The son of Jephunneh (Nu 13:6). As an individual, he appears as one of the spies who were sent to 'spy out the land' of Canaan. He represented the tribe of Judah, and, together with Joshua, advocated an immediate attack upon the land; the fear of the people he denounces as rebellion against Jahweh (Nu 14:9); this, however, is resented by the people, who threaten to stone both him and Joshua. The carrying out of this threat is frustrated by the appearance of the Shekinah ('the glory of the Lord') in the Tabernacle (Nu 14:10). As a reward for his faithfulness Caleb is specially singled out for Jahweh's favour (Nu 14:24,30,38; De 1:36). He is thus one of the great champions of Jahweh.
As a name of a clan, Caleb (= Calebites) formed a branch of the children of Kenaz, an Edomite tribe, who settled in the hill-country north of the Negeb; they had possessions also in the Negeb itself (Jos 14:13-15; 1Sa 30:14; 1Ch 24:2 ff.); they ultimately became absorbed in the tribe of Judah.
W. O. E. Oesterley.