Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass, that the children of Israel asked the LORD, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them?
After the death of Joshua - But from Judges 1:1 to Judges 2:9 is a consecutive narrative, ending with the death of Joshua. Hence, the events in this chapter and in Judges 2:1-6 are to be taken as belonging to the lifetime of Joshua. See Judges 2:11 note.
Asked the Lord - The phrase is only found in Judges and Samuel. It was the privilege of the civil ruler, to apply to the high priest to consult for him the Urim and Thummim (marginal reference). (Compare Joshua 14:1; Joshua 18:1, Joshua 18:10; Joshua 19:51). Here it was not Phinehas, as Josephus concludes from placing these events after the death of Joshua, but Eleazar, through whom the children of Israel inquired "who" (or, rather), "which tribe of us shall go up!"
And the LORD said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand.
And the Lord said - i. e. answered by Urim and Thummim. The land was the portion which fell to Judah by lot, not the whole land of Canaan (see Judges 3:11). The priority given to Judah is a plain indication of divine direction. It points to the birth of our Lord of the tribe of Judah. Judah associated Simeon with him Judges 1:3 because their lots were intermingled Joshua 19:1.
And Judah said unto Simeon his brother, Come up with me into my lot, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I likewise will go with thee into thy lot. So Simeon went with him.
And Judah went up; and the LORD delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand: and they slew of them in Bezek ten thousand men.
The Canaanites and the Perizzites - See Genesis 12:6, note; Genesis 13:7, note. Bezek may be the name of a district. It has not yet been identified.
And they found Adonibezek in Bezek: and they fought against him, and they slew the Canaanites and the Perizzites.
But Adonibezek fled; and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes.
And Adonibezek said, Threescore and ten kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table: as I have done, so God hath requited me. And they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died.
Threescore and ten kings - We may infer from this number of conquered kings, that the intestine wars of the Canaanites were among the causes which, under God's Providence, weakened their resistance to the Israelites. Adoni-Bezek's cruelty to the subject kings was the cause of his receiving (compare the marginal references) this chastisement. The loss of the thumb would make a man unfit to handle a sword or a bow; the loss of his big toe would impede his speed.
Now the children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it, and smitten it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire.
Render "and the children of Judah fought against Jerusalem, and took it, and smote it," etc. With regard to the capture of Jerusalem there is some obscurity. It is here said to have been taken, smitten with the edge of the sword, and burned, by the children of Judah. In Joshua 12:8, Joshua 12:10 the Jebusite and the king of Jerusalem are enumerated among Joshua's conquests, but without any distinct mention of the capture of the city; and in the marginal reference we read that the Jebusites were not expelled from Jerusalem, but dwelt with the children of Judah (compare Judges 1:21). Further, we learn from Judges 19:10-12 that Jerusalem was wholly a Jebusite city in the lifetime of Phinehas Judges 20:28, and so it continued until the reign of David 2 Samuel 5:6-9. The conclusion is that Jerusalem was only taken once, namely, at the time here described, and that this was in the lifetime of Joshua; but that the children of Judah did not occupy it in sufficient force to prevent the return of the Jebusites, who gradually recovered complete possession.
And afterward the children of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites, that dwelt in the mountain, and in the south, and in the valley.
And Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron: (now the name of Hebron before was Kirjatharba:) and they slew Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai.
And from thence he went against the inhabitants of Debir: and the name of Debir before was Kirjathsepher:
And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjathsepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife.
And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife.
And it came to pass, when she came to him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted from off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wilt thou?
And she said unto him, Give me a blessing: for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the nether springs.
And the children of the Kenite, Moses' father in law, went up out of the city of palm trees with the children of Judah into the wilderness of Judah, which lieth in the south of Arad; and they went and dwelt among the people.
The children of the Kenite - See Numbers 24:21 note.
The city of palm trees - Jericho (see the marginal reference). The rabbinical story is that Jericho, with 500 cubits square of land, was given to Hobab. The use of the phrase "city of palm trees" for "Jericho," is perhaps an indication of the influence of Joshua's curse Joshua 6:26. Tbe very name of Jericho was blotted out. There are no palm trees at Jericho now, but Josephus mentions them repeatedly, as well as the balsam trees.
And Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they slew the Canaanites that inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. And the name of the city was called Hormah.
Hormah - See Numbers 21:1 note. The destruction then vowed was now accomplished. This is another decisive indication that the events here related belong to Joshua's lifetime. This would be about six years after the vow.
Also Judah took Gaza with the coast thereof, and Askelon with the coast thereof, and Ekron with the coast thereof.
It is remarkable that Ashdod is not here mentioned, as it is in Joshua 15:46-47, in conjunction with Gaza and Ekron; but that Askelon, which is not in the list of the cities of Judah at all, is named in its stead. (See Joshua 13:3 note.) It is a curious fact that when Rameses III took Askelon it was occupied, not by Philistines, but apparently by Hebrews. Rameses began to reign in 1269 B.C., and reigned 25 years. At any time between 1269 and 1244 B.C. such occupation of Askelon by Hebrews agrees with the Book of Judges.
And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.
And they gave Hebron unto Caleb, as Moses said: and he expelled thence the three sons of Anak.
And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day.
This verse is nearly identical with Joshua 15:63, except in the substitution of Benjamin for Judah. Probably the original reading Judah was altered in later times to Benjamin, because Jebus was within the border of Benjamin, and neither had the Benjamites expelled the Jebusites.
And the house of Joseph, they also went up against Bethel: and the LORD was with them.
Bethel was within the borders of Benjamin, but was captured, as we here learn, by the house of Joseph, who probably retained it.
And the house of Joseph sent to descry Bethel. (Now the name of the city before was Luz.)
And the spies saw a man come forth out of the city, and they said unto him, Shew us, we pray thee, the entrance into the city, and we will shew thee mercy.
And when he shewed them the entrance into the city, they smote the city with the edge of the sword; but they let go the man and all his family.
And the man went into the land of the Hittites, and built a city, and called the name thereof Luz: which is the name thereof unto this day.
The site of this new Luz is not known, but "the land of the Hittites" was apparently in the north of Palestine, on the borders of Syria (Genesis 10:15 note).
Neither did Manasseh drive out the inhabitants of Bethshean and her towns, nor Taanach and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Ibleam and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns: but the Canaanites would dwell in that land.
And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out.
Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them.
Neither did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Canaanites dwelt among them, and became tributaries.
Neither did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Accho, nor the inhabitants of Zidon, nor of Ahlab, nor of Achzib, nor of Helbah, nor of Aphik, nor of Rehob:
Compare the marginal reference. Accho, afterward called Ptolemais, now Akka or St. Jean d'Acre, is named here for the first time.
But the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: for they did not drive them out.
It is an evidence of the power of the Canaanite in this portion of the land that it is not said (compare Judges 1:30) that the Canaanites dwelt among the Asherites, but that the Asherites (and Judges 1:33, Naphtali) "dwelt among the Canaanites;" nor are the Canaanites in Accho, Zidon, and the other Asherite cities, said to have become tributaries.
Neither did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Bethshemesh, nor the inhabitants of Bethanath; but he dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: nevertheless the inhabitants of Bethshemesh and of Bethanath became tributaries unto them.
And the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountain: for they would not suffer them to come down to the valley:
The Amorites are usually found in the mountain Numbers 13:29; Joshua 10:6. Here they dwell in the valley, of which the monuments of Rameses III show them to have been in possession when that monarch invaded Syria. It was their great strength in this district, and their forcible detention of the territory of Dan, which led to the expedition of the Danites Judges 18. The house of Joseph lent their powerful aid in subduing them, probably in the times of the Judges.
But the Amorites would dwell in mount Heres in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim: yet the hand of the house of Joseph prevailed, so that they became tributaries.
And the coast of the Amorites was from the going up to Akrabbim, from the rock, and upward.
The going up to Akrabbim - See the margin and references; properly "the ascent of scorpions," with which the whole region abounds.
The rock - Petra, the capital of Idumea, so called from the mass of precipitous rock which encloses the town, and out of which many of its buildings are excavated. The original word "Selah" is always used of the rock at Kadesh-Barnea Numbers 20:8-11, near Petra (compare Obadiah 1:3). This leads us to look for "the ascent of scorpions," here coupled with סלע הס has-sela‛, in the same neighborhood.