Moshe dispatched them from the Pa’ran Desert as Adonai had ordered; all of them were leading men among the people of Isra’el. Here are their names:
from the tribe of Re’uven, Shamua the son of Zakur;
from the tribe of Shim‘on, Shafat the son of Hori;
from the tribe of Y’hudah, Kalev the son of Y’funeh;
from the tribe of Yissakhar, Yig’al the son of Yosef;
from the tribe of Efrayim, Hoshea the son of Nun;
from the tribe of Binyamin, Palti the son of Rafu;
from the tribe of Z’vulun, Gadi’el the son of Sodi;
from the tribe of Yosef, that is, from the tribe of M’nasheh,
Gadi the son of Susi;
from the tribe of Dan, ‘Ammi’el the son of G’malli;
from the tribe of Asher, S’tur the son of Mikha’el;
from the tribe of Naftali, Nachbi the son of Vofsi; and
from the tribe of Gad, Ge’u’el the son of Makhi.
These are the names of the men Moshe sent out to reconnoiter the land. Moshe gave to Hoshea the son of Nun the name Y’hoshua.-Numbers 13:3-16
The logistical preparations to scout out the Promised Land begin by choosing leaders from each tribe.
Now the first thing I want you to notice is that there is ONE key tribe conspicuously missing from the list above.
Take a good look and see if you can figure out which one I’m talking about.
Let me give you a super big hint: It’s the Priestly Tribe.
I’m talking about the Tribe of Levi.
The fact that they’ve been left out of the above list confirms that at this point in time the Tribe of Levi was no longer considered a normal part of Israel.
Next, notice the little tidbit in verse 16 about Hosea, the son of Nun, having his name changed to Y’hoshua.
Hmmm, this is interesting.
Let’s explore this a little bit more.
First, let’s start by taking a look at the meaning of the two names.
The name HOSHEA means “God saves“.
And the name Y’HOSHUA means “YAH saves” or “Yahweh saves“.
One name is based on just the generic word for “god” and other is based on the God of Israel’s personal Name or his HA-SHEM.
Why the difference?
Well, consider these points.
Hoshea was born in Egypt way before the Exodus, right?
And we also learned that the first time the God of Israel revealed His Personal Name was when He gave it to Moses at the Burning Bush at Sinai.
My point is, when Hosea was born in Egypt, God’s personal name wasn’t even known among the Hebrews.
Hence, it would have been impossible for the name of Y’HOSHUA to exist.
However, now that at this stage in history God’s Personal Name was known among the Hebrews, Moses changed Hoshea’s Name to reflect this reality.
And now in the Bible, we can find a ton of names with the derivative YAH attached to them like ISAI-YAH, or OBADI-YAH, JEREMI-YAH and so on and on.
And the name Y’HOSHUA should actually be very familiar to us all.
Because the Messiah’s name derives from it.
YESHUA is just a contraction of Y’HOSHUA.
JOSHUA, YEHOSHUA, and YESHUA are essentially the same names as reflected in different dialects and time periods.
I’m getting ahead of myself but another interesting point to consider is that while Moses will lead Israel up to the Promised Land, he will not lead them INTO the Promised Land.
It will be the one named Y’HOSHUA or YESHUA for short who leads Israel INTO the Promised Land.