Joshua 14

Joshua 14

The Inheritance West of the Jordan

14 These are the inheritances that the people of Israel received in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun and the heads of the fathers’ houses of the tribes of the people of Israel gave them to inherit. Their inheritance was by lot, just as the LORD had commanded by the hand of Moses for the nine and one-half tribes. For Moses had given an inheritance to the two and one-half tribes beyond the Jordan, but to the Levites he gave no inheritance among them. For the people of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim. And no portion was given to the Levites in the land, but only cities to dwell in, with their pasturelands for their livestock and their substance. The people of Israel did as the LORD commanded Moses; they allotted the land.

Caleb’s Request and Inheritance

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 Kadesh-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 that 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. Now the name of Hebron formerly was Kiriath-arba. (Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim.) And the land had rest from war.


Joshua 14 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

The rest of Joshua slows in pace with the land distribution becoming the focal point. However, we have an interesting story here to explore with Caleb. What we find is that the conquering of the land was not a black and white issue. There were many setbacks and snags that had to be worked through.

The Background

Caleb was a strong leader. As the representative of the largest tribe (Judah), he had seen his share of miraculous events over the years. He knew that God was faithful, and stood shoulder to shoulder with Joshua through the years. So when Israel began to murmur about the powerful descendants of Anak inhabiting the Promised Land, Caleb renewed the people’s trust in God.

Without being there, it’s hard for us to imagine why the people reacted this way. But Hebron was indeed a frightening endeavor. It was a southern city that was heavily walled and set atop a massive range of mountains about 3,000 feet above sea level. On top of this, as I mentioned, the land was inhabited by a race of giant men called the descendants of Anak (also Anakites or Anakim).

All of this occurred in Numbers 13 when Caleb was 40 years old. We pick up the story in Joshua 14 with a much older Caleb. Scripture tells us he’s now 85!

Joshua’s Conquests

The chronology of all this is difficult to determine. Joshua’s conquests drove out many of the Canaanites from the land, but those pesky inhabitants would often return after the armies had left. We see this with Jerusalem. The king was captured and killed by Joshua in chapter 11 but the army fled and was able to reach the fortified city. It would be hundreds of years later that Israel would finally capture Jerusalem through King David.

It seems that some of the giants of Anak escaped the initial attack of Joshua back in chapter 11 and fled to Philistine territory.

At this time Joshua went and destroyed the race of giants called the Anakim who lived in the hill country—in Hebron, Debir, Anab, and in all the hill country of Judah and Israel. Joshua completely destroyed them and their cities. 22 None of the Anakim were left in the land of Israel; a few, however, were left in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod.

Joshua 11:21-22 GNB

As we revisit Caleb in Joshua 14, he is reflecting back on his adventures with God and at 85 years old, he’s still as feisty as ever!

“But now, look. It has been forty-five years since the LORD said that to Moses. That was when Israel was going through the desert, and the LORD, as he promised, has kept me alive ever since. Look at me! I am eighty-five years old and am just as strong today as I was when Moses sent me out. I am still strong enough for war or for anything else. Now then, give me the hill country that the LORD promised me on that day when my men and I reported. We told you then that the race of giants called the Anakim were there in large walled cities. Maybe the LORD will be with me, and I will drive them out, just as the LORD said.”

Joshua 14:10-12 GNB

Just consider the gravity of this moment. Caleb, at 85, is asking for permission to invade the hill country (Hebron, Debir, Abab) and claim it as God had promised him long ago. “The Lord promised.” “The Lord is helping me.” This was the foundation upon which Caleb based his confidence. Caleb knows that if the Lord promised it, then it’s going to happen, and he’s not going to sit around and wait any longer!

45 years ago Caleb had walked that land as a spy. He knew at that time that God had given victory. The problem wasn’t God’s promise, but rather, the inability for God’s people to believe it and act upon it. Caleb essentially says, “Bring ’em on.” He has a score to settle with these giants who have plagued God’s people for so many years. But more than that, Caleb is frustrated with the lack of follow-through!

Was it bold? Yes. But Caleb wasn’t bragging about his own ability as a warrior. He was confident in the Lord’s strength. Scripture confirms this by stating that Joshua blessed this request and that Caleb’s descendants lived peacefully in Hebron because of his great faith. I’m sure the giants were surprised to see the still spunky 85-year-old Caleb charging in to raid their land!

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