Judges 1

Jerusalem Is Captured

1 Now it came about after the death of Joshua that the sons of Israel 1inquired of the LORD, saying, "Who shall go up first for us 2against the Canaanites, to fight against them?"
2 The LORD said, "3Judah shall go up; behold, I have given the land into his hand."
3 Then Judah said to Simeon his brother, "Come up with me into [a]the territory allotted me, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and [b]I in turn will go with you into [c]the territory allotted you." So Simeon went with him.
4 Judah went up, and 4the LORD gave the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hands, and they [d]defeated ten thousand men at Bezek.
5 They found Adoni-bezek in Bezek and fought against him, and they [e]defeated the Canaanites and the Perizzites.
6 But Adoni-bezek fled; and they pursued him and caught him and cut off his [f]thumbs and big toes *.
7 Adoni-bezek said, "Seventy kings with their thumbs and their big toes * cut off used to gather up scraps under my table; 5as I have done, so God has repaid me." So they brought him to Jerusalem and he died there.
8 Then the sons of Judah fought against 6Jerusalem and captured it and struck it with the edge of the sword and set the city on fire.
9 Afterward the sons of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites living in the hill country and in the [g]Negev and in the lowland.
10 7So Judah went against the Canaanites who lived in Hebron (now the name of Hebron formerly was Kiriath-arba ); and they struck Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai.

Capture of Other Cities

11 Then 8from there he went against the inhabitants of Debir (now the name of Debir formerly was Kiriath-sepher ).
12 And Caleb said, "The one who attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will even give him my daughter Achsah for a wife."
13 9Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother, captured it; so he gave him his daughter Achsah for a wife.
14 Then 10it came about when she came to him, that she persuaded him to ask her father for a field. Then she alighted from [h]her donkey, and Caleb said to her, "What [i]do you want?"
15 She said to him, "Give me a blessing, since you have given me the land of the [j]Negev, give me also springs of water." So Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.
16 The [k]descendants of 11the Kenite, Moses' father-in-law, went up from the 12city of palms with the sons of Judah, to the wilderness of Judah which is in the south of 13Arad; and they went and lived with the people.
17 Then Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they struck the Canaanites living in Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. So the name of the city was called 14Hormah.
18 And Judah took 15Gaza with its territory and Ashkelon with its territory and Ekron with its territory.
19 Now the LORD was with Judah, and they took possession of the hill country; but they could not [l]drive out the inhabitants of the valley because they had 16iron chariots.
20 Then they gave Hebron to Caleb, 17as Moses had [m]promised; and he drove out from there 18the three sons of Anak.
21 19But the sons of Benjamin did not drive out the 20Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem; so the Jebusites have lived with the sons of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day.
22 Likewise the house of Joseph went up against Bethel, and the LORD was with them.
23 The house of Joseph spied out Bethel (21now the name of the city was formerly Luz ).
24 The spies saw a man coming out of the city and they said to him, "Please show us the entrance to the city and 22we will treat you kindly."
25 So he showed them the entrance to the city, and they struck the city with the edge of the sword, 23but they let the man and all his family go free.
26 The man went into the land of the Hittites and built a city and named * it Luz [n]which is its name to this day.

Places Not Conquered

27 24But Manasseh did not take possession of Beth-shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages; so 25the Canaanites persisted in living in that land.
28 It came about when Israel became strong, that they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely.
29 26Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who were living in Gezer; so the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them.
30 Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, or the inhabitants of [o]Nahalol; so the Canaanites lived among them and became subject to forced labor.
31 Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Acco, or the inhabitants of Sidon, or of Ahlab, or of Achzib, or of Helbah, or of Aphik, or of Rehob.
32 So the Asherites lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; for they did not drive them out.
33 Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh, or the inhabitants of Beth-anath, but lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; and the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath became forced labor for them.
34 Then the Amorites [p]forced the sons of Dan into the hill country, for they did not allow them to come down to the valley;
35 yet the Amorites persisted in [q]living in Mount Heres, in Aijalon and in Shaalbim; but when the [r]power of the house of Joseph [s]grew strong, they became forced labor.
36 The border of the Amorites ran from the 27ascent of Akrabbim, from Sela and upward.

Judges 1 Commentary

Chapter 1

The book of Judges is the history of Israel during the government of the Judges, who were occasional deliverers, raised up by God to rescue Israel from their oppressors, to reform the state of religion, and to administer justice to the people. The state of God's people does not appear in this book so prosperous, nor their character so religious, as might have been expected; but there were many believers among them, and the tabernacle service was attended to. The history exemplifies the frequent warnings and predictions of Moses, and should have close attention. The whole is full of important instruction.

Proceedings of the tribes of Judah and Simeon. (1-8) Hebron and other cities taken. (9-20) The proceedings of other tribes. (21-36)

Verses 1-8 The Israelites were convinced that the war against the Canaanites was to be continued; but they were in doubt as to the manner in which it was to be carried on after the death of Joshua. In these respects they inquired of the Lord. God appoints service according to the strength he has given. From those who are most able, most work is expected. Judah was first in dignity, and must be first in duty. Judah's service will not avail unless God give success; but God will not give the success, unless Judah applies to the service. Judah was the most considerable of all the tribes, and Simeon the least; yet Judah begs Simeon's friendship, and prays for aid from him. It becomes Israelites to help one another against Canaanites; and all Christians, even those of different tribes, should strengthen one another. Those who thus help one another in love, have reason to hope that God will graciously help both. Adoni-bezek was taken prisoner. This prince had been a severe tyrant. The Israelites, doubtless under the Divine direction, made him suffer what he had done to others; and his own conscience confessed that he was justly treated as he had treated others. Thus the righteous God sometimes, in his providence, makes the punishment answer the sin.

Verses 9-20 The Canaanites had iron chariots; but Israel had God on their side, whose chariots are thousands of angels, ( Psalms 68:17 ) . Yet they suffered their fears to prevail against their faith. About Caleb we read in ( Joshua 15:16-19 ) . The Kenites had settled in the land. Israel let them fix where they pleased, being a quiet, contented people. They that molested none, were molested by none. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Verses 21-36 The people of Israel were very careless of their duty and interest. Owing to slothfulness and cowardice, they would not be at the pains to complete their conquests. It was also owing to their covetousness: they were willing to let the Canaanites live among them, that they might make advantage of them. They had not the dread and detestation of idolatry they ought to have had. The same unbelief that kept their fathers forty years out of Canaan, kept them now out of the full possession of it. Distrust of the power and promise of God deprived them of advantages, and brought them into troubles. Thus many a believer who begins well is hindered. His graces languish, his lusts revive, Satan plies him with suitable temptations, the world recovers its hold; he brings guilt into his conscience, anguish into his heart, discredit on his character, and reproach on the gospel. Though he may have sharp rebukes, and be so recovered that he does not perish, yet he will have deeply to lament his folly through his remaining days; and upon his dying bed to mourn over the opportunities of glorifying God and serving the church he has lost. We can have no fellowship with the enemies of God within us or around us, but to our hurt; therefore our only wisdom is to maintain unceasing war against them.

Cross References 27

Footnotes 19

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO JUDGES

The title of this book in the Hebrew copies is Sepher Shophetim, the Book of Judges; but the Syriac and Arabic interpreters call it,

``the Book of the Judges of the Children of Israel;''

and the Septuagint only Judges; so called, not because it was written by them, though some think it was compiled out of annals and diaries kept by them; but it seems to be the work of one person only: the true reason of its name is, because it treats of the judges of Israel, gives an account of their lives and actions, and especially such as concerned their office; which office was different from that of kings, and seems only to have been occasional, and chiefly lay in delivering the people out of the hands of their enemies, when oppressed, distressed, or carried captive by them; in protecting them in the enjoyment of their country, rights, and liberties; in leading out their armies against their enemies when needful; and in settling differences, judging law suits, and administering justice. The government of the nation, during their time, was a theocracy. It is not certain who was the penman of this book; some ascribe it to King Hezekiah, others to Ezra; but the Jewish writers {a} are generally of opinion that it was written by Samuel, which is most likely, who was the last of the judges; and it seems plainly to be written before the times of David, us appears from a speech of Joab, 2Sa 11:21; and from some passages in Ps 68:8,9 Ps 97:5, which seem to refer or allude to Jud 5:4,5; and from Jerusalem being called Jebus, which shows it to be inhabited by the Jebusites in the time of the writer of this book, whereas it was taken out of their hands by David; besides, Samuel himself refers to the annals of this book; 1Sa 12:9-11; and from whose testimonies, as well as from others in the New Testament, there is no doubt to be made of its being genuine and authentic, and written by divine inspiration; as is evident from the use the Apostle Paul, and the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, have made of it, Ac 13:20, Heb 11:32; it is useful as an history, and without which the history of the people of Israel would not be complete; it containing an account of all their judges, excepting the two last, Eli and Samuel, of whom an account is given in the following books, and of some facts incidental to those times, related in an appendix at the end of it, concerning the idol of Micah, and the war of Benjamin; and furnishes out many useful moral observations concerning God's displeasure at sin in his own people Israel, and his corrections for it; and about his providential care of them in raising up for them deliverers in their time of need, as well as points at various virtues and excellencies in great and good men, worthy of imitation. It contains, according to Piscator, Dr. Lightfoot, and others, an history of two hundred ninety and nine years.

\\INTRODUCTION TO JUDGES 1\\

The children of Israel, after Joshua's death, inquiring of the Lord which tribes should first go up against the remaining Canaanites, Judah is ordered to go up, who with Simeon did, Jud 1:1-3; and had success against the Canaanites under Adonibezek, whom they brought to Jerusalem Jud 1:4-8; and against the Canaanites in Hebron, Debir, Zephath, Hormah, Gaza, Ashkelon, and Ekron, Jud 1:9-20; the Benjamites had not such good success as Judah against the Jebusites in Jerusalem, Jud 1:21; nor as the house of Joseph had against Bethel, Jud 1:22-26; nor could the tribes of Manasseh, Ephraim, Zebulun, Asher, and Naphtali, drive out the Canaanites from several places which belonged unto them, though many of them became their tributaries, Jud 1:27-33; and as for the Amorites, they were too powerful for the tribe of Dan, though some of them became tributaries to the house of Joseph, Jud 1:34-36.

{a} T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 14. 2.

Judges 1 Commentaries