Howard Crosby.

Expository notes on the book of Joshua online

. (page 5 of 15)
Online LibraryHoward CrosbyExpository notes on the book of Joshua → online text (page 5 of 15)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


the tent, and behold, it was hid in his tent, and the
silver under it.

23 And they took them out of the midst of the tent,
and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the chil-
dren of Israel, and laid them out before the Lord.

24 And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan
the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and
the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters,
and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his
tent, and all that he had : and they brought them
unto the valley of Achor.

later than Achan, engraved on a large black stone
in the British Museum, represents him clad in a
large outer robe embroidered in a very elaborate
and delicate pattern.

Two hundred shekels of silver would equal about
one hundred and twenty dollars of silver ; of course
at that day worth probably twenty times what it is
worth to-day.

Wedge of gold. Lit., " tongue of gold." This
gold ornament of fifty shekels weight would be
worth about two hundred and twenty dollars.

The silver under it. That is, the tongue of gold
was wrapped up in the Babylonish garment, and
placed over the more bulky silver.

Ver. 23. Laid them out before the Lord. Lit.,
"poured them out before Jehovah," i.e., poured
them out of the cloth in which they carried them
from the hiding-place. " Before Jehovah," is (as
at chap. vi. 8) " before the ark."

Ver. 24. Achan's whole family (as guilty with
him) and all his possessions are brought to the
Valley of Acks7>^ The valley received the name



JOSHUA, CHAP. vn. 73

25 And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us?
the Lord shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel
stoned him witli stones, and burned them with fire,
after they had stoned them with stones.

from this scene (ver. 26). Achor means "troub-
ling," and refers to the trouble given Israel by the
taking of the cherem, (See chap. vi. 18.) There is
also a paronomasia on Achan's name. Indeed, in
1 Chron. ii. 7, Achan is called Achar^ or " troub-
ler." Twice the prophets refer to this valley (Isa,
Ixv. 10, and Hos. ii. 15), in each case using it as
a token of a spiritual trouble, out of which God,
through his judgments and their repentance and
renewed obedience, would lead his people.

Brought them into the valley of Achor. The
Heb. is, " brought them up to the valley of Achor."
Hence (and also from the position of the valley in
the description of Judah's boundary in chap. xv. 7)
we must look for Achor up from the Jericho plain.
It was probably that portion of Wady Kelt where
its upward course enters the mountains, and where
now is the ruined castle of Kakon. It is less than
two miles from Jericho.

yEK.25. Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord
shall TROUBLE thee. There is here, as in the lex
talionis (Ex. xxi. 23-25), an allusion to that per-
fect justice which underlies the whole of the divine
administration. The atonement of Jesus Christ
meets this in behalf of the believing sinner.

Stoned him; burned them, Achan is made promi-
nent in the first expression, as the leader in the
crime.
4



74 COMMENTARY ON

26 And they raised over him a great heap of stones
unto this day. So the Lord turned from the fierce-
. ness of his anger: wherefore the name of that place
was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.

Ver. 26. A great heap of stones unto this day.
That is, probably, not only a heap remaining to
this day, but which is constantly increased by the
passers by throwmg stones npon the pile in their
indignation against the crime of Achan. On the
way to Smai from Egypt, the traveller passes such
a cairn, called " Husan Abu Zenneh," which is
kicked by every Arab as he goes by, and which,
I believe, is increased in that manner, and for a
like reason.

So the Lord turned from the fierceriess of his
anger. Such passages as these need to be care-
fully considered, as impressing the mind with the
fearful character of sin and its certainty of pun-
ishment, before the holiness of God can be vindi-
cated. This whole department of revealed truth,
which is the only true basis of Christian doctrine
and Christian life, is more and more ignored by
the naturalism of the day.



JOSHUA, CHAP. vin. 75



CHAPTER VIII.

1 And the Lord said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither
be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee,
and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand
the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his
land:

2 And thou shalt do to Ai and her king, as thou
didst unto Jericho and her king: only the spoil thereof,
and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto
yourselves : lay thee an ambush for the city behind it.

3. The taking of Ai.

Ver. 1. The Lord (perhaps through the high-
priest) repeats the words which gave courage to
Joshua at the beginning of his administration
(chap. i. 9). He needed the comforting exhorta-
tion after the bitter experiences he had just passed
through. (Comp. Acts xviii. 9, 10, xxvii. 23, 24.^

Take all the people of war. God would have the
entire armed host witness how completely the sin
had been expiated and Israel now again counted
pure before him. So all the armed men (perhaps
only a section of the six hundred thousand would
act as warriors at any one time) were to march
up to the front of Ai and take part in its destruc-
tion.

Yer. 2. Oiili/ the spoil thereof^ &c. The clierem
is ordered only for the human beings. The rest
should be Israel's own property.



76 COMMENTARY ON

3 ^ So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to
go up against Ai: and Joshua chose out thirty thou-
sand mighty men of valour, and sent them away by
night.

4 And he commanded them, saying, Behold, ye
shall lie in wait against the city, even behind the city:
go not very far from the city, but be ye all ready:

5 And I, and all the people that are with me, will
approach unto the city: and it shall come to pass when
they come out against u§, as at the first, that we will
flee before them,

6 (For they will come out after us) till we have
drawn them from the city; for they w^ill say. They flee
before us, as at the first: therefore we will flee before
them.

7 Then ye shall rise up from the ambush, and seize
upon the city: for the Lord your God will deliver it
into your hand.

8 And it shall be when ye have taken the city, that
ye shall set the city on fire : according to the command-
ment of the Lord shall ye do. See, I have commanded
you.

9 Tf Joshua therefore sent them forth ; and they
■went to lie in ambush, and abode between Beth-el
and Ai, on the w^est side of Ai: but Joshua lodged
that uight among the people.

Ver. 3. Thirty thousand mighty men of valour.
These are selected, according to God's order, for
an ambuscade. It was an enormous number, but
God was teaching Israel at this crisis that they
were to use the means they had. Perhaps in the
spies' report (chap. vii. 3) and advice this idea
ma}^ have been lacking. So large a body of men
must seek a place of ambuscade under cover of
the night. The make of the country, with its deep
ra^vines, would help them. They were to go hehiyid
the city, that is, on the south-west side (ivest^
according to ver. 9), as the city (if Tell el-Hajar
be the site) fronted northward on the Wady el-



JOSHUA, CH.^JP. Yin. 77

10 And Joshua rose up early in the morning, and
numbered the people, and went up, he and the elders
of Israel, before the people to Ai.

11 And all the people, even the people of war that
were with him, went up, and drew nigh, and came
before the city, and pitched on the north side of Ai:
now there teas a valley between them and Ai.

12 And he took about live thousand men, and set
them to lie in ambush between Beth-el and Ai, on the
west side of the city.

13 And when they had set the people, even all the
host that was on the north of the city, and their liers in
wait on the west of the city, Joshua went that night
into the midst of the valley.

11: ^ And it came to pass when the king of Ai saw
it, that they hasted and rose up early, and the men of



Mutjah. They would naturally pass up Wady
Kelt and Wady es-Suweinit to the deep hollow
just west of el-Kudeh^ah. This would be, accord-
ing to ver. 9, between Bethel and Ai, on the luest
side of Ai,

Ver. 10. Numbered the people, Kather, " re-
viewed the people," i.e,, the people of war, the
soldiery (ver. 11).

Yer. 11, 12. The great host occupied the north
hills of Wady el-Mutyah, in full view of the city.
From this position he sent an additional five thou-
sand to form another ambuscade at the west of the
city, perhaps in one of the hollows below Burj
Beitin.

Ver. 13. After this display of his forces on the
north hills, and this arrangement of his new am-
buscade, Joshua marches down into the middle of
Wady el-Mutyah, directly toward the city.

Ver. 14. The people of Ai discover his position



7S COM.MENTARY ON

the city went out against Israel to battle, he and all
his people, at a time appointed, before the plain: but
he Avist not that there were Hers in ambush against him
behhid the city.

15 And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were
beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilder-
ness.

16 And all the people that icere in Ai were called
together to pursue after them: and they pursued after
Joshua, and were drawn away from the city.

17 And there was not a man left in Ai, or Beth-el,
that went not out after Israel: and they left the city
open, and pursued after Israel.

18 And the Lord said unto Joshua, Stretch out the
spear that w in thine hand toward Ai ; for I will give it
into thine hand. And Joshua stretched out the spear
that he had in his hand toward the city.

early in the morning, and they go out to the place
of assemhly (Champ cle Mars) in front of the Ara-
hah, for so should be rendered the words which we
have in English, '' at a time appointed, before the
plain." The Arabah, or "sterile plain," is the
same as the wilderness of Bethaven of chap, xviii.
12, which would be the waste region at the head
of Wady jMutyah.

Ver. 15. TJie tvilderness, i.e.^ of Bethayen.
(See preceding note.)

Ver. 17. Not a man, i.e., not a soldier. (Comp.
ver. 24.) This verse shows that Bethel and Ai
were very near together. If Ai were at Tell el-
Hajar, the distance between the two would be less
than two miles. The rout seemed to be so perfect,
that the Avhole neighborhood joined in, thinking
probably that this would be the last of Israel.

Ver. 18. The S2year. Heb., chidhon. Kimchi,
quoted by Gesenius, says that this was a siDcar on



JOSHUA, CHAP vin. 79

19 And the ambush arose quickly out of their place,
and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his
hand: and theyentered into the city, and took it, and
hasted, and set the city on fire.

20 And when the men of Ai looked behind them,
they saw, and behold, the smoke of the city ascended
up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way
or that way: and the people that fled to the wilderness
turned back upon the pursuers.

21 And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the am-
bush had taken the city, and that the smoke of the city
ascended, then they turned again, and slew the men of Ai.

22 And the other issued out of the city against them;
so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side,
and some on that side: and they smote them, so that
they let none of them remain or escape.

23 And the king of Ai they took alive, and brought
him to Joshua.

which was a flag. The Lord spoke to Joshua
perhaps here by the high-priest. The liers-in-wait
would of course have a watch looking out for this
signal, and Joshua would probably take his place
on the heights at the north, whence he could easily
direct every movement. They might be a mile
away from Joshua, and yet clearly see this signal,
if it were a red flag on the end of a spear.

Vee. 20. Power, Heb., "hands." The people
of Ai and Bethel at once saw the stratagem, and
discovered that, instead of. being victors, they were
victims. Ability to escape, moreover, was taken
away. Their " hands" were gone. The Ai people
could not flee, and the Israelites stopped fleeing.

Yer. 22. Remain or escape^ i.e.^ remain alive on
the field or escape from it. The King of Ai is
especially excepted, but even he only for a short
season.



80 COMMENTAHY ON

24 And it came to pass when Israel had made an end
of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the
wilderness wherein they chased them, and when they
were all fallen on the edge of the sword, until they
were consumed, that all the Israelites returned unto
Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword.

25 And so it was, that all that fell that day, both of
men and women, Jt'ere twelve thousand, even all the men
of Ai.

26 For Joshua drew not his hand back wherewith
he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed
all the inhabitants of Ai.

27 Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel
took for a prey unto themselves, accordhig unto the
word of the Lord which he commanded Joshua.

28 And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it an heap for
ever, even a desolation unto this day.

29 And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until
even-tide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua
commanded that they should take his carcass down
from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of
the city, and raise thereon a great heap of stones, that
remaineth unto this day.

Vee. 25. Twelve thousand. These represented
Ai, but all Bethel's warriors must have perished
also, and we must count them as at least three
thousand more.

Ver. 26. I)reiv not Ms hand hack. Comp. Moses
at Rephidim (Ex. xvii. 12).

Utterly destroyed. The Hebrew verb of cherem.

Ver. 29. A tree. Lit., " the tree," ^.e., the exe-
cution-tree, the prepared gallows. The phrase is
used for crucifying, impaling, and hanging. It is
probable that the king of Ai was slain Avith the
sword and then hanged upon a gallows. It was
designed that Israel should count all Canaanites as
utterly defiled, and hence every means was taken
to express their defilement. (See Appendix.)



JOSHUA, CHAP. vni. 81

Wntil eventide. See Deut. xxi. 22, 23.
Heai? of stones. See on chap. vii. 26.

4. The Covenant renewed at Shechem.

Ver. 30-35. It lias been earnestly contended
that these verses are out of place, and should come
in after the eleventh chapter, when the whole land
had been conquered. The only external evidence
in favor of any disjDlacement is in the fact that in
the LXX these verses are inserted after the second
verse of the next chapter, but that slight alteration
of place does not touch the argument for the trans-
fer to chap. xi. We can see no substantial reason
for supposing an}^ error in the present order. The
fall of Ai, with all that had preceded it at Jordan
and Jericho, had paralyzed the entire people of
Canaan, and had made the time most fitting for
the entire mass of Israel to move up from the
Jordan valley to the exact centre of .the land,
which Moses had designated as the place Avhere
Israel should consecrate the land and themselves
to Jehovah. (See Deut. chap, xxvii.) From
Jericho, by Ai and the Mukhna, to Gerizim is a
distance of thirty-three miles, and by the Ghor to
Wady Ahmar, and thence by what we may call the
high road to Gerizim, is a distance of less than
thirty miles. The whole host of Israel could have
made that journey in three days. Moreover, if we
look over the list of kings whom Joshua conquered,
as given in the twelfth chapter, we find that,
between Ai and the great plain of Esdraelon or
4* F



82 COMMENTARY ON

30 ^ Then Joshua built an altar unto the Lord
God of Israel in mount Ebal,

31 As Moses the servant of the Lord commanded
the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the
law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no
man hath lifted up any iron: and they oliered thereon
burnt-offerings unto the Loud, and sacrificed peace-
offerings.

Jezreel, there were none^ showing that by some
providential calamity (referred to in Deut.vii. 20,
and Josh. xxiv. 12, as " the hornet") that central
portion of the land had been stripped of its inhab-
itants in preparation for Israel's solemn service at
Gerizim and Ebal.

Ver. 30. Then, i.e., after the fall of Ai. The
details of the altar are given in the directions in
Deut. xxvii. The altar was to be bnilt of great
unhewn stones, and then a coating of plaster was
to be put upon them, on which were to be written
all the words of the first twenty-six chapters of
Deuteronomy. On this altar, which was to be
erected on Mount Ebal, peace offerings were to
be offered, as well as the burnt offerings.

Mount Ehal stands north of Mount Gerizim, a
very narrow valley running between, in which is
squeezed the modern Nablus,the ancient Shechem.
This valley runs eastward into the north-western
corner of the striking and beautiful plain of
Mukhna. Mount Gerizim is 2,650, and Mount
Ebal 2,700 feet above the Mediterranean, but they
are not much more than 1,000 feet above the valley.
If you draw a line from the latitude of Sid on to
the latitude of (the supposed) Kadesh-barnea, these



JOSHUA, OHAP. vni. 83

32 ^ And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of
the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the
children of Israel.

08 And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and
their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that
side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark
of the covenant of the Loud, as well the stranger, as
he that was born among them ; half of them over
against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against
mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the Lord had
commanded before, that they should bless the people
of Israel.

mountains are exactly at the half-way point. If
you draw another line from the Mediterranean Sea
to the top of the Gilead range, again these moun-
tains are at the half-way point. Thus the spot
taken for this grand ceremony was exactly in the
centre of the new country of the tribes.

Vek. 32. A copy of the law of Moses^ which he
wrote in the presence of the children of Israel. This
should read, "the second of the law," &c., i.e.^
Deuteronomy. This was the law which Moses
wrote " in the presence of the children of Israel."
It was probably the first twenty-six chapters, in-
cluding all that was written up to the blessings and
curses, as law to be read. (See Deut. xxvii. 3, 8.)
The other chapters, however, may also be included.

Ver. 33. The priests the Levites. (See in chap,
iii. 3.)

The stranger. Of course, the proselyte. (See
Deut. xxxi. 12.)

Should bless. The word " barak " seems to be
used here in its double meaning of both blessing
and cursing. Six tribes on the Gerizim side were



84 cojVoientary on

34 And afterward he read all the words of the law,
the blessings and cursings, according to all that is
written in the book of the law.

35 There was not a word of all that IMoses com-
manded, which Joshua read not before all the congre-
gation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones,
and the strangers that were conversant among them.

to bless the people, and the other six on the Eba^
side were to utter the curses (Deut. xxvii. 12, 13).
Ver. 34. Joshua seems to have been preceded
by the Levites (Deut. xxvii. 14), who uttered the
curses. Then he read aloud the blessings and curses
of the twenty-eighth chapter of Deuteronomy. The
six tribes on either side may have only symboli-
cally represented the blessings and curses, or may
have repeated them after Joshua, or only have
responded "amen" to them. It is hard to under
stand exactly how six of them were '' to bless
the people," and the other six were "for a curs-



JOSHUA, CHAP. IX. 85



CHAPTER IX.

1 And it came to pass, when all the kings which
were on this side Jordan, in the hills, and in the val-
leys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over against
Lebanon, the Ilittite, and the Amorite, the Canaan-
ite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite heard
thereof;

5. The Craft of the Giheonites.

Yer. 1. On this side Jordan. Lit., "beyond
Jordan." They were " beyond Jordan " to Israel's
start in the invasion, z.e., to the Moabitish country.

In the hills. The mountain region, or backbone
of Palestine, known afterward as the hill-country
of Judah, Mount Ephraim, &c.

In the valleys. Heb., '* in the Shephelah," the
name especially given to the great Philistine plain.
It is from a root which means "low."

In all the coasts of the great sea over against
Lebanon. The strip of low coast land from Car-
mel to Ras en-Nakura. The Girgashite is left out
of this list. The Jewish tradition, sustained by
Procopius, is that they fled the country on Joshua's
approach and settled in north-western Africa.
Josh. xxiv. 11, shows that if they did thus flee,
they fought against Israel with the other tribes
of Canaan before their flight.



86



COMMENTARY ON



2 That they gathered themselves together, to fight
■with Joshua and with Israel, ^Yith one accord.

3 *[[ And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what
Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai,

Ver. 2. This gathering was a reaction after the
paralysis caused by the destruction of Jericho and
Ai. It may have been consummated as much as
a month after the taking of Ai.

Vek. 3. Giheon is afraid to enter into the con-
federacy. It was the head city of a Hivite tetra-




Ai.

4



polis, to wit, Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and
Kirjath-jearim (ver. 17), forming a republic or
oligarchy in the midst of the monarchies of Pal-
estine. On this account it was easier and more
natural fcr Gibeon to act independently of the
other principalities. Gibeon was only a little more



JOSHUA, CHAP. IX. 87

4 They did work wilily, and went and made as if
they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon
their asses, and wine-bottles, old, and rent, and
bound up;

than six miles south-west of Ai. CliepMrah was
five and a half miles west of Gibeon. Beeroth
was four miles north of Gibeon. Kirj ath-j earim
was about five miles south-west of Gibeon, and
two and a half miles south of Chephirah. The
sites of all these places are identified.

The sketch on page 86 shows the proportionate
relations in distance and direction between the Gib-
eonite cities, Ai and Jerusalem. Beeroth, one of
their cities, was only three miles from Ai. The dis-
trict of the Gibeonite tetrapolis would be about
eleven miles in length and half that in breadth.
The nearest roj'-al town to the district (after Ai
•and Bethel) would be Jerusalem, not much more
than five miles from Gibeon.

Ver. 4. They did ivork wilily. Lit., "they also
wrought with craft." That is, these Gibeonites,
like all the other inhabitants of Canaan, wrought
against Israel ; but while the others did it with
arms, these did it with craft. It shows that there
was no recognition of Jehovah (as in Rahab's case),
but simply a cunning act to overreach Joshua.
Rahab's example would, doubtless, have been
followed by Rahab's sequel. But the Gibeonites
became servants, while Rahab became the ances-
tress of David and Christ. There is a close con-
nection between second and third verses.

Wine-bottles, Rather, " skins of wine."



88 COMMENTARY ON

5 And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and
old garments upon them; and all the bread of their
provision was dry and mouldy.

6 And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal,
and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, AVe be
come from a far country; now therefore make ye a
league with us.

Ver. 5. Clouted^ z.e., patched.

Mouldy. Lit., " speckled."

Ver. 6. G-ilgal. This could not be the Gilgal
down by Jordan, so far away from the centre to
which Joshua had penetrated; but the Gilgal of
2 Kings ii. 1, which was higher than Bethel (2
Kings ii. 2). It is this second Gilgal which, we
think, became so famous in Samuel's day, and
which became a centre of idolatry. (See 1 Sam. vii.
16, X. 8, xi. 14, xiii. 7, 8, xv. 33; Hos. iv. 15,
ix. 15, xii. 11 ; Amos iv. 4, v. 5.) It was the
great head-quarters of Israel, until the tabernacle
was pitched at Shiloh, which was not far off.
Hence it became a place of traditional sanctity
to after generations, and idolatry readily erected
there one of its shrines, as at Bethel. This view
is taken by Keil, and his arguments are convinc-
ing. Van de Velde holds the same. This second
Gilgal bears still the old name (Jiljilieh), and is
situated on a commanding height fifteen miles due
north of Jerusalem, three miles west of the high
northern road, and about seven miles north and
west of Ai. It is also about fourteen miles south
of Mount Gerizim. " It is near the western brow


1 2 3 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Online LibraryHoward CrosbyExpository notes on the book of Joshua → online text (page 5 of 15)