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Caleb, The Son of Jephunneh.

Caleb, The Son of Jephunneh.

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Published by: glennpease on Feb 25, 2013
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CALEB, THE SON OF JEPHUNNEH.By E. H. PLUMPTRE WE are all familiar with the history of theMthfal hero of the tribe of Jndah whoshared with Joshua the son of Nun theglory of haying been brave and stead-fast when the other ten who went with them tosearch out the land of Canaan proved cowardlyand £Bdnt-hearted, — ^to whom, with Joshua as hisone companion out of all the host that had come outof the land of Egypt, it was given to enter upon theinheritance which the rest had forfeited. So far asthe ethical significance of the story is concerned, sofar as we read the Bible narrative for " example of life and instruction of manners '* only, we need notperhaps go further. But here also, as in so manyother regions of biblical inquiry, there is a historythat lies below the sur£EU>e, not without its signifi-cance as bearing upon the growth and fortunes of thechosen people, fruitfdl also in materials for thoughtas we track out the succession of events in that mar-vellous continuity which, in sacred history as in thatwhich we call profane, knits together events of greatest moment, and those that are, apparently atleast, triviaL What I wish to dwell on in thispaper is the life and character of Caleb, the son of 70 BIBLICAL STUDIES.Jephunneli, aB one of the first conspicuous proselytesto the faith of Israel,That he was a proselyte,* and not of the seed of Jacob, perhaps not even of the seed of Abraham,according to the flesh, is clear beyond the shadow of a doubt. In Num. xiii. 6, he appears, it is true, asone of the chief warriors of the tribe of Judah, and ischosen to represent that tribe, as Joshua representsEphraim, in the expedition into Canaan. But inNimi. xxxii. 12, Josh. xiv. 6, 14, he is described byanother epithet as the " Kenezite ;" and this at oncethrows a new light on his position. If we accept thelist of nations given in Gen. xv. 19 — ^21, as be-longing to the time to which it purports to belong,
the Kenizzites take their place among the earliestinhabitants of Palestine, along with the.Kenites, theKadmonite8,the Hittites, the Perizzites,the Rephaim,the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, theJebusites. It is remarkable that we have no traceof their existence as a people at the time of the con-quest of Canaan by the Israelites. They wouldappear, i,e,y to have been, in the meantime, eitherexterminated or absorbed by some other race. Thelist of the so-called " dukes " of Edom in Gen. xxxvi.shows, in ver 42, the name of Kenaz as one of them ;and hence it has been inferred that the Kenezites asa tribe were descended from him and took his name.This, however, assimies the later date of the apparentlyearlier chronicle of Gen. xv., and, so far as one mayventure to conjecture in the midst of so much that isuncertain, it is, I think, more likely that the name* It is due to Lord Arthur Hervey to name him as having beenthe first, if not to notice the fact, yet to bring it into the pro-minence it deserves. Comp. his article, '' Caleb,'' in the ^ Dic-tionary of the Bible."CALEB, THE SON OF JEPHUNNEH, 71of the Edomite prince (connected as those princeswere with the wilder tribes of the wilderness) indi-cates some union^ or alliance ending in incorporation^with part of the older tribe, while the other wasdrawn towards the descendants of Jacob. It will beseen afterwards that the close juxtaposition in whichthey stand to the Kenites is every way important,and connects itself with what we shall be able totrace in the history of Caleb and his descendants.It is noticeable that the genealogies of the tribe of Judah given in 1 Chron. ii., give us the name of anearlier Caleb as belonging to that tribe. It wouldseem probable, accordingly, that the Kenezite con-vert, on his adoption of the faith and reception of thecovenant of Israel, was incorporated with* one of itschief families, and took a name that had alreadybecome conspicuous. The fact of such an accessionto the numbers of the Israelites before the time of the Exodus, is, as Lord Arthur Hervey has pointedout, every way significant. It does not stand alone.Among the children of Ashur the son of Hezron (of 
the same family, Le,y as the older Caleb), we find thename of " Temani," members, i.e., of the Edomitenation (1 Chron. i. 36; iv. 6). The names of thesons of Caleb, as given in 1 Chron. ii. 60 (" Shobaland the sons of Manahath ''), are identical withEdomite names in the genealogy of Gen. xxxvi.20 — ^23.* I follow the same writer in noting two other* I am compelled to admit, with. Lord Artliiir Hervey, the exist-ence of almost inextribahle confasion in the genealogical tables of the First Book of Chronicles. Names of persons and places aremixed up together, and what appears to he a pedigree represents,as far as we can judge, simply local relations. But in the midst of tiiis confusion, all me more striking, perhaps, because of it, theconnection of Caleb and his house with the Edomites, the RechabiteS)and the Kenites stands out distinctly.72 BIBLICAL STUDIES.suggestive peculiarities of expression. (1.) Whenwe come to the division of the hind of Canaan amongthe Israelites in Josh. xv. 14, we read that '^ UntoCaleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a part amongthe children of Judah ;" words which would be strangeand immeaning, if he had been by lineal descent amember of that tribe, but which become natural andappropriate if we think of him as a proselyte.(2.) That when the same fact is referred to in Josh,xiv. 14, it is given in the statement that " Hebronbecame the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephimnehthe Kenezite, because that he wholly followed Jehovah,God of Israel." The contrast between the foreignorigin aud the true faith is dwelt on as calling forthe special pre-eminence. The admission of prose-lytes, as in Ps. Ixxxvii.. the blessing pronounced byIsaiah on " the sons .of the strangers who gave them-selves unto the Lord" (Isa. Ivi. 3), are thus, as itwere, anticipated in the earliest records of Israel. Itis clear (1.) that some considerable section of theEdomite or yet older races were nimibered as pro-. selytes among the children of Israel ; (2.) that thetribe of Judah was that which, as in its earlier andlater history — ^in the intercourse of Judah and hissons with Tamar, in the marriages of Salmon withBahab, and of Boaz with Ruth, was the most readyto open its arms to receive such converts ; (3.) that

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