Sermon on the Mount, The Emmaus View

Appendix G: Calebs compared (Version 1.4)

Within First Chronicles’ genealogical overview of the tribe of Judah (1 Chr 1:1-4:23), it is possible to identify three individuals called Caleb, a Caleb son of Hezron (1 Chr 2:18-19, 42-49), aka Carmi son of Hezron (1 Chr 4:1), a Caleb son of Hur (1 Chr 2:50-55), and the Caleb son of Jephunneh who features sporadically in Numbers and Joshua.

The main genealogy of Hezron (1 Chr 2:9-50) has little to say concerning Hur, beyond the fact that Bezalel was his grandson (1 Chr 2:19-20), for it switches from a general outline of Hezron’s family (1 Chr 2:25-24) to the detail for first Jerahmeel (1 Chr 2:25-41), then the elder Caleb (1 Chr 2:42-50). The relationship between this elder Caleb and Achsah1 is noted as an introduction to a section concerning the tribes related to the younger Caleb (1 Chr 2:50-55).

A detailed comparison of the three individuals (see table below) strongly suggests that Caleb son of Hur and Caleb son of Jephunneh were different names for a single individual, who was in turn a descendant of the elder Caleb, son Hezron.

The three Caleb’s compared.

Caleb son of Hezron

Caleb son of Hur

Caleb son of Jephunneh

Mentioned amidst genealogical records for Judah

Mentioned amidst genealogical records for Judah

Of Judah (Num 13:6). A Kenizzites (Num 32:12)

Son of Hezron (1 Chr 2:18), who had a son called Hur by Ephrath (1 Chr 2:19)

Son of Hur, the firstborn of Ephrathah (1 Chr 2:50)

Son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite (Num 32:12, Josh 14:6, 14). Son of Hur, firstborn of Ephrathah (1 Chr 4: 15)

Appears related to the Kenites who came from Hammath (1 Chr 2:55)

Caleb’s relative Othniel, a son of Kenaz (1 Chr 4:13-15), is mentioned alongside Moses Kenite relatives (Judg 1:12-16)

Grandson by Mesha was Mareshah the father of Hebron (1 Chr 2:42)

Hebron is his heritage (Josh 14:14)

Grandson of Perez (1 Chr 2:5) and brother of Ram, the grandfather of Nahshon, led Judah around the time the spying mission (1 Chr 2:9).

Of the generation who undertook the spying mission, because Hur appears of Moses and Aaron’s generation (Exod 24:14)

Judah’s representative spy (Num 13:6). About forty five at the time of the spying mission (Josh 14:10)

Had a female relative called Achsah (1 Chr 2:49)

Had a female relative called Achsah (Josh 15:17).

Great great granduncle of Salma (1 Chr 2:11), father of Boaz of Bethlehem (Ruth 2:4). His son, Hur, firstborn of Ephrathah, is ‘father of Bethlehem’ (1 Chr 4:4)

Father of Salma, the father of Bethlehem (1 Chr 2:51)

Great grandchildren include the prominent artisan Bezalel (1 Chr 2:20, Exodus 35:30-31)

The grandchildren of his brother Othniel were prominent craftsmen (1 Chr 4:14)

The genealogy of 1 Chr 2:1-4:23 is highly selective and deals primarily with the direct lines of significant descendants or individuals. It also has a purposeful structure.

Following a summary of four of the five sons of Judah (1 Chr 2:1-8), the text focuses on Hezron (1 Chr 2:9-3:24). Initially, only the more famous descendants are mentioned: From Ram, David and several of his army officers and mighty men (10-17); From Caleb senior, the artisan Bezalel (1 Chr 2:18-20); From Segub, Jair who owned twenty-three cities in Gilead (1 Chr 2:21-23); From Caleb senior and Hezron’s widow, Ephathrah, Tekoah, son of Ashhur (1 Chr 2:24)2; From Jerahmeel, David’s mighty man Ahijah (1 Chr 2:25).

There follows a detailed genealogy for Jerahmeel’s descendant Elishama. Spanning over at least fifteen generations, its significance seems linked to the legal ramifications of Jerahmeel’s descendant Sheshan having no sons, but giving his daughter to an Egyptian servant (1 Chr 25-41).

Next come further details of the genealogy of Caleb senior’s descendants (1 Chr 42-49). This flows into a summary of the famous descendants of Caleb jnr., son of Hur (1 Chr 50-55), the city fathers (Shobal of Kiriath-jearim and Salma of Bethlehem), various clans, the scribes linked to Jabez, and the house of Rechab. Then, still in the context of Caleb jnr. and his son Salma (as would be expected from Chapter 10), the text culminates with an expansion of the descendants of David (1 Chr 3:1-24). It then returns to complete its systematic treatment of the sons of Judah and mop up the loose end of Judah’s fifth son, Shobal (1 Chr 4:1-4a).

The treatment of Shobal may provide a logical end to the genealogy of the tribe of Judah, however it is not the end. Following it, almost as an afterthought, is more detail for the descendants of Hur (1 Chr 4:4b-23), the individual inexplicably missing from 1 Chr 4:5. The curious status of the family may help explain why this group is broken out for special treatment in such an odd fashion. Whilst technically descended from Judah, the family was nevertheless set apart by their Kenite and Kennizite connections (as explored in Chapter 10).

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1 The use of daughter here implying no more than female descendant.

2 The son of Hur (1 Chr 4:5) though Hur is not mentioned here.