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Judges 1-2 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Judah Fights the Canaanites

After Joshua died, the Israelites prayed to the Lord, “Which of our tribes should be the first to go and fight for us against the Canaanites?”

The Lord said to the Israelites, “The tribe of Judah will go. I will let them take this land.”

The men of Judah went to their relatives from the tribe of Simeon and asked for help. They said, “Brothers, if you will come and help us fight for the land God gave us, we will go and help you fight for your land.” The men of Simeon agreed and went with them.

The Lord helped the men of Judah defeat the Canaanites and the Perizzites. They killed 10,000 men at the city of Bezek. In the city of Bezek, they found the ruler of Bezek[a] and fought him, and they defeated the Canaanites and the Perizzites.

The ruler of Bezek tried to escape, but the men of Judah chased him and caught him. When they caught him, they cut off his thumbs and big toes. Then the ruler of Bezek said, “I cut off the thumbs and big toes of 70 kings. And they had to eat pieces of food that fell from my table. Now God has paid me back for what I did to them.” The men of Judah took the ruler of Bezek to Jerusalem, and he died there.

The men of Judah fought against Jerusalem and captured it. They used their swords to kill the people of Jerusalem. Then they burned the city. Later, they went down to fight against some more Canaanites who lived in the hill country, in the Negev, and in the western foothills.

10 Then the men of Judah went to fight against the Canaanites who lived in the city of Hebron. (Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba.) They defeated the men named Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai.[b]

Caleb and His Daughter

11 The men of Judah left that place. They went to the city of Debir to fight against the people there. (In the past, Debir was called Kiriath Sepher.) 12 Before they started to fight, Caleb made a promise to the men. He said, “I will give my daughter Acsah in marriage to whoever attacks and conquers Kiriath Sepher.”

13 Caleb had a younger brother named Kenaz. Kenaz had a son named Othniel. Othniel captured the city of Kiriath Sepher. So Caleb gave his daughter Acsah to Othniel to be his wife.

14 Acsah went to live with Othniel. Othniel told Acsah[c] to ask her father for some land. She went to her father. When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What is wrong?”

15 Acsah answered him, “Give me a blessing.[d] You gave me dry desert land in the Negev. Please give me some land with water on it.” So Caleb gave her what she wanted. He gave her the upper and lower pools of water in that land.

16 The Kenites left the City of Palm Trees[e] and went with the men of Judah. They went to the desert of Judah to live with the people there. This was in the Negev near the city Arad. (The Kenites were from the family of Moses’ father-in-law.)

17 Some Canaanites lived in the city of Zephath. The men of Judah and men from the tribe of Simeon attacked them and completely destroyed the city. So they named the city Hormah.[f]

18 The men of Judah also captured the cities of Gaza, Ashkelon, and Ekron and all the small towns around them.

19 The Lord was on the side of the men of Judah when they fought. They took the land in the hill country, but they failed to take the land in the valleys, because the people living there had iron chariots.

20 Moses had promised to give the land near Hebron to Caleb, so that land was given to Caleb’s family. The men of Caleb forced the three sons of Anak[g] to leave that place.

21 The tribe of Benjamin could not force the Jebusites to leave Jerusalem. So even today,[h] the Jebusites live with the people of Benjamin in Jerusalem.

Joseph’s Descendants Capture Bethel

22 The descendants of Joseph went to fight against the city of Bethel, and the Lord was with them. 23 They sent some spies to the city of Bethel (which was then called Luz). 24 While the spies were watching, they saw a man come out of the city. They said to the man, “Show us a secret way into the city. If you help us, we will not hurt you.”

25 The man showed the spies the secret way into the city. The men of Joseph used their swords to kill the people of Bethel. But they did not hurt the man who helped them or anyone in his family. The man and his family were allowed to go free. 26 He went to the land where the Hittites lived and built a city. He named it Luz, and that city is still called Luz today.

Other Tribes Fight the Canaanites

27 There were Canaanites living in the cities of Beth Shean, Taanach, Dor, Ibleam, Megiddo, and the small towns around the cities. The people from the tribe of Manasseh could not force those people to leave their towns. So the Canaanites stayed. They refused to leave their homes. 28 Later, the Israelites grew stronger and forced the Canaanites to work as slaves for them. But the Israelites could not force all the Canaanites to leave their land.

29 There were Canaanites living in Gezer. And the Ephraimites did not make all the Canaanites leave their land. So they continued to live in Gezer with the Ephraimites.

30 Some Canaanites lived in the cities of Kitron and Nahalol. The people of Zebulun did not force those people to leave their land. They stayed and lived with the people of Zebulun. But the people of Zebulun made them work as slaves.

31 The people of Asher did not force the other people to leave the cities of Acco, Sidon, Ahlab, Aczib, Helbah, Aphek, and Rehob. 32 The people of Asher did not force those Canaanites to leave their land, so the Canaanites continued to live with them.

33 The people of Naphtali did not force the people to leave the cities of Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath, so the people of Naphtali continued to live with the people in those cities. Those Canaanites worked as slaves for the people of Naphtali.

34 The Amorites forced the tribe of Dan to live in the hill country. They had to stay in the hills because the Amorites would not let them come down to live in the valleys. 35 The Amorites decided to stay in Mount Heres, Aijalon, and Shaalbim. Later, when the descendants of Joseph grew stronger, they made the Amorites work as slaves for them. 36 The land of the Amorites was from Scorpion Pass to Sela and up into the hill country past Sela.

The Angel of the Lord at Bokim

The angel of the Lord went up to the city of Bokim from the city of Gilgal. The angel spoke this message from the Lord to the Israelites: “I brought you out of Egypt and led you to the land that I promised to give to your ancestors. I told you I would never break my agreement with you. But in return, you must never make any agreement with the people living in that land. You must destroy their altars. I told you that, but you didn’t obey me.

“Now I will tell you this, ‘I will not force the other people to leave this land any longer. These people will become a problem for you. They will be like a trap to you. Their false gods will become like a net to trap you.’”

After the angel gave the Israelites this message from the Lord, the people cried loudly. So they named the place Bokim.[i] There they offered sacrifices to the Lord.

Disobedience and Defeat

Then Joshua told the people to go home, so each tribe went to take their area of land. The Israelites served the Lord as long as Joshua was alive, and they continued serving the Lord during the lifetimes of the elders who lived after Joshua had died. These old men had seen all the great things the Lord had done for the Israelites. Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110 years. The Israelites buried Joshua on the land that he had been given. That was at Timnath Heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.

10 After that whole generation died, the next generation grew up. This new generation did not know about the Lord or what he had done for the Israelites. 11 So the Israelites did something very evil before the Lord. They began serving the false god Baal. 12 It was the Lord, the God their ancestors worshiped, who had brought the Israelites out of Egypt. But they stopped following him and began to worship the false gods of the people living around them. This made the Lord angry. 13 The Israelites stopped following the Lord and began worshiping Baal and Ashtoreth.

14 The Lord was angry with the Israelites, so he let enemies attack them and take their possessions. He let their enemies who lived around them defeat them. The Israelites could not protect themselves from their enemies. 15 When the Israelites went out to fight, they always lost. They lost because the Lord was not on their side. He had already warned them that they would lose if they served the gods of the people living around them. The Israelites suffered very much.

16 Then the Lord chose leaders called judges. These leaders saved the Israelites from the enemies who took their possessions. 17 But the Israelites did not listen to their judges. The Israelites were not faithful to God—they followed other gods.[j] In the past, the ancestors of the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s commands. But now the Israelites changed and stopped obeying the Lord.

18 Many times the enemies of Israel did bad things to the people, so the Israelites would cry for help. And each time the Lord felt sorry for the people and sent a judge to save them from their enemies. The Lord was always with those judges. Each time the Israelites were saved from their enemies. 19 But when each judge died, the Israelites again sinned and started worshiping the false gods. They acted worse than their ancestors did. The Israelites were very stubborn and refused to change their evil ways.

20 So the Lord became angry with the Israelites, and he said, “This nation has broken the agreement that I made with their ancestors. They have not listened to me. 21 So I will no longer defeat the nations and clear the way for the Israelites. Those nations were still in this land when Joshua died, and I will let them stay in this land. 22 I will use them to test the Israelites. I will see if the Israelites can keep the Lord’s commands as their ancestors did.” 23 The Lord allowed those nations to stay in the land. He did not quickly force them to leave the country. He did not help Joshua’s army defeat them.

Footnotes:

  1. Judges 1:5 ruler of Bezek Or “Adoni Bezek.”
  2. Judges 1:10 Sheshai, Ahiman, Talmai Three sons of a man named Anak. They were giants. See Num. 13:22.
  3. Judges 1:14 Othniel told Acsah Or “Acsah told Othniel.”
  4. Judges 1:15 Give me a blessing Or “Please welcome me” or “Give me a stream of water.”
  5. Judges 1:16 City of Palm Trees Another name for Jericho.
  6. Judges 1:17 Hormah This name means “completely destroyed” or “a gift given totally to God.” See Lev. 27:28-29.
  7. Judges 1:20 three sons of Anak Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai, mentioned above in verse 10.
  8. Judges 1:21 even today That is, at the time the book was written.
  9. Judges 2:5 Bokim This name means “people crying.”
  10. Judges 2:17 were not faithful … gods Literally, “acted like a prostitute with other gods.”
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International

Judges 1-2 New International Version (NIV)

Israel Fights the Remaining Canaanites

After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the Lord, “Who of us is to go up first to fight against the Canaanites?

The Lord answered, “Judah shall go up; I have given the land into their hands.

The men of Judah then said to the Simeonites their fellow Israelites, “Come up with us into the territory allotted to us, to fight against the Canaanites. We in turn will go with you into yours.” So the Simeonites went with them.

When Judah attacked, the Lord gave the Canaanites and Perizzites into their hands, and they struck down ten thousand men at Bezek. It was there that they found Adoni-Bezek and fought against him, putting to rout the Canaanites and Perizzites. Adoni-Bezek fled, but they chased him and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and big toes.

Then Adoni-Bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off have picked up scraps under my table. Now God has paid me back for what I did to them.” They brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.

The men of Judah attacked Jerusalem also and took it. They put the city to the sword and set it on fire.

After that, Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites living in the hill country, the Negev and the western foothills. 10 They advanced against the Canaanites living in Hebron (formerly called Kiriath Arba) and defeated Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai. 11 From there they advanced against the people living in Debir (formerly called Kiriath Sepher).

12 And Caleb said, “I will give my daughter Aksah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher.” 13 Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it; so Caleb gave his daughter Aksah to him in marriage.

14 One day when she came to Othniel, she urged him[a] to ask her father for a field. When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What can I do for you?”

15 She replied, “Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.

16 The descendants of Moses’ father-in-law, the Kenite, went up from the City of Palms[b] with the people of Judah to live among the inhabitants of the Desert of Judah in the Negev near Arad.

17 Then the men of Judah went with the Simeonites their fellow Israelites and attacked the Canaanites living in Zephath, and they totally destroyed[c] the city. Therefore it was called Hormah.[d] 18 Judah also took[e] Gaza, Ashkelon and Ekron—each city with its territory.

19 The Lord was with the men of Judah. They took possession of the hill country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had chariots fitted with iron. 20 As Moses had promised, Hebron was given to Caleb, who drove from it the three sons of Anak. 21 The Benjamites, however, did not drive out the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the Benjamites.

22 Now the tribes of Joseph attacked Bethel, and the Lord was with them. 23 When they sent men to spy out Bethel (formerly called Luz), 24 the spies saw a man coming out of the city and they said to him, “Show us how to get into the city and we will see that you are treated well. 25 So he showed them, and they put the city to the sword but spared the man and his whole family. 26 He then went to the land of the Hittites, where he built a city and called it Luz, which is its name to this day.

27 But Manasseh did not drive out the people of Beth Shan or Taanach or Dor or Ibleam or Megiddo and their surrounding settlements, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that land. 28 When Israel became strong, they pressed the Canaanites into forced labor but never drove them out completely. 29 Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites living in Gezer, but the Canaanites continued to live there among them. 30 Neither did Zebulun drive out the Canaanites living in Kitron or Nahalol, so these Canaanites lived among them, but Zebulun did subject them to forced labor. 31 Nor did Asher drive out those living in Akko or Sidon or Ahlab or Akzib or Helbah or Aphek or Rehob. 32 The Asherites lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land because they did not drive them out. 33 Neither did Naphtali drive out those living in Beth Shemesh or Beth Anath; but the Naphtalites too lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land, and those living in Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath became forced laborers for them. 34 The Amorites confined the Danites to the hill country, not allowing them to come down into the plain. 35 And the Amorites were determined also to hold out in Mount Heres, Aijalon and Shaalbim, but when the power of the tribes of Joseph increased, they too were pressed into forced labor. 36 The boundary of the Amorites was from Scorpion Pass to Sela and beyond.

The Angel of the Lord at Bokim

The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land I swore to give to your ancestors. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? And I have also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; they will become traps for you, and their gods will become snares to you.’”

When the angel of the Lord had spoken these things to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud, and they called that place Bokim.[f] There they offered sacrifices to the Lord.

Disobedience and Defeat

After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to their own inheritance. The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel.

Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres[g] in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.

10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord’s anger 13 because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 14 In his anger against Israel the Lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. 15 Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.

16 Then the Lord raised up judges,[h] who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. 17 Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the Lord’s commands. 18 Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the Lord relented because of their groaning under those who oppressed and afflicted them. 19 But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.

20 Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and said, “Because this nation has violated the covenant I ordained for their ancestors and has not listened to me, 21 I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. 22 I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the Lord and walk in it as their ancestors did.” 23 The Lord had allowed those nations to remain; he did not drive them out at once by giving them into the hands of Joshua.

Footnotes:

  1. Judges 1:14 Hebrew; Septuagint and Vulgate Othniel, he urged her
  2. Judges 1:16 That is, Jericho
  3. Judges 1:17 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them.
  4. Judges 1:17 Hormah means destruction.
  5. Judges 1:18 Hebrew; Septuagint Judah did not take
  6. Judges 2:5 Bokim means weepers.
  7. Judges 2:9 Also known as Timnath Serah (see Joshua 19:50 and 24:30)
  8. Judges 2:16 Or leaders; similarly in verses 17-19
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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