Judges 1:22-26: There Once Was a Man from Luz…

Verse 22:[1] And the house of Joseph, they also went up against Beth-el: (Judg. 1:19) and the LORD was with them.

The house of Joseph, that is, the tribe of Ephraim, as appears from their opposition to the tribe of Manasseh, Judges 1:27.


Verse 23:[2] And the house of Joseph (Josh. 2:1; 7:2; Judg. 18:2) sent to descry Beth-el. (Now the name of the city before was [Gen. 28:19] Luz.)

[Whey they were besieging the city; that is, when they had secretly arrived, so that they might besiege (Bonfrerius): וַיָּתִ֥ירוּ בֵית־יוֹסֵ֖ף בְּבֵֽית־אֵ֑ל] And they, the house of Joseph, caused (or took care [Junius and Tremellius]) to be searched out in Bethel (Montanus) (unto/against Bethel [Junius and Tremellius, Munster, Tigurinus, Pagnine). They appointed spies against Bethel (Tigurinus Notes[3]). And they kept watch near Beth-el (Syriac).


Verse 24:[4] And the spies saw a man come forth out of the city, and they said unto him, Shew us, we pray thee, the entrance into the city, and (Josh. 2:12, 14) we will shew thee mercy.

[Show to us the entrance of the city (thus Montanus, Munster, similarly the Septuagint, Junius and Tremellius, Pagnine), מְב֣וֹא הָעִ֔יר] The approach of the city (Syriac, Arabic), or, to this city (Tigurinus), that is, In which part that city might be able more easily to be assaulted and approached (Vatablus): understand, on account of the walls being lower or broken (Lapide, Bonfrerius); or, on account of some part of the city being less fortified. Perhaps the Ephraimites came at the earliest dawn, when the gates did not stand open; or a forcible entry through the gates could cost them too dearly: therefore, they seek whether they might be able to enter into the city secretly in some way (Bonfrerius).

The entrance into the city; on which side it is weakest, that we may best invade and take it.

[We will do mercy with thee[5]] It is a Hebraism: we will compensate with this kindness (Vatablus). We will give thee thy life (Lapide). Objection: But God had commanded them to cut off all the Canaanites. Response: The Laws of God are not so rigid that they are not able to be bent somewhat by equity; as it is evident from the Gibeonites[6] (Martyr). They were able to enter into an agreement with them concerning life, 1. If they be converted to the worship of the true God. 2. If they were willing to withdraw their habitation outside of Canaan, as was here done (Bonfrerius). For this only had God prohibited, lest they should remain among them, and infect them with their vices. 3. On account of some kindness; hence Rahab was spared for relieving the spies[7] (Lapide).


Verse 25:[8] And when he shewed them the entrance into the city, they smote the city with the edge of the sword; but they let go the man and all his family.

[When he had shown them] Question: Whether he acted rightly? Response: It is not so, that we are solicitous concerning the deed of a Heathen man (Bonfrerius). Both the Israelites were able rightly to make use of the help of this man, and the man himself did not sin at all, if he believed the well-known decree of God concerning those peoples. See Joshua 2:1, etc.; Judges 4:17, etc. (Grotius). The will of God concerning the destruction of the Canaanites was sufficiently evident from the many wonders wrought; neither were the very Canaanites able to be ignorant of this. Now, in that case it was lawful for him and for Rahab to betray their native country (Bonfrerius).

[They sent away (thus the Septuagint, Syriac, Montanus, Junius and Tremellius), שִׁלֵּחוּ] They preserved (Jonathan); they spared (Arabic).

And all his family: Together with his estate, as the following verse manifests.


Verse 26:[9] And the man went into the land of the Hittites, and built a city, and called the name thereof Luz: which is the name thereof unto this day.

[And he departed unto the land of Hetthim (thus the Septuagint, Pagnine, Montanus)] That is, Cyprus[10] (Procopius[11] in Lapide). For Cyprus is called Chittim in Isaiah 23:1. But there it is כִּתִּים/Kittim; here it is חִתִּים/Hittim (Lapide, Bonfrerius). Into the land of the Hittites (Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic, Munster, Tigurinus). However, it does not appear that it was in Canaan. For, 1. it is pointed out with sufficient clarity that he went elsewhere, did not dwell with the Israelites. 2. We do not read of another city in Judea called Luz, except Beth-el (Bonfrerius). What this place might be is not known (Lapide). I think that a certain region near to Canaan is signified. What if this is the Λούσσα/Loussa in Arabia, in Josephus’ Antiquities 14:2 (Vatablus)?

The land of the Hittites; where the Hittites seated themselves after they were driven out of Canaan, which seems to be northward from Canaan, and near unto it. See 1 Kings 11:1; 2 Chronicles 1:17.

[1] Hebrew: וַיַּעֲל֧וּ בֵית־יוֹסֵ֛ף גַּם־הֵ֖ם בֵּֽית־אֵ֑ל וַֽיהוָ֖ה עִמָּֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיָּתִ֥ירוּ בֵית־יוֹסֵ֖ף בְּבֵֽית־אֵ֑ל וְשֵׁם־הָעִ֥יר לְפָנִ֖ים לֽוּז׃

[3] The marginal notes in the Tigurinus Version are properly attributed to Vatablus, having been preserved by his students from his oral lectures.

[4] Hebrew: וַיִּרְאוּ֙ הַשֹּׁ֣מְרִ֔ים אִ֖ישׁ יוֹצֵ֣א מִן־הָעִ֑יר וַיֹּ֣אמְרוּ ל֗וֹ הַרְאֵ֤נוּ נָא֙ אֶת־מְב֣וֹא הָעִ֔יר וְעָשִׂ֥ינוּ עִמְּךָ֖ חָֽסֶד׃

[5] Hebrew: וְעָשִׂ֥ינוּ עִמְּךָ֖ חָֽסֶד׃.

[6] See Joshua 9.

[7] See Joshua 2.

[8] Hebrew: וַיַּרְאֵם֙ אֶת־מְב֣וֹא הָעִ֔יר וַיַּכּ֥וּ אֶת־הָעִ֖יר לְפִי־חָ֑רֶב וְאֶת־הָאִ֥ישׁ וְאֶת־כָּל־מִשְׁפַּחְתּ֖וֹ שִׁלֵּֽחוּ׃

[9] Hebrew: וַיֵּ֣לֶךְ הָאִ֔ישׁ אֶ֖רֶץ הַחִתִּ֑ים וַיִּ֣בֶן עִ֗יר וַיִּקְרָ֤א שְׁמָהּ֙ ל֔וּז ה֣וּא שְׁמָ֔הּ עַ֖ד הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה׃

[10] Cyprus is a large island off the southern coast of Asia Minor.

[11] Procopius (c. 500-c. 560) was a Byzantine historian.

1 thought on “Judges 1:22-26: There Once Was a Man from Luz…

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘The house of Joseph…Bestirred themselves a little to get possession of Bethel, Judges 1:22. That city is mentioned in the tribe of Benjamin, Joshua 18:22. Yet it is spoken of there (Judges 1:13) as a city in the borders of that tribe, and, it should seem, the line went through it, so that one half of it only belonged to Benjamin, the other half to Ephraim; and perhaps the activity of the Ephraimites at this time, to recover it from the Canaanites, secured it entirely to them henceforward, or at least the greatest part of it, for afterwards we find it so much under the power of the ten tribes (and Benjamin was none of them) that Jeroboam set up one of his calves in it. In this account of the expedition of the Ephraimites against Bethel observe,

    (1.) Their interest in the divine favour: The Lord was with them, and would have been with the other tribes if they would have exerted their strength. The Chaldee reads it here, as in many other places, The Word of the Lord was their helper, namely, Christ himself, the captain of the Lord’s host, now that they acted separately, as well as when they were all in one body.

    (2.) The prudent measures they took to gain the city. They sent spies to observe what part of the city was weakest, or which way they might make their attack with most advantage, Judges 1:23. These spies got very good information from a man they providentially met with, who showed them a private way into the town, which was left unguarded because, being not generally known, no danger was suspected on that side. And here, [1.] He is not to be blamed for giving them this intelligence if he did it from a conviction that the Lord was with them, and that by his donation the land was theirs of right, any more than Rahab was for entertaining those whom she knew to be enemies of her country, but friends of God. Nor, [2.] Are those to be blamed who showed him mercy, gave him and his family not only their lives, but liberty to go wherever they pleased: for one good turn requires another. But, it seems, he would not join himself to the people of Israel, he feared them rather than loved them, and therefore he removed after a colony of the Hittites, which, it should seem, had gone into Arabia and settled there upon Joshua’s invasion of the country; with them this man chose to dwell, and among them he built a city, a small one, we may suppose, such as planters commonly build, and in the name of it preserved the ancient name of his native city, Luz, an almond-tree, preferring this before its new name, which carried religion in it, Bethel—the house of God.’

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