This essay endeavors to provide the possible sociohistorical contexts of the nonpriestly layers of the scout narrative in Num 13–14. I suggest that the scout motif in these chapters is a literary invention that belongs to a later compositional stage during the Persian period. The scouts’ mission took them as far as the Valley of Eshcol, which marks the southern border of Yehud, probably created by the demographic division in the fifth century BCE. The scout narrative can be read as an explanation of the situation at that time, that is, to explain why Judah had lost the land south of the valley. The passages relating to Caleb and Hebron were added even later to the scout story probably as a territorial claim for the Hebron area in the time when the Persian Empire was making the border adjustment in the late fifth or early fourth century BCE.

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