Biblical People

Biblical People: Caleb (1)

After the Hebrew people escape Egypt, they make their way across the desert, approaching the land God promised to Abraham. Moses selects a representative from each tribe of Israel to spy out the land.

Caleb, son of Jephunneh, is one of the twelve men selected, representing the tribe of Judah. The twelve head out to discover what the land is like and do some reconnaissance so they can form a battle plan to conquer it. They spend forty days making a comprehensive tour of the area.

The group returns and presents their findings to Moses. “It’s a wonderful land,” they say, “but the people who live there are powerful and reside in fortified cities.”

Caleb, however, offers an opposite perspective. His is the minority report. “We should leave at once and conquer the land. We can certainly do that.”

But the majority disagree with Caleb. The Israelites—whose only skill is slave labor—seem no match for the inhabitants of the land. “Those people are stronger and bigger than we are,” they say.

In the end, the people disregard what Caleb said and believe the majority report. They cry, grumble, and want to return to Egypt.

But Caleb—along with Joshua, one of the other spies—encourages the people to move forward under God’s power to take the land. 

In response, the people threaten to stone them.

Are we willing to stand up and speak God’s truth even if we are a small minority? When we see others deciding to do what we believe is wrong, how do we respond?

[Read Caleb’s story in Numbers 13–14. Discover more in Joshua 15:13–19 and Judges 1:12–20.]

Learn about more biblical characters in Old Testament Sinners and Saints, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover. Get your copy today.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at