Upon returning from their mission, ten of the scouts sent by Moses to reconnoiter the Land of Israel had bad news to report. It was true that the land was fertile and its produce abundant. But the inhabitants of the land were too powerful, their cities too well fortified, and their locations could easily block any easy access into the territory they control. Moreover, the inhabitants were giants. In short, they concluded, “we cannot attack that people, for they are too strong for us” (Numbers 13:31).
The Hebrew word “for us” is “mimenu.” Yet as Rabbi Hanina bar Papa points out in the Talmud (Sota 35a), the word “mimenu” can also mean “for Him.” It was an admission of faithlessness by the ten scouts who doubted God’s ability to assure victory for the invading Israelites.