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. 

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).

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

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

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.”

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.

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; but he did not give an inheritance to the Levites among them - This is essentially a reiteration of information given in Joshua 13, and again includes special mention of Levites and the fact that they would not receive an inheritance. Someone has quipped that these 2.5 tribes are "borderline believers." 

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: Jos 21:2-42 Nu 35:2-8 1Ch 6:54-81 
  • Joshua 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Genesis 48:5  “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.


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 Jos 21:2-42.  Nu 35:2-8 and 1Ch 6:54-81. 

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.

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


Wholehearted committment 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. 

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.

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

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)

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. 

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 - 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

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. 

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).’

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" (which of course was perfect), His followers should do the same, which is exactly what Caleb did when he "followed the LORD fully."  

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. 

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.

Dt 1:35-36 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. 

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)

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 + 7 years conquest), which was a steep price to pay for a moment of unbelief! 

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).

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 14:11  "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 - 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.

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

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 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

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.

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! 

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.

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

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."

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.

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  (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 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)

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. 

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.

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. 

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. 

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)