Caleb is famously known in the Bible as one of the two spies who defied Israel’s objections to conquer Canaan. But, do you know that Caleb’s defiance and heart for God are reflected in the meaning behind his Hebrew name?
Caleb, The Wholehearted
Ancient Israel esteemed names as representations of the person’s identity. They believe that a name influences the individual’s character and even destiny. That is why, in the Israelite community, they take their time in giving their child’s name after birth. They usually take over a week before officially deciding which name is appropriate.
Then, Caleb’s parents gave him a perfect name for Caleb means “all heart” or “wholehearted” in Hebrew. Caleb comes from two words, “Kaf Lamed” means “all,” and “Lamed Beyt” means “heart.”
So, how was he wholehearted? It was when he showed his devotion to the God of Israel.
Faith in God’s promise
Moses led Israel from Egypt to Canaan, the nation promised to them by God. But, before they could step over the promised land, the tribe of giants were already living in it. So, he sent out twelve warriors to spy on the area.
But, ten out of the twelve spies were hesitant and afraid to conquer Canaan because of the giants. Their bad report influenced the community so much that they all clamored against Moses and God.
The remaining two spies were Joshua and Caleb. They believed in God and encouraged the people to take hold of God’s promise. Numbers 13:30 says, “Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
And God did not overlook Caleb’s passion. He was pleased with his faith. So, He declared, “not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” (Numbers 14:23-24)
Reference: Living Word