The Israelites camped in the wilderness of Paran, Moses, by God's command, sent twelve men, one from each of the twelve tribes, or families into which they were divided, into the land of Canaan, that they might bring him word what sort of country it was, and what kind of people lived in it. He also told the men to bring back with them some of it's fruits.
The twelve men were called “spies” because they went to see the country were gone for forty days. When they returned, as it was the time when grapes were ripening, they brought with them a bunch of grapes, so large and ripe that two of them carried it between them.
This, and other fruits that they had gathered, they showed to the Israelites, and told them that the country they came from was very fertile, but the people in it were powerful and warlike it would be impossible to drive them out, as God had said they should.
They were giants, and lived in large cities, defended by walls. And though Caleb, a brave man, wished that the people should at once march forward and take it, the other men said that it was impossible.
The people began to blame Moses and Aaron for bringing them into the wilderness to be slain by their enemies and they threatened to put Moses away from them, and choose, in this place, a captain who might lead them back into Egypt.
Caleb, and Joshua, another of the spies, told them not to rebel against God for, if they obeyed Him, He would certainly, as He had promised, give them that rich country. But they only complained more, and wanted to stone Moses and those with him.
The glory of the Lord was seen in the Tabernacle and God Himself, in His displeasure, declared that as the people would not believe him, they should no longer be His people, nor have the good land He had promised them.
Moses again prayed earnestly for the rebellious Israelites, begging God to pardon them. And God heard his prayer, and said that He would not entirely cast them off. He said that none of those men, for whom He had done such great things, in delivering them out of Egypt, and feeding them in the wilderness, and who had constantly rebelled against Him, would enter into the Promised Land. They would all die in the wilderness and only their children, together with Joshua and Caleb, would be brought into Canaan.