There was, however, one man among the Israelites whose lust of
spoil made him unfaithful. His act brought a curse upon all Israel,
so that they failed in their next enterprise, the attack on Ai. It
was expected that it would be easily conquered, and only 3000 men
were told off to take it ; but they were repulsed with the loss of
thirty-six men (Josh. vii. 5). Whereupon the hearts of the people
melted, and Joshua, with all the elders of Israel, fell upon their
faces before the ark as mourners. Joshua was then told that Israel
had sinned in taking of the accursed thing and concealing it among
their goods, and he was commanded to sanctify the people against
the morrow, and to cast lots for the offender, who was to be slain
and burnt, with all belonging to him. The lot ultimately fell upon
Achan, the son of Carmi. He confessed that he had taken from
the spoil of Jericho a goodly Babylonish garment, two hundred
shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold fifty shekels' weight, and had
hid them in the earth in his tent, where they were found by men
sent by Joshua. The ofl'ender was stoned mid afterwards burned,
with his children, his cattle, and his tent ; and a great heap of
11G SCRIPTURE HISTORY. CHAP. VIJ1
stones was raised over them to mark the place, which received the
name of Achor (trouble) (Josh. vii.). His case is a striking ex-
ample of the effect of sin, as involving the ruin of the guiltless ;
"That man perished not alone in his iniquity" (Josh. xxii. 20).
Joshua now formed another plan for taking Ai, which met with
complete success. The city was destroyed with all its inhabitants,
and the King of Ai was hanged on a tree. This victory secured the
passes from the valley of the Jordan, and gave the Israelites access
to the open country in the centre of Palestine. Joshua now marched
to Shechem, where he held the solemn ceremony of the blessing
and the curse on Mounts Gerizim and Ebal, as enjoined by Moses
(Josh. viii. 30-35). The above events form the first stage in the
conquest of Canaan.
A great league was now formed by all the kings west of the
Jordan, in the hills, the valleys, and the sea-coasts, as far north as
Lebanon, against the Israelites. The people of Gibeon alone sought
for peace by a curious artifice. Their city a royal city greater
than Ai, lying immediately opposite the Pass of Ai, and at the head
of the Pass of Beth-horon, would have been the next object of the
attack of the Israelites. Assuming the appearance of wayworn
travellers, with old shoes and old sacks, rent and patched wine-skins,
and dry and mouldy bread, an embassy of the Gibeonites went to
Joshua at Gilgal and declared that they had come from a far country,
where they had heard of the name of the Lord their God, and all that
He had done in Egypt, to seek for a league with His people. The
trick imposed upon Joshua and upon the princes of the congrega-
tion, who omitted to ask counsel of the Lord. They made peace
with the Gibeonites, and swore to them by the Lord to save their
lives. Three days afterwards, the Israelites reached their cities and
learned the truth. The oath, however, was held sacred in spite of
the murmurs of the congregation ; but to punish their deceit, Joshua
put the Gibeonites under a curse, and made them bondmen, and
employed them as "hewers of wood and drawers of water "for the
house of God forever (Josh. ix.).
When Adoni-zedec, king of Jerusalem, heard that the Gibeon-
ites had made peace with Israel, he made a league with the kings of
Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon, and laid siege to Gibeon.
The Gibeonites -sent for help to Joshua, who marched all night from
the camp at Gilgal, took the confederated Amorites by surprise, and
utterly routed them near Beth-horon (Josh. x. 10). As they fled
down this steep pass, the Canaanites were overtaken by a miracu-
lous hail-storm, which slew more than had perished by the sword
It was then that Joshua, after a prayer to the Lord, who had prom-
ised him this great victory, said, in the sight of Israel :
B.C. 1451-142G. SLAUGHTER OF THE KINGS. 117
" Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon ;
And thou, Moon, iu the valley of Ajalon." 1
And the sun stood still and the moon stayed until the people had
avenged themselves of their enemies. The miraculous prolongation
of the daylight enabled Joshua to continue his pursuit to Makke-
dah, a place in the maritime plain, where the five kings had hidden
themselves in a cave (Josh. x. 1C). Bidding the people roll great
stones to the mouth of the cave and set a watch over it, Joshua
pressed the rear of the fugitives, and made a very great slaughter
of the enemy. The rest that remained entered into fenced cities.
All the people then returned to Joshua at Makkedah in peace.
The five kings were now brought forth from the cave, and Joshua
sent for all the captains of his host, and said, "Come near, put
your feet upon the necks of these kings." Then he slew them,
and hanged them on five trees until the evening. When the sun
went down, their bodies were cast into the cave where they had hid
themselves, and its mouth was closed with great stones. And so
the day closed, " like which there was none before or after, that the
Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for
Israel " (Josh. x. 14).
This great battle was followed by the conquest of the seven kings
of Makkedah, Libnah, Lachish, Gezer, Eglon, Hebron, and Dcbir,
whose cities were utterly destroyed, with all their inhabitants, as
the Lord God of Israel commanded. In this one campaign Joshua
subdued the southern half of Palestine, and he then led back the
people to the camp at Gilgal (Josh. x. 40-43).
Our attention must now be turned to the North, the country
about the Sea of Chinneroth (or Galilee), the upper Jordan, and
the bases of Mount Lebanon. A new league was formed against
the Hebrews by the people of the North, at the instigation of Jabin,
king of Hazor. They assembled their forces together as the sand
upon the sea-shore in multitude with horses and chariots very
many, and pitched their tents at the Waters of Merom, to fight
against Israel. But the Lord delivered them into the hand of
Joshua, who smote them until none were left remaining. In an-
other engagement, he took Hazor, putting its king and all its in-
habitants to the sword. As the result of this third campaign, Is-
rael became master of the whole land, from Mount llalak (the
smooth mountain), at the ascent to Mount Seir, on the south, to Baal-
gad, under Mount Hermon, on the north (Josh. xi. 17). Many of
the old inhabitants, however, in different parts, held out much long-
er. It was nearly six years before the land rested from war (B.C.
H45). Jerusalem, for example, was not taken till after the death
1 Joshua z. 12.
118 SCRIPTURE HISTORY. CHAP. VIII.
of Joshua (Judg. i. 8) ; and its citadel remained in the hands of the
Jebusites till the time of David.
The results of the whole conquest are summed up in the sub-
jugation of thirty-one kings of cities on the west of the Jordan, be-
longing to the seven nations which had been mentioned in the first
promise to Abraham (Gen. xv. 19-21). Special notice is taken of
the extermination of the giant Anakim, who had struck such terror
into the spies, and who were left only in the Philistine cities of
Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod. Whole tracts of country, however, re-
mained yet to be subdued within the limits which God had origi-
nally named, and which He now once more promised. These
were, speaking generally, the lowlands along the Mediterranean,
the coasts of Phoenicia, and the ranges of Lebanon. These con-
quests were not reserved for Joshua, who was now "old and strick-
en in years," but he was commanded to include them in the divis-
ion of the land.
Joshua now proceeded to divide the land by lot among the nine
tribes and a half, the other two and a half having already received
their allotment from Moses on the east of the Jordan. To the
Levites he gave no inheritance among their brethren, because the
Lord was their inheritance (Josh. xiii. 14). Their withdrawal
from the number of the tribes was supplied by the division of the
tribe of Joseph into the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh.
The territories of the twelve tribes were as follows :
On the east of Jordan
(i.) REUBEN lay the farthest south ; their southern boundary be-
ing the Arnon, and their northern a little above the latitude of
(ii.) GAD came next, possessing Mount Gilead and half of Am
mon. On the side of the Jordan, their northern border just touch-
ed the sea of Chinneroth. The Jabbok divided their territory into
two nearly equal parts.
(iii.) The half-tribe of MANASSEH had all the kingdom of Og,
King of Bashan, and reached to the base of Mount Hermon on the
These allotments are expressly mentioned as having been mado
The division of the land among the nine and a half tribes west
of Jordan was made by Eleazar the high-priest and Joshua, with
" the heads of the fathers of the tribes," by a solemn lot, cast before
(iv.) JCDAH seems to have had the first share, in consequence of
Caleb's laying claim to Hebron, the special inheritance promised by
Moses as the reward of his fidelity. The Dead Sea formed their
B.C. 1451-1426. ALLOTMENTS OF THE TRIBES. 119
east coast; the northern border reached as high as the mouth of the
Jordan ; on the west it skirted the land of the Philistines and
touched the Mediterranean, and on the south it stretched across the
wilderness to " the river of Egypt.''
(v. and vi.) The tribe of JOSEPH, in its twofold division of
Ephraim and Manasseh, had the centre of the land, across from
Jordan to the Mediterranean. EPHRAIM lay north of Judah, but
between them were the districts afterwards allotted to Benjamin
and Dan. MANASSEH, in addition to the land of Bashan and Gilead
east of the Jordan, had a lot on the western side, north of Ephraim.
At a later period, Samaria was built upon their territory.
The encampment at Gilgal remained for a long time the head-
quarters of the Israelites, but at length they removed to SHILOH,
south of Shechem, in the territory of Ephraim, and there they set
up the tabernacle, where it remained till the time of Samuel.
There were still seven tribes that had not received their inherit-
ance. Now, however, three men were appointed from each tribe to
make a survey of the rest of the land, and to divide it into seven
portions. When this was finished, Joshua cast lots for the seven
portions before the tabernacle in Sliiloh (Josh, xviii. 1-10). The
result was as follows :
(vi.) BENJAMIN had the eastern part of the territory that lay
between Judah and Ephraim, embracing the plain of Jericho and
the northern highlands of the later Judaea.
(vii.) SIMEON had an inheritance taken out of the portion al-
ready allotted to Judah, for whom it was found to be too large,
namely the south-western part of the maritime plain, with the land
bordering on the desert as far eastward as Becrsheba.
(viii.) ZEBULUN received the mountain range which forms the
northern border of the great plain of Jezreel or Esdraelon, between
the eastern slopes of Carmel, on the west, and the south-west shore*
of the sea of Chinneroth and the course of the Jordan on the east.
(ix.) ISSACHAR'S inheritance corresponded almost exactly to the
great plain of Jezreel or Esdraelon, just mentioned. The territory
seems to have been taken out of that of Manasseh, as Simeon's was
out of Judah.
(x.) Asm.u had the rich maritime plain extending from Mount
Carmel to " great Sidon " and " the strong city Tyre."
(xi.) NAPHTALI, the most powerful of the northern tribes, obtained
the highlands which form the southern prolongation of the range of
(xii.) DAN had at first a very small territory, north-west of Ju-
dah, almost entirely occupied by the Philistines. Because they
found their lot too small for them, they made an expedition against
120 SCRIPTURE HISTORY. CHAP. VIII.
Laish, in the extreme north of the land, at the sources of the Jordan.
They took the city and destroyed the inhabitants.
Lastly, Joshua himself received, as his personal inheritance, the
place he asked for, namely, Timnath-Serah, in Mount Ephraim,
and he built the city of that name.
The possessions of each tribe were proportional to the number of
its families, as a general rule. But the great preponderance of
Judah and Joseph is explained by their respective pre-eminence as
the prince and heir of the whole family.
Each of the twelve tribes having received the lot of its inherit-
ance, provision was next made for the cities of refuge, and for the
habitation of the Levites. Six cities of refuge were, by God's direc-
tion, appointed by the people themselves three on the west of
Jordan, and three on the east. The Levites received forty-eight
cities and their suburbs, which were given up by the several tribes
in proportion to the number of cities they respectively possessed.
Thus did the Lord give to Israel all the land which He had sworn
unto their fathers, and they dwelt in it. " There failed not aught
of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of
Israel ; all came to pass " (Josh. xxi. 43-45).
Joshua governed Israel for five-and-twenty years, and he lived
long after God had given the people rest from their enemies. At
length the time came when he felt himself "going the way of all
the earth." His last care was to set clearly before the people their
true position, and to bind them to the Lord by another solemn
covenant. First, he sent for all the heads of the tribes, the judges,
and the officers, and gave them an exhortation to be very courageous
to keep and to do all that was written in the book of the law of
Moses. He reminded them of all that God had done to the Ca-
naanites for their sakes, and of His promise that, if they continued
faithful, the land divided to them should be wholly theirs, and the
heathen should be driven out before them (Josh, xxiii.).
This exhortation he repeated at Shechem, the sacred home of
Abraham and Jacob ; and he ended with an appeal unequalled in
simple force except by that of Elijah to Israel, " If it seem evil
unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will
serve. ... As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
The people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake
the Lord, to serve other gods" (Josh. xxiv. 15, 16). And Joshua
wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great
stone, and having set it upright under an oak near the sanctuary
of the Lord, he said, "Let this stone be a witness unto you lest yo
deny your God." The people then departed to their homes, and
Joshua soon after died, at the age of 110 (about B.C. 1426-5), and
B.C. 1461-1426. DEATH OF JOSHUA.
was buried in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-Serah.
His decease was soon followed by that of Kleazar, the high-priest,
the son of Aaron.
The bones of Joseph, which the Israelites had brought out of
Egypt, were duly interred at Shechcm, in the plot of ground which
Jacob had bought of Hamor.
The lessons of the wilderness were not lost upon the people.
We search the Sacred history in vain, from the Exodus to the
Captivity, for another generation that was so wholly faithful to the
Goodly Babyloniih Garments. (From the Signet-Cylinder of Urukh,a very aacient king of !/>
Sacred Symbolic Tree of the Assyrians. (Probably the Aiherak or " Grove" often set up fu, a
THE JUDGES. B.C. 142G-1095.
AFTEE the death of Joshua, God uttered His commands through
the high-priest, and the elders of each tribe governed the people.
In the efforts made hy the several tribes to drive out the heathen
nations, JUDAH took the lead. For a period of thirty or forty years
the people remained faithful to the Lord so long as the generation
lasted that had seen all His mighty works. But in the next gene-
ration they fell into the worship of "Baalim" the idols of the
country and they were given over into the hands of the enemies
whose gods they served. Their career of conquest was then check-
ed, and they were oppressed by heathen enemies ; but, though pun-
ished, they were not forsaken by God. As often as they were op-
pressed, He raised up " JUDGES," who delivered them from their
Oppressors. But, as often as they were delivered, they disobeyed
their judges, and fell back into idolatry. Such is a summary of
the history given in the first sixteen chapters of Judges ; the rest
of the book is occupied with two or three striking examples of the
idolatry and the anarchy thus generally described. These are ex-
pressly mentioned as proofs of the disorder of those days when
"there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was
right in his own eyes" (Judg. xvii. 6). They may be most fitly
noticed here, as they properly precede the period of the Judges.
1. The Story of Micah and the Danites. A man of Mount
Ephraim, named Micah, had stolen from his mother 1100 shekels
of silver. She cursed the unknown thief, and devoted the silver to
B.C. 1420-1095. IDOLATRY AND ANARCHY. 123
the Lord, to make a graven and a molten image ; but when her son
confessed the theft, and restored the silver to his mother, she gave
200 shekels of it to the founder for the fulfillment of her vow. The
two images which he made were set up in the house of Micah, who
made also an ephod (the garment of a priest) and teraphim (minor
household gods), and consecrated one of his sons as priest, thus
making a complete patriarchal establishment for the worship of the
Lord. He soon obtained as his priest a young Levite, who had re-
moved out of Bethlehem -Judah in search of some other abode.
Micah hired him for ten shekels a year, besides garments and food ;
and, though the law forbade a Levite to intrude into the priest's
office, Micah felt sure that the Lord would do him good, seeing that
he had a Levite for his priest.
About this time the Danites were seeking an inheritance to dwell
in, and they sent out five spies to prepare the way for their great
expedition against Laish. In passing the house of Micah, they
recognized the voice of the Levite, and said to him, " What doest
thou in this place?" At their request, he asked counsel of God
respecting the issue of their journey, and gave them a favorable
answer. The spies having accomplished their mission, 600 men of
war started from the Danite cities of Zorah and Eshtaol, to attack
the city of Laish. When they came to the house of Micah. at
Mount Ephraim, they stole his carved image, ephod, and ternphiiu,
and enticed his priest to go with them. Having taken the city of
Laish by surprise, and given it the new name of Dan, they set tip
the graven image, and established a sanctuary there for themselves,
while the tabernacle was in Shiloh. The family of the Levite,
whose name was Jonathan, the grandson of Moses, continued to be
priests to the tribe of Dan down to the Captivity. This narrative
shows clearly into what n disordered state the nation had fallen
during this period (Judg. xvii., xviii.).
2. The Destruction of the Tribe of Benjamin. A certain Levite
of Mount Ephraim had taken a concubine from Bethlehem-Jtidah.
Having proved unfaithful to him, she returned to her father's house
at Bethlehem, and remained there four months. At length the
Levite went in a friendly spirit to fetch her home. He was gladly
welcomed by his father-in-law, at whose pressing entreaty he pro-
longed his visit for five days, and towards the evening of the fifth
day he departed with his concubine and servant. As night came
on they found themselves over against Jebus, the citadel of Jeru-
salem. The servant proposed that they should turn in and lodge
in the city of the Jebusitcs ; but the master preferred to go on to
Gibeah of Benjamin, about four miles north of Jerusalem. On
reaching this place, the little party sat down in the street of the
124 SCRIPTURE HISTORY. CHAP. IX.
city, without being offered a lodging by any of the Benjamitcs.
At even an old man came from his work out of the field, who be-
longed to Mount Ephraim, but lived in Gibeah. He found the
wayfarers in the street and took them home, and showed them all
the duties of hospitality. But the men of the city were "men of
Belial," and when night came on they beset the old man's house,
and committed a horrible outrage upon the woman, from which she
died. In the morning the Levite carried her dead body to his own
home ; and, having cut the corpse into twelve pieces, he sent one
to each of the twelve tribes of Israel, who cried with one voice that
no such deed had been done or seen since the children of Israel
came up out of Egypt. Then all the children of Israel, as one
man, from Dan even to Beersheba, gathered together at Mizpeh,
and bound themselves by a solemn vow to avenge this wickedness.
First, however, they sent messengers through all the tribe of Ben-
jamin to demand the surrender of the culprits, but the Benjamites
refused to give them up. Then followed a struggle almost unex-
ampled. After two engagements, in which the tribes lost 40,000
men, the Benjamites were defeated with great slaughter. Of the
25,700 warriors of the tribe, only 600 were left, who fled to the
Rock of Rimmon, in the wilderness, and remained there four
months, while the Israelites burnt their cities, and put the inhabit-
ants and the cattle to the sword.
At length the anger of the Israelites began to turn to pity. The
people assembled at the house of God, and lifted up their voices
and wept sore, and said, " O Lord God of Israel, why is this come
to pass that there should be this day one tribe lacking in Israel?"
Its total extinction seemed inevitable ; for when they made the
league at Mizpeh, they had bound themselves by a curse not to
give their daughters to the Benjamites. But a remedy was found
in another curse, which they had imprecated upon any of the tribes
who neglected to come up to the battle. The men of Jabesh-Gilead,
having absented themselves, were utterly destroyed, and 400 virgins
carried off from that, city were given for wives to the remnant of
the Benjamites. The remaining 200 were provided for by the
Benjamites seizing the maidens of Shiloh, who came out of the city
to dance at one of the great annual feasts. The children of Israel
then departed to their own homes (Judg. xix.-xxi.).
Such scenes as these ; though they illustrate the ferocity of man-
ners during this period, must not be supposed to describe the whole
or even the chief part of the history of Israel under the Judges.
An exquisite picture of rural tranquillity is set before us in the Book
of Ruth, which belongs to this time.
Jt came to pass in the days of the Judges that a certain man of
B.C. 1426-1095 THE STORY OF RUTH. 125
Bethlehem- Judah, named Elimelech, had been driven by a famine
into the country of Moab, with his wife Naomi and their two sons,
Mahlon and Chilion. The sons married women of Moab, named
Orpah and Ruth, and the family resided in that country for about
ten years. There the father 'died, and his two sons likewise.
Then Naomi prepared to leave the country of Moab, and to return
to her own land the land of Judah. To her two daughters-in-law
she said, " Go, return each to her mother's house. The Lord deal
kindly with you," but they lifted up their voice and wept, and said,
"Surely we will return with thee to thy people." On her urging
the point for their own sakes, one of them, Orpah, kissed her
mother-in-law, and went back "to her people and her gods;" but
the other, Ruth, clave unto her, and said, "Entreat me not to leave
thee, or to return from following after thee." So they two went
until they came to Bethlehem, which they reached at the beginning
A wealthy and powerful man of Bethlehem, named Boaz, was a
very near kinsman to Elimelech, Naomi's deceased husband, and
consequently to Ruth, his daughter-in-law. It chanced that Ruth
went to glean in this man's field, and when he visited the gleaners,
he attracted his attention. When he learnt who she was, he bade
her glean only in his field, and enjoined the reapers to show her
kindness. "Let fall," he said, "some of the handfuls of purpose
for her, and leave them that she may glean them." Thus passed
the whole harvest. Meanwhile Naomi, full of gratitude to God,
who had thus guided her to her husband's nearest kinsman, in-
structed Ruth what to do, and Boaz promised to do the part of a
kinsman by her. After going through the ceremonies prescribed
by the Levitical Law, he made her his wife. She bore him a son