Othniel and Ehud


Judges 3




I wish to rethink my previous comments on Judges 1:13, and offer that Othniel was the son of Kenaz, and Kenaz was the brother of Caleb1.


I stated earlier the possibility that Caleb lost his good standing – and perhaps his qualification from being the successor to Joshua – over his arrangement of this incestuous marriage. Evidently, it did not disqualify Othniel from being a successful judge.


The account in Judges 1:11b-15 should be understood as a flashback to Joshua 15:16-19. Judges 1:12 and following should be comprehended in the pluperfect: “Now Caleb had said….”




I take Judges 3:12-13 to be during the final years of the 40-year rest. There is no time gap between Judges 3:11 and Judges 3:14.


For eighteen years, Moab was occupying Israel. It is tempting to place the events of the book of Ruth in this eighteen-year period, though there is a problem with so dating it2.


1This would make Othniel a first-cousin to Achsah, not her uncle.


There are two problems with the way most English bibles are punctuated. First, Caleb’s father had always been Jephunneh, and not Kenaz. But also, it seems unlikely that Caleb and Othniel could have been brothers – even half-brothers – if Caleb was 85 in 1399 BC, and Othniel was still alive in 1356 BC to begin a 40-year term as Judge – a term that he was evidently alive the entire time.


2Moab occupied Israel from 1316 BC to 1298 BC. The book of Ruth calls for a ten-year sojourn into Moab, which can fit. But David wasn’t born until 1040 BC (2 Samuel 5:4). In order for Obed to be born as late as 1290 BC, and for Obed to be the grandfather of David, Obed and Jesse would have had to have an average age of 125 when they became fathers to Jesse and David, respectively.


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