And they found Adonibezek in Bezek: and they fought against him, and they slew the Canaanites and the Perizzites.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)They found.—The expression perhaps alludes to the suddenness of their march, which enabled them to take the lord of Bezek by surprise.
They slew the Canaanites and the Perizzites.—This seems to refer to a second battle, or perhaps to the slaughter in the city after the battle described in the last verse.Jdg 1:5-6. Adoni-bezek in Bezek — He was the king or lord of that place, as his name imports, and, as it appears, he had fled into it for safety when he had lost the field. They fought against him — That is, against the city wherein he had taken refuge, and against the rest of his army. Cut off his thumbs and great toes — That he might be incapable of war hereafter, being rendered unable to handle arms, or to run swiftly. This severe treatment had been practised upon other kings by himself, as appears, by his own confession, in the next verse, which, it is probable, made the Israelites think it reasonable to serve him in the same way: and perhaps they acted by the direction of God in the matter.Genesis 12:6, note; Genesis 13:7, note. Bezek may be the name of a district. It has not yet been identified.
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.Adoni-bezek; the lord or king of Bezek, as his name signifies,
in Bezek; whither he fled, when he had lost the field.
Against him, i.e. against the city wherein he had encamped himself, and the rest of his army.
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.And they found Adonibezek in Bezek: and they fought against him, and they slew the Canaanites and the Perizzites.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)5. And they found] The plural verb is the natural continuation of Jdg 1:3.
Adoni-bezek in Bezek] The chieftain’s name was no doubt taken to mean ‘lord of Bezek,’ as though he were called after his capital; but Jdg 1:7 at least suggests that Jerusalem was his capital, not Bezek. No proper names in the O.T. are compounded with the name of a place; and by all analogy Adoni-bezek must mean ‘(the god) Bezek is Lord.’ A god Bezek, however, is unknown. The double Bezek excites suspicion: in Bezek may be allowed to stand, because the context requires the name of a place; the error probably lies in the name of the chief. It is difficult to resist the conclusion that Adoni-bezek here is the same person as Adoni-zedek in Joshua 10:1; Joshua 10:3, the head of the Canaanite confederacy which is said to have opposed the Israelite invasion after the capture of Ai. Advancing from Gilgal or Jericho the first stronghold to confront the invaders would be Jerusalem; and by correcting ‘Adoni-bezek’ to Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem, the form in which Joshua gives the text, we obtain the right situation for Judah’s first encounter. The name Adoni-zedek (cf. the Hebrew Adoni-jah and the Phoenician Adoni-eshmun) means Zedek, or rather Ṣedeḳ, is Lord, Zedek being the Canaanite (Phoen.) god Συδέκ (Philo Bybl., Fragm. Hist. Graec. iii. 569); cf. the Canaanite names Ben-ṣedeḳ (Amarna Letters, no. 125, 37 ed. Winckler), Ṣidḳi-milk (Cooke, North-Semitic Inscriptions, p. 349), Melki-ṣedeḳ Genesis 14:18, Psalm 110:4. Probably the Hebrew scribes altered the name in order to introduce a distinction between the two narratives in Jud. and Josh.; ‘Bezek’ suggested itself from the context; and the whole name was given the erroneous meaning ‘lord of Bezek.’ The Greek scribes, on the other hand, identified the two names by reading Adoni-bezek both in Josh, and in Jud. (LXX). Another way of accounting for the alteration is proposed by Moore: by changing Adoni-zedek to Adoni-bezek it was possible to give the name a contemptuous twist, ‘the Lord scatters’; in Aram. bezaḳ = ‘scatter.’ The situation of the town Bezek is unknown, but it was probably near Jerusalem, Jdg 1:7 b. The Bezek of 1 Samuel 11:8 = the modern Ibzik on the road to Bçsân, 14 m. N.E. of Nâblus, is too far north and outside the range of Judah’s operations. Possibly the name has not been preserved correctly; Azekah (Joshua 10:10) is suggested as an improvement (Steuernagel, Einwanderung, p. 85).
the Canaanites and the Perizzites] Cf. Jdg 1:4; mentioned together in Genesis 13:7; Genesis 34:30 J; both appear in the lists of the seven nations of Canaan, e.g. Deuteronomy 7:1. What the difference was between them is not known; ‘Perizzites’ seems to be a formation from perâzî = ‘country folk,’ ‘inhabitants of unwalled towns’; perhaps the name was given not to a separate tribe, but to the Canaanites who lived in the villages or open country.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. Exodus 13:19), is placed after the account of Joshua's death, because it could not have been introduced before without interrupting the connected account of the labours of Joshua; and it would not do to pass it over without notice altogether, not only because the fact of their bringing the bones with them had been mentioned in the book of Exodus, but also because the Israelites thereby fulfilled the promise given by their fathers to Joseph when he died. The burial of Joseph in the piece of field which Jacob had purchased at Shechem (vid., Genesis 33:19) had no doubt taken place immediately after the division of the land, when Joseph's descendants received Shechem and the field there for an inheritance. This piece of field, however, they chose for a burial-place for Joseph's bones, not only because Jacob had purchased it, but in all probability chiefly because Jacob had sanctified it for his descendants by building an altar there (Genesis 33:20). The death and burial of Eleazar, who stood by Joshua's side in the guidance of the nation, are mentioned last of all (Joshua 24:33). When Eleazar died, whether shortly before or shortly after Joshua, cannot be determined. He was buried at Gibeah of Phinehas, the place which was given to him upon the mountains of Ephraim, i.e., as his inheritance. Gibeath Phinehas, i.e., hill of Phinehas, is apparently a proper name, like Gibeah of Saul (1 Samuel 15:34, etc.). The situation, however, is uncertain. According to Eusebius (Onom. s. v. Γαβαάς), it was upon the mountains of Ephraim, in the tribe of Benjamin, and was at that time a place named Gabatha, the name also given to it by Josephus (Ant. v. 1, 29), about twelve Roman miles from Eleutheropolis. This statement is certainly founded upon an error, at least so far as the number twelve is concerned. It is a much more probable supposition, that it is the Levitical town Geba of Benjamin, on the north-east of Ramah (Joshua 18:24), and the name Gibeah of Phinehas might be explained on the ground that this place had become the hereditary property of Phinehas, which would be perfectly reconcilable with its selection as one of the priests' cities. As the priests, for example, were not the sole possessors of the towns ceded to them in the possessions of the different tribes, the Israelites might have presented Phinehas with that portion of the city which was not occupied by the priests, and also with the field, as a reward for the services he had rendered to the congregation (Numbers 25:7.), just as Caleb and Joshua had been specially considered; in which case Phinehas might dwell in his own hereditary possessions in a priests' city. The situation, "upon the mountains of Ephraim," is not at variance with this view, as these mountains extended, according to Judges 4:5, etc., far into the territory of Benjamin (see at Joshua 11:21). The majority of commentators, down to Knobel, have thought the place intended to be a Gibeah in the tribe of Ephraim, namely the present Jeeb or Jibia, by the Wady Jib, on the north of Guphna, towards Neapolis (Sichem: see Rob. Pal. iii. p. 80), though there is nothing whatever to favour this except the name.
With the death of Eleazar the high priest, the contemporary of Joshua, the times of Joshua came to a close, so that the account of Eleazar's death formed a very fitting termination to the book. In some MSS and editions of the Septuagint, there is an additional clause relating to the high priest Phinehas and the apostasy of the Israelites after Joshua's death; but this is merely taken from Judges 2:6, Judges 2:11. and Joshua 3:7, Joshua 3:12., and arbitrarily appended to the book of Joshua.
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