Chapter 1.
The Consequences of Compromise

Judges 1

I. The Condition in Israel—1:1

A drastic change has taken place in the health of the nation. Joshua, the man of God, is dead. Many times the most useful men are called away before their task is finished. The death of great men should inspire us to fill in the gap and finish the work the Lord has used them to begin. When the post of an effective leader becomes vacant, ask the Lord for counsel for new choices in leadership. You will find many times when great men move on in death or departure, it is difficult to find men of equal or greater ability. For this reason we need God's help.

The children of Israel started out on the right foot in finding a leader. They needed wisdom and direction and asked the Lord for His choice of leadership. We too should follow their example. We are promised wisdom if we will ask the Lord for it (James 1:5). Israel's. work began in sincerity and earnest, but it ended in weakness. Chapter one is the chapter of failure and defeat. God's people are about to find out that their greatest threat was not a military threat, but a spiritual one. The attitudes that permeated society were "Me first! Anything goes! Do your own thing! If it feels good do it!" Not much has changed. All these attitudes were adopted by Israel as we will see and caused their society to decay from within. We find the same path being taken today in our own nation. We are decaying from within to the point where right is considered wrong and wrong is considered right.

The battlefield for this nation is not in the area of war, but in worship. What we worship and value will dictate our allegiances and how we will live. The worship of our planet affects environmental and legislative decisions. The worship of man affects our decisions about abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, and drug usage as men demand their rights to do whatever they want in their own eyes. The worship of the false gods of this world affect our lifestyles and attitudes about life, others, and Christians. God's blessings have made America great because we were dependent upon Him. We are forsaking the Lord as a nation now and are reaping and will continue to reap the severe consequences of this decision (Judges 2:13, 14).

II. The Choice for Leadership—1:2

God's choice for leadership was the tribe of Judah. With God's choice comes God's assurance... "The Lord hath delivered the land into His hand." It was as good as done!

III. The Coalition—1:3

Judah asked Simeon to come up and fight with him. Why? The Lord said only Judah was to go and battle. Judah may have asked Simeon for several reasons.

IV. The Conquest—1:4-18

God delivered the Canaanites and Perizzites into Judah's hands. Ten thousand were defeated in Bezek. Adonibezek was captured and his thumbs and toes were cut off. A common practice in the Middle East was to mutilate prisoners of war and afflict them.

Two key thoughts surface in verse seven.


Adoni-bezek looks at his hands with no thumbs and feet without toes and he is reminded of the seventy kings without thumbs and toes that gather food from under his table. It was a common practice to feed food scraps to kings. Adoni-bezek cries out, "As I have done to them... God had done to me!" This heathen king realized that God was judging his life! Feelings of remorse flood his soul. Remorse! Remorse! I've wronged others, hurt others, and now I am paying for my crimes.

Others in the Bible have expressed remorse for their sin.


Matthew 26:75—And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly. Peter felt remorse for what he did.


Matthew 27:3—Then Judas, which had betrayeth him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,(5) And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

If there ever was a time to be sorry for sin, it is NOW! Now is the time to repent of your sin and trust Jesus Christ as your Savior. When you die, it will be too late. Hell is full of people who have remorse for their sins, but it's TOO LATE!


One reason for the remorse of Adoni-bezek was this man was reaping what he had sown. He said, "As I have done, so God hath requited me." Sowing and reaping is a law of Scripture. You reap what you sow.

Job 4:8—Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.

Hosea 8:7—For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.

Galatians 6:7—Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Men reap what they sow. History is full of examples.

  1. He lied to his father and his sons lied to him.
  2. He deceived his father with a goat and he was deceived with the blood of a goat.
  3. Jacob deceived his father about his favorite son (Esau), and his sons deceived him about his favorite son... Joseph.

As this chapter continues the conquests of Israel are recorded. Jerusalem, Hebron, Debir, Hormah, Gaza, Askelon, and Ekron are all conquered. Judah is on a roll but the situation is about to quickly change.

V. The Conflict in the Valley—1:19, 20

The Lord was still with Judah. Unfortunately, Judah's faith begins to famish and fear begins to inflame their hearts. Judah had a great start, but they lacked determination and steadfastness to stick it out. They were worried about the chariots of their enemies. "We can't beat these guys!" Israel had no chariots. To a foot soldier a charging chariot and horse was a fearful sight. The Canaanite chariots had three people within them. One was a driver, another was the shield bearer, and the other was the spear man. The axles of the chariots had knives inserted in them to cut down the soldiers as they drove by them.

If the Lord is with them, what difference would this make? Why stop now? Why would they fail now? Judah fails for the same reason we fail and Peter failed (Matthew 14:24-31). We get our eyes off the Lord! Many times we know what to do, but don't follow through. Our relationship with God deteriorates. This failure of Judah, the leading tribe, soon effects the rest of the nation.

VI. The Collapse of Resolve—1:21-36

When we fail to obey God and deal with sin in our life it leads to failure in the future. Israel's disobedience and failure with the Canaanites lead to constant conflicts with these people.

{See the Special Study on "Disruptions From Disobedience" at the end of this chapter on page 11.}

The consequences of compromise become more critical and costly.

Israel started out strong but they got sidetracked by fear, weariness, lack of discipline, greed, and pursuit of their own interests. Beware of starting out strong and getting sidetracked from your real purpose... loving the Lord and living for Him!

Special Study.
The Disruptions from Disobedience

Judges 1:21-36

I don't think we really comprehend how important obedience is in the matters of life. We are very dependent upon the obedience of others and sometimes fail to realize just how much. If other drivers fail to obey traffic laws, we can be injured or killed in a crash. If a chef puts the wrong ingredients in the food he is cooking, we could get food poisoning. If a soldier does not obey his commander, he could jeopardize his unit and expose everyone to enemy fire. Yes, obedience is very important and disobedience is destructive and disruptive.

A survey of Scripture reveals the disruptions of disobedience and the end result.

The Disruptions and Destructiveness of Disobedience

  1. SIN: Genesis 3:11... Adam and Eve bring sin into the human race by their disobedience.
  2. SALT: Genesis 19:26... Lot's wife turns into a pillar of salt.
  3. SCORCHING: Leviticus 10:l,2...Nadab and Abihu are destroyed by fire for offering strange fire to the Lord. They disobeyed God's Word. The obedience of Scripture is vital. In fact, what you do with the Bible will determine what God does with you. God's laws will last much longer than those who break them.
  4. STOPPAGE into the Promised Land: Numbers 20:11... Because Moses smote the rock instead of speaking to it to get the water, he was denied access to the Promised Land. God expected Moses to obey His command. Christ demonstrated the importance of obedience in His own life even as a child. Think of it... Jesus was one child who knew more than his mother and step-father, yet, He still obeyed them. Every great person first learned how to obey, whom to obey, and when to obey.
    As parents we need to teach our kids to obey. Teaching obedience is not going to hurt them, but help them. The time to teach obedience to authority is in the play pen, not the state pen.
  5. SENTENCE of Death: Joshua 7:1... Achan and is family are executed because he disobeyed the Lord and took the garment and gold of Jericho.
  6. SOVEREIGN Reign is Terminated: 1 Samuel 13:13.... Saul's reign would end because of his disobedience.
  7. STRESSFUL Circumstances: Jonah 1:3... Jonah spends three days in the belly of a whale because he would not obey God.

Principles on Obedience

  1. The DECREE of Obedience:

    Deuteronomy 26:16—This day the Lord thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.

    God expects whole-hearted obedience.

  2. The DEMAND Of Success:

    Joshua 1:8—This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

    If you want to prosper and have success, obey God's Word. Obedience brings blessing. That small step of obedience is a giant step of blessing.

  3. The DOMINION of Obedience:

    1 Samuel 15:22—And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

    Obedience is the most important thing to the Lord.

  4. The DIRECTION of Obedience:

    Acts 5:29—Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

  5. The DELIGHTS Of Obedience:

    James 1:25—But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

    God promises a blessing to those who obey His Word.

Disobedience in Judges

{See the Review Questions for this chapter on page 376.}

What You Do With the Bible Will Determine What God Does With You!