The Message

Judges 1

1A time came after the death of Joshua when the People of Israel asked God, “Who will take the lead in going up against the Canaanites to fight them?”

And God said, “Judah will go. I’ve given the land to him.”

The men of Judah said to those of their brother Simeon, “Go up with us to our territory and we’ll fight the Canaanites. Then we’ll go with you to your territory.” And Simeon went with them.

So Judah went up. God gave them the Canaanites and the Perizzites. They defeated them at Bezek—ten military units!

5-7 They caught up with My-Master-Bezek there and fought him. They smashed the Canaanites and the Perizzites. My-Master-Bezek ran, but they gave chase and caught him. They cut off his thumbs and big toes. My-Master-Bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off used to crawl under my table, scavenging. Now God has done to me what I did to them.”

They brought him to Jerusalem and he died there.

8-10 The people of Judah attacked and captured Jerusalem, subduing the city by sword and then sending it up in flames. After that they had gone down to fight the Canaanites who were living in the hill country, the Negev, and the foothills. Judah had gone on to the Canaanites who lived in Hebron (Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba) and brought Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai to their knees.

11-12 From there they had marched against the population of Debir (Debir used to be called Kiriath Sepher). Caleb had said, “Whoever attacks Kiriath Sepher and takes it, I’ll give my daughter Acsah to him as his wife.”

13 Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s brother, took it, so Caleb gave him his daughter Acsah as his wife.

14-15 When she arrived she got him
    to ask for farmland from her father.
As she dismounted from her donkey
    Caleb asked her, “What would you like?”
She said, “Give me a marriage gift.
    You’ve given me desert land;
Now give me pools of water!”
    And he gave her the upper and the lower pools.

16 The people of Hobab the Kenite, Moses’ relative, went up with the people of Judah from the City of Palms to the wilderness of Judah at the descent of Arad. They settled down there with the Amalekites.

17 The people of Judah went with their kin the Simeonites and struck the Canaanites who lived in Zephath. They carried out the holy curse and named the city Curse-town.

18-19 But Judah didn’t manage to capture Gaza, Ashkelon, and Ekron with their territories. God was certainly with Judah in that they took over the hill country. But they couldn’t oust the people on the plain because they had iron chariots.

20 They gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had directed. Caleb drove out the three sons of Anak.

21 But the people of Benjamin couldn’t get rid of the Jebusites living in Jerusalem. Benjaminites and Jebusites live side by side in Jerusalem to this day.

22-26 The house of Joseph went up to attack Bethel. God was with them. Joseph sent out spies to look the place over. Bethel used to be known as Luz. The spies saw a man leaving the city and said to him, “Show us a way into the city and we’ll treat you well.” The man showed them a way in. They killed everyone in the city but the man and his family. The man went to Hittite country and built a city. He named it Luz; that’s its name to this day.

27-28 But Manasseh never managed to drive out Beth Shan, Taanach, Dor, Ibleam, and Megiddo with their territories. The Canaanites dug in their heels and wouldn’t budge. When Israel became stronger they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they never got rid of them.

29 Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer. The Canaanites stuck it out and lived there with them.

30 Nor did Zebulun drive out the Canaanites in Kitron or Nahalol. They kept living there, but they were put to forced labor.

31-32 Nor did Asher drive out the people of Acco, Sidon, Ahlab, Aczib, Helbah, Aphek, and Rehob. Asher went ahead and settled down with the Canaanites since they could not get rid of them.

33 Naphtali fared no better. They couldn’t drive out the people of Beth Shemesh or Beth Anath so they just moved in and lived with them. They did, though, put them to forced labor.

34-35 The Amorites pushed the people of Dan up into the hills and wouldn’t let them down on the plains. The Amorites stubbornly continued to live in Mount Heres, Aijalon, and Shaalbim. But when the house of Joseph got the upper hand, they were put to forced labor.

36 The Amorite border extended from Scorpions’ Pass and Sela upward.

New International Reader's Version

Judges 1

The Israelites Fight Against the Remaining Canaanites

1Joshua died. After that, the Israelites spoke to the Lord. They asked him, “Who of us will go up first and fight against the Canaanites?”

The Lord answered, “The tribe of Judah will go up. I have handed the land over to them.”

Then the men of Judah spoke to their fellow Israelites, the men of Simeon. They said, “Come up with us. Come into the territory Joshua gave us. Help us fight against the Canaanites. Then we’ll go with you into your territory.” So the men of Simeon went with them.

When the men of Judah attacked, the Lord helped them. He handed the Canaanites and Perizzites over to them. They struck down 10,000 men at Bezek. The men of Judah found Adoni-Bezek there. They fought against him. They struck down the Canaanites and Perizzites. But Adoni-Bezek ran away. The men of Judah chased him and caught him. Then they cut off his thumbs and big toes.

Adoni-Bezek said, “I cut off the thumbs and big toes of 70 kings. I made them pick up scraps under my table. Now God has paid me back for what I did to them.” The men of Judah brought Adoni-Bezek to Jerusalem. That’s where he died.

The men of Judah attacked Jerusalem and captured it. They set the city on fire. They killed its people with their swords.

After that, the men of Judah went down to fight against some Canaanites. Those Canaanites were living in the central hill country. They also fought against those living in the Negev Desert and the western hills. 10 Then the men of Judah marched out against the Canaanites living in Hebron. Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba. The men of Judah won the battle over Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai. 11 From Hebron they marched out against the people living in Debir. It used to be called Kiriath Sepher.

12 Caleb said, “I will give my daughter Aksah to be married. I’ll give her to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher.” 13 Othniel captured it. So Caleb gave his daughter Aksah to him to be his wife. Othniel was the son of Kenaz. He was Caleb’s younger brother.

14 One day Aksah came to Othniel. She begged him to ask her father for a field. When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What can I do for you?”

15 She replied, “Do me a special favor. You have given me some land in the Negev Desert. Give me springs of water also.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.

16 Moses’ father-in-law was a Kenite. His family went up from Jericho. Jericho was also known as the City of Palm Trees. His family went up with the people of Judah to the Desert of Judah. They went there to live among its people. Those people were living in the Negev Desert near Arad.

17 The men of Judah marched out with their fellow Israelites, the men of Simeon. They attacked the people of Canaan living in Zephath. They set the city apart to the Lord in a special way to be destroyed. That’s why the city was called Hormah. 18 The men of Judah captured Gaza, Ashkelon and Ekron. They also captured the territory around each of those cities.

19 The Lord was with the men of Judah. They took over the central hill country. But they weren’t able to drive the people out of the plains. That’s because those people used chariots that had some iron parts. 20 Moses had promised to give Hebron to Caleb. So Hebron was given to Caleb. He drove the three sons of Anak out of it. 21 But the people of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites living in Jerusalem. So to this day they live there with the people of Benjamin.

22 The tribes of Joseph attacked Bethel. The Lord was with them. 23 They sent men to Bethel to check it out. It used to be called Luz. 24 Those who were sent saw a man coming out of the city. They said to him, “Show us how to get into the city. If you do, we’ll see that you are treated well.” 25 So he showed them how to get in. The men of Joseph killed the people in the city with their swords. But they spared the man from Bethel. They also spared his whole family. 26 Then he went to the land of the Hittites. He built a city there. He called it Luz. That’s still its name to this day.

27 But the tribe of Manasseh didn’t drive out the people of Beth Shan. They didn’t drive out the people of Taanach, Dor, Ibleam and Megiddo. And they didn’t drive out the people of the settlements that are around those cities either. That’s because the Canaanites had made up their minds to continue living in that land. 28 Later, Israel became stronger. Then they forced the Canaanites to work hard for them. But Israel never drove them out completely. 29 The tribe of Ephraim didn’t drive out the Canaanites living in Gezer. So the Canaanites continued to live there among them. 30 The tribe of Zebulun didn’t drive out the Canaanites living in Kitron and Nahalol. So these Canaanites lived among them. But the people of Zebulun forced the Canaanites to work hard for them. 31 The tribe of Asher didn’t drive out the people living in Akko and Sidon. They didn’t drive out the people of Ahlab, Akzib, Helbah, Aphek and Rehob. 32 So the people of Asher lived among the Canaanites who were in the land. 33 The tribe of Naphtali didn’t drive out the people living in Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath. So the people of Naphtali lived among the Canaanites who were in the land. The people of Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath were forced to work hard for them. 34 The Amorites made the people of Dan stay in the central hill country. They didn’t let them come down into the plain. 35 The Amorites made up their minds to stay in Mount Heres. They also stayed in Aijalon and Shaalbim. But the power of the tribes of Joseph grew. Then the Amorites were forced to work hard for them. 36 The border of the Amorites started at Scorpion Pass. It went to Sela and even past it.