Judges 1:8
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) Now.—Rather, And.

Had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it.—Our version here most unwarrantably interpolates the word “had,” meaning it perhaps as a sort of explanatory gloss to imply that the conquest took place before the fact mentioned in the last verse. If we are right in supposing that these chapters refer in greater or less detail to events already touched upon in the Book of Joshua, we must then supplement this brief notice by Joshua 12:8-10; Joshua 15:63, from which it appears that though the people of Jerusalem were slaughtered, the king conquered, and the city burnt, yet the Jebusites either secured the citadel (as Josephus implies) or succeeded in recovering the city. In Judges 19:11-12, the city is called Jebus (with the remark, “which is Jerusalem”), and the Levite expressly refuses to enter it, because it is a “city of the Jebusites,” “the city of a stranger.”

With the edge of the sword.—Literally, with the mouth of the sword (Genesis 34:26; Joshua 8:24; Joshua 10:28. Comp. Judges 4:15; Judges 20:37). It seems to mean that no quarter was given.

Set the city on fire.—Literally, sent the city into fire, as in Judges 20:48; 2Kings 8:12; Psalm 74:7. The phrase does not occur elsewhere. And at a later period Josephus tells us that the siege occupied a long time, from the strength of the position (2Samuel 5:7).

Jdg 1:8-10. Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and taken it — Yet some of the inhabitants retired into the castle, and held out there till David’s time. Judah went against the Canaanites in Hebron — Under the conduct of Caleb, as is recorded Joshua 15:14, &c., for that relation and this are doubtless one and the same expedition, and it is mentioned there by anticipation.

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.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.] To wit, in Joshua’s time; which though done before, may be here repeated, to show why they brought Adoni-bezek to Jerusalem, because that city was in their hands, having been taken before, as may be gathered from Joshua 15:63. And the taking of this city may be ascribed

to the children of Judah rather than to Joshua, because the city was not taken by Joshua and the whole body of the army in that time when so many kings were destroyed, Jos 10 Jos 12, (for there is mention made of the destroying of the king of Jerusalem, Joshua 10:23 12:10; but not a word of the taking of Jerusalem, as there is of the taking of Makkedah, and Libnah, and other cities belonging to the kings there mentioned, Joshua 10:28, &c.,) but by the children of Judah after they had received their lot, when at the desire and with the consent of the Benjamites, in whose lot Jerusalem fell, Joshua 18:28, they assaulted and took it, and thereby, as it seems, acquired the right of copartnership with the Benjamites in the possession of that city. Though some think Jerusalem was twice taken; once in Joshua’s lifetime; and being afterwards recovered by the Canaanites, was now retaken by the children of Judah.

Now the children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it,.... Which accounted for their carrying Adonibezek thither. This they had done in the times of Joshua; for when the king of that place was taken and slain by Joshua, it seems that he and Israel went and fought against the city, and took that in which the tribe of Judah had a principal concern; so Kimchi and Ben Gersom interpret it; but Jarchi and Abarbinel are of opinion, that now from Bezek they went up to Jerusalem, and fought against it, and took it; and so others think, because only the children of Judah are mentioned, and not all Israel, who fought together in Joshua's time; nor is there any mention made of its being taken in his time, and yet it seems plain that it was inhabited in part by the children of Judah, Joshua 15:63; some therefore have thought that it was twice taken; that after Joshua had taken it, he and the children of Israel being employed in making conquests in other parts of the land, the Jebusites repossessed it, from whence they were now again in part driven, not wholly; and Josephus says (k), the lower part was taken, and all the inhabitants killed, but the upper part was hard to be taken, because of the strength of the walls, and the nature of the place:

and smitten it with the edge of the sword; the "inhabitants of it", so far as they got possession of it:

and set the city on fire; some part of it only, for in some part of it dwelt the children of Judah, and in another part the Jebusites.

(k) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 5. c. 2. sect. 2.)

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 {e} city on fire.

(e) Which was later built again, and possessed by the Jebusites, 2Sa 5:6.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. fought against Jerusalem, and took it] Jerusalem was not taken till the time of David; this verse contradicts Jdg 1:21 and the known course of history; see Jdg 19:11 f.; 2 Samuel 5:6-9. We have here a late insertion, founded on a misunderstanding of Jdg 1:7 b, and designed to explain how the Judahites came to carry the wounded chief to Jerusalem.

with the edge of the sword] An expression often used in connexion with the exterminating wars against the Canaanites, e.g. Genesis 34:26, Exodus 17:13 JE, Deuteronomy 13:15 etc.

Jdg 1:9 is merely a generalizing summary (cf. Joshua 9:1; Joshua 10:40 D) from the same hand as Jdg 1:8, and from the same standpoint; note went down, i.e. from the high ground near Jerusalem.

in the hill country, and in the South, and in the lowland] A summary description of the land of Judah, cf. Jeremiah 17:26; Jeremiah 32:44 etc. The entire central range of Palestine was called ‘the Highlands,’ lit. ‘the mountain’ (Deuteronomy 1:7, Joshua 9:1); it was divided into the Highlands of Judah, of Ephraim, of Naphtali, Joshua 20:7; here the Highlands of Judah are meant. ‘The South,’ in Hebr. ‘the Negeb,’ i.e. ‘the dry land,’ was the tract of country S. of Hebron, between the Highlands and the desert which bounds the lower part of Palestine; it is sometimes called the Negeb of Judah, of the Kenites, of Caleb, etc. (Jdg 1:10 ff., Jdg 1:16; 1 Samuel 27:10; 1 Samuel 30:14). This ‘dry land’ being in the south of Palestine, Negeb came to have the general meaning, ‘south.’ ‘The lowland,’ in Hebr. ‘the Shephçlah,’ is the region of low hills and plains on the W. and S.W. of Judah, sloping down from the Highlands to the sea; the list of Judaean cities in Joshua 15:33-47 indicates the extent of this district. For ‘Shephçlah’ the original narrative uses the word ‘valley’ in this chapter, Jdg 1:19; Jdg 1:34.

Verse 8. - Read Fought against Jerusalem, and took it, and smote it. It is the continuation of the narrative of the exploits of Judah and Simeon in conquering their respective lots. Judges 1:8After his defeat, Judah and Simeon went against Jerusalem, and conquered this city and smote it, i.e., its inhabitants, with the edge of the sword, or without quarter (see Genesis 34:26), and set the city on fire. בּאשׁ שׁלּח, to set on fire, to give up to the flames, only occurs again in Judges 20:48; 2 Kings 8:12, and Psalm 74:7. Joshua had already slain the king of Jerusalem and his four allies after the battle at Gibeon (Joshua 10:3, Joshua 10:18-26), but had not conquered Jerusalem, his capital. This was not done till after Joshua's death, when it was taken by the tribes of Judah and Simeon. But even after this capture, and notwithstanding the fact that it had been set on fire, it did not come into the sole and permanent possession of the Israelites. After the conquerors had advanced still farther, to make war upon the Canaanites in the mountains, in the Negeb, and in the shephelah (vv. 9ff.), the Jebusites took it again and rebuilt it, so that in the following age it was regarded by the Israelites as a foreign city (Judges 19:11-12). The Benjaminites, to whom Jerusalem had fallen by lot, were no more able to drive out the Jebusites than the Judaeans had been. Consequently they continued to live by the side of the Benjaminites (Judges 1:21) and the Judaeans (Joshua 15:63), who settled, as time rolled on, in this the border city of their possessions; and in the upper town especially, upon the top of Mount Zion, they established themselves so firmly, that they could not be dislodged until David succeeded in wresting this fortress from them, and make the city of Zion the capital of his kingdom (2 Samuel 5:6.).

(Note: In this way we may reconcile in a very simple manner the different accounts concerning Jerusalem in Joshua 15:63; Judges 1:8, Judges 1:21; Judges 19:11., 1 Samuel 17:54, and 2 Samuel 5-6, without there being the slightest necessity to restrict the conquest mentioned in this verse to the city that was built round Mount Zion, as Josephus does, to the exclusion of the citadel upon Zion itself; or to follow Bertheau, and refer the account of the Jebusites dwelling by the children of Judah in Jerusalem (Joshua 15:63) to a time subsequent to the conquest of the citadel of Zion by David-an interpretation which is neither favoured by the circumstance that the Jebusite Araunah still held some property there in the time of David (2 Samuel 24:21.), nor by the passage in 1 Kings 9:20., according to which the descendants of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites who still remained in the land were made into tributary bondmen by Solomon, and set to work upon the buildings that he had in hand.)

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