[Shofetim 1 Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)]

Yahweh's judges (450 years)

1 Now after the death of Joshua [mot Yehoshua] it came to pass, that the children of Israel [Bnei Yisroel] asked Yahweh, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites [Kena'ani] first, to fight against them?

 notes from a study by Bro Jim Cowie 

[Tempting Yahweh in their unbelief : Where was their faith after all the great wonders and signs committed on their behalf!

'For us' - they wanted someone else to do the work - which Yahweh had substantially already completed before their eyes by destroying many enemies and strong peoples.

'first, to fight against them' - as though Yahweh had not already destroyed the greatest obstacles (the surrounding strong nations) preventing them attaining their inheritance.

The faithless children of Israel should not be asking this question. They had forgotten the often repeated promise of Yahweh 'I will send an angel before thee' - emphatic and repeated promises of deliverance see Ex 23. Nothing failed that he said he would do - yet here they demonstrated their lack of trust after all the great wonders He had done on their behalf including so recently under Joshua].

The Canaanites were fearful and disorganised. They were all that stood between Israel and the consolidation of their inheritance.

What is the Canaanite that could prevent us obtaining our promised inheritance. We as individuals must kill our own Canaanites in order to enter that future rest. Canaan means to bow the knee ie humiliation. The body of our humiliation UNGOVERNED stands between us and salvation (Phill 3:21)

Yahweh has done everything he can for our salvation through the work of his son.

Yahoshua - the numerical value of this name is 888. Eight being the number of salvation. Excluding the apocalypse, the name Yahoshua (Yahweh's salvation) occurs 888 times in the New Testament.

(The apocalypse is omitted because it was given personally to John and the enlightened ecclesia)

5 And they found Adoni-Bezek in Bezek: and they fought against him, and they slew the Canaanites and the Perizzites [struck down the Kena'ani and the Perizzi.].

Adonibezek means lord of lightning. As a chief Canaanite he stood for the sophistry of the serpent thinking - one thing is quicker than lightning - the thought to sin!

6 [But Adoni-Bezek fled; and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his big toes]. 

Didn't kill him, as commanded. Apostacy by Judah forshadowed Judaism (Judah-ism) which centuries later corrupted the early apostolic community.

7 And Adoni-Bezek said, 70 kings [melachim], having their thumbs and their great [big] toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table [picked up their scraps under my shulchan]: as I have done, so Elohim hath requited me. And they brought him to Jerusalem [Yerushalayim], and there he died.

Adonibezek had mutilated 70 kings and now believed Elohim was punishing him according to his own deeds. This was not the case. It was, rather, Judah's apostacy allowin him to live.

See Lev 8:23,24. The priests were consecrated - thumb indicating work, toe indicating walk. The ear for the mind. For Adonibezek, the great toes and thumbs were cut off but the carnal mind was left intact - a fatal flaw in Judah's judgement...failing to slay every breathing thing lying in the way to the promised kingdom.

The carnal mind must be suppressed by the power of the word. Judaism looked to external compliance while failing to purify the heart within. This is analogous to performing ecclesial functions in a perfunctory manner while the heart remains uncircumcised.

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 [Yehudah] went against the Canaanites [Kena'ani] that dwelt in Hebron [Chevron]: (now the name of [Chevron] before was Kirjatharba [Kiryat-Arba]:) and they [Caleb and his men - Josh 15: 13,14] slew [struck down] Sheshai, and Ahiman [Achiman], and Talmai [Three sons of Anak the giant Num 13: 22]

...not only did Caleb drive them out, but he was 85 years old when he did so - Josh14. So here in a chapter about how all the tribes lacked the faith and the courage and the determination to drive out the canaanite, the one outstanding example was an old man still full of faith in the promises, and who all his life had fully followed Yahweh as the record six times says of Caleb.

Bro Roger Lewis

Kirjatharba means The city of the Four (giants). Arba the father was already dead. These three giants slain (by Caleb v20 of the tribe of Judah) were descendents of Anakim (Josh 14:12-15).

There are 3 giants to be overcome in our lives - the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. These stand in the way of our inheritance. Caleb slew the 3 giants of sinful flesh with the sword of the spirit in obedience to Yahweh.

The name Kirjatharba answering to four giants of the flesh was changed to Hebron meaning fellowship. Caleb found fellowship with Yahweh in his faithful actions to destroy sin that Yahweh's law might live among his people.

11 And from thence he [Caleb] went against the inhabitants of Debir: and the name of Debir before was Kirjathsepher:

Debir lay approximately 13 kilometers south west of Hebron, but still high up on the Judean plateau.

And just as it was a change of name, when the Canaanite city of Kirjatharba became the Hebrew city of Hebron [Gen 23: 2], shown that the Canaanite city of Kirjathsepher would be given a new name to reflect its new status.

The Canaanite Sefer means city of writing or city of records. Perhaps even booktown.

And what that name suggests is that the Canaanite Sefer was a university city of Canaanite learning and Canaanite instruction, but its conquest would lead to a change of its name.

And Debir comes from the Hebrew word Gurbard, which is the primary Hebrew root for word. Debir would be the place of the word. It was an indication that this city in the future would be a place now for teaching the word of God.

Bro Roger Lewis

12 And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjathsepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife.

Caleb still had both the physical strength and the spiritual courage to fight the battles of YAH. So there was no impediment to prevent Caleb superintending the capture of Debir.

But he decided not to lead this battle, not because of his inability, but because he had other objectives in mind and those objectives concerned his daughter.

Achsah means "anklet" and it comes from the Hebrew orcas which means to shake or rattle bangles. And that word is translated in Isaiah 3: 16 that they made a tinkling with their feet and the word tinkling is the word from which this word "anklet" comes from and the name "Achsah". We recall the feet of the high priest made a musical sound because of the bells sewn into the hem of his garments which rang when he ministered in the sanctuary.

The name of Caleb's daughter suggested something similar because like her father, she was a woman of action. You could always hear Achsah...The music of her feet proclaimed her activity. And it's this woman that's going to be offered as a result of this taking of Kirjathsepher.

In biblical times, there were two parts of the typical dowry which involved the making of a marriage. The first part was the mohá which was an amount to be paid by the groom to the bride's father. It was normally paid as a form of money but not always.

Jacob paid a mohá - labour for the marriage of Leah and Rachel. He gave 14 years of menial service as a mohá. But there could also be a dowry of either land or money which was given to the bride from her father which she then brought into the marriage.

We've got an example of that in 1 Kings 9: 16 - Pharaoh took the city of Deber and gave it as a shulukim, a dowry to his daughter when she married Solomon.

In the story in Judges 1, I think we've got both, because the town of Debir was the mohá which Othniel had to pay to Caleb. But Caleb in turn then gave the city as a dowry to his daughter.

And as we shall discuss the south land that she refers to in verse 15, we believe is a reference to this shulukim that her father had in fact given her of the city of Deber.

So Caleb, as far as Othniel was concerned, Caleb had set the mohá very high - "He, that smiteth and taketh Kirjathsepher"

He knew that only a certain man of exceptional ability would be able to win his daughter by meeting the price of the mohá which he had imposed.

Bro Roger Lewis

16 And the children of the Kenite, Moses' father in law, went up out of the city of palm trees [Jericho] 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.

This is the beginning of the indications throughout the record that Hobab and a group of Kenites-probably the whole community-did accompany, or finally join, Israel. It would appear therefore that some of them, led by Hobab, stayed with Israel all through the terrible forty years in the wilderness-a remarkable token of faithfulness and friendship.

We learn here that after the subduing of the Canaanite nations by Israel, the Kenites went from the vicinity of Jericho to the southern wilderness of Judah, near the Dead Sea. Apparently they stayed in the Jericho area during the period of Joshua's conquests. This would be natural and logical, and in keeping with their later history. It was not their war, nor their land. They were close and friendly associates, but not actually of Israel.

Throughout the record they appear in a rather unique position of dwelling among and at peace with various nations, though those nations were natural enemies.

We met them first with the nations of Canaan. Then with the Midianites. Now they are with Israel. Later we find them with both Amalek in the south and with the northern Canaanites-not allies, but apparently at peace and unmolested.

There is much food for thought here. They seem to have been a different kind of people, living on a different plane, with different inter-ests, seeking little in this life, bothering no one, envying no one, at peace among warring elements-like God's people today.

Bro Growcott - BYT 2. 4

The city of palm trees [Jericho]

Jericho was the first point of entrance into the land. The people and city of Jericho were wiped out by divine decree in the first strike of Israel against the Canaanites. With the inhabitants gone, and the area well suited for flocks, this was the natural place for the Kenites to stay while Israel was subduing the land. The main Israelite camp was very close by, at Gilgal.

None of this story is actually explained. We have to piece it together. But this is almost inevitably the place the Kenites would temporarily wait, as we are told they did, until they could go into the open desert area of the land more suited to their way of life. Consequently, when the tribes were settled in their inheritances, the Kenites moved to the very southern extremity of Judah, south of Arad (which was about twenty miles south of Hebron).

They may have particularly chosen to be with Judah, but it is more likely they chose this area because it abutted the open desert and suited their way of life. It was the only place in the land of this nature.

Their actual affinity may have been (through Moses' family and their own inclinations) more with Levi than Judah. In one later reference some Kenites are spoken of as scribes-a Levitical occupation. There were Levitical cities nearby, and not only Levitical cities in general, but of the family of Aaron and Moses (Jdgs. 21:10-16).

This is the area in which the priest Zacharias and his wife Elisabeth lived in New Testament times.

Bro Growcott - BYT 2. 4


19 And Yahweh 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.

...how was it that Judah, having Yahweh with them, was unable to cope with the Canaanitish charioteers?

The answer is to be drawn from the fact illustrated at every stage of Israel's history, that though God was in their midst, His co operation was dependent upon their compliance with His pleasure.

When they lacked faith, doubted His word, or neglected His commandments, evil befel them, although He was in their midst. Thus, the first invasion of the Land of Promise was a failure, though Yahweh was in the camp (Num. 14: 40-45), because the congregation had not believed His word in the first instance, but had refused to go up to possess the land on account of the discouraging report of the spies, and now went up in opposition to instructions.

Again, Israel's attack upon Ai was repulsed, though God was with Israel, because there had been secret trespass in the congregation. The cause of Judah's powerlessness against the chariots of iron probably lay in his fright thereat; faith in Yahweh quailing in the presence of the ironclads. But, independently of this, of which there may be some doubt, a distinct cause of weakness appears in the incompleteness with which Judah and the other tribes carried out the divine instructions as to how they were to treat the subject nations. We learn from the very same chapter (verse 21) that

"the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem."

"Neither (verse 27) did Manasseh drive out the inhabitants of Bethshean and her towns, nor Zanach and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Dor and her towns. . . It came to pass that when Israel was strong that they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not drive them out."

So also we read of Ephraim (verse 29), Zebulon (30), Asher (31), Naphtali (33), &c. God's displeasure at this is thus declared in the next chapter: I have made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you into the land which I sware unto your fathers, and said,

"I will never break my covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land: ye shall throw down their altars, but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you: but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you" (Jud 2:1-3).

Herein we perceive the cause of Judah's powerlessness, though Yahweh was with them. They were not working out the subjugation of the land in accordance with the commandments, and therefore Judah, though wishful, "could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley," who defended themselves in chariots of iron. These inhabitants were left as a thorn.

The Christadelphian, Jan 1898