After the spies report that Canaan holds six different well-protected societies, one of the spies, old loyal Caleb, shushes the crowd and declares that victory is imminent, all the Israelites have to do is invade the militant cities right away and wipe out all six entire cultures. Caleb must be suffering from severe blindness because, as his fellow spies remind him in Numbers 13:30-33, each city is fortified, the inhabitants are strong, and an attack would be futile. Furthermore, the land occasionally swallows up the inhabitants, and lets not forget about the gigantic Nephilim found in the tribe of Anak!
There are conflicting commentaries for how to interpret the spies saying that the land swallows up the inhabitants. Some commentators are of the opinion that the spies are now afraid of having to fight so many armies, so theyíre telling everyone the land is poisoned. Others explain how ridiculous such a statement would be after having just explained how lush the land is, and instead suggest the phrase means that no inhabitants can last long in Canaan because of all the warring that takes place.
The one thing that each of the commentators agree on is that the spies are cowards. If God tells you to enter a hopeless battle that will kill you and everyone you love, then dagnabbit, you enter that hopeless battle! They claim that only Caleb is to be trusted, but is that right? While Caleb may be awfully gung ho, letís not forget that there are six tribes in Canaan, each living throughout many walled cities, and the people are big and strong. Not to mention the multitude of Nephilim, which must be bad-ass because they that somehow survived the great flood (oops!)
First, letís ignore the fact that the 3,000,000 Israelites would account for about 15% of the entire worldís population at this point in history, drastically outnumbering the Canaanite armies. Assuming theyíre of a believable number, letís remember that they all grew up as poor slaves, they have no military training, and they havenít even had a decent meal in a couple years. From that, I think itís safe to say their chances of defeating fortified cities populated by siege battle-hardened citizens are slim to none.
Sounds like the estimate of the spies is pretty spot-on after all, but even if they are cowards who are giving false reports, letís not forget who picked the spies, God! God would know exactly what kind of report each of the millions of Israelite would give. Surely Caleb wasnít the only war-mongering fanatic among them, so why then did God chose the biggest cowards Israel had to offer? The only reason I can come up with is because he wanted the Israelites to be too scared to invade so he would have an excuse for which to punish them later!
But if the scouts are lying, that means that Canaan isnít infested with various militias, and God is telling the Israelites to invade a land of peaceful tribes living together in harmony! Sorry, but no matter how you slice this, God is either incompetent, deceitful, or just plain dag-nasty evil!