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Significant of the wickedness of these men are their names, all of which point to their godless action. The representative of the tribe of Reuben was called Shammua, the son of Zaccur, because he did not obey God, which was counted against him just as if he had pursued sorcery. Shaphat, the son of Hori, was Simeon's representative. His name signifies, "He did not conquer his evil inclination, and hence went out empty-handed, without having received a possession in the land of Israel." The tribe of Issachar was represented by Igal, the son of Joseph. He bore this name because he soiled the reputation of the Holy Land, and therefore died before his time. Benjamin's representative was Palti, the son of Raphu, so called because "he spat out the good qualities that had previously been his, and therefore wasted away." The name of Gaddiel, the son of Sodi, Zebulun's representative, signifies, "He spoke infamous things against God in executing the secret plan of the spies." Manasseh's representative, Gaddi, the son of Susi, was so called because he blasphemed God and aroused His wrath; for it was he who said of the land, "it eateth up its inhabitants." But the worst one among them was Ammiel, the son of Gemalli, the representative of Dan, for it was he who said, "The land is so strong that not even God could go up against it," hence his name, which means, "He cast a shadow upon God's strength," and he was punished according to his wicked words, for he did not enter the promised land. Asher's representative was Sethur, the son of Michael, who had resolved to act against God and instead of saying, "Who is like unto God?" he said, "Who is God?" Naphtali's representative was named Nahbi, the son of Vophsi, for he suppressed the truth, and faith found no room in his mouth, for he brought forth lies against God. The last of these spies, Gad's representative, bore the name Geuel, the son of Machi, for he was humbled because he urged untruths against God.

As the ten sinners were name in accordance with their actions, so too did the names of the two pious spies among them correspond to their pious actions. Judah's representative was name Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, because "he spoke what he felt in his heart and turned aside from the advice of the rest of the spies." The pious representative of Ephraim was Hoshea, the son of Nun, a fitting name for him, for he was full of understanding and was not caught like a fish by the spies. Moses who perceived, even when he sent out the spies, the evil intentions they harbored, changed Hoshea's name to Joshua, saying: "May God stand by thee, that thou mayest not follow the counsel of the spies." [505]

This change of name that was brought about by the prefixing of the letter Yod at last silenced the lamentations of this letter. For ever since God had changed Sarai's name to Sarah, the letter Yod used to fit about the celestial Throne and lament: "Is it perchance because I am the smallest among the letters that Thou has taken me away from the name of the pious Sarah?" God quieted this letter, saying: "Formerly thou wert in a woman's name, and, moreover, at the end. I will not affix thee to a man's name, and, moreover, at the beginning." This promise was redeemed when Hoshea's name was changed to Joshua. [506]

When the spies set out on their way, they received instructions from Moses how to conduct themselves, and what in particular, they were to note. He ordered them not to walk on the highways, but to go along private pathways, for although the Shekinah would follow them, they were still to incur no needless danger. If they entered a city, however, they were not to slink like thieves in alleyways, but to show themselves in public and answer those who asked what they wanted by saying: "We came only to buy some pomegranates and grapes." They were emphatically to deny that they had any intention of destroying the idols or of felling the sacred trees. Moses furthermore said: "Look about carefully what manner of land it is, for some lands produce strong people and some weak, some lands produce many people and some few. If you find the inhabitants dwelling in open places, then know that they are mighty warriors, and depending upon their strength have no fear of hostile attack. If, however, they live in a fortified place, they are weaklings, and in their fear of strangers seek shelter within their walls. Examine also the nature of the soil. If it be hard, know then that it it fat; but if it be soft, it is lean." [507] Finally he bade them inquire whether Job was still alive, for if he was dead, then they assuredly needed not to fear the Canaanites, as there was not a single pious man among them whose merits might be able to shield them. [508] And truly when the spies reached Palestine, Job died, and they found the inhabitants of the land at his grave, partaking of the funeral feast. [509]

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