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The DEEP

The Beta Award

for out-failing all the others.

Judges 1:27–36 (ESV)

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. When Israel grew strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not drive them out completely.

And Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them.

Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, or the inhabitants of Nahalol, so the Canaanites lived among them, but became subject to forced labor.

Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Acco, or the inhabitants of Sidon or of Ahlab or of Achzib or of Helbah or of Aphik or of Rehob, so the Asherites lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land, for they did not drive them out.

Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh, or the inhabitants of Beth-anath, so they lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land. Nevertheless, the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and of Beth-anath became subject to forced labor for them.

The Amorites pressed the people of Dan back into the hill country, for they did not allow them to come down to the plain. The Amorites persisted in dwelling in Mount Heres, in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim, but the hand of the house of Joseph rested heavily on them, and they became subject to forced labor. And the border of the Amorites ran from the ascent of Akrabbim, from Sela and upward.

Manasseh failed. Ephraim failed. Zebulun failed. Asher failed. Naphtali failed. Dan failed. All six failed.

But some failures were worse than others. All of the tribes did not drive out the locals, but Dan almost got driven out themselves. Everyone allowed some locals to remain, but four of the six tribes subjected the locals to forced labor. Only Ephraim and Asher failed to do even that. Also, only Asher and Naphtali lived among the Canaanites instead of the Canaanites living among them.

So, Asher wins the “beta” award for not being top dog in their own region. They weren’t subjecting the Canaanites to forced labor plus they lived among the Canaanites instead of vice-versa.

All the others were alpha in one way or the other.


This first week in Judges has hit on some significant “mindset adjustment” themes for us. We’re not accustomed to the brutality and extreme evil of that era. We need to get used to these things.

But there’s another adjustment needed. Just as it was with Sodom and Gomorrah, we need to see the death of everyone in a city as a normal outcome. God made all people and He can do with them what He wants.

If we can cheer total destruction of the bad guys in a movie, why not in reality?


These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

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The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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