“Now, the proposal looked good to me” (Dt. 1:23)—
to me it looked good,
but it didn’t look so good to the All-Present.
If it looked good to Moses,
why is this verse composed
in the midst of words of rebuke?
a certain fellow said to his companion:
Sell me this donkey of yours.
The owner replied:
[The buyer asked:]
Can I take it for a trial run?
[The seller] replied:
Come and I will show you
how much it carries in the mountains
and how much it carries in the valley.
When the buyer saw that
the seller was so forthcoming,
he said to himself:
I’m in trouble!
I’ll bet that this guy seems so forthcoming
only in order to take my money!
This is why it is said:
“Now, the proposal looked good to me” (Dt.1:23)—
[but Moses suspected things would go awry].
“And I chose from among you twelve men” (Dt. 1:23)—
from the select among you;
from the most refined among you.
“One man per tribe” (Dt.1:23).
What do I need this for?
Hasn’t it already been said:
And I chose from among you twelve men?
This explains that
the tribe of Levi was not [chosen to be] among [the scouts,
[for Levi was not to be counted among the tribes (cf. Nu.2:33; 3:12)].