The Torah bears witness to some conflicting and contradictory information concerning Caleb’s genealogy. Was he a Judahite or a Kenizzite? And why was there some confusion over Caleb’s genealogy? What was the relationship between the sons of Judah, a son of Jacob, and the sons of Kenaz (from which the Kenizzites emerge), a grandson of Esau (Gen 36:11).
While scholars don’t have any clear answers to these questions, we might infer that this conflating tradition has something to do with the Israelites’ own perceptions about the original inhabitants of, and thus sovereignty over, southern Canaan, specifically Hebron and its surrounding hill country.
It was Caleb’s seed, as narrated in Numbers 13-14, who was granted this area as a possession in return for Caleb’s loyalty to Yahweh in the spy event (see #238-240). Joshua 14-15 recounts this.
it’s interesting to note further that the Kenizzite tradition postulates that the original inhabitants of Hebron or southern Judah in general were the indigenous Kenizzites, who were listed among the indigenous Canaanites of the land, at least according to one tradition (Gen 15:19-21). Still further, this tradition might even point to the indigenous origins of Judahites! Or that at least some of the indigenous Kenizzites became affiliated with the tribe of Judah.