The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleNumbers 13:23
And they came unto the brook of Eshcol…
Or "valley of
Eshcol" F21, which is here so called by anticipation from the following
circumstance; and perhaps had not this name given it, until the
children of Israel were possessed of the land, and then they called it
so, in memory of what was done here at this time; it was not far from
Hebron, as may be concluded from thence; and so Jerom, relating the
travels of Paula in those parts, says F23, she came from Betzur to
Eshcol, where having seen the little cells of Sarah, the cradle of
Isaac, and the traces of the oak of Abraham, under which he saw the day
of Christ, and was glad, rising up from thence, she went up to Hebron;
which shows this Eshcol to be near Hebron, and to lie low, and was a
valley; see (Deuteronomy 1:24) ;
and cut down from thence a branch, with one cluster of grapes;
valley was a vineyard, or at least a vine tree, on which they observed
one cluster, which perhaps was of an uncommon size, as it seems by
what follows, and they cut down the branch, and that with it:
and they bare it between two upon a staff;
it was so big; and which was
not done only for the ease of carrying it, but that it might not have
any of its grapes squeezed, bruised, and broken off, but that they
might carry it entire and whole for the Israelites to behold: these two
men were probably Caleb and Joshua; though Jarchi says they carried
nothing, which is more than he could say with certainty. Some
historians report very surprising things of the size of vines, and
the largeness of their clusters, which, when observed, this account
will not at all seem incredible. Strabo says F24, it is reported, that
in Hyrcania, a vine produced a firkin of wine, and, the trunk of a vine
was so large, that it was as much as two men could grasp with both
arms, and bore clusters of two cubits long F25; the same he says F26 of
the size of vines in Mauritania, and of their clusters being a cubit
long; and of others in Carmania being two cubits long, as before F1:
it is reported of the Indian fig tree, that it sometimes has an hundred
figs more or less on a branch, and all in a cluster like grapes; and
some of the clusters are sometimes so large as to be carried by two men
on a staff F2, as here; and some have thought, that it is the fruit
here meant; but this is expressly called a cluster of grapes. About
half a mile from Eshcol, as Adrichomius F3 says, was the brook or
valley of Sorek, which was famous for vines; and it is affirmed by many
writers and travellers, that to this day there are vines in that place,
which produce clusters of twenty five pounds weight and more; and that
in Lebanon, and other parts of Syria, the kernels of grapes are as big
as a man's thumb F4. Leo Africanus speaks F5 of grapes in some parts
of Africa somewhat red, which, from their size, are called hens'
eggs: and the Talmudists F6 are extravagant, and beyond all belief, in
the account they give of the vines in the land of Canaan, and of the
clusters of them, and the quantity of wine they had from them; and of
this cluster they suppose F7, that the "two" spoken of are not to be
understood of men, but of bars or staves; and that this cluster was
carried by eight, four at the four ends of the two staves, and that
there were, besides, two staves or bars that went across, at the ends
of which were four more men, who carried the cluster hanging in the
middle; a figure of which Wagenseil F8 has given us: but Philo the Jew
F9 has given a better account of it, and more agreeable to the
Scripture, as that it was put upon a staff, and hung at the middle of
it, the ends of which were laid on the shoulders of two young men, who
carried it; though he adds, that such was the weight of it, that these
were relieved by others in succession:
and [they brought] of the pomegranates, and of the figs;
others of them did; which seems to favour the notion that they were in
a body, and that there were more than two together at this place; but
even these two might be able to bring some of this sort of fruit along
with them, as well as bear the cluster of grapes; besides, the text
does not oblige us to understand it of the same persons in the same
F21 (lxn) "vallem", Pagninus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius.
F23 Epitaph. Paulae, fol. 59. G. H.
F24 Geograph. l. 2. p. 50.
F26 lbid. l. 17. p. 568.
F1 Ibid. l. 15. p. 500.
F2 Salmuth. in Pancirol. rer. memorab. par. 2. p. 55.
F3 Theatrum Terrae Sacr. p. 24.
F4 Huet. Alnetan. Quaest. l. 2. c. 12. sect. 22.
F5 Descript. Africae, l. 2. p. 204.
F6 T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 111. 2.
F7 T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 34. 1.
F8 Sotah, p. 707, 708.
F9 De Vita Mosis, l. 1. p. 638.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Numbers 13:23". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=nu&chapter=013&verse=023>. 1999.