A time came after the death of Joshua when the People of Israel asked God, "Who will take the lead in going up against the Canaanites to fight them?"
And God said, "Judah will go. I've given the land to him."
The men of Judah said to those of their brother Simeon, "Go up with us to our territory and we'll fight the Canaanites. Then we'll go with you to your territory." And Simeon went with them.
So Judah went up. God gave them the Canaanites and the Perizzites. They defeated them at Bezek - ten military units!
They caught up with My-Master-Bezek there and fought him. They smashed the Canaanites and the Perizzites.
My-Master-Bezek ran, but they gave chase and caught him. They cut off his thumbs and big toes.
My-Master-Bezek said, "Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off used to crawl under my table, scavenging. Now God has done to me what I did to them." They brought him to Jerusalem and he died there.
The people of Judah attacked and captured Jerusalem, subduing the city by sword and then sending it up in flames.
After that they had gone down to fight the Canaanites who were living in the hill country, the Negev, and the foothills.
Judah had gone on to the Canaanites who lived in Hebron (Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba) and brought Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai to their knees.
From there they had marched against the population of Debir (Debir used to be called Kiriath Sepher).
Caleb had said, "Whoever attacks Kiriath Sepher and takes it, I'll give my daughter Acsah to him as his wife."
Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb's brother, took it, so Caleb gave him his daughter Acsah as his wife.
When she arrived she got him to ask for farm land from her father. As she dismounted from her donkey Caleb asked her, "What would you like?"
She said, "Give me a marriage gift. You've given me desert land; Now give me pools of water!" And he gave her the upper and the lower pools.
The people of Hobab the Kenite, Moses' relative, went up with the people of Judah from the City of Palms to the wilderness of Judah at the descent of Arad. They settled down there with the Amalekites.
The people of Judah went with their kin the Simeonites and struck the Canaanites who lived in Zephath. They carried out the holy curse and named the city Curse-town.
But Judah didn't manage to capture Gaza, Ashkelon, and Ekron with their territories.
God was certainly with Judah in that they took over the hill country. But they couldn't oust the people on the plain because they had iron chariots.
They gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had directed. Caleb drove out the three sons of Anak.
But the people of Benjamin couldn't get rid of the Jebusites living in Jerusalem. Benjaminites and Jebusites live side by side in Jerusalem to this day.
The house of Joseph went up to attack Bethel. God was with them.
Joseph sent out spies to look the place over. Bethel used to be known as Luz.
The spies saw a man leaving the city and said to him, "Show us a way into the city and we'll treat you well."
The man showed them a way in. They killed everyone in the city but the man and his family.
The man went to Hittite country and built a city. He named it Luz; that's its name to this day.
But Manasseh never managed to drive out Beth Shan, Taanach, Dor, Ibleam, and Megiddo with their territories. The Canaanites dug in their heels and wouldn't budge.
When Israel became stronger they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they never got rid of them.
Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer. The Canaanites stuck it out and lived there with them.
Nor did Zebulun drive out the Canaanites in Kitron or Nahalol. They kept living there, but they were put to forced labor.
Nor did Asher drive out the people of Acco, Sidon, Ahlab, Aczib, Helbah, Aphek, and Rehob.
Asher went ahead and settled down with the Canaanites since they could not get rid of them.
Naphtali fared no better. They couldn't drive out the people of Beth Shemesh or Beth Anath so they just moved in and lived with them. They did, though, put them to forced labor.
The Amorites pushed the people of Dan up into the hills and wouldn't let them down on the plains.
The Amorites stubbornly continued to live in Mount Heres, Aijalon, and Shaalbim. But when the house of Joseph got the upper hand, they were put to forced labor.
The Amorite border extended from Scorpions' Pass and Sela upward.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)