Judges 1:10: The Mountain Campaign

Verse 10:[1] And Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron: (now the name of Hebron before was [Josh. 14:15; 15:13, 14] Kirjath-arba:) and they slew Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai.

[And proceeding, etc., וַיֵּלֶךְ וגו״] And he went, etc. (Montanus, similarly Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Syriac). These things were narrated and exhibited in Joshua 15:14, etc.; for it is the same war, and the same expedition (Menochius, Cajetan in Bonfrerius, similarly Montanus’ Commentary). Now, they are repeated here, so that we might understand that it was not needful for the city of Hebron to be besieged by Judah, since that city was occupied while Joshua was yet living (Martyr). Therefore, they translate it, he had proceeded, etc. (Junius and Tremellius), he had smitten, etc. (Grotius, Junius and Tremellius), under the leadership of Caleb, while Joshua was living, Joshua 15:14. Thus immediately, he departed (Grotius). It is the sense of this passage that it ought to appear strange to no one, if Judah with Simeon so swiftly and easily conquered Bezek, Jerusalem, and other cities, since he previously did the like with the help of Caleb and Othniel (Montanus’ Commentary). Others otherwise: I think that these were diverse expeditions, and are thus to be referred, the former to Joshua, Joshua 10; 11, and the latter to Caleb, Joshua 15, although there by way of anticipation: the former is ascribed to Joshua and all Israel, the latter to Caleb and the Tribe of Judah. It is added that the order of the matters conducted requires this (Bonfrerius). I think that Hebron was first taken by Joshua, Joshua 10:36, 37, and that the giants were driven from there, Joshua 11:21, 22; that then it was delivered into the possession of Caleb, Joshua 14:13; 15:13, which nevertheless he himself never conquered; but under the leadership and auspices of His Tribe he drove out the giants from it again, whither they had found refuge again, having been driven out at the first by Joshua: and that this expedition is here described (Malvenda). Joshua had taken Hebron and Debir in the first or second year of the wars, Joshua 10:36, etc. Afterwards, about the seventh year of the wars, he drives out from the places the Canaanites that had in the meantime gathered there, Joshua 11:21. And, when he begins to distribute the land, he allots Hebron to Caleb, as in Joshua 14. Ten or twelve years have now elapsed after that allotting; with Caleb in the meantime either occupied with public business, concerning the division of the land, and the placement of each Tribe in its own possession; or (if he be left to his own strength) being unequal to such adversaries, until the entire Tribe of Judah under his auspices should make war, and conquer those cities (Lightfoot). Others otherwise: These matters were conducted after the death of Joshua, as it is evident from verse 1; but they are set down in Joshua 15 (likewise Joshua 10 and 11) by way of anticipation; since the cities of Judah are treated in Joshua 15, and the eminent cities in Joshua 10 and 11. And these things are imputed to Joshua, because they were done as if under his leadership, that is, just a little after him (Tostatus).

[And he smote Sheshai, etc.] Concerning these three see Joshua 15:14 (Malvenda), and Numbers 13:23 (Junius). See what things we have on Joshua 14:12 (Bonfrerius).

Judah went, under the conduct of Caleb, as it is recorded, Joshua 15:14, etc.; for that relation, and this here following, are doubtless one and the same expedition and war, as appears by all the circumstances; and it is mentioned either there by anticipation, or here by repetition. Of this and the following verses, see the notes there.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֵּ֣לֶךְ יְהוּדָ֗ה אֶל־הַֽכְּנַעֲנִי֙ הַיּוֹשֵׁ֣ב בְּחֶבְר֔וֹן וְשֵׁם־חֶבְר֥וֹן לְפָנִ֖ים קִרְיַ֣ת אַרְבַּ֑ע וַיַּכּ֛וּ אֶת־שֵׁשַׁ֥י וְאֶת־אֲחִימַ֖ן וְאֶת־תַּלְמָֽי׃

2 thoughts on “Judges 1:10: The Mountain Campaign

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘We have here a further account of that glorious and successful campaign which Judah and Simeon made. 1. The lot of Judah was pretty well cleared of the Canaanites, yet not thoroughly. Those that dwelt in the mountain (the mountains that were round about Jerusalem) were driven out (Judges 1:9,19), but those in the valley kept their ground against them, having chariots of iron, such as we read of, Joshua 17:16…. 2. Caleb was put in possession of Hebron, which, though given him by Joshua ten or twelve years before (as Dr. Lightfoot computes), yet being employed in public service, for the settling of the tribes, which he preferred before his own private interests, it seems he did not till now make himself master of; so well content was that good man to serve others, while he left himself to be served last; few are likeminded, for all seek their own, Philippians 2:20-21. Yet now the men of Judah all came in to his assistance for the reducing of Hebron (Judges 1:10), slew the sons of Anak, and put him in possession of it, Judges 1:20. They gave Hebron unto Caleb. ‘

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