Caleb the Israelite, and other topics - Christogenea Forum Call 03-07-11

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On Caleb the Israelite:

Okay, today I thought I would try to clear something up, which I tried to do last week in an email, but the person who wrote to me just didn't get it when I answered. I will take the blame for that, and Yahweh willing, maybe I can do better here.

Concerning the Caleb of the book of Joshua – a hero of those of the spies who searched out Jericho - I have seen this same contention many times before, that he is pointed out to be an Edomite simply because Esau had a son named Kenaz, and Caleb had a grandfather named Kenaz. They take further advantage of a part of Numbers 14:24 where it says that Caleb “had another spirit with him” to try to make their wayward case for universalism. Their attitude is generally that if an Edomite (as they claim Caleb to be) can be saved, can't everyone else be saved?

This is sort of like insisting that General George Washington and George Washington Carver must be related, simply because they shared a name. It is odd how people think of the Bible – or rather, don't think of the Bible – that they can read it and its context does not matter: if two things sound alike, they must be alike. Such a perception is quite childish, to say the least.

The first Kenizzites are found in Genesis Chapter 15. But Esau's grandson Kenaz is not mentioned for a few hundred years later - and a few Genesis chapters later- as having been born in Genesis chapter 36. A lot of commentators would claim that the Kenizzites of the days of Abraham, in Genesis 15, descended from Kenaz the Edomite. They should throw their Torahs in the trash, and go back to reading their Talmud, or perhaps to Investor's Business Daily.

Here is Genesis 15:18-21: “18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: 19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, 20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, 21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.” So we see Kenizzites named among the tribes of Canaan long before Esau's grandson Kenaz was born. Esau's grandson Kenaz is mention in Scripture only in Genesis chapter 36, verses 11, 15 and 42, where it says that they dwelt “in the land of their possession”, which we know to be ancient Edom, and where the genealogy of Esau is repeated in 1 Chronicles chapter 1, at verses 36 and 53. Note that none of the other tribes of the Edomites are mentioned among the Canaanites of Genesis chapter 15. The Kenizzites of Genesis 15 are clearly there long before Esau's grandson Kenaz was born.

In Joshua 15:17 we see the name Kenaz mentioned again, this time of “Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb”. At Judges 1:13 and 3:9 he is “Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother”. At Judges 3:11 we see that “the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died”. So we see how old the son of Kenaz was, that he lived forty years after the Judges period began. This is a hundred years after the Exodus. The children of Israel were in Egypt for approximately 6 generations. This Kenaz therefore lived several generations after the grandson of Esau, and they cannot possibly be the same man. It is also evident that if Othniel was Caleb's brother, and he was a son of Kenaz, then Caleb was also a son of Kenaz. In Hebrew, the term for son was also applied to a grandson or great-grandson, etc.

In 1 Chronicles chapter 4, we have the genealogy of the tribe of Judah. At verses 13 through 15 we see: “13 And the sons of Kenaz; Othniel, and Seraiah: and the sons of Othniel; Hathath. 14 And Meonothai begat Ophrah: and Seraiah begat Joab, the father of the valley of Charashim; for they were craftsmen. 15 And the sons of Caleb the son of Jephunneh; Iru, Elah, and Naam: and the sons of Elah, even Kenaz.” At Numbers 13:6 we see “Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh.” and at 14:6 we see “And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes”.

At Numbers 14:24 we see that Caleb indeed “had another spirit with him” when it came to following Yahweh, and he was being commended for that, because there he was being compared to those children of Israel who would not follow Yahweh! The use of the word for spirit at Numbers 14:24 has nothing to do with the Spirit consciousness of God in us, but is rather used of a mood or mentality. We can all have moods and mentalities of rebellion, and that would make us sinners, which we all are. However Caleb was being commended, not castigated. The people who try to play deceptive word games, and con others into thinking that Caleb was an Edomite, those people are blasphemers and slanderers. I have seen this silly child's trick all too often.

Numbers 34:19 confirms 1 Chronicles chapter 4, where it says “And the names of the men are these: Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh”. At Joshua 14:6 we see Caleb is called a Kenezite, with one 'z', where in Genesis 15 the word had two, where it says: “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.” In Joshua 14:13 and 14:14 Caleb's father Jephunneh is again called a Kenezite. But at Joshua 15:13 it says “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.” We see Caleb inherits land among his tribesmen of Judah again, in 1 Chronicles chapter 6. Caleb's father is called a Kenizite only because he is related to Kenaz. But to Kenaz the descendant of Judah – mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4 and elsewhere. Not to Kenaz the Edomite! How could an Israelite of the Exodus, a man favored by Yahweh, possibly be an Edomite – especially with so many witnesses that he descended from Judah? A few minutes with a Strong's Concordance would prove that he is not, and save a lot of time in silly disputes.

The name Kenaz comes from a Hebrew word which simply means hunter. There are a lot of men today named Hunter, both as a surname and a personal name, but they are certainly not all related, or descended from a common ancestor named Hunter!