Judges 1:19 MEANING

Judges 1:19
(19) The Lord was with Judah.--The Targum here has "The Word of the Lord." The expression is frequently used to imply insured prosperity (Genesis 39:23; 1 Samuel 18:14; 2 Kings 18:7. Comp. Matthew 18:20).

But.--Rather, for (ki): i.e., they only dispossessed their enemies of the mountain, for, &c.

Could not.--The Hebrew seems purposely to avoid this expression, and says "there was no driving out." Judah could have driven them out; but their faith was cowed by the (Judges 1:19) iron chariots.

The valley.--Here Emek, not Shephelah. "Broad sweeps between parallel ranges of hills," like, e.g., the "valley of Jezreel," i.e., the plain of Esdraelon. It differs from Gi, which means a gorge or ravine.

Chariots of iron.--See Judges 4:3; Joshua 11:6-9; Joshua 17:16; 1 Samuel 13:6. R. Tanchum makes it mean "very strong chariots;" but the phrase means either "chariots with iron-bound wheels," or "scythed chariots." Ktesias attributes scythed chariots to Ninus, but none are seen on the Nineveh sculptures, and it is doubtful whether they were known so early. Xenophon says that scythed chariots were invented by Cyrus, which would not be till five centuries after this period. For this clause the LXX. have," because Rechab resisted them," mistaking rekeb, "chariot," for a proper name (as they often do with other words). Hence the notion of Theodoret that the Kenites, to which Rechab belonged (2 Kings 10:15-23; Jeremiah 35:2), secretly helped the Philistines, is quite groundless. We see a reason for the partial failure of the Israelites in the fact that at this time they had not attained to the same level of civilisation as the Canaanites in arts and arms. This advantage could only have been rendered unavailing by more faith and faithfulness than they showed in their conduct. "Their warriors often rather overran than subdued the land. . . . The chariots and better arms of the Canaanites rendered the conquest of the valleys and plains long and laborious, especially to Joseph, Judah, and Dan. . . . The Hebrews 'walked upon the high places of the land' (Psalm 18:33; 2 Samuel 22:34; Habakkuk 3:19; Isaiah 58:14; Deuteronomy 32:13; Deuteronomy 32:29; Deuteronomy 32:33); but these heights were often encompassed like islands by the inhabitants of the valleys" (Ewald, ii. 264).

Verse 19. - Chariots of iron. The chariots of the Canaanites were very formidable to the Israelites, who had no means of coping with them. Thus we are told of Jabin, king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazer, that he had 900 chariots of iron, and mightily oppressed the children of Israel. They were later an important part of King Solomon's army (1 Kings 10:26). See too Joshua 17:16.

1:9-20 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.And the Lord was with Judah,.... Encouraging, strengthening, succeeding, and giving the tribe victory over the Canaanites; the Targum is,"the Word of the Lord was for the help of the house of Judah:"

and he drove out the inhabitants of the mountains; the mountainous part of Judea, such as was about Jerusalem, and where Hebron stood, and other cities, see Joshua 15:48, &c. which though fortified both by nature and man, yet God being with them, they were easily subdued:

but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley; God forsaking them, because they were afraid of them, for a reason after mentioned, or through slothfulness, and being weary of fighting, or because they fell into some sins, which occasioned the divine displeasure; so the Targum,"after they had sinned, they could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley:"

because they had chariots of iron; but this was no reason why they could not drive them out, if God was with them, who could as easily have delivered these into their hands, as the inhabitants of the mountains; but is the reason why they were afraid to fight with them, and to attempt to drive them out, and which they themselves gave why they did not.

Courtesy of Open Bible