After Joshua’s Death

Scripture Passage: 
Judges 1:1-36

INTRODUCTION: Joshua has died. But unlike the case of Moses, there is no strong leader to take Joshua’s place. The bulk of the land was conquered, but many pockets of the Canaanites remained. The Israelites begin well by inquiring of the Lord and taking some of these pockets. But they soon get mired down in the difficulties of full conquest. How often do Christians fall short of full victory and then return to the ways of the world! The book of Judges has many warnings for us.

  1. THE CONQUEST OF ADONIBEZEK (Judges 1:1-8)
    1. Judah Conquers Bezek (Judges 1:1-4).
      1. The children of Israel inquire of the Lord (Judges 1:1).
        1. This is a time of great opportunity for the children of Israel.
        2. This could have returned the people to the will of the Lord as found in Exodus 19:16-17.
      2. The Lord chooses Judah to go up (Judges 1:2).
      3. Judah requests the help of Simeon in exchange for Judah’s help in conquering  Simeon’s land (Judges 1:3).
      4. The Lord delivers the enemy into their hands (Judges 1:4).
        1. The Canaanites and Perizzites are delivered into their hand.
        2. They slay 10,000 men in Bezek.
    2. Judah Takes Adonibezek Captive (Judges 1:5-8).
      1. Adonibezek (lord of Bezek) flees the battlefield (Judges 1:5-6a).
      2. They catch him and cut off his great toes and thumbs (Judges 1:6b).
      3. Adonibezek admits that his punishment is just (Judges 1:7; Leviticus 24:19-20; 1 Samuel 15:33; Matthew 7:1-2).
        1. Adonibezek had done this to seventy kings who now gathered their meat under his table.
        2. He sees his defeat as the working of God.
        3. He is moved to Jerusalem where he dies.
      4. Jerusalem is taken by Judah (Judges 1:8).
      5. NOTE: Joshua had conquered the king of Jerusalem, but not the city (Joshua 12:10). The tribe of Judah conquers the city (Judges 1:8), but only part of it since the Jebusites remain there (Judges 1:21; Judges 19:10-11).  It is not until the time of David that the entire city is taken (2 Samuel 5:6-9).
  2. THE MARRIAGE OF OTHNIEL AND ACHSAH (Judges 1:9-15)
    1. The Battle Continues (Judges 1:9-13).
      1. Judah goes down to fight against the Canaanites that dwell in the mountain, and in the south, and in the valley (Judges 1:9).
      2. Judah fights against the Canaanites of Hebron (Judges 1:10).
        1. Also called Kirjath-arba
        2. They slay Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai.
      3. Judah fights against the Canaanites in Debir (Judges 1:11-13).
        1. The place was also called Kirjath-sepher (Judges 1:11).
        2. Caleb offers his daughter to the victor over Kirjath-sepher (Judges 1:12).
        3. Othniel takes the city (Judges 1:13).
          1. Othniel is the son of Kenaz which is Caleb’s younger brother.
          2. Othniel is given Achsah to wife.
    2. Achsah Gains a Double Blessing (Judges 1:14-15).
      1. Achsah moves her husband to ask Caleb for a field (Judges 1:14a).
      2. Achsah asks her father for a spring to go with the land (Judges 1:14b-15a).
      3. Caleb gives Achsah both the upper and the lower springs (Judges 1:15b).
      4. Note: The field and the spring are separate requests that were made of Caleb. Achsah convinced Othniel to ask for the field, but she asked for the spring.
    3. The Lesson of Achsah’s Faith
      1. The weakness of Achsah
        1. She was a woman.
        2. Her name means anklet as in a ring of gold, silver or ivory worn around the ankles. She was considered something pretty to look at but not very important.
        3. She was given to Othniel as a battlefield prize – not  a very flattering appraisal of her authority.
      2. The boldness of Achsah (see Ephesians 3:12; Hebrews 4:16)
        1. In moving her husband to ask for a field
        2. In approaching her father for the spring
      3. The reward of Achsah
        1. She received the field her husband requested.
        2. She received the spring she requested.
        3. She received an additional spring, receiving more than she asked (Jeremiah 33:3; Ephesians 3:20-21).
  3. THE REMAINING INHABITANTS OF THE LAND (Judges 1:16-36)
    1. A Halt in the Conquest of the Land (Judges 1:16-21)
      1. The Kenites claim their land (Judges 1:16).
        1. The Kenites are the offspring of Moses’ father-in-law.
        2. They go into the wilderness of Judah.
        3. They go and dwell among the people.
      2. Judah fights along side of Simeon (Judges 1:17).
        1. They slay the Canaanites that inhabit Zephath.
        2. The name of the city is called Hormah.
      3. More work for Judah (Judges 1:18-20)
        1. Judah takes Gaza, Askelon, and Ekron (Judges 1:18).
        2. Judah cannot drive out the inhabitants of the valley (Judges 1:19).
        3. Hebron is given to Caleb (Judges 1:20).
      4. The failure of Benjamin (Judges 1:21)
        1. They do not drive out the Jebusites.
        2. The Jebusites and the Benjamites dwell together.
    2. The Taking of Bethel by the House of Joseph (Judges 1:22-26)
      1. The battle plans of Joseph (Judges 1:22-23)
        1. Their plans had the Lord’s approval (Judges 1:22).
        2. The house of Joseph planned to go up against Bethel (Judges 1:22).
          1. The name Bethel means house of God .
          2. The name of the city had been Luz (Judges 1:23).
          3. This was changed at least in part by Jacob (Genesis 28:16-19).
        3. The house of Joseph sent to descry Bethel (Judges 1:23).
          1. Many, if not all, of the modern versions change this to spy out .
          2. This, however, is something different.
          3. To descry something means to see something from without.
          4. This is further evidenced as their intention because:
            1. They did not see the man until he came out of the city (Judges 1:24).
            2. They asked the man where the entrance to the city was (Judges 1:24).
            3. They did not go into the city to spy; they merely wanted to do research from without and then they would attack (Judges 1:25).
      2. The man from Luz (Judges 1:24-25)
        1. The spies saw the man as he came out of the city (Judges 1:24).
        2. The spies asked of the entrance into the city (Judges 1:24).
        3. The spies offered mercy in exchange for the information (Judges 1:24).
        4. The man showed the spies the entrance (Judges 1:25).
        5. The house of Joseph smote the city with the edge of the sword (Judges 1:25).
        6. The man and his family were given freedom (Judges 1:25).
      3. The new life for the man from Luz (Judges 1:26)
        1. Settling in the land of the Hittites
          1. They were to be driven out as well (Joshua 3:10).
          2. They fought against Israel (Joshua 24:11).
          3. They were a stumbling block to righteousness (Judges 3:5-7).
          4. They are a picture of the flesh.
            1. Solomon conquered (1 Kings 9:20-21)
            2. Solomon fell to (1 Kings 11:1-4)
        2. The building of a city
          1. He built a city and named it after the city that had been destroyed.
          2. He named the city in a way as to remove the presence of God.
    3. Their Failure to Complete the Conquest (Judges 1:27-36)
      1. The failure of Manasseh (Judges 1:27-28)
        1. Manasseh failed to drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean, Taanach, Dor, Ibleam, and Megiddo (Judges 1:27).
        2. Instead, they began to put the people to tribute (Judges 1:28).
      2. The failure of Ephraim (Judges 1:29)
        1. Ephraim did not drive out the inhabitants of Gezer.
        2. The Canaanites and the children of Israel dwelt in Gezer together.
      3. The failure of Zebulun (Judges 1:30)
        1. Zebulun failed to drive out the inhabitants of Kitron and Nahalol.
        2. Instead, the people dwelt among them and became tributaries.
      4. The failure of Asher (Judges 1:31-32)
        1. Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Accho, Zidon, Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik, and Rehob (Judges 1:31).
        2. The Canaanites and Asherites dwelt together in the land (Judges 1:32).
      5. The failure of Naphtali (Judges 1:33)
        1. Naphtali failed to drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath.
        2. Instead, the people dwelt among them and became tributaries.
      6. The failure of Dan (Judges 1:34-36)
        1. Dan could not drive out the Amorites (Judges 1:34).
        2. Instead, the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountain: for they would not suffer them to come down to the valley (Judges 1:34).
        3. The hand of the house of Joseph prevailed so that the Amorites became tributaries (Judges 1:35).
        4. In the end the Amorites were still not driven out (Judges 1:36).

CONCLUSION: Our Christian life is often compared to warfare. Even after the general conquest of the land, there were still battles to fight. The Israelites faced this problem and so do we. Are you going to do as the Israelites and settle for less than the best in your life for God? Or, are you going to keep fighting the battles and give Christ the preeminence in your life?

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 8:9

They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.