But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and has followed me fully…
1. There was in Caleb a very reverend conception of magistracy and government which made him still use some word of honour when he spake of the government. As Joshua 14:6, 7, "Thou knowest what the Lord said to Moses the man of God concerning me in Kadesh-barnes. Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to espy the land," &c. Moses was now dead and gone, yet mark it how Caleb speaketh not of a dead magistrate, but with addition of honour — "the man of God," "the servant of the Lord" — which words being true, as in Moses they were, they equal — nay, they excel — all the swelling words of our age. Most mighty, high, renowned, illustrious, &c. Words given to great personages, to express their honour and our good affection to them. Now this was another spirit from the murmurers and mutineers, and therefore this is rewarded by God, to whom such reverence of governors is most pleasing. And let it ever teach us that as we see the Lord to observe the differing spirits of men, and accordingly to love them and hate them, to reward them and punish them as their quality is, so we ourselves should be ever careful to observe our own spirits, that so we may see whither we tend, and what either in mercy or justice is like to fall unto us.
2. Caleb, when he saw sedition and uproar against the magistrate, rent his clothes for grief, detesting and abhorring in his soul such carriage in men that should obey. This was again another spirit in Caleb most pleasing to God and graceful to Him. Aulus Fulnius, a heathen Roman, meeting his son going to join with Cateline, that traitor, laid hands upon him and slew him, saying with indignation at his villainy, "I begat thee not for Cateline, but for thy country." And surely except we find that even against our own flesh we could in such a case do what lawfully we might with the like speech that for God, for religion, for their king and country we had begotten them, and not for treason and villainy, we have not that edge of spirit that we should have.
3. Caleb had a quiet disposition, not turbulent, not factious, not seditious, but loving order and obedience to superiors — a thing most pleasing again to God, as appeareth by the blessing of him. Adoniah, we know, could not be quiet, but plotting and working till his brother was forced by justice to take away his life, and so make him quiet. Korah and his company will be envious against authority till the earth open and swallow them up. Absalom against his own father cannot harbour a dutiful heart, but must ambitiously be hammering most hateful designs, till the vengeance of God, pursuing such pride, cut him off and hanged him betwixt heaven and earth by the hair of the head, for an example to the world's end to all busy brains and disloyal hearts. Blessed Caleb was quiet of nature — no stirrer of coals; and the remembrance of him is registered up in God's book. He was obedient to authority himself, and an earnest persuader of others to the same, whom had they hearkened unto they had escaped God's wrath and their own ignominy for ever. Oh, sweet quality in a subject, obedience!
4. Caleb had a most thankful feeling of their deliverance out of Egypt in general and of his own in particular, detesting to hear of any return thither again with these mutineers; and this again was another spirit pleasing to God and good for himself.
5. Caleb used to speak as was in his heart (Joshua 14.); and this again was another spirit than others had, and greatly pleased the Lord. He counterfeited nothing to please men. And what a happiness were it if all men would do so! "Blessed are the pure in heart"; that is, such men as are free from glossing and dissembling.
6. The Lord saith of Caleb that he followed Him still; and this was another spirit than others had, pleasing to the Lord and honourable to Him even to this day. So liveth virtue after death. A blessed spirit this was, and happy had these mutineers been if they had had the like. "Commit thy thoughts to Him," saith Solomon, "and thou shalt be directed" — so safe is it ever to follow Him.
7. Lastly, to his following join his constancy. He followed God, and he followed Him still, saith the text. Some have hearts to good things, but not constant, wherefore the exhortations in Scripture are many, to move us all unto this.
Parallel VersesKJV: But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.