|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 5. - Bezek. The site of it is unknown; it is thought to be a different place from the Bezek of 1 Samuel 11:8. Adoni-bezek means the lord of Bezek. He was the conqueror of seventy petty kings.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And they found Adonibezek in Bezek,.... Who was king of, the place, and whose name signifies lord of Bezek; not that they took him there, for he is afterwards said to make his escape from thence, but here he was when they came against that city, and into which they rushed upon him, and fell upon him as follows:
and they fought against him; entering the city with their forces:
and they slew the Canaanites and the Perizzites: that were in it, or about it, even to the number of ten thousand, as before related, Judges 1:4.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5, 6. Bezek—This place lay within the domain of Judah, about twelve miles south of Jerusalem.
found Adoni-bezek—that is, "lord of Bezek"—he was "found," that is, surprised and routed in a pitched battle, whence he fled; but being taken prisoner, he was treated with a severity 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.
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