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Bible Commentaries

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible
Judges 1

 

 

Verse 1

After the death of Joshua - But from Judges 1:1 to Judges 2:9 is a consecutive narrative, ending with the death of Joshua. Hence, the events in this chapter and in Judges 2:1-6 are to be taken as belonging to the lifetime of Joshua. See Judges 2:11 note.

Asked the Lord - The phrase is only found in Judges and Samuel. It was the privilege of the civil ruler, to apply to the high priest to consult for him the Urim and Thummim (marginal reference). (Compare Joshua 14:1; Joshua 18:1, Joshua 18:10; Joshua 19:51). Here it was not Phinehas, as Josephus concludes from placing these events after the death of Joshua, but Eleazar, through whom the children of Israel inquired “who” (or, rather), “which tribe of us shall go up!”


Verse 2

And the Lord said - i. e. answered by Urim and Thummim. The land was the portion which fell to Judah by lot, not the whole land of Canaan (see Judges 3:11). The priority given to Judah is a plain indication of divine direction. It points to the birth of our Lord of the tribe of Judah. Judah associated Simeon with him Judges 1:3 because their lots were intermingled Joshua 19:1.


Verse 4

The Canaanites and the Perizzites - See Genesis 12:6, note; Genesis 13:7, note. Bezek may be the name of a district. It has not yet been identified.


Verse 7

Threescore and ten kings - We may infer from this number of conquered kings, that the intestine wars of the Canaanites were among the causes which, under God‘s Providence, weakened their resistance to the Israelites. Adoni-Bezek‘s cruelty to the subject kings was the cause of his receiving (compare the marginal references) this chastisement. The loss of the thumb would make a man unfit to handle a sword or a bow; the loss of his big toe would impede his speed.


Verse 8

Render “and the children of Judah fought against Jerusalem, and took it, and smote it,” etc. With regard to the capture of Jerusalem there is some obscurity. It is here said to have been taken, smitten with the edge of the sword, and burned, by the children of Judah. In Joshua 12:8, Joshua 12:10 the Jebusite and the king of Jerusalem are enumerated among Joshua‘s conquests, but without any distinct mention of the capture of the city; and in the marginal reference we read that the Jebusites were not expelled from Jerusalem, but dwelt with the children of Judah (compare Judges 1:21). Further, we learn from Judges 19:10-12 that Jerusalem was wholly a Jebusite city in the lifetime of Phinehas Judges 20:28, and so it continued until the reign of David 2 Samuel 5:6-9. The conclusion is that Jerusalem was only taken once, namely, at the time here described, and that this was in the lifetime of Joshua; but that the children of Judah did not occupy it in sufficient force to prevent the return of the Jebusites, who gradually recovered complete possession.

Set the city on fire - A phrase found only at Judges 20:48; 2 Kings 8:12, and Psalm 74:7.


Verse 16

The children of the Kenite - See Numbers 24:21 note.

The city of palm trees - Jericho (see the marginal reference). The rabbinical story is that Jericho, with 500 cubits square of land, was given to Hobab. The use of the phrase “city of palm trees” for “Jericho,” is perhaps an indication of the influence of Joshua‘s curse Joshua 6:26. Tbe very name of Jericho was blotted out. There are no palm trees at Jericho now, but Josephus mentions them repeatedly, as well as the balsam trees.


Verse 17

Hormah - See Numbers 21:1 note. The destruction then vowed was now accomplished. This is another decisive indication that the events here related belong to Joshua‘s lifetime. This would be about six years after the vow.


Verse 18

It is remarkable that Ashdod is not here mentioned, as it is in Joshua 15:46-47, in conjunction with Gaza and Ekron; but that Askelon, which is not in the list of the cities of Judah at all, is named in its stead. (See Joshua 13:3 note.) It is a curious fact that when Rameses III took Askelon it was occupied, not by Philistines, but apparently by Hebrews. Rameses began to reign in 1269 B.C., and reigned 25 years. At any time between 1269 and 1244 B.C. such occupation of Askelon by Hebrews agrees with the Book of Judges.


Verse 21

This verse is nearly identical with Joshua 15:63, except in the substitution of Benjamin for Judah. Probably the original reading Judah was altered in later times to Benjamin, because Jebus was within the border of Benjamin, and neither had the Benjamites expelled the Jebusites.


Verse 22

Bethel was within the borders of Benjamin, but was captured, as we here learn, by the house of Joseph, who probably retained it.


Verse 26

The site of this new Luz is not known, but “the land of the Hittites” was apparently in the north of Palestine, on the borders of Syria (Genesis 10:15 note).


Verse 31

Compare the marginal reference. Accho, afterward called Ptolemais, now Akka or St. Jean d‘Acre, is named here for the first time.


Verse 32

It is an evidence of the power of the Canaanite in this portion of the land that it is not said (compare Judges 1:30) that the Canaanites dwelt among the Asherites, but that the Asherites (and Judges 1:33, Naphtali) “dwelt among the Canaanites;” nor are the Canaanites in Accho, Zidon, and the other Asherite cities, said to have become tributaries.


Verse 34

The Amorites are usually found in the mountain Numbers 13:29; Joshua 10:6. Here they dwell in the valley, of which the monuments of Rameses III show them to have been in possession when that monarch invaded Syria. It was their great strength in this district, and their forcible detention of the territory of Dan, which led to the expedition of the Danites Judges 18. The house of Joseph lent their powerful aid in subduing them, probably in the times of the Judges.


Verse 36

The going up to Akrabbim - See the margin and references; properly “the ascent of scorpions,” with which the whole region abounds.

The rock - Petra, the capital of Idumea, so called from the mass of precipitous rock which encloses the town, and out of which many of its buildings are excavated. The original word “Selah” is always used of the rock at Kadesh-Barnea Numbers 20:8-11, near Petra (compare Obadiah 1:3). This leads us to look for “the ascent of scorpions,” here coupled with סלע הס has -sela‛ in the same neighborhood.

 


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Bibliography Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Judges 1:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/judges-1.html. 1870.

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