Judah Fights the Canaanites

After Joshua died, the Israelites asked the Lord, “Who will be first to go and fight for us against the Canaanites?”

The Lord said to them, “The tribe of Judah will go. I have handed the land over to them.”

The men of Judah said to the men of Simeon, their relatives, “Come and help us fight the Canaanites for our land. If you do, we will go and help you fight for your land.” So the men of Simeon went with them.

When Judah attacked, the Lord handed over the Canaanites and the Perizzites to them, and they defeated ten thousand men at the city of Bezek. There they found Adoni-Bezek, the ruler of the city, and fought him. The men of Judah defeated the Canaanites and the Perizzites, but Adoni-Bezek ran away. The men of Judah chased him, and when they caught him, they cut off his thumbs and big toes.

Adoni-Bezek said, “Seventy kings whose thumbs and big toes had been cut off used to eat scraps that fell from my table. Now God has paid me back for what I did to them.” The men of Judah took Adoni-Bezek to Jerusalem, and he died there.

Then the men of Judah fought against Jerusalem and captured it. They attacked with their swords and burned the city.

Later, they went down to fight the Canaanites who lived in the mountains, in the dry country to the south, and in the western hills. 10 The men of Judah went to fight against the Canaanites in the city of Hebron (which used to be called Kiriath Arba). And they defeated Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai.

Caleb and His Daughter

11 Then they left there and went to fight against the people living in Debir. (In the past Debir had been called Kiriath Sepher.) 12 Before attacking the city, Caleb said, “I will give Acsah, my daughter, as a wife to the man who attacks and captures the city of Kiriath Sepher.” 13 Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, captured the city, so Caleb gave his daughter Acsah to Othniel to be his wife. 14 When Acsah came to Othniel, she told him to ask her father for a field. When she got down from her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What do you want?”

15 Acsah answered him, “Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in southern Canaan, also give me springs of water.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.

Fights with the Canaanites

16 The Kenite people, who were from the family of Moses’ father-in-law, left Jericho, the city of palm trees. They went with the men of Judah to the Desert of Judah to live with them there in southern Judah near the city of Arad.

17 The men of Judah and the men of Simeon, their relatives, defeated the Canaanites who lived in Zephath. They completely destroyed the city, so they called it Hormah.[a] 18 The men of Judah captured Gaza, Ashkelon, Ekron, and the lands around them.

19 The Lord was with the men of Judah. They took the land in the mountains, but they could not force out the people living on the plain, because they had iron chariots. 20 As Moses had promised, Hebron was given to Caleb, and Caleb forced out the three sons of Anak. 21 But the people of Benjamin could not make the Jebusite people leave Jerusalem. Since that time the Jebusites have lived with the Benjaminites in Jerusalem.

22 The men of Joseph went to fight against the city of Bethel, and the Lord was with them. 23 They sent some spies to Bethel (which used to be called Luz). 24 The spies saw a man coming out of the city and said to him, “Show us a way into the city, and we will be kind to you.” 25 So the man showed them the way into the city. The men of Joseph attacked with swords the people in Bethel, but they let the man and his family go free. 26 He went to the land where the Hittites lived and built a city. He named it Luz, which it is called even today.

27 There were Canaanites living in the cities of Beth Shan, Taanach, Dor, Ibleam, Megiddo, and the small towns around them. The people of Manasseh did not force those people out of their towns, because the Canaanites were determined to stay there. 28 Later, the Israelites grew strong and forced the Canaanites to work as slaves, but they did not make all the Canaanites leave their land. 29 The people of Ephraim did not force out all of the Canaanites living in Gezer. So the Canaanites continued to live in Gezer with the people of Ephraim. 30 The people of Zebulun did not force out the Canaanites living in the cities of Kitron and Nahalol. They stayed and lived with the people of Zebulun, but Zebulun made them work as slaves.

31 The people of Asher did not force the Canaanites from the cities of Acco, Sidon, Ahlab, Aczib, Helbah, Aphek, and Rehob. 32 Since the people of Asher did not force them out, the Canaanites continued to live with them. 33 The people of Naphtali did not force out the people of the cities of Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath. So they continued to live with the Canaanites in those cities, and the Canaanites worked as slaves. 34 The Amorites forced the Danites back into the mountains and would not let them come down to live in the plain. 35 The Amorites were determined to stay in Mount Heres, Aijalon, and Shaalbim. But when the Israelites grew stronger, they made the Amorites work as slaves. 36 The land of the Amorites was from Scorpion Pass to Sela and beyond.


  1. 1:17 Hormah Hormah sounds like the Hebrew word meaning “to destroy completely.”