The Period Of The Judges

Chapter 2

Failure of Benjamin      [Judges 1:21]

 

Scripture

21 And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day.

Commentary

 

Jews believe that Judges was written by the prophet Samuel. But we have no proof to support that idea. It was probably written during the first years of David’s reign, because it came after the fall of Shiloh (18:31[1]). But it must have been written before David’s capture of Jebus (Jerusalem), because Jebusites were still living in Jerusalem.

 

21 And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day.

 

Benjamin failed. Jerusalem is listed as belonging to Benjamin (Jg. 18:28[2]) as well as to Judah; it was located on the border between these two tribes. The upper part of the city, called Mount Zion, was not taken until the time of David. The lower city, Jerusalem, was taken by Judah (Jg. 1:8[3]), then later recaptured by the Jebusites (see Article 1.2; Chapter 1). Thus, the initial victory of the men of Judah against Jerusalem was already lost, and the city reverted back to Jebusite control. Why?

Here we have the first real break in the pattern of obedience. Benjamin neglected to drive the Jebusites out of the part (northern part) of the city of Jerusalem which fell to their lot (The territory allotted the tribe of Benjamin). Judah had set them a good example, and gained them great advantages by what they did (see v. 8; Chapter 1), that is, the taking of the southern part of Jerusalem; but, Benjamin did not follow-up by attacking the Jebusites living in their part, because they lacked the resolve to do so.

The children of Judah had captured their part of Jerusalem, but the children of Benjamin allowed the Jebusites to live among them, and they grew so strong and numerous that it became a city of Jebusites, Jg. 19:11[4]. Now the very first exploit David did, after he was anointed king over all Israel, was to capture Jerusalem out of the hand of the Jebusites; however, because it belonged to Benjamin, he could not make war against the Jebusites until Benjamin, which long adhered to Saul’s house (1 Chr. 12:29[5]), submitted to him.

Judah could not drive them out. Apparently, according to Judges 1:8[6] and II Samuel 5:6[7], the Israelites set fire to the lower city of Jerusalem, but the Jebusites maintained the stronghold of Zion. The strategic location of Jerusalem (described by the psalmist as “beautiful for situation,” Ps 48:2[8]) made it difficult to conquer. Unto this day is striking evidence that this book was written prior to David conquering this Jebusite city and making it Israel’s capital (II Sam. 5:6–10[9]). Jerusalem was taken by stealth, when Juab, David’s general, entered the city by stealth.

 

Article 1.4: BENJAMIN, TRIBE OF

The tribe descended from Benjamin (Num. 1:36–37; Judg. 1:21)(Benjamin means, “Son of the right hand.”)

Its northern boundary ran westward from the Jordan River through Bethel and just south of Lower Beth Horon; its western boundary picked up at this point to Kirjath Jearim; its southern border ran eastward to the northern point of the Dead Sea; and its easternmost limit was the Jordan River (Josh. 18:11–20). The chief towns in this hilly, fertile region were Jerusalem, Jericho, Bethel, Gibeon, Gibeah, and Mizpah (Josh. 18:21–28).

Saul, Israel’s first king, was a Benjamite, and the Benjamites supported Saul over David. (2 Sam. 2:9, 15; 1 Chr. 12:29). Although the Benjamites continued to show some unrest throughout David’s reign (2 Sam. 20:1; Ps. 7), most of the tribe remained loyal to the house of David and became part of the southern kingdom of Judah when Israel divided into two nations (1 Kin. 12:21; Ezra 4:1). Saul of Tarsus, who later became known as the apostle Paul, was a Benjamite (Phil. 3:5).

 

Jerusalem was situated partly in the tribe territory of Judah, and partly in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin; the northern part belonging to the latter tribe, the southern to the former. The Jebusites had their strongest position in the part that belonged to Benjamin, and from this stronghold they were not completely expelled until the days of David. In reality, the Benjamites did not even attempt to dislodge them. See the notes on Judges 1:8. What is said here of Benjamin is said of Judah, (see Joshua 15:63). There must be an interchange of the names in one or other of these places.

Unto this day--Seeing that the Jebusites dwelt in Jerusalem until the days of David, by whom they were driven out, and the author of the book of Judges states that they were in possession of Jerusalem when he wrote, we know that this book was written before the reign of David.

 

Article 1.5: Canaanites

The descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham. Migrating from their original home, they seem to have reached the Persian Gulf, and to have stayed there for a short time. Afterward, they "spread to the west, across the mountain chain of Lebanon to the very edge of the Mediterranean Sea, occupying all the land which later became Palestine, also to the north-west as far as the mountain chain of Taurus. This group was very numerous, and broken up into a great many peoples, as we can see from the list of nations (Gen 10), the 'sons of Canaan.'" Six different tribes are mentioned in Ex 3:8, 17; Ex 23:23; Ex 33:2; Ex 34:11. In Ex 13:5 the "Perizzites" are omitted. The "Girgashites" are mentioned in addition to those mentioned in Deut 7:1; Jos 3:10.

The "Canaanites," as distinguished from the Amalekites, the Anakim, and the Rephaim, were "dwellers in the lowlands" (Num 13:29), the great plains and valleys, the richest and most important parts of Palestine. Tyre and Sidon, their famous cities, were the centers of great commercial activity; and hence the name "Canaanite" came to signify a "trader" or "merchant" (Job 41:6; Prov 31:24), lit. "Canaanites;" Compare Zep 1:11; Ezek 17:4. The name "Canaanite" is also sometimes used to designate the non-Israelite inhabitants of the land in general (Gen 12:6; Num 21:3; Jdg 1:10).

The Israelites, when they were led to the Promised Land, were commanded to utterly destroy the descendants of Canaan then possessing it (Ex 23:23; Num 33:52, 53; Deut 20:16, 17). This was to be done "by little bits," lest the beasts of the field should increase (Ex 23:29; Deut 7:22, 23). The history of these wars of conquest is given in the Book of Joshua. The extermination of these tribes, however, was never fully carried out. Jerusalem was not taken until the time of David (2Sa 5:6, 7). In the days of Solomon, bond-service was exacted from the fragments of the tribes still remaining in the land (1Ki 9:20, 21). Even after the return from captivity survivors of five of the Canaanitish tribes were still found in the land.

In the Tell-el-Amarna tablets Canaan is found under the forms of Kinakhna and Kinakhkhi. Under the name of Kanana the Canaanites appear on Egyptian monuments, wearing a coat of mail and helmet, and distinguished by the use of spear and javelin and the battle-axe. They were called Phoenicians by the Greeks and Poeni by the Romans. By race the Canaanites were Semitic. They were famous as merchants and seamen, as well as for their artistic skill. The chief object of their worship was the sun-god, who was addressed by the general name of Baal, "lord." Each locality had its special Baal, and the various local Baals were summed up under the name of Baalim, "lords."


 


General Notes

 

[1] (Jg. 18:31) And they set them up Micah’s graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.” In addition to building a city of their own, the Danites set up a sanctuary and installed Jonathan, the son of Gershom as their priest. Also, Micah’s graven image was worshiped by them during the entire time that the house of God was in Shiloh, referring to the location of the tabernacle during the period of the judges. In other words, the Danites had their own private sanctuary and did not recognize the location of God’s true sanctuary at Shiloh.

 

[2] (Jg. 18:28) “And there was no deliverer, because it was far from Zidon, and they had no business with any man; and it was in the valley that lieth by Bethrehob. And they built a city, and dwelt therein.” The fact that the author says it was called that unto this day indicates that the location bore the same name in the day, or time, of the author.

 

[3] (Jg. 1:8) “Now the children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it, and smitten it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire.”

[4] (Jg. 19:11) And when they were by Jebus, the day was far spent; and the servant said unto his master, Come, I pray thee, and let us turn in into this city of the Jebusites, and lodge in it.”

[5] (1 Chr. 12:29) And of the children of Benjamin, the kindred of Saul, three thousand: for hitherto the greatest part of them had kept the ward of the house of Saul."

 

[6] (Jg. 1.8)Now the children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it, and smitten it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire.”

 

[7] (2 Sam. 5.6) And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither.” The blind and the lame are mentioned because the defense was considered so effective that the city could be defended by cripples without need for strong soldiers.

 

[8] (Ps. 48.2) Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.” Beautiful for situation … is mount Zion (lit., beautiful for elevation). Rising aloft in beauty, the city of Jerusalem was remarkable topographically; for it was set on the summit of one of the numerous hills of Judaea. Early called the “Queen of the East,” Jerusalem is indeed the joy of the whole earth (cf. Lam 2:15). It was the unique claim of Jerusalem to be the city of the great King. There God is known, and in that city the worship of Jehovah is centered.

[9] (II Sam. 5:6–10) 6And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither. 7Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David. 8And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, that are hated of David’s soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house. 9So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward. 10And David went on, and grew great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him.” The Jebusites. These were Canaanites still in possession of Jebus, or Jerusalem, at the time of David. They refused to surrender because of their superior fortification. The blind and the lame are mentioned because the defense was considered so effective that the city could be defended by cripples without need for strong soldiers. A better translation might be, “You will not come in here, but the blind and the lame will ward you off.” David was able to conquer Jerusalem, but he did it by discovering and attacking their weakest point, the gutter (Heb tsinōr). The meaning of this word was unknown until the early part of this century when Warren discovered a shaft forty feet deep connecting to a water tunnel that led outside the walls to a water supply used in siege. City of David was for a time the designation of this captured and strategic fortress of Jerusalem. From Millo and inward. Millo is not an English word, but simply a transliteration of a Hebrew word. The word means “the fill” and probably referred to a fill for defense purposes, like a huge casemate wall. The Lord God of hosts was with him. The writer is making the point that once God’s king was in power and God was helping him, he began to be accepted and successful as well as expand his kingdom.

 

Make a Free Website with Yola.