Judges 1

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Judges 1:1–36

Twelve Tribe Update


Outline of Chapter 1:

 

         vv.     1–7           Judah and Simeon move against the Canaanites and the Perizzites in Bezek

         vv.     8–9           Judah moves against Jerusalem and the Canaanites

         v.       10           Judah Moves Against Hebron

         vv.    11–15         Debir is Taken/Caleb, his daughter and his son-in-law

         vv.    16–20         Further movements of Judah and Simeon

         vv.    21–29         Early history of Benjamin and the house of Joseph (the Sons of Rachel)

         vv.    30–36         The early history of Zebulun, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan


Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:

 

         Introduction         Matthew Henry on Judges 1

         Introduction         Eleazar, the 2nd High Priest

         Introduction         Phinehas, the 3rd High Priest

         v.       2              The Preeminence of Judah

         v.       3              The Wholesale Destruction of the Indigenous Heathen in Palestine

         v.       4              Brief Summary of the Perizzites

         v.       7              Matthew Henry Comments on Judges 1:7

         v.       7              Exegetes Who Do not Think that Adoni-Bezek is Redeemed

         v.       6              The Historical Perspective of Cutting off the Thumbs and Big Toes

         v.       8              The Jebusites in Jerusalem

         v.       8              A Chronology of Events

         v.      10              The Sequence of Events in the Capture of Hebron

         v.      10              The Key Differences Between the Attacks on Hebron

         v.      12              The Authorship of the Book of Judges and Narrative Inserts

         v.      13              Othniel’s Relationship to Caleb

         v.      13              How Are Othniel and Achsah Related?

         v.      13              Incest

         v.      16              A Summary of the Doctrine of the Kenites

         v.      16              Possible Reasons Why the Kenites Leave the City of Palms

         v.      17              The Cities and Peoples Devoted to God by Israel

         v.      17              The Cities and Peoples not Completely Devoted to God by Israel

         v.      18              The Five Cities of the Philistines

         v.      19              God With Us

         v.      21              Comparing Joshua 15:63 to Judges 1:21

         v.      21              A Summary of Judges 17–21

Judges 17–18: Micah and the Danites

Judges 19–21: The Degeneracy of the Tribe of Benjamin

         v.      22              A Summary of the City of Bethel

         v.      25              Basic Gospel Vocabulary

         v.      26              The Possible Locations for New Luz

         v.      26              Rahab and the Man of Luz

         v.      29              Map Showing Location of Gezer

         v.      31              The Short Doctrine of Acco

         v.      31              The City of Aphik in Asher

         v.      32              Keil and Delitzsch on the Asherite Cities

         v.      34              God’s Postscript for the Era of the Judges

         v.      35              Why Israel was Generally Unsuccessful in Canaan


Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To

 

 

Hebron Part I

Bethel

 

 

 

 



I ntroduction: In the book of Joshua, Joshua led Israel into the Land of Promise and essentially conquered it. This does not mean that Joshua conquered each and every city; however, Israel conquered enough major cities and killed enough heathen in order to have a solid foothold in the land. Whereas, they could not simply erect cities and settle down; they would be able to erect cities and continue to conquer those around them.


What we have in this first chapter of the Judges is, Israel has begun to settle into the cities given them (Joshua 15–19); and they have begun, in some cases, to conquer the individual cities belonging to them which Joshua had not. However, in many cases, the people were simply settling in and learning to live with their neighbors.


In today’s thinking, many would assume that what Israel has done thus far is barbaric; and that learning to live with the indigenous people of this land is the prudent and moral thing to do. Wrong! God did not just arbitrarily give Israel a chunk of land; God gave Israel a chunk of land inhabited by people whose degeneracy was so great as to require—dare I say it?—genocide. Some of these people worshiped Molech. They would construct a statue of Molech and put fire to this statue to heat it with fire; then they would take their own babies and place these babies in the glowing hot arms of Molech as their reasonable sacrifice to this god. These are people whose degeneracy had become complete, and God was ready to destroy them.


Furthermore, there were groups of people who absolutely and irrationally hated Israel. Well, their hatred is irrational from a human perspective; however, very rational from the divine perspective. The Jews are God’s people—not some localized god whom they build statues to—but the God of the Universe, the God Who created man; the God Who created the universe. Those in the land hated the True God with every fibre of their being; and therefore, hated Israel with the same intense passion. Their negative volition toward God would be revealed in their absolute hatred of Israel. The other evening, I was watching a news-magazine program; and a young Palestinian man, who had been arrested, was being interviewed. Footnote He was around 21 and had been arrested at age 17 for attempting a suicide bombing mission. He found a place where there were dozens of Jewish civilians and he walked toward them with the intention of setting off the bomb in his backpack. His bomb did not go off, he was arrested, and now he was being interviewed, several years later. His mother had raised him with the idea that he would die killing as many Jews as possible with his death. He believed that God would create for him 72 virgins whom he would live with after this death. This was his mindset—he had no thought of going to school; no thought of marrying the woman of his dreams and having a family; no thought of finding a job—he wanted to end his own life killing as many Jews as he possibly could, and then get rewarded by his god for doing so. Now, don’t misunderstand me—not all Palestinians think in this way. However, there are thousands of them which do. They are raised from their youth to think this way; the hatred of their parents for the Jew is so great, that they would be happy and proud to see their young son die killing Jews.


Israel is a tiny postage stamp of a country in the Middle East. Israel takes up less than one-tenth of 1% of the Middle East. Hawaii is about twice that percentage of the size of the United States. We often have the impression that Israel is a much larger nation in the Middle East, but it is not. It is simply the hatred of many Arabs which makes it seem as though the Jews have taken over some huge piece of land. Their hatred will not even be satisfied if they could completely wipe out the Jew in the Middle East, because their hatred is actually toward God, and manifested toward the Jews. This is not new. This goes back to the book of the Judges and before. Man has an old sin nature and some men despise God so much, that they will lash out at anything associated with God. Let me give you a minor example—when a court or school district or a state makes a ruling with regards to evolution being taught in the classroom, try to discuss this from a Christian perspective anywhere on the internet. Although you might have a few who will argue the point with you, a large number of people will verbally lash out against you, calling you names, even disparaging your heritage. They will make a number of assumptions about you: you are brainwashed, you are not very intelligent, you have never thought your position through, and you will go along with whatever someone else tells you. I’ve been accused of brainwashing my students and of being a lousy teacher with extremely stupid students. Their extreme emotion is palpable.


This is what we had in the Middle East circa 1400–1100 b.c., the time of the judges, but amplified many times. We had groups of people whose hatred for God was all-consuming. Therefore, God was going to wipe some of these tribes out. Now, don’t get all flipped-out over this. Israel was a theocracy at that time and God communicated with Israel at that time. This is not the case today; there are no theocracies in this world today in this dispensation. God is not calling upon any nation to commit genocide or to become involved in ethnic cleansing or anything like this. That was something confined to that era, and God was very specific.


As we have studied in the Law, God recognized the rights and dignity of slaves and of foreigners, and Israel was to deal with these sub-groups fairly. How should I explain this? If some person wanders into your church, regardless of their political affiliations and regardless of what they felt about God in the past, you receive them with graciousness. You don’t jump all over them for holding this or that incorrect view; you do not castigate them for whatever sins that they have committed which shock you. Their coming into your church indicates some sort of positive volition; and you treat them with the same graciousness as God treated you when you turned to Him. The nation Israel represented God on earth. Therefore, even though this nation was called upon to destroy this or that people; they were also a refuge for those who sought God. A person who came to Israel was a person often in search of God and in search of a relationship with God, just as we find with a person who comes into a church. Therefore, as we examine the book of the Judges, we have to bear these things in mind, and be able to strike a balance in Israel’s role. Now, this should not be difficult to do—our God is perfect justice and perfect righteousness; He is also gracious toward us. Anyone who comes to God through Jesus Christ will be saved eternally; anyone who believes in Jesus Christ will spend eternity with God, despite what he or she has done in their life. Just as we can face God as our Savior or as our Judge, so was Israel to her neighbors. As we examine this chapter, and Israel’s conquering of this or that city; bear in mind that we are only seeing one side of the picture.


Let me add that, Israel is made up of a variety of believers, and that God dealt with them and their walk as well. Therefore, what happens in the Land of Promise is going to be a reflection of God’s relationship to Israel; and some people will be left in the midst of Israel as thorns in their side, to test Israel—but, that is Judges 2, which we will get to in due time.

 

Keller: Immediately after the conquest an astonishing thing happened: the tribes of Israel dug their toes into the ground they had won. They can therefore no longer have been a typical nomadic people. Canaan had experienced invasions of nomads from time immemorial but they had always been merely episodes. The tribes would graze their flocks and then one day they would disappear as suddenly as they had come. Israel, on the other hand, became static, cultivating fields and clearing forests...they gave up their tents and built themselves huts; they settled down among the ruins of the houses in the towns they had conquered. In Debir, Bethshemesh and Bethel remains of their primitive and poverty-stricken furnishings were found on top of the strata which were deposited when the towns were burned down. This break with the past is clearly recognisable from the excavations. Where previously patrician houses and palaces of the long established feudal barons had been standing, there now arose peasants’ huts and fences. The massive defence walls show signs of having had necessary repairs done to them. Footnote


Joshua has essentially retired after distributing the land. Some commentators never were able to grasp that. They feel as though Joshua had done something wrong because he did not train a man to follow him. Moses appeared to train Joshua; however, Joshua did not appear to train anyone in particular. However, God gave no guidance whatsoever to Joshua in this regard. If he was able to get a man to take his place, fine; and if he wasn’t fine. There was no indication anywhere that there needed to be someone to rule over Israel. Israel is a theocracy where God rules Israel. God will inspire judges to rule over disputes and to iron out problems. However, what God does not set up was a man to rule over all of Israel.


With this first chapter of Judges, we begin part I of the three parts of the book of Judges—the introduction and overview. This part I can be broken down into two sections. Chapter 1 just gives us an overall view as to what progress the various tribes made with regards to the divine mandate—capture and subdue the land. This first chapter will give us an update as to what each of nine tribes did individually to take the remainder of the land which was their inheritance.

 

ZPEB: [Israel failed] to complete the Conquest, particularly in such strategic areas as the Esdraelon valley (Judg. 1:27, 28), Gezer, the Aijalon valley, Jerusalem (1:21, 29, 35), and the northern coastal plain (1:31). Israelite control was limited to three separate areas—Judah, the central highlands, and a portion of Galilee. Only Ephraim appears to have completed the occupation of its designated area, which accounts for its preeminence during the period (8:1–3; 12:1). The remainder of the tribes were hard pressed to maintain their positions and after were involved in conflict with neighboring countries. Footnote


Levi is not mentioned, as it was not their responsibility to secure their possession. Gad and Reuben are not mentioned, as they controlled the land on the other side of the Jordan. However, for some reason, Issachar is not mentioned either in this chapter. Footnote Joshua had taken these tribes through and had conquered enough of the land and enough cities that the individual tribes could settle their area without fear of attack and/or removal. However, in each inheritance, there were additional cities to subdue and groups of peoples to eradicate. Actually, the entire book of Judges deals with the interaction between the Israelites and the Canaanites in the land. In general, vv. 1–26 the most successful that Israel will be, although the success is primarily confined to Judah and to Ephraim. It is downhill from there. The remainder of the chapter will deal with the failure of the other tribes.


Interestingly enough, the chapter will move from the south to the north when naming the tribes of Israel. It almost appears as if we go from the tribes which do the most with what God gives them to those who do the worst. However, between the very successful aggressions of Judah (Judges 1:1–20) and moderately successful aggressions of Ephraim and West Manasseh (Judges 1:22–26), we find the tribe of Benjamin unable to secure Jerusalem (Judges 1:21). However, after that, we appear to generally go in the order of disobedient to more disobedient.


In general, Judah will take the hill country, but will be unable to secure the coastal plain between the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea (vv. 1–12). Joseph will conquer the city of Bethel (vv. 22–26), but will not be able to expel the Canaanites from the rest of their inheritance. In fact, Ephraim, Manasseh, and Zebulun were all unable to conquer the Canaanites living in their inheritance, although they were strong enough to collect tribute from them (or, to make slaves of them) (vv. 27–30). Asher, Naphtali, and Dan actually suffered setbacks or were held to an uneasy co-existence with the Canaanites in their area (vv. 31–34). My guess is that Issachar is not mentioned because this tribe did nothing to secure its inheritance.


Matthew Henry Footnote gives us a brief rundown of this first chapter:

Matthew Henry on Judges 1

This chapter gives us a particular account what sort of progress the several tribes of Israel made in the reducing of Canaan after the death of Joshua. He initiated this great work, and put it into such a posture that they might easily have perfected it in due time, if they had not been wanting in themselves. What they did in order and wherein they came short, we are told in this chapter.

 I. The united tribes of Judah and Simeon did bravely (Judges 1:1–20):

1. God appointed Judah to begin (Judges 1:1–2).

2. Judah took Simeon to act in conjunction with him (Judges 1:3).

3. They succeeded in their enterprises against Bezek (Judges 1:4–7), Jerusalem (Judges 1:8). Hebron and Debir (Judges 1:9–15), Hormah, Gaza, and other places (Judges 1:17–19).

4. Yet where there were chariots of iron their hearts failed them (Judges 1:19). Mention is made of the Kenites settling among them (Judges 1:16).

II. The other tribes, in comparison with these, acted a cowardly part (Judges 1:21–36):

1. Benjamin failed (Judges 1:21).

2. The house of Joseph did well against Beth–el (Judges 1:22–26), but in other places did not improve their advantages, nor Manasseh (Judges 1:27–28), nor Ephraim (Judges 1:29).

3. Zebulun spared the Canaanites (Judges 1:30).

4. Asher truckled worse than any of them to the Canaanites (Judges 1:31–32).

5. Naphtali was kept out of the full possession of several of his cities (Judges 1:33).

6. Dan was straitened by the Amorites (Judges 1:34). No account is given of Issachar, nor of the two tribes and a half on the other side Jordan.


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At the conclusion of this chapter, Keil and Delitzsch tell us: The angel of the Lord therefore appeared at Bochim, and declared to the Israelites, that because they had not obeyed the command of the Lord, to make no covenant with the Canaanites, the Lord would no more drive out these nations, but would cause them and their gods to become a snare to them (Judges 2:1–5). From this divine revelation it is evident, on the one hand, that the failure to exterminate the Canaanites had its roots in the negligence of the tribes of Israel; and on the other hand, that the accounts of the wars of the different tribes, and the enumeration of the towns in the different possessions out of which the Canaanites were not expelled, were designed to show clearly the attitude of the Israelites to the Canaanites in the age immediately following the death of Joshua, or to depict the historical basis on which the development of Israel rested in the era of the judges. Footnote


Authorship throughout the book of Judges is difficult to determine. We will operate on two principles: (1) given the previous Scripture written, who is the likely author; and, (2) given what is written in any given passage, who is the likely author. In the book of Genesis, we saw authorship handed off continually, and the likely author was often quite obvious (for instance, who else but Jacob would write Gen. 29?). Because Phinehas led Israel in Joshua 22, and the death of his father is mentioned at the end of the book of Joshua, he would be the most likely candidate to write the end of Joshua (he or his father, Eleazar), and therefore, the beginning of the book of Judges. He ends one book because he is beginning another. It makes less sense for Bob to finish the book of Joshua, and then for Ray to decide he is going to write the book of Judges. It is more likely that this would be accomplished at one fell swoop. Therefore, Phinehas is the person who probably at least began writing the book of Judges.


There is a problem with this theory, and it is that the vocabulary and sentence structure of the end of Joshua is moderately complex; whereas, the vocabulary and sentence structure of Judges 1 is quite simple, if not repetitive. One possibility is, Eleazar wrote the final couple chapters of Joshua; and Phinehas wrote the first couple chapters of Judges. This could account for the different style and vocabulary.


At this point, it might be helpful to get a few points on the life of Eleazar, as well as a few points about Phinehas, his son.

Eleazar, the 2nd High Priest

1.      Eleazar is the son of Aaron.

2.      Therefore, since Aaron is the brother of Moses and his contemporary, so Eleazar would be the contemporary of Joshua.

3.      Eleazar would take over as High Priest after the death of his father Aaron (Num. 20:25–28 Deut. 10:6).

4.      This means that, Eleazar would act as the High Priest during the time that Joshua was leading Israel into the Land of Promise (Joshua 27:19–21).

5.      Eleazar played a prominent role in the division of the land and cities to the various tribes of Israel (Joshua 14:1 17:4).

6.      Eventually, Eleazar passed along his spiritual authority to his son Phinehas (Joshua 23:13 Judges 20:28).

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Therefore, we should know a few things about Phinehas:

Phinehas, the 3rd High Priest

1.      Phinehas is the son of Eleazar, and the grandson of Aaron.

2.      Therefore, since his father was the spiritual authority during the time of Joshua, it follows that Phinehas would assume this spiritual authority around the time of Joshua’s death.

3.      Phinehas is never associated with a political or military leader, as his father Eleazar was associated with Joshua (and as his grandfather Aaron was associated with Moses).

4.      Although the authority of Phinehas as High Priest is never questioned, there are relatively few incidents where Phinehas is mentioned in association with this authority.

5.      In Joshua 22, the eastern tribes of Israel build an altar-memorial, which causes some concern for the western tribes. Phinehas was a part of the delegation that went to speak to the eastern tribes, and he apparently did most or all of the speaking.

6.      In Judges 20, Phinehas was consulted concerning the success of the attack against the tribe of Benjamin for their evil in Judges 19. Phinehas assures the other tribes of Israel that they will be successful for this particular attack.

7.      Apart from these two incidents, we are told nothing about Phinehas and his tenure as High Priest. In fact, we are not even told about his death.

Interestingly enough, we know very little about Phinehas as High Priest, or about the elders of the tribes of Israel who would have been had some power at this time. From his era, Phinehas is the only man who stands out.

That either of these men had a hand in writing Scripture is pure conjecture on my part; however, there are no other likely candidates.


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Almost every commentator around assumes that Joshua dies, and then the events of Judges 1 take place. This is but one narrow option. The first couple verses can be an introduction to the entire book, the author now aware that what is recorded will result in a book, and possibly aware that this book will become a part of the cannon of Scripture (something which Joshua seemed to grasp immediately and something that Moses was not hip to until the last month or so of his life). Footnote I want for you to consider the possibility that this author has picked up the pen following the death of Joshua and is now recording events which Joshua did not, although some of these events took place during Joshua’s life. The first two verses of this book would act as (1) an introduction to the book of Judges; and, (2) indicate why this is being recorded by someone else. Joshua’s death will be mentioned again in Judges 2. Why would an author do that unless it was to orient his readers to time? Therefore, for awhile, we will assume that Phinehas is writing this (or, whoever wrote the final chapters of Joshua), and we will entertain the possibility that Judges 1 took place during the lifetime of Joshua. Another point to consider when placing this in time: does it make sense for Israel to have gone to war against the Canaanites and the Amorites in the land, and then to take 15–30 years off before mounting an attack against enemies that they are living next to? Recall that this is the generation of promise, not the gen X’ers. Also recall that Caleb is alive and strong, as healthy as ever. Is there any reason to think that Caleb would wait for his friend to die before he did anything in his land? You must read the Bible with some concept of logic and continuity. Given Caleb’s disposition and faith, it would seem likely that two months into the land, he would be looking to take the cities and areas not already dominated by Israel. The other tribes have a momentum going. It would be most likely that they would immediately launch an attack on the unconquered cities.


You will note that there is some actual arrangement with regards to the birth and the mothers of the tribes covered. Gad and Reuben are not mentioned, as they are on the other side of the Jordan and they had moved into land which was essentially conquered. Levi is not mentioned because Levi does not have a particular area, but occupies several cities and is responsible for the spiritual aspects of Israel. Judah and Simeon were born of Leah, of the first four of Jacob’s sons which were born. Caleb was a part of this tribe. Benjamin and Joseph were the last two sons born, both to Rachel, whom Jacob loved. Zebulun was born to Leah (along with Issachar who is not mentioned in this chapter); Asher was born to Leah’s maid Zilpah; and Naphtali and Dan were both born to Bilhah, Rachel’s maid. It is important to recognize that what this chapter deals with is organized by tribe, not by time.


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Judah and Simeon Move Against the Canaanites and the Perizzites in Bezek


In this first section, we begin with our focus on the tribes of Judah and Simeon. In fact, in vv. 1–8, we will follow one particular campaign against the city of Bezek, with the result that the king of Bezek will be evangelized. If you will recall from the introduction, you must be able to balance out God’s judgment of these heathen people with His offer to take them to Himself. All unbelievers will spend eternity in hell, eternity separated from God; however, anyone who wants a relationship with God can attain that status by simply believing in Jesus Christ, an act which can take as little as a few seconds. This option to face God’s judgment or God’s grace is before all men, which option will be emphasized in the first 7 verses of this chapter.


Slavishly literal:

 

Relatively literal:

And so he was after a death of Joshua:

And so inquired sons of Israel by Yehowah, to say, “Who will go up for us against the Canaanite the first to fight against him?”

Judges

1:1

And so it was after the death of Joshua:

And so the sons of Israel inquired by Yehowah, saying, “Who will go up for us against the Canaanite; the first to fight against him?”

And so it came to pass after the death of Joshua:

And the sons of Israel inquired of Jehovah, “Who will first go up for us against the Canaanites and fight against them?”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          After the death of Josue, the children of Israel consulted the Lord, saying: “Who shall go up before us against the Chanaanite, and shall be the leader of the war?”

Masoretic Text                       And so he was after a death of Joshua:

And so inquired sons of Israel by Yehowah, to say, “Who will go up for us against the Canaanite the first to fight against him?”

Septuagint                              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 Chananites, to fight against them?”

 

Significant differences: No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the LORD, "Which of our tribes should attack the Canaanites first?".

The Message                         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?".


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

HCSB                                     After the death of Joshua, the Israelites inquired of the LORD, "Who will be the first to fight for us against the Canaanites?"


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       After the death of Joshua, the people of Israel inquired of the LORD, "Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?"

Young’s Updated LT             And it comes to pass, after the death of Joshua, that the sons of Israel ask at Jehovah, saying, “Who goes up for us unto the Canaanite, at the commencement, to fight against it?”


What is the gist of this verse? After the death of Joshua, Israel had to determine what to do next. They inquire of Jehovah God who will fight against the heathen in the land.


Judges 1:1a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

Without a specific subject and object, the verb hâyâh often means and it will come to be, and it will come to pass, then it came to pass (with the wâw consecutive). Generally, the verb does not match the gender whatever nearby noun could be the subject (and, as often, there is no noun nearby which would fulfill the conditions of being a subject).

achărêy (י̤רֲח ַא) [pronounced ah-kuh-RAY]

hinder parts; behind, after; following; after that, afterwards

preposition; plural form

Strong’s #310 BDB #29

mâveth (ת∵וָמ) [pronounced MAW-veth]

death, death [as opposed to life], death by violence, a state of death, a place of death

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4194 BDB #560

Yehôwshûa׳ ( ַע ֻשה  ׃י) [pronounced yehoh-SHOO-ahģ]

whose salvation is Yehowah or Yehowah is salvation; transliterated Joshua or Yeshuah

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3091 BDB #221


Translation: And so it was after the death of Joshua:... We begin with the phrase, And it came about after the death of Joshua. It would seem clear enough on the first read that first Joshua dies, and then this chapter takes place, which is the position that many exegetes take. Footnote However, as I mentioned before, I don’t necessarily see it that way. I see this more as a title to the book. Footnote This is a general introductory phrase to the entire book—not necessarily to this chapter. To be honest with you, I had no idea if anyone agreed with me that these events took place during the lifetime of Joshua. However, this is how I read the passage.

 

Barnes comments: From i. 1 to ii. 9 is a consecutive narrative, ending with the death of Joshua. Hence the events in this chapter and in ii. 1–6 are to be taken as belonging to the lifetime of Joshua. Footnote Keil and Delitzsch comment: the book of Judges takes up the thread of the history where the book of Joshua had dropped it. Footnote


What we have at the beginning of this book is somewhat of a title for the entire book. It was fitting that it began where the book of Joshua left off, topic-wise. A small portion of Judges occurred during Joshua’s lifetime (up to Judges 2:9), but the majority of the book occurred after. The author of the book of Judges (or, at least of this first portion) begins writing after the death of Joshua; however, his subject matter is not completely confined to what took place after the death of Joshua. My thinking is, this is Phinehas, who wrote the final chapter of Joshua (more or less), and has begun to give an overview. “Joshua has died, and now I am going to continue with the history of Israel and her relationship to God.” Phinehas is not going to necessarily pick up the narrative at Joshua’s death, because there would be a period of time when Joshua was old and not leading his troops into battle. There would be a period of time when Joshua would be in a state of retirement—albeit, not necessarily as long as the retirements which we enjoy at this time. Things would take place during this retirement and continue beyond Joshua’s death. That is the book of Judges. Judges 1 is going to give us an overall view of what took place while Joshua was in retirement, and there would be some overlap with his death. Now, the reason that we can reasonably postulate this is, Joshua’s death will be mentioned specifically in Judges 2:6–9. A reasonable hypothesis is, his death is covered by way of giving us a point in time for Judges 2. So, Judges 1 occurs during Joshua’s retirement and after his death; and the remainder of Judges takes place after Joshua’s death.


Bear in mind, the incidents recorded in this book, apart from his death, do not involve Joshua at all, so, topically, they fit in better with this book than they would have with the book of Joshua, even though a short portion of this book did take place during his lifetime.


Judges 1:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâal (לַאָש) [pronounced shaw-AHL]

to ask [petition, request, inquire]; to demand; to question, to interrogate; to ask [for a loan]; to consult; to salute

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7592 BDB #981

bânîym (םי.נָ) [pronounced baw-NEEM]

sons, descendants; sometimes rendered men

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: ...And so the sons of Israel inquired by Yehowah,... My thinking is that this would be by the use of Urim and Thumim, the method given by God to Israel to ask God’s direction in any matter.

 

Zodhiates explains: the phrase “asked the Lord” is found only in the books of Judges and Samuel. The civil ruler of Israel had the right to ask the high priest to consult the Urim and the Thummim for him (Num. 27:21). This was the means which God set up for the judges, and later the kings, to know His judgment on any particular matter. Footnote


Num. 27:21 reads, incidentally: “Furthermore, he [this was a reference to Joshua] will stand before Eleazar the priest, who will inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before Jehovah. At his command they will go out and at his command, they will come in, he and the sons of Israel with him, even all the congregation.” However, despite the context of Num. 27:21, this also gives us a general understanding of how Israel could inquire of God. Since Joshua is not in the picture at this time, it would be reasonable that elders from the various tribes have gone to Phinehas, the current High Priest, in order to determine what they should do. Eleazar (the father of Phinehas) has died by the time this is written; and these events either take place during his retirement or after his death. Phinehas, at this time, would be an old man, but still in a position of leadership. He is the most likely person to have recorded these events and to have been approached to determine the will of God. Footnote


Judges 1:1c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Literally, this means to say, but this does not necessarily mean that a quotation is to follow (although it usually does). What we have hear is something which is more akin to our expression to wit or meaning, namely, by interpretation, to explain, that is, in other words. Footnote

mîy (י ̣מ) [pronounced mee]

who, whom; occasionally rendered how, in what way

pronominal interrogative; the verb to be may be implied

Strong’s #4310 BDB #566

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to go up, to ascend, to come up, to rise, to climb

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 1st person plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Kena׳ănîy (י.נֲע-נ) [pronounced ke-nah-ģuh-NEE]

merchant, trader; and is transliterated Canaanite, Canaanites

Adjective/nominative gentilic; with the definite article

Strong’s #3669 BDB #489


Translation: ...saying, “Who will go up for us against the Canaanite;... This is an interesting general question, as there are Canaanites all over the Land of Promise—in nearly every territory of every tribe. What will be apparent is, only Judah and Simeon will move against the Canaanites; so that God, through Phinehas, will direct Judah to take the cities in its territory from the Canaanite. Apparently, the other tribes will sit back while this is going on.


Despite the fact that this might seem to be an unusual question, realize that there is no set military leader who stands out after Joshua. Joshua is either retired or dead at the time that these events take place; and is not going to be leading any tribe of Israel anywhere. Therefore, the tribes of Israel must get some kind of direction for their lives.


Gill suggests that the Israelites needed more land to farm and more space to live in Footnote , but that is not the case here at all. They have just conquered the Land of Promise and are about to move into their territories distributed to them by Joshua. They realize that God has guided them and has been with them throughout the past 40+ years, and it seems reasonable to them to determine what should be done next. They seem to be aware that rooting out the Canaanite population is still a part of God’s plan for them.


Judges 1:1d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

techillâh (הָ ̣ח ׃) [pronounced te-khil-LAW]

beginning, first, in the beginning; previously, prior to; at the commencement of

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #8462 BDB #321

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 1st person plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

lâcham (םַחָל) [pronounced law-KHAHM]

to engage in battle, to engage in war, to wage war; to fight, to battle

Niphal infinitive construct

Strong’s #3898 BDB #535

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #88

 

Translation:...[who will be] the first to fight against him?” After the word Canaanite we have the definite article and feminine singular of techillâh (ה ָ  ̣ח  ׃) [pronounced te-khil-LAW], which means beginning, first; previously. What this might imply is that what follows occurred previously—that is, prior to the death of Joshua. The only problem with that is that this falls within a quotation. However, it would make more sense for this question to have been asked soon after settling into the inheritance of the land, rather than several decades later. Young renders this at the commencement.


Keil and Delitzsch explain that this refers to which tribe would initiate the attack upon the Canaanites, as opposed to which tribe would take the lead in the attack upon the Canaanites. In other words, Judah (v. 2) would be the first of the tribes to initiate the campaign against the Canaanites or to take the lead, but that they would not be considered to be the tribe over the other tribes; this does not imply that they are the foremost of the other tribes or that they had somehow assumed a position of commander-in-chief of the other tribes.


There are two basic viewpoints with respect to time. (1) Joshua died and now Israel has decided to take the remainder of the land which God has given them; or, (2) Joshua hasn’t died, but this is written after he died; at the time of the writing, Joshua is in semi-retirement. Israel is on a roll; they just conquered enough of the land to be able to settle in it without fear for their lives. They are fully aware of God’s help and guidance. They are pumped militarily. Furthermore, God has ordered them to take the land and cities which remain. They were not to co-exist with the peoples of the land. So, which is most logical: (1) within a year or two, they move against those who remain in the land, or, (2) they cool their hills for a few decades, see fewer and fewer signs from God, and suddenly decide, en masse, to attack their enemies separately? In this chapter, we have a progress report Footnote on all of the tribes of Israel. Since Joshua’s death is mentioned again in the second chapter, my thinking, obviously, is that all of this took place prior to his death, but while he was in semi-retirement.


The last verb is the Qal imperfect of to go up, to ascend, to rise. Given all the times we have seen this verb, it seems that it is used figuratively as well. That is, not for people physically going up, but that this is often used for going into battle against someone, or to aggressive movements made by an army (here, the Israelite army). Although the NIV Study Bible says that Israel has been camped in Gilgal (800 ft. Below sea level), and that they are going up against Canaanites who live in the hills and on tells (2500–3500 ft. high), this is an incorrect interpretation of this verse. First of all, Israel has been camped in Shiloh during the final portion of Joshua (Joshua 18:1) and the priest and the tabernacle appear to be in Shiloh as well and this is where they would go to ask of the Lord (Num. 27:21 Joshua 18:1 22:12–13). Now, all of that aside, most of the time, it would make sense for Israel to go up against the Canaanites, as they are generally parked upon a tell in a fortified city.


Now, there is an important implication here. I want to place this in a time-line of sorts. If the tribes are in their separate areas at the time of this verse, why on earth would the tribe of Judah, with Simeon living in his midst, travel to Shiloh, and ask who will go up against the Canaanite? The answer will be the tribe of Judah (v. 2), and then Judah will ask the tribe of Simeon to go with them (v. 3). Do you see the logical problem? Is Judah, in his own area, living side-by-side with Simeon, going to go to Shiloh and ask which tribe should go against their enemies? It makes no sense.


Wesley equates this attack with the first judge, Othniel, in Judges 3:9–13. Footnote However, in this chapter, Israel appears to be the aggressor; and, in Judges 3, Israel appears to be responding to servitude. In our chapter, it is very clear as to who goes up from Israel and whom they capture. In Judges 3, it appears to be a different enemy altogether, and the fighting does not appear to be confined to Judah and Simeon only.


What is a distinct possibility is that this takes place immediately after Joshua’s farewell address in Joshua 23 (Joshua 24 is not his final words to Israel). The land has been conquered, more or less; the cities and areas distributed to the various tribes; and Joshua, old and advanced in years, calls the elders of Israel to hear him. Interestingly enough, Joshua warns Israel to remain separate from the peoples still in the land and adds, “Know with certainty that Jehovah your God will not continue to drive these nations out from before you, but they will become a snare and a trap to you, and a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good land which Jehovah your God has given you.” (Joshua 23:15). It would be reasonable that, at the conclusion of this message, the elders go before Phinehas and ask for direction (“Who will go up against the Canaanite?”). This is also in agreement with early occurrences of the book of the Judges (Judges 20:18, 28; where the tribes ask who should take the lead against the tribe of Benjamin). Footnote


Now, since Bezek (v. 4) is not mentioned in the book of Joshua, then this would not make sense for this to take place during the initial southern campaign. Therefore, the only logical time frame for this to have occurred would have been between the time of the southern campaign and prior to the moving into the land. Therefore, when it said that the tribes went to inquire about who should go up, this means that they would have been gathered together in one place. Nothing is said about the gathering of Israel to any particular place. This gives us two possibilities: (1) this occurred immediately after the distribution of land; or, (2) the incidents in vv. 1–8 took place immediately after the funeral and mourning for Joshua (which no doubt would have involved the gathering of the tribes). Although the first option is the most likely, as the tribes had just returned from a very successful 7 year campaign throughout Palestine, were pumped, and knew where there were pockets of resistance, I do allow that the latter option is a reasonable possibility. In the latter case, the incidents recorded in these first twenty verses are not necessarily a chronological progression of this particular attack, as v. 8 could have occurred at any time before or after v. 7 (which takes with it the incidents which follow).


Application: Let me give you some personal background here and make an application. God gives us spiritual gifts which may or may not be related to where we are in our lives. I have spent over 20 years, at this point in time, teaching Geometry, and, in that course, the logical progression of thought (proofs). Although the trend in education was to move away from that emphasis, I have always seen it as the most important aspect of the geometry course. Because of that, I have trained myself to think fairly logically and linearly. When I read some commentaries and systematic theologies (and I am not referring to those which I make frequent reference to), I often see a distinct lack of logic. Or, statements which give important clues as to time and place are ignored, or passed over without a single thought. Most of you and most commentators read this, see the death of Joshua, and just assume that vv. 1–8 or 1–20 took place after his death. When I see theologians (and I use this term very loosely in this context) speak of the tongues spoken by men in this century as the tongues of angels, citing I Cor. 13:1, I think to myself, do you have even the slightest contextual clue? What I am saying is that God has prepared me to do what I am doing. Bob Thieme Jr.’s military background prepared him for what he was going to do. God has a plan for our lives and the spiritual gift that he gives us and the road that He has for us is often intertwined with who are what we are and what we have gone through. Having no formal theological training (apart from being spiritually raised in Bob’s church), and having no formal training in the original languages, I approach exegesis differently than do most people. When I examine a particular word’s meaning, I am not trapped by what I have memorized in a vocabulary test; I look at it a fresh, in several contexts, and often put a fresh spin on the word, or catch a nuance that may have been lost (don’t get me wrong; I don’t do this with each and every word; I am thinking here on the lines of one out of ever 100–200). Furthermore, when I read a verse like this, it often sets my logical gears in motion, and I begin thinking about things that most people don’t. None of the commentaries which I have (and they are excellent) discuss time and place based upon the simple sentence who will go up first for us against the Canaanites? This is a sentence which cries out for immediacy. This is not some event that, twenty, thirty or forty years after the distribution of land, the Israelites decide to get together and take the land.

 

God has given you a spiritual gift, if not several; and He has given you some sort of life, vocation, environment. God has also made His Word available for you to study (and, 99% of the time, this is going to be under a pastor-teacher). God mixes the ingredients and has set things up so that your life with have meaning and direction.

 

Yesterday afternoon, I spent some time with a very intelligent young man who felt his life was in shambles and that he had no idea what to do with it, and he blamed someone else for the result. He had goals, he had not come anywhere close to attaining these goals. Now, if you are a believer, and you stay in fellowship for long periods of time, and you ingest God’s Word (again, via a pastor-teacher), indecision, ennui, confusion, complete and total frustration, and directionless wandering are not a part of your life. Now, certainly in my life, there are situations which I wish were different, things which I would have preferred to zig, but they zagged instead; and frustrations. However, on a day-to-day basis, I am not the least confused when it comes to what I need to do that day. I know that I must take in God’s Word (and I need to emphasize and re-emphasize, that this was after a period of 20+ years under the ministry of a pastor-teacher, studying an hour each and every day), and then pretty much everything seems to take care of itself. What I am saying, is that, given your background and your spiritual gift, you don’t have to spend your life in confusion and frustration. God has made it possible for you to begin right where you are right now and to deal with the problems in your life. This is done simply by remaining in His Spirit (regular confession of your sins to God) and by taking in His Word on a daily basis.

 

I dated a gal who once gave verbally me a list of the important things in her life, and God, of course, was #1. However, she didn’t believe she needed to study His Word on a daily basis. Putting God first is not making a list and placing His name at the top; it is not answering God when asked what is most important in your life. It is not even asking yourself what would Jesus do in a situation like this? God has given us a textbook for our life. He has given us the means to grow spiritually and to orient to this life. We live in the Devil’s world—you are blind if you can’t look around you and see how evil and awful things are. If you can’t see the degeneracy of man everywhere you look, you are walking around clueless. If you don’t see the pain and the suffering and the complete confusion which makes up this life, then you are in some sort of dream world. We are in a battle; we are in a war; it is serious business. If God’s Word and rebound Footnote are not a part of your daily walk, then you are not getting any of the direction that God has for you for your life. You are instead carrying around a sign that says, I want to learn the hard way. You might as well carry an upright metal pole out to a hill in the middle of an electric storm.


Let’s return to exegesis:


And so said Yehowah, “Judah will go up. Behold, I have given the land into his hand.”

Judges

1:2

And Yehowah said, “Judah will go up. Behold, I have given the land into his hand.”

So Jehovah answered, “The tribe of Judah will go up. Observe that I have given the land into their hand.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so said Yehowah, “Judah will go up. Behold, I have given the land into his hand.”

Septuagint                              And the Lord said, “Judas shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand.”

 

Significant differences: None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              "Judah!" the LORD answered. "I'll help them take the land."


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         The LORD answered, "Judah's troops will go first. I am about to hand the Canaanites over to you."


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

WEB                                      Yahweh said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand.

Young’s Updated LT             And Jehovah says , “Judah will go up; lo, I have given the land into his hand.”


What is the gist of this verse? Jehovah God tells Israel that Judah will be the first to go up against the Canaanites; and that He has given the land belonging to them into their hands.


Judges 1:2a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: And so Yehowah said,... More than likely, God was asked through Urim and Thummim. There was a breastplate with twelve stones, each one representing a different tribe. Whether what is said here was audible to, say, Phinehas, or whether it was the result of the response of Urim and Thummim, along with Scripture being quoted, it is hard to tell. However, we do not have a particular person mentioned, which would indicate to me that it is a matter of using Urim and Thummim. Also, the time frame, as mentioned previously, is probably immediately after the distribution of land, prior to the tribes leaving Shiloh. Barnes suggests that the high priest involved here is Eleazar and not Phinehas, his son; given that we find Phinehas in Joshua 22:30 and Judges 20:28, it is my opinion that this would be Phinehas. This would agree with the time frame which I have proposed.


Judges 1:2b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

Yehûwdâh (הָדהי) [pronounced yehoo-DAW]

possibly means to praise, to be praised; and is transliterated Judah

masculine proper noun/location

Strong’s #3063 BDB #397

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to go up, to ascend, to come up, to rise, to climb

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5927 BDB #748


Translation:...“Judah will go up. Judah was the first tribe to be assigned territory and is the first tribe to go off on its own to begin the mop up operations in Palestine. Essentially, Judah is assuming a leadership role, as Jacob predicted in Gen. 49:8–10: “Judah, your brothers will praise you. Your hand will be on the neck of your enemies and your father’s sons will bow down to you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He crouches, he lies down as a lion and, as a lion, who dares to rouse him up? The scepter will not depart from Judah nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet until Shiloh comes.” Let’s take a look at these brothers in the order that they were born: Reuben is somewhat isolated on the other side of the Jordan, and has never really assumed a clear, older brother, leadership role with regards to the other tribes. Simeon appears to have no backbone or leadership potential, and Levi’s leadership is spiritual. That takes us to the fourth son of Leah and Jacob, Judah.


Judah, in many ways, has become the preeminent tribe.

The Preeminence of Judah

Scripture

Incident

By Prophecy

Reuben was bypassed as preeminent, even though he is the firstborn. He did not show any leadership with regard to Joseph (Gen. 37). He was the kind of man who attempted to be all things to all people, and, as a result, would not take a true moral stand (see Gen. 49:3–4). Simeon and Levi acted on revenge motivation fueled by mental attitude sins, and a leader cannot be led by his old sin nature (Gen. 34 49:5–7). Judah was the 4th born, yet became the leader of the 12 tribes—prophesied by Jacob (Gen. 49:8–10).

Population

Judah was the tribe with the largest population—even larger than the combined tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim in the first census (Num. 1:20–43 26:7–51).

Land Size

Judah receive the largest land area and the most cities (Joshua 15).

In War

After taking the land, Judah is the first to move against the heathen population within his land (Judges 1:1–10).

Dynasty

Although the tribe of Benjamin will have the first nationally recognized king in Saul, his dynasty will be ended and a dynasty from the tribe of Judah permanently established (1Sam. 9:19–21 12:13–25 15:22–23). The Judæan dynasty will begin with David and continue until the 5th Cycle of Discipline Footnote is applied to Judah, as the southern kingdom.

In the Psalms

The Psalmist Asaph also sees the tribe of Judah is preeminent: And He refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim; but chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which He loved. And He built His holy place like high palaces, like the earth which He has founded forever (Psalm 78:67–69).

Prophesied as the tribe of the Messiah

The Messiah is called a shoot from the stump of Jesse (David’s father) in Isa. 11:1:1–5. God would raise up a righteous Branch for David, and He will be called The Lord our Righteousness (Jer. 23:5–6).

The Confirmed Tribe of the Messiah

Jesus Christ was born into the royal line of Judah and His adoptive father was in the royal line of Judah as well. Matt. 1:1–17 Luke 3:23–38 Heb. 7:14

From the deathbed prophecy of Jacob to the birth of Jesus Christ, the tribe of Judah has been seen as the preeminent tribe of Israel.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Also, let me mention the obvious—Judah refers to a tribe, even though we will find masculine singular verbs throughout in association with Judah. Judah does not refer to Abraham’s son Judah, who had died approximately a half a millennium ago.


Judges 1:2c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hinnêh (הֵ ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, note, take note; pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

erets (ץ ר א) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land, ground, soil

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #776 BDB #75

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #3027 BDB #388


Translation: Behold, I have given the land into his hand.” God assure victory. We do not know exactly what questions were asked or if God spoke directly, in some way, to Phinehas. It is an interesting phenomenon for God to speak to this matter, and yet for there to be no record as to the mechanics, something which holds true throughout most of the Bible (some notable exceptions being, God speaking directly to Moses as a man speaks to a man; or speaking in dreams to Samuel). It is reasonable that this could be ascertained via yes or no questions employing Urim and Thummim (which still does not give us much by way of mechanics).


I should also point out that it is interesting that this piecemeal approach is taken. The tribes do not altogether take the land which was given them—moving as individual military units against the Canaanites in the land; but it is decided that Judah will move first to unseat the remaining heathen in her land.


And so said Judah to Simeon his brother, “Come up [together] with me into my allocation and we will fight against the Canaanite and I will go [together] with you into your allocation.” And so went [together] with him Simeon.

Judges

1:3

Judah said to Simeon, his brother, “Come up together with me into my allocation and we will fight against the Canaanite, then I will go together with you into your allocation.” So Simeon went together with him.

So Judah said to Simeon, his brother, “Come and join me in my allocation and together, we will fight against the Canaanites who are there. Afterward, I will go with you into your allocation to do the same.” Simeon, therefore, went with Judah.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so said Judah to Simeon his brother, “Come up [together] with me into my allocation and we will fight against the Canaanite and I will go [together] with you into your allocation.” And so went [together] with him Simeon.

Septuagint                              And Judas said to his brother Symeon, “Come up with me into my lot, and let us array ourselves against the Chananites, and I also will go with you into your lot.” And Symeon went with him.

 

Significant differences: None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              The people of Judah went to their relatives, the Simeon tribe, and said, "Canaanites live in the land God gave us. Help us fight them, and we will help you." Troops from Simeon came to help Judah.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

HCSB                                     Judah said to his brother Simeon, "Come with me to my territory, and let us fight against the Canaanites. I will also go with you to your territory." So Simeon went with him.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

HNV                                       Yehudah said to Shim`on his brother, Come up with me into my lot, that we may fight against the Kena`anim; and I likewise will go with you into your lot. So Shim`on went with him.

WEB                                      Judah said to Simeon his brother, Come up with me into my lot, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I likewise will go with you into your lot. So Simeon went with him.

Young’s Updated LT             And Judah says to Simeon his brother, “Go up with me into my lot, and we fight against the Canaanite—and I have gone, even I, with you into your lot.” And Simeon goes with him.


What is the gist of this verse? The tribe of Judah asks the tribe of Simeon to join in the fight against the Canaanites. Recall that the tribe of Simeon is within the territory of Judah. The alliance Judah offers is, “You go with us to help us right the Canaanites in our territory, and we will go with you to fight the Canaanites in your territory.”


Judges 1:3a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

It is typical in the Hebrew for each sentence—in fact, each thought—to begin with a wâw consecutive in the Hebrew. However, it is not necessary in an English translation to include a connective at every such juncture, as our language does not necessarily require that for successive thoughts or actions.

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Yehûwdâh (הָדהי) [pronounced yehoo-DAW]

possibly means to praise, to be praised; and is transliterated Judah

masculine proper noun/location

Strong’s #3063 BDB #397

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 1st person plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Shime׳ôwn (ןע מ̣ש) [pronounced shime-ĢOHN]

hearing, one who hears and is transliterated Simeon

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #8095 BDB #1035

âch (ח ָא) [pronounced awhk]

brother, kinsman or close relative

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #251 BDB #26


Translation: Judah said to Simeon his brother,... Recall that first, Judah was given a huge portion of land from the land of Canaan; then a portion of their land in the central southern area of Judah, was given to Simeon (Joshua 19:1–9). Therefore, since Simeon lives in the center of Judah, it makes sense for them to act in concert.


Judges 1:3b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to go up, to ascend, to come up, to rise, to climb

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

gôrâl (לָר) [pronounced goh-RAWL]

allocation, lot (or, lots), [land] allotment, portion, recompense, retribution

masculine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #1486 BDB #174


Translation:...“Come up [together] with me into my allocation... The twelve tribes had fought together side-by-side for seven years. It makes logical sense for them to join forces in one way or another in order to take out the remaining Canaanites in their respective properties. Simeon’s portion of land came from the midst of Judah (Joshua 19:1).


Judges 1:3c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâcham (םַחָל) [pronounced law-KHAHM]

to engage in battle, to engage in war, to wage war; to fight, to battle

1st person singular, Niphal imperfect with the voluntative hê

Strong’s #3898 BDB #535

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Kena׳ănîy (י.נֲע-נ) [pronounced ke-nah-ģuh-NEE]

merchant, trader; and is transliterated Canaanite, Canaanites

Adjective/nominative gentilic; with the definite article

Strong’s #3669 BDB #489


Translation: ...and we will fight against the Canaanite... There are two things in the beginning of this chapter which are encouraging: first, Judah is immediately getting down to taking care of business. There was no implication that Israel, once having taken the land, would be able to take a long and leisurely vacation. The tribes were still to go into their individual parcels and to eradicate the Canaanites which were there. Judah got right to this responsibility. The second encouraging act here is that Judah does not seem to acknowledge any sort of problem with Simeon having taken a portion of their land in the allotment, and there seems to be no bitterness on the part of Simeon that somehow they got shortchanged because they were given a few cities within the inheritance of Judah. We don’t have any evidence of a marring of this relationship, as we did, for instance, with the tribe of Manasseh, which complained about their inheritance (Joshua 17:14–18).


Now, I realize that what we find in the Old Testament rubs some people the wrong way. How could God condone the wholesale destruction of this or that people, as we find in Ex. 33:2 or Deut. 20:17? Therefore, please allow me to repeat some remarks from Joshua 6:

The Wholesale Destruction of the Indigenous Heathen in Palestine

At this point, many people object to Joshua’s wholesale slaughter of the people of Jericho, including the children, as needlessly harsh. First of all, your problem is not with Joshua but with God. Joshua was following the orders which God delivered to him. What Joshua had done thus far in response to God’s orders would have seemed to be pretty unusual. He has two million people who he rouses one day and they stand on the shore of the Jordan River during the torrent season and he sends his priests carrying an ark out to the water to stand as a prelude to crossing the Jordan. Then, in order to conquer the well-fortified city of Jericho, Joshua sends his troops marching around the walls again with the ark of God for seven days. These are not tactics that I would have chosen in order to enter the Land of Canaan and then to conquer its most fortified city. However, Joshua simply did what God told him to do. Our lives are quite simple. There are a great many mandates in God’s Word that if we followed them, we would eliminate about 90% of the problems that we have. A very small example: if we as a society obeyed God’s laws in the realm of our sexual behavior—that is, if we had sex only within the confines of marriage, if we did not divorce and if we did not engage in homosexual behavior—we would virtually wipe out sexually transmitted diseases in a generation; we would raise a generation of well-adjusted children (which we have not had for decades), we would almost completely eliminate the AIDS virus. Our marriages would be much stronger and more stable as they would be based upon friendship rather than upon lust.

God’s mandate to destroy all of the people in Jericho was based upon God knowing all of the facts and being able to examine every single possible result which could occur. Not one single person was killed who was not given full opportunity to believe in Jesus Christ. Had any of those people been allowed to live and given another two hundred years with the opportunity to believe in Christ, they would not have done so (assuming that they did not during that last few moments of their lives). What was guaranteed was that had any of them been allowed to live, their absolute degeneracy would have infected a significant portion of Israel to the grave detriment of God’s people. This severe measure of killing every living thing was taken to prevent alien elements of Canaanite culture and worship, on the basis of their total corruption before God, from infecting Israel. Perhaps this would be easier understood if given some specifics:  the Canaanites and Amorites were involved in child sacrifice (Lev. 18:21, 24, 26).  God gave them 400 years to change their minds about their evil behavior; and it was obvious that they all knew about the Israelites and God working on their behalf (Joshua 2).  We have no idea as to how many sexually transmitted diseases would have been found in its inhabitants. Some of these are genetically transmitted, meaning that many of the children could have been infected. Such an outbreak could have decimated the population of Israel.

Let me add to this that the most difficult part for anyone to get is the killing of the children. God is the Lord of Life and gives life and He may mandate that it be taken as well. The children who were old enough had already been completely corrupted by their parents and culture. There was no saving these children. There would be certain ages of children whose bitterness would have become rampant, had their parents been executed and they allowed to live. I have mentioned that it is highly likely that many of the children had been infected with genetically transmitted diseases, which were originally sexually transmitted. Those children who were below the age of accountability (too young to have a notion about God), were automatically saved and taken immediately at death into Abraham’s bosom; they will spend eternity in heaven. One could even see this as merciful to remove these children from an unholy environment and take them into the presence of God (I hesitate to say such a thing, due to the psycho element out there who do not have a clue as to how to apply God’s Word). Of course, I realize that this explanation provides little by way of rationale for the unbeliever.

There will be times in Israel’s history where these specific instructions will be given but not followed, much to the detriment of Israel (see 1Sam. 15:3, 13–22).1 It should also be noted that the destruction of the inhabitants of Jericho was actually rather small potatoes compared to what had been carried out in the past. God destroyed Sodom, Gomorrah and several other cities in this same area due to their severe degeneracy during the time of Abraham (Gen. 19:24–25). Prior to that, God wiped out the entire population of earth, save a handful of people, during the Noaic flood. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them (for God made it evident to them). For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks when they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore, God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is blessed forever, Amen. For this reason, God gave them over to degrading passions, for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire towards one another, men with men, committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, malice, full of envy and murder and strife, deceit, malice; gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful, and, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worth of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them (Rom. 1:18–32).2

Throughout the book of Joshua we will examine case after case of a degenerate population being wasted by Joshua and company as per the directives of God, Who knows all of the facts. In every case the baneful infection of degenerate idolatry and moral depravity had to be removed before Israel could safely settle down in these regions and set up a monotheistic, law-governed commonwealth as a testimony for the one true God. Much as we regret the terrible loss of life, we must remember that far greater mischief would have resulted if they had been permitted to live on in the midst of the Hebrew nation. These incorrigible degenerates of the Canaanite civilization were a sinister threat to the spiritual survival of Abraham’s race.3 We will later examine case histories of situations when a heathen population was allowed to live and how deeply the infected the moral and religious life of the Israelite in the land (see Judges 2 as an example).

Now, perhaps I should touch on some application. God is not speaking to you or to me and there is no one out there whom God is telling us to destroy. There are no races, no populations, and no groups that God has called us to wipe out. There are times, in defense of our own country, that we may be called upon to serve in the military, and, as such, we should be the best soldiers in our outfit, as we know that our lives and our fate are in the hands of Jesus Christ, regardless of the circumstances. We have authorities over us in these circumstances and only in very rare instances should we question their authority.

The true nature of our war on earth is spiritual. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenlies. Therefore, take up the full armor of God that you may be able to hold your ground in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm, therefore, having girded your loins with truth and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. Furthermore, take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph. 6:11–17 Isa. 11:5 Isa. 52:7). We are able to lead our lives in the midst of a corrupt and degenerate non-Christian culture (whether in the Roman empire or in modern secularized Europe of America) and still keep true to God. We have the example of the Cross and the victory of the Resurrection of Christ our Lord, and he goes with s everywhere and at all times as we carry out the Great Commission.4

1  Partially quoted and partially paraphrased from The Complete Word Study Old Testament; Dr. S. Zodhiates; ©1994 AMG Publishers; p. 585 and from The Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, Gleason L. Archer; Zondervan Publishing House; ©1982; pp. 157–159.

2 This reminds me of a movie called Kids.

3 The Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, Gleason L. Archer; Zondervan Publishing House; ©1982; p. 158.

4  The Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, Gleason L. Archer; Zondervan Publishing House; ©1982; p. 159.


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Judges 1:3d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

gam (ם ַ) [pronounced gahm]

also, furthermore, in addition to, even, moreover

adverb

Strong’s #1571 BDB #168

ânîy (י.נָא) [pronounced aw-NEE]

I, me; in answer to a question, it means I am, it is I

1st person singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #589 BDB #58

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

gôrâl (לָר) [pronounced goh-RAWL]

allocation, lot (or, lots), [land] allotment, portion, recompense, retribution

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1486 BDB #174


Translation: ...then I will go [together] with you into your allocation.” This is a standard war-time treaty: “You join me in my war against the Canaanites in my cities, and I will join you in your fight against the Canaanites in your cities.”


Judges 1:3e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85

Shime׳ôwn (ןע מ̣ש) [pronounced shime-ĢOHN]

hearing, one who hears and is transliterated Simeon

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #8095 BDB #1035


Translation: So went [together] with him Simeon. Judah and Simeon are probably more closely related than any two other tribes, as Simeon’s land is within Judah’s. It makes sense for them to function together.

 

This verse does introduce a slight, almost imperceptible problem, which McGee points out: At first this looks like a fine sign of cooperation between Judah and Simeon, and it was, but it was also a sign of weakness. The tribe of Judah had no business asking for help to drive the Canaanites out of their particular portion of land. With God’s help they should have been able to do it. As a result, the Canaanites were never completely driven out of the land. Footnote On the one hand, it is possible that McGee is being a bit too hard on the Judahites, as the tribe of Simeon lived within Judah; however, on the other, the direction from God was for Judah to go up. Although I recognize McGee’s point and respect his opinion, I really don’t see any problem with Judah and Simeon establishing this sort of alliance. There was nothing to indicate the God would forbid such a wartime alliance (as God does when Israel desires to ally herself to Egypt).


Now, just in case you are new to exegesis, this is not the literal person Judah nor is it the literal person Simeon. This is not a conversation between the literal Judah or the literal Simeon, but between the heads of those two tribes at that time. This is what is known as a personification. That is, these tribes are named by their forefathers. For those who have studied a little Scripture, this seems like a pretty obvious point; however, I make it, because such personification is made throughout the Bible.


What we will find in the next dozen or so verses is the obedience of the tribes of Judah and Simeon—the people and cities which they conquer are briefly covered, as well as one previous incident recalled (Judges 1:11–15). Although some of these verses are in a chronogical order (e.g., v. 9 appears to follow the events of vv. 5–8); overall, this appears to simply be a list of the cities and territories conquered by Judah and Simeon. This list is summed up in v. 1:4a (So Judah went up and Jehovah gave the Canaanite and the Perizzite in their hand); and specific highlights are noted. Since v. 8 seems to be parenthetical and probably occurs before vv. 5–7; and since vv. 11–15 have already been covered in Joshua 15:13–19, this would indicate that the list of victories here are, in general, not in any sort of chronological order (which is typical of Semitic writings).


And so went up Judah and gave Yehowah the Canaanite and the Perizzite into their hand. And so they struck them [down] in Bezek, ten of a thousand men.

Judges

1:4

And so Judah went up and Yehowah gave the Canaanite and the Perizzite into their hand. They struck them [down] in Bezek—ten thousand men.

So Judah went up into battle and Jehovah gave the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand and they killed ten thousand men at Bezek.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so went up Judah and gave Yehowah the Canaanite and the Perizzite into their hand. And so they struck them [down] in Bezek, ten of a thousand men.

Septuagint                              And Judas went up; and the Lord delivered the Chananite and the Pherezite into their hands, and they smote them in Bezek to ten thousand men.

 

Significant differences: None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              Together they attacked an army of ten thousand Canaanites and Perizzites at Bezek, and the LORD helped Judah defeat them.

The Message                         So Judah went up. GOD gave them the Canaanites and the Perizzites. They defeated them at Bezek—ten military units!


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):


 

God’s Word                         Judah's troops went into battle, and the LORD handed the Canaanites and Perizzites over to them. They defeated 10,000 men at Bezek.

HCSB                                     When Judah attacked, the LORD handed the Canaanites and Perizzites over to them. They struck down 10,000 men in Bezek.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

LTHB                                     And Judah went up, and Jehovah delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand. And they struck them in Bezek, ten thousand men.

Young’s Updated LT             And Judah goes up, and Jehovah gives the Canaanite and the Perizzite into their hand, and they strike them in Bezek—ten thousand men.


What is the gist of this verse? Judah (and Simeon) defeat the Canaanites the Perizzites. They kill 10,000 men in Bezek.


Judges 1:4a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to go up, to ascend, to come up, to rise, to climb

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

Yehûwdâh (הָדהי) [pronounced yehoo-DAW]

possibly means to praise, to be praised; and is transliterated Judah

masculine proper noun/location

Strong’s #3063 BDB #397

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Kena׳ănîy (י.נֲע-נ) [pronounced ke-nah-ģuh-NEE]

merchant, trader; and is transliterated Canaanite, Canaanites

adjective/nominative gentilic; with the definite article

Strong’s #3669 BDB #489

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Perizzîy (י. ̣ר) [pronounced per-ihz-ZEE]

which possibly means belonging to a village; rural population, rustics; and is transliterated Perizzite

gentilic adjective

Strong’s #6522 BDB #827

I realize that these appear to be almost contradictory definitions: BDB tells us that Perizzite means belonging to a village and Strong says it means inhabitants of the open country.

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

map-7-nations-of-canaan_shg.jpgFrom http://www.bible-history.com/map-israel-joshua/index.html The Canaanite on the east and on the west, and the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Jebusite in the mountains, and to the Hivite under Hermon, in the land of Mizpeh (Joshua 11:3).

Translation: And so Judah went up and Yehowah gave the Canaanite and the Perizzite into their hand. The Canaanite and the Perizzite have been in this land for a long time. They date back as a people to the time of Abram in Gen. 13:7. In fact, at that time, they were the beginning of what could have been a great people at the time that Abraham was nothing but one man with one barren wife. However, who has despised the day of small things? (Zech. 4:10).


The Bible seems to use the term Canaanite in a general way—to refer to the tribes in the land in general (sometimes, it is the Canaanites and the Amorites together). Since we generally find 6 or so names strung together, maybe the idea is, this is a list of them. That is, Canaanites and Perizzites (or, Canaanites and Amorites) is a shorthand way of referring to all of the heathen tribes in the land. However, slightly more specifically, the Canaanites occupied the Jordan valley and the coastal plain between the mountains of Judah and the coast of the Mediterranean (Num. 13:29 Joshua 11:3). The Perizzites, generally speaking, occupied the mountains—specifically the mountain range which ran parallel to the Dead Sea and the Jordan River (Joshua 17:15). In this map, the Perizzites are shown to be in a different area. It is reasonable to assume that these groups moved around to different places. According to the book of Joshua, the Perizzites would be found where you see the Jebusites, Hittites and Amorites. We are twice given a rundown of where these various heathen peoples live. During the initial spying out of the land, we are told: “Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan.” (Num. 13:29). Later, while Joshua was moving into the land and taking it from these people, we read: The Canaanite on the east and on the west, and the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Jebusite in the mountains, and to the Hivite under Hermon, in the land of Mizpeh (Joshua 11:3).


We covered the doctrine of the Perizzites back in Deut. 7:1; this is a summary of that doctrine.

Brief Summary of the Perizzites

1.      We can conclude that the Perizzites were indeed an actual, specific people who lived in the Land of Promise for many generations, from the time of Abram (Gen. 13:7) even to the time of Ezra and Nehemiah (Ezra 9:1–2). However, the time during which they were mostly at odds with Israel seems to be the time of Joshua into the early period of the Judges. It appears as though a peace between Israel and the Perizzites eventually came to pass, with intermarriage as well as religious conversion to idolatry as being part of the peace (Judges 3:5-6 Ezra 9:1-2).

2.      The Perizzites primarily lived in the hills of Judah and Ephraim (Joshua 11:3 17:14-15).

3.      Their racial background and origins are unknown to us.

4.      It is possible that their name had a generalized application: that is, it either referred to those who lived in villages (as opposed to being nomadic); or it referred to those whose origins were unknown; or Perizzite may refer to an amalgamation of several peoples.

These points are expanded, discussed in much more detail, and substantiated in the actual Doctrine of the Perizzites (Deut. 7:1).


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


It is mostly likely that Israel was facing here a coalition of Canaanites and Perizzites. However, it is not out of the question that using these two names stands in for a coalition of several indigenous peoples of Palestine. If we do not take these names at face value, it is possible that this is a coalition of nomads and villagers.


Judges 1:4b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâkâh (ה ָכ ָנ) [pronounced naw-KAWH]

to smite, to assault, to hit, to strike, to strike [something or someone] down, to defeat, to conquer, to subjugate

3rd person masculine plural, Hiphil imperfect; with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong #5221 BDB #645

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Bezeq (ק∵ז∵) [pronounced BEH-zehk]

lightning, lightning flash; and is transliterated Bezek

proper noun; location

Strong’s #966 BDB #103

׳asârâh (הָרָ-ע) [pronounced ģah-saw-RAW]

ten

feminine singular numeral construct

Strong’s #6235 BDB #796

ălâphîym (מי.פָלֲא) pronounced uh-law-FEEM]

thousands, families, [military] units

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #505 (and #504) BDB #48

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun (sometimes found where we would use a plural)

Strong's #376 BDB #35


Translation: They struck them [down] in Bezek—ten thousand men. Bezek has never been mentioned before. In those seemingly millions of cities named in the latter half of Joshua, there was no mention of a Bezek. Therefore, the theories run rampant here, placing it anywhere from the modern Bezqa near Jerusalem (which makes the most sense, by the way) to the mountains of Gilboa. Footnote On my MacMillan map and in the back of my NASB, Bezek is shown to be way up between Beth-Shean and Shechem (which is in Manasseh; and below Manasseh is Ephraim; and below Ephraim is Benjamin; and below Benjamin is Judah). This just seems too far north for Judah to be. Although I could come up with a scenario to place Judah that far north (perhaps they were pursuing Adoni-Bezek and his troops and they retreated northward); it just makes more sense for this city to be found within Judah’s territory.


It would make sense that, unless stated otherwise, that the tribes mentioned here are going to be rooting out enemy forces from their own immediate territory first. However, keep in mind that the original question was who (of the various tribes of Israel) would go up first. This tells us that there were left some strongholds of enemy forces that the Israelites were aware of that needed to be taken care of. This does not require the first act of aggression from Judah to be against such a concentration in its own land, as any tribe could have been chosen to go up. Bezek may have been a hasty campsite, a district or even quasi-city put together from bands of refugees who escaped the pummeling that Israel gave to the various southern cities. At least six years have passed since Israel had been in southern Palestine, which is enough time to regroup and to even establish another city. Still, given that we are speaking of Judah and Simeon, there is no reason to think that Bezek is anywhere else but in Judah. The title of the city’s leader comes from the name of the city.


Given the movement of Judah and Simeon in this chapter, and assuming that the incidents are generally in chronological order, these two tribes might be beginning in the northern-central portion of the hill country and then just worked their way south through the mountains.


And so they found Adoni-bezek in Bezek and so they fought against him and so they struck [down] the Canaanite and the Perizzite.

Judges

1:5

They found Adoni-bezek in Bezek and they fought against him. They struck [down] the Canaanite and the Perizzite.

They also found Adoni-bezek [or, lord of Bezek] in Bezek and fought against him and struck [down] the Canaanites and the Perizzites.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so they found Adoni-bezek in Bezek and so they fought against him and so they struck [down] the Canaanite and the Perizzite.

Septuagint                              And they overtook Adonibezek in Bezek, and fought against him; and they smote the Chananite and the Pherezite.

 

Significant differences: Apart from the first verb, which may simply be a matter of translation, there are no significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              During the battle, Judah's army found out where the king of Bezek was, and they attacked there.

The Message                         They caught up with My-Master-Bezek there and fought him. They smashed the Canaanites and the Perizzites.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         At Bezek they also caught up with Adoni Bezek. They fought him and defeated the Canaanites and Perizzites.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

HNV                                       They found Adoni-Bezek in Bezek; and they fought against him, and they struck the Kena`anim and the Perizzi.

Young's Updated LT              And they find Adoni-Bezek in Bezek, and fight against him, and smite the Canaanite and the Perizzite.


What is the gist of this verse? Judah and Simeon found the lord of Bezek (who was probably the military commander of the Canaanite-Perizzite army) in Bezek and attacked his forces in Bezek.


Judges 1:5a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

It is typical in the Hebrew for each sentence—in fact, each thought—to begin with a wâw consecutive in the Hebrew. However, it is not necessary in an English translation to include a connective at every such juncture, as our language does not necessarily require that for successive thoughts or actions.

mâtsâ (א ָצ ָמ) [pronounced maw-TSAW]

to attain to, to find, to detect, to happen upon, to come upon, to find unexpectedly, to discover

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #4672 BDB #592

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ădônîy (י̣נֹדֱא) [pronounced uh-doh-NEE]

lord, master, owner, superior, sovereign

masculine singular noun with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #113 BDB #10

Bezeq (ק∵ז∵) [pronounced BEH-zehk]

lightning, lightning flash; and is transliterated Bezek

proper noun; location

Strong’s #966 BDB #103

Together, these are treated as a proper noun: Adoni-Bezek.

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Bezeq (ק∵ז∵) [pronounced BEH-zehk]

lightning, lightning flash; and is transliterated Bezek

proper noun; location

Strong’s #966 BDB #103

 

Translation: They found Adoni-bezek in Bezek... The name of the sovereign is hyphenated. The first word is âdôwn (ןד ָא) [pronounced aw-DOHN], the word we often know as adonai; and this word means lord, master, owner, superior, sovereign. There are actually some slight differences; the pointing under Aleph is ă rather than â and the wâw is missing, which is not uncommon for words with the long o. These minor changes are found most of the time when this word is hyphenated to a proper noun. This does not carry with it any necessary connotation of deity; simply one of sovereignty. I would think that this is actually a title, like pharaoh, which we would translate lord of Bezek.

 

Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge: Eusebius and Jerome mention two villages of this name [Bezek], near each other, about seventeen miles from Shechem, towards Scythopolis. Footnote

 

Keil and Delitzsch comment: It appears strange, too, that the king of Bezek is not mentioned in connection with the conquest of Canaan under Joshua. Bezek was probably situated more on the side towards the valley of the Jordan, where the Israelites under Joshua did not go. Possibly, too, the culminating point of Adoni-bezek's power, when he conquered so many kings, was before the arrival of the Israelites in Canaan, and it may at that time have begun to decline; so that he did not venture to undertake anything against the combined forces of Israel under Joshua, and it was not till the Israelitish tribes separated to go to their own possessions, that he once more tried the fortunes of war and was defeated. The children of Judah took him with them to Jerusalem, where he died. Footnote I don’t find this to be a problem that Bezel is not mentioned among the captured cities; if this is where Adoni-Bezek retreats to, it obviously was not captured by the Israelites.


We know very little about this Adoni-Bezek; he was likely the military leader of Israel’s opposition, but we do not know if he was a Canaanite or a Perizzite; or if he was an acknowledged leader of both groups. Because of our limited knowledge of the Perizzites in general, it is even possible that this Canaanite-Perizzite union is really more of a union of several groups of people (that is, Canaanite and Perizzite could be shorthand for an alliance of several of these antagonistic peoples). So, all we know is, this is the military and possibly political leader of this Canaanite-Perizzite alliance. However, although we will learn very little about this man’s past, we are going to find out a great many details about his future.


Judges 1:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

lâcham (םַחָל) [pronounced law-KHAHM]

to engage in battle, to engage in war, to wage war; to fight, to battle

3rd person masculine plural, Niphal imperfect

Strong’s #3898 BDB #535

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #88


Translation: ...and they fought against him... Some translations, like the Contemporary English Version, seem to treat this as if thought the tribes of Judah and Simeon run down this one man and fight against him. However, that is the way the Hebrew is written. Sometimes a nation or an army is personalized by one person.


This could indicate two possible things: the army of Bezek retreated and Judah and Simeon caught up with them in Bezek; or, the king of Bezek and a smaller army escaped and ran off when the fighting became too much; and this smaller army was tracked down in Bezek.


Judges 1:5c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

It is typical in the Hebrew for each sentence—in fact, each thought—to begin with a wâw consecutive in the Hebrew. However, it is not necessary in an English translation to include a connective at every such juncture, as our language does not necessarily require that for successive thoughts or actions.

nâkâh (ה ָכ ָנ) [pronounced naw-KAWH]

to smite, to assault, to hit, to strike, to strike [something or someone] down, to defeat, to conquer, to subjugate

3rd person masculine plural, Hiphil imperfect

Strong #5221 BDB #645

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Kena׳ănîy (י.נֲע-נ) [pronounced ke-nah-ģuh-NEE]

merchant, trader; and is transliterated Canaanite, Canaanites

adjective/nominative gentilic; with the definite article

Strong’s #3669 BDB #489

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Perizzîy (י. ̣ר) [pronounced per-ihz-ZEE]

which possibly means belonging to a village; rural population, rustics; and is transliterated Perizzite

gentilic adjective with the definite article

Strong’s #6522 BDB #827


Translation: They struck [down] the Canaanite and the Perizzite. We are given almost no details about this war—who was the aggressor, how long it took, what strategy and tactics were employed. We know where this took place and that they eventually captured Adoni-Bezek alive, who would have been their president-general. We simply know that Judah was aware of his responsibility to take control of the land given him; and he began to do so.


The Hebrew in this book has been fairly easy and straightforward. Recall that Moses was raised in the palace of the pharaoh of Egypt, and was very well-educated, and spoke at least two languages. Joshua was raised as a slave, and Phinehas was a slave in his youth, and therefore lacked the strong educational background of Moses. The structure of these Hebrew sentences has been fairly simple, as has been the vocabulary. The passages likely penned by Phinehas (Joshua 22), are a little more wordy and complex in their Hebrew structure. So far in this book, the Hebrew has been quite simple; even simpler than Joshua’s. Personally, I would, prior to this study, like to see this as a continuation of the hand of Phinehas from the end of the book of Joshua, the vocabulary and sentence structure is too simple thus far, indicating that whoever wrote this had possibly less education than even Joshua.


Application: That last statement should lead me to a tangent. When I make statements like that, I am not looking down my nose at Joshua or at the writer of this chapter of Joshua. Although the lack of education is sometimes a person’s own fault, that is not always the case, as we have here. We could not expect Joshua, a great man of war, a very humble man, and a great man of faith, to have the same educational background as his predecessor Moses. He was born different genetically and he had an entirely different upbringing. My point is, the difference between Moses and Joshua was not some conscious choice which either one made. One of the most deceptively simple-sounding man in contemporary Christianity was J. Vernon McGee. I had a friend who heard him for less than two minutes and wanted me to turn him off because he sounded like such a hick. But, as a personal statement of fact, one of the most enjoyable parts of exegeting any chapter in God’s Word is opening up J. Vernon McGee’s book and reading what he had to say on the matter. He is refreshing, understandable, enjoyable, and generally right on target. For whatever reason—even if it is your own damn fault as an unbeliever—your education may be lacking. This does not mean that God does not have a place for you in his plan. Throughout Scripture, we have men of completely different backgrounds who both take an active role in God’s plan and often write Scripture. Furthermore, this world is filled with men who are brilliant, well-educated, and take absolutely no part in the plan of God; and will spend eternity in the lake of fire, as they desire no contact with God. They key is that you now find yourself at this juncture—what are you going to do with your life? Or, more importantly, are you going to allow God to use you?


And so fled Adoni-bezek and so they pursued after him and so they seized him and so they cut off thumbs of his hands and [the big toes of] his feet.

Judges

1:6

And Adoni-bezek fled, but they pursued after him, seized him and cut off the thumbs of his hands and his big toes.

However, Adoni-bezek escaped, but they pursued him, and finally seized him and cut off his thumbs and his big toes.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so fled Adoni-bezek and so they pursued after him and so they seized him and so they cut off thumbs of his hands and [the big toes of] his feet.

Septuagint                              And Adonibezek fled, and they pursued after him, and took him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes.

 

Significant differences: The Greek does some minor interpretation at the end, which is what most English translations do.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         My-Master-Bezek ran, but they gave chase and caught him. They cut off his thumbs and big toes.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

HCSB                                     When Adoni-bezek fled, they pursued him, seized him, and cut off his thumbs and big toes.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And Adoni-bezek fled. And they ran after him and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his big toes.

Young's Updated LT              And Adoni-Bezek flees, and they pursue after him, and seize him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes.


What is the gist of this verse? The Jews capture the Lord of Bezek, grab him, and cut off his thumbs and big toes. This effectively neutralizes him as a warrior.


Judges 1:6a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nûwç (סנ) [pronounced noose]

to flee, to flee from, to escape, to depart, to hasten quickly [away]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5127 BDB #630

ădônîy (י̣נֹדֱא) [pronounced uh-doh-NEE]

lord, master, owner, superior, sovereign

masculine singular noun with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #113 BDB #10

Bezeq (ק∵ז∵) [pronounced BEH-zehk]

lightning, lightning flash; and is transliterated Bezek

proper noun; location

Strong’s #966 BDB #103

Together, these are treated as a proper noun: Adoni-Bezek.

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

râdaph (ףַדָר) [pronounced raw-DAHF]

to pursue, to follow after; to chase with hostile intent, to persecute

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7291 BDB #922

achar (ר ַח ַא) [pronounced ah-KHAHR]

after, following, behind

preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #310 BDB #29


Translation: And Adoni-bezek fled, but they pursued after him,... It is not clear whether Adoni-Bezek is retreating with a small force, or whether it has come down to just him and his armorbearer. However, the writer of this portion of Scripture is only concerned with him. The rest of the army, his personal force, etc. are not issues here.


Judges 1:6b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âchaz (ז ַח ָא) [pronounced aw-KHAHZ]

to grasp, to take hold of, to take possession of

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #270 BDB #28

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object; occasionally to, toward

affixed to a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84


Translation: ...seized him... This group of Jewish soldiers lay their hands on this man. Which Jews are involved is not the issue; the issue is, they capture this particular man, who is leading the opposition force.


Judges 1:6c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qâtsats (ץ-צ ָק) [pronounced kaw-TSAHTS]

to cut off, to amputate; to divide; to cut away, to cut loose

3rd person masculine plural, Piel imperfect

Strong’s #7112 (& #7113) BDB #893

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

bôhen (ן∵הֹ) [pronounced BOH-hen]

thumb, big toe

feminine plural construct

Strong’s #931 BDB #97

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

regel (ל ג ר) [pronounced REH-gel]

foot, feet

feminine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #7272 BDB #919


Translation: ...and cut off the thumbs of his hands and his big toes. You will notice the classic Hebrew style: the overall picture was given in v. 4, with details that follow. What occurs here strikes me as rather barbaric (the book of Judges is not for the squeamish). NIV notes: Physically mutilating prisoners of war was a common practice in the ancient Near East...It rendered them unfit for military service. Footnote He obviously could not escape nor could he bear arms with his thumbs and big toes removed. As one author put it, he could neither fight nor flee. Footnote Although we do not read about this sort of barbaric behavior among the Israelites too often, Footnote we do find this to be a common practice of ancient peoples. The Assyrian king, Asshur-izirpal, who began his reign in 833 b.c., records the following when speaking of a city which had been recently captured: Their men, young and old, I took prisoners. Of some I cut off the feet and hands; of others I cut off the noses, ears and lips; of the young men’s ears I made a heap; of the old men’s heads I built a minaret. Footnote So the Athenians cut off the thumbs of the right hand of the Aeginetae, the inhabitants of the island of Aegina, to disable them from holding a spear, as various writers relate. Footnote

 

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown: [The] severity [here is] 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. Footnote


Application: Luckily for us, there are only the most severely insane among us who would ever think to select such a passage and imitate what is found here. Now, we have believers who, rather than learn the realm of doctrine, pick a few verses of historic narrative and imitate what is found in those few verses. Please, do not imitate this particular passage; in fact, do not select any passage which is an historical narrative and copy the behavior of the people in that passage. This includes the book of Acts. The New Testament is filled with imperatives—however, we never find the imperative, Be ye baptized by the Holy Ghost. However, there are some religious denominations who have taken up this made-up imperative and attempt to apply it to every single convert that they come across; and they do not stop until they see some sort of evidence that someone has been baptized by the Holy Ghost or slain in the Spirit. We do not chase afer our enemies and cut off their big toes and thumbs (although, I must admit, now and again, this sounds like a winning idea); nor do we imitate anything else which we find in an historic narrative. And the absolute worst thing that a believer can do is to select an historical passage and to make up his own imperative from this passage. There are hundreds of imperatives in Scripture; you don’t have to make up your own!


Let me add a little more historical background from Clarke:

The Historical Perspective of Cutting off the Thumbs and Big Toes

That this was an ancient mode of treating enemies we learn from Aelian, who tells us, Var. Hist. l. ii., c. 9, that “the Athenians, at the instigation of Cleon, son of Cleaenetus, made a decree that all the inhabitants of the island of Aegina should have the thumb cut off from the right hand, so that they might ever after be disabled from holding a spear, yet might handle an oar.” This is considered by Aelian an act of great cruelty; and he wishes to Minerva, the guardian of the city, to Jupiter Eleutherius, and all the gods of Greece, that the Athenians had never done such things.

It was a custom among those Romans who did not like a military life, to cut off their own thumbs, that they might not be capable of serving in the army. Sometimes the parents cut off the thumbs of their children, that they might not be called into the army. According to Suetonius, in Vit. August., c. 24, a Roman knight, who had cut off the thumbs of his two sons to prevent them from being called to a military life was, by the order of Augustus, publicly sold, both he and his property. Calmet remarks that the Italian language has preserved a term, poltrone, which signifies one whose thumb is cut off, to designate a soldier destitute of courage and valor. We use poltroon to signify a dastardly fellow, without considering the import of the original. There have been found frequent instances of persons maiming themselves, that they might be incapacitated for military duty. I have heard an instance in which a knavish soldier discharged his gun through his hand, that he might be discharged from his regiment.

The cutting off of the thumbs therefore was probably designed for a double purpose:

1.      To incapacitate them for war; and,

2.      To brand them as cowards.

Quoted from Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Bible; from e-Sword, Judges 1:7.


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An explanation for the behavior of the Israelites is given next.


And so said Adoni-bezek, “Seventy kings— thumbs of their hands and [the big toes of] their feet [received] cutting off—they were picking up under my table. As which I have done, so recompensed to me God.” And so they brought him to Jerusalem and so he died there.

Judges

1:7

Adoni-bezek said, “Seventy kings—thumbs of their hands and big toes received cutting off—they were picking up under my table. As I have done, so God has repaid me.” Then they brought him to Jerusalem and he died there.

Then Adoni-bezek confessed, “At my command, seven kings had their thumbs and big toes cut off. Then they were assigned to pick up after me. As I have done, so has God repaid me.” Then they brought him to Jerusalem and he died there.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so said Adoni-bezek, “Seventy kings— thumbs of their hands and [the big toes of] their feet [received] cutting off—they were picking up under my table. As which I have done, so recompensed to me God.” And so they brought him to Jerusalem and so he died there.

Septuagint                              And Adonibezek said, “Seventy kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their food under my table: as I therefore have done, so God has recompensed me.” And they bring him to Jerusalem, and he dies there.”

 

Significant differences: No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              ...and he said, "I've cut off the thumbs and big toes of seventy kings and made those kings crawl around under my table for scraps of food. Now God is paying me back." The army of Judah took the king of Bezek along with them to Jerusalem, where he died.

The Message                         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.

NLT                                        Adoni-bezel said, “I once had seventy kings with thumbs and big toes cut off, eating scraps from under my table. Now God has paid me back for what I did to them.” They took him to Jerusalem, and he died there.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

HCSB                                     Adoni-bezek said, "Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off used to pick up scraps under my table. God has repaid me for what I have done." They brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

WEB                                      Adoni-bezek said, "Seventy kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their food under my table: as I have done, so God has requited me." They brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.

Young’s Updated LT             And Adoni-Bezek says, “Seventy kings—their thumbs and their great toes cut off—have been gathering under my table; as I have done so has God repaid to me;” and they bring him in to Jerusalem, and he dies there.


What is the gist of this verse? Adoni-Bezel acknowledges that he is receiving just recompense for what he has done to other kings; he even recognizes that this justice is from God. He is taken to Jerusalem, and he lives out the rest of his life there.


Judges 1:7a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

It is typical in the Hebrew for each sentence—in fact, each thought—to begin with a wâw consecutive in the Hebrew. However, it is not necessary in an English translation to include a connective at every such juncture, as our language does not necessarily require that for successive thoughts or actions.

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

ădônîy (י̣נֹדֱא) [pronounced uh-doh-NEE]

lord, master, owner, superior, sovereign

masculine singular noun with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #113 BDB #10

Bezeq (ק∵ז∵) [pronounced BEH-zehk]

lightning, lightning flash; and is transliterated Bezek

proper noun; location

Strong’s #966 BDB #103

Together, these are treated as a proper noun: Adoni-Bezek, and listed as Strong’s #137 BDB #11.

shibe׳îym (םי.עב̣ש) [pronounced shibv-ĢEEM]

seventy

numeral

Strong’s #7657 BDB #988

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

bôhen (ן∵הֹ) [pronounced BOH-hen]

thumb, big toe

feminine plural construct

Strong’s #931 BDB #97

In Scripture, we always find the concept of the thumb and big toe together when using this word.

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

regel (ל ג ר) [pronounced REH-gel]

foot, feet

feminine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #7272 BDB #919

qâtsats (ץ-צ ָק) [pronounced kaw-TSAHTS]

to be cut off, to have something amputated

masculine plural, Pual participle

Strong’s #7112 (& #7113) BDB #893

 

Translation: Adoni-bezek said, “Seventy kings—thumbs of their hands and big toes received cutting off—... The vocabulary that we find here is fairly simple, but by and large different from the vocabulary found in the book of Joshua. In this verse we have the Pual participle of qâtsats (ץשצ ָק) [pronounced kaw-TSAHTS], which means to cut off. Prior to this, this particular word has only been found in Ex. 39:3 and Deut. 25:12; it is only found a dozen times in Scripture. The Pual is the passive of the Piel (or intensive) stem. The simple implication is that this was done under his orders. I have inserted the word received to indicate the passive nature of this.


It is what Adoni-bezek says which makes us wonder about who he is. The city of Bezek has not been mentioned before. Here Adoni-bezek claims to have cut off the thumbs and big toes of 70 kings. These do not have to be enemy kings, but it is possible that, in order to take power, the 70 men could have been high-ranking men in his own city. This, in fact, is a more likely explanation, as there would not have been even 70 kings in all of Canaan, as we understand the term kings (recall that after seven years of war, Joshua had only taken out 31 kings).


Another option is that, since this is a direct quote of Adoni-bezek, that he is simply exaggerating. The third option is that Adoni-bezek had been a king for a long time prior to Israel entering into Canaan and that the seventy kings mentioned had been defeated and mutilated over a period a several decades. The first option seems to be the most logical.


It appears as though Adoni-Bezek seems to admit to somewhat of a disturbed conscience over what he has done. What an horrific yet effective way to deal with those who would stand against you. Removing their big toes removed their balance and speed; removing the thumbs makes it impossible for them to actually attack you, as they cannot firmly grasp a weapon or you. And even if any of his enemies had decided to somehow take him out in his sleep, they still could not lead their own people and the next ruler might not be as benevolent to them in their condition (i.e., the next person to rule over Bezek may just have them executed as worthless or send them out to fend for themselves). So Adoni-bezek was a shrewd man. Not only did he disable his enemies, but he essentially captured their souls as well.


Judges 1:7b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

Without a specific subject and object, the verb hâyâh often means and it will come to be, and it will come to pass, then it came to pass (with the wâw consecutive). Generally, the verb does not match the gender whatever nearby noun could be the subject (and, as often, there is no noun nearby which would fulfill the conditions of being a subject).

I should quickly add that, this is not the case here.

lâqaţ (טַקָל) [pronounced law-BAHT

to gather, to gather up, to pick up

masculine plural, Piel participle

Strong’s #3950 BDB #544

tachath (תַח ַ) [pronounced TAH-khahth]

underneath, below, under, beneath; instead of, in lieu of; in the place [in which one stands] [when found in accusative position]; on the basis of

preposition of location or foundation

Strong’s #8478 BDB #1065

shûlechân (ןָחלֻש) [pronounced shoole-KHAWN]

a table; a skin or leather mat laid on the ground

masculine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #7979 BDB #1020


Translation: ...they were picking up under my table. ... The verb used of his victims is the absolute status quo verb to be followed by the masculine plural, Piel participle of to gather, to gather up, to pick up. This was used of the Israelites gathering up the manna in the desert (Ex. 16). As a participle, this is used more to designate their responsibilities. They didn’t wait on the king, as they had no thumbs or toes, they cleaned up after him, possibly subsisting on the table scraps which he left, like dogs (see Matt. 15:27 Luke 16:21). When Adoni-bezek consolidated his power, he was ruthless and cruel, which even he recognized.

 

Clarke remarks: I think this was a proverbial mode of expression, to signify reduction to the meanest servitude; for it is not at all likely that seventy kings, many of whom must have been contemporaries, were placed under the table of the king of Bezek, and there fed; as in the houses of poor persons the dogs are fed with crumbs and offal, under the table of their owners. Footnote


Judges 1:7c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kaph or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

Together, kaăsher (ר ש ֲא ַ) [pronounced kah-uh-SHER] means as which, as one who, as, like as, just as; because; according to what manner. Back in 1Sam. 12:8, I rendered this for example.

׳âsâh (הָָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

kên (ן ֵ) [pronounced kane]

so, thus; upright, honest; rightly, well; [it is] so, such, so constituted;

properly, an active participle; used primarily as an adverb

Strong's #3651 BDB #485

shâlêm (ם-לָש) [pronounced shaw-LAHM

to make secure, to keep safe, to complete, to finish, to restore, to requite, to recompense

1st person singular, Piel perfect

Strong’s #7999 BDB #1022

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Ělôhîym (מי̣הֹלֱא) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods, foreign gods, god; God; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun

Strong's #430 BDB #43


Translation: ...As I have done, so God has repaid me.” The verb applied to God is the Piel perfect to recompense, to repay, to restore, to complete, to make perfect, to requite. People are recompensed or rewarded for evil as well as for good. This verb cuts both ways. God rewards those who have done evil to their faces; and He rewards those who have participated in divine good to their faces. Adoni-bezek has received exactly what he has given out. “And if a man injures his neighbor, just as he has done, so it will be done to him: a fracture for a fracture, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth; just as he has injured a man, so it will be inflected on him.” (Lev. 24:19–20). Not only is this statement quoted in several places, but we have illustrations of it. And Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.” And Samuel hewed Agag to pieces before Jehovah at Gilgal (1Sam. 15:33). James summed this up with: For judgment is merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13).


What is interesting is, Adoni-Bezek recognizes this—he knows why this has happened to him. He does not appear bitter, but reflective. He grasps the concept of justice and how it relates to God. Do you see what I am telling you here? It is possible that Adoni-Bezek—this inhumane, vicious human being—appears to either have believed in Jesus Christ or he is on the verge of believing. Note that there must be a reason for his reflections here. God the Holy Spirit did not record this simply to pass along a little historical narration. Recall what is left out? There are many details about this battle which we are not told—however, we are told the thinking of Adoni-Bezek, which I am certain that he expressed verbally to his captors. “Just as I have done to others, so God has now done to me.”


Judges 1:7d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to take in, to bring, to come in with, to carry

3rd person masculine plural, Hiphil imperfect; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

Yerûwshâlayim (ם̣יַלָשר׃י) [pronounced yroo-shaw-LAH-yim]

possibly means founded upon peace or city of the Jebusites (or both); it is transliterated Jerusalem

Proper singular noun, location

Strong’s #3389 BDB #436


Translation: Then they brought him to Jerusalem... Now, that Adoni-bezek was brought to Jerusalem is an interesting statement. Jerusalem was on the border between Judah and Benjamin and it had not been completely conquered yet. Properly, it belonged to Benjamin (Joshua 18:28) even though it is on the border between Judah and Benjamin (Joshua 15:8). It was inhabited by Jebusites and it is unclear whether Benjamin actually occupied this city yet (Joshua 15:63). If I was to make a semi-educated guess, I would say that Bezek is very close to Jerusalem; that Judah cannot take Adoni-Bezek everywhere they go, so Jerusalem, a city belonging to the Jews, would be a logical next stop to deposit Adoni-Bezek. What will later be discussed in great detail is, did Judah then recapture Jerusalem at that time or had they done so before?

 

Note that Adoni-Bezek is not executed; he is taken to Jerusalem. It is interesting that he would be taken there, as he admits God has recompensed him for what he has done—the verb there being shâlêm (ם-לָש) [pronounced shaw-LAHM], which is also, essentially, the end portion of the name of the city Jerusalem. The SH-L-M is also the basis for the word peace, as in peace with God. My feeling is, although this man was disabled for what he has done, his response to this indicates that he accepts God’s justice and this judgment. For this reason, it appears as though the Jews of Judah and Simeon will allow him to live.


Matthew Henry makes several observations here:

Matthew Henry Comments on Judges 1:7

(1.) What a great man this Adoni-bezek had been, how great in the field, where armies fled before him, how great at home, where kings were set with the dogs of his flock; and yet now himself a prisoner, and reduced to the extremity of meanness and disgrace. See how changeable this world is, and how slippery its high places are. Let not the highest be proud, nor the strongest secure, for they know not how low they may be brought before they die.

(2.) What desolations he had made among his neighbours: he had wholly subdued seventy kings, to such a degree as to have them his prisoners; he that was the chief person in a city was then called a king, and the greatness of their title did but aggravate their disgrace, and fired the pride of him that insulted over them. We cannot suppose that Adoni-bezek had seventy of these petty princes at once his slaves; but first and last, in the course of his reign, he had thus deposed and abused so many, who perhaps were many of them kings of the same cities that successively opposed him, and whom he thus treated to please his own imperious barbarous fancy, and for a terror to others. It seems the Canaanites had been wasted by civil wars, and those bloody ones, among themselves, which would very much facilitate the conquest of them by Israel. “Judah,” says Dr. Lightfoot, “in conquering Adoni-bezek, did, in effect, conquer seventy kings.”

(3.) How justly he was treated as he had treated others. Thus the righteous God sometimes, in his providence, makes the punishment to answer the sin, and observes an equality in his judgments; the spoiler shall be spoiled, and the treacherous dealer dealt treacherously with (Isa. 33:1). And those that showed no mercy shall have no mercy shown them (James 2:13; also see Rev. 13:10 18:6).

From Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible; from e-Sword, Judges 1:7.


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Judges 1:7e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

mûwth (תמ) [pronounced mooth]

to die; to perish, to be destroyed

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #4191 BDB #559

shâm (ם ָש) [pronounced shawm]

there; at that time, then; therein, in that thing

adverb

Strong’s #8033 BDB #1027


Translation: ...and he died there. The Qal of this verb is used, which is the normal stem. There is no indication that Adoni-Bezek died some difficult death; there is no indication that he was executed. The inference of this passage is, Adoni-Bezek was allowed to live out the remainder of his natural life in Jerusalem as a believer in Jesus Christ.


I think what just happened here is, Adoni-Bezek believed in Jesus Christ and his captors, the men of Judah and Simeon, recognized that, and they allowed him to live. We do not know his living conditions whether he was under house arrest to someone there, fuctioning as a slave—however, we do know that he lives out his life there. We have no indication that he was executed—why bring this man to Jerusalem to execute him? That makes no sense. We have no vocabulary to indicate that he is executed. This indicates that God pardoned this man and forgave him, despite his evil past. Furthermore, God the Holy Spirit records this here for us.


Application: No one is too evil, too vicious, or too repugnant to be saved.


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Interestingly enough, I don’t find other exegetes agreeing with me here.

Exegetes Who Do not Think that Adoni-Bezek is Redeemed

Exegete

Opinion

Clarke Footnote

So God has requited me - The king of Bezek seems to have had the knowledge of the true God, and a proper notion of a Divine providence. He now feels himself reduced to that state to which he had cruelly reduced others. Those acts in him were acts of tyrannous cruelty; the act towards him was an act of retributive justice.


And there he died - Adoni-Bezek continued at Jerusalem in a servile and degraded condition till the day of his death. How long he lived after his disgrace we know not.

Gill Footnote

as I have done, so God has requited me: whether he had any knowledge of the true God, and of his justice in dealing with him according to his deserts, and had a real sense of his sin, and true repentance for it, is not certain; since the word for God is in the plural number [the term Elohim is used in Scripture for both heathen deities and for the True God], and sometimes used of Heathen deities, as it may be here by him; however, the righteous judgment of God clearly appears in this instance:


and they brought him to Jerusalem: to that part of Jerusalem which belonged to the tribe of Judah (see Joshua 15:8); here they brought him alive, and dying, buried him, as Josephus Footnote says; which might be their view in carrying him there, perceiving he was a dying man; or they had him thither to expose him as a trophy of victory, and as an example of divine justice:


and there he died: whether through grief and vexation, or of the wounds he had received, or by the immediate hand of God, or by the hands of the Israelites, is not said; neither are improbable.

Henry Footnote

As I have done, so God has requited me - See the power of conscience, when God by his judgments awakens it, how it brings sin to remembrance, and subscribes to the justice of God. He that in his pride had set God at defiance now yields to him, and reflects with as much regret upon the kings under his table as ever he had looked upon them with pleasure when he had them there. He seems to own that he was better dealt with than he had dealt with his prisoners; for though the Israelites maimed him (according to the law of retaliation, an eye for an eye, so a thumb for a thumb), yet they did not put him under the table to be fed with the crumbs there, because, though the other might well be looked upon as an act of justice, this would have savoured more of pride and haughtiness than did become an Israelite.

You must bear in mind how the Christian mind functions at times. Because we are positionally righteous, we sometimes fall into self-righteousness. We understand that we are saved, but can’t quite grant the same to child molesters and murderers. You need to understand that you are every bit as repugnant to God as any person whose sins are repugnant to you. It is only Christ Jesus that we are made righteous. God’s salvation is available to even the most vile people on this earth.


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Judah Moves Against Jerusalem and the Canaanites


And so fought sons of Judah against Jerusalem and so they took her and so they struck her to a mouth of a sword and the city they gave over in the fire.

Judges

1:8

And the sons of Judah fought against Jerusalem and took her and struck her by the mouth of the sword and the city they gave [it] over into the fire.

Also, the sons of Judah made war against Jerusalem and took it and struck it by the edge of the sword, and set fire to the city.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so fought sons of Judah against Jerusalem and so they took her and so they struck her to a mouth of a sword and the city they gave over in the fire.

Septuagint                              And the children of Judas fought against Jerusalem, and took it, and smote with the edge of the sword, and they burnt the city with fire.

 

Significant differences: There appears to be a minor discrepancy in one verb which is probably a matter of translation.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              They attacked Jerusalem, captured it, killed everyone who lived there, and then burned it to the ground.

The Message                         The people of Judah attacked and captured Jerusalem, subduing the city by sword and then sending it up in flames.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         The men of Judah attacked Jerusalem and captured it. They killed everyone there and set the city on fire.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Owen's Translation                And the sons of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it, and had struck it with the edge of the sword, and had set the city on fire.

Young’s Updated LT             And the sons of Judah fight against Jerusalem, and capture it, and strike it by the edge [lit., mouth] of the sword, and the city they have sent into fire.


What is the gist of this verse? The Judæans also fought against Jerusalem (this would have been prior to putting Adoni-Bezel there) and they captured it, striking it with a sword and setting it on fire.


The time frame of this is still unknown. Vv. 7–8 could be connected by time (as Judah pursued Adoni-bezek, they continued into Jerusalem and took it); and they might be connected by subject. Jerusalem was mentioned in the previous verse, it triggers the memory of the writer to indicate that Judah also took Jerusalem (although the events could be separated by decades). The most likely scenario, to my thinking, is that this is the natural thing for Judah to do: the pursued Adoni-bezek to Jerusalem and took him; Jerusalem is still under the rule of hostile forces; this would be the time to attack and take Jerusalem. However, as I reread this, it seems even more reasonable that the Jews had conquered Jerusalem earlier, and this is added by way of explanation as to why Judah and Simeon were able to place Adoni-Bezek in Jerusalem.


Judges 1:8a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

lâcham (םַחָל) [pronounced law-KHAHM]

to engage in battle, to engage in war, to wage war; to fight, to battle

3rd person masculine plural, Niphal imperfect

Strong’s #3898 BDB #535

bânîym (םי.נָ) [pronounced baw-NEEM]

sons, descendants; sometimes rendered men

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yehûwdâh (הָדהי) [pronounced yehoo-DAW]

possibly means to praise, to be praised; and is transliterated Judah

masculine proper noun/location

Strong’s #3063 BDB #397

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Yerûwshâlayim (ם̣יַלָשר׃י) [pronounced yroo-shaw-LAH-yim]

possibly means founded upon peace or city of the Jebusites (or both); it is transliterated Jerusalem

proper singular noun, location

Strong’s #3389 BDB #436


Translation: And the sons of Judah fought against Jerusalem... We do not know when this took place. The Jewish mind thinks more topically than chronologically. If you or I wrote this, and we talked about Adoni-Bezek and then talked about the conquering of Jerusalem, that would generally indicate the order in which these two things took place. However, Jerusalem is mentioned at the end of v. 7, so it is logical for the author to tie Adoni-Bezek’s last years in Jerusalem together with the conquering of Jerusalem, which could have taken place either before or after the capture of Adoni-Bezek. It makes the most sense to me for Israel to place Adoni-Bezek in Jerusalem after it has been conquered.


Judges 1:8b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

lâkad (ד ַכ ָל) [pronounced law-KAHD]

to capture, to seize, to take, to choose [by lot]

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3920 BDB #539

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object; occasionally to, toward

affixed to a 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84


Translation: ...and took her... Regardless of the time that Israel conquered Jerusalem, you might protest, “But Jerusalem is under the control of the Jebusites—look at verse 21.” So, let me offer you a contemporary illustration: our army went into Bagdad and took Bagdad and deposed Sadam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq. However, there continues to this day (which is 2–3 years later) opposition to our presence in Iraq, and there are a few who remain in Iraq who are able to militarily oppose us. We’ve captured their primary cities; and yet, within these same cities, we still have a military presence of those who oppose us. Despite the fact that the war in Iraq is unique to history; nevertheless, the general principle holds: an army can take over this or that city; that does not mean that all opposition to that army is completely wiped out. That appears to be the case in Jerusalem.


Let’s look at this from a different viewpoint. The Jews come into the land with at most 2,000,000 people, 600,000 of which are adult males (because of the problem with some of the numbers in Scripture, I don’t know that these are even accurate). The Jews have gone on perhaps a decade-long attack against the people in the land, taking the land which God has given them. Israel does not physically have enough men to conquer all of this land and then to put a large enough detachment of Jewish soldiers in each city in order to maintain control of each and every city. The only way that the Jews could assume absolute and complete control over the land is to completely destroy their opposition in each and every city that they conquer. However, it is clear that they only do this in a few cities (like Jericho). For this reason, they may conquer a city, and there may still remain a people in that city who are in opposition to the Jews. Furthermore, there may be enough of an opposition so that, now and again, a city is taken back from the Jews (which appears to be the case with Jerusalem). Just in the time that I have lived, I have seen various portions of the holy land change hands a couple of times; so it makes perfect sense that this would occur in the past as well.


Judges 1:8c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâkâh (ה ָכ ָנ) [pronounced naw-KAWH]

to smite, to assault, to hit, to strike, to strike [something or someone] down, to defeat, to conquer, to subjugate

3rd person masculine plural, Hiphil imperfect; with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong #5221 BDB #645

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

The meanings of the lâmed preposition broken down into groups: ➊ to, towards, unto; it is used both to turn one’s heart toward someone as well as to sin against someone; ➋ to, even to;  in this sense, it can be used with a number to indicate the upper limit which a multitude might approach (nearly). ➌ Lâmed can be equivalent to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς), meaning into, as in transforming into something else, changing into something else (Gen. 2:7). This use of lâmed after the verb hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW] (Strong’s #1961 BDB #224) is one thing becoming another (Gen. 2:7). ➍  Its fourth use is the mark of a dative, after verbs of giving, granting, delivering, pardoning, consulting, sending, etc. This type of dative is broken down into several categories, but one includes the translation by, which would be apropos here. ➎ With regards to, as to. Similar to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς) plus the dative. [Numbering from Gesenius]. ➏ On account of, because, propter, used of cause and reason (propter means because; Gesenius used it). ➐ Concerning, about, used of a person or thing made the object of discourse, after verbs of saying. ➑ On behalf of anyone, for anyone. ➒ As applied to a rule or standard, according to, according as, as though, as if. ➓ When associated with time, it refers to the point of time at which or in which anything is done; or it can refer to the space of time during which something is done (or occurs); at the time of.

peh (ה) [pronounced peh]

mouth [of man, animal; as an organ of speech]; opening, orifice [of a river, well, etc.]; edge; extremity, end

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #6310 BDB #804

chereb (ברח) [pronounced khe-REBV]

sword

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #2719 BDB #352


Translation: ...and struck her by the mouth of the sword... It is clear that Judah launched a military attack against Jerusalem. This is also interesting, as Jerusalem is properly in the territory of Benjamin (Joshua 18:28); albeit, on the border of Judah and Benjamin (Joshua 15:8, 63).


Judges 1:8d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

׳îyr (רי ̣ע) [pronounced ģeer]

encampment, city, town

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #5892 BDB #746

shâlach (ח ַל ָש) [pronounced shaw-LAKH]

to send, to send off, to send away, to dismiss, to give over, to cast out, to let go, to set free, to shoot forth [branches], to shoot [an arrow]

3rd person masculine plural, Piel perfect

Strong’s #7971 BDB #1018

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

esh (ש ֵא) [pronounced aysh]

fire, lightening, supernatural fire; presence of Yehowah, the attendance of a theophany

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #784 BDB #77


Translation: ...and the city they gave [it] over into the fire. The last verb is the Piel perfect of to send off, to send away, to divorce, to give over, to case out, to let go, to set free. Interestingly enough, we only find this phrasing in Judges 20:48 2Kings 8:12 Psalm 74:7.



Jerusalem has a rich history with the Israelites. Back as far as Gen. 14, we read about the priest-king Melchizedek blessing Abraham in Salem, which appears to be the original name for Jerusalem (see Psalm 76:2). Jerusalem was apparently a difficult city to lay hold of. We read in Joshua 15:63: Now as for the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the sons of Judah could not drive them out, so the Jebusites live with the sons of Judah at Jerusalem until this day.


In studying the book of Joshua, we noted that he likely wrote this book while being in semi-retirement. My guess is within five years, Joshua finished writing this (as well as the ending to the book of Deuteronomy). My thinking is that Judah went immediately into Jerusalem, within the first year of being given her inheritance, and attacked. Although the attack seems to be successful, we do not know how much of the city was burned, and the quotation in Joshua does not require that this was a full and entire victory. You will notice back in v. 5, God gave the Canaanite and the Perizzite into the hand of Judah, but we don’t have the exact same language here. My thinking is that during the intervening time between this verse and when Joshua completed his book (or, when that gloss was added to the book of Joshua), that the Jebusites took back a portion of the city to where Judah and the Jebusites lived there side-by-side. It was not until David conquered the Jebusites, that Israel held this city exclusively (2Sam. 5:6–10). Now, just in case you think that I am playing fast and loose here, notice what we will read in Judges 1:21: But the sons of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem, so the Jebusites have lived with the sons of Benjamin to this day. My point is that we have to rectify this in such a way that there is no contradiction between this verse and v. 21, just as well as with Joshua 15:63. One simple explanation is that the victory indicated here was not complete. Although they did burn some of the city, they apparently did not burn it all. More than likely, the Jebusites took the city back years later. The NIV Study Bible suggests that Israel did not occupy the city, which would have left it open to being repossessed by the Jebusites who escaped the attack. This does not seem to square with Adoni-Bezek being placed in Jerusalem. It makes no sense to put this man into a city which is not held by the Jews. In any case, the city did not become the complete and total possession of Israel.


We had just better take this in points:

The Jebusites in Jerusalem

1.      Israel had previously captured Jerusalem and defeated the Jebusites, taking out their king (Joshua 12:8, 10).

2.      The time of this particular attack and victory is unclear. My guess is quite soon after the distribution of land.1 That Judah was victorious is certain here. However, we are not told that Judah left troops behind or that all the Jebusites were killed or even expelled. That Judah did leave troops behind or came back and partially settled is implied not here but back in Joshua 15:63, where it reads: So the Jebusites live with the sons of Judah at Jerusalem until this day. This would also be implied by the fact that Adoni-Bezek was kept at Jerusalem.

3.      At the time of the writing of Joshua (or at the time of a margin gloss), the Jebusites occupied Jerusalem (Joshua 15:63).

4.      At the time that Phinehas was alive, the Jebusites lived in Jerusalem (Judges 19:10–12 20:28).

5.      At the time of the writing of this chapter of Judges, the Jebusites still lived in Jerusalem (Judges 1:21).

6.      Even up until the time of David, not only did the Jebusites occupy Jerusalem, but they appear to have taken back control of the city (2Sam. 5:6–9 1Chron. 11:4–8).

7.      That cities are captured, taken back and then recaptured throughout history is commonplace.

8.      That cities were burned and then rebuilt is commonplace in ancient history.

9.      Therefore, regardless of the explanation given, there is no reason for us to assume there is some kind of error or contradiction here.

10.    Therefore, Joshua did capture Jerusalem, although Jebusites continued to live there.

11.    Because what we find in the book of Joshua appears to involve all Israel; and what we find in our passage appears to involve just Judah and Simeon, we may reasonably suppose that the Jebusites took back Jerusalem shortly after Joshua’s victory.

12.    Then, Judah moved into Jerusalem and took it, burning some or all of it, is clearly stated here. In v. 21 and in Joshua 15:63, the overall disposition of the matter is that the Jebusites lived in the land in Jerusalem with Israel until this day; indicating that despite this temporary victory, the Jebusites were never eradicated and they, at some point in time, probably soon thereafter, rebuilt and re-occupied the city. It is possible that they remained in this city, even after the city was conquered twice (first by Israel under Joshua and then by the tribe of Judah).

13.    This victory allowed that Benjamin and Judah could again occupy the city.

14.    This general idea that Judah did not completely eradicate the Jebusites is confirmed in 2Sam. 5:6–10, where David is victorious over the Jerusalem Jebusites circa 1000 b.c. What appears to be the case is, the Jebusites continued to live in Jerusalem, occupying a specific area known as the stronghold of Zion. This would be their fortress on Mount Zion, which David took for his own fortress. This is in agreement with Josephus, who tells us, the lower part was taken, and all the inhabitants killed, but the upper part was hard to be taken, because of the strength of the walls, and the nature of the place.2

15.    Conclusion: Israel captured Jerusalem, but it apparently was taken back. In our context, Judah wins this battle decisively to take Jerusalem back, but they still did not completely eradicate the Jebusites. The Jebusites apparently maintained a strong foothold in the fortress of Zion for as long as 300 years. Or, if driven out, then they returned to Jerusalem and took all or a portion of Jerusalem back sometime later.

16.    David will finally recapture Jerusalem permanently early on in his reign over Israel.

This is the scenario which came to my mind; it is my opinion that I am correct in this assessment; however, there could be other things which happened. Barnes is quite insistent that Jerusalem was taken only one time prior to David’s capture of the city—the one time being mentioned twice in Joshua 12 and Judges 1. Footnote My problem with this interpretation is, the victory in Joshua 12 appears to be a victory assigned to Israel as a whole; and the victory in our passage appears to be a victory of the tribe of Judah specifically. Furthermore, I see the setting of this city on fire as a strong measure which would be taken because Judah had to go back into the city and reconquer it.

Clarke also sees this as a parenthetical reference back to Joshua taking this city in Joshua 12. Footnote I do agree with him that this is a parenthetical reference, but one that goes back a few years to Judah retaking the city. Clarke does reasonably suggest that, when David took the city of Jerusalem, it had not necessarily been taken back by the Jebusites, but that they had dominated a portion of Jerusalem—the Zion stronghold specifically. This is reasonable, given the text of 1Sam. 5 and 1Chron. 11, both of which emphasize David taken the stronghold of Zion.

Matthew Henry suggests that Adoni-Bezek had captured Jerusalem, and that Judah’s capturing of Jerusalem occurred after their capture of Adoni-Bezek. Footnote This seems unlikely to me, simply for the reason that Adoni-Bezek is allowed to live his final days out in Jerusalem. Why allow him to remain in a city which he recently captured? However, Henry does reason that the capture of Jerusalem in Joshua and in this chapter are different events, for the same reasons that I came to that conclusion.

1 It is even possible that this is a lengthy explanation of what took place n Joshua 12:8, 10, but I doubt it. However, one reason to take that stance is: (1) the actual attack and capture of Jerusalem is not delineated in the book of Joshua; and, (2) this was a dual effort of Judah and Simeon, as Judah, of the twelve tribes, was chosen in this passage to attack Jerusalem. Although I opt for this occurring after the distribution of land, it could have occurred in Israel’s southern campaign. Barnes appears to be of the opinion that there was but one attack on Jerusalem, and that being here (Barnes’ Notes, Volume 2, reprinted 1996 by Baker Books; p. 415).

2 Josephus, Antiquities l. 5. c. 2. sect. 2. I took this quote from Dr. John Gill, John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible; from e-Sword, Judges 1:8.


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The next problem to deal with is Joshua 18:28. Jerusalem was first named as a city of Judah, and then given over to the tribe of Benjamin. Recall that the idea was to begin to distribute the land by the casting of lots, and then to later make adjustments as necessary. Also, this is a border city, on the border of Judah and Benjamin. And, I should add, around this time, the tribe of Benjamin is decimated to almost nothing (Judges 19–21, which events take place early in the time of the Judges). Therefore, we should expect that Judah will deal with Jerusalem rather than Benjamin.


What is going on here is that the tribe of Judah had the chance to pursue this Adoni-bezek into Jerusalem, and then decided, even though the city was not officially theirs, to just go ahead and attack it (this possibly should have been Benjamin’s responsibility; however, the tribe of Benjamin was either in deep degeneracy or decimated at this time). Since they were attacking it, they might as well leave a few troops there. I don’t know if you get this, but it appears as though they are surreptitiously attempting to take Jerusalem back. They made certain that their actions couldn’t be faulted, but the result was leaving some men of Judah in the city of Jerusalem, which belonged to Benjamin. Whether Judah is wrong to take this city is a tough call. It is obvious that Benjamin is not going to take this city, as we study further.


The other possibility, is that Jerusalem had been taken by Judah previously; and so it is reasonable to place one of their captives in Jerusalem. This makes the most sense to me. The comments which I made about Judah and Benjamin are equally applicable here.


Since we tend to think in a chronological fashion, let me present a...

A Chronology of Events

1.      Joshua leads the Jews throughout the Land of Promise and they conquer enough cities in order to inhabit the land (Joshua 1–14).

2.      This included the city of Jerusalem, which was conquered, although there remained Jebusites in the city (Joshua 12:10 15:63).

3.      Joshua distributes the land to the various tribes (Joshua 15–19). Jerusalem is on the border between Judah and Benjamin, but belongs to Benjamin (Joshua 15:8 18:28).

4.      Joshua encourages the tribes to continue to root out the Canaanites and other heathen groups from the land which they have conquered (Joshua 23:13).

5.      However, it is clear to Joshua that these heathen groups will remain in the land and that the Jews needed to keep themselves free of their heathen gods (Joshua 23:12, 16 24:14, 20, 23).

6.      Judah and Simeon decide to begin from the tribes of Israel to take the land given them by God through Joshua. As we will see in the second half of this chapter, Judah and Simeon are the only tribes which do that which God requires of them. Although it is possible that the other tribes began military campaigns in their own lands—apart from Ephraim and Manasseh, there is no record of that taking place—and there is a record of the cities which they did not capture (Judges 1:21–36)

7.      Jerusalem has been conquered at some point in time prior to their attack which culminates in Bezek. It appears as though Jerusalem is conquered, in part, on two occasions: once by Joshua and then later by the tribes of Judah and Simeon. In both cases, there are still Jebusites which remain in Jerusalem.

8.      Judah kills 10,000 enemy troops in Bezek and captures their leader, Adoni-Bezek, cutting off his thumbs and big toes.

9.      Then they bring Adoni-Bezek to Jerusalem. This gives us two possible scenarios:

         a.      Judah had recaptured Jerusalem, and, because it was their possession, they could take a prisoner there to remain under house arrest of some sort (exactly what Adoni-Bezek did after being captured is not told to us; but a servant’s position is not out of the question, given what he had done to other kings and princes).

         b.      There is also the possibility that, after conquering Bezek, that Jerusalem was next on Judah’s list of cities to take. Therefore, Adoni-Bezek is taken to Jerusalem as a prisoner, Jerusalem is taken a second time, and then some sort of occupying population is left there along with Adoni-Bezek.

         c.      In either case, we are not told why Judah went into Jerusalem or why they took Jerusalem. It makes a great deal of sense for Judah to take Adoni-Bezek to the nearest conquered city, find that it has been taken back by the Jebusites, and re-conquer it.

10.    After their stop in Jerusalem, Judah goes down (descending from Jerusalem) to continue their campaign against the Canaanites scattered throughout the territory of Judah.

11.    The specific cites and areas which Judah conquers are given in Judges 1:10–20.

The only difficulty is, placing the taking or retaking of Jerusalem. There is no contradiction or serious problem which I am attempting to clear up—I just tend to get caught up in some of the minutia.


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Do not become confused by this discussion. I am simply mulling over which was done first: the capture of Adoni Bezek or the attack against Jerusalem. I don’t believe there is enough information to indicate one way or the other. There is no contradiction involved, no matter which occurred first; however, it would make sense that if Jerusalem was taken after Adoni-Bezek was captured, then it would have been taken immediately afterwards. If Jerusalem was taken first, then these events could be separated by as much as 10 years or so.


And afterward went down sons of Judah to fight against the Canaanite inhabiting the hill country and in the Negev and in the lowland [or, the Shephelah].

Judges

1:9

And afterward the sons of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanite inhabiting the hill country and in the Negev and in the lowland [or, the Shephelah].

And then the sons of Judah went south to fight against the population of Canaanites who lived in the hill country, in the Negev and in the lowland.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And afterward went down sons of Judah to fight against the Canaanite inhabiting the hill country and in the Negev and in the lowland.

Septuagint                              And afterwards the children of Judas went down to fight with the Chananite dwelling in the hill country, and the south, and the plain country.

 

Significant differences: None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              Judah's army fought the Canaanites who lived in the hill country, the Southern Desert, and the foothills to the west.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         After that, the men of Judah went to fight the Canaanites who lived in the mountains, the Negev, and the foothills.

HCSB                                     Afterwards, the men of Judah marched down to fight against the Canaanites who were living in the hill country, the Negev, and the Judean foothills.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

LTHB                                     And afterward the sons of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites who lived in the mountains, and the Negeb, and the lowlands.

MKJV                                     And afterward the sons of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites who lived in the mountain, and in the south, and in the valley.

Young's Updated LT              And afterwards have the sons of Judah gone down to fight against the Canaanite, inhabiting the hill-country, and the south, and the low country.


What is the gist of this verse? Judah moved against the Canaanites who were spread out throughout Judæan territory.


Judges 1:9a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

achar (ר ַח ַא) [pronounced ah-KHAHR]

after, following, behind

preposition

Strong’s #310 BDB #29

yârad (ד ַר ָי) [pronounced yaw-RAHD]

to descend, to go down

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #3381 BDB #432

bânîym (םי.נָ) [pronounced baw-NEEM]

sons, descendants; sometimes rendered men

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yehûwdâh (הָדהי) [pronounced yehoo-DAW]

possibly means to praise, to be praised; and is transliterated Judah

masculine proper noun/location

Strong’s #3063 BDB #397

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

lâcham (םַחָל) [pronounced law-KHAHM]

to engage in battle, to engage in war, to wage war; to fight, to battle

Niphal infinitive construct

Strong’s #3898 BDB #535

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Kena׳ănîy (י.נֲע-נ) [pronounced ke-nah-ģuh-NEE]

merchant, trader; and is transliterated Canaanite, Canaanites

adjective/nominative gentilic; with the definite article

Strong’s #3669 BDB #489


Translation: And afterward the sons of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanite... The use of the adverb afterward seems to indicate that this is one of the few verses in this passage (Judges 1:4–20) which is in any sort of chronological order—that is, this verse chronologically follows vv. 4b–8). Furthermore, the verb here, to descend, to go down, would apply to the army of Judah leaving Jerusalem, which is on high ground, to go out from there to root out the other Canaanite groups. Therefore, even though we may have some difficulty putting each and every event into a chronological sequence, we can reasonably be assured that the capture of Adoni-Bezek took place, and then Judah made a general sweep of their land: the mountains, the Negeb and the Shephelah. However, the capture of the city of Jerusalem (except for possibly the fortress area of Mount Zion) appears to be parenthetical.


Judges 1:9b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

yâshab (בַשָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV]

inhabiting, staying, remaining, dwelling, sitting

Qal active participle

Strong's #3427 BDB #442

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

har (ר ַה) [pronounced har]

hill; mountain, mount; hill-country

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #2042 (and #2022) BDB #249


Translation: ...inhabiting the hill country... Recall that the general understanding of this passage is, God gives the Canaanite and the Perizzite into the hands of Judah (v. 4a); this verse is simply a continuation and expansion of that overall assessment. The hill country extends all the way down from Ephraim down into Judah, parallel to the Jordan River and the Dead Sea, obviously west of the Jordan. This indicates that Canaanites occupied the mountains. Recall that there are several groups who are descended from the Canaanites (the Hittites, the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, etc.), so that this passage could refer to any one or any combination of these groups.


Judges 1:9c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

negeb (ב ג נ) [pronounced ne-GHEBV]

south, south-country; often transliterated Negev or Negeb

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #5045 BDB #616


Translation: ...and in the Negev... This appears to be an overall verse as well, referring to the Canaanites who lived in the mountains along the Jordan and the Dead Sea, as well as those who live in the southern portion (the Negev) of Judah. Therefore, we are not necessarily looking at one battle, but at another summary verse (as v. 4a summarized vv. 4b–20).


Judges 1:9d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

shephêlâh (הָלֵפ ׃ש) [pronounced she-fay-LAW]

lowland, valley, plain; a strip of land west of the Judæan mountains; a strip of land near the coast of Carmel; transliterated Shephelah

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #8219 BDB #1050


Translation: ...and in the lowland [or, the Shephelah]. This should probably be understood as a specific area, which is west of the Judæan mountains. This simply tells us that the Canaanites virtually permeated the Land of Promise. The mountains, the Negev and the Shephelah pretty much describe most of Judah—we have left off the coast, which will be covered in Judges 1:18.


This is exactly what God had told the tribes to do. They gained a foothold in the Land of Promise, and now they were to remove their enemies from within their territories. This is what we would expect from each of the tribes. We would not expect all of them to sit on their hands for 10 or 20 years while Joshua is still alive; nor would we expect them to sit on their hands after his death. Israel had gone through southern Canaan seven years ago and made it safe enough to inhabit; the tribes of Judah and Simeon were given southern Canaan as their inheritance. There were still pockets of enemies throughout which needed to be eradicated, as so ordered by God. “And Jehovah your God will clear away these nations before you little by little; you will not be able to put an end to them quickly, so that the wild animals do not grow too numerous for you.” (Deut. 7:22).


Clarke suggests Footnote that this is simply a recapitulation of the conquering which took place in Joshua 10:36 11:21 15:13—and portions of this chapter are found in Joshua (Judges 1:11–15)—but the key is, throughout most of the book of Joshua, all tribes of Israel worked as a team (if you will recall, it was made very clear that those tribes east of the Jordan must participate in clearing out this land); and throughout our context, the narrative speaks of Judah or Judah and Simeon (Judges 1:1–4, 8–11). So, this does not make sense to equate what we have in Judges 1 to the fighting which Joshua did as leader of all the troops of Israel. Israel made one sweep of the land as a people from outside the land under Joshua. Then the land was divided up between the various tribes; now these individual tribes have the responsibility of further taking the land which was distributed to them under Joshua. That appears to be the plain reading of Scripture, and I see no reason to understand this in any other way (an exception to this will be Judges 1:11–15, which we will discuss in more detail when we come to this passage).


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Judah Moves Against Hebron

Joshua 15:13–14


What may help to orient you to this passage (Judges 1:10–15), is that it took place immediately after Joshua had completed the conquering of the Land of Promise and has been covered previously in Joshua 15:13–19. This will be carefully and thoroughly justified as we examine this passage; however, knowing this may help you get the big picture. It would be difficult to determine if this precedes or follows the incident with Adoni-Bezek.


And so went Judah unto the Canaanite, the dwellers in Hebron—and a name of Hebron formerly Kiriath-arba—and so they struck down Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai.

Judges

1:10

And then Judah went to the Canaanite, the dwellers in Hebron—and the name of Hebron [was] formerly Kiriath-arba—and they struck down Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai.

Then Judah went to the Canaanite inhabitants of Hebron (formerly known as Kiriath-arba), and defeated Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai.



Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And Juda going forward against the Chanaanite, that dwelt in Hebron, (the name whereof was in former times Cariath-Arbe) slew Sesai, and Ahiman, and Tholmai.

Masoretic Text                       And so went Judah unto the Canaanite, the dwellers in Hebron formerly Kiriath-arba and so they struck down Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai.

Peshitta                                  And Judah went against the Canaanites who lived in Hebron (now the name of Hebron before was Kiriath-arba); and they struck down Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai, the sons of the giants.

Septuagint                              And Judas went to the Chananite who dwelt in Chebron; and Chebron came out against him; [and the name of Chebron before was Cariatharbocsepher] and they smote Sessi, and Achiman, and Tholmi, children of Enac.

 

Significant differences: The Latin and Hebrew texts are identical; the Syriac is as well, except they add the phrase the sons of the giants. The Greek adds that they are children of Enac (probably a transliteration). Although these are the first major differences which I have seen in the book of Judges, as is so often the case, the differences have no doctrinal significance.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              After that, they attacked the Canaanites who lived at Hebron, defeating the three clans called Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai. At that time, Hebron was called Kiriath-Arba.

The Message                         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.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Then they went to fight the Canaanites who lived at Hebron. (In the past Hebron was called Kiriath Arba.) There they killed Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai.

HCSB                                     Judah also marched against the Canaanites who were living in Hebron (Hebron was formerly named Kiriath-arba). They struck down Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

HNV                                       Yehudah went against the Kena`anim who lived in Chevron (now the name of Chevron before was Kiryat-Arba); and they struck Sheshai, and Achiman, and Talmai.

MKJV                                     And Judah went against the Canaanites who lived in Hebron (and the name of Hebron before was Kirjath-arba). And they killed Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai.

Young’s Updated LT             And Judah goes unto the Canaanite who is dwelling in Hebron (and the name of Hebron formerly is Kirjath-Arba), and they strike Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai.


What is the gist of this verse? Judah (and, presumably, Simeon) attack the Canaanites who are living in Hebron, which was previously known as Kiriath-Arba. The Judæans also strike down three particularly prominent men, Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai.


Judges 1:10a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

Yehûwdâh (הָדהי) [pronounced yehoo-DAW]

possibly means to praise, to be praised; and is transliterated Judah

masculine proper noun/location

Strong’s #3063 BDB #397

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Kena׳ănîy (י.נֲע-נ) [pronounced ke-nah-ģuh-NEE]

merchant, trader; and is transliterated Canaanite, Canaanites

adjective/nominative gentilic; with the definite article

Strong’s #3669 BDB #489

yâshab (בַשָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV]

inhabiting, staying, remaining, dwelling, sitting

Qal active participle with the definite article

Strong's #3427 BDB #442

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Cheberôwn (ןר׃ב∵ח) [pronounced khebv-ROHN]

association, league, joined; transliterated Hebron

proper noun; location

Strong’s #2275 BDB #289


Translation: And then Judah went to the Canaanite, the dwellers in Hebron... We had the Doctrine of Hebron back in Joshua 14:15, but let me give you a thumbnail sketch: Hebron is found about 20 miles west from the midpoint of the Dead Sea in the hill country of Judah, 25 miles south-southwest of Jerusalem. Mamre is traditionally located 2 miles north of Hebron, making them so close as to be interchangeable (Gen. 23:19). This area has had a rich spiritual tradition being mentioned in Gen. 13:18 23:2, 19 35:27 37:14. In Gen. 13:18, Abram had just separated himself from Lot, and built an altar there to God. Sarah died in Hebron and was buried there (Gen. 23:2, 19). Jacob reunited with his father Isaac there for the last time prior to the death of Isaac (Gen. 35:27–29). Jacob sent his son, Joseph, to check on the other sons by way of Hebron (Gen. 37:14).


When Joshua went through Hebron originally, he killed all the inhabitants of that town which he found—he left no survivors. That does not mean that there weren’t survivors or that some of them did not escape (Joshua 10:36–39). Caleb requested to have this area in Joshua 14. He probably led the original raid on Hebron and liked the city and the general area.


This is what we would expect—Judah is attacking Canaanite positions within Judah’s own territory. It should not be a surprise that Judah has to recapture some cities. The Jews moved fairly quickly throughout the land, taking city after city—and then continuing on to the next city.


Judges 1:10b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shêm (ם ֵש) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027

Cheberôwn (ןר׃ב∵ח) [pronounced khebv-ROHN]

association, league, joined; transliterated Hebron

proper noun; location

Strong’s #2275 BDB #289

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pânîym (םי̣נָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces, countenance; presence

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean upon the face of, before, before the face of, in the presence of, in the sight of, in front of. When used with God, it can take on the more figurative meaning in the judgment of. This can also mean forwards; the front part [or, the edge of a sword]. Lepânîym (םי.נָפל) can take on a temporal sense as well: before, of old, formerly, in the past, in past times.

qireyâth (תָי ׃ר ̣ק) [pronounced kir-YAWTH]

city, town

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #7151 BDB #900

Arebba׳ (עַ ׃ר ַא) [pronounced ahre-BAHĢ]

related to the Hebrew word to lie in wait, to ambush (Strong’s #693 BDB #70); or to the numeral four (Strong’s #702 BDB #916)

Proper noun; location

Strong’s #none BDB #916

Together, these are transliterated Kiriath-arba and the word probably means city of the four (giants?); the four-fold city. Strong’s #7153 BDB #900.


Translation: ... —and the name of Hebron [was] formerly Kiriath-arba—... We will follow this story out, and then compare it to similar passages from Joshua. Forty-five years previous to this, the original twelve spies discovered these same three tribes: When they had gone up to the Negev, they came to Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the sons of the Anak were (Num. 13:22a).


Kiriath-arba probably means The city of Arba, who was a great man of the Anakim.  Although it may mean City of the Four, the four-fold city; Joshua 14:15a reads: Now the name of Hebron before was Kiriath Arba; [which Arba was] the greatest man among the Anakim.


Hebron was in southern Palestine, so that Joshua conquered the city, using Caleb as his lead man, six years previous to the distribution of property in Joshua 13–21. During those intervening years, it is likely that some places were re-inhabited in that short period of time. The tribe of Judah just went back in and recaptured Hebron. Now, it is also possible that Hebron was captured one time and one time only, and that incident is referred to several times. You know what, I had just better cover this in points:


There are actually three possibilities: either Hebron was captured thrice, twice or once; the three passages may all be talking about the same incident or about multiple incidents.

It might be good to compare the passages first:

Joshua 10:36–39: Joshua went up from Eglon, and all Israel with him, to Hebron; and they fought against it: and they took it, and struck it with the edge of the sword, and the king of it, and all the cities of it, and all the souls who were therein; he left none remaining, according to all that he had done to Eglon; but he utterly destroyed it, and all the souls who were therein. Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir, and fought against it: and he took it, and the king of it, and all the cities of it; and they struck them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed all the souls who were therein; he left none remaining: as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir, and to the king of it; as he had done also to Libnah, and to the king of it.

Joshua 15:13–14: To Caleb the son of Jephunneh he [Joshua] gave a portion among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of Yahweh to Joshua, even Kiriath Arba, which Arba was the father of Anak (the same is Hebron). Caleb drove out there the three sons of Anak: Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai, the children of Anak.

Judges 1:10: And then Judah went to the Canaanite, the dwellers in Hebron—and the name of Hebron [was] formerly Kiriath-arba—and they struck down Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai.

The Sequence of Events Concerning the Capture of Hebron

First scenario:

1.      Hebron was occupied by the three tribes of the Anakim for at least forty years (Num. 13:22).

2.      When Moses sent out spies, only Joshua and Caleb were willing to return to the land and take it. Therefore, Moses promised them whatever land that they walked across. “Not one of these men, this evil generation, will see the good land which I swore to give to your fathers except Caleb ben Jephunneh; he will see it and to him and to his sons I will give the land on which he has set foot, because he has followed Jehovah fully.” (Deut. 1:36–37). Caleb took this as meaning that he could choose where he and his family would put down their roots and Joshua accepted that interpretation of what Moses said.

3.      Joshua and company, once Gen X had died in the desert, went through and captured Hebron, killing all of the inhabitants that they found in Joshua 10:36–39. The destruction was complete in that area, but this does not mean that no one escaped. When we read that Joshua cut off the Anakim from the hill country of Judah (Joshua 11:21), it means not that they were all destroyed, but that they used to inhabit and hill country, including Debir, and they no longer do so.

4.      It is obvious that some of these inhabitants escaped and then returned over the next several years. After occupying a land for that long a time, it is unlikely that they are going to completely abandon it. Furthermore, since the Israelites had taken all of Palestine, moving to one area was no better or no worse than moving to another. Therefore, why not just move back into Hebron? This is apparently what happened (assuming that the Jews captured Hebron twice).1

5.      While the previous tenants moved back into Hebron, Joshua gave Hebron over to Caleb (Joshua 14:15 15:13).

6.      Caleb, after the distribution of land, led his people, Judah, throughout the land, conquering the unconquered areas as well as the re-inhabited areas. Joshua 15:14–19 Judges 1:9–20.

The Sequence of Events Concerning the Capture of Hebron

Second scenario:

1.      The second possible scenario is that the conquering of Hebron mentioned in Joshua 15 and Judges 1 took place when Israel in general was going through and conquering southern Palestine. We are just given some more details in these two passages to help us to understand what Caleb chose these areas. Given that Judges 1:11–15 is a reiteration of Joshua 15:13–19, it is not out of the question that the taking of Hebron is mentioned twice as well.

2.      This second scenario is a bit harder to grasp, but a reasonable explanation. The conquering of Hebron is mentioned back in Joshua 10:36–37: Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron, and they fought against it. And they captured it and struck it and its king and all its cities and all the persons who were in it with the edge of the sword. He left no survivor, according to all that he had done to Eglon. And he completely destroyed it and every person who was in it. This gives us the general picture and this verse is found in a series of verses were pretty much only the order of battles and the result of the battles are given. Joshua is the lieutenant commander-in-chief of Israel’s armies, under God, so that he is spoken of as the one who conquered Hebron.

3.      It is important to note that Joshua 10:36 reads: Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron, and they fought against it. This does not mean that each and every male Israelite moved against Hebron at that time. Given the population of the army of Israel (600,000 strong), this would be unlikely, which would allow for them to move in tandem, but not every man would be used in every operation. Sending in the tribe of Judah here would have been reasonable.

4.      We have an additional bit of information about this in Joshua 11:21: And then Joshua came at that time and cut off the Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab and from all the hill country of Judah and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua utterly destroyed them with their cities. As mentioned in an earlier point, this could simply mean that Joshua separated what remained of the Anakim from the hill country; however, in the scenario presented here, we will take it to mean that Joshua totally annihilated all of the inhabitants of Debir.

5.      Caleb asks for this Hebron because he was the general who led the command of soldiers who took Debir (Joshua 14:15 15:13–14). Mentioning the battle would have been out of place in Joshua 14 and mentioning any details of the battle would have been out of place in both Joshua 10 and 11. In other words, Joshua, as lieutenant commander-in-chief, ordered Caleb to take Hebron; Caleb did (Joshua 10:36–37 11:21 15:13–14 Judges 1:10), and Joshua gave Debir to Caleb (Joshua 14:13–14)

6.      When we get to Judges 1:10, since so many details have already been given, that Caleb had taken Hebron is mentioned as an aside, referring to what occurred previously in the book of Joshua. A minor problem with this explanation is that Judges 1:10 tells us specifically that the tribe of Judah took Debir. This is not a serious problem. There is no reason why every single tribe would have moved on every single city. This would indicate that Joshua had commanded Caleb to take Debir and Caleb, as the top representative of the people of Judah (Num. 13:6), he took a detachment of men from Judah and took Debir. This is implied here; and not mentioned at all back in Joshua.

7.      However, there is a major problem with this interpretation that we are speaking of just one attack, and that is with the words of Caleb in Joshua 14:11–13: “I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in. Now then, give me this hill country about, which Jehovah spoke of on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there with great fortified cities. Perhaps Jehovah will be with me, and I will drive them out as Jehovah has spoken.” So Joshua blessed him, and gave Hebron to Caleb ben Jephunneh for an inheritance. This almost demands that Hebron be attacked and captured in two waves. We could split the quote up, saying that v. 11 is chronologically placed and that v. 12 occurred before Joshua’s aggression on Hebron (through Caleb), but that is too much of a stretch.

The Sequence of Events Concerning the Capture of Hebron

Conclusion:

We probably have but two different skirmishes here. Since the wording is almost exactly the same in Joshua 15 and Judges 1, it makes sense that these are two reports of the same incident; and that Joshua 10 speaks of Israel’s first attack and complete destruction of all those who remained in Hebron (obviously, some would have to escape and then come back to repopulate it soon thereafter).

Having two different possible views as to how a series of events could have taken place does not constitute a contradiction in the Bible. It merely helps to explain and to put into perspective several mentions of the same thing. That we cannot lay out with certainty the exact sequence of events is also not a contradiction.

1  And, although I worked up this explanation independently from Keil and Delitzsch, this is also their view of things: Keil & Delitzsch’s Commentary on the Old Testament; ©1966 Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.; Vol. II, p. 113–114.


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Judges 1:10c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâkâh (ה ָכ ָנ) [pronounced naw-KAWH]

to smite, to assault, to hit, to strike, to strike [something or someone] down, to defeat, to conquer, to subjugate

3rd person masculine plural, Hiphil imperfect

Strong #5221 BDB #645

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Shêshay (י -ש̤ש) [pronounced shay-SHAH-ee]

transliterated Sheshai

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #8344 BDB #1058

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Ăchîyman (ן -מי.ח ֲא) [pronounced ukh-ee-MAHN]

my brother is a gift? and is transliterated Achiman

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #289 BDB #27

It is very unusual for an enemy of Israel to have a Jewish name which means my brother is a gift. Probably, the pronunciation of this person’s name is very similar to this particular Jewish word.

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Talemay (י -מל -) [pronounced tahle-MAH-ee]

transliterated Talmai

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #8526 BDB #1068


Translation: ...and they struck down Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai. As mentioned before, this is very similar to Joshua 15:13–14, which reads: To Caleb the son of Jephunneh he [Joshua] gave a portion among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of Yahweh to Joshua, even Kiriath Arba, which Arba was the father of Anak (the same is Hebron). Caleb drove out there the three sons of Anak: Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai, the children of Anak.


Okay, there were two attacks on Hebron; what are the key differences?

The Key Differences Between the Attacks on Hebron

First Attack (Joshua 10:16–28)

Second Attack (Joshua 1513–14 Judges 1:10)

Joshua led the first attack.

Caleb led the second attack.

The first attack involved all Israel.

The second attack involved Judah and Simeon only.

Israel was just entering the land and taking city after city.

Here, Caleb had been given this city and he takes it from the inhabitants.

The king of Hebron plays a prominent roll in the first attack (he escapes with several other kings).

The king of Hebron is not mentioned in the second attack. However, the 3 sons of Anak are named (this would be a reference to 3 tribes, probably of giants—that is, giants, compared to Israel).

Joshua completely destroys all people remaining in Hebron.

Caleb drives out the sons of Anak.

Again, there is no contradiction that Joshua destroys all in this city the first time through; and that Caleb has to reconquer it several years later. Some people obviously escaped Joshua’s attack and returned to the city (given that these people are specifically named as far back as Num. 13:22), we know that they have lived there for a long time.

It is even possible that these sons of Anak had been drive out of Hebron by the king and people who populated this city when Joshua attacked. When the sons of Anak saw that there enemy had been completely destroyed and that the Jews did not stick around (they went off to conquer more cities), the sons of Anak simply moved back into their area. This may or may not be the missing piece of puzzle; but it clearly explains the three different passages before us and easily reconciles them.

Quite obviously, I have delved into this in much greater depth than was really necessary. I simply want to offer the logical alternatives and make certain that there is at least one reasonable explanation which ties these passages together.

Now, if that weren’t a difficult set of points to go through, we now have a similar situation with the attack upon Debir and the same sequence of events given above for Hebron probably were duplicated for Debir.


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You know, it is fitting that Caleb was given this particular territory. Do you recall what the first Israeli spies said, upon returned from the new land? Recall Num. 13:26: The spies went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, to the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word to them, and to all the congregation, and shown them the fruit of the land. They told him, and said, “We came to the land where you sent us; and surely it flows with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. However the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. Amalek dwells in the land of the South: and the Hittite, and the Jebusite, and the Amorite, dwell in the hill-country; and the Canaanite dwells by the sea, and along by the side of the Jordan.” Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” But the men who went up with him said, “We aren't able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.” They brought up an evil report of the land which they had spied out to the children of Israel, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that eats up the inhabitants of it; and all the people who we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak, who come of the Nephilim: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” So you see what these crybabies kept whining about? The giants! “The sons of Anak. They are just too big. We are grasshoppers in their sight.” So what does Joshua do? He gives this area to Caleb, the only one (beside Joshua) who said, “Of course we can defeat them—we represent the army of the Living God.” Who better than Caleb to be given the land that the giants (the sons of Anak) live in?


Now, you may be concerned with how we beat v. 10 to death, examining all these various possibilities; however, that sets us up for v. 11, which should be easy by comparison.


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Debir is Taken/Caleb, His Daughter and His Son-in-law

Joshua 15:15–19


We have gone into, if anything, excessive detail on the previous verse. It might be much simpler to point out that what we find in Judges 1:10–15 is almost identical to Joshua 15:13–19; therefore, these are parallel verses reporting on the same set of incidents. The writer of the latter half of Joshua (the distribution of the cities) or a later editor apparently inserted information about certain cities Judah conquered and inhabited after they had been given the land.


And so he went from there unto inhabitants of Debir (and a name of Debir formerly Kiriath-sepher).

Judges

1:11

And so he went from there to the inhabitants of Debir (and the name of Debir [was] formerly Kiriath-sepher).

And Judah had gone from there to the inhabitants of Debir (the name of Debir was also Kiriath-sepher).


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And departing from thence, he went to the inhabitants of Dabir, the ancient name of which was Cariath-Sepher, that is, the city of letters.

Masoretic Text                       And so he went from there unto inhabitants of Debir (and a name of Debir formerly Kiriath-sepher).

Septuagint                              And they went up thence to the inhabitants of Dabir; but the name of Dabir was before Cariathsepher, the city of Letters.

 

Significant differences: Interestingly enough, the Latin and Greek both translate what the previous name of Debir means. This is not found in the Hebrew or in the Syriac.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       From Hebron, Judah's army went to attack Debir, which at that time was called Kiriath-Sepher.

The Message                         From there they had marched against the population of Debir (Debir used to be called Kiriath Sepher).


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         From there Judah's troops went to fight the people living at Debir. (In the past Debir was called Kiriath Sepher.) .

HCSB                                     From there they marched against the residents of Debir (Debir was formerly named Kiriath-sepher).


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

LTHB                                     And from there he went against the ones living in Debir, and the name of Debir formerly was City of Sepher.

Young’s Updated LT             And he goes from there unto the inhabitants of Debir (and the name of Debir formerly is Kirjath-Sepher).


What is the gist of this verse? Judah also retakes Debir, previously known as the City of Sepher (i.e., the City of Letters or the City of Books).


Judges 1:11a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

shâm (ם ָש) [pronounced shawm]

there; at that time, then; therein, in that thing

adverb

Strong’s #8033 BDB #1027

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

yâshab (בַשָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV]

those inhabiting, those staying, those dwelling in, the inhabitants of, the ones dwelling in, dwellers of, those sitting [here], the ones sitting

masculine plural construct, Qal active participle

Strong's #3427 BDB #442

Debîyr (רי ̣ב  ׃) [pronounced debVEER]

to speak, speaking, word; transliterated Debir

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #1688 BDB #184


Translation: And so he went from there to the inhabitants of Debir... Just as we saw in the previous verse, it is a question as to how many times did the Jews take this city. The passages in question are Joshua 10:38–39: Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir, and fought against it. He took it, and the king of it, and all the cities of it; and they struck them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed all the souls who were therein; he left none remaining: as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir, and to the king of it; as he had done also to Libnah, and to the king of it. Also, Joshua 15:15: He [Caleb] went up there against the inhabitants of Debir (now the name of Debir before was Kiriath sepher). And out own passage, Judges 1:11.


The wording of the passage we are studying (Judges 1:10–15) is almost identical to Joshua 15:13–19. It is apparent that these came from either the same source material or one was copied from the other. In other words, this would suggest, as we found with Hebron in the previous verse, that Joshua conquered the army in this city when Israel first marched through Israel; and then Caleb went back and had to retake the city (he would have fought against a decimated army). Joshua gave the Jews a foothold in the land, and now the tribes were to go into their various territories and take those cities which had been conquered, along with those which had not been conquered. The tribes of Judah and Simeon followed this mandate given by Joshua (Joshua 23:9–10; where it is pretty much an implied mandate). The tenor of Judges 1:1 makes it clear that the individual tribes knew that they still had to take cities which God had given them.


Judges 1:11b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shêm (ם ֵש) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027

Debîyr (רי ̣ב  ׃) [pronounced debVEER]

to speak, speaking, word; transliterated Debir

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #1688 BDB #184

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pânîym (םי̣נָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces, countenance; presence

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean upon the face of, before, before the face of, in the presence of, in the sight of, in front of. When used with God, it can take on the more figurative meaning in the judgment of. This can also mean forwards; the front part [or, the edge of a sword]. Lepânîym (םי.נָפל) can take on a temporal sense as well: before, of old, formerly, in the past, in past times.

Qireyâth (תָי ׃ר ̣ק) [pronounced kir-YAWTH]

city, town

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #7151 BDB #900

Çêpher (ר∵פ ̤ס) [pronounced SAY-fur]

missive, book, document, writing, scroll, tablet

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #5612 BDB #706

Together, these words are transliterated as Kiriath-Sepher, and it means the City of Scribes; the City of Scrolls; the City of Writing; the City of Books (Strong’s #7158 BDB #900).

 

Translation:...(and the name of Debir [was] formerly Kiriath-sepher). Kiriath is transliterated from the Hebrew word Qireyâth (תָי ׃ר ̣ק) [pronounced kir-YAWTH], which simply means city, town. Sepher is also transliterated from the Hebrew Çêpher (ר∵פ ̤ס) [pronounced SAY-fur] and it means book, document, writing, scroll. Therefore, it means book town. Debir is the Hebrew word debîyr (רי ̣ב  ׃) pronounced [debVEER], which is related to the word for speaking or word. Therefore, the names given to this city are very similar in meaning.


This city was also given the name Kiriath-sannah in Joshua 15:49, which probably means city of palm branches or city of law or sacred learning. The second possibility is, there are two Debir’s.


Now, Debir is a tough place because, first off, we don’t know where it was. ZPEB gives three possible locations, one slightly south of Jericho, west of Jerusalem (which I reject for this particular Debir) Footnote and two which are between the midpoint of the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Debir is placed nearer Hebron, due to this passage, and closer to Eglon (nearer the Mediterranean) because of Joshua 10:34–36. K. Galling has proposed that the site might be modern Hirbet Rabūd, especially since this site is near a set of naturally occurring springs of various altitudes which accords well with the description in Judges 1:15...Excavation of this site by Moshe Kokhavy and other in the seasons 1968, 1969 have turned up much material from the period of the Conquest. Footnote That there are three cities named booktown makes sense, given that there was a reasonable amount of writing which took place during this time. The whole concept of the oral tradition seems to be foolish nonsense which totally ignores the several times in Scripture that the author of a book was instructed to write something down.


As is often the case, this verse gives us the thumbnail sketch and the following verses will give us the details. A person who reads only this verse and the passage back in Joshua could cry, contradiction, but we will see, as this story unfolds, that there is no contradiction. We have essentially the same options as we did above with the city of Hebron. It was attacked and captured one, two or three times; and probably in tandem with Hebron. The two most reasonable options is that (1) it was captured but once, and this is referred to several times; and (2) it was captured and defeated when Joshua took the troops through, and then re-inhabited by the enemy during the intervening seven years, and then recaptured by the tribe of Judah.


One point of interest is that, back in Joshua 10:36–38, they attack and defeat Hebron and then Debir. Also, we read: Then Joshua and all Israel with him returned to Debir, and they fought against it (Joshua 10:38). The use of the term returned indicates that this was not a natural progression of side-by-side cities, although in these two verses, Judah takes these cities in the same order. As you might recall from that chapter, the movement was somewhat of a zig-zag movement, moving generally south, but going east, then west, then east then west. I think this zig-zagging explains what is meant by the verb returned. I don’t think the explanation is, Joshua and Israel took these cities when they invaded the land; and then Caleb and the tribe of Judah returned to take it, as Joshua and all Israel are those who return to Debir (Joshua 10:38).


And so said Caleb, “Who strikes down Kiriath-sepher and takes her and I give to him Achsah my daughter to wife.”

Judges

1:12

And Caleb said, “Whoever strikes down Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will given to him Achsah, my daughter, to wife.”

Caleb said, “Whoever attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will give to him Achsah, my daughter, as his wife.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so said Caleb, “Who strikes down Kiriath-sepher and takes her and I give to him Achsah my daughter to wife.”

Septuagint                              And Chaleb said, “Whoever strikes down the city of Letters, and shall first take it, I will give to him Ascha my daughter to wife.

 

Significant differences: None; the LXX translates Kiriath-sepher.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              Caleb told his troops, "The man who captures Kiriath-Sepher can marry my daughter Achsah."

The Message                         Caleb had said, "Whoever attacks Kiriath Sepher and takes it, I'll give my daughter Acsah to him as his wife."


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Caleb said, "I will give my daughter Achsah as a wife to whoever defeats Kiriath Sepher and captures it."


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

WEB                                      Caleb said, He who strikes Kiriath Sepher, and takes it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter as wife.

Young’s Updated LT             And Caleb says, “He who strikes Kirjath-Sepher—and has captured it—then I have given to him Achsah my daughter for a wife.”


What is the gist of this verse? Caleb offers his daughter (granddaughter?) to whomever takes the city Kirjath-Sepher.

 

The vocabulary in this chapter is somewhat limited. In this chapter alone, seven times we have the Hiphil imperfect of nâkâh (ה ָכ ָנ) [pronounced naw-KAWH] which means smite, assault, hit, strike. Another verb which occurs several times Footnote throughout this chapter is the Qal perfect of lâkad (ד ַכ ָל) [pronounced law-KAHD], which means to capture, to seize, to take. A verb which occurs eight times in this chapter is found here as the Qal perfect of nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN], which means give, grant, place, put, set. At the end of this verse we have what appears to be a verb, but it is the lâmed preposition and the feminine singular noun îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH], which means woman, wife.


Judges 1:12a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Keleb (ב∵ל∵) [pronounced KEH-lebv]

dog; transliterated Caleb

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3612 BDB #476


Translation: And Caleb said,... You may recall that Moses sent 12 spies into the Land of Promise approximately 40–45 years previous, and two of them came back saying that we should go into the land and take it: Joshua and Caleb. The other 10 spies were not only against such action, but they vigorously lobbied against it, causing Israel to remain 38½ years in the desert while God wiped out Generation X. Only a handful from that generation were kept alive: Moses, Aaron, Eleazar, Joshua and Caleb. We know that Caleb was about 40 when sent to spy out the land, so he is therefore in his 80's when he goes to conquer specific cities in his land allotment.


I suspect that Caleb was younger than Joshua, but perhaps not by more than 10 years or so. By this time, Joshua would have retired from public life; and is possibly even unable to keep up with a military schedule.


Judges 1:12b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

nâkâh (ה ָכ ָנ) [pronounced naw-KAWH]

to smite, to assault, to hit, to strike, to strike [something or someone] down, to defeat, to conquer, to subjugate

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong #5221 BDB #645

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Qireyâth (תָי ׃ר ̣ק) [pronounced kir-YAWTH]

city, town

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #7151 BDB #900

Çêpher (ר∵פ ̤ס) [pronounced SAY-fur]

missive, book, document, writing, scroll, tablet

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #5612 BDB #706

Together, these words are transliterated as Kiriath-Sepher, and it means the City of Scribes; the City of Scrolls; the City of Writing; the City of Books (Strong’s #7158 BDB #900).

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâkad (ד ַכ ָל) [pronounced law-KAHD]

to capture, to seize, to take, to choose [by lot]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect; with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #3920 BDB #539


Translation:...“Whoever strikes down Kiriath-sepher and captures it,... Caleb makes a valid offer. There is a specific region which was given over to him, and there was this city, Kiriath-Sepher which needed to be conquered. Caleb is going to make the taking of this city a condition for royal advancement. No doubt, he is speaking to his top 3 or 4 generals (or, who knows, 6 or 7).


Judges 1:12c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

׳Akeçâh (ה ָסכ-ע) [pronounced ģahke-SAW]

anklet, bangle; rattle; and is transliterated Achsah

feminine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #5915 BDB #747

bath (ת ַ) [pronounced bahth]

daughter; village

feminine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #1323 BDB #123

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular noun

Strong's #802 BDB #61


Translation: ...I will given to him Achsah, my daughter, to wife.” Some commentators are concerned about the age of his daughter. They claim that this woman would be too old to really offer as a reward to the man who takes Kiriath-Sepher. However, as most of you realize, a man can sire a child in his 50's (or 60's or 70's); so there is nothing which requires Achsah to be an old maid at this time. It would not be unreasonable or impossible for her to be in her teens or early 20's. Being Caleb’s daughter almost makes her royalty.


As you no doubt recall, we examined this passage back in Joshua 15:13–19; in fact, it is just about taken word-for-word from Joshua 15:16–19. The fact that this occurs here, with a completely different vocabulary and sentence structure than the rest of this chapter, and the fact that the entire story is found in Joshua 15, leads us to a couple of conclusions:

The Authorship of the Book of Judges and Narrative Inserts

1.      The author of at least the first chapter of the Judges is not the author of this passage.

2.      This author inserted these few verses as they fit contextually with the previous verses.

3.      If you ever write and you want to quote an idea or a concept which someone else has observed, and you can’t do anything else but actually quote this statement, because you can’t say it any better, then you understand the dichotomy in the vocabulary and sentence structure. I run into this all of the time. I constantly find authors who state something much better than I do, which is why I often include a lot of quotations. That is what this author has done. This was said better back in Joshua 15 than he could, so he quotes a few verses from that passage (or, both authors had the same source material—another possibility).

4.      Most importantly, this indicates that the incidents mentioned herein are probably all related and all occurred within a relatively short time frame, making me lean toward one capture of Hebron, Debir and Kiriath-sepher by Joshua, and a later one by the tribe of Judah.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Now, not only is it difficult to determine when these various and sundry events take place, but we also have to figure out who the heck Othniel is and how exactly is he related to Caleb. However, let us begin with that which is easy: Caleb is in a leadership position, but he is not going into battle. At the youngest, he was in his late 30's when going into the land (he is said to be 40, which is a round number, in Joshua 14:7). Now, it is at least 40 yeas later, maybe 45. Given the commonly accepted date of the exodus as being about 1440 b.c., we are now at about 1400 b.c.


And so took her Othniel ben Kenaz, brother of Caleb, the younger from him. And so he gave to him Achsah his daughter to wife.

Judges

1:13

So Othniel ben Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, the younger from him, took it. Therefore, he gave to him Achsah, his daughter, to wife.

So Othniel, son of Kenaz, the younger brother of Caleb, took it. Therefore, Caleb gave him Achsah, his daughter, to wife.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so took her Othniel ben Kenaz, brother of Caleb, the younger from him. And so he gave to him Achsah his daughter to wife.

Septuagint                              And Gothoniel the younger son of Kenez the brother of Chaleb took it; and Chaleb gave him his daughter Ascha to wife.

 

Significant differences: No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Caleb's nephew Othniel captured Kiriath-Sepher, so Caleb let him marry Achsah. Othniel was the son of Caleb's younger brother Kenaz.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

HCSB                                     So Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb's youngest brother, captured it, and Caleb gave his daughter Achsah to him as his wife.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And Othniel, the son of Caleb's younger brother Kenaz, took it. And he gave him Achsah his daughter for a wife.

Young’s Updated LT             And Othniel son of Kenaz, younger brother of Caleb, captures it, and he gives to him Achsah his daughter for a wife.


What is the gist of this verse? Caleb’s nephew Othniel captures the city, and is given Achsah as his wife.


Judges 1:13a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

lâkad (ד ַכ ָל) [pronounced law-KAHD]

to capture, to seize, to take, to choose [by lot]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect; with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #3920 BDB #539

׳Âthenîyêl (ל̤אי.נ תָע) [pronounced ģoth-nee-ALE]

possibly lion of God; God is might; and is transliterated Othniel

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #6274 BDB #801

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Qenaz (ז-נ ק) [pronounced keNAHZ],

possibly side, flank; is transliterated Kenaz

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #7073 BDB #889

âch (ח ָא) [pronounced awhk]

brother, kinsman or close relative

masculine singular construct

Strong's #251 BDB #26

Keleb (ב∵ל∵) [pronounced KEH-lebv]

dog; transliterated Caleb

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3612 BDB #477

qâţôn (ןטָק or ןֹט ָק) [pronounced kaw-TOHN]

small, insignificant; a word particularly used for youth, younger

masculine singular adjective with the definite article

Strong’s #6995 & #6996 BDB #882

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

Owen seems to indicate that this is nothing more than the min preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix; however, this appears to be one of the several alternative forms of min. This would mean very little to the average person, unless you are following along in the Hebrew text.


Translation: So Othniel ben Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, the younger from him, took it. The first thing we should look at is, just exactly who is Othniel and how is he related to Caleb? There are two options: Otherniel is Caleb’s nephew; the other option is, he is Caleb’s younger brother (and, by younger, I would assume perhaps by several decades?).


Now, let’s examine, side-by-side, the arguments on both sides—is Othniel Caleb’s younger brother or his nephew?

Othniel’s Relationship to Caleb

Option #1: Othniel is Caleb’s younger brother:

Option #2: Othniel is Caleb’s nephew and Kenaz is Caleb’s younger brother:

1.      Othniel would be Caleb’s younger brother (possibly step-brother) and Kenaz would be his father or grandfather or ancestor.

2.      Caleb is occasionally called a Kenizzite (Num. 32:12 Joshua 14:6, 14). There would be good reason to call Othniel by an ancestor’s name. His parents would have died in the desert and possibly been unable to raise him, so he would not be seen as a son of Jephunneh but as a son of a more ancient ancestor, Kenaz.

3.      Caleb was raised by Jephunneh to adulthood, as he was an adult in the desert, so he would be properly seen as son of Jephunneh.

4.      There is also the possibility that Kenaz was the father of Caleb, which some hold to (not me).

5.      Othniel would have to be way younger—recall that Caleb was 40 at the exodus (Joshua 14:7), and the generation 20 and older were wiped out (with the exception of Moses, Caleb, Joshua, and possibly Eleazar). That would make Othniel at least 20 years younger than Caleb. It is possible that he was even born while in the desert, prior to his parents being killed In other words, he could possibly be even 60 years younger than Caleb. Caleb has to be at least 86 at the time of this assault, therefore, Othniel would have been between 26 and 66. In any case, Othniel being called Caleb’s younger brother has nothing to do with the age of Achsah, but with the fact that he is way younger than Caleb.

6.      Problem: regardless of the age difference, Othniel would still be the uncle of Caleb’s daughter, making this an incestuous marriage.

7.      Another problem is that Caleb is called the son of Jephunneh in several places (Num. 13:6 Joshua 14:6 1Chron. 4:15). Although we can get around Kenaz being called the father of Othniel, it is still a moderate stretch.

8.      One of the most important factors to consider is that the sons of Kenaz are named in 1Chron. 4:13; Othniel is mentioned and Caleb is not. Under option #2, this is what we would expect. Under option #1, how could they possibly leave out Caleb’s name?

1.      Othniel would be Caleb’s nephew and Kenaz would be Caleb’s younger brother.

2.      Kenaz is at least 20 years younger than Caleb (see the explanation in point #2 under option #1); and Othniel would be at least twenty years younger than his father. In any case, Kenaz being referred to as Caleb’s would have nothing to do with the relative age of Othniel and Achsah, but this designation is used because he is way younger than Caleb.

3.      Othniel and Achsah, Caleb’s daughter, would be cousins.

4.      There would be no incest involved. Although you may not been keen on a marriage between cousins, there is nothing in the Bible which forbids it. In fact, I have recent heard a show which mentioned the birth defects between cousins who marry is reasonably low.1

5.      You may be concerned about Caleb being called a Kenizzite. It is not abnormal to name a child after an ancestor. Therefore, Caleb’s parents simply named Kenaz after their family ancestor. Caleb’s grandson was also named Kenaz (1Chron. 4:15).

6.      Caleb is called the son of Jephunneh in several places, so if Othniel is his nephew, there is no awkward explanation about who Othniel’s father is.

7.      One of the most important factors to consider is that the sons of Kenaz are named in 1Chron. 4:13; Othniel is mentioned and Caleb is not. Under option #2, this is what we would expect. Under option #1, how could they possibly leave out Caleb’s name?

8.      I think that we can conclude that the fewest problems result when we consider Kenaz to be the younger brother of Caleb and for Othniel to be his young nephew.

9.      Obviously, what we would like to see is a better delineation of Caleb’s ancestry, but we don’t have that. Once and awhile, I even speculate that Caleb was adopted; a slave of the Egyptians who was not Jewish but was taken in by the Jews, but that’s another story.

1 Sorry to not have the exact stats at my fingertips; I did not write them down, as my desire to marry my cousin was over by age 11 or 12, if I recall correctly; therefore, the information was no longer as important to me as it would have been then. However, I think the idea is, the percentage of birth defects was much lower than who smoke, use drugs or have VD.


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A reasonable question, at this point is, why is Othniel mentioned here? Didn’t we already study this in Joshua 15? We did. I think that the book of Joshua was a completed book. It took us from east of the Jordan into the land, which Joshua conquered, and up through Joshua’s death. Part and parcel of this book is the distribution of land, which included some specific incidents, such as Othniel and the land given him. However, in the book of Judges, we have a new book, even though it is more or less continued from the book of Joshua. This new book has its own beginning, its own rhythm, its own vocabulary. We see Judges as being the book after Joshua, and figure, if you’ve studied Judges, then you must have studied Joshua first. However, the writer of the book of Judges did not see it that way. He presents the book as a contiguous whole, which, therefore, will reference certain incidents from the book of Joshua, including Joshua’s death and Othniel’s bravery. Therefore, when Othniel leads Israel in Judges 3, he does not just pop up out of nowhere. Othniel has a history and he has a spiritual heritage, critical to his leadership in Judges 3. The writer of Judges, whom I believe to be Samuel, who essentially edits the book of Judges from historical documents in his possession, puts in Joshua’s death and puts in Othniel’s history, as both are pertinent to the history of this time period. In other words, the writer/editor of this book sees it as a literary unit, separate from what has come before; however, tied historically to what has come before.


Judges 1:13b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

׳Akeçâh (ה ָסכ-ע) [pronounced ģahke-SAW]

anklet, bangle; rattle; and is transliterated Achsah

feminine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #5915 BDB #747

bath (ת ַ) [pronounced bahth]

daughter; village

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #1323 BDB #123

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular noun

Strong's #802 BDB #61


Translation: Therefore he gave to him Achsah, his daughter, to wife. Before you cry out incest, let’s see how Achsah and Othniel would be related.


It might be helpful to have a chart at this time:

How Are Othniel and Achsah Related?

Achsah is Caleb’s...

Othniel is Caleb’s...

Therefore...

Daughter

Younger brother

Achsah is Othniel’s niece.

Granddaughter

Younger brother

Otherniel is Achsah’s great uncle.

Daughter

Nephew

Othniel and Achsah are first cousins.

Granddaughter

Nephew

Othniel and Achsah are second cousins.

This should cover every reasonable familial relationship. Hope I got these correct.


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The translation is fairly easy, but one of the pain in the butt things about the Hebrew language is what follows the name Othniel ben Kenaz; we have the younger brother of Caleb—however, from this verse, we do not know if Kenaz is the younger brother of Caleb or if Othniel is. Two things are going to concern you—the difference in their ages and whether or not incest is involved here.


Let’s deal with...

Incest

1.      You don’t have sex with your father or mother (Lev. 18:7). Since this is reciprocal, you obviously don’t have sex with your children.

2.      If your father remarries, you don’t have sex with your step-mother (Lev. 18:8).

3.      You don’t have sex with your sister (or brother) or step-sister (or step-brother) (Lev. 18:9, 11).

4.      You don’t have sex with your grandchildren (Lev. 18:10).

5.      You don’t have sex with your aunt (or uncle), whether they are direct blood relatives or not (Lev. 18:12–14). This would mean that the first option above of how Othniel is related to Achsah would probably be incorrect.

6.      You do not have sex with your daughter-in-law (and, by implication, son-in-law) (Lev. 18:15).

7.      You do not have sex with your sister-in-law (Lev. 18:16). However, there was an exception to this. When the brother died without children, you married your sister-in-law to raise up children for your brother.

8.      You cannot marry a woman and her sister at the same time (Lev. 18:18)

.

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Secondly, with regards to age, the Bible does not say anything. We know little or nothing about Caleb’s daughter, apart from that fact that she is headstrong and knows what she wants. Given Caleb as being in his 80's, we know she could be anywhere from 10 to 50. Since Achsah is being offered as a reward, we would assume that she must be in her teens or 20's.


We are told very little about Caleb’s sons and daughters. They are mentioned in 1Chron. 4:15: And the sons of Caleb ben Jephunneh: Iru, Elah, and Naam; and the son of Elah was Kenaz. There is a bit more information given there, and we will get to that when we examine the book of Chronicles.

 

McGee is a bit less obsessive about who Othniel was prior to marriage. He makes a different point: Whoever took this city was promised a reward, and in this case it was Caleb’s daughter, Achsah. Grammatically, Othniel can be either Caleb’s nephew or younger brother, but his marriage to Achsah would also classify him as a son-in-law. He undoubtedly was chosen as a judge because of his relationship to Caleb. Nepotism was prevalent even in that day. If he had been the son-in-law of Joe Doakes, he probably would never have become a judge. Many men today occupy positions of prominence, not because of their ability, but because of a certain relationship or circumstance. Napoleon called himself a man of destiny. He became prominent because of the times in which he was born. If he had lived in our generation, probably he would have been unknown. So it was with Othniel Footnote .


And so he was in her coming and so she persuaded him to ask from her father the field. And so she alighted from off the ass and so said to her Caleb, “What to you?”

Judges

1:14

And it was when she was coming that she persuaded him to ask from her father the field. She got off from the donkey and Caleb said to her, “What to you?”

And it came to pass when she came to Joshua, that she had persuaded Othniel to ask for a particular field from her father. As soon as she got off her donkey, Caleb said to her, “What can I do for you?”


As you might recall, we struggled a little with this verse in the book of Joshua. It was not that it was difficult to understand, but that it was moderately difficult to translate. Therefore, let’s see what some other translators have done:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And as she was going on her way, her husband admonished her to ask a field of her father. And as she sighed sitting on her ass, Caleb said to her: What ails you?

Masoretic Text                       And so he was in her coming and so she persuaded him to ask from her father the field. And so she alighted from off the ass and so said to her Caleb, “What to you?”

Peshitta                                  And it came to pass, when she entered the city, she desired to ask of her father a field. And she descended from her donkey and Caleb said to her, “What troubles you, my daughter?”

Septuagint                              And it was in her going in, that Gothoniel urged her to ask a field of her father; and she murmured and cried from off her ass, “You have sent me forth into a south land.” And Caleb said to her, “What is your request?”

 

Significant differences: In the Greek and Latin, it is Othniel who urges her to ask for a particular piece of land; in the Hebrew and Syriac, Achsah makes this request from her own volition. In the Latin, she is sighing while on her donkey; in the Greek, she is crying; and in the Hebrew and Syriac, she simple comes down from her donkey.

 

Furthermore, there is a bonus quote in the Greek which is not attributed to anyone (apparently it is assumed that she said it—however, it is unusual for a quote not to be attributed to anyone). In the Syriac, Caleb calls her my daughter.

 

As usual, even though these differences are significant, and determining which is accurate is difficult if not impossible; still, there is no doctrinal issue involved, no matter which version is preferred.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              Right after the wedding, Achsah started telling Othniel that he ought to ask her father for a field. She went to see her father, and while she was getting down from her donkey, Caleb asked, "What's bothering you?"

The MesSage                        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?"


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         When she came to Othniel, she persuaded him to ask her father for a field. When she got down from her donkey, Caleb asked her, "What do you want?"



Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Emphasized Bible           And it came to pass when she came that she moved him to ask of her father a field, and when she alighted from off the ass, Caleb said unto her— What aileth thee?

NASB                                     Then it came about when she came to him, that she persuaded him to ask her father for a field. Then she alighted from her donkey and Caleb said to her, “What do you want?”

Young’s Updated LT             And it comes to pass in her coming in, that she persuades him to ask from her father the field, and she jumps down from off the ass, and Caleb says to her, “What—to you?”


What is the gist of this verse? Caleb’s daughter comes to him and asks him for a particular piece of land.


Judges 1:14a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

Without a specific subject and object, the verb hâyâh often means and it will come to be, and it will come to pass, then it came to pass (with the wâw consecutive). Generally, the verb does not match the gender whatever nearby noun could be the subject (and, as often, there is no noun nearby which would fulfill the conditions of being a subject).

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

Qal infinitive construct; with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #935 BDB #97


Translation: And it was when she was coming... Interestingly enough, nothing is really said about the battle. The previous verse tells us the whole story—Othniel captures Kiriath-sepher. From that, we go immediately to Caleb’s daughter, who has a request.


Judges 1:14b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

çûth (תס) [pronounced sooth]

 to persuade, to stimulate, to instigate, to incite

3rd person feminine singular, Hiphil imperfect; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5496 BDB #694

In the Greek and Latin, it is Othniel who persuades Achsah to make this request for a particular plot of land.

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

shâal (לַאָש) [pronounced shaw-AHL]

to ask [petition, request, inquire]; to demand; to question, to interrogate; to ask [for a loan]; to consult; to salute

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #7592 BDB #981

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object)

Strong's #854 BDB #85

Together, min êth mean from proximity with, from with, from close proximity to, to proceed from someone. A good up-to-date rendering might be directly from.

Instead, Owen lists this as the min preposition plus the direct object (êth can be a preposition or the mark of a direct object).

âb (ב ָא,) [pronounced awbv]

father, both as the head of a household or clan

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #1 BDB #3


Translation: ...that she persuaded him to ask from her father the field. The first thing which stands out is the difference of the Greek. In the Greek, Othniel is urging Achsah to speak to her father (which she does); in the Hebrew, she persuades him to ask for the field (which, half of the asking is getting on their asses and riding to talk to Caleb). She still does the asking in either case; the Greek seems to fit the immediate context better. Othniel is given the girl, the plot of land, and the horse (er, donkey); he just feels uncomfortable about asking for more. Knowing that Achsah could get whatever she wanted, Othniel appeals to her to ask for the springs of water. The only problem with the Greek is that it is often a very free-form and uneven translation. There are occasionally liberties taken where it is not a difference of manuscripts but some very free-form rendering of the original Hebrew. Unfortunately, here, it does not clarify any issues, it just adds to the confusion. Since our Hebrew manuscripts are necessarily much more recent, we have no way of comparing the oldest Hebrew manuscripts with the oldest Greek manuscripts (if I recall correctly, our earliest Hebrew manuscripts are roughly a Millennium old, and the earliest pieces of the Greek Old Testament dates to about 100 b.c. (bits and pieces of Isaiah).


As noted with the ancient versions, there are some differences here. However, it makes sense that she would ask her father directly for this specific piece of land (however, it is not out of the question that Othniel makes this request either). Even though we will never know for sure in our lifetime as to which way this went, there are no doctrinal issues at stake here.


The next verb is the Hiphil imperfect of çûth (תס) [pronounced sooth], which means, in the Hiphil, to stimulate, to instigate, to incite. When followed by a gerund, it is used to incite someone to do something, and that is how it is used here. BDB gives its meanings as incite, allure, instigate. Persuaded, urged, moved; however, I am not having any luck with finding a catch-all word which works in all instances. This verb is always found in the Hiphil; however, it’s very meaning appears to be causal. With the first sentence, she has convinced Othniel to take her to her father’s and to ask for a field. Field is preceded by a definite article. Although some expositors are divided on this, believing that it could mean a field, it will be obvious in the next verse that she has a particular plot of land in mind.


Judges 1:14c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

It is typical in the Hebrew for each sentence—in fact, each thought—to begin with a wâw consecutive in the Hebrew. However, it is not necessary in an English translation to include a connective at every such juncture, as our language does not necessarily require that for successive thoughts or actions.

tsânach (חַנ ָצ) [pronounced tsaw-NAHKH]

to descend, to let oneself down, to go down [into]

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #6795 BDB #856

In the Latin, she is sighing from her donkey; and in the Greek, she is crying from her donkey. This verb only occurs 3 times in Scripture (here and in the parallel passage in Joshua; and again in Judges 4:21; and perhaps the meaning was unknown or perhaps the manuscript used in the Greek and Latin translation was difficult to read at this point. We can only speculate.

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5920, #5921 BDB #752

Together, they mean from upon, from over, from by, from beside, from attachment to, from companionship with, from accompanying [in a protective manner], from adhesion to

chămôwr (רמ ֲח) [pronounced khuh-MOHR]

ass, male donkey, he-ass

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #2543 BDB #331


Translation: She got off from the donkey... It sounds like here, that Achsah is going to do the asking, which is in keeping with the Greek, but not the Hebrew. She rides to Caleb and she gets down off her donkey.


JudgeS 1:14d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Keleb (ב∵ל∵) [pronounced KEH-lebv]

dog; transliterated Caleb

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3612 BDB #477

mâh (ה ָמ) [pronounced maw]

what, how, why; what [thing]; anything, something, whatever

interrogative; exclamatory particle; indefinite pronoun; relative pronoun

Strong’s #4100 BDB #552

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 2nd person feminine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510


Translation: ...and Caleb said to her, “What to you?” In the second sentence, she gets off her ass and Caleb meets her. Caleb sounds as if he pretty much expects this. It might be the sparse phrasing of the author and it might reflect their relationship, but the implication is that she shows up and Caleb immediately asks her what she wants. You may wonder about the convincing that she had to do to Othniel. Othniel was prepared to asked Caleb directly, but Caleb knew what was up, and went right to Achsah. What Caleb says is rather short, which would not be unusual for him.


And so she said to him, “Give to me a blessing because a land of the Negev you have given me. And give to me springs of waters.” And so, gave to her Caleb springs of the upper and springs of the lower.

Judges

1:15

And she said to him, “Give to me a blessing because you have given me a land of the Negev. Also [lit., and] give to me springs of waters.” So Caleb gave to her springs of the upper and springs of the lower.

Then she answered him, “Give me a blessing, because you have given me land which might as well be a desert. Therefore, give to me springs of waters.” And, so, Caleb gave to her the upper springs and the lower springs.


There are a few nuances in this verse which, like the previous one, are easy to understand, but more difficult to translate, so we’ll look at a couple of other translations:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          But she answered: “Give me a blessing, for you have given me a dry land. Give me also a watery land.” So Caleb gave her the upper and the nether watery ground.

Masoretic Text                       And so she said to him, “Give to me a blessing because a land of the Negev you have given me. And give to me springs of waters.” And so, gave to her Caleb springs of the upper and springs of the lower.

Septuagint                              And Ascha said to him, "Give me, I pray you, a blessing, for you have sent me forth into a south land, and you will give me the ransom of water." And Chaleb gave her according to her heart the ransom of the upper [springs] and the ransom of the low [springs].

 

Significant differences: There are several additional words found in the Greek. She asks more politely in the Greek. The Latin tells us that the problem was, she had been given land without water and she wanted water on her land. As usual, no doctrinal problems result, regardless of the version which one chooses.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              She answered, "I need your help. The land you gave me is in the Southern Desert, so please give me some spring-fed ponds for a water supply." Caleb gave her a couple of small ponds named Higher Pond and Lower Pond.

The Message                         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.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

HCSB                                     She answered him, "Give me a blessing. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me springs of water also." So Caleb gave her both the upper and lower springs.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Emphasized Bible           And she said unto him— Give me a present; for south land hast thou given me, give me therefore pools of water. So Caleb gave her Upper-pools and Power-pools.

NASB                                     Then she said to him, “Give me a blessing, since you have given me the land of the Negev, give me also springs of water.” So Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.

Young’s Lit. Translation         And she says to him, “Give to me a blessing; when the south land you have given me—then you have given to me springs of water; and Caleb gives to her the upper springs and the lower springs.


What is the gist of this verse? Caleb’s daughter sensibly asks for land with water, as opposed to just dry land.


Judges 1:15a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

yâhabv (ב-הָי) [pronounced yaw-HAWBV]

to give, to give here; to grant, to permit; to provide [with reflexive]; to place, to put to set; to ascribe

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative with a voluntative hê

Strong’s #3051 BDB #396

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

berâkâh (הָכָר׃) [pronounced beraw-KAW]

blessing, benediction, invocation of good; extremely fortunate and happy; a gift, a present; peace, prosperity

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #1293 BDB #139

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

erets (ץ ר א) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land, ground, soil

feminine singular construct

Strong's #776 BDB #75

negeb (ב ג נ) [pronounced ne-GHEBV]

south, south-country; often transliterated Negev or Negeb