After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the LORD, “Which tribe should go first to attack the Canaanites?”
The LORD answered, “Judah, for I have given them victory over the land.”
The men of Judah said to their relatives from the tribe of Simeon, “Join with us to fight against the Canaanites living in the territory allotted to us. Then we will help you conquer your territory.” So the men of Simeon went with Judah.
When the men of Judah attacked, the LORD gave them victory over the Canaanites and Perizzites, and they killed 10,000 enemy warriors at the town of Bezek. While at Bezek they encountered King Adoni-bezek and fought against him, and the Canaanites and Perizzites were defeated. Adoni-bezek escaped, but the Israelites soon captured him and cut off his thumbs and big toes.
Adoni-bezek said, “I once had seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off, eating scraps from under my table. Now God has paid me back for what I did to them.” They took him to Jerusalem, and he died there.
The men of Judah attacked Jerusalem and captured it, killing all its people and setting the city on fire. Then they went down to fight the Canaanites living in the hill country, the Negev, and the western foothills. Judah marched against the Canaanites in Hebron (formerly called Kiriath-arba), defeating the forces of Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai.
From there they went to fight against the people living in the town of Debir (formerly called Kiriath-sepher). Caleb said, “I will give my daughter Acsah in marriage to the one who attacks and captures Kiriath-sepher.” Othniel, the son of Caleb’s younger brother, Kenaz, was the one who conquered it, so Acsah became Othniel’s wife.
When Acsah married Othniel, she urged him to ask her father for a field. As she got down off her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What’s the matter?”
She said, “Let me have another gift. You have already given me land in the Negev; now please give me springs of water, too.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.
When the tribe of Judah left Jericho—the city of palms—the Kenites, who were descendants of Moses’ father-in-law, traveled with them into the wilderness of Judah. They settled among the people there, near the town of Arad in the Negev.
Then Judah joined with Simeon to fight against the Canaanites living in Zephath, and they completely destroyed the town. So the town was named Hormah. In addition, Judah captured the towns of Gaza, Ashkelon, and Ekron, along with their surrounding territories.
The LORD was with the people of Judah, and they took possession of the hill country. But they failed to drive out the people living in the plains, who had iron chariots. The town of Hebron was given to Caleb as Moses had promised. And Caleb drove out the people living there, who were descendants of the three sons of Anak.
The tribe of Benjamin, however, failed to drive out the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem. So to this day the Jebusites live in Jerusalem among the people of Benjamin.
The descendants of Joseph attacked the town of Bethel, and the LORD was with them. They sent men to scout out Bethel (formerly known as Luz). They confronted a man coming out of the town and said to him, “Show us a way into the town, and we will have mercy on you.” So he showed them a way in, and they killed everyone in the town except that man and his family. Later the man moved to the land of the Hittites, where he built a town. He named it Luz, which is its name to this day.
The tribe of Manasseh failed to drive out the people living in Beth-shan, Taanach, Dor, Ibleam, Megiddo, and all their surrounding settlements, because the Canaanites were determined to stay in that region. When the Israelites grew stronger, they forced the Canaanites to work as slaves, but they never did drive them completely out of the land.
The tribe of Ephraim failed to drive out the Canaanites living in Gezer, so the Canaanites continued to live there among them.
The tribe of Zebulun failed to drive out the residents of Kitron and Nahalol, so the Canaanites continued to live among them. But the Canaanites were forced to work as slaves for the people of Zebulun.
The tribe of Asher failed to drive out the residents of Acco, Sidon, Ahlab, Aczib, Helbah, Aphik, and Rehob. Instead, the people of Asher moved in among the Canaanites, who controlled the land, for they failed to drive them out.
Likewise, the tribe of Naphtali failed to drive out the residents of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath. Instead, they moved in among the Canaanites, who controlled the land. Nevertheless, the people of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath were forced to work as slaves for the people of Naphtali.
As for the tribe of Dan, the Amorites forced them back into the hill country and would not let them come down into the plains. The Amorites were determined to stay in Mount Heres, Aijalon, and Shaalbim, but when the descendants of Joseph became stronger, they forced the Amorites to work as slaves. The boundary of the Amorites ran from Scorpion Pass to Sela and continued upward from there.