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July 14, 2018

While he was alive, Joshua divided the promise land according to God’s specification to the tribes of Israel, and it was their responsibility to continue driving out any heathens that remained after the military conquests of Joshua and Israel. Thus, Judges chapter 1 shares a few victories and numerous failures of Israel in completing the conquest.

After Joshua’s death, Israel asked God who was to lead the fight against the Canaanites, and God said in Judges 1:2, “Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hands.” However, Judah partially followed God’s instruction for they requested the tribe of Simeon to accompany them.

Judges 1:4-7 records the Canaanites and the Perizzites were delivered into Judah’s hand, and ten thousand men were killed. Also, King Adonibezek was captured, and he received retributive justice for the previous punishments that he inflicted on seventy royal captives instead of the penalty which God had instructed Israel to do (Deut. 7:24). As he did to those captives, his thumbs and great toes were cut off, rendering him incapable of fleeing and handling weapons of war in the future.

Next in Judges 1:8-19 Judah fought the inhabitants of Jerusalem, takes the city, smites it with the edge of the sword, and set it on fire. Following this, Judah fought against the Canaanites, that dwelt in the mountain, the south, and in the valley but Judah was unable to drive out the inhabitants of the valley because they had chariots of iron. Then Judah proceeded to fight against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron, and they slew the sons of Anak: Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai. Also, Judah captured Negeb, Gaza, Ashkelon, Ekron, and Zephath,

Within this narrative, Othniel Caleb’s nephew was given Achsah Caleb’s daughter after fulfilling the task of smiting Debir (KIrjathsepher), and Achsah requested Caleb to give her springs of water along with land, which he did.

The remainder of this chapter, verses 21- 36 recounts the conquests of Israel under the leadership of Joshua. The seven central and northern tribes which consist of Benjamin, Ephraim, Manasseh, Zebulun, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan, were unable to drive out the nations and heathens from these regions: the Jebusites, the Canaanites of Bethshean and her towns, of Taanach and her towns, of Dor and her towns, of Ibleam and her towns, of Megiddo and her towns, of Gezer, of Kitron, of Nahalol, of Accho, of Zidon, of Ahlab, of Achzib, of Helbah, of Aphik, of Rehob, of Bethshemesh, of Bethanath, and the Amorites who dwelt in mount Heres in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim. However, in time the Israelite tribes subjugated many of the heathens to the status of taxpaying vassals.

Conclusion: From the beginning of creation God desired to be man’s king; however, with the fall of man (Genesis 3) and the scattering of humans throughout the earth (Genesis 11) people choose human kings to rule over them. Besides the first mention names of several kings in Genesis 14 who reigned during the lifetime of Abraham, it is believed that Nimrod whose name is mentioned in Genesis 10 was possibly a king in the ancient world.

In returning man back to His original intent, God selected Abraham and his seed to be His chosen people and to be their king. God was to rule over the people, and the people were to follow His instructions, but His people (Israel) often neglected to do so. Thus, disobedience to God’s instructions is seen throughout Judges 1.

First, Judah was told to go into war against the Canaanites and Judah asked the tribe of Simeon to accompany them. Secondly, as God previously instructed, they did not kill the enemy king when they captured him. Thirdly, when the enemy had a mode of transportation that Judah did not have, they became fearful, impotent and allowed themselves to be confined to a certain area. Finally, their most detrimental act was not driving the enemy out of their territory.

Spiritual Application: Most of us have difficulty being alone, but there are times in our life that God requires us to do so. Though we may feel the need for companionship and support, God is ever present to bring us to victory.

There are some things in our life that God wants us to kill . We may feel they will not harm us if we restrain them. Nevertheless, God says, “Kill it.”

Don’t permit what you see or feel to hinder you from going forth in God’s strength. We can conquer all and do the impossible when He is with us.

Finally, fraternization with the enemy can lead to fellowship and drifting from the laws of God; therefore, separation is a key to living victoriously.


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