Daily Tanach, Sunday: Shoftim Chapter 1-Part 1 The unconquered cities


Chapter 1: The unconquered cities

1.       Conquering the remainder of the Canaanite nations:

  • After the death of Yehoshua the Jewish people asked Hashem [through the Urim Vetumim[1]] who should be chosen to fight the [remaining lands of the] nation of Canaan [that were yet to be conquered[2], as there remained pockets of Canaanite cities within the inherited territories of each of the tribes, and they thus asked which tribe should be first to wage war[3]]. Hashem replied that the tribe of Yehuda should wage the war, as the land of Israel has been given to his hands.
  • Yehuda and Shimon become allies: The tribe of Yehuda made a pact with the tribe of Shimon that each would go to war to help the other conquer their territory from the Canaanites.

2.       Yehuda conquers the land of Bezek:

  • Yehuda went to wage war against the Canaanite and Perizite nations and he smote them in [the land[4] of] Bezek.
  • Ten thousand men of Bezek were killed by Yehuda.
  • The Canaanite and Perizite nations were fought against and smitten.
  • The death of Adoni Bezek: The king of Bezek [whose name was Adoni Bezek] was found in Bezek. The king of Bezek fled and was eventually discovered, upon which they dismembered the thumbs of his fingers and toes. Adoni Bezek stated that this punishment is Divine retribution, Mida Kineged Mida, as he himself had severed the thumbs of the hands and feet of 70 kings, and these thumbs were stored under his table. Adoni Bezek was brought to Yerushalayim, and he died there.

3.       Yehuda conquers Yerushalayim, Chevron, and other cities:

  • Yerushalayim: The tribe of Yehuda waged battle against Yerushalayim and conquered it. The inhabitants were slain by the sword, and the city was set aflame.
  • Chevron and its giants:[5] After conquering Yerushalayim, the tribe of Yehuda waged battle against the Canaanites who dwell on the mountain and who dwell in Chevron. They smote Sheishay, Achiman and Talmaiy. [Some[6] say that the above battles against Chevron and Yerushalayim took place in the times of Yehoshua, although others[7] learn that they happened now, after the death of Yehoshua.]
  • Dvir/Kiryat Sefer and the marriage of Asniel with Achsa:[8] They went from there to the city of Dvir, which used to be called Kiryat Sefer. Kalev said that whoever went ahead and conquered Kiryat Sefer for him would receive Achsa his daughter as a wife. Asniel Ben Kenaz, who was the younger [maternal[9]] brother of Kalev went forth and conquered the city, and he was given Achsa, his niece, as a wife. Achsa tried to persuade her husband Asniel to [allow her to[10]] request a portion of land from her father, [but he refused] and thus she fell from her donkey that she was riding [in front of her father Kalev] and Kalev asked her as to what is it that she wants. She asked her father to give her a field of land for the sake of her sustenance, as the current land she was given has no water and is desolate. Kalev acquiesced to her request and gave her lands with wellsprings.[11]


[1] Ralbag

[2] Rashi 1:1

[3] Pirush Rav Yeshayah 1:1

[4] Rashi 1:4

[5] See Sefer Yehoshua chapter 15 where this matter is already discussed in detail, and is repeated here

[6] Radak 1:8; Metzudos David 1:10

[7] Rashi 1:7

[8] See Sefer Yehoshua chapter 15 where this matter is already discussed in detail, and is repeated here; See Radak 1:15

[9] Rashi 1:13

[10] Metzudos David Shoftim 1:14

[11] See Radak and Metzudos David Yehoshua 15:19

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