Title: The Warrior
Author: Francine Rivers
Series: Sons of Encouragement, book 2
Major Themes: Caleb, Exodus, Israel
Synopsis: Caleb, an Edomite, chose to join himself to the tribe of Judah—but would he ever be fully accepted?
After we read The Priest by Francine Rivers, a story about Aaron, one of my boys was griping that the story ended before the Children of Israel went into the Promised Land. He wanted to hear the rest of the story from that perspective! Well, I found The Warrior, her rendition of Caleb’s story. A couple of the boys were excited to hear it; the other was ambivalent. I started reading it, and quite soon the ambivalent one, too, could hardly wait to hear the next installment! Now, they want me to read them the entire series!
Caleb’s story is a little different from Aaron’s. There is not much information in the Bible about Caleb. He is mentioned a handful of times, but hardly any compared to the wealth of stories about Aaron. That means that more of this book is conjecture than in The Priest. For example, this author has Caleb being an Edomite, a descendant of Esau rather than of Jacob. I don’t remember that in the Bible, but it could be true. Caleb saw how God displayed His power over the Egyptian gods, and decided to attach himself to the tribe of Judah, aligning himself with God’s people. He followed God out of a deep reverence and love for Him, in contrast to so many of the people around him, who only did what they absolutely had to, and complained at every step.
The story of the Exodus, the spying of the land and the subsequent rebellion and wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, and the conquest of Canaan, really comes to life through Caleb’s eyes. I admired the way he taught his sons and his wives about God, and did all he could to strengthen the tribe of Judah, pointing people to God at every opportunity. Through his eyes, also, we saw the wickedness of the people of the land, and why God said to completely destroy them.
The Warrior is a very good book—a vivid account of what it might have been like for God’s people as they transformed from a nation of slaves to a nation of warriors. I think it is good for us, sometimes, to read a story like this, because the author has pulled together all the scattered tidbits of information about Caleb from many places in the Bible, and put them into one story. I especially thought about that one day when, as we finished reading, I said, “I know what happens next!” because I’m familiar with the story in the Bible—and my 9-year-old had no clue what would happen next. He’s heard the story a couple of times, but it obviously hadn’t stuck yet. Maybe now it will, since he’s heard it in the form of a story. One warning—be sure to read the warnings for this one. I skipped sentences or paragraphs in several places as I read. For children, this book must be censored.
WARNING: Chapter 2, pages 35, 36—description of marital intimacy fueled by lust. Chapter 3, page 102—description of fornication as part of Baal worship. Chapter 4, page 137—a man is killed. Chapter 5, page 145—Caleb nearly chokes a man to death; pages 161, 162: Adoni-bezek was tortured and killed.
Listening Level—Ages 10 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults