The settlement of Judah and Simeon (Judg 1:1-1:10)

After the death of Joshua, the Israelites inquired of Yahweh. ‘Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?’ Yahweh said. ‘Judah shall go up. I hereby give the land into his hand.’ Judah said to his brother Simeon. ‘Come up with me into the territory allotted to me that we may fight against the Canaanites. Then I too will go with you into the territory allotted to you.’ So Simeon went with him. Then Judah went up and Yahweh gave the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand. They defeated ten thousand of them at Bezek. They came upon Adoni-bezek at Bezek. They fought against him. They defeated the Canaanites and the Perizzites. Adoni-bezek fled. But they pursued him and caught him. They cut off his thumbs and his big toes. Adoni-bezek said. ‘Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off used to pick up scraps under my table. As I have done, so God has paid me back.’ They brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there. Then the people of Judah fought against Jerusalem, and took it. They put it to the sword, and set the city on fire.”

What are the Israelites to do after the death of Joshua? Here in Judges, the taking of the land of Canaan is a long process instead of the short process in the first twelve chapters of Joshua. They are no longer fighting as a large group. The tribe of Judah seems to take a lead role just as it got the largest territory, because Yahweh said so. Simeon seemed to be in the same territory so they joined with Judah. Notice it no longer is the tribe of Judah but goes back to seem like the two brothers are still alive, fighting side by side. The first battle is against Adoni-bezek in Bezek, a place difficult to locate, where they defeat 10,000 soldiers. This is the first time that we see the thumbs and toes cut off of anyone. Apparently Adoni-bezek used to do that to other kings that he captured. Anyway, they all end up in Jerusalem as Judah seems to take over there. Now we see the entrance into Jerusalem, which was really in the area of Benjamin.

“Afterward the people of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites who lived in the hill country, in the Negeb, and in the lowland. Judah went against the Canaanites who lived in Hebron. The name of Hebron was formerly Kiriath-arba. They defeated Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai.”

Now Judah takes over the whole territory, in the hills, the lowlands and the dry land of the Negeb. Hebron had been an Anakite town. Although it is in the territory given to Judah, it had been explicitly given to Caleb and was a Levite town too.

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