Caleb (1 Chr 4:15-4:15)

“The sons of Caleb son of Jephunneh were Iru, Elah, and Naam. The son of Elah was Kenaz.”

This Caleb is not the son of Hezron but the son of Jephunneh as in Numbers. There were 2 people with the name Jephunneh, but this Jephunneh seems to be part of the Kenizzites, thus the relationship to Kenaz. He is always mentioned as the father of Caleb in Numbers. 2 of the 3 sons of this Caleb, Iru and Naam are only mentioned here. Elah, on the other hand, was a fairly common name, with 6 people sharing 24 occurrences, with most of the citations about the Babylonian Captivity. This Kenaz was the grandson of Caleb, who might have had a brother with the same name.

 

Kenaz (1 Chr 4:13-4:14)

“The sons of Kenaz were Othniel and Seraiah. The sons of Othniel were Hathath and Meonothai. Meonothai became the father of Ophrah. Seraiah became the father of Joab, the father of Geharashim, so-called because they were artisans.”

The name Kenaz appears 11 times in biblical literature. There appears to be 2 people with that name, one was a son of Esau in Genesis, chapter 36. The other was the younger brother of Caleb. However, there was a 3rd who was the grandson of Caleb. This Kenaz played a role in Judges, chapter 3, and Joshua, chapter 15, as did his son Othniel. Othniel was the 1st judge of Israel after the death of Joshua so that he is a very important person, as the nephew of Caleb and a judge. However, his sons Hathath and Meonothai are only mentioned here. Ophrah is mentioned 9 times in the biblical literature, about 3 different people, but most of them refer to a particular place in Judges. There 11 different people with the name of Seraiah. Joab is another popular name with 128 occurrences. Obviously Joab, the nephew of David was the most important of the 3 people with this name. However, this Joab is the father of the artisans, the Geharashim that is only mentioned here.

The clans of Edom (1 Chr 1:51-1:54)

“The clans of Edom are Timna, Aliah, Jetheth, Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, Magdiel, and Iram. These are the clans of Edom.”

These are the names of the eleven clans of Esau, so don’t say that Esau had no descendants. Incidentally a few are women, Timna and Oholibamah. Timna was the concubine of Eliphaz, the grandson of Esau. Oholibamah was the wife of Esau. Kenaz and Teman were the sons of Eliphaz. Aliah or Alvah in Genesis might have been a son of Shobal. However, we do not know much about the others mentioned here, Jetheth, Elah, Pinon, Mibzar, Magdiel, and Iram. This is almost the exact same as mentioned in Genesis, chapter 36.

Othniel (Judg 3:7-3:11)

“The Israelites did what was evil in the sight of Yahweh, forgetting Yahweh their God, and worshipping the Baals and the Asherahs. Therefore the anger of Yahweh was kindled against Israel. He sold them into the hand of King Cushan-rishathaim of Aramnaharaim. The Israelites served Cushan-rishathaim eight years. But when the Israelites cried out to Yahweh, Yahweh raised up a deliverer for Israelites, who delivered them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. The Spirit of Yahweh came upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war. Then Yahweh gave King Cushan-rishatham of Aram into his hand. His hand prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim. So the land had rest forty years. Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died.”

The Israelites were worshipping false gods. Baal was a common god among the ancient Mid-eastern people. Asherah was a popular female god. Aram or Aramnaharaim was an area northeast of Canaan, probably what we call Syria today. This would be an early Syrian occupation by Cushan that lasted 8 years. Which territory was involved is not clear. Othniel is both the nephew and son-in-law of Caleb, who is the brother of Kenaz, the father of Othniel. Othniel had married his first cousin, Achsah, the daughter of Caleb. Othniel got the springs and land because of his wife, Achsah, Caleb’s daughter. Thus this 1st judge would be fairly close to the time Joshua since Caleb was a contemporary of his. The spirit of Yahweh came upon Othniel so that he became a judge, like what is to later happen to the other judges and prophets. For 40 years the land was safe while Othniel was the first judge, judge #1.