Joshua 14 Commentary

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Joshua 14:1  Now these are the territories which the sons of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the households of the tribes of the sons of Israel apportioned to them for an inheritance,

Related Passages:

Numbers 34:17-19 “These are the names of the men who shall apportion the land to you for inheritance: Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun. 18 “You shall take one leader of every tribe to apportion the land for inheritance. 19 “These are the names of the men: of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh


This chapter begins the description of the tribal allotments on the west side of the Jordan and extends to Joshua 19:51

Dale Ralph Davis points out that "This section opens and closes with the two faithful spies (see Num. 13–14) receiving their respective inheritances, Caleb in 14:6–15 and Joshua in 19:49–50." (Joshua: No Falling Words

Cyril Barber introduces Joshua 14-19 - Though the narrative appears boring, there are important principles in it that repay careful consideration. First, there is value to having distinct tribal lands. This allows for diversity within an overall unity. Each tribe could maintain its individual character, while at the same time being available for a joint venture should a need arise. Second, it has been estimated that each household would receive about forty-two acres of farmland. The ancient Romans believed that a citizen and his family could survive with seven acres. It will readily be seen that in God’s economy He intended for each family to have enough and to spare. (Joshua: A Devotional Exposition)

A W Pink - The land of Canaan had already been conquered, so far as its standing armies had been completely routed, its principal strongholds destroyed, and its kings slain. Yet much of its actual territory was still in the hands of its original inhabitants, who remained to be dispossessed. It is important to distinguish between the work which had been done by Joshua and that which still remained for Israel to do. He had overthrown the ruling. powers, captured their forts, and subdued the Canaanites to such an extent as had given Israel firm foothold in the country. But he had not exterminated the population in every portion of it, yea, powerful nations still dwelt in parts thereof, as is clear from Judges 2:20–23, and 3:1–4; so that much was still demanded from Israel. (Gleanings in Joshua - can offer some useful insights but be a Berean regarding Pink's interpretative approach)

Now these are the territories which the sons of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the households of the tribes of the sons of Israel apportioned to them for an inheritance - Thee are the men who will administer the distribution of land to the tribes. The heads of the households presumably are the men named in Nu 34:16-29. Note the phrase the land of Canaan which refers specifically to the land west of the Jordan River (cf Ge 17:8) and was where God had established His covenant with the patriarchs (Ex 6:4). 

Joshua is referred to as the “son of Nun” at ten key points in the book (Joshua 1:1; 2:1, 23; 6:6; 14:1; 17:4; 19:49, 51; 21:1; 24:29).

Madvig - Eleazer is named first because he had the predominant role. As priest he was the one who wore the ephod with the Urim and Thummim by means of which the will of God was determined (Nu 27:21; see Nu 34:17, where once again Eleazar is named first). (The Expositor's Bible Commentary Volume 3)

Grant points out that "The leadership, priesthood, and tribes all had their place. However, this was not democracy at work. In the Bible, the voice of the majority is rarely in accord with the mind of God and is not a reliable guide for making decisions about spiritual matters. The men were to serve as witnesses to the integrity of the land division and to oversee its implementation. (What the Bible Teaches - Joshua Judges Ruth)

Davis and Whitcomb have an interesting explanation of how the land was allotted to the tribes - According to 14:1, three parties were involved in the division of the land: Eleazar the priest, Joshua, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes. The casting of lots before the Lord was the divinely appointed method by which each tribe would receive its share of land (cf. 13:6; 14:2; 18:6). The principal division of territory was between the tribes of Judah and Joseph; the other allotments of land would be contingent upon the area given to these tribes. The allotment of certain territories was not a haphazard procedure. According to 18:4–9, a special group of men was set aside to study the land and to designate border areas. The size of a tribe was also a factor in the assignment of special territories (cf. Num. 26:51–56; 33:54). Various landmarks were used in the delineation of borders. According to Chapter 15, the seas (vv. 2, 4), the rivers (v. 4), the mountains (vv. 8, 10), the desert (v. 1), and towns (v. 21ff.) were all border indicators. This method of boundary definition is paralleled in a document by Suppiluliuma (a Hittite king of the fourteenth century B.C.), to Niqmadu of Ugarit, Ras Shamra. (Israel From Conquest to Exile: A Commentary on Joshua-)

Utley - “Eleazar the priest” This was the son of Aaron, who was the High Priest at this time and who served Moses (cf. Num. 20:24–29; 26:1–4, 63) and Joshua during this very difficult period (e.g., chapter 22). Moses assigned the task of apportionment to Joshua and Eleazar in Num. 34:17

Wayne Barber - Today as we get into chapter 14, God is working in mighty power, all of His almighty power in the lives of the Israelites. Why? Because they’ve returned to obeying Him. Now that they are yielded to Him and His will, their enemy is completely helpless; helpless before them as they possess the land that God has given to them. God has just absolutely crippled the enemy. The enemy has no power. God told them in chapter 1, very clearly, “No man will be able to stand before you. No man can take from you what I have given to you, if you’ll consider every step holy unto Me.” Remember that in chapter 1? And what a beautiful picture this is to you and me. As we possess the life that Christ has given to us, as we learn to say yes to Him, and we take every step and make it holy unto Him—when we’re yielded to Christ, and when we’re saying yes to Him—we experience His power. Our enemy is not flesh and blood. Our enemy is the world, the flesh, and the devil. And all of our enemies, the spiritual enemy that we come up against, is immediately defeated when we say yes to Christ. We saw this last time. It is confused. It is crushed. It is consumed in an instant. When we say yes to God, sin has no power in our lives. Victory is never us trying to overcome sin; victory is Jesus who has overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil (ED: AND SAYING "YES" TO HIS SPIRIT). It’s Him living in us, overcoming us. Once Israel listened to God, the last part of chapter 10, chapter 11, and chapter 12 is simply a blow-by-blow account of them possessing the land God said was theirs. It’s history. When a believer gets into a yielded position, when a believer says yes to God, the rest of his life is history—it’s victory, after victory, after victory and this begins to be our testimony to others.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary - Verses 1-5. The Israelites must occupy the new conquests. Canaan would have been subdued in vain, if it had not been inhabited. Yet every man might not go and settle where he pleased. God shall choose our inheritance for us. Let us survey our heritage of present mercy, our prospect for the land of promise, eternal in the heavens. Is God any respecter of persons? Is it not better that our place, as to earthly good or sorrow, should be determined by the infinite wisdom of our heavenly Father, than by our own ignorance? Should not those for whom the great mystery of godliness was exhibited, those whose redemption was purchased by Jesus Christ, thankfully refer their earthly concerns to his appointment? 

Inheritance (05157)(nahal) means inherit, get possession of, take as a possession, to receive, to take property as a permanent possession. TWOT says it "basically signifies giving or receiving property which is part of a permanent possession and as a result of succession. Sometimes the idea of succession is absent but the "possessing" carries with it a connotation of permanence (e.g. Ex 34:9; Pr 14:18)." It can refer to the actual taking of the Promised Land, whether it was the entire land of Canaan as a gift from God (Ex. 23:30; 32:13); a tribal allotment (Josh. 16:4); or a familial portion (Josh. 17:6). In addition to the taking of Canaan, God declared that Israel's remnant would possess the lands of Moab and Edom (Zeph. 2:9). It can also refer to the division and distribution of the land of Canaan to the tribal units (Josh. 14:1). This verb is further used of God acquiring possession of Israel (Ex. 34:9; Zech. 2:12[16]); and the nations as His own private property (Ps. 82:8). In the causative form, the verb denotes the giving of a possession (Deut. 1:38; 3:28); or inheritance (Deut. 21:16). 

Uses of Nahal in Joshua - Jos. 1:6; Jos. 13:32; Jos. 14:1; Jos. 16:4; Jos. 17:6; Jos. 19:9; Jos. 19:49; Jos. 19:51

GEORGE BUSH  Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 14

1. These are the countries, &c. The historian having, in the preceding chapter, given an account of the disposal of the countries on the other side of Jordan, comes now to state the allotments made to the remaining nine tribes and a half in the bounds of Canaan proper. The directions which Moses had formerly given, Num. 33:50–56, respecting the mode of making this distribution, are now to be punctually observed. Previously to entering upon the account of this division, the writer premises two or three things which fall in here more properly than any where else, as that the Levites were not comprehended in the grant made to the tribes; that the tribe of Joseph was reckoned as two; and that Caleb had given to him at his request a certain tract of country which had been before promised by Moses.

The heads of the fathers of the tribes. That is, heads or chief men among the fathers of the tribes. These were twelve in number, including Joshua and Eleazar. They had been before expressly appointed by Moses, Num. 34:19. This was done that every tribe, having a representative of its own, might be satisfied that there was fair dealing, and might consequently abide more contentedly by its lot.

QUESTION -  Who was Eleazar in the Bible?

ANSWER - Eleazar ("God is helper.") was one of four sons born to Aaron, Moses’ brother and high priest of the Israelites. Eleazar is featured often in the account of the Israelites’ wanderings in the wilderness. Like his father and brothers, Eleazar was consecrated as a priest in service to the Lord (Exodus 28:1).

Eleazar and his brother Ithamar remained faithful in their service, but Eleazar’s other brothers did not. Nadab and Abihu “offered unauthorized fire to the LORD” in the desert of Sinai (Leviticus 10:1; Numbers 3:4). Because they did not respect the Lord and honor His commands, God destroyed both of them with fire. Through Moses, God commanded Aaron, Eleazar, and Ithamar to refrain from mourning. They had been consecrated with oil and were to remain at the tabernacle on pain of death. God also gave them instructions to never drink alcohol when the time came to enter the tent of meeting and told them how to present the food offerings. These men and their families were allowed to eat the leftover food offerings, provided they followed certain rules (Leviticus 10:12–15).

Eleazar eventually became the chief of all the Levites, the Israelite tribe God had set apart for priestly service, and he was put in charge of the workings of the tabernacle (Numbers 3:32; 4:16). While the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, Eleazar was responsible for offering sacrifices on behalf of the people (Numbers 19:1–8). When Korah, Dathan, and Abiram gathered 250 men and rebelled against Moses, God ordered Korah and the 250 men to burn incense before Him. God then judged Korah and his followers by sending fire to consume them (Numbers 16:35). Eleazar was given the grisly job of sifting through the ashes to gather the censers the men had used to burn the incense. The censers were to be melted down, hammered into sheets, and used to overlay the altar in the tabernacle.

In Numbers 20:22–29, on the day of Aaron’s death on Mount Horeb, Moses had taken both Aaron and Eleazar up the peak to transfer Aaron’s priestly garments to Eleazar. This gesture was a ceremonial confirmation that Eleazar was taking over for his father as high priest. Eleazar continued as high priest for the rest of his life, serving the Israelites as a mediator, adviser, and intercessor before the Lord. Eleazar commissioned Joshua as Moses’ successor and later helped with such matters as the division of land when the Israelites finally took possession of Canaan (Numbers 34:17; Joshua 14:1; 19:51).

Eleazar had a son named Phineas, who also served the Lord faithfully (see Numbers 25). Eleazar eventually passed away and was buried in Gibeah, the land that had been given to his son Phineas when the Israelites settled in the Promised Land. The high priest was chosen from Eleazar’s line for seven generations, until the time of Eli, who was of the house of Eleazar’s brother Ithamar. During the time of King Solomon, Zadok was appointed as the high priest, returning that office to the family of Eleazar (1 Kings 2:35).

There are seven other men named Eleazar found in the Bible, although none quite as noteworthy as Aaron’s son. Some were Levitical priests, one was of the same line as Jesus, one was known for having married and divorced a foreign wife, and one even fought the Philistines “till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword” (2 Samuel 23:10). You can read about each of these other men named Eleazar in 1 Samuel 7:1; 2 Samuel 23:9–10; 1 Chronicles 11:12; 23:21–22 and 24:28; Ezra 8:33; 10:2 and 25; Nehemiah 12:42; and Matthew

Joshua 14:2  by the lot of their inheritance, as the LORD commanded through Moses, for the nine tribes and the half-tribe.

  • lot: Nu 26:55,56 33:54 34:13 Ps 16:5,6 Pr 16:33 18:18 Mt 25:34 
  • Joshua 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Joshua 18:8 Then the men arose and went, and Joshua commanded those who went to describe the land, saying, “Go and walk through the land and describe it, and return to me; then I will cast lots for you here before the LORD in Shiloh.”

Joshua 19:51 These are the inheritances which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the households of the tribes of the sons of Israel distributed by lot in Shiloh before the LORD at the doorway of the tent of meeting. So they finished dividing the land.

Numbers 26:55-56 “But the land shall be divided by lot. They shall receive their inheritance according to the names of the tribes of their fathers. “According to the selection by lot, their inheritance shall be divided between the larger and the smaller groups.” 

Numbers 34:13 So Moses commanded the sons of Israel, saying, “This is the land that you are to apportion by lot among you as a possession, which the LORD has commanded to give to the nine and a half tribes." 

Proverbs 16:33  The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the LORD.


by the lot of their inheritance, as the LORD commanded through Moses, for the nine tribes and the half-tribe - Note first that this description alludes to the fact that Joshua obeyed God's "prescription" for distributing the land. The 2.5 tribes are taken care of in Joshua 13 and now we move to the western side of the Jordan River for allotting the land to the remaining tribes. In effect there are actually 10.5 tribes at this point, but his apparent difficulty is explained below in Joshua 14:4. While the lot was apparently the final determining factor (as it was indicative of the will of the LORD, cf Pr 16:33), we know that there were other criteria as described in Numbers, specifically in proportion to their population,...

Numbers 26:53-56 “Among these the land shall be divided for an inheritance according to the number of names. 54 To the larger group you shall increase their inheritance, and to the smaller group you shall diminish their inheritance; each shall be given their inheritance according to those who were numbered of them. 55 “But the land shall be divided by lot. They shall receive their inheritance according to the names of the tribes of their fathers. 56 “According to the selection by lot, their inheritance shall be divided between the larger and the smaller groups.” 

Numbers 33:54 ‘You shall inherit the land by lot according to your families; to the larger you shall give more inheritance, and to the smaller you shall give less inheritance. Wherever the lot falls to anyone, that shall be his. You shall inherit according to the tribes of your fathers.

What was the lot Joshua and Eleazar used? We simply do not know. They could have cast dice or black/white rocks or they could have used the  Urim and Thummim which was kept in the breastplate of the High Priest, in this case Eleazar (cf Nu 28:30). This might explain why he was on the allotment committee. Compare this passage...

Numbers 27:21  “Moreover, he (Joshua Nu 27:18) shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before the LORD. At his command they shall go out and at his command they shall come in, both he and the sons of Israel with him, even all the congregation.”

Madvig - For Israel the use of lots left the choice completely in the hands of God (see comment on Joshua 7:14). The old refrain "as the Lord had commanded through Moses" is repeated again to drive home the point that obedience is the key to God's blessing (The Expositor's Bible Commentary Volume 3)

Utley notes that "The land could not be sold permanently (i.e., the year of Jubilee, cf. Lev. 25:8–17)."TSK comments on the efficacy of the lot - Though God had sufficiently pointed out by the predictions of Jacob and Moses what portions he designed for each tribe, yet we readily discern an admirable proof of His wisdom, in the orders he gave to decide them by lot.  By this means the false interpretations which might have been given to the words of Jacob and Moses were prevented; and by striking at the root of whatever might occasion jealousies and disputes among the tribes, he evidently secured the honesty of those appointed to distribute the conquered lands of Canaan.  Besides, the success of this method gave a fresh proof of the divinity of the Jewish religion, and the truth of its oracles.  Each tribe finding itself placed by lot exactly in the spot where Jacob and Moses foretold, it was evident that Providence had equally directed both the predictions and that lot; and it would be the greatest folly and presumption not to acknowledge the inspiration of God in the words of Jacob and Moses; the direction of his hand in the lot, and his providence in the event.

Butler emphasizes that "“The people of God are not called to act on their own initiative and desire, nor to set their own goals. God has set the goals and issues the commands which lead to their achievement.”

Grant points out that "It is not possible to be definite about the details of “the lot”. Some commentators strongly advocate that it is a reference to the use of the Urim and Thummim, otherwise known as the “judgment of the Urim” (Num 27:21). Bringing the various scriptural references together, it is likely that these were two precious stones, which were held in the breastplate of the High Priest (Ex 28:30). Their purpose was to determine the mind of God in relation to matters of national importance, and the High Priest referred to them in an undisclosed manner. It may well be that the phrases, “came up”, “came forth” and “came out”, indicate the Urim and Thummim being taken from the breastplate. The wisdom of the Lord is seen in the absence of detail in relation to the working of the lot. The tendency of many people towards superstition and religious idolatry is anticipated by the silence of Scripture on this matter. It is not important to know how the lot was cast. The mechanics of the process did not determine the outcome, it was simply a method that the Lord used to show the people His mind and provide guidance for the leadership of the nation: “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord” (Prov 16:33). How easy it is to get caught up with the means whereby the Lord makes His will known to His people and forget that it is the Lord Himself who is important. This is a vital lesson for any believer to learn. Preaching, teaching, singing, witnessing, and praying all have their appropriate place; however, they are only a means to an end. When a person begins to focus on the means rather than the end he loses perspective and the means become the end, e.g. good singing can be a means of worship, but when the singing is worshipped rather than the Lord, the point of the singing has been lost. (What the Bible Teaches - Joshua Judges Ruth)

Donald Campbell - According to Jewish tradition the name of a tribe was drawn from one urn and simultaneously the boundary lines of a territory from another. This method designated each tribal inheritance. But blind chance did not decide the tribal location, for God was superintending the whole procedure (cf. Prov. 16:33). The inequities of assignments that existed and that caused some tensions and jealousies among the tribes should have been accepted as a part of God’s purpose, not as something that was arbitrary and unfair. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament)


GEORGE BUSH  Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 14

2. By lot was their inheritance. This distribution by lot was overruled by a special providence, so as to correspond with the inspired predictions of Jacob and Moses, respecting the allotment of each tribe. The fact is very remarkable, yet unquestionable, that the tribes found themselves placed by lot in the very sections of the country, which Jacob had foretold two hundred and fifty years before, and Moses shortly before his death. Comp. Gen. 49, and Deut. 33. To Judah fell a country abounding in vineyards and pastures; to Zebulon, sea-coasts; to Issachar, a rich plain between ranges of mountains; to Asher, one abounding in plenty of oil, wheat, and metals; and so of the others. See Masius and Calmet for more particular details.

QUESTION -  What was the practice of casting lots?

ANSWER - The practice of casting lots is mentioned seventy times in the Old Testament and seven times in the New Testament. In spite of the many references to casting lots in the Old Testament, nothing is known about the actual lots themselves. They could have been sticks of various lengths, flat stones like coins, or some kind of dice; but their exact nature is unknown. The closest modern practice to casting lots is likely flipping a coin.

The practice of casting lots occurs most often in connection with the division of the land under Joshua (Joshua chapters 14-21), a procedure that God instructed the Israelites on several times in the book of Numbers (Numbers 26:55; 33:54; 34:13; 36:2). God allowed the Israelites to cast lots in order to determine His will for a given situation (Joshua 18:6-10; 1 Chronicles 24:5,31). Various offices and functions in the temple were also determined by lot (1 Chronicles 24:5, 31; 25:8-9; 26:13-14). The sailors on Jonah’s ship (Jonah 1:7) also cast lots to determine who had brought God’s wrath upon their ship. The eleven apostles cast lots to determine who would replace Judas (Acts 1:26). Casting lots eventually became a game people played and made wagers on. This is seen in the Roman soldiers casting lots for Jesus’ garments (Matthew 27:35).

The New Testament nowhere instructs Christians to use a method similar to casting lots to help with decision-making. Now that we have the completed Word of God, as well as the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide us, there is no reason to be using games of chance to make decisions. The Word, the Spirit, and prayer are sufficient for discerning God’s will today—not casting lots, rolling dice, or flipping a coin.

Related Resources:

  • American Tract Society Lots
  • Fausset Bible Dictionary Lot 
  • Holman Bible Dictionary Lots
  • Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible Lots
  • Hastings' Dictionary of the NT Lots
  • The Jewish Encyclopedia Lots

Joshua 14:3  For Moses had given the inheritance of the two tribes and the half-tribe beyond the Jordan; but he did not give an inheritance to the Levites among them.

  • Moses: Jos 13:8 Nu 32:29-42 De 3:12-17 
  • but : Jos 13:14,32,33 
  • Joshua 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Joshua 13:14; 32; 33  Only to the tribe of Levi he did not give an inheritance; the offerings by fire to the LORD, the God of Israel, are their inheritance, as He spoke to him.....13:32 These are the territories which Moses apportioned for an inheritance in the plains of Moab, beyond the Jordan at Jericho to the east. 13:33 But to the tribe of Levi, Moses did not give an inheritance; the LORD, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as He had promised to them.


For Moses had given the inheritance of the two tribes and the half-tribe beyond the Jordan - This is essentially a reiteration of information given in Joshua 13:8-32 (also alluded to in Joshua 1:12, 15+, Joshua 12:6+),

But he did not give an inheritance to the Levites among them - See comments on Levites in Jos 13:14,32,33. So again there special mention of Levites and the fact that they would not receive an inheritance. 

Levites - Holman Bible Dictionary  The lowest of the three orders in Israel's priesthood. In the earliest biblical records, sacrifices were offered by the chief of a tribe, the head of a family (Genesis 12:7-8; Genesis 31:54 ) or possibly by a priest at a temple (Genesis 14:18 ). Originally, Israel's priests and Temple personnel were to be drawn from the firstborn of every family in Israel (Exodus 13:11-15 ). Later, God chose the tribe of Levi to carry out this responsibility for Israel (Numbers 3:11-13 ). The tribe of Levi was appointed because it was the only tribe that stood with Moses against the people who worshiped the golden calf (Exodus 32:25-29; Deuteronomy 10:6-9 ). The Levites were not given a tribal inheritance in the Promised Land (God was their inheritance) but were placed in 48 Levitical cities throughout the land (Numbers 18:20; Numbers 35:1-8; Joshua 13:14 ,Joshua 13:14,13:33; See Numbers 18:24-32 ). Since the Levites were dependent on the generosity of others, families were encouraged to invite the Levites (as well as widows, strangers, and orphans) to join them in their eating and their celebration of the joyous national feast (Deuteronomy 12:12 ,Deuteronomy 12:12,12:18; Deuteronomy 16:11 ,Deuteronomy 16:11,16:14 ). These factors point to the total dedication of the Levites to the work of the Lord rather than the earthly concerns of making a good living.

The tribe of Levi included at least three separate families: Gershon, Kohath and Merari (with the families of Moses and Aaron being treated somewhat separately from the rest of the tribe of Gershon). During the wilderness journey they were in charge of taking the tabernacle down, transporting it, setting it up and conducting worship at the tent where God dwelt (Numbers 1:47-54; Numbers 3:14-39 ). In some passages (Deuteronomy 17:9 ,Deuteronomy 17:9,17:18; Deuteronomy 18:1; Deuteronomy 24:8 ), the terms priest and Levite (or Levitical priests) seem identical, but in Exodus 28:1 and Levitcus 8–10 it is clear that only the family of Aaron fulfilled the priestly duties of offering sacrifices in the tabernacle. Because there appears to be a different way of handling the relationship between the priests and the Levites in these texts, interpreters differ in the way they understand the Levites. Although it is possible that the role of the Levites changed or that the distinction between the priests and Levites was not maintained in each period with equal strictness, the interpretation which maintains a general distinction between the priests and Levites seem to fit most texts.

The Levites were consecrated to God and given by God as a gift to Israel in order that they might perform the duties at the tabernacle (Exodus 29:1; Leviticus 8:1 ). Their work made it possible for the people to come to the tabernacle and offer sacrifices for the atonement of sins. The Levites assisted the priests in their responsibilities (Numbers 3:5-9; Numbers 16:9 ) by preparing grain offerings and the show bread, by purifying all the holy instruments used in the Temple, by singing praises to the Lord at the time of the morning and evening offerings, by assisting the priests with burnt offerings on sabbaths and feast days, and by being in charge of the Temple precinct and the chambers of the priests (1 Chronicles 6:31-48; 1Chronicles 23:1-13,1 Chronicles 23:24-32; 1 Chronicles 25:1-6; 2 Chronicles 29:12-19 ). Because of their work, the holiness of the Temple was maintained; and the glory of the Lord dwelt among Israel. During David's reign, the Levites were integrated into the administration of the government, including the keeping of the gates, judges, craftsmen, musicians, and overseers of the royal treasury (1 Chronicles 9:22-28; 1 Chronicles 23-26 ) In Jehoshaphat's time the Levites were involved with teaching the people the word of God (2 Chronicles 17:7-9 ). This responsibility probably continued into the postexilic period of Ezra (Nehemiah 8:9-12 ).

Related Resources:

Joshua 14:4  For the sons of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim, and they did not give a portion to the Levites in the land, except cities to live in, with their pasture lands for their livestock and for their property.

  • the sons of Joseph Ge 48:5 1Ch 5:1,2 
  • cities: Joshua 21:2-42 Nu 35:2-8 1Ch 6:54-81 
  • Joshua 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Genesis 48:5 (EACH SON OF JOSEPH WAS TREATED AS SEPARATE SO THAT THE TOTAL NUMBER OF TRIBES WAS STILL TWELVE - SINCE LEVITES WERE GIVEN NO INHERITANCE). “Now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon are.

Numbers 35:1-8+  Now the LORD spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho, saying, 2 “Command the sons of Israel that they give to the Levites from the inheritance of their possession cities to live in; and you shall give to the Levites pasture lands around the cities. 3 “The cities shall be theirs to live in; and their pasture lands shall be for their cattle and for their herds and for all their beasts.  4 “The pasture lands of the cities which you shall give to the Levites shall extend from the wall of the city outward a thousand cubits around. 5 “You shall also measure outside the city on the east side two thousand cubits, and on the south side two thousand cubits, and on the west side two thousand cubits, and on the north side two thousand cubits, with the city in the center. This shall become theirs as pasture lands for the cities. 6 “The cities which you shall give to the Levites shall be the six cities of refuge, which you shall give for the manslayer to flee to; and in addition to them you shall give forty-two cities. 7 “All the cities which you shall give to the Levites shall be forty-eight cities, together with their pasture lands. 8 “As for the cities which you shall give from the possession of the sons of Israel, you shall take more from the larger and you shall take less from the smaller; each shall give some of his cities to the Levites in proportion to his possession which he inherits.” 


For - Term of explanation. This one is interesting. What is he explaining? From the context he is explaining the "tribal mathematics" (see below). While we usually speak of the 12 tribes of Israel, as explained in this verse, there were in effect 13 tribes (this would likely stump most people if you are playing Bible Trivia!)

The sons of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim - This reiterates the words of Genesis 48:5 specifying that the children of Joseph accounted for two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim. 

And they did not give a portion to the Levites in the land, except cities to live in, with their pasture lands for their livestock and for their property - If Levites were not included in the allotment of land, then theoretically that left 11 tribes, but here we see that Joseph's two sons are treated separately so that we have the full number of 12 tribes. Therefore the allotment on the western side of the Jordan would be to 9.5 tribes. The cities the Levites were to live in are described in comments on Joshua 21:2-42.  See the passage above from Nu 35:2-8 and also 1Chr 6:54-81. Clearly God was making sure that the Levites would be fully taken care of! 

GEORGE BUSH  Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 14

4. The children of Joseph were two tribes. That is, had a double portion or the portion of two tribes. By Joseph’s being reckoned two tribes, the nation was made to consist of twelve tribes, though Levi was excluded.

Joshua 14:5  Thus the sons of Israel did just as the LORD had commanded Moses, and they divided the land.


This is a good start for the sons of Israel. The first step to blessing and victory is always the step of obedience! There are simply no short-cuts to "spiritual success." You can go to all the Christian seminars you want, read all the books on the deeper life you want, etc, etc, but they are all "wood, hay and stubble," if they are not undergirded by the firm foundation of unhesitating, Spirit enabled obedience to the Word of the LORD. 

Thus the sons of Israel did just as the LORD had commanded Moses, and they divided the land - Sons of Israel lumps all the Israelites together as in agreement of dividing the land, even though it would be done by lot as commanded by God to Moses. In other words, there seems to be unanimity on the method of dividing the land. This is no small point, as we are still dealing with men of flesh, and flesh sees and covets and takes (cf Achan in Joshua 7:21), but here we see the sinful nature of the sons of Israel is seemingly somewhat subdued regarding the division of land. The implication is that they understood the lot process and that it was a true reflection of the will of the LORD for each one of the tribes. In short, we see them trusting in the LORD at this point as a nation. This certainly was a good beginning for Israel. 

Life Application Study Bible - The land was divided exactly as God had instructed Moses years before. Joshua did not change a word. He followed God’s commands precisely. Often we believe that almost is close enough, and this idea can carry over into our spiritual lives. For example, we may follow God’s Word as long as we agree with it, but ignore it when the demands seem harsh. But God is looking for people who follow instructions thoroughly.

GEORGE BUSH  Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 14

5. And they divided the land. They entered upon the business of dividing it; they took the preliminary measures; they consulted together and settled the manner in which it should be done. The actual dividing took place afterwards. The Scriptures often speak of that as done, which is merely begun or resolved upon. It must have required a considerable time to make all the geographical arrangements necessary for this purpose.

Joshua 14:6  Then the sons of Judah drew near to Joshua in Gilgal, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, "You know the word which the LORD spoke to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh barnea.

  • Gilgal: Jos 4:19 10:43 
  • Caleb: Nu 13:6 14:6 
  • Kenezite: Jos 14:14 15:17 Nu 32:12 
  • You know: Nu 14:24,30 De 1:36-38 
  • the man: Nu 12:7,8 De 33:1 34:5,10 Jdg 13:6-8 1Ki 13:1,14 2Ki 4:9,16,42 8:7,11 Ps 90:1 *title 1Ti 6:11 2Ti 3:17 
  • Kadesh barnea: Nu 13:26 
  • Joshua 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Numbers 14:24, 30 (SEE COMMENTARY ON THIS PASSAGE) “But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it.....‘Surely you shall not come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.


Wholehearted commitment brings about total devotion to the LORD. Meditate on the life of a man who practiced this mindset which enalbed him to possess his (promised) possessions! 

Stephen Grant - Joshua 14:6-15:63 is the "largest section of the narrative, dealing with the division of the land, relates to Judah. He was the recipient of a special blessing from Jacob (Gen 49:8–12) and had become the most important of all the tribes of Israel, not least because out of Judah the royal line of David would come, culminating in the birth of the Messiah." (What the Bible Teaches - Joshua Judges Ruth)

Gene Getz has a great word on Caleb, A “Behind the Scenes"Man - A difficult thing for many of us is to be faithful when we're not in a prominent position. Somehow we function better when others know how well we're doing. This is a natural tendency. But the true test of our commitment to Jesus Christ is how well we function when we have to operate behind the scenes, even making it possible for someone else to be in the limelight.Caleb illustrates this kind of commitment as no other Bible character. Though the Bible says little about him compared with Joshua, what is written reflects a man who was Joshua's spiritual equal. In fact, in some respects, he excelled Joshua as a leader. But once God appointed Joshua as Moses' successor, Caleb stood quietly beside Joshua—often behind the scenes doing God's will in supporting the Lord's chosen leader of Israel. When God instructed Joshua to divide the land among the tribes, Caleb stepped out of the shadows and walked onto God's great stage. He had waited forty-five years for this moment. He remembered God's promise as if it were yesterday. (Men of Character: Joshua

Then the sons of Judah drew near to Joshua in Gilgal - Recall that Gilgal was the military base of operations and after the land had been given rest from war, this site continued to remain Joshua's site, from which he switched from military commander to land commissioner (so to speak). The first encounter might have been somewhat of a challenge to him, given the fact that the lot method had been announced and accepted unanimously.  

Presumably this marks the beginning of casting lots and the first would go to the tribe of Judah (described in Joshua 15:1ff), the tribe to which Caleb belongs. 

And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, "You know the word which the LORD spoke to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh barnea - Recall that in Numbers 34:19 Caleb was appointed the leader over the tribe of Judah to apportion the land. Caleb begins not by asking for land but referring to the LORD and His Word to Moses, a Word to which Joshua was a firsthand witness (cf You know) in the sight of Israel's "faith failure" (as a nation), Kadesh-barnea a large desert oasis which became the central point of the wilderness wandering period and lies south of the Dead Sea, midway between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean. 

Donald Campbell - Caleb is introduced in this passage as the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite. According to Genesis 15:19 the Kenizzites were a tribe of Canaan in Abraham’s day. Caleb’s family then was originally outside the covenant and commonwealth of Israel as were Heber the Kenite (Jdg 4:17), Ruth the Moabitess (Ruth 1:1–5), Uriah the Hittite (2 Sa 11:3, 6, 24), and others. It is apparent that the Kenizzites in part at least joined the tribe of Judah before the Exodus. So their faith was not hereditary but was the fruit of conviction. And Caleb displayed that faith throughout his long lifetime. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament)

Stephen Grant gives a different interpretation of the lineage for Caleb - His lineage is mentioned in order that there should be no mistake as to his identity: “Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite”. It should not be inferred from his name that he was a descendent of the Kenizzites (Gen 15:19), who were not of the children of Israel. The better explanation is that Kenaz was the father of Othniel, Caleb’s brother (Joshua 15:17), and therefore through his relationship with Kenaz, Caleb is known as the son of Jephunneh, who was related to Kenaz. He in turn was the grandson of Judah (1 Chr 2:5, 18, 25), and therefore Caleb was of the tribe of Judah (Num 13:6) and the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite. (ED: I FIND IT DIFFICULT TO BE CERTAIN REGARDING THE LINEAGE OF CALEB).  (What the Bible Teaches - Joshua Judges Ruth)

Note Caleb's acknowledgement of Moses as the man of God. is found 6x in the Old Testament - Deut. 33:1; Jos. 14:6; 1 Chr. 23:14; 2 Chr. 30:16; Ezr. 3:2; Ps. 90:1

THOUGHT - Should this not be our holy ambition, to be so pleasing to God (2Co 5:9+), that we receive such a God gloriying epithet to us after we have fallen asleep in Jesus -- "__________, (fill in your name) the man or woman of God!" Let it be so, for all who are reading this comment dear Lord. In Jesus' Name and for Your glory. Amen.

Utley has a somewhat confusing note - “Caleb” The name “Caleb” means “dog” (BDB 477). This passage is paralleled in Jdgs. 1:8–15. However, Caleb is described here as a Kenizzite (cf. 1 Chr. 4:13–16), which means that he was not originally of the tribe of Judah, but of a clan of Esau (cf. Gen. 15:19; 36:11). However, within the Pentateuch he is said to be within Judah (cf. Num. 13:6; 14:24; 34:19; 1 Chr. 6:55–56). His exact relationship to Judah is uncertain, but he was a faithful, godly man and one of the two faithful spies (cf. Numbers 13, esp. vv. 30–33).

J Oswald Sanders - Into this chilling atmosphere of cowardice and unbelief Mr. Greatheart injected a shot of radiant faith. He merited Dr. Eadie's eulogy: "He was a brave man among cowards, an assured man among sceptics."At every stage he towered above his contemporaries. In youth he stood alone. In mid-life he walked alone. In old age he climbed alone. (Bible Men of Faith

Wayne Barber - He was willing to wait until God was ready for that promise to be fulfilled. This is where I’m headed today. Look at this man who was willing to wait upon the Lord. What God promises, God is faithful and just to accomplish it in our lives, but now listen—in His time. We must understand that God will speak to our hearts and promise us, but we must also understand it will only come about when God is ready to bring it about. These times, you may not understand where I’m going today. It comes when you’re in the land already. You’re already possessing the life. It comes when you’re in those times of being in the Word and you’re just absorbed with God and His word and His spirit is just so surrounding you. And God, off of the pages of scripture, takes a verse—never out of context in the sense that it will never violate what’s said there—but He’ll take that verse and He’ll burn in into your heart, and God will give you a promise. God will so speak it to you that nobody can take that from you. Now, He will bring that to pass only when He’s ready to bring that to pass. David was the king of Israel long before he ever actually took the throne....Being satisfied with God—just God Three things are involved with this divine patience that we see in Caleb that we can grow from today. First of all, it involves being satisfied with God, just God. That’s what it involves. You and I will never have patience in this life to wait on the promises of God until we come to the place that we’re just simply satisfied with God.....Now in our text here, they haven’t divided the land with the nine and a half tribes, and what’s happening is an interlude. And Caleb is coming to Joshua with a very special request. In verse 6 he’s reminding Joshua of a promise that God made to both of them. He doesn’t speak yet of the specific promise that God has made to Caleb and this has been 45 years. He reminds Joshua of the promise that God said “You and Caleb will absolutely possess the land. You will go over into that land.”

J Vernon McGee - Caleb reminds me of Adoniram Judson, the missionary who spent twelve years in Burma without a convert. The board that sent him out didn’t sense the situation nor what a tremendous missionary they had in Judson; so they wrote him a very diplomatic letter, suggesting that he should come home. They asked him what the prospects in Burma were for the future. His reply was, “The future is as bright as the promises of God.” His confidence in God was the reason he could stay in the wilderness of Burma all those years. Although he suffered a great deal and it took a long time for revival to break out, it finally did. His time was well spent.Are you enjoying all the spiritual blessings that God has for you today? You say, “I have lots of trouble.” I know that Christians have many troubles in the course of their lives. My heart goes out to them. But I always think of the testimony of a Black man who said his favorite Bible verse was, “It came to pass.” When puzzled people asked him what he meant by that, he replied, “When I get into trouble and problems pile up, I turn to my verse and know my troubles have not come to stay; they have come to pass.” There are a lot of things you can complain about, friend, and I do my share also, but what about your hope? What about the future? Caleb for forty years in that wilderness was enjoying all the spiritual blessings that were his.

F B Meyer - Caleb followed the Lord wholly through the weary years in the wilderness. Amid the marchings and counter-marchings, the innumerable deaths, the murmurings and rebellions of the people, he retained a steadfast purpose to do only God's will, to please Him, to know no other leader, and to heed no other voice . It was of no use to try and involve that stout lion's whelp, for that is the underlying thought in his name, in any movement against Moses and Aaron. He would be no party to Miriam's spite. He would not be allured by the wiles of the girls of Moab. Always strong, and true, and pure, and noble; like a rock in a changeful sea; like a snowcapped peak amid the change of cloud, and storm and sun. A man in whose strong nature weaker natures could hide; and who must have been a tower of strength to that new and young generation which grew up to fill the vacant places in the van of Israel.

William Blaikie - Caleb is one of those men whom we meet with seldom in Bible history, but whenever we do meet them we are the better for the meeting. Bright and brave, strong, modest and cheerful, there is honesty in his face, courage and decision in the very pose of his body, and the calm confidence of faith in his very look and attitude.

Woudstra has a note on Caleb's descent but keep in mind there is no clear consensus - The story of how Caleb obtained his inheritance is linked with the people of Judah, who had come to Joshua at Gilgal. What precisely is the link between Judah’s coming to Gilgal and Caleb’s request that follows is not clear. Caleb often is linked with the tribe of Judah (Num. 13:6; 34:19), but his precise ethnic origin is a matter of debate since he is also called a Kenizzite (SEE HOLMAN BIBLE DICTIONARY BELOW) (vv. 6, 14; Num. 32:12). Kenizzites are listed among the original, non-Israelite population of Canaan (Ge 15:19). It may be that this name here simply stands for a descendant of Kenaz, which name occurs among Caleb’s descendants (1Chr. 4:13, 15). Upon that supposition Caleb was Judahite by descent. (NICOT-Joshua) 

KENIZZITE - Clan name of uncertain meaning. Clan God promised Abraham the Israelites would dispossess (Genesis 15:19 ). The Kenizzites lived in the Negev, the southern desert region of Judah, before the conquest of the land by Joshua. The tribe of Judah absorbed some of the Kenizzites while Edom absorbed others. The Kenizzites were probably related to the Kenites from whom they would have learned the craft of metal-working (1 Chronicles 4:13-14 ). They probably derived their name from Kenaz—a descendant of Esau (Genesis 36:11 ,Genesis 36:11,36:15 )—who is listed among the Edomite chieftains (Genesis 36:42 ). Jephunneh the Kenizzite may have married a woman of the tribe of Judah. Their son was Caleb (Numbers 32:12; Joshua 14:6 ,Joshua 14:6,14:14; Joshua 15:13 )

Rod Mattoon - Have you ever stood alone for God in a group? The eyes are on you, your legs shake, your body gets hot, the heart beats faster, the snickering and sneers are obvious, yet, your determination is concrete. In Numbers 13:30, we find Caleb taking a stand and doing the speaking. Joshua at this moment is silent in a time of disagreement. Joshua agreed with Caleb but was silent. Joshua in his earlier years was reserved and sometimes fearful with leadership responsibilities. Caleb appears to be more courageous, bolder, and more willing to face life threatening situations. Caleb’s obedience continued for 45 more years. He was faithful behind the scenes and obedient. We never find him grumbling or craving the leeks and garlic of Egypt or turning to idolatry. He was loyal, consistent, and steadfast. Caleb was a prime example of a sold out, surrendered, 100% believer. The secret of his success was he wholly followed the Lord. Six times this is said of him in the Scriptures. Caleb followed the Lord by conviction. His was not a hereditary faith, but like Ruth, it was a faith of conviction. He meant business for God. He was not like the fellow who was found with a rope around his wrist, strung from a light fixture. His buddy found him, cut him down and said “What in the world are you doing?” His answer was, “Committing suicide!” The friend said, “Well, you should have put it around your neck if you really wanted to commit suicide.” The fellow answered, “I tried the rope around my neck but it was choking me!” This guy didn’t mean business, but Caleb did. He was sold out to God. Important questions are raised at this point.

1. How obedient are you to all of God’s commands? Do you obey only when it is convenient?

2. When the crowd wants to do wrong, do you stand for what is right?

3. When faced with group rejection because you want to obey the Word, do you take a stand for the will of God?

4. How faithful is your service to the Lord behind the scenes?

5. What would it mean for you to wholeheartedly serve the Lord this year? Are you willing to pay the price? (Treasures from the Scriptures)

David Cooper -  Caleb Waited for the Promise of God (Joshua 14:6-8)

A. The unbelief of others cost Caleb 40 years in the wilderness. Whether we like it or not, the responses and actions of others sometimes affect us negatively. 

B. You may be suffering a setback today in your own life because of the irresponsibility of others. 

C. How did Caleb respond? Did he get angry at God? After all, he believed God. He could have said, "God, this isn't fair. How can You allow me to suffer and to miss out on Your promises because of the faithlessness of others?" He could have become bitter toward those who placed the whole community in a desert for 40 years. But he didn't. 
         1. He persevered in his faith and waited for the promises of God to be fulfilled in his own life. 
         2. He maintained his convictions in the promises of God when others failed to believe. 
         3. What a witness. You may have to do the same on your job, in your home, at your school. 

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary - Verses 6-15. Caleb's request is, "Give me this mountain," or Hebron, because it was formerly in God's promise to him, and he would let Israel knows how much he valued the promise. Those who live by faith value that which is given by God's promise, far above what is given by his providence only. It was now in the Anakims' possession, and Caleb would let Israel know how little he feared the enemy, and that he would encourage them to push on their conquests. Caleb answered to his name, which signifies "all heart." Hebron was settled on Caleb and his heirs, because he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel. Happy are we if we follow him. Singular piety shall be crowned with singular favour. 

GEORGE BUSH  Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 14

6. Then the children of Judah came. ‘Then’—while they were at Gilgal, preparing to make the division, which it seems was finished at Shilo, ch. 18:1. The thread of the narrative is again interrupted to introduce the digression concerning the allotment of Caleb. The children of Judah, that is, probably, the heads and chief men, accompanied Caleb, who belonged to the same tribe, in order to testify their consent to the measure, and to aid and countenance him in obtaining the object of his request. As Caleb was one of the twelve whom God had chosen to superintend the partition of the land, Num. 34:12, it might seem, if he came unattended, that he designed to take advantage of his authority as a commissioner to promote his private interest; he therefore takes his brethren along with him to preclude any such imputation. Some suppose that this transaction took place previous to the siege and capture of Hebron, related ch. 10:36, 37, and that the expedition detailed in its minute particulars, in ch. 15:13–15, is there barely touched upon, or described in the most general manner. The fact, however, that the application of Caleb was made to Joshua at Gilgal, and not while he was pursuing his conquests over the south of Canaan, seems decisive against this opinion.

Thou knowest the thing, &c. Caleb probably alludes to what is said Num. 14:24, ‘But my servant Caleb him will I bring into the land where into he went; and his seed shall possess it.’ Deut. 1:36, ‘Caleb the son of Jephunneh, to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath wholly followed the Lord.’ This seems to be spoken, not of the land of promise in general, but of some particular district to which he had penetrated when sent out by Moses. This, undoubtedly, was Hebron, Num. 13:22, and was so understood by all parties at the time. The promise then made by God to Moses he now pleads; and what can be more confidently expected than the fulfilment of his gracious word? There is more presumption in declining and neglecting his promises, than in urging their performance.

Joshua 14:6-7

Friends in Deed

Dr. Woodrow Kroll

Joshua 14:6-7 - Then the children of Judah came to Joshua in Gilgal. And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him: "You know the word which the Lord said to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh Barnea. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land, and I brought back word to him as it was in my heart."

Friends in Deed - Dr. Abraham Maslow, famed research analyst, estimated that the average American meets only about 50 percent of his need for love, interpersonal support and intimacy. In the latter stages of his research, Dr. Maslow became even more negative in his summary: "The truth is," he said, "the average American does not have a real friend in the world."

That stands in stark contrast to the friendship we see between Joshua and Caleb. First teamed up by Moses as partners to explore the land of Canaan, they also stood steadfast together when the people rebelled and wanted to stone them (Num. 14:6-10). Joshua was later selected to replace Moses as the leader of Israel, but that seemed to have no effect on their friendship. Forty-five years later we find them fighting shoulder to shoulder as Israel sought to solidify its hold on the Promised Land. And in the midst of the conflict, Joshua fulfilled a promise. Joshua 14:13 says, "And Joshua blessed him, and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as an inheritance."

Joshua and Caleb were friends indeed and friends in deed. It was a friendship tested by time and trials, but a friendship expressed in commitment and deeds. What had been promised in words was fulfilled in deeds.

Perhaps you are blessed with such a friend as Caleb. If so, find a way today not only to say how much you appreciate this friend but to show it as well. Follow the admonition of 1 John 3:18: "Let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth."

A friend in deed is a friend indeed.

CALEB. Joshua 14:6-15. - James Smith - Handfuls of Purpose

"What is the end of fame? 'Tis but to fill 
A certain portion of uncertain paper; 
Some liken it to climbing up a hill,
Whose summit, like all hills, is lost in vapour; 
For this men write, speak, preach, and heroes kill, 
And bards burn what they call 'the midnight taper."

If the worldling's fame ends only in the blinding mists, it is not so with the man of God, for the "path of the just is as the shining light that shineth more and more until the perfect day." The name Caleb means wholehearted. In his character he was true to his name, and his fame is still spread abroad as sweet ointment poured forth. His career did not end in the cold vapour of disappointment, like that of the half-hearted Balaam. He "followed God fully," and was rewarded abundantly. Here is a revelation of—

I. His Character. He was—

1. HONEST. He says, "When Moses sent me to espy out the land, I brought him word again as it was in my heart" (Josh 14:7). His heart was right with God, so he spoke out what was in it. Solomon saith, "The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth" (Prov. 16:23). The man with his heart so fixed, trusting in the Lord, is not afraid of evil tidings (Psa. 112. 7, 8). The hypocrite is a man without heart. "The pure in heart shall see God."

2. CHARITABLE. "Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt" (v. 8). Although his companions in the search brought back an evil report, which discouraged the people, dishonoured God, and belied his own testimony, still he speaks of them as "my brethren." Charity suffereth long, and is kind; is not easily provoked. Moses cried, "Ye rebels!" and so his tongue hindered his feet from entering the land.

3. DEVOTED. "I followed the Lord my God" (v. 8). Caleb had another spirit within him (Num. 14:24). He followed the Lord his God exactly in the way in which we should follow Him. By accepting His will, trusting His Word, casting himself into His revealed purpose, and fearlessly standing in the strength of it. As Luther said, "I cannot do otherwise, so help me God." And God did help.

II. His Faith. He—

1. RECALLS THE PROMISE. "Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance" (v. 9). "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1). Unbelief has a very short memory, but faith remembers the Word of the Lord.

2. BELIEVES THE WORD. The promise of God (Num. 14:24) is not only remembered, but trusted. All along he had been making it the rod and staff of his comfort. Let it be ours also through faith to look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. "We walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7).

3. CLAIMS THE BLESSING. "Now therefore give me this mountain whereof the Lord spake in that day" (v. 12). The conditions had been fulfilled, and he would enter "now therefore" right into the possession of it. This is not presumption, it is the courage of an honest faith in God that wins His smile, that secures His favour, and gains that crowning benediction—a satisfied soul. Put in your claim. "Now therefore give me this blessing whereof the Lord hath spoken." Remember His promise, believe it, claim the fulfilment of it. "Be it unto me according to Thy Word."

III. His Testimony. "I am going to preach Jesus," said one man to another on his way to a meeting. "I trust the Lord will be with you," replied his friend. "Well, if He is not I shall speak well of Him behind His back," was his happy answer. Caleb speaks well of God. He testifies to—

1. GOD'S FAITHFULNESS. "Behold, the Lord hath kept me these forty and five years" (v. 10). Kept through these terrible forty years in the wilderness. Kept by the power of God, while the whole multitude melted away through unbelief. Kept by the power of God through faith unto this salvation now revealed and enjoyed. He is faithful. Testify according to the proportion of your faith.

2. GOD'S GOODNESS. "I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me" (v. 11). If the joy of the Lord is our strength there is no reason why the lapse of time should weaken it. Those who lose their first love will also lose their first strength. The trees of the Lord's planting and nurturing are always full of sap. Healthy, fruitbearing trees are a good testimony to the wisdom and carefulness of the gardener. A strong, healthy Christian is a continual witness to the riches and goodness of his Lord and Saviour.

3. GOD'S POWER. "If so be the Lord will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out" (v. 12). This testimony is true. Our ability to gain the victory over our enemies lies not in our wisdom or strength, but in His presence with us. Caleb knew that God alone could gird him with strength sufficient to break the bow of steel (Psa. 18:32-34). "Through God we shall do valiantly, for He it is that shall tread down our enemies" (Psa. 60:12). "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 15:57). It is not surprising to find that after such a testimony as this Joshua blessed Caleb and gave him the inheritance (v. 13). "Blessed are all they that trust in Him."

Utley - The phrase, “man of God,” is used of several people:
    1.      Moses (cf. Deut. 33:1; 1 Chr. 23:14; 2 Chr. 30:16; Ezra 3:2; Ps. 90:1)
    2.      Elijah
    3.      Elisha
    4.      Samuel
    5.      David
    6.      Shemiah
    7.      Hanan
    8.      anonymous person in 1 Sam. 2:27 and 1 Kgs. 13:1–3

QUESTION -  Who is Caleb in the Bible?

ANSWER - (See also ISBE Article) The story of Caleb, a faithful man of God, begins in the book of Numbers. After being delivered from bondage in Egypt, the Israelites were led by God to the border of the land of Canaan, a land “flowing with milk and honey” that God had promised they would inherit (Exodus 3:8, 17). Moses had chosen twelve men, one from each tribe, to scout the land before entering. Among them was Caleb, representing the tribe of Judah. The twelve men spied out the land for forty days and then came back to Moses. They reported that the land was indeed fruitful but its inhabitants were the mighty descendants of Anak. Terrified by the size and strength of the Canaanites, ten of the spies warned Moses not to enter Canaan (Numbers 13:23–33).

Caleb silenced the murmuring, fearful men by saying, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Numbers 13:30). Caleb took his stand because he followed the Lord wholeheartedly (Joshua 14:8–9). Caleb knew of the promises of God to the Israelites, and, despite the evidence of his own eyes regarding the obstacles, he had faith that God would give them victory over the Canaanites.

Unfortunately, the people of Israel ignored Caleb and listened to the report of the other spies. They were so frightened that they wept all night and even wished they had died at the hands of their slave masters in Egypt (Numbers 14:1–4). They turned on Caleb and Joshua (the spy from Ephraim) and wanted to stone them on the spot (Numbers 14:6–10). God was exceedingly angry with the people and threatened to destroy them until Moses interceded for them. God relented, but He decreed that the people would wander in the wilderness until all of that faithless generation had died. But God said that “my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly” and gave him the promise that he would own all the land he had seen as a spy (Numbers 14:11–24).

The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years until all of that generation, except Joshua and Caleb, died (Numbers 14:29–30). After the forty years of wandering and five more years of war within Canaan, Caleb was 85 years old; yet he was as strong as ever and able to fight the same Anakites that had frightened his countrymen. His confidence was born out of his absolute faith in the promises of God (Joshua 15:13–14).

Caleb’s territory in Canaan included “Kiriath Arba, that is, Hebron. (Arba was the forefather of Anak.) From Hebron Caleb drove out the three Anakites—Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai, the sons of Anak. From there he marched against the people living in Debir (formerly called Kiriath Sepher)” (Joshua 15:13–15). Othniel, a nephew of Caleb, captured Kiriath Sepher and was given Caleb’s daughter Aksah to wed (verses 16–17). Later, Aksah asked her father to include some springs of water as part of her inheritance (verses 18–19), and Caleb gave them to her. Later still, Othniel, Caleb’s son-in-law, became Israel’s first judge (Judges 3:7–11).

From the accounts of the life of Caleb, we see a faithful man who trusted God to fulfill His promises when others allowed their fears to override their small faith. Even into his later years, Caleb remained steadfast in his faith. God blessed Caleb for his faithfulness and patience, an encouragement to us to believe God. Like Caleb, we should be prepared to follow God in every circumstance, patiently waiting for Him to fulfill His promises and ready to take action when the time is

QUESTION -  What is the significance of Kadesh Barnea in the Bible?

ANSWER - (SEE MAP) (SEE WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE) Kadesh Barnea is a region located in the Desert of Zin that is mentioned numerous times in the Old Testament. It was located somewhere along the border of Edom and Israel, southwest of the Dead Sea. Kadesh Barnea, sometimes simply called Kadesh, is connected to many significant events in Israel’s history, specifically in the Pentateuch. The name Kadesh Barnea is thought to mean “the holy place of the desert of wandering.”

Kadesh Barnea served as a place of combat in the book of Genesis when Abraham fought the Amalekites there (Genesis 14:7). It is ironic that the very place where Abraham experienced victory over the Amalekites is where the Israelites later failed to believe that God would give them victory in acquiring the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 9:23). The account in Genesis also includes Hagar’s meeting with the Angel of the Lord “between Kadesh and Bered” after she was mistreated by Sarah (Genesis 16:14).

Kadesh Barnea seems to have been a regular camping spot for the Israelites throughout their years of desert wandering (Numbers 13:26; 20:1, 14; 33:36). It was at Kadesh that Miriam died and was buried (Numbers 20:1).

Two significant events that occurred at Kadesh Barnea were the Israelites’ faithless refusal to possess the Promised Land (Numbers 13:32–33) and their opposition to Moses at not having enough water (Numbers 20:2–5). These two events, marked by unbelief, grumbling, and disobedience, directly affected Moses, Aaron, and the Israelites.

The men who had left Kadesh Barnea to scout out the Promised Land, except for Caleb and Joshua, failed to believe that God could give them possession of Canaan (Numbers 14:30; Joshua 14:7). Instead, they insisted that the people of Canaan, who included the Nephilim, were too powerful for them to fight. The ten scouts bringing the evil report persuaded the people that the land would be impossible to acquire (Numbers 13:32–33). Because of their failure to believe, the Israelites had to wander in the desert for another 38 years, waiting until all those who were 20 years and older died, so that the next generation could take possession of the land (Numbers 14:29; Deuteronomy 2:14).

Years later, Moses and Aaron were also denied entrance into the Promised Land because of their disobedience to God at Kadesh Barnea. God had instructed Moses to speak to the rock to bring forth water for the grumbling Israelites, but he disobeyed by striking the rock twice (Numbers 20:12). Because the Israelites had failed to believe and obey the Lord, their arrival into the land “flowing with milk and honey” was postponed until Joshua led the younger generation out of the wilderness by the command of the Lord.

In the desert of wandering, the Israelites experienced plagues, death, and testing. The Israelites failed the tests that took place in Kadesh Barnea, and that remained etched in their memory forever. Their unbelief led to the postponement of entering Canaan and claiming God’s blessings (Psalm 95:8–11; Hebrews 3:7–19). May we not follow the unbelief of those who did not trust God to fulfill His promises. When times of testing come, may we display the faith that Joshua and Caleb had in trusting God at Kadesh Barnea.

Joshua 14:6-15 TODAY IN THE WORD

Was Pete Sampras too old to win a major tennis tournament? Should he retire and leave the field to younger stars? Critics said he was finished. After two years and 33 tournaments without a title, it certainly looked that way . . . to everyone but Sampras. And he proved his point at the 2002 U.S. Open, beating rival Andre Agassi in four sets to win his fourteenth career Grand Slam championship, a record. Taking the tournament for the fifth time, he then became the oldest man to win in more than thirty years.

Of course, we’re talking about a man who was 31 years old at the time. If he can do it again at age 85, then he might qualify to be in Caleb’s league!
Caleb lived a life characterized by faith and wisdom. In the original spy mission, he brought a report according to his convictions, not according to the obstacles he saw. He trusted the promises of God, followed Him wholeheartedly, and was publicly commended for doing so (vv. 7–9).

He also showed faith through the difficult time of waiting–for 45 years!–before he finally crossed the Jordan River. It must have been quite depressing, waiting for an entire disobedient generation to die off. Surely he had plenty of chances to give up or lose focus, yet his faith remained strong. Wisely, he continued to trust in the Lord.

At age 85, standing at last on the edge of the Promised Land, Caleb showed faith in the future. He declared his readiness to go and fight. He praised God for keeping him strong. Anakites or no, he was eager to inherit the land God had promised (v. 12). He was given Hebron, in hill country about 25 miles south of Jerusalem. He later gave the city away to the Levites, demonstrating he was not preoccupied with the “spoils of war” (Josh. 21:11). That’s not what his life was about.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY Here’s an open question for you to reflect on today: Do you live with the wholehearted faith of Caleb? Do you both wait and act with perfect faith? “Wholehearted” means your entire heart is devoted to God–not even one tiny corner of it is given over to selfish pursuits or ambitions. You belong to the Lord, without reservation.

Caleb (Joshua 14:6–15; 15:13–19)

Caleb is one of the great characters in the Bible: a man of vibrant faith and daring courage. He has been worthily described as Mr Greatheart of the Old Testament.

We find the account of Caleb in two parts. The first part appears in Josh 14:6–15, and the second part in Josh 15:13–19. His words and deeds are recorded only here and in Numbers 13–14, where he was described as a representative of the tribe of Judah sent to spy out the land. He and Joshua were the only two who returned to Kadesh Barnea with a favourable report. Of Caleb God said, ‘My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it’ (Numbers 14:24).

With the exception of Joshua, Caleb was the oldest man in all Israel, for all who were above twenty years of age when he was forty died in the wilderness. He and Joshua were the sole survivors of their generation, which had left Egypt. He was therefore at least twenty years older than any of the others.

He is here called ‘the Kenizzite’. Keil and Delitzsch say, ‘We are not to understand that Caleb or his father Jephunneh is described as a descendant of the Canaanitish tribe of the Kenezzites (Genesis 15:19), but Kenaz was a descendant of Hezron, the son of Perez and grandson of Judah.’ Given that he was a ‘leader’ of the tribe of Judah (Numbers 13:2) just after they had left Egypt, it seems improbable that he could have been a foreigner, as some claim, for the qualities and positions of leadership would have evolved among the children of Israel while they were still in Egypt and at Sinai. It would seem, therefore, that Caleb was an Israelite and a leader of the tribe of Judah.

Joshua’s great leadership qualities and his deeds are well documented, but we hear nothing of Caleb, who simply took his place once more in the tribe of Judah. Now, as an old man of eighty-five, he comes before his leader and former spy partner, Joshua, and reminds him of what Moses had said to him when he sent them both out to investigate the land: ‘The land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance’ (Joshua 14:9). The grand old man was claiming an inheritance. This hill country was occupied by the mighty Anakim, before whom the ten spies had seen themselves as grasshoppers. He asked Joshua for mountains to climb and giants to conquer! Mr Greatheart cries out, ‘Give me this mountain!’ What a word of faith and inspiration!

He brought ‘the children of Judah’ (Josh 14:6), that is the heads of his tribe, with him to testify their consent to his claim. God chose him from Judah to divide the land (Numbers 34:18–19) so, lest he should seem to be improving his lot for personal advantage as a commissioner, he brings them with him to give their approval.

Caleb was a man of vibrant faith

‘Without faith it is impossible to please [God]’ (Hebrews 11:6).

Caleb had a robust and unwavering faith that was all the more remarkable because it was surrounded by the gigantic waves of unbelief arising from the opposition of those who chose to believe the pessimistic reports of the ten spies.

‘He brought us out from there, that he might bring us in, to give us the land of which he swore to our fathers’ (Deuteronomy 6:23). That was the object of their leaving Egypt—to enter into their rightful inheritance promised to Abraham and given to them by God. Caleb knew that Joseph had said on his deathbed, ‘God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.’ Joseph had then charged the people: ‘You shall carry up my bones from here’ (Genesis 50:24–25). The bones of Joseph were an inspiration to faith and an indication of God’s purposes for the nation.

He had been brought out of Egypt by God’s power. There was purpose in God’s miraculous care and provision in the wilderness. God did not guide them by the cloud and fiery pillar in order to leave them at the mercy of this howling wilderness or of the giants occupying the land. God was saying to them, ‘Go up and possess the land.’ This miracle-working God intended to give them the land, and they were to obey him and take it. It all made sense to Caleb.

His was a faith founded upon the word of God. He remembered the time and place of God’s speaking to him. Several times in his request to Joshua, Caleb mentions God’s word: ‘the word which the LORD said to Moses the man of God’ (Josh 14:6); ‘as he said’ (Josh 14:10a); ‘ever since the LORD spoke this word to Moses’ (Josh 14:10b); ‘which the LORD spoke in that day’ (Josh 14:12a); ‘as the LORD said’ (Josh 14:12b). Five times Caleb hammers this point home. He bases his request on the word which the Lord had spoken to Moses, and this request is for nothing other than that which God promised him. He simply believed God. For Caleb, God was able to give glorious victory against overwhelming odds! ‘Now therefore,’ he said, ‘give me this mountain of which the LORD spoke in that day’ (Josh 14:12). He claimed the promise. It was an unwavering faith in the face of massive opposition in the land. ‘Give me this mountain’—a striking and grand watchword for us all!

The ten measured their own strength against that of the giants, and the two, Joshua and Caleb, measured the giants against God. The ten gazed at the giants; the two gazed at God. The ten had great giants and a small God; the two had a great God and small giants. God was far greater than these giant people in their strong fortified cities. Caleb remembered gratefully what God had done when ‘Israel wandered in the wilderness’ (v. 10). He said, ‘He will bring us into this land and give it to us … Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them’ (Numbers 14:8–9). As one commentator put it, ‘they are our bread’ means ‘the bigger the giant, the bigger the loaf’. We will consume them!

This magnificent blending of faith and courage failed to elicit any response among the people. Sadly, Caleb was being introduced to the isolation of faith. He and Joshua stood alone and pleaded with the rebellious multitudes, who ‘said to stone them with stones’ (Numbers 14:10). It was a great national mutiny. God banished them to the wilderness, and all those who were twenty years or above when they left Egypt died in the wilderness. The spies had spent forty days in the land, and unbelieving Israel’s sentence was forty years in the wilderness: a year for a day (Numbers 14:29, 33–34).

‘The LORD is with us!’ he cried (Numbers 14:9). Full of expectancy he said to Joshua, ‘It may be that the LORD will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the LORD said’ (Joshua 14:12). ‘As the LORD said’ shows that his trust was in the Lord and that this was a word of confidence. Because of Yahweh’s promise, such as that in Exodus 23:29–31, Caleb suspects that Yahweh will drive out the enemy before him. He is expectant, not doubtful; confident, not cocky; for God is with him.

How precious is the presence of God! How humbling, how encouraging, how inspiring! As we wait in his presence, far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife, his radiant beauty meets our sight and Jesus fills the horizon. We are encompassed in his tender embrace as he touches our deepest heart-strings. We bow and weep and repeat his wonderful Name as our hearts are melted before him. He ravishes our soul; he fills the horizon; he is the altogether Lovely One. There is nothing like the presence of God. With God’s presence we can go through fire and water. God said to Moses, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ Then Moses replied, ‘If your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here’ (Exodus 33:14–15). In his presence the fire burns fiercely in our hearts and our commitment is total. Complete abandonment to him and his will is so easy when we find the wonder of the Lord in the precious trysting-place.

Caleb had witnessed God in action. He had seen so much of the power of God. He had gazed upon the river of Egypt which turned to blood, he had heard the wailing of the Egyptians when they realized that their firstborn were dead. Ah, yes, he knew that God was alive and was the all-powerful One. He had walked together with all the others across the dry seabed. He had seen Pharaoh and his hordes drown in the waters as they pursued Israel. He had eaten the manna in the camp of Israel. He had seen enemy forces, like those of Amalek, defeated. He knew that if God was with him he would be victorious. If God be for us, who can be against us?

How little we know of the power of God in our lives and in our meetings! We see so little of the melting presence of God, so little of brokenness. How we need God to reveal his power and his presence, which will most certainly transform our lives and enable us to go forth and conquer! ‘The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits’ (Dan. 11:32).

Caleb was a man with a consistent life A number of qualities marked his character:

He said, ‘The LORD has kept me alive’ (Joshua 14:10). That was no ordinary statement. He had watched a whole generation die in the wilderness. In fact, he and Joshua were the only ones to have survived. He probably had had many scrapes with death in the battles for the land. Through it all, ‘the LORD has kept me alive’. That speaks of agility, strength, watchfulness and alertness. He was no slouch. He was awake, able, active and available.
He said, ‘I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war’ (Josh 14:11). He said these things as if anticipating objections to his propositions because of his age. It is surely a wonderful testimony to God’s keeping power and sustaining grace. The old man, who should have been putting on his slippers, ties on his mountain boots and prepares for an all-out war. He is up for the most difficult of tasks. His trust is in God, who would give him the victory. What a spirit! What spiritual initiative and drive!

This courage was both moral and physical. Morally, he had stood almost alone against the swiftly-flowing tide of popular opinion. Standing alone is one of the most searching tests, particularly for young people. It takes courage to stand alone.

Physically, he had held firmly to his convictions even when the despairing, menacing crowd cried out to stone him to death. He had advised a dangerous line of action, that of attacking the Canaanites, and when he later claimed his inheritance he claimed the very mountainous area that was infested with hordes of fierce Anakim in their fortified cities. It would seem that this was the place from which the spies had concluded that the conquest of the land was impossible, for Hebron seemed altogether invincible. This was the very place that Caleb claimed. It took courage, but this rose from his unshakeable trust in his great God.

Caleb had lived quietly, seeking no particular honour for himself. His choice of Hebron was not only courageous but also unselfish. Would it not have been easier for Caleb to ask for some well-conquered and productive fertile valley, where he could spend the rest of his days in peaceful enjoyment? But no! Selflessly, courageously and believingly he offers to drive out the Anakim from their fortified cities and preserve the area for himself and for the nation.

When Joshua was promoted as leader, Caleb accepted the choice and was happy to follow his new leader. He was not even made second-in-command. We read of no attitude of jealousy or chafing under the guidance and command of Joshua. He selflessly accepted his lot and willingly served in his appointed place.

Caleb had been so convinced that God was with them at Kadesh Barnea, but how did he fare in the long, tedious years of wilderness wandering? The testings of the long haul take their toll. Unconsciously, deterioration sets in, and the one who was so bright in youth often fails in middle life. Don’t lose heart and lose the vision in midlife!

For forty years he was with the complaining, unbelieving and dying multitude wandering aimlessly in the desert. This is where his trust in God had brought him! Yet he did not become resentful, but maintained his spiritual integrity. He survived the long test without losing stature. He was in the commonplace, the humdrum, for so long, but his commitment remained as fresh as ever and his devotion just as vital.

The secret of Caleb’s life is found in the phrase which is repeated five times in these chapters: ‘He wholly followed the LORD’ (Joshua 14:8–9, 14; Numbers 14:24; 32:12; Deuteronomy 1:36). Caleb himself states, ‘I wholly followed the LORD’ (Joshua 14:8). This is an honest declaration of an undeflected purpose. Moses said to him, ‘You have wholly followed the LORD my God’ (Joshua 14:9). And God testified, ‘Caleb … has followed me fully’ (Numbers 14:24).

Here is a man of unbending integrity, who followed the Lord through thick and thin. When his life was in danger from the stones of his disgruntled brethren, he stood firm; when he walked the weary paths in the wilderness, all because the nation had rejected what he knew to be true, he stood firm; when the army invaded Canaan, he gave himself to the battles; when the biggest challenge of all faced him, that of conquering the mighty mountainous region of Hebron, he was there to meet the challenge. He followed God wholeheartedly and with complete abandon. He entertained no divided loyalties. He was committed to God’s person, whom he would serve, and to his will, which he would do.

Caleb was a man with a wide inheritance

Not only did Caleb claim and possess his inheritance of the hill country centred in Hebron, but God blessed him in so many other ways as well.

When God told Joshua that he was old, Caleb was still full of the vigour of youth. God had strengthened him to fulfil his purposes so that at the last he could drive the giants from the land.

The best reward for service is further service. He was in superb condition physically and would not only conquer the Anakim but would also be involved in the organization of the new settlement in Hebron. His service continued. It is often the case that the greatest of all of life’s achievements take place in old age. It’s not too late to reach out for God’s best! Caleb trusted in what God had said to him. He increased in stature until the end. The best was always yet to be!

Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim (Joshua 14:15), and he gave his name to the city (Hebron), which was formerly called Kirjath Arba. His son Anak had three sons, Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai, and Caleb drove out these men from Hebron (15:13–14). Caleb conquered! Hebron was fruitful, for rich produce came in from the nearby fertile areas.

‘Then the land had rest from war’ (Josh 14:15). The name ‘Hebron’ conveys the meaning of friendship, love and communion. At last Caleb could share in the rest together with the whole land. It had been a long battle, but at last there was rest.

Kirjath Sepher lay just south of Hebron—later to be called Debir. Caleb threw out the challenge, ‘He who attacks Kirjath Sepher and takes it, to him I will give Achsah my daughter as wife’ (Josh 15:16). Othniel rose in his strength, took the city and claimed his bride. She had dry land, so she took the initiative and asked her father, ‘ “Give me also springs of water.” So he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs’ (Josh 15:19). The land could now be irrigated and would be useful and productive. Caleb’s spirit spilled over into his children, and they too were able to reach out to claim their inheritance in the fruitful area around Hebron. He made sure that his daughter had a worthy husband. Othniel later became the judge of Israel (Judges 3:10). (Joshua: A Devotional Commentary - Colin N. Peckham)

Joshua 14:6-13 A 45-Year-Old Promise

The Lord has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the Lord spoke this word to Moses. —Joshua 14:10

Nola Ochs, a student at Fort Hays State University in Kansas, took a break from her studies recently to celebrate her 95th birthday. She began attending college at Fort Hays in 1930 but didn’t graduate. When she realized she was only a few credits away from earning her degree, she returned to the university in 2006. Nola is not going to let her age prevent her from honoring a commitment over 76 years ago to finish her education.

In Joshua 14 we read that Caleb did not allow his advancing age to prevent him from believing that God would still honor His promise given 45 years earlier (Joshua 14:10-12). As one of the original scouts sent into the Promised Land, he saw large cities inhabited by powerful people of great stature (Num. 13:28-33).

But Caleb was faithful to God and believed He would help the Israelites conquer the land (Joshua 14:6-9). At 85 years of age, Caleb was still physically strong and his faith unwavering. He trusted that God would help him to conquer the land, even though it still had giants. So Joshua blessed Caleb with his portion of the land, fulfilling God’s 45-year-old promise.

Like Caleb, we must not allow age, our personal giants, or yet-unfulfilled promises to prevent us from believing that God still honors His word to us.

If God’s creation helps us see
What wonders He can do,
Then we can trust His promises,
For they are always true.
—D. De Haan

Every promise of God comes with His personal guarantee.

Joshua 14:7  "I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought word back to him as it was in my heart.

  • sent me: Nu 13:6,16-20 
  • I brought: Nu 13:25-33  Nu 14:6-10 
  • Joshua 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Numbers 13:25-33 When they returned from spying out the land, at the end of forty days, 26 they proceeded to come to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the sons of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; and they brought back word to them and to all the congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 Thus they told him, and said, “We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 “Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 “Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan.”  30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.” 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.” 32 So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. 33 “There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

Numbers 14:6-9 Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, of those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; 7 and they spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, “The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. 8 “If the LORD is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us–a land which flows with milk and honey. 9“Only do not rebel against the LORD; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.”


Caleb begins to recount the story of the never-to-be forgotten day that occurred almost 47 years earlier, the return of the 12 spies after spying out the Promised Land. 

I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land - Here Caleb refers to Moses as the servant of the LORD who gave him a mission, which 10 saw somewhat as "mission impossible."

and I brought word back to him as it was in my heart -  Caleb saw his mission from Moses as one that required him to spy and to give an accurate rendering of what he saw. The phrase as it was in my heart speaks of Caleb's reaction or response to what his eyes beheld (giant men and giant cities). These sights did not generate fear in his heart but fearless courage bases on faith in a faithful God. 

Wiersbe - Since Caleb was forty years old at Kadesh-barnea (Josh. 14:7), he had to have been born in Egypt while the Jews were enduring great suffering (Ex. 1-2). He was born a slave, yet he died a hero! His parentage is given in Josh. 14:13-14. Some think that Caleb (whose name means "dog") was of mixed parentage, his father being a Kenezite and his mother from the tribe of Judah (Josh. 15:13). If so, this makes his faith an even greater wonder! However, 1 Chron. 2:18 makes Caleb the son of Hezron, a descendant of Pharez (1 Chron. 2:5); and this would put him in the ancestry of Christ (Matt. 1:3). In either case, Caleb was redeemed by the blood of the Passover lamb, delivered from Egypt, and given the prospects of a great inheritance in Canaan. He would have had no inheritance under Joshua had he not first experienced redemption under Moses... The nation wanted to go back; the two men of faith wanted to go ahead. The majority was walking by sight; the minority was walking by faith. The rebellious nation saw only the obstacles, the problems; the believing leaders saw the opportunities, the prospects. What was the result? The ten spies and the unbelieving generation died in the wilderness! But Caleb and Joshua lived to enter and enjoy the Promised Land. "For the mind set on the flesh is death" (Ro 8:6). It took courage for Caleb to stand against the whole nation, but God honored him for it.(Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the Old Testament)

GEORGE BUSH  Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 14

7. Brought him word again as it was in mine heart. Made a true and honest statement; spake sincerely; uttered the real sentiments of my heart. His conscience bore him witness, and now enabled him to say, that neither fear nor favor influenced him on the occasion; he told what he believed to be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It has been remarked in this connexion, that Caleb’s name signifies, according to the heart.

When You Can Ask God For A Mountain
George Brooks

Numbers 14:24; Joshua 14:7-12  

"But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it" (Numbers 14:24, NASB).

  "I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought word back to him as it was in my heart. [8] "Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the LORD my God fully. [9] "So Moses swore on that day, saying, 'Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God fully.' [10] "And now behold, the LORD has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the LORD spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. [11] "I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in. [12] "Now then, give me this hill country about which the LORD spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the LORD will be with me, and I shall drive them out as the LORD has spoken" (Joshua 14:7-12, NASB).

The word "fully" means to the whole amount or extent, so as to comprise or involve all, entirely, totally, completely, all in all.

This message centers on Caleb, a man who fully followed the Lord. Though he is not as well known nor as much in authority as his close friend, Joshua, he has much to contribute to Biblical history and Christianity. The name Caleb means wholehearted. Caleb was certainly true to his name.

Caleb was a faithful follower of the Lord. He was one of the twelve spies sent by Moses to spy the land of Canaan. If the other ten spies had been like Joshua and him, the invasion of Canaan would have begun and finished forty years earlier.

The conclusion of the ten spies that Canaan was well fortified and was full of giants was based upon fear. Confidence in God was the reason for Caleb's report (Numbers 14:8,9). Caleb was certain that with God they could be victorious and the land of Canaan would one day be theirs.
There was no fantasy in the mind of Caleb as he spied the land of Canaan. He saw all his companions saw, the stature of the men, the walls of the cities, the difficulty and all but the impossibility of the conquest. But he saw what only Joshua saw beside him, that was the presence and power of God. And seeing that, he believed in the possibility of what seemed to others impossible.

I. When You Follow The Lord Fully.

Full devotion to God was the secret to Caleb's character. He lived his whole life with great self-control. Even at the age of eighty-five he was still strong and vigorous. Full devotion to God makes us unselfish in our obedience to his will. We must serve God fully if we are to grow strong in grace.

Caleb accredited his courage and faithfulness to his connection with God, and he speaks of the Lord as "my God."  The relationship we have with God is individual. We must pass from "our God" or "your God" to "my" God.

It is not enough for us to believe, worship or talk about our love for God. We must show our devotion by a consistent course of life.

The course of life for us to follow is to obey the Lord's commands, following the course of his will. We should learn to submit ourselves fully to the Lord. When you submit yourself to the Lord fully, you can ask God for a mountain.

We only follow God correctly when we follow him fully. Halfhearted service is not true service. Following God fully implies not stopping on account of loss or trouble experienced.

Following God fully implies taking no account of the opinion and conduct of those who would attempt to sidetrack us from faithfulness to him.
Following God fully implies serving him in all our relations of life, business, social, home and private. We need to be more perfectly devoted, giving ourselves fully to God's service.

II. When You Are Willing To Put Forth Effort To Possess It.

Caleb was aware that all the difficulties of Canaan had not been resolved. The land was still inhabited by the Anakim, who had great fortified cities. Many of us are not asking for the mountain because it is easier to live in the low land.

But Caleb was not afraid to ask for Hebron because he knew that by the grace of God he would conquer the enemy which remained. However great the difficulty we can be assured that a stubborn faith in God will one day give victory.

All that we read of Caleb proves him to have been a man of strong determination. Whatever he did he did with great effort. There is a great deal of meaning in the word "fully."  A man whose face is partly to God and partly to the world may have his attention distracted. But the one who maintains an attitude that has respect to God only shall be blessed.

Caleb was sure of victory because he was sure of the presence of God. God not only honors the right, he helps it. He does not merely send help 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.

Not only did Caleb trust God for victory, he said, "I shall drive them out as the Lord has spoken" (Joshua 14:12, NASB). Caleb named God's help first as necessary. But he did not stay with that. The grace of God is no excuse for man's idleness. Our faith in God is shown by our works in the name of God.

We have not obtained some victories in life because we have not put forth any effort. God is ready to help us, but we are not willing to be helped. God fights for us by fighting in us. If we would supply the effort, God will supply the strength. Caleb said, "...give me this hill country about which the LORD spoke on that day...perhaps the LORD will be with me, and I shall drive them out..." (Joshua 14:12, NASB).

When we have faith in God and follow him fully, our energies will not become paralyzed. They will become inspired. Caleb believed Hebron could be won. He had the freedom to win it and permission to keep it for himself when it was won.

All things that threaten and oppose become serviceable when we face them in faith. The enemies become the servants, the hindrances the helps, the disappointments become the appointments. God has great blessings for those who seek victory through faith in him and by their effort.

III. The Blessing Of Asking God For A Mountain.

A. Long Life.

Caleb and Joshua were the only survivors of the Jews who escaped from Egypt. For us today the corresponding blessing is not long earthly life but eternal spiritual life. The man who fully follows the Lord has eternal life.

B. Continued Strength And Opportunity For Service.

Caleb's strength had not waned. He was just as strong as he was forty-five years earlier. He had been promised Hebron many years before, and with patience Caleb waited on the fulfillment of that promise. Though he had to wait he continued to fully follow the Lord. Isaiah said, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength..."

The ability of Caleb to wait was an evidence of his relationship with God. The closer we are to God, the more of us that is possessed by him, the easier it is to wait on him to fulfill his promises. Caleb received the promise of Mount Hebron because he fully followed the Lord. The Lord preserved Caleb so that he might enjoy the Promised Land.

The best blessing we can enjoy is renewed ability to serve. If we serve God with all our faculties, he will give us a greater capacity for service. Faithful service will make its mark on us and others. The blessing of fully following the Lord is blessings for the servant, and the servant being a blessing.

C. The Fulfillment Of God's Promise.

Caleb had been promised a mountain. He received that mountain because he fully followed the Lord.

There was another man who received a mountain because he wholly followed God. Jesus received Mount Calvary because of his commitment to God. Listen to Jesus praying in Gethsemane. "Not my will, but thine be done."

Living inside God's will is the best and safest place to live.

ILLUSTRATION - In 1904 William Borden, heir to the Borden Dairy Estate, graduated from a Chicago high school a millionaire. His parents gave him a trip around the world. Traveling through Asia, the middle East, and Europe gave Borden a burden for the world's hurting people. Writing home, he said, "I'm going to give my life to prepare for the mission field." When he made this decision, he wrote in the back of his Bible two words:  "No Reserves."  Turning down high-paying job offers after graduating from Yale University, he entered two more words in his Bible:  "No Retreats." Completing studies at Princeton Seminary, Borden sailed for China to work with Muslims, stopping first at Egypt for some preparation. While there he was stricken with cerebral meningitis and died within a month. Someone might say that his life was a waste. That would no be so with God. In his Bible, underneath the words "No Reserves" and "No Retreats," he had written the words "No Regrets."

When you follow God fully, there are no regrets.

Joshua 14:8  "Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the LORD my God fully.

  • fully: Jos 14:14 Nu 14:24 De 1:36 Rev 14:4 
  • Joshua 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Deuteronomy 1:28  ‘Where can we go up? Our brethren have made our hearts melt, saying, “The people are bigger and taller than we; the cities are large and fortified to heaven. And besides, we saw the sons of the Anakim there.”’

Deuteronomy 1:36  except Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him and to his sons I will give the land on which he has set foot, because he has followed the LORD fully (male).’


Six times we are told that he "wholly followed the Lord" (Nu 14:24; Nu 32:12; Dt. 1:36; Joshua 14:8-9, 14).

Numbers 14:24  “But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it.

Numbers 32:12  except Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have followed the LORD fully.’

Deuteronomy 1:36   except Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him and to his sons I will give the land on which he has set foot, because he has followed the LORD fully.’

Joshua 14:8-9; 14 “Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the LORD my God fully. 9“So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden will be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God fully.....14 Therefore, Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite until this day, because he followed the LORD God of Israel fully.

Nevertheless - Term of contrast. There are probably few more tragic "terms of contrast" in all of Scripture as it cost a 40 year delay and millions of dead bodies in the wilderness! 

My brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear - This majority report is described in in Numbers 13:25–29; 14:1–10. My brethren describes 10 faithless Israelites who disbelieved God's promise and incited faithless fear to spread throughout the almost 2 million people so that their hearts melted (an idiom for fearful response as in Josh 5:1) with fear. The only antidote for their fear of the Canaanites was faith in their faithful God, but they failed the "faith test" at Kadesh-Barnea and fear held them back from possessing their promise in Canaan.

Cyril Barber - the unbelief of the ten spies robbed that generation of the blessings God stood ready to give them. In this we are reminded of an incident in the life of the Lord Jesus. He could do no mighty work in Nazareth because of the unbelief of the people (Mark 6:5+). The experience of Caleb may also answer (at least in part) the question of why we see little of God’s activity in our churches. The unbelief of the spies did not negate God’s promise to His people, but it did deprive an entire generation of their enjoyment of their inheritance. Unbelief limits God’s power and robs us of His blessing.(Joshua: A Devotional Exposition)

but - This Term of contrast. is like a light shining brightly in the darkness. 

Don Anderson - Whenever Caleb committed himself to something, it was 110%. He certainly was not content with mediocre effort of a half-hearted endeavor. The word could be translated "to show full obedience to God," "to follow the Lord fully." "Put the hammer down and let's go!" "All out!" O how much we need men today who are like Caleb, just to hear the prayers: O God, take me, break me, and make me. (ED: SOUNDS LIKE THE PRAYER OF EVAN ROBERTS "LORD, BEND ME" WHICH HE SOON DID AND SET AFLAME THE WELSH REVIVAL!) Make no mistake about it. For Caleb it was a very costly decision. It cost him three things at least: 1 . It cost him FRIENDSHIPS. He had to stand against the will of his companions and against the will of the people . 2 . It cost him SUFFERING . He was rebuked by the people, and they were ready to stone him in Numbers 14:10. 3. It cost the RELINQUISHING OF HIS OWN WILL. He followed the Lord in every area of his life

I followed the LORD my God fully (male) NRSV = "“yet I wholeheartedly followed the LORD my God”; NJB = "whereas I myself scrupulously obeyed Yahweh my God” Caleb is not boasting, but simply recounting the truth of this event. This godly attribute of Caleb is highlighted in this chapter again in Joshua 14:9 and Joshua 14:14.

THOUGHT - Note that fully (male) is a KEYWORD in this chapter, and in fact should be a "keyword" in the life of every believer. Note that each of the 3 uses in this chapter are integrally related to the verb "followed" which in the Septuagint is epakoloutheo which means to follow closely, as in another's footsteps and should describe every "follower" of Christ "For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow (epakoloutheo) in His steps." (1Pe 2:21+) And just as Jesus learned obedience - Heb 5:8), His followers should do the same, which is exactly what Caleb did when he "followed the LORD fully."  O, to have this chiseled on our tombstones beloved. 


Wayne Barber -  Now that is a powerful phrase. In this phrase comes the key to waiting upon God. The phrase “served the Lord fully,” or “followed the Lord fully, or wholly,” is a powerful phrase. God uses this phrase several times to describe Caleb. Numbers 14:24,“But my servant, Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered and his descendents shall take possession of it.” In Deuteronomy 1:36, “Except Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, he shall see it. And to him and to his sons, I will give the land on which he has set foot because he has followed the Lord fully.” In this phrase, followed the Lord fully, is the key as I said. It means literally in the Hebrew, “He was fulfilled to walk behind Jehovah.” He was fulfilled. The word fulfilled means filled full—to the brim. Nothing else was needed in his life. That’s the most beautiful thing; he needed nothing else. Let me ask you a question as we go through this today. What does it take in this life to fulfill you? What does it take? All it took in Caleb’s life was to stay behind the Lord and do whatever God told Him to do. That fulfilled Caleb. Whether God ever made the promise come about or not—it didn’t matter to him, God just said of him, “He served Me fully.” He was totally fulfilled to walk behind Jehovah. Caleb was fulfilled to walk behind Jehovah. It says he had a different spirit. In contrast to whom? Well, certainly in contrast to those other 10 spies years before and even along the way. They were rebellious. They chose not to believe God. They needed more than just God. They weren’t fulfilled with just God. They had to have the other stuff that goes with it. His lifestyle was so apparent that even God said he fully followed Me. How would you like on your tombstone to say, “He fully followed God.” Would that not be incredible! The word of God brings that out about Caleb. God, Himself, said this about Caleb. We live in a day when people have to have so much else than just Jesus. Anything but Jesus it seems. Anything but the word of God; anything but the will of God. I need more and more. How convicting this was as I was studying, I’m telling you! How much of what I have in life is really needed? How much is needed to fulfill Wayne? And it brings us to a sobriety. It brings us to a sanity of what Christianity is. They say in Romania when Jesus is all you have, that’s the only time you discover He’s all you ever needed. All that fulfilled Caleb was to stay behind Jehovah. Just doing what he said, walking in His will. It wasn’t what God did for Him, it was who God was that satisfied Caleb. If we’re going to be patient in possessing the promises God has given to us, we are going to have to come to the place where we are satisfied with God and God alone. Therefore, we don’t have strings attached. We don’t have agendas that we are getting God to do for us. We’re just enjoying Him. A person who is not fully following God, I’m telling you, is a person who has never become satisfied with just God and God alone. That’s why we obey our flesh. That’s why we go other ways, because we’re just not satisfied with Him. The result in Caleb’s life was powerful. It not only affected Caleb, but the promise said, “You will possess the land and you’re children.” It’s incredible how this fell this week and not next week. Next week is Father’s Day. Dads, just let me say to you—and all of us have been there. Many of us have our failures, just like Israel. I’m there. I can’t point a finger—but I tell you what, it tells us if we get our hearts right with God. We come to the place that we’re just satisfied with Him. And I want to tell you something, that spills right into your children. Not only will you possess the promise God has given to you, but your children will possess what has been said to you.

Phillip Keller on follow the LORD - In summary, "To follow the Lord" implied seven specific attitudes: (1) To love God and serve Him in total allegiance.(2) To be set apart at personal cost to serve God. (3) To relinquish one's own personal aims and ambitions for the welfare of others. (4) To play the part of a servant in ministering to God and His people. (5) To readily accept God's arrangements without question or complaining. (6) To gladly comply with His commands no matter how difficult or absurd they might seem. (7) To simply step out in fearless faith to do whatever God's will might be. On the surf ace these seem simple and straightforward. In actual execution they demand the ultimate, total surrender of a man's will, emotions, mind and spirit to God. Because there are so few of us totally available to God's purposes in this way, seldom does His Spirit indwell a man or woman in such stupendous measure to become a formidable force in the world. (Joshua: Man of Fearless Faith

Caleb was a man of conviction - Henry Ford had the conviction that millions of cars could solve our transportation problems. He created the first assembly line for production and the rest is history. Samuel Morse had the conviction that electricity would carry a message over a wire in spite of being mocked and scorned. He held to his convictions, erecting a wire between a hotel in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. A United States senator heard the first words … “Behold what God hath wrought!” It is amazing what the Lord can do and will do with a man or woman of God with conviction. (Mattoon)

Fully (04390)(male) means to fill or to be full, to complete, to fulfill, to finish, to satisfy. Male is used of something full in both the spatial and temporal sense, in Caleb's case in a figurative sense. It describes wholehearted obedience and commitment. 

GEORGE BUSH  Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 14

8. I wholly followed the Lord. Heb. מלאתי אחרי יהוח millëthi ahari Yehovah, fulfilled after the Lord. Arab. ‘I perfected my obedience before the Lord my God.’ On the import of this expression, see Note on Num. 14:24. The energy of the expression is well preserved in our version. The words give the idea of a traveller, who, intent upon following his guide, so treads in his steps, as to leave hardly any void space between. As he had obtained this testimony from God himself, it was not vain-glory for him to speak of it, especially as this was the main ground on which he had become entitled to the object of his petition. It is not pride, but simply a tribute of due acknowledgment, to declare what a gracious God has done for us and by us. It was peculiarly to the honor of Caleb that he maintained such an unbending fidelity to God when his brethren and associates in that service, except Joshua, proved so faithless and faint-hearted. ‘It adds much to the praise of following God, if we adhere to him when others desert and decline from him.’ Henry.

H A Ironside - Joshua 14:8 - from The Continual Burnt Offering - Feb 3

The greatness of the character of Caleb is expressed in his name. He was not of double heart. Mixed motives had no place in his life. He had settled it years before that he was to be entirely the Lord’s, and ever after he lived up to his name as the “whole-hearted.” Undoubtedly, the cause of much of our failure today is that we are so lacking in this spirit of devotion to the will of God. Of old, the disciples were exhorted that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord (Acts 11:23). Jesus declared, “If … your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light” (Matthew 6:22). When we sanctify the Lord God in our hearts and give Him the place of supreme authority, all controversy is at an end, and the life is entirely under His control. This is the path of victory and blessing. No one can be successful in his Christian life who is endeavoring to have God and the world share his heart (1 John 2:15).

         All for Jesus, all for Jesus!
         All my being’s ransomed powers.
         All my thoughts and words and doings,
         All my days and all my hours.
         Let my hands perform His bidding.
         Let my feet run in His ways,
         Let my eyes see Jesus only,
         Let my lips speak forth His praise.
                  —Mary D. James

Joshua 14:9  "So Moses swore on that day, saying, 'Surely the land on which your foot has trodden will be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God fully (male).'

Related Passages:

Joshua 1:3+ “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses.

Numbers 13:22+ When they had gone up into the Negev, they came to Hebron where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak were. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 

Numbers 14:22-24+ “Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice, 23 shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it. 24 “But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully (male), I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it.

Numbers 14:30+ ‘Surely you shall not come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.

Deuteronomy 1:35-36+ (HERE IS THE PROMISE WHICH MOSES SWORE TO CALEB) Not one of these men, this evil generation, shall see the good land which I swore to give your fathers, 36 except Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him and to his sons I will give the land on which he has set foot, because he has followed the LORD fully (male).’

Numbers 32:11-12+ (STRIKING CONTRAST BETWEEN MEN WHO DID AND DID NOT FOLLOW FULLY!) None of the men who came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob; for they did not follow Me fully (male) 12except Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have followed the LORD fully (male). ’


So - Term of conclusion. The fact was Caleb had a different spirit and followed Yahweh fully, proving himself to be a true servant of the LORD. 

Moses swore on that day, saying, 'Surely the land on which your foot has trodden will be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God fully (male)- Moses swore to Caleb but as Caleb said earlier You know the word which the LORD spoke to Moses. Moses as a prophet of God swore what Yahweh had spoken to him to say. Caleb is now "cashing his check" so to speak on God's promise, which has been sitting "in the bank" for 40 years, but is still valid. 

There is an important principle in this section - Caleb makes his claim to the inheritance based upon God's promise, which should always be the basis on which we claim our blessings.

ESV Study Note - It is one of four narrative passages, sometimes referred to as “land-grant narratives,” that are distinctive in Joshua 14-19 in that they focus on individuals. The other three are the allocation of Debir to Caleb’s daughter Achsah and her husband Othniel (Joshua 15:13-19; Othniel reappears in Jdg. 3:7-11); the bestowal of an inheritance on the daughters of Zelophehad (Josh 17:3-6); and the granting of Timnath-serah to Joshua (Joshua 19:49-50). (ESV Study Bible)

Guzik - We should imitate Caleb’s boldness in asking for what God promised him. We may find it hard to believe, but God appreciates this kind of boldness.

Gene Getz - Though the biblical record in Numbers and Deuteronomy makes no reference to a specific inheritance for Caleb (only a general reference to the inheritance of the land), God must have mentioned at that time the exact area Caleb spied out in Canaan. Consequently, Caleb also reminded Joshua of Moses' response at that time to God's promise.  At age eighty-five and after supporting Joshua for seven war-filled years, he boldly and courageously asked for the “hill country about which the LORD spoke on that day” (v. 12). This specific request confirms the fact that the Lord had spelled out clearly that He would give Caleb a special place in Canaan because of his faithfulness. This was the exact area Caleb spied out many years before. And though it was strongly fortified and heavily populated by men of great size, God promised Caleb he would be able to defeat his enemies, even in his old age. Caleb was as confident of God's promise as he was in himself and his own abilities. (Men of Character: Joshua)

Wiersbe - Caleb did not die in the wilderness, but he still had to suffer with the unbelieving nation during their nearly forty years of wandering. Think of what this godly, believing man had to endure! Every single day he saw people die and miss out on their inheritance. He had to listen to the murmuring and complaining. This man of faith had to put up with the unbelief of his fellow Israelites. He loved Moses, yet he had to listen to the Jews as they criticized their leader and opposed him. How was Caleb able to maintain his spiritual life when surrounded by so much carnality and unbelief? His heart was in Canaan! God had given him a wonderful inheritance (read Josh. 14:9-12), and though his body was in the wilderness, his heart and mind were in Canaan! He is a perfect illustration of Col. 3:1-4. He possessed what Rom. 8:6 refers to as "the spiritual mind". Caleb was able to endure the trials of the wilderness because he knew that he did not have to fear death, that he had an inheritance, and that God would not fail him. How much more we have in Christ! Yet we give up so easily and fail in our pilgrim journey. (Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the Old Testament)

GEORGE BUSH  Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 14

9. Moses sware on that day. See Num. 14:24; Deut. 1:36. In these passages God himself is the speaker; and it is he that swears according to the words here recited. But as Moses was the organ through whom the assured promise was conveyed, the swearing is attributed to him.

The land whereon thy feet have trodden. Not the land of Canaan in general, but this particular, this identical district. See on v. 6.

Following the Lord Wholeheartedly

Bible Verses: Joshua 14:9; Romans 6:17

In late February 1836, the Mexican Army led by General Santa Anna began to arrive at the Alamo Mission in San Antonio, Texas. For the next two weeks, 188 brave men under the command of Colonel William Barret Travis refused to surrender and they fought to the death.

When the Mexican scouts first were scouted, Colonel Travis gathered the men together and told them they had a choice. They could leave the fort while there was still time, or they could stay and meet certain death. Then Travis unsheathed his sword, drew a line on the ground, and said these words: “Those prepared to give their lives in freedom’s cause, come over to me.”

Without hesitation, every man except one—which is how we know the story—crossed the line. Colonel James Bowie, inventor of the bowie knife, was ill with typhoid pneumonia and couldn’t walk across the line, but he asked for his bed to be carried over.

Following the Lord wholeheartedly means commitment, there is no turning back. (Peter Kennedy - Preaching Illustrations Vol.1)

Joshua 14:10  "Now behold, the LORD has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the LORD spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today.


Now behold, the LORD has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the LORD spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today - Above Caleb had reviewed God's promise to give the land and here he reviews the promise of his personal preservation. In so doing Caleb highlights the mercy (let me live) and faithfulness (just as He spoke) of the LORD to let him live through the 40 years of wilderness wanderings, when all his peers died (except for Joshua). God had also kept him alive during the 7 years (see Campbell's explanation of this time below) of battling the Canaanites (Joshua 1-12). Notice also that Caleb uses the exclamatory attention getting word behold twice to emphasize his point. He is 85 and it is the time for him to claim the promises of God. He would have been about 38 when he was first sent as a spy (85 minus 7 years to conquer the land minus 40 years of wilderness wandering). The tragedy is what Israel could have possessed in 7 years took them 45 years (38 years in wilderness [Dt 2:14 ] + 7 years conquest), which was a steep price to pay for a moment of unbelief! 

Wayne Barber -  Learn to trust His timing Well, secondly, not only does this divine patience talk about being satisfied only with God, but secondly it involves learning to trust His timing. God knows, when He speaks the promise, what He said. I mean, he said it. But He also knows when to bring it about. He’s got to prepare us. He’s got to get us ready to receive that which He spoke to our hearts. Remember what we learned back in chapter 1 that God doesn’t give all that He has for you all at once. He doesn’t do that. That’s not the Christian life. You experience what you’re able to experience. He continues to grow you and expand you so that you began to experience more and more of the Christ who lives within you. Caleb is in the land, but has not yet possessed what is his. He’s in the land. I mean, he’s possessing what God says was his in the sense of the nation, but he hasn’t yet come to that place of what God has promised to him. Forty five years have gone by, and Caleb has believed God all the way through; continued to follow Him; totally satisfied with God, promise or no promise....we can’t trust God’s timing, because we can’t trust Him. But when we learn to trust Him, and then just serve Him for nothing, because He’s worth it, then that trusting is enabled in our life and we can wait upon the Lord. He’s promised us something and if we haven’t yet experienced it, we can wait on His timing because we know who He is. We’re satisfied by Him. And what we learn is that God’s delays are not denials. When God has promised us something, God does not mean, because He delayed, He’s denying us that promise. No, sir!

Donald Campbell makes an excellent point noting that "45 years is a long time to wait for the fulfillment of a pledge, a long time for faith to live on a promise. Yet Caleb did wait through the weary years of the wilderness wanderings and the demanding years of the Conquest. Caleb had strong faith in the promises of God. They sustained him in his difficult times." Caleb’s remarks provide information for determining the length of the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites. Caleb stated (v. 7) that he was 40 years old when he went to spy out the land. The wilderness wanderings lasted 38 years, thus bringing Caleb’s age to 78 at the beginning of the Conquest. Caleb then said he was 85 at the end of the Conquest. So the Conquest lasted 7 years. This is confirmed by Caleb’s reference (v. 10) to God’s sustaining grace for 45 years since Kadesh Barnea (38 years of the wanderings plus 7 years of the Conquest). (The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament)

THOUGHT - Caleb remained faithful to God and should be our example to emulate that we too will remain faithful to God, not only at the start of our walk with Jesus, but throughout our entire life! We must never allow ourselves to rest on our past accomplishments or reputations.

The following psalm could have been Caleb's "theme song"...

Psalm 91 

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
   Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  

2 I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
   My God, in whom I trust!”  

3 For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
   And from the deadly pestilence.  

4 He will cover you with His pinions,
  And under His wings you may seek refuge;
  His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.  

5 You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
  Or of the arrow that flies by day;  

6 Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, 
  Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.  

7 A thousand may fall at your side
   And ten thousand at your right hand,
   But it shall not approach you.  

8 You will only look on with your eyes
   And see the recompense of the wicked.

9 For you have made the LORD, my refuge,
  Even the Most High, your dwelling place.  

10 No evil will befall you,
   Nor will any plague come near your tent.  

11 For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
   To guard you in all your ways.  

12 They will bear you up in their hands,
   That you do not strike your foot against a stone.  

13 You will tread upon the lion and cobra,
   The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.

14 “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;
   I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.  

15 “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
   I will be with him in trouble;
   I will rescue him and honor him.  

16 “With a long life I will satisfy him
   And let him see My salvation.”

Phillip Keller - Caleb took no credit to himself for his long life and sturdy endurance. He knew full well that it was the generous care and strong protection of God Himself which had sustained him all these years.

Joshua 14:1-15; Numbers 13:1-6, 30 TODAY IN THE WORD

In a recent survey approximately 900 business managers were asked: ""Would you continue to work if you suddenly came into enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your life?"" Nearly 40 percent of the managers said they would quit. About 26 percent said they would stay in their present jobs. Interestingly, a similar survey in 1955 among business professionals found that only 14 percent said they would quit their jobs.

Given the chance, would the Israelite warrior Caleb have taken the easy road to retirement? Not a chance! Not when he was ready at age eighty-five to kick the Amalekites off the land God had promised to him forty-five years earlier (Nu 14:24). According to Joshua 14-15, he successfully did so. Talk about finishing well!

If Caleb were alive today, he might have his own workout show on cable TV--""Fitness After Eighty."" But we don't need to know Caleb's diet or exercise routine to learn the secret of his vigor. Caleb was a spiritual powerhouse, a man who followed the Lord with the fervor of a teenager.

Caleb first appears in the biblical narrative as one of the twelve Israelite spies Moses sent from Kadesh to check out the promised land. He and Joshua brought back a good report, saying the land was bountiful and ready for conquest by God's people.

But the other spies gave a different report; Joshua and Caleb were outvoted ten to two. So much for democracy! The faithless Israelites turned back at Kadesh and wandered in the wilderness for another forty years. But God did not turn His back on Caleb. That's because Caleb never turned his back on God.

Caleb and Joshua were the only two men of their generation to survive those years of wilderness wandering. When the conquest was nearly complete and the land of Canaan was ready to be divided among the Israelite tribes, Caleb approached Joshua to claim his inheritance.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY What earnest Christian wouldn't love to have the epitaph that he or she had followed the Lord wholeheartedly? God has not made the path of wholehearted discipleship a mystery. If we seek Him, we will find Him.

Joshua 14:1-15:19 TODAY IN THE WORD
Billy Graham knows something more than the courage of battle or victory over oppression. His legacy is of moral courage, winning spiritual battles in an age of immorality. He said, “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.”

Caleb had that kind of courage. It's hard not to smile when reading his words. He's 85 and still as strong as ever. Bring on the Anakites!

The conversation between Joshua and Caleb must have been a sight to behold. Joshua was probably about one hundred years old (24:29). No one else in the entire country would have been within twenty years of those two venerable leaders. And Caleb brings us back in time to when he and Joshua were the lone voices of courage among the spies. That courage hadn't dwindled in either of them, and it's so refreshing to hear confident words of faith from men who had walked with God for decades.

Notice that Caleb doesn't want his portion to be any of the lands conquered thus far. He specifically requests an inheritance in the land that is protected by fortified cities. He wasn't content just to have faith in God, he wanted to put his faith in action.

If you were to read past Joshua and into the first chapter of Judges, you'd see Caleb's story from chapter 15 repeated almost verbatim—Caleb delivered on his promise to drive the Anakites out from the land. But in the other battles recorded at the outset of Judges, Caleb is the only one mentioned who drove out the enemy from the land he inherited (Judg. 1:20). Every other tribe in that passage failed to rid the land of their opponents. An interesting note awaits us at the conclusion of chapter 14. The land changed names because Caleb drove out the descendants of the man for whom it was originally named.

Despite all the land Caleb received, a finer reward was the compliment he received in verse 14: “He followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly.” No inheritance can ever take the place of such a legacy.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY - Caleb's example is an inspirational reminder of purpose for believers of all ages. Retirement was definitely not in Caleb's vocabulary. That isn't to say that retiring from a vocation is unbiblical or undeserved. Rather, following God with courage and confidence is a lifelong pursuit. And for those far younger than Caleb was in today's reading, remember that the end goal of life is not to rest from all labor but to serve Him wholeheartedly for as long as we can.

GEORGE BUSH  Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 14

10. Hath kept me alive. Heb. החיח אותי hehëyâh othi, hath vivified me. See on ch. 6:25. According to our previous interpretation, it implies that he was kept alive, when, in the ordinary course of things, he would have been dead; that it was in despite of the tendencies of nature to decay and dissolution that he now stood among the living in so much health and strength. His present existence was a kind of resurrection from the dead. The longer we live, the more sensible should we be of the special upholding hand of Providence in prolonging our frail and forfeited lives.

These forty and five years. Of which thirty-eight were spent in the wilderness, and seven in the prosecution of the wars in Canaan.

Wandered in the wilderness, Heb. הלך hâlak, walked. As a punishment for their unbelief and rebellion.

Lo, I am this day four score and five years old. Heb. ‘a son of fourscore and five years.’ Caleb was now, with the exception of Joshua, not only the oldest man in all Israel, but was twenty years older than any of them; for all that were above twenty when he was forty, had died in the wilderness. ‘It was fit, therefore, that this phœnix of his age should have some particular marks of honor put upon him in the dividing of the land.’ Henry.

Joshua 14:11  "I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in.

Related Passages:

Deuteronomy 34:7  Although Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye was not dim, nor his vigor abated.

Psalms 90:10 As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, Or if due to strength, eighty years, Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; For soon it is gone and we fly away. 


An octogenarian is a person between 80 and 90 years of age. Age eighty-five and still going strong - would it be that all of us could say this at that age (or even at 75 or 65!)

Guzik - This is how God wants us to be in our spiritual life as we advance in years: growing older, but never weaker in Jesus.

I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in - Hebrew = "like my strength then, like my strength now, for battle and for going out and coming in." "I can fight and go about my daily activities with the same energy I had then." (Jos 14:11NET) This is an amazing testimony/declaration. At 75 I can not even make such a statement and I exercise daily and seek to keep myself physically (and spiritually) fit. While I might be overstepping the text somewhat, I personally believe that God had supernaturally intervened in Caleb's life to enable him to make such a declaration. And as the following passages demonstrate he would need to avail himself of his strength (mentioned 3 times in this verse!). Had he not maintained his physical prowess, it is hard to imagine how he could make the following statement.

It is sad when believers allow "old age" to make complainers out of them
when they ought (like Caleb) to be conquerors.
-- Warren Wiersbe

Note the phrases for war and for going out and coming in which clearly are normally not applied to the average aging person, but Caleb was no average aging person! 

Psalm 103 alludes to the LORD giving strength in old age...

Psalm 103:5 Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed (Lxxanakainizo - qualitatively new!)  like the eagle. 

C H Spurgeon (this comment speaks primarily of God satisfying one's years but is so beautiful I felt compelled to include it in this section) -  Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things, or rather "filling with good thy soul." No man is ever filled to satisfaction but a believer, and only God himself can satisfy even him. Many a worldling is satiated, but not one is satisfied. God satisfies the very soul of man, his noblest part, his ornament and glory; and of consequence he satisfies his mouth, however hungry and craving it might otherwise be. Soul-satisfaction loudly calls for soul-praise, and when the mouth is filled with good it is bound to speak good of him who filled it. Our good Lord bestows really good things, not vain toys and idle pleasures; and these he is always giving, so that from moment to moment he is satisfying our soul with good: shall we not be still praising him? If we never cease to bless him till he ceases to bless us, our employment will be eternal. So that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. Renewal of strength, amounting to a grant of a new lease of life, was granted to the Psalmist; he was so restored to his former self that he grew young again, and looked as vigorous as an eagle, whose eye can gaze upon the sun, and whose wing can mount above the storm. Our version refers to the annual moulting of the eagle, after which it looks fresh and young; but the original does not appear to allude to any such fact of natural history, but simply to describe the diseased one as so healed and strengthened, that he became as full of energy as the bird which is strongest of the feathered race, most fearless, most majestic, and most soaring. He who sat moping with the owl in the last Psalm, here flies on high with the eagle: the Lord works marvellous changes in us, and we learn by such experiences to bless his holy name. To grow from a sparrow to an eagle, and leave the wilderness of the pelican to mount among the stars is enough to make any man cry, "Bless the Lord, O my soul." Thus, is the endless chain of grace complete. Sins forgiven, its power subdued, and its penalty averted, then we are honoured, supplied, and our very nature renovated, till we are as new-born children in the household of God. O Lord we must bless thee, and we will; as thou dost withhold nothing from us so we would not keep back from thy praise one solitary power of our nature, but with all our heart, and soul, and strength praise thy holy name.

J Oswald Sanders - Caleb has been worthily described as the Mr. Greatheart of the Old Testament . His chief distinction was that he never stopped growing. The passing years, instead of witnessing his gradual eclipse, only served to increase his stature and enhance his prestige. His name is appropriately derived from a Hebrew word associated with the ideas of fidelity, obedience and alertness to discern the master's will. His biography which is condensed into a few sentences, illustrates two exhilarating truths. First, that it is possible for life's greatest achievement to take place in old age . Second, that there is no retiring age in the service of God. He merits our emulation at every stage of life and nowhere does he disappoint our highest expectations. (Bible Men of Faith

GEORGE BUSH  Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 14

As my strength was then, so is my strength now. My ability not only for counsel, but for action, remains unimpaired; I am as competent as ever for the hard services and difficult exploits of war. He mentions this, both to give glory to God who was the strength as well as the length of his days, and also to intimate to Joshua that it would not be throwing away a portion upon a weak old man, who was unequal to the task of either taking or retaining it. On the contrary, even if it were to be taken from the hands of giants, and should require the utmost prowess, energy and nerve of the youthful warrior, he was still able to put it forth. He was not afraid to cope at eighty with the same power which he would readily have encountered at forty.—If we would make sure of a ‘green old age,’ let us begin early to follow the Lord fully. It is usually the excesses of youth which bring on the premature decay of the bodily and mental powers. It is precisely that sobriety, temperance, and moderation which religion enjoins, that secures to us the longest continuance and the highest enjoyment of life, health, and strength; and these habits cannot begin to be practised too early.

Both to go out and to come in. A proverbial phrase, equivalent to performing all the duties belonging to an official station. See on Num. 27:17.

F B Meyer - Joshua 14:11   As my strength was then, even so is my strength now.

Men sometimes lose heart as they grow old. They say: My intellect will become impaired, my physical strength will abate, my power for service will wane. Yes: but if the outward man decays, the inward man shall be renewed day by day.

Those that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength: whether to war, to go out for service, or to come in for fellowship and rest. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart. He shall satisfy thy mouth with good things, so that thy youth shall be renewed as the eagle’s. God’s angels are always young. The drain of the years is amply met by the inflow of his all-sufficient grace. There is no reason why we should decline in usefulness and fruit-bearing with the increase of years; but the reverse. The last sheaves that fall beneath thy sickle shall be the heaviest; and the width of thy swathe shall be greatest as the angel of death touches thee and bids thee home. The secret lies in wholly following the Lord.

But Caleb did not rely on his strength to win Hebron. Very modestly and humbly he said, “It may be that the Lord will be with me.” Not that he for a moment doubted it. Could it be for one moment supposed that the God whom he had wholly followed for eighty years would desert him in the supreme crisis of his life? But he put it thus in the sweet lowliness of his soul, because he counted not himself worthy. The strongest men are they who count that they are helpless as worms; and who put their weakness at the disposal of God’s might. To each of us comes the promise of God: “My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Joshua 14:12  "Now then, give me this hill country about which the LORD spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the LORD will be with me, and I will drive them out as the LORD has spoken."

  • Anakim: Jos 11:21,22 Nu 13:28,33 
  • if so be: Nu 14:8,9 21:34 1Sa 14:6 2Ch 14:11 Ps 18:32-34 27:1-3 44:3 Ps 60:12 118:10-12 Ro 8:31 Php 4:13 Heb 11:33 
  • I shall: Jos 15:14 Jdg 1:20 
  • Joshua 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Numbers 13:28; 33+  “Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there. (13:33) “There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

Numbers 14:8; 9+ “If the LORD is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us–a land which flows with milk and honey. 9 “Only do not rebel against the LORD; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.”


Now then, give me this hill country about which the LORD spoke on that day - Most people at 85 would just like a place of rest and quiet. But Caleb claims the promise which the LORD spoke to him 40 years earlier! The land he wants is the same that had struck fear and unbelief in the hearts of the 10 spies 45 years earlier! 

THOUGHT - God's promises are sure, but they must be claimed by faith and as Caleb demonstrates faith obeys the LORD. Are there promises that you are failing to lay hold of because you have been unfaithful, because you have been only partially obedient (which is disobedience)? We probably all have a few regrets in this area. Paul gives us good advice writing "Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.." (Php 3:13-14+) By the Spirit, may we press on brothers and sisters! Amen

Caleb did not seek to become retired, but re-fired! 

For you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities - Caleb reminds Joshua of truths he also knew for he was there. Caleb clearly has a "giant" faith (pun intended) which he is still (after 47 years of waiting) convinced will allow him to conquer giant men and "giant" cities. Caleb magnified God and minimized the problems, while the 10 unbelieving spies did just the opposite! Oh, for a faith like Caleb! 

Caleb's request is all the more fascinating (and ironic) for this is the very description that the 10 spies used to keep Israel from going into the promised land.

“Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 “Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan.” (Nu 13:28-29+)

In addition one of the other names of Hebron was Kiriath-arba, which means city of Arba who was one of the great giants from the Anakim. That God would give Caleb "Arba's" city shows how God's power always triumphs over the adversary. 

Campbell - Though most older people are more apt to talk about old conflicts than to take on new ones, Caleb was ready for one more good battle. He was eager to fight the Anakites at Hebron and take that city for his possession. Caleb chose a large and foreboding task. Not that he was filled with pride in his own ability. Rather he believed God would be with him. Caleb had faith in the presence of God. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament)

Perhaps the LORD will be with me, and I will drive them out as the LORD has spoken - NET has "assuming the LORD is with me." NLT has "if the LORD is with me." NIV = "but the LORD helping me." Notice Caleb's cautious humble dependence on the LORD. He has faith, but his faith is not "name it, claim it," faith. His faith is in his strong God and he knows if God is with him, who can be against him, as Paul would say (Ro 8:31+). Caleb clearly understands the powerful principle of God's sovereignty and man's responsibility and puts that truth before Joshua as the reason he will be able to possess "Every place on which the sole of (his) foot treads" (Joshua 1:3). May his tribe increase! 

Wayne Barber on perhaps... -  The Hebrew expresses no doubt at all. He’s not doubting God. What he’s saying is, if we could say it better, it would say: “I know that there’ll be difficulty in the battle. I know that. I understand that.” 

Here is what Caleb HEARD (Note the command to "hear") and believed which gave him assurance that he could defeat the formidable foes...

Hear, O Israel! You are crossing over the Jordan today to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you, great cities fortified to heaven, 2 a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know and of whom you have heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the sons of Anak?’ 3 “Know therefore today that it is the LORD your God who is crossing over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and He will subdue them before you, so that you may drive them out and destroy them quickly, just as the LORD has spoken to you.   (Deuteronomy 9:1-3+)

Gene Getz on LORD...with me and I will - Here again we have that unique and intricate balance between God—confidence and self-confidence. And it should be noted that Caleb's use of the word “perhaps” does not imply doubt, but humility. Caleb knew he could win the battle. If he believed it when they were still in the wilderness forty-five years before, how much more so after having seen God deliver thirty-one Canaanite kings into their hands. (Men of Character: Joshua)

Wiersbe - Caleb asked Joshua for mountains to climb and giants to conquer! His strength was in the Lord, and he knew that God would never fail him. The secret of Caleb’s life is found in a phrase that’s repeated six times in Scripture: “he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel” (Josh. 14:14; also see Num. 14:24; 32:12; Deut. 1:36; Josh. 14:8–9). Caleb was an overcomer because he had faith in the Lord (1 John 5:4). We are never too old to make new conquests of faith in the power of the Lord. Like Caleb, we can capture mountains and conquer giants if we wholly follow the Lord. No matter how old we become, we must never retire from trusting and serving the Lord. (Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the Old Testament)

Utley - “perhaps the LORD will be with me” This is a Hebrew idiom which does not refer to lack of faith, but is rather an expression of confidence that God will act appropriately.

Dale Ralph Davis points out that "Caleb as an example of how Israel’s tribes ought to be extending the original conquest by cleaning out and nailing down their various tribal portions." (Joshua: No Falling Words

Caleb reminds me of Martin Luther's famous statement: "Here I stand; God help me."

Life Application Study Bible - When Joshua gave Caleb his portion, it fulfilled a promise God had made to Caleb 45 years earlier. We expect such integrity and reliability from God, but do we expect the same from his followers? How about you? Is your word this reliable? Would you honor a 45-year-old promise? God would—and does. Even today he is honoring promises he made thousands of years ago. In fact, some of his greatest promises are yet to be fulfilled. This gives us much to look forward to. Let your faith grow as you realize that God keeps his word.

There is a foe whose hidden power |
The Christian well may fear,
More subtle far than inbred sin
And to the heart more dear. It is the power of selfishness,
It is the wilful I,
And ere my Lord can live in me
My very self must die.

There is like Anak's sons of old
A race of giants still, Self-glorying, self-confidence,
Self-seeking and self-will.
Still must these mighty Anakim
By Caleb's sword be slain,
Ere Hebron's heights of heavenly love
Of conquering feet can gain.
-- A B Simpson


GEORGE BUSH  Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 14

Give me this mountain. Not any particular mountain, but this mountainous tract or region; for such was eminently the country about Hebron. He does not mention and cannot mean the city of Hebron alone, which had been before taken by Joshua, but he included in his request all the adjacent country, to the caves and strongholds of which the Anakim had retired, and where they were now abiding in considerable force. The city itself fell afterwards to the lot of the Levites, ch. 21:13, and became a city of refuge, ch. 20:7. ‘When Caleb had it, he contented himself with the country about it, and cheerfully gave the city to the priests, the Lord’s ministers; thinking it could not be better bestowed, no, not upon his own children, nor that it was the less his own for being thus devoted to God.’ Henry. Hebron, at a still later period, became a royal city, being made in the beginning of David’s reign the metropolis of the kingdom of Judah.

For thou heardest—how the Anakims were there. This, it would seem, was the place from which more than any other the spies took their unfavorable report; for here they met with the sons of Anak, the sight of whom so much intimidated them. ‘We may suppose that Caleb, observing what stress they laid upon the difficulty of conquering Hebron, a city garrisoned by the giants, and how from thence they inferred that the conquest of the whole land was utterly impracticable, bravely desired to have that city which they called invincible assigned to himself for his own portion; “I will undertake to deal with that, and if I cannot get it for my inheritance, I will do without.” “Well,” said Moses, “it shall be thine own then, win it and wear it.” Henry. Such is the spirit of the true Christian hero. All indeed are not such, but some are; and he who is, is not only willing, but forward, in the strength of God, to encounter the most formidable enemies and the most apparently insuperable obstacles in working out the will of his heavenly Master. If there is any enterprise of peculiar difficulty to be undertaken, or any post of especial danger to be occupied, he is prompt to volunteer his services for the occasion. Not that he courts the perilous work, merely for the purpose of a vain-glorious display of courage or skill, but because he wishes to honor God by his faith; to give him an opportunity, through such an humble instrument, to glorify his great name and confound the infidelity of his enemies and his timorous friends. In one who feels the missionary impulse, this Caleb-like spirit will prompt to a fearless survey of the whole field, and if there be any spot which is at once promising and yet appalling, desirable and yet dreadful; a spot where the greatest force of heathen opposition is concentrated, that is the spot which will be really most attractive in his eye. Its difficulties and dangers will be among its highest recommendations. This spirit shone conspicuously in Paul in the whole course of his life and labors, and on one occasion we see it nobly expressing itself in so many words, when he says of Ephesus, ‘A great and effectual door is opened unto me, and many adversaries.’ The ‘adversaries’ were no doubt among the special inducements that prompted him to enter that field. It is cause of gratitude to God that there are such spirits still to be found in the world, and that as long as there shall be sons of Anak on earth to intimidate the fearful, there shall be also sons of Caleb to grapple with and destroy them.

If so be the Lord will be with me, &c. Chal. ‘Perhaps the Word of the Lord will be for my help.’ The ardor of a bold native temperament is here moderated by the workings of a spirit of conscious unworthiness and of humble dependence on the Divine blessing. Caleb in these words virtually acknowledges that the battle is not to the strong nor the race to the swift, and that the favorable presence of God with us in our undertakings is all in all to our success. The expression is not to be understood as implying any doubt in his mind of God’s readiness to assist him, but simply as a disclaimer of exclusive reliance on his own unaided prowess. It is the language of one who feels that an arm of flesh, even all the forces of Israel combined, without the blessing of heaven, would be powerless to accomplish the desired result.

Seeing Yourself As a Senior Citizen 

A Lewis Patterson

"So, now give me this mountain of which the Lord spake in that day; for you heard on that day how the Anakeim were there with great fortified cities; it may be that the Lord will be with me..."—Joshua 14:12-14

Have you ever considered how you want to be remembered by your concentric circle of contact? Companions, church, children? Our exit will be remembered much longer than our entrance. It is quite revealing that our Christ, whom we all love so much and follow so gladly, asked for several things, many times while tabernacling down here on planet earth. Yet, all requests were directed toward others (so unlike ourselves). Jesus asked us to do a lot of things in order to bring glory to the Father. Jesus asked us to do a lot of things to bless others. Jesus asked us to do a lot of things to develop ourselves to our highest potential. Jesus asked us to do things to fulfill Scripture. However, the only thing Jesus asked us to do specifically for Himself was to, "do this in rememberance of me." Jesus wants us to remember Him.

Consider now Caleb and how he chooses to celebrate his 85th birthday anniversary. Caleb said, "I am this day 85 years old; therefore, give me this mountain whereof the Lord spake" (Joshua 14:12). Notice, Caleb is not focused on retirement, not focused on Social Security, not focused on a rocking chair, not focused on hunting, fishing, or even dominoes. Rather, Caleb is focusing on the challenge to climb the mountain he expects the Lord to give him. Caleb is also ready to battle because the Anakeim (enemies) were there. Now, let us clearly settle the issue that what I am today is a cumulative result of what I gave myself to and the choices I made yesterday; and the choices I make today will in a very real sense result in what I am tomorrow, or when I become a senior citizen. Now, to understand the analogous relationships that life as promised by God is three-score years and ten. (That’s 70 with an additional promise of conditional years.) Let us divide 70 years into approximate quarters like unto a football game. The first 17 years serve as the first quarter; then from 17 through 34, we are in the second quarter. At 35, our life is comparable to half-time. From 35 to 53, it’s the third quarter; and thus 53 to 70 is the fourth quarter of the game of life. All the years after that must of necessity be "overtime." The good or bad news is that one can win or lose "in overtime." Caleb won his game as an 85 year-old senior citizen. Many of us have heard the two-minute warning in regulation while others of us are already in overtime. Let us check Caleb out at half-time, fresh out of the Young Adult Department. Our text will reveal to us that what this senior citizen at 85 was doing while a young adult, at 40, has continuing consequences.

I.  Notice, first of all the practice of Caleb.

Check out the 12 men Moses sent on the assigned mission as recorded in Numbers, chapter 13, verses 1, 2, 17, 21, 25, 27, and 28; yet, notice the difference in verse 30 from the view point of Caleb. The majority report said, "It’s a great land flowing with milk and honey; nevertheless, the 10 who influenced the rest of the people made a choice not go into the land which was promised by God. This decision was because of a negative mental attitude. Caleb was a young man who recognized that the mind is made for truth, the emotions for righteousness, and the will for submission and obedience. Caleb responded with a positive mental attitude (Numbers 13:30): "Let us go up at once and possess...We are well able to overcome it."

Let us examine this text a little closer and see how we will be remembered as a senior citizen. Caleb had a partner. Can you remember his name? Sure you can. It was Joshua. Now there were 10 others who gave a negative report and made a negative choice. Let us see how many you can name or remember or that you named your children after. Shamua, Shephat, Igal, Qshea, Palti, Goddi, Ammiel, Sethur, Nahui, and Gavel. You don’t remember or recognize any one of them, do you? Don’t underestimate the choices you make as a young person of either selfish personal aggrandizement or submission to assigned delegated authority. We pick up the scenario while Caleb is a subordinate to Moses, and Moses has sent Caleb and the other 11 on a mission to spy out the land and bring back a report.

II.  The second focus is concentrated on Caleb’s purpose (Joshua 14:7-8).

Remember, Daniel purposed in his heart, also (that’s another word for conviction). A settled, non-negotiable conviction that left no room for debate or discussion with the people of a negative mental attitude all around him. "As he thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). It’s what’s in your heart, not the heart of others. Caleb wanted as a birthday gift a mountain to climb. He was willing to climb the mountain and fight the enemy. That’s why he is a remarkable senior citizen.

III.  A final consideration of Caleb brings us to recognize Caleb’s perception.

Numbers 14:24 teaches us that Caleb had a different spirit from the other negative, murmuring, grumbling, complaining, rebellious crowd. At 40, Caleb had a positive mental attitude and a submissive spirit that said, "Let us go up at once for we are well able to overcome this land." At 85, Caleb said, "Let’s go. A mountain is no problem; enemies don’t have the last word. If the Lord is with me, I’ll drive them out." That truth is still applicable to us by faith (Hebrews 11:6). If the Lord is with me, I’ll climb this mountain! If the Lord is with me, I’ll come through this valley. If the Lord is with me, I will overcome. If the Lord is with me, He’ll make my enemies leave me alone. If the Lord is with me, I’ll rise again. If our practice is right, if our purpose is right, if our perception is right, it will result in our position being right! This position will result in our praise being right!

Hallelujah for the Lamb!

Joshua 14:13  So Joshua blessed him and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance.

  • blessed: Jos 22:6 Ge 47:7,10 1Sa 1:17 Song 6:9 
  • gave: Jos 10:36,37 15:13 21:11,12 Jdg 1:20 1Ch 6:55,56 
  • Joshua 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Judges 1:19-20+ Now the LORD was with Judah (COMPARE CALEB'S STATEMENT IN Joshua 14:12), and they took possession of the hill country (NOTE - SOVEREIGNTY/RESPONSIBILITY); but they could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley because they had iron chariots (NOT SO MUCH THEY COULD NOT, BUT THEY "WOULD NOT!"). 20 Then they gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had promised; and he drove out from there the three sons of Anak.


So - Term of conclusion. Based on Caleb's clear, succinct declaration and desire, a declaration which Joshua knew to be absolutely true because he was eyewitness, he responded accordingly. 

Joshua blessed him and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance - The NET version has an interesting translation (albeit a bit interpretative) "Joshua asked God to empower Caleb son of Jephunneh and assigned him Hebron." The secret of being blessed by Joshua was obedience, just as the secret of being blessed by our "Joshua" (Jesus) is obedience and this is always the pathway to experience the blessings of our promised inheritance in Christ. There is a reward for faithfulness! 

J Oswald Sanders on Hebron - Hebron was the choicest spot in the land, fertile, highly elevated, with a wonderful view. It was there the patriarchs had spent most of their lives. Beneath its oaks Abraham had pitched his tents. Its soil had been trodden by the Son of God who with two attendants visited those tents. There Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Leah lay buried. Caleb desired it because it was the best. Most are content with the good. Only a few are prepared to pay the price of the best, for God's best gifts are the most costly. Satan disputes our way most, not on the plains of average blessing, but on the heights. (Bible Men of Faith

It is worth noting that Joshua received a personal allotment in Joshua 19

When they finished apportioning the land for inheritance by its borders, the sons of Israel gave an inheritance in their midst to Joshua the son of Nun. 50 In accordance with the command of the LORD they gave him the city for which he asked, Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim. So he built the city and settled in it.  (Joshua 19:49-50) 

Campbell on blessed him "that is, he set him apart for God’s enablement so he would be enriched and successful in his task." (The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament)

Stephen Grant on blessed him - The whole subject of blessing in Scripture is interesting. God is the originator of every blessing. When a man blesses another man, he desires that God will prosper him. Therefore, the spiritual character of the man who blesses is important, since his blessing will have more significance if he has power with God; “without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better” (Heb 7:7). When a man blesses God, he is unable to prosper God. He is able, however, to ascribe worship and praise to Him; this is seen when Paul writes to the Christians at Ephesus, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3). (What the Bible Teaches - Joshua Judges Ruth)

Blessed (01288barak) is a verb which literally can mean to kneel (to go to one's knees - Camel in Ge 24:11, Solomon in 2Chr 6:13) as contrasted with standing position or even a bowing at the waist). And so barak can refer to an act of adoration sometimes on bended knee. To give divine blessings (Ge 1:22, 9:1-7) To esteem greatly or adore God for His blessings (Ge 24:48, Ps 103:1) To invoke blessings upon another (Ge 24:60, 27:4, 27) 

The Greek (Septuagint) translates barak in Josh 14:13 with the verb eulogeo (from  = good, well + logos = word. English = eulogize, eulogy = commendatory formal statement or set oration; high praise; to extol) means literally to a good word and so to speak a good word of , to speak well or favorably of someone (especially God - Lk 1:64, 1Cor 14:16) or some thing. To say something commendatory, to praise, to extol.

GEORGE BUSH  Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 14

13. And Joshua blessed him. That is, not only granted his request, but applauded his brave and enterprising spirit, and implored the blessing of God upon him in reference to his proposed undertaking.

QUESTION - What is the significance of Hebron in the Bible?

ANSWER - The ancient city of Hebron, today called Al-Khalil in Arabic, was located approximately 20 miles south of present-day Jerusalem in the Judean valley. Hebron is significant in the Bible for a couple of reasons. Hebron is first mentioned in Genesis 13:18 as a place where Abram (later known as Abraham) traveled after parting company with his nephew Lot. At Hebron the Lord first showed Abram the land that would belong to him and his offspring (Genesis 13:14–17). Later, after the death of King Saul, God told David to go to Hebron, and it became the city where David ruled over Judah for seven years because at that time the Jebusites controlled Jerusalem (2 Samuel 2:1–4, 5:3).

After his wife, Sarah, died, Abraham still lived in Hebron, which belonged to the Hittites (Genesis 23). He wanted to bury Sarah there, so he approached a man named Ephron and asked to buy a cave for a burial site. Abraham was so well-respected among the Hittites that they offered to give him any cave he desired. But Abraham insisted on paying full price, and he selected an area called Machpelah, owned by a man named Ephron. Again, Ephron tried to give Abraham the cave, but Abraham insisted on paying full price. “So Ephron’s field in Machpelah near Mamre—both the field and the cave in it, and all the trees within the borders of the field—was deeded to Abraham as his property in the presence of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of the city. Afterward, Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave in the field of Machpelah near Mamre (which is at Hebron) in the land of Canaan. So the field and the cave in it were deeded to Abraham by the Hittites as a burial site” (Genesis 23:17–20).

This cave in Hebron is also called Kiriath-Arba, and, later, Abraham was also buried there (Genesis 25:10); and Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob (Genesis 47:29–30), and Leah (Genesis 49:30–32). The cave of Machpelah in Hebron is considered by the Jews to be the second holiest site in all Israel. Today it is under Palestinian control and is known to Jewish inhabitants as the Cave (or Tomb) of the Patriarchs. Muslims refer to it as the Sanctuary of Abraham.

The land around Hebron was part of the allotment Joshua gave to Caleb when Israel took the Promised Land (Joshua 14:13). Hebron was a reward for Caleb’s faithful service and loyalty to the Lord. Caleb probably desired Hebron because it may have contained the “valley of Eschol” from which the spies had brought great clusters of grapes as proof of the land’s bounty (Numbers 13:23). Hebron was later designated as a city of refuge (Joshua 20:1–7).

Hebron became the capital of Judah, and from there David reigned for seven-and-a-half years. During David’s reign in Hebron, Abner, the former commander of Saul’s army, took Saul’s son Ish-Bosheth across the Jordan River and set him up as king of Israel. Eventually, however, Abner defected to David’s side and vowed to bring all of Israel under David’s control (2 Samuel 3:8–12). When Joab, David’s commander learned of this, he was certain Abner was only spying for Ish-Bosheth (2 Samuel 3:24–25). He also hated Abner for killing his brother Asahel at the battle of Gibeon, so he set out for revenge. Joab met Abner in Hebron and pulled him aside under the pretext of having a private conversation. When they were alone, Joab stabbed Abner in the stomach and killed him (2 Samuel 3:27). David was grieved at the news of Abner’s death and pronounced a curse on Joab (2 Samuel 3:28–29).

After Ish-Bosheth was assassinated, David meted out justice against the assassins in Hebron; in this way, David’s integrity became known throughout all Israel (2 Samuel 4). David was eventually declared Israel’s rightful king, and he moved his capital from Hebron to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:1–5).

David’s son Absalom made Hebron his headquarters while he plotted to steal his father’s kingdom (2 Samuel 15:7–9). Absalom had spent time cultivating loyalty from Israel’s people, then moved his nefarious plot out from under his father’s eye in Jerusalem. He appointed himself king in Hebron, striking fear in David’s heart (2 Samuel 15:10, 14). David fled as Absalom moved from Hebron to Jerusalem to take control of the capital. He may have wrongly thought that, since it had worked for David to begin his reign in Hebron, it would also work for him.

Absalom forgot an important truth: David had been anointed by God to rule Israel; Absalom had not. As significant as Hebron was to his ancestors, a cave full of ancestral bones could not replace that anointing. Absalom’s brief stint as a self-appointed king of Hebron did not lead to future success, and he died in disgrace (2 Samuel 18:9–14). Regardless of city’s or nation’s great history, unless God’s presence and blessing are on it, it holds no power to bless its

Joshua 14:14  Therefore, Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite until this day, because he followed the LORD God of Israel fully.

See Hebron just north of Simeon in middle of land allotted to Judah (click to enlarge)


Therefore, Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite until this day, because he followed the LORD God of Israel fully ("completely loyal" - GWT; "wholeheartedly followed" - NLT)  (male To reiterate six times the Bible records the fact that Caleb "wholly (fully) followed the LORD" (Nu 14:24; 32:12; Deut 1:36; Joshua 14:8,9,14).

THOUGHT - If we want to experience the blessing of our "Joshua" (Jesus), then we need to diligently pursue wholehearted, full obedience. Then we will inherit the "life" He promises and experience the victory over the "giants" (sins) which His Spirit enables (Ro 8:13+)..

Spurgeon - Caleb followed the Lord universally, without dividing [his heart]; sincerely, without dissembling; cheerfully, without disputing; constantly, without declining

Henry Morris - the inheritance of Caleb.  Hebron had been the burial place of Abraham and Jacob (Genesis 23:19; 25:9; 50:13). Caleb volunteered for the hardest assignment of all in the conquest of the land, and he was the only one to complete his job (Joshua 15:14).

We would do well to contrast the fate of a once wise and great king named Solomon, which in his middle to older age "did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not follow the LORD fully (same word used of Caleb -  male), as David his father had done." (1 Kings 11:6) Whereas Caleb's obedience gained Hebron, Solomon's disobedience brought about a divided nation for "the LORD said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant." (1Ki 11:11) The writer of Hebrews emphasizes the importance of having a faith like Caleb, writing that 

"Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6) 

Therefore believers today should

"show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope (ABSOLUTE ASSURANCE OF FUTURE GOOD) until the end (LIKE CALEB AT 85!), so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience (LIKE CALEB WHO WAITED 45 YEARS TO) inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:11-12+

Warren Wiersbe - Caleb

He is “the man who wholly followed the Lord.”

God said it (Num. 14:24), Moses said it (Num. 32:12; Deut. 1:36), Joshua said it (Josh. 14:14), and Caleb said it himself (Josh. 14:8–9). He was wholehearted in his walk with the Lord.

As the ten faithless spies not only missed Canaan for themselves but caused tens of thousands of others to miss it, so the two faithful spies not only gained Canaan but they were used of God to lead that entire younger generation into their inheritance in the promised land. -- Ruth Paxson, Caleb the Overcomer, p. 39

See Deuteronomy 1:35–36. With God, there are no “generation gaps.” See also 2 Timothy 2:2 and Titus 2:1–8.

Give me men to match my mountains. -- Inscription on the State Capitol, Sacramento, CA

Never measure the height of a mountain, until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was. -- Dag Hammarskjöld, Markings, p. 7

It was not the great walled cities of Canaan nor even the great stature of the giants that kept them [Israel] from their inheritance in Canaan. It was their own faulty relationship to the Lord. [Numbers 13] -- Paxson, Caleb, p. 28

The ten spies saw themselves primarily in relation to their enemies. Consequently their chief concern was for their safety. So they would sacrifice their inheritance in Canaan rather than risk their lives. -- Paxson, Caleb, p. 32

During all the forty years of wilderness wandering, Caleb lived in the promised land through anticipatory appropriating faith. He lived above the wilderness by living in the promised land. He was in the wilderness, but not of it. -- Paxson, Caleb, p. 51

What shall we do with life’s mountains? We can climb them as did Moses and see the glory of God (Exod. 34). We can level them in the power of the Spirit (Zech. 4) and move ahead in our labors. We can exercise faith and trust the Lord to move them out of the way (Matt. 17:19–21). And, like Caleb, we can conquer them and claim them for our own inheritance. -- Warren Wiersbe

Here is where many Christians fail. I haven’t a question that many preachers largely fail because they are looking for easy and soft places. The one thing we are to think about, to care for, is that we may stand in the battle’s front and in the thick of the fight, every man where God wants him, whether lawyer, doctor, minister, teacher, banker, farmer, or what not. If God has hard tasks and big jobs, and gigantic undertakings, let each one give himself to them with the spirit of Caleb, scorning easy places, asking for God to give him anything He wishes, in His infinite wisdom and love.… Let us address ourselves to life’s problems as did Caleb. Let us make up our minds never to get old, never. Let us make up our minds that we will never admit for a breath to ourselves that suggestion of the devil, that we have “done our part.” --- George W. Truett, We Would See Jesus, p. 101

Caleb was a man who was perennially young. That is one of the most beautiful things in his life story.… There is not any place, there is not any need for any man ever to get old in this world. And if a man will link himself with the right things, and have the right viewpoint in the life he lives, he will never be an old man. -- Truett, We Would See Jesus, p. 99

Caleb was a man who dared to be in the minority. He was a man who could, without any blanching of face, go against the crowd. He was a man who had his anchorage thoroughly defined, and who adjusted himself in absolute obedience to the convictions his soul felt and knew to be right. He dared, therefore, to be in the minority. -- Truett, We Would See Jesus, p. 96

Hebron - Holman Bible Dictionary (Wikipedia article and What is the significance of Hebron in the Bible? | Place name and personal name meaning “association” or “league.” A major city in the hill country of Judah about nineteen miles south of Jerusalem and fifteen miles west of the Dead Sea. The region is over 3,000 feet above sea level. The surrounding area has an abundant water supply, and its rich soil is excellent for agriculture. According to archaeological research the site has been occupied almost continuously since about 3300 B.C.

After his separation from Lot, Abraham moved to Hebron. At that time the area was known as Mamre and was associated with the Amorites (Genesis 13:18; Genesis 14:13; Genesis 23:19 ). Abraham apparently remained at Mamre until after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. When Sarah died, the place was called Kirjath-arba; and the population was predominantly Hittite (Genesis 23:2; Joshua 14:15; Joshua 15:54; Judges 1:10 ). From them Abraham purchased a field with a burial plot inside a nearby cave. Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Leah were buried there (Genesis 23:19; Genesis 25:9; Genesis 35:29; Genesis 49:31; Genesis 50:13 ).

Four centuries later, when Moses sent the twelve spies into Canaan, the tribe of Anak lived in Hebron. According to Numbers 13:22 Hebron was “built” seven years prior to Zoan, the Egyptian city of Tanis. Archaeological evidence suggests that the reference was to Tanis' establishment as the Hyksos capital around 1725 B.C. and not its beginning. Indeed both cities already were inhabited long before 2000 B.C. Therefore, the date may indicate that it was rebuilt by the Hyksos at that time, or it may specify when Hebron became a Canaanite city. After the Israelite conquest of Canaan, Hebron was given to Caleb ( Joshua 14:9-13 ). It also became a city of refuge (Joshua 20:7 ). Later, Samson put the gates of Gaza on a hill outside of Hebron (Judges 16:3 ).

After the death of Saul, David settled in the city (2 Samuel 2:3 ) and made it his capital during the seven years he ruled only Judah (1 Kings 2:11 ). His son, Absalom, launched an abortive revolt against David from Hebron (2 Samuel 15:10 ). Between 922,915 B.C. Rehoboam fortified the city as a part of Judah's defense network (2 Chronicles 11:5-10 ). According to inscriptions found on pottery fragments, royal pottery was made in the city between 800,700 B.C.

When the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in 587 B.C., the Edomites captured Hebron. It was not recaptured until Judas Maccabeus sacked the city in 164 B.C. Although Herod the Great erected pretentious structures there, no mention of the city is made in the New Testament. The city was raided by both Jewish revolutionaries and Roman legions in A.D. 68 during the Jewish Revolt.

Hebron is still an important city today. Except for during the Crusades, the Muslims have ruled the city since A.D. 635. It is venerated by the Arabs because of the tombs of the patriarchs.

Two individuals in the Old Testament also were named Hebron. The first was a Levite (Exodus 6:18; Numbers 3:19; 1Chronicles 6:2,1 Chronicles 6:18; 1 Chronicles 23:12 ). The second is listed in the Calebite genealogy (1 Chronicles 2:42-43 ). See City of Refuge; Machpelah; Mamre .

QUESTION -   Who were the Kenizzites in the Bible?

ANSWER - The Kenizzites (or Kenezites) were a group of people during the time of Abraham. They are mentioned in Genesis 15:19 as one of the groups living in the land God promised to Abraham’s descendants. Not much is known about this people group or where exactly they lived. Some scholars believe the Kenizzites lived in Arabia, while others hold that the Kenizzites eventually intermingled with the people of Canaan and lost their identity as a people group. These commentators see evidence of the Kenizzites assimilating with the Canaanites in the fact that their name is missing from the list of people living in the Promised Land during the time of Joshua’s conquest (Joshua 3:10).

It could be that some of the Kenizzites integrated with Israel before the conquest of Canaan, joining God’s people during the exodus from Egypt (see Exodus 12:37–38). It’s also possible that the Kenizzites were associated with Israel earlier, and that they had gone to Egypt with Jacob and his family to escape the famine in Canaan (Genesis 46).

In Numbers 32:12, Caleb is mentioned as the “son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite.” Other passages also name Caleb as related to the Kenizzites through his father Jephunneh (Joshua 14:6, 14). It seems clear from this that some of the Kenizzites must have joined Israel as proselytes at some point. Significantly, Caleb’s relation to the Kenizzites demonstrates how believing Gentiles were at times integrated into Israel and, in the case of Jephunneh, into the tribe of Judah (Numbers 13:6). Despite his Kenizzite heritage, Caleb is included in the genealogical listing of Judah in 1 Chronicles 4:15. It is likely that Caleb’s mother was of the tribe of Judah.

Some commentators have connected the Kenizzites to Edom because the Bible mentions Kenaz as a ruler of Edom (Genesis 36:40–43; 1 Chronicles 1:53). Caleb’s brother is named Kenaz (Joshua 15:17), the father of Othniel, the first judge of Israel (Joshua 15:17; Judges 3:9) 

Related Resources:

Joshua 14:15  Now the name of Hebron was formerly Kiriath-arba; [for Arba] was the greatest man among the Anakim. Then the land had rest from war.

  • And the name: Jos 15:13 Ge 23:2 
  • the land: Jos 11:23 Jdg 3:11,30 5:31 8:28 
  • Joshua 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Now the name of Hebron was formerly Kiriath-Arba; for Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim - The writer emphasizes once again the fact that Hebron was a "giant" obstacle, which was conquered by a man who had a giant faith and whose faith was proven genuine by his obedience in fully following the LORD. Kiriath-Arba is the site of the oaks of Mamre (cf. Ge 13:18; 35:27).

Campbell - Arba was a giant among the Anakites, a nation of giants, a fact that causes the heroic faith of Caleb to stand out even more vividly.  (The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament)

Then the land had rest from war - Joshua's conquest of the land concluded with the same declaration (Joshua 11:23). Clearly God was with both of these faithful spies until the end of their lives! How successful was Caleb? The giant enemy was eradicated. Rest in this verse is the verb shaqat which is translated in Lxx with kopazo meaning to to abate, stop, cease as of the wind Mt 14:32. As A W Pink explains below while there may have been "rest" in Hebron, that did not mean "rest" in other areas of the land in the near future (see Pink's comment below). 

Irving Jensen - The unwavering faith and unfailing strength of Caleb are a stirring challenge to all Christians. To many, seeing is believing, waiting is wearying, and aging is to retire. For Caleb, believing was to see Canaan conquerable; waiting through the wilderness years and the wars for Canaan was to be strengthened; and aging was to take on another giant task with the same strength-giving God. Caleb was awarded this prize in Canaan because he was committed wholly to the Lord. (Joshua- Everyman's Bible Commentary: Rest-Land Won)

Campbell - Then the land had rest from war (cf. Joshua 11:23 for the same expression at the end of the Conquest proper), show what faith in the Lord can accomplish with respect to land yet to be possessed. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament)

Kiriath-Arba (9v - Gen. 23:2; Gen. 35:27; Jos. 14:15; Jos. 15:13; Jos. 15:54; Jos. 20:7; Jos. 21:11; Jdg. 1:10; Neh. 11:25) Place name meaning, “city of Arba” or “city of four.” The ancient name for the city of Hebron (Joshua 15:54 ). It was the chief city in the hill country of Judah (Joshua 15:54 ) and was both a Levitical city (Joshua 21:11 ) and a city of refuge (Joshua 20:7). Caleb captured the city for Israel (Joshua 15:13-14 ). Bible students dispute the origin of the name. According to some, Kiriath-Arba was originally named after Arba the Anakite hero (Joshua 14:15; see Joshua 15:13 ).

Arba - Jewish Encyclopedia The hero of the Anakim, who lived at Kirjath-arba, a city named in his honor (Joshua 14:15). In Joshua 15:13 and 21:11 he is called the father of Anak, which evidently means that he was regarded as the ancestor of the Anakim.

A W Pink -  It may be recalled that the fourteenth chapter closed with the words, “And the land had rest from war.” At first sight that seems to be a blessed statement, but in view of several later ones it should rather be regarded as the striking of an ominous note. The fact is that Israel had, temporarily at least, become weary of well-doing, and were resting on their oars, for they had failed to complete the task which God had assigned them. There were many places yet unsubdued, numerous companies of the Canaanites which were still unconquered. That resting from war was fraught with evil consequences, for soon after we are told, “As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out” (15:63). And again, it is recorded of the Ephraimites, “they drave not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer: but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites unto this day, and serve under tribute” (Joshua 16:10). And once more, “yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in the land” (Joshua 17:12). Sad blemishes were those in the account given of the general success of the nation

Rest  (undisturbed)(08252shaqat is a verb which means to cause quietness, to pacify, to allay, to be still, to be quiet, to be undisturbed. Basically the meaning of shaqat is a state of tranquility, as when the land has absence of war (2Chr 20:30). The first use in Joshua is used figuratively to describe that "the land had rest (Lxx = katapauo = to cause something to cease, to cause to be at rest - Heb 4:4, 8, 10) from war." (see similar uses below of the land having rest or being undisturbed by war)  Even in these repeated notices of “rest” in Judges that use the verb shaqat, these  periods of "rest" were not the permanent rest promised in the nuah group of words. The same shaqat type is observed in Joshua 11:23 and Joshua 14:15 where the land is given this type of “rest” from war. However it was only a temporary lull in the continuous surge of the restless sea, Isaiah 57:20, a “respite” from days of trouble, Psalm 94:13. This type of rest must be separated from what God calls “My Rest.” (Hebrews 3:11, Hebrews 4:3, 5), which supremely is found only in Christ when one believes in Him and rests from his efforts to save himself. 

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In Ruth 3:18-note Naomi tells Ruth that Boaz "will not rest (Lxx = hesuchazo = to be at rest)" until he resolves the matter of who is to be the kinsman redeemer. In Isaiah 30:15 we read "For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, "In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength." Sadly the last part of that verse says "But you were not willing!" In Isa 32:17 what brings true security and tranquility reading that that "the work of righteousness will be peace, And the service of righteousness, quietness (Lxx = anapausis = cessation from wearisome activity for the sake of rest) and confidence forever." Thus it is righteousness which brings true tranquility. The tossing sea "cannot be quiet (still, at rest, calm)." (Isa 57:20) Shaqat describes people (Israel) "at rest, that live securely" (Ezek 38:11) which speaks of a sense of safety and security.

There is a similar meaning of shaqat/rest for the land from disturbance of war in the following passages all dealing with the Promised Land....

Joshua 11:23 So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had spoken to Moses, and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Thus the land had rest from war.

Joshua 14:15   Now the name of Hebron was formerly Kiriath-arba; for Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim. Then the land had rest from war.

Jdg 3:11 Then the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died. 

Jdg 3:30; So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land was undisturbed for eighty years.

Jdg 5:31 Thus let all Your enemies perish, O LORD; But let those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its might.” And the land was undisturbed for forty years.

Jdg 8:28. So Midian was subdued before the sons of Israel, and they did not lift up their heads anymore. And the land was undisturbed for forty years in the days of Gideon. 


GEORGE BUSH  Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 14

Kirjath-arba. That is, the city of Arba, the name of an individual distinguished either for his remarkable bodily stature and strength, or his power and authority, or perhaps both, among the Anakims.

And the land had rest from war. There were no more general wars. The inhabitants of Canaan could make no longer any head against the power of Israel. Being disjointed and broken, they could no longer rally in such force as to make it necessary for the whole Israelitish body to go against them in a general campaign. This may be considered as the genuine sense of the expression, though it be admitted that there were afterwards particular wars, arising from the attempts of each tribe to expel the ancient inhabitants still remaining in their respective territories.

Gene Getz - Becoming God's Man Today - Principles to Live By

Following are five very significant observations regarding Caleb's life, which in turn lead to five practical lessons for every Christian man.

Principle 1. God honors men who walk in His will.

Three times in this chapter, we read that God's blessing on Caleb was based on the fact that he had followed the Lord fully. God honored his faithful obedience to His commands. God wants us to be obedient to all that He asks us to do. Note however that the disobedience of Israel interfered with Caleb's desire to go into the land. Yet God viewed his true willingness to obey as actual obedience. The same is true for you and me. There are times when other people in our lives limit our ability to be as responsive to the will of God as we'd like to be. However, God knows our hearts, just as He did Caleb's. For example, I know men who are married to women who are either unbelievers or very carnal. These men have a desire to serve Jesus Christ more fully with their talents, their time, and their treasures. However, they are limited in what they can do because of the disunity and hostility it would create. Again, God understands those situations and honors our heart response.

Group Disobedience - Sometimes we find our personal obedience lacking because of group disobedience—perhaps in our church or business. In situations where the circumstances are beyond our control, God also looks at our hearts and what we do in the situation. Caleb was willing to take a stand for God's Word even though he knew he would be rejected by his own people. What about you?

Be Careful - Christians must make sure they are taking a stand for God's Word and not for their own prejudiced opinions. Some Christians suffer needlessly because of a lack of knowledge of God's Word. In Caleb's case there was no question. Israel was in direct violation of God's command. In this situation, Caleb would not compromise his convictions.

Principle 2. God honors men who take a stand against the majority when the majority is wrong.

Caleb's obedience was in the context of a minority report. The vote was ten to two in favor of disobedience.
How easy it is to side with the majority; to compromise our Christian convictions; to operate out of fear. Not so with Caleb. Even when Joshua appears to have been afraid to speak up, Caleb spoke out boldly. What about you?

Principle 3. God honors men who take a stand for Him even though it means rejection by the group.

Caleb's obedience was in the context of group rejection. The people literally wanted to stone him. Most of us have never had our lives threatened because of our stand for God's Word. However, it's easy to be inhibited and fearful even in the midst of minor rejections from those who do not want to follow God. The apostle Paul stands out as a dynamic example for all of us in this respect. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel,” he wrote to the Romans, “for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). And when he knew he was going to stand before the Roman emperor, perhaps to face the death penalty, he wrote to his faithful prayer supporters in Philippi: "For I know that this shall turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I shall not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ shall even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death." (Phil. 1:19–20)

Principle 4. God honors men who faithfully follow Him.

Caleb had been obedient for forty-five years, even though Joshua was the man God chose to lead the children of Israel into the land. How easy it is to become jealous and resentful when other Christians receive more attention than we do—especially when we feel we deserve it as much as they. To be faithful behind the scenes is difficult, but it's a true test of character. Remember, too, that God often tests us to see how faithful we are under these circumstances. If we pass the test, He then is able to entrust us with greater responsibility.

Principle 5. God will not forget men who serve Him faithfully and consistently.

Caleb's obedience was eventually honored and rewarded, even though it was forty-five years later. God did not forget His promise to Caleb. He always honors faithful obedience. Remember that God never forgets. Eventually He will reward us for faithful obedience. Like Caleb, some of that reward often comes in this life, but it will definitely come in eternity. And of course, eternal rewards are those that really count.

Points of Action - Ask God to help you become a faithful and obedient Christian—to “follow the Lord fully” in all He says, no matter what the consequences. Write out a personal and specific goal that you want to carry out immediately—this week. Pray for God's help. Remember the words of Paul who said, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).

  1. How obedient am I to all that God commands? (Never) (Sometimes) (Always)
  2. When the majority wants to do what is wrong in the sight of God, do I take a stand for what is right? (Never) (Sometimes) (Always)
  3. When I am faced with group rejection because I want to obey the Word of God, do I take a stand for what I know to be the will of God? (Never) (Sometimes) (Always)
  4. How faithful am I in my service to the Lord and to others when I have to work behind the scenes?(Never) (Sometimes) (Always)
  5. Am I willing to wait patiently for God to fulfill His promises to me? (Never) (Sometimes) (Always) (Men of Character: Joshua)