Spies & Kadesh Barnea

Wow, You aren’t joking when You say that you love Moses. 

Where are the people going now, or what are they going to do?

The Promised Land is the land promised or given by God, according to the Bible, to the Israelites, the descendants of Jacob.

The promise is first made to Abraham (Gen 15:18-21) and then renewed to his son Isaac, and to Isaac’s son Jacob (Gen 28:13),

Abraham’s grandson.

The promised land was described in terms of the territory from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates river (Ex 23:31) and was given to their descendants after Moses led the Exodus out of Egypt. (Deut 1:8).

The term should not be confused with the expression “Land of Israel” which is first used in 1 Sam 13:19, when the Israelite tribes were already in the Land of Canaan.

Today, both Jews and Palestinians believe they are the intended inheritors of this “divine promise”.

The concept of the Promised Land is the central tenet of Zionism, whose discourse suggests that modern Jews descend from the Israelites and Maccabees through which they inherit the right to re-establish their “national homeland”, whilst the Islamic and Christian Palestinian discourse suggests that modern Palestinians descend from all the different peoples who have lived in the region including the ancient Israelites.

Are they finally near the Promised Land.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

Send thou men that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, everyone a ruler among them. 

And Moses by the commandment of the LORD sent them from the wilderness of Paran: all these men were heads of the children of Israel” (Num 13:1-3).

Moses sent the men to spy out the land of Canaan, to see what the land was like, how strong the people were, and to bring back some fruit from the land. 

Forty days later the men returned with the fruit, and declared that it was just like God had said, flowing with mild and honey.  Yet, the people were strong and the cities were walled.

“The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the 2 Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the 3 Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan” (Num 13:29).

Caleb was excited and was ready to go and conquer, but the others were scared.

“And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. 

But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. 

And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. 

And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight” (Num 13:30-33).

Now all the people whined about not being able to get to the Promise Land, and they cursed at God for taking them out of Egypt.  They then decided that they would choose a captain among them and return to Egypt.

“Moses, Aaron, Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh told them that they could take it because God was with them.

“And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me?  And how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them? 

It is interesting to me to see how some Old Testament Saints’ lives pointed to Christ.

One such saint is Joshua the Son of Nun.

We call him Joshua in our English language, but in Hebrew his name is Yehoshua.

The Septuagint translators translated his name into Greek as Iesous.

In English, we write that as Jesus.

So, his name is prophetic of the promised Christ.

I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.

And Moses said unto the LORD, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;). 

And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou LORD art among this people, that thou LORD art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.  

Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying, 

Because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land which he swear unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness.

And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying,

The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.  

Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.

And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word:

Kadesh Barnea Ezuz in the Negev

In this area, the biggest sand dune area in Israel begins.

And just below the village of Ezuz there is a shady oasis, with tamarisk and palm trees surrounding the two ancient wells of Aaron and Moses, indicating a high water aquifer underneath.

Wells like these most probably served the people of Israel while they sojourned here (Kadesh Barnea) for 19 years of the Exodus:

These are also ancient wells on the path of Shur, the famous highway out of Egypt: “And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur” (Gen 16, 7).

But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD. 

Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; 4

Surely they shall not see the land which I swear unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it.

But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land where into he went; and his seed shall possess it. 

(Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwelt in the valley.) Tomorrow turn you, and get you into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea” (Num 14:11-25).

Since the people didn’t believe in Him, He allowed the Amalekites and Canaanites to kill many of them.

1 The Jebusites descended from Canaan.  Their king, Adonizedek, was one of the five who conspired against Gibeon (who was blessed by God) and was killed by Joshua.

2 The Amorites were a prominent people in pre-Israelite days.  It’s believed that at one time their kingdom occupied the larger part of Mesopotamia and Syria, with their capital in Haran.  They had been driven out and to over Babylonia, one of the richest periods in her history.

3 Canaan was the son of Ham, who Noah cursed.  The Canaanites were not with God. 

4 The people wandered in the wilderness for 40 years until all the adults had died because of their lack of faith.  The only two adults that were allowed to go to the Promised Land was Joshua and Caleb.

Kadesh Barnea

1. Ein El-Qudeirat means “Fountain of Omnipotence” or “Fountain of God s Power”
2. Ein El-Qudeirat was first identified as Kadesh Barnea in 1916 AD. It has been the world’s unfortunate choice for Kadesh ever since even to the present time. Virtually all Bible maps incorrectly place Kadesh at Qudeirat.
3. “L. Woolley and T.E. Lawrence described the site and its eight-towered fortress and suggested that it be identified with biblical Kadesh-Barnea (The Wilderness of Zin, PEFA 3 [1914-1915], pp. 52-57, 69-71). The site was surveyed in 1934 by N. Glueck, in 1937 by R. de Vaux, and in 1956 by Y. Aharoni. In 1956, M. Dothan carried out excavations in the fortress of Kadesh-Barnea (1EJ 15 [19651, pp. 134-151).” (Kadesh-Barnea, 1976, Rudolph Cohen, Israel Exploration Journal, 1976 AD, p 201)
4. Woolley and Lawrence (1914-15) suggested associating the relatively well-watered area of Tell el-Qudeirat in north-eastern Sinai with Biblical Kadesh Barnea, the main place of sojournment of the ancient Israelites in the desert following the Exodus from Egypt. Though many scholars have accepted the above suggestion, there is so far no independent evidence to confirm this viewpoint. (The Bible and Radiocarbon Dating, Thomas E. Levy, Higham, Bruins, Plicht, 2005, p352)
5. Qudeirat was the largest spring in the entire modern Sinai Peninsula: Dothan writes:
a. “The tell is located near `Ein el Qudeirat, in Wadi el Ein, the richest spring in Sinai, which has a flow of about 40 cu. m per hour. This spring, which today is channeled into an irrigation network, and extends over some 2 km (Pl. 25, A), forms the largest oasis of northern Sinai. (The Fortress at Kadesh-Barnea, M Dothan, 1965)
b. Gunneweg also says the same: “The Iron Age II fortress of Qadesh Barnea (nowadays called Tell ‘Ein el-Qudeirat) is located in Wadi el ‘Ein, a well (‘Ein) which has fed the largest oasis of the southern Negev as well as northern Sinai from early times until the present (Dothan 1965, 134; Woolley and Lawrence 1914. 69-71; Cohen 1983, 93-4)”. (Edomite, Negev, Midianite Pottery: Neutron Activation Analysis, Gunneweg, 1991 AD)
c. “In fact, Ein-Qedeis is a shallow pool of water surrounded by a desert wasteland. Ein-Qedeis could not have been a major ancient center like Kadesh-Barnea. … Its strategic location on two important ancient routes, its abundance of water and its correspondence with Biblical geography makes this the most likely candidate; no other site offers a convincing alternative. … The springs of Ein el-Qudeirat are the richest and most abundant in the Sinai; they water the largest oasis in northern Sinai. (Did I Excavate Kadesh-Barnea? absence of Exodus remains poses problem, Rudolph Cohen, 1981 AD)
d. “Has the site been correctly identified? If so, why have we found no remains from the Exodus period? … Thus far our excavations have yielded nothing earlier than the tenth century B.C.—the time of King Solomon. (Did I Excavate Kadesh-Barnea? absence of Exodus remains poses problem, Rudolph Cohen, 1981 AD)
6. Ein El-Qudeirat is located in Wadi el Ein, a narrow dry valley that is a few kilometers long.
7. Four ostracons were found at Qudeirat. This one was found in the youngest (highest) level about 700 BC. It is a conversion chart between Hebrew and Egyptian numbering systems.
Sometimes referred to as Kadesh or Kedesh, the Biblical site of Kadesh Barnea is an important location in Israelite history.

Miriam, Moses’ sister, died there, and Moses, overcome by anger, disobediently struck the rock that brought forth – water at this location.

The 12 spies also returned there after their foray into the promised land.

Although the name Kadesh is probably related to the Hebrew word qadesh, meaning “holiness,” the origin of “Barnea” is unknown.

Since 1905 modem Ain el-Qudeirat in the Wadi el-Ain of the northern Sinai has been widely accepted to be the location of the Biblical Kadesh Barnea.

Sev­eral Iron Age fortresses have been exca­vated there. The oldest, a small, elliptical structure, dates to the 10th century B.C., but was evidently abandoned for some time after the first fort’s destruction.

A second fort constructed during the 8th century was destroyed during the 7th century B.C., most likely during Manasseh’s reign. This fort was somewhat larger and rectangular in shape, and a good amount of pot­tery associated with this structure has been found.

Most significantly, two ostraca (pot­tery fragments containing writing) engrav­ed in Hebrew have been recovered there, suggesting that Israelites did indeed occupy this site.

in 586 B.C. the Babylonians may have destroyed a final fortress, which appears to have been built during Josiah’s rule.

Some ostraca containing inventories of goods have also been unearthed; their texts are in. He­brew, but the numerals are hieratic (a cursive form of Egyptian hieroglyphics that became common during the late Judahite monarchy).

At Ain el-Qudeirat, not a single pottery sherd has been discovered dating to the Late Bronze or Iron I periods. This archae­ological gap has troubled historians who have sought evidence for an Israelite pres­ence there, as indicated in Numbers.

Skeptics have suggested that this interruption gives reason to question the veracity of the Bibli­cal accounts of the exodus and the subse­quent conquest of Canaan.

Others have interpreted this pause dif­ferently, challenging the identification of Ain el-Qudeirat with the Biblical Kadesh Bar­nea and suggesting alternative sites at Ain Qedeis and Ain Qeseimeh.

But problems exist with these sites, too. The Kadesh Barnea mentioned in Numbers was, probably a region rather than a specific site, and the Bible does not imply that a significant settlement existed there when the Israelites passed through.

Since the archaeological work at Ain el-Qudeirat has not been completed, the possi­bility remains that Late Bronze or Iron Age I evidence will in fact surface.

Future excavations there and elsewhere may help to answer lingering questions concerning this Biblical location.