1Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass that the children of Israel asked Jehovah, saying, Who shall first go up for us against the Canaanites to fight against them?2And Jehovah said, Judah shall go up. Behold I have delivered the land into his hand.3And Judah said to Simeon his brother, Come up with me to my allotted territory, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I will likewise go with you to your allotted territory. And Simeon went with him.4And Judah went up, and Jehovah delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand; and they struck ten thousand men at Bezek.5And they found Adoni-Bezek in Bezek, and fought against him; and they struck the Canaanites and the Perizzites.6And Adoni-Bezek fled, and they pursued him and caught him and cut off his thumbs and big toes.7And Adoni-Bezek said, Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off used to gather scraps under my table; as I have done, so God has repaid me. Then they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died.8Now the sons of Judah fought against Jerusalem and took it; they struck it with the edge of the sword and set the city on fire.9And afterward the sons of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites who dwelt in the mountains, in the south, and in the lowlands.10Then Judah went against the Canaanites who dwelt in Hebron. (Now the name of Hebron was formerly Kirjath Arba.) And they killed Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai.11From there they went against the inhabitants of Debir. (The name of Debir was formerly Kirjath Sepher.)12And Caleb said, Whoever strikes Kirjath Sepher and takes it, to him I will give my daughter Achsah as wife.13And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother, took it; so he gave him his daughter Achsah as wife.14And it happened, when she came to him, that she urged him to ask her father for a field. And she dismounted from her donkey, and Caleb said to her, What do you wish?15And she said to him, Give me a blessing; since you have given me land in the south, give me also springs of water. And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.16Now the children of the Kenite, Moses' father-in-law, had gone up from the City of Palms with the children of Judah into the wilderness of Judah, which lies in the south of Arad; and they went and dwelt among the people.17And Judah went with his brother Simeon, and they struck the Canaanites who inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. So the name of the city was called Hormah.18Judah also took Gaza with its territory, Ashkelon with its territory, and Ekron with its territory.19Thus Jehovah was with Judah. And they dispossessed the mountains, but they could not drive out the inhabitants of the lowland, because they had chariots of iron.20And they gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had said. And he dispossessed from there the three sons of Anak.21But the sons of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who inhabited Jerusalem; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day.22And the house of Joseph also went up against Bethel, and Jehovah was with them.23And the house of Joseph sent men to spy out Bethel. (The name of the city was formerly Luz.)24And when the spies saw a man coming out of the city, they said to him, Please show us the entrance to the city, and we will deal kindly with you.25So he showed them the entrance to the city, and they struck the city with the edge of the sword; but they let the man and all his family go.26And the man went to the land of the Hittites, built a city, and called its name Luz, which is its name to this day.27However, Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shean and its daughter-villages, or Taanach and its daughter-villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its daughter-villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its daughter-villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its daughter-villages; for the Canaanites were determined to dwell in that land.28And it came to pass, when Israel had become strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, but did not drive out to dispossess them.29Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites who dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them.30Nor did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron or the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Canaanites dwelt among them, and were put to tribute.31Nor did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Acco or the inhabitants of Sidon, or of Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik, or Rehob.32But the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; for they did not drive them out.33Nor did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh or the inhabitants of Beth Anath; but they dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land. And the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath were put to tribute under them.34And the Amorites squeezed the children of Dan into the mountains, for they would not allow them to come down to the valley;35but the Amorites were determined to dwell in Mount Heres, in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim; yet when the hand of the house of Joseph became heavy, they were put to tribute.36And the border of the Amorites was from the ascent of Akrabbim, from the rock, and upward.
Jamieson Fausset Brown Bible Commentary 1
THE ACTS OF JUDAH AND SIMEON. (Judg 1:1
Now after the death of Joshua--probably not a long period, for the Canaanites seem to have taken advantage of that event to attempt recovering their lost position, and the Israelites were obliged to renew the war.
the children of Israel asked the Lord--The divine counsel on this, as on other occasions, was sought by Urim and Thummim, by applying to the high priest, who, according to JOSEPHUS, was Phinehas.
saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first--The elders, who exercised the government in their respective tribes, judged rightly, that in entering upon an important expedition, they should have a leader nominated by divine appointment; and in consulting the oracle, they adopted a prudent course, whether the object of their inquiry related to the choice of an individual commander, or to the honor of precedency among the tribes. 2
the Lord said, Judah shall go up--The predicted pre-eminence (Gen 49:8
) was thus conferred upon Judah by divine direction, and its appointment to take the lead in the ensuing hostilities was of great importance, as the measure of success by which its arms were crowned, would animate the other tribes to make similar attempts against the Canaanites within their respective territories.
I have delivered the land into his hand--not the whole country, but the district assigned for his inheritance. 3
Judah said unto Simeon his brother, Come up with me . . ., that we may fight against the Canaanites--Being conterminous tribes (Josh 19:1
), they had a common interest, and were naturally associated in this enterprise. 5
ADONI-BEZEK JUSTLY REQUITED. (Jdg. 1:4-21)
Bezek--This place lay within the domain of Judah, about twelve miles south of Jerusalem.
found Adoni-bezek--that is, "lord of Bezek"--he was "found," that is, surprised and routed in a pitched battle, whence he fled; but being taken prisoner, he was treated with a severity unusual among the Israelites, for they "cut off his thumbs and great toes." Barbarities of various kinds were commonly practised on prisoners of war in ancient times, and the object of this particular mutilation of the hands and feet was to disable them for military service ever after. The infliction of such a horrid cruelty on this Canaanite chief would have been a foul stain on the character of the Israelites if there were not reason for believing it was done by them as an act of retributive justice, and as such it was regarded by Adoni-bezek himself, whose conscience read his atrocious crimes in their punishment. 7
Threescore and ten kings--So great a number will not appear strange, when it is considered that anciently every ruler of a city or large town was called a king. It is not improbable that in that southern region of Canaan, there might, in earlier times, have been even more till a turbulent chief like Adoni-bezek devoured them in his insatiable ambition. 8
Now the children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it--The capture of this important city, which ranks among the early incidents in the war of invasion (Josh 15:63
), is here noticed to account for its being in the possession of the Judahites; and they brought Adoni-bezek thither [Judg 1:7
], in order, probably, that his fate being rendered so public, might inspire terror far and wide. Similar inroads were made into the other unconquered parts of Judah's inheritance [Judg 1:9
]. The story of Caleb's acquisition of Hebron is here repeated (Josh 15:16
). [See on Josh 15:16
the children of the Kenite, Moses' father-in-law, went up out of the city of palm trees with the children of Judah--called "the Kenite," as probably descended from the people of that name (Num 24:21
). If he might not himself, his posterity did accept the invitation of Moses (Num 10:32
) to accompany the Israelites to Canaan. Their first encampment was in the "city of palm trees"--not Jericho, of course, which was utterly destroyed, but the surrounding district, perhaps En-gedi, in early times called Hazezon-tamar (Gen 14:7
), from the palm-grove which sheltered it. Thence they removed for some unknown cause, and associating themselves with Judah, joined in an expedition against Arad, in the southern part of Canaan (Num 21:1
). On the conquest of that district, some of this pastoral people pitched their tents there, while others migrated to the north (Judg 4:17
And Judah went with Simeon his brother--The course of the narrative is here resumed from Judg 1:9
, and an account given of Judah returning the services of Simeon (Judg 1:3
), by aiding in the prosecution of the war within the neighboring tribes.
slew the Canaanites that inhabited Zephath--or Zephathah (2Chr 14:10
), a valley lying in the southern portion of Canaan.
Hormah--destroyed in fulfilment of an early vow of the Israelites (see on Num 21:2
). The confederate tribes, pursuing their incursions in that quarter, came successively to Gaza, Askelon, and Ekron, which they took. But the Philistines seem soon to have regained possession of these cities. 19
the Lord was with Judah; . . . but they could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley--The war was of the Lord, whose omnipotent aid would have ensured their success in every encounter, whether on the mountains or the plains, with foot soldiers or cavalry. It was distrust, the want of a simple and firm reliance on the promise of God, that made them afraid of the iron chariots (see on Josh 11:4
the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem--Judah had expelled the people from their part of Jerusalem (Judg 1:8
). The border of the two tribes ran through the city--Israelites and natives must have been closely intermingled. 22
SOME CANAANITES LEFT. (Judg 1:22
the house of Joseph--the tribe of Ephraim, as distinguished from Manasseh (Judg 1:27
the spies . . . said, . . . Show us, . . . the entrance into the city--that is, the avenues to the city, and the weakest part of the walls.
we will show thee mercy--The Israelites might employ these means of getting possession of a place which was divinely appropriated to them: they might promise life and rewards to this man, though he and all the Canaanites were doomed to destruction (Josh 2:12
); but we may assume the promise was suspended on his embracing the true religion, or quitting the country, as he did. If they had seen him to be firmly opposed to either of these alternatives, they would not have constrained him by promises any more than by threats to betray his countrymen. But if they found him disposed to be serviceable, and to aid the invaders in executing the will of God, they might promise to spare him. 26
Luz--(See on Gen 12:7
; Gen 28:18
The same course of subjugation was carried on in the other tribes to a partial extent, and with varying success. Many of the natives, no doubt, during the progress of this exterminating war, saved themselves by flight and became, it is thought, the first colonists in Greece, Italy, and other countries. But a large portion made a stout resistance and retained possession of their old abodes in Canaan. In other cases, when the natives were vanquished, avarice led the Israelites to spare the idolaters, contrary to the express command of God; and their disobedience to His orders in this matter involved them in many troubles which this book describes.