Israel captures only part of the land
The tribes of Judah and Simeon fight the Canaanites
1After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the Lord, “Which of our tribes should attack the Canaanites first?”
2“Judah!” the Lord answered. “I'll help them take the land.”
3The people of Judah went to their relatives, the Simeon tribe, and said, “Canaanites live in the land God gave us. Help us fight them, and we will help you.”
Troops from Simeon came to help Judah. 4-5Together they attacked an army of ten thousand Canaanites and Perizzites at Bezek, and the Lord helped Judah defeat them. During the battle, Judah's army found out where the king of Bezek#1.4,5 king of Bezek: Or “Adoni-Bezek”. was, and they attacked there. 6Bezek tried to escape, but soldiers from Judah caught him. They cut off his thumbs and big toes, 7and he said, “I've cut off the thumbs and big toes of seventy kings and made those kings crawl around under my table for scraps of food. Now God is paying me back.”
The army of Judah took the king of Bezek along with them to Jerusalem, where he died. 8They attacked Jerusalem,#1.8 Jerusalem: This probably refers to towns and villages belonging to Jerusalem but lying in Judah's territory south of the city wall. Jerusalem itself was just inside Benjamin's territory, but was not captured by Israel at this time (see verse 21; Joshua 15.5–9; 18.15–18). captured it, killed everyone who lived there, and then burnt it to the ground.
9Judah's army fought the Canaanites who lived in the hill country, the Southern Desert, and the foothills to the west. 10After that, they attacked the Canaanites who lived at Hebron, defeating the three clans called#1.10 clans called: Or “warriors”. Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai. At that time, Hebron was called Kiriath-Arba.
11From Hebron, Judah's army went to attack Debir, which at that time was called Kiriath-Sepher. 12Caleb#1.12 Caleb: One of the leaders of Judah; see Joshua 14.6–14 and Numbers 13.6,30; 14.6,10,20–24. For verses 12–15, see Joshua 15.13–19. told his troops, “The man who captures Kiriath-Sepher can marry my daughter Achsah.”
13Caleb's nephew Othniel captured Kiriath-Sepher, so Caleb let him marry Achsah. Othniel was the son of Caleb's younger brother Kenaz.#1.13 Othniel was the son of … Kenaz: Or “Othniel and Caleb both belonged to the Kenaz clan, but Othniel was younger than Caleb.” 14Straight after the wedding, Achsah started telling Othniel that he#1.14 Achsah … Othniel … he: Hebrew; two ancient translations “Othniel … Achsah … she”. ought to ask her father for a field. She went to see her father, and while she was getting down from#1.14 getting down from: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. her donkey, Caleb asked, “What's bothering you?”
15She answered, “I need your help. The land you gave me is in the Southern Desert, so please give me some spring-fed ponds for a water supply.”
Caleb gave her a couple of small ponds named Higher Pond and Lower Pond.#1.15 spring-fed ponds … small ponds … Higher Pond and Lower Pond: Or “wells … wells … Higher Well and Lower Well.”
16The people who belonged to the Kenite clan were the descendants of the father-in-law of Moses. They left Jericho#1.16 Jericho: The Hebrew text has “Town of Palm Trees”, another name for Jericho. with the people of Judah and settled near Arad in the Southern Desert of Judah not far from the Amalekites.#1.16 not far … Amalekites: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
17Judah's army helped Simeon's army attack the Canaanites who lived at Zephath. They completely destroyed#1.17 completely destroyed: The Hebrew word means that the town was given completely to the Lord, and since it could not be used for normal purposes any more, it had to be destroyed. the town and renamed it Hormah.#1.17 Hormah: In Hebrew “Hormah” sounds like “completely destroyed”.
18-19The Lord helped the army of Judah capture Gaza, Ashkelon, Ekron, and the land near those towns. They also took the hill country. But the people who lived in the valleys had iron chariots, so Judah was not able to make them leave or to take their land.
20 # Josh 15.1314 The tribe of Judah gave the town of Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had told them to do. Caleb defeated the three Anakim#1.20 Anakim: Perhaps a group of very large people that lived in Palestine before the Israelites (see Numbers 13.33 and Deuteronomy 2.10,11,20,21). clans#1.20 clans: See the note at 1.10. and took over the town.
The Benjamin tribe does not capture Jerusalem
21 # Josh 15.632 Sam 5.61 Chron 11.4 The Jebusites were living in Jerusalem, and the Benjamin tribe did not defeat them or capture the town. That's why Jebusites still live in Jerusalem along with the people of Benjamin.
The Ephraim and Manasseh tribes capture Bethel
22-23The Ephraim and Manasseh tribes#1.22,23 The Ephraim and Manasseh tribes: The Hebrew text has “The Joseph family”, which was divided into these two tribes named after Joseph's sons. were getting ready to attack Bethel, which at that time was called Luz. And the Lord helped them when they sent spies to find out as much as they could about Bethel. 24While the spies were watching the town, a man came out, and they told him, “If you show us how our army can get into the town,#1.24 If you … town: Sometimes there were small doors in the town wall that could be opened from the inside even when the main town gates were shut and locked. we will make sure that you aren't harmed.” 25The man showed them, and the two Israelite tribes attacked Bethel, killing everyone except the man and his family. The two tribes made the man and his family leave, 26so they went to the land of the Hittites,#1.26 land of the Hittites: The Hittites had an empire centred in what is now Turkey. At one time their empire reached south into Syria, north of Israel. where he built a town. He named the town Luz, and that is still its name.
Israel does not get rid of all the Canaanites
27-28 # Josh 17.11–13 Canaanites lived in the towns of Beth-Shan, Taanach, Dor, Ibleam, Megiddo, and all the villages nearby. The Canaanites were determined to stay, and the Manasseh tribe never did get rid of them. But later on, when the Israelites grew more powerful, they made slaves of the Canaanites.
29 # Josh 16.10 The Ephraim tribe did not get rid of the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites lived there with Israelites all around them.
30The Zebulun tribe did not get rid of the Canaanites who lived in Kitron and Nahalol, and the Canaanites stayed there with Israelites around them. But the people of Zebulun did force the Canaanites into slave labour.
31-32The Asher tribe did not get rid of the Canaanites who lived in Acco, Sidon, Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik, and Rehob, and the Asher tribe lived with Canaanites all around them.
33The Naphtali tribe did not get rid of the Canaanites who lived in Beth-Shemesh and Beth-Anath, but they did force the Canaanites into slave labour. The Naphtali tribe lived with Canaanites around them.
34The Amorites#1.34 Amorites: Used in the general sense of nations that lived in Canaan before the Israelites. were strong enough to keep the tribe of Dan from settling in the valleys, so Dan had to stay in the hill country.
35The Amorites on Mount Heres and in Aijalon and Shaalbim were also determined to stay. Later on, as Ephraim and Manasseh grew more powerful, they forced those Amorites into slave labour.
The Amorite-Edomite border
36The old Amorite-Edomite border used to go from Sela through Scorpion Pass#1.36 Scorpion Pass: Or “Akrabbim Pass”. into the hill country.#1.36 country: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 36.