Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, September 23rd, 2023
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
Take our poll

Bible Commentaries
Joshua 14

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary


Joshua 14:0


No Portion for LeviThe Land Divided West of the JordanDistribution of the Land West of the JordanThe Division of the Territory West of the JordanIntroduction
Joshua 14:1-5Joshua 14:1-5Joshua 14:1-5Joshua 14:1-5Joshua 14:1-5
Caleb ReminiscesCaleb Inherits HebronHebron, the Inheritance of CalebHebron is Given to CalebCaleb's Share
Joshua 14:6-12Joshua 14:6-15Joshua 14:6-12Joshua 14:6-12Joshua 14:6-12
Hebron Given to Caleb
Joshua 14:13-15Joshua 14:13-15Joshua 14:13-15aJoshua 14:13-15a
Joshua 14:15bJoshua 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.

Verses 6-12

NASB (UPDATED TEXT): Joshua 14:6-12 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.”

Joshua 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 Judges 1:8-15. However, Caleb is described here as a Kenizzite (cf. 1 Chronicles 4:13-16), which means that he was not originally of the tribe of Judah, but of a clan of Esau (cf. Genesis 15:19; Genesis 36:11). However, within the Pentateuch he is said to be within Judah (cf. Numbers 13:6; Numbers 14:24; Numbers 34:19; 1 Chronicles 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 13:0, esp. Numbers 14:30-33).

“the word” See Numbers 14:24, Numbers 14:30.

“Moses the man of God” The phrase, “man of God,” is used of several people:

1. Moses (cf. Deuteronomy 33:1; 1 Chronicles 23:14; 2 Chronicles 30:16; Ezra 3:2; Psalms 90:1)

2. Elijah

3. Elisha

4. Samuel

5. David

6. Shemiah

7. Hanan

8. anonymous person in 1 Samuel 2:27 and 1 Kings 13:1-3

The phrase is never

1. man of YHWH

2. woman of God

For Elohim (God) see Special Topic: Names for Deity.

“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.

Joshua 14:7 “Moses the servant of the LORD” This is the more common title for Moses. See note at Joshua 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.”

Joshua 14:8 This refers to the majority report of the twelve spies recorded in Numbers 13:25-29; Numbers 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. Deuteronomy 1:28; Joshua 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. Joshua 14:9, Joshua 14:14; Numbers 14:24; Numbers 32:11, Numbers 32:12; Deuteronomy 1:36; 1 Kings 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.

Joshua 14:9 “So Moses swore on that day” (cf. Numbers 34:24; Deuteronomy 1:36).

“forever” See Special Topic: Forever ('olam).

Joshua 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. Deuteronomy 2:14); apparently the conquest had taken seven more years.

Joshua 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. Deuteronomy 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.

Joshua 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. Joshua 13:33). See note at Joshua 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.

Verses 13-15

NASB (UPDATED TEXT): Joshua 14:13-15 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.

Joshua 14:13 “Hebron” We learn from Joshua 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.

Joshua 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.

Joshua 14:15 “Kiriath-arba” This city is also known as the site of the oaks of Mamre (cf. Genesis 13:18; Genesis 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. Joshua 15:13, Joshua 21:11).

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Joshua 14". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/joshua-14.html. 2021.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile