Caleb: Son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite


The voice of the minority is not often given a hearing. Nevertheless, the truth can not be measured by numbers. On the contrary, it often stands against the majority opinion. Truth remains unchanged because it is guaranteed by the character of God. God is truth; what he says is the last word. At times, a person must even stand alone on the side of truth. Caleb was not so much a man of great faith as a man of faith in a great God! His boldness rested on his understanding of God, not on his confidence in Israel’s abilities to conquer the land. He could not agree with the majority, for that would be to disagree with God.

Imagine standing before a crowd and loudly voicing an unpopular opinion. To be effective when you go against the crowd, you must have the facts (Caleb had seen the land himself); have the right attitude (Caleb trusted God’s promise to give Israel the land); state clearly what you believe (Caleb said, “We can certainly do it“).

We, on the other hand, often base our decisions on what everyone else is doing. Few of us are first-order cowards like the ten spies. We are more like the people of Israel, getting our cowardice secondhand. Our search for right and wrong usually starts with questions such as “What do the experts say?” or “What do my friends say?” The question we most often avoid is “What does God say?” The principles we learn as we study the Bible provide a dependable road map for life. They draw us into a personal relationship with the God whose Word is the Bible. The God who gave Caleb his boldness is the same God who offers us the gift of eternal life through his Son, Jesus. That’s truth worth believing!

Strengths and Accomplishments

  • One of the spies sent by Moses to survey the land of Canaan
  • One of the only two adults who left Egypt and entered the promised land
  • Voiced the minority opinion in favor of conquering the land
  • Expressed faith in God’s promises, in spite of apparent obstacles

Lessons From His Life

  • Majority opinion is not an accurate measurement of right and wrong
  • Boldness based on God’s faithfulness is appropriate
  • For courage and faith to be effective, they must combine words and actions

Vital Statistics for Caleb

  • Where: From Egypt to the Sinai peninsula to the promised land, specifically Hebron
  • Occupations: Spy, soldier, shepherd

Key Verse for Caleb

“But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it” (Numbers 14:24)

The ESV Study Bible, Large Print edition features the content of the award-winning ESV Study Bible with a highly readable, large-print type. Extensive study notes, charts, maps, and articles make this study Bible a valuable resource for serious readers, students, and teachers of God’s Word.

Caleb’s story is told in Numbers 13; 14 and Joshua 14; 15. He is also mentioned in Judges 1 and 1 Chronicles 4:15.

Click here to print or download the scripture character study “Caleb: Son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite


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