Attention!
Tired of seeing ads while studying? Now you can enjoy an "Ads Free" version of the site for as little as 10¢ a day.

Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 14:6

Then the sons of Judah drew near to Joshua in Gilgal, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, "You know the word which the Lord spoke to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh-barnea.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Caleb;   Gilgal;   Hebron;   Obedience;   Thompson Chain Reference - Kadesh-Barnea;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Anakim, the;   Holy Land;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Kenizzites;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Anak;   Caleb;   Gilgal;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Caleb;   Debir;   Judah, Tribe of;   Moses;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Gilgal;   Joshua, the Book of;   Kenizzite;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Genealogy;   Gilgal;   Joshua;   Judah;   Kenizzites;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Caleb;   Gilgal;   Kenezite ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Kirjath-sepher;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Caleb;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Ken'ezite,;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Caleb;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Caleb;   Gilgal;   Jephunneh;   Joshua (2);   Joshua, Book of;   Judah, Territory of;   Kenezite;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Caleb;   Elohist;   Hebron;   Judah, Tribe of;   Kenaz;   Wilderness, Wanderings in the;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Verse Joshua 14:6. Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite — In the note on the parallel place, Numbers 32:12, it is said Kenaz was probably the father of Jephunneh, and that Jephunneh not Caleb, was the Kenezite; but still, allowing this to be perfectly correct, Caleb might also be called the Kenezite, as it appears to have been a family name, for Othniel, his nephew and son-in-law, is called the son of Kenaz, Joshua 15:17; Judges 1:13, and 1 Chronicles 4:13; and a grandson of Caleb is also called the son of Kenaz, 1 Chronicles 4:15. In 1 Chronicles 2:18, Caleb is called the son of Hezron, but this is only to be understood of his having Hezron for one of his ancestors; and son here may be considered the same as descendant; for Hezron, of the tribe of Judah, having come into Egypt one hundred and seventy-six years before the birth of Caleb, it is not at all likely that he could be called his father in the proper sense of the term. Besides, the supposition above makes a very good sense, and is consistent with the use of the terms father, son, and brother, in different parts of the sacred writings.

Thou knowest the thing that the Lord said — In the place to which Caleb seems to refer, viz., Numbers 14:24, there is not a word concerning a promise of Hebron to him and his posterity; nor in the place (Deuteronomy 1:36) where Moses repeats what had been done at Kadesh-barnea: but it may be included in what is there spoken. God promises, because he had another spirit within him, and had followed God fully, therefore he should enter into the land whereinto he came, and his seed should possess it. Probably this relates to Hebron, and was so understood by all parties at that time. This seems tolerably evident from the pointed reference made by Caleb to this transaction.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 14:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-14.html. 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary


The tribe of Judah (14:6-15:63)

By far the largest portions of Canaan went to the chief tribes, those of Judah and Joseph (cf. Genesis 49:8-12,Genesis 49:22-26). Judah received almost the whole of southern Canaan, and Joseph received almost the whole of central Canaan.

Caleb received his special inheritance within the area given to his tribe, Judah. Here he proved that his expression of faith made forty-five years earlier was not mere words. At that time he and Joshua alone in Israel believed that the Israelites could destroy the fearsome people of Anak whom they saw in Canaan. Now Caleb was prepared to do it (6-12; cf. Numbers 13:25-33; Numbers 14:24). Joshua gladly gave him permission to go ahead (13-15).

Judah was allotted southern Palestine between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, as far south as the Wilderness of Zin and the Brook of Egypt (15:1-12). Within this territory Caleb then conquered the people of Anak. His courage and faith helped to develop the boldness of others, especially Othniel, who received Caleb’s daughter as a reward for his bravery. Caleb also gave the young couple a piece of land as a wedding gift, but because the region was very dry he gave them an additional piece of land containing two springs of water (13-19; Judges 1:11-15; Judges 3:9).

The cities of Judah were grouped in various regions: the dry southern region known as the Negeb (20-32); the low foothills region known as the Shephelah (33-44); the coastal plain territory of the Philistines (45-47); the central highland country (48-60); and the semi-desert region near the Dead Sea (61-62). The prize city of Jerusalem, however, remained unconquered (63).


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Joshua 14:6". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/joshua-14.html. 2005.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"Then the children of Judah drew nigh unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that Jehovah spoke unto Moses the man of God concerning me and concerning thee in Kadesh-barnea. Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of Jehovah sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land: and I brought him word again as it was in my heart. Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt; but I wholly followed Jehovah my God. And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy foot hath trodden shall be an inheritance to thee and to thy children forever, because thou hast wholly followed Jehovah my God."

The appearance of the tribe of Judah in the person of its official representative Caleb, along with other Judahites who were witnesses, was actually the first order of business on the agenda for casting the lots and distributing the land. Judah naturally came first, due to the "rulership" that pertained to the primogeniture forfeited by Reuben and conveyed upon Judah by their father Jacob. But the so-called Caleb pericope had priority over the casting of lots due to an oath taken by Moses and witnessed by both Caleb and Joshua. What Caleb said here, was, in effect, "We cannot divide the land until this prior question of my right to Hebron is determined." This was nothing but the simple truth. If the lots had been cast, and Hebron had fallen to one of the tribes other than Judah, it would have cost Caleb his rightful reward, as promised by God through Moses. How foolish it is, therefore, to blame some "redactor" or "editor" for the appearance of this episode right where it is. Here is exactly the place this issue was forced to be decided. It is unimaginable that it could have occurred anywhere else!

The masterful manner in which Caleb presented his appeal, the vivid recall of events which at that time were forty-five years in the past, the appeal to Joshua as a witness of Moses' sworn word, according to Woudstra, "reflect an eye-witness account."[13] We are here dealing with events which, of all the people on earth, only Joshua and Caleb had firsthand knowledge and recall of the things mentioned, and the only fair deduction is that in those two men alone we are compelled to find the source of this material. The ancient tradition of Joshua's authorship of this book that bears his name is strongly supported by this and other similar incidents recorded.

"Caleb, the Kenizzite ..." (Joshua 14:6). "Kenaz was evidently a descendant of Edom, but was assimilated into the tribe of Judah."[14] Caleb rose to the chief of the tribe of Judah (Numbers 13-14). He was born in Egypt, survived the wilderness experience of Israel, and figured prominently in his advanced age in the subjugation of Canaan. His racial extraction does not cast a cloud upon his legitimacy as a Jew, his status being exactly the same as that of the descendants of Ruth the Moabitess (which included King David), and of Rahab the harlot. The descendants of Ruth and Rahab enjoyed their Jewish privileges through marriage, and the same is true of Caleb. "Before the Exodus, Caleb's father, a non-Israelite, had married a daughter of Hur of the clan of Chelubai (Caleb) in the tribe of Judah (1 Chronicles 2:9,18,19)."[15] From this it is perfectly clear that Caleb was not already in Canaan before the Exodus, nor had the Calebites the ownership of Hebron before Joshua.

A full account of the events that led to the pledge of Hebron to Caleb is found in Numbers 14:21-24 and Deuteronomy 1:35,36. For further comment on these important happenings, see our comments under those passages in these commentaries..

It appears to us that God Himself might have over-ruled events at this juncture in order to bring this instance of Caleb's faithfulness under great dangers into focus for the benefit of all the children of Israel. "The account of Caleb's courageous stand would serve to remind God's people of how the promised land had to be won."[16]

It is a gross error to attribute Caleb's actions here to greed or avarice on his part. "He later willingly yielded his city to the Levites and lived in the suburbs (Joshua 21:12)."[17]

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Joshua 14:6". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/joshua-14.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The children of Judah - No doubt, in particular, the kinsmen of Caleb, and perhaps other leading men of the tribe. These came before Joshua, with Caleb, in order to make it manifest that they supported his claim, to be secured in the possessions promised him by Moses before the general allotment should be made to the tribes (compare the marginal references).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 14:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-14.html. 1870.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

6. Then the children of Judah came, etc Here the account which had been begun as to the partition of the land is broken off to make way for the insertion of a narrative, namely, that Caleb requested Mount Hebron to be given to him as he had been promised by Moses. This happened a long time before the people had ceased from making war, and it became necessary to cast lots. It is stated to be the fifth year since their entrance into the land, and he does not ask for a locality to be given up to him which was already subdued and cleared of the enemy, but in the midst of the noise and heat of warfare, he asks to be permitted to acquire it by routing and slaying its giants. He only seeks to provide, that when his valor has subdued the giants, he is not to be defrauded of the reward of his labor. The method of so providing, is to prevent its being included in the common lot of a tribe. Accordingly, he does not put forth the claim by himself alone, but the members of his tribe, the sons of Judah also concur with him, because the effect of conferring this extraordinary benefit on one family was so far to make an addition to all. Hence though Caleb alone speaks, all the tribe whose interest it was that his request should be granted were present.

I am not clear why the surname of Kenite was given to Caleb. He is so called also in Numbers 32:0. I am not unaware of the conjecture of some expositors, that he was so surnamed from Kenas, because either he himself or some one of his ancestors dwelt among the Kenites. But I see no solid foundation for this. What if he gained this title by some illustrious deed, just as victors sometimes assume a surname from the nations they have subdued? As the promise had not been inserted into any public record, and Joshua was the only witness now surviving, he makes his application to him. And it is probable that when the ten spies made mention of the names of the Anakim, with the view of terrifying the people, Caleb, to refute their dishonesty, answered with truth, that when he beheld them on Mount Hebron, they were so far from being terrible, that he would attack them at his own hand, provided that on their expulsion he should succeed to their lands; and that on these conditions Moses ceded to him a habitation in that locality which he should have acquired by his own prowess.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 14:6". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-14.html. 1840-57.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Chapter 14

Now in chapter fourteen we have the interesting account of this fellow Caleb. When Moses had sent out the twelve spies to go into the land, Caleb was a companion to Joshua. They spied out the south country of Israel. From near Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, the valley of Eshcol, on over to the valley of Elah, and southwards towards Hebron, and Beersheba on down to the southern border of Kadesh-Barnea.

Now when they came back and gave the good report, said, "Hey that land is great." They had a big bunch of grapes that they carried on a stake between them. They got this pole and they tied this huge bunch of grapes. I'll tell you there in the Valley of Eshcol they have some beautiful, beautiful grapes. Some of the most, ah-can't talk about it. They are good, they are eating grapes. The Jews only really grow table grapes, and they are, they're just delicious. That the Moslems only grow the table grapes; the Jews grow the wine grapes. But the Moslems grow the eating grapes, because the Moslems don't believe in drinking wine. So they only grow table grapes. The area, of course, there in the valley of Eshcol, Hebron and so forth, is Moslem territory, the Arabs. But they have some of the most delicious grapes. Even to the present day, and huge bunches.

So these guys picked one of these great bunches of grapes. They were some of the first tourists to go into the land of Israel. The word "spies" actually is the word for "tourist" in Hebrew. They brought back souvenirs, this big bunch of grapes. They said, "Wow that land is all right. You know; it's flowing with milk and honey. Look at this bunch of grapes that we've picked. Oh, it's a good land."

But the ten other spies said, "Oh man, it's a land that eats up its inhabitants. They have huge cities, big walls, and there are giants there. We were like grasshoppers." And these ten spies put fear in the heart of Israel and they turned away.

Now Moses when God said, "All right you know you're gonna have to wander". Moses promised Caleb, he said, "Look Caleb, when we take the land, you can have that territory that you spied out. That's yours." So they had covered, they had conquered pretty much the northern part, the upper Galilee region, the area of Samaria.

Now Caleb came to Joshua, and he said, "Joshua, when you and I spied out the land, when we came back and gave our report to Moses, you'll remember that Moses promised me that I could have for my family, the territory that we spied out." He said, "Now look I'm eighty-five years old, but I'm just as strong as the day that we spied out the land." He said, "I want your permission now to go down and take that land that was promised to me."

I love the grit of this old fellow. Eighty-five years old, he says, "Man, I'm ready to go to battle. I'm ready to take that land that God had promised to me, that Moses promised that I could have. I want your permission now to go down and take it." So Joshua gave unto Caleb the permission to go down the area of Hebron, and those areas around Hebron, the areas that were promised to Caleb. So Caleb went down and conquered that area around Hebron. He was from the tribe of Judah, and Judah actually had that entire area south from Jerusalem, east to the Dead Sea, Jordan River, Dead Sea, and west all the way on over towards the Elah Valley where from there to the coast was the tribe of Dan.

So Joshua blessed him, [verse thirteen of chapter fourteen] and he gave him Hebron, [and the environs about it] for his inheritance. [The reason given the end of verse fourteen] because he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel ( Joshua 14:13-14 ). "

Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Joshua 14:6". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/joshua-14.html. 2014.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

C. The land west of the Jordan chs. 14-19

The account of the Israelites’ settlement west of the Jordan received more attention by the writer since it was the primary area where Israel settled.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Joshua 14:6". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/joshua-14.html. 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

2. Caleb’s inheritance 14:6-15

Before the casting of lots began, Caleb came to Joshua with his fellow tribesmen from Judah to request the inheritance that Moses had promised him (Joshua 14:9; Deuteronomy 1:36; cf. Numbers 14:26-38). Moses had promised Caleb land in Canaan but had not specified its location. The reason for this special blessing was Caleb’s faithfulness to God when he served as one of the 12 spies. Joshua also received a personal allotment later (Joshua 19:49-50).

"Caleb represents all of Israel as one who receives an allotment and takes the land for himself." [Note: Hess, p. 239.]

Caleb was a member of the clan in Judah called the Kenizzites (Joshua 14:6; Joshua 14:14). He was probably not a descendant of the Kenizzites who were early inhabitants of Canaan (Genesis 15:19). Another view is that the early Canaanite Kenizzites joined the tribe of Judah before the Exodus. [Note: Campbell, "Joshua," p. 357.]

The references to Caleb’s age enable us to determine the length of the conquest of Canaan. Caleb had received the promise of a portion in the land at Kadesh Barnea 38 years before the Israelites crossed the Jordan and entered Canaan (Numbers 14:24). Caleb was 40 years old then (Joshua 14:7). He was now 85 (Joshua 14:10). Forty-five years had elapsed, and Caleb had spent 38 of them in the wilderness. Therefore the conquest must have taken the remaining seven years.

The portion Caleb requested was within the tribal allotment of Judah, his tribe. He asked for part of the hill country that the giants who had discouraged his fellow spies still inhabited. In making his request (Joshua 14:12), Caleb referred to the very things that the unbelieving spies had pointed out to discourage the Israelites from entering the land: hill country, Anakim, and large fortified cities (cf. Numbers 13:28-29). Joshua gave him the town of Hebron that was, and still is, an important city. The notation that the ancient name of Hebron was Kiriath-arba, the city of Arba, the greatest man among the Anakim (giants), is significant (Joshua 14:15). It recalls God’s faithfulness in giving this giant’s city to Caleb, who had believed God could do so 45 years earlier.

Caleb was still strong in faith as well as in body, even though he was old. He continued to trust in God to fulfill His promise concerning the land rather than in his personal physical ability to take it from the enemy. His name means "according to the heart."

"It would have been natural for Caleb to ask for a ’soft spot’-a portion of land already conquered where he could settle down and spend the rest of his life raising a few vegetables or flowers. Instead, at 85, he asked for the very section that had struck terror into the hearts of the ten spies. . . .

"This courageous old warrior, who did not expect to receive his inheritance without exerting himself, is a splendid example for an age which increasingly looks for cradle-to-casket protection." [Note: Jacobsen, p. 100.]

John Cawood identified Caleb’s outstanding features as uncompromising convictions, unreserved commitment, unalterable courage, and unwavering confidence. [Note: John Cawood, "The Godly Features of Caleb," Confident Living 44:10 (November 1986):53-55.]

"Joshua 14 thus sets forth two major points, which continue to have value for the people of God. Life in all its dimensions is to be lived according to the plans set forth by God, not by the greedy, selfish plans designed by man. Blessing comes ultimately to the man who totally follows God." [Note: Butler, p. 175.]

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Joshua 14:6". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/joshua-14.html. 2012.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal,.... Whither he was returned after the conquest of the kings and their kingdoms; these were not the whole tribe of Judah, but some of the chief men of it who accompanied Caleb, for the honour of him, as Ben Gersom observes, he being their prince; and to second his petition, and to show their consent unto, and an approbation of such an assignment to him as he desired;

and Caleb, the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite, said unto him; whether Caleb or Jephunneh called the Kenezite, and what the reason of the name, are not very material; and of which :-; and as Caleb was personally and singly concerned in the following affair, he alone dressed Joshua, attended with some principal men of his tribe:

thou knowest the thing the Lord said unto Moses the man of God,

concerning thee and me, in Kadeshbarnea; the place from whence the spies were sent, and whither they returned to Moses there, of whom Caleb speaks with great respect and veneration, which he knew would be very pleasing and endearing to Joshua, who could not but remember what had been said by him concerning himself and Caleb, though it was now forty five years ago; it being so very striking and memorable, that only two of that generation then present should enter into the land of Canaan; the fulfilment of which, in all its circumstances, they had lived to see.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 14:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-14.html. 1999.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Caleb's Request. B. C. 1444.

      6 Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: 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 Kadeshbarnea.   7 Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart.   8 Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the LORD my God.   9 And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children's for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God.   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.   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.   12 Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.   13 And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance.   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.   15 And the name of Hebron before was Kirjatharba; which Arba was a great man among the Anakims. And the land had rest from war.

      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,

      I. Caleb here presents his petition, or rather makes his demand, to have Hebron given him for a possession (this mountain he calls it, Joshua 13:12; Joshua 13:12), 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 Kenezites, as the Romans gave their great generals titles from the countries they conquered, as Africanus, Germanicus, c. Observe,

      1. 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 13:6; Joshua 13:6. (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 13:6; Joshua 13:6), and the servant of the Lord,Joshua 13:7; Joshua 13:7. 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?

      2. 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 13:7; Joshua 13:7), 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 Anakim themselves, could make against them, as we find he did, Numbers 13:30; Numbers 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 vain-glory 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 13:8; Joshua 13:8), 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 13:6; Joshua 13:6), Thou knowest what the Lord spoke concerning me and thee.

      (2.) The experience he had had of God's goodness to him ever since to this day. Though he had wandered with the rest in the wilderness, and had been kept thirty-eight years out of Canaan as they were, for that sin which he was so far from having a hand in that he had done his utmost to prevent it, yet, instead of complaining of this, he mentioned, to the glory of God, his mercy to him in two things:-- [1.] That he was kept alive in the wilderness, not only notwithstanding the common perils and fatigues of that tedious march, but though all that generation of Israelites, except himself and Joshua, were one way or other cut off by death. With what a grateful sense of God's goodness to him does he speak it! (Joshua 13:10; Joshua 13:10). Now behold (behold and wonder) the Lord hath kept me alive these forty and five years, thirty-eight years in the wilderness, through the plagues of the desert, and seven years in Canaan through the perils of war! Note, First, While we live, it is God that keeps us alive; by his power he protects us from death, and by his bounty supplies us continually with the supports and comforts of life. He holdeth our soul in life. Secondly, The longer we live the more sensible we should be of God's goodness to us in keeping us alive, his care in prolonging our frail lives, his patience in prolonging our forfeited lives. Has he kept me alive these forty-five years? Is it about that time of life with us? Or is it more? Or is it less? We have reason to say, It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed. How much are we indebted to the favour of God, and what shall we render? Let the life thus kept by the providence of God be devoted to his praise. Thirdly, The death of many others round about us should make us the more thankful to God for sparing us and keeping us alive. Thousands falling on our right hand and our left and yet ourselves spared. These distinguishing favours impose on us strong obligations to singular obedience. [2.] That he was fit for business, now that he was in Canaan. Though eighty-five years old, yet as hearty and lively as when he was forty (Joshua 13:11; Joshua 13:11): As my strength was then, so is it now. This was the fruit of the promise, and out-did what was said; for God not only gives what he promises, but he gives more: life by promise shall be life, and health, and strength, and all that which will make the promised life a blessing and comfort. Moses had said in his prayer (Psalms 90:10) that at eighty years old even their strength is labour and sorrow, and so it is most commonly. But Caleb was an exception to the rule; his strength at eighty-five was ease and joy: this he got by following the Lord fully. Caleb here takes notice of this to the glory of God, and as an excuse for his asking a portion which he must fetch out of the giants' hands. Let not Joshua tell him he knew not what he asked; could he get the possession of that which he begged for a title to? "Yes," says he, "why not? I am as fit for war now as ever I was."

      (3.) The promise Moses had made him in God's name that he should have this mountain,Joshua 13:9; Joshua 13:9. 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, Joshua 13:3; Joshua 13:3. 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.

      (4.) The hopes he had of being master of it, though the sons of Anak were in possession of it (Joshua 13:12; Joshua 13:12): If the Lord will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out. The city of Hebron Joshua had already reduced (Joshua 10:37; Joshua 10:37), but the mountain which belonged to it, and which was inhabited by the sons of Anak, was yet unconquered; for though the cutting off of the Anakim from Hebron was mentioned Joshua 11:21; Joshua 11:21, because the historian would relate all the military actions together, yet it seems it was not conquered till after they had begun to divide the land. Observe, He builds his hopes of driving out the sons of Anak upon the presence of God with him. He does not say, "Because I am now as strong for war as I was at forty, therefore I shall drive them out," depending upon his personal valour; nor does he depend upon his interest in the warlike tribe of Judah, who attended him now in making this address, and no doubt would assist him; nor does he court Joshua's aid, or put it upon that, "If thou wilt be with me I shall gain my point." But, If the Lord will be with me. Here, [1.] He seems to speak doubtfully of God's being with him, not from any distrust of his goodness or faithfulness. He had spoken without the least hesitation of God's presence with Israel in general (Numbers 14:9); the Lord is with us. But for himself, from a humble sense of his own unworthiness of such a favour, he chooses to express himself thus, If the Lord will be with me. The Chaldee paraphrase reads it, If the Word of the Lord be my helper, that Word which is God, and in the fulness of time was made flesh, and is the captain of our salvation. [2.] But he expresses without the least doubt his assurance that if God were with him he should be able to dispossess the sons of Anak. "If God be with us, If God be for us, who can be against us, so as to prevail?" It is also intimated that if God were not with him, though all the forces of Israel should come in to his assistance, he should not be able to gain his point. Whatever we undertake, God's favourable presence with us is all in all to our success; this therefore we must earnestly pray for, and carefully make sure of, by keeping ourselves in the love of God; and on this we must depend, and from this take our encouragement against the greatest difficulties.

      3. Upon the whole matter, Caleb's request is (Joshua 13:12; Joshua 13:12), Give me this mountain, (1.) Because it was formerly in God's promise, and he would let Israel know how much he valued the promise, insisting upon this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that day, as most desirable, though perhaps as good a portion might have fallen to him by lot in common with the rest. Those that live by faith value that which is given by promise far above that which is given by providence only. (2.) Because it was now in the Anakim's possession, and he would let Israel know how little he feared the enemy, and would by his example animate them to push on their conquests. Herein Caleb answered his name, which signifies all heart.

      II. Joshua grants his petition (Joshua 13:13; Joshua 13:13): Joshua blessed him, commended his bravery, applauded his request, and gave him what he asked. He also prayed for him, and for his good success in his intended undertaking against the sons of Anak. Joshua was both a prince and a prophet, and upon both accounts it was proper for him to give Caleb his blessing, for the less is blessed of the better. Hebron was settled on Caleb and his heirs (Joshua 13:14; Joshua 13:14), because he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel. And happy are we if we follow him. Note, Singular piety shall be crowned with singular favours. Now, 1. We are here told what Hebron had been, the city of Arba, a great man among the Anakim (Joshua 13:15; Joshua 13:15); we find it called Kirjath-arba (Genesis 23:2), as the place where Sarah died. Hereabouts Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived most of their time in Canaan, and near to it was the cave of Machpelah, where they were buried, which perhaps had led Caleb hither when he went to spy out the land, and had made him covet this rather than any other part for his inheritance. 2. We are afterwards told what Hebron was. (1.) It was one of the cities belonging to priests (Joshua 21:13), and a city of refuge,Joshua 20:7. When Caleb had it, he contented himself with the country about it, and cheerfully gave the city to the priests, the Lord's ministers, thinking it could not be better bestowed, no, not upon his own children, nor that it was the less his own for being thus devoted to God. (2.) It was a royal city, and, in the beginning of David's reign, the metropolis of the kingdom of Judah; thither the people resorted to him, and there he reigned seven years. Thus highly was Caleb's city honoured; it is a pity there should have been such a blemish upon his family long after as Nabal was, who was of the house of Caleb,1 Samuel 25:3. But the best men cannot entail their virtues.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Joshua 14:6". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/joshua-14.html. 1706.