No Confusion Here: Judah’s Role In The Conquest Of Jerusalem -- By: David G. Hansen

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 28:2 (Spring 2015)
Article: No Confusion Here: Judah’s Role In The Conquest Of Jerusalem
Author: David G. Hansen


No Confusion Here:
Judah’s Role In The Conquest Of Jerusalem

David G. Hansen

This article is an addition to Dr. Brian N. Peterson’s fine piece in the previous issue of Bible and Spade (Winter 2015, Vol. 28.4, pp. 13-17). In his article Dr. Peterson dealt with the confusing problem of which tribe wanted to conquer Jerusalem/ Jebus (I will, from here on, refer to the city as Jerusalem and its inhabitants as Jebusites) in the periods of the Conquest and Judges. The crux of the problem is the Bible’s statements that either Judah or its northern neighbor, Benjamin, did or did not conquer the city (see what appears to be conflicting verses in Jdg 1:8, Judg 1:21 and Jos 15:63). Jos 15:63 recounts that “Judah could not dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the people of Judah.” However, Jdg 1:8 states, “The men of Judah attacked Jerusalem also and took it. They put the city to the sword and set it on fire.” A little later on, Jdg 1:21 reports Benjamin did not “drive out the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the Benjamites” (note, no mention of Judah). This last verse also intimates Benjamin may not have even tried to oust the Jebusites, but was content to let them live peacefully.

Dr. Peterson reviewed the problem and briefly listed four possible solutions. He then elaborated on a fifth, titled the “two– hill” theory. It is my intention via this article to add another conceivable account to the mix.

The answer to the question of which tribe had been allocated Jerusalem is clear. Jos 18:28 states it was given to Benjamin. Since Jerusalem is in Benjamin’s territory, it would seem that Benjamin would want to secure the city, not just live alongside the Jebusites. But, such was not the case. Two of the above verses reveal it was Judah which tried once to capture the city (Jos 15:63) and failed, but Judah did defeat and destroy it later (Jdg 1:8). Although Judah attacked and burned Jerusalem (Jdg 1:8), they must not have controlled it very long. Shortly thereafter, a man, his concubine and servant traveled from Bethlehem north to Ephraim. As the evening fell and they came near Jerusalem, the man’s servant encouraged him to overnight in the city. The man replied: “We will not tu...

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