Who captured Debir, Joshua or Othniel?
The conquest against Debir is mentioned 3 times in Joshua and Judges. The questioner has pointed us to two of them. In Joshua 10, it is referenced quickly in a list of battles the Israelites had in the land of Canaan. In Judges 1, it is listed as part of the conquest for the land divided to Judah, and in particular, the territory that was taken by Caleb. A man named Othniel rose to the occasion, and was rewarded with the daughter of Caleb for his brave service.
The other time the conquest of Debir is mentioned is found in Joshua 15:13-17. The text is a parallel to Judges 1:11-13. A few chapters after the Debir reference in Joshua 15, Joshua rebuked the people:
…How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers has given you? Pick out from among you three men for each tribe, and I will send them; they shall rise and go through the land, survey it according to their inheritance, and come back to me. And they shall divide it into seven parts. Judah shall remain in their territory in the south, and the house of Joseph shall remain in their territory in the north… (Joshua 18:3-5)
The fall of Debir to the people of Judah, and the territory of Caleb specifically as a result of the efforts of Othniel took place during Joshua’s lifetime. Joshua 10:38-39 doesn’t exclude Othniel’s effort, it simply identifies Joshua as the one who led the people in battle.
There is no contradiction.
A response to 1001 Bible Contradictions.