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Josephus On The Spies (Numbers 13-14)

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Chapter Summary

The first thing that strikes about the account of Josephus of the episode of the spies (Num. 13-14) is its very brevity. The Bible devotes very little attention to the description of the actual investigation of Canaan by the spies. In Josephus' version the spies started by presenting a more positive report : they referred to the beauty of the fruits and added greatly to the praise of the Land by mentioning the abundance of blessings that the Land had. Josephus' Moses defends G-d's decision as having been made with due deliberation. Whereas the Bible says that the ten spies perished in a plague, and Philo adds that those who shared their views died likewise, Josephus, realizing that a plague is likely to spread to innocent people also and concerned with the problem of theodicy, simply omits mention of the plague altogether.

Keywords: Bible; Josephus; Moses; spies

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