Judah Takes the Lead
1 After Joshua died, the Israelites askedtn The Hebrew verb translated “asked” (שָׁאַל, sha’al) refers here to consulting the Lord through a prophetic oracle; cf. NAB “consulted.” the Lord, “Who should lead the invasion against the Canaanites and launch the attack?”tn Heb “Who should first go up for us against the Canaanites to attack them?”
2 The Lord said, “The men of Judah should take the lead.tn Heb “Judah should go up.” Be sure of this! I am handing the land over to them.”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.”
3 The men of Judah said to their relatives, the men of Simeon,tn Heb “Judah said to Simeon, his brother.” “Invade our allotted land with us and help us attack the Canaanites.tn Heb “Come up with me into our allotted land and let us attack the Canaanites.” Then wetn 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. will go with you into your allotted land.” So the men of Simeon went with them.
4 The men of Judah attacked,tn Heb “Judah went up.” and the Lord handed the Canaanites and Perizzites over to them. They killed ten thousand men at Bezek.
5 They mettn Or “found.” Adoni-Bezek at Bezek and fought him. They defeated the Canaanites and Perizzites.
6 When Adoni-Bezek ran away, they chased him and captured him. Then they cut off his thumbs and big toes.
7 Adoni-Bezek said, “Seventy kings, with thumbs and big toes cut off, used to lick uptn 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. food scrapstn The words “food scraps” are not in the Hebrew text, but are implied. under my table. God has repaid me for what I did to them.”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. They brought him to Jerusalem,map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4. where he died.
8 The men of Judah attacked Jerusalem and captured it. They put the sword to it and set the city on fire.
9 Later the men of Judah went down to attack the Canaanites living in the hill country, the Negev, and the lowlands.tn Or “foothills”; Heb “the Shephelah.”
10 The men of Judah attacked the Canaanites living in Hebron. (Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba.) They killed Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai.
11 From there they attacked the people of Debir.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 (vayya’al) 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. (Debir used to be called Kiriath Sepher.)
12 Caleb said, “To the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher I will give my daughter Acsah as a wife.”
13 When Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother,tn “Caleb’s younger brother” may refer to Othniel or to Kenaz (in which case Othniel was Caleb’s nephew; so CEV). captured it, Calebtn Heb “he”; the referent (Caleb) has been specified in the translation for clarity. gave him his daughter Acsah as a wife.
14 One time Acsahtn Heb “she”; the referent (Acsah) has been specified in the translation for clarity. came and charmed her fathertn 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.” so she could ask him for some land. When she got down from her donkey, Caleb said to her, “What would you like?”
15 She answered, “Please give me a special present.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). 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.tn Some translations regard the expressions “springs of water” (גֻּלֹּת מָיִם, gullot mayim) and “springs” (גֻּלֹּת) as place names here (cf. NRSV).
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,tc Part of the Greek ms tradition lacks the words “of Judah.” located in the Negev.tn Heb “[to] the Desert of Judah in the Negev, Arad.” They went and lived with the people of Judah.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).
17 The men of Judah went with their brothers the men of Simeontn Heb “Judah went with Simeon, his brother.” and defeated the Canaanites living in Zephath. They wiped out Zephath.tn Heb “it”; the referent (the city of Zephath) has been specified in the translation for clarity. So people now call the city Hormah.sn The name Hormah (חָרְמָה, khormah) sounds like the Hebrew verb translated “wipe out” (חָרַם, kharam).
18 The men of Judah captured Gaza, Ashkelon, Ekron, and the territory surrounding each of these cities.tn Heb “The men of Judah captured Gaza and its surrounding territory, Ashkelon and its surrounding territory, and Ekron and its surrounding territory.”
19 The Lord was with the men of Judah. They conqueredtn Or “seized possession of”; or “occupied.” the hill country, but they could nottc Several textual witnesses support the inclusion of this verb. conquer the people living in the coastal plain, because they had chariots with iron-rimmed wheels.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.
20 Caleb receivedtn Heb “they gave to Caleb.” Hebron, just as Moses had promised. He drove out the three Anakites.
21 The men of Benjamin, however, did not conquer the Jebusites living in Jerusalem.map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4. The Jebusites live with the people of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this very day.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).
22 When the mentn Heb “house.” This is a metonymy for the warriors from the tribe. of Joseph attackedtn Heb “went up.” Bethel,map For location see Map4-G4; Map5-C1; Map6-E3; Map7-D1; Map8-G3. the Lord was with them.
23 When the men of Joseph spied out Bethel (it used to be called Luz),
24 the spies spottedtn Heb “saw.” a man leaving the city. They said to him, “If you show us a secret entrance into the city, we will reward you.”
25 He showed them a secret entrance into the city, and they put the city to the sword. But they let the man and his extended family leave safely.
26 Hetn Heb “the man.” moved to Hittite country and built a city. He named it Luz, and it has kept that name to this very day.
27 The men of Manasseh did not conquer Beth Shan, Taanach, or their surrounding towns. Nor did they conquer the people living in Dor, Ibleam, Megiddomap For location see Map1-D4; Map2-C1; Map4-C2; Map5-F2; Map7-B1. or their surrounding towns.tn Heb “The men of Manasseh did not conquer Beth Shan and its surrounding towns, Taanach and its surrounding towns, the people living in Dor and its surrounding towns, the people living in Ibleam and its surrounding towns, or the people living in Megiddo and its surrounding towns.” The Canaanites managedtn Or “were determined.” to remain in those areas.tn Heb “in this land.”
28 Whenever Israel was strong militarily, they forced the Canaanites to do hard labor, but they never totally conquered them.
29 The men of Ephraim did not conquer the Canaanites living in Gezer. The Canaanites lived among them in Gezer.
30 The men of Zebulun did not conquer the people living in Kitron and Nahalol.tn Heb “the people living in Kitron and the people living in Nahalol.” The Canaanites lived among them and were forced to do hard labor.
31 The men of Asher did not conquer the people living in Acco or Sidon,map For location see Map1-A1; JP3-F3; JP4-F3. nor did they conquer Ahlab, Aczib, Helbah, Aphek, or Rehob.tn Heb “The men of Asher did not conquer the people living in Acco, the people living in Sidon, Ahlab, Acco, Helbah, Aphek, or Rehob.”
32 The people of Asher live among the Canaanites residing in the land because they did not conquer them.
33 The men of Naphtali did not conquer the people living in Beth Shemesh or Beth Anath.tn Heb “the people living in Beth Shemesh or the people living in Beth Anath.” They live among the Canaanites residing in the land. The Canaanitestn The term “Canaanites” is supplied here both for clarity and for stylistic reasons. living in Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath were forced to do hard labor for them.
34 The Amorites forced the people of Dan to live in the hill country. They did not allow them to live intn Heb “come down into.” the coastal plain.
35 The Amorites managedtn Or “were determined.” to remain in Har Heres,tn Or “Mount Heres”; the term הַר (har) means “mount” or “mountain” in Hebrew. Aijalon, and Shaalbim. Whenever the tribe of Joseph was strong militarily,tn Heb “Whenever the hand of the tribe of Joseph was heavy.” the Amorites were forced to do hard labor.
36 The border of Amorite territory ran from the Scorpion Ascenttn Or “the Ascent of Scorpions” (עַקְרַבִּים [’aqrabbim] means “scorpions” in Hebrew). to Sela and on up.tn Or “Amorite territory started at the Pass of the Scorpions at Sela and then went on up.”
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