Judges 1:22
And the house of Joseph, they also went up against Bethel: and the LORD was with them.
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(22) The house of Joseph.—Ephraim and Manasseh. The narrative now leaves the conquest of southern for that of central Palestine (Joshua 16, 17).

Beth-el.—The position of this town on the “highway” between Hebron and Shechem—the main thoroughfare of Palestine (Judges 20:31; Judges 21:19)—gave it great importance, as did also its sacred connection with events in the life of Abraham (Genesis 12:8-9; Genesis 13:3-4; Genesis 12:8) and Jacob (Genesis 28:10-17). For its subsequent history, see Judges 20:18-26, and the history of the northern kingdom, Hosea 10:8; Amos 5:21-23; Amos 7:10; 1 Kings 12, 13; 2Kings 2:3, &c. It is now the wretched village of Beitin. Bethel belonged properly to Benjamin (Joshua 18:22), but possibly, as in the case of Jerusalem, the border of Ephraim and Benjamin separated the upper from the lower town.

Jdg 1:22-25. The house of Joseph — That is, the tribe of Ephraim. Show us the entrance into the city — That is, where it may be most easily entered. For they did not inquire the way to the gate, which, no doubt, was common and plain enough; but for the weakest part, where the walls were lowest, or most out of repair, or had the least guard. Or they desired him, perhaps, to show them some private way to get into it, which none knew but the inhabitants. He showed them the entrance — Upon which, we may suppose, notice was immediately sent to the army, which lay near. They smote the city — Came upon them suddenly, and attacked them where they least expected it; so that the assailants met with little resistance.

1:21-36 The people of Israel were very careless of their duty and interest. Owing to slothfulness and cowardice, they would not be at the pains to complete their conquests. It was also owing to their covetousness: they were willing to let the Canaanites live among them, that they might make advantage of them. They had not the dread and detestation of idolatry they ought to have had. The same unbelief that kept their fathers forty years out of Canaan, kept them now out of the full possession of it. Distrust of the power and promise of God deprived them of advantages, and brought them into troubles. Thus many a believer who begins well is hindered. His graces languish, his lusts revive, Satan plies him with suitable temptations, the world recovers its hold; he brings guilt into his conscience, anguish into his heart, discredit on his character, and reproach on the gospel. Though he may have sharp rebukes, and be so recovered that he does not perish, yet he will have deeply to lament his folly through his remaining days; and upon his dying bed to mourn over the opportunities of glorifying God and serving the church he has lost. We can have no fellowship with the enemies of God within us or around us, but to our hurt; therefore our only wisdom is to maintain unceasing war against them.Bethel was within the borders of Benjamin, but was captured, as we here learn, by the house of Joseph, who probably retained it. Jud 1:22-26. Some Canaanites Left.

22, 23. the house of Joseph—the tribe of Ephraim, as distinguished from Manasseh (Jud 1:27).

The house of Joseph, i.e. the tribe of Ephraim, as appears from their opposition to the tribe of Manasseh, Judges 1:27.

And the house of Joseph, they also went up against Bethel,.... Which lay upon the borders of the sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, Joshua 16:1; and though it seems to have been taken when Ai was, Joshua 8:17; yet it appears that it was now in the possession of the Canaanites; wherefore the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh being desirous of enlarging their borders after the example of Judah, went against this place in order to take it:

and the Lord was with them; the Word of the Lord, as the Targum, directing, assisting, and succeeding them in their attempt.

And the house of Joseph, they also went up against Bethel: and the LORD was with them.
22. the house of Joseph] i.e. the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh (Joshua 17:17); from 2 Samuel 19:16; 2 Samuel 19:20 it appears that the tribe of Benjamin was included.

they also] Just as Judah went up, Jdg 1:4.

Beth-el] The modern Bçtîn, about four hours N. of Jerusalem, 2880 ft. above the sea, and high up in the Central Range (cf. Jdg 4:5, Jdg 20:18; Jdg 20:31 etc.). From Jericho the direct ascent to Beth-el must have passed Ai, the capture of which is recorded in Joshua 8; but we are to think of a gradual process of occupation rather than of a campaign in regular stages.

and the Lord was with them] as He was with Judah, Jdg 1:19. The LXX. cod. A reads ‘and Judah was with them,’ most likely due to a copyist’s slip; in Hebrew Jehovah and Judah differ in only one letter.

22–26. The fortunes of the house of Joseph

The account of the capture of Beth-el (Jdg 1:22-26) has all the marks of antiquity, like the early fragments preserved in Jdg 1:1-21. After the invasion of the South comes the invasion of Central Palestine, and, as this ancient version of the history shews, the two were independent of one another. The narrative knows nothing of such a leader as Joshua, though tradition connected him with the house of Joseph (Joshua 19:50 JE, Joshua 24:1 [Shechem], Joshua 24:30 E; Jdg 2:9), and with the taking of Ai near Beth-el (Joshua 8).

Verse 22. - The house of Joseph, i.e. Ephraim, but probably ,,here spoken of as "the house of Joseph because in the original document, from which both this chapter and Joshua 15:63, and 16, 17. are taken, the mention of "the lot of the children of Joseph" occurs, embracing both Ephraim and Manasseh. See Joshua 16:1 and Joshua 15:23, with which the twenty-first and twenty-second verses of this chapter are manifestly identical. Judges 1:22Like Judah, so also ("they also," referring back to Judges 1:2, Judges 1:3) did the house of Joseph (Ephraim and western Manasseh) renew the hostilities with the Canaanites who were left in their territory after the death of Joshua. The children of Joseph went up against Bethel, and Jehovah was with them, so that they were able to conquer the city. Bethel had indeed been assigned to the tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 18:22), but it was situated on the southern boundary of the tribe-land of Ephraim (Joshua 16:2; Joshua 18:13); so that the tribe of Joseph could not tolerate the Canaanites in this border town, if it would defend its own territory against them, and purge it entirely of them. This is a sufficient explanation of the fact that this one conquest is mentioned, and this only, without there being any necessity to seek for the reason, as Bertheau does, in the circumstance that the town of Bethel came into such significant prominence in the later history of Israel, and attained the same importance in many respects in relation to the northern tribes, as that which Jerusalem attained in relation to the southern. For the fact that nothing more is said about the other conquests of the children of Joseph, may be explained simply enough on the supposition that they did not succeed in rooting out the Canaanites from the other fortified towns in their possessions; and therefore there was nothing to record about any further conquests, as the result of their hostilities was merely this, that they did not drive the Canaanites out of the towns named in Judges 1:27, Judges 1:29, but simply made them tributary. יתירוּ, they had it explored, or spied out. תּוּר is construed with בּ here, because the spying laid hold, as it were, of its object. Bethel, formerly Luz, now Beitin: see at Genesis 28:19 and Joshua 7:2.
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