After the death of Joshua, the Is-raelites consulted Yahweh, “Whoamong us shall be the ﬁrst to ﬁghtagainst the Canaanites?”
Yahweh an-swered: “The tribe of Judah shall go upﬁrst, and I will give the land into theirhands.”
So the people of Judah said totheir brothers from the tribe of Simeon,“Help us conquer the part of the land thatis allotted to us, and then we will conquerwith you the region that is yours.” Sothey joined forces for the war.
When the tribe of Judah attacked theCanaanites and the Perizzites, Yahwehgave them into their hands; in Bezek theydefeated ten thousand men.
In Bezek they encountered the lordof Bezek and fought against him.
Thelord of Bezek ﬂed but they pursued him.They captured him and cut off histhumbs and his big toes.
The lord of Be-zek then said, “Seventy kings whosethumbs and big toes I cut off used to pickscraps under my table, now God hasdone to me according to what I havedone.” They brought him to Jerusalem,and he died there.
The tribe of Judah attacked the cityof Jerusalem, and after killing its inhabi-tants they burned the city.
Afterwardsthey went down from Jerusalem to at-tack the Canaanites who lived in themountains, in the Negeb and in theplains.
They also attacked the Canaan-ites who were in Hebron (Hebron wasalso called Kiriath-arba at that time), andthey defeated Sheshai, Ahiman and Tal-mai.
From there they marched againstthe inhabitants of Debir, a city which wasalso called Kiriath-sepher.
Then Calebmade this promise, “To the one who takesKiriath-sepher, I will give my daughterAchsah as wife.”
It was Othoniel whotook the city; he was the son of Kenaz,Caleb’s younger brother, and Caleb gavehim Achsah, his daughter, as wife.
When Achsah came to Othoniel,she urged him to ask her father for a
ﬁeld. She alighted from her ass, and Ca -leb asked her, “What do you want?”
She answered, “What agift this Negebwilderness is! Give me also springs of water.” And Caleb gave her the UpperSprings and the Lower Springs.
The descendants of the Kenite, Mo-ses’ father-in-law, also went up with thepeople of Judah from the city of palmsto that part of the desert of Judah on theboundary of the Negeb near Arad, andthey settled there with them.
Those from Judah and their broth-ers from the tribe of Simeon attacked theCanaanites who lived in Zephath, andthey sacriﬁced Zephath in honor of Yah-weh. For this reason, the city was named“Anathema.”
Judah seized Gaza, Ash-kelon and Ekron with their respective ter-ritories.
Although they conquered the moun-tainous regions with the help of Yahweh,they could not drive out the in habitantsof the plain because they fought with ironchariots.
Following the orders of Moses,they gave the city of Hebron to Calebwho had cast out the three sons of Anakfrom there.
But the tribe of Benjamindid not succeed in expelling the Jebusiteswho lived in Jerusalem; the Jebusiteshave stayed in Jerusalem until this day.
The people of Joseph went upagainst Bethel with the help of Yahweh.
They sent men out to spy in Bethel, for-merly called Luz,
and they met a mancoming out of the city. They said to him,“Tell us how we can enter the city, andwe will not kill you.”
He showed themthe way. Then they entered and put thecity to the sword, but set that man freetogether with his whole family.
The manwent to the land of the Hittites where hebuilt a city which he named Luz which isits name to this day.
However, the tribe of Manasseh didnot drive out the people of Beth-sheanand Taa-nach or the inhabitants of Dor,Ibleam and Megiddo. The Canaanites
1 The ﬁrst chapter throws some lighton the conquest. It was not as triumphal as itappears in the Book of Joshua, but slow anddifﬁcult. The Israelites did not obey the com-mand to wipe out the pagans, though such amassacre would have protected their faith inthe only God. In this regard, let us put asideour modern sense of respect for other nations.Israel’s world is one where survival depends onviolence and the future of divine revelation inthe world is in the hands of primitive nomadscontinuously threatened with destruction in apagan environment.Compare verses 8 and 21: there is no cer-tainty as to this data.
Jos15:63Jos 15:13-19Num24:21;2:16Num14:24Gen28:19;Jos 6:23