Read Joshua 14
Division of the Land West of the Jordan
1 Now these are the areas the Israelites received as an inheritance in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun and the heads of the tribal clans of Israel allotted to them. 2 Their inheritances were assigned by lot to the nine and a half tribes, as the Lord had commanded through Moses. 3 Moses had granted the two and a half tribes their inheritance east of the Jordan but had not granted the Levites an inheritance among the rest, 4 for Joseph’s descendants had become two tribes—Manasseh and Ephraim. The Levites received no share of the land but only towns to live in, with pasturelands for their flocks and herds. 5 So the Israelites divided the land, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
Allotment for Caleb
6 Now the people of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.’
10 “Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”
13 Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. 14 So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly. 15 (Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba after Arba, who was the greatest man among the Anakites.)
Then the land had rest from war.
Faithful obedience. That is the character trait that Caleb is remembered for. We learn a little about Caleb’s background in this passage. He was one of the 12 men chosen by Moses to scout out the land of Canaan. Of the 12 that were sent out, 10 returned telling Moses not to enter the land because they were fearful of the inhabitants and didn’t think it was safe. But Caleb and Joshua returned, and despite seeing the obstacles, were confident that the Lord would give them victory over the Canaanites (Numbers 13:30).
As a result of his faithful obedience, Caleb is repeatedly referred to as one who wholeheartedly followed the Lord. In verse 8, Caleb describes himself in this way when he pleads “but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.” We learn that Moses referred to him in this way in verse 9 when he said “The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.” And if we look back to when his story started, we see that in Numbers 14:24, the Lord Himself said about Caleb “But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.”
Caleb wasn’t influenced by the murmurings and fears of those around him. He didn’t let the obstacles he saw before him deter him from believing in what God could provide. From all accounts in Scripture, we know that Caleb wholeheartedly devoted his life to trusting in God and believing His promises. Not only was Caleb steadfast, but he was also patient. At this point it has been about 45 years since this land was promised to Caleb, but we can be encouraged by the fact that God rewarded Caleb for both his patience and his faithfulness. May we be like Caleb, faithful to God even when the circumstances seem insurmountable and patient to wait on the Lord’s timing.
- When those around you look at your life, what do you think they would say you “wholeheartedly” devote your life to?
- On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate your patience level for the Lord’s timing (1 being not very patient, 5 being very patient).
- What qualities do you admire about Caleb?
Did You Know?
Because of the lack of faith from the other ten spies, the Israelites had to wait 40 years in order to enter the Promised Land. According to Numbers 14:26-38, Joshua and Caleb were to be the only two to get to enter. The rest died in the wilderness.