Joshua 14:8: Caleb’s Inheritance, Part 3

Verse 8:[1] Nevertheless (Num. 13:31, 32; Deut. 1:28) my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly (Num. 14:24; Deut. 1:36) followed the LORD my God.

[My brethren] My kinsmen. All Jews were brethren among themselves (Drusius).

[They dissolved] Or, they melted. The heart melts in great fear (Drusius). A Hebraism; they discouraged the people, and took courage from them (Vatablus).

[הִמְסִיו[2]] Either it was written in a Chaldean manner,[3] as Rabbi Judah[4] maintains; as (as Kimchi maintains) the ו is put in the place of a ה at the end: if it is so, the singular is written in the place of the plural (Masius). Or הִמְסִיו is written in the place of הֵמִיסוּ. For it is Hiphil in the order quiescents in the middle ו[5] (Munster). It signifies that they dissolved the firmness of the heart (Masius). They broke (Jonathan); they terrified (Syriac); they enervated (Arabic).

[I followed the Lord (thus Munster), followed perfectly, etc. (Tigurinus, Syriac), וְאָנֹכִ֣י מִלֵּ֔אתִי אַחֲרֵ֖י יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהָֽי׃] I fulfilled after the Lord (Montanus), or, after the fear of the Lord (Jonathan); I fulfilled to go after Jehovah (Pagnine); I fulfilled the will of the Lord, by going after Him (Vatablus); I perfected obedience before the Lord (Arabic). I, even I, went on to follow the Lord (the Septuagint in Masius). To fulfill after the Lord is not only to live piously and holily in private, but also to procure the glory of God and the salvation of one’s neighbor, in what ways it is able to be done, unto the last act of life, and attentively, diligently, and consistently to discharge entirely that duty to which God called each one. Now, Caleb mentions these things, not out of zeal of vain glory, but either, so that he might reassure himself in that recollection; or, so that the Israelites, understanding this promise as a reward for his piety, by a certain emulation might be incited to live rightly, and might be recalled to the memory of God’s goodness toward them (Masius).

I wholly followed the LORD: Which self-commendation is justifiable, because it was necessary, as being the ground and foundation of his petition.

[1] Hebrew: וְאַחַי֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָל֣וּ עִמִּ֔י הִמְסִ֖יו אֶת־לֵ֣ב הָעָ֑ם וְאָנֹכִ֣י מִלֵּ֔אתִי אַחֲרֵ֖י יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהָֽי׃

[2] The expected form of מָסָה in the third-person, plural, Hiphil, would be הִמְסוּ.

[3] In the Haphel conjugation, with a final ה, the ending is ִיו.

[4] Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel (1525-1609) was a Torah and Talmudic scholar and a leading public figure among the Jews at Prague.  He composed works of philosophy and exegesis (in particular, Gur Aryeh, Young Lion, a commentary on Rabbi Salomon’s commentary on the Pentateuch), all touched with mysticism.

[5] It is here proposed that the form is explained by an alternative root, מוּס.

1 thought on “Joshua 14:8: Caleb’s Inheritance, Part 3

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘Observe…

    In his petition he sets forth, (1.) The testimony of his conscience concerning his integrity in the management of that great affair on which it proved the fare of Israel turned, the spying out of the land. Caleb was one of the twelve that were sent out on that errand (Joshua 14:7), and he now reflected upon it with comfort, and mentioned it, not in pride, but as that which, being the consideration of the grant, was necessary to be inserted in the plea, [1.] That he made his report as it was in his heart, that is, he spoke as he thought when he spoke so honourably of the land of Canaan, so confidently of the power of God to put them in possession of it, and so contemptibly of the opposition that the Canaanites, even the Anakims themselves, could make against them, as we find he did, Numbers 13:30; 14:7-9. He did not do it merely to please Moses, or to keep the people quiet, much less from a spirit of contradiction to his fellows, but from a full conviction of the truth of what he said and a firm belief of the divine promise. [2.] That herein he wholly followed the Lord his God, that is, he kept close to his duty, and sincerely aimed at the glory of God in it. He conformed himself to the divine will with an eye to the divine favour. He had obtained this testimony from God himself (Numbers 14:24), and therefore it was not vainglory in him to speak of it, any more than it is for those who have God’s Spirit witnessing with their spirits that they are the children of God humbly and thankfully to tell others for their encouragement what God has done for their souls. Note, Those that follow God fully when they are young shall have both the credit and comfort of it when they are old, and the reward of it for ever in the heavenly Canaan. [3.] That he did this when all his brethren and companions in that service, except Joshua, did otherwise. They made the heart of the people melt (Joshua 14:8), and how pernicious the consequences of it were was very well known. It adds much to the praise of following God if we adhere to him when others desert and decline from him. Caleb needed not to mention particularly Joshua’s conduct in this matter; it was sufficiently known, and he would not seem to flatter him; it was enough to say (Joshua 14:6), Thou knowest what the Lord spoke concerning me and thee.’

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