|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:1-8 The Israelites were convinced that the war against the Canaanites was to be continued; but they were in doubt as to the manner in which it was to be carried on after the death of Joshua. In these respects they inquired of the Lord. God appoints service according to the strength he has given. From those who are most able, most work is expected. Judah was first in dignity, and must be first in duty. Judah's service will not avail unless God give success; but God will not give the success, unless Judah applies to the service. Judah was the most considerable of all the tribes, and Simeon the least; yet Judah begs Simeon's friendship, and prays for aid from him. It becomes Israelites to help one another against Canaanites; and all Christians, even those of different tribes, should strengthen one another. Those who thus help one another in love, have reason to hope that God will graciously help both. Adoni-bezek was taken prisoner. This prince had been a severe tyrant. The Israelites, doubtless under the Divine direction, made him suffer what he had done to others; and his own conscience confessed that he was justly treated as he had treated others. Thus the righteous God sometimes, in his providence, makes the punishment answer the sin.
Verse 1. - After the death of Joshua. The events narrated in chs. 1. and Deuteronomy 2:1-9 all occurred before the death of Joshua, as appears by Judges 2:8, 9, and by a comparison of Joshua 14:6-15 and Joshua 15:13-20. The words, and it came to pass after the death of Joshua, must therefore be understood (if the text is incorrupt) as the heading of the whole book, just as the Book of Joshua has for its heading, "Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass." Asked the Lord. The same phrase as Judges 18:5; Judges 20:18, where it is rendered asked counsel of. So also Numbers 27:21, where a special direction is given to Joshua to make such inquiries as that mentioned in this verse before Eleazar the priest, through the judgment of Urim and Thummim (cf. 1 Samuel 23:10, 12). A still more common rendering of the Hebrew phrase in the A.V. is "to inquire of God" (see, e.g. Judges 20:27, 28; 1 Samuel 22:13, 15; 1 Samuel 23:2, 4; 1 Samuel 28:6, and many other places). Such inquiries were made
(1) by Urim and Thummin,
(2) by the word of the Lord through a prophet (1 Samuel 9:9), or
(3) simply by prayer, (Genesis 25:22), and improperly of false gods (2 Kings 1:2, 16), of teraphim, and semi-idolatrous priests (Judges 18:5, 14).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Now after the death of Joshua,.... With the account of which the preceding book is concluded, and therefore this very properly follows after that; though Epiphanius (b) places the book of Job between them:
it came to pass that the children of Israel asked the Lord; that is, the heads of them who gathered together at Shiloh, where the tabernacle was; and standing before the high priest, either Eleazar, or rather Phinehas his son, Eleazar being in all probability dead, inquired by Urim and Thummim:
saying, who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them? for they had no commander in chief, Joshua leaving no successor, though the Samaritan Chronicle (c) pretends he did; one Abel, a son of Caleb's brother, of the tribe of Judah, on whom the lot fell, out of twelve of the nine tribes and a half, to whom Joshua delivered the government of the nation, and crowned him: but this inquiry was not for any man to go before them all as their generalissimo, but to know what tribe should first go up, and they were desirous of having the mind of God in it, when they might expect to succeed; which to do, at their first setting out, would not only be a great encouragement to them to go on, but strike dread and terror into their enemies; and this is to be understood of the Canaanites who remained unsubdued, that dwelt among them, and in cities, which though divided to them by lot, they were not in the possession of; and these being troublesome neighbours to them, and besides the Israelites daily increasing, needed more room and more cities to occupy, and more land to cultivate.
(b) De Mensur. & Ponder. c. 13. (c) Apud Hottinger. Smegma, p. 522.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
THE BOOK OF JUDGES. Commentary by Robert Jamieson
Jud 1:1-3. The Acts of Judah and Simeon.
1. Now after the death of Joshua—probably not a long period, for the Canaanites seem to have taken advantage of that event to attempt recovering their lost position, and the Israelites were obliged to renew the war.
the children of Israel asked the Lord—The divine counsel on this, as on other occasions, was sought by Urim and Thummim, by applying to the high priest, who, according to Josephus, was Phinehas.
saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first—The elders, who exercised the government in their respective tribes, judged rightly, that in entering upon an important expedition, they should have a leader nominated by divine appointment; and in consulting the oracle, they adopted a prudent course, whether the object of their inquiry related to the choice of an individual commander, or to the honor of precedency among the tribes.
Judges 1:1 Parallel Commentaries
Judges 1:1 NIV
Judges 1:1 NLT
Judges 1:1 ESV
Judges 1:1 NASB
Judges 1:1 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible