Knights Over Mountain Peaks

The Conquest of Canaan Fails as Israel Disobeys

Continuing the Conquest of Canaan after Joshua’s Death

We see the people of Israel continuing the conquest of Canaan after the death of Joshua. They first inquired of the Lord which was a very good thing, and the Lord answered them. Then Judah partnered with Simeon to help each other out.

‘After the death of Joshua, the people of Israel inquired of the Lord, “Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?” The Lord said, “Judah shall go up; behold, I have given the land into his hand.” And Judah said to Simeon his brother, “Come up with me into the territory allotted to me, that we may fight against the Canaanites. And I likewise will go with you into the territory allotted to you.” So Simeon went with him. ‘

Judges 1:1-3

God’s Judgement on Canaan

One of the kings of the Canaanites was called Adoni-bezek. The Israelites defeated him and cut off his thumbs and big toes. At first, I thought that was weird and cruel. However, when I kept reading, I found that Adoni-bezek admits that he had done the same to 70 other kings. He also admitted that God now repaid him for that. So many of the things that the Israelites did in their conquest of Canaan were acts of Judgement by the Lord against these nations.

‘Adoni-bezek fled, but they pursued him and caught him and cut off his thumbs and his big toes. And Adoni-bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and their big toes cut off used to pick up scraps under my table. As I have done, so God has repaid me.” And they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there. ‘

Judges 1:6-7

Capturing Territories from the Philistines

Judah also managed to capture 3 territories from the Philistines which were Gaza, Ashkelon, and Ekron.

‘Judah also captured Gaza with its territory, and Ashkelon with its territory, and Ekron with its territory. ‘

Judges 1:18

Caleb Obtains his Possession

The Bible mentioned Caleb again in the book of Judges in Judges 1:12-15. The passage is almost the same as the one we saw earlier. The Lord probably had him mentioned twice as a testament to his faith, patience, and obedience.

Israel’s Disobedience

Israel disobeyed the Lord and broke the covenant. They made covenants with the Canaanites and did not break their altars. The consequence was the failure to complete the conquest of Canaan because the Lord would not continue to help them.

‘Now the angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall break down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed my voice. What is this you have done? So now I say, I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.” As soon as the angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the people of Israel, the people lifted up their voices and wept. ‘

Judges 2:1-4

Setting the Stage for the Book of Judges

Just as Moses and Joshua predicted, the people of Israel walked away from serving the Lord. It only took one generation to do so. This makes me wonder what went wrong? Did the parents not teach their children about the Lord?

‘And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the Lord had done for Israel. And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel. ‘

Judges 2:7,10

Israel’s Unfaithfulness

The Israelites provoked the Lord to anger by doing evil and following the practices of the Canaanites. They worshipped and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth!

‘ And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the Lord to anger. They abandoned the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. ‘

Judges 2:11-13

The Lord Raises Up Judges

This unfaithfulness and failure on Israel’s part resulted in cycles of the Lord abandoning them then having mercy and pity on them. Whenever He had pity on them, He would raise up a judge that would help them against their enemies. Then the judge dies and the people go back to their old ways and forget the Lord. Then the Lord raises up a new judge and so on. The Lord mentions Israel’s failure to complete the conquest of Canaan again here. It’s a direct consequence of transgressing the Lord’s covenant. He now used the people of the land that Israel failed to kick out to punish Israel.

‘ Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord, and they did not do so. Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways. So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he said, “Because this people have transgressed my covenant that I commanded their fathers and have not obeyed my voice, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died, in order to test Israel by them, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the Lord as their fathers did, or not.” So the Lord left those nations, not driving them out quickly, and he did not give them into the hand of Joshua.’

Judges 2:16-23

Video Summary of the Book of Judges

Below is a good summary of the book of Judges by the folks at the Bible Project.

Closing Thoughts

It’s incredible mercy from the Lord to have pity and help His people. He didn’t have to do this as Israel broke their side of the covenant. I’m thankful for the new covenant established by the Lord Jesus’ work on the cross. I can’t do anything to mess up this covenant. The work is DONE! All we need to do is believe in the finished work of the Lord and be saved.

Have you believed in the Lord Jesus and His finished work on the cross?

3 thoughts on “The Conquest of Canaan Fails as Israel Disobeys”

  1. Hi. I am confused about the way “Christians” refer to the Almighty/Creator. You call him “the Lord” as if it was his name. The Lord had no earthly existence prior to his birth in Bethlehem. He did not actually “become” Lord until he accepted the role his Father offered him as King of His heavenly kingdom. Jesus was destined to become Lord prior to that pending the faithful execution of Yahweh/ Jehovah’s. (YHWH;JHVH) plan for him to restore mankind my means of His ransom sacrifice. Names are very important to differentiate just who one is talking about. Lord is just a title that both God and Christ use. Using their names is vital to make clear whom you are referencing. Where does the Christian tabu of using the divine name come from? The tetragrammaton is used over 7000 times in the original Bible texts. On what authority did translators remove it?

    1. Hi Annie, good question. I didn’t know the reason myself as I’m not a Theologian, but I did a bit of research and this is what I got.

      First, you’re right that “Lord” is a title, not a name. In the Bible, this title is used for both God the Father and Jesus Christ. The term “Lord” comes from the Greek word “Kyrios,” commonly used in the New Testament. The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) uses “YHWH” or “JHVH,” known as the Tetragrammaton, to refer to God. This is often translated as “LORD” in English Bibles.

      Now, about the use of “YHWH” or “Jehovah.” The avoidance of pronouncing the name of God originated in Judaism. This was out of deep respect and the belief that God’s name is sacred and should not be used casually. Instead, they used titles like “Adonai” (Lord) or “Elohim” (God). When the Hebrew scriptures were translated into Greek (the Septuagint), “YHWH” was often replaced with “Kyrios” (Lord).

      Regarding the translation of the Bible into English, many translators followed this tradition. They used “Lord” instead of “YHWH.” This wasn’t about removing God’s name but rather respecting this tradition of reverence. Some modern translations do include “Jehovah” or “Yahweh” in places, but it’s less common.

      The choice to use “Lord” also reflects the belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ in Christian theology, acknowledging Him as “Lord” in the sense of recognizing His divine authority and relationship with God the Father.

      So, to sum up, using “Lord” is more about following a long-standing tradition rooted in respect and reverence for the divine name, and less about a taboo. Each Christian tradition might view and handle this differently, but that’s the general idea behind it. Hope this helps clear things up!

      Out of curiosity, what faith are you approaching this question from? Jewish?

  2. Numerous times Over and over throughout the hundreds of years in the Book of Judges the people would do evil and follow other gods when their judge died. Then God would send them into captivity as a result. Once there the period of years of captivity varied sometimes remaining there for as long as 40 years!
    Prior to God acting on the pity he has for sinners a very important thing happened. They “cried out” to the Lord! Yes those are the words – they cried out to the Lord! And the Lord immediately sent a new judge to deliver them. Notice it is a judge. Someone who discerns good from evil. Obedience from disobedience. And righteousness – what we call truth along with mercy is there because once they cried out in their suffering God gave deliverance! The 7th and final time this.
    happened..God told them why don’t you cry out to your other gods to deliver you? Now a new word appears which stirred God to act and deliver them once again for the final time in the book of judges. That new word is they “repented”! We see the gospel here bc the New Testament tells us to repent and in the New Testament God puts his Holy Spirit in The Believer to empower him to be holy because God is holy. And we are his in Christ..

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