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    Order of spies – Sh’lach L’cha

    The spies bring back their report, from a 1907 Bible card

    Twelve spies were sent into the Promised Land to check out its nature (Num. 13:2).

    Nachmanides says their names are listed in the Torah in order of personal status. This presents us with a problem, since Joshua, who was destined to become Moses’ successor, did not top the list, though we would have thought this was the appropriate way to acknowledge him.

    Sforno disagrees with Nachmanides and thinks the spies were of equal status but they were listed according to age.

    In tractate Sotah, the Talmud has a further suggestion, that the listing reflected the outcome of their mission and followed the men’s contribution to national history.

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