Moshe gathered the 12 messengers together for a pep talk.
“Listen up! You are being sent on an important mission. HaShem promised us that the land of Israel is a very, very good land. But I can understand the concerns of our people. It’s your job to calm them down. Go for a tour of the land.”
“Is anybody listening?”
Not really. There was already a lot of whispering and chatting.
“Attention! I am giving you important instructions!”
There was a lot of fidgeting and rustling. Only Yehoshua, the representative from the tribe of Ephraim, and Kaleiv, from the tribe of Yehudah, seemed to take Moshe’s words seriously.
“First of all, enter at the southern part of the land and work your way northward,” Moshe continued as he raised his voice.
Indeed, the hot, dry southern part of Israel was not as fruitful as the northern part. But as they would head up towards the north it got nicer and nicer, more beautiful, more fruitful and more picturesque. So Moshe figured, “It’s best that they end their “tour” in the nicest part of the land. Let those images be fresh in their memory when they return.”
And another set of instructions, “Come back with a report,” Moshe said. “Check out what type of cities they live in. If they live in open cities they are strong and fearless. But if they live in fortified cities with secure walls it is a sure sign of weakness.”
Moshe continued, “Find out what kinds of people live there, and see what type of land it is. Find the fruit trees for which Eretz Yisrael is famous – bring back samples of fruit for everyone to see! Be strong. Be strong. Go in peace and come back in peace. Good luck! May HaShem be with you.”
Yehoshua and Kaleiv nodded. The other 10 looked, and sounded, restless, impatient, suspicious, anxious and adventurous.
“We will take care of everything.”
“We will be wonderful spies,” ten of them assured Moshe.
And with that, off went the self-proclaimed spies.