That being my thought upon realizing my Chumash teacher mandated that Caleb, yes, the Caleb who is so famous for acting as the spy who did not turn traitor, as it were, was married to Miriam. Miriam being Moshe's sister, the prophetess.
After class, I mentioned that I had learned (well, more precisely read, this morning, in fact) that Caleb was married to Bithia (Bitya, Batya, Bas-Phaorah, whatever variant you prefer.)
My teacher gave me a very kind but slightly skeptical glance, and mentioned that there are many Midrashim, and surely I was quoting one of them. But I stated my basis and proof for this concept came from a verse in Chronicles I, and that was when she politely stated, "Well, it's very hard to understand Divrei Hayamim."
I have great respect for my Chumash teacher, but I knew that I had just read this...this morning. So I came home to try to look it up. Except I can't for the life of me find a Tractate Megillah in English or print large enough for me to understand in the Bait Midrash, so I figured I would ask you dear people what is going on.
Who did Caleb marry? Bithia or Miriam? Moshe's adopted mother...or his biological sister?
The fact is, the Gemara seems to bring down two opinions (and both from verses in Divrei Hayamim!), and they vary (a lot.)
Here's the first one, found in Sotah 11b and 12a:
- ...David descended from Miriam, as it is written: And Azubah died, and Caleb took unto him Ephrath, which bare him Hur,39 and it is written: Now David was the son of that Ephrathite etc.40
And Caleb the son of Hezron begat children of Azubah his wife and of Jerioth,' and these were her sons: Jesher and Shobab and Ardon.41 'The son of Hezron'? He was the son of Jephunneh!42 — [It means] that he was a son who turned [panah] from the counsel of the spies. Still, he was the son of Kenaz, as it is written: And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother, took it!43 — Raba said: He was the stepson of Kenaz.
There is also evidence for this, since it is written, [And Caleb the son of Jephunneh] the Kenizzite.1 Conclude, therefore, that Azubah is identical with Miriam; and why was her name called Azubah? Because all men forsook her ['azabuhah] at first.2 'Begat!'3 But he was married to her! — R. Johanan said: Whoever marries a woman for the name of heaven,4 the text ascribes it to him as though he had begotten her. 'Jerioth' — [she was so named] because her face was like curtains.5 'And these were her sons' — read not baneha [her sons] but boneha [her builders].6 'Jesher' [he was so called] because he set himself right [yishsher].7 'Shobab' — [he was so called] because he turned his inclination aside [shibbeb].8 'And Ardon' — [he was so called] because he disciplined [radah] his inclination. Others say: Because his face was like a rose [wered].
And Ashhur the father of Tekoa had two wives, Helah and Naarah.9 Ashhur is identical with Caleb; and why was his name called Ashhur? Because his face was blackened [hushheru] through his fasts.10 'The father'- he became a father to her.11 'Tekoa'- he fixed [taka'] his heart on his Father in heaven.12 'Had two wives' — [this means] Miriam became like two wives. 'Helah and Naarah' — she was not both Helah and Naarah, but at first she was Helah [an invalid] and finally Naarah [a young girl].13 And the sons of Helah were Zereth, Zohar and Ethnan.14 'Zereth' — [Miriam was so called] — because she became the rival [zarah] of her contemporaries [in beauty]. 'Zohar' — because her face was [beautiful] like the noon [zoharayim]. 'Ethnan' — because whoever saw her took a present ['ethnan] to his wife.15
If you want, you can read the original Aramaic here.
Rashi has an interesting statement- Caleb married Miriam 'leshaim shamayim' because he knew that the sons often resemble the mother's brothers, and since Miriam had outstanding brothers, he hoped to have outstanding sons. As it is, Miriam became an asset to him- she recovered from her first illness and tzaraat/ leprosy and became so beautiful that other men paid attention to her.
But here we have the problem, Megillah 13a:
- בדברי הימים אמר הכי כל דבריך אחד הם ואנו יודעין לדורשן (דברי הימים א א) ואשתו היהודיה ילדה את ירד אבי גדור ואת חבר אבי שוכו ואת יקותיאל אבי זנוח ואלה בני בתיה בת פרעה אשר לקח מרד אמאי קרי לה יהודיה על שום שכפרה בע"ז דכתיב (שמות ב) ותרד בת פרעה לרחוץ על היאור ואמר רבי יוחנן שירדה לרחוץ מגילולי בית אביה ילדה והא רבויי רביתיה לומר לך שכל המגדל יתום ויתומה בתוך ביתו מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו ילדו ירד זה משה ולמה נקרא שמו ירד שירד להם לישראל מן בימיו גדור שגדר פרצותיהן של ישראל חבר שחיבר את ישראל לאביהן שבשמים סוכו שנעשה להם לישראל כסוכה יקותיאל שקוו ישראל לאל בימיו זנוח שהזניח עונותיהן של ישראל אבי אבי אבי אב בתורה אב בחכמה אב בנביאות ואלה בני בתיה אשר לקח מרד וכי מרד שמו והלא כלב שמו אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא יבא כלב שמרד בעצת מרגלים וישא את בת פרעה שמרדה בגלולי בית אביה אשר הגלה מירושלם אמר רבא שגלה מעצמו
So now I'm confused. My first idea was that maybe these weren't the same Calebs, but they appear to be, as the reason for his wedding Bithia appears to be his rebellious nature (although rebellious in a good way, of course.) This is indeed the Caleb of the Spies.
So...did Caleb marry Miriam? Bithia? Both, at different times of his life? Both simultaneously? (I mean, there must have been an age difference there...Moshe's adopted mother and his sister? Not that it's impossible. In fact, for that time period, it's probably quite logical. Just not something my contemporary mind would immediately grasp.)
Anyone with answers, I'd be most appreciative.