JOSHUA 14
Enter subtitle here


[Yehoshua 14 Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)]

Eleazar and Joshua to Divide the Land 

1 And these are the countries which the children of Israel [Bnei Yisroel] inherited in the land of Canaan [Eretz Kena'an], which Eleazar the priest [HaKohen] , and Joshua the son of Nun [Yehoshua ben Nun], and the heads of the fathers [Roshei Avot] of the tribes of the children of Israel [Bnei Yisroel], distributed for inheritance [nachalah] to them.

The time had come for the formal allocation of territory to the various tribes. Eleazar, the high priest, is introduced into the narrative at this point. The first mention of his name occurs in Ex. 6:23. He and his brother Ithamar were the only two surviving sons of Aaron after Yahweh had destroyed Nadab and Abihu because of their evil, presumptuous conduct (Lev. 10:1-2).

Eleazar succeeded to the office of high priest upon the death of his father (Num. 20:28; Deut. 10:6). He appears to have been a very spiritually-minded man. Following the destruction of Korah and his companions, Eleazar took up their censers and made them into plates to cover the altar of burnt offering. During the lifetime of his father he ministered as a priest. His son,

Phinehas, showed courageous faithfulness in putting to death a particular male Israelite and Moabitess, thus staying the plague from the children of Israel (Num. 25).

When Joshua became Moses' successor, Eleazar presided over his induction into that office. No doubt, a friendship which had developed between Eleazar and Joshua over the years would have become thoroughly firmed with Joshua's succession to the position of civil leader (Num. 27:18-23).

On the four occasions where Eleazar is mentioned as being associated with Joshua in the allocation of tribal territories, Eleazar is always mentioned first. This is not without significance. Clearly, the role of spiritual leadership took precedence. So likewise with God's own Son, who is to reign as a King-Priest over the nations. From the days of his mortal walk upon earth, his position as Saviour and Mediator has remained paramount above all other responsibilities he has borne.

Together, Eleazer and Joshua typify the two-fold work of Christ and his immortalised saints as ''King-Priests" in the Kingdom Age (Zech. 6:13; Rev. 5:9-10).

In addition to Eleazar and Joshua, the ' 'heads of the families of the tribes of Israel" were associated in the work of assigning the ''portions" to the various tribes (J.B.). Remarkably, such family heads had all been named by Yahweh, prior to the death of Moses (Num. 34:16-28). From the merely human standpoint such a foreshadowing of the future would be quite impossible. In the plains of Moab, who could have said with certainty that all these men would survive the wars against the Canaanites?

No mortal man could have done so. The lesson is sublime. Yahweh gives a guarantee of preservation to all who remain faithful to Him throughout their warfare of faith. Ultimately, they may fall into the article of death before the second coming of their Saviour and King; but they will not remain unforgotten in the dust of the earth. Such faithful servants of God will rest in "the remembered places" until the Lord's return (John 5:28; lit. Gk.). *



2 By lot [goral] was their inheritance [nachalah], as Yahweh commanded by the hand of Moses [yad Moshe], for the nine tribes, and for the half tribe.

The division of the land was effected by means of a "lot". The Hebrew word goral means "to be rough" - like a stone; hence, a pebble (cp. Rev. 2:17). Used in accordance with divine instructions, a pebble became symbolic for justice, judgment, and a divine verdict (Num. 33:50-56).

In this regard everything was done "as Yahweh commanded"; this being precisely as it should have been. The inheritance of God's faithful saints should not be left to human judgment. Those who remain faithful to Israel's God are content to leave their reward - whatever it might be - in the hands of the Most High. This means that His servants must calmly and in faith submit to His will (1 Sam.3:18; Lam. 3:26; 1 Pet. 5:6).

Eleazar and Joshua and the Elders of Israel manifested a deep and mature sense of confidence in the Guiding Hand of Yahweh in these matters. They were effectively walking by faith. In the warfare of faith, and in the rewards which must subsequently accrue to the faithful, all decisions must be determined according to the will of Yahweh (Mat. 10:29; Jas. 4:8).

God's servants disregard this principle at their peril. Numerous examples of such folly are to be found in scripture. Lot, Abraham's nephew, provides a case in point. Instead of allowing Yahweh to guide him into a suitable inheritance, Lot "chose him all the plain of Jordan.

. .". Or: "So Lot chose all the Jordan plain for himself. . ." (Gen. 13:11, A.V. and J.B.).

The catastrophic results from his fearful decision are well known. The overriding principle is clear: "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of Yahweh. . ." (Prov. 16:33). *



3 For Moses [ Moshe] had given the inheritance [nachalah] of two tribes and an half tribe on the other side Jordan [the Yarden]: but unto the Levites [Levi'im] he gave none inheritance [nachalah] among them.

... the Levites received no land. Later, certain cities were to be designated priestly cities. These cities were also provided with "suburbs" - more correctly, "pasture lands" (Roth.,J.B., cp. Num. 35:2-3). *


4 For the children of Joseph [Bnei Yosef ] were two tribes, [Menasheh and Ephrayim]: therefore they gave no part unto the Levites in the land [chelek unto the Levi'im in HaAretz], save cities [except arim] to dwell in, with their suburbs [open land] for their cattle and for their substance [livestock and for their herds].

5 As Yahweh commanded Moses [Moshe], so the children of Israel [Bnei Yisroel] did, and they divided the land [HaAretz].

Further evidence concerning the spiritual state of the nation at this time is found in their general attitude towards the question of dividing the land. If there had been any matter over which the tribes might have squabbled, or shown greed or dissatisfaction, it would have been over this question.

However, with the exception of one incident, which involved the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh (ch. 17), the matters were determined without friction or discontent. From this it may be reasonably assumed that, by and large, the people of Israel were willing to allow "the whole disposing thereof to the hand of Providence.

It is revealed later that the "lots" were drawn at Shiloh. This would have been because the tabernacle was there (18:10; 19:51). Shiloh remained the centre of divine worship from the time of the conquest of the land until the days of Samuel (Judg. 18:31; 1 Sam. 4:3) - a period of more than 450 years. *



Caleb - Privileged Among Judah

6 Then the children of Judah [Bnei Yehudah] came unto Joshua [Yehoshua] in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh [Kalev ben Yephunneh] the Kenezite [Kenezi] said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that Yahweh said unto Moses the man [Moshe Ish] of Elohim concerning me and thee in Kadesh-Barnea.

With Caleb prominent among them, the tribe of Judah came to Joshua "in Gilgal" to discuss the matter of their inheritance, and that of Caleb in particular. This incident provides a graphic example of the power of the Truth to influence and change people's lives, at the same time illustrating the fickleness of human nature.

In the wilderness, when Caleb had fearlessly expressed his faith inYahweh's ability to bring them into the Promised Land, his fellow Judahites had been intent upon stoning him to death (Num. 14:6-10). Now, Caleb's faith was vindicated. And not only so: the sons of those who would have stoned Caleb in the wilderness, being more spiritually aware than their faithless parents, stood together with this great man of faith to endorse and applaud his faithfulness (cp. Rev. 3:9; Ps. 37:6).

This is the first occurrence of Caleb's name in the book of Joshua, although he is mentioned prominently in the book of Numbers, particularly in relation to the rebellion which occurred in the wilderness of Paran (Num. 13, 14).

Caleb was of gentile origin, a Kenezite by descent. The Kenezites, or Kenizzites (the words are identical in the Hebrew, being patronyms from the name Kenaz) appear to be of two distinct origins. A tribe of Kenezites inhabited Canaan in the days of Abraham (Gen. 15:19).

However, it is also recorded that a man named Kenaz, who was a grandson of Esau, was one of the dukes of Edom (Gen. 36:15, 42).

The question as to whether Caleb was descended from Esau or the early Canaanites is one which has never been satisfactorily resolved. Certainly, his family may well have been proselytised into Israel for many generations - there is nothing to suggest otherwise - and in view of the depth of Caleb's spiritual-mindedness, it would not be wise or prudent to identify his family with the ''mixed multitude" of gentiles which came out of Egypt with the Israelites (Ex. 12:38).

Caleb's gentile origins are endorsed by the meaning of the name "Kenezite" or "Kenizzite". J.B. Jackson says the name is "gentilic,and patronymic of preceding". According to Gesenius and others, the name means "hunter" - but Gesenius adds: "Of a Canaanite nation. . ."

The meaning of Caleb's own name is somewhat obscure. In various quarters it has been accepted that his name means "dog", but this is by no means certain. Gesenius says: "perhaps a dog. . ." - thus showing his own uncertainty. Then, posing a question, he adds:

"Rabid?" - a word related to rabies; or being zealous or fanatical.

Perhaps from the former idea the meaning "dog" came to be accepted. Other authorities say the name can mean "wholehearted" or "hearty". Though of gentile origin, and therefore possibly known by a name which represented an unclean animal - a dog - Caleb was unquestionably "wholehearted" and "hearty" in his attitude towards the things of Yahweh. Certainly, Caleb provides a living proof of Paul's assertion: "He is not a Jew which is one outwardly. . . He is a Jew which is one inwardly. . ." (Rom. 2:28-29, cp. Rom. 4:12; Gal.3:7).

No doubt because of his faithfulness Caleb had been appointed Judah's representative for the dividing of the land (Num. 34:19). It is, however, of significance that Caleb was not included in the general distribution of territory to his tribe. His was a special inheritance. He was a special person, in God's eyes. Moreover, Caleb was given first consideration, ahead of all others in the tribe of Judah. How exquisite are the judgments of Yahweh: always just, and always right. Caleb addressed himself to his friend, Joshua, with whom he undoubtedly shared a bond of warm affection in the Truth. *

*Bro John Ullman - Joshua His Life and Times



7 Forty years old was I when Moses the servant [Moshe Eved] of Yahweh sent me from Kadesh- Barnea to espy out the land [HaAretz]; and I brought him word [davar] again as it was in mine heart [lev].

"Thou knowest the thing that Yahweh said unto Moses, the man of God, concerning me and thee in Kadesh-barnea. . ." (Num. 14:30; Deut.1:36-38).

Indeed Joshua knew. He had not failed to remember. For forty five years these two men had retained in their minds the promise of Yahweh: "Doubtless ye (the faithless generation) shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. . .".

Caleb had waited, in faith, for this moment to come. Needless to say, this is a patient, determined characteristic of all who will inherit the kingdom which is to come.

"Forty years old was I", Caleb continued, "when Moses, the servant of Yahweh, sent me from Kadesh-barnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart."

The word "old" has been rendered from the Hebrew, been - meaning, "a son, as a builder of a family name". Literally, the expression should be rendered "the son of forty years, was I. . .". The phrase indicates that or that length of time - his entire life until the display of national

sedition at Kadesh-barnea - he had been a true "son" of God. This speaks of a sound upbringing in the Truth. It shows that from his youth Caleb had been educated to look forward to becoming a part of the "family" of Yahweh.

It is not surprising, then, that upon his return from inspecting the Promised Land, he submitted a report "as it was" in his "heart". Literally, the expression is: "as was with my

heart. . ." (cp. Roth., marg.), meaning that his report was precisely in accordance with his personal conviction - a conviction based upon faith. *


8 Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people [lev of HaAm] melt: but I wholly followed Yahweh my Elohim.

Exercising his intellect, he (Caleb) had carefully weighed the evidence of his eyes and ears, comparing the known facts with that which Yahweh had promised. He became convinced that God would surely bring to pass all that He had promised. Like Abraham, Caleb simply "believed God" (Rom. 4:3).

Not so his brethren. With the sole exception of his friend Joshua, those who had gone with Caleb to view the land "made the heart of the people to melt . . .". It was not simply that the leaders lacked faith themselves: they "discouraged" the people (Num. 32:9). How did they do this? In effect, they claimed it was too hard to exercise faith in God.

Any element of faith which may have existed within the nation-at-large "melted" away at this point. From this it may be assumed that the people were simply unfortunate in having faithless leaders. Not so.

Sound leadership was available to the Israelites: Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Caleb. However,

the nation elected to reject their faithful leaders. For this folly, they paid with their lives. In every generation the flock of God has an obligation to provide sound leadership for themselves: hence, "there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways and reward them for their doings. . ." (Hos. 4:9).

Caleb had not lacked faith. "I have been fully after Yahweh my God", he told Joshua (lit. Heb.). He had followed a line of belief and action which would have been in conformity with that which God would endorse. It was as though, in his journeying throughout the Promised Land, Caleb had followed in the footsteps of God. Through the eye of faith, he had seen Yahweh going ahead, as it were, leading the way and giving Israel the victory over the Canaanites.

How tragic that so few of Caleb's brethren were of the same mind as this great man of faith.

His address to Joshua could never be described as boastful. He was, after all, repeating the words which Yahweh had uttered concerning him (Num. 14:24). *



9 And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land [HaAretz] whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance [nachalah], and thy children's for ever [banim ad olam], because thou hast wholly followed Yahweh my elohim.

He was quoting the words recorded in Deut. 1:36. Caleb also appears to have in mind the words of Numbers 13:22. Hebron was the main stronghold of the Anakim. Caleb had refused to quail before the apparent might of these Canaanites. Hebron was the place where the faith of the twelve spies had been especially tested (v. 13). At that place lay the bones of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! There, the faith of Caleb and Joshua had shone brightly - as they remembered the promises made to the Fathers! The odds had appeared greatly against them, but faith had triumphed.




10 And now, behold [hinei], Yahweh hath kept me alive, as he said, these 45 years [shanah], even since Yahweh spake this word unto Moses [Moshe], while the children of Israel [Bnei Yisroel] wandered in the wilderness [midbar]: and now, lo [hinei], I am this day 85 years old.

Caleb now learned that there is a reward for faithfulness. As Caleb continued speaking, Joshua listened in silence, completely at one with the beliefs which Caleb expressed.




11 As yet I am as strong [chazak] this day as I was in the day that Moses [Moshe] sent me: as my strength [ koach] was then, even so is my strength now, for war [ milchamah], both to go out, and to come in.

How readily this man of faith acknowledged that God's hand had been upon him, day by day, for forty-five years. Caleb was now eighty five years old. God had continued to sustain him until the time came for his faith to be rewarded. Caleb claimed that he was still as "strong" as he had been on the day that Moses sent him out to reconnoitre the land of promise. The word chazaq means "firm, obstinate, hardened; strong, mighty. . ." (Ges.). It relates as much to a state of mind as to physical strength. *


*Bro John Ullman - Joshua His Life and Works


Hebron - Caleb's Inheritance 

12 Now therefore give me this mountain [hahar hazeh], whereof Yahweh spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fenced [ gedolot and fortified]: if so be Yahweh will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as Yahweh said.

Hebron is 3,040 feet above sea level, and is the highest major town in the land once known as Palestine. The phrase "this mountain" is an apt description for Hebron and environs. The name means "conjunction" or "joining" and has been derived from a word meaning "fellowship" or "association" (Ges.).

Considering the victory of Caleb's faith at this time, Hebron has great typical significance. Those who embrace the Truth, and remain faithful to its requirements through the trials and vicissitudes of life, will be rewarded through becoming eternally "joined" in "fellowship" and "association" with the Father and His Son.

To the very end of this experience in Caleb's life - which had been drawn out over some forty five years - he continued to show faith. He readily acknowledged that he would be "able to drive" the Canaanites "out", so long as Yahweh was "with" him. Throughout a lifetime in the Truth, Caleb had learned that it was impossible for anyone to gain the victory of faith through personal merit or individual strength. He placed no confidence in the flesh.

Caleb's attitude was later to be echoed in many beautiful Psalms:

"Not unto us, Ο Yahweh, not unto us, but unto thy Name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy Truth's sake. . . Yahweh is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? Yahweh is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear. . . " (Ps. 115:1;27:1-3).

The "giant" Anakim were barring the way to Caleb's inheritance. But who were they? They were merely flesh. Caleb did not hold them in awe. Similarly, there are numerous "giants" of the flesh which would stand in the way of all God's faithful servants, striving to divert them from inheriting the kingdom. With Yahweh's strength and blessing, all such opposition to the Truth may be overcome. *



13 And Joshua blessed him [Yehoshua put a bracha on him], and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh [Kalev ben Yephunneh] Hebron for an inheritance [Chevron for a nachalah].

Thus Joshua, as a type of Christ, "blessed" Caleb and directed him to his inheritance. This was a touching act on Joshua's part, one of warmth and benevolence, expressive of respect and affection. It is not difficult to see this delightful incident as typical of Christ rewarding his faithful brethren at the Judgment Seat. *



14 Hebron [Chevron] therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh [ nachalah of Kalev ben Yephunneh] the Kenezite [Kenezi] unto this day, because that he wholly followed Yahweh Elohim of Israel [Yisroel].

15 And the name of Hebron [shem of Chevron] before was [Kiryat Arba]; which Arba was a great man [ha'adam hagedol] among the Anakim. And the land [HaAretz] had rest from war [milchamah].

Of all that the ten faithless spies had seen, nothing caused their hearts to be gripped with greater fear than the sight of the Anakim.

"We were in our own sight as grasshoppers!" they had whimpered (Num. 13:28, 33). Despite such a report from the terror-stricken ten, Caleb had vigorously advocated a positive approach. From the purely human standpoint his reasoning was insensible and dangerous; but he based his conviction upon Yahweh's ability to overcome the Anakim and every other obstacle barring Israel's entry into the land (Num.14:8-9).

Caleb was to be rewarded by being given the very place where his faith had shone so brightly. How exquisite is the justice of Yahweh! Caleb had shown his faith by his works. Now, he was to be recompensed accordingly. Such is the absolute fidelity of Yahweh, Israel's God. There is some significance in the fact that the earlier name of Hebron is mentioned at this point. Previously the city had been known as Kirjath-arba, which means "city of Arba". Arba was the father of Anak (cp. Gen. 23:2; 35:27; Num. 13:22).

In the Kingdom Age, although previously having been trodden down by the gentiles

throughout the ages, the immortalised saints will dispossess the gentiles of their power and their kingdoms. God's kingdom will "break in pieces and consume" all the kingdoms of the nations. "The kingdoms of this world" will become "the kingdoms of our Lord and of His

Christ" (Dan. 2:44; Rev. 11:15).

Arba had been regarded as "the greatest adam" of his day (lit. Heb). A man of the flesh in every sense. In this chapter he is contrasted with Moses who is termed "the man of God" (Heb., ish, v.6,"a great or mighty man").

The descendants of "the greatest adam" could not hope to withstand a man of faith of the calibre of Caleb. Rich in faith, he willingly went to war against the most aggressive people in the land. Caleb was not afraid. He was armed with the greatest weapon man can possess:

implicit faith in Yahweh. He went forth to battle, in the strength of Almighty God (v.12).

Then, "the land had rest from war. . .". The fruit of faith is rest and peace (Isa. 32:17).

During his life in the Truth, Caleb had shown himself to be a man of faith and action, and one who refused to compromise the principles of God's word. Together with one other man, he had been prepared to stand aside from his disbelieving contemporaries and forthrightly proclaim that which his faith dictated, in the face of such a national panic which ten faithless spies had created. It would have taken enormous courage to be dominated by faith, rather than buckling under the compelling demands being made by the nation.

Caleb's integrity was unimpeachable. He was a man who would fearlessly declare "all the counsel of God. . ." (Acts 20:27) - nothing more, nothing less. This was because he "wholly followed" Yahweh his God. Caleb displayed the same spirit as motivated the apostles.

"And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things

which we have seen and heard. . ." (Acts 4:18-20).

Caleb provides a wonderful example to all who strive dauntlessly, in faith, to please Yahweh and gain the kingdom.

"Therefore, my beloved brethren", Caleb would have echoed with Paul, "be ye steadfast,

unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. . ." (1 Cor.15:58). *

*Bro John Ullman - Joshua His Life and Times