1. Exposition

What was the cause of Israel's failure?

Judges 1:27–33 (ESV)

27 Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages, for the Canaanites persisted in dwelling in that land.

Why did things turn out this way? If the Lord was with them (Judges 1:22), why this failure? Five times it is said that the Israelites “did not drive out” the Canaanites—neither Manasseh (Judges 1:27), Ephraim (Judges 1:29), Zebulun (Judges 1:30), Asher (Judges 1:31), nor Naphtali (Judges 1:33) did. The terminology “did not” suggests choice, and thus culpability. But for now this is all we can say about why this happened. The real cause of Israel’s failure is yet to be revealed. That will happen at the beginning of Judges 2:1–23.