Joshua 14:9: Caleb’s Inheritance, Part 4

Verse 9:[1] And Moses sware on that day, saying, (Num. 14:23, 24; Deut. 1:36; Josh. 1:3) Surely the land (see Num. 13:22) whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children’s for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God.

[And Moses swore] This oath is related in Deuteronomy 1:34 (Bonfrerius). But it is sufficiently contained in Numbers 14:21, etc. (Bonfrerius, Masius). But there God, here Moses, is said to have sworn: but there is little difference, since Moses, as God’s messenger, made this promise (Bonfrerius, similarly Masius). Those words, my servent Caleb, etc.,[2] hang by the continuous thread of the discourse from those words, I live, etc.[3] (Masius). Not Canaan in general, but a certain place, is promised to Caleb, as it is evident from this passage, and from verses 12 and 13, and from Deuteronomy 1:36. Moreover, that place was none other than Hebron, of which, since the rest were more fearful, he would take possession, and by his example would go before others (Bonfrerius).

[The land, etc.] Hebrew: If not the land, etc.[4] Sacred Scripture sets forth a curt form of swearing, as is its custom. Omitted are words of this sort, le me not live, or, let me not be true, if those things be not fulfilled. Now, it is impious to conceive such a thing in the soul concerning God, much less to utter it; and therefore they speak ἐλλειπτικῶς/elliptically, or curtly. Thus men swear; May God do so to me, and thus add,[5] that is, may He proceed to do so more and more. May God destroy me utterly, etc., is to be understood, which, since it is taboo to say (for no one ought to entreat ill for himself), by ἀποσιώπησιν/silence those words foreboding ill are cut short (Masius).

Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden, etc.: See Numbers 14:24; Deuteronomy 1:36.

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּשָּׁבַ֣ע מֹשֶׁ֗ה בַּיּ֣וֹם הַהוּא֮ לֵאמֹר֒ אִם־לֹ֗א הָאָ֙רֶץ֙ אֲשֶׁ֙ר דָּרְכָ֤ה רַגְלְךָ֙ בָּ֔הּ לְךָ֙ תִֽהְיֶ֧ה לְנַחֲלָ֛ה וּלְבָנֶ֖יךָ עַד־עוֹלָ֑ם כִּ֣י מִלֵּ֔אתָ אַחֲרֵ֖י יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהָֽי׃

[2] In Numbers 14:24.

[3] In Numbers 14:21.

[4] Hebrew: אִם־לֹ֗א הָאָ֙רֶץ֙.

[5] See, for example, 1 Kings 2:23:  “Then king Solomon sware by the Lord, saying, God do so to me, and more also (כֹּ֣ה יַֽעֲשֶׂה־לִּ֤י אֱלֹהִים֙ וְכֹ֣ה יוֹסִ֔יף), if Adonijah have not spoken this word against his own life.”  See also 2 Kings 6:31.

1 thought on “Joshua 14:9: Caleb’s Inheritance, Part 4

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘The promise Moses had made him in God’s name that he should have this mountain, Joshua 14:9. This promise is his chief plea, and that on which he relies. As we find it (Numbers 14:24) it is general, him will I bring into the land whereunto he went, and his seed shall possess it; but it seems it was more particular, and Joshua knew it; both sides understood this mountain for which Caleb was now a suitor to be intended. This was the place from which, more than any other, the spies took their report, for here they met with the sons of Anak (Numbers 13:22), the sight of whom made such an impression upon them, Numbers 14:3. We may suppose that Caleb, observing what stress they laid upon the difficulty of conquering Hebron, a city garrisoned by the giants, and how thence they inferred that the conquest of the whole land was utterly impracticable, in opposition to their suggestions, and to convince the people that he spoke as he thought, bravely desired to have that city which they called invincible assigned to himself for his own portion: “I will undertake to deal with that, and, if I cannot get it for my inheritance, I will be without.” “Well,” said Moses, “it shall be thy own then, win it and wear it.” Such a noble heroic spirit Caleb had, and so desirous was he to inspire his brethren with it, that he chose this place only because it was the most difficult to be conquered. And, to show that his soul did not decay any more than his body, now forty-five years after he adheres to his choice and is still of the same mind.’

Leave a Comment