1 A time came after the death of Joshua when the People of Israel asked God, “Who will take the lead in going up against the Canaanites to fight them?”
2 And God said, “Judah will go. I’ve given the land to him.”
3 The men of Judah said to those of their brother Simeon, “Go up with us to our territory and we’ll fight the Canaanites. Then we’ll go with you to your territory.” And Simeon went with them.
4 So Judah went up. God gave them the Canaanites and the Perizzites. They defeated them at Bezek—ten military units!
5-7 They caught up with My-Master-Bezek there and fought him. They smashed the Canaanites and the Perizzites. My-Master-Bezek ran, but they gave chase and caught him. They cut off his thumbs and big toes. My-Master-Bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off used to crawl under my table, scavenging. Now God has done to me what I did to them.”
They brought him to Jerusalem and he died there.
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8-10 The people of Judah attacked and captured Jerusalem, subduing the city by sword and then sending it up in flames. After that they had gone down to fight the Canaanites who were living in the hill country, the Negev, and the foothills. Judah had gone on to the Canaanites who lived in Hebron (Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba) and brought Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai to their knees.
11-12 From there they had marched against the population of Debir (Debir used to be called Kiriath Sepher). Caleb had said, “Whoever attacks Kiriath Sepher and takes it, I’ll give my daughter Acsah to him as his wife.”
13 Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s brother, took it, so Caleb gave him his daughter Acsah as his wife.
14-15 When she arrived she got him
to ask for farmland from her father.
As she dismounted from her donkey
Caleb asked her, “What would you like?”
She said, “Give me a marriage gift.
You’ve given me desert land;
Now give me pools of water!”
And he gave her the upper and the lower pools.
* * *
16 The people of Hobab the Kenite, Moses’ relative, went up with the people of Judah from the City of Palms to the wilderness of Judah at the descent of Arad. They settled down there with the Amalekites.
17 The people of Judah went with their kin the Simeonites and struck the Canaanites who lived in Zephath. They carried out the holy curse and named the city Curse-town.
18-19 But Judah didn’t manage to capture Gaza, Ashkelon, and Ekron with their territories. God was certainly with Judah in that they took over the hill country. But they couldn’t oust the people on the plain because they had iron chariots.
20 They gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had directed. Caleb drove out the three sons of Anak.
21 But the people of Benjamin couldn’t get rid of the Jebusites living in Jerusalem. Benjaminites and Jebusites live side by side in Jerusalem to this day.
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22-26 The house of Joseph went up to attack Bethel. God was with them. Joseph sent out spies to look the place over. Bethel used to be known as Luz. The spies saw a man leaving the city and said to him, “Show us a way into the city and we’ll treat you well.” The man showed them a way in. They killed everyone in the city but the man and his family. The man went to Hittite country and built a city. He named it Luz; that’s its name to this day.
27-28 But Manasseh never managed to drive out Beth Shan, Taanach, Dor, Ibleam, and Megiddo with their territories. The Canaanites dug in their heels and wouldn’t budge. When Israel became stronger they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they never got rid of them.
29 Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer. The Canaanites stuck it out and lived there with them.
30 Nor did Zebulun drive out the Canaanites in Kitron or Nahalol. They kept living there, but they were put to forced labor.
31-32 Nor did Asher drive out the people of Acco, Sidon, Ahlab, Aczib, Helbah, Aphek, and Rehob. Asher went ahead and settled down with the Canaanites since they could not get rid of them.
33 Naphtali fared no better. They couldn’t drive out the people of Beth Shemesh or Beth Anath so they just moved in and lived with them. They did, though, put them to forced labor.
34-35 The Amorites pushed the people of Dan up into the hills and wouldn’t let them down on the plains. The Amorites stubbornly continued to live in Mount Heres, Aijalon, and Shaalbim. But when the house of Joseph got the upper hand, they were put to forced labor.
36 The Amorite border extended from Scorpions’ Pass and Sela upward.
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2 1-2 God’s angel went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you out of Egypt; I led you to the land that I promised to your fathers; and I said, I’ll never break my covenant with you—never! And you’re never to make a covenant with the people who live in this land. Tear down their altars! But you haven’t obeyed me! What’s this that you’re doing?
3 “So now I’m telling you that I won’t drive them out before you. They’ll trip you up and their gods will become a trap.”
4-5 When God’s angel had spoken these words to all the People of Israel, they cried out—oh! how they wept! They named the place Bokim (Weepers). And there they sacrificed to God.
* * *
6-9 After Joshua had dismissed them, the People of Israel went off to claim their allotted territories and take possession of the land. The people worshiped God throughout the lifetime of Joshua and the time of the leaders who survived him, leaders who had been in on all of God’s great work that he had done for Israel. Then Joshua son of Nun, the servant of God, died. He was 110 years old. They buried him in his allotted inheritance at Timnath Heres in the hills of Ephraim north of Mount Gaash.
10 Eventually that entire generation died and was buried. Then another generation grew up that didn’t know anything of God or the work he had done for Israel.
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11-15 The People of Israel did evil in God’s sight: they served Baal-gods; they deserted God, the God of their parents who had led them out of Egypt; they took up with other gods, gods of the peoples around them. They actually worshiped them! And oh, how they angered God as they worshiped god Baal and goddess Astarte! God’s anger was hot against Israel: He handed them off to plunderers who stripped them; he sold them cheap to enemies on all sides. They were helpless before their enemies. Every time they walked out the door God was with them—but for evil, just as God had said, just as he had sworn he would do. They were in a bad way.
16-17 But then God raised up judges who saved them from their plunderers. But they wouldn’t listen to their judges; they prostituted themselves to other gods—worshiped them! They lost no time leaving the road walked by their parents, the road of obedience to God’s commands. They refused to have anything to do with it.
18-19 When God was setting up judges for them, he would be right there with the judge: He would save them from their enemies’ oppression as long as the judge was alive, for God was moved to compassion when he heard their groaning because of those who afflicted and beat them. But when the judge died, the people went right back to their old ways—but even worse than their parents!—running after other gods, serving and worshiping them. Stubborn as mules, they didn’t drop a single evil practice.
20-22 And God’s anger blazed against Israel. He said, “Because these people have thrown out my covenant that I commanded their parents and haven’t listened to me, I’m not driving out one more person from the nations that Joshua left behind when he died. I’ll use them to test Israel and see whether they stay on God’s road and walk down it as their parents did.”
23 That’s why God let those nations remain. He didn’t drive them out or let Joshua get rid of them.