[b-hebrew] Does the Name Caleb Mean "Dog"? Not.

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Tue Sep 13 09:59:34 EDT 2011

Prof. Yigal Levin:
You wrote:  “Jim, there is absolutely no reason that Caleb's name would not 
mean "dog". There are other figures in the Bible with animal names. Huldah 
the prophetess was named "rat". The fact that these animals have negative 
connotations to us does not mean that they had the same connotations to them.”
Let’s check out that theory of the case.  Does KLB/“dog” in the Hebrew 
Bible have an imagery befitting Caleb, the fine, heroic confidante of Joshua?  
[All citations are taken from KJV.]
1.  Deuteronomy 23: 18.  “Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the 
price of a dog [KLB], into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow:  for 
even both these [are] abomination unto the LORD thy God.”
2.  I  Samuel 17: 43.  “And the Philistine said unto David, [Am] I a dog 
[H-KLB], that thou comest to me with staves?  And the Philistine cursed David 
by his gods.”
3.  I Samuel 24: 14.  “After whom is the king of Israel come out?  after 
whom dost thou pursue?  after a dead dog [KLB], after a flea.”
4.  II Samuel 3: 8.  “Then was Abner very wroth for the words of 
Ishbosheth, and said, [Am] I a dog's [KLB] head, which against Judah do shew kindness 
this day unto the house of Saul thy father, to his brethren, and to his 
friends, and have not delivered thee into the hand of David, that thou chargest 
me to day with a fault concerning this woman?”
5.  Psalm 59: 6-8.  “They return at evening:  they make a noise like a dog 
[K-KLB], and go round about the city.  Behold, they belch out with their 
mouth: swords [are] in their lips:  for who, [say they], doth hear?  But thou, 
O LORD, shalt laugh at them;  thou shalt have all the heathen in derision.”
6.  Proverbs 26: 11.  “As a dog [K-KLB] returneth to his vomit, [so] a fool 
 returneth to his folly.”
*       *       *
Prof. Levin, are you  s-u-r-e  you don’t want to ask if the name KLB/“Caleb
” is a Hurrian name for a Kenizzite meaning “It Pleases” and implying, in 
context, “It Pleases YHWH”, rather than being a west Semitic name meaning “
Dog”?  It’s pretty hard to get more derogatory imagery in the Bible than 
what is set forth above for KLB/“dog”, isn’t it?  Why would you think that 
Joshua’s great ally, who is repeatedly said to be a Kenizzite, would have the 
west Semitic name “Dog”?
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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