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Judges 1:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— And it came to pass after the death of Joshua, that the children of Israel asked of Jehovah, saying, Who shall go up for us first against the Canaanites, to fight against them?
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— 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?
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Now it came about after the death of Joshua that the sons of Israel inquired of the LORD, saying, “Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?”
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— 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?
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And it came to pass after the death of Joshua that the children of Israel asked Jehovah, saying, Which of us shall go up against the Canaanites first, to fight against them?
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— And it came to pass, after the death of Joshua, that the sons of Israel asked of Yahweh, saying,—Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites, first, to make war upon them?
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And it cometh to pass, after the death of Joshua, that the sons of Israel ask at Jehovah, saying, 'Who doth go up for us unto the Canaanite, at the commencement, to fight against it?'
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— After the death of Josue, the children of Israel consulted the Lord, saying: Who shall go up before us against the Chanaanite, and shall be the leader of the war?
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Now after the death of Ioshua, it came to passe, that the children of Israel asked the LORD, saying, Who shal goe vp for vs against the Canaanites first, to fight against them?
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And it came to pass after the death of Joshua{gr.Jesus}, that the children of Israel enquired of the Lord, saying, Who shall go up for us first against the Canaanites{gr.Chananites}, to fight against them?
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— Now after the death of Yehoshua it came to pass, that the children of Yisrael asked Yahweh, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Kenaanim first, to fight against them?

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Now after 310
{0310} Prime
From H0309; properly the hind part; generally used as an adverb or conjugation, after (in various senses).
the death 4194
{4194} Prime
From H4191; death (natural or violent); concretely the dead, their place or state (hades); figuratively pestilence, ruin.
of Yhu` יְהוֹשֻׁעַ 3091
{3091} Prime
From H3068 and H3467; Jehovah-saved; Jehoshua (that is, Joshua), the Jewish leader.
it came to pass, x1961
(1961) Complement
A primitive root (compare H1933); to exist, that is, be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary).
that the children 1121
{1121} Prime
From H1129; a son (as a builder of the family name), in the widest sense (of literal and figurative relationship, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition, etc., (like H0001, H0251, etc.).
of Yi$rl יִשׂרָאֵל 3478
{3478} Prime
From H8280 and H0410; he will rule as God; Jisrael, a symbolical name of Jacob; also (typically) of his posterity.
asked 7592
{7592} Prime
A primitive root; to inquire; by implication to request; by extension to demand.
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
Yhw יָהוֶה, 3068
{3068} Prime
From H1961; (the) self Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God.
saying, 559
{0559} Prime
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
<8800> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 4888
Who x4310
(4310) Complement
An interrogitive pronoun of persons, as H4100 is of things, who? (occasionally, by a peculiar idiom, of things); also (indefinitely) whoever; often used in oblique construction with prefix or suffix.
shall go up 5927
{5927} Prime
A primitive root; to ascend, intransitively (be high) or active (mount); used in a great variety of senses, primary and secondary, literally and figuratively.
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
for us against x413
(0413) Complement
(Used only in the shortened constructive form (the second form)); a primitive particle, properly denoting motion towards, but occasionally used of a quiescent position, that is, near, with or among; often in general, to.
the Cna`nm כְּנַעֲנִים 3669
{3669} Prime
Patrial from H3667; a Kenaanite or inhabitant of Kenaan; by implication a pedlar (the Cananites standing for their neighbors the Ishmaelites, who conducted mercantile caravans).
first, 8462
{8462} Prime
From H2490 in the sense of opening; a commencement; relatively original (adverbially originally).
to fight 3898
{3898} Prime
A primitive root; to feed on; figuratively to consume; by implication to battle (as destruction).
<8736> Grammar
Stem - Niphal (See H8833)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 240
against them?
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Judges 1:1

_ _ Judges 1:1-3. The acts of Judah and Simeon.

_ _ Now after the death of Joshua — probably not a long period, for the Canaanites seem to have taken advantage of that event to attempt recovering their lost position, and the Israelites were obliged to renew the war.

_ _ the children of Israel asked the Lord — The divine counsel on this, as on other occasions, was sought by Urim and Thummim, by applying to the high priest, who, according to Josephus, was Phinehas.

_ _ saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first — The elders, who exercised the government in their respective tribes, judged rightly, that in entering upon an important expedition, they should have a leader nominated by divine appointment; and in consulting the oracle, they adopted a prudent course, whether the object of their inquiry related to the choice of an individual commander, or to the honor of precedency among the tribes.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Judges 1:1-8

_ _ Here, I. The children of Israel consult the oracle of God for direction which of all the tribes should first attempt to clear their country of the Canaanites, and to animate and encourage the rest. It was after the death of Joshua. While he lived he directed them, and all the tribes were obedient to him, but when he died he left no successor in the same authority that he had; but the people must consult the breast-plate of judgment, and thence receive the word of command; for God himself, as he was their King, so he was the Lord of their hosts. The question they ask is, Who shall go up first? Judges 1:1. By this time, we may suppose, they were so multiplied that the places they were in possession of began to be too strait for them, and they must thrust out the enemy to make room; now they enquire who should first take up arms. Whether each tribe was ambitious of being first, and so strove for the honour of it, or whether each was afraid of being first, and so strove to decline it, does not appear; but by common consent the matter was referred to God himself, who is the fittest both to dispose of honours and to cut out work.

_ _ II. God appointed that Judah should go up first, and promised him success (Judges 1:2): “I have delivered the land into his hand, to be possessed, and therefore will deliver the enemy into his hand, that keeps him out of possession, to be destroyed.” And why must Judah be first in this undertaking? 1. Judah was the most numerous and powerful tribe, and therefore let Judah venture first. Note, God appoints service according to the strength he has given. Those that are most able, from them most work is expected. 2. Judah was first in dignity, and therefore must be first in duty. He it is whom his brethren must praise, and therefore he it is who must lead in perilous services. Let the burden of honour and the burden of work go together. 3. Judah was first served; the lot came up for Judah first, and therefore Judah must first fight. 4. Judah was the tribe out of which our Lord was to spring: so that in Judah, Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, went before them. Christ engaged the powers of darkness first, and foiled them, which animates us for our conflicts; and it is in him that we are more than conquerors. Observe, The service and the success are put together: “Judah shall go up; let him do his part, and then he shall find that I have delivered the land into his hand.” His service will not avail unless God give the success; but God will not give the success unless he vigorously apply himself to the service.

_ _ III. Judah hereupon prepares to go up, but courts his brother and neighbour the tribe of Simeon (the lot of which tribe fell within that of Judah and was assigned out of it) to join forces with him, Judges 1:3. Observe here, 1. That the strongest should not despise but desire the assistance even of those that are weaker. Judah was the most considerable of all the tribes, and Simeon the least considerable, and yet Judah begs Simeon's friendship, and prays an aid from him; the head cannot say to the foot, I have no need of thee, for we are members one of another. 2. Those that crave assistance must be ready to give assistance: Come with me into my lot, and then I will go with thee into thine. It becomes Israelites to help one another against Canaanites; and all Christians, even those of different tribes, should strengthen one another's hands against the common interests of Satan's kingdom. Those who thus help one another in love have reason to hope that God will graciously help them both.

_ _ IV. The confederate forces of Judah and Simeon take the field: Judah went up (Judges 1:4), and Simeon with him, Judges 1:3. Caleb, it is probable, was commander-in-chief of this expedition; for who so fit as he who had both an old man's head and a young man's hand, the experience of age and the vigour of youth? Joshua 14:10, Joshua 14:11. It should seem too, by what follows (Judges 1:10, Judges 1:11), that he was not yet in possession of his own allotment. It was happy for them that they had such a general as, according to his name, was all heart. Some think that the Canaanites had got together into a body, a formidable body, when Israel consulted who should go and fight against them, and that they then began to stir when they heard of the death of Joshua, whose name had been so dreadful to them; but, if so, it proved they did but meddle to their own hurt.

_ _ V. God gave them great success. Whether they invaded the enemy, or the enemy first gave them the alarm, the Lord delivered them into their hand, Judges 1:4. Though the army of Judah was strong and bold, yet the victory is attributed to God: he delivered the Canaanites into their hand; having given them authority, he here gives them ability to destroy them — put it in their power, and so tried their obedience to his command, which was utterly to cut them off. Bishop Patrick observes upon this that we meet not with such religious expressions in the heathen writers, concerning the success of their arms, as we have here and elsewhere in this sacred history. I wish such pious acknowledgments of the divine providence had not grown into disuse at this time with many that are called Christians. Now, 1. We are told how the army of the Canaanites was routed in the field, in or near Bezek, the place where they drew up, which afterwards Saul made the place of a general rendezvous (1 Samuel 11:8); they slew 10,000 men, which blow, if followed, could not but be a very great weakening to those that were already brought so very low. 2. How their king was taken and mortified. His name was Adoni-bezek, which signifies, lord of Bezek. There have been those that called their lands by their own names (Psalms 49:11), but here was one (and there has been many another) that called himself by his land's name. He was taken prisoner after the battle, and we are here told how they used him; they cut off his thumbs, to disfit him for fighting, and his great toes, that he might not be able to run away, Judges 1:6. It had been barbarous thus to triumph over a man in misery, and that lay at their mercy, but that he was a devoted Canaanite, and one that had in like manner abused others, which probably they had heard of. Josephus says, “They cut off his hands and his feet,” probably supposing those more likely to be mortal wounds than only the cutting off of his thumbs and his great toes. But this indignity which they did him extorted from him an acknowledgment of the righteousness of God, Judges 1:7. Here observe, (1.) What a great man this Adoni-bezek had been, how great in the field, where armies fled before him, how great at home, where kings were set with the dogs of his flock; and yet now himself a prisoner, and reduced to the extremity of meanness and disgrace. See how changeable this world is, and how slippery its high places are. Let not the highest be proud, nor the strongest secure, for they know not how low they may be brought before they die. (2.) What desolations he had made among his neighbours: he had wholly subdued seventy kings, to such a degree as to have them his prisoners; he that was the chief person in a city was then called a king, and the greatness of their title did but aggravate their disgrace, and fired the pride of him that insulted over them. We cannot suppose that Adoni-bezek had seventy of these petty princes at once his slaves; but first and last, in the course of his reign, he had thus deposed and abused so many, who perhaps were many of them kings of the same cities that successively opposed him, and whom he thus treated to please his own imperious barbarous fancy, and for a terror to others. It seems the Canaanites had been wasted by civil wars, and those bloody ones, among themselves, which would very much facilitate the conquest of them by Israel. “Judah,” says Dr. Lightfoot, “in conquering Adoni-bezek, did, in effect, conquer seventy kings.” (3.) How justly he was teated as he had treated others. Thus the righteous God sometimes, in his providence, makes the punishment to answer the sin, and observes an equality in his judgments; the spoiler shall be spoiled, and the treacherous dealer dealt treacherously with, Isaiah 33:1. And those that showed no mercy shall have no mercy shown them, James 2:13. See Revelation 13:10; Revelation 18:6. (4.) How honestly he owned the righteousness of God herein: As I have done, so God has requited me. See the power of conscience, when God by his judgments awakens it, how it brings sin to remembrance, and subscribes to the justice of God. He that in his pride had set God at defiance now yields to him, and reflects with as much regret upon the kings under his table as ever he had looked upon them with pleasure when he had them there. He seems to own that he was better dealt with than he had dealt with his prisoners; for though the Israelites maimed him (according to the law of retaliation, an eye for an eye, so a thumb for a thumb), yet they did not put him under the table to be fed with the crumbs there, because, though the other might well be looked upon as an act of justice, this would have savoured more of pride and haughtiness than did become an Israelite.

_ _ VI. Particular notice is taken of the conquest of Jerusalem, Judges 1:8. Our translators judge it spoken of here as done formerly in Joshua's time, and only repeated on occasion of Adoni-bezek's dying there, and therefore read it, “they had fought against Jerusalem,” and put this verse in a parenthesis; but the original speaks of it as a thing now done, and this seems most probable because it is said to be done by the children of Judah in particular, not by all Israel in general, whom Joshua commanded. Joshua indeed conquered and slew Adoni-zedec, king of Jerusalem (Jos. 10), but we read not there of his taking the city; probably, while he was pursing his conquests elsewhere, this Adoni-bezek, a neighbouring prince, got possession of it, whom Israel having conquered in the field, the city fell into their hands, and they slew the inhabitants, except those who retreated into the castle and held out there till David's time, and they set the city on fire, in token of their detestation of the idolatry wherewith it had been deeply infected, yet probably not so utterly as to consume it, but to leave convenient habitations for as many as they had to put into the possession of it.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Judges 1:1

After the death — Not long after it; for Othniel, the first judge, lived in Joshua's time. Asked the Lord — Being assembled together at Shiloh, they enquired of the high — priest by the Urim and the Thummim. Against the Canaanites first — Finding their people multiply exceedingly, and consequently the necessity of enlarging their quarters, they renew the war. They do not enquire who shall be captain general to all the tribes; but what tribe shall first undertake the expedition, that by their success the other tribes may be encouraged to make the like attempt upon the Canaanites in their several lots.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Judges 1:1

Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass, that the children of Israel (a) asked the LORD, saying, (b) Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them?

(a) By the judgment of Urim; Read (Exodus 28:30; Numbers 27:21; 1 Samuel 28:6)

(b) Who shall be our captain?

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

Joshua 24:29-30 And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, [being] an hundred and ten years old. ... And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah, which [is] in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash.


Judges 20:18 And the children of Israel arose, and went up to the house of God, and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the LORD said, Judah [shall go up] first.
Judges 20:28 And Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days,) saying, Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease? And the LORD said, Go up; for to morrow I will deliver them into thine hand.
Exodus 28:30 And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the LORD: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually.
Numbers 27:21 And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask [counsel] for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, [both] he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.
1 Samuel 22:9-10 Then answered Doeg the Edomite, which was set over the servants of Saul, and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. ... And he enquired of the LORD for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.
1 Samuel 23:9-10 And David knew that Saul secretly practised mischief against him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring hither the ephod. ... Then said David, O LORD God of Israel, thy servant hath certainly heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake.
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Ex 28:30. Nu 27:21. Jsh 24:29. Jg 20:18, 28. 1S 22:9; 23:9.

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