Joshua 14:6: Caleb’s Inheritance, Part 1

Verse 6:[1] Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the (Num. 32:12; Josh. 15:17) Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest (Num. 14:24, 30; Deut. 1:36, 38) the thing that the LORD said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee (Num. 13:26) in Kadesh-barnea.

[The children of Judah] So that they, as advocates for their fellow tribesman Caleb, might plead. But, that these things were done before Hebron was conquered, shows a comparison of this passage with Joshua 10:36, 37 (Junius). But I rather think that Hebrew, already previously conquered in the first Souther campaign, is here claimed by Caleb for possession, not for conquest: for it is not read anywhere that Hebron was conquered by Caleb, but that the giants were ejected from there, who had perhaps, having been driving out at first, Joshua 11:21, 22, assembled themselves there. See Joshua 14:15 (Malvenda).

Then the children of Judah; either, 1. At that time when Joshua and the rest were consulting about the division of the land, though they did not yet actually and fully divide it. Or, 2. When Joshua, and himself, and the Israelites were proceeding in their conquests, and were going against Hebron, Joshua 10:36, which expedition, there mentioned in a general manner, may be particularly described in this chapter, and Joshua 15:13, 14. But the former seems more probable, because this was done when Joshua was in Gilgal, and not when he was pursuing his enemies. Came, not so much to intercede for Caleb, which was not needful with Joshua, especially in a thing already promised by God, but only to justify and countenance him in his desire.

[In Gilgal] There were the camps and quarters of the Hebrews, and there the first division was made; but a later division was made in Shiloh, Joshua 18:1 (Lapide, Bonfrerius). It is likely that they at that time accosted Joshua first concerning Hebron, since they observed that he meant to undertake the division by lot; fearing that the place owed to him might fall to some other (Masius).

Gilgal; where the division of the land was designed and begun, though it was executed and finished at Shiloh, Joshua 18:1.

[The son of Jephunneh] Such undoubtedly he was, for so he is called both in 1 Chronicles 4:15, where his genealogy is the context (Bonfrerius), and in Numbers[2] (Malvenda). Objection: But Caleb is called the son of Hezron in 1 Chronicles 2:18. Now, Hezron had descended into Egypt with Jacob, Genesis 46:8, 12. Responses: 1. He is rightly called the son of Hezron, although he had Hezron either as a grandfather, or great-grandfather, or great-great-grandfather. Neither is it unusual that grandchildren are numbered among the children, especially if they be illustrious in their deeds (Masius). 2. This Caleb is not the same as Caleb the son of Hezron (Serarius, Lapide, Bonfrerius, Drusius out of Ibn Ezra). It is proven: 1. Bezaleel, who made the Tabernacle in the desert, ought to be almost the same age as Caleb. But in 1 Chronicles 2 Bezaleel is set down as a great grandson of Caleb the son of Hezron. 2. If our Caleb was son of that Hezron, he was not able to be less than one hundred or one hundred and twenty years in coming out of Egypt, since Hezron, as was mentioned, was one of those descending into Egypt (Bonfrerius). Suppose it to be so, this Caleb would also descend from Judah, and perhaps from Pharez and Hezron; but with grandfathers and great-grandfaters intervening (Lapide).

Son of Jephunneh; so he is called here, and 1 Chronicles 4:15, to difference him from Caleb the son of Hezron, 1 Chronicles 2:18.

[The Kenezite] Question: Whence was he so called? Responses: 1. Some read the Kenezite in such a way that it is an epithet of Jephunneh, not of Caleb (certain interpreters in Bonfrerius). 2. He is not so called because he was descended either from the Kenezite peoples of Canaan,[3] or from Kenaz the son of Esau, concerning which Genesis 36:15, 42; for he was a Jew, and of Jacob (Lapide). 3. Others maintain that he was named from some place (certain interpreters in Masius and in Menochius). 4. Rather, he had the name from one of his ancestors, who was called Kenaz, and was a noteworthy man, and therefore communicated his name to his posterity (Lapide, Bonfrerius, Masius out of Kimchi). Thence I gather this, that Kenaz was a common and much used name in the family of Caleb. Perhaps one Kenaz was the father of Caleb, Joshua 15:17; Judges 1:13; 1 Chronicles 4:13; and another was a grandson of Caleb, 1 Chronicles 4:15 (Bonfrerius out of Lapide). 5. Or Jephunneh had two names, and was also called Kenaz (Menochius out of Lapide).

The Kenezite; of the posterity of Kenaz, of whom see Judges 1:13; 1 Chronicles 4:13, 15.

[Thou knowest what the Lord said] Question: Where? or When? Responses: 1. Perhaps those promises were not recorded in the Sacred Books, but spoken separately, and with one, even Joshua, being privy. 2. Words almost of this sort are found in Numbers 14:24 and Deuteronomy 1:36, Caleb…I will bring into the land unto which he has approached. Which words, it is certain, are spoken of some particular place. For the seed of Caleb was not able to hold all of Canaan. Now, it appears probable to me that this place was Hebron, and that he earnestly requested that place as the portion of his inheritance in that confused altercation, which spiritless men cried down as unconquerable; for the giants seen there had instilled fear, which Caleb clearly showed in this manner to be groundless. Moreover, it appears that those words of God are to been taken altogether κατ᾽ ἀντίθεσιν, by way of antithesis; that is to say, He was going to establish Caleb and his posterity in that place, which place the rest had persuaded the people was absolute impossible to be obtained. I say nothing of the fact that the Jews, certainly acute expositors of Scripture, maintain that they are plainly to be taken of the mount of Hebron, seeing that it is written in Numbers 13:22, they ascended by the South, and he came to Hebron,[4] not they came; for Caleb alone drew near, while the rest dared not. In this way there is no shame that Joshua finds fault with them for timidity and idleness. But this is as if an Enallage of numbers were an unusual thing in the Sacred Books (Masius). וַיָּבֹא, and he/it came, there is able to be referred to the entire assembly (עֵדָה), which consists of at least ten men (Drusius).

The thing that the Lord said unto Moses; in general, the gracious and comfortable promise he made us of possessing this land; and in particular, for my part, that which is expressed here, verse 9.

[The Lord to Moses, the man of God] These arguments are marvelously suited to the case, derived from the authority both of God, and of Moses. For he, to whom God has promised, is not able to be frustrated, neither is the messenger of God able to be esteemed as untrustworthy (Masius).

The man of God; whose words therefore thou art obliged to make good.

[Concerning me and concerning thee (thus the Septuagint, Castalio, Dutch, English), עַ֧ל אֹדוֹתַ֛י וְעַ֥ל אֹדוֹתֶ֖יךָ] Upon my causes, and upon thy causes (Montanus, similarly Jonathan, Munster, Piscator); because of, or for the sake of, me and thee (Arabic, Junius and Tremellius, Tigurinus); concerning my case, and concerning thy case (Syriac); because of me and because of thee (Pagnine). Moreover, Calebe spoke these things, lest a good name, by failure to make an exception, be made bad (Grotius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּגְּשׁ֙וּ בְנֵֽי־יְהוּדָ֤ה אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֙עַ֙ בַּגִּלְגָּ֔ל וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֵלָ֔יו כָּלֵ֥ב בֶּן־יְפֻנֶּ֖ה הַקְּנִזִּ֑י אַתָּ֣ה יָדַ֡עְתָּ אֶֽת־הַדָּבָר֩ אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֙ר יְהוָ֜ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֣ה אִישׁ־הָאֱלֹהִ֗ים עַ֧ל אֹדוֹתַ֛י וְעַ֥ל אֹדוֹתֶ֖יךָ בְּקָדֵ֥שׁ בַּרְנֵֽעַ׃

[2] See, for example, Numbers 13:6; 14:6, 30, 38; 26:65.

[3] See Genesis 15:19.

[4] Hebrew: וַיַּעֲל֣וּ בַנֶּגֶב֮ וַיָּבֹ֣א עַד־חֶבְרוֹן֒.

1 thought on “Joshua 14:6: Caleb’s Inheritance, Part 1

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘Before the lot was cast into the lap for the determining of the portions of the respective tribes, the particular portion of Caleb was assigned to him. He was now, except Joshua, not only the oldest man in all Israel, but was twenty years older than any of them, for all that were above twenty years old when he was forty were dead in the wilderness; it was fit therefore that this phoenix of his age should have some particular marks of honour put upon him in the dividing of the land.

    Now…Caleb here presents his petition, or rather makes his demand, to have Hebron given him for a possession (this mountain he calls it, Joshua 14:12), and not to have that put into the lot with the other parts of the country. To justify his demand, he shows that God had long since, by Moses, promised him that very mountain; so that God’s mind being already made known in this matter it would be a vain and needless thing to consult it any further by casting lots, by which we are to appeal to God in those cases only which cannot otherwise be decided, not in those which, like this, are already determined. Caleb is here called the Kenezite, some think from some remarkable victory obtained by him over the Kenizzites, as the Romans gave their great generals titles from the countries they conquered, as Africanus, Germanicus, etc. Observe…to enforce his petition, (1.) He brings the children of Judah, that is, the heads and great men of that tribe, along with him, to present it, who were willing thus to pay their respects to that ornament of their tribe, and to testify their consent that he should be provided for by himself, and that they would not take it as any reflection upon the rest of this tribe. Caleb was the person whom God had chosen out of that tribe to be employed in dividing the land (Numbers 34:19), and therefore, lest he should seem to improve his authority as a commissioner for his own private advantage and satisfaction, he brings his brethren along with him, and waiving his own power, seems rather to rely upon their interest. (2.) He appeals to Joshua himself concerning the truth of the allegations upon which he grounded his petition: Thou knowest the thing, Joshua 14:6. (3.) He makes a very honourable mention of Moses, which he knew would not be at all unpleasing to Joshua: Moses the man of God (Joshua 14:6), and the servant of the Lord, Joshua 14:7. What Moses said he took as from God himself, because Moses was his mouth and his agent, and therefore he had reason both to desire and expect that it should be made good. What can be more earnestly desired than the tokens of God’s favour? And what more confidently expected than the grants of his promise?’

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