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Joshua 14


No Portion for Levi The Land Divided West of the Jordan Distribution of the Land West of the Jordan The Division of the Territory West of the Jordan Introduction
14:1-5 14:1-5 14:1-5 14:1-5 14:1-5
Caleb Reminisces Caleb Inherits Hebron Hebron, the Inheritance of Caleb Hebron is Given to Caleb Caleb's Share
14:6-12 14:6-15 14:6-12 14:6-12 14:6-12
Hebron Given to Caleb        
14:13-15   14:13-15 14:13-15a 14:13-15a
      14:15b 14:15b

READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired but it is the key to following the original author's intent which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.



 1Now these are the territories which the sons of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the households of the tribes of the sons of Israel apportioned to them for an inheritance, 2by the lot of their inheritance, as the Lord commanded through Moses, for the nine tribes and the half-tribe. 3For Moses had given the inheritance of the two tribes and the half-tribe beyond the Jordan; but he did not give an inheritance to the Levites among them. 4For the sons of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim, and they did not give a portion to the Levites in the land, except cities to live in, with their pasture lands for their livestock and for their property. 5Thus the sons of Israel did just as the Lord had commanded Moses, and they divided the land.

14:1 "Eleazar the priest" This was the son of Aaron, who was the High Priest at this time and who served Moses (cf. Num. 20:24-29; 26:1-4,63) and Joshua during this very difficult period (e.g., chapter 22). Moses assigned the task of apportionment to Joshua and Eleazar in Num. 34:17.

14:2 "by lot" We are not exactly certain as to how this apportionment was done (BDB 174, cf. Num. 26:53-56; 33:54; 34:13). The rabbis say that there were two jars: one which contained the land allotments and the other which contained the tribes, but this is only speculation. It was the casting of dice or choosing a black or white rock out of a pouch or something like this, but we are just uncertain. Some try to relate it to the Urim and Thummin (cf. Exod. 28:30), which was kept in the breastplate of the High Priest; this is a real possibility. Whatever the means, it was seen as God's giving of the land to the tribes. The land could not be sold permanently (i.e., the year of Jubilee, cf. Lev. 25:8-17).

▣ "nine tribes" There are thirteen tribes. Joseph is given the double inheritance of the firstborn, thereby his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh each inherit. Levi, though a full tribe, does not inherit land. Therefore, only twelve tribes inherit portions of the Promised Land.

▣ "the half-tribe" This refers to the fact that of all the tribes only Manasseh inherited land on both sides of the Jordan.

 6Then 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. 7I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought word back to him as it was in my heart. 8Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the Lord my God fully. 9So Moses swore on that day, saying, 'Surely the land on which your foot has trodden will be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God fully.' 10Now behold, the Lord has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. 11I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in. 12Now then, give me this hill country about which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the Lord will be with me, and I will drive them out as the Lord has spoken."

14:6 "Gilgal" This refers to the original campsite close to Jericho. This is a flashback to an earlier time.

▣ "Caleb" The name "Caleb" means "dog" (BDB 477). This passage is paralleled in Jdgs. 1:8-15. However, Caleb is described here as a Kenizzite (cf. 1 Chr. 4:13-16), which means that he was not originally of the tribe of Judah, but of a clan of Esau (cf. Gen. 15:19; 36:11). However, within the Pentateuch he is said to be within Judah (cf. Num. 13:6; 14:24; 34:19; 1 Chr. 6:55-56). His exact relationship to Judah is uncertain, but he was a faithful, godly man and one of the two faithful spies (cf. Numbers 13, esp. Jos. 14:30-33).

"the word" See Numbers 14:24,30.

▣ "Moses the man of God" The phrase, "man of God," is used of several people:

1. Moses (cf. Deut. 33:1; 1 Chr. 23:14; 2 Chr. 30:16; Ezra 3:2; Ps. 90:1)

2. Elijah

3. Elisha

4. Samuel

5. David

6. Shemiah

7. Hanan

8. anonymous person in 1 Sam. 2:27 and 1 Kgs. 13:1-3

The phrase is never

1. man of YHWH

2. woman of God

For Elohim (God) see Special Topic at Jos. 1:1.

▣ "Kadesh-barnea" This (BDB 873 II) was a large desert oasis which became the central point of the wilderness wandering period. It is south of the Dead Sea and midway between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Ocean. The word "Kadesh" comes from the Hebrew term "holy," while the term "barnea" is unknown.

14:7 "Moses the servant of the Lord" This is the more common title for Moses. See note at Jos. 1:1. It is an honorific title which was used for Joshua after his death. It may be the source of Paul's favorite phrase "the slave of Christ."

14:8 This refers to the majority report of the twelve spies recorded in Num. 13:25-29; 14:1-10.

▣ "made the heart of the people melt with fear" The verb "melt" (BDB 587, KB 604, Hiphil perfect) is an idiom for fear and timidity (cf. Deut. 1:28; Jos. 5:1).

NASB"but I followed the Lord my God fully"
NKJV"but I wholly followed the Lord my God"
NRSV"yet I wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God"
TEV"But I faithfully obeyed the Lord my God"
NJB"whereas I myself scrupulously obeyed Yahweh my God"
JPSOA"I was loyal to the Lord my God"

The verb (BDB 509, KB 583, Piel perfect, cf. Jos. 14:9,14; Num. 14:24; 32:11,12; Deut. 1:36; 1 Kgs. 11:6) is a testimony of Caleb's faithfulness (i.e., wholly follow), even throughout the period where the other spies gave an evil report.

14:9 "So Moses swore on that day" (cf. Num. 34:24; Deut. 1:36).

▣ "forever" See Special Topic: Forever ('Olam) at Jos. 4:7.

14:10 "I am eighty-five years old today" He may have been been forty years old at the time he was the representative of Judah to spy out the land. Israel wandered thirty-eight years in the desert (cf. Deut. 2:14); apparently the conquest had taken seven more years.

14:11 "I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me" This is the same kind of testimony that Moses gives of himself at the age of one hundred and twenty (cf. Deut. 34:7).

▣ "for going out and coming in" This is an idiom (BDB 422 and 97, both Qal infinitive constructs) for the strength and vitality needed for everyday life.

14:12 "give me this hill country" The verb (BDB 678, 733, Qal imperative) is a polite request to fulfill a previous promise of YHWH through Moses.

▣ "Anakim" This is another reference to the giants. The etymology may be "the long necks" (BDB 778, cf. Jos. 13:33). See note at Jos. 11:21. Caleb wanted the hard assignment! He fully believed and acted on God's promises!

▣ "perhaps the Lord will be with me" This is a Hebrew idiom which does not refer to lack of faith, but is rather an expression of confidence that God will act appropriately.

 13So Joshua blessed him and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. 14Therefore, Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite until this day, because he followed the Lord God of Israel fully. 15Now the name of Hebron was formerly Kiriath-arba; for Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim. Now the land had rest from war.

14:13 "Hebron" We learn from 21:11 that this is also a Levitical city which means that the Levitical cities were not totally inhabited by Levites. Hebron was the location of the giants who terrified the Israeli spies. Caleb, at eighty-five years of age, wanted this challenge and he believed God would help him.

14:14 "unto this day" This is another example of an editor. It is uncertain whether this editorial addition is a contemporary or later editor.

14:15 "Kiriath-arba" This city is also known as the site of the oaks of Mamre (cf. Gen. 13:18; 35:27). "Kiriath" means "a city of four" (BDB 900). Some have associated this with a confederation of four different cities or groups, while others relate it to the four different stages of the moon. "Arba" is the father of Anak, one of the giants (cf. Jos. 15:13, 21:11).


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