The word “Giant” is found several times in the Bible but only three times translated from the word nephil or nephilim (twice in this verse and once in Genesis 6). The giants of Davids time were tall men called giants, and we have tall men today. I’m sure that they seemed much taller when you consider that the average height of a man in those days was around 5 feet.
But, what about these men that the spies saw when Moses sent them into the land of Canaan? What makes them different from the giants of Davids day?
The word Niphil comes from the root word which means fallen. According to Genesis 6 the sons of God produced offspring with the daughters of men. Some say that the sons of God were the righteous men and the daughters of men were the daughters of the unrighteous.
The second explanation is that the sons of God were fallen angels. Thus, the explanation of calling them Nephilim – fallen. But all of these were killed in the flood. There has never been any evidence from scripture that this ever happened again, although it could have.
So, what did the spies see? Keep in mind that Moses had just received Genesis from God along with the commandments and instructions for the tabernacle while he was on the mountain not many weeks or months earlier. They read the instructions for the tabernacle because it was now built. They read the commandments and the instructions for the priests. It stands to reason that the account of Genesis would have been read to the people also.
With this fresh in there minds and mixed in with folklore passed down from Noah’s day that had changed in story by word of mouth, could it not be possible that the spies only assumed that they saw the “fallen ones?”
Later Joshua refers to these people three different time and each time calls them giants or tall men.
The fact is, it is not about what they saw in these tall men but what they then saw about themselves. Ten of the twelve spies allowed their imaginations to dictate what they felt about themselves – grasshoppers.
- How would the story been different if Moses had thought of himself as a grasshopper before Pharaoh?
- How would the story been different if Noah had thought of himself as a grasshopper in the feat of building a large ship for 100 years?
- How would the story been different if Abraham had thought of himself as a grasshopper – introducing himself to others as “The Father of Many Nations” when he had only a son by a servant?
- How would David’s story been different had he thought of himself as a grasshopper before the giant of his day?
Then the twelve spies said that the giants also saw them as grasshoppers. Therefore, it must have been true. Whether the giants really did see them as such or were possibly the ones who called them grasshoppers, initiating the feeling of incompetency, it was the choice of the spies what they believed. They chose to believe that they were grasshoppers, incompetent.
God’s blessing was upon Joshua and Caleb because they refused to accept that image of themselves. As a result, 40 years later Joshua is taking Moses place as leader into conquer the land and Caleb wants to take the very mountain where the lived giants at the age of 80. That is courage!
Many people have had a calling or a vision God gave them and yet they did nothing about it because the felt like a grasshopper before a giant.
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