Othniel's Conquest of Debir
Joshua 15:13-19
And to Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a part among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of the LORD to Joshua…


(1)  Honourable for his zeal and energy;

(2)  conspicuous for his bravery;

(3)  and willing to use his strength in the way of the Lord's commandments.

(4)  It seems likely also that Caleb sought to unite his daughter to one who was in a social station akin to her own.The promise was not to the man who should first enter Kirjath-sepher. This may have been the nature of the similar promise at the siege of Jerusalem, under David, although it seems by no means certain that, even in this instance, David did not refer to the captain who should first bring his company into Jebus and smite the garrison. He should be chief captain (2 Samuel 5:8; 1 Chronicles 11:6). However this may have been, Caleb's promise ran, "He that smiteth Kirjath-sepher, and taketh it, to him," &c. No man single-handed could "smite and take" a fortified city; and thus the promise probably refers to the leaders of the army who were under Caleb. This view has also the advantage that it does not exhibit to us an honourable man like Caleb putting up his daughter as the object of a wretched scramble, where a mere accident of a stumble or a wound might decide whose she should be. Possibly there were but few of the commanders under Caleb officially qualified to lead one or more divisions of the army against Debit; and of these Othniel might first have volunteered, or he only might have volunteered to lead the attack. Any way, out of regard for Achsah, Othniel was one who offered to conduct the assault, and he succeeded.


1. Achsah accorded with her father's will and with the custom of the age. There can be no doubt but that, at this period, a father was held to have an absolute right to the disposal of his daughter's hand (Genesis 29:18-28; Exodus 21:7-11; 1 Samuel 17:25, &c.). It does not follow, however, that a father would not consult his daughter's wishes.

2. She had confidence in her father's love, notwithstanding her recognition of his authority. She asked for a larger dowry (ver. 19). On leaving her father, to cleave to her husband, we thus find her seeking her husband's interest.

3. Her father cheerfully responded to her request. The confidence which was bold to ask was met by an affection which was pleased to bestow.

III. THE HONOURABLE CHARACTER IN WHICH THIS BRIEF HISTORY INTRODUCES OTHNIEL. He comes before us as a man of courage, willing to risk his life for the woman he loved. He is seen to perhaps even more advantage in not preferring the request which Achsah prompted him to make. He may have refused to comply with his wife's wishes. The history does not actually say this; it merely shows that Achsah made her request herself. Othniel was bold enough to fight; he seems to have been too manly to have allowed himself to ask for this addition to what was probably already a just and good inheritance. He was brave enough to do battle against Debir; he was not mean enough to beg. If Achsah needed a larger dowry, such a request would come better from herself.

(F. G. Marchant.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a part among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of the LORD to Joshua, even the city of Arba the father of Anak, which city is Hebron.

WEB: To Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a portion among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of Yahweh to Joshua, even Kiriath Arba, named after the father of Anak (the same is Hebron).

Noble Discontent
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