Judges 1:10
And Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelled in Hebron: (now the name of Hebron before was Kirjatharba:) and they slew Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai.
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(10) That dwelt in Hebron.—See Joshua 10:36-37. Hebron is midway between Jerusalem and Beersheba, and twenty miles from either. The first name of the city, which is one of the most ancient in the world (Numbers 13:22), was Mamre (Genesis 13:18), from the name of its chief (Genesis 14:24). It is now called El-Khulîl (“the friend”), from Abraham. It was a city of refuge (Joshua 21:11-13). If the view taken as to the chronology of this chapter is correct, this assault is identical with those touched upon in Joshua 11:21; Joshua 14:6-15; Joshua 15:13-14. The LXX. have, “Hebron came forth against Judah.” For later references to Hebron, see Nehemiah 11:25; 1 Maccabees 5:65.

Kirjath-arba.—That is, “the city of Arba.” The word afterwards became archaic and poetical (Psalm 48:2; Isaiah 25:2). All the cities thus named (Kir-jath-huzoth, Kirjath-jearim, &c.) existed before the conquest of Palestine. We find the root in Iskariot (i.e., man of Kerioth, a town in the south of Judah). Arba was the father of Anak (Joshua 15:13; Joshua 14:15), and Fürst interprets the name “hero of Baal.” Some, however, take Arba for the numeral “four,” so that Kirjath-arba would mean Tetrapolis; and connect the name Hebron with the Arabic “Cherbar,” a confederation, “the cities of Hebron” (2Samuel 2:3).

Sheshai, and Animan, and Talmai.—Possibly the names of three clans of the Anakim (Numbers 13:22-23). The Anakim are connected with the Nephilim—giant races sprung from the union of the sons of God with the daughters of men. Josephus says that giant bones of the race were shown in his day (Antt. v. 2, § 3). They were doubtless the bones of extinct animals, and being taken for human remains might well lead to the conclusion of Josephus, that these giants “had bodies so large, and countenances so entirely different from other men, that they were surprising to the sight.”

1:9-20 The Canaanites had iron chariots; but Israel had God on their side, whose chariots are thousands of angels, Ps 68:17. Yet they suffered their fears to prevail against their faith. About Caleb we read in Jos 15:16-19. The Kenites had settled in the land. Israel let them fix where they pleased, being a quiet, contented people. They that molested none, were molested by none. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.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.

Set the city on fire - A phrase found only at Judges 20:48; 2 Kings 8:12, and Psalm 74:7.

8. Now the children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it—The capture of this important city, which ranks among the early incidents in the war of invasion (Jos 15:63), is here noticed to account for its being in the possession of the Judahites; and they brought Adoni-bezek thither [Jud 1:7], in order, probably, that his fate being rendered so public, might inspire terror far and wide. Similar inroads were made into the other unconquered parts of Judah's inheritance [Jud 1:9-11]. The story of Caleb's acquisition of Hebron is here repeated (Jos 15:16-19). [See on [208]Jos 15:16.] Judah went, under the conduct of Caleb, as it is recorded, Joshua 15:11, &c.; for that relation, and this here following, are doubtless one and the same expedition and war, as appears by all the circumstances; and it is mentioned either there by anticipation, or here by repetition. Of this and the following verses, see the notes there. And Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron,.... Hebron was first taken by Joshua, and the inhabitants of it put to the sword, Joshua 10:36; but while Joshua was employed in making other conquests, the Canaanites found ways and means of getting into the possession of it again; wherefore, when a grant of it was made to Caleb, he, with the assistance of the tribe of Judah, of which he was prince, regained it, Joshua 15:12; wherefore what is recorded here is only a repetition of what was then done; unless it can be thought that this fact was there inserted by anticipation, or that there were two expeditions of the children of Judah against this place:

now the name of Hebron, before was Kirjatharba: see Joshua 14:15; in the first of which Caleb, with the assistance of this tribe, drove out the three giants only, who afterwards got possession again, and in this put them to death, as follows:

and they slew Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai; see Numbers 13:22; but what follows concerning their going from hence to Debir, and the offer of Caleb to give his daughter in marriage to whomsoever should take it, does not seem so well to agree with times after the death of Joshua; since it is highly probable that Caleb, who was contemporary with him and Eleazar, was now dead, and at least cannot well be thought to have a young daughter at this time undisposed of in marriage; wherefore these facts are only repeated upon observing Judah's having taken Jerusalem, to show what exploits were performed by men of that tribe; wherefore for what is after said, Judges 1:11, as is said in Joshua 15:15, where the same things are related in express words as here, containing the request of Caleb's daughter: such an one, as made to Domitian, is related by Martial (l).

(l) "Est mihi sitque precor", &c. l. 9. Ephesians 16.

And Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron:

(now the name of Hebron before was Kirjatharba:) and they slew {f} Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai.

(f) These three were giants, and the children of Anak.

10. The conquest of Hebron (contrast Joshua 10:36-37 D) is here ascribed to Judah as part of the general operations against the Canaanites (Jdg 1:9); later on, the Judahites, having taken the city, made it over to Caleb (Jdg 1:20). In Joshua 15:14 J, however, Hebron is captured by Caleb; it was a victory over the Anâkim, not over Canaanites in general; and such was undoubtedly the original version of the story. The editor here has altered the original narrative to fit his scheme of Judah’s victories; this has involved the removal of Jdg 1:20 from its proper place before Jdg 1:10. Fortunately the parallel passage in Joshua helps us to recover the original form of the text:

Joshua 15:13-15.  Jdg 1:20; Jdg 1:10-11.And unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave [Hebron]†[22]. And Caleb drove out thence the three sons of Anak, Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai, the children of Anak. And he went up thence against the inhabitants of Debir etc.

[22] The words which intervene come from P.  And they gave Hebron unto Caleb, as Moses had spoken: and he drove out thence the three sons of Anak (20), Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai (10b). And he went thence against the inhabitants of Debir etc. (11).


Thus the whole of Jdg 1:10, except the names of the giants, is due to the editor. Arranging the text in this way we obtain a consistent narrative, a proper subject for the verb ‘and he went’ in Jdg 1:11, and the introduction of Caleb at a point which explains how he came to be speaking in Jdg 1:12.

Hebron] The modern el-Ḥalîl (= the friend), so called from its association with Abraham the friend of God, is the highest point in the Judaean Highlands, 3040 ft. above the sea. Its position made it the metropolis of the Negeb, which began a little to the south.

now the name of Hebron beforetime was Kiriath-arba] An archaeological gloss, cf. 11b. The ancient name of Hebron is frequently mentioned by P, e.g. Genesis 23:2, Joshua 15:54 etc.; in Genesis 23:19; Genesis 35:27 P it is given as Mamre. Kiriath-arba = lit. ‘city of four,’ i.e. Tetrapolis, perhaps because the city was divided into four quarters inhabited by different races; cf. Tripolis on the Phoenician coast, founded by Tyre, Sidon, and Aradus. The word arba is not a proper name, as a late Jewish tradition took it, Joshua 14:15; Joshua 15:13; Joshua 21:11; in all three places the LXX has preserved the original reading ‘Kiriath-arba the metropolis of Anak.’ Burney in Journ. Theol. Studies 12:118 f. explains the name as ‘the city of (the god) Four’; he quotes Babyl. parallels for this usage; which, however, is questioned by some Assyriologists.

Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai] Either ‘the three sons of the Anak’ from Jdg 1:20 (cf. Joshua 15:14) should precede; or we may place ‘the children of Anak’ after the names, following the LXX here and Joshua 15:14. The names may refer to families rather than to individuals; they look as if they were Aramaic. Sheshai (Ezra 10:40) is connected by Sayce with the Shasu, i.e. ‘plunderers,’ or Bedouin of S. Canaan frequently alluded to on Egyptian monuments, though the forms are not philologically the same; cf. Sheshan in 1 Chronicles 2:31-35, a name belonging to this region. Ahiman 1 Chronicles 9:17 probably = ‘brother of Měnî,’ the god of fortune, Isaiah 65:11. Talmai is found in N. Arabia, in Nabataean inscriptions (C.I.S. ii. 321, 344, 348), and as the name of kings of Lihyan, an Arabian tribe (Müller, Epigr. Denkmäler aus Arabien nos. 4, 9, 25 from el-‘Öla). The three giants are mentioned in connexion with the visit of the spies, one of whom was Caleb, to Hebron Numbers 13:22; Numbers 13:28 JE. The spies travelled northwards from Kadesh; and Caleb, when he attacked Hebron, most likely also advanced from the south. The two expeditions cannot have been separated by any long interval of time, according to the narrative of J.

Underlying the story there seems to be a dim recollection of the fact that the various clans which in time grew into the tribe of Judah, the Calebites, Kenites, Jerahmeelites, entered Canaan, not from the E. after crossing the Jordan, but from the S. by advancing from Kedesh.Verse 10. - Hebron See Numbers 13:22; Joshua 14:13-15; Joshua 15:13-19. Hebron was the burial-place of Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 23:2, etc.; Genesis 25:9), of Isaac and Rebekah, and of Jacob and Leah (Genesis 35:27-29; Genesis 49:31; Genesis 50:13), and the mosque, within whose massive walls the tombs of Abraham and the other four above mentioned are still preserved with the utmost reverence, is the most remarkable object in the modern city, which is called El-Khalil (the friend), after Abraham, the friend of God. A very interesting account of the Prince of Wales's visit to the Mosque of Hebron in 1862 is given in Dean Stanley s 'Sermons in the East.' David reigned in Hebron seven years and six mouths before he transferred the seat of power to Jerusalem (see 2 Samuel 2:1, etc.; 2 Samuel 5:1-5). "And Judah went up," sc., against the Canaanites, to make war upon them.

The completion of the sentence is supplied by the context, more especially by Judges 1:2. So far as the sense is concerned, Rosenmller has given the correct explanation of ויּעל, "Judah entered upon the expedition along with Simeon." "And they smote the Canaanites and the Perizzites in Bezek, 10,000 men." The result of the war is summed up briefly in these words; and then in Judges 1:5-7 the capture and punishment of the hostile king Adoni-bezek is specially mentioned as being the most important event in the war. The foe is described as consisting of Canaanites and Perizzites, two tribes which have been already named in Genesis 13:7 and Genesis 34:30 as representing the entire population of Canaan, "the Canaanites" comprising principally those in the lowlands by the Jordan and the Mediterranean (vid., Numbers 13:29; Joshua 11:3), and "the Perizzites" the tribes who dwelt in the mountains (Joshua 17:15). On the Perizzites, see Genesis 13:7. The place mentioned, Bezek, is only mentioned once more, namely in 1 Samuel 11:8, where it is described as being situated between Gibeah of Saul (see at Joshua 18:28) and Jabesh in Gilead. According to the Onom. (s. v. Bezek), there were at that time two places very near together both named Bezek, seventeen Roman miles from Neapolis on the road to Scythopolis, i.e., about seven hours to the north of Nabulus on the road to Beisan. This description is perfectly reconcilable with 1 Samuel 11:8. On the other hand, Clericus (ad h. l.), Rosenmller, and v. Raumer suppose the Bezek mentioned here to have been situated in the territory of Judah; though this cannot be proved, since it is merely based upon an inference drawn from Judges 1:3, viz., that Judah and Simeon simply attacked the Canaanites in their own allotted territories-an assumption which is very uncertain. There is no necessity, however, to adopt the opposite and erroneous opinion of Bertheau, that the tribes of Judah and Simeon commenced their expedition to the south from the gathering-place of the united tribes at Shechem, and fought the battle with the Canaanitish forces in that region upon this expedition; since Shechem is not described in Josha as the gathering-place of the united tribes, i.e., of the whole of the military force of Israel, and the battle fought with Adoni-bezek did not take place at the time when the tribes prepared to leave Shiloh and march to their own possessions after the casting of the lots was over. The simplest explanation is, that when the tribes of Judah and Simeon prepared to make war upon the Canaanites in the possessions allotted to them, they were threatened or attacked by the forces of the Canaanites collected together by Adoni-bezek, so that they had first of all to turn their arms against this king before they could attack the Canaanites in their own tribe-land. As the precise circumstances connected with the occasion and course of this war have not been recorded, there is nothing to hinder the supposition that Adoni-bezek may have marched from the north against the possession of Benjamin and Judah, possibly with the intention of joining the Canaanites in Jebus, and the Anakim in Hebron and upon the mountains in the south, and then making a combined attack upon the Israelites. This might induce or even compel Judah and Simeon to attack this enemy first of all, and even to pursue him till they overtook him at his capital Bezek, and smote him with all his army. Adoni-bezek, i.e., lord of Bezek, is the official title of this king, whose proper name is unknown.

In the principal engagement, in which 10,000 Canaanites fell, Adoni-bezek escaped; but he was overtaken in his flight (Judges 1:6, Judges 1:7), and so mutilated, by the cutting off of his thumbs and great toes, that he could neither carry arms nor flee. With this cruel treatment, which the Athenians are said to have practised upon the capture Aegynetes (Aelian, var. hist. ii. 9), the Israelites simply executed the just judgment of retribution, as Adoni-bezek was compelled to acknowledge, for the cruelties which he had inflicted upon captives taken by himself. "Seventy kings," he says in Judges 1:7, "with the thumbs of their hands and feet cut off, were gathering under my table. As I have done, so God hath requited me." מקצּצים ... בּהנות, lit. "cut in the thumbs of their hands and feet" (see Ewald, Lehrb. 284 c.). The object to מלקּטים, "gathering up" (viz., crumbs), is easily supplied from the idea of the verb itself. Gathering up crumbs under the table, like the dogs in Matthew 15:27, is a figurative representation of the most shameful treatment and humiliation. "Seventy" is a round number, and is certainly an exaggerated hyperbole here. For even if every town of importance in Canaan had its own king, the fact that, when Joshua conquered the land, he only smote thirty-one kings, is sufficient evidence that there can hardly have been seventy kings to be found in all Canaan. 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.

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