BibliaTodo Commentaries


Benson Joseph
Judges 1

1. And it came to pass after the death of Joshua, that the children of Israel inquired of the Lord, saying, Who shall go up for us first against the Canaanites, to fight against them?

2. And the Lord said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand.

3. And Judah said to his brother Simeon, Come up with me into my lot, and let us array ourselves against the Canaanites, and I also will go with you into your lot: and Simeon went with him.

4. And Judah went up; and the Lord delivered the Canaanite and the Perizzite into their hands, and they attacked them in Bezek to the number of ten thousand men.

5. And they overtook Adoni-Bezek in Bezek, and fought against him; and they attacked the Canaananite and the Perizzite.

6. And Adoni-Bezek fled, and they pursued after him, and took him, and cut off his thumbs and his big toes.

7. And Adoni-Bezek said, Seventy kings, having their thumbs and their big toes cut off, gathered their food under my table: as I therefore have done, so God has recompensed me: and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.

8. And the children of Judah fought against Jerusalem, and took it, and struck them with the edge of the sword, and they burned the city with fire.

9. And afterwards the children of Judah went down to fight with the Canaanite dwelling in the hill country, and the south, and the plain country.

10. And Judah went to the Canaanite who dwelt in Hebron; and Hebron came out against him; (and the name of Hebron before was Kirjath Arba:) and they killed Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai, children of Enac.

11. And they went up from there to the inhabitants of Debir; but the name of Debir was before Kirjath Serpher, the City of Letters.

12. And Caleb said, Whosoever shall attack the City of Letters, and shall first take it, I will give to him Achsah my daughter as wife.

13. And Othniel the younger son of Kenaz the brother of Caleb took it; and Caleb gave him his daughter Achsah as wife.

14. And it came to pass as she went in, that Othniel urged her to ask a field of her father; and she murmured and cried from off her donkey, You have sent me forth into a south land: and Caleb said to her, What do you wish?

15. And Achsah said to him, Give me, I pray, a blessing, for you have sent me forth into a south land, and you shall give me the ransom of water: and Caleb gave her according to her heart the ransom of the upper springs and the ransom of the lower springs.

16. And the children of Jethro the Kenite, the father-in-law of Moses, went up from the City of Palm Trees with the children of Judah, to the wilderness that is in the south of Judah, which is at the descent of Arad, and they dwelt with the people.

17. And Judah went with Simeon his brother, and attacked the Canaanite that inhabited Zephath, and they utterly destroyed them; and they called the name of the city Anathema.

18. But Judah did not inherit Gaza nor her coasts, nor Ashkelon or her coasts, nor Ekron or her coasts, nor Azotus or the lands around it.

19. And the Lord was with Judah, and he inherited the mountain; for they were not able to destroy the inhabitants of the valley, for Rechab prevented them.

20. And they gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses said; and then he inherited the three cities of the children of Anak.

21. But the children of Benjamin did not take the inheritance of the Jebusite who dwelt in Jerusalem; and the Jebusite dwelt with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem until this day.

22. And the sons of Joseph, they also went up to Bethel; and the Lord was with them.

23. And they encamped and surveyed Bethel: and the name of the city before was Luz.

24. And the spies looked, and behold, a man went out of the city, and they took him; and they said to him, Show us the way into the city, and we will deal mercifully with you.

25. And he showed them the way into the city; and they struck the city with the edge of the sword; but they let go the man and his family.

26. And the man went into the land of the Hittites, and built there a city, and called the name of it Luz; which is its name to this day.

27. And Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-Shean, which is a city of Scythians, nor her towns, nor her suburbs; nor Taanach, nor her towns; nor the inhabitants of Dor, nor her suburbs, nor her towns; nor the inhabitant of Balac, nor her suburbs, nor her towns; nor the inhabitants of Megiddo, nor her suburbs, nor her towns; nor the inhabitants of Jeblaam, nor her suburbs, nor her towns; and the Canaanite began to dwell in this land.

28. And it came to pass when Israel was strong, that he put the Canaanite under forced labor, but did not utterly drive them out.

29. And Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanite that dwelt in Gezer; and the Canaanite dwelt in the midst of him in Gezer, and became forced labor.

30. And Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kedron, nor the inhabitants of Domana: and the Canaanite dwelt in the midst of them, and became forced labor to them.

31. And Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Accho, and those people became tributary to him, nor did he drive out the inhabitants of Dor, nor the inhabitants of Sidon, nor the inhabitants of Ahlab, nor Achzib, nor Helbah, nor Aphik, nor Rehob.

32. And Asher dwelt in the midst of the Canaanite who inhabited the land, for he could not drive him out.

33. And Nephthali did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shemeth, nor the inhabitants of Beth Anath; and Nephthali dwelt in the midst of the Canaanite who inhabited the land; but the inhabitants of Beth Shemeth and of Beth Anath became forced labor to them.

34. And the Amorite drove out the children of Dan into the mountains, for they did not allow them to come down into the valley.

35. And the Amorite began to dwell in the mountain of shells, in which are bears, and foxes, in Myrsinon, and in Shaalabbin; and the hand of the house of Joseph was heavy upon the Amorite, and he became forced labor to them.

36. And the border of the Amorite was from the Ascent of Akrabbin, from the rock and upwards.

Judges 1

Jdg 1:1. After the death of Joshua — Not long after it; for Othniel, the first judge, lived in Joshua’s time. Asked the Lord — Being assembled together at Shiloh, they inquired of the high-priest by the Urim and the Thummim. Against the Canaanites first — Finding their people multiply exceedingly, and consequently the necessity of enlarging their quarters, they renew the war. They do not inquire who shall be captain-general to all the tribes; but what tribe shall first undertake the expedition, that, by their success, the other tribes might be encouraged to make the like attempts upon the Canaanites in their several lots.

Jdg 1:2. Judah — The tribe of Judah is chosen for the first enterprise, because they were both most populous, and so most needed enlargement; and withal most valiant, and therefore most likely to succeed; for God chooseth fit means for the work which he designs. Moreover, the Canaanites were numerous and strong in those parts, and therefore it was necessary they should be suppressed before they grew too strong for them.

Jdg 1:3. Judah said unto Simeon — As nearest to him, both by relation, being his brother by both parents, and by habitation. Come up with me against the Canaanites — Which people, with the Perizzites, still possessed a considerable part of the lot which fell to Judah. And I will likewise go with thee — To drive the Canaanites out of that part of the country which was the portion of Simeon. So Simeon went with him — They joined their forces together in this expedition, under the conduct, no doubt, of some eminent leader.

Jdg 1:4. Judah went up — The people of that tribe were principally concerned in this expedition, and therefore are only mentioned, though those of the tribe of Simeon went up with them. And the Lord delivered, &c. — We meet with no such pious expression (which occurs often here) in any heathen writer. In them every success is attributed to the conduct and valour of the generals, or the strength and courage of the forces; but in the Scriptures every success is attributed to God only. They slew them in Bezek — Not in the city, for that was not yet taken, (Jdg 1:5,) but in the territory of it.

Jdg 1:5-6. Adoni-bezek in Bezek — He was the king or lord of that place, as his name imports, and, as it appears, he had fled into it for safety when he had lost the field. They fought against him — That is, against the city wherein he had taken refuge, and against the rest of his army. Cut off his thumbs and great toes — That he might be incapable of war hereafter, being rendered unable to handle arms, or to run swiftly. This severe treatment had been practised upon other kings by himself, as appears, by his own confession, in the next verse, which, it is probable, made the Israelites think it reasonable to serve him in the same way: and perhaps they acted by the direction of God in the matter.

Jdg 1:7. Threescore and ten kings — Anciently each ruler of a city or great town was called a king, and had kingly power in that place; and many such kings we meet with in Canaan; and it is probable that, some years before, kings had been more numerous there, till the greater destroyed many of the less. Add to this, that it is likely some of these seventy kings had reigned in one and the same place, and had successively opposed him. Have gathered their meat under my table — An act of barbarous inhumanity, thus to insult over the miserable, joined with abominable luxury. So that it appears, by his own confession, he had been proud and insolent, as well as cruel, to a most high degree; and therefore what befell him may well be considered, which indeed he acknowledges, as a just punishment inflicted upon him by the order of Divine Providence. As I have done, so hath God requited me — This, his acknowledgment of God’s justice in his punishment, hath made some think he became a penitent and convert to the true religion. He speaks not of gods, as was customary with the heathen, but of God, in the singular number; and this appearance of penitence and faith in the true God might possibly be the reason why the Israelites spared his life.

Jdg 1:8-10. Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and taken it — Yet some of the inhabitants retired into the castle, and held out there till David’s time. Judah went against the Canaanites in Hebron — Under the conduct of Caleb, as is recorded Jos 15:14, &c., for that relation and this are doubtless one and the same expedition, and it is mentioned there by anticipation.

Jdg 1:16. The children of the Kenite — Jethro, Moses’s father-in-law, seems to have been called a Kenite from the people from whom he was descended, Num 24:21-22. His posterity, it appears, came into Canaan with the Israelites, and were settled there with them. Went up from the city of palm-trees — That is, from Jericho, so called, Deu 34:3; not indeed the city, which had been destroyed; but the territory belonging to it, where, it seems, they were seated in a most pleasant, fruitful, and safe place, according to the promise made by Moses to their father, Num 10:31-32; and whence they might remove either to avoid the neighbouring Canaanites, or out of love to the children of Judah. In the south of Arad — The southern part of the land of Canaan, where Arad was, Num 21:1. And dwelt among the people — Hebrew, that people; namely, those children of Judah that lived there.

Jdg 1:17. Judah went with Simeon — According to their promise, Jdg 1:3, and the laws of justice and gratitude: having finished, as far as they were able, the conquest of what belonged to the tribe of Judah, they went to assist the Simeonites to acquire the possession of what was comprehended in their lot. The name of the city was called Hormah — Either the same place, so called Num 21:3; in which case what was there vowed is here executed; or some other place called by the same name upon the like occasion, which seems more probable.

Jdg 1:18. Judah also took Gaza, Askelon, and Ekron — These three cities were in the country of the Philistines, upon the sea-coast, and the Israelites did not hold them long before the Philistines recovered them again. For as the Israelites contented themselves with taking these cities, and making the people tributary without destroying them, it was not difficult for them to regain their liberty.

Jdg 1:19. Could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley — Because of their unbelief, through which they distrusted God’s power to destroy those who had chariots of iron, and so gave way to their own fear and sloth, whereby God was provoked to withdraw his helping hand.

Jdg 1:22-25. The house of Joseph — That is, the tribe of Ephraim. Show us the entrance into the city — That is, where it may be most easily entered. For they did not inquire the way to the gate, which, no doubt, was common and plain enough; but for the weakest part, where the walls were lowest, or most out of repair, or had the least guard. Or they desired him, perhaps, to show them some private way to get into it, which none knew but the inhabitants. He showed them the entrance — Upon which, we may suppose, notice was immediately sent to the army, which lay near. They smote the city — Came upon them suddenly, and attacked them where they least expected it; so that the assailants met with little resistance.

Jdg 1:26. The man went and built a city — Which is an argument that the children of Ephraim dismissed him and his family, with all their goods and estate. The land of the Hittites — Where the Hittites fixed themselves after they were driven out of Canaan, which seems to have been northward from Canaan, and not far distant from it.

Jdg 1:27. Neither did Manasseh, &c. — That is, that half of this tribe which dwelt in Canaan. Beth-shean — A place near Jordan, Jos 17:11. Taanach — Of which see Jos 12:21. Dor — A great town, with large territories, Jos 11:2; Jos 12:23. Megiddo — A royal city, Jos 12:21; Jos 17:11. But the Canaanites would dwell in the land — Namely, by force or agreement. So that it appears, although, during the life of Joshua, the Israelites had conducted themselves with a great degree of bravery, and had expelled several bodies of the Canaanites; yet, after his death, they became pusillanimous and remiss in driving them out, and made peace with them, which was the first step of their defection.

Jdg 1:28. When Israel was strong they put the Canaanites to tribute — Herein they violated the law, whereby they were enjoined to destroy or expel that people when they were able. And as they were strong enough to impose tribute on them, they undoubtedly might have driven them entirely out of the land. But it cost them less trouble, and brought them more profit, to make them tributaries, than to expel them; and therefore they preferred it, being influenced by sloth and covetousness. And this seems to be here spoken of as their common fault at this time.

Jdg 1:29. Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites — So far from it, that it appears they did not so much as exact any tribute from them, but made a covenant of friendship with them, which was a still greater crime. The Canaanites dwelt in Gezer — Which they possessed till Solomon’s time; 1Ki 9:6. And to dwell among a people often signifies to have a quiet settlement, as 2Ki 4:13.

Jdg 1:32. The Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites — This manner of speaking seems to imply that these Canaanites still remained the lords of the country, and that the Asherites were only permitted to dwell among the Canaanites, who certainly appear to have paid them no tribute, and to have owed them no subjection.

Jdg 1:34-35. They would not suffer them to come down into the valley — That is, into the plain country; which was the occasion of that expedition for the obtaining of territory elsewhere, of which we read Jos 19:47, and Jdg 18:2. The hand of the house of Joseph prevailed — That is, of the Ephraimites, who helped their brethren the Danites against the Amorites.

Jdg 1:36. From the going up to Akrabbim — Which was in the southern part of Canaan, Jos 15:2-3, from whence it went up toward the north. This is added to show the great power and large extent of this people.

The Complete Apostles' Bible

Translated by Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton. Revised and Edited by Paul W. Esposito, and, The English Majority Text Version (EMTV) of the Holy Bible, New Testament. Copyright © 2002-2004 Paul W. Esposito.