Hebron, Debir, Hormah
Judges 1:1-20 (JDV)
Judges 1:1 It happened after the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked Yahveh, “Who will be the leading tribe to go up for us to battle against the Canaanites?”
Judges 1:2 Yahveh answered, “Judah is to go. Notice I have given the land to his hand.”
Judges 1:3 Judah said to his brother Simeon, “Come with me to my allotted territory, and let us fight against the Canaanites. I will also go with you to your allotted territory.” So Simeon went with him.
Judges 1:4 When Judah went up, Yahveh gave the Canaanites and Perizzites to their hands. They struck down ten thousand men in Bezek.
Judges 1:5 They found Adoni-bezek in Bezek, fought against him, and struck down the Canaanites and Perizzites.
Judges 1:6 When Adoni-bezek fled, they pursued him, caught him, and cut off his thumbs and big toes.
Judges 1:7 Adoni-bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off used to pick up scraps under my table. God has repaid me for what I have done.” They brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.
Judges 1:8 The men of Judah fought against Jerusalem, captured it, struck it down with the sword, and set the city on fire.
Judges 1:9 Afterward, the men of Judah marched down to fight against the Canaanites who were living in the hill country, the Negev, and the Judean foothills.
Judges 1:10 Judah also marched against the Canaanites who were living in Hebron (Hebron was formerly named Kiriath-arba). They struck down Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai.
Judges 1:11 From there they marched against the residents of Debir (Debir was formerly named Kiriath-sepher).
Judges 1:12 Caleb said, “Whoever strikes down and captures Kiriath-sepher, I will give my daughter Achsah to him as a wife.”
Judges 1:13 So Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s youngest brother, captured it, and Caleb gave his daughter Achsah to him as his wife.
Judges 1:14 When she arrived, she persuaded Othniel to ask her father for a field. As she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What do you want?”
Judges 1:15 She answered him, “Give me a blessing. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me springs also.” So Caleb gave her both the upper and lower springs.
Judges 1:16 The descendants of the Kenite, Moses’s father-in-law, had gone up with the men of Judah from the City of Palms to the Wilderness of Judah, which was in the Negev of Arad. They went to live among the people.
Judges 1:17 Judah went with Simeon his brother, struck the Canaanites down who were living in Zephath, and completely exterminated the town. So they named the town Hormah.
Judges 1:18 Judah captured Gaza and its territory, Ashkelon and its territory, and Ekron and its territory.
Judges 1:19 Yahveh was with Judah and enabled them to take possession of the hill country, but they could not drive out the people who were living in the valley because those people had iron chariots.
Judges 1:20 Judah gave Hebron to Caleb, just as Moses had promised. Then Caleb drove out the three sons of Anak who lived there.
Hebron, Debir, Hormah
I was struck by the terms that are used here to describe the degrees of success that the Judah and Simeon had in accomplishing God’s will.
Some went up to the enemy, some marched against the enemy, some fought against the enemy, some pursued the enemy, some captured the enemy, some drove out the enemy, some struck down the enemy, some completely exterminated the enemy.
The transition from a promised land to a possession would not be an easy one.
Such is the case for us today. We are not called on to possess a land, but to proclaim the gospel. We must strive to do God’s will for us today, and seek means to do it more efficiently and effectively.
Some examples are given in today’s text of places that were so effectively possessed that they were renamed (10, 11, 17). Our gospel proclamation should be so effective that the targets of our evangelism see themselves not just as liberated people, but as new people.