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Adoni-Bezek, (Hebrew: אֲדֹנִי־בֶּ֫זֶק‎‎ ’Ăḏōnî-Ḇezeq, "lord of Bezek"), or Adonibezek (in the King James Version) or Adoni Bezek (in God's Word Translation) was a Canaanite king referred to in the Hebrew Bible in Judges 1:4-7. Previous to the occupation of Canaan by the Israelites, he had subdued seventy of the chiefs of cities around him. The tribes of Judah and Simeon attacked the Canaanites and the Perizzites at Bezek and defeated him.

The historical reality of events described in the book of Judges is the subject of ongoing dispute among scholars, who vary in their opinions about how much of the book is historical.[1]


Bezek may have been the city where Adoni-Bezek was king, or where he was found when he had fled.[2] According to Calmet's Bible Dictionary, it was "in Canaan, seventeen miles N. E. from Napolose, towards Scythopolis".[3] Bezek appears again in 1 Samuel 11:8 as the site where Saul assembled the Israelite armies to fight against Nahash the Ammonite.


Adoni-Bezek was known to the Israelites as a king who had 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 had died,[4] the tribes of Judah and Simeon continued the Israelite conquest of Canaan by leading an army against this Canaanite king.[5] 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.[6] 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". [7]

Later life[edit]

According to the Hebrew chroniclers, he confessed that God had requited him for his cruelty to the seventy kings whom he had subdued. Otherwise, nothing is known of his life after his mutilation.

Comparison with Adonizedek[edit]

According to Coggins he is probably the same person as Adonizedek mentioned in Joshua 10 who flourished c. 1200 BC.[8] However the biblical narrative may not support this: Adonizedek was captured after taking refuge with four other rulers in a cave, and put to death in the course of Joshua's campaign in Canaan, while Adonibezek was captured, in a campaign following Joshua's death, in his own city.

His name is missing in the list of thirty-one city kings in Joshua 12:9-24, although he had subjugated seventy other kings in the Judges account. It has been argued that the latter figure may not be literally true: The Temple Dictionary of the Bible (1910) stated: '"This [70] is a round number, meaning 'many'".[9]


  1. ^ Barry G. Webb (20 December 2012). The Book of Judges. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 30. ISBN 978-1-4674-3639-7. 
  2. ^ Benson, J. Benson's Commentary on Judges 1, accessed 10 October 2016
  3. ^ Calmet's Bible Dictionary, Adoni-Bezek, in the Aquinas Study Bible, accessed 17 November 2016
  4. ^ Bible Judges 1:1
  5. ^ Bible Judges 1:3
  6. ^ Bible Judges 1:6
  7. ^ Bible Judges 1:7 ESV
  8. ^ Richard James Coggins: Who's Who in the Bible London Batsford 1981, ISBN 0-7134-0144-3
  9. ^ Ewing and Thomson, Rev. W. and Rev. J.E.H. (1910). The Temple Dictionary of the Bible. J.M. Dent & Son. p. 10. 

External links[edit]