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Spies

a.k.a. Scouts

The Scouts’ Report: From Rhetoric to Demagoguery

The scout’s initial report is only skeptical, but Caleb’s good-intentioned challenge pushes them to take a dishonest stand against entering the land.

Dr.

Sarah Schwartz

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The Story of the Anonymous Scouts, Modified by the Book of Numbers

Why do the Israelites try to stone Joshua and Caleb instead of Moses and Aaron? Why do Moses and Aaron remain on their faces throughout Joshua and Caleb’s speech? If the story takes place in Israel’s second year in the wilderness, and they are punished to wander for 40 years, shouldn’t the total duration in the wilderness be 41+ years?

Prof. Rabbi

David Frankel

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Sin of the Spies: God’s Ruse to Keep Israel in the Wilderness

The Torah is clear that God refuses to allow the exodus generation to enter the land as a punishment for their sinful reaction to the spies’ report. Maimonides, however, argues that the punishment was a ruse; God never intended to allow that generation to enter the land.

Prof.

Haim (Howard) Kreisel

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Did the Exodus Generation Die in the Wilderness or Enter Canaan?

In the context of the Pentateuch, Deuteronomy is read as a continuation of Numbers, in which God decrees that the exodus generation must wander in the wilderness until they have all died, and that only their children may enter the land. Yet Deuteronomy’s core narrative presents Moses addressing the same Israelites who left Egypt and wandered forty years in the wilderness on the eve of their entry into the Promised Land.

Dr.

Gili Kugler

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The Grain and Pomegranates of Mei Merivah (מי מריבה)

If the people are thirsty for lack of water, why complain to Moses that they “have no grain or pomegranates”? Together with other textual anomalies, this narrative discontinuity suggests that interwoven into the water-at-Merivah story is a fragment from a different story: the missing opening verses of the non-Priestly account of the spies.

Prof. Rabbi

David Frankel

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Were Rahab’s Sisters Saved?

Dr.

Shira Golani

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Whose Idea Was It to Send Scouts?

Project TABS Editors

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Using Deuteronomy to Fill in the Lacunae of Numbers’ Spies Story

Moses refers to the story of the spies in Deuteronomy 1. The details that overlap with Numbers fit only with the (incomplete) J version of the account. How are the two versions connected and what new details can we learn from comparing them?

Dr.

David Ben-Gad HaCohen

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Who Were the Loyal Scouts?

Caleb and Joshua or only Caleb?

Project TABS Editors

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The Backstory of the Spy Account

Early Judahite authors supplemented ancient Israelite traditions of conquest through the Transjordan with the spy story to explain why Israel entered Canaan from the east rather than from the south.

Prof.

Jacob L. Wright

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Unscrambling the Scout Story with the Documentary Hypothesis

Project TABS Editors

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The Scout Story: A Guided Reading

Dr.

Rachel Havrelock

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Lechu Neranena: From the Story of the Spies to the Return of the Judahite Exiles

A New Reading of Psalm 95

Prof. Rabbi

David Frankel

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