Luz compared to Jericho
Judges 1:21-36 (JDV)
Judges 1:21 At the same time the Benjaminites did not drive out the Jebusites who were living in Jerusalem. The Jebusites have lived among the Benjaminites in Jerusalem to this day.
Judges 1:22 The house of Joseph also attacked Bethel, and Yahveh was with them.
Judges 1:23 They sent spies to Bethel (the town was previously named Luz).
Judges 1:24 The spies saw a man coming out of the town and said to him, “Please show us how to get into town, and we will show you covenant loyalty.”
Judges 1:25 When he showed them the way into the town, they struck the town down with the sword but released the man and his entire family.
Judges 1:26 Then the man went to the land of the Hittites, built a town, and named it Luz. That is its name still today.
Judges 1:27 At that time Manasseh failed to take possession of Beth-shean and Taanach and their surrounding villages, or the residents of Dor, Ibleam, and Megiddo and their surrounding villages; the Canaanites were determined to stay in this land.
Judges 1:28 When Israel became stronger, they made the Canaanites serve as forced labor but never drove them out completely.
Judges 1:29 At that time Ephraim failed to drive out the Canaanites who were living in Gezer, so the Canaanites have lived among them in Gezer.
Judges 1:30 Zebulun failed to drive out the residents of Kitron or the residents of Nahalol, so the Canaanites lived among them and served as forced labor.
Judges 1:31 Asher failed to drive out the residents of Acco or of Sidon, or Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik, or Rehob.
Judges 1:32 The Asherites lived among the Canaanites who were living in the land, because they failed to drive them out.
Judges 1:33 Naphtali did not drive out the residents of Beth-shemesh or the residents of Beth-anath. They lived among the Canaanites who were living in the land, but the residents of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath served as their forced labor.
Judges 1:34 The Amorites forced the Danites into the hill country and did not allow them to go down into the valley.
Judges 1:35 The Amorites were determined to stay in Har-heres, Aijalon, and Shaalbim. When the house of Joseph got the upper hand, the Amorites were made to serve as forced labor.
Judges 1:36 The territory of the Amorites extended from the Scorpions’ Ascent, that is from the Sela upward.
Luz compared to Jericho
The failures and partial successes in this section should make us pause and evaluate. Something is not right.
The story of the taking of Luz seems similar to the victory at Jericho under Joshua. But a closer look reveals some startling differences.
Rahab had been spared because of her declaration of faith in the God of Israel. The man from Luz had no such faith. He did not convert from his paganism and join the Israelite community. He just left and rebuilt his pagan city elsewhere.
Perhaps the Israelites were seeking to reproduce a miracle of their past, but they seem to have left out some major elements of the equation.
You and I should be careful of that tendency. If we want to do something for God, we should seek to do it his way. Just seeking to replicate something that has been done before might bring partial victory, but it probably will not come close to what God wants.
Instead of settling for less, let’s try to get God’s vision for what he wants of us today.
LORD, build in us a passion for your will that does not settle for partial reproduction of past victories.