In Judges 1:19, it says that God could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron. Why would this be the case, since God is omnipotent?

  • 1
    Is there a translation that says that God could not do this? Half the English translations explicitly make it clear that it was Judah that could not, and the other half play the pronoun game leaving it a little big ambiguous, but most readers can work it out themselves.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Mar 8, 2022 at 13:18
  • Here is a bit of Hebrew text analysis: reddit.com/r/AcademicBiblical/comments/8d2rov/comment/dxjxcmp/…
    – Riemann
    Commented Mar 9, 2022 at 9:29

1 Answer 1


As curiousdannii commented, the pronouns are confusing, but it was Judah who could not conquer the valley, rather than God.

Ralbag explains that Judah was not able to drive out the inhabitants of the valley because God did not allow it. If they had been able to conquer the mountain above then certainly they should have been able to conquer the valley. But this valley lay in the portion of Simeon, and therefore Judah was not given God-given help to conquer it.

I'm not sure how to link to an English translation of Ralbag. The original comment in Hebrew is at Ralbag on Judges 1:19

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    The Israelites fought as foot soldiers. God forbade them to use horses. So to avoid enemy's chariots, they always fought on a slope. They couldn't be victorious on a plain unless God helped them, like in Judges 4. Commented Mar 8, 2022 at 17:35

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