Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakims were there…
But little comparatively is said in the sacred writings concerning Caleb. What is recorded is decidedly in his favour, He stands before us as a model of unbending integrity. Selected from among the princes of Judah to be one of the twelve appointed to search the land of Canaan, he remained stedfast in his adherence to the will of God. Neither the remembrance of the giant sons of Anak and their fortified towns, nor the passionate wailings of his brethren, could make Caleb falter and falsify the report he had to give, and the recommendation he desired to make. For this he received the praise of Jehovah, and the promise that, not only should he be preserved to enter the land of Palestine, but also that the very part of the country concerning which some had given an unfavorable report should be allotted to him as his portion. Forty-five years had passed. The wilderness was full of graves. Joshua had succeeded Moses as leader of the Israelites; had overthrown in pitched battles the chief nations of Canaan; it was time to distribute to the tribes their inheritance. The partition was made in the first instance by lot. Then the arrangements for families were made by commissioners, and, as one of these, Caleb might have seized the city he desired. But, avoiding all suspicion of unfairness, he came with the children of Judah publicly to offer his petition. The text presents us therefore with -
I. A REQUEST FOR THE FULFILMENT OF A PROMISE, "Give me this mountain whereof the Lord spake in that day." As God's representative Joshua is desired to see that the ancient oath is not made void. The declaration of God would not remain without effect, yet observe the manner in which it was to be accomplished, viz., by the petition of the man to whom the declaration was granted. Caleb set a high value on the promise of God. Lightly would he have treated it had he allowed it to rest uncherished in his thoughts. God loves to see His people appreciate what He has offered to bestow. He has given "exceeding great and precious promises," and yet "will be inquired of" to do it for them. Our duty is clear. To lay hold of the announcements of His Word and ground on them our requests. Surely the reason why multitudes never pray is that they think little of the blessings promised to those that ask. We need quickened memories. Are the Scriptures to be empty volumes or full of life and power? The Bible may be our charter; the will of our Father bequeathing rich portions in this world and the world to come; our catalogue of precious furniture that may be had to adorn the household of saints. How many things we have never asked for or claimed as our own! Graces to beautify, gifts to enrich for evermore. "All Scripture is given that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." Man is expected to do his part even in the obtaining of a privilege. Some think, "If we are to be saved we shall be." Caleb might have thought similarly, and neglected to make his request, and gone without his portion. God requires men to use their reasoning powers, to examine the evidences of religion, to repent and believe in Christ - yes, to ask for the adoption that shall make them members of His family.
II. A REWARD SOUGHT LITTLE TO BE DESIRED IN THE EYES OF SOME. Hebron was a large city, a royal city, but the surrounding hills were the fastnesses of giants, who must be attacked and driven away. Before the owner could settle down on the estate he must dislodge the former proprietors. No easy conquest was to be anticipated, yet the courageous soldier said, "Give me this mountain. Others may choose quiet resting places, let me go to the high places of the field." Is there not here an example worthy of imitation? Who will be the advanced guard of the Christian army to attack the fortresses of Sin and Satan? An infusion of Caleb's spirit would do much to reconcile us to what we mourn over as the hardships of our lot. We should take a different view and regard them as our reward, increasing the honour put upon us by God. One man has to struggle in business against fearful odds, another is plagued by a wretched temper, a third is sorely tempted to murmur under a heavy bereavement. God intends these various trims as discipline and as honours. The troubles are the Anakim, who must be cheerfully, bravely encountered. How deep felt will be the joy of triumph! No soldier ought to lament when placed by God in the forefront of the battle. When Jesus drew near His hour of suffering He exclaimed, "Now is the Son of man glorified." Caleb believed that special power had been given for special work. He appealed to facts as indicative of Jehovah's intention respecting him. Not for indolence had he been "kept alive these forty and five years," and his strength preserved, his strength "for war both to go out and to come in" (vers. 10, 11). This principle admits of wide application. The gifts of God are various. To one is granted money, that institutions may be supported and enterprises commenced. To another the power of speech, that he may "speak to the people all the words of this life." To another a persuasive manner, a winning smile, the grace of hospitality. These are so many talents of which the Master will exact an account. bier will the question turn so much on actual accomplishment as on the ratio of abilities to results.
III. AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF DEPENDENCE UPON THE HELP OF GOD. His speech would sound like the utterance of self confidence and presumption did there not run through it a tone of devout thanksgiving, which removes the charge of boastfulness and reveals the source of his assurance. The Lord had kept him alive, and if the Lord were with him he would soon drive out the giants from their strongholds. When David essayed to fight the Philistine he reasoned from past experience. "The Lord that delivered me... bear, will deliver me from... Philistine." The same succour is assured to all Christian warriors. We want this mingled dependence and confidence. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" The commission, "Go therefore, preach the gospel to all nations," was preceded by the announcement, "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth." Can we complain of tribulation and distress? "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors;" they do but heighten the victory we gain, "through Him that loved us." - A.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.
WEB: Now therefore give me this hill country, of which Yahweh spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and great and fortified cities. It may be that Yahweh will be with me, and I shall drive them out, as Yahweh spoke."