Joshua 14

 

 

1 “And these are the countries which the children of Israel inherited in the land

of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads

of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, distributed for inheritance

to them.”  The word here for “tribes,” in connection with the  word “fathers,” is

the one which implies genealogical descent (see note on ch.13:29).  We have a

 picture of national unity; the head of the Church, representing the religious

 aspect of the community; the head of the State, representing its civil aspect;

 the heads of the tribes,  to signify the general assent of the body politic.

A work so begun was likely to be satisfactorily carried out. And accordingly the

distribution of the land, recognized as carried out according to the will of God,

displayed no partiality, and excited no jealousies.

 

2 “By lot was their inheritance,” -  The commentators, following the

Rabbis, have amused themselves by speculations how the lot was taken.

The question is of no great practical importance; but no doubt the

contrivance was a very primitive one, as the word גורָל a small pebble,

used here, seems to imply. What is of more importance is the fact that the

distribution of territory was the result of no one’s caprice, or ambition, or

intrigue. The whole matter was referred to God, and the leader of the

Israelitish hosts and the high priest presided over the ceremony. It was a

common belief among the Gentiles, as well as the Jews, that the use of the

lot was to refer the matter to a Divine decision. So we read in the

Proverbs, “The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of

the Lord” (Proverbs 16:33; 18:18). It is a strong evidence for the truth of this

narrative that we read of no conflicts between the various tribes respecting the

division of territory. Jealousies sprung up between the tribes, as the narratives

in Judges, chapters 8, 9 and 12.; II Samuel 19:43, are sufficient to show.

But in no one case was there any complaint of unfairness, any attempt to disturb

the territorial arrangement made at the time of the original settlement in Palestine.

The original division is supposed  to have been in outline merely. It is obvious

from the onward course of the narrative (especially ch.18) that no very minute

accuracy in detail could possibly have been arrived at. The country was roughly

mapped out at first, and the complete adjustment of boundaries was a matter

which would naturally be put off until the land were actually in possession -

as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses, for the nine tribes,

and for the half tribe.” These tribes resigned the choice of their possession to

God, by submitting and being willing to take whatever He assigned them.

We are not free to take our destinies into our own hands.  We are God’s servants,

God’s children. Dutiful obedience implies submission to God’s will in the

shaping of our lives!   3 “For Moses had given the inheritance of two tribes  

and an half tribe on the other side Jordan: but unto the Levites he gave

none inheritance among them.”

 

Mark the separateness of those who are specially devoted to spiritual work in the

World.  This is indicated by the peculiar position of the tribe of Levi. To them was

given no inheritance, “save cities to dwell in with their suburbs” “The sacrifices

of the Lord God made by fire” (as also tithes and first fruits) “were their

inheritance (ch.13:14). “The Lord God of Israel Himself was the lot of their

inheritance (Ibid. v.33; Numbers 18:20-24). Their position thus bore witness to

the sanctity of the whole nation as “a kingdom of priests” unto the Lord

(Exodus 19:6). They were the representatives of its faith and the ministers of its

worship. And their representative character was made the more effective by the fact

of their cities being scattered throughout the tribes (ch. 21.). This principle of

separateness is illustrated:

 

o       In the various provisions by which the sanctity of the

priesthood was maintained under the economy of the law.

o       In the New Testament institution of a certain order of men

who should be set apart — not, indeed, as a hierarchy to

whom mystic powers belong, but as the ministers of

spiritual instruction and edification to the Church of

God (Ephesians 4:11-13; I Corinthians 9:13-14).

o       In the Apostolic teaching as to the unworldliness of spirit

and life that becomes the followers of Christ (Philippians

3:20; Colossians 3:1-3; Hebrews 10:34; I Peter 2:9)

 

4 “For the children of Joseph were two tribes,” -  (see Genesis 48:5): -

“Manasseh and Ephraim: therefore they gave no part unto the Levites

in the land,” - There is no “therefore” In the original. The passage is a simple

repetition of what we find in ch.13:14, 33, and is added here to explain how the

twelve tribes who actually divided the land were composed - “save cities to

dwell in, with their suburbs” - Rather, “pasture lands;” literally, places

where the cattle were driven out to pasture (compare Numbers 35:2; I Chronicles

13:2, where the Hebrew is “cities of driving out”). We may illustrate this phrase by

the similar arrangements made by the Germanic tribes in early times. “The clearing,”

says Professor Stubbs, in his ‘Constitutional History of England,’ p. 49, “is

surrounded by a thick border of wood or waste .... In the center of the clearing the

village is placed ....The fully qualified freeman has a share in the land of the community.

He has a right to the enjoyment of the woods, the pastures, the meadow and

the arable land of the mark.... The use of the meadow land is definitely

apportioned .... When the grass begins to grow the cattle are driven out,

and the meadow is fenced round and divided into as many equal shares as

there are mark families in the village. For the arable land similar measures

are taken although the task is somewhat more complex” (see note on

ch.13:23). Some similar arrangement must have taken place in the

primitive Jewish settlement of Palestine. For the rude huts of the Teutonic

tribes we must substitute the more civilized “cities, walled up to heaven,”

of the Phoenician races; for the scanty supply of gram and pasture,

provided by a northern climate, we must substitute the rich plenty of a land

flowing with milk and honey,” and with all the produce of a southern sky.

The area of land assigned to each of the Levitical cities was definitely

marked out (see Numbers 35:4-5), and sub-divided, as the hints in the

narrative seem to imply that all the land was, into as many sections as there

were “mark families” — that is, families of freemen exclusive of the servile

classes in the town -“for their cattle and for their substance.  5 As the LORD

commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did, and they divided the land.”

 

6 “Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: (see ch.9:6) and

Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite” - Or, descendant of Kenaz, as was

his kinsman Othniel. As far as we can make out from the genealogy in I Chronicles 2,

Caleb and Kenaz were family names, for the Caleb or Chelubai  (Ibid. v.9) the son

of Hezron (Ibid. v.18), the Caleb the son of Hur (Ibid. v.50), and Caleb the son of

Jephunneh (Ibid. 4:15), could not have been the same persons. And Caleb was a

Kenezite, or descendant of Kenaz; he had a grandson, apparently, of that name

(so the Septuagint and Vulgate translate, (Ibid.), and a brother, according to the

most probable rendering of the Hebrew of both ch.15:17 and Judges 1:9. See also

I Chronicles 4:13. For Caleb was the son of Jephunneh, not of Kenaz. Some

think that Caleb was a descendant of the Kenaz mentioned in Genesis 36:11;15.

Some think he was a Kenizzite (see Ibid. 15:19). The Bishop of Bath and Wells,

in his article in Smiths ‘Dictionary of the Bible,’ thinks that the view that he was

not of Jewish origin agrees best with the Scripture narrative, and removes many

difficulties regarding the number of the children of Israel at the Exodus. (This

would mean that he was a Gentile – CY – 2012)  It certainly serves to explain

why the tribe of Judah came with Caleb, when he preferred his request, and the

statement in ch. 15:13, which seems to imply that Caleb was not one of the tribe

of Judah by birth, but one of the “mixed multitude” that went up with the

Israelites (Exodus 12:38), and acquired afterwards by circumcision the rights of

Israelites. If this be the case, it is an illustration of the truth declared in

Romans  2:28-29; 4:12; Galatians 3:7. By his faithfulness to God he had well

earned the reward which he now sought - “said unto him, Thou knowest

the thing that the LORD said unto Moses the man of God concerning

me and thee in Kadesh-barnea.”

 

7 “Forty years old” - The Hebrew expression is “the son of forty years.” Compare

the expressions “son of man,” “sons of Belial,” “son of the perverse rebellious woman” –

 was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-barnea

to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart.”

Literally, according as with my heart, i.e., in agreement with what I saw and felt.

The Septuagint reads “according to his mind,” i.e., that of Moses.  This reading,

seems quite out of keeping with the character of Caleb. He did not endeavor to

accommodate his report to the wishes of any man, but gave what he himself

believed to be a true and faithful account of what he had seen and heard (see

Numbers 13:30; 14:7-9; Deuteronomy 1:36).

 

8 “Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of

the people melt: but I wholly followed” - Literally, “I fulfilled after.” That is to

say, he rendered a full obedience to the precepts of the Most High. So also

in the next verse - “the LORD my God.”

 

 

“I Wholly Followed the Lord My God.” (v.8)

 

  • TRUE RELIGION IS BASED ON PERSONAL RELATIONS WITH

GOD. Caleb ascribes his courage and fidelity to his connection with God,

and he speaks of the Lord as “my God.”

 

Ø      Religion is individual. We must pass from “our” God to “my” God.

Each soul is called to as private communion with God as if there were

 no other souls in existence.  (God is a one on one God! – CY – 2012)

 

Ø      Religion establishes close relations with God. In His personal dealings

with the soul God comes near to it, so that He appropriates the soul and

the soul lays claim to possessing God.

 

  • RIGHT PERSONAL RELATIONS WITH GOD WILL BE SHOWN

BY OUR FOLLOWING HIM.  It is not sufficient that we believe, worship,

and manifest affection. We must show our devotion by a consistent course of

life.

 

Ø      This is to seek to be near to God, love and duty drawing us Godward.

 

Ø      It is to obey His commands, following the course of His will.

 

Ø       It is to emulate His example — trying to do as He does:  “Be

ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in

heaven is perfect.”   (Matthew 5:48). Christianity consists in

following Christ (Mark 1:17-18).

 

  • WE ONLY FOLLOW GOD ARIGHT WHEN WE FOLLOW HIM

WHOLLY. We cannot serve God and mammon. (Luke 16:13)  We must

choose whom we will serve (ch. 24:15).  Half hearted service is no true

service. Following God wholly implies:

 

Ø      not desisting from service on account of loss or trouble incurred;

 

Ø      taking no account of the opinion and conduct of other men

when these would deflect us from fidelity to God;

 

Ø      serving God in ALL THE RELATIONS OF LIFE, business,

social, domestic, and private.

 

  • UNDIVIDED DEVOTION TO GOD IS NECESSARY FOR

SUCCESS IN HIS WORK. We see how thoroughness and singleness of

aim are essential to success in secular pursuits — in business, science, art,

literature. (Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one

receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.  And every man that

 striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to

obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.  I therefore so

 run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by

any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a

castaway.” – I Corinthians 9:24-27)  They are not less essential in

spiritual things. Much of our work fails for lack of thoroughness.

Hesitating belief, divided aims, mingled motives, often render religious

efforts weak and futile. WE NEED TO BE MORE PERFECTLY

DEVOTED, GIVING OURSELVES WHOLLY TO GOD’S

SERVICE!  (I Timothy 4:15)

 

 

Personal Influence (v. 8)

 

Assuredly no Israelite could look without emotion upon the face and form

of Caleb, the utterer of the words of the text. His very existence was a

memorial of a memorable day. And when he arose and stood before

Joshua, and the two engaged in the conversation recorded in this chapter,

who could note them without recollecting that OUT OF THE LAYMEN

OF ISRAEL THEY WERE THE ONLY SURVIVORS OF THE

GENERATION TO WHICH THEY BELONGED!   Like venerable

towers that rear their heads above the building which is attached to them but

plainly bears the marks of more recent construction, these two men stood an age

above their surroundings, but with strength as unyielding as that of their latest

compeers. Time and sickness had LEVELED THEIR CONTEMPORARIES

 with dust, but they remained “with eye undimmed and natural force unabated.”

God had kept His threat and promise. Caleb’s utterance may suggest some

useful reflections.

 

  • THE FACILITY (EASE) WITH WHICH MEN ARE DETERRED

FROM NOBLE ENTERPRISES. What a lamentable incident was that

to which these words refer: “My brethren that were with me made the

heart of the people melt.” Recall the story of the twelve men and their

reconnoitering expedition. They searched the south of Palestine, and

admired the fruit which grew there in such abundance; but the hearts of

the majority were terrified at the sight of fenced cities and the giants who

inhabited them.  And so when they returned to their brethren they gave

such a discouraging account that the people cried, “Would to God we

 had died in Egypt!” Caleb tried to still their murmuring, but in vain.

The cowardly spirit prevailed. Apparently fear is more easily engendered

than hope. It is easier to depress than to cheer. How many religious undertakings

have failed through the excessive caution of even good men? It is noteworthy

hat in the account which Moses gives in Deuteronomy 1:21 he refers to the

fact that on the arrival of the Israelites at Kadesh he exhorted them to “go

up and possess the land: fear not.” Well would it have been if they had

acted on the bold counsel of their leader. But they came near and

suggested what seemed an exceedingly wise plan — to send men first to

spy out the land — and dire was the ultimate effect! We do not inculcate

rashness; we only say that courage is sometimes better than caution, and

quick action than slow resolves. We need a holy enthusiasm that will

minimize dangers and make us “strong in faith.”

 

  • THE DANGER OF EXERTING AN EVIL INFLUENCE. Great

responsibility rested on the men who were the means of damping the

ardor of their countrymen. Whilst they themselves died of the plague, the

rest of the people were condemned to forty years’ weary traversing of

 the desert. So fierce was the wrath of God at the unbelief of the Israelites.

This gift of influence GOD HAS BESTOWED ON EVERY PERSON!

 We all wield this power to a greater or less extent. We may repel or

attract, and in either case we are helping to mold the opinions and form the

practices of our neighbors. We direct their aspirations and color the

spectacles through which they look at men and things. IS OUR LIFE

REPORT FOR GOOD OR FOR EVIL?

 

  • THE SECURITY AGAINST WIELDING AND YIELDING TO AN

EVIL INFLUENCE. It is to be noted that Caleb did not seek to persuade

his fellows to renounce the idea of invading the Holy Land, and also did

not allow himself so to be persuaded by them. He gives us in the text the

reason which swayed him and the power which sustained him in

opposition to the fears of the other Israelites: “I wholly followed the

Lord my God.”  There might be times in which the mind would be left in

suspense as to the proper course to pursue, in which the chief difficulty

would be in ascertaining the will of Heaven. But on this occasion there

seemed to Caleb but one thing to be done. Precepts and promises clearly

showed that IT WAS THE PRIVILEGE AND DUTY OF THE

ISRAELITES TO MARCH TO THE POSSESSION OF THEIR

INHERITANCE!   The path was plainly marked; to hesitate was to turn

Aside from following the Lord. UNSWERVING OBEDIENCE TO

GOD’S DECLARED WILL IS THE GRAND SECURITY  against

ill conduct. All that we read of Caleb proves him to have been a man of

strong determination. Whatever he did he did with his might. There is a deal

of meaning in that word “wholly.” A man whose face is partly to God and

partly to the world may have his attention distracted, but he who maintains

an attitude that has respect to God only will remain uninfluenced by either

the hopes and fears or the blandishments and threats of men. We urge the

necessity and helpfulness of taking a decided step, of becoming openly

connected with God’s people, of avowing an attachment to Christ.

Some may raise a difficulty in the way of imitating Caleb’s whole-heartedness.

This man was gifted with force of character.  Now an objector may say,

“I by nature am weak, irresolute, easily moved.  Why am I blamed if

I do not manifest that firmness which others display?”  This inquiry runs

into a fundamental problem — the reason of the election of men to different

degrees of intellectual and moral ability, and the different degrees of

accountability resulting therefrom. We cannot well separate the direct gifts

of God from the achievements of the individual.  We are bound to honor men

even for what they owe entirely to God, since the honor reaches higher than

men and is laid as an offering before the Throne. But what we must

remember is that we are capable of acquiring qualifications which we previously

lacked, and we may to a wonderful degree strengthen and improve the powers

with which we are endowed

 

9 “And Moses swear on that day,” -   (compare Numbers 14:21-24;

Deuteronomy 1:35-36).. That either passage gives the very words of Moses is

unlikely. The main sense of the promise is given in each. And there is no impropriety

in speaking of the proclamation by Moses of God’s decree as an oath pronounced

by Moses himself - “saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden

shall be thine inheritance, and thy children’s for ever, because thou hast

wholly followed the LORD my God.”  (Christ has promised you and I an

inheritance if we too, are faithful!  - John 14:1-2 – CY – 2012)

 

10 “And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these

forty and five years,” -  This marks the date of the present conversation as

occurring seven years after the invasion. Caleb was forty years of age when be

went to spy the land of Canaan. For thirty-eight years the Israelites wandered

in the wilderness. And Caleb was now eighty-five years old.  Doubtless the

apportionment of the land, and its occupation by the Israelites, was a long and

tedious business (see ch.13:1) - “even since” - Literally, from the time when -

 the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel

wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and

five years old.”  (I can identify somewhat with this passage as I am now in

my 46th year in Hopkinsville, forty-one of which has been, through God’s

mercy and guidance, teacher of the Adult Bible Class – I guess you could

say that Caleb was an old man when he received his inheritance!!!! - CY – 2012)

 

11 “As yet I am as strong this day” - A vigorous and respected old

age is ordinarily, by Nature’s own law, the decreed reward for a virtuous

youth and a temperate manhood. Caleb’s devotion to God’s service had

preserved him from the sins as well as from the faithlessness and

murmuring of the Israelites. And thus, with a body not enfeebled by

indulgence, he presents himself before Joshua with undiminished strength,

at a time when most men are sinking under the weight of their infirmities,

and is ready still for battle with the most formidable foes - “as I was in the day

that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now,

for war, both to go out, and to come in.”  (What a great testimony!  I am

now 68 and physically cannot run along side Caleb – may God help us all to

run the spiritual race set before us, looking unto JESUS, THE AUTHOR

AND FINISHER of our faith!!! – Hebrews 12:1-2 – CY – 2012)

 

12 “Now therefore give me this mountain,” -  The neighborhood of Hebron

is described by BartlettEgypt to Palestine,’ p. 401, as “a region of hills and

valleys.” In one of the hollows in this “hill country of Judaea” Hebron still

nestles, but at a height which (see Stanley, ‘Sinai and Palestine,’ p. 102) is

only 400 feet lower than Helvellyn,” the highest point but one in England.

The Dean remarks on the fact that Palestine was a mountainous country, and

that therefore in its history we may expect the characteristics of a mountain

people - “whereof the LORD spake in that day;” -  There must therefore

have been a promise made to Caleb, regarding which the Pentateuch, having to

deal with matters of more general interest, is silent, that he should lead the

forlorn hope, as it were, of the children of Israel, and that the task of

subduing the mountain fastnesses of the most powerful tribes in Palestine

should be assigned to him. That the original inhabitants reoccupied the

districts round Hebron, while the Israelites were otherwise engaged, we

have already seen (see note on ch.11:21). The final work was to be

carried out by Caleb. Houbigant thinks that here the same incident is referred

to as in (Ibid. vs.:21-22), and that Joshua is there credited with what was clone

by Caleb at his command. But we read that that expedition followed close

upon the battle of Merom, whereas seven years elapsed before the final

expulsion of the Anakim by Caleb. It is important to notice that the author

of the Book of Joshua has access to sources of information beside the Pentateuch -

 for thou heardest in that day” -  The Septuagint and Vulgate avoid the

difficulty here by referring these words to what goes before — i.e., the

promise made to Caleb. In that case we must render the second כִּי “for,”

instead of “that,” or “how.” Joshua can hardly have heard for the first time

that the Anakim were in Hebron if, as Numbers 13:22 appears to

assert, he, in common with the other spies, had visited the place. But it is

possible, though the narrative as it stands seems to suggest that they went

together, that the spies went different ways, either separately or in pairs,

and that Caleb visited Hebron, and that Joshua heard the account of it for

the first time from Caleb’s lips, as they brought their report to Moses, and

that Caleb then asked and received the grant of Hebron. We may observe

the minute agreement here in matters of detail between the Pentateuch and

the Book of Joshua. The Pentateuch states that the spies visited Hebron.

The Book of Joshua, without mentioning this, makes Caleb appeal to

Joshua as a witness that a premise had been made to him, long before the

entrance of Israel into the promised land, that this particular place should

be allotted to him. The description of Hebron also in Numbers 13 agrees

in every respect with what is stated here “how the Anakims were there,

and that the cities were great and fenced:” -  Literally, inaccessible,

as surrounded by walls -“if so be” - Rather, perhaps - “the LORD will be

with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.”

 

13 “And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh

Hebron for an inheritance.  14  Hebron therefore became the inheritance

of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that

he wholly followed  (see above, v. 8)  the LORD God of Israel.

15  And the name of Hebron before was Kirjatharba;” -  Hengstenberg

has conclusively shown that Hebron was the original name of the city. At the

time of Joshua’s invasion, however, it was known as Kirjath (or “the city of “)

Arba, from a giant named Arba who had conquered the city. Hebron is known

as Kirjath-arba in Genesis 23:2, but the way in which it is mentioned by Moses

seems to bear out Hengstenberg’s theory. The Rabbis translated “the city of four,”

and assert that the four patriarchs, Adam, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were

buried there. The word translated “man” here is Adam - “which Arba was

a great man among the Anakims.   And the land had rest from war.”

(See ch. 11:23)

 

 

Caleb’s Faithfulness and Its Reward (vs. 6-15)

 

The history of Caleb seems to have a special fascination for the sacred historian. We

read of him here, and in the next chapter, and in Judges 1.  Whether this were due to

his bravery, his sincerity, his hale and hearty old age, or (see note on v. 6) his foreign

extraction, coupled with his zeal for his adopted country and tribe, or from the

combination of all these, it is not necessary to decide. Sufficient to remark that he

was beloved by the people; and  that he was a favorite character in the inspired

Jewish history.

 

  • THE BRAVE MAN WINS RESPECT. This is sure to be the case in the

long run. He may be accused of rashness, want of judgment, intemperance

of language or of purpose; but in the end he secures the confidence and

attachment of all. The lesson is especially needed in the present age. One of

its most marked characteristics is moral cowardice (as even John Stuart

Mill has remarked). Men are incapable, for the most part, of incurring the

disapprobation of the set in which they live. Politicians vote with their

party for measures of which they disapprove. People in society dare not

raise theft voices against what passes current in their own coterie; they

yield to practices, admit persons to their intimacy of which and whom, in

their own better judgment, they disapprove. They dare not brave the

unfavorable verdict of their acquaintance. Yet if they did they would lose

nothing by it. Even the careless and thoughtless respect fearlessness, and

delight to honor the man who dares to say what he thinks. They may

condemn at first, but in the end they come round to a sounder judgment.

History continually repeats itself. The history of Caleb is the history of

every man who is honest in setting himself above the prevailing opinions of

the day. His report was unpopular at first. The people sympathized with the

cowardly ten. But events demonstrated the correctness of his view, and he

became a popular hero. His tribe came with him to support his request, and

if he were not of Israelite origin this incident makes the moral still more clear.

 

  • WE SHOULD ALWAYS SPEAK THE TRUTH. Caleb brought word

according to what his heart told him. He sought neither to say what Moses

would wish, nor what would be palatable to the people. What he thought,

that he said. And this is one of the results of a heart devoted to God.

Caleb “wholly followed” God, and thus he had that sincerity and integrity

which is the result of single mindedness. All Christians, and especially God’s

ministers, should learn to shun the fear or favor of man, but everywhere

and always to “declare the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).  As we

have seen, we do not thereby lose the favor we have not sought. Because we

have not asked for it (I Kings 3:11), we have it. But this is not to be taken into

consideration. Those who “wholly follow the Lord their God” will be men

who never fail to speak according to the dictates of the regenerate heart.

 

  • THE RIGHTEOUS SHALL NOT FAIL OF HIS REWARD. Moses

had sworn to Caleb that he should have the land for his inheritance of

which he had brought so true a report (no doubt, see notes, the spies went

diverse ways). And now, after years of hardship and toil, he gained it. So

has Christ promised a reward to them who seek Him. They must join

their brethren in the toil; they must ever be foremost in the conflict, and they

may be sure that their Joshua will give them an everlasting inheritance in

the mount of God.

 

  • THE REWARD THAT THE RIGHTEOUS SEEKS. Observe that

Caleb does not seek a rich nor easy inheritance, but one full of danger. The

Anakim, defeated over and over again, still lurked in the inaccessible

recesses of the hill country, and their giant strength, protected as it was by

the fortifications of these mountain fastnesses, made it a task of the utmost

danger to dislodge them. This task the gallant old warrior asks for himself.

“Let me,” he says, “inherit the stronghold of the Anakim. Let me have

the city of their chief” (see notes). Such a man was Paul.  His reward was

the having preached the gospel without charge (I Corinthians 9:18). He

desires no other. And so the true Christian, he who “wholly follows”

Christ, will desire as his reward the privilege only of being allowed to do

and dare all for Him.

 

  • THERE IS A REWARD FOR THE GODLY IN THIS WORLD. Even

the laws of the physical universe have provided a reward for virtue. A

temperate life secures a hearty old age. The spectacle of Caleb, as ready for

war at eighty-five as he had been forty-five years previously, may be a rare

one now with our luxurious habits. But the principle holds good that men

who live hard, work hard, and abstain from all over indulgence in their

appetites, will as a rule preserve their physical vigor to an advanced age.

This is a gospel which may not be very palatable to the sons of luxury, but

it is true nevertheless. Common sense and Christianity are ever really

 allied, however much a narrow view of the former may seem to conflict

with the latter. Luxury, sloth, excessive indulgence even in permitted

pleasures, are fatal to the body as to the soul. Thus we are warned

by Peter to “abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul”

(I Peter 2:11).  Even the weakly may retain their energies to old age by

care and self restraint. The strongest man will sink into an early grave who

deems such things unnecessary. So true is it that “Godliness has the

promise of the life that now is” as well as of “that which is to come”

(I Timothy 4:8).

 

  • THE TRUE SECRET OF SUCCESS. Caleb (see ch.15:14-17)

did not fail in his dangerous undertaking. But it was because he said,

if the Lord be with me.” So is it always in our undertakings. He that

is sure he shall resist temptation, because he is confident in himself, will

find his confidence fail him in the day of trial. He who TRUSTS IN THE

LORD ONLY, will emerge a conqueror from the struggle. In all

things OUR SUPPORT MUST BE IN HIM!   If we purpose a thing in

our hearts it must be “if the Lord will” (James 4:13-15). If we have

done anything by His help we must say, “Not unto us, O Lord, BUT

UNTO THY NAME BE PRAISE!” -  (Psalm 115:1). Had Caleb

relied upon his unabated strength, or on his undaunted courage, he

would have fared as Israel before Ai. But since he relied on the Lord his

God, the three sons of Anak could not stand before him; the stronghold

of Debir must needs open its gates to his daughter’s suitor.  (ch. 15:15-16)

 

 

Rest from War (v. 15)

 

“And the land had rest from war.” (v. 15)

 

  • REST FROM WAR IS ONE OF THE GREATEST EARTHLY

BLESSINGS. Even if war be a necessity it is a fearful necessity. Rarely are

the advantages of a successful war equal to the cost of it. Rest from war

affords occasion:

 

Ø      for the undisturbed enjoyment of the fruits of the earth and unbroken

social and domestic life;

 

Ø      for the practice of peaceful works — the cultivation of science, art,

and literature;  (Think of the abuse of the latter two in the United

States – THIS WILL NOT GO UNJUDGED – CY – 2012)

 

Ø      for progress in political institutions and the development of civilization;

(The United States has been a “city set on a hill” – Matthew 5:14 –

as an exemplary and godly democracy in the world – on the flip

side of this is the HARLOTRY AND WHOREDOMS which mimics

Israel in the Old Testament – THIS TOO WILL NOT GO

UNJUDGED - CY – 2012)

 

Ø      for the extension of benevolent efforts and of the missionary work of

the Church. Therefore peace should be sought for in prayer and

enjoined with gratitude.

 

  • UNIVERSAL REST FROM WAR WILL BE ONE OF THE CHIEF

FRUITS OF THE TRIUMPH OF THE GOSPEL. Christ is the Prince of

Peace. The Messianic age is prophetically described as an age of peace

(>Isaiah 11:6-9; Luke 2:14). We must look to Christianity for the means of

abolishing war, because this only can conquer

 

Ø      the injustice,

Ø      the ambition, and

Ø      the unruly passions which are the causes of most wars.

 

War can only cease when right and justice are respected by nations and the

brotherhood of all mankind is universally recognized. These are moral

conditions. Education, trade conventions, political schemes will not

produce them. THEY ARE THE HIGHEST FRUITS OF

CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES!

 

  • SPIRITUAL REST FROM INWARD WARFARE IS SECURED TO

THE CHRISTIAN BY CHRIST.

 

Ø      The Christian must first fight against indwelling sin, temptation, the

evil of the world (I Timothy 6:12). Earth is our battle-field; heaven our

Canaan of rest.

 

Ø      The Christian will be aided by Christ fighting for him and in him.

Jesus is the New Testament Joshua. He has conquered the great enemy.

HE IS THE SOURCE  of His people’s strength for that inward

 battle which all must fight.

 

Ø      By the grace of Christ the Christian will ultimately enjoy “rest from

war.” This is a promise:

 

o       for the individual Christian in heaven (Hebrews 4:9),

o       for the whole human family at the time of the complete

   triumph of Christ (Isaiah 2:4).

 

 

Caleb the Son of Jephunneh (vs. 6-15)

 

Few characters finer than that of Caleb. If Moses was pattern of faithful

leader, Caleb was of faithful follower. There are some things which suggest

he was not an Israelite by birth. Kenaz the name of his father or brother, is

an Edomite name, and the expression in ch.14:14, Hebron became

the inheritance of Caleb… because that he wholly followed the God of

Israel;” and that of ch.15:13, “Unto Caleb he gave a part among

the children of Judah,” are expressions which suggest that he was

associated with that tribe rather than sprung from it. Whether or not he

was an Israelite in flesh, he was earnestly so in faith (Romans 2:28-29).  If not

by birth an Israelite, he is an instance of the converting power of truth, and of

the way in which identity of heart and aim supersedes all diversity of nature. He

was one of the twelve spies. Had there been other ten like him, THE

INVASION OF CANAAN WOULD HAVE BEGUN AND FINISHED

FORTY YEARS EARLIER!   There was no delusion in his mind; he saw all

his colleagues saw — the stature of the men, the walls of the cities, the difficulty

and all but impossibility of the conquest. But he saw what only Joshua saw

besides him — THE PRESENCE AND POWER OF GOD!   And seeing

that, he believed in the possibility of what seemed to others impossible. Consider

some elements of instruction here:

 

  • GOOD MEN ARE NEEDED FOR SECOND PLACES AS WELL AS

FIRST. We cannot all be statesmen, rulers, missionaries. There are many

more humble positions than exalted ones. Twelve spyships for one

lordship. Good men are needed for all stations. Men who fear to do wrong,

who fear to grieve God, and who have NO OTHER FEAR!   Complain

not of an obscure lot, of a slight opening for your powers; but do the duties of

the lot, and avail yourself of the openings you have, and all will be well.

 

  • Second, observe THE PERSEVERANCE OF SAINTS. He believed in

his prime, he believes in his old age. Ready to follow God’s leading then,

ready now. “As my strength was then, even so is my strength now for

 war, both to go out and to come in.” There is, of course, a miraculous

element in this persistence of physical strength and mental vigor at

such an age.  But it is only a miraculous extension of what is a blessed fact

of daily experience. It is strange the vie inertiae (property of matter which

makes it resist any change) of souls. Forty years ago some were faithless,

and are so now; others believing, they are so now. There is a tendency for

 the unjust to be unjust still, and for the righteous to be righteous still (See

Revelation 22:11).  Motion or rest alike tend to be eternal.   Rise up and

follow Christ, and you tend to follow Him on through countless ages.

Forsake Him, and you tend to go on forsaking Him. This persistence

of habit is nature; but the persistence of better habit is partly grace as well.

God keeps the feet from falling, daily charms the spirit afresh, while each step

of progress in a good path reveals new reasons for choosing and pursuing it.

Do not despair. Of Christ’s flock none is lost. “They go from strength to

strength; every one of them appeareth before God in Zion (Psalm 84:7). 

We may not, like Joshua, see eighty-five, and long before the life ends our

powers may wither; BUT THE GRACE OF GOD DOES NOT

WITHER!

 

  • Observe THE USEFULNESS OF SUCH A LIFE OF PROGRESS.

Eighty-five years of steady well doing! of right aiming and right action! of

the boldness of faith!  Joshua and He were left alive, as a sort of leaven to

leaven the whole lump of Israel, and they did it. One steady, progressive

life of goodness — the same today as yesterday — how invaluable in a

village, in a church, in any community. If you would be useful, keep on.

Remember Abraham Lincoln’s policy for the conquest of the secession —

it was to “keep pegging away.” Seeming hopeless, it was crowned with

success.

 

  • Lastly, observe, CALEB’S FAITH HAS A GRAND REWARD. A

manifold reward.

 

Ø      In the contagiousness with which it spread. It infects his own family

(see ch.15:17). It infects, as we have seen, many besides.

 

Ø      His faith has the opportunity of proving its wisdom. That city, which

was impregnable, he took; and these Anakim, who seemed terrific,

he mastered. Some men, some things, some forces may be stifled

for want of opportunity. But God will always see that there is a

candlestick for the light. An “open door” for the “little strength”

(Revelation 3:8) which can enter it.

 

Ø      His faith gets an earthly inheritance of a noble kind. Hebron is his

family’s for an everlasting possession. The shortest road to getting

anything is deserving it. While the clever, the tricky, the greedy,

the saving see only what they aspire to “afar off,” the deserving go

straight on and reach it. His property we can trace in the possession

of his descendants down to the time of David (I Samuel 30:14).

It is not sufficiently observed how essential to goodness the courage

of faith really is. Let Caleb’s example commend it to us

 

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