Fausset's Bible Dictionary


("lion of God".) 1Ch 4:13. Son of Kenaz. Caleb's younger brother (Jos 15:17; Jdg 1:13; Jdg 3:9). First of the judges. Took Kirjath Sepher (Debir), in the mountainous region of Hebron in Judah (Jos 14:12-14), and received Achsah, his wife, as the prize. Van de Velde believes "the upper and nether springs" which she received was a spring rising on a hill N. of wady Dilbeh (two hours S.W. of Hebron), and brought down by an aqueduct to the foot of the hill. Othniel delivered Israel from Chushan Rishathaim, and gave "the land rest 40 years."   He had a son, Hathath (1Ch 4:13-14), and "Meonithai".

In Jdg 3:11 it is not asserted that Othniel lived to the end of the 40 years, which would make his life unduly long as the brother of Caleb; but simply, he died after restoring rest to the land. It was in answer to Israel's cry that Jehovah raised up Othniel as their "saviour" (Psa 107:13-19; Psa 50:15). "The Spirit of Jehovah" came upon his human spirit, enabling him to accomplish what his natural strength could not. "He judged Israel (not merely settling their internal disputes in justice as civil judge, but restoring their right in relation to their foreign oppressor, for it is added), and went out to war." "Judging" means lastly restoring Israel to its right attitude toward Jehovah, putting down idolatry (Jdg 2:18-19; Jdg 6:25-32). All this needed the sevenfold "spirit of wisdom and understanding," etc. Isa 11:2-3.)


Taken from: Fausset's Bible Dictionary by Andrew Robert Fausset (1821-1910)