JUST as the opening chapters of Genesis are not meant to be a science book (though Genesis does contain scientific data), the middle chapters of Numbers are not meant to be a history book (though they contain historical information). The Torah intends to teach its readers the meaning of things more than the things themselves.
Even so, what could be the meaning for us of the failed mission of the 12 spies? This took place more than 3,000 years ago. Spies were sent to scout out the land of Canaan in preparation for its conquest. Isn’t the story of the spies’ fright over the land’s residents just ancient history?