1. Judges 1:17 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

What important word lies behind “destruction”?

Judges 1:17 (ESV)

17 And Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they defeated the Canaanites who inhabited Zephath and devoted it to destruction. So the name of the city was called Hormah.

The word used in the original is the verbal form of the word ḥerem, a word that is important to understanding the book as a whole. The word mostly occurs in the context of warfare and destruction. The law of the ḥerem in military contexts is given in Deuteronomy 7:1–26, which is then also the background to the word’s usage here in Judges. While the term only occurs here in Judges 1:1–36, it is undoubtedly implied throughout the chapter by the Israelite tribes’ attempts at possessing their allotments.1 Israel failed to implement the ḥerem, as seen in the repetition of phrases like did not drive out and live among.