Judges 1:1-36 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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The Lord Was With the Men
Comments for Study 1

Judges 1:1-36
Memory Verse: 2

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I. Who Shall Go Up First (1:1-7)

>1. What had Joshua been to the people of Israel? (1; Ex. 17:8-9, 24:13. 33:11; Num. 27:18-20; Deut. 1:38l Jos. 1:1-2, 6)

* Judges 1:1 "After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the LORD, "Who will be the first to go up and fight for us against the Canaanites?"

* Exodus 17:8-9 "The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, "Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands."

* Exodus 24:13 "Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God."

* Exodus 33:11 "The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent."

* Numbers 27:18-20 "So the LORD said to Moses, "Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand on him. Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence. Give him some of your authority so the whole Israelite community will obey him."

* Deuteronomy 1:38 "But your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will enter it. Encourage him, because he will lead Israel to inherit it."

* Joshua 1:1-2 "After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them--to the Israelites."

* Joshua 1:6 "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them."

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>Why then does their question seem logical?

* "Who will be the first to go up and fight for us against the Canaanites?"

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>Why would the Lord's answer be a surprise to Israel? (2)

* Judges 1:2 "The LORD answered, "Judah is to go; I have given the land into their hands."

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>What had they not understood that some to this day still do not understand? (Deut. 31:19-23; 1 Sam. 8:6-8; Matt. 28:18-20)

* Deuteronomy 31:19-23 "Now write down for yourselves this song and teach it to the Israelites and have them sing it, so that it may be a witness for me against them. When I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, the land I promised on oath to their forefathers, and when they eat their fill and thrive, they will turn to other gods and worship them, rejecting me and breaking my covenant. And when many disasters and difficulties come upon them, this song will testify against them, because it will not be forgotten by their descendants. I know what they are disposed to do, even before I bring them into the land I promised them on oath." So Moses wrote down this song that day and taught it to the Israelites. The LORD gave this command to Joshua son of Nun: "Be strong and courageous, for you will bring the Israelites into the land I promised them on oath, and I myself will be with you."

* 1 Samuel 8:6-8 "But when they said, "Give us a king to lead us," this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. And the LORD told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you."

* Matthew 28:18-20 "Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

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>2. What was Judah's first and seemingly only concern as the leading tribe of the Israelites? (3)

* Judges 1:3 "Then the men of Judah said to the Simeonites their brothers, "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."

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>How is their priority similar to everyone? (Matt. 20:24-25)

* Matthew 20:24-25 "When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them."

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>What did Jesus teach about priorities? (Matt. 20:26-28)

* Matthew 20:26-28 "Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

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>3. How did the Lord keep his word? (4-5)

* Judges 1:4-5 "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."

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>Why did they cut off his thumbs and big toes? (6)

* Judges 1:6 "Adoni-Bezek fled, but they chased him and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and big toes."

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>What had the Lord told them to do? (Deut. 20:16-18)

* Deuteronomy 20:16-18 "However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them--the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites--as the LORD your God has commanded you. Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the LORD your God."

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>Why is one city mentioned over the others? (8)

* Judges 1:8 "The men of Judah attacked Jerusalem also and took it. They put the city to the sword and set it on fire."

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II. Judah Leads the Attack (1:8-16)

>4. Use a map to see where Judah was concentrating their efforts. (9-11)

* Judges 1:9-11 "After that, the men of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites living in the hill country, the Negev and the western foothills. They advanced against the Canaanites living in Hebron (formerly called Kiriath Arba) and defeated Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai. From there they advanced against the people living in Debir (formerly called Kiriath Sepher). "

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>Who was Caleb and what did he propose? (12-13; Num. 13:30-31, 14:24, 34:16-19)

* Judges 1:12-13 "And Caleb said, "I will give my daughter Acsah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher." Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother, took it; so Caleb gave his daughter Acsah to him in marriage."

* Numbers 13:30-31 "Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it." But the men who had gone up with him said, "We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are."

* Numbers 14:24 "But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it."

* Numbers 34:16-19 "The LORD said to Moses, "These are the names of the men who are to assign the land for you as an inheritance: Eleazar the priest and Joshua son of Nun. And appoint one leader from each tribe to help assign the land. These are their names: Caleb son of Jephunneh, from the tribe of Judah;"

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>How was this a wise act?

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>5. What did Caleb's daughter tell her husband to do? (14)

* Judges 1:14 "One day when she came to Othniel, she urged him to ask her father for a field. When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, "What can I do for you?"

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>What did she do? (15)

* Judges 1:15 "She replied, "Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water." Then Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs."

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>6. Who was Moses' father-in-law and where did he move to? (16; Ex. 2:15, 21-22, 3:1, 18:1-12)

* Judges 1:16 "The descendants of Moses' father-in-law, the Kenite, went up from the City of Palms with the men of Judah to live among the people of the Desert of Judah in the Negev near Arad."

* Exodus 2:15 "When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well."

* Exodus 2:21-22 "Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, "I have become an alien in a foreign land."

* Exodus 3:1 "Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God."

* Exodus 18:1-12 "Now Jethro, the priest of Midian and father-in-law of Moses, heard of everything God had done for Moses and for his people Israel, and how the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt. After Moses had sent away his wife Zipporah, his father-in-law Jethro received her and her two sons. One son was named Gershom, for Moses said, "I have become an alien in a foreign land"; and the other was named Eliezer, for he said, "My father's God was my helper; he saved me from the sword of Pharaoh." Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, together with Moses' sons and wife, came to him in the desert, where he was camped near the mountain of God. Jethro had sent word to him, "I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons." So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him. They greeted each other and then went into the tent. Moses told his father-in-law about everything the LORD had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel's sake and about all the hardships they had met along the way and how the LORD had saved them. Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things the LORD had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians. He said, "Praise be to the LORD, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that the LORD is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly." Then Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and other sacrifices to God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses' father-in-law in the presence of God."

III. The Other Tribes (1:17-36)

>7. Where did Judah attack next? (17-18)

* Judges 1:17-18 "Then the men of Judah went with the Simeonites their brothers and attacked the Canaanites living in Zephath, and they totally destroyed the city. Therefore it was called Hormah. The men of Judah also took Gaza, Ashkelon and Ekron--each city with its territory."

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>Even though the Lord was with the men of Judah, how was the conquest difficult? (19, 21)

* Judges 1:19 "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 iron chariots."

* Judges 1:21 "The Benjamites, however, failed to dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the Benjamites."

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>What can be seen in the way the Lord was working? (20)

* Judges 1:20 "As Moses had promised, Hebron was given to Caleb, who drove from it the three sons of Anak."

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>8. While Judah and Simeon were fighting in the south what did the house of Joseph do? (22)

* Judges 1:22 "Now the house of Joseph attacked Bethel, and the LORD was with them."

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>Was the Lord with them too?

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>What was their method of attack? (23-24)

* Judges 1:23-24 "When they sent men to spy out Bethel (formerly called Luz), 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."

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>What did their method result in? (25=26)

* Judges 1:25-26 "So he showed them, and they put the city to the sword but spared the man and his whole family. 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."

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>Was their method different than Judah's method?

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>Is the advance of the gospel different today?

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>9. Review the rest of the tribes efforts to possess the land the Lord gave them. (27-36)

* Judges 1:27-36 "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, who remained among them; but they did subject them to forced labor. 31 Nor did Asher drive out those living in Acco or Sidon or Ahlab or Aczib or Helbah or Aphek or Rehob, 32 and because of this the people of Asher lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land. 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 house of Joseph increased, they too were pressed into forced labor. 36 The boundary of the Amorites was from Scorpion Pass to Sela and beyond."

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>Did any of them come to the help of the others?

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>How did this compare to when Joshua lead them into the promised land?

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>10. The Lord has given us a command to go into all the world to preach the gospel. How are we going about this and is it different than Israel's direction to conquer the land?

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