Hebron

“And the sons of Judah fought against Jerusalem and they captured it and put it to the edge of the sword. Then the city was set on fire. Afterward, the sons of Judah went down to fight with the Canaanites — those who lived in the hill-country and Hebron as well as the low country. And Judah went toward the Canaanites who lived in Hebron (the name of Hebron used to be Qirayth Arba). There they smote Sheshay, Achiyman, and Talmay.”

(Judges 1:8-10)

We continue in the summary of the conquering of the Promised Land by the Israelites. One may recall how the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, were a group that Joshua had been unable to drive out (Joshua 15:63); here we have the tribe of Judah completing the task that had been begun under Joshua.

Hebron, which means, “companion,” we are told, had been called “Quirayth Arba” (many of our Bibles will render this, Kiriath-Arba), which means, “The Four Cities.” Thus, just as Minneapolis-St. Paul are often referred to as the “Twin Cities,” we might refer to this area as the “Quadruplet Cities.” Hebron, of course, is significant to the Jewish people as that is where Sarah died and is buried (Genesis 23:2,19). We also discover that Sheshay, Achiyman, and Talmay are present. These are the sons of Anak (Numbers 13:22), people that the Israelites had once feared as giants and descendents of the Nephalim (note that “Nephalim” means, “Those who fall on others” — another term for brigands or marauders). Before they had been driven out; now they are captured and slain.

Again, it should be emphasized that there is a degree of overlap between the end of Joshua and the beginning of Judges found in these passages. This should not cause us to stumble, but we should rather remember as I noted before that military campaigns take time to work out, so we can say we see the initiation of the event in Joshua and then the completion of that event worked out in Judges.

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