And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched to the children of Israel, saying, The land…
1. In these wicked reporters see how Moses, that worthy governor, was deceived, for thinking there had been a good choice made of faithful men, the greater part was naught, even ten of the twelve that were sent. So may good men be abused when they mean well, and must not be censured for that which falleth out against their wills. Again, so is the proverb verified "All is not gold that glittereth." The Lord is to be prayed unto to direct our choices; for weak is the wisdom of man, unless the wisdom of our all-seeing God go before and direct.
2. In that they confess it was land that flowed with milk and honey, observe the rich blessings God bestoweth upon men, and make such use in your own particular as he did that said, "O Lord, thou givest to me all things fat and fair, I give to Thee all things lean and foul." Again, since the country was so good, and the inhabitants so wicked, let it make you remember the religious houses, planted most usually in places that flowed with milk and honey, and yet the possessors so idolatrous, and every way evil, as the world now taketh notice they were. Happy men are they that consider the Lord's superabounding goodness to them, and make it an argument to press them daily to thankfulness, love, and all obedience to Him both in soul and body.
3. Note the manner of their praising of the land. It is with a "but"; surely say they, it floweth with milk and honey; "but," but what? "But the people be too strong, and we are not able to go up to possess it." Thus do slanderers ever set out their praises. Such an one is a good man, "but." Such a woman is a good woman and a good neighbour, "but." The preacher to-day made a good sermon, "but." No man hath a better servant, "but." So ever with one "but" or other they abate their praise, and sting the party or matter praised in the minds of them they speak unto. The Lord of lords and Judge of judges well seeth this their dealing, yea, the world noteth it, and even they, to whom they, howsoever they hold their peace, secretly in their hearts abhor such smoothing calumniation. The end of it with God may appear by this example as fearful a one as may be read in any history. Which you may see was this, that six hundred thousand of them died in the wilderness, and never entered into the Land of Promise, and the infamy of these "butting" reporters abide chronicled to this day in the Book of God, the chronicle to be feared above all chronicles. In county and country, with great and small, these "buts" towards our brethren and good matters are used. God in mercy work the remove of them.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: They brought up an evil report of the land which they had spied out to the children of Israel, saying, "The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that eats up its inhabitants; and all the people who we saw in it are men of great stature.