוּדָה [Y'hudah] was the fourth son of Isra'el through Le'ah (Gen 29:35), his name meaning “praised” [BDB]
• יְפֻנֶּה [Y'funeh] means “he will be facing” [BDB], from פָּנָה [pah-nah] meaning to turn; by implication, to face, i.e. appear, look, etc.
• כָּלֵב [Kalev], (often transliterated Caleb is introduced here,) Strong's and BDB both bring out that his name means “dog” (in a literal or figurative sense) but stop there.
◦ כָּלֵב can also be seen as a contraction of כָּל [kol] meaning “all” and לֵב [lehv] meaning “heart”; after all “man's best friend” is an animal that is “all heart”
▪ That Kalev is “all heart” also fits what we read of him in Scripture.
◦ According to Numbers 32:12, Kalev the son of Y'funeh was a K'nizi, one of the people groups inhabiting the Land promised to Avram in Genesis 15:18-21:
That day Adonai made a covenant with Avram: “I have given this land to your descendants – from the Vadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River – 19 the territory of the Keni, the K'nizi, the Kadmoni, 20 the Hitti, the P'rizi, the Refa'im, 21 the Emori, the Kena'ani, the Girgashi and the Y'vusi.” (Emphasis added)
• That Kalev was one of the “leading men among the people of Isra'el” yet again demonstrates that HaShem accepts all whose hearts are turned toward Him.
◦ It is NOT our past that determines our future, but the decisions we make here and now, and continue to make and live out.
▪ Praise God, for that, because we all have a past
• All of us are like someone unclean, all our righteous deeds like menstrual rags; we wither, all of us, like leaves; and our misdeeds blow us away like the wind (Isa 64:6)
• All have sinned and come short of earning God's praise (Rom 3:23)
▪ but in Yeshua we can all have a future!
• For I know what plans I have in mind for you, says Adonai, plans for well-being, not for bad things; so that you can have hope and a future. 12 When you call to Me and pray to Me, I will listen to you. 13 When you seek Me, you will find Me, provide you seek for Me wholeheartedly; 14a and I will let you find Me, says Adonai. (Jer 29:11-14a)
• By God's grace, without earning it, all are granted the status of being considered righteous before Him, through the act redeeming us from our enslavement to sin that was accomplished by the Messiah Yeshua. (Rom 3:24)
• … To as many as did receive Him, to those who put their trust in His person and power, He gave the right to become children of God, 13 not because of bloodline, physical impulse or human intention, but because of God. (John 1:12-13)
• … Let it be known to you and to all the people of Isra'el that it is in the name of the Messiah, Yeshua from Natzeret, Whom you had executed on a stake as a criminal but Whom God has raised from the dead, that this man stands before you perfectly healed. 11 This Yeshua is the stone rejected by you builders which has become the cornerstone. 12 There is salvation in no one else! For there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by Whom we must be saved! (Acts 4:10-12)
8 fron the tribe of Efrayim, Hoshea the son of Nun
• Efrayim was a son of Yosef (Joseph) and Osnat (Asenath), an Egyptian and daughter of a pagan priest.
◦ Yet Efrayim and his brother M'nasheh were both adopted by Isra'el (Gen 48:5)
◦ God has plans that include people from every tribe, language, people and nation (Rev 5:9; 7:9)
16 … Moshe gave to Hoshea the son of Nun the name Y'hoshua (Joshua)
• Hoshea (הוֹשֵׁעַ [ho-sheh-a]) deliverer; from
◦ יָשַׁע [ya-sha] meaning:
▪ Strong's: properly, to be open, wide or free, i.e. (by implication) to be safe; causatively, to free or succor
▪ BDB: to save, to be saved, to be delivered
• Y'hoshua (Joshua) (יְהוֹשׁוּעַ [yeh-ho-shu-ah]) Yahweh-saved; from
◦ יהוה (the) self-Existent or Eternal; Jehovah; “the existing One” - and -
◦ יָשַׁע as above
▪ ≈ “יהוה saves”
20 … Finally, be bold enough to bring back some of the fruit of the land.”
• This is one possible translation from the original Hebrew, however, as Cantor brought out, there is more here.
• This sentence is translated from what in the original Hebrew is four words:
וְהִתְחַזַּקְתֶּם וּלְקַחְתֶּם מִפְּרִי הָאָרֶץ
ha-ah-retz mi-peh-riy u-leh-kahk-tehm veh-hiyt-khah-zahk-tehm
the land from fruit & take them & be them strengthened
• Something very common in Hebrew is the use of the conjunctive prefixו (vav) meaning “and.” As in English it is used to link words, phrases, and ideas.
• We can see from the use of the ו in the first word (וְהִתְחַזַּקְתֶּם) that it is in some way connected to what precedes it.
• The root word (חָזַק [khah-zahk]) is also seen in the blessing / prayer recited at the end of reading each book of the Torah scroll:
Hazak, hazak, v'nit'chazek!
Be strong, be strong, and let us be strengthened!
• The question here is whether the ו of וּלְקַחְתֶּם (& take them) is directly linked with וְהִתְחַזַּקְתֶּם (& be them strengthened), or back further to the directives beginning in verse 17 – or to both.
• The LORD told the spies through Moses here to be strong; to be of good courage. They were to trust in the All-Mighty Who had delivered them from Egypt and provided for them in their travels. From reading “the rest of the story” we know that ten either forgot or failed to do this and led the people into rebellion against the LORD. Only Joshua and Caleb remembered and followed after God wholeheartedly. Only these two, out of that entire generation, actually lived in the Promised Land.
• By the way, the use of the conjunctive ו, so common in Hebrew, carries over into the New Testament. Even though those original writings were in Greek, they were written by Hebrews. This is seen in the use of Hebrew idioms as well as in the abundant use of the Greek word καὶ (“and”).
23 They came to the Eshkol Valley; and there they cut off a branch bearing one cluster of grapes, which they carried on a pole between two of them; they also took pomegranates and figs. 24 That place was called the Valley of Eshkol [cluster], because of the cluster which the people of Isra'el cut down there.
• There has been speculation that this cluster of grapes must have been very large if it had to be carried on a pole between two of them.
• But the text does not say that it had to be carried that way; only that it was carried that way.
• Others have speculated that this must be hyperbole since clusters of grapes don't grow that big.
• But just because we have not personally seen something, does not mean it does not exist, just that more investigation may be necessary.
• Even if we discount the fact that this is the testimony of the Word of God, and the written testimony of eye witnesses to the account, there are even more witnesses:
• Recent visitors to Israel can testify to the size and quality of the fruit of the land.
• Commentaries also testify to the size and quality of the fruit grown in Israel, e.g.:
• Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament
The spies also came into the valley of Eshcol, where they gathered pomegranates and figs, and also cut down a vine-branch with grapes upon it, which two persons carried upon a pole, most likely on account of its extraordinary size. Bunches of grapes are still met with in Palestine, weighing as much as eight, ten, or twelve pounds, the grapes themselves being as large as our smaller plums (cf. Tobler Denkblätter, pp. 111, 112). The grapes of Hebron are especially celebrated. To the north of this city, on the way to Jerusalem, you pass through a valley with vineyards on the hills on both sides, containing the largest and finest grapes in the land, and with pomegranates, figs, and other fruits in great profusion (Robinson, Palestine, i. 316, compared with i. 314 and ii. 442).
• Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary
One cluster of grapes. The grapes reared in this locality are still as magnificent as formerly: they are said by one to be equal in size to prunes, and compares by another to a man's thumb. One cluster sometimes weight ten or twelve pounds. The mode of carrying the cluster cut down by the spies, though not necessary from its weight, was evidently adopted to preserve it entire, as a specimen of the productions of the promised land; and the impression made by the sight of it would be all the greater that the Israelites were familiar only with the scanty vines and small grapes of Egypt. (This photo inset is from http://webecoist.momtastic.com/2012/01/31/berry-berry-big-the-worlds-10-largest-fruits/, accessed 09 Jun 15. The half dollar pictured has a diameter of 30.61 mm [1.21 in] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_half_dollar, accessed 12 Jun 15.)
• According to Guinness, a bunch of grapes grown by Bozzolo Y Perut Ltda of Santiago, Chile in 1984 weighed 9.4 kg (20 lb 11½oz). (http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/largest-bunch-of-grapes, accessed 09 Jun 15)
• Size, weight, and the possibility of wanting to keep the cluster whole (e.g. to show that it was, in fact, a single bunch rather than a number of bunches together) could each warrant carrying it on a pole between two men, let alone all three factors together.
25 Forty days later, they returned from reconnoitering the land 26 and went to Moshe, Aharon and the entire community of the people of Isra'el at Kadesh in the Pa'ran Desert, where they brought back word to them and to the entire community and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 What they told him was this: “We entered the land where you sent us, and indeed it does flow with milk and honey – here is its fruit! 28 However the people living in the land are fierce, and the cities are fortified and very large. Moreover, we saw the 'Anakim there. 29 'Amalek lives in the area of the Negev; the Hitti, the Y'vusi and the Emori live in the hills; and the Kena'ani live by the sea and alongside the Yardan.”
• You sent us to find out about the land, the people, and the cities (vs 17-20)
• It is a good and fruitful land, however … !
• With their own eyes they saw giants and fierce people living in very large, fortified cities.
• The LORD knew about the giants; that fact didn't escape His notice, worry Him, or change the fact that He was giving the Land to His people.
30 Kalev silenced the people around Moshe and said, “We ought to go up immediately and take possession of it; there is no question that we can conquer it.”
• Kalev saw the same things the other men had seen, but he also saw with spiritual eyes, remembering all that the LORD had done for them to bring them to this point.
◦ A great part of wisdom is in remembering, especially remembering the LORD and all He has done for us.
▪ You are to remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Adonai your God brought you out from there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore Adonai your God has ordered you to keep the day of Shabbat. (Deut 5:15)
▪ A traditional blessing recited on the first day of Hanukkah is:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ײַ אֱלֹהֲינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
hah-o-lahm meh-lehk eh-lo-hay-nu Adonai ah-tah bah-rukh
שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לֵזְמַן הַזֶה
hah-zeh laz-man veh-hi-gi-anu veh-ki-manu sheh-heh-cheh-yanu
Blessed are you O Lord our God, King of the universe
Who has kept us and sustained us, and brought us to this season
31 But the men who had gone with him said, “We can't attack those people, because they are stronger than we are”; 32 and they spread a negative report about the land they had reconnoitered for the people of Isra'el by saying, “The land we passed through in order to spy it out is a land that devours its inhabitants. All the people we saw there were giant! 33 We saw the N'filim, the descendants of 'Anak, who was from the N'filim; to ourselves we looked like grasshoppers by comparison, and we looked that way to them too!”
• It is important to recognize several facts about Scripture, e.g.
• It is the uniquely inspired Word of God. What does this mean? (The following is adapted from James A. Borland, A General Introduction to the New Testament, (Lynchburg, VA: University Book House, 1989 rev.) pp. 118-120.)
The English word inspired comes from the Latin inspiro meaning to breathe upon or into. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” The phrase “given by inspiration of God” is a translation of one word in the original Greek, θεόπνεθστος (theópneustos), which means literally “God-breathed.” The Scriptures, the actual writings themselves, have the quality of being God-breathed. They come directly from the LORD Who breathes into, through, and out of them. This is why they are inerrant. They are not merely the words or works of men. The finished product, the writing itself, is God-breathed and as a result is inerrant.
Inerrant means without error. No mistakes of any kind whatever are possible in something that is inerrant. An inerrant Bible contains nothing that is untrue, false or incorrect, and all it speaks about is without error – even in matters of science, history, geography, and so forth. The original manuscripts of each book of the God-breathed Bible were written in such a way that they are inerrant.
Verbal inspiration is a declaration that each and every word (even the very spelling of each word) is totally from God.
Plenary inspiration means that all parts – beginning, middle, and end; prose and poetry; history and apocalypse; parable and prophecy; genealogy or any other literary genre – are all fully and completely God-breathed.
“The books of Scripture were written by the instrumentality of men, and the national and personal peculiarities of their authors have been evidently as freely expressed in their writing, and their natural faculties, intellectual and moral, as freely exercised in their production, as those of the authors of any other writings. Nevertheless these books are, one and all, in thought and verbal expression in substance and form, wholly the Word of God, conveying with absolute accuracy and divine authority all that God meant them to convey, without any human additions or admixtures. This was accomplished by a supernatural influence of the Sprit of God acting upon the spirits of the sacred writers, called 'inspiration;' which accompanied them uniformly in what they wrote; and which, without violating the free operation of their faculties, yet directed them in all they wrote, and secured the infallible expression of it in words. The nature of this divine influence we, of course, can no more understand than we can in the case of any other miracle. But the effects are plain and certain – viz., that all written under it is the very Word of God, of infallible truth, and of divine authority; and this infallibility and authority attach as well to the verbal expression in which the revelation is conveyed as to the matter of the revelation itself.” (A. A. Hodge, The Confession of Faith, (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth) pp. 33-34, cited in Borland)
• The writings of Scripture contain figures of speech, idioms, hyperbole, prose, poetry, historical narrative, anthropomorphisms, etc. that we would expect to find in most any other piece of literature.
◦ Should the Bible be taken literally? Every literal part, yes! But we also need to understand that all these other literary types are also found within its pages.
• The plain meaning of the text, in context, should be our guide.
• “We can't attack those people, because they are stronger that we are”
◦ conjecture, and forgetful of all the LORD had done in their lives and that He was with them
• “The land we passed through in order to spy it out is a land that devours its inhabitants”
◦ hyperbole / exaggeration (otherwise the land would be uninhabited!)
• “All the people we saw there were giant!”
◦ Really? ALL the people you saw? Every single one of them? hyperbole / exaggeration
• “to ourselves we looked like grasshoppers by comparison”
◦ hyperbole / exaggeration
• Most grasshopper individuals grow to about 2 inches long although larger grasshoppers are found on a fairly regular basis that grow to more than 5 inches in length. (http://a-z-animals.com/animals/grasshopper/, accessed 10 Jun 15)
• The average height for humans varies depending on such things as genetics, individual health, and maternal health (especially during pregnancy). A quick scan of a chart documenting the average male height by country/region around the world reveals a high of 6 ft 1 in (Dinaric Alps) and a low of 5 ft 2 in (Indonesia). (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_height, accessed 10 Jun 15)
• Many have argued that the height of man in general was much shorter in the past.
• Following this argument and rounding down, let us assume for the moment that the average height of the Israelite spy of Numbers 13 was only four feet. Let us further assume a sort of giantism for the grasshoppers in question, giving them a length of six inches, and that they walked upright at that full height of six inches.
• That means that the Israelite spies were on average 8 times taller than their comparison grasshoppers.
• 4 feet = 48 inches. 48 inch spies divided by 6 inch height of the upright-walking grasshoppers = the spies were 8 times taller than the grasshoppers.
• “... And we looked that way to them too (like grasshoppers)!”
• Taking this statement at face value and extrapolating from the above information, all of the people of the Promised Land would average 32 feet in height!
• The tallest man in medical history for whom there is irrefutable evidence is Robert Pershing Wadlow (USA) (born 6:30 a.m. at Alton, Illinois, USA on 22 February 1918), who when last measured on 27 June 1940, was found to be 2.72 m (8 ft 11.1 in) tall. (http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/tallest-man-ever/, accessed 10 Jun 15)
• I think it is safe to also label this statement in Numbers as hyperbole / exaggeration.
1 At this all the people of Isra'el cried out in dismay and wept all night long. 2 Moreover, all the people of Isra'el began grumbling against Moshe and Aharon; the whole community told them, “We wish we had died in the land of Egypt! or that we had died here in the desert! 3 Why is Adonai bringing us to this land, where we will die by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will be taken as booty! Wouldn't it be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 And they said to each other, “Let's appoint a leader and return to Egypt!”
• Faced with this bad and negative report they let their fears run away with them (not considering what Joshua and Caleb had to say, and forgetting all the LORD has done for them to this point)
• With their attitudes in the wrong
◦ They cry out and weep,
◦ grumble against leadership,
◦ wish they had died
◦ question God
◦ prophecy doom and gloom
◦ long for re-enslavement, and
◦ plot rebellion against the LORD and His good plans
• All warnings for us, e.g.
◦ Avoid negativism and negative people
▪ The doctor of psychology leading a seminar we once attended reiterated a long known fact that research shows it takes about ten positive thoughts to combat each negative thought.
• Whatever type of “seeds” we plant in the lives of others is that same type of “harvest” we will reap from others, only much more of it.
◦ Don't delude yourselves: no one makes a fool of God! A person reaps what he sows. (Gal 6:7)
• One true test of our faith in the LORD and His Sovereignty is how we treat and talk about those in leadership.
• We need to consistently pray for our leaders, strengthen and encourage them to wholeheartedly follow God and His ways
◦ Anne told me years ago that she could trust me to lead our family because she trusts God, and prays for me.
▪ Do we do the same for the leaders the LORD has sovereignly placed in our lives?
◦ Yeshua tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matt 5:44), how much more should we love and pray for the leaders He has given us?
• When we disagree with them (and we will from time to time since they are just as human as we are)
• We need to seek God and search our own hearts as to the reason(s) why, to be sure that we are in a right relationship with the LORD ourselves, and then if need be
• Go to them privately to discuss the matter
• We do this with those who sin against us (Matt 18:15), how much more our beloved leaders with whom we have some disagreement?
• If their point or position agrees with Scripture (or even if it does not go against Scripture), we need to be careful we do not find ourselves fighting against God
• The LORD will use any number of tools to accomplish His work – in the lives of our leaders and also in our lives
• What is God trying to teach us in this situation?
• Prayerfully consider that we may be in the wrong congregation
◦ If we can not trust and submit our lives to God's leadership where we are, we may be in the wrong place.
▪ There are many cells in the body.
• Cells that are similar in makeup are brought together to form tissue. Similar tissues are brought together to form organs. Similar organs are brought together to form systems.
• Nerve cells are different from muscle cells, which are different from toenail cells, which are different from blood cells, etc., yet all work together to help the body function properly.
• If, however, teeth grow in the heart, hair grows in our kidneys, or skin grows inside our bones, we will have problems.
• Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your lives, as people who will have to render an account. So make it a task of joy for them, not one of groaning; for that is of no advantage to you. (Heb 13:17)
• Don't follow the crowd, but rather God.
◦ They could see, touch, feel, smell good fruit of the Land, but put their faith in giants they could only hear about and imagine.
◦ They forgot or ignored all that the LORD had done for them.
▪ Miracles alone are insufficient for true faith and relationship.
• People will always crave for more and more, and be less and less satisfied.
5 Moshe and Aharon fell on their faces before the entire assembled community of the people of Isra'el. 6 Y'hoshua the son of Nun and Kalev the son of Y'funeh, from the detachment that had reconnoitered the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to the whole community of Isra'el, “The land we passed through in order to spy it out is an outstandingly good land! 8 If Adonai is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us – a land flowing with milk and honey. 9 Just don't rebel against Adonai. And don't be afraid of the people living in the land – we'll eat them up! Their defense has