JOSHUA CHAPTER 14.
The Possession of Caleb.
the beginning of the distribution. — V. 1. And these are the countries which the children of Israel inherited, received for their possession, in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar, the priest, and Joshua, the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, distributed for inheritance to them, to remain in their possession, and to be transferred from one generation to the next. V. 2. By lot was their inheritance, as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses, for the nine tribes and for the half tribe, Num. 26, 52-56. The location of the territory of the various tribes was determined by lot, but the size of each tribal state was fixed according to the numerical strength of the individual tribe. V. 3. For Moses had given the inheritance of two tribes and an half tribe on the other side Jordan, as described in detail in the preceding chapter; but unto the Levites he gave none inheritance among them. V. 4. For the children of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim; therefore they gave no part unto the Levites in the land, save cities to dwell in, with their suburbs for their cattle and for their substance, forty-eight cities with their meadows or pasture-lands, Num. 35. V. 5. As the Lord commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did, and they divided the land, they made preparations for its distribution by lot, under the direction of the leaders appointed by God, although some time elapsed before the division of the land was actually completed.
caleb granted hebron for an inheritance. — V. 6. Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal, this being the first interruption in the work of distributing the land; and Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, the Kenezite, said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the Lord said unto Moses, the man of God, concerning me and thee in Kadesh-barnea, namely, in promising them a possession in the land of Canaan, Num. 14,24, for the stand which they took over against the other spies after their return from their scouting expedition. The men presenting this petition were not representatives of the tribe of Judah in general, but only of the house of fathers out of that tribe which bore the name of Kenaz, a descendant of Hezron. V. 7. Forty years old was I when Moses, the servant of the Lord, sent me from Kadesh-barnea, where Israel was then encamped, to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart, with a bold and confident spirit, which was not easily discouraged like that of the rest of the spies. V. 8. Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt, the other spies discouraged the children of Israel by their unfavorable attitude; but I wholly followed the Lord, my God, rendered Him unconditional, cheerful obedience. V. 9. And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance and thy children's forever, because thou hast wholly followed the Lord, my God. This account supplements that given Num. 14, for it can be understood only of a direct promise made to Caleb, with special reference to Hebron and its vicinity, where the giants lived who had so terrified the other spies. V. 10. And now, behold, the Lord hath kept me alive, as He said, these forty and five years, even since the Lord spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old, having thus been fully thirty-eight at the time of the departure from Egypt. In order to establish his claim, Caleb now mentions another factor. V. 11. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me; as my strength was then, even so is my strength now for war, both to go out and to come in. He was as yet unaffected by the weakness of old age and was able to hold his own in battle even with the young men of the army. V. 12. Now, therefore, give me this mountain whereof the Lord spake in that day, the mountainous region of Hebron; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakim were there, the giants who had filled the hearts of the scouts with fear, and that the cities were great and fenced, strongly fortified; if so be the Lord will be with me, that is his sincere wish and prayer, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the Lord said. Since Joshua had not garrisoned these cities after his conquest of them, the Anakim had returned and built them again. V. 13. And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, Hebron for an inheritance, this city being named as the capital to which the entire neighborhood down to Debir belonged. V. 14. Hebron, therefore, became the inheritance of Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, the Kenezite, unto this day, because that he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel, having trusted faithfully in the almighty power of Jehovah. V. 15. And the name of Hebron before, when it was first founded, was Kirjatharba; which Arba was a great man among the Anakim, the most renowned of their tribe. And the land had rest from war, affairs were now in such a condition that the division and the occupation of the country by Israel could continue. Those who are firm in tribulation and loyal to the Lord grow in His power, ever renewing and increasing their strength and receiving His blessings in rich measure.