Canaanites in Palestine. 1* After the death of Joshua the Israelites consulted the LORD, asking, “Who shall be first among us to attack the Canaanites and to do battle with them?” 2The LORD answered: Judah shall attack: I have delivered the land into his power.a 3Judah then said to his brother Simeon, “Come up with me into the territory allotted to me, and let us do battle with the Canaanites. I will likewise go with you into the territory allotted to you.” So Simeon went with him.b
4When Judah attacked, the LORD delivered the Canaanites and Perizzites into their power, and they struck down ten thousand of them in Bezek. 5c They came upon Adonibezek in Bezek and fought against him. When they struck down the Canaanites and Perizzites, 6Adonibezek fled. They pursued him, and when they caught him, they cut off his thumbs and big toes. 7“Seventy kings,” said Adonibezek, “used to pick up scraps under my table with their thumbs and big toes cut off. As I have done, so has God repaid me.” He was brought to Jerusalem, and he died there. 8* The Judahites fought against Jerusalem, captured it, and put it to the sword, setting the city itself on fire.d
9Afterward the Judahites went down to fight against the Canaanites who lived in the mountain region, in the Negeb, and in the foothills.e 10Judah also marched against the Canaanites who lived in Hebron, which was formerly called Kiriath-arba, and defeated Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai.f 11They marched from there against the inhabitants of Debir, which was formerly called Kiriath-sepher. 12Caleb said, “To the man who attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will give my daughter Achsah in marriage.” 13g Othniel captured it, the son of Caleb’s younger brother Kenaz; so Caleb gave him his daughter Achsah in marriage. 14When she came to him, she induced him to ask her father for some land. Then, as she alighted from the donkey, Caleb asked her, “What do you want?” 15She answered, “Give me a present. Since you have put me in the land of the Negeb, give me pools of water.” So Caleb gave her what she wanted, both the upper and the lower pool.
16h The descendants of Hobab the Kenite, Moses’ father-in-law,* came up with the Judahites from the City of Palms to the wilderness of Arad, which is in the Negeb, and they settled among the Amalekites. 17i Then Judah went with his brother Simeon, and they defeated the Canaanites who lived in Zephath. They put the city under the ban and renamed it Hormah.* j 18Judah captured Gaza with its territory, Ashkelon with its territory, Ekron with its territory, and Ashdod* with its territory.k 19The LORD was with Judah, so they gained possession of the mountain region. But they could not dispossess those who lived on the plain, because they had iron chariots. 20l As Moses had commanded, they gave Hebron to Caleb, who then drove the three sons of Anak away from there.
22The house of Joseph, too, went up against Bethel, and the LORD was with them. 23The house of Joseph reconnoitered Bethel, which formerly was called Luz.n 24The scouts saw a man coming out of the city and said to him, “Tell us the way into the city, and we will show you mercy.” 25He showed them the way into the city, and they put the city to the sword; but they let the man and his whole clan go free. 26The man then went to the land of the Hittites, where he built a city and called it Luz, which is its name to this day.
27o Manasseh did not take possession of Beth-shean with its towns or of Taanach with its towns. Nor did they dispossess the inhabitants of Dor and its towns, those of Ibleam and its towns, or those of Megiddo and its towns. The Canaanites continued to live in this district. 28When Israel grew stronger, they conscripted the Canaanites as laborers, but did not actually drive them out. 29p Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites living in Gezer, and so the Canaanites lived among them in Gezer.
30q Nor did Zebulun dispossess the inhabitants of Kitron or those of Nahalol; the Canaanites lived among them and became forced laborers.
31r Nor did Asher dispossess the inhabitants of Acco or those of Sidon, or take possession of Mahaleb, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik, or Rehob. 32So the Asherites settled among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land, for they had not dispossessed them.
33s Nor did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh or those of Beth-anath. They settled among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land and the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath became forced laborers for them.
34The Amorites hemmed in the Danites in the mountain region, not permitting them to come down onto the plain. 35So the Amorites continued to live in Harheres, Aijalon, and Shaalbim, but as the power of the house of Joseph grew, they were conscripted as laborers.
* [1:1–36] The chapter depicts the Israelite settlement of Canaan as a gradual and incomplete process (cf. Ex 23:29–30; Dt 7:22). This picture contrasts sharply with that found in Joshua, where the conquest is rapid and total. Accordingly, some scholars believe that Jgs 1 derives from an early account, which is less idealized and more realistic than that on which Joshua is based. Others, noting that Judah is presented as the only tribe that was completely successful in driving foreigners from its territory, think that the account was written at a late date and reflects suspicion in Judah about foreign elements in the Israelite populations of outlying areas (cf. 2 Kgs 17:24–33).
* [1:16] Hobab the Kenite, Moses’ father-in-law: as in 4:11. However, in Nm 10:29 Hobab is identified as Moses’ brother-in-law, while Reuel is identified as Moses’ father-in-law (see also Ex 2:18). The more common name of Moses’ father-in-law is Jethro, also a Midianite (e.g., Ex 3:1). It is impossible to sort out the relationships among these three men in the ancient traditions. City of Palms: Jericho (cf. Dt 34:3) or a town in the Negeb.
* [1:17] The ban…Hormah: the narrator relates the city-name “Hormah” to “the ban” (Hebrew herem), which commanded the Israelites to devote to the Lord—and thus to destroy—whatever was captured within the land (cf. Dt 20:10–18).
* [1:18] Gaza…Ashkelon…Ekron…Ashdod: four of the five major cities of the Philistines (see note on 3:3). Since these cities were on the coastal plain, the statement that Judah captured them is contrary to v. 19, which notes Judah’s failure to drive out the inhabitants of the lowlands. In the Septuagint the problem is removed by changing the beginning of this verse to read “Judah did not dispossess….”
* [1:21] According to Jos 18:16, Jerusalem was assigned to the tribe of Benjamin. According to the notice in 1:8 above, the city was burned by the Judahites, but elsewhere (2 Sm 5:6–9) we learn that it was not actually taken from the Jebusites until David captured it and made it his capital.