In today’s (September 29, 2012) seudah shlishit class, Howie Weinstein asked how could it be that Caleb conquered Hebron in chapter 14 when, in fact, four chapters earlier, the navi states that Yehoshua conquered Hebron (pesukim 36-38). Daat Mikra explains that the navi states that Yehoshua conquered “malkah v’areha” – the king (the replacement king, the original was already killed by Yehoshua earlier) & the cities that were in the area of Hebron. It seems that Hebron was a collection of cities called arei Hebron. But the specific city of Kiryat Arba was not conquered by Yehoshua in chapter 10, but it was captured by Caleb later on. Rashi in 15:14 actually points out that, based on a verse in Sefer Shoftim, Caleb didn’t actually capture Kiryat Arba until after the death of Yehoshua. Presumably it was recorded in Chapter 15 for thematic reasons, to demonstrate the initiative of Caleb.
Radak on these pesukim (10-36-39) cited by Rabbi Muskat, crediting Yehoshua with the victory explains the inconsistency with the later pesukim crediting Caleb and Othniel with the same victories by stating Caleb and Othniel won the battles while they were under the over all command of Yehoshua so all three get credit.
But I don't think these pesukim are the difficulty. The problem seems to be chapter 11:21-22 which says that Yehoshua destroyed the Anakim, giants from Hebron and Debir and no Anakim, giants, were left in the land of Israel except in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod. Yet chapter 15:14 gives Caleb credit for destroying the three sons ,Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai of the anak, giant, in Kiriat Arba which is Hebron. But 11:22 already stated there were no more Ankim in the land after Yehoshua destroyed them. If Kiriat Arba which is Hebron is named after the four anakim ,giants, the father Arba and the three sons Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai weren't these sons of the Anak, giant, also anakim, giants,and therefore already killed by Yehoshua..
I guess you could say they all got credit for killing the same anakim or that sons of giants are not giants but I hope there might be a better answer.
Good point, Herbie. I forgot to deal with the pesukim you cited, and Howie actually cited these pesukim, as well. I have cited the approaches of Metzudat David & Malbim below. Metzudat David & the second opinion of Malbim suggest that Calev killed them, but all victories were, in general, credited to Yehoshua. According to the first opinion of Malbim, Yehoshua drove them out of the city itself & Calev killed them.
Rabbi Jonathan Muskat
מצודת דוד יהושע פרק יא פסוק כא
(כא) מן חברון - אף כי כלב הוריש הענקים מחברון ייחס הדבר אל יהושע לפי שבימיו הוריש וכל נצחון המלחמה יחשב אל המושל על הצבא:
מלבי"ם יהושע פרק יא פסוק כא
(כא) ויבא יהושע בעת ההיא. בשבע שכבשו. והגם שמן חברון הורישם כלב, יהושע הורישם מן העיר עצמה כנ"ל, או כמ"ש למעלה (י, לז) שכלב הוריש הענקים ויחסה ליהושע כנ"ל: