Joshua 15:14: Caleb’s Victory over the Anakim

Verse 14:[1] And Caleb drove thence (Judg. 1:10, 20) the three sons of Anak, (Num. 13:22) Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai, the children of Anak.

[The three sons of Anak, etc.; the Hanakim (Junius and Tremellius), the sons of Hanak, that is, of the posterity of Hanak (Piscator): בְּנֵ֣י הָעֲנָ֑ק] The sons of the giants, that is, the three giants, or tyrants. Others: the sons of Arba, the most famous giant. And thus at the end of the verse (Vatablus).

Thence, that is, from the said territory, from their caves and forts in it: compare Joshua 14:12. This and the following work was done either in Joshua’s lifetime, as may seem from Joshua 11:21, or after his death, as is related Judges 1:10; these giants having either recovered their cities or defended themselves in the mountains.

[Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai] These were the sons of Anak, or rather of Arba (and Anak was put in the place of the Anakim, as we said). Objection: But it is not plausible that those three giants that the spies sent by Moses saw, Numbers 13:22, lived until after the death of Joshua, whom Caleb then drove out (Malvenda, Masius). Responses: 1. Why might not the giants live for so long a time, since Caleb also was one of those spies (Malvenda)? 2. Those names appear to have been, not so much proper names, as tribal, and are taken for their posterity; just as we take Israel in the place of the Israelites (Masius, Malvenda). We shall explain this history in Judges 1, where it is set in its own order; but here by way of anticipation (Bonfrerius).

Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai; either the same who are mentioned Numbers 13:33, and so they were long-lived men, such as many were in those times and places; or their sons, called by their fathers’ names, which is very usual.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֤רֶשׁ מִשָּׁם֙ כָּלֵ֔ב אֶת־שְׁלוֹשָׁ֖ה בְּנֵ֣י הָעֲנָ֑ק אֶת־שֵׁשַׁ֤י וְאֶת־אֲחִימַן֙ וְאֶת־תַּלְמַ֔י יְלִידֵ֖י הָעֲנָֽק׃

2 thoughts on “Joshua 15:14: Caleb’s Victory over the Anakim

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘How [Caleb] signalized his own valour in the conquest of Hebron (Joshua 15:14): He drove thence the three sons of Anak, he and those that he engaged to assist him in this service. This is mentioned here to show that the confidence he had expressed of success in this affair, through the presence of God with him (Joshua 14:12), did not deceive him, but the event answered his expectation. It is not said that he slew these giants, but he drove them thence, which intimates that they retired upon his approach and fled before him; the strength and stature of their bodies could not keep up the courage of their minds, but with the countenances of lions they had the hearts of trembling hares. Thus does God often cut off the spirit of princes (Psalm 76:12), take away the heart of the chief of the people (Job 12:24), and so shame the confidence of the proud; and thus if we resist the devil, that roaring lion, though he fall not, yet he will flee.’

  2. Jerome’s Letter to Pammachius: ‘I hear that you have erected a hospice for strangers at Portus and that you have planted a twig from the tree of Abraham upon the Ausonian shore. Like Æneas you are tracing the outlines of a new encampment; only that, whereas he, when he reached the waters of the Tiber, under pressure of want had to eat the square flat cakes which formed the tables spoken of by the oracle, you are able to build a house of bread to rival this little village of Bethlehem wherein I am staying; and here after their long privations you propose to satisfy travellers with sudden plenty. Well done. You have surpassed my poor beginning. You have reached the highest point. You have made your way from the root to the top of the tree. You are the first of monks in the first city of the world: you do right therefore to follow the first of the patriarchs. Let Lot, whose name means ‘one who turns aside’ choose the plain and let him follow the left and easy branch of the famous letter of Pythagoras. But do you make ready for yourself a monument like Sarah’s on steep and rocky heights. Let the City of Books be near; and when you have destroyed the giants, the sons of Anak, make over your heritage to joy and merriment. Abraham was rich in gold and silver and cattle, in substance and in raiment: his household was so large that on an emergency he could bring a picked body of young men into the field, and could pursue as far as Dan and then slay four kings who had already put five kings to flight. Frequently exercising hospitality and never turning any man away from his door, he was accounted worthy at last to entertain God himself. He was not satisfied with giving orders to his servants and hand-maids to attend to his guests, nor did he lessen the favour he conferred by leaving others to care for them; but as though he had found a prize, he and Sarah his wife gave themselves to the duties of hospitality. With his own hands he washed the feet of his guests, upon his own shoulders he brought home a fat calf from the herd. While the strangers dined he stood by to serve them, and set before them the dishes cooked by Sarah’s hands—though meaning to fast himself.’

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