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In the Book of Judges (1:4 - 7), Adoni-Bezek, (simply "lord of Bezek"), was a Canaanite king who, having subdued seventy of the chiefs that were around him, was attacked by the armies of Judah and Simeon. He was defeated. According to Coggins he is probably the same person as Adonizedek mentioned in Joshua 10, and flourished c. 1200 BC.[1]


Adoni-Bezek was known to the Israelites as a king who removed the large toes and thumbs of kings he subjugated to render them harmless as warriors, presumably so they could no longer wield weapons or run. After Joshua died,[2] the tribes of Judah and Simeon continued the Israelite conquest of Canaan by leading an army against this Canaanite king.[3] Employing the biblical law of "eye for an eye" they apparently did the same to Adoni-Bezek before sending him to Jerusalem as a slave.[4] Adoni-Bezek is recorded as saying, "Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off, used to pick up scraps under my table. As I have done, so God has repaid me." [5]

Later life[edit]

According to the Hebrew chroniclers, he confessed that God had requited him for his like cruelty to the seventy kings whom he had subdued. Compare 1 Samuel 15:33). Otherwise, nothing is known of his life after his mutilation.


Within months, or possibly just weeks following his defeat, the ex-king died, probably of an infection caused by his mutilation.[citation needed]

Though he had subjugated seventy other kings, his name is missing in the list of city kings in Joshua xii. 9-24.

Compare Adonizedek.

In amarna letters[edit]


  1. ^ Richard James Coggins: Who's who in the Bible London Batsford 1981, ISBN 0-7134-0144-3
  2. ^ Bible Judges 1:1
  3. ^ Bible Judges 1:3
  4. ^ Bible Judges 1:6
  5. ^ Bible Judges 1:7 ESV

External links[edit]