Spoiled Brat or Strong-Minded Woman?

Carole Towriss Book Launch, Prize of War 1 Comment

Acsah, daughter of Caleb

The story of Acsah, daughter of Caleb, is told word-for-word in Scripture twice, once in Joshua 15, and again in Judges 1.

And Caleb said, ‘I will give my daughter Acsah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher.’ Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s brother, took it; so Caleb gave his daughter Acsah to him in marriage.One day when she came to Othniel, she urged him to ask her father for a field. When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, ‘What can I do for you?’ She replied, ‘Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water.’ So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.

I figure anything repeated in Scripture has to be important.

I read nearly every commentary about these verses I could get my hands on. The experts were divided. Some believed Acsah was a spoiled brat who should have known better, and trusted her father Caleb—one of the only two spies to believe that God would help them conquer the giants. Others thought she was a woman who knew what she wanted and needed and was bold enough to ask her father for it, an example for us to follow in prayer. Some even suggested she and Othniel—who became Israel’s first judge—were the world’s first power couple!

Some think Acsah a spoiled brat, others a power woman. In Prize of War, I split the difference. Click To Tweet I kind of split the difference in Prize of War. In the Hebrew, she actually demands that he give her the wells, so I felt I needed to give Acsah a really good reason for asking for that water. You’ll have to read the book to find out what that is.

Her name means ‘adorned’ or ‘anklet.’ This may have been a pet name given her by Caleb. Since Caleb is in his mid-eighties at the time of this tale, and she is not married, it is logical to assume that she was born in his old age. She is the only daughter of Caleb’s mentioned in the Bible.

There  are several rabbinic traditions dealing with Acsah. One says she was so beautiful that any man who looked upon her would be angry with his own wife for being less beautiful. This might also explain why so many were willing to go to war for her. Another criticizes Caleb for his offer, saying that if even a slave had taken the city, he would have had to give her to him. Lucky for Caleb, God “arranged a proper match for her.”

Although we might think Acsah would be happy with her cousin as her champion and not some random soldier, there is one midrash, or ancient commentary, that has Acsah as less than thrilled with Othniel. It seems that according to this tradition he is a bit of a bookworm, and studies the Scriptures a little too much, though how he then conquered the city I’m not sure. My youngest daughter, however, is quite pleased with my cover designer’s choice of Othniel, and refers to him as “that attractive man on the cover.” More on him next week.


Prize of War will be available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback on October 20.
Join us for a Facebook launch party that night. We’ll have prizes, copies of the book (paperback and e-book), and I’m not sure what else yet!

 

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