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CALEB's DAUGHTER SOLICITING WATER-SPRINGS WITH HER GIFT OF LANDS.
(Joshua xv. 18, 19; AND JUDGES 1. 14, 15.)
ON the death of Moses, who was denied an entrance into the promised land for his conduct at the waters of Meribah, the Almighty appointed Joshua his successor, and gave him this commission:-‘Arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt.have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest,” Josh. i. 2–9.
Obedient to the Divine command, Joshua girded on his sword, and prepared for contest with the idolatrous Canaanites. Passing over Jordan, whose waters opened a pathway for his feet, he encompassed Jericho, which he finally burned with fire, after having “destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword,” Josh. vi. 21. The same fate awaited Ai and its inhabitants, with twenty-nine other ancient kingdoms, or distinct governments, of Canaan, as enumerated in Josh. xii. 9—24.
All these conquests were made within five years after the passage of the Jordan. So completely were the inhabitants of Canaan prostrated before the power of Israel, that, although there was much land yet remaining to be actually possessed, Joshua now received command to divide the country by lot, which he did in the year B.C. 1602.
Among the noted warriors of Israel was the aged Caleb, of whom we find honourable mention. As Moses approached the confines of Canaan, he selected one man out of every tribe to go forward, and examine the quality of the land and the strength of its inhabitants. On their return, ten out of this number declared it to be not only a barren land, incapable of supporting those who possessed it, but represented the inhabitants as being unconquerable. Not so did Joshua and Caleb. Although the Israelites, believing the evil report, rebelled, and formed the resolution of appointing a leader to conduct them back to their bondage in Egypt, they, acting for the two leading tribes of Judah and Ephraim, fearlessly and faithfully represented the land as a good land, and the inhabitants as easily to be conquered. Still the Israelites disbelieved them; and they were about to stone these faithful men, when the glory of Jehovah appeared in the cloud above the tabernacle. From thence he issued a decree, that all the men above twenty years of age when they left Egypt, should be cut off from their portion of the rich inheritance, which they so readily intended to forego, and leave their bones amidst the sands and solitudes of the desert, Joshua and Caleb only excepted.
Nor was it a prolongation of days alone which was promised to Joshua and Caleb on this occasion. To the latter, especially, Moses declared that the land in which he beheld the gigantic Anakim should be given to him for a possession, “because he had wholly followed Jehovah his God.” Accordingly, before the internal distribution of the territories was made to particular families, Caleb presented himself before the assembly, and reminded it of this promise. As he made this plea, he thankfully acknowledged that the Lord had, according to his word, kept him alive for forty-five years, while the generation to which he belonged had perished; and that now, although fourscore and five years old, he was as strong, and as able for council and war, as in that day when Moses sent him to explore the land. He added, that although the land