What does Calebite refer to?


Could the term 'Calebite' in I Samuel 25, which refers to Nabal, refer to those descended from the Caleb in Joshua?


"Now the man's name was Nabal, and his wife's name was Abigail. And the woman was intelligent and beautiful in appearance, but the man was harsh and evil in his dealings, and he was a Calebite" (I Samuel 25:3).

The last phrase in the verse is written as wehu khalevo in the Masoretic Manuscript, which means "and he like his heart." However, the Masoretic text had a vowel-pointing system added to the text in the seventh or eighth centuries A.D.

"The written text has, "he was according to his heart," celibbo, i.e. a self-willed man, or one whose rude exterior answered to his inner nature; but there are linguistic difficulties in the way of this reading, and the Kri is probably right in correcting calibbi, a Calebite, a descendant of Caleb, who had large possessions assigned him in the neighborhood of Hebron (Joshua 15:13-19), which is only ten miles northwest of Carmel" [Pulpit Commentary].

It is almost universally believed that the person adding the vowel points made a mistake.



Print Friendly, PDF & Email