Judges 1:1


The Bible says in Judges 1:1-5, “Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass, that the children of Israel asked the LORD, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them?[2] And the LORD said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand.[3] And Judah said unto Simeon his brother, Come up with me into my lot, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I likewise will go with thee into thy lot. So Simeon went with him.[4] And Judah went up; and the LORD delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand: and they slew of them in Bezek ten thousand men.[5] And they found Adoni-bezek in Bezek: and they fought against him, and they slew the Canaanites and the Perizzites.” The children of Israel got a good start after Joshua died. And they did the right thing. They turned to the Lord. No matter who around you dies, and everyone will die unless the rapture happens soon, you always have the Lord to turn to. The Lord never dies. In verse one they asked the Lord to guide them and help them when they asked, “Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them?” They were asking which tribe would lead them into battle? It is very important to know who the leaders should be. We must have good leadership in order to end up with the best results for all of us. The answer that God gave should not surprise us. The answer from God was: “Judah.” Judah would lead them. Remember that God gave one of the Messianic prophecies and said in Genesis 49:10, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come, and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” The “scepter” refers to a king. Eventually, Israel would have a king and that king referred to in this verse would come from the tribe of Judah. The king was King David, a man after God’s own heart, the sweet Psalmist of Israel. His son, king Solomon followed him. And eventually the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, was born in Bethlehem, the city of David’s origin. The lineage from King David continued all the way to Christ. That is why the New testament opens the following words in Matthew 1:1, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David…” “Shiloh” in Genesis 49:10 is a word that refers to “peace.” Jesus is the Prince of Peace. In another Messianic prophecy the Bible says in Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”


Once the tribe of Judah was appointed by God to go into battle against the enemies, Judah selected the tribe of Simeon to accompany them. God tells us what to do, and then He gives us a lot of freedom to get that thing accomplished. There is strength in numbers, and Judah realized that. Christians need to join together in order to accomplish more for the Lord. We can do more for the Lord when we go arm in arm united in faith in Christ than we can accomplish going our separate ways. It says in Ephesians 4:16, “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” The “body” is the body of Christ. We will not be effective unless we are properly joined together in love. That is one of the purposes of a church: Christians coming together and keeping the unity because we need to build each other up, and we need to be learning the Word of God together as we are taught by a pastor/teacher that God has gifted. 


The Bible says in Judges 1:6-7, “But Adoni-bezek fled; and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes.[7] And Adoni-bezek said, Threescore and ten kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table: as I have done, so God hath requited me. And they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died.” There are a couple of things to notice about this king, Adoni-bezek. First we see that what he did to others is exactly what happened to him. Be careful how you treat others. It will come full circle. Jesus said in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”


Adoni-besek and the other vanquished kings had their thumbs and big toes cut off in order to humiliate them and render them incapable of ever participating in hand-to-hand combat again. Kngs were often the best of warriors as we know was the case with King Saul and King David.


The Bible says in Judges 1:8-15, “Now the children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it, and smitten it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire.[9] And afterward the children of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites, that dwelt in the mountain, and in the south, and in the valley.[10] And Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron: (now the name of Hebron before was Kirjath-arba:) and they slew Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai.[11] And from thence he went against the inhabitants of Debir: and the name of Debir before was Kirjath-sepher:[12] And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjath-sepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife.[13] And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife.[14] And it came to pass, when she came to him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted from off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wilt thou?[15] And she said unto him, Give me a blessing: for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the nether springs.” The city of Jerusalem was in the region of land that was given to Judah, and therefore, it was the responsibility of the children of Judah to take it and drive out the heathen. This was a time of great change for the land of Canaan. God took the land from one people and gave it to another. This same process is constantly happening in the world. A great book was written on the subject of another empire that was taken over. It is called “The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire.” Just like with Canaan, the Roman Empire was weakened from within due to corruption and sin. Other peoples came along and took them over after defeating them in battle. Why does such a thing happen repeatedly in history? One reason is that God is in charge. God is Judge of the affairs of men. God decides who wins and who loses on His earth. We do not know all the reasons for what He chooses, but it is all a part of His great plan. The plan will culminate at the judgment where every knee shall bow before Christ and every tongue shall confess His name. They will give answer to how they used the power and opportunity that was given to them.


Achsah was the daughter of Caleb. Notice verse fifteen, “And she said unto him, Give me a blessing: for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the nether springs.” This shows the power of a daughter over a loving father. Because he loved her, he could not deny her request. Women can have this kind of power over their husbands too. Sometimes women have more power than they realize. They do not need to be angry or use rebellion and selfwill. If only they knew.


The Bible says in Judges 1:16-26, “And the children of the Kenite, Moses' father in law, went up out of the city of palm trees with the children of Judah into the wilderness of Judah, which lieth in the south of Arad; and they went and dwelt among the people.[17] And Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they slew the Canaanites that inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. And the name of the city was called Hormah.[18] Also Judah took Gaza with the coast thereof, and Askelon with the coast thereof, and Ekron with the coast thereof.[19] And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.[20] And they gave Hebron unto Caleb, as Moses said: and he expelled thence the three sons of Anak.[21] And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day.[22] And the house of Joseph, they also went up against Bethel: and the LORD was with them.[23] And the house of Joseph sent to descry Bethel. (Now the name of the city before was Luz.)[24] And the spies saw a man come forth out of the city, and they said unto him, Shew us, we pray thee, the entrance into the city, and we will shew thee mercy.[25] And when he shewed them the entrance into the city, they smote the city with the edge of the sword; but they let go the man and all his family.[26] And the man went into the land of the Hittites, and built a city, and called the name thereof Luz: which is the name thereof unto this day.” This was a time of great upheaval and war in the land of Canaan. In these verses we see already that even though the Israelites had settled into the Promised Land, and even though they had many initial victories, they still had a lot to do. The Christian life is like that too. No matter how many victories you win by faith in Christ, until you leave this earth, you will have more battles to face. Be ready. Another thing that we see in these verses is the fact that even in good times, the Israelites were not driving out all the heathen. Remember this: a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. One bad apple can spoil the whole barrel. The bad influence of the heathen is what would eventually ruin the children of Israel. They would turn from the Lord and turn to the ways of the heathen.


The Bible says in Judges 1:27-36, “Neither did Manasseh drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean and her towns, nor Taanach and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Ibleam and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns: but the Canaanites would dwell in that land.[28] And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out.[29] Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them.[30] Neither did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Canaanites dwelt among them, and became tributaries.[31] Neither did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Accho, nor the inhabitants of Zidon, nor of Ahlab, nor of Achzib, nor of Helbah, nor of Aphik, nor of Rehob:[32] But the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: for they did not drive them out.[33] Neither did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh, nor the inhabitants of Beth-anath; but he dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: nevertheless the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and of Beth-anath became tributaries unto them.[34] And the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountain: for they would not suffer them to come down to the valley:[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 tributaries.[36] And the coast of the Amorites was from the going up to Akrabbim, from the rock, and upward.” Once again these verses set the stage for the rest of the book of Judges, and really for the rest of the history of the Jewish people and for the nation of Israel. Notice the following phrases: in verse twenty-seven “Neither did Manasseh drive out,” in verse twenty-eight, “did not utterly drive them out,” in verse twenty-nine, “Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites,” etc. We get the idea. In other words the Israelites did not do what God told them to do. One result is that the Israelites would be constantly vexed by the Canaanites both in war and in other ways. Another result would be that the Canaanites would be a bad example to the Israelites with false religion, and the Israelites would eventually acquire false religious ideas and practices from the heathen peoples that were around them. The lesson for Christians is this: we want to be a witness for Christ to the heathen people, and we do not want to fall into the trap od copying their ideas or their ways. It says in Second Corinthians 6:14-18, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?[15] And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?[16] And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.[17] Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,[18] And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”           




Copyright; 2019 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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