Caleb, sometimes t r ans l i t e r a t ed as Kaleb ( , בֵלָּכ Kalev; Tiberian vocalization: Kālēḇ; Hebrew Academy: Kalev), is a figure who appears in the Hebrew Bible as a representative of the Tribe of Judah during the Israelites’ journey to the Promised Land.
A reference to him may also be found in the Quran, although his name is not mentioned. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, “since “Caleb” signifies dog, it has been thought that the dog was the totem of [Caleb’s] clan.”
Strong’s Concordance states that “Caleb” is “perhaps a form of keleb (Hebrew: ,( בֶלָּ֫כ meaning “dog”, or else from the same root in the sense of “forcible”, whereas the New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance states that keleb is of “uncertain derivation”. It should be noted that the Bible was written down centuries before Hebrew diacritics were introduced, and there is no certain knowledge of how the name was pronounced during the man’s own lifetime.
The original Hebrew name is pronounced /ˈkɑːlɛb/ or /ˈkɑːlɛv/; the modern English pronunciation /ˈkeɪləb/ is courtesy of the Great Vowel Shift. Caleb happens to be a very influential character to the occurrence of Israel’s 40 years in the desert before entering the Promised Land.