Caleb and Joshua—Men of Faith

Numbers 13:6, Caleb the son of Jephunneh.Although Caleb is listed here as being from the tribe of Judah, he nevertheless was of Canaanite heritage having become part of Judah when they conquered the land of Caleb’s ancestors. Elsewhere, the Torah lists Caleb as the son of Jephunneh, the Kenizzite (Num 32:12, also Josh 14:6, 14). Who were the Kenizzites (also Kenezite)? They were among the original inhabitants of Canaan (Gen 15:19), that Israel eventually dispossessed when taking the Promised Land. This people originated from Eliphaz, the oldest son of Esau. Thus, Caleb was an Edomite who accepted the Elohim of Israel and became grafted into the tribe of Judah (Josh 15:13). Throughout the Tanakh, Edom (a nickname for Esau) remains a sworn enemy of Israel maintaining a perpetual hatred for YHVH’s people and constantly covetous of their land even into modern times. In fact, the case could be made that the modern day Palestinians, if not descendants of Edom, at least manifest the same hatred for Israel as did the ancient Edomites. It is out of this people that Caleb comes.

The name Caleb means “dog,” although it can have the favorable connotation of faithful, loving and tenacious like a dog. Indeed, in his life, Caleb exemplified his name’s meaning in his faithfulness to the Elohim of Israel, in his faith and tenacious zeal to go up and to conquer the Promised Land as YHVH commanded.

Evidently Caleb defected from his own tribal peoples and joined the Israelites, while they were wandering in wilderness and before they came up to take the Promised Land. This speaks volumes about Caleb’s character in that he was willing to forsake his pagan heritage and align himself with the Elohim and people of Israel years before they actually dispossessed his people of their ancestral land. Caleb remained aligned with those who took that land and killed his heathen family. 

Indeed, Caleb was a unique individual in that he chose a spiritual path less traveled and one that was unpopular, and he clung ardently to that path despite, at times, vicious opposition. The Torah records that he had a different spirit and that he fully followed Elohim (Num 14:24). For this, YHVH promised him an inheritance in the Promised Land (ibid.). May we be like Caleb!

Numbers 13:16, Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Yehoshua. Prior to sending the spies forth, Moses renames his assistant Hoshea (whose name means “salvation”) to Yehoshua (or Joshua,meaning “Yah [short for Yehovah] Saves”) by adding the Hebrew letter yud to Hoshea’s name so that his name would now begin with the first letter of YHVH’s name—the English letter “Y”.

What was the prophetic significance of this name change? Who is it that will lead us into our spiritual Promised Land or our spiritual and eternal rest? (See Heb 4:8 and 11, especially verse 8, where the author shows that Yehoshua was the foreshadow of Yeshua.)

Do you possess a vibrant and active faith in Yeshua? Is he the Chief Cornerstone of your spiritual house, the Author and Finisher of your faith and the Captain of your salvation to lead you into the spiritual rest of his eternal kingdom? Are you faithfully following him as the Israelites followed Yehoshua/Joshua into the Promised Land?

 

Do you have faith or fear?

"Promised Land" Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

Numbers 13:2, Send forth men, if you please (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash). The implication here is that Elohim gave Moses permission to send out the spies, but left the final decision up to him. This idea is confirmed in Deuteronomy 1:22 where Moses states that the idea to spy out the land came from the Israelites, not from YHVH. By allowing them to do this, it appears that YHVH was deliberately putting them to the test to see if they would trust him when he had already told them that Canaan was a good land and theirs for the taking with his help. Would they walk by faith in his word and promises or would they have to see the actual land before believing YHVH’s word?

When YHVH gives you a promise, do you have to see it come to pass before believing it, or are you able to simply begin taking steps of faith toward the fulfillment of the promises without actually seeing any tangible evidence of the end goal? What has YHVH promised you and what steps of faith have you taken toward possessing your spiritual “promised inheritance?” (Read the scriptural definition of faith in Heb 11:1.)

YHVH did not choose the twelve spies, the people did; hence, the name of this parashah, “Send for Yourselves.” When people choose their own leaders the failure rate is high­—in this case ten of twelve leaders were faithless duds. Man-inspired and initiated efforts seldom produce lasting spiritual benefits. This effort ended in the Continue reading


 

What’s in the name Caleb?

Deuteronomy 1:36, Because he has wholly followed YHVH. What does this statement say about the heart of Caleb? If you check most Hebrew lexicons, you will find that the name Caleb (or Calev) means “dog.” But this is not the whole story.

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Hebrew is a very flexible language, and one word can have multiple definitions. The Hebrew word kal and lev literally mean “all heart.” When you think of a dog, what comes to mind? Always happy to see its master, unconditional love, a faithful companion, guarding and protecting its family no matter the cost.

How does Calev’s name fit his spiritual characteristics? What can we learn from Calev about what is pleasing to YHVH. (For more on Calev, read Num 13:30; 14:6, 24, 30; 32:12; Josh 14:6–14.)

Be inspired by this mighty man of faith.


 

Caleb — A Man After YHVH’s Own Heart

Numbers 13:6, Caleb the son of Jephunneh. Although Caleb is listed here as being from the tribe of Judah, he nevertheless was of Canaanite heritage having become part of Judah when they conquered the land of Caleb’s ancestors. Elsewhere, the Torah lists Caleb as the son of Jephunneh, the Kenizzite (Num 32:12, also Josh 14:6, 14). Who were the Kenizzites (also Kenezite)? They were among the original inhabitants of Canaan (Gen 15:19), that Israel eventually dispossessed when taking the Promised Land. This people originated from Eliphaz, the oldest son of Esau. Thus, Caleb was an Edomite who accepted the Elohim of Israel and became grafted into the tribe of Judah. Throughout the Tanakh, Edom (a nickname for Esau) remains a sworn enemy of Israel maintaining a perpetual hatred for YHVH’s people and constantly covetous of their land even into modern times. In fact, the case could be made that the modern day Palestinians, if not descendants of Edom, at least manifest the same hatred for Israel as did the ancient Edomites. It is out of this people that Caleb comes.

The name Caleb means “dog,” although it can have the favorable connotation of faithful, loving and tenacious like a dog. Indeed, in his life, Caleb exemplified his name’s meaning in his faithfulness to the Elohim of Israel, in his faith and tenacious zeal to go up and to conquer the Promised Land as YHVH commanded.

Evidently Caleb defected from his ancient homeland and joined the Israelites, while they were wandering in wilderness and before they came up to take the Promised Land. This speaks volumes about Caleb’s character in that he was willing to forsake his pagan heritage and align himself with the Elohim and people of Israel years before they actually dispossessed his people of their ancestral land. Caleb remained aligned with those who took that land and killed his heathen family.

Indeed, Caleb was a unique individual in that he chose a spiritual path less traveled and one that was unpopular, and he clung ardently to that path despite, at times, vicious opposition. The Torah records that he had a different spirit and that he fully followed Elohim (Num 14:24). For this, YHVH promised him an inheritance in the Promised Land (ibid.). May we be like Caleb!


 

What kind of spy are you?

Numbers 13:2, Send forth men, if you please (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash). The implication here is that Elohim gave Moses permission to send out the spies, but left the final decision up to him. This idea is confirmed in Deuteronomy 1:22 where Moses states that the idea to spy out the land came from the Israelites, not from YHVH. By allowing them to do this, it appears that YHVH was deliberately putting them to the test to see if they would trust him when he had already told them that Canaan was a good land and theirs for the taking with his help. Would they walk by faith in his word and promises or would they have to see the actual land before believing YHVH’s word?

When YHVH gives you a promise, do you have to see it come to pass before believing it, or are you able to simply begin taking steps of faith toward the fulfillment of the promises without actually seeing any tangible evidence of the end goal? What has YHVH promised you and what steps of faith have you taken toward possessing your spiritual “promised inheritance?” (Read the scriptural definition of faith in Heb 11:1.)

YHVH did not choose the twelve spies, the people did; hence, the name of this parashah, “Send for Yourselves.” When people choose their own leaders the failure rate is high­—in this case ten of twelve leaders were faithless duds. Man-inspired and initiated efforts seldom produce lasting spiritual benefits. This effort ended in the faithless leaders shouting down those who had courage and faith. Do you act like Caleb and Joshua or one of the other ten spies in your spiritual approach to what YHVH has called you to do? Are you running upward and onward toward your spiritual inheritance, or are you holding back? Are you hearing the voice of YHVH’s Spirit so that you know what your personal spiritual marching orders are? Do you know how to hear his voice? If not, why not? Most of us sometimes act as Joshuas and Calebs and at times like the other ten spies. We tend to be inconsistent in our spiritual walk. What are you doing to become more like Joshua and Caleb?

Eighteenth-century Christian Bible commentator, Matthew Henry, in his comments on this passage, discusses the demerits of the people’s choice to search out the land of Canaan. He then compares the unbelief of the ten carnal spies with the doubt and unbelief in the walk of the believer. He notes that the motion to search out the land appears to have come from the people (see Deut 1:22). They had a better opinion of their own policy than of Elohim’s wisdom. Thus we ruin ourselves, he says, by believing the reports and representations of sense rather than of divine revelation. We walk by sight, not by faith (pp. 130–131, ­Matthew Henry Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, Moody Press).

What is “divine revelation?” One does not hear this concept often discussed. What is it and how does a born-again believer receive it? Henry continues, Difficulties that are in the way of salvation dwindle and vanish before a lively, active faith in the power and promise of Elohim. All things are possible, if they are promised, to him that believes, but carnal sense and carnal professors are not to be trusted. Unbelief overlooks the promises and power of Elohim, magnifies every danger and difficulty, and fills the heart with discouragement. May YHVH help us to believe! We shall then find that all things are possible through him who strengthens us (Ibid.)