They fail to exterminate the Canaanites.
VERSE 1. After the death of Joshua, the children of Israel asked of the LORD, saying, “Who should go up for us first against the Canaanites, to fight against them?”
After the death of Joshua. Joshua the servant of the LORD God had led the nation in countless battles. Under his leadership, they achieved great victories and settled the Promised Land.
How were they doing spiritually? What is their sense of calling?
In this chapter we see four indicators that there had been a grave loss of spirituality:
- They mutilate king Adoni-Bezek (verse 6)
- Caleb sees women as property (verse 12)
- They are defeated by superior technology (verse 19)
- They negotiate with the enemy (verse 24)
When their spiritual life was lost, everything else went badly.
the children of Israel asked of the LORD. They seek the will of the LORD God.
the LORD. When rendered in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, “LORD” or “GOD” is the translation of God’s Proper Name.
the Canaanites, to fight against them. Each tribe was to exterminate the Canaanites still in their territory.
The LORD said. The text does not tell us how this guidance was delivered.
It may have been through the Urim and Thummim (the sacred dice).
Behold. This is from the Hebrew word “הִנֵּה”. It means look at, take notice, observe, see, or gaze at. It is often used as an interjection.
VERSE 3. Judah said to Simeon his brother, “Come up with me into my lot, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I likewise will go with you into your lot.” So Simeon went with him.
VERSE 4. Judah went up, and the LORD delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand. They struck ten thousand men in Bezek.
They struck ten thousand men in Bezek. That is a decisive victory. And a lot of killing.
VERSE 5. They found Adoni-Bezek in Bezek, and they fought against him. They struck the Canaanites and the Perizzites.
VERSE 6. But Adoni-Bezek fled. They pursued him, caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his big toes.
Adoni-Bezek. This title means “prince of Bezek.” However, some scholars identify the name with Adoni-Zedek, a king of Jerusalem.
cut off his thumbs and his big toes. They were not called to mutilate their enemies. They were called to exterminate them from the face of the earth.
They have lost their sense of calling. They have lost their spiritual life.
VERSE 7. Adoni-Bezek said, “Seventy kings, having their thumbs and their big toes cut off, scavenged under my table. As I have done, so God has done to me.” They brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.
As I have done, so God has done to me. There is a law of “sowing and reaping” throughout the Bible. We don’t know how to fully reconcile it with grace and mercy. Here are the verses we’ve found »
God. The Hebrew word is “אֱלֹהִ֑ים” (Elohim).
VERSE 8. The children of Judah fought against Jerusalem, took it, struck it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire.
VERSE 9. After that, the children of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites who lived in the hill country, and in the South, and in the lowland.
VERSE 10. Judah went against the Canaanites who lived in Hebron. (The name of Hebron before that was Kiriath Arba.) They struck Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai.
Hebron. This word means “confederacy.”
VERSE 11. From there he went against the inhabitants of Debir. (The name of Debir before that was Kiriath Sepher.)
Kiriath Sepher. That means “city of writing.”
VERSE 12. Caleb said, “I will give Achsah my daughter as wife to the man who strikes Kiriath Sepher, and takes it.”
I will give Achsah my daughter as wife. Up until this point, men held women in high esteem. But now, Caleb offers his daughter Achsah as a prize. He sees her as property.
Misogyny is on the rise. This is very disturbing. It is symptomatic of a grave loss of spirituality, as the spiritual life tends to eradicate misogyny.
In our day, we see a rise of misogyny among Christians. It is anti-biblical. And it is symptomatic of a grave loss of spirituality.
VERSE 13. Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it, so he gave him Achsah his daughter as his wife.
Othniel. He is Achsah’s second cousin.
VERSE 14. When she came, she got him to ask her father for a field. She got off her donkey; and Caleb said to her, “What would you like?”
She got off her donkey. The NAB says “she alighted from the ass.”
VERSE 15. She said to him, “Give me a blessing; because you have set me in the land of the South, give me also springs of water.” Then Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.
VERSE 16. The children of the Kenite, Moses’ brother-in-law, went up out of the city of palm trees with the children of Judah into the wilderness of Judah, which is in the south of Arad; and they went and lived with the people.
the Kenite. They were a nomadic people associated with the Amalekites.
VERSE 17. Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they struck the Canaanites who inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. The name of the city was called Hormah.
utterly destroyed it. The NAB says “doomed the city to destruction.”
The Hebrew word is kharam. It indicates a holy war in which a city and its occupants were totally “devoted” to destruction.
Hormah. This word means “devotion” or “destruction.”
VERSE 18. Also Judah took Gaza with its border, and Ashkelon with its border, and Ekron with its border.
VERSE 19. The LORD was with Judah, and drove out the inhabitants of the hill country; for he could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.
they had chariots of iron. The enemy has superior technology. They are out-gunned, so to speak.
These were introduced by the Philistines in about 1200 BC.
Previously, only one thing mattered: that the LORD God grant them the victory. Now, they are defeated by mere technological issues.
It is as if they had forfeited the favor of God and were relying on their own strength. They have lost their spiritual life.
VERSE 20. They gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had said, and he drove the three sons of Anak out of there.
VERSE 21. The children of Benjamin didn’t drive out the Jebusites who inhabited Jerusalem, but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day.
Bethel. This Hebrew word means “place of God.”
VERSE 23. The house of Joseph sent to spy out Bethel. (The name of the city before that was Luz.)
VERSE 24. The watchers saw a man come out of the city, and they said to him, “Please show us the entrance into the city, and we will deal kindly with you.”
They are negotiating with the enemy. However, the LORD God called them to exterminate the enemy.
They have lost their sense of calling.
VERSE 25. He showed them the entrance into the city, and they struck the city with the edge of the sword; but they let the man and all his family go.
VERSE 26. The man went into the land of the Hittites, built a city, and called its name Luz, which is its name to this day.
VERSE 27. Manasseh didn’t drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shean and its towns, nor Taanach and its towns, nor the inhabitants of Dor and its towns, nor the inhabitants of Ibleam and its towns, nor the inhabitants of Megiddo and its towns; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land.
VERSE 28. When Israel had grown strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, and didn’t utterly drive them out.
VERSE 29. Ephraim didn’t drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, but the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them.
VERSE 30. Zebulun didn’t drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Canaanites lived among them, and became subject to forced labor.
VERSE 31. Asher didn’t drive out the inhabitants of Acco, nor the inhabitants of Sidon, nor of Ahlab, nor of Achzib, nor of Helbah, nor of Aphik, nor of Rehob;
VERSE 32. but the Asherites lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land, for they didn’t drive them out.
VERSE 33. Naphtali didn’t drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh, nor the inhabitants of Beth Anath; but he lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land. Nevertheless the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh and of Beth Anath became subject to forced labor.
VERSE 34. The Amorites forced the children of Dan into the hill country, for they would not allow them to come down to the valley;
VERSE 35. but the Amorites would dwell in Mount Heres, in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim. Yet the hand of the house of Joseph prevailed, so that they became subject to forced labor.
VERSE 36. The border of the Amorites was from the ascent of Akrabbim, from the rock, and upward.
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