"A dog." The son of Jephunneh,1 and one of the family chiefs of the tribe of Judah. He was one of those whom Moses sent to search the land in the second year after the Exodus. Caleb and Joshua the son of Nun were the only two of the whole number who encouraged the people to go up and possess the land, and they alone were spared when a plague broke out in which the other ten spies perished.2 All the people that had been numbered, from twenty years old and upward, perished in the wilderness except these two.

The last notice we have of Caleb is when (being then eighty-five years of age) he came to Joshua at the camp at Gilgal, after the people had gained possession of the land, and reminded him of the promise Moses had made to him, by virtue of which he claimed a certain portion of the land of Kirjath-arba (Hebron) as his inheritance.3

He is called a "Kenezite" in Josh. 14:6, 14. This may simply mean "son of Kenez."4 Some, however, read "Jephunneh, the son of Kenez," who was a descendant of Hezron, the son of Pharez, a grandson of Judah.5

Caleb's sons are called Iru, Elah, and Naam.6 According to Jewish tradition Caleb's tomb is at Timnath-heres, which is were Joshua is also buried.7



  1. Num. 13:6; 32:12; Josh. 14:6, 14.
  2. Num. 13; 14.
  3. Josh. 14:6-15; 15:13-15; 21:10- 12; 1 Sam. 25:2, 3; 30:14.
  4. Num. 32:12.
  5. 1 Chr. 2:5.
  6. 1 Chr. 4:15.
  7. Josh. 24:30.


  • Easton, M.G. (1897). Easton's Bible Dictionary. New York: Harper & Brothers.

This article incorporates text from Easton’s Bible Dictionary (1897) by M.G. Easton, which is in the public domain.