Caleb - A Man Who Followed the Lord Wholeheartedly

Profile of Caleb, Spy and Conqueror of Hebron

Joshua and Caleb
The return of Joshua and Caleb after scouting Canaan. Culture Club / Contributor / Getty Images

Caleb was a man who lived as most of us would like to live--putting his faith in God to handle the dangers around him.

His story appears in the book of Numbers, after the Israelites had escaped Egypt and arrived at the border of the Promised LandMoses sent 12 spies into Canaan to scout the territory.  Among them were Joshua and Caleb.

All the spies agreed on the richness of the land, but ten of them said Israel could not conquer it because its inhabitants were too powerful and their cities were like fortresses.

  Only Caleb and Joshua dared to contradict them.

Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” (Numbers 13:30, NIV)

God was so angry at the Israelites for their lack of faith in him that he forced them to wander in the desert 40 years, until that entire generation had died--all except Joshua and Caleb.

After the Israelites returned and set about conquering the land, Joshua, the new leader, gave Caleb the territory around Hebron, belonging to the Anakites.  These giants, descendants of the Nephilim, had terrified the original spies but proved no match for God's people.

Caleb's name means "raging with canine madness."  Some Bible scholars think Caleb or his tribe came from a pagan people who were assimilated into the Jewish nation.  He represented the tribe of Judah, from which came Jesus Christ, Savior of the world.

Caleb's Accomplishments:

Caleb successfully spied out Canaan, on assignment from Moses.  He survived 40 years of wandering in the desert, then on returning to the Promised Land, he conquered the territory around Hebron, defeating the giant sons of Anak: Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai.

Caleb's Strengths:

Caleb was physically strong, vigorous to old age, and ingenious in dealing with trouble.

  Most importantly, he followed God with his whole heart.

Life Lessons from Caleb:

Caleb knew that when God gave him a task to do, God would supply him with all he needed to complete that mission.  Caleb spoke up for truth, even when he was in the minority.  We can learn from Caleb that our own weakness brings an inpouring of God's strength.  Caleb teaches us to be loyal to God and to expect him to be loyal to us in return.

Hometown:

Caleb was born a slave in Goshen, in Egypt.

References to Caleb in the Bible:

Numbers 13, 14; Joshua 14, 15; Judges 1:12-20; 1 Samuel 30:14; 1 Chronicles 2:9, 18, 24, 42, 50, 4:15, 6:56.

Occupation:

Egyptian slave, spy, soldier, shepherd.

Family Tree:

Father: Jephunneh, the Kenizzite
Sons:  Iru, Elah, Naam
Brother: Kenaz
Nephew:  Othniel
Daughter: Achsa

Key Verses:

Numbers 14:6-9
Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, "The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them." (NIV)

 

Jack Zavada, a career writer and contributor for About.com, is host to a Christian website for singles. Never married, Jack feels that the hard-won lessons he has learned may help other Christian singles make sense of their lives. His articles and ebooks offer great hope and encouragement. To contact him or for more information, visit Jack's Bio Page.