You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war. — Winston Churchill

Story of the Bible Told for Young and Old - Jesse Hurlbut

The Old Man Who Fought against the Giants

The great war for the conquest of Canaan was now ended, though in the land some cities were still held by the Canaanite people. Yet the Israelites were now the rulers over most of the country, and Joshua prepared to divide the land among the tribes of Israel.

One day the rulers of the tribe of Judah came to Joshua's tent at Gilgal, and with them came an old man, Caleb, whom you remember as one of the twelve spies sent by Moses from Kadesh-barnea to go through the land of Canaan. (See Part First, Story Thirty.) This had been many years before, and Caleb was now, like Joshua, an old man, past eighty years of age. He said to Joshua:

"You remember what the Lord said to Moses, the man of God, when we were in the desert at Kadesh-barnea, and you and I with the other spies brought back our report. I spoke to Moses the word that was in my heart, and I followed the Lord wholly, when the other spies spoke out of their own fear, and made the people afraid. On that day, you remember that Moses said to me, 'The land where your feet have trodden and over which you have walked shall be yours, because you trusted in the Lord.'

"That was forty-five years ago," Caleb went on to say, "and God has kept me alive all those years. To-day, at eighty-five years of age, I am as strong as I was in that day. And now I ask that the promise made by Moses be kept, and that I have my choice of the places in the land."

"Well," said Joshua, "you can take your choice in the land. What part of it will you choose?"

And Caleb answered:

"The place that I will choose is the very mountain on which we saw the city with the high walls, where the giants were living then, and where other giants, their sons, are living now, the city of Hebron. I know that the walls are high, and the giants live there. But the Lord will help to take the cities, and to drive out the people who live in them. Let me have the city of Hebron."

This was very bold in so old a man as Caleb, to choose the city which was not yet taken from the enemies, and one of the hardest cities to take, when he might have chosen some rich place already won. But Caleb at eighty-five showed the same spirit of courage, and willingness to war, and faith in God, that he had shown in his prime at forty years of age. Then Joshua said to Caleb, "You shall have the city of Hebron, with all its giants, if you will gather together your men, and take it." And the old soldier brought together his men, and led them against the strong city of Hebron, where was the tomb of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (See Stories Ten, Eleven and Nineteen.) By the help of the Lord, Caleb was able to drive out the giants, tall and mighty as they were. They fled from Caleb's men and went down to the shore on the west of the land, and lived among the people of that region, who were called the Philistines; while Caleb, and his children, and his descendants long after him, held the city of Hebron in the south of the land.

After this, by the command of the Lord, Joshua divided the land among the tribes. Two tribes and half of another tribe had already received their land on the east of Jordan; so there were nine tribes and a half tribe to receive their shares. Judah, one of the largest, had the mountain country west of the Dead Sea, from Hebron to Jerusalem; Simeon was on the south toward the desert; Benjamin was north of Judah on the east, toward the Jordan, and Dan north of Judah on the west, toward the Great Sea.

In the middle of the country, around the city of Shechem, and the two mountains, Ebal and Gerizim, where Joshua had read the law to the people (see Story Three in this Part), was the land of the tribe of Ephraim. This was one of the best parts of all the country, for the soil was rich and there were many springs and streams of water. And here, near Mount Ebal, they buried the body of their tribe-father Joseph, which they had kept in its coffin of stone, unburied, ever since they left Egypt, more than forty years before. As Joshua himself belonged to the tribe of Ephraim, his home was also in this land.

North of Ephraim, and reaching from the river Jordan to the Great Sea, was the land of the other half of the tribe of Manasseh. Both tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh had sprung from Joseph. So Joseph's descendants had two tribes, as had been promised by Jacob when he was about to die. (See Story Nineteen in Part First.)

The northern part of the land was divided among four tribes. Issacher was in the south, Asher on the west beside the Great Sea, Zebulun was in the middle among the mountains, and Naphtali was in the north, and by the lake afterward called the Sea of Galilee. At that time this lake was called the Sea of Kinnoreth, because the word "kinnor" means "a harp;" and as they thought that his lake was shaped somewhat like a harp, they named it "the Harp-shaped Sea."

But although all the land had been divided, it had not all been completely conquered. Nearly all the Canaanite people were there, still living upon the land, though in the mountain region they were under the rule of the Israelites. But on the plain beside the Great Sea, on the west of the land were the Philistines, a very strong people whom the Israelites had not yet met in war, though the time was coming when they would meet them, and suffer from them.

And even among the mountains were many cities where the Canaanite people still lived, and in some of these cities they were strong. Years afterward, when Joshua the great warrior was no longer living, many of these people rose up to trouble the Israelites. The time came when the tribes of Israel wished often that their fathers had driven out or entirely destroyed the Canaanites, before they ceased the war and divided the land.

But when Joshua divided the land, and sent the tribes to their new homes, peace seemed to reign over all the country. Up to this time we have spoken of all this land as the land of Canaan, but now and henceforth it was to be called "The Land of Israel," or "The Land of the Twelve Tribes," for it was now their home.

The Mosque of Omar, or the Dome of the Rock


Front Matter

The Story of a Beautiful Garden
The First Baby in the World and His Brother
The Great Ship That Saved Eight People
The Tower That Was Never Finished
The Story of a Long Journey
How Abram's Choice Brought Blessing
The Angel by the Well
The Rain of Fire That Fell on a City
The Boy Who Became an Archer
How an Angel's Voice Saved a Boy's Life
The Story of a Journey after a Wife
How Jacob Stole His Brother's Blessing
Jacob's Wonderful Dream
A Midnight Wrestling Match
The Rich Man's Son Who Was Sold as a Slave
From the Prison to the Palace
How Joseph's Dream Came True
A Lost Brother Found
From the Land of Famine to the Land of Plenty
The Beautiful Baby Who Was Found in a River
The Voice from the Burning Bush
The River That Ran Blood
The Night When a Nation Was Born
How the Sea Became Dry Land and the Sky Rained Bre
The Mountain That Smoked and Words That Were Spoke
How Aaron Made a Golden Calf and What Became of It
The Tent Where God Lived Among His People
How They Worshipped God in the Tabernacle
What Strong Drink Brought to Aaron's Sons
The Scapegoat in the Wilderness
The Cluster of Grapes from the Land of Canaan
How the Long Journey of the Israelites Came to an
What a Wise Man Learned from an Ass
How Moses Looked upon the Promised Land
The Story of Job
The Story of a Scarlet Cord
How the River Jordan Became Dry
The Story of a Wedge of Gold
How Joshua Conquered the Land of Canaan
The Old Man Who Fought Against the Giants
The Avenger of Blook and the Cities of Refuge
The Story of an Altar Beside the River
The Presnt That Ehud Brought to King Eglon
How a Woman Won a Great Victory
Gideon and His Brave Three Hundred
Jephthah's Rash Promise and What Came from It
The Strong Man: How He Lived and How He Died
The Idol Temple at Dan and Its Priest
How Ruth Gleaned in the Field of Boaz
The Little Boy with a Linen Coat
How the Idol Fell Down Before the Ark
The Last of the Judges
The Tall Man Who Was Chosen King
How Saul Saved the Eyes of the Men of Jabesh
The Brave Young Prince
Saul's Great Sin and His Great Loss
The Shepherd Boy of Bethlehem
The Shepherd Boy's Fight with the Giant
The Little Boy Looking for the Arrows
Where David Found the Giant's Sword
How David Spared Saul's Life
The Last Days of King Saul
The Shepherd Boy Becomes a King
The Sound in the Treetops
The Cripple at the King's Table
The Prophet's Story of the Little Lamb
David's Handsome Son and How He Stole the Kingdom
Absalom in the Wood; David on the Throne
The Angel with the Drawn Sword on Mount Moriah
Solomon on This Father's Throne
The Wise Young King
The House of God on Mount Moriah
The Last Days of Solomon's Reign
The Breaking Up of a Great Kingdom
The King Who Led Israel to Sin
The Prophet Who Raised a Boy to Life
The Prayer That Was Answered in Fire
The Voice That Spoke to Elijah in the Mount
The Wounded Prophet and His Story
What Ahab Paid for His Vineyard
The Arrow That Killed a King
Elijah's Chariot of Fire
A Spring Sweetened by Salt
The Pot of Oil and the Pot of Poison
The Little Boy at Shunem
How a Little Girl Helped to Cure a Leper
The Chariots of Fire around Elisha
What the Lepers Found in the Camp
Jehu, the Furious Driver of His Chariot
Elisha and the Bow; Jonah and Nineveh
How the Ten Tribes Were Lost
The First Four Kings of Judah
The Little Boy Who Was Crowned King
Three Kings and a Great Prophet
The Good King Hezekiah
The Lost Book Found in the Temple
The Last Four Kings of Judah and the Weeping Proph
What Ezekiel Saw in the Valley
The Jewish Captives in the Court of the King
The Golden Image and the Fiery Furnace
The Tree That Was Cut Down and Grew Again
The Writing upon the Wall
Daniel in the Den of Lions
The Story of a Joyous Journey
The New Temple on Mount Moriah
The Beautiful Queen of Persia
The Scribe Who Wrote the Old Testament
The Nobleman Who Built the Wall of Jerusalem
Ezra's Great Bible Class in Jerusalem
The Angel by the Altar
The Manger of Bethlehem
The Star and the Wise Men
The Boy in his Father's House
The Prophet in the Wilderness
Jesus in the Desert, and beside the River
The Water Jars at the Wedding Feast
The Stranger at the Well
The Story of a Boy in Capernaum and a Riot
A Net Full of Fishes
The Leper and the Man Let Down through the Roof
The Cripple at the Pool and the Withered Hand
The Twelve Disciples and the Sermon on the Mount
The Captain's Servant, the Widow's Son, and a Sinn
Some Stories Jesus Told by the Sea
"Peace, Be Still"
The Little Girl Who Was Raised to Life
A Dancing Girl and What Was Given Her
The Feast beside the Sea and What Followed It
The Answer to a Mother's Prayer
The Glory of Jesus on the Mountain
The Little Child in the Arms of Jesus
At the Feast of Tabernacles
The Man with Clay on His Face
The Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan
Lazarus Raised to Life
Some Parables in Perea
The Poor Rich Man and the Rich Poor Man
Jesus at Jericho
Palm Sunday
The Last Vistis of Jesus to the Temple
The Parables on the Mount of Olives
The Last Supper
The Olive Orchard and the High Priests Hall
The Crown of Thorns
The Darkest Day of All the World
The Brightest Day of All the World
The Stranger on the Shore
The Church of the First Days
The Man at the Beautiful Gate
The Right Way to Give, and the Wrong Way
Stephen with the Shining Face
The Man Reading in the Chariot
The Voice That Spoke to Saul
What Peter Saw by the Sea
How the Iron Gate Was Opened
The Earliest Missionaries
The Song in the Prison
Paul's Speech on the Hill
Paul at Corinth
Paul at Ephesus
Paul's Last Journey to Jerusalem
The Speech on the Stairs
Two Years in Prison
The Story That Paul Told to the King
Paul in the Storm
How Paul Came to Rome and How He Lived There
The Throne of God
The City of God