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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Caleb

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(Hebrews Kalel', כָּלֵב , appar. for כֶּלֶב, a dog), the name of two or three men. (See CALEB-EPHRATAH); (See NEGEB-CALEB).

1. (Sept. Χαλέβ .) The last-named of the three sons of Hezron, Judah's grandson (1 Chronicles 2:9, where he is called CHELUBAI). His three sons by his first wife, Azubah or Jerioth (q.v.), are enumerated (1 Chronicles 2:18); he had also another son, Hur, by a later wife, Ephrath(1 Chronicles 2:19; perhaps only the oldest of several, 1 Chronicles 2:50); besides whom another (his "first-born") is named (1 Chronicles 2:42, by what wife is uncertain), in addition to several by his concubines Ephah and Maachah (1 Chronicles 2:46; 1 Chronicles 2:48). B.C. post 1856. The text is possibly corrupt, however, in some of these distinctions.

2. (Sept. Χαλέβ .) A "son of Hur, the first-born of Ephratah" above named(and therefore the grandson of the preceding), according to 1 Chronicles 2:50, where his sons are enumerated. B.C. ante 1658. Some, however, have identified him with the foregoing, supposing a corruption in the text.

3. (Sept. Χάλεβ , but Χαλέβ in 1 Chronicles 2:49; Sirach 46:9; 1 Maccabees 2:56; v.r. Χαλούβ in 1 Samuel 30:14; Josephus Χάλεβος, Ant. in, 14,4, etc.) Usually called "the son of Jephunneh" (Numbers 13:6, and elsewhere, (See JEPHUNNEH) ), sometimes with the addition "the Kenezite" (Numbers 32:12; Joshua 14:6; Joshua 14:14), from which some have hastily inferred that he may have been a foreigner, and only proselyted to Judaism. (See KENAZ). Caleb is first mentioned in the list of the rulers or princes (נָשַׂיא ), called in the next verse (רָאשַׁים ) "heads," one from each tribe, who were sent to search the land of Canaan in the second year of the Exode (B.C. 1657), where it may be noted that these officers are all different from those named in Numbers 1, 2, 7, 10, as at that time phylarchs of the tribes. Caleb was one of these family chieftains in the tribe of Judah, perhaps as chief of the family of the Hezronites, at the same time that Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, was prince of the whole tribe. He and Oshea or Joshua, the son of Nun, were the only two of the whole number who, on their return from Canaan to Kadesh-Barnea, encouraged the people to enter in boldly to the land, and take possession of it, for which act of faithfulness they narrowly escaped stoning at the hands of the infuriated people. In the plague that ensued, while the other ten spies perished, Caleb and Joshua alone were spared. Moreover, while it wasannounced to the congregation by Moses that, for this rebellious murmurinr, all that had been numbered from twenty years old and upward, except Joshua and Caleb, should perish in the wilderness, a special promise was made to the latter that he should survive to enter into the land which he had trodden upon, and that his seed should possess it.

Accordingly, forty-five years afterward (B.C. 1612), when some progress had been made in the conquest of the land, Caleb came to Joshua and reminded him of what had happened at Kadesh, and of the promise which Moses made to him with an oath. He added that though he was now eighty-five years old (hence he was born B.C. 1698), he was as strong as in the day when Moses sent him to spy out the land, and he claimed possession of the land of the Anakim, Kirjath- Arba, or Hebron, and the neighboring hill-country (Joshua xiv). This was immediately granted to him, and the following chapter relates that he took possession of Hebron, driving out the three sons of Anak; that he offered Achsah, his daughter, in marriage (comp. 1 Samuel 17:25; Hygin. Fab. 67) to whoever would take Kirjath-Sepher, i.e. Debir; and that when Othniel, his younger brother, had performed the feat, he not only gave him his daughter to wife, but with her the upper and nether springs of water which she asked for. After this we hear no more of Caleb, nor is the time of his death recorded. But we learn from Joshua 21:13, that, in the distribution of cities, out of the different tribes for the priests and Levites to dwell in, Hebron fell to the priests, the children of Aaron, of the family of the Kohathites, and was also a city of refuge, while the surrounding territory continued to be the possession of Caleb, at least as late as the time of David (1 Samuel 25:3), being still called by his name (1 Samuel 30:14). His descendants are called Calebites ( כָּלַבַּו for כָּלַבַּי, Kalibbi', 1 Samuel 25:3; Sept. translates as if a paronomasia were intended, inserted in 1 Chronicles 2:49, by way of distinction from the others in the same list. See Ewald, Isr. Gesch. 2:288 sq.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Caleb'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/c/caleb.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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