Shofetim 1

1 Now after the mot Yehoshua it came to pass, that the Bnei Yisroel asked Hashem, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Kena’ani first, to fight against him [them]?
2 And Hashem said, Yehudah shall go up; hinei, I have delivered HaAretz into his yad.
3 And Yehudah said unto Shim’on his brother, Come up with me into my goral (lot), and we will fight against the Kena’ani; and I likewise will go with thee into thy goral. So Shim’on went with him.
4 And Yehudah went up; and Hashem delivered the Kena’ani and the Perizzi into their yad; and they struck them down at Bezek ten thousand ish.
5 And they found Adoni-Bezek at Bezek; and they fought against him, and they struck down the Kena’ani and the Perizzi.
6 But Adoni-Bezek fled; and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his big toes.
7 And Adoni-Bezek said, Threescore and ten melachim, having their thumbs and their big toes cut off, picked up their scraps under my shulchan; as I have done, so Elohim hath requited me. And they brought him to Yerushalayim, and there he died.
8 Now the Bnei Yehudah had fought against Yerushalayim, and had taken it, and put it to the edge of the cherev, and set eish to the Ir.
9 And afterward the Bnei Yehudah went down to fight against the Kena’ani that dwelt in the har, and in the Negev, and in the western foothills.
10 And Yehudah went against the Kena’ani that dwelt in Chevron; (now the shem of Chevron formerly was Kiryat-Arba); and they struck down Sheshai, and Achiman, and Talmai.
11 And from thence Yehudah went against the inhabitants of Devir; and the shem of Devir formerly was Yiryat-Sepher;
12 And Kalev said, He that striketh Yiryat-Sepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my bat as isha.
13 And Otniel ben Kenaz, Kalev’s younger brother, took it; and he gave him Achsah his bat as isha.
14 And it came to pass, when she came to him, that she urged him to ask of her av the sadeh; and she dismounted her donkey; and Kalev said unto her, What wilt thou?
15 And she said unto him, Give me bracha; since thou hast given me eretz hanegev; give me also gullot mayim. And Kalev gave her the upper gullot and the lower gullot.
16 And the Bnei Keni, khoten Moshe, went up out of the Ir HaTemarim with the Bnei Yehudah into the midbar of Yehudah, which lieth in the Negev of Arad; and they went and dwelt among the people.
17 And Yehudah went with Shim’on his brother, and they struck down the Kena’ani that inhabited Tzephat, and utterly destroyed it. And the shem of the Ir was called Chormah.
18 Also Yehudah took Azah (Gaza) and the territory thereof, and Askelon and the territory thereof, and Ekron and the territory thereof.
19 And Hashem was with Yehudah; and he possessed the inhabitants of the hill country; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the [broad] valley [areas], because they had chariots of barzel (iron).
20 And they gave Chevron unto Kalev, just as Moshe promised; and he expelled from there the three Bnei Anak.
21 And the Bnei Binyamin did not drive out the Yevusi that inhabited Yerushalayim; and the Yevusi dwell with the Bnei Binyamin in Yerushalayim unto this day.
22 And Bais Yosef, they also went up against Beit-El; and Hashem was with them.
23 And Bais Yosef sent shomrim (spies) to Beit-El. (Now the shem of the Ir formerly was Luz.)
24 And the shomrim saw an ish come forth out of the Ir, and they said unto him, Show us, now, the way to enter into the Ir, and we will show thee chesed.
25 And when he showed them the way to enter into the Ir, they struck down the Ir with the edge of the cherev; but they spared the ish and all his mishpakhah.
26 And the ish went into the eretz HaChittim, and built an Ir, and called the shem thereof Luz; which is the shem thereof unto this day.
27 Neither did Menasheh drive out the Beit-Sh’an and her villages, nor Ta’nach and her villages, nor the inhabitants of Dor and her villages, nor the inhabitants of Yivleam and her villages, nor the inhabitants of Megiddo and her villages; so the Kena’ani were determined to dwell in that land.
28 And it came to pass, when Yisroel was chazak, that they put the Kena’ani to forced labor, and did not utterly drive them out.
29 Neither did Ephrayim drive out the Kena’ani that dwelt in Gezer; but the Kena’ani dwelt in Gezer among them.
30 Neither did Zevulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Kena’ani dwelt among them, and became subject to forced labor.
31 Neither did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Akko, nor the inhabitants of Tzidon, nor of Achlav, nor of Achziv, nor of Chelbah, nor of Aphik, nor of Rechov;
32 But the Asheri dwelt among the Kena’ani, the inhabitants of HaAretz: for they did not drive them out.
33 Neither did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Beit-Shemesh, nor the inhabitants of Beit-Anat; but he dwelt among the Kena’ani, the inhabitants of HaAretz: nevertheless the inhabitants of Beit-Shemesh and of Beit-Anat were unto them subject to forced labor.
34 And the Emori forced the Bnei Dan into the hill country; for they would not allow them to come down into the [broad] valley [area];
35 But the Emori would dwell in Mt Cheres in Ayalon, and in Shaalvim: yet the yad Bais Yosef prevailed, so that they became subject to forced labor.
36 And the territory of the Emori was from the Akrabbim Ascent and the Rock, upward.

Shofetim 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.

Chapter Summary


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.


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.

Shofetim 1 Commentaries

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