Deeper OT Chronological Study Part 3: Judges 1:19-36
We should take a moment of silence that this passage is finally completed. I mean, this was my last post in this series. Unless you count my New Testament one. Check out my updated Bible study plan here.
It goes without saying that this was another long one. Not only was it another 18 verses, but I kind of let life also get in the way and skated by with just doing my daily Bible reading. But I jumped back in once I felt like I had the swing of things and actually finished this passage. So welcome to my Deeper OT Chronological Study of Judges! Using my NLT Chronological Life Application Study Bible, the next section is Judges 1:19-36, Israel Fails to Conquer the Land. Let’s jump in and see what I learned.
While reading and highlighting this passage, right away, I noticed a lot of repeating phrases and, unfortunately, not good ones. A lot of the tribes are mentioned, so I knew I would get a chance to learn more about them. This was also another one that had a lot of “all else” highlight, but this time, I know that can still be filled with rich information.
While doing my highlighting here, it felt like maybe not all of the tribes were mentioned, and I realized that I would like to have a list of the tribes somewhere so I can recall them better. Also, the Canaanites were mentioned a few times but in different towns. I’ve learned last time that the Canaanites were descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham and grandson to Noah. Ham was the youngest son of Noah, who saw his father naked and proceeded to tell his brothers instead of covering him up. Noah then cursed Canaan because of Ham’s sin. I also noted that the land promised to the Israelites was Canaan. I was confused by how Canaan could be the Promised Land, but these passages mentioned so many different cities. But it appears that Canaan is really a region that has many different cities within it.
Thoughts and Questions
This is where I honestly got held up. Not only was I looking up information on the different tribes, but there is a lot of cities, towns, and lands listed here—all with their own meanings. In the very first verse, we have Judah, who the Lord was with, have victory on the hill but fail to drive out the people living in the plains. It seems they were more focused on the iron chariots and forgot just as quickly what God was able to do for them.
And from there, you have more failure by every tribe that was mentioned. In this section it helped to go back and see why they failed. It was because God gave them specific instructions for when they arrived at the Promised Land. They are supposed to completely destroy the towns and everything (and everyone) in it. This was repeated in Deuteronomy and in Joshua. God even gives them a list of the people that He was driving out of the land for them. But they had strict instructions:
Make no treaties with them and show them no mercy. You must not intermarry with them. Do not let your daughters and sons marry their sons and daughters, for they will lead your children away from me to worship other gods. Then the anger of the LORD will burn against you, and he will quickly destroy you. This is what you must do. You must break down their pagan altars and shatter their sacred pillars. Cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols. (7:2b-5 CSB)
…For they will lead your children away from me to worship other gods. And we know how much God is a jealous God who hates idolatry. 1st Corinthians 5 explains it in terms of leaven and what can happen when you leave a problem to mix with His chosen people.
I breezed through adding the cross-references to my notes this go around. I think it was because I would read the verses in Judges and then go looking for the cross-references. It made the similarities jump out at me. Again, there were quite a few phrases or stories that are told multiple times. Certain cities had certain events happen that were repeatedly told. I made a note to go back and do, kind of like a character study, but for the city. This is where knowing the meaning of the cities helps because, a lot of times, it speaks on the outcome of some of the battles.
This passage was filled with so many strong statements that were repeated. Seriously, I counted five different statements that repeated themselves between 2-9 times. One question I had right away was how it was possible that God was with Judah, but they failed to drive out the people? I remembered that the Lord expressly said He gave them victory over the land only. One thing I learned from Tony Evan’s commentary about this part was how in the hill country, Judah was victorious, but in the plains, they failed. How many times do we celebrate and are all pro-God when we are on the hills? But when we are in the valley’s, we forget all the good that God has done. And how many times are we looking at what someone else has (iron chariots) and decide that we can’t accomplish something even though we are the ones with God on our side?
And then every other tribe that is mentioned in this section also failed to drive out the people, lived amongst the people, or enslaved the people. Caleb was the only one who drove the people out. The same Caleb, who was 1 of 2 of the spies who had faith to say the Israelites, could defeat the people currently living in the promised land. Same Caleb, who was 1 of 2 of that generation that was even allowed to come into the promised land. Another thing I learned here was the house of Joseph was the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim. So we ideally think of the 12 tribes of Israel. Well, one of those tribes was broken up in two. Now I am questioning how is this always counted as 12 when in reality, this was 13? But then I remembered that one tribe (Simeon) seems to have disappeared after a century or two. We are now back to 12 tribes. I have no clue if this is the right way to calculate this, but it makes sense to me based on what is mentioned in scripture.
YHWH, help me recognize that You are always with me in the hills and in the plains. Lord, don’t allow me to get discouraged based on what others have. Help me not to fail to get those out of my life that should not be there. Lord, help me to be patient like Caleb in my waiting seasoning to get the land that You promised me. Jesus, I ask that You allow me to see those that You have sent into my life to show me the way. Allow me to show mercy. Help me honor my word as You do Yours. In Jesus Name, I Pray, Amen.