“They went up into the Negev and arrived at Hevron; Achiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the ‘Anakim, lived there. (Hevron was built seven years before Tzo‘an in Egypt.) They came to the Eshkol Valley; and there they cut off a branch bearing one cluster of grapes, which they carried on a pole between two of them; they also took pomegranates and figs. That place was called the Valley of Eshkol [cluster], because of the cluster which the people of Isra’el cut down there.”-Numbers 13:22-24
We are continuing on with our study of Numbers Chapter 13 focusing on the the scouting mission of the 12 Israelites who were handpicked by Moses.
Let’s jump right into it.
We’re told the 12-men scout party ran into three big dudes called Anakites.
Who were the Anakites anywhere?
The truth is nobody really knows for sure.
All we really know is that they were a race of tall people and that they are compared to the Nephilim.
If you recall, the Nephilim were a race of people spoken about in Genesis before the flood that came into existence when the “Sons of God” had intercourse with the “daughters of men“.
Some people say that the Nephilim were a big, fierce and evil race because they had the blood of fallen angels flowing through their veins.
I don’t buy that anymore.
I believe that the “Sons of God” were the Godly and faithful line of Seth and the “Daughters of Men” were the line of Cain.
And as time passed, men from the line of Seth began to lust after the beautiful women from the line of Cain resulting in a polluted race that the Lord could not and would not tolerate.
Ultimately, this resulted in God sending the great flood to destroy this unholy offspring.
Oh and incidentally, Goliath, the huge warrior that was slain by King David was actually an Anakite (in Hebrew ANAKIM).
Let’s move on.
Next, seemingly out of the blue, we’re given this little tidbit of information.
“Hevron was built seven years before Tzo‘an in Egypt”
What does the name of a city in Egypt have to do with Hebron?
Well, here’s one possible connection.
TZOA’AN would later be renamed TANIS.
Now get this.
TANIS was established as the Egypt’s capital around the same time that King David established Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Something interesting to think about.
Next we’re told that the Israelites arrived at a place called ESCHOL and came across clusters of grapes so huge that Scripture tells us “they cut off a branch bearing one cluster of grapes, which they carried on a pole between two of them“.
Okay, now it’s time to engage in one of my most favorite activities.
Namely, destroying ridiculous Scriptural myths.
Okay, so the statement that says the cluster of grapes was so big that they were carried on a pole between two men was NOT meant to be taken literally.
Did you get that?
It’s a metaphorical statement man.
It’s like if I was to say, “man the grapefruits in Africa are the size of elephants“.
Obviously, you’re not going to take that statement literally, right.
It’s the same situation here.
I once heard a Sunday church preacher say, “I don’t know about everyone, but when I go to the store to get grapes I do not need an extra man and a pole to carry them to the car, however, the Israelite spies in Numbers needed just that”.
My point exactly.
Of course, you don’t need an extra man and a pole to carry them because there are probably no clusters of grapes anywhere in the world where two men and a pole are needed to carry them.
This verse in Scripture is just a metaphorical statement to express how incredibly fertile the land was.
Finally, notice that the Complete Jewish Bible tells us that name of the area they were in, ESCHOL, actually means “cluster“.
This was because the area the 12 Israelites were in was a grape growing region and this also goes to show how the names of places and things are connected to stories in the Bible.
Let’s not forget that this Torah we are studying was originally passed on orally from generation to generation.
Folks back then didn’t have the convenience of heading to their local bookstore to get a Bible.
If you were to read the Hebrew Bible in Hebrew, you would encounter a wide variety of phonetic and literary devices all employed for the purpose of making the Scripture easier to bring to memory and recite to others.
Think of your days in grade school when a good portion of what you learned was via poems and clever rhymes to help you remember what you needed to learn.
It’s the same thing in Scripture.
But unfortunately, a lot of this is lost to us when reading the Bible in English.