Judges begins with the death of Joshua. It chronicles what became of the people after Joshua was no longer with them.
The work is far from over! There is still much territory that has been allotted but not yet cleared of the in store; original inhabitants. The people realize this but are afraid to step out and do it. Joshua isn’t there to lead them anymore. They want to know what God has planned, so they ask Him. God tells them that He has chosen the tribe of Judah to continue the expansion.
When we were looking at the book of Joshua we came across this battle mentioned in today’s reading. The battle I’m referring to is the one where Caleb offers the hand of his daughter in marriage. I’m not sure if this was a protracted battle, one that was broken down into more than one part, or mentioned in two separate places because of its importance.
Another question I have is regarding Jerusalem. We are told that “the men of Judah fought against Jerusalem and captured it and struck it with the edge of the sword and set the city on fire” (verse 8). But we are also told that “the people of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem, so the Jebusites have lived with the people of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day” (verse 21). Second Samuel 5 tells us that David conquered Jerusalem by going through the water system.
The city of Jerusalem was on the border between Judah and Benjamin. Judah initially conquered Jerusalem but let Benjamin occupy it. The tribe of Benjamin then let the Jebusites, who had originally lived in the city come back and take root. By the time David became king the Jebusites had the majority of control of the city. David would eventually wipe the Jebusites from the city and make it Israel’s capitol city; the City of David.
There appears to be a LOT of “give and take” when it comes to conquering the land. Israel would “conquer” (take) the land and then let some of the inhabitants remain (give). God told them NOT to do this because it would “become a thorn in their side.” The inhabitants didn’t divest themselves of their gods and Israel slowly began adopting their practices.
Judah appears to be the strongest of the tribes in regard to conquest and following the Lord. I say this because they are the ones God chose to “go up” and fight for the Lord. He said “I have given the land into his hand” (verse 2b). They also had the most success in driving out the inhabitants of the land. We are not told that they let the inhabitants live within their cities, at least I don’t see it mentioned yet.
Judah is the tribe God also chose to bring His salvation through. Jesus was of the line of Judah. Both Matthew and Luke trace His lineage back through time to the tribe of Judah. Judah’s blessing from Jacob speaks of a future ruler coming through him that all people would bow down to. Jesus is that ruler but ALL people have yet to bow before Him. But that time IS coming!
I’m interested to see where God takes Israel on this journey with the Judges. I have an overall knowledge of how things turn out but I’m looking forward to the step by step view we are embarking on. One thing I noticed already with a quick glance ahead is that the timeline for the beginning is not exact with the death of Joshua. His death is mentioned a couple of chapters ahead. I guess that answers the first question I had when we started today. I wonder where we will go on this journey with the Holy Spirit. I guess we will see as the days go on.
Father God, I want to watch Your nation develop. I want to hear the stories of what they went through. I want to walk the roads they walked. I DON’T want to walk the roads that led to rebellion but I want to see them pointed out so I know where NOT to step. I want to watch as You faithfully cared for and disciplined them as Your children. This is just the beginning of their journey. Thank You for bring me along on it.
Show me along the way the lessons You would have me apply in my life too Holy Spirit. I KNOW You have much for me to learn as we walk together through God’s words. Lead on Holy Spirit, lead on!