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of the high mountain tract, and affords an exten-


7 And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites,
Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we
make a league with you?

8 And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants.
And Joshua "^ said unto them, Who are yeV and from
whence come ye?

9 And they said unto him, From a very far country
thy servants are come, because of the name of the
Lord thy God: for we have heard the fame of him,
and all that he did in Egypt,

10 And all that he did to the two kings of the
Amorites, that icere beyond Jordan, to Sihon king of
Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, which was at

11 \V herefore our elders, and all the inhabitants of

sive yiew over tlie great lower plain and the sea,
while at the same time the mountains of Gilead
are seen in the east." (Robinson.) It also has
distant Hermon in sight. No more suitable spot
could have been selected for Israel's central post
during the process of the conquest.

Ver. 7. Peradventure ye dwell among us ; and
how shall we make a league with you ? (See Ex.
xxiii. 32; Deut. vii. 2, xx. 16.) No league could
be made with the people of Canaan. But this
does not forbid the accepting any as proselytes.
There may have been many such, like Rahab's

Ver. 8. We are thy servants. A formula of
oriental politeness.

Ver. 9, 10. All that he did in Egypt, and all
that he did to the two kings of the Amorites. They
adroitly say nothing of the crossing of the Jordan,
or of Jericho and Ai, as if these later matters had
not reached their distant home when they left.


our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with
you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say
unto them. We are your servants: therefore now make
ye a league with us:

12 This our bread we took hot /or our provision out
of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you;
but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy:

13 And these bottles of wine which we filled, were
new, and behold they be rent: and these our garments
and our shoes are become old by reason of the very
long journey.

14 And the men took of their victuals, and asked
not counsel at the mouth of the Lord.

15 And Joshua made peace with them, and made a
league with them, to let them live: and the princes of
the congregation sware unto them.

16 ^ And it came to pass at the end of three days
after they had made a league with them, that they
heard that they were their neighbours, and that they
dwelt among them.

17 And the children of Israel journeyed, and came
unto their cities on the third day. Now their cities
luere Gibeon, and Chejjhirah, and Beeroth, and Kirjath-

18 And the children of Israel smote them not, be-

Yer. 14. Read, according to the margin, they
received the men hy reason of their victuals., and
ashed not counsel at the mouth of the Lord. They
judged the case for themselves, and the mould}^
bread was the criterion, when, in such an emer-
gency, they should have applied to the Urim and

Ver. 17. On the third day. That is the same
as " at the end of three days," in ver. 16. The
armed men would move from Gilgal to Gibeon
(about twelve miles) in the same day on which
the news was heard.

Ver. 18. The congregation, remembering Achan's


cause the princes of the congregation had sworn unto
them by the Lord God of Israel. And all the congre-
gation murmured against the princes.

19 But all the princes said unto all the congregation,
We have sworn unto them by the Lord God of Israel:
now therefore we may not touch them.

20 This we will do to them; we will even let them
live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath which
we sware unto them.

21 And the princes said unto them, Let them live;
but let them be hewers of wood, and drawers of water
unto all the congregation; as the princes had promised

sin and its dreadful consequences, would naturally
fear that a new sin and judgment were here pre-

Ver. 19. We may not touch them, " Touch " in
the sense of " slay " or " smite." So the Heb.

Ver. 20. Lest wrath he upon us. They show
the people (through their representatives) that
God's wrath, which, the people feared, would be
experienced if the solemn oath was broken.

Yer. 21. They will make, however, a clear in-
dication of their sense of error, and will degrade the
Hivites to be menial servants to the congregation.
The sin of the princes was not in keeping the
oath, but in making it. (Comp. Ps. xv. 4.) Jeho-
vah's holy name was to be honored among the
heathen by Israel's keeping the oath uttered to
him. God, by his dealing with Saul's family for
their slaughter of some of the Gibeonites four
hundred years later (2 Sam. xxi.), puts the
seal of his approbation on this decision of the
princes to keep the oath.


22 ^ And Joshua called for them, and he spake unto
them, saying, "Wherefore have ye beguiled us, saying,
We are very far from you; %vhen ye dwell among us?

23 Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall none
of you be freed from being bond-men, and hewers of
•wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.

24 And they answered Joshua, and said. Because it
was certainly told thy servants, how that the Lono thy
God commanded his servant Moses to give you all the
land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land
from before you, therefore we were sore afraid of our
lives because of you, and have done this thing.

25 And now, behold, we are in thine hand: as it
seemeth good and right unto thee to do unto us, do.

26 And so did he unto them, and delivered them out
of the hand of the children of Israel, that they slew
them not.

27 And Joshua made them that day hewers of wood
and draw^ers of water for the congregation and for the
altar of the Lord, even unto this day, in the place
which he should choose.

Yer. 22. Joshua called for them. The repre-
sentative army of Israel, Avith Joshua at its head,
had moved to Gibeon, and there Joshua probably
summons the representatives of the four cities and
tells them the decision of Israel concerning them.

Vek. 23. Cursed. Heb., " arar," and not " cha-
ram " (whence cherer\i).

For the house of my God, They were to be pub-
lic tabernacle menials, and not private slaves.

Ver. 27. Hewers of wood and drawers of water.
In this low position, and under constant ecclesias-
tical oversight, they would not tempt the people
of Israel to Canaanitish sins. All open idolatries
would be prevented. Doubtless their descend-
ants became thoroughly attached to the Jewish
system. It is generally supposed that the Neth-


inim of later days (1 Chron. ix. 2 ; Ezra ii. 43, &c.)
were the Gibeonites, so called from the word
nathan (to give), used by Joshua in this verse,
" and Joshua made them that day," &c. (lit., " and.
Joshiisi ffave them that day," &c.).



1 Now it came to pass, when Adoni-zedek king of
Jerusalem had heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and
had utterly destroyed it; as he had done to Jericho
and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king; and
how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with
Israel, and were among them;

2 That they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a
great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it teas
greater than Ai, and all the men thereof u-ere mighty.

3 Wherefore Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent
unto Hoham king of Hebron, and unto Piram king of
Jarmuth, and unto Japhia king of Lachish, and unto
Debu' king of Eglon, saying,

6. The Conquest of the South.

Ver. 1. Adoni-zedek. This name (lord of right-
eousness), so like to Melchi-zeclek (king of right-
eousness), mentioned in Gen. xiv. 18, as King of
Salem, has suggested the prevailing idea that Salem
and Jerusalem are the same, and that its kings for
five centuries had borne the title of Melchi-zedek,
or Adoni-zedek. As the distance of time is so
great, it may be only a coincidence that the word
zedeJc should appear in both these proper names.

Ver. 2. As one of the royal cities. That is, al-
though it had no king, but was one of a confeder-
acy of republican towns, yet it had the power and
importance of one of the cities that had a king.

Ver. 3. Hebron., Jarvmth, LacJiisJi, and JEglon


4 Come up unto me, and help me, that we may smite
Gibeon : for it hath made peace with Joshua and with
the children of Israel.

were probably the largest, strongest, and most
imj)ortant cities of southern Canaan, and hence
the ting of Jerusalem, the nearest royal city to
Joshua's host, sends to them for a union of forces.
He was cut off from all the northern kings hy
Joshua's army.

Hebron is nineteen miles south of Jerusalem, on
the highest portion of the mountain countrj^ It
was the old Abrahamic home, and in its immediate
vicinity was the cave of Machpelah (Gen. xxiii. 19).
The Hittites occupied it in Abraham's day, but
now it appears the Amorites (ver. 5) held it.
Afterward, between Joshua's capture of it (ver.
37) and Caleb's occupation of it (chap. xi. 21,
and chap. xv. 13), the Anakim dwelt there.

Jarmuih is sixteen miles south of west of Jeru-
salem, on the slope of the mountain country, and
about eight miles from the Shephelah, or Philistine
plain. It is fifteen miles from Hebron.

Lacliish was a ver}^ famous town in later days,
as seen by its mention in Assyrian records, thirty-
six miles south-west of Jerusalem, on the Shephe-
lah, and fourteen miles from Gaza.

Eglon was only three miles east of Lachish, and
twenty-five miles west of Hebron.

Ver. 4. That tve may S77iite Gibeon. Although
Gibeon was their object, they must have known
that Israel would be also met. But Israel's name


5 Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the
king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of
Jarmnth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon, gath-
ered themselves together, and ^vent up, they and all
their hosts, and encamped before Gibeou, and made
war against it.

6 ^ And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua to the
camp to Gilgal, saying, Slaclj not thy hand from thy
servants; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help
us: for all the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the
mountains are gathered together against us.

7 So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he, and all the
people of war with him, and all the mighty men of

8 T[ And the Lord said unto Joshua, Fear them not:

had become so formidable, that it was poHcy for
Adoui-zedek not to use it, but to use the name of
Gibeon only in forming the league.

Ver. 6. Gilgal. See chap. ix. 6.

The kings of the Amorites that divell in the
mountains. Probably these five kings possessed
most of the mountain-country south of Gibeon,
although two of their capitals, Lachish and Eglon,
were down in the great plain.

Ver. 7. Ascended. Although the mountain Gil-
gal (chap. ix. 6) is situated on high ground, yet
the land rises as you go south from it to Gibeon.

A7id all the mighty men of valour. It was cus-
tomary in ancient armies to have a select force of
the most valiant reserved for special occasions.
Such were Xerxes' " immortals." These " mighty
men of valour " seem to have been such a select
battalion. Joshua foresaw that a great and deci-
sive battle was at hand.

Ver. 8. A new strengthening of Joshua's heart


for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall
not a man of them stand before thee.

9 Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly, and
went up from Gilgal all night.

10 And the Lord discomfited them before Israel,
and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and
chased them along the way that goeth up to Beth-horon,
and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah.

is given by God, probably through the high-priest
and the Urim.

Ver. 9. Joshua therefore. Notice how the
" therefore " is introduced. The word is not in
the Hebrew, but it is implied. Joshua, when
assured of success, uses every precaution. This is
the process of a true faith. ^

All night. They could easily reach Gibeon
Ctwelve miles from Gilgal) in one night.

Ver. 10. The great battle was fought on the
beautiful basin below the hill of Gibeon, and on its
west side. The pursuit was down the remarkable
pass of Beth-horon.

Azekah and Makkedah^ although not identified,
are generally supposed to be near Wady Sumt, and
in the neighborhood of Jarmuth. (The kings,
after reaching the plain, would flee toward their
cities.) If so, the pursuit must have been for
thirty miles from the battle-field. We must give
at least ten hours for this. If the battle were
joined at six in the morning, and speedily decided
by the flight of the Amorites, we cannot put the
arrival at Makkedah of the pursued and pursuers
before five o'clock in the afternoon. Now, if
we are to take "that day" in ver. 28 literally,

5 G


11 And it came to pass as they fled from before Israel,
and were in the going down to Beth-horon, that the
Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them
unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died
■with hailstones than they w^hom the children of Israel
slew with the sword.

then the capture of Makkedah must have been
in the evening of that same eventful day. But we
need not press that phrase. " That day " may sig-
nify " at that juncture," or, generally, " at that

Ver. 11. The going down to Beth-horon. This is
the remarkable pass between Beit Ur el-Tahta and
Beit Ur el-Foka, lying west from Gibeon.

Unto Azekah. As Azekah was one of the ter-
mini of the flight, the miraculous hail-storm fol-
lowed the pursued for nearly the whole of the long
flight, while Israel followed in safety.

Ver. 12-14. These verses have given rise to a
great amount of adverse criticism. Some rejecting
them as an interpolation, others considering them
as a mere quotation from an imaginative poem, and
still others using them as arguments against the
truth of the Scriptures. The fact that it is intro-
duced after the description of the flight to Azekah
does not prove it an interpolation. That manner
of writing an historical narrative is eminently
Hebraic. It is not a mere quotation, but, if there
is a quotation, it is followed by the sacred writer's
endorsement in verses 13 and 14. And why
should not God, through Joshua, perform this
miracle, as well as that of the stopping of the tern-


12 ^ Then spake Joshua to the Lord la the day
when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the
children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,
Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou Moon, in
the valley of Ajalon.

pest on the lake of Galilee, or that of bringing the
shadow ten degrees backward on the dial of Ahaz ?
(2 Ki. XX. 11). The favorite argument of the
sceptic is founded on the fact that the command for
the sun to stand still implies a false view of the
motions of the heavenly bodies. This objection
is very puerile in any one who daily talks of the
sun rising and setting. The language, " stand
still," is phenomenal, and the phenomenon may
have occurred by some action of God through the
laws of refraction.

Ver. 12. Sun — upon Giheon — moon^ in the
valley of Ajalon, Gibeon was east of the battle-
field, Ajalon was west. So it must have been in
the morning,* at the beginning of the flight, say at
seven o'clock, that the sun and moon were ordered
to occupy their present positions (phenomenally).
This command was made known to the army (in the
sight of Israel)^ and its fulfilment must have been a
grand encouragement all that day. When the final
scene occurred at Makkedah, at (say) five o'clock
in the afternoon, then, if not before, the refrac-
tion may have ceased and the two heavenly bodies

* It must have been several days after full moon, probably the
first full moon after the passover at Gilgal ; that is, about five
weeks after that passover, and in the sixth week after crossing the


13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed,
until the people had avenged themselves upon their ene-
mies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So
the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted
not to go down about a whole day.

14 And there was no day like that before it or after
it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man:
for the Lord fought for Israel.

taken their normal phenomenal relation to Israel,
the moon having disappeared and the sun shining
forth from the western horizon. It does not appear
that the day was lengthened, but only that these
two heavenly bodies seemed motionless for many
hours. " The sun stood still in the midst (or * the
half part ') of heaven," i.e., did not cross over to
the other half, " and hasted not to go down like
a complete day.'''' The Hebrew as naturally takes
this meaning as " about a whole day." In the
ordering of the miracle, note that " Joshua spoke
to the Lord." The command was an inspired
prayer. (See Appendix.)

Ver. 14. There was no such day, as the result
of the Lord's hearing man's prayer. This is the
meaning of this verse. The Lord often heard and
answered prayer by miraculous interference before
this and after this, but he never before or after so
marked the day in its aspect as he did this, at the
prayer of man. The Book of Jasher (or " the
Upright One ") is mentioned also in 2 Sam. i. 18,
and was, perhaps, one of the sacred poems which
God, in his providence, has caused to disappear.
There are other books, like those of Iddo, of Gad,
&c., referred to in the Scriptures which may have


15 ^ And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him,
unto the camp to Gilgal.

16 But these five kings fled, and hid themselves in a
cave at Makkedah.

17 And it was told Joshua, saying, The five kings
are found hid in a cave at Makkedah.

18 And Joshua said, Roll great stones upon the
mouth of the cave, and set men by it for to keep

19 And stay ye not, hut pursue after your enemies,
and smite the hindmost of them; suffer them not to
enter into their cities: for the Lord your God hath
delivered them into your hand.

20 And it came to pass, when Joshua and the chil-
dren of Israel had made an end of slaying them with a
very great slaughter, till they were consumed, that the
rest which remained of them entered into fenced cities.

21 And all the people returned to the camp to
Joshua at Makkedah in peace : none moved his tongue
against any of the children of Israel.

served their purpose prior to the Babylonian cap-
tivity, and were then lost. They may have been
inspired works.

Ver. 15. This verse is not out of place,* but the
narrative ends here, and then is resumed in ver. 16,
in order to describe the sequel of the battle of
Gibeon. This is the Hebraic style of writing.
The verse is then repeated at ver. 43.

Ver. 17. In a cave at Malchedali, Summeil, on
the great plain by Wady Sumt, which Van de Velde
considers Makkedah, has a very remarkable cave
in its immediate vicinity. The word here has the
definite article, the cave at Makkedah,

Ver. 21. None moved his tongue. The defeat
of the confederate kings had been so thorough, the

* To make it part of the extract from the Book of Jasher is
most unnecessary and harsh.


22 Then said Joshua, Open the mouth of the cave,
and bring out those five kings unto me out of the cave.

23 And they did so, and brought forth those five
kings unto him out of the cave, the king of Jerusalem,
the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of
Lachish, and the king of Eglon.

24 And it came to pass, when they brought out those
kings unto Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men
of Israel, and said unto the captains of the men of war
which went with him, Come near, put your feet upon
the necks of these kings. And they came near, and
put their feet upon the necks of them.

25 And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be
dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall
the Lord do to all your enemies against whom ye fight.

26 And afterward Joshua smote them, and slew
them, and hanged them on five trees: and they were
hanging upon the trees until the evening.

27 And it came to pass at the time of the going
down of the sun, that Joshua commanded, and they

entire land ceased to offer further offensive oppo-

Ver. 24. All the men of Israel^ i.e., all the Is-
raelitish army.

JPut your feet upon the nechs of these kings. A sig-
nificant Oriental act to encourage Israel, a visible
pledge that they should conquer all their foes.

Ver. 25. Fear not, &c. Joshua thus reassures
Israel, who had probably never fully regained
confidence since the disaster before Ai.

Ver. 26. The hanging was a mark of cursing
from God, an exhibition of their own stewardship
under him. (See Deut. xxi. 23.)

Until the evening. (See the verse above cited
from Deuteronomy.)

Ver. 27. Until the very day. (See note on chap,
vii. 26.)


took them down off the trees, and cast them into the
cave wherein they had been hid, and laid great stones
in the cave's mouth, ivhicli remain until this very day.

28 ^ And that day Joshua took Makkedah, and
smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king
thereof he utterly destroyed, them, and all the souls
that icere therein ; he let none remain : and he did
to the king of Makkedah as he did unto the king of

29 Then Joshua passed from Makkedah, and all
Israel with him, unto Libnah, and fought against

30 And the Lord delivered it also, and the king
thereof, into the hand of Israel: and he smote it with
the edge of the sword, and all the souls that icere
therein; he let none remain in it ; but did unto the
king thereof as he did imto the king of Jericho.

31 T[ And Joshua passed from Libnah, and all Israel
with him, unto Lachish, and encamped against it, and
fought against it.

32 And the Lord delivered Lachish into the hand
of Israel, which took it on the second day, and smote it
with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were
therein, according to all that he had done to Libnah.

33 «f[ Then lloram king of Gezer came up to help
Lachish; and Joshua smote him and his people, until
he had left him none remaining.

Ver. 28. That day. (See note on ver. 10.)
Ver. 29. Lihnah is conjectured by Van de Velde
to be at Arak-el-Menshiyeh on Wady Safieh, five
miles from his supposed site of Makkedah.
Ver. 31. Lachish. (See note on ver. 3.)
Ver. 33. Gezer is the first city that attempts
voluntarily to withstand the tide of Israel's con-
quests. The king had, perhaps, supposed that at
so strong a spot as Lachish a successful resistance
could be made, and hence offered to reinforce the
king of Lachish. Joshua, after destroying Lachish,
did not go to Gezer, but to Eglon. The king of


34 ^ And from Lachish Joshua passed unto Eglon,
and all Israel with him: and they encamped against it,
and fought against it:

35 And they took it on that day, and smote it "with
the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were
therein he utterly destroyed that day, according to all
that ho had done to Lachish.

36 And Joshua went up from Eglon, and all Israel
with him, unto Hebron; and they fought against it:

37 And they took it. and smote it with the edge of
the sword, and the king thereof, and all the cities
thereof, and all the souls that icere therein ; he left none
remaining, according to all that he had done to Eglon,
but destroyed it utterly, and all the souls that were

38 ^ And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him,
to Debir; and fought against it:

39 And he took it, and the king thereof, and all the
cities thereof, and they smote them with the edge of
the sword, and utterly destroyed all the souls that were
therein; he left none remaining : as he had done to
Hebron, so he did to Debir, and to the king thereof;
as he had done also to Libnah, and to her king.

40 •[[ So Joshua smote all the country of the hills,

Gezer and his army were slain at Lachish. Gezer
was thirty miles north of Lachish, and near Joppa.
Ver. 84. Eglon. (See note on ver. 3.)
Ver. ZQ. Hebron. (See note on ver. 3.)
Ver. 37. The king thereof . They had a new
king at Hebron, after the death of the former
king at Makkedah.

Ver. 88. Debir. Dr. Rosen identifies Debir
with Dewir-ban, a few miles west of Hebron ; but
the requirements of the grouping in chap. xv. 49,
would place it farther south. Debir was after-
ward reconquered by Othniel (Judg. i. 11, 12).

Ver. 40. The hills, i.e., the mountain-country ;

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Online LibraryHoward CrosbyExpository notes on the book of Joshua → online text (page 6 of 15)