A whole lot of land had been conquered by Joshua and the Israelites as God fought battle after battle for them. At this point in the Story, Caleb, a brave, honest man, was eighty-five years old and just as strong as ever. Back in the day, when Moses sent him and Joshua to Canaan as part of a twelve-man scouting party, Moses recognized Caleb’s integrity and promised a specific portion of the Promised Land to him. Caleb was to receive this inheritance because he followed the Lord wholeheartedly. Now the time was right for Caleb to remind Joshua of the promise that Moses had made over four decades earlier.
Both Joshua and Caleb must have felt the building excitement as this particular promise was about to be reality. They had waited an additional forty-five years since they first spied out the good, plentiful land that flowed with milk and honey. I can picture Joshua hugging his loyal friend, memories flooding through their minds of grape clusters so big it took two men to carry, of large fortified cities and of enemies big and strong. A younger Joshua and Caleb sought to rally the people when they returned from their forty-day exploration. “We can do this! God has promised the land to us! Don’t be afraid, for God is with us and we will swallow those people up!” But sadly, the Israelites gave into fear and listened to the whiney report from the other ten leaders instead. It took forty years for all of the non-trusting people to die as they wandered in the desert. Now Joshua, following God, was leading successful military campaigns with Caleb at his side and a new generation was experiencing the promises of God fulfilled. Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance.