Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in my heart.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Forty years old was I . . . and (10) I am this day fourscore and five years old.—In this speech we have the only direct evidence as to the duration of the wars of Canaan under Joshua. The spies were sent from Kadesh-barnea in the second year of the Exodus, about 38½ years before the passage of Jordan (see Deuteronomy 2:14). Thus Caleb would be 40+38=78 years old when they crossed the Jordan. He was 85 when they began to divide the country. Therefore the conquest itself must have extended over a period of seven years. It is manifest that the record of the capture of Jericho and Ai, with the two campaigns of Joshua against the southern and northern confederacies, does not give all the details of the war.Joshua 14:7-8. I brought him word, as it was in my heart — I spake my opinion sincerely, without flattery and fear, when the other spies were biassed by their own fears, and the dread of the people, to speak otherwise than in their consciences they believed. I wholly followed the Lord my God — The Hebrew, מלאתי אחרי יהוה, milleeti acharei Jehovah, is literally, I filled after the Lord my God, which words, as Dr. Dodd justly observes, “give the idea of a traveller, who, attentive to the following of his guide, so treads in his steps, as to leave hardly any void space between his guide and him, and continually fills up the traces of his feet.” This testimony, God himself had borne to Caleb, and his repeating it here is perfectly consistent with modesty, and was even necessary, as being the ground of his petition and claim.
6-11. Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb … said—This incident is recorded here because it occurred while the preparations were being made for casting the lots, which, it appears, were begun in Gilgal. The claim of Caleb to the mountains of Hebron as his personal and family possessions was founded on a solemn promise of Moses, forty-five years before (Nu 14:24; De 1:36; Jos 14:10), to give him that land on account of his fidelity. Being one of the nominees appointed to preside over the division of the country, he might have been charged with using his powers as a commissioner to his own advantage, had he urged his request in private; and therefore he took some of his brethren along with him as witness of the justice and propriety of his conduct.Forty years old was I: see Poole "Joshua 11:18".
I brought him word again as it was in mine heart; I spake my opinion sincerely, without flattery and fear, when the other spies were biassed by their own fears, and the dread of the people, to speak otherwise than in their consciences they believed, as appears from Numbers 13:30-32 14:36. Numbers 13:26, Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. to espy out the land] “for to behold the loond,” Wyclif. “Espy” (comp. Genesis 42:27, “And as one of them opened his sack … he espied his money”) comes from Fr. espier, Sp. espiar, which are modifications of the Latin aspicere. The old form was aspy or aspie. See below the quotation from Wyclif, Joshua 14:11, and comp.
“Securely I espy
Virtue with valour couched in thine eye.”
Shakespeare, Richard II. I. 3. 97.
as it was in mine heart] i.e. “according to my thorough conviction,” in the bold confident spirit, which spoke out exactly what it felt. “He had neither courted the favour of any man by his words, nor feared their anger.” He had spoken out what he believed.Verse 7. - Forty years old. The Hebrew expression is "the son of forty years." Compare the expressions "son of man," "sons of Belial," "son of the perverse re. bellious woman." As it was in my heart. Literally, according as with my heart, i.e., in agreement with what I saw and felt. The LXX. reads "according to his mind," i.e., that of Moses. Houbigant and Le Clerc approve of this reading, but it seems quite out of keeping with the character of Caleb. He did not endeavour to accommodate his report to the wishes of any man, but gave what he himself believed to be a true and faithful account of what he had seen and heard (see Numbers 13:30; Numbers 14:7-9; Deuteronomy 1:36). Joshua 14:1-5 form the heading and introduction to the account of the division of the land among the nine tribes and a half, which reaches to Joshua 19, and is brought to a close by the concluding formula in Joshua 19:51. The division of the land of Canaan according to the boundaries laid down in Numbers 34:2-12 was carried out, in accordance with the instructions in Numbers 34:16-29, by the high priest Eleazar, Joshua, and ten heads of fathers' houses of the nine tribes and a half, whose names are given in Numbers 34:18-28. "By the lot of their inheritance," i.e., by casting lots for it: this is dependent upon the previous clause, "which they distributed for inheritance to them." "As the Lord commanded through Moses" (Numbers 26:52-56; Numbers 33:54, and Numbers 34:13), "to the nine tribes and a half" (this is also dependent upon the clause "which they distributed for inheritance").
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