Caleb

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

 
Jump to: navigation, search
Tomb of Caleb, Timnat Serah

Caleb, sometimes transliterated Kaleb (/ˈkləb/; כָּלֵב, Kalev; Tiberian vocalization: Kālēḇ; Hebrew Academy: Kalev) is a figure who appears in the Bible as a representative of Judah. A reference to him may also be found in the Quran, although his name is not mentioned.

Hebrew[edit]

Caleb is pronounced as "Colev" in Hebrew meaning "Whole-Hearted" or "Faithful"[citation needed] Caleb is actually a compound word in Hebrew[citation needed] - something that is quite common in ancient Hebrew.

Col (Caf + Lamed) = all or whole. Lev (Lamed + Vet) = heart.

The Jewish Encyclopedia states that Caleb's name means "dog" from the Hebrew kelev. [1]

Biblical account[edit]

(1)"Caleb the Son of Jephunneh". One of the twelve spies sent by Moses into Caanan (Numbers 13:6 & 13:30). When the spies returned, he and Joshua said the people should trust God and go into the land, the other ten spies said conquering the land was impossible.


(2)"Caleb the son of Hezron". Grandson of Pharez and great grandson of Judah, 1 Chronicles 2:18. The Talmud says this is the same man as Caleb the spy. [2][3] Caleb in 1 Chronicles is an Israelite by lineage, which (if the Kenizzite hypothesis holds) would make it implausible that he and the other Caleb are the same person.

the Kenizzite hypothesis[edit]

Caleb, son of Jephunneh, first mentioned in the above account (Numbers 13:6) is not to be confused with another Caleb, great-grandson of Judah through Tamar (1 Chronicles 2:3-9). This other Caleb was the son of Hezron, and his wife was Azubah (I Chronicles 2:18,19).

Caleb the spy is the son of Jephunneh. Jephunneh is clearly called a Kenizzite (Numbers 32:12, Joshua 14:6,14), and the Kenizzites are listed (Genesis 15:19) as one of the nations who lived in the land of Canaan, at the time that God covenanted to Abram (Abraham) to give that land to his descendants forever (Genesis 17:8). Furthermore, a search of Caleb's ancestry in 1 Chronicles 4, does not list his line of descent as being from Judah, since Jephunneh's father is not listed there. It would seem that Jephunneh wished to be included in the nation of Israel, and was included without his ancestral lineage in the tribe of Judah. This provision, for a Gentile to be included in Israel was clearly spelt out in the regulations for Passover (Exodus 12: 48,49). In this Exodus passage it is written: "If an alien who resides with you wants to observe the Passover to the lord, every male in his household must be circumcised, and then he may come near to observe it. He is to be like a native of the land, but no uncircumcised person is to eat it. A single law exists for the native and the alien who resides among you." (Exodus 12:48,49 ISV)

But many view Caleb as a true Israelite by birth, since he is associated with and represented the tribe of Judah as one of the 12 spies. Jephunneh could have descended from some member of the non-Israelite Kenizzites (Ge 15:18, 19) who associated with the descendants of Jacob (Israel), marrying an Israelite wife. Perhaps the name Kenizzite in his case derives from some ancestral Judean family head named Kenaz, even as Caleb’s brother was so named.—Jos 15:17; Jg 1:13; 1Ch 4:13.

About Caleb[edit]

A Midrash refers to Caleb being devoted to the Lord and to Moses, splitting from the other scouts to tour Hebron on his own and visit the graves of the Patriarchs.

In the aftermath of the conquest, Caleb asks Joshua to give him a mountain in property within the land of Judah, and Joshua blesses him as a sign of God's blessing and approval, giving him Hebron (Joshua 14). Since Hebron itself was one of the Cities of Refuge to be ruled by the Levites, it is later explained that Caleb actually was given the outskirts (Joshua 21:11-13). Caleb promised his daughter Achsah in marriage to him who will conquer the land of Debir from the giants. This was eventually accomplished by Othniel Ben Kenaz, Caleb's nephew (Judges 1:13), who became Caleb's son-in-law as well (Joshua 15:16,17).

1 Samuel 25:3 states that Nabal, the husband of Abigail before David, was "of the house of Caleb". It is not stated whether this refers to one of the Calebs mentioned in the Bible, or another person bearing the same name.

Quranic account[edit]

In the Quran Caleb is mentioned in the 5th Surah of the Quran (5:20-26). The two men mentioned here are Caleb and Joshua:

"Remember Moses said to his people: "O my people! Call in remembrance the favour of The Lord unto you, when He produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave you what He had not given to any other among the peoples. "O my people! Enter the holy land which Allah hath assigned unto you, and turn not back ignominiously, for then will ye be overthrown, to your own ruin."

They said: "O Moses! In this land are a people of exceeding strength: Never shall we enter it until they leave it: if (once) they leave, then shall we enter."

(But) among (their) God-fearing men were two on whom The Lord had bestowed His grace: They said: "Assault them at the (proper) Gate: when once ye are in, victory will be yours; But on Allah put your trust if ye have faith."

They said: "O Moses! while they remain there, never shall we be able to enter, to the end of time. Go thou, and thy Lord, and fight ye two, while we sit here (and watch)."

He said: "O my Lord! I have power only over myself and my brother: so separate us from this rebellious people!"

The Lord said: "Therefore will the land be out of their reach for forty years: In distraction will they wander through the land: But sorrow thou not over these rebellious people."

References[edit]

External links[edit]

 Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Caleb". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press