Jerusalem (Judges 1:8-10)

Verse 8 Then the sons of Judah fought against Jerusalem and captured it and struck it with the edge of the sword and set the city on fire. Judges are thirteen men raised up to deliver Israel from decline following the death of Joshua. Which accounted for their carrying Adonibezek. This they had done in the times of Joshua; for when the king of that place was taken and slain by Joshua, it seems that he and Israel went and fought against the city, and took that in which the tribe of Judah had a principal concern, that now from Bezel they went up to Jerusalem, and fought against it, and took it; and so others think, because only the children of Judah are mentioned, and not all Israel, who fought together in Joshua's time; nor is there any mention made of its being taken in his time, and yet it seems plain that it was inhabited in part by the children of Judah, Joshua; some therefore have thought that it was twice taken; that after Joshua had taken it, he and the children of Israel being employed in making conquests in other parts of the land, the Jebusites repossessed it, from whence they were now again in part driven, not wholly; and Josephus says, the lower part was taken, and all the inhabitants killed, but the upper part was hard to be taken, because of the strength of the walls, and the nature of the place: and smitten it with the edge of the sword; the inhabitants of it, so far as they got possession of it: and set the city on fire; some part of it only, for in some part of it dwelt the children of Judah, and in another part the Jebusites.

Verse 9 Afterward the sons of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites living in the hill country and in the Negev and in the lowland. In this deplorable weakness of Israel how noble was the conduct of the governors who volunteered to lead the people against their oppressors. Deborah's heart was filled with admiration as she thought of their patriotic devotion, and broke out into thanksgiving to Yahweh. After the taking of Bezek, and the king of it, having him to Jerusalem, where he died: they went down; from Jerusalem; which was on high ground: to fight against the Canaanites that dwelt in the mountain, and in the south, and in the valley; into which several parts the lot of the tribe of Judah was divided; in each of which they had cities, and some, as it seems, yet unsubdued, and in the hands of the Canaanites; of these several parts, and the cities in them. Most of the Jewish commentators interpret this of their wise men and Scribes, who were willing to teach the people the law and the commandments, even in times of trouble, and did not cease from doing it on that account, and therefore Deborah praises them for it; by them the great men of the nation, their nobles and rulers, who enacted good laws and statutes; or at least took care to see that the good laws they had were put in execution; and these had a share in the affections and good wishes of Deborah, and that chiefly for the following reason: that offered themselves willingly among the people.

Verse 10 So Judah went against the Canaanites who lived in Hebron (now the name of Hebron formerly was Kiriath-arba); and they struck Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai. Hebron was first taken by Joshua, and the inhabitants of it put to the sword; but while Joshua was employed in making other conquests, the Canaanites found ways and means of getting into the possession of it again; wherefore, when a grant of it was made to Caleb, he, with the assistance of the tribe of Judah, of which he was prince, regained it; wherefore what is recorded here is only a repetition of what was then done; unless it can be thought that this fact was there inserted by anticipation, or that there were two expeditions of the children of Judah against this place: now the name of Hebron, before was Kirjatharba; in the first of which Caleb, with the assistance of this tribe, drove out the three giants only, who afterwards got possession again, and in this put them to death, as follows: and they slew Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai; but what follows concerning their going from hence to Debir, and the offer of Caleb to give his daughter in marriage to whomsoever should take it, does not seem so well to agree with times after the death of Joshua; since it is highly probable that Caleb, who was contemporary with him and Eleazar, was now dead, and at least cannot well be thought to have a young daughter at this time undisposed of in marriage; wherefore these facts are only repeated upon observing Judah's having taken Jerusalem.

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