Book of Joshua Chapter 14:6-15; 15:14-17 Antique Commentary Quotes

John Calvin
Joshua 14:6
6.Then the children of Judah came, etc Here the account which had been begun as to the partition of the land is broken off to make way for the insertion of a narrative, namely, that Caleb requested Mount Hebron to be given to him as he had been promised by Moses. This happened a long time before the people had ceased from making war, and it became necessary to cast lots. It is stated to be the fifth year since their entrance into the land, and he does not ask for a locality to be given up to him which was already subdued and cleared of the enemy, but in the midst of the noise and heat of warfare, he asks to be permitted to acquire it by routing and slaying its giants. He only seeks to provide, that when his valor has subdued the giants, he is not to be defrauded of the reward of his labor. The method of so providing, is to prevent its being included in the common lot of a tribe. Accordingly, he does not put forth the claim by himself alone, but the members of his tribe, the sons of Judah also concur with him, because the effect of conferring this extraordinary benefit on one family was so far to make an addition to all. Hence though Caleb alone speaks, all the tribe whose interest it was that his request should be granted were present.

I am not clear why the surname of Kenite was given to Caleb. He is so called also in Num_32:0. I am not unaware of the conjecture of some expositors, that he was so surnamed from Kenas, because either he himself or some one of his ancestors dwelt among the Kenites. But I see no solid foundation for this. What if he gained this title by some illustrious deed, just as victors sometimes assume a surname from the nations they have subdued? As the promise had not been inserted into any public record, and Joshua was the only witness now surviving, he makes his application to him. And it is probable that when the ten spies made mention of the names of the Anakim, with the view of terrifying the people, Caleb, to refute their dishonesty, answered with truth, that when he beheld them on Mount Hebron, they were so far from being terrible, that he would attack them at his own hand, provided that on their expulsion he should succeed to their lands; and that on these conditions Moses ceded to him a habitation in that locality which he should have acquired by his own prowess.

Adam Clarke
Joshua 14:6
Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite – In the note on the parallel place, Num_32:12, it is said Kenaz was probably the father of Jephunneh, and that Jephunneh not Caleb, was the Kenezite; but still, allowing this to be perfectly correct, Caleb might also be called the Kenezite, as it appears to have been a family name, for Othniel, his nephew and son-in-law, is called the son of Kenaz, Jos_15:17; Jdg_1:13, and 1Ch_4:13; and a grandson of Caleb is also called the son of Kenaz, 1Ch_4:15. In 1Ch_2:18, Caleb is called the son of Hezron, but this is only to be understood of his having Hezron for one of his ancestors; and son here may be considered the same as descendant; for Hezron, of the tribe of Judah, having come into Egypt one hundred and seventy-six years before the birth of Caleb, it is not at all likely that he could be called his father in the proper sense of the term. Besides, the supposition above makes a very good sense, and is consistent with the use of the terms father, son, and brother, in different parts of the sacred writings.

Thou knowest the thing that the Lord said – In the place to which Caleb seems to refer, viz., Num_14:24, there is not a word concerning a promise of Hebron to him and his posterity; nor in the place (Deu_1:36) where Moses repeats what had been done at Kadesh-barnea: but it may be included in what is there spoken. God promises, because he had another spirit within him, and had followed God fully, therefore he should enter into the land whereinto he came, and his seed should possess it. Probably this relates to Hebron, and was so understood by all parties at that time. This seems tolerably evident from the pointed reference made by Caleb to this transaction.

J.P. Lange
Jos_14:6. Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, the Kenezite. Caleb, כָּלֵב (perhaps, seizing vehemently, from כָּלַב, Gesen.3), son of one Jephunneh, of the tribe of Judah (Num_13:6), one of the spies (Num_13:7), had in vain encouraged the Israelites to venture an attack and take possession of the promised land (Num_13:31). Pained at the cowardice of the people, he and Joshua rent their garments and still urged the people to a bold and resolute deed, which so enraged the latter that they were ready to stone them both (Num_14:10). On account of their fidelity, Caleb and Joshua alone were deemed worthy to enter into the land of Canaan (Num_14:24; Num_14:30; Num_14:38; Num_26:65; 1Ma_2:56; Sir_46:11-12). He is here, as in Jos_14:14 and also in Num_32:12, called קְנִזִּי, i.e. a descendant of Kenaz, which name occurs yet again, as Jdg_1:12, in the family of Caleb. We agree with Winer (i. 654) in thinking it quite unlikely that there is here any connection with the Kenizzites mentioned Gen_15:19, as Bertheau and Ewald suppose. [But see Smith’s Dict. of the Bible, articles “Caleb” and “Kenezites”].

We next have the speech of Caleb, whose main thought has been already given above. He first calls to mind the word which Jehovah in Kadesh-barnea spoke to Moses, the man of God, concerning him and Joshua. It is found in Num_14:24; Num_14:30, but purports only, as Keil aptly remarks, that the Lord will bring Caleb into the land whither he had gone, and give it to his seed for a possession. Kadesh-barnea we have already found mentioned in Jos_10:41, and shall find it again Jos_15:3; Jos_15:23. The name sounds either as here, or merely קָדֵשׁ (Gen_14:7; Gen_16:14; Num_20:16), or קֶדֶשׁ (Jos_15:23). It lay at the foot of the mountain of the Amorites (Deu_1:19-21), was reached by the Israelites in eleven days from Horeb, and was the principal scene of their stubbornness and insubordination (Numbers 14; Num_20:1-13), and where they decided their fate for the long period of forty years. Robinson, whom Hitzig (Gesch. d. v. Israels, 1:89) unhesitatingly follows, regards as Kadesh, Ain el-Weibeh, which lies northwest of Petra, and almost south of the Dead Sea. Von Raumer fixes upon the more northerly Ain Hasb (p. 209, as with special particularity, p. 483 ff.), lying, as well as the former place, in the Arabah. Menke has followed on his map the opinion of Rowland, controverted by both Robinson and Raumer, according to which Kadesh must be sought far west of the Arabah. Thither Menke transfers Mount Seir, also, and the wilderness of Zin. But how then should Num_21:4 be understood in comparison with Deu_2:12?4

Pulpit Commentary
In Gilgal. (see Jos_9:6)

Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite. Or, descendant of Kenaz, as was his kinsman Othniel. As far as we can make out from the genealogy in 1Ch 2, Caleb and Kenaz were family names, for the Caleb or Calubi (1Ch_2:9) the son of Hezron, (1Ch_2:18) the Caleb the son of Hur, (1Ch_2:50) and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, (1Ch_4:15) could not have been the same persons. And Caleb was a Kenezite, or descendant of Kenaz; he had a grandson, apparently, of that name, (so the LXX and Vulgate translate, 1Ch_4:15) and a brother, according to the most probable rendering of the Hebrew of both Jos_15:17 and Jud_1:9. See also 1Ch_4:13. For Caleb was the son of Jephunneh, not of Kenaz. Hitzig, “Geschichte des Volkes Israel,” 1:105, thinks that Caleb was a descendant of the Kenaz mentioned in Gen_36:11; or, see 15. Some think he was a Kenizzite. (see Gen_15:19) The Bishop of Bath and Wells, in his article in Smiths “Dictionary of the Bible,” thinks that the view that he was not of Jewish origin agrees best with the Scripture narrative, and removes many difficulties regarding the number of the children of Israel at the Exodus. It certainly serves to explain why the tribe of Judah came with Caleb, when he preferred his request, and the statement in Jos_15:13, which seems to imply that Caleb was not one of the tribe of Judah by birth, but one of the “mixed multitude” that went up with the Israelites, (Exo_12:38) and acquired afterwards by circumcision the rights of Israelites. If this be the case, it is an illustration of the truth declared in Rom_2:28, 29 4:12 Gal_3:7. By his faithfulness to God he had well earned the reward which he now sought. Concerning me and thee. And yet Knobel asserts that, according to vers. 8 and 12, Joshua was not one of the spies! He accordingly sees the hand of the “Jehovist” here. So accurate is the criticism which pretends to be able to disintegrate the narratives in the Hebrew Scriptures, and to assign each part to its separate author. (see Num_14:24) As well might we conclude that this verse in Nu 14 is by a different hand to vers. 30 and 38 in the same chapter, in spite of the obvious coherence of the whole narrative.

Vers. 6-15. Caleb”s faithfulness and its reward.
The history of Caleb seems to have a special fascination for the sacred historian. We read of him here, and in the next chapter, and in Judges 1. Whether this were due to his bravery, his sincerity, his hale and hearty old age, or (see note on ver. 6) his foreign extraction, coupled with his zeal for his adopted country and tribe, or from the combination of all these, it is not necessary to decide. Sufficient to remark

(1) that he was beloved by the people; and

(2) that he was a favourite character in the inspired Jewish history.

I THE BRAVE MAN WINS RESPECT. This is sure to be the case in the long run. He may be accused of rashness, want of judgment, intemperance of language or of purpose; but in the end he secures the confidence and attachment of all. The lesson is especially needed in the present age. One of its most marked characteristics is moral cowardice (as even John Stuart Mill has remarked). Men are incapable, for the most part, of incurring the disapprobation of the set in which they live. Politicians vote with their party for measures of which they disapprove. People in society dare not raise theft voices against what passes current in their own coterie; they yield to practices, admit persons to their intimacy of which and whom, in their own better judgment, they disapprove. They dare not brave the unfavourable verdict of theft acquaintance. Yet if they did they would lose nothing by it. Even the careless and thoughtless respect fearlessness, and delight to honour the man who dares to say what he thinks. They may condemn at first, but in the end they come round to a sounder judgment. History continually repeats itself. The history of Caleb is the history of every man who is honest in setting himself above the prevailing opinions of the day. His report was unpopular at first. The people sympathised with the cowardly ten. But events demonstrated the correctness of his view, and he became a popular hero. His tribe came with him to support his request, and if he were not of Israelite origin this incident makes the moral still more clear.

II WE SHOULD ALWAYS STEAK THE TRUTH. Caleb brought word according to what his heart told him. He sought neither to say what Moses would wish, nor what would be palatable to the people. What he thought, that he said. And this is one of the results of a heart devoted to God. Caleb “wholly followed” Him, and thus he had that sincerity and integrity which is the result of single mindedness. All Christians, and especially God”s ministers, should learn to shun the fear or favour of man, but everywhere and always to “declare the whole counsel of God.” As we have seen, we do not thereby lose the favour we have not sought. Because we have not asked for it, (1Ki_3:11) we have it. But this is not to be taken into consideration. Those who “wholly follow the Lord their God” will be men who never fail to speak according to the dictates of the regenerate heart.

III THE RIGHTEOUS SHALL NOT FAIL OF HIS REWARD. Moses had sworn to Caleb that he should have the land for his inheritance of which he had brought so true a report (no doubt, see notes, the spies went diverse ways). And now, after years of hardship and toil, he gained it. So has Christ promised a reward to them who seek Him. They must join their brethren in the toil; they must ever be foremost in the conflict, and they may be sure that their Joshua will give them an everlasting inheritance in the mount of God.

IV THE REWARD THAT THE RIGHTEOUS SEEKS. Observe that Caleb does not seek a rich nor easy inheritance, but one full of danger. The Anakim, defeated over and over again, still lurked in the inaccessible recesses of the hill country, and their giant strength, protected as it was by the fortifications of these mountain fastnesses, made it a task of the utmost danger to dislodge them. This task the gallant old warrior asks for himself. “Let me,” he says, “inherit the stronghold of the Anakim. Let me have the city of their chief” (see notes). Such a man was St. Paul. tits reward was the having preached the gospel without charge. (1Co_9:18) He desires no other. And so the true Christian, he who “wholly follows” Christ, will desire as his reward the privilege only of being allowed to do and dare all for Him.

V THERE IS A REWARD FOR THE GODLY IN THIS WORLD. Even the laws of the physical universe have provided a reward for virtue. A temperate life secures a hearty old age. The spectacle of Caleb, as ready for war at eighty-five as he had been forty-five years previously, may be a rare one now with our luxurious habits. But the principle holds good that men who live hard, work hard, and abstain from all over indulgence in their appetites, will as a rule preserve their physical vigour to an advanced age. This is a gospel which may not be very palatable to the sons of luxury, but it is true nevertheless. Common sense and Christianity are ever really allied, however much a narrow view of the former may seem to conflict with the latter. Luxury, sloth, excessive indulgence even in permitted pleasures, are fatal to the body as to the soul. Even the weakly may retain their energies to old age by care and self restraint. The strongest man will sink into an early grave who deems such things unnecessary. So true is it that “Godliness has the promise of the life that now is” as well as of “that which is to come”. (1Ti_4:8)

VI THE TRUE SECRET OF SUCCESS. Caleb (see Jos_15:14-17) did not fail in his dangerous undertaking. But it was because he said, “if the Lord be with me.” So is it always in our undertakings. He that is sure he shall resist temptation, because he is confident in himself, will find his confidence raft him in the day of trial. He who trusts in the Lord only, will emerge a conqueror from the struggle. In all things our support and trust must be in Him. It” we purpose a thing in our hearts it must be “if the Lord will”. (Jam_4:13-15) If we have done anything by His help we must say, “Not unto us, O Lord, hut unto Thy name be the praise”. (Psa_115:1) Had Caleb relied upon his unabated strength, or on his undaunted courage, he would have fared as Israel before Ai. But since he relied on the Lord his God, the three sons of Anak could net stand before him; the stronghold of Debir must needs open its gates to his daughter”s suitor.

HOMILIES BY J. WAITE Vers. 1-5. The allotment of the tribes.
This record of the division of the land among the tribes is suggestive of principles that are capable of a wider and more general application, and also of one that is narrower and more individual. Note

I THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE THAT DETERMINES THE SPHERE AND SURROUNDINGS OF ALL HUMAN LIFE. This is indicated in the division being made by lot. Whatever the form of the lot may have been, its meaning was that the destination of each particular tribe should not be a matter of human judgment or caprice, but should be left with God. It was no mere reference of the issue to blind chance. The faith of the age was too simple and real for that. Joshua and the elders had too deep a sense of the presence and guidance of the living God. We pass from this mere tribal allocation to think how the same law holds good for all the nations of the world. St. Paul showed his freedom of spirit from the limitations of Jewish prejudice when he declared to the Athenians how God, having made of one blood all nations to dwell on all the face of the earth, “determined for them the times before appointed and the bounds of theft habitation”. (Act_17:26) Christianity reveals a God who is the Father of all mankind, and not of one particular people. The true patriotism is that which acknowledges God”s interest alike in all the nations, and teaches us to cherish and use the gifts He has conferred specially on our own country for the common good. Again: the Providence that determines the lot of the nations has the same control over the individual human life. Every man”s position in the world is in some sense the fulfilment of a Divine purpose. It may seem to be the result merely of the fortuitous commingling of circumstance, or the capricious drift of man”s own choice. But we do well to see through all outward appearances the sovereign hand that guides the course of circumstances and determines the issue. It is God, after all, who chooses our inheritance for us. “The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord”. (Pro_16:33) The recognition of the Divine Providence that is over us has many beneficial moral effects.

(1) It gives the sanctity of a higher meaning to life,

(2) provokes to thankfulness,

(3) rebukes discontent and distrust,

(4) restrains inordinate ambition,

(5) teaches that respect for the rights and interests of others on which the order and well being of society depend.

II THE HUMAN AGENCY BY WHICH THE PURPOSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE IS FULFILLED. The land is divided according to the will of God, but the people must go in and possess it for themselves. God will drive out the Canaanites that are still there, not without them, but “from before them. (Jos_13:6) The decision of the lot seems to have had reference only to the general local situation of the tribes; the actual extent of the territory in each ease was left to be determined by the discretion of Joshua and the leaders. There was no caprice in this Divine decision. Nothing God does is arbitrary or reasonless. It was, no doubt, determined according to the peculiar characteristics of each particular tribe, and in such a way as that its geographical conditions should be best fitted to develop its latent powers. Important practical lessons are suggested.

(1) However devoutly we may recognise the Divine Providence that is over us, we have to determine for ourselves the path of duty.

(2) The circumstances of life place possibilities of good within our reach, which it remains for ourselves to actualise.

(3) Every man”s life in this world supplies the needful conditions of moral education, if he have but wisdom to discern and skill to improve them.

III THE SEPARATENESS OF THOSE WHO ARE SPECIALLY DEVOTED TO SPIRITUAL WORK IN THE WORLD. This is indicated by the peculiar position of the tribe of Levi. To them was given no inheritance, “save cities to dwell in with their suburbs” “The sacrifices of the Lord God made by fire” (as also tithes and first fruits) “were their inheritance”. (Jos_13:14) “The Lord God of Israel Himself was the lot of their inheritance”. (Jos_13:33 Num_18:20-24) Their position thus bore witness to the sanctity of the whole nation as “a kingdom of priests” unto the Lord. (Exo_19:6) They were the representatives of its faith and the ministers of its worship. And their representative character was made the more effective by the fact of their cities being scattered throughout the tribes (Jos 21). This principle of separateness is illustrated

(1) In the various provisions by which the sanctity of the priesthood was maintained under the economy of the law.

(2) In the New Testament institution of a certain order of men who should be set apart not, indeed, as a hierarchy to whom mystic powers belong, but as the ministers of spiritual instruction and edification to the Church of God. (Eph_4:11, Eph_4:12, 13 1Co_9:13, 1Co_9:14)

(3) In the Apostolic teaching as to the unworldliness of spirit and life that becomes the followers of Christ. W. (Php_3:20 Col_3:1 Heb_2:3 Heb_10:34 1Pe_2:9)

Vers. 6-15. Caleb.

(1) Independence. He and Joshua had stood alone in the almost universal panic. It is difficult to discern the right and he faithful to it when all around us go wrong. The sanction of the multitude is no justification for an evil course. Truth and right are often with the minority. (Mat_7:13, Mat_7:14)

(2) Truth. Caleb says, “I brought him word again as it was in mine heart.” We are tempted to hide our convictions when they are unpopular. The true man speaks what is in “his heart,” not the mere echo of the voice of the multitude. (Act_4:19, Act_4:20)

(3) Courage. Caleb had advocated the course which seemed to be most dangerous. He is now willing to receive for inheritance a possession from which he will have to expel the Anakims (ver. 12). Courage is a form of unselfishness and a fruit of devotion to duty.

(4) Unselfishness. Though Caleb had shared with Joshua the honour of being faithful and brave in the day of general failure, he has lived quietly ever since, seeking no peculiar honour, and now the brave old man asks for inheritance a mountain region infested with hordes of the fiercest Canaanites, and offers to conquer it for himself. Like Lot, we commonly choose the pleasant places, and are greedy of much reward for little service. Caleb thinks himself no martyr. It is happy to have the humility and unselfishness which not only ask for little but are satisfied with little.

(5) Whole hearted devotion to God (ver. 8). This is the secret of Caleb”s character. Devotion to God makes us independent of men, true in the light of His searching eye, brave with trust in His help, and unselfish in obedience to His will. Half hearted devotion fails of this. We must serve God wholly i f we would grow strong and true and brave.


(1) Long life. He and Joshua were the sole survivors of the Jews who escaped from Egypt. The cowards perish. The brave are spared. For us the corresponding blessing is not long earthly life hut eternal spiritual life.

(2) Continued strength and opportunity for service. His strength remains (ver. 11). His inheritance makes new claims on his courage and energy (ver. 12). The lot of greatest comfort is not the lot of highest honour. The best reward is renewed ability to serve. (Mat_25:23)

(3) A possession, the advantages of which he had long since discerned. Caleb and Joshua had stood alone in opposing the unbelief of the people in prospect of the promised land. Now their position is justified. The reward of solitary defenders of the truth will come in the ultimate triumph of it. Those who now best appreciate the heavenly inheritance will enjoy it best hereafter.

(4) Rest. The land had rest, and Caleb must have shared the rest. The rest of heaven will be sweetest to those who have toiled and borne most on earth. W.F.A.

HOMILIES BY J. WAITE Ver. 6-14. Caleb and his inheritance.
Caleb is one of those Scripture characters in whom we feel a personal interest not measured by the amount of historical information given us respecting him. Scanty as the materials are, they present us with a moral portrait very real and life like and full of dignity. All that we know of him is greatly to his honour. The more so if, as some say, he was of Idumaean rather than Israelitish origin, adopted rather than born into the tribe of Judah. The courage and fidelity he displayed when, as one of the spies, he dared, with Joshua, to counsel the craven hearted people to go in and possess the land, (Num_13:30 Num_14:6, 10 Deu_1:36) are illustrated again now that almost another half century has passed. The old man has still the same spirit in him. While some of the tribes are so slow to move that Joshua has occasion to rebuke them for their lethargy, (Jos_18:8) he is eager to secure at once his promised inheritance, defying in the strength of God the formidable sons of Anal In several lights Caleb appears before us here as a worthy example. We see in him

I AN HONEST SPIRIT, FORMING A TRUE ESTIMATE OF ITS OWN VIRTUES AND CAPACITIES. He recounts with honourable pride the doings and distinctions of the past how he had been faithful to his own convictions in his report of the land, not following the evil example of the other spies, or fearing the anger of the people; how Moses had honoured him, and the vigour of which he was conscious even “this day” was his Divine reward. There is no vain boasting here. His grateful recognition of God disproves that. It is the frank acknowledgment of an honest mind. The true heart is conscious of its own integrity and need never shrink from avowing it. It is well that experience of the happy effects of fidelity to the path of duty should be recorded for the encouragement of others. There are times when we may properly “thank God that we are not as other men are.” This may be done in the spirit of profoundest lowliness and self distrust. Self depreciation is often but a mock humility. We honour ourselves and God when we duly estimate the worth of the moral qualities with which He has endowed us and the moral victories He has enabled us to win. Let no man “think more highly of himself than he ought to think,” but at least let him “think soberly, according as God has dealt to him the measure of faith”. (Rom_12:3) Recognise the Divine origin of every virtue you possess, and it will never make you vain; be true to yourself and to your noblest impulses, and you find in yourself an unfailing source of satisfaction and rejoicing. (Pro_14:14 Gal_6:3, Gal_6:4)

II A BRAVE SPIRIT GATHERING FROM THE MEMORY OF THE PAST AN INCENTIVE TO NEW ENDEAVOUR. There was a moral unity in Caleb”s life. He had obeyed the voice of conscience and discharged manfully the sacred responsibility that was imposed on him forty-five years ago, and now he feels the recollection to be stimulating and strengthening to him. He has been lost to us through all the intermediate time, but we may be sure that his life in the desert, as a leader of the great tribe of Judah, had sustained the reputation of early days. And the dauntless spirit of his old age is but the result of habitual fidelity to the call of duty and of God. Such is the moral continuity of our life. So true is it that”Our deeds still travel with us from afar, And what we have been makes us what we are.

Every victory of our better nature over the power of meaner motives lays the foundation for further and completer victories. Even the memory of it becomes an inspiration and a strength to us. The fruit of it is seen after many days. Accustom yourself to do the right and to “follow wholly” the path the Lord your God marks out, and there shall be stored up within you a fund of strength that will enable you to look calmly in the face of the most formidable difficulties to storm the strongholds of the Anakims and “drive them out.

III A DEVOUT SPIRIT LEANING ON GOD FOR THE FULFILMENT OF HIS OWN PROMISE. We gather from ver. 9 that God had given Caleb a distinct promise of the possession of that mountain in addition to the general promise recorded in Num_14:24. To the apprehension of faith every Divine word is a living seed that must one day bring forth the fruition of its own fulfilment, and the mercies of the past are pledges of future help and benediction. W.

Ver. 6-end. Caleb the son of Jephunneh.
Few characters finer than that of Caleb. If Moses was pattern of faithful leader, Caleb was of faithful follower. There are some things which suggest he was not an Israelite by birth. Kenaz the name of his father or brother, is an Edomite name, and the expression in Jos_14:14, “Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb… because that he wholly followed the God of Israel;” and that of Jos_15:13, “Unto Caleb he gave a part among the children of Judah,” are expressions which suggest that he was associated with that tribe rather than sprung from it. Whether or not he was an Israelite in flesh, he was earnestly so in faith. If not by birth an Israelite, he is an instance of the converting power of truth, and of the way in which identity of heart and aim supersedes all diversity of nature. He was one of the twelve spies. Had there been other ten like him, the invasion of Canaan would have begun and finished forty years earlier. There was no delusion in his mind; he saw all his colleague saw the stature of the men, the walls of the cities, the difficulty and all but impossibility of the con. quest. But he saw what only Joshua saw besides him the presence and the power of God. And seeing that, he believed in the possibility of what seemed to others impossible. Consider some elements of instruction here.

I GOOD MEN ARE NEEDED FOR SECOND PLACES AS WELL AS FIRST. We cannot all be statesmen, rulers, missionaries. There are many more humble positions than exalted ones. Twelve spyships for one lordship. Good men are needed for all stations. Men who fear to do wrong, who fear to grieve God, and who have no other fear. Complain not of an obscure lot, of a slight opening for your powers; but do the duties of the lot, and avail yourself of the openings you have, and all will be well.

II Second, observe THE PERSEVERANCE OF SAINTS. He believed in his prime, he believes in his old age. Ready to follow God”s leading then, ready now. “As my strength was then, even so is my strength now for war, both to go out and to come in.” There is, of course, a miraculous element in this persistence of physical strength and mental vigour at such an age. But it is only a miraculous extension of what is a blessed fact of daily experience. It is strange the vie inertiae of souls. Forty years ago some were faithless, and are so now; others believing, they are so now. There is a tendency for the unjust to be unjust still, and for the righteous to be righteous still. Motion or rest alike tend to be eternal Rise up and follow Christ, and you tend to follow Him on through countless ages. Forsake Him, and you tend to go on forsaking Him. This persistence of habit is nature; but the persistence of better habit is partly grace as well. God keeps the feet from falling, daily charms the spirit afresh, while each step of progress in a good path reveals new reasons for choosing and pursuing it. Do not despair. Of Christ”s flock none is lost. “They go from strength to strength; every one of them appeareth before God in Zion.” We may not, like Joshua, see eighty-five, and long before the life ends our powers may wither; but grace will not wither.

III Observe THE USEFULNESS OF SUCH A LIFE OF PROGRESS. Eighty-five years of steady well doing! of right aiming and right action I of the boldness of faith. Joshua and He were left alive, as a sort of leaven to leaven the whole lump of Israel, and they did it. One steady, progressive life of goodness the same today as yesterday how invaluable in a village, in a church, in any community. If you would be useful, keep on. Remember Abraham Lincoln”s policy for the conquest of the secession it was to “keep pegging away.” Seeming hopeless, it was crowned with success.

IV Lastly, observe, CALEB”S FAITH HAS A GRAND REWARD. A manifold reward.

1. In the contagiousness with which it spread. It infects his own family. (see Jos_15:17) It infects, as we have seen, many besides.

2. His faith has the opportunity of proving its wisdom. That city, which was impregnable, he took; and these Anakim, who seemed terrific, he mastered. Some men, some things, some forces may be stifled for want of opportunity. But God will always see that there is a candlestick for the light. An “open door” for the “little strength” which can enter it.

3. His faith gets an earthly inheritance of a noble kind. Hebron is his family”s for an everlasting possession. The shortest road to getting anything is deserving it. While the clever, the tricky, the greedy, the saving see only what they aspire to “afar off,” the deserving go straight on and reach it. His property we can trace in the possession of his descendants down to the time of David. (1Sa_30:14) It is not sufficiently observed how essential to goodness the courage of faith really is. Let Caleb”s example commend it to us. G.

Joshua 14:7
7.Forty years old was I, etc He seems to talk of his own virtue in rather loftier terms than becomes a pious and modest man. But let us remember that, seeing the thing was in itself invidious and liable to many objections, it stood in need of special commendation as a means of suppressing envy. He therefore mentions that he had acted in good faith in bringing back an account of what he had learned concerning the land. For the expression, “As it was in my heart,” evidently denotes sincerity, the heart being thus opposed to deceitful words. It is a ridiculous fiction to imagine that he had said it in his heart, because from fear of being killed by his companions he had not ventured to mention anything of the kind by the way. Nothing more is meant than simply this, that he acted honestly according to the command given him, without gloss or dissimulation. He enlarges on the merit of his integrity, because though he was opposed by all his colleagues, with the exception of Joshua, he did not yield to their malice, nor was dispirited by their iniquitous conspiracy, but steadfastly pursued his purpose. The words taken in their most literal sense are, I filled or fulfilled to go after thy God; but the obvious meaning is, that he was not seduced from a faithful discharge of his duty by the wicked machination of ten men, however difficult it was to resist them, because he followed God with inflexible perseverance, feeling perfectly assured that God was the author of the expedition, from which those perfidious men were endeavoring to draw off the people.

Let us learn from this passage, first, that unless the last part corresponds to the first, good beginnings vanish away; secondly, that constancy is deserving of praise only when we follow God.

Keil and Delitzsch
Joshua 14:6-7
Caleb’s Inheritance. – Jos_14:6. Before the casting of the lots commenced, Caleb came to Joshua along with the sons of Judah, and asked for the mountains of Hebron for his possession, appealing at the same time to the fact, that forty-five years before Moses had promised it to him on oath, because he had not discouraged the people and stirred them up to rebellion, as the other spies that were sent from Kadesh to Canaan had done, but had faithfully followed the Lord.
(Note: The grounds upon which Knobel follows Maurer and others in affirming that this account does not belong to the so-called Elohist, but is merely a fragment taken from the first document of the Jehovist, are formed partly from misinterpretations of particular verses and partly from baseless assumptions. To the former belongs the assertion, that, according to Jos_14:8, Jos_14:12, Joshua was not one of the spies (see the remarks on Jos_14:8); to the latter the assertion, that the Elohist does not represent Joshua as dividing the land, or Caleb as receiving so large a territory (see on the contrary, however, the exposition of Jos_14:13), as well as the enumeration of all kinds of words which are said to be foreign to the Elohistic document.)

This occurred at Gilgal, where the casting of the lots as to take place. Caleb was not “the head of the Judahites,” as Knobel maintains, but simply the head of a father’s house of Judah, and, as we may infer from his surname, “the Kenizzite” or descendant of Kenaz (“the Kenizzite” here and Num_32:12 is equivalent to “son of Kenaz,” Jos_15:17, and Jdg_1:13), head of the father’s house which sprang from Kenaz, i.e., of a subdivision of the Judahite family of Hezron; for Caleb, the brother of Jerahmeel and father of Achzah, according to 1Ch_2:42 (cf. 1Ch_2:49), was the same person as Caleb the descendant of Hezron mentioned in 1Ch_2:18. From the surname “the Kenizzite” we are of course not to understand that Caleb or his father Jephunneh is described as a descendant of the Canaanitish tribe of Kenizzites (Gen_15:19); but Kenaz was a descendant of Hezron, the son of Perez and grandson of Judah (1Ch_2:5, 1Ch_2:18, 1Ch_2:25), of whom nothing further is known. Consequently it was not the name of a tribe, but of a person, and, as we may see from 1Ch_4:15, where one of the sons of Caleb is called Kenaz, the name was repeated in the family. The sons of Judah who came to Joshua along with Caleb were not the Judahites generally, therefore, or representatives of all the families of Judah, but simply members or representatives of the father’s house of Judah which took its name from Kenaz, and of which Caleb was the head at that time. Caleb reminded Joshua of the word which the Lord had spoken concerning them in Kadesh-barnea, i.e., the promise of God that they should both of them enter the land of Canaan (Num_14:24, Num_14:30), and then proceeded to observe (Jos_14:7): “When I was forty years old, and was sent by Moses as a spy to Canaan, I brought back an answer as it was in my mind,” i.e., according to the best of my convictions, without fear of man or regard to the favour of the people.

Pulpit Commentary
Forty years old. The Hebrew expression is “the son of forty years.” Compare the expressions “son of man,” “sons of Belial,” “son of the perverse rebellious woman.” As it was in my heart. Literally, according as with my heart, i.e., in agreement with what I saw and felt. The LXX reads “according to his mind,” i.e., that of Moses. Houbigant and Le Clerc approve of this reading, but it seems quite out of keeping with the character of Caleb. He did not endeavour to accommodate his report to the wishes of any man, but gave what he himself believed to be a true and faithful account of what he had seen and heard. (see Num_13:30 Num_14:7-9 Deu_1:36)

Keil and Delitzsch
Joshua 14:8
Whereas the other spies discouraged the people by exaggerated reports concerning the inhabitants of Canaan, he had followed the Lord with perfect fidelity (Num_13:31-33). He had not been made to waver in his faithfulness to the Lord and His promises either by the evil reports which the other spies had brought of the land, or by the murmuring and threats of the excited crowd (see Num_14:6-10). “My brethren” (Jos_14:8) are the rest of the spies, of course with the exception of Joshua, to whom Caleb was speaking.

(Note: That Joshua was not included was evident from this circumstance alone, and consequently it is a complete perversion on the part of Knobel to argue, that because the expression is a general one, i.e., because Joshua is not expressly excepted by name, therefore he cannot have been one of the spies, not to mention the fact that the words “concerning me and thee,” in v. 6, are sufficient to show to any one acquainted with the account in Num 13-14, that Joshua was really one of them.)

הִמְסִין for הִמְסוּ (see Ges. §75, anm. 17, and Ewald, §142, a.), from מָסָה = מָסַס (see Jos_2:11).

Pulpit Commentary
But I wholly followed. Literally, “I fulfilled after.” That is to say, he rendered a full obedience to the precepts of the Most High. So also in the next verse.


Ver. 8. Personal influence.

Assuredly no Israelite could look without emotion upon the face and form of Caleb, the utterer of the words of the text. His very existence was a memorial of a memorable day. And when he arose and stood before Joshua, and the two engaged in the conversation recorded in this chapter, who could note them without recollecting that out of the laymen of Israel they were the only survivors of the generation to which they belonged? Like venerable towers that rear their heads above the building which is attached to them but plainly bears the marks of more recent construction, these two men stood an age above their surroundings, but with strength as unyielding as that of their latest compeers. Time and sickness had levelled their contemporaries with the dust, but they remained “with eye undimmed and natural force unabated.” God had kept His threat and promise. Caleb”s utterance may suggest some useful reflections.

I THE FACILITY WITH WHICH MEN ARE DETERRED FROM NOBLE ENTERPRISES. What a lamentable incident was that to which these words refer: “My brethren that were with me made the heart of the people melt.” Recall the story of the twelve men and their reconnoitering expedition. They searched the south of Palestine, and admired the fruit which grew there in such abundance; but the hearts of the majority were terrified at the sight of fenced cities and the giants who inhabited them. And so when they returned to their brethren they gave such a discouraging account that the people cried, “Would to God we had died in Egypt!” Caleb tried to still their murmuring, but in vain. The cowardly spirit prevailed. Apparently fear is more easily engendered than hope. It is easier to depress than to cheer. How many religious undertakings have failed through the excessive caution of even good men? It is noteworthy that in the account which Moses gives in Deu_1:21 he refers to the fact that on the arrival of the Israelites at Kadesh he exhorted them to “go up and possess the land: fear not.” Well would it have been if they had acted on the bold counsel of their leader. But they came near and suggested what seemed an exceedingly wise plan to send men first to spy out the land and dire was the ultimate effect! We do not inculcate rashness; we only say that courage is sometimes better than caution, and quick action than slow resolves. We need a holy enthusiasm that will minimize dangers and make us “strong in faith.

II THE DANGER OF EXERTING AN EVIL INFLUENCE. Great responsibility rested on the men who were the means of damping the ardour of their countrymen. Whilst they themselves died of the plague, the rest of the people were condemned to forty years” weary traversing of the desert. So fierce was the wrath of God at the unbelief of the Israelites. This gift of influence God has bestowed on every person. We all wield this power to a greater or less extent. We may repel or attract, and in either case we are helping to mould the opinions and form the practices of our neighbours. We direct their aspirations and colour the spectacles through which they look at men and things. Is our life report for good or for evil?

III THE SECURITY AGAINST WIELDING AND YIELDING TO AN EVIL INFLUENCE. It is to be noted that Caleb did not seek to persuade his fellows to renounce the idea of invading the Holy Land, and also did not allow himself so to be persuaded by them. He gives us in the text the reason which swayed him and the power which sustained him in opposition to the fears of the other Israelites: “I wholly followed the Lord my God.” There might be times in which the mind would be left in suspense as to the proper course to pursue, in which the chief difficulty would be in ascertaining the will of Heaven. But on this occasion there seemed to Caleb but one thing to be done. Precepts and promises clearly showed that it was the duty and privilege of the Israelites to march to the possession of their inheritance. The path was plainly marked; to hesitate was to turn aside from following the Lord. Unswerving obedience to God”s declared will is the grand security against ill conduct. All that we read of Caleb proves him to have been a man of strong determination. Whatever he did he did with his might. There is a deal of meaning in that word “wholly.” A man whose face is partly to God and partly to the world may have his attention distracted, but he who maintains an attitude that has respect to God only will remain uninfluenced by either the hopes and fears or the blandishments and threats of men. Urge the necessity and helpfulness of taking a decided step, of becoming openly connected with God”s people, of avowing an attachment to Christ. Some may raise a difficulty in the way of imitating Caleb”s whole-heartedness. This man was gifted with force of character. Now an objector may say, “I by nature am weak, irresolute, easily moved. Why am I blamed if I do not manifest that firmness which others display?” This inquiry runs into a fundamental problem the reason of the election of men to different degrees of intellectual and moral ability, and the different degrees of accountability resulting therefrom. We cannot well separate the direct gifts of God from the achievements of the individual. We are bound to honour men even for what they owe entirely to God, since the honour reaches higher than men and is laid as an offering before the Throne. But what we must remember is that we are capable of acquiring qualifications which we previously lacked, and we may to a wonderful degree strengthen and improve the powers with which we are endowed. A.

“I wholly followed the Lord my God.

I TRUE RELIGION IS BASED ON PERSONAL RELATIONS WITH GOD. Caleb ascribes his courage and fidelity to his connection with God, and he speaks of the Lord as “my God.

(1) Religion is individual. We must pass from “our” God to “my” God. Each soul is called to as private communion with God as if there were no other souls in existence.

(2) Religion establishes close relations with God. In His personal dealings with the soul God comes near to it, so that He appropriates the soul and the soul lays claim to possessing God.

II RIGHT PERSONAL RELATIONS WITH GOD WILL BE SHOWN BY OUR FOLLOWING HIM. It is not sufficient that we believe, worship, manifest affection. We must show our devotion by a consistent course of life.

(1) This is to seek to be near to God, love and duty drawing us Godward.

(2) It is to obey His commands, following the course of His will

(3) It is to emulate His example trying to do as He does. (Mat_5:48) Christianity consists in following Christ. (Mar_1:17, 18)

III WE ONLY FOLLOW GOD ARIGHT WHEN WE FOLLOW HIM WHOLLY. We cannot serve God and mammon. We must choose whom we will serve. Half hearted service is no true service. Following God wholly implies

(1) not desisting from service on account of loss or trouble incurred;

(2) taking no account of the opinion and conduct of other men when these would deflect us from fidelity to God;

(3) serving God in all the relations of life, business, social, domestic, and private.

IV UNDIVIDED DEVOTION TO GOD IS NECESSARY FOR SUCCESS IN HIS WORK. We see how thoroughness and singleness of aim are essential to success in secular pursuits in business, science, art, literature. They are not less essential in spiritual things. Much of our work fails for lack of thoroughness. Hesitating belief, divided aims, mingled motives, often render religious efforts weak and futile. We need to be more perfectly devoted, giving ourselves wholly to God”s service. W.F.A. (1Ti_4:15)

John Calvin
Joshua 14:9
9.And Moses swear on that day, etc Here, then, is one fruit of the embassy honestly and faithfully performed — to gain possession of an inheritance of which the whole people is deprived. For although long life is justly accounted one of the mercies of God, the end proposed by it is here added, viz., that Caleb may obtain the inheritance which is denied to others. This was no ordinary privilege. He next extols the faithfulness of God in having prolonged his life, and not only so, but supplied vigor and strength, so that though he was now above eighty years of age, he was not a whit feebler than when in the flower of his youth. Others, too, had a green old age, but they were few in number, and then in their case there was not added to the even tenor of their days a manly vigor, remaining wholly unimpaired up to their eighty-fifth year. For he lays claim not only to the skill and valor of a leader, but also to the physical strength of a soldier.

He next adds the other offices and actions of his life. For to go out and in is equivalent in Hebrew to the observance and execution of all parts of our duty. And this Caleb confirms by fact, when he demands it as his task to assail and expel the giants. He is not, however, elated by stolid pride to a confident assurance of victory, but hopes for a prosperous event from the assistance of God. There seems, indeed, to be an incongruous expression of doubt in the word Perhaps, as if he were begirding himself fortuitously for the fight. (141) Those expositors who think that he is distrusting himself from a feeling of modesty and considering his own weakness, say something to the point, but do not say the whole. They certainly omit what is of principal import, viz., that this Perhaps refers to the common feelings which men would entertain on taking a view of the actual state of matters.

The first thing necessary is duly to consider what his design is. Had he asked the gift of a mountain, which he could have seized without any great exertion, it would have been more difficult to obtain it. But now when the difficulty of the task is plainly set forth, he gains the favor of Joshua and the princes, because in assenting to his prayer, they grant him nothing but the certainty of an arduous, doubtful, and perilous contest. Knowing, then, that the children of Israel trembled and were in terror at the very name of the giants, he speaks according to their opinion as of a matter attended with doubt and uncertainty. As regards himself, the words clearly demonstrate how far he was from viewing that which had been said to him with a dubious or vacillating mind. I shall drive them out, he says, as the Lord has declared. Shall we say that when he utters the declaration of God, he is in doubt whether or not God will do what he promised? It is quite plain that he only reminded them how dangerous the business was, in order that he might the more easily obtain their assent. Although it is not uncommon in Hebrew to employ this term to denote difficulty merely, without meaning to imply that the mind is agitated by distrust or disquietude. How very difficult it was to drive out the giants from that fastness, may be inferred from the fact that the death of Joshua took place before Caleb ventured to attack them.

Pulpit Commentary
And Moses sware on that day. (cf. Num_14:21-24 Deu_1:35, Deu_1:36) Keil raises the difficulty that in the above passage not Moses, but God is said to have sworn, and that no special inheritance is promised to Caleb, but only that he shall enter the promised land. But this is not the fact, as a comparison of this passage with Deu_1:36 will show. That either passage gives the ipsissima verba of Moses is unlikely. The main sense of the promise is given in each. And there is no impropriety in speaking of the proclamation by Moses of God”s decree as an oath pronounced by Moses himself.

Pulpit Commentary
Forty and five years. This marks the date of the present conversation as occurring seven years after the invasion. Caleb was forty years of age when be went to spy the land of Canaan. For thirty-eight years the Israelites wandered in the wilderness. And Caleb was now eighty-five years old. This remark has been made as far back as the time of Theedoret. Doubtless the apportionment of the land, and its occupation by the Israelites, was a long and tedious business. (see also Jos_13:1) Even since. Literally, from the time when.

Albert Barnes
Joshua 14:10
Forty and five years – The word of God to Moses was spoken after the return of the spies in the autumn of the second year after the Exodus Num_13:25; subsequently, 38 years elapsed before the people reached the Jordan Num_20:1; after the passage of the Jordan seven more years had passed, when Caleb claimed Hebron, before the partition of the land among the nine tribes and a half. These seven years then correspond to the “long time” Jos_11:18 during which Joshua was making war with the Canaanites. They are in the sequel of this verse added by Caleb to the years of wandering, since during them the people had no settled abodes.

Keil and Delitzsch
Joshua 14:9-11
Jehovah swore at that time, that the land upon which his (Caleb’s) foot had trodden should be an inheritance for him and his sons for ever. This oath is not mentioned in Num_14:20., nor yet in Deu_1:35-36, where Moses repeats the account of the whole occurrence to the people. For the oath of Jehovah mentioned in Num_14:21, Num_14:24, viz., that none of the murmuring people should see the land of Canaan, but that Caleb alone should come thither and his seed should possess it, cannot be the one referred to, as the promise given to Caleb in this oath does not relate to the possession of Hebron in particular, but to the land of Canaan generally, “the land which Jehovah had sworn to their fathers.” We must assume, therefore, that in addition to what is mentioned in Num_14:24, God gave a special promise to Caleb, which is passed over there, with reference to the possession of Hebron itself, and that Joshua, who heard it at the time, is here reminded of that promise by Caleb. This particular promise from God was closely related to the words with which Caleb endeavoured to calm the minds of the people when they rose up against Moses (Num_13:30), viz., by saying to them, “We are well able to overcome it,” notwithstanding the Anakites who dwelt in Hebron and had filled the other spies with such great alarm on account of their gigantic size. With reference to this the Lord had promised that very land to Caleb for his inheritance. Upon this promise Caleb founded his request (Jos_14:10-12) that Joshua would give him these mountains, of which Joshua had heard at that time that there were Anakites and large fortified cities there, inasmuch as, although forty-five years had elapsed since God had spoken these words, and he was now eighty-five years old, he was quite as strong as he had been then. From the words, “The Lord hath kept me alive these forty-five years,” Theodoret justly infers, that the conquest of Canaan by Joshua was completed in seven years, since God spake these words towards the end of the second year after the exodus from Egypt, and therefore thirty-eight years before the entrance into Canaan. The clause וגו הָלַךְ אֲשֶׁר (Jos_14:10) is also dependent upon וגו אַרְבָּעִים יָד: viz., “these forty-five years that Israel has wandered in the desert” (on this use of אֲשֶׁר, see Ewald, §331, c.). The expression is a general one, and the years occupied in the conquest of Canaan, during which Israel had not yet entered into peaceful possession of the promised land, are reckoned as forming part of the years of wandering in the desert. As another reason for his request, Caleb adds in Jos_14:11 : “I am still as strong to-day as at that time; as my strength was then, so is it now for war, and to go out and in” (see Num_27:17).

Pulpit Commentary
As yet am I as strong this day. A vigorous and respected old age is ordinarily, by Nature”s own law, the decreed reward for a virtuous youth and a temperate manhood. Caleb”s devotion to God”s service had preserved him from the sins as well as from the faithlessness and murmuring of the Israelites. And thus, with a body not enfeebled by indulgence, he presents himself before Joshua with undiminished strength, at a time when most men are sinking under the weight of their infirmities, and is ready still for battle with the most formidable foes.

J.P. Lange
Jos_14:12. On the ground of all these facts Caleb now asks for mount Hebron, although he had, according to Num_13:21, gone much further into the country, even into the north of Palestine, while certainly, according to Num_13:22-23, he had spied out the land only into the region of Hebron. As there Num_14:22-23 are inserted into the context so is it here with this whole passage, Jos_14:6-15, which probably comes from the same hand. It is remarkable also, that Caleb here says to Joshua: thou heardest in that day, how the Anakim were there, since Joshua (Num_13:8) also was one of the spies; cf. besides Knobel on this passage, also Bleek, Introduction, i. p. 316. As Anakim are mentioned, Num_13:22; Jdg_1:10, and in this book, Jos_15:14, Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai.
Perhaps Jehovah will be with me that I may drive them out, as Jehovah said. According to Jos_11:21, Joshua had already driven them out, (וַיּכְרֵת).— אֹתִי for אִתִּי Gesen. § 103, 1, Rem. Ewald, Lehrg. § 264, a.

Pulpit Commentary
This mountain. The neighbourhood of Hebron is described by Bartlett “Egypt to Palestine,” p. 401, as “a region of hills and valleys.” In one of the hollows in this “hill country of Judaea” Hebron still nestles, hut at a height which (see Stanley, “Sinai and Palestine,” p. 102) is “only 400 feet lower than Helvellyn,” the highest point but one in England. The Dean remarks on the fact that Palestine was a mountainous country, and that therefore in its history we may expect the characteristics of a mountain people. Whereof the Lord spake in that day. There must therefore have been a promise made to Caleb, regarding which the Pentateuch, having to deal with matters of more general interest, is silent, that he should lead the forlorn hope, as it were, of the children of Israel, and that the task of subduing the mountain fastnesses of the most powerful tribes in Palestine should be assigned to him. That the original inhabitants reoccupied the districts round Hebron, while the Israelites were otherwise engaged, we have already seen. (see note on Jos_11:21) The final work was to be carried out by Caleb. Houbigant, it is true, thinks that here the same incident is referred to as in Jos_11:21, Jos_11:22, and that Joshua is there credited with what was clone by Caleb at his command. But we read that that expedition followed close upon the battle of Merom, whereas seven years elapsed before the final expulsion of the Anakim by Caleb. It is important to notice that the author of the Book of Joshua has access to sources of information beside the Pentateuch. This, though not sufficient to disprove, does at least seem inconsistent with the “Elohist” and “Jehovist” theory.

For thou heartiest in that day. The LXX and Vulgate avoid the difficulty here by referring these words to what goes beforei.e. , the promise made to Caleb. In that case we must render the second yKi “for,” instead of “that,” or “how.” Joshua can hardly have heard for the first time that the Anakim were in Hebron if, as Num_13:22 appears to assert, he, in common with the other spies, had visited the place. But it is possible, though the narrative as it stands seems to suggest that they went together, that the spies went different ways, either separately or in pairs, and that Caleb visited Hebron, and that Joshua heard the account of it for the first time from Caleb”s lips, as they brought their report to Moses, and that Caleb then asked and received the grant of Hebron. We may observe the minute agreement here in matters of detail between the Pentateuch and the Book of Joshua. The Pentateuch states that the spies visited Hebron. The Book of Joshua, without mentioning this, makes Caleb appeal to Joshua as a witness that a premise had been made to him, long before the entrance of Israel into the promised land, that this particular place should be allotted to him. The description of Hebron also in Numbers 13. agrees in every respect with what is stated here. Fenced. Literally, inaccessible, as surrounded by walls. If so be. Rather, perhaps.


The Anakims.

I WE HAVE “ANAKIMS” IN OUR INHERITANCE. Some of the highest blessings are fenced about with She greatest difficulties.

1. No earthly inheritance is without its peculiar disadvantages. Some of the “Anakims” which resist us in our efforts to fulfil our mission are

a. the evil in our own heart, e.g., indolence, fear, earthliness;

b. the temptations of the world, arising from bad examples, customs, distracting pleasures;

c. direct hindrance in persecution and opposition growing out of the world”s ignorance, prejudice, envy, etc.

2. Nevertheless it is best for us, as it was for Caleb, to have such an inheritance.


a. try our faith and courage;

b. give scope for energy and devotion;

c. make the ultimate peace the more blessed.

3. Apply these truths

a. to private life;

b. to Church work and the difficulties in evangelising the world;

c. to public interests, and the hindrances to the work of high principled statesmen and philanthropists which stay the progress of liberty, civilisation, and national prosperity.


1. God with us. This fact is Caleb”s ground of confidence. God does not only approve of the right; He aids it. He does not merely send assistance for the battle of life; He is present as the light to guide and the power to strengthen. Caleb had faith in the real and active presence of God.

2. Brave effort. Caleb says, “I shall be able to drive them out.” He names God”s help first as indispensable; but he does not stay with this. God”s grace is no excuse for man”s indolence. God fights for us by fighting in us. Ours is the effort, while His is the strength. True faith in God will not paralyse our energies, but inspire them; because it will show us

(a) that, while the victory will not be given unless we fight, when we fight in the strength of God omnipotence is on our side;

(b) and that God then assures us of victory, and that as He is faithful we may be confident of it. Caleb is confident that with God”s help he will drive out the Anakims, because this is “as the Lord said. W.F.A.


Caleb”s inheritance.
But little comparatively is said in the sacred writings concerning Caleb. What is recorded is decidedly in his favour, He stands before us as a model of unbending integrity. Selected from among the princes of Judah to be one of the twelve appointed to search the land of Canaan, he remained stedfast in his adherence to the will of God. Neither the remembrance of the giant sons of Anak and their fortified towns, nor the passionate wailings of his brethren, could make Caleb falter and falsify the report he had to give, and the recommendation he desired to make. For this he received the praise of Jehovah, and the promise that, not only should he be preserved to enter the land of Palestine, but also that the very part of the country concerning which some had given an unfavorable report should be allotted to him as his portion. Forty-five years had passed. The wilderness was full of graves. Joshua had succeeded Moses as leader of the Israelites; had overthrown in pitched battles the chief nations of Canaan; it was time to distribute to the tribes their inheritance. The partition was made in the first instance by lot. Then the arrangements for families were made by commissioners, and, as one of these, Caleb might have seized the city he desired. But, avoiding all suspicion of unfairness, he came with the children of Judah publicly to offer his petition. The text presents us therefore with

I A REQUEST FOR THE FULFILMENT OF A PROMISE, “Give me this mountain whereof the Lord spake in that day.” As God”s representative Joshua is desired to see that the ancient oath is not made void. The declaration of God would not remain without effect, yet observe the manner in which it was to be accomplished, viz., by the petition of the man to whom the declaration was granted. Caleb set a high value on the promise of God. Lightly would he have treated it had he allowed it to rest uncherished in his thoughts. God loves to see His people appreciate what He has offered to bestow. He has given “exceeding great and precious promises,” and yet “will be inquired of” to do it for them. Our duty is clear. To lay hold of the announcements of His Word and ground on them our requests. Surely the reason why multitudes never pray is that they think little of the blessings promised to those that ask. We need quickened memories. Are the Scriptures to be empty volumes or full of life and power? The Bible may be our charter; the will of our Father bequeathing rich portions in this world and the world to come; our catalogue of precious furniture that may be had to adorn the household of saints. How many things we have never asked for or claimed as our own! Graces to beautify, gifts to enrich for evermore. “All Scripture is given that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Man is expected to do his part even in the obtaining of a privilege. Some think, “If we are to be saved we shall be.” Caleb might have thought similarly, and neglected to make his request, and gone without his portion. God requires men to use their reasoning powers, to examine the evidences of religion, to repent and believe in Christ yes, to ask for the adoption that shall make them members of His family.

II A REWARD SOUGHT LITTLE TO BE DESIRED IN THE EYES OF SOME. Hebron was a large city, a royal city, but the surrounding hills were the fastnesses of giants, who must be attacked and driven away. Before the owner could settle down on the estate he must dislodge the former proprietors. No easy conquest was to be anticipated, yet the courageous soldier said, “Give me this mountain. Others may choose quiet resting places, let me go to the high places of the field.” Is there not here an example worthy of imitation? Who will be the advanced guard of the Christian army to attack the fortresses of Sin and Satan? An infusion of Caleb”s spirit would do much to reconcile us to what we mourn over as the hardships of our lot. We should take a different view and regard them as our reward, increasing the honour put upon us by God. One man has to struggle in business against fearful odds, another is plagued by a wretched temper, a third is sorely tempted to murmur under a heavy bereavement. God intends these various trims as discipline and as honours. The troubles are the Anakim, who must be cheerfully, bravely encountered. How deep felt will be the joy of triumph! No soldier ought to lament when placed by God in the forefront of the battle. When Jesus drew near His hour of suffering He exclaimed, “Now is the Son of man glorified.” Caleb believed that special power had been given for special work. He appealed to facts as indicative of Jehovah”s intention respecting him. Not for indolence had he been “kept alive these forty and five years,” and his strength preserved, his strength “for war both to go out and to come in” (vers. 10, 11). This principle admits of wide application. The gifts of God are various. To one is granted money, that institutions may be supported and enterprises commenced. To another the power of speech, that he may “speak to the people all the words of this life.” To another a persuasive manner, a winning smile, the grace of hospitality. These are so many talents of which the Master will exact an account. bier will the question turn so much on actual accomplishment as on the ratio of abilities to results.

III AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF DEPENDENCE UPON THE HELP OF GOD. His speech would sound like the utterance of self confidence and presumption did there not run through it a tone of devout thanksgiving, which removes the charge of boastfulness and reveals the source of his assurance. The Lord had kept him alive, and if the Lord were with him he would soon drive out the giants from their strongholds. When David essayed to fight the Philistine he reasoned from past experience. “The Lord that delivered me… bear, will deliver me from… Philistine.” The same succour is assured to all Christian warriors. We want this mingled dependence and confidence. “If God be for us, who can be against us?” The commission, “Go therefore, preach the gospel to all nations,” was preceded by the announcement, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.” Can we complain of tribulation and distress? “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors;” they do but heighten the victory we gain, “through Him that loved us. A.

Albert Barnes
Joshua 14:12
The Anakims had in the course of Joshua’s campaigns in the south been expelled from “this mountain,” i. e. the mountain country round Hebron, but they had only withdrawn to the neighboring cities of Philistia Jos_11:22. Thence, they had, as must be inferred from the text here, returned and reoccupied Hebron, probably when Joshua and the main force of the Israelites had marched northward to deal with Jabin and his confederates. Caleb finally drove out this formidable race and occupied Hebron and its dependent towns and district permanently. See Jos_15:13 following.

Adam Clarke
Joshua 14:12
I shall be able to drive them out – He cannot mean Hebron merely, for that had been taken before by Joshua; but in the request of Caleb doubtless all the circumjacent country was comprised, in many parts of which the Anakim were still in considerable force. It has been conjectured that Hebron itself had again fallen under the power of its former possessors, who, taking the advantage of the absence of the Israelitish army, who were employed in other parts of the country, re-entered the city, and restored their ancient domination. But the first opinion seems best founded.

John Calvin
Joshua 14:13
13.And Joshua blessed him, etc He prayed thus earnestly to show the delight he felt. For it was expedient by way of example to extol his valor, by which others might be incited to surmount all their fears. For it was just as if he had gained an eminence from which he could look down upon the giants. The blessing of Caleb, therefore, includes in it praise which may have the effect of an exhortation to the people. In the end of the chapter it is said, that the name of Hebron was Ciriath-Arba, (Kirjath-Arba.) Here it is to be observed, that it is not the mountain itself that is meant, but the principal city, of which there is frequent mention in Scripture. It is said to have received the surname from a giant famous for his stature. And this refutes the imagination of those expositors who insist that it was so called from having been the burial-place of four patriarchs — Adam, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

It is plain that Caleb, in making the request, had not been looking to present ease or private advantage, since he does not aspire to the place that had been given him till many years after. Wherefore it was no less the interest of the whole people than of one private family, that that which as yet depended on the incomprehensible grace of God, and was treasured up merely in hope, should be bestowed as a special favor. A grant which could not take effect without a wonderful manifestation of divine agency could scarcely be invidious.

A question, however, arises. Since Hebron not only became the portion of the Levites, but was one of the cities of refuge, how could the grant stand good? If we say that Caleb was contented with other towns, and resigned his right to the Levites, it is obvious that the difficulty is not solved, because Caleb is distinctly appointed owner of that city. But if we reflect that the right of dwelling in the cities was all that was granted to the Levites, there will be no inconsistency. Meanwhile, no small praise is due to the moderation of Caleb, who, in a locality made his own by extraordinary privilege, did not refuse an hospitable reception to the Levites.

Keil and Delitzsch
Joshua 14:13
Then Joshua blessed Caleb, i.e., implored the blessing of God upon his undertaking, and gave him Hebron for an inheritance. Hebron is mentioned as the chief city, to which the surrounding country belonged; for Caleb had asked for the mountains (Jos_14:9), i.e., the mountainous country with and around Hebron, which included, for example, the fortified town of Debir also (Jos_15:15).

J.P. Lange
Jos_14:14. Thus Hebron passes over into the hands of Caleb. According to Jos_21:11, he must have yielded the city to the Levites, while he held the land for himself.

Adam Clarke
Joshua 14:15
And the name of Hebron before was Kirjath-arba – That is, the city of Arba, or rather, the city of the four, for thus קרית ארבע kiryath arba may be literally translated. It is very likely that this city had its name from four Anakim, gigantic or powerful men, probably brothers, who built or conquered it. This conjecture receives considerable strength from Jos_15:14, where it is said that Caleb drove from Hebron the three sons of Anak, Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai: now it is quite possible that Hebron had its former name, Kirjath-arba, the city of the four, from these three sons and their father, who, being men of uncommon stature or abilities, had rendered themselves famous by acts proportioned to their strength and influence in the country. It appears however from Jos_15:13 that Arba was a proper name, as there he is called the father of Anak. The Septuagint call Hebron the metropolis of the Enakim, μητροπολις των Ενακιμ. It was probably the seat of government, being the residence of the above chiefs, from whose conjoint authority and power it might have been called חברון chebron; as the word חבר chabar literally signifies to associate, to join in fellowship, and appears to be used, Job_41:6, for “associated merchants, or merchants’ companions, who traveled in the same caravan.” Both these names are expressive, and serve to confirm the above conjecture. No notice need be taken of the tradition that this city was called the city of the four because it was the burial-place of Adam, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Such traditions confute themselves.

The land had rest from war – There were no more general wars; the inhabitants of Canaan collectively could make no longer any head, and when their confederacy was broken by the conquests of Joshua, he thought proper to divide the land, and let each tribe expel the ancient inhabitants that might still remain in its own territories. Hence the wars after this time were particular wars; there were no more general campaigns, as it was no longer necessary for the whole Israelitish body to act against an enemy now disjointed and broken. This appears to be the most rational meaning of the words, The land had rest from war.

The Jewish economy furnishes, not only a history of God’s revelations to man, but also a history of his providence, and an ample, most luminous, and glorious comment on that providence. Is it possible that any man can seriously and considerately sit down to the reading even of this book, without rising up a wiser and a better man? This is the true history which everywhere exhibits God as the first mover and prime agent, and men only as subordinate actors. What a miracle of God’s power, wisdom, grace, justice, and providence are the people of Israel in every period of their history, and in every land of their dispersions! If their fall occasioned the salvation of the Gentile world, what shall their restoration produce! Their future inheritance is not left to what men would call the fortuitous decision of a lot; like Caleb’s possession it is confirmed by the oath of the Lord; and when the end shall be, this people shall stand in their lot at the end of the days, and shall again be great to the ends of the earth.

Keil and Delitzsch
Joshua 14:14-15
This inheritance, the historian adds, was awarded to Caleb because he had followed the God of Israel with such fidelity. – In Jos_14:15 there follows another notice of the earlier name of Hebron (see at Gen_23:2). The expression לְפָנִים (before), like the words “to this day,” applies to the time when the book was composed, at which time the name Kirjath-arba had long since fallen into disuse; so that it by no means follows that the name Hebron was not so old as the name Kirjath-arba, which was given to Hebron for the first time when it was taken by Arba, “the great man among the Anakites,” i.e., the strongest and most renowned of the Anakites (vid., Jos_15:13). The remark, “and the land had rest from war,” is repeated again at the close of this account from Jos_11:23, to show that although there were Anakites still dwelling in Hebron whom Caleb hoped to exterminate, the work of distributing the land by lot was not delayed in consequence, but was carried out in perfect peace.

Pulpit Commentary
And the name of Hebron before was Kirjath-arba. Hengstenberg, according to Keil, has conclusively shown that Hebron was the original name of the city. At the time of Joshua”s invasion, however, it was known as Kirjath (or “the city of”) Arba, from a giant named Arba who had conquered the city. Hebron is known as Kirjath-arba in Gen_23:2, but the way in which it is mentioned by Moses seems to bear out Hengstenberg”s theory. The Rabbis translated “the city of four,” and assert that the four patriarchs, Adam, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were buried there. The word translated “man” here is Adam. The Vulgate follows this tradition, trans. lating “Adam maximus ibi inter Enacim situs est.” And our own Wiclif literally translates the Vulgate “Adam moost greet there in the loond of Enachym was set.” Rosenmuller renders the words translated “a great man” by “the greatest man.” And certainly the words have the article; and this is also the way in which the superlative is expressed in Hebrew. It also adds to the force of Caleb”s request. He desired the most important city of a warlike race. And the land had rest from war. (see Jos_11:23)

John Calvin
Joshua 15:14
Here we have a narrative of what plainly appears from the book of Joshua to have taken place subsequent to the death of Joshua; but lest a question might have been raised by the novelty of the procedure, in giving a fertile and well watered field as the patrimony of a woman, the writer of the book thought proper to insert a history of that which afterwards happened, in order that no ambiguity might remain in regard to the lot of the tribe of Judah. First, Caleb is said, after he had taken the city of Hebron, to have attacked Debir or Ciriath-sepher, and to have declared, that the person who should be the first to enter it, would be his son-in-law. And it appears, that when he held out this rare prize to his fellow-soldiers for taking the city, no small achievement was required. This confirms what formerly seemed to be the case, that it was a dangerous and difficult task which had been assigned him, when he obtained his conditional grant. Accordingly, with the view of urging the bravest to exert themselves, he promises his daughter in marriage as a reward to the valor of the man who should first scale the wall.

It is afterwards added that Othniel who was his nephew by a brother, gained the prize by his valor. I know not how it has crept into the common translation that he was a younger brother of Caleb; for nothing in the least degree plausible can be said in defense of the blunder. Hence some expositors perplex themselves very unnecessarily in endeavoring to explain how Othniel could have married his niece, since such marriage was forbidden by the law. It is easy to see that he was not the uncle, but the cousin of his wife.

But here another question arises, How did Caleb presume to bargain concerning his daughter until he was made acquainted with her inclinations? Although it is the office of parents to settle their daughters in life, they are not permitted to exercise tyrannical power and assign them to whatever husbands they think fit without consulting them. For while all contracts ought to be voluntary, freedom ought to prevail especially in marriage that no one may pledge his faith against his will. But Caleb was probably influenced by the belief that his daughter would willingly give her consent, as she could not modestly reject such honorable terms; (147) for the husband to be given her was no common man, but one who should excel all others in warlike prowess. It is quite possible, however, that Caleb in the heat of battle inconsiderately promised what it was not in his power to perform. It seems to me, however, that according to common law, the agreement implied the daughter’s consent, and was only to take effect if it was obtained. God certainly heard the prayer of Caleb, when he gave him a son-in-law exactly to his mind. For had the free choice been given him, there was none whom he would have preferred.

Keil and Delitzsch
Thence, i.e., out of Hebron, Caleb drove (וַיֹּרֶשׁ, i.e., rooted out: cf. יַכּוּ, Jdg_1:10) the three sons of Anak, i.e., families of the Anakites, whom the spies that were sent out from Kadesh had already found there (Num_13:22). Instead of Caleb, we find the sons of Judah (Judaeans) generally mentioned in Jdg_1:10 as the persons who drove out the Anakites, according to the plan of the history in that book, to describe the conflicts in which the several tribes engaged with the Canaanites. But the one does not preclude the other. Caleb did not take Hebron as an individual, but as the head of a family of Judaeans, and with their assistance. Nor is there any discrepancy between this account and the fact stated in Jos_11:21-22, that Joshua had already conquered Hebron, Debir, and all the towns of that neighbourhood, and had driven out the Anakites from the mountains of Judah, and forced them back into the towns of the Philistines, as Knobel fancies. For that expulsion did not preclude the possibility of the Anakites and Canaanites returning to their former abodes, and taking possession of the towns again, when the Israelitish army had withdrawn and was engaged in the war with the Canaanites of the north; so that when the different tribes were about to settle in the towns and districts allotted to them, they were obliged to proceed once more to drive out or exterminate the Anakites and Canaanites who had forced their way in again (see the remarks on Jos_10:38-39, p. 86, note).

Albert Barnes
Joshua 15:15
The name Debir belonged to two other places; namely,, that named in Jos_15:7, between Jerusalem and Jericho, and the Gadite town mentioned in Jos_13:26. The Debir here meant appears (and its site has been conjecturally placed at Dhaheriyeh (Conder)) to have been situated in the mountain district south of Hebron. It was one of the towns afterward assigned to the Levites. Its other name Jos_15:49, “Kirjath-sannah”, i. e. perhaps, “city of palm branches,” or “city of law, or sacred learning,” no less than the two given in the text, would indicate that Debir was an ancient seat of Canaanite learning, for Debir probably is equivalent to “oracle,” and Kirjath-sepher means “city of books.” This plurality of names marks the importance of the town, as the inducement held out in Jos_15:16, by Caleb, to secure its capture (compare 1Sa_17:25; 1Sa_18:17), points to its strength.

Adam Clarke
Joshua 15:16
Will I give Achsah my daughter – In ancient times fathers assumed an absolute right over their children, especially in disposing of them in marriage; and it was customary for a king or great man to promise his daughter in marriage to him who should take a city, kill an enemy, etc. So Saul promised his daughter in marriage to him who should kill Goliath, 1Sa_17:25; and Caleb offers his on this occasion to him who should take Kirjath-sepher. Profane writers furnish many similar examples.

Keil and Delitzsch
Othniel took the town and received the promised prize. Othniel, according to Jdg_3:9 the first judge of the Israelites after Joshua’s death, is called כָלֵב אֲחִי קְנַז בֶּן, i.e., either “the son of Kenaz (and) brother of Caleb,” or “the son of Kenaz the brother of Caleb.” The second rendering is quite admissible (comp. 2Sa_13:3, 2Sa_13:32, with 1Ch_2:13), but the former is the more usual; and for this the Masorites have decided, since they have separated achi Caleb from ben-Kenaz by a tiphchah. And this is the correct one, as “the son of Kenaz” is equivalent to “the Kenizzite” (Jos_14:6). According to Jdg_1:13 and Jdg_3:9, Othniel was Caleb’s younger brother. Caleb gave him his daughter for a wife, as marriage with a brother’s daughter was not forbidden in the law (see my Bibl. Archäol. ii. §107, note 14).

J.P. Lange
Jos_15:17. And Othniel, son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, took it.

So we translate,11 according to the view of the Masoretes, with Keil, Bunsen, and Winer (ii. 185) who appeal to Jdg_1:13; Jdg_3:9. Omitting the comma after Kenaz, and making “the brother” in apposition with Kenaz (Kenaz the brother) is grammatically allowable, but is not the most obvious, cf. Jdg_1:13 (Bunsen). Vulg. frater; LXX. ἀδελφοῦ. Othniel (עְָתְניאֵל = lion of God) was, according to Jdg_3:9, the first Judge of Israel, who delivered his people from the tyranny of the Mesopotamian King Chushan-rishathaim. On the allowableness of his marriage, see Michaelis, Ehegesetze Mosis, § 82, Laws of Moses, § 117.


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