Jacob L. Wright spent the first ten chapters of his David, King of Israel, and Caleb in Biblical Memory exploring what he sees as the literary construction of the David narrative. He especially emphasized that many of the stories were war commemoration literature, constructed to negotiate disputes about belonging and status in Judah hundreds of years after the supposed time of King David.
In three additional chapters he deals with the Bible’s stories about Caleb in a similar way. The Calebite’s place in Judah was somehow problematic, so they constructed war memories to include tales of the Calebite’s ancestor “performing indispensable deeds of valor on behalf of Judah and all Israel” (p. 167) during the exodus and conquest.
He says there is evidence that Judah as a tribe emerged very late and even then was “loosely consolidated”. So we shouldn’t think of the Calebites joining an already existing tribe. The…
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