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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

Othniel

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One of the sons of Kenaz, according to the chronicler (1 Chronicles 4:13); hence one of the Kenizzites. After Caleb had been assigned his possession (Josh. XV. 13 et seq.), he drove out the giants and otherwise secured it for himself, except the town of Kirjath-sepher, as a prize for whose capture he offered his daughter Achsah. "Othniel the son of Kenez, the brother of Caleb, took it, and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife" (ib. 15:16,17). Othniel's heroism, however, achieved the greatest results for his people when he delivered them from foreign oppression. The tribes had no sooner settled in the land than a conqueror from the country of Mesopotamia, Cushan-rishathaim, probably an Aramean, swept down over Syrian territory and subjected Israel. For eight years they were compelled to pay the price of submission and oppression. When they cried for mercy Yhwh raised up a savior, "even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother" (Judges 3:9). By the spirit of Yhwh that came upon him he routed the king from Mesopotamia and saved Israel from its oppressor. "And the land had rest forty years." The question of marriage involved in this narrative is not troublesome. The marrying of near kin was allowable in that day, as is seen in the cases of Abraham (Gen. XX. 2, 5, 12), of Isaac and Rebekah, of Jacob and Rachel and Leah, and often in later times. Othniel's real relation to Caleb is plain if the narrative is allowed to tell its own story.

E. G. H.
I. M. P.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Othniel'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tje/o/othniel.html. 1901.

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