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CALEB'S DAUGHTER SOLICITING WATER-SPRINGS.
promised him was again in the possession of the Anakim,* and the towns they held were very strong, he was confident that God would be with him, and enable him to drive them out, if the grant was confirmed.
The assembly, convinced of the justice of Caleb's claim, confirmed these possessions to him; and he succeeded, not only in expelling three chiefs of the Anakim who held possession of Hebron, but in obtaining the other strong town of Debir, which was upon the lands assigned to him.
A circumstance connected with the capture of Debir illustrates some of the customs of the time. Caleb caused it to be publicly known, that he would give his daughter Achsah in marriage to the man who should take this place for him. The enterprise was undertaken by Othniel, the son of Caleb's brother, who had, by custom, the best right to the hand of his cousin, and would have incurred disgrace if he had allowed her to be taken away by another.f Othniel succeeded, and received his reward.
By this free grant of Caleb, Achsah obtained some land. This land, however, was a south land, dry, and generally barren; whence she was not satisfied with her marriage portion. She advised her husband to ask for a field, probably some particular field which belonged to Caleb, and adjacent to the land already bestowed upon them. Othniel deemed it most prudent that Achsah should solicit the boon herself, she being most likely to prevail. Accordingly, Achsah took the opportunity, when her father brought her home to the house of her husband, to make this request. Alighting from her
ass, in token of respect and reverence to her aged father, she gave him occasion to ask her what she wanted. Caleb, alive to the interests of his daughter, asked what she desired. Achsah replied, "Give me a blessing," or, “some gracious gift of land,” ? “ for thou hast given me a south land,” (a land barren and dry,)
give me also springs of water.” Achsah gained her object. Her
* The gigantic Anakim in and about Hebron had been extirpated or expelled by the captain of Israel. Some of them, however, had sought a refuge in the country of the Philistines, and many of these, probably while the attention of Joshua was engaged in the affairs of the north, had re-established themselves in parts of their ancient seats.
+ This custom, the absolute right of a father to dispose of his daughter, or to propose her as the reward of some perilous enterprise, still exists in oriental countries.
father granted what she asked, and gave her the upper and the nether springs.
Such is the scene intended to be represented in the subjoined drawing. In it Caleb figures as an aged warrior, like those seen in the Egyptian monuments. Achsah, having been brought up in the desert, exhibits the habits of her life in a robust frame, and a costume suited to the climate; while Othniel is drawn in the garb and with the accoutrements of a traveller, copied from what is supposed to be an Egyptian painting of an Israelite. The pole behind indicates the presence of a well, which forms the burden of Achsah's request, land being of little importance in that country without “springs of water.”
The conduct of Achsah, in seeking these “springs of water,” affords a beautiful example for mankind. Earth is to them but a south land, dry and barren. Even its richest pleasures afford them no real happiness: after partaking of them, the immortal soul is left unsatisfied. Where, then, can man find solid good? Only in par. taking of the waters of life, which proceed from the throne of God and the Lamb.
Follow the windings of that holy stream,
Although its course is traced
Through sorrow's desolate waste.
And thou shalt find it widen in its course,
And merge, all free from strife,
Into the streams of life.
M. A. BROWNE.