Caleb Who?By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
Chapter 2 starts with a list of Israel’s sons, for whom the Tribes were named. Here, they are grouped in order by their mothers, though Dan is out of place. (When Rachel did not initially conceive, she altruistically gave her servant Bilha to Jacob – see Genesis 30. For this reason, Dan, the product of that union, is listed with the sons of Rachel.) The chapter continues with the descendants of Judah, since the Book’s primary purpose is to chronicle the Davidic dynasty.
Achan, who pilfered consecrated goods in Joshua chapter 7, is here called Achar. This is a play on words, as verse 7 here says “Achar ocheir” – “Achar did something repulsive.” (In Hebrew, the words have the same root letters, ayin-chaf-reish.)
We get to Jesse, the father of David, in verse 12. Verses 13-16 list David and his siblings. Most of the rest of the chapter is concerned with the family of Kalev (Caleb). The Kalev with whom we are familiar from the Torah is Kalev the son of Yefuneh, one of the 12 spies sent by Moses in Numbers chapters 13-14. Another Kalev discussed here is the son of Chetzron. The opinion that they are one and the same presents some difficulties, including the time line. We therefore will work under the assumption that they are two different individuals. (Things are further complicated by the fact that there are some other names duplicated around the two Kalevs – which is not uncommon in families – and there is a third Kalev – the son of Chur, who first appears in verse 50.)