Then the children of Judah came to Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said to him…
I. AN OLD MAN'S INHERITANCE. Old age has its benedictions, its redeemed pledges, its inheritance. The faithful, tireless servant of God has his portion, though he has not gathered, sold, and joined field to field. Caleb had been seeking for a country, not scattering an estate.
II. AN OLD MAN'S REQUEST. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints"; but the life approaching the grave with a weight of honourable service is alike cherished by the Lord. It must have been so with Caleb, His strength was as great for war as when he received his commission. The old man does not ask for land he may cultivate, on which to raise choice varieties of those grapes whose single clusters weary two men to bear them on a staff. He has led the life of a soldier His service for the Lord he thinks still lies in that direction. Those giants who frightened his comrades forty years ago have been on his mind ever since. The Israelites are not likely to become more warlike in this rich country where they can till the soil. He therefore proposes to take care of those enemies of God himself. When Herod the Great wished to rid the cliffs of Arbela of robbers, he caused Roman soldiers to be let down in cages to fight the outlaws in the mouths of their caves. Caleb did not ask for a Hebrew regiment to help him manage those sons of Anak. Hebron, that ancient city built seven years before Zoan in Egypt, ought not to remain longer in the hand of the infidel. Alien born or Hebrew, he cannot bear that God's people should be defied in their inheritance. In after-years, when crusading knights took this city, it was not with more righteous purpose than that which stirred the heart of this ancient servant of Jehovah.
III. AN OLD MAN'S REQUEST. Caleb's first work was to purify his inheritance. He got the iniquity out of it. He did not levy tribute on the brigands and live luxuriously on the income of robbery. This veteran was not a man of compromises. The enemies of God and righteousness could get no terms with him. His hands were not soiled with the revenue or the rents of a nefarious business. They did not close around the rewards of iniquity. Something of the spirit which in after-years stirred the heart of the Master as He drove the money-changers from the temple now rested on this old man. The spirit of reform was strong in him, and it had fuel to keep it burning, for it was fed by the Spirit of God and of righteousness. That mountain was not first cleared of timber, and lawns, parks, and terraces laid out and built on its slopes. There was perhaps no summer-house commanding a view of the distant Mediterranean, but there was some honourable estate to pass onward. There was a remainder which, according to Divine promise, would go to his descendants. It was cleared of the enemies of God. Whoever received it would get an inheritance without any bill of attainder against it for treason. Such a man as Caleb does not impoverish his estate, though he lessen it in behalf of righteousness. The bare mountain was to him a better property than a large rent-roll of criminal tenants.
(W. R. Campbell.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the LORD said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadeshbarnea.
WEB: Then the children of Judah drew near to Joshua in Gilgal. Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, "You know the thing that Yahweh spoke to Moses the man of God concerning me and concerning you in Kadesh Barnea.