The J. Paul Getty Museum

The Israelites' Fear of the Giants; The Israelites Stoning the Spies

Object Details


The Israelites' Fear of the Giants; The Israelites Stoning the Spies



Rudolf von Ems (Austrian, about 1200 - 1254)




Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany (Place Created)


about 1400–1410


Tempera colors, gold, silver paint, and ink

Object Number:

Ms. 33 (88.MP.70), fol. 98v


Leaf: 33.5 × 23.5 cm (13 3/16 × 9 1/4 in.)

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Object Description

In an episode from the biblical book of Numbers, the Israelites react strongly to the news brought by the twelve spies that the land of Canaan is inhabited by giants. On the left, the artist visualized the Canaanites as oversize contemporary knights. Breaking through the inner top frame, these solid, well-armed figures are clearly a threat to the much smaller Israelites.

On the far right of the miniature, the artist depicted the two spies who proclaim their faith in God's providence even against such formidable enemies as the Canaanites. Joshua and Caleb, who stand almost twice the height of the Israelites in the center, are threatened with stones by the agitated Israelites. The anonymous artist used this disparity in scale to distinguish between the more and less important figures in the narrative. The vigorous, broadly painted miniatures in the World Chronicle, with contrasting, often incandescent colors, find few parallels in European art of the first half of the 1400s.