Judges 1:7 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 1:7, NIV: Then Adoni-Bezek said, 'Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off have picked up scraps under my table. Now God has paid me back for what I did to them.' They brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.

Judges 1:7, ESV: And Adoni-bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and their big toes cut off used to pick up scraps under my table. As I have done, so God has repaid me.” And they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.

Judges 1:7, KJV: And Adonibezek said, Threescore and ten kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table: as I have done, so God hath requited me. And they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died.

Judges 1:7, NASB: And Adoni-bezek said, 'Seventy kings with their thumbs and their big toes cut off used to gather up scraps under my table; as I have done, so God has repaid me.' So they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.

Judges 1:7, NLT: Adoni-bezek said, 'I once had seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off, eating scraps from under my table. Now God has paid me back for what I did to them.' They took him to Jerusalem, and he died there.

Judges 1:7, CSB: Adoni-bezek said, "Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off used to pick up scraps under my table. God has repaid me for what I have done." They brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.

What does Judges 1:7 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Israel's first battle following the death of Joshua has taken place. By God's blessing, the men of Judah conquered and destroyed a city called Bezek (Judges 1:4–5). According to God's instructions, the men of Judah should have killed the wicked leaders of that city (Deuteronomy 20:16–17). Instead, the Israelites commit the first act in a long-running pattern of disobedience in the Promised Land: cutting off the enemy king's thumbs and big toes (Judges 1:6). In doing so, they imitate the culture of the wicked Canaanites (Deuteronomy 20:18), exactly as God wanted them to avoid.

This act carries both literal and symbolic purpose. It cripples the victim, making walking and grasping objects difficult. It also symbolizes the victim's military defeat, rendering them effectively useless as a solider. The enemy leader, known by the title Adoni-bezek, has done the same to others during his own rule. Apparently, he then kept defeated kings as trophies, forcing them to forage for scraps with their mutilated hands. His use of the number seventy is probably a figure of speech, which was common in ancient discourse (Judges 1:4).

Adoni-bezek adds that as he has done, "elōhim" has repaid. Much like the English word "God," this is a title often used for the One True God. Also like the English term, it can be a generic reference to a false "god" or idol. Most likely, the Canaanite king refers to one of his own deities. This reveals something crucial about the Canaanite people. Their commitment to see all things from the perspective of false gods was exactly the reason Yahweh wanted the Israelites to keep absolutely separated from these people.

The following verse notes that Adonai-bezek was taken to Jerusalem and stayed there until he died. When this verse says, "they brought him," it might mean the Canaanite people. As the next verse notes, Jerusalem is the next city to be attacked by Judah. Perhaps the Israelites released the maimed king as a vicious message, only to kill him in their next battle. It's also possible the Israelites kept the prisoner alive for some undetermined time, as a cruel souvenir of their victory.

The reference to "Jerusalem" is likely used in the same way modern historians might speak of the apostle Paul traveling through "Turkey" (Acts 19:10), for the sake of easier understanding. Since Israel previously had difficulty with the city of Jerusalem, itself (Joshua 15:63), and would again in the future (Judges 1:21), this battle might have involved the hill later called Mount Zion.