Judges 1: 1-21

Last week in Mercer we began studying Judges. This was a refreshing turn after spending a considerable amount of time in the Book of Revelations.

In Judges chapter one, we read Joshua has just died and the people of Israel made an inquiry to the Lord about their future plans. They asked God, “Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites?,” and God responds with Judah and that the land has been given into his hand already. Those must have been comforting words.

Something we should not miss in this action is the face of Israel has died, like Moses before him. Both men had a direct and personal relationship with God to provide direction for Israel straight from God himself. Israel was following God’s will with first Moses and then Joshua acting as their intermediary. With Joshua dying, Israel itself asks God what they ought to do.

We do not know how they asked and we do not know the details of how God spoke to them to provide them the answer of Judah and the land was already won, we just know it happened. But what really happened? Israel looked to God for direction and received it. That is a significant element of this relationship and kingdom, which will be short lived. Before ling Israel will begin doing what they want, despite God’s plan for them.

Two interesting stories are embedded in the first 21 verses:

  1. Caleb offers his daughter for the man who attacks and takes Kiriath-sepher. Othniel, Caleb’s younger brother captures it and wins Caeb’s daughter. Achsah, his new bride asks Othniel to ask her dad for a field and then she asks Othniel for the springs of water and he gives her the upper and lower springs. So we see a daughter given away as a trophy, but we also see she is not powerless in this relationship as she makes requests and strengthens their position in the Negeb with springs and land.
  2. Next we see the descendants of Moses father-in-law go up with the people of Judah, settling with the people. This is an interesting story because Moses married into this family when he was on the run from Egypt for murder. Then Moses father-in-law provided some wisdom during his leadership in the Wilderness. So why would God want this small blurb about the Kenites joining Israel in the Promised Land? Could it be an early grafting in of God’s promise, akin to the new believer in Christ Jesus today being grafted in as a Son of Abraham through the work of Jesus?