Today’s reading begins with Joshua’s conquests in north Canaan and concludes with Caleb receiving the inheritance promised to him for his faith and obedience.
A great number of battles are described in today’s text. Israel is continuing its conquest of the Promised Land. God continues to bless the leadership of Joshua. I want to focus on a very important figure in the conquest for the Promised Land: Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite.
During the time of Moses when a group of spies were sent out to bring a report of the who and what of the Promised Land, only two men are indicated as having brought back a favorable report of the Promised Land: Joshua and Caleb. When the other spies of Israel presented a negative report of the Promised Land and expressed doubts as to whether they would be able to take the land, Caleb was bold in his pronouncement that if the LORD had promised this land to them, that He would provide the way for the land to be taken.
In today’s passage, we find this same person, Caleb asking Joshua to grant him an inheritance of some of the most dangerous territory in the Promised Land. I don’t feel like I’ll do his words justice, so just read his words bearing in mind that these are the words of an eighty-five year old man and he is not blown off as a crazy old fool, but as a sane and able bodied individual.
Joshua 14:6-14 (ESV)
Then the people of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal. And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God in Kedesh-barnea concerning you and me. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought him word again as it was in my heart. But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the LORD my God. And Moses swore on that day, saying ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children forever, because you have wholly followed the LORD my God.’ And now, behold, the LORD has kept me alive, just as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the LORD spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness. And now, behold, I am this day, eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming. So now give me this hill country of which the LORD spoke on the day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the LORD will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the LORD said.” Then Joshua blessed him, and he gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. Therefore Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholly followed the LORD, the God of Israel.