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by Wayne Blank
"And all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time, because The Lord God of Israel fought for Israel"
When they crossed the Jordan, the Israelites were not invading someone else's nation. The Lord had long before declared that the land of Israel was to be the national property of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob e.g. "I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am The Lord" (Exodus 6:8 KJV). The God-empowered Israelite military onslaught against the occupiers was not a war of aggression; it was a war in sovereign defense of their own land.
"And Joshua went up from Eglon, and all Israel with him, unto Hebron; and they fought against it: And they took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof, and all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining, according to all that he had done to Eglon; but destroyed it utterly, and all the souls that were therein."
Debir was one of the northern border points that marked the tribal territory of Judah, south of Jerusalem.
"And the east border was The Salt Sea, even unto the end of Jordan [see The Jordan Valley]. And their border in the north quarter was from the bay of the sea at the uttermost part of Jordan: And the border went up to Bethhogla, and passed along by the north of Betharabah; and the border went up to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben: And the border went up toward Debir from the valley of Achor, and so northward, looking toward Gilgal, that is before the going up to Adummim, which is on the south side of the river: and the border passed toward the waters of Enshemesh, and the goings out thereof were at Enrogel"
Debir was later designated as a Levite city. The Levites did not receive a tribal territory of their own, but as the priests, were given towns throughout the territories of the other Israelite tribes. Nine cities, including Debir, were given to the Levites out of the territory of "the tribe of the children of Judah, and out of the tribe of the children of Simeon" (Joshua 21:9 KJV)
"Thus they gave to the children of Aaron the priest Hebron with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Libnah with her suburbs, And Jattir with her suburbs, and Eshtemoa with her suburbs, And Holon with her suburbs, and Debir with her suburbs, And Ain with her suburbs, and Juttah with her suburbs, and Bethshemesh with her suburbs; nine cities out of those two tribes" (Joshua 21:13-16 KJV)
After the Canaanites crept back in, Debir, which was earlier known as "Kirjathsepher," was taken again by Caleb.
"And Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron: now the name of Hebron before was Kirjatharba: and they slew Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai. And from thence he went against the inhabitants of Debir: and the name of Debir before was Kirjathsepher: And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjathsepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife. And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife" (Judges 1:10-13 KJV)
Fact Finder: Who were the people who occupied Jerusalem before the Israelites took it? What was the name of the city before it was known as Jerusalem?