The first wife of Caleb, son of Hezron.
Azubah bore three sons to Caleb: Jesher, Shobab, and Ardon.
After Azubah’s death, Caleb took Ephrath as his wife.
Wellhausen interprets the verse, “And Caleb the son of Hezron begot children of Azubah his wife–and of Jerioth” suggesting that Azubah was the wife of Caleb and the mother of his children. This means that Azubah was Caleb’s first wife, and he left her when he went into exile. “Jerioth” in Hebrew can be understood as a reference to the place of their dwelling, indicating that they lived in tents or a nomadic lifestyle, suggesting a land of wanderers. When Caleb returned, he settled in Ephrath, which is in the region of Bethlehem. This interpretation is not definitive, as the name Azubah is not unique was the name of King Jehoshaphat’s mother.
Regarding the name Jerioth, there are differing opinions among interpreters about whether it refers to Caleb’s daughter or another wife. This ambiguity also makes it unclear if Ephrath was Caleb’s second or third wife.
The origin of the name Azubah, comes from the root “azav” (=left), with its Ugaritic origin “Adab,” which means “to make” or “to prepare.” It can also be derived from the Arabic root with the meaning “sweet” or “pleasant.”
According to some scholars, the name Azubah may signify a difficult event in the family or a period of hardship.
Rashi explains that there were two women named Azubah: one was Caleb’s wife, and the other was his daughter, named after her mother who died during childbirth.
Ephrath Caleb’s second wife:
Ephrath was Caleb’s second wife, Caleb son of Hezron. from the tribe of Judah.
The name Ephrath is explained in rabbinic Midrashim as meaning “fruitful” or “prolific,” which is attributed to Miriam, who fought for the continuation of childbirth despite Pharaoh’s decree (Shemot Rabbah).
It is also possible that the name Ephrath was related to the city of Bethlehem, referred to as “Ephrath” in Genesis 35:19.
Another possible meaning of the name Ephrath could be an honorary title, “the Ephrathite,” indicating her family lineage.
According to tradition, the rabbis identified Caleb, son of Hezron, with Caleb, son of Jephunneh, one of the spies sent to explore the land of Canaan.
Ephrath was sometimes identified with the prophetess Miriam.
Ephrath’s son, Hur, was associated with Hur and mentioned as a judge in the Sinai wilderness.
According to the sages (Chazal), Ephrath and Azubah are alternate names for Chal’ah and Na’arah, and all of these were Miriam.