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Judges 1:1-21

Context
Judah Takes the Lead

1:1 After Joshua died, the Israelites asked 1  the Lord, “Who should lead the invasion against the Canaanites and launch the attack?” 2  1:2 The Lord said, “The men of Judah should take the lead. 3  Be sure of this! I am handing the land over to them.” 4  1:3 The men of Judah said to their relatives, the men of Simeon, 5  “Invade our allotted land with us and help us attack the Canaanites. 6  Then we 7  will go with you into your allotted land.” So the men of Simeon went with them.

1:4 The men of Judah attacked, 8  and the Lord handed the Canaanites and Perizzites over to them. They killed ten thousand men at Bezek. 1:5 They met 9  Adoni-Bezek at Bezek and fought him. They defeated the Canaanites and Perizzites. 1:6 When Adoni-Bezek ran away, they chased him and captured him. Then they cut off his thumbs and big toes. 1:7 Adoni-Bezek said, “Seventy kings, with thumbs and big toes cut off, used to lick up 10  food scraps 11  under my table. God has repaid me for what I did to them.” 12  They brought him to Jerusalem, 13  where he died. 1:8 The men of Judah attacked Jerusalem and captured it. They put the sword to it and set the city on fire.

1:9 Later the men of Judah went down to attack the Canaanites living in the hill country, the Negev, and the lowlands. 14  1:10 The men of Judah attacked the Canaanites living in Hebron. (Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba.) They killed Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai. 1:11 From there they attacked the people of Debir. 15  (Debir used to be called Kiriath Sepher.) 1:12 Caleb said, “To the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher I will give my daughter Acsah as a wife.” 1:13 When Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, 16  captured it, Caleb 17  gave him his daughter Acsah as a wife.

1:14 One time Acsah 18  came and charmed her father 19  so she could ask him for some land. When she got down from her donkey, Caleb said to her, “What would you like?” 1:15 She answered, “Please give me a special present. 20  Since you have given me land in the Negev, now give me springs of water.” So Caleb gave her both the upper and lower springs. 21 

1:16 Now the descendants of the Kenite, Moses’ father-in-law, went up with the people of Judah from the City of Date Palm Trees to Arad in the desert of Judah, 22  located in the Negev. 23  They went and lived with the people of Judah. 24 

1:17 The men of Judah went with their brothers the men of Simeon 25  and defeated the Canaanites living in Zephath. They wiped out Zephath. 26  So people now call the city Hormah. 27  1:18 The men of Judah captured Gaza, Ashkelon, Ekron, and the territory surrounding each of these cities. 28 

1:19 The Lord was with the men of Judah. They conquered 29  the hill country, but they could not 30  conquer the people living in the coastal plain, because they had chariots with iron-rimmed wheels. 31  1:20 Caleb received 32  Hebron, just as Moses had promised. He drove out the three Anakites. 1:21 The men of Benjamin, however, did not conquer the Jebusites living in Jerusalem. 33  The Jebusites live with the people of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this very day. 34 

1 tn The Hebrew verb translated “asked” (שָׁאַל, shaal) refers here to consulting the Lord through a prophetic oracle; cf. NAB “consulted.”

2 tn Heb “Who should first go up for us against the Canaanites to attack them?”

3 tn Heb “Judah should go up.”

4 tn The Hebrew exclamation הִנֵּה (hinneh, traditionally, “Behold”), translated “Be sure of this,” draws attention to the following statement. The verb form in the following statement (a Hebrew perfect, indicating completed action from the standpoint of the speaker) emphasizes the certainty of the event. Though it had not yet taken place, the Lord speaks of it as a “done deal.”

5 tn Heb “Judah said to Simeon, his brother.”

6 tn Heb “Come up with me into our allotted land and let us attack the Canaanites.”

7 tn Heb “I.” The Hebrew pronoun is singular, agreeing with the collective singular “Judah” earlier in the verse. English style requires a plural pronoun here, however.

8 tn Heb “Judah went up.”

9 tn Or “found.”

10 tn Elsewhere this verb usually carries the sense of “to gather; to pick up; to glean,” but “lick up” seems best here in light of the peculiar circumstances described by Adoni-Bezek.

11 tn The words “food scraps” are not in the Hebrew text, but are implied.

12 tn Heb “Just as I did, so God has repaid me.” Note that the phrase “to them” has been supplied in the translation to clarify what is meant.

13 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

14 tn Or “foothills”; Heb “the Shephelah.”

15 tn Heb “they went from there against the inhabitants of Debir.” The LXX reads the verb as “they went up,” which suggests that the Hebrew text translated by the LXX read וַיַּעַל (vayyaal) rather than the MT’s וַיֵּלֶךְ (vayyelekh). It is possible that this is the text to be preferred in v. 11. Cf. Josh 15:15.

16 tn “Caleb’s younger brother” may refer to Othniel or to Kenaz (in which case Othniel was Caleb’s nephew; so CEV).

17 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Caleb) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

18 tn Heb “she”; the referent (Acsah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

19 tn Heb “him.” The pronoun could refer to Othniel, in which case one would translate, “she incited him [Othniel] to ask her father for a field.” This is problematic, however, for Acsah, not Othniel, makes the request in v. 15. The LXX has “he [Othniel] urged her to ask her father for a field.” This appears to be an attempt to reconcile the apparent inconsistency and probably does not reflect the original text. If Caleb is understood as the referent of the pronoun, the problem disappears. For a fuller discussion of the issue, see P. G. Mosca, “Who Seduced Whom? A Note on Joshua 15:18 // Judges 1:14,” CBQ 46 (1984): 18-22. The translation takes Caleb to be the referent, specified as “her father.”

20 tn Elsewhere the Hebrew word בְרָכָה (vÿrakhah) is often translated “blessing,” but here it refers to a gift (as in Gen 33:11; 1 Sam 25:27; 30:26; and 2 Kgs 5:15).

21 tn Some translations regard the expressions “springs of water” (גֻּלֹּת מָיִם, gullot mayim) and “springs” (גֻּלֹּת) as place names here (cf. NRSV).

22 tc Part of the Greek ms tradition lacks the words “of Judah.”

23 tn Heb “[to] the Desert of Judah in the Negev, Arad.”

24 tn The phrase “of Judah” is supplied here in the translation. Some ancient textual witnesses read, “They went and lived with the Amalekites.” This reading, however, is probably influenced by 1 Sam 15:6 (see also Num 24:20-21).

25 tn Heb “Judah went with Simeon, his brother.”

26 tn Heb “it”; the referent (the city of Zephath) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

27 sn The name Hormah (חָרְמָה, khormah) sounds like the Hebrew verb translated “wipe out” (חָרַם, kharam).

28 tn Heb “The men of Judah captured Gaza and its surrounding territory, Ashkelon and its surrounding territory, and Ekron and its surrounding territory.”

29 tn Or “seized possession of”; or “occupied.”

30 tc Several textual witnesses support the inclusion of this verb.

31 tn Regarding the translation “chariots with iron-rimmed wheels,” see Y. Yadin, The Art of Warfare in Biblical Lands, 255, and the article by R. Drews, “The ‘Chariots of Iron’ of Joshua and Judges,” JSOT 45 (1989): 15-23.

32 tn Heb “they gave to Caleb.”

33 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

34 sn The statement to this very day reflects the perspective of the author, who must have written prior to David’s conquest of the Jebusites (see 2 Sam 5:6-7).



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