1 Now after the death of Ioshua, it came to passe, that the children of Israel asked the Lord, saying, Who shal goe vp for vs against the Canaanites first, to fight against them?
2 And the Lord sayd, Iudah shall goe vp: Behold, I haue deliuered the land into his hand.
3 And Iudah saide vnto Simeon his brother, Come vp with me into my lot, that wee may fight against the Canaanites, and I likewise will goe with thee into thy lot. So Simeon went with him.
4 And Iudah went vp, and the Lord deliuered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand: and they slew of them in Bezek ten thousand men.
5 And they found Adoni-bezek in Bezek: and they fought against him, and they slew the Canaanites, and the Perizzites.
6 But Adoni-bezek fled, and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbes, and his great toes.
7 And Adoni-bezek said, Threescore & ten kings, hauing their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their meate vnder my table: as I haue done, so God hath requited mee, and they brought him to Ierusalem, and there he died.
8 (Now the children of Iudah had fought against Ierusalem, and had taken it, and smitten it with the edge of the sword, and set the citie on fire)
9 ¶ And afterward the children of Iudah went downe to fight against the Canaanites that dwelt in the moūtaine, & in the South, and in the valley.
10 And Iudah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron (nowe the name of Hebron before was Kiriath-arba) and they slew Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai.
11 And from thence he went against the inhabitants of Debir, (& the name of Debir before was Kiriath-sepher)
12 And Caleb said, Hee that smiteth Kiriath-sepher, and taketh it, to him will I giue Achsah my daughter to wife.
13 And Othniel the sonne of Kenaz Calebs yonger brother tooke it: and he gaue him Achsah his daughter to wife.
14 And it came to passe when shee came to him, that she moued him to aske of her father a field: and shee lighted from off her asse, and Caleb said vnto her, What wilt thou?
15 And she said vnto him, Giue me a blessing: for thou hast giuen mee a South land, giue me also springs of water. And Caleb gaue her the vpper springs, and the nether springs.
16 ¶ And the children of the Kenite, Moses father in law, went vp out of the citie of palme trees, with the children of Iudah into the wildernesse of Iudah, which lieth in the South of Arad, and they went and dwelt among the people.
17 And Iudah went with Simeon his brother, and they slew the Canaanites that inhabited Zephath, and vtterly destroyed it, (and the name of the citie was called Hormah.)
18 Also Iudah tooke Gaza with the coast thereof, and Askelon with the coast thereof, and Ekron with the coast thereof.
19 And the Lord was with Iudah, and hee draue out the inhabitants of the mountaine, but could not driue out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had charets of yron.
20 And they gaue Hebron vnto Caleb, as Moses saide: and hee expelled thence the three sonnes of Anak.
21 And the children of Beniamin did not driue out the Iebusites that inhabited Ierusalem: but the Iebusites dwel with the children of Beniamin in Ierusalem, vnto this day.
22 ¶ And the house of Ioseph, they also went vp against Bethel: and the Lord was with them.
23 And the house of Ioseph sent to descrie Bethel (now the name of the citie before was Luz)
24 And the spies sawe a man come forth out of the citie, and they said vnto him, Shew vs, wee pray thee, the entrance into the citie, and we will shew thee mercie.
25 And when hee shewed them the entrance into the citie, they smote the citie with the edge of the sword: but they let goe the man and all his familie.
26 And the man went into the lande of the Hittites, and built a citie, and called the name thereof Luz: which is the name thereof vnto this day.
27 ¶ Neither did Manasseh driue out the inhabitants of Bethshean, and her townes, nor Taanach and her townes, nor the inhabitants of Dor, and her townes, nor the inhabitants of Ibleam, and her townes, nor the inhabitants of Megiddo, and her townes: but the Canaanites would dwel in that land.
28 And it came to passe when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not vtterly driue them out.
29 ¶ Neither did Ephraim driue out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer: but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them.
30 ¶ Neither did Zebulun driue out the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol: but the Canaanites dwelt among them, and became tributaries.
31 ¶ Neither did Asher driue out the inhabitants of Accho, nor the inhabitants of Zidon, nor of Ahlab, nor Achzib, nor Helbath, nor Aphik, nor of Rehob:
32 But the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: for they did not driue them out.
33 ¶ Neither did Naphtali driue out the inhabitants of Bethshemesh, nor the inhabitants of Bethanath, but hee dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: neuerthelesse, the inhabitants of Bethshemesh, and of Bethanath, became tributaries vnto them.
34 And the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountaine: for they would not suffer them to come downe to the valley.
35 But the Amorites would dwell in mount Heres in Aiialon, & in Shaalbim: yet the hand of the house of Ioseph preuailed, so that they became tributaries.
36 And the coast of the Amorites was from the going vp to Akrabbim, from the rocke, and vpward.
The book of Judges is the history of Israel during the government of the Judges, who were occasional deliverers, raised up by God to rescue Israel from their oppressors, to reform the state of religion, and to administer justice to the people. The state of God's people does not appear in this book so prosperous, nor their character so religious, as might have been expected; but there were many believers among them, and the tabernacle service was attended to. The history exemplifies the frequent warnings and predictions of Moses, and should have close attention. The whole is full of important instruction.Proceedings of the tribes of Judah and Simeon. (1-8) Hebron and other cities taken. (9-20) The proceedings of other tribes. (21-36)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.
9-20 The Canaanites had iron chariots; but Israel had God on their side, whose chariots are thousands of angels, #Ps 68:17|. Yet they suffered their fears to prevail against their faith. About Caleb we read in #Jos 15:16-19|. The Kenites had settled in the land. Israel let them fix where they pleased, being a quiet, contented people. They that molested none, were molested by none. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
21-36 The people of Israel were very careless of their duty and interest. Owing to slothfulness and cowardice, they would not be at the pains to complete their conquests. It was also owing to their covetousness: they were willing to let the Canaanites live among them, that they might make advantage of them. They had not the dread and detestation of idolatry they ought to have had. The same unbelief that kept their fathers forty years out of Canaan, kept them now out of the full possession of it. Distrust of the power and promise of God deprived them of advantages, and brought them into troubles. Thus many a believer who begins well is hindered. His graces languish, his lusts revive, Satan plies him with suitable temptations, the world recovers its hold; he brings guilt into his conscience, anguish into his heart, discredit on his character, and reproach on the gospel. Though he may have sharp rebukes, and be so recovered that he does not perish, yet he will have deeply to lament his folly through his remaining days; and upon his dying bed to mourn over the opportunities of glorifying God and serving the church he has lost. We can have no fellowship with the enemies of God within us or around us, but to our hurt; therefore our only wisdom is to maintain unceasing war against them.
Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.