XLII. (232) Accordingly, there were a great many contest between them even before they returned to the camp, but not very serious ones, in order that there might not be seditions between them from any of them adhering very contentiously to his own opinion, or from different persons giving different accounts, but they became more violent after their return; (233) for some of them brought back formidable stories of the strength of the different cities, and the great populousness and opulence of each of them, exaggerating and making the most of everything in their description so as to cause excessive consternation among their hearers; while others, on the contrary, disparaged and made light of all that they saw, and exhorted their fellow countrymen not to faint but to persevere in their design of colonising that country, as they would subdue the natives with a mere shout; for that no city whatever would be able to resist the onset of so mighty a power attacking it with its united force, but would be overwhelmed with its might and submit at once. Moreover, each of the spies infused into the souls of his hearers some portion of his own spirit, the cowardly spreading cowardice, and the indomitable and bold diffusing confidence united with sanguine hope. (234) But these last made but a fifth part of those who were frightened out of their senses, while they, on the other hand, were five times as numerous as the high-spirited; and the small number of those who displayed any courage, is often beaten down by the vast number of those who behaved in a cowardly manner, as they say was the case at this time also; for they who maintained the better side of the question were only two, while those who made the contrary report were ten; and these last so entirely prevailed over the two former, that they led away the whole multitude after them, alienating them from the two, and binding them wholly to themselves. (235) But about the country itself they all brought back the same report with perfect unanimity, praising the beauty both of the champaign and of the mountainous district. But then they further cried out, “But what is the advantage to us of those good things which belong to others, when they are guarded by a mighty force, so that they can never be taken from their owners?” And so, attacking the two who brought the opposite report, they were very near stoning them, preferring to hear pleasant rather than useful things, and also preferring deceit to truth. (236) At which their leader was indignant, and he was also at the same time afraid lest some heaven-inflicted evil might descend upon them, since they so obstinately persisted in despairing and in disbelieving the word of God, which indeed took place. For of the spies, the ten who brought back cowardly tiding all perished by a pestilential disease, with those of the multitude who united in their feelings of despondency, and only the two who had agreed and counselled the people not to fear but to persevere in the plan of the colony were saved, because they were obedient to the word of God, on which account they received the especial honour of not being involved in the destruction of the others.