Neviim Rishonim :

Sefer Softim 1

Book of Judges Chapter 1

1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 , 21

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Background of the period of the Softim 1:1-3:6

A The Political Background 1:1-36

1:1 Now after the death of Yehoshua it came to pass, that Benai Yisrael asked ADONAI (יהוה), saying, Who shall go up for us against the Kenaanites first, to fight against them?

1:2 Veyomer ADONAI (יהוה) :

Yehudah Yaale Hinei Natati et-Haaretz beyado

"Yehudah (יהודה) shall go up: hinei, I have natan (delivered, given) the land into his hand. "

1:3 וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוּדָה לְשִמְעוֹן אָחִיו עֲלֵה אִתִּיבְגוֹרָלִי וְנִלָּחֲמָה בַּכְּנַעֲנִי וְהָלַכְתִּי גַם-אֲנִיאִתְּךָ בְּגוֹרָלֶךָ וַיֵּלֶךְ אִתּוֹ שִמְעוֹן׃

Veyomer Yehudah (יהודה) :

LeShimon akhiv ale iti vegorali vehilakhama Baknaani vehalachti Gam-Ani itcha begoralecha vayelech ito Shimon.

"unto Shimon (שׁמעון) his brother, Come up with me into my lot, that we may fight against the Kenaanites; and I likewise will go with you into your lot. So Shimon (שׁמעון) went with him."

1:4 And Yehudah (יהודה) went up; and ADONAI (יהוה) delivered the Kenaanites and the Perizzites into their hand: and they slew of them in Bezek ten thousand men.

1:5 And they found Adoni-bezek in Bezek: and they fought against him, and they slew the Kenaanites and the Perizzites.

1:6 But Adoni-bezek fled; and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes.

1:7 And Adoni-bezek said, shibim (70 ) melakhim, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered [their meat] under my table: as I have done, so Elohim (אלהים) has requited me. And they brought him to Yerushalayim, and there he died.

1:8 Now Benai Yehudah (יהודה) had fought against Yerushalayim, and had taken it, and smitten it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire.

1:9 And afterward Benai Yehudah (יהודה) went down to fight against the Kenaanites, that dwelt in the harain, and in the south, and in the valley.

1:10 And Yehudah (יהודה) went against the Kenaanites that dwelt in Hevron: (now the name of Hevron before [was] Kiryat-Arba:) and they slew Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai.

1:11 And from thence he went against the inhabitants of Devir (דביר): and the name of Devir (דביר) before [was] Kiryat-Sepher:

1:12 And Kalev (לכלב) said, He that smiteth Kiryat-Sepher, and takes it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife.

1:13 And Otni'el (עתניאל) Ben Kenaz, Kalev (לכלב)'s younger brother, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife.

1:14 And it came to pass, when she came [to him], that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted from off [her] ass; and Kalev (לכלב) said to her, What will you?

1:15 And she said to him, Give me a blessing: for you have given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And Kalev (לכלב) gave her the upper springs and the nether springs.

1:16 And Benai the Kenite, Mosheh' father in law, went up out of the city of palm trees with Benai Yehudah (יהודה) into the wilderness of Yehudah (יהודה), which [lieth] in the south of Arad; and they went and dwelt among the people.

1:17 And Yehudah (יהודה) went with Shimon (שׁמעון) his brother, and they slew the Kenaanites that inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. And the name of the city was called Hormah.

1:18 Also Yehudah (יהודה) took Azah (Gaza) with the coast thereof, and Askelon with the coast thereof, and Ekron with the coast thereof.

1:19 And ADONAI was with Yehudah (יהודה); and he drave out [the inhabitants of] the harain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.

1:20 And they gave Hevron to Kalev (לכלב), as Mosheh said: and he expelled thence the three Benai Anak.

1:21 And Benai BenYamin did not drive out the Yebusites that inhabited Yerushalayim; but the Yebusites dwell with Benai BenYamin in Yerushalayim to this day.

1:22 And the bayit, they also went up against Beit-el: and ADONAI [was] with them.

1:23 And the bayit sent to spy out Beit-el. (Now the name of the city before [was] Luz.)

1:24 And the spies saw a man come forth out of the city, and they said to him, Shew us, we pray you, the entrance into the city, and we will shew you mercy.

1:25 And when he showed 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.

1:26 And the man went into the eretz the Hittites, and built a city, and called the name thereof Luz: which [is] the name thereof to this day.

1:27 Neither did Menashe drive out [the inhabitants of] Beit-Shean and her towns, nor Taanach and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Ibleam and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns: but the Kenaanites would dwell in that land.

1:28 And it came to pass, when Yisrael was strong, that they put the Kenaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out.

1:29   וְאֶפְרַיִם לֹא הוֹרִיש אֶת-הַכְּנַעֲנִי הַיּוֹשֵבבְּגָזֶר וַיֵּשֶב הַכְּנַעֲנִי בְּקִרְבּוֹ בְּגָזֶר׃

Ve'Efrayim lo horish et-haKena'ani hayoshev beGazer vayeshev haKena'ani bekirbo beGazer

Neither did Efrayim drive out the Kena'ani that dwelt in Gazer; but the Kena'ani dwelt in Gazer among them.

1:30 Neither did Zevulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Kenaanites dwelt among them, and became tributaries.

1:31 Neither did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Accho, nor the inhabitants of Tzidon, nor of Ahlav, nor of Achziv, nor of Helbah, nor of Aphik, nor of Rehov:

1:32 But the Asherites dwelt among the Kenaanites, the inhabitants of the land: for they did not drive them out.

1:33 Neither did Naftali drive out the inhabitants of Beit-Shemesh, nor the inhabitants of Beit-Anat; but he dwelt among the Kenaanites, the inhabitants of the land: nevertheless the inhabitants of Beit-Shemesh and of Beit-Anat became tributaries to them.

1:34 And the Emorities forced Benai Dan into the harain: for they would not suffer them to come down to the valley:

1:35 But the Emorities would dwell in har Heres in Aiyalon, and in Shaalbim: yet the yad the bayit prevailed, so that they became tributaries.

1:36 And the coast of the Emorities [was] from the going up to Akrabbim, from the rock, and upward.

1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 , 21

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From the Rabbis of  the Talmud (Bava Batra 15b) teaches us that Sefer Shoftim was the second book of the Neviim, was written by Navi Shemuel. This Sefer tells the stories of 390 difficult years of the History of Yisrael.

The events of this sefer cover the turbulent period in Yisrael's history from about 1380 to 1050 BC. Softim takes its title from the fact that it records the activities of 12 men and one woman, designiated as Softim and raised by Hashem to deliver Yisrael in times of declension and disunion after Yehoshua's death. No one was capable of such leadership as Yehoshua had exercised. The fourfold cycle  so common in Yisrael's history it consist of the following cycle Rebellion, retribution, repentance restoration. Sefer Yehoshua is the sefer of victory while Softim is a sefer of defeat. The Softim were chosen from different tribes. Not all of them exercised jurisdiction over the entire land of Yisrael.


The Softim of Yisrael


Meaning or type

Years of oppression




Yrs led


Kushan Rishathaim melekh Aram-Naharayim (Mesopotamia)

Kush mad of double wickedness self-exaltation, pride


Otni'el Ben Kenaz

Lion Elohim (the power of EL)

son of Kenaz, younger brother of Kalev, and husband of Achsah the bat Kalev and his own niece; first judge of Yisrael, who after the death of Yehoshua, delivered the Yisraelites from the oppression of Kushan- Rishathaim



Yehoshua 15:17; Softim 1:13; 3:9; 3:11; 1 Ch 4:13; 1 Ch 27:15

Eglon melekh of Mo'av

Circle worldly profession


Ehud Ben Gera

Majesty I will give thanks: I will be praised" or "undivided, union a Benjamite, a man lefthanded

Second judge, Benyamite judge of Yisrael, deliverer of Yisrael from Mo'av He stabbed the king with a dagger, killed 10,000 Mo'avites



Softim 3:12-30



wanderers among Hashem's people or carnal religion


Shamgar Ben Anat

Stranger or Pilgrim "sword"

Third judge, son of Anath and a judge of Israel; with an ox-goad he slew 600 Philistines and delivered Israel



Jud 3:31; Jud 5:6


melekh of Hazor in Kenaan Commander in Chief Sisera

Understanding or human intellect settlement

Battle array meaning unknown


Devorah w/o Lapidoth

Barak Ben Avino'am

Honey Bee


 fourth judge a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. Delievered Yisrael from Yabin King of Kenaan, Encourage Barak Ben Avino'am fifth judge to fight



Softim 4:1-5:31


Contention, strife, the world


Gid'on Ben Yo'ash

Avi-Melekh  (3)

The cutter down let ba'al plead for himself or ba'al fighter "hewer"

A usurper

youngest son of Yoash of the Avi'ezrites, sixth judge of Yisrael who led the Yisraelites against the Midianites. Needed reassurance of Hashem's support. Conquered the enemy with pitchers, lamps and Shofar



Softtim 6-8

Tola Ben Puah

A worm

a man of Yissakar, Seventh judge of Yisrael after Avi-Melekh


Softim 10:1-2

Yair Ben Menasheh

Light giver "he enlightens" the Gil'adiite, a judge

a descendant of Menasheh who conquered many towns during the time of the conquest the Gileadite, a eighth judge of Israel for 22 years during the time of the judges; father of 30 sons, had 30 sons with 30 ass colts


Softim 10:3-5


Rationalism or false doctrine


Yiftach Ben Gilead

He will open

a son of Gilead and a concubine and the ninth judge who defeated the Ammonites; after the victory because of a vow taken before the battle he sacrificed his daughter as a burnt offering n pr loc


Softim 11:1-40


"their whiteness (literally their tin -- as white"  a Bethlehemite judge

Tenth Judge Ibzan, "their whiteness (literally their tin -- as white" a Beit lechemite judge in time of the judges


Softim 12:8-10

Elon Ben Zevulun


second son of Zevulun eleventh judges


Softim 12:11-12

Abdon Ben Hillel

service "servile"

twelfth Judge Pirathonite  was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim had 40 banim, 30 nephews, 70 donkeys


Softim 12:13-15


carnal religion


Shimshon Ben Manoah

"like the sun"

Delivered Yisrael from the Pelishtim, Was a Nazarite, Had immense strength. Personally killed thousands of Pelishtim. was deceived, captured and imprisoned. final act was to destroy a temple of the Pelishtim god, killing hiself and many of the enemy.


Softim 13:24-16:31






descendant of Aharon through Ithamar and high priest and judge of Yisrael when Shemuell entered service as a child


1 Shemuel 1-4




Shemuel Yoel/ Aviyah


Delivered Yisrael from the Pelishtim, Perverted Justice


1 Shemuel 3:11-7:15; 1 Shemuel 8:1-5