So, who is Othniel? His first appearance in scripture is as a courageous young man who defeated a city to win his bride.
Israel had entered the Promised Land and made many conquests to establish their presence. Each tribe was then allotted their territory which they were responsible to finish subduing. Caleb and Joshua were the only surviving adults who left Egypt and were allowed to enter the Promised Land because of their faithfulness to the Lord when serving as spies.
(Numbers 14:6-9, 30) Though in his 80's, Caleb had not lost his sense of venturing for the Lord. He asked for an area dominated by giants. Having already conquered a key city, it was at the next that "Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjathsepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife" Judges 1:12. It was Othniel, Caleb's nephew, who did not hesitate to act on the offer. We don't know any particulars about his own father, Caleb's younger brother, but it is likely that Uncle Caleb had quite an influence on Othniel.
That is not the end of our knowledge of Othniel. After both Uncle Caleb and Joshua died, "the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves" Judges 3:7. The Lord allowed them to come under servitude to the King of Mesopotamia.
"And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother" Judges 3:9. Not only did he lead them to freedom from bondage, but he led them back to worship of the true God and during his 40 years as judge of Israel, there was rest.
How much of Othniel's life was shaped by the influence of his Uncle Caleb? We can only conjecture, but certainly he was affected by the courage and faith seen. May we each exert an influence worthy of emulation.