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(Wps. Alejiandep Ppoudfit.




Expository Notes







530 Broadway.


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at "Washington.

Cambridge :
Press of John Wilson &* Son.


'' I ^HE Book of Joshua records the conquest of
Canaan by the children of Israel, and their
permanent establishment in the land. Although
the destructive criticism has attempted to disprove
its unity, its arguments have been specious and
puerile. No book of the Scriptures is more con-
sistent with itself, and is more well-proportioned
and complete in its construction. It opens with
God's order to Joshua, as Moses' successor, to lead
Israel into Canaan, and it closes with Joshua's
death, after the conquest and settlement of the
country under his leadership had been sealed by
twenty years of peaceful possession.

In a few places there are indications of omis-
sions, where it is likely parts of the book have
failed in the transcription; but these occur in
geographical lists, where such omissions would be
most apt to occur, and where they are of least
importance. Examples of such omissions are in
chap. XV., between the fifty-ninth and sixtieth
verses, where a group of prominent towns of Judah


are wanting (though given in the LXX), and in
the description of Manasseh's border in chap. xvii.
The narrative, though regular in its order, some-
times, it is true, mentions an incident out of its
chronological place, but in such cases forms the
exception for the sake of the continuity of another
chain of events. Neither the omissions nor these
occasional departures from an annalist's chronolog-
ical exactness invalidate in the slightest the perfect
unity of the book ; and therefore from this argu-
ment no ground is gained against its authenticity
as a work composed very soon after the events it
records, perhaps by Phinehas the high-priest. All
attempts to find a later date from the character of
the Hebrew used in the book are equally vain, the
language being precisely that which we should ex-
pect to follow the Mosaic period, and presenting no
difficulty whatever to the comparative linguist.

That the book was written shortly after the
events which it records, is evident from chap. vi.
25, where Rahab is spoken of as still living in the
writer's time.

The book naturally divides itself into two parts :
the conquest of the land, and the distribution of
its districts to the tribes. Each of these divisions
occupies twelve chapters of the twenty-four. In
composing the book, doubtless public records pre-
pared by Joshua and by Eleazer were used ; and to
this fact may be attributed such repetitions as that


of the phrase, " the land had rest from war," in
chap. xi. 23, and chap. xiv. 15, and such gaps as
those between chap. xxii. and xxiii., and between
chap, xxiii. and xxiv., only such selections beiug
made as were appropriate to a peo2:)le^s hook, that
should be in constant use among the tribes.

The two general divisions of the book, the one
touching the conquest and the other touching the
distribution, may be subdivided as follows : —

I. Joshua's encouragement, chap. i. 1-9.
11. Joshua's preliminary preparations for crossing Jor-
dan, chap. i. 10 — ii. 24.

III. Joshua's ultimate preparations for crossing Jor-

dan, chap. iii. 1-13.

IV. The crossing, chap. iii. 14-v. 1.

V. Preparations for the conquest, chap. v. 2-vi.
VI. The conquest, chap, vii.-xii.
Vn. The inheritance of the two tribes and a half, chap.

Vni. The inheritance of the nine tribes and a half, chap,
IX. The cities of refuge, chap. xx.
X. The Levitical cities, chap. xxi.

XI. The return of the two tribes and a half, chap. xxii.
XII. Joshua's two farewell addresses, chap, xxiii.-xxiv.

The present little volume is an attempt to put
in succinct form such explanations of the text as
may help the reader to its clearer understanding,
without annoying him with tlie details of criticism.
For a thorough topographical examination of the
Book of Joshua, one should use the maps of Rob-


inson or Van de Yelde, or the newly published
and very valuable maps found in Smith's Ancient

Not wishing to burden the notes with discussion,
I have put in an Appendix such thoughts on some
of the main points of the history as I wished to
express at greater length.

In the hope that this effort may contribute its

little to the extension of Bible knowledge, and to

the blessed fruits of such knowledge, I submit it

to its readers.

H. C.



I. Joshua's Encouragement. (Ver. 1-9.)

1 Now after the death of Moses, the servant of the
Lord, it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto
Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying,

'TpHIS passage is the connecting link between
-*- Denteronomy and the book of Joshua. It
presents Joshua taking the place of Moses by the
Divine command.

Ver. 1. Moses the servant of the Lord. Moses
has this high designation given him in the Scrip-
tures far oftener than any other man (Ex. xiv.
31 ; Num. xii. 7 ; Deut. xxxiv. 5 ; Josh. ix. 24 ;
1 Kings viii. 56 ; 2 Kings xviii. 12 ; 2 Kings xxi.
8; 1 Chron. vi. 49; 2 Chron. xxiv. 9; Neh. x.
29 ; Dan. ix. 11 ; MaL iv. 4 ; Rev. xv. 3 i Ps.
cv. 26). The ground of this peculiar emphasis may
be found (Num. xii. 8, and Heb. iii. 5) in Moses'
singular faithfulness. The title " servant of God "
is also applied in Scripture to patriarchs, as Abra-
ham, Jacob, and Job ; to prophets, as Elijah, Jonah,


Daniel, and Isaiah ; to a pious king, as Hezeldah ;
to a good leader, as Zerubbabel ; to an upright
statesman, as Eliakim, in Hezekiah's time ; to apos-
tles, as Paul and James and John ; and even to a
heathen monarch, as Nebuchadnezzar. May the
application in the last case be an indication that
Nebuchadnezzar became a true child of God by
faith ?

S'pahe unto. By Urim and Thummim. (See lat-
ter part of the next note.)

Joshua^ the son of Nun, was of the tribe of
Ephraim, and first appears as generalissimo of the
army of Israel (as distinguished from the " children
of Israel" at large), in the battle against the Am-
alekites near Rephidim (Ex. xviii. 9). He was
then over forty years of age, according to Josephus
(Ant. V. 1, 29). At Mount Sinai he was the
special attendant upon Moses (Ex. xxiv. 13, xxxii.
17, xxxiii. 11), holding a position near him during
the first forty days' separation on the mount, and
also afterward in the provisional" tabernacle. He
next appears as, in conjunction with Caleb, oppos-
ing the cowardly report of ten of the spies who
had been sent to view the land of Canaan (Num.
xiv. 6). Thirty-eight years later, God orders his
special appointment as the successor of Moses
(Num. xxvii. 18). He was to be to Eleazar what
Moses had been to Aaron. Yet Joshua never had
the high distinction which Moses had of having
the Lord talk to him " mouth to mouth " (Num.
xii. 8). The phraseology in Num. xxvii. 20 shows


2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go
over this Jordan, thou and all this people, unto the land
which I do give to them, ecen to the children of Israel.

3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread
upon, that have I given mito you, as I said unto i\Ioses.

Joshua's inferiority to Moses, as well as the fact
that he was directed to apply to the Urim and
Thummim of the high-priest for direction, whereas
Moses went directly to the Lord.

Joshua is here called " Moses' minister ; " that is,
" Moses' attendant," indicative of his previous po-
sition before the people.

Ver. 2. Moses my servant is dead. Yet we
see Moses with Jesus on the mount of transfio*-


uration fifteen centuries afterward. There is no
death for the servant of God (John xi. 26). It
cannot be too much insisted upon that our com-
mon use of the word'' death " has relation only to
a semblance and type of death, to wit, the disso-
lution of the body, and the soul's departure from it
(2 Cor. V. 8), while the only true death, the death
intended in Gen. ii. 17, is the dreadful departure
of the soul from God.

G-o over this Jordan. There is here a double
definition of Israel's future possession that should
be carefully noted. First, there is the land beyond
the Jordan, that is, between the Jordan and the
Mediterranean Sea, which was the land originally
promised to Abraham (Gen. xii. 7).

Then, secondly, there is the larger territory,
'''' Every flace that the sole of your foot shall tread
upon, that have I given you, as I said unto Moses,


(i.e.^ in Ex. xxiii. 31),/rom the wilderness and this
Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Eui^hra-
tes, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great
sea toward the goirig down of the sun^ This sec-
ond definition takes in the whole country from
the Euphrates to the Mediterranean, a territory
six times as large as the tract between the Jordan
and the sea. The smaller tract, which we call
Palestine or Canaan, was to be, so to speak, the
" adytum," or sacred centre of the holy nation,
while, according to their faith and faithfulness,
they should extend their sway to the limits of
the larger district, southward to the Red Sea, and
northward and eastward to the Euphrates. The
latter boundaries were reached in the days of
David and Solomon. Joshua was simply to lead
Israel into their central home, where they were all
to be settled, except the tribes of Reuben and Gad,
and the half tribe of Manasseh. These were to
settle east of the Jordan, by a permission granted
to their earnestness of petition, and not according
to the original command of God. A careful read-
ing of Numbers xxxii. will show that this excep-
tional treatment of Reuben, Gad, and one half
Manasseh, was, like the establishment of the king-
dom afterward (1 Sam. viii. 7), and the building
of the temple (2 Sam. vii. 7), an action not ordered
by God, but permitted to the importunity of the
people. All these three actions proved disastrous.
The settlement of Reuben, Gad, and one half
Manasseh east of Jordan exposed them to early


4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto
the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the
Ilittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down
of the sun, shall be your coast.

injury from enemies and broke up the national
unit}?', the establishment of the kingdom made the
people to seek foreign alliances and introduce for-
eign manners, and the building of the temple
turned their religion from its simple channels into
a pompous and gorgeous externalism, encouraging
wealth and display among the people, and destroy-
ing the heart-piety of the nation.

Ver. 4. This Lebanon. Lebanon (strictly Anti-
Lebanon, yet the same system of mountains) was
in sight from the camp at Shittim. Hence the
demonstrative "this." [It is possible that "this"
may refer to the desert and Lebanon as one line.]
The line from the desert, say at Akabah on the
Red Sea to Lebanon, north and south, is taken as
a base line, and then the country east to the Eu-
phrates is given, and afterward that west to the
sea. It is the former (from the base line to the
Euphrates) that is called the land of the Ilittites.
It is true that some Hittites lived west of the Jor-
dan (Gen. xxiii. 3), but the bulk of this important
people dwelt between Damascus and the Euphra-
tes, as we find by the lately discovered chronicles
of the Assyrian monarchs. They are spoken of as
the KJiatti^ a formidable people against whom the
first Tiglath Pileser (about B.C. 1130) waged war.
Their territor}-, it is probable, extended at one
time as far east as Lake Urumiyeh. They were,


5 There shall not any man be able to stand before
thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I
will be with thee : I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

6 Be strong and of a good courage : for unto this
people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land
which I sware unto their fathers to give them.

doubtless, the most warlike, formidable, and ex-
tended of all the Canaanitish races. In the
Egyptian records we find them in the time of
Sethos (say B.C. 1325) near the Orontes.

Ver. 5. There shall not any man he able to stand
"before thee^ &c. The promise, given (Deut. xi.
25) to all the people as God's holy nation, is here
given to Joshua as its head. So also the words,
used to all Israel by Moses (Deut. xxxi. 6), and
afterward to Joshua personally (Deut. xxxi. 8),
are here repeated to Joshua for his encouragement.
The apostle shows (Heb. xiii. 5) that every child
of God may appl)'- such a promise directly to him-
self. The principles of God's government are
always the same, however much the local details
may change.

Ver. 6. Be strong ayid of a good courage. There
is very little difference in the meanings of these
two words. We might refer the former to strength,
and the latter to the firm stand which is the result
of strength. We should be led to suppose from
the repetition of these words that Joshua was by
nature timid or diffident (Deut. xxxi. 7, 23 ; Josh.
i. 6, 7, 9). The immense responsibility, now placed
upon his shoulders through the death of Moses,
began to be felt.


7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that
thou mayest observe to do according to all the law
which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not
from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest
prosper whithersoever thou goest.

8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy
mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night,
that thou mayest observe to do according to all tliat is
"written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way pros-
perous, and then thou shalt have good success.

9 Have not I commanded theeV Be strong and of a
good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed:
for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou

10 ^ Then Joshua commanded the officers of the
people, saying,

Ver. 7-9. It would require strength and cour-
age to observe strictly God's law before so great a
people, and then again a strict observance of that
law would make him prosperous and wise in action.
It is no cursory look at God's written word that is
required, but a meditating therein day and niglit
(comp. Ps. i. 2), that needs the courage and con-
fers the success. Fear and dismay at one's enemies
are for ever gone under this spiritual regimen.

n. Joshua's Preliminary Preparations for Crossing
Jordan. (Yer. 10-18, and chap. ii. 1-21.)

1. General Ord-ers.

Ver. 10. The officers of the people. The people
of Israel had officers (shoterim) over them when
in Egypt (Ex. v. 6, 19). From Num. xi. 16, we
gather they were elders also, men selected in each
tribe and family for their years and experience.
The "seventy" (Num. 1. c.) were selected from


11 Pass through the host and command the people,
saying, PrejDare you victuals; for within three days ye
shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land
•which the Lord your God giveth you to possess it.

12 ^ And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites,
and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua,

these as the special assessors of Moses. In the
semi-patriarchal condition of Israel, these men
were probably recognized without any uniform
method of election. Joshua moves the great host
through their agency.

Ver. 11. Pass through the host. Lit., " Pass
over in the middle of the camp." It implies per-
sonal contact with all parts of the vast host.

Victuals, Heb., " zedah," which is^foodfor a jour-
ney. On the sixteenth day of Nisan the manna,
that had been their miraculous food for forty years,
was to cease (chap. v. 12). Between that time
and their /w// supply from the land of Canaan there
would be an interval of scant supply. This present
provision was for that emergency. If this order was
given on the seventh of Nisan, it was given more
than a week before the manna ceased, and would
be a token of that coming fact, and, in the sequel,
a helper to their faith. The verse may, therefore,
be thus paraphrased : " Prepare you victuals, for in
a few days you shall cross Jordan and enter your
own land, where the manna, your wilderness-bread,
shall cease, and you will need your own prepared
supply." This preparation of victuals was thus
itself an exercise of their faith.


13 Remember the word which Moses che servant of
the Loud commanded you, saying, The Loud your God
hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.

Within three days. They crossed on the tenth
day of Nisan (chap. iv. 19). Hence this order is
given on the seventh of the month. As the spies
returned to the camp before the people crossed
(chap. ii. 23), and as these spies had been three days
(j.^., parts of three days) in the mountain west of
Jordan (chap. ii. 22), they must have been sent out
b}^ Joshua on the sixth of the month, although the
story of their expedition is not given until after
this account of the command issued on the seventh.

Which the Lord your God giveth you to possess it.
Lit., " Jehovah your God." It is important that
Israel should bear in mind, at the very beginning
of their occupation of the land, that they did
not possess it in their own right or by their own
might, but received it as a gift from God. Tliis is
the true basis of all human possession, a knowledge
of which will tend to make us humble and satisfied.

Ver. 13. The word which Moses the servant of
the Lord commanded you. The record is found in
Num. xxxii. 20-28, and Deut. iii. 18-20. It was
necessary to remind the two and a half tribes of
the arrangement made ; for the same love of ease
which prompted them at first to ask for the land
east of Jordan, might tempt them to be lax in
keeping their engagement to help their brethren.

This land, i.e., the land on which Joshua stood
when he spake, east of the Jordan.


14 Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle shall
remain in the land which Moses gave you on this sido
Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed,
all the mighty men of valour, and help them;

15 Until the Lord have given your brethren rest, as
Tie hath f/i.cen you, and they also have possessed the land
which ithe Loud your God giveth them: then ye shall
return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it,
which Moses the Lord's servant gave you on this side
Jordan toward the sun-rising.

Ver. 14. On this side Jordan. Lit., "beyond
Jordan." (See on ver. 15.)

A7'med. A peculiar Hebrew word, used of Israel
at the exodus (Ex. xiii. 18), and also in Josh. iv.
12, and Judges vii. 11, and supposed by some to
mean " arranged in ranks of five," but better un-
derstood as meaning primarily "girded."

All the mighty men of valour. That is, all who
could be spared from the equally necessary dut}^ of
protecting the wives, little ones, and cattle on the
east side. In chap. iv. 13, we see that forty thousand
of these two and a half tribes passed over ; but from
Num. xxxvi. 7, 18, 34, we find that the warriors of
these tribes were 110,580 ; so that over seventy thou-
sand must have remained to guard their country.
This was not consulting their ease, and hence was
no breach of their contract. Yet the necessity of
leaving seventy thousand warriors behind may be
quoted as one of the evils attending upon their
original desire to settle outside of Canaan.

Ver. 15. On this side Jordan toward the sun-
rising. Lit., " Beyond Jordan toward the sun-
rising," i.e.^ beyond, as viewed from the promised


16 Tf And they answered Joshua saying, All that
thou conimandest us, we will do, and whithersoever
thou sendest us, we will go.

17 According as we hearkened unto Moses in all
things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the Lord
thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses.

18 Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy com-
mandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all
that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death:
only be strong and of a good courage.

Ver. 16-18. These two and a half tribes show
a very praiseworthy zeal, and a desire to sustain
the courage of Joshua. (See note on ver. 6.)
They were faithful to their word. (See chap. xxii.



2. The Spies.

1 And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim
two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land,
even Jericho. And they went, and came into an har-
lot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there.

Ver. 1. Shittim, The full name is (Num.
xxxiii. 49) Abel-hasli-Shittim. The shittah is a
species of acacia-tree, of which several varieties
are found in Egypt and the neighboring lands.
Abel-hasJi-SJiittim is literally " meadow of the aca-
cias." From these acacia-trees the gum-arabic is
obtained. The Arabs give the name of Seyal to
the species which is most abundant in the Pales-
tine region. It is a thorny tree and grows in thick-
ets. The place Shittim doubtless derived its name
from their abundance. Shittim was situated on
the east side of the Arabah (Num. xxii. 1, Arhoth
Moah^ or " plains of Moab "), close under the Moab
mountains, probably at the debouchure of the
Wady Hesban into the plain, about five miles from
the Jordan. The Arabah (now El-Ghor) is here
about thirteen miles wide, the eastern heights aver-
aging five miles, and the western averaging eight
miles from the river. Under the mountains the
plain is green, and was probably more so in ancient


times ; but out toward the river it is dry and ster-
ile, except where the dense verdure along the
course of the Jordan itself makes an exception.
Shittim was the head-quarters of the host of Israel
during the attempt of Balak to curse Israel. (Comp.
Num. xxii. 1, and xxv. 1.) They doubtless abode
there a long time, to rest and prepare the host after
the contests with Sihon, with Og, and with the Mid-
ianites. It was from Shittim that Moses went up
to the top of Pisgah and died (Deut. xxxiv. 1).
In Num. xxxiii. 49, we find that the encampment
stretched from Beth-jesimoth to Shittim. Now if
Beth-jesimoth is rightly placed by Kiepert, Van de
Velde, and others near the spot where the Jordan
enters the Dead Sea, then the host of Israel may
be considered as occupying all the south side of
Wady Hesban from the hills to Jordan, a distance
of five miles, their more compact desert order being
altered for the emergency.

Two men. Two, for mutual counsel and support.
The Saviour sent out his disciples two and two.
One of these men was probably Salmon, the son of
Nahshon, prince of Judah, who afterward married
Rahab. (See Num. ii. 3, Ruth iv. 20, and Matt. i. 5.)
It is likely that the spies would be taken from the
leading men of Israel, as in the former instance,
thirty-eight years previously ; and Salmon's proba-
ble age would agree with the statement that these
spies were young men (Josh. vi. 23).

To spy secretly. The words in Hebrew are
" spies, secretly saying." That is, Joshua gave


2 And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Be-
hold, there came men in hither to-night of the children
of Israel, to search out the country.

them secret instructions, not letting the host know
aught about it, lest they might spread information
of the fact to the marring of the plan.

The land, even Jericho. Rather, " the land and
Jericho." They were especially to inspect Jericho,
but also to notice the condition of the land gener-
ally. Jericho lay about six miles west of the Jor-
dan, near the prolific fountain of Ain es-Sultan.

A harlot's house. Their going to such a house
would prevent observation, they might suppose.
And, moreover, it was probably very near the gate
they entered, for we know the house was partly
built on the town-wall (Josh. ii. 15).

Ver. 2. The king of Jericho. From the enumer-
ation in chap. xii. we see there were at least thirty-
one kings in Canaan. This would not give a
territory much over ten miles square to each.
The king of Jericho would naturally hold sway over
the lower Jordan valley, west of the river, his

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