The Twelve Spies - new coins in the Biblical Art series from The Holy Land Mint

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12 December 2019
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Three new coins featuring the story of the twelve spies have been released by Israel - the 23rd in the Bank of Israel's Biblical Art coin series.

The coins (1, 2 and 10 NIS) are available in silver 999, silver 925 prooflike, gold 916 and gold 999. Each features a reverse design showing the spies bringing fruit to the Israelites.

The twelve spies tale

The coins represent the Biblical story of the twelve spies, which is charted on the Israel Mint website as follows: Following the Exodus from Egypt, the Children of Israel wandered in the desert on their way to the Promised Land, the Land of Canaan.

In the second year, they reached the wilderness of Paran, where Moses made his decision in consultation with God to send men to spy out the Land. He appointed the head of each of the twelve tribes to explore the Land and conduct a survey of its cities and inhabitants.

Land of milk and honey

When the men returned after forty days, ten out of the twelve gave a negative report. While they gave a partially good report that the Land "flowed with milk and honey" and as evidence, showed the heavy cluster of grapes they had brought, they frightened the people with the rest of their report. They described the giants they had seen and told them that the land devours its inhabitants, that its people would be too strong for them.

Alone, Joshua and Calev, had faith in God, believing that the Promised Land could only be good for them and that God would guard the people with miracles. After hearing the report of the spies, the people wept and that day of weeping became Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av, when both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem would be destroyed, a day of weeping for the generations to come.

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As punishment, it was to take the Israelites forty years to reach the Promised Land, corresponding to the forty-day trip of the spies, and only the younger generation was to have the merit of entering the Land.

Coin details

Obverse: Israel State Emblem, the face value, "Israel" in English, Hebrew and Arabic, mint year and mint mark, inscription "The Twelve Spies" in the three languages, below, a decorative element representing a cluster of grapes.

Reverse: In the centre, an artistic representation of the spies, bringing the fruits of the seven species of the Land of Israel to the Israelites, where they were encamped in the desert. To the right in the upper border an olive branch symbolizes another of the seven species, below right is a pomegranate. To the left is a jug with milk flowing out of it, a depiction of the Land of Israel which is described 21 times in the Bible as "a land flowing with milk and honey".

To purchase the coins, visit the Mint's website.

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Designer: Lilach Rubin