Reading through the Bible together
As we have seen in the previous chapter and now in Joshua 16, Caleb and Joshua were the only ones left of all the adults who had escaped from Egypt, crossed the Red Sea, and wandered in the wilderness with Israel for 40 years. Now Joshua gave Caleb Hebron, the city that had so frightened the spies because of the giant Anakites lived there. Trusting in the Lord, 85-year-old Caleb drove out the Anakites and then marched against Kiriath Sepher. Othniel, his nephew, took it and claimed Caleb’s daughter Acsah as his reward.
Sadly many other in Israel did not share Caleb’s faith. The Judahites could not dislodge the Jebusites from Jerusalem; and 16:10 says the Ephramites did not dislodge the Canaanites. By letting these foreigners stay in their midst, the Ephraimites were endangering themselves spiritually. Their future shows them lapsing into idolatry until the Lord was forced to say through His prophet, “Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone (Hosea 4:17). In the chapters that follow we read that the Manassites were not able to occupy some of their towns, for the Canaanites “were determined to live in that region;” and the Danites had difficulty taking possession of their territory.
If they would have had faith and had made the effort, the Lord would have given them the victory as He did Caleb. Thus the way was prepared for future apostasy. Will our faith stand against the world around us?
Retired Professor and Missionary