Judges 1:25 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 1:25, NIV: So he showed them, and they put the city to the sword but spared the man and his whole family.

Judges 1:25, ESV: And he showed them the way into the city. And they struck the city with the edge of the sword, but they let the man and all his family go.

Judges 1:25, KJV: And when he shewed them the entrance into the city, they smote the city with the edge of the sword; but they let go the man and all his family.

Judges 1:25, NASB: So he showed them the entrance to the city, and they struck the city with the edge of the sword, but they let the man and all his family go free.

Judges 1:25, NLT: So he showed them a way in, and they killed everyone in the town except that man and his family.

Judges 1:25, CSB: When he showed them the way into the town, they put the town to the sword but released the man and his entire family.

What does Judges 1:25 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The tribe of Ephraim wants to capture the city of Bethel. To do so, they seem to be following a plan that worked for capturing and destroying the city of Jericho. They send in spies (Joshua 2:1–7). Those spies contact a man leaving the city. They offer to "deal kindly" with the man, likely by agreeing to let him live, if he will show them a way into the city.

The spies of Jericho made a similar offer to the prostitute Rahab, but she had already expressed faith and loyalty to the God of Israel. This Bethelite has not done so. He shows them a way into the city simply to avoid being killed by the spies of Ephraim. He betrays his own people to save his life and that of his family.

Ephraim's tribe is successful to a point. They conquer Bethel and destroy the city. However, they fail to obey God's command to utterly destroy all the region's inhabitants (Deuteronomy 20:16–18). They let the traitor live and do not even require him and his family to join them. They simply let him go (Judges 1:26).