Achsah – A Woman of Substance

There are many wonderful ‘girl stories’ in the Bible. I don’t think we hear these stories often enough and sometimes we simply become lazy or familiar in the stories we reference in our daily living. Studying these stories allows insight into the lives of women who overcame because they believed God. This faith shines through their actions and encourages us to walk the same path.

My personal Bible heroine is named Achsah. Her story is told twice, once in Joshua 15 and then again in Judges 1. She is one of a group of women inserted in Judges at critical points of time. Her story opens the Book of Judges and she is an example of a victorious child of God, literally living on His promise. Judges chronicles Israel’s cycles of living as God’s people, becoming entangled with the land’s inhabitants and their practices, falling away, and needing rescue. Beginning with Achsah, a woman who claimed her own piece of the Promised Land and asked for blessings to make it fruitful, Judges concludes with a bizarre set of stories that vividly show how far man will fall into sin when “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)

Achsah is introduced as the daughter of Caleb who offers her as a war prize. Caleb was given a specific inheritance in the land of Canaan for his own because he had first walked that land as a spy and reported with confidence that God would indeed give it to them (Joshua 14:6-15). Now it was time to drive the Canaanites out and Caleb inspired the men with his daughter, Achsah. Othniel accomplishes the charge and is given her as his wife. The commentaries I consulted are not in agreement as to the specifics, but as part of the marriage negotiations Achsah and Othniel receive a field in the Negeb out of Caleb’s inheritance. This field is in a dry land, so Achsah asks for a blessing – springs of water. Caleb gives her both upper and lower springs.

Why do I admire Achsah?

She claimed a piece of the land as her inheritance. I must speculate here, but she must have heard many fireside stories of the wonderful land and the marvel of its produce. Caleb must have told how the people refused to go in and take it even though they had God’s promise and had seen His works. How often is this true for us? We see only the difficulties instead of the assurance of God’s promise. Achsah learned to claim that promise as her own.

This woman was not done with just owning some dirt. God’s intent was that the people live in the land and be fruitful. The land she received was a dry land and so she asked for a blessing – some springs to water the land. Sometimes we can claim God’s promises with a dry, grim, determination to see it through, while His storehouse of blessings is full of treasures for us to receive. Why do we think that when God gives us a gift and then asks us to do something, the good use of it is only up to us? It’s not! Achsah was aware of the dryness of her land and asked for what she needed to make it fruitful. The blessing was so much more that what she needed.

I think the foundation for Achsah’s boldness was that she knew her father. He had faith in God when only one other man stood with him. When the time came, Caleb stepped forward and asked for what had been promised to him, and Achsah followed his example. Caleb didn’t give away his girl as a prize so much as secure for her a warrior who fought the enemy. When I study these ‘girl stories’, I don’t want to concentrate on the characters in the story so much as understand the character of God that they found and trusted. I can trust my Father God – the more I know Him the more I will trust Him. Jesus prayed that God will protect all who have been given into his hand (John 17) and he fought and conquered the enemy in his temptations and on the cross. God’s storehouse of blessings is open by asking in Jesus’ name.

This is why Achsah is my hero!

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