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Judges 1 Living Bible (TLB)

After Joshua died, the nation of Israel went to the Lord to receive his instructions.

“Which of our tribes should be the first to go to war against the Canaanites?” they inquired.

God’s answer came, “Judah. And I will give them a great victory.”

The leaders of the tribe of Judah, however, asked help from the tribe of Simeon. “Join us in clearing out the people living in the territory allotted to us,” they said, “and then we will help you conquer yours.” So the army of Simeon went with the army of Judah. 4-6 And the Lord helped them defeat the Canaanites and Perizzites, so that ten thousand of the enemy were slain at Bezek. King Adoni-bezek escaped, but the Israeli army soon captured him and cut off his thumbs and big toes.

“I have treated seventy kings in this same manner and have fed them the scraps under my table!” King Adoni-bezek said. “Now God has paid me back.” He was taken to Jerusalem and died there.

(Judah had conquered Jerusalem and massacred its people, setting the city on fire.) Afterward the army of Judah fought the Canaanites in the hill country and in the Negeb, as well as on the coastal plains. 10 Then Judah marched against the Canaanites in Hebron (formerly called Kiriath-arba), destroying the cities of Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai. 11 Later they attacked the city of Debir (formerly called Kiriath-sepher).

12 “Who will lead the attack against Debir?” Caleb challenged them. “Whoever conquers it shall have my daughter Achsah as his wife!”

13 Caleb’s nephew, Othniel, son of his younger brother Kenaz, volunteered to lead the attack; and he conquered the city and won Achsah as his bride. 14 As they were leaving for their new home,[a] she urged him to ask her father for an additional* piece of land. She dismounted from her donkey to speak to Caleb about it.

“What do you wish?” he asked.

15 And she replied, “You have been kind enough to give me land in the Negeb, but please give us springs of water too.”

So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.

16 When the tribe of Judah moved into its new land in the Negeb Desert south of Arad, the descendants of Moses’ father-in-law—members of the Kenite tribe—accompanied them. They left their homes in Jericho, “The City of Palm Trees,” and the two tribes lived together after that. 17 Afterwards the army of Judah joined Simeon’s, and they fought the Canaanites at the city of Zephath and massacred all its people. So now the city is named Hormah (meaning, “massacred”). 18 The army of Judah also conquered the cities of Gaza, Ashkelon, and Ekron, with their surrounding villages. 19 The Lord helped the tribe of Judah exterminate the people of the hill country, though they failed in their attempt to conquer the people of the valley, who had iron chariots.

20 The city of Hebron was given to Caleb as the Lord had promised; so Caleb drove out the inhabitants of the city; they were descendants of the three sons of Anak.

21 The tribe of Benjamin failed to exterminate the Jebusites living in their part of the city of Jerusalem, so they still live there today, mingled with the Israelis.

22-23 As for the tribe of Joseph, they attacked the city of Bethel, formerly known as Luz, and the Lord was with them. First they sent scouts, 24 who captured a man coming out of the city. They offered to spare his life and that of his family if he would show them the entrance passage through the wall.[b] 25 So he showed them how to get in, and they massacred the entire population except for this man and his family. 26 Later the man moved to Syria and founded a city there, naming it Luz, too, as it is still known today.

27 The tribe of Manasseh failed to drive out the people living in Beth-shean, Taanach, Dor, Ibleam, Megiddo, with their surrounding towns; so the Canaanites stayed there. 28 In later years when the Israelis were stronger, they put the Canaanites to work as slaves, but never did force them to leave the country. 29 This was also true of the Canaanites living in Gezer; they still live among the tribe of Ephraim.

30 And the tribe of Zebulun did not massacre the people of Kitron or Nahalol, but made them their slaves; 31-32 nor did the tribe of Asher drive out the residents of Acco, Sidon, Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik, or Rehob; so the Israelis still live among the Canaanites, who were the original people of that land. 33 And the tribe of Naphtali did not drive out the people of Beth-shemesh or of Beth-anath, so these people continue to live among them as servants.

34 As for the tribe of Dan, the Amorites forced them into the hill country and wouldn’t let them come down into the valley; 35 but when the Amorites later spread into Mount Heres, Aijalon, and Shaalbim, the tribe of Joseph conquered them and made them their slaves. 36 The boundary of the Amorites begins at the ascent of Scorpion Pass, runs to a spot called The Rock, and continues upward from there.


  1. Judges 1:14 As they were leaving for their new home, literally, “When she came to him.” for an additional, implied.
  2. Judges 1:24 the entrance passage through the wall, literally, “the way into the city.” Obviously, this does not mean via the city gates.
Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Judges 1 New International Version (NIV)

Israel Fights the Remaining Canaanites

After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the Lord, “Who of us is to go up first to fight against the Canaanites?

The Lord answered, “Judah shall go up; I have given the land into their hands.

The men of Judah then said to the Simeonites their fellow Israelites, “Come up with us into the territory allotted to us, to fight against the Canaanites. We in turn will go with you into yours.” So the Simeonites went with them.

When Judah attacked, the Lord gave the Canaanites and Perizzites into their hands, and they struck down ten thousand men at Bezek. It was there that they found Adoni-Bezek and fought against him, putting to rout the Canaanites and Perizzites. Adoni-Bezek fled, but they chased him and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and big toes.

Then Adoni-Bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off have picked up scraps under my table. Now God has paid me back for what I did to them.” They brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.

The men of Judah attacked Jerusalem also and took it. They put the city to the sword and set it on fire.

After that, Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites living in the hill country, the Negev and the western foothills. 10 They advanced against the Canaanites living in Hebron (formerly called Kiriath Arba) and defeated Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai. 11 From there they advanced against the people living in Debir (formerly called Kiriath Sepher).

12 And Caleb said, “I will give my daughter Aksah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher.” 13 Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it; so Caleb gave his daughter Aksah to him in marriage.

14 One day when she came to Othniel, she urged him[a] to ask her father for a field. When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What can I do for you?”

15 She replied, “Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.

16 The descendants of Moses’ father-in-law, the Kenite, went up from the City of Palms[b] with the people of Judah to live among the inhabitants of the Desert of Judah in the Negev near Arad.

17 Then the men of Judah went with the Simeonites their fellow Israelites and attacked the Canaanites living in Zephath, and they totally destroyed[c] the city. Therefore it was called Hormah.[d] 18 Judah also took[e] Gaza, Ashkelon and Ekron—each city with its territory.

19 The Lord was with the men of Judah. They took possession of the hill country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had chariots fitted with iron. 20 As Moses had promised, Hebron was given to Caleb, who drove from it the three sons of Anak. 21 The Benjamites, however, did not drive out the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the Benjamites.

22 Now the tribes of Joseph attacked Bethel, and the Lord was with them. 23 When they sent men to spy out Bethel (formerly called Luz), 24 the spies saw a man coming out of the city and they said to him, “Show us how to get into the city and we will see that you are treated well. 25 So he showed them, and they put the city to the sword but spared the man and his whole family. 26 He then went to the land of the Hittites, where he built a city and called it Luz, which is its name to this day.

27 But Manasseh did not drive out the people of Beth Shan or Taanach or Dor or Ibleam or Megiddo and their surrounding settlements, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that land. 28 When Israel became strong, they pressed the Canaanites into forced labor but never drove them out completely. 29 Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites living in Gezer, but the Canaanites continued to live there among them. 30 Neither did Zebulun drive out the Canaanites living in Kitron or Nahalol, so these Canaanites lived among them, but Zebulun did subject them to forced labor. 31 Nor did Asher drive out those living in Akko or Sidon or Ahlab or Akzib or Helbah or Aphek or Rehob. 32 The Asherites lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land because they did not drive them out. 33 Neither did Naphtali drive out those living in Beth Shemesh or Beth Anath; but the Naphtalites too lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land, and those living in Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath became forced laborers for them. 34 The Amorites confined the Danites to the hill country, not allowing them to come down into the plain. 35 And the Amorites were determined also to hold out in Mount Heres, Aijalon and Shaalbim, but when the power of the tribes of Joseph increased, they too were pressed into forced labor. 36 The boundary of the Amorites was from Scorpion Pass to Sela and beyond.


  1. Judges 1:14 Hebrew; Septuagint and Vulgate Othniel, he urged her
  2. Judges 1:16 That is, Jericho
  3. Judges 1:17 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them.
  4. Judges 1:17 Hormah means destruction.
  5. Judges 1:18 Hebrew; Septuagint Judah did not take
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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