R Avraham ibn Ezra and Rambam both posit that the Israelite slaves that left Egypt were not upto the task of war and needed to die out and be replaced with more courageous progeny (ibn Ezra) and/or get toughened up by rugged desert living (Rambam).

The Torah is fairly explicit (Bamidbar 14) that had the Israelites not sinned in believing the negative report regarding Canaan they wouldn't have died out or tarried in the midbar and would have proceeded to the promised land without delay.

How does that fit it in with the above mentioned rishonim's theory?

  • Doesn't what they did wrong, illustrate how they needed to grow?
    – MichoelR
    Mar 12 at 3:09
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    @MichoelR I linked to the relevant pieces but here's the language from ibn Ezra: והשם לבדו, כי הוא עושה גדולות, לו נתכנו עלילות, סבב שמתו כל העם היוצא ממצרים הזכרים, אין בהם כח להלחם בכנענים, עד שקם דור המדבר, שלא ראו גלות והיתה להם נפש גבוהה and Rambam: וכמו שהיה מחכמת האלוה להסב אותם במדבר עד שילמדו גבורה
    – Nahum
    Mar 12 at 4:27
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    Had the benei yisrael not sinned they would not have been subject to this natural conjugation of emotional experience.
    – The GRAPKE
    Mar 12 at 13:17
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    I don't have a source, but this is how I see it: Had the nation rejected the negative report and chosen to trust that God is fully allied with them in the mission of conquering the Land then this would have demonstrated the existence of a courage and fortitude forged independent of experience. Since they did not demonstrate such courage and fortitude, it had to be forged by circumstance in order to shape them into the type of people psychologically prepared to enter the Land with righteous might. I think this can be expanded, but that is the main idea (IMHO). Mar 12 at 15:13
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    @Deuteronomy Interesting take. So in your thinking it isnt a classic direct cause and effect type of punishment but rather them showing that they hadnt (superhumanly) transcended their natural conditioning with the status quo plan still nec.. Nice idea
    – Nahum
    Mar 12 at 15:33


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