Achsah (Joshua 15:13-19)

For forty five years Caleb had waited till his opportunity came to possess his inheritance. The ten unbelieving spies who had entered the land had died, along with all of that evil, unbelieving generation. Now, his opportunity had come, and he said to Joshua, “Now then, give me this hill country which the Lord spoke about on that day…” (Joshua 14:12).

Joshua blessed him, and gave Hebron to him as his inheritance, and Caleb drove out the 3 sons of Anak. Next, he faced the inhabitants of Debir, which was formerly called Kiriath-sepher.

Does he continue with the same pattern, going into battle himself? No, for he considers that the next generation of the children of Israel must learn to fight too, just as he has. He doesn’t want them to be like the ten spies: a bunch of weaklings who haven’t learned to forcibly take possession of what rightfully belongs to them.

So he promises, “the one who attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will give him Achsah my daughter as a wife.” His nephew Othniel, the son of Caleb’s brother Kenaz, rose to the challenge and captured it, and gained the hand of Achsah.

At the point of their marriage, Achsah shows she is a woman of foresight. She clearly doesn’t subscribe to the view that her calling from God as Othniel’s wife, requires that she passively, silently submit. This girl was made for more than that. She suggests to Othniel that he “ask her father for a field.” Significantly, Othniel then charges her with the task of bringing Caleb this request from their new family.

Why? Othniel recognised that as Caleb’s daughter, Achsah would be closer to Caleb’s affections than he, and would thus have a better chance of obtaining the desired inheritance. Caleb, who had waited forty five years to see the fulfilment of the promise of God for himself, now receives a request from his newly married daughter: “give me a blessing: since you have given me the land of the Negev, give me also springs of water” (Joshua 15:19).

Matthew Henry’s comments here are helpful:

It is no breach of the tenth commandment moderately to desire those comforts and conveniences of this life which we see attainable in a fair and regular way …husbands and wives should mutually advise, and jointly agree, about that which is for the common good of their family; and much more should they concur in asking of their heavenly Father the best blessings…parents must never think that lost which is bestowed upon their children for their real advantage, but must be free in giving them portions as well as maintenance, especially when they are dutiful. Caleb had sons (I Chron.4:15), and yet gave liberally to his daughter.1

Achsah’s request to Caleb is reminiscent of Jabez’s request to God: “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it might not pain me” (I Chron.4:10). Our Heavenly Father commanded Jesus: “ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession” (Ps.2:8). The Bible warns us that “you do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2).


In marrying Achsah, Othniel gained an immediate but unexpected blessing, which arose from her forethought and initiative. The scriptures tell us that “he that finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favour from the Lord” (Prov.18:22). Every wife should be honoured and respected by her husband “as a fellow heir of the grace of life…” (I Pet.3:7). The woman of Proverbs 31:16 “considers a field and buys it,” but Achsah was able to do even better; she obtained the desired field without money.

Othniel later became Israel’s first judge (Judges 3:9-11). What a blessed man to have a wife like that!

1. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, Vol. (II), p.82.

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