Interlude

 •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 7
We are going to pause here for a short detour in our story.
It is interesting to note that we do not read of Caleb’s wife, or Achsah’s mother. No name, no details, nothing! In the Bible, so often the faith of mothers had a great deal to do with the faith of the child, and as we have just noted in the case of Othniel, often the great men of Scripture similarly had wives of faith and conviction supporting them behind the scenes.
The Holy Scriptures abound with the names and histories of wives and mothers who influenced their husbands and their children for good. Sarah, Jochebed, Hannah, Abigail, Priscilla, and Eunice, just to name a few. The writer had such a mother, and a few days before her passing, as I sat by her bedside, the following lines were penned in remembrance and tribute:
She was a loving mother,
Her hands were soft, but strong;
Her voice was firm yet gentle,
She taught them right from wrong:
She tried to always be there,
To fill their every need,
To guide, protect, and warn them,
Correct, instruct, and lead.
She worked so hard to train them,
To mold their youthful mind,
To teach them to be gentle,
Good, holy, pure, and kind:
She told them about Jesus,
And how He died to win,
Their youthful heart’s affections,
And save them from their sin.
She woke them up each morning,
With tenderness and love,
And prayed the Heavenly Father,
Would watch them from above,
That they would play in safety,
And learn to honor Him,
In all their childish pleasures,
In every passing whim.
She prayed with them each evening,
She read the Bible too,
Told them to trust in Jesus,
And He would see them through:
She worked to feed and clothe them,
In health, in sickness, cared;
In happy times and sadness,
With tears and smiles shared.
And now her work is over,
Her rest at last begun;
She will no longer toil,
From sun to setting sun:
She’s gone to be with Jesus,
The one she told us of;
She’s left this world for heaven,
Our mother’s gone above.
So let us not forget her,
And all the truth she taught;
Remembering her wisdom,
And deeds of kindness wrought;
She left with one desire,
For those she raised from youth;
One prayer — that all her children,
Would learn to walk in truth.
With the chronicle of the kings of Judah their mother’s name is often mentioned, and then whether they did right or evil in the sight of the Lord. In other words, it was the direct influence of the mother that helped form their character in later life, either for good or for bad. But nothing is said as to the case in point. We can make perhaps three suggestions and applications, and bear in mind that they are only advanced as suggestions and applications.
1. Perhaps Caleb’s wife, and thus Achsah’s mother, was not a woman of faith. If this were the case, it shows that even in a difficult situation like that, it is possible to live for the Lord’s glory. Similarly, or perhaps I should say, conversely, Timothy’s mother Eunice, is a prime example. The only thing we read of Timothy’s father is, “His father was a Greek” (Acts 16:11Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: (Acts 16:1)). We never read that he had faith, or that he even had much to do with Timothy and his upbringing. But, in spite of that, Timothy’s mother, and grandmother Lois, had faith, raised this boy in a god-fearing atmosphere, and were rewarded, in that Timothy took hold of the truth and became a wonderful servant of God in the early church.
2. Possibly she had died in the wilderness, and never saw Achsah reach maturity or Caleb take possession of his inheritance.
3. Another possibility, and the one I prefer, is that this woman was a person of faith, and willing as a wife and mother to go on quietly as such, behind the scenes, reaping the fruit of such a blessed, god-given place. As Caleb was content to go on quietly for all those years in the wilderness, so it may be that Caleb’s wife was likewise satisfied, as is summed up in 1 Peter 3:55For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: (1 Peter 3:5) concerning those godly women of old. “For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands.” In 1 Peter 3:44But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. (1 Peter 3:4), we have reference to “the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
Whatever the case, we don’t want to go beyond the record of Scripture. God has told us all we need to know, but still, there are things we often ponder, and silences that we can perhaps learn something from without being dogmatic.
I appreciated the account of Mrs. John Deck (from, More Hymns and Their Writers, by Jack Strahan), who’s eldest son, James George, wrote many hymns that are still sung around the world today. The story goes, that after she and her husband John were saved, they sought to bring up their family in the fear of the Lord. Mrs. Deck was a woman of fervent, consistent prayer, and a mother whose one burden and concern in life was the salvation and spiritual welfare of her children. She adopted the practice of regularly setting aside time each day to be alone with God to pray for the household. God graciously heard her supplication and she had the unspeakable joy of seeing all her family of eight children led to Christ and consecrating their lives to His service. Her daughter, Mary Jane, was a godly, pious woman, and wrote a number of poems and hymns, including, “The wanderer no more will roam,” and “I have Christ! — What want I more?” Her son James not only wrote many hymns and much poetry on Biblical subjects, but was a faithful servant of God throughout his life.
Would that there were more wives and mothers like that today! Let it be repeated, “A prudent wife is from the Lord” (Proverbs 19:1414House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord. (Proverbs 19:14)). Certainly we can say the same as to godly mothers. God has given wives and mothers a wonderful, vital place and work to perform for His glory, and the blessing of the family circle. Read these words of Proverbs 31:10-3110Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. 11The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. 12She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. 13She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. 14She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. 15She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. 16She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. 17She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. 18She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. 19She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. 20She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. 21She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. 22She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. 23Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. 24She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. 25Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. 26She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. 27She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. 28Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. 29Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. 30Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. 31Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. (Proverbs 31:10‑31).
“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”