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For the Israeli settlement in the West Bank, see Otniel.

Othniel (/ˈɔːθniəl/ or /ˈɒθniəl/; Hebrew: עָתְנִיאֵל בֶּן קְנַז, Modern Otni'el Ben Kenaz, Tiberian ʻOṯnîʼēl Ben Qənáz ; "lion/might of God") is the first of the Biblical Judges.


Othniel was related to Caleb, as his father Kenaz was Caleb's brother. The Talmud (Sotah 11b) argues that Othniel was Caleb's brother. When Caleb promises the hand of his daughter Achsah to him who will conquer the land of Debir,[1] it is Othniel who rises to the challenge, thus becoming Caleb's son-in-law (Josh. 15:16, 17; Judg. 1:13).

Campaign as a Judge[edit]

Some time after the death of Joshua, the Israelites once again turned to sin and fell under the subjection of Chushan-rishathaim, the king of Aram-Naharaim in Mesopotamia, because of the transgressions against God. He oppressed them for eight years; when they "cried" unto God, Othniel was raised up to be their deliverer. He was the son of Kenaz, who was the younger brother of Caleb according Bible translations such as the New American Bible (Judg. 3:8). He is the only Judge mentioned connected with the Tribe of Judah. Under Othniel, peace lasted for forty years.

After these forty years, Israel fell under the subjection of Eglon, a king of Moab who defeated Israel with help from Ammon and Amalek (Judges 3:12-13).


The tomb of Othniel Ben Kenaz is located in Hebron in the H1 area.[2]

See also[edit]


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Preceded by
Judge of Israel Succeeded by