10 May. Judges 1:1-11,17-19

10 May. The Israelites attack Bezek, Jerusalem and Hebron

“After Joshua died, the Israelites asked the LORD, ‘Who will be the first to go and fight for us against the Canaanites?’ The LORD said, ‘The tribe of Judah will go. I have handed the land over to them.’”

“The men of Judah said to the men of Simeon, their relatives, ‘Come and help us fight the Canaanites for our land. If you do, we will go and help you fight for your land.’ So the men of Simeon went with them.”

“When Judah attacked, the LORD handed over the Canaanites and the Perizzites to them, and they defeated 10,000 men at the city of Bezek. They found Adoni-Bezek, the ruler of the city, and fought him. The men of Judah defeated the Canaanites and the Perizzites, but Adoni-Bezek ran away. The men of Judah chased him, and when they caught him they cut off his thumbs and big toes.”

“Adoni-Bezek said, ‘Seventy kings whose thumbs and big toes had been cut off used to eat scraps that fell from my table. Now God has paid me back for what I did to them.’ The men of Judah took Adoni-Bezek to Jerusalem, and he died there.”

“Then the men of Judah fought against Jerusalem and captured it. They attacked with their swords and burned the city.”

“Later, they went down to fight the Canaanites in the city of Hebron (which used to be called Kiriath Arba). And they defeated Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai.”

“Then they left there and went to fight against the people living in Debir. (In the past Debir had been called Kiriath Sepher.) … The men of Judah and the men of Simeon, their relatives, defeated the Canaanites who lived in Zephath. They completely destroyed the city, so they called it Hormah [meaning ‘completely destroyed’]. The men of Judah captured Gaza, Ashkelon, Ekron and the lands around them.”

“The LORD was with the men of Judah. They took the land in the mountains, but they could not force out the people living on the plain, because they had iron chariots.”

          (Judges 1:1-11, 17-19)



After the allocation of conquered territory to the tribes of Israel, and the death of Joshua (who had united Israel as a fighting force), the tribal groups of Israel lost the incentive, and their desire, to work together as a nation. Local jealousies began to surface, and many tribes were reluctant to leave their own settled areas to drive the remaining Canaanites from their neighbour’s territory.

The tribes of Judah and Simeon did, however, agree to work together to capture King Adoni-Bezek and the city of Bezek (see the map).

The men of Judah and Simeon then mounted an attack on Jebus (Jerusalem). They captured the Lower City, but were unable to take the well-fortified Upper City. Faced with a long and difficult siege, they attacked Kiriath Arba (Hebron) instead (see the map).

Othniel, Caleb's nephew, managed to conquer Debir (probably at Tell Beit Mirsim, 13 miles / 21 km south of Hebron) (see Joshua 15:15-17 & Judges 1:11-15 ).

The tribes of Judah and Simeon then conquered the hill country around Zephath (which was re-named Hormah meaning ‘destruction’), but the fate of the Philistine cities of Gaza, Ashkelon and Ekron on the coastal plain was uncertain as “they could not force out the people living on the plain, because they had iron chariots” (Judges 1:19) (see the map).

Caleb eventually took Hebron, but many Jebusites remained defiant at Jerusalem (see Judges 1:20-26). The tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh joined forces to conquer Bethel, but the fortunes of war swung back and forth over the next three years. Some Canaanite cities were lost, others were re-taken. Some – like Megiddo, Gezer and Sidon – had yet to be conquered (see the map).

The map shows the fortunes of the Israelites under the Judges.

You can read more from the Book of Judges starting @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/28-the-israelites-face-continuing-opposition/the-israelites-fight-the-remaining-canaanites/

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