by Ken Cayce

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Joshua Explained

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Book of Joshua Explained

Title: This is the first of the 12 historical books, and it gained its name from the exploits of Joshua, the under-study whom Moses prayed for and commissioned as a leader in Israel (Num. 27:12-23). “Joshua” means “Jehovah saves”, or “the Lord is salvation”, and corresponds to the New Testament name “Jesus”. God delivered Israel in Joshua’s day when He was personally present as the saving Commander who fought on Israel’s behalf (5:14 – 6:2; 10:42; 23:3-5; Acts 7:45).

Authorship: Although the author is not named, the most probable candidate is Joshua, who was the key eyewitness to the events recorded (compare 18:9; 24:26). An assistant whom Joshua groomed could have finished the book by attaching such comments as those concerning Joshua’s death (24:29-33). Some have even suggested that this section was written by the High-Priest Eleazar, or his son, Phinehas. Rahab was still living at the time Joshua 6:25 was penned. The book was completed before David’s reign (15:63; compare 2 Sam. 5:5-9). The most likely writing period is ca. 1405 – 1385 B.C.

Joshua was born in Egyptian slavery, trained under Moses, and by God’s choice rose to his key position of leading Israel into Canaan. Distinguishing features of his life include:

(1) Service (Exodus 17:10; 24:13; 33:11; Num. 11:28);

(2) Soldiering (Exodus 17:9-13);

(3) Scouting (Num. chapters 13 and 14);

(4) Supplication by Moses (Num. 27:15-17);

(5) The sovereignty of God (Num. 27:18);

(6) The Spirit’s presence (Num. 27:18; Deut. 34:9);

(7) Separation by Moses (Num. 27:18-23; Deut. 31:7-8; 13-15); and

(8) Selflessness in wholly following the Lord (Num. 32:12).

The traditional view that Joshua is the author of almost the entire book is supported by several factors.

(1) Certain portions bear the mark of an eyewitness to the events described, such as the remark that “the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over” (5:1).

(2) The use of the ancient names of Canaanite cities points to an early date (e.g., 15:9, 13, 49, 54).

(3) The list of boundaries drawn for the various tribes (Chapters 13-19), accurately reflects the known situation of Canaan before the Jewish monarch, as do the facts that Jerusalem was still a Jebusite city (15:63), Gezer was still a Canaanite city (16:10), and the Gibeonites were Israel’s vassals (compare 9:18-27 with 2 Sam. 21:1-9).

(4) The failure to mention the Phoenician city of Tyre, while mentioning Sidon, reflects earlier times before Tyre became the more important port city and strategic stronghold of the Phoenicians.

(5) The author cites the ancient Book of Jasher as source material for his writing (10:13).

(6) The rehearsal of the wickedness of the Canaanites, for which God commanded their execution, is shown to be accurate in the well-known Ras Shamra Tablets, written in Joshua’s time.

(7) The farewell speeches of Joshua (chapters 23 and 24), bear the marks of the author’s own affirmation (24:26-27).

All of these facts argue for an early date of the book at a time when Joshua actually lived. No one else is the logical author of the book that bears his name.

Although certain portions must have been added by a later hand, such as the account of Joshua’s death (24:29-30), the conditions after his day (24:31), and certain historical events that took place in the time of the Judges (compare 15:13-17 with Judges 1:9-13; compare 19:47 with Judges 18:27-29), as well as the inclusion of the later names of the earlier cities mentioned above, nevertheless nearly all the material recorded in the book was likely written by Joshua himself.

Liberal attempts to suggest that Joshua was composed by a later author as part of a Hexateuch (or six books), associated with Moses have failed to achieve scholarly consensus. Moreover, it falls against the evidence of the Samaritan Bible, which, in adopting only Mosaic material, includes only the five books of the Pentateuch.

The Book of Joshua is a record of God’s faithfulness to His covenant people. It underscores the need of the believer to be obedient if he would appropriate all that God has designed for him. It is throughout a testimony to the might and grace of a sovereign and holy God.

Background – Setting: When Moses passed the baton of leadership on to Joshua before he died (Deut. Chapter 34), Israel was at the end of its 40-year wilderness wandering period (ca. 1405 B.C.). Joshua was approaching 90 years of age when he became Israel’s leader. He later died at the age of 110 (24:29), having led Israel to drive out most of the Canaanites and having divided the Land among the 12tribes. Poised on the plains of Moab, east of the Jordan River and the Land which God had promised (Gen. 12:7; 15:18-21), the Israelites awaited God’s direction to conquer the Land. They faced people on the western side of the Jordan who had become so steeped in iniquity that God would cause the Land, so to speak, to spew out these inhabitants (Lev. 18:24-25). He would give Israel the Land by conquest, primarily to fulfill the covenant He had pledged to Abraham and his descendants, but also to pass just judgment on the sinful inhabitants (compare Gen. 15:16). Long possession of different parts of the Land by various peoples had pre-dated even Abraham’s day (Gen. 10:15-19; 12:6; 13:7). Its inhabitants had continued on a moral decline in the worship of many gods up to Joshua’s time.

Historical Setting: The events of the Book of Joshua span some 40 years (ca. 1407 – 1367 B.C.). This dating reflects the facts drawn from the chronological anchor point of (1 Kings 6:1). According to that text, Solomon’s fourth year of rule was also the 480th year since the children of Israel had left Egypt (or 1447 B.C.). Israel’s 40 years of wandering in the wilderness before reaching the Jordan would therefore take the details of the Book of Joshua to the date adopted here.

Accordingly, the Book of Joshua is set in a changing international scene. The virtual domination of Syro-Palestine and the area of the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea by the Egyptians was to be relaxed due to the rising power of the Hittites to the north under the great king Suppiluliumas (Ca. 1380 – 1346 B.C.). To the south, Egypt’s great Pharaoh, Amenhotep III (ca. 1410 – 1372 B.C.), who was replaced by his son Akhenaton (ca. 1372 – 1355 B.C.), under whom the Egyptian fortunes in Syro-Palestine greatly deteriorated, as reflected in the famous Tell El-Amarna Tablets. In the Amarna Period, Canaan itself became politically divided into several small states that were often at war with one another and which at times reported to the Egyptian Pharaoh that, because of the hostilities, they faced possible extermination at the hands of a strong enemy. God had arranged the details of history in such a way that human conditions would be just right for the Israelites’ conquest of Canaan!

Abraham was called by God to live in the land of Canaan, but Joshua was called to Possess the land. It was a charge that Joshua took seriously. Indeed, his obedience was so exemplary that, at the end of his life, he was granted the title “servant of the Lord” (24:29), an honor accorded only to a few in the history of Israel. What’s more, his lifetime of leadership produced a legacy that lived on in the elders who followed him (24:31).

Such fortitude and obedience in the faith was surely shaped by the events of the Exodus and Joshua’s firsthand view of its leading man, Moses. Joshua, born and raised in Egypt, was perhaps in his twenties when God mightily delivered the Hebrew people from slavery. During this formative period in his life, he witnessed the hand of God moving through Moses to subdue Israel’s enemies. Joshua then got a foretaste of what was to come in Canaan when Moses appointed him as general of the Hebrew army to battle the Amalekites (Exodus 17:8-16). Knowing a ragtag “army” of slaves would be defeated on an even battlefield, Moses ascended a hill to pray for Joshua during the battle, with Aaron and Hur holding up Moses’ hands (Exodus 17:8-13), until victory was sure. Then the Lord told Moses: write down the account of this battle and make sure it is written on Joshua’s heart (Exodus 17:14). Joshua would need the lesson of dependence on the Lord for victory in the years ahead.

At some point in Joshua’s adulthood, Moses changed Joshua’s name from Hoshea (“Salvation”) to Joshua, “Yahweh Saves” (Num. 13:16). It was a prophetic change, for Joshua had not only come to know the power of Yahweh, the promise-keeping God of his fathers, but he had learned that the children of Israel could not save themselves; only God Himself could save them.

At a time when the Holy Spirit did not yet constantly indwell the faithful, God identified Joshua as “a man in whom is the Spirit” (Num. 27:18). That is how evident God was in Joshua’s life. Once Moses laid hands on Joshua before Eleazar the priest and the people, his commissioning was official: he would be the one to take the children of Israel into the Promised Land.

Beyond the similarity of their names (“Jesus” is the Greek form of (“Joshua”), it is easy to see Joshua as a “type” of Jesus. The primary parallel is that they were both called to announce and establish the kingdom of God through warfare. Joshua, a physical, geographical kingdom on earth, and Jesus, a spiritual kingdom without boundaries. Also, both were dependent on God for strategy, wisdom and power. Israel’s invasion of a spiritually dark land under Joshua’s leadership parallels Jesus sending His disciples into spiritual darkness to bring forth the light.

Joshua’s task was to drive out the inhabitants of Canaan and divide the land between the 12 tribes of Israel. His book tells that story: entering the land (Chapters 1-5), conquering the land (Chapters 6-12), dividing the land (Chapters 13-21), and beginning life as a nation under God in the land (Chapters 22-24).

This is the first of the 12 historical books, and it gained its name from the exploits of Joshua, the under-study whom Moses prayed for and commissioned as a leader in Israel (Num. 27:12-23). God delivered Israel in Joshua’s day when He was personally present as the saving Commander who fought on Israel’s behalf (5:14 – 6:2; 10:42; 23:3, 5; Acts 7:45).

The Book of Joshua stands at the beginning of the Jewish scriptural collection known as the Former Prophets. It is named after its most important character, Moses’ personal aide and military commander. Joshua’s name means “The Lord Is Salvation”, or “Jehovah saves”. In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, his name takes the form Iesous, the same name borne by our Lord, Jesus. The Book of Joshua is considered the first of the Historical Books of the English Bible, because it traces the record of the children of Israel from the shores of the Jordan River to the conquest and division of the land of Canaan. It closes with an account of the aged Joshua’s farewell speeches.

A keynote feature is God’s faithfulness to fulfill His promise of giving the Land to Abraham’s descendants (Gen. 12:7; 15:18-21: 17:8). By His leading (compare 5:14 – 6:2), they inhabited the territories east and west of the Jordan, and so the word “possess” appears nearly 20 times.

Related to this theme is Israel’s failure to press their conquest to every part of the Land (13:1). Judges (chapters 1 and 2), later describes the tragic results from this sin. Key verses focus on:

(1) God’s promise of possession of the Land (1:3, 6);

(2) Meditation on God’s law, which was strategic for His people (1:8);

(3) Israel’s actual possession of the Land in part (11:23; 21:45; 22:4).

Specific allotment of distinct portions in the Land was Joshua’s task, as recorded (in chapters 13-22). Levites were placed strategically in 48 towns so that God’s spiritual services through them would be reasonably within reach of the Israelites, wherever they lived.

God wanted His people to possess the Land:

(1) To keep His promise (Gen. 12:7);

(2) To set the stage for later developments in His kingdom plan (compare Gen. 17:8; 49:8-12), e.g. positioning Israel for events in the periods of the kings and prophets;

(3) To punish peoples that were an affront to Him because of extreme sinfulness (Lev. 18:25); and

(4) To be a testimony to other peoples (Joshua 2:9-11), as God’s covenant heart reached out to all nations (Gen. 12:1-3).


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Chapter Selection


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Joshua 1 Joshua 9 Joshua 17
Joshua 2 Joshua 10
Joshua 18
Joshua 3 Joshua 11 Joshua 19
Joshua 4 Joshua 12 Joshua 20
Joshua 5 Joshua 13 Joshua 21
Joshua 6 Joshua 14 Joshua 22
Joshua 7 Joshua 15 Joshua 23
Joshua 8 Joshua 16 Joshua 24

Joshua 1

Joshua Chapter 1

At the "death of Moses", Israel's leadership transitioned to "Joshua" (Deut. 1:38). Moses and Joshua, at the end of their lives, were each called "the servant of the Lord" by God Himself (24:29). There is no greater compliment.

Joshua is the beginning of the history of the nation of Israel in their inherited Promised Land. Joshua is the first of the twelve historical books. The book was probably penned by Joshua, himself. It really does not matter who penned it, God is the author. We learned in the books of Numbers and Deuteronomy that, he was one of the twelve original spies who searched out the Promised Land. Just he and Caleb believed they could take the land at that time. Thirty-eight years have passed since that occasion, and they are now again, ready to enter the Promised Land. Moses has died and God has put Joshua in the stead of Moses. "Joshua" means Jehovah is salvation. Joshua is the son of Nun, the son of Elishama, prince of the tribe of Ephraim. The Greek form of "Joshua" is Jesus. The main lessons that we can get from this book, are that God keeps His promises, and that life is a battle which we must enter and win.

Joshua 1:1 "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,"

"Joshua the son on Nun" had apparently been born Hoshea (Num. 13:8), but was renamed Joshua by Moses (Num. 13:16). His long years of service as Moses' field commander (Exodus 17:9-16), and personal aide (Exodus 24:13), had prepared him well for this time when he would succeed his master. Joshua had served well (Exodus 24:13; Num. 14:6-10; 27:15-23), and as one who was full of the Holy Spirit (Num. 27:18; Deut. 34:9), was God's choice to succeed Moses (Num. 34:17; Deut. 1:38; 3:28; 31:7; 34:9), to conquer the land (Deut. 3:21; 31:7), and to see to its proper apportionment (Num. 34:17). He who would lead well must first learn how to serve well (1 Kings 19:21).

Joshua was Moses' assistant/servant (Exodus 24:13), and successor (Num. 27:15-23). He served as a military field commander (Exodus 17:9-13), was a spiritual disciple of Moses when he accompanied him up the mountain to receive the Torah (Exodus 24:13), and acted as a believing courageous spy along with Caleb (Num. 14:6-10, 30). As Israel's new leader after Moses, he functioned as a military commander in taking the land of Canaan (verses 2-5), and as an administrator in allotting the land (verses 6-9; 13:7; 14:1-2). Joshua served as a model for all of Israel's future kings. He was a leader possessing the Lord's spirit and having prophetic sanction (Num. 27:18, 22). He was both a military genius and a spiritual giant. He stirred up the faith of his army by ceremony (4:1-7), word (10:25), and life (24:15). He demanded of them exact obedience to the Lord's Word (8:35; 23:6). Joshua died at 110 years of age (24:29-31). The New Testament mentions his leading the Israelites into the Promised Land (Acts 7:45). For first reference (see Exodus 17:9; primary reference, Joshua 1:1-9).

Until the time of Moses' death, God spoke to Moses. Now He speaks to Joshua in the same manner He spoke to Moses. Notice he is called Moses' minister. He had been an understudy of Moses for the entire 40 year journey. On some occasions, he had actually helped Moses with his ministry. The main attribute that caused God to choose him to succeed Moses, was his great faith.

Verses 2-4: God had promised the "the coast" beyond the "Jordan" (the land of Canaan), to the Israelites in His covenant with Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 13:14-17: 15:18-21; 17:8; 22:17), and repeatedly reminded the people of this during the wilderness years (see Exodus Chapters 6 and 8).

The "land" was Israel's in accordance with God's promise in both the Mosaic (Deut. 11:24), and Abrahamic covenants (Gen. 13:14-17). Israel's prophesied return after a four-hundred-year exile lay at hand (Gen. 15:13-14).

To seal Joshua's purpose, God instructed him to walk every patch of ground in Canaan, realizing that everywhere he walked, God had already given it to him and the people. Israel had no official army and no weapons, and the territory was inhabited by seven more powerful nations than them (Deut. 7:1). Yet because God had promised, Joshua could boldly lead Israel to occupy the land.

Joshua 1:2 "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, [even] to the children of Israel."

"Unto the land which I do give to them": This is the land God promised in His covenant with Abraham and often reaffirmed later (Gen. 12:7: 13:14-15:15:18-21).

The chronological anchor point of (1 Kings 6:1), necessitates a date for the death of Moses near the end of the fifteenth century B.C. Because of unbelief, Moses had forfeited his opportunity to lead the people into Canaan (compare Num. 20:12 with Deut. 31:7).

Joshua had some very big shoes to fill. Moses had been a prophet who was in close contact with God at all times. We see the first directive God gave to Joshua. They were to cross the Jordan into their land of promise.

Joshua 1:3 "Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses."

The words "as I said unto Moses" suggest the importance of pausing to remember God's past faithfulness before stepping out into an unknown future. What Joshua had witnessed as Moses' protégé would serve as assurance that God would be with him as He was with Moses.

We remember from Deuteronomy, that God had shown Moses the land of promise. It was everything west of the Jordan, all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. It went as far as Lebanon in one direction, and as far as beyond the Dead Sea to the other. Wherever they set their feet in this area was theirs.

Joshua 1:4 "From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast."

The boundaries of the land are given as "the wilderness" (i.e., the area south and east of Canaan), on the south, "Lebanon" on the north, "the Euphrates" to the northeast, and the "Great Sea" (Mediterranean), on the west. "All the land of the Hittites" meant the regions of Canaan and Syria, considered in both ancient Egyptian and Mediterranean inscriptions as a buffer state between the two great powers. Because the Hittites were one of the large ethnic groups that inhabited Canaan before the Israelite conquest (compare 3:10; 9:1; 11:3; 12:8; 24:11), and because they were a traditional power (occupying what is now Turkey and modern Syria), with whom the ancient Assyrians and Egyptians were forced to deal, the land was called Hatti (Hittite), land in international correspondence.

The going down of the sun meant as far west as they could go. The Mediterranean Sea was their stopping place to the west. The desert of Arabia on the south and Lebanon on the north were their boundaries.

Verses 5-6: Every believer who is doing God's will can "be strong and of a good courage", knowing that, just as for Joshua and Israel, God "will not fail thee, nor forsake thee" (Heb. 13:5). In the Great Commission, Jesus promised His presence with those He sends out to make disciples (Matt. 28:20). The Lord never leaves His people to do His work alone.

Joshua 1:5 "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."

The promise of divine power for Joshua's task.

What is promised to the people in common (Deut. 11:25); is here particularly promised to Joshua their general. And which was fulfilled in him, and still more in Christ his antitype. Who made an end of sin, destroyed the devil, spoiled principalities and powers, abolished death, and overcame the world.

"As I was with Moses, so will I be with thee": To counsel and advise, guide and direct, protect and defend, prosper and succeed. The Targum of Jonathan is, as my Word "was for the help of Moses, so will I be with thee."

"I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee": But grant him his presence, communicate strength unto him, make good his promises. And leave him not till he had made an entire conquest of the land of Canaan, and even not till the end of his days. And was true of Christ in his state of humiliation, in his sufferings and death, and even in the grave, where he was not left so long as to see corruption. As this is applied to particular believers (see note on Hebrews 13:5)

This is a reassurance from God that He would be with them in battle. He would go before them and devour their enemies. They must have faith. God never left them for the 40 years, and He will be with them now. He did not leave when Moses died. These are God's people, and He will protect them. The promise made to Abraham, Moses, Joshua and us is the same.

Hebrews 13:5 "[Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

Verses 6-9: The Lord's charge to Joshua is repeated from (Deut. 31:6-7, 23). The divine call is not only for manly courage but for a courageous faith centered in the word of God (compare 1 Chron. 22:11-13; 28:20; Psalms 27:13-14; 31:23-24). As the psalmist would later point out, true success comes from meditating deeply on God's Word (compare Psalms 1:2-3; 119:72; chapters 97, 147 and 148). Paul likewise encourages all believers to "quit you like men, be strong" (1 Cor. 16:13).

Three times God told Joshua to "be strong" (1:6, 7, 9). The word means to be "firm, resolute, not swayed" by others from the direction to which God has called a person (1: Cor. 16:13; Phil. 1:20, 27). God also challenged Joshua to be "very courageous", or "daring" (10:25; 2 Chron. 32:7). Moses used these words to encourage Joshua in the task of conquering and dividing the land (Deut. 31:6-8), as did David with Solomon when he charged Solomon with building the temple (1 Chron. 22:13; 28:20). In (1:7), this strength and courage is tied directly to obeying God's law.

Joshua 1:6 "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."

The same exhortation Moses gave him (Deut. 31:7). And is afterwards repeated in this chapter, as being of great moment and importance. As it is in the general of an army to show greatness and strength of mind, valor and courage. And not be dismayed at the number and strength of the enemy. As Joshua's work in fighting with the Canaanites, and conquering their land, so Christ's work in the redemption of his people. And subduing their enemies, required strength and courage, and both were very eminent in him.

"For unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land which I sware unto their fathers to give them": And this promise included and ensured the conquest of it, and the putting the people into the possession of it. For if he was to divide it to them, he must first take it out of the hands of the present inhabitants. And deliver it into the hands of the children of Israel, to be possessed by them. Dividing to each tribe and family their part and portion.

Moses had been a meek man. He was quiet and mild mannered. It would take a strong Joshua to lead them into battle. We know he was courageous, because he wanted to go into the Promised Land the first time they spied it out. He was confident they could take it, even if there were giants in the land. Joshua's confidence was not in his own ability, but in God's ability. The verse above is reassuring Joshua that he would win the battle, and indeed divide the land.

Joshua 1:7 "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."

"Only be thou strong and very courageous" (see note on Deut. 31:6-8).

"Turn not from it to the right hand or to the left": From the law, by adding to it, or taking from it. So Ben Gersom explains it, "turning to the right hand is, when any adds to its words; and turning to the left hand, when he diminishes from them;" or "from him", that is, from Moses.

"That thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest": Succeed in every battle he engaged in. It would be well if generals of armies would observe this. The way to obtain victory over enemies being to be observant of the laws of God themselves. And to take care that they be observed by the soldiers under their command. Or "that thou mayest act wisely"; the word of God furnishing out instruction to men in every station of life (see Luke 3:10).

The law Moses gave them from God was a blessing, if it was kept. It brought terrible curses, if it was not kept. The law is not to be adjusted to the right or the left to fit their convenience. The law was absolute. They must have great faith, and act upon the commands of God.

1 Corinthians 16:13 "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong."

Ephesians 6:10 "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might."

Joshua 1:8 "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 that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."

"The book of the law": A reference to Scripture, specifically Genesis through Deuteronomy, written by Moses (compare Exodus 17:14; Deut. 31:9-11, 24).

"Meditate therein day and night": To read with thoughtfulness, to linger over God's Word. The parts of Scripture they possessed have always been the main spiritual food of those who served Him, e.g., Job (Job 23:12); the psalmist (Psalm 1:1-3); Jeremiah (Jer. 15:16); and Jesus (John 4:34).

If Joshua wanted to be successful, he needed to "Meditate" on (repeatedly read and recite), the words of God constantly and continually, follow them exclusively, and accept them totally (Psalm 1:1-3). Obedience begins with a relentless quest to know and take to heart God's Word. Throughout his life, Joshua heeded what God told him in this divine consultation (23:6).

Prosperous ... success": The promise of God's blessing on the great responsibility God has given Joshua. The principle here is central to all spiritual effort and enterprise, namely the deep understanding and application of Scripture at all times.

This verse indicates both the existence of the "law" by the time of Joshua and its Mosaic authorship (compare 8:31-35).

Their entire lives were to be guided by the law of God. They were to hide the Words of the law in their hearts so they would never forget them. They were to think on the reason for them, as well as the demand of keeping them. The law had to become part of their very beings. They will prosper and have great success if they keep this law of God.

Joshua 1:9 "Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest."

"Lord ... is with thee": This assurance has always been the staying sufficiency for His servants such as: Abraham (Gen. 15:1); Moses and his people (Exodus 14:13); Isaiah (Isa. 41:10); Jeremiah (Jer. 1:7-8); and Christians through the centuries (Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5).

Joshua believed God. His courage came from his faith in God.

Verses 10-11: As soon as Joshua received his orders from the Lord, he obeyed. Delay often causes reluctance, and reluctance often breeds disobedience. When God delivers an assignment, His man or woman has only one option, and that is to discharge it with urgency (Psalm 119:60).

Joshua 1:10 "Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying,"

The same word is used in (Deut. 16:18); where it seems to design such officers that attended on the judges, and executed their orders. But one would think it should here rather signify officers in the army, as captains, and the like. Unless it should design a sort of heralds, who were to make proclamation throughout the camp. Each of the orders issued by Joshua, immediately upon his having the above directions and instructions from the Lord.

There was order in their army. God had set Joshua over all of them in civil matters. Joshua passed the word down to the officers, who in turn gave instructions to the people they were over.

Verses 11-15: Joshua prepared the people for what would come next, in part by encouraging them that they were going to "possess the land" God had promised. This is the core of the Book of Joshua: believers must take possession of what God has promised. Those blessings are like a title deed to whatever God is providing, and He wants His people to live within the blessings. For an illustration of this (see Numbers chapter 32).

Joshua 1:11 "Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare 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."

"Within three days": In some cases, events which took place before his announcement and these 3 days (compare 3:2), are described later on, e.g., Joshua's sending two scouts to check out the Land (2:22).

Some imagine a contradiction between the details of this verse (and those of 2:22 and 3:1-2). Actually, the texts are supplementary.

(1) In Shittim, Joshua gives the command to make ready for breaking camp (verses 10-11).

(2) As well, he sends spies to Jericho from which, after spending a night, they flee their pursuers and take refuge in the mountains for three days (2:15-22).

(3) Subsequently they return to Joshua, who leads the camp from Shittim to the Jordan River, where they linger another three days.

The prominence of three days in the accounts may be in harmony with a recurrent emphasis in the Scriptures on the third day as the day of special activity, spiritual decision, and newness of life and service (compare Gen. 22:4; Exodus 19:15; 2 Kings 20:5, 8; Ezra 6:15; Esther 5:1; Matt. 16:21; 17:23; Luke 13:32; 24:5-7, 21, 44-49: Acts 10:40; 1 Cor. 15:4).

The "victuals" here, is speaking of meat from hunting. They were to prepare themselves food for their battle, and for the time it would take to enter the land. They really would prepare all types of food for the trip. They will not be fed with manna in the Promised Land. At the end of 3 more days, they will pass over the Jordan River and be in their Promised Land.

Joshua 1:12 "And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua, saying,"

"Half tribe of Manasseh": In (Gen. Chapter 48), Jacob blessed both sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, so that Joseph actually received a double blessing (Gen. 48:22). This allowed for 12 allotments of the Land, Levi being excluded because of priestly functions.

These are those who had already received their land on the east side of the Jordan. Joshua will remind them of the promise they had made to God, to go and help the other tribes take their land.

Verses 13-18: "The Lord ... hath given you this land": God gave them these lands directly across the Jordan River on the east (compare Num. chapter 32). Yet, it was their duty to assist the other tribes of Israel to invade and conquer their allotted land to the west.

Joshua 1:13 "Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, The LORD your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land."

In (Num. 32:29); and to which they had solemnly agreed. And, now the time was come to put it into execution, Joshua reminds them of it. "Saying;

"The Lord your God hath given you rest": From their travels, and a settlement in a country agreeably to their own desire.

"And hath given you this land": Where they now were, and which they had taken from Sihon and Og, kings of the Amorites. And joined to Moab, on the borders of which Israel lay encamped. And by this it appears, that the settlement of these tribes, on the other side Jordan, was according to the will of God; he gave it to them.

They wanted the grazing land on the east side of Jordan and God let them have it, with the promise they would fight with the other tribes to take their land.

Joshua 1:14 "Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valor, and help them;"

This was what they themselves proposed, agreed unto, and confirmed (Num. 32:16).

"But ye shall pass over before your brethren armed": Bearing arms, to fight for them. For none but such that were fit to bear arms were obliged to go. And these were to go "harnessed", as some render the word, or in a military order, in rank and file, by fives, five in a row. Not at the front of the army, for the standard of Judah went first, but along with them. For "before them" signifies no other than in the presence of them, and in company with them.

"All the mighty men of valor, and help them": To obtain a conquest over the Canaanites. All, according to the order of Moses, and by their agreement, were to go. All that were able to bear arms. But Joshua did not take them all, only a select company of strong and valiant for, out of a hundred thirty thousand, but forty thousand went with him (Joshua 4:13).

Moses had inquired of God and had given them this land they loved. He also gave them time to build houses for their families to live in. The wives and the children would stay behind and care for their cattle and sheep, while the men went to war. They had not chosen this land, because they were afraid. They had chosen it, because it was good grazing land for their herds.

Joshua 1:15 "Until the LORD have given your brethren rest, as [he hath given] you, and they also have possessed the land which the LORD 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 sunrising."

Rest from their travels, as they had.

"And they also have possessed the land which the Lord your God giveth them": Are settled in the land of Canaan, as they were on that side Jordan.

"Then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it": The countries of Sihon and Og, they were put into the possession of.

"Which Moses the Lord's servant gave you on this side Jordan, toward the sunrising": The land, given to them lay to the east of Jordan.

Toward the sunrising means it was located on the east of Jordan. The men of these tribes will go with the other tribes until they are settled in their land, then they will go home to their families. The people are great that will be fought, and God wanted all 12 tribes to stand together in these battles for the land.

Verses 16-18: One test of leadership is to find out if anyone is following the people's response ("we will do ... we will go"). This showed that the mantle had been successfully passed from Moses to Joshua.

Joshua 1:16 "And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go."

The two tribes of Gad and Reuben, and the half tribe of Manasseh. The heads of them, such as were instructed for that purpose, and were their mouths to him.

"Saying, all that thou commandest we will do": With respect to this affair of going over Jordan with their brethren, to assist them in the conquest of the land of Canaan.

"And whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go": In what position he would have them be in the army. And to whatsoever part of the country he should send them to subdue, and to whatsoever city he should order them to besiege.

They have had ample time to prepare their families to survive, until they return. They are eager to keep their word to God. They will go into battle, wherever Joshua sends them. They were so happy with their Promised Land, they were eager to do God's will.

Joshua 1:17 "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."

Not right or wrong, but in all things that were according to the laws and will of God made known to them. And particularly it may refer to the above affair, which was settled between Moses and them, to whom they then hearkened. And now promise to confirm the same, and hearken to whatsoever orders and instructions Joshua should give them relative to it, according to the plan agreed upon.

"Only the Lord thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses": Which is not mentioned as a condition of their obedience to him, but rather as a reason of it. And as an encouraging motive to it. For, according to Kimchi, the true sense and meaning is, "for the Lord thy God will be with thee, as he was with Moses." So Noldius renders it, "seeing the Lord thy God is with thee."

Moses had made it very clear before his death, that Joshua was God's choice to receive his anointing. Everyone had agreed they would follow Joshua, as they had Moses. The older Israelites (their fathers), had not hearkened unto Moses. They died in the wilderness. The new generation had listened to Moses. They promise to follow Joshua too. It was almost like a prayer for Joshua when they said, "Only the LORD thy God be with thee".

Joshua 1:18 "Whosoever [he be] that doth rebel against thy commandment, 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."

Refuses to go over Jordan with his brethren the children of Israel, when commanded by Joshua so to do.

"And will not hearken to thy words in all that thou commandest him": Or, if he does go over, yet will not obey orders to take such a post. Or go against such a city, or march into such a part of the country.

"He shall be put to death": His part of military discipline they agree to, and hereby declare their entire submission to him as their general. Some understand this as spoken by all Israel, and of their promise of obedience to Joshua, as their governor in all things.

"Only be strong, and of a good courage": Which also is not to be understood as a condition of their submission and obedience. But as a hearty wish and prayer for him, that he might have strength and courage necessary to the great work he was engaging in. And which to see would be no small encouragement to follow and obey him.

Disobeying the commandments of God was certain death. To rebel against the commandments, is rebelling against God. They must have faith, not fear. Faith pleases God.

Joshua Chapter 1 Questions

1. Joshua is the beginning of the ___________ of the nation of Israel in their Promised Land.

2. How many historical books are there?

3. Who, probably, penned this book?

4. Why was God sure of Joshua's faith?

5. How many years have passed, since they searched out the promised land the first time?

6. Who was the only believer in the twelve spies, besides Joshua?

7. The Greek form of "Joshua" is _________.

8. What are the main lessons we can learn in this book?

9. Why was Joshua called Moses' minister?

10. What one thing caused God to choose Joshua?

11. What was the first directive God gave Joshua?

12. What land was the Promised Land?

13. What was the great river in verse 4?

14. Describe Moses.

15. Where did Joshua's confidence lie?

16. The law was ____________.

17. Their entire lives were to be guided by the _____ ____ ______.

18. Joshua's courage came from his __________ in God.

19. Joshua gave the orders to the __________, who gave them to the people.

20. "Victuals" in verse 11 means what?

21. Who had received land on the east side of Jordan?

22. Why did they want that particular land?

23. Who shall stay behind, and care for their land?

24. How long would the men be gone?

25. They were so ________ with their Promised Land, they were eager to obey God's will.

26. Why did the people accept Joshua as their leader?

27. What sounds like a prayer for Joshua in verse 17?

28. What will happen to them, if they rebel against the commandments?

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Joshua 2

Joshua Chapter 2

Verses 1-16: For the two spies to lodge in the home of "Rahab" the harlot made sense, "for her house was upon the town wall" and was constantly frequented by foreigners, giving the men greater opportunity to blend in.

Joshua 2:1 "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 a harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there."

"Two men to spy" These scouts would inform Joshua on various features of the topography, food, drinking water and defenses to be overcome in the invasion.

"Shittim", formerly a place of spiritual failure (compare Num. 25:1-13), became here a springboard for spiritual victory. Joel (Joel 3:18), reports that one day the Valley of Shittim will be reinvigorated by waters from the house of the Lord. Places and occasions of spiritual defeat and barrenness can be transformed into areas of spiritual victory and blessing by the life-giving power of God. "Rehab" is not promised deliverance (compare verses 17-21; 6:23), simply because of her shrewd evaluation of the situation (verses 9-13), or her efforts on behalf of the spies (verses 3-7, 21), but on the basis of her faith (Heb. 11:31). Neither her harlotry nor her lying is approved of. In His gracious providence, God had prepared her heart to receive both the messengers and their God (verses 10-11). Though she acted out of her old habits in hiding and delivering the spies, her newly found faith was being tested at the risk of her life (compare verse 14). God's further grace toward Rahab may be seen in her subsequent marriage to Salmon, through whom was born Boaz, Ruth's husband (Ruth 4:21), so that she thus became an ancestress of David (1 Chron. 2:11-12), and hence of Christ Himself (Matt. 1:5-6, 17). God's sovereign grace is sufficient for the vilest of sinners (compare Rom. 5:8; Eph. 2:1-10; 1 Tim. 1:15).

"Rehab" was a harlot of Jericho, at whose house two spies stayed just before Joshua conquered Palestine around 1407 B.C. (verses 1-21). She believed that the God of Israel was the true God (verses 10-13), and her faith is commended in the New Testament, in (Heb. 11:31, and in James 2:25, her demonstration of faith by good works). At the fall of Jericho, Joshua spared Rehab and her relatives (6:17, 22, 25). Rehab's son, Boaz, married Ruth and became the father of Obed, the grandfather of Jesse, and the great-grandfather of David. Thus, a Canaanite harlot became part of the lineage of King David, from whom the Messiah descended (Ruth 4:20-21; Matt. 1:4-5; Luke 3:32). This demonstrates that God's grace and forgiveness is extended to all, and is not limited by nationality or by the nature of a person's sins (Joshua 2:1-21).

"Jericho" is one of the oldest inhabited cities of the world. It is situated in the wide plain of the Jordan Valley (Deut. 34:1, 3), at the foot of the ascent to the Judean mountains. Jericho is about eight miles northwest of the site where the Jordan River flows into the Dead Sea. The city is about eight hundred feet below sea level and has a tropical climate that is at times very hot. Even though only a few inches of rainfall are recorded each year, the city is a wonderful oasis. Known as the "city of palm trees" (Deut. 34:3; Judges 3:13), Jericho has many date palms, banana trees, balsams, sycamores, and henna (SOS 1:14; Luke 19:4). Old Testament Jericho first appears in the biblical record when the Israelites encamped at Shittim on the east side of the Jordan River (Num. 22:1; 26:3). Joshua sent spies to examine the city (verses 1-24). Then he placed a curse on anyone who would attempt to rebuild Jericho after the Israelites took it (6:26; 1 Kings 16:34). Jericho was awarded to the tribe of Benjamin (16:1, 7). During the days of Elijah and Elisha, Jericho was a community of the prophets (2 Kings 2:5; Ezra 2:34; Neh. 3:2; Jer. 39:5). New Testament Jericho lay about a mile south of the Old Testament site.

This place is the same as the plains of Moab across from Jericho. The Israelites had stopped here for a while. Jericho was known as the city of fragrance. It was also known as the city of the palm trees. It is, even today, a very fertile area. There is safety in two going, instead of one. It seems these two young men found a place of rest in Rahab's house. This same Rahab the harlot, is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus.

Joshua 2:2 "And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country."

"The king": He was not over a broad domain, but only the city-state. Kings over other city areas appear later during this conquest (compare 8:23; 12:24).

It appears the king had suspicioned the Israelites would send spies into his land. He probably, had men stationed to watch for just such an entrance. They have now reported to the king that his fears have come true. The Israelites have indeed, come to search the land.

Joshua 2:3 "And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country."

Not merely because she kept a public house, or being a prostitute had often strangers in it. And so conjectured that the men he had notice of might be there. But he sent upon certain information that they were seen to go in there, as it follows.

"Saying, bring forth the men that are come to thee": Not to commit lewdness with her, though this is the sense some Jewish commentators give. But this neither agrees with the character of the men Joshua had chosen for this purpose, nor answers any end of the king to suggest. Nor can it be thought that Rahab would so openly and freely own this (as in Joshua 2:4). But what is meant by the phrase is explained in the following clause.

"Which are entered into thine house": In order to lodge there that night.

"For they be come to search out all the country": So it was suspected, nor was the suspicion groundless.

Now we see they not only saw them come into the city, but actually saw them enter Rahab's house. Some writers believe that Rahab is a symbol of the forgiven church. Perhaps these young men thought the fact this was a harlot's house would have caused less suspicion of their presence in town.

Verses 4-5: Compare verses 9-11. Lying is sin to God (Exodus 20:16), for He cannot lie (Titus 1:2). God commended her faith (Heb. 11:31; James 2:25), as expressed in verses 9-16, not her lie. He never condones any sin, yet none are without some sin (Rom. 3:23), thus the need for forgiveness. But He also honors true faith, small as it is, and imparts saving grace (Exodus 34:7).

Joshua 2:4 "And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they [were]:"

As soon as she understood from her neighbors that there was a suspicion of the matter, and guessed that search would be made. And this is justly mentioned as a great and generous act of faith (Heb. 11:31). For she apparently ventured her life upon a steadfast persuasion of the truth of God's word and promise given to the Israelites.

"Whence they were": Her answer, contained in these and the following words was false. And therefore, unquestionably sinful, though her intention was good therein. But it is very probable she, being a heathen, might think that an officious lie was not unlawful.

This could have cost Rahab her life, if the king found her out. She actually told the king's men that they had been there, but left. She probably had already hid the men, when she knew the king's men were on their way.

Joshua 2:5 "And it came to pass [about the time] of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them."

Of the city, which was done every night, and at a certain time.

"When it was dark": The sun set, and night had come.

"That the men went out": Out of her house, and out of the city too, as she said. Though it was a downright lie, as well as what follows.

"Whither the men went I wot not": Though she knew they were not gone, but were now in her house. She might not have scruples telling a lie, being brought up a Heathen. And being done with a design to save the lives of persons that belonged to a people she was persuaded were the people of God. And to whom he had given the land. Though her lies are not to be justified; evil is not to be done that good may come. Nor are men to tell lies one to another upon any account. But these sins, with others, the Lord forgave her.

"Pursue after them quickly, and ye shall overtake them": This she encouraged them to do, to get rid of them the sooner. And to remove all suspicion of her having any respect for them, and of being concerned in concealing them.

Rahab is telling lies to save the spies. Just about dark is the time she told the king's men they left. She encourages them to go, and look elsewhere for them. Rahab did not know the law of God, and probably had no idea that telling lies was a sin. She probably did not even realize harlotry was a sin. These people were not taught in the ways of God.

Joshua 2:6 "But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof."

Flax is set out to dry once it is harvested and then used to make linen. Its presence on "the roof of the house" would not arouse suspicion, so it made a convenient hiding place for the two spies.

These stalks of "flax", were stems about 3 feet long, which had been soaked in water, would have been laid out in short piles on the "roof" to dry. The use of flax in ancient Canaan is confirmed by its mention in the famous Gezer Calendar, variously dated between the eleventh and ninth centuries B.C.

We have discussed before how their homes had flat roofs and were used for daytime activities. It appears from this, that Rahab had stacked some flax on her roof. She hid the spies under the flax. Linen is made from flax. God had saved these spies. It was He who had Rahab to stack the flax. It was His idea planted in Rahab's mind to hide the spies here. God will hide His own in time of trouble.

Joshua 2:7 "And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate."

As they thought.

"The way to Jordan": On the other side of which the people of Israel lay encamped. To which they supposed, according to Rahab's account, these two men directed their course.

"Unto the fords": The fords of Jordan, the passages through it. For in some places, and at some times, it was fordable. Which accounts for the way in which these spies could get over Jordan (see Gen. 32:10). It was most reasonable to conclude they would return the same way. And so far the king's messengers went, but further they did not choose to go, because it would be to no purpose. And they might expose themselves to the camp of Israel, which lay on the other side.

"And as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate": That is, either as soon as the king's messengers were gone out of Rahab's house. Either the spies, or rather the men of the house, Rahab's servants, shut the door of it to prevent their return, or others coming in. Or rather, when they were got out of the city, the watchmen of the city, the porters of the city gates, shut them. That if they were not out of the city, to prevent their escape, or however to keep out others from entering, that might be on some such design, or worse.

The men, who had come from the king, went to look for the spies outside the city gates. It must have been about dusk, because just after they left to look for the men, the city gate was closed.

Joshua 2:8 "And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof;"

Under the stalks of the flax. Or rather, since they are said to be hid in them, before they were fallen asleep, so Kimchi and Abarbinel.

"She came up unto them upon the roof": To acquaint them how things were, and to converse with them on the following subjects.

She did not disturb them after they had lain down. She went up before they lay down to sleep. She wanted to talk to them.

Verses 9-11: Rahab's profession of faith is remarkable, coming from a woman in a pagan city with a pagan background. The reports she had probably heard from the men who came to her establishment, along with the few facts she knew herself, led her to believe that the One who had done all these marvelous wonders on behalf of His people was the true "God in heaven above, and in earth beneath (Deut. 2:25; 4:39). God, in His grace, reaches out to those with sordid pasts and no history with Him.

Joshua 2:9 "And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you."

Rahab speaking to the two spies.

"I know that the Lord hath given you the land": The land of Canaan, of which she was an inhabitant, and in which they now were. This she knew either by some tradition that was among them; or by divine revelation, a supernatural impulse upon her mind. Or by observing what the Lord had done already, in putting the land of the Amorites into their hands, which were one of the seven nations of Canaan. And by this it also appears, and more clearly by what follows, that she had knowledge of the Lord God, the God of Israel.

"And that your terror is fallen upon us": Which was another token or sign by which she knew the land would be delivered to them. That they who were a formidable people, and struck terror into others, now were terrified themselves, at the rumor of Israel having come to invade them. This was what the Lord said should be the case (Deut. 11:25).

"And that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you": Or "melt", like wax before the fire, as Moses had predicted (Exodus 15:15).

She, like many of the other inhabitants, had heard that God had given the Israelites this land. It is obvious she was more terrified of God than she was of her own king. Rahab has great faith in the ability of God to do what He says. She speaks of it as if it is inevitable. It appears fear had already gripped the people of this land. They were afraid of Israel's God.

Joshua 2:10 "For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that [were] on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed."

To make a passage for them through it, to walk in as on dry land. This they had heard of and remembered, though it was forty years ago.

"And what you did unto the kings of the Amorites that were on the other side Jordan": Which were things more recent, done but a few months ago.

"Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed": The history of which see in (Num. 21:21). Who were destroyed by them under Moses and Joshua their commanders.

It seems that the miracles that God had done for them 40 years ago at the Red Sea, was still known of these people. Of a more recent time, God had destroyed Og and Sihon, and gave their land to Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh. Word brought to these people of Jericho had them frightened of Israel's God.

Joshua 2:11 "And as soon as we had heard [these things], our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he [is] God in heaven above, and in earth beneath."

"God in heaven above, and in earth beneath": She confessed the realization that He is the sovereign Creator and Sustainer of all that exists (compare Deut. 4:39; Acts 14:15; 17:23-28), thus the Supreme One.

The recognition of God for who He is will get a person saved. Rahab has fulfilled the Scripture in Romans:

Romans 10:10 "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

Rahab does not know this God of Israel personally, but she believes in her heart that He is truly God. Rahab realizes the idols are not real. She expresses here, that the LORD, He is God of everyone. This type of faith gets God's attention. The sinful life she is living cannot keep her from being redeemed. God will wash her and make her sins white as snow.

Joshua 2:12 "Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have showed you kindness, that ye will also show kindness unto my father's house, and give me a true token:"

Which being a religious action, and done by men that feared the Lord. She knew it would be binding upon them. The Targum is, "swear to me by the Word of the Lord:"

"Since I have showed you kindness": By receiving them with peace into her house, and hiding them when inquired for and demanded of her. In doing which she risked her own life, had this treachery to her country, as it would have been deemed, been discovered.

"That you will also show kindness unto my father's house": She mentions not herself and household, for if this was granted that would be implied and included. And this she presses for by the law of retaliation and friendship. For since she had shown kindness to them, it was but reasonable it should be returned.

"And give me a true token": That she and her father's house would be saved by them when the city should be taken and the inhabitants destroyed. A token that would not deceive her, on which she might depend and would be firm and sure.

Rahab risked her life for their safety, because she believed in their God. Notice Rahab pleads for her family, as well as herself. I think it is commendable on her part that she saved their lives, before she asked for her family's safety. She did not bargain with them, before she hid them. She is asking for something that will identify her and save her family, when the siege comes.

Joshua 2:13 "And [that] ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death."

She makes no mention of any husband or children she had, as harlots seldom have. And which seems to confirm her character as such. And so Abarbinel observes, that her father's house is only mentioned to tell us that she had no husband, for she was a harlot and had no children. And puts her father and mother instead of a husband, and her brethren and sisters instead of children.

"And all that they have": Not their substance only, but their children more especially. The children of her brethren and sisters.

"And deliver our lives from death": Here she manifestly includes herself. And requests the saving of her life, and the lives of all her relations. When she knew the inhabitants of the city would be all put to death upon the taking of it. Thus, she provided for the safety of her family, as Noah in another case and manner did (Heb. 11:7). And indeed, seemed more concerned for them than for herself. And thus, souls sensible of their own estate and condition, by nature and grace, are very solicitous for the salvation of their relations and friends (Rom. 9:3).

We see the specific persons now, she desires saved. She is not satisfied to be saved herself, she wants them saved also. This is similar to Christianity. Each Christian's desire is that his family will be saved.

Joshua 2:14 "And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the LORD hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee."

Or "our souls in your stead to die". That is, we engage for the security of your lives, should they be in danger. We promise to die in your room and stead rather than you should. This they said not as though their lives would be required of them for them, but to assure her of the safety of her and her father's house, on the following condition.

"If ye utter not this our business": Not their business in searching the land, for the discovery of that would be of little avail after they were gone. For it was known already that there were persons come to search the land. But "this our word", what they were going to say to her and bid her do, as a sign of safety to her and hers. Which, if she discovered, others would give out the same sign, and then they could not promise her safety. Or if she did not take care to bring in her father, mother, brethren, and sisters, and theirs into her house, they could not engage to protect them.

"And it shall be, when the Lord hath given us the land": Not the whole land, but Jericho and the land about it, that when that part of it should be delivered into their hands.

"That we will deal kindly and truly with thee": "Kindly", by sparing her and her father's house; "truly", by faithfully performing the promise and oath they made to her.

Rahab had already committed herself to saving their lives. They have agreed to Rahab's terms, if she remains silent about their plans.

Verses 15-16: Her home was on the city wall, with the Jordan (verse 7), to the east. The rugged mountains to the west provided many hiding places.

Joshua 2:15 "Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house [was] upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall."

The existence of "houses" on the thick walls of ancient cities in the Near East has been confirmed by archaeology. Mountainous cliffs reaching some 1500 feet about the plain lay west of the city, so Rahab's house was probably perched on Jericho's western wall, from which escape directly to the mountain might be accomplished without observation., Further, Rahab had sent the king's pursuers eastward toward the Jordan River (verse 7), where several known fording places existed.

It appears this window was in the wall of the city. It also, appears that her house was part of the wall of the city. It could have been on the top of the wall, the same as it could have been part of the wall. The main idea is that Rahab let them down by rope to the ground outside the wall. We know of a similar happening, when Paul was let down by a basket outside the wall.

Joshua 2:16 "And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way."

I.e. to some of the mountains wherewith Jericho was encompassed, in which also there were many caves where they might hide.

"Three days": Not three whole days, but one whole day, and parts of two days (Joshua 1:11).

"Lest the pursuers meet you": On their return from the fords of Jordan, being disappointed.

"And hide yourselves there three days": Some of the Jewish Rabbins, as Jarchi and Kimchi, observe that she had this by the revelation of the Holy Ghost. That the pursuers would return at the end of three days. But the latter more truly remarks, that this was said by conjecture. That Jericho being, as he says, one day from Jordan, and a little more, by going, returning, and searching for the spies, they would be three days in doing it.

"Until the pursuers be returned": Into the city; for until they were they could not be in safety, but must be in danger of being met by them and taken up.

"And afterward may ye go your way": To Jordan, and so to the camp of Israel, and that without fear.

Not only had Rahab helped them out of the city, but she tells them of a good hiding place in the mountains where they will be safe. Near Jericho the mountains were full of caves, and they would be safe hiding in one of them. In just such a cave, the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, years after they were hidden there.

Joshua 2:17 "And the men said unto her, We [will be] blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear."

Some think that this discourse, which passed between the spies and her, was while in the house before she let them down. Or otherwise they would have been in danger of being overheard, and so the whole affair discovered. But as it was on the other side of the house, and under the wall of the city, and outside of it, they might with the greater safety converse together.

"We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear": That is, they would most faithfully and punctually keep it, it should be sacred to them. And she should have no occasion to lay any blame upon them in the least.

They did not want to be blamed for not keeping their promise to Rahab. They give her the following instructions for her safety.

Joshua 2:18 "Behold, [when] we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father's household, home unto thee."

Rahab's "scarlet thread", bound to the window of her house, made the house easily identifiable by the Israelite troops. The incident is reminiscent of the protection accorded the Israelites in Egypt at the first Passover (Exodus 12:7, 21, 23). The scarlet may also contain an indication of Rehab's sin, covered by the blood (compare Isa. 1:18; 1 Cor. 5:7; Heb. 9:22).

Those, whose lives Rahab had begged for, will have to be in her home to be safe. The scarlet thread is speaking of red. Red means blood or life. This red thread is symbolic of the blood of Jesus Christ, which saves all who will dare to believe. It was the blood of the lamb, which saved the Hebrews in Egypt. This type of sign of safety is throughout the Bible. It began with the blood covenant God made with Abraham.

Joshua 2:19 "And it shall be, [that] whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood [shall be] upon his head, and we [will be] guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood [shall be] on our head, if [any] hand be upon him."

After they have been taken in, and when the Israelites were come into the city.

"His blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless": If he is killed by any person, his death will be owing to himself, and no blame to be laid on us. Nor shall we reckon ourselves guilty of the breach of the oath taken.

"And whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him": If anyone within doors is killed by an Israelite entering in, the guilt of the blood shall lie upon us, and we will be answerable. According to the tenor of the oath, "our life for yours" (Joshua 2:14).

This is the very same thing as the blood on the door of the Hebrews houses. If they were not inside the house with the blood, they were killed like the Egyptian firstborn. This is speaking of the blood of the Lamb of God protecting Rahab and her family, who are covered in the blood. Christians are washed in that same blood, and made righteous in God's sight.

Revelation 1:5 "And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, [and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,"

Revelation 7:14 "And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

Joshua 2:20 "And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear."

So that others would either hang out scarlet threads or get into her house for shelter (see Joshua 2:14).

"Then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear": Be under no obligation to make it good, by saving her and her father's house.

She must not only put the red thread of rope on her house, but she must not tell of their mission as well.

Joshua 2:21 "And she said, According unto your words, so [be] it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window."

By immediately tying a "scarlet line in the window", Rahab was acting out her faith in these men and their God. Its color represents the blood of sacrifice, symbolizing redemption (Exodus 30:10).

She did not wait until the attack came. She prepared herself then. People who are thinking about becoming a Christian, should not wait until the trumpet blows in the sky. It might be too late. Rahab shows her eagerness to be ready, by binding the scarlet line in the window ahead of time. Her redemption is sealed, with that action upon her part.

Joshua 2:22 "And they went, and came unto the mountain, and abode there three days, until the pursuers were returned: and the pursuers sought [them] throughout all the way, but found [them] not."

Rahab had directed them to the mountain Quarantania (see Joshua 2:16).

"And abode there three days": Being, no doubt, supplied with food by Rahab. And it might not be three wholly, but one whole day and part of the other two.

"Until the pursuers were returned": To the city of Jericho, as might reasonably be supposed.

"And the pursuers sought them throughout all the way": From Jericho to the fords of Jordan, searching every hedge, field, and village as they went and returned.

"But found them not": Rahab having hid them in her house, and then sent them to the mountain, there to remain till the return of the pursuers.

Rahab had given them good advice. They were able to hide safely until the searchers from the king stopped looking. Perhaps they were in a cave, we do not know. We do know they were in the mountains three days and not found out.

Verses 23-24: The spies returned with a word that God had already promised: "the LORD hath delivered into our hands all the land". Their faith sharply contrasts that of the 10 spies (in Numbers chapters 13 and 14).

Joshua 2:23 "So the two men returned, and descended from the mountain, and passed over, and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and told him all [things] that befell them:"

Or came down from it again, by which, it seems, they went to the top of it, and hid themselves in some cave there. This descent, Kimchi says, was, "on the third day of their being sent", which was the second day of the three days. Joshua made mention of when he said, "within three days" (see Joshua 1:11).

"And passed over": That is, the river Jordan, at the fords of it.

"And came to Joshua the son of Nun": At Shittim, where he still continued and from whence he sent them (Joshua 2:1).

"And told him all things that befell them": What house they went into when come to Jericho and what reception they met with. The report of them to the king of Jericho and how messengers were sent by him to demand them, and by what means they were preserved and made their escape.

They were young, so they probably swam over the river to get back to Joshua. I am sure Joshua was pleased that the people feared them. An enemy who fears defeat, will probably experience defeat. They told Joshua of their promise to Rahab as well.

Joshua 2:24 "And they said unto Joshua, Truly the LORD hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us."

Made a report of what they had got knowledge of, which was the end of their mission.

"Truly the Lord hath delivered into our hands all the land": Which they concluded by the terror the inhabitants of it were in. And so, in no condition to make resistance and defend themselves. And they not only judged of the whole land by the case of the inhabitants of Jericho, but were assured by Rahab that all the inhabitants of the land were in the same plight and condition (Joshua 2:9).

"For even the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us": This was the temper and disposition they appeared in, and seems to be what Joshua was chiefly desirous of knowing. Since nothing else is told by the spies nor inquired of by him. But immediately upon this report began his march towards Canaan, as in the next chapter is related.

There were no negative reports this time. The two spies found they truly could take this land of promise. The best news of all is the fact that the land they are about to enter, is fearful of the God of the Israelites. The enemy will probably give up easily, since they know that Israel's God fights for Israel.

Joshua Chapter 2 Questions

1. Who did Joshua send on a spying mission?

2. Where did he send them?

3. Where did they stay, when they got there?

4. Jericho was known as the city of _____________.

5. What else was it known as?

6. Rahab is mentioned in the genealogy of _________.

7. Who was their presence in the city reported to?

8. Who came to check with Rahab about the spies?

9. Some writers believe that Rahab is a symbol of the ____________ __________.

10. What did Rahab do, to keep the two men safe?

11. What did she tell the men the king had sent?

12. What happened to the men that came to find the spies?

13. Did Rahab realize that lying and committing adultery was sin?

14. Where did Rahab hide the spies?

15. What happened immediately after the king's men went out of the city, looking for the spies?

16. When did Rahab go and talk to the spies?

17. Why had terror fallen upon them?

18. Who were they afraid of?

19. What had Rahab heard of God?

20. Who received the land of Og and Sihon?

21. What confession did Rahab make in verse 11?

22. What does Rahab ask the spies to do, so she will know they will keep their word?

23. Who is Rahab begging for?

24. Each Christian's desire is that his _________ will be saved.

25. How did Rahab get them out of town?

26. What good advice did she give the spies?

27. What did the spies tell Rahab to do, to be saved?

28. The scarlet thread is speaking of _____.

29. Verse 19 is similar to what other happening?

30. What was the condition that would quit them of their promise?

31. When did she put the scarlet line in the window?

32. What lesson could we learn from that?

33. After 3 days, where did the spies go?

34. What type of report did they give?

35. What was the best news of all?

36. Why will the enemy give up easily?

37. ________ fights for Israel.

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Joshua 3

Joshua Chapter 3

Joshua 3:1 "And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over."

"Early in the morning": The phrase is characteristic of Joshua's habit of life (compare 6:12; 7:16; 8:10). The similar report concerning our Lord's rising early to pray (Mark 1:35), and the frequent mention of those who spent the early morning in that spiritual exercise (Job 1:5; Psalms 88:13; 119:147), may point to the content of Joshua's early morning activities.

This is, probably speaking of early the next morning, after Joshua heard the report of the two spies. He would lose no time getting into position to cross over Jordan. This mass of people, possibly took all day to move to this spot. They moved on the request of Joshua. They have not even questioned how they would cross the Jordan?

Verses 2-4: The people of Israel needed God's direction because they had "not passed this way heretofore". It was direction He would provide as they followed the ark.

Joshua 3:2 "And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;"

At the end of the three days they were bid to prepare food for their expedition, and to go over Jordan (Joshua 1:11).

"That the officers went through the host": The camp of Israel. Very probably the same as in (Joshua 1:10). This was, no doubt, by the order of Joshua, and who was directed to it by the Lord.

We are not told whether the journey had taken three days, or whether they got to this spot near the Jordan and spent two days in preparation of their crossing. That point really does not concern us in this spiritual study. The officers took their orders from Joshua.

Verses 3-4: The "ark" symbolized the presence of the Holy One of Israel (compare Num. 7:89). Because God was due His proper reverence, no careless handling of the ark could be permitted (compare 1 Sam. 6:19; 2 Sam. 6:6-7). As the "priests" had carried the ark into the Most Holy Place of the tabernacle (Exodus 40:3; compare Num. 4:5-15; Deut. 10:8; 1 Sam. 6:15), they would one day carry it into the Holy of Holies in the temple (1 Kings 8:6).

Joshua 3:3 "And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it."

The "Ark of the Covenant" is a central focus of this chapter and the next. When the Israelites were not in transit, the Ark resided in the Most Holy Place of the tabernacle and later in the temple. It represented the presence and the power of God among the people (Exodus 25:22). Jesus is the New Testament believer's means of access to God. He not only represents God; He is God among His people (John 1:14).

"The Ark": Symbolized God's presence going before His people. Kohathites customarily carried the Ark (Num. 4:15; 7:9), but in this unusual case the Levitical priests transported it (as in Joshua 6:6 and 1 Kings 8:3-6).

The Ark of the Covenant symbolized the presence of God. The removal of the Ark to the head of the people was their signal to follow. Christians along with these Israelites, must realize that we must make an effort of our own to follow God.

Joshua 3:4 "Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed [this] way heretofore."

The distance of "two thousand cubits", more than half a mile, served two purposes: (1) it kept the Israelites far enough away from the holy Ark of the Covenant that they could not touch it, for touching it meant instant death (Num. 4:15; 2 Sam. 6:6-7); and (2) it put the Ark close enough to the three and a half million Israelites that it would never be out of their sight. If their focus was on it, they would be less distracted by fear of the challenges they might face.

Two thousand cubits is about three thousand feet. Looking at the Ark gave them courage to go on. The three thousand feet space helped everyone to be able to see the Ark as it moved. Had they been closer, the people would have seen the other people ahead of them and not the Ark.

Joshua 3:5 "And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you."

In the process of preparing to cross the Jordan River, the people of Israel sanctified themselves, preparing spiritually for God's wondrous work among them (7:13; Lev. 20:7; 1 Sam. 16:5; Joel 2:16). To be right before God is to be ready for every good thing He will do.

"Sanctify" means to "set apart" for God's purpose. In this case, it was probably a ceremonial sanctification. It was a separation from worldliness for a short period of time, perhaps overnight.

Joshua 3:6 "And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people."

"The priests" had to follow the Lord's instructions for carrying the Ark (Exodus 25:12-13; 37:3-5; Num. 4:4-15; Deut. 10:8; 18:1, 5; 31:9).

The confidence of the people was in God, not in their own ability. The Ark passed before them to build their faith that God was with them, and would lead them. Again, it is the Levitical priests who carry the Ark. This is a holy war led of God.

Verses 7-13 (see note on 4:14).

Joshua 3:7 "And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, [so] I will be with thee."

Out of the tabernacle.

"This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel": By working the miracle afterwards related. Dividing the waters, which was done on this day, and was but the beginning of wonders. For other great and marvelous things were done for him and by him, by which it appeared he was high in the favor of God. Greatly esteemed and honored by him, and so would be great and honorable in the account of the people.

"That they may know that as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee": By dividing the waters of Jordan for him, as he had divided the waters of the Red sea for Moses. Which, as it was a token of his powerful presence with him, this would be a like token of it with Joshua. The Targum is, "as my Word was for the help of Moses, so shall my Word be for thy help."

Under the leadership of Joshua, God had not done the miraculous things He had done with Moses leading. God will now manifest His great miracles under the leadership of Joshua. This will show the people that God is with Joshua, as He was with Moses.

Joshua 3:8 "And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan."

"Stand still in Jordan": The priests were to stand there to permit time for God's words (verse 9), to stimulate reflection on the greatness of God's eminent action in giving the Land as He showed His presence (verse 10). Also, it was a preparation to allow the people following to get set for God's miracle which stopped the waters for a crossing (verses 13-17).

Notice this is not at Jordan, but in Jordan. The priests will step out in the edge of the Jordan with the ark. This will take a great deal of faith on the priests' part, as well as Joshua's part. The minute the ark, carried by the priests enters the water, the flow of the river stops.

Joshua 3:9 "And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the LORD your God."

Very probably to the door of the tabernacle.

"And hear the words of the Lord your God": Which he was about to deliver to them as from him, and in his name.

Joshua speaks to all of the people, and tells them to listen to the Words of the LORD.

Joshua 3:10 "And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God [is] among you, and [that] he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites."

The Canaanite nations mentioned here comprise one of several such lists detailing the peoples who made up the early settlers of Canaan (Gen. 10:15-18; 15:19-21; Exodus 3:8, 17; 23:23; 33:2; 34:11; Deut. 7:1; 20:17; Joshua 9:1; 11:3; 12:8; 24:11; Judges 3:5). Due to their religious and moral perversity, the Canaanites were to be driven out of the land. Not only did these nations deserve judgment, but Israel's own faith must not become compromised by contact with the corruptions of the Canaanites. The extreme dangers involved in any coexistence with the Canaanites are illustrated by the archaeological findings of Tell Ras Shamra, Ugarit, which detail the gross immorality and social wickedness of early Syro-Palestine.

Canaanite people to be killed or defeated were sinful to the point of extreme (compare Gen. 15:16; Lev. 18:24-25). God, as moral judge, has the right to deal with all people, as at the end (Rev. 20:11-15), or any other time when He deems it appropriate for His purposes. The question is not why God chose to destroy these sinners, but why He had let them live so long, and why all sinners are not destroyed far sooner than they are. It is grace that allows any sinner to draw one more breath of life (compare Gen. 2:17; Ezek. 18:20; Rom. 6:23).

Their fathers had experienced the crossing of the Red Sea. Now they will experience the crossing of the Jordan River, and know that God is with them. This will help them to know that God, who can stop the flow of the River Jordan, will drive their enemies out before them. The Canaanites were the descendants of Cain, who slew his brother Abel. All of the above mentioned people were worshipping false gods. God gave them a time to search for Him, and they did not. Now, they are doomed.

Joshua 3:11 "Behold, the ark of the covenant of the LORD of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan."

The Ten Commandments are presented throughout this narrative as a covenant. So (Exodus 34:28), "the words of the covenant, the ten commandments." It must be remembered that a promise precedes all the commandments. "I am Jehovah thy God."

"Passeth before you into Jordan": Not only unto it, but into it, into the river itself. And by the power of him whose presence was with it, the waters of Jordan were to be divided. To give them a passage through it as on dry land, and so it came to pass.

This Ark of the Covenant not only symbolized the presence of God with them, but also was a constant reminder of God's covenant with them.

Joshua 3:12 "Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man."

For what end and purpose is not mentioned. Abarbinel is of the opinion, that they were chosen and appointed, that every man might pitch upon and take a place for his tribe to encamp in, when they came on the other side Jordan. Whether this was Joshua's view or not is not certain. However, the use he made of these, thus provided by divine direction is related (Joshua 4:2).

"And these were to be taken out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man": Levi not reckoned, having no part in the land. And so we find that tribe left out in other accounts, when there was a choice of twelve men out of each of the tribes (Num. 13:4).

One man of each tribe was chosen to represent his tribe, in a way to be revealed after the crossing of the Jordan.

Joshua 3:13 "And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, [that] the waters of Jordan shall be cut off [from] the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon a heap."

Which they were bid to take up and carry (Joshua 3:6).

"The Lord of all the earth": This shows that not the ark, but the Lord, is called "the Lord of all the earth" (see Joshua 3:11).

"Shall rest in the waters of Jordan": The meaning is, as soon as their feet should touch them. Or they should set their feet in them, when they came to the brink of them.

"That the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above": From above the place where the priests came, and the children of Israel after passed over.

"And they shall stand upon a heap": Or one heap. Stop and rise up high, as if piled up one upon another, and stand unmoved. This had been made known to Joshua by divine revelation, and is what he hints at (Joshua 3:5). And now plainly speaks out, and foretells before it came to pass. And which must serve to magnify Joshua (as in Joshua 3:7). And give him great credit and honor among the people.

This is the same thing that had happened at the Red Sea, except in this case, the Jordan stopped running as the priests stepped into the water. At the Red Sea, the priesthood had not been established.

The water stood at attention at either side, and made a passage way for the ark and the people. The water stopped flowing into this area, for the time the priests were in the water.

Joshua 3:14 "And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people;"

Which they had pitched very near it, upon their removal from Shittim. And in which they had lodged the night past.

"And the priests bearing the Ark of the Covenant before the people": At the distance of two thousand cubits.

Verses 15-17: The verb forms used here have the effect of presenting the action in slow motion so that the miracle that takes place can be savored! God brought the Israelites to the "banks" of the "Jordan" at a time when He could miraculously demonstrate His power; specifically "all the time of harvest", when the river was filled to overflowing (1 Chron. 12:15). The "priests" bearing the ark came to the water's edge and stepped forward, obeying Joshua's command. It was just a step, but the waters parted "and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground". Like He did at the Red Sea, Yahweh brought His people through a crossing that they could not undertake in their own strength (Exodus chapter 14). Every big act for God begins with a small step of faith (Heb. 11:29).

Joshua 3:15 "And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,)"

Not to the bank, which was overflowed, but to the extremity of the water overflowing.

"And the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water": Which was doubtless the first they came to, and not the brim or extremity of it on the other side.

"For Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest": In the deeply sunken, tropical valley of the Jordan. The harvest had already commenced, and the snow on Hermon having begun to melt. The "yellow" water of the river stood high and had overflowed its lower bank.

This is just saying, they did not have to walk out into the deep. They just had to step into the edge of the water for the water to stop. The people removed from their tents to follow the ark.

Joshua 3:16 "That the waters which came down from above stood [and] rose up upon a heap very far from the city Adam, that [is] beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, [even] the salt sea, failed, [and] were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho."

"Rose up upon a heap": The God of all power, who created heaven, earth, and all else according to (Gen. Chapter 1), worked miracles here. The waters were dammed up at Adam, a city 15 miles north of the crossing, and also in tributary creeks. Once the miracle was completed, God permitted waters to flow again (4:18), after all the people had walked to the other side on dry ground (3:17). As the Exodus had begun (compare Exodus chapter 14), so it ended.

The damming up of the "waters" at "Adam" and "Zaretan", some 16 miles above "Jericho" (which was four miles above the Dead Sea), would leave some 20 miles for the Israelites to cross the Jordan River. Apparently God's presence was felt by all in a gigantic earthquake (compare Judges 5:4; Psalm 114:3-4), which caused the high banks of the Jordan to topple into the river, thus stopping its flow. Similar blockings of the Jordan occurred (in A.D. 1267, and as recently as 1927). Nevertheless, an earthquake does not account for all the miraculous details relative to the Israelites' crossing of the Jordan at high tide (verse 15), on dry ground (verse 17).

The city Adam, is not mentioned in other Scriptures. Some believe this might have been near the Garden of Eden. I really believe this is speaking of any city that is of this world, in that area. I do not believe it is the name of a city. It is the name of a fallen condition. The Jordan and the Salt Sea stood in a heap, and did not flow.

Joshua 3:17 "And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan."

That is, in one and the same place and posture. Their feet were neither moved by any waters flowing in upon them, nor sunk into any mire. Which one might think was at the bottom of the river. And this may be opposed to their standing in the brink of the water when they came to it, as commanded (Joshua 3:8). Which was but for a while, until the waters were divided and gone away. And then they were to go farther, even into the midst of Jordan, where they were to stand constantly and fixedly. As the Hebrew word signifies, until all were passed over.

"The midst of Jordan": In the middle and deepest part of the river. This manifests how firmly the priests believed the word of the Lord, and confided in his power. Otherwise they would not have dared to stand so long in the midst of the channel of a river. Whose rapid waters stood suspended above them in mountainous heaps. Ready every moment to overwhelm them unless miraculously withheld by the power of God.

"All the Israelites passed over": Where the passage exactly took place cannot now be determined. But the typical significance of the narrative is very impressive. Whether we consider the solemn inauguration of Joshua to his office; or his attestation by the waters of the Jordan. Or the choice of twelve men, one from each tribe, to be the bearers of the twelve stones, and the builders of the monument founded therewith (1 Cor. 3:10; Rev. 21:14). We see types of the other "Joshua," who was solemnly inaugurated and divinely attested by the rushing waters of the same stream. And who ordained His twelve Apostles to be the Pillars of His Church, and the builders of the Spiritual Temple.

This crossing was to put them in perfect position to take Jericho. The priests stood in the River Jordan, until everyone had passed over safely. They even passed over themselves before the Jordan began to flow again. God is in control of all natural forces upon the earth. The Jordan is just one example.

Joshua Chapter 3 Questions

1. Where did they camp, just before going into the Promised Land?

2. How much later did the officers go through the host?

3. Who will bear the Ark of the Covenant in this situation?

4. The Ark of the Covenant symbolized the ____________ of _____.

5. What was the signal the people were to follow?

6. How many cubits behind the arc were the people to be?

7. Why was this necessary?

8. What does "sanctify" mean?

9. What type of sanctification is verse 5 speaking of?

10. Who did Joshua tell to take the ark before the people?

11. The confidence of the people was in ______, not in their own ___________.

12. What promise does God make Joshua in verse 7?

13. What must we notice about where the priests stood?

14. What happens, when the priests step into the water?

15. Who will God drive out of the land before them?

16. The Canaanites were the descendants of ________.

17. What was the ark a constant reminder of?

18. How did the miracle at Jordan River differ from the miracle at the Red Sea?

19. Where did the people remove themselves from?

20. Where else is the city Adam mentioned?

21. What does the author believe this to be?

22. When did the Jordan return to its course?

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Joshua 4

Joshua Chapter 4

Verses 1-24: The chapter presents the dynamic truth that the hope of the future is based on the memories of the past, and this hope gives meaning to the present.

Verses 1-8: Twelve stones picked up from the riverbed became a memorial to God's faithfulness. They were set up at Gilgal (about 1-1/4 miles from Jericho), which was Israel's first campsite in the invaded land (verses 19-20). Placing 12 stones in the riverbed itself commemorated the place which God dried up, where His ark had been held, and where He showed by a miracle His mighty presence and worthiness of respect (verses 9-11, 21-24).

Joshua 4:1 "And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying,"

"That the Lord spake unto Joshua, saying": As follows.

We can see by "and" beginning this chapter, that it is closely related to the last chapter. In the last lesson, we saw the priests walk a few steps into the Jordan River with the Ark of the Covenant. The water stopped flowing and stood in a heap, until the people all crossed. This lesson begins with all the people on the west bank of the Jordan. Now Joshua will receive further instructions from God.

Joshua 4:2 "Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man,"

Joshua before this, ordered twelve men to be taken from among them, which seems to have been done of himself. And now he has a direction from God for it, and what to employ them in.

"Out of every tribe a man": So that what they did was in the name of the several tribes, and as representing them.

Joshua 4:3 "And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night."

"Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan": So that they were obliged to go back into the midst of Jordan, having already passed over it, as appears from (Joshua 4:1).

"Out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm": Where being stones, they chose to stand upon them, and which were a firm standing for them. And which secured them from the slime and mud at the bottom of the river the waters left behind. Though it is not absolutely necessary to understand it that they were to take, and did take, the stones from under their feet, but those that lay about the place where they stood.

"Twelve stones": Each man a stone; and, according to the Samaritan Chronicle, every man inscribed his name on the stone.

"And ye shall carry them over with you": From the place they took them up, to the place they should next stop at.

"And leave them in the lodging place where you shall lodge this night. Which was in the place afterwards called Gilgal (Joshua 4:19).

The twelve men that had been chosen (one from each tribe), were each to pick up a stone where the priests had stood and bring it to the west side of the Jordan, to be set up as a memorial of their crossing. These twelve men had to do this just before the water came back into the Jordan River. The verses are not in chronological order.

Verses 4-11: Some suggest a contradiction here with (Joshua 3:17), where the Israelites are reported to have already crossed the Jordan. Actually (verses 4 and 5), simply report that "twelve men", one from each tribe, were commanded to go back where the priest remained standing in the midst of the dry bed of the "Jordan". Once there, they were to take up "twelve stones" and carry them to the west bank of the Jordan and build a memorial of rough stones commemorating this event. (Verse 9), records that Joshua had another set of stones set up to mark the place where the "priests" stood "in the midst of Jordan". Only after all of this had been done and all the people had passed over did the priests leave their post and finish crossing the river (verses 10-11).

Joshua 4:4 "Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man:"

It may be for some other purpose (Joshua 3:12); but this was the destination of them eventually, and as by divine direction.

"Out of every tribe a man": As he had before ordered, and was now directed to.

Joshua 4:5 "And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take you up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel:"

The twelve men.

"Pass ye over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of Jordan": That is, they were to go back to Jordan again, which they had passed over, and go into the midst of it, where the priests were bearing the ark. For it is not to be imagined that the ark went along with them, or followed them, they going before it. But they went where that was, just before it, from where they were to take the stones, as next directed.

"And take you up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder": By which it appears they were large stones they were to take. Not what they could carry in their hands, but what they were obliged to take upon their shoulders.

"According unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel": Who had that day passed over Jordan, of which these stones were to be a memorial.

These stones were not just little stones. They were large enough that each man brought one out on his shoulder. It was as if they lay their load of sin down in the River, and they picked up the load of their cross and took it with them. The number twelve is a representative number. These twelve men represented every individual in their tribe. The crossing of the Red Sea was symbolic of water baptism. The wandering in the wilderness symbolizes the walk of the Christian through life. The crossing of Jordan into their Promised Land symbolizes the Christian entering into heaven. The stones carried into the Promised Land are a memorial to their successful entry. The Christians are spoken of as lively stones.

1 Peter 2:5 "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."

What they received in the Promised Land was by grace. The Christian is saved by grace. We will see in these Israelites that they received cities they had not built, and crops they had not planted. By grace are ye saved, not of yourself. Not only does "Canaanland" symbolize heaven, but it, also, symbolizes the walk of grace of the Christian.

Joshua 4:6 "That this may be a sign among you, [that] when your children ask [their fathers] in time to come, saying, What [mean] ye by these stones?"

A commemorative one.

"That when your children ask their fathers in time to come": Or "tomorrow". And so in all time, or any time hereafter.

"Saying, what mean you by these stones?" What is the reason of setting them up, and in this place, and being just of such a number?

In many places in the Bible, stones have been erected in a memorial for something special God has done. Even the secular world would erect stones to remember some special event. The children of Israel, who are not born at this time, will look at these stones and ask what they are for? Their parents are to relate the happenings here to them.

Joshua 4:7 "Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever."

By informing them of the design and use of them.

"That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord when it passed over Jordan": The waters below from those that were above, which stood up on a heap. So that they were divided and separated from each other, and made dry land for a passage of the children of Israel. And this was done before, and in the presence of the Ark of the Covenant. To show that is was owing to the power of God, of whose presence the Ark was a symbol.

"The waters of Jordan were cut off": Which is repeated for the confirmation of it. And that it might be taken notice of as a very marvelous event, and to be ascribed to the divine omnipotence and goodness.

"And these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever": Which, whenever seen and observed by them, would put them in mind of this wonderful appearance of God for them.

The Jordan River stood between the people and the Promised Land. There were no bridges handy for them to cross over. God provided them a way through the bottom of the river. When the priests stood in the edge of the water, the river stopped flowing and stood in heaps at either side of the way God provided. The stones were taken out of the river bed, and set up on the western bank of the river in memory of this event. Christians are led by the Spirit of God, as these people were led by the presence of God in the ark. We too, must explain to our children of the wonderful things of God.

Joshua 4:8 "And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the LORD spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there."

The repetition of details (see 4:5), is a standard Hebrew literary technique intended to emphasize that the people obeyed God's instructions exactly. It also underscores the importance of following God's instructions to the letter.

These stones were taken from the place in the middle of the Jordan, and placed on the land where the children of Israel lodged.

Joshua 4:9 "And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day."

At first glance, this verse seems to say that Joshua built his own memorial "in the midst of Jordan" in addition to the memorial set up on the bank. However, the Hebrew grammar indicates that the author has stopped the action to provide some back-ground information. Thus, this verse simply describes the source of the same stones referred to (in verse 8), not their final resting place. It is highly doubtful that any stones placed in the middle of the Jordan as a memorial would be visible year after year, because the annual floodwaters would scatter them.

It appears from this Scripture, that the chosen men of the twelve tribes carried twelve large stones into the water and left a memorial in the midst of the river. They took another twelve stones from the midst of the river, and set them up on the western bank of Jordan. It is as if they lay their earthly burdens down, and picked up their cross to follow the LORD. It is as if they had left the law in the river, and accepted the grace God provided them.

Joshua 4:10 "For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until every thing was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: and the people hasted and passed over."

Though on dry ground, the waters being divided.

"Until everything was finished that the Lord commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua": That is, until all the people had passed over Jordan, as the Lord had ordered Joshua. To encourage them unto, and go over with them (Joshua 1:2). And which Moses, by divine direction, had given Joshua in charge to do (Deut. 31:7). Kimchi interprets this of the setting up of the stones in Jordan, and the removal of the other to Gilgal, of which Moses said nothing to Joshua. And though it may be true of the former, that the priests stood in Jordan till that was done, which is not certain, yet not of the latter. For it is plain, and it is most reasonable to conclude, that the priests were come up from the midst of Jordan before Israel marched to Gilgal, or even began their march (see Joshua 4:18). And much less is this to be understood of the stones at Ebal, as others, and so referred to (Deut. 27:2); which was not done until after Ai was taken (Joshua 8:24). And it is not reasonable to imagine that the priests should continue in Jordan to that time. Abarbinel thinks it refers to the words in (Joshua 1:3); which had been spoken by the Lord to Joshua, and had been expressed by Moses (Deut. 11:24). And which he supposes were now repeated by Joshua, and the priests continued in their station until he had made an end of rehearsing them. The last clause relating to Moses is left out in the Septuagint version.

"And the people hasted and passed over": Not stood in fear of the waters of the river returning upon them. Rather through an eager desire of setting their feet on the land of Canaan, and it may be to relieve the priests from their station as soon as possible.

All of the activity of moving the stones took place, while the priests were still in the river. The people all passed over safely, and then the priests passed over safely. The water did not begin to flow again, until the priests stepped out of the water with the ark on the west side of Jordan.

Joshua 4:11 "And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over, that the ark of the LORD passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people."

Every one of them, as in Joshua 3:17.

"That the ark of the Lord passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people": That is, the priests bearing the ark came out of the midst of Jordan in the sight of all the people. Who were on the banks of it, on the other side, where they had been stationed during the passage of the people. Though this motion of them was not until they received an order for it, of which there is an after mention. The Septuagint version reads, "and the stones before them" (see Joshua 4:8).

The people viewing the ark carried by the priests, had several purposes. It would give them strong courage for the battles ahead. It would give them a knowledge that God would be with them. It would give them knowledge that the priests were God's spiritual agents on the earth. It would also, help them to realize that Joshua was God's choice to lead them.

Joshua 4:12 " And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses spake unto them:"

Who were settled on the other side Jordan, in the countries taken from Sihon and Og.

"Passed over armed before the children of Israel": The rest of the tribes.

"As Moses spake unto them": Or ordered them, and as they promised they would (Num. 32:17).

We remember that their families had stayed on the eastern side of Jordan, where they had chosen grasslands. The men 20 years old and older had come on this trip with Joshua, to help the other tribes take over their Promised Land. They have brought their arms and are ready to fight.

Joshua 4:13 "About forty thousand prepared for war passed over before the LORD unto battle, to the plains of Jericho."

Equipped with proper armor to defend themselves, and their brethren, and annoy their enemies. This is to be understood of such a number of the above mentioned tribes. Otherwise the number of all Israel that went over Jordan, even armed or fighting men, besides women and children, were five hundred thousand or more. Now though the number of men fit for war, of these tribes, were a hundred thirty thousand, who were all, according to the original agreement, under obligation to go with their brethren over Jordan into Canaan's land. And continue with them until it was subdued, and they had rest in it. Yet Joshua took no more than about forty thousand of them, who we may suppose were select men, and fit for his purpose. The rest were left to look after their flocks, their families, and their lands: these;

"Passed over before the Lord unto battle": Over Jordan, before the ark of the Lord, as that stood in Jordan, bore by the priests there. Being ready to engage in battle whenever it was necessary: and they went on with their brethren.

"To the plains of Jericho": To a place afterwards called Gilgal (see Joshua 4:19). The Septuagint version is, to the city Jericho.

This forty thousand are those of the two and one half tribes mentioned (in verse 12). This is not the total number of armed men that they had. It appears they left some protection behind for their families.

Joshua 4:14 "On that day the LORD magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life."

The crossing of the Jordan River solidified Joshua as the nation's leader. Because God "magnified" him, the people "feared" him (held him in highest regard), understanding that God was with Joshua just as he had been with "Moses". This fulfilled God's promise (in 3:7).

One of the reasons for the miracle at the Jordan River, was so the people would know the same anointing was on Joshua that had been on Moses. Israel's respect for Joshua grew greatly at the opening of the River Jordan under instructions given to them through Joshua.

Joshua 4:15 "And the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying,"

When all the people had passed over Jordan.

"Saying": as follows.

Joshua 4:16 "Command the priests that bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan."

In all places before, in this history, the Ark is called the Ark of the Covenant. Here the Ark of the Testimony, which signifies the same thing, the Law. Which was both the covenant between God and the people, and a testimony of his will unto them. The Septuagint version has both words.

"That they come up out of Jordan": Where they stayed until all the people passed over, for the encouragement of them, and until they received this order.

This is a further explanation of God specifically telling Joshua to call the priests out of the Jordan River. The priests obeying Joshua shows that they too, accept the words of Joshua as being direct from the LORD.

Joshua 4:17 "Joshua therefore commanded the priests, saying, Come ye up out of Jordan."

In obedience to the Lord, and sent them an order.

"Saying": As follows.

"Come ye up out of Jordan": From the midst of the river to the bank of it, which was properly an ascent.

This is just an explanation that Joshua did as God commanded him.

Joshua 4:18 "And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD were come up out of the midst of Jordan, [and] the soles of the priests' feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as [they did] before."

According to the command of Joshua in the name of the Lord.

"And the soles of the priests' feet were lifted up upon the dry land. And set upon it, on the bank of Jordan, and shores of the land of Canaan.

"That the waters of Jordan returned unto their place": Those that came from above, and had stood on a heap, gradually came down into the channel, and those below that were cut off returned.

"And flowed over all his banks, as they did before": And usually did at this time of the year (see Joshua 3:15). So that there was no decrease or loss of the waters by their failing, and being cut off.

We see that the miracle of the River Jordan ceasing its flowing, was for just as long as the priests remained with the ark in the water. The instant they removed their feet onto dry land, the water of the river flowed again as it was in the beginning.

Joshua 4:19 "And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth [day] of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho."

"Tenth day of the first month": March-April. Abib was the term used by pre-exilic Jews; Nisan later came to be used by post-exilic Israel.

The timing of the Jordan River crossing coincided with the day the Israelites selected the Passover Lamb (Exodus 12:3, 6, 18), enabling them to celebrate the Passover as their first act in the Promised Land (5:10). Perhaps Israel camped at the Jordan for three days before crossing it (3:3), in order to achieve this timing.

Their first month (Abib), is about the same as our April. They stopped in Gilgal, which is at the door of Jericho.

Verses 20-24: In repeating the story of God's deliverance to their children, the Israelites would bear witness of God's "mighty" power to the world and uphold the "fear" of "the Lord ... for ever" (Exodus 14:31; 15:16; 1 Kings 8:42-43; 2 Kings 19:19; Psalm 106:8).

Joshua 4:20 "And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal."

The twelve men who were sent there for that purpose, and took them from there, and brought them here (Joshua 4:3).

"Did Joshua pitch in Gilgal": Set them in rows, or one upon another, and made a pillar of them commemorative of their passage over Jordan into the land of Canaan. According to Josephus, he made an altar of these stones. And Ben Gersom is of the opinion, that they were placed in the sanctuary by the ark, though not in it.

It seems that, Joshua placed the stones, one upon another, and made a memorial with them at the camp site of Gilgal.

Joshua 4:21 "And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What [mean] these stones?"

These words (compare verses 6-7), are part of a catechetical exercise designed so that parents might educate their children as to their national and spiritual heritage (compare Exodus 12:26-27; Deut. 6:20-23). The proper parental training of children is a God-given privilege and responsibility (compare Prov. 1:8-9; 22:6; 28:7, 29:15, 17).

Joshua 4:22 "Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land."

The meaning of the erection of these stones, acquaint them with the whole history, the meaning of which they are designed to perpetuate.

"Saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land": And if they should ask how that could possibly be done, or if they did not, they were to inform them by what means it was brought about, as follows.

Generations to come would see the stones erected here, and ask why they were there. They are to tell them of the miracle of the crossing of the Jordan River here.

Joshua 4:23 "For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:"

As this is supposed to be said in future time. And to persons who were not upon the spot when this was done, and so entirely ignorant of the affair. It is not to be understood of them personally, but of the same people they were of. The people of Israel in former times, of their ancestors, and of them in them. The benefits of which they enjoyed by possessing the land of Canaan their fathers were at this time introduced into.

"As the Lord your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over": For though the generation of men, for the most part, was dead, that passed through the Red sea. Yet as Joshua himself, and Caleb and Eleazar, and it may be some others that were not among the murmurers. But were still living, for whom that miracle was wrought, this way of speaking is very properly made use of. And especially when it is observed, that there were many of the present generation than the young, which passed over, and even those unborn were in and represented by their ancestors. And who enjoyed the advantages of that wonderful mercy. So these two strange events are joined together, as instances of divine power and goodness (in Psalm 114:3).

In both of these instances, the water stood in a heap at their sides as they crossed through on dry ground. The only real difference was in the way it dried up. The Jordan River dried up as the priests stepped into the water. There were no priests at the time of the Red Sea crossing. The Red Sea crossing symbolized leaving the world (Egypt), behind and passing through the water (baptism). The crossing of the Jordan symbolized receiving heaven.

Joshua 4:24 "That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it [is] mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever."

Even almighty, and can do that which is marvelous and surprising, and above the power of nature to effect. Things unsearchable and past finding out, which cannot be expressed, or conceived how and by what means they are brought about. This the very Heathens would own and acknowledge when they should see these stones. And be told the meaning of them, or should hear of this amazing event.

"That ye might fear the Lord your God for ever": As the above mentioned end was to be answered among the people of the earth by these stones, this among the people of Israel. Who upon sight of them would call to mind the power and goodness of God, which would serve to keep an awe of his majesty on their mind. A due reverence of him and his greatness, and engage them to fear, serve, and worship him. Who by such acts as these had abundantly showed himself to be the only true and living God, and the covenant God of them his people Israel. The Septuagint version is, "that ye may worship the Lord your God in every work."

This last verse shows that this reaches much farther, than just that time. This is a sign not to these Hebrews, but to all of mankind. Every time they read the Bible, they should be able to see the hand of God in this. This should encourage every Christian to realize all over again, that we serve a Mighty God.

Joshua Chapter 4 Questions

1. How do we know this is a continuation of the last lesson?

2. What were the twelve men to take out of the Jordan?

3. What were they to do with them?

4. The verses are not always in ________________ order.

5. Why was the shoulder where they carried the stones?

6. It was as if they had lain their load of ______ down in the river.

7. The carrying out of the stones was as if they had taken what upon their shoulders?

8. The number twelve is a ________________ number.

9. What they received in the Promised Land was by ________.

10. They received cities, they had not _________.

11. They received crops, they had not ____________.

12. What does "Canaanland" symbolize?

13. Who will these stones be a sign to?

14. Who used stones as memorials?

15. The ________ ________ stood between the people and the Promised Land.

16. ______ provided them a way through the river.

17. What happened, when the priests stepped into the river carrying the ark?

18. Christians are led by the __________ of God.

19. Where were the stones placed?

20. Why was it twelve stones the leaders picked up?

21. Where were the two memorials set up?

22. Symbolically, what had they left in the river?

23. Why did the ark pass over in the sight of the people?

24. Who, from the east side of Jordan, passed over ready for battle?

25. How many men with them were ready for war?

26. Verse 14 says, The LORD magnified _________ in the sight of all Israel.

27. What helped the people have more confidence in Joshua?

28. Who told the priests to come out of the Jordan River?

29. When did the water in the Jordan begin to flow again?

30. What day did the people come up out of the water?

31. What was Israel to tell generations to come about the stones erected on the west of Jordan?

32. How far will this knowledge of the mighty hand of God reach?

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Joshua 5

Joshua Chapter 5

Joshua 5:1 "And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which [were] on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which [were] by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel."

"Heard": Reports of God's supernaturally opening a crossing struck fear into the Canaanites. The miracle was all the more incredible and shocking since God performed it when the Jordan was swollen to flood height (3:15). To the people in the Land, this miracle was a powerful demonstration proving that God is mighty (4:24). This came on top of reports about the Red Sea miracle (2:10).

That the "heart" of the Amorite and Canaanite kings "melted" at the report of this miracle directly fulfilled God's promise (in 4:23). "Neither was there spirit in them" means simply that they feared the Israelites and had lost the will to fight.

We find that Rahab had spoken the truth about the hearts of the people being melted in terror of their destiny. They are not terrified of Israel, but of Israel's God. The Amorites on the east side of Jordan have already been defeated. That, along with the knowledge that God dried up the Jordan River for their passage, has frightened the people of Canaan into not resisting the Israelites. In fact, the people of the land are in a state of shock. They have lost the spirit to fight.

Verses 2-9: God places a premium on preparation (see the lives of Moses and Joseph), so even though the Israelites had crossed the Jordan, they were not ready to take Jericho. First, all the males had to be "circumcised", a lapsed practice during their time in the wilderness. Circumcision was a physical sign of the nation's covenant with God (Gen. 17:9-14), marking them as His people. It symbolized what God's people were to do to their hearts (Deut. 10:16), and anticipated a time when God would circumcise the hearts of His people, enabling them to love Him (Deut. 30:6). This promised circumcision is accomplished for New Testament believers by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 2:29; Col. 2:11-12).

Joshua 5:2 "At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time."

"Circumcise": God commanded Joshua to see that this was done to all males under 40. These were sons of the generation who died in the wilderness, survivors (compare verses 6-7), from the new generation God spared in (Numbers chapters 13 and 14). This surgical sign of a faith commitment to the Abrahamic Covenant (see Gen. 17:9-14), had been ignored during the wilderness trek. Now God wanted it reinstated, so the Israelites would start out right in the Land they were possessing (See note on Jer. 4:4).

Circumcision was the sign of the Abrahamic covenant (compare Gen. 12:1-3; 17:10-14). As Moses circumcised his sons before the first Passover (Exodus 4:24-26), and led a circumcised people out of Egypt (verse 5), so "Joshua" would lead a circumcised army into Canaan. Apparently, the rite had been neglected during the years in the wilderness (verses 6-7). The incapacity of the army for fighting would demand their total faith and reliance upon God. Moreover, the proper observance of the Passover, held before the campaign for Jericho (verse 10), demanded that it be observed by those who were duly circumcised (Exodus 12:44, 48). With the renewal of circumcision and the Passover, a sanctified people were ready for God to lead them into the holy warfare that lay ahead (compare Deut. 20:1-4).

This does not mean to circumcise someone who has already been circumcised. This is speaking of those born on the trip across the wilderness, who have grown up uncircumcised. This cutting away of the flesh of the foreskin symbolizes the cutting away of worldliness. The Christian is circumcised in his heart.

Colossians 2:11 "In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:"

Romans 2:29 "But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God."

Joshua 5:3 "And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins."

Not that Joshua circumcised them himself, any more than he made the knives himself. But he ordered both to be done, and took care that they were done. And as any that had skill might make the knives, so might any circumcise. Circumcision was not restrained to any order of men. Not to the priests and Levites, but any might perform it. So that though the number to be circumcised was great, it might soon be finished. And this was done;

"At the hill of the foreskins": As the place was afterward called from hence": These being heaped up one upon another. Made a hill of them, as the Jews say, being covered with dust. This circumcision performed by Joshua or his orders, was typical of the spiritual circumcision without hands, which those that believe in Jesus, the antitype of Joshua, partake of.

This just names the place the circumcisions took place here.

Joshua 5:4 "And this [is] the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, [that were] males, [even] all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt."

Or the reason of the command given him to circumcise the children of Israel at this time. Namely, what follows.

"All the people that came out of Egypt that were males, even all the men of war": Meaning such that were twenty years old, and upwards.

"Died in the wilderness, by the way, after they came out of Egypt. Not directly, but in a course of forty years, as they journeyed through the wilderness. This is to be understood with an exception of Joshua, Caleb, Eleazar, etc. But then there was a large number who were under twenty years of age, that came out of Egypt and were now living.

Joshua 5:5 "Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people [that were] born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, [them] they had not circumcised."

All that came out of Egypt, and males, were circumcised, whether under or above twenty years of age. For though it is possible all were circumcised before they came out of Egypt, which favors the opinion of Dr. Lightfoot, that they might be circumcised during the three nights' darkness of the Egyptians. When they could take no advantage of it, as Levi and Simeon did of the Shechemites. And which seems more probable than that it should be on the night they came out of Egypt, when many must have been unfit for travelling. And seems preferable to that of their being circumcised at Mount Sinai, which was a year after their coming out of Egypt.

"But all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way, as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised": The reasons of which is neglected (see Joshua 5:2). The phrase, "by the way", seems to point at the true reason of it, at least to countenance the reason there given, which was on account of their journey. That is, their stay at any place being uncertain and precarious. So the Jews say, because of the affliction or trouble of journeying, the Israelites did not circumcise their children. This is to be understood of all males only born in the wilderness, they only being the subjects of circumcision.

Since the time of Abraham, the Hebrew men had been circumcised on the eighth day. During the wilderness wanderings, they had not circumcised the boy babies on the eighth day. The circumcising of the men was a symbol of their covenant with God. This would be a renewing of their covenant with God.

Joshua 5:6 "For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people [that were] men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that he would not show them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey."

Wanting a few days, the round number is given. Not forty two years, as the Septuagint version.

"Till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed": All that were above twenty years of age, excepting Joshua and Caleb, died in the wilderness.

"Because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord": But murmured against him, and against his servants, and particularly against Aaron, being the high priest. And chiefly because of the report of the spies, and their murmurs then, which so incensed the Lord against them, that he threatened them with an entire consumption of their carcasses. And which accordingly was fulfilled, to which the following clause refers.

"Unto whom the Lord sware, that he would not show them the land which the Lord sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey" (see Num. 14:23).

We remember, the rebellious people who had come to the Promised Land 38 years earlier, and could not go in because of their lack of faith in God. God punished them by extending the wanderings, until those who were 20 years old or older, died off. The next generation, who had not lacked faith in God, inherited the Promised Land of milk and honey.

Joshua 5:7 "And their children, [whom] he raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way."

Who were born to them in the wilderness, and succeeded them, some of which might be near forty years of age. As for those that were born before, of which there might be many now living, they had been circumcised already, but others, were not.

"For they were circumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way": Or while journeying the forty years in the wilderness. Which, as before observed, seems to be the true reason of the omission of circumcision.

The covenant was sealed with this circumcision of all the men. This is a recognition of their covenant with God. Every male from 8 days old to time of death, was circumcised.

Joshua 5:8 "And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole."

"Till they were whole": This speaks of the time needed to recover from such a painful and potentially infected wound.

This was a short time to rest, until they were healed.

Joshua 5:9 "And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day."

A play on words occurs here. "Gilgal" ("Rolling away"), marks the place where God "rolled away the reproach of Egypt". Israel's era of shameful captivity now came officially to an end. After the men were circumcised, God promised to roll away "the reproach of Egypt", vindicating the Israelites. By His miracle of bringing the people into the Land, God removed (rolled away), the ridicule which the Egyptians had heaped on them. The inheritance of Canaan lay ahead (compare 1:6; 21:43-45). The same verbal root marks the New Testament site of Golgotha, the place where mankind's captivity by sin was ended. There man's sins were rolled away and rolled onto the person of Jesus Christ, so believers might enter God's spiritual inheritance (Col. 1:12-14, 20).

As we said earlier, this was symbolic of cutting away the sins of the world. Their lives should no longer be controlled by the lust of their flesh. Christians should not be pleasing the desires of their flesh either. We must cut away the worldliness from our hearts. The Spirit must rule over the flesh, to be in right standing with God.

Joshua 5:10 "And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho."

A spirit of unity is the soul of victory. The Israelites also celebrated "Passover" before they went into battle, the thanksgiving festival commemorating the Israelites' miraculous redemption for the bondage of Egypt. God wanted them to remember His manifested power in the past as they readied for the challenge of seizing the Promised Land.

They had been instructed of Moses from God to keep the Passover, whenever they entered the Promised Land. The 14th day of Abib (near our April), was Passover. The renewal of their covenant with God required the keeping of the law of God.

Verses 11-12: The ability to adapt to change is a true test of faith. God was altering His stewardship of His people and inaugurating a new means of "fruit of the land", now that they were in the Promised Land. Rather than depending on Him for their daily portion of "manna" (Exodus 16:35), they would learn to trust Him through the natural provision of the land.

Joshua 5:11 "And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched [corn] in the selfsame day."

The corn of the last year, which the inhabitants of those parts had left in their barns. Doubtlessly they fled for fear of the Israelites into their strong cities, or other remoter and safer parts.

"On the morrow after the Passover": I.e. on the sixteenth day. For the Passover was killed between the two evenings of the fourteenth day, and was eaten in that evening or night. Which, according to the Jewish computation, whereby they begin their days at the evening, was a part of the fifteenth day, all which was the feast of the Passover. And so, the morrow of the sixteenth day was the morrow after the Passover, when they were obliged to offer unto God the first sheaf, and then were allowed to eat of the rest.

"Parched corn": Of that year's corn, which was most proper and customary for that use.

"In the selfsame day; having an eager desire to enjoy the fruits of the land.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread began at Passover. It appears this was kept as well.

Joshua 5:12 "And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year."

The "manna", which had been given first some 40 years before (Exodus 16:15), and had been designed to sustain a humble and grateful people (Deut. 8:1-3), now "ceased".

God had begun to provide this food from the time of (Exodus chapter 16), and did so for 40 years (Exodus 16:35). Since food was plentiful in the Land of Canaan, they could provide for themselves with produce such as dates, barley and olives.

The heavenly Bread (manna), had fed them during their wilderness wanderings, when there was nothing else to eat. Now they are in the land full of food. They will eat of the good of the land. The manna did not cease, until they had passed over into their Promised Land. The miracle of the manna was made even more real by its stopping, just after they arrived in the land of plenty food.

Verses 13-15: Joshua's "worship" of the "captain of the host of the Lord" and the instructions (of verse 15; compare Exodus 3:5), show clearly that "Joshua" stood before the divine presence (compare Exodus 33:14). Many believe that the divine captain with "sword drawn" was none other than Jesus Christ in a pre-incarnate appearance. If so, it may anticipate a later appearance of our Lord at the head of the heavenly armies, out of whose mouth "goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron" (Rev. 19:15). Joshua fittingly was reverent in worship. The captain, sword drawn, showed a posture indicating He was set to give Israel victory over the Canaanites (6:2; compare 1:3). For the drawn sword (see the note at 1 Chron. 21:16; compare Gen. 3:24 and Num. 22:23).

Joshua 5:13 "And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, [Art] thou for us, or for our adversaries?"

The Lord reveals His presence in a person's life as the direct result of personal obedience to Him. Rather than running away when he saw "a man" in his path "with his sword drawn" (Num. 22:23, 31; 1 Chron. 21:16), Joshua confronted Him. Joshua had courage because he knew he was in the will of God, and in that place, there is no need to fear anyone or anything.

This was a vision, or an appearance of an angelic being in the form of a man. The sword drawn speaks of war. Joshua asks him, who this is speaking of, them or their enemy? Joshua knew this was a supernatural happening, or he would not have walked up to a man with a drawn sword.

Verses 14-15: The Man's reply to Joshua's question indicated that He did not choose sides; rather, He commanded the "host" of heaven, and Joshua should report to Him. Christians want to marshal God's allegiance for their cause, when they should simply submit and follow wherever He leads. Once Joshua understood this, he fell "on his face" in worship.

Joshua 5:14 "And he said, Nay; but [as] captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?"

Not for or on the side of their adversaries was he come, as Joshua suspected at the first sight of him. The Septuagint version is, "he said unto him", taking that as it is.

"But as Captain of the host of the Lord am I now come": Of the host of the Lord both in heaven and in earth, angels and men. And particularly of the people of Israel, called the armies and host of the Lord (Exodus 7:4). So that though Joshua was general, Christ was commander. And so Joshua understood him, and therefore showed a readiness to do whatsoever he should command him. The spiritual Israel of God, the church, is in a militant state, and has many enemies to combat with, sin, Satan, the world, and false teachers. Christ is their Leader and Commander. The Captain of their salvation, and has all necessary qualifications or wisdom, courage, and might, for such an office (see Isaiah 55:4).

"And Joshua fell on his face to the earth": In reverence of this divine and illustrious Person, whom he perceived to be what he was.

He is not for the adversaries. He has come to lead that vast army of God against the enemies of Israel. Joshua, recognizing the fact that he is the captain of the host of the LORD, fell on his face to worship God. It would be correct for Joshua to worship Him, if this is the manifestation of the One we call Jesus. The Lord does appear to lead a mighty army in Revelation. Joshua calls Him his Lord. It is either the Lord Himself, or an angel He has sent for this task.

Joshua 5:15 "And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest [is] holy. And Joshua did so."

As a trial and proof of his obedience to him.

"Loose thy shoe from off thy foot": Which is to be understood literally, as when the like was commanded Moses at Horeb (Exodus 3:5).

"For the place whereon thou standest is holy": Because of the presence of this Person, and as long as he was there, though afterwards was as another place.

"And Joshua did so": Loosed his shoe from his foot, in obedience to the Captain of the Lord's host. Thereby giving proof of his willingness, and cheerful readiness to serve under him. And did worship. Gave him religious worship and adoration, which had he been a created angel he would not have given to him, nor would such a one have received it (Rev. 19:10).

This is the same thing the voice from the burning bush had said to Moses. Any place the presence of the Lord is, is holy ground.

Exodus 3:5 "And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest [is] holy ground."

Joshua is aware of the presence of the Lord here. He removes his shoes.

Joshua Chapter 5 Questions

1. What had the kings of the Amorites and Canaanites heard that frightened them?

2. How was their fear described?

3. Who had earlier spoken the truth about these kings?

4. Who are they terrified of?

5. Why was Joshua to make him sharp knives?

6. Who will this be done to?

7. What does this symbolize?

8. What did they name the place where this happened?

9. Why was this necessary?

10. The circumcising of the men was a symbol of their ___________ with God.

11. Why were all the men of war allowed to die in the wilderness?

12. Who would be circumcised?

13. The _______ must rule over the _______, to be in right standing with God.

14. What day did they keep the Passover?

15. The renewal of their covenant with God required the keeping of the ______ of God.

16. Verse 11 speaks of what feast being kept?

17. When did the manna cease?

18. How was the miracle of the manna made even more real?

19. What did Joshua see in verse 13?

20. What was this?

21. How do we know Joshua knew this was supernatural?

22. Who did He call Himself?

23. What did Joshua do, when He said who He was?

24. What had He come to do?

25. Who does the author believe this is a manifestation of?

26. What did He tell Joshua to do?

27. Why was he to do it?

28. When was this same thing said before?

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Joshua 6

Joshua Chapter 6

Joshua 6:1 "Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in."

The Israelites were not prepared to defeat Jericho in a conventional manner. Although the residents of Jericho were afraid of the Israelites (2:11), the city was fortified, well-armed, and prepared for war. That "Jericho was straitly shut up" is another way of saying that its people were ready for an attack. Ancient fortified cities, with walls as high as 20 feet and as thick as eight feet, and with double or triple gates, could withstand a siege for months if they had sufficient food and a water supply. Guards standing high upon the walls in towers were prepared to shoot arrows, pour hot oil, or dump boulders on enemy warriors who tried to scale the wall or punch through it with a battering ram.

"Jericho": The city was fortified by a double ring of walls, the outer 6 feet thick and the inner 12; timbers were laid across these, supporting houses on the walls. Since Jericho was built on a hill, it could be taken only by mounting a steep incline, which put the Israelites at a great disadvantage. Attackers of such a "fortress" often used a siege of several months to force surrender through starvation.

Jericho had locked their gates, and they were not letting anyone in or out. Rahab had mentioned to the two spies that the whole town was terrified of what might happen. They had all heard of the destruction of Og and Sihon just across the Jordan from them. Now, they have heard about the Jordan River opening to allow them to cross. They are afraid of Israel's God, not of Israel.

Verses 2-7: The strange battle strategy must have seemed ridiculous to the inhabitants of "Jericho", but Israel was to learn from the outset that the campaign for Canaan would be successful only if fought at God's direction. It was to be a spiritual experience. Victory could come only on the basis of spiritual obedience. Jericho was a strategic Canaanite stronghold. Archaeological excavations reveal that Jericho was the oldest known city in ancient Canaan. Its age and location made it the most prominent city in that region. Its "fall" would open up the whole center of the land to the invaders.

Joshua 6:2 "And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, [and] the mighty men of valor."

Joshua could move forward with confidence because, even before the fighting began, God promised, "I have given into thine hand Jericho". All believers are "more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Rom. 8:37). This means every child of God can enter every spiritual battle with the assurance that the war has already been won and, through obedience, the outcome is certain.

The Captain of the Lord's host and the Lord here are probably the same. This is assurance from the Lord that Jericho will fall into the hands of the Israelites. Jericho had a mighty army that would match any army that came against them, except the army of the Lord. God does not say, "Perhaps I will give". He says,"I have given." It is already settled that Jericho is theirs.

Verses 3-5: The Lord's unusual battle plan was so impossible in the world's eyes that when Jericho fell, He alone would get the credit. Only His invisible hand would make the city wall "fall down flat".

Verses 3-21: The bizarre military strategy of marching around Jericho gave occasion for the Israelites to take God at His promise (verse 2). They would also heighten the defender's uneasiness. Seven is sometimes a number used to signify completeness (compare 2 kings 5:10, 14).

Joshua 6:3 "And ye shall compass the city, all [ye] men of war, [and] go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days."

Joshua their chief commander under the Lord, and all that were able to make war, even all above twenty years of age. These were to compass the city, not in the form of a siege, but by a procession around it.

"And go round about the city once": Or one time, only one time in a day and no more.

"Thus shall thou do six days": One day after another; that is, go round it, once every day. This order was given, according to the Jews, the twenty second of Nisan, after the feast of unleavened bread was over.

The entire army, which were literally hundreds of thousands of men, should walk around the city wall once each day for six days.

Joshua 6:4 "And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets."

The ark was to be taken up and carried by priests round the city. Ben Gersom observes, that this was to direct the Israelites to keep and do according to all that was written in it. That is, in the law, which was contained in it. But no doubt the design of it was to show, that the subduing of Jericho, and the miracle that would be wrought, were owing to the power and presence of God, of which the ark was a symbol. And before it were to go seven other priests, with trumpets in their hands. Which, according to our version, were made of rams horns.

"And the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times": In the same manner as on the other days.

"And the priests shall blow with the trumpets": Which they were to do; and did every day.

It appears, that each day the priests went with the trumpets of ram's horns around the city once for six days. They blew the ram's horns, as they walked around the wall. Again, the priests with the horns were in front of the Ark of the Covenant going around with them. "Seven" means spiritually complete. Notice the seven priests with seven horns, walked seven days around the city wall. The seventh day they went around seven times. This is a spiritual war that God will complete. These trumpets were like jubilee. They were the sound of victory. These are not the silver trumpets, but of rams' horns.

Joshua 6:5 "And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long [blast] with the ram's horn, [and] when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him."

Continue blowing, and protracting, and drawing out the sound a long time. Which they did only on the seventh day. On the other days, it was but a short blast they made at a time. So that this being different, it would be a good sign and token to the people to do what they are next directed to.

"And when ye hear the sound of the trumpet": Drawn out to a great length.

"All the people shall shout with a great shout": At once, as when an onset is made in battle, or a victory is obtained.

"And the wall of the city shall fall down flat": Or "under itself"; which Jarchi interprets, in its place; that is, where it stood, and be swallowed up in it. So the Targum, "and it shall be swallowed up under it; "yet so that somewhat of it should be seen, as an attestation and proof of the miracle. As Kimchi; who says, "it means that it should be swallowed up in its place under the earth, and a little of it appear above ground for a memorial of the miracle:"

"And the people shall ascend up, every man straight before him": Just as they were in the order of procession. For the wall being fallen everywhere, they would have no occasion to make up to one certain place. As when a breach is only made in one place, and the besiegers are obliged to go so many a breast to enter at it. But in this case, they might go straight up from whence they were, and enter the city without any obstruction and difficulty. God assured Israel of an astounding miracle, just as He had done at the Jordan.

The horn of jubilee was to sound with a long blast with the ram's horn. When the people hear the blast from the horn that is long, then they give out with a shout from all of the hundreds of thousands of warriors. Some writers compare the horn that blows here and topples the walls of Jericho, with the trumpet that Jesus blows and calls the people to Him in the sky. In both cases, the people ascend.

Joshua 6:6 "And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said unto them, Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the LORD."

Not the Levites and Kohathites, whose business it was in common to bear the ark, but upon this occasion the priests. Not all of them, but as many as were sufficient for the purpose.

"And said unto them, take up the ark of the covenant": By putting the staves into the rings of it, and so carry it (Exodus 25:14; see Num. 7:9).

"And let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the Lord": (see notes on Joshua 6:4).

Just as the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant led the way into the Jordan River, they go with the army here. The main difference is there are seven priests with rams' horns trumpets.

Joshua 6:7 "And he said unto the people, Pass on, and compass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the LORD."

God would have them armed, both for the defense of themselves and the ark, in case the enemies should make an invasion upon them. And for the execution of the Lord's vengeance upon that city.

"And let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the Lord": To guard the ark, protect the priests, and defend the people, should any attack be made by the enemy upon them. These seem to design all the males that were above twenty years of age able to bear arms, and fit for war. Though some restrain it to the forty thousand of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh (Joshua 1:14).

The priests, possibly passed the message on to the troops as they passed them. It appears from this that, Reuben's, Gad's, and the half tribe of Manasseh's armed men went before the priests with the horns and then the ark, and then the other members of the army.

Verses 8-10: Picture the parade: out in front were the soldiers, followed by the "seven priests" with the "rams' horns", followed by more soldiers. The city of Jericho was only about half a mile around, so the trip would not have taken very long. The plan was constructed to strike terror into the hearts of the people of Jericho.

Joshua 6:8 "And it came to pass, when Joshua had spoken unto the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams' horns passed on before the LORD, and blew with the trumpets: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them."

Both armed and unarmed. Had finished the orders and directions he gave them before mentioned.

"That the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams' horns passed on before the Lord": In his sight, and by his direction, and at his command given by Joshua. And before the ark, the symbol of his presence.

"And blew with the trumpets": A short blast as they went along. This they did on each of the six days.

"And the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed them": Being borne by priests (Joshua 6:6).

This is the order of the march around the city wall. It seems, the priests blew the trumpets for the march.

Joshua 6:9 "And the armed men went before the priests that blew with the trumpets, and the rearward came after the ark, [the priests] going on, and blowing with the trumpets."

Whom Jarchi, Kimchi, and Abarbinel, interpret of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh. That is, as many of them as Joshua took with him over Jordan. Though rather all the armed men in the camp are meant. At least along with those mentioned went the standards of Judah and Ephraim.

"And the rearward came after the ark": Because the tribe of Dan was the rear guard in journeying (Num. 2:31). Hence the Targum paraphrases the words, "and the tribe of the house of Dan went after the ark;" and so both Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it. But rather the body of the people unarmed are designed; at least these were brought up by the standard of Dan. Or otherwise no place in this procession is appointed for them, whose business it was to make the great shout on the seventh day with the rest.

"The priests going on and blowing with the trumpets": The word "priests" is not in the text, but is rightly supplied. For, as Kimchi and Abarbinel observe, this is not said of the rear guard, but of the priests, for they only bore and blew the trumpets. And so the Targum reads, "the priests going on", etc.

This is very similar to the march through the wilderness. The Ark was between the tribes. The blowing of the trumpets gave the army of Israel courage, and frightened the people of Jericho. The "rearward" means the rear-guard.

Joshua 6:10 "And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall [any] word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout."

When he gave them their orders to pass on, and compass the city (Joshua 6:7).

"Saying, ye shall not shout": That is, on any of the six days as they went round the city, only on the seventh. For this being a sign of victory, it was not to be made until the day when it should be made.

"Nor make any noise with your voice": As laughing, singing, etc. This profound silence was to be observed, to add to the gravity and solemnity of the procession. And on account of the surprising miracle that was to be wrought. And particularly because of the ark, the symbol of the divine Presence, borne before them. And when God in his providence was about to speak in so awful a manner, and to do such a surprising work, it was very fit and decent that they should be silent before him (see Hab. 2:20).

"Neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth": No conversation or discourse were to be had with each other as they passed along. For this is only to be restrained to the procession; when they returned, and in their camp.

"Until the day I bid you shout, then shall ye shout": For as yet it seems Joshua had not told them how many days they should surround the city in this manner. And on what day the shout should be made by them.

The people were not to speak at all, while they were marching around the city. They would give the shout of victory at the precise time that Joshua told them to. Their obedience to the will of God is what really wins this victory for them. The order that this march was done in, makes the people inside the wall even more frightened. They feel the wall around the city will protect them for a time, but they know they are doomed eventually. The people of the city have seen the Ark of the Covenant, which professed the presence of God with this people. They know God is about to do a miracle, but they have no idea what.

Verses 11-16: Joshua did not tell the Israelites how many times they had to circle the city or precisely what would happen when their days of marching were done. The people received instructions one day at a time, and they obeyed one day, one step, at a time.

Joshua 6:11 "So the ark of the LORD compassed the city, going about [it] once: and they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp."

Being bore by the priests, who carried it round the city. It may as well be rendered and interpreted as it is by Kimchi: "He, i.e. Joshua, caused the Ark of the Lord to compass the city." That is, he gave orders to the priests to take it up, and go round with it on the first day.

"Going about it once": On that day, and no more. Keeping at such a distance, as to be out of the reach of stones or arrows cast from the walls of the city.

"And they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp": The night following; not only the priests that bare the ark, but those that blew with the trumpets, and all the armed men, and the people.

The procession has begun here. Just once around the city the first time.

Joshua 6:12 "And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD."

Of the second day. To take care of, direct, and prepare everything for another procession on that day. So active and diligent was he to do the will and work of God, exactly and punctually.

"And the priests took up the ark of the Lord": And carried it about as they had done the day before.

It seemed one group of priests carried the ark, and another group walked in front of it with the trumpets made of rams' horns.

Joshua 6:13 "And seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the LORD went on continually, and blew with the trumpets: and the armed men went before them; but the rearward came after the ark of the LORD, [the priests] going on, and blowing with the trumpets."

See (Joshua 6:4).

"Went on continually": Or, "going they went": kept on going, making no stop at all, until they had compassed the city.

"And blew with the trumpets": As they went along.

"And the armed men went before them, but the rearward came after the ark of the Lord": Which the Targum paraphrases as on (Joshua 6:9).

"The priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets" (see notes on Joshua 6:9).

The armed troops that we know about are the troops of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh. It appears, they were in front of the priests. The next in procession would be the priests with the trumpets, then the priests carrying the ark. The rest of the troops (rear-guard), of Israel followed the ark.

Joshua 6:14 "And the second day they compassed the city once, and returned into the camp: so they did six days."

Went round it one time only; as on the first.

"And returned into the camp": Which was at Gilgal (Joshua 5:10).

"So they did six days": Four more after these two successively, and proceeded in the same order and manner as on those two days.

This strange procession went around the city once each day for six days. The troops were silent. The only sound was the blowing of the trumpets. The people inside the wall had never seen a battle conducted like this before. They knew in their hearts something was about to happen, but they did not know what.

Joshua 6:15 "And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times."

Which Jarchi says was the Sabbath day, and which is a common notion of the Jews. But whether it was or not, it is certain. One of these seven days had to be a Sabbath, in which the several things ordered were done, and the procession made.

"That they rose early, about the dawning of the day": Having seven times the work to do they did on the other six days.

"And compassed the city after the same manner seven times": After the same manner as they had done the six preceding days.

"Only on that day they compassed the city seven times": Whereas on the other days they only went round it once, which distinguished this day from the rest.

This waiting had to be hard on both sides of the wall. The fear was mounting inside Jericho. The marching of the troops on the outside of the wall was teaching them to be obedient to the commands of God. It would have been foolhardy to try to break into the walls ahead of time. Perhaps the LORD was showing them to follow in His ways, which are not understood by common man. They should learn from this, that there is a time to wait patiently before acting. This may be the hardest lesson for any of us to learn. We have discussed the number seven, meaning spiritually complete. It is interesting that this is done on Sabbath. The early rising was to afford them time to compass the city seven times in one day. The spirituality of this day perhaps, entered in here.

Joshua 6:16 "And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city."

The loud shout in unison expressed an expectation of God's action to fulfill His guaranteed promise (verses 2, 5, 16).

At the command of Joshua, this entire mass of people shouted in victory. The trumpets of the priests were blowing. This had to be an enormous sound all at once.

Joshua 6:17 "And the city shall be accursed, [even] it, and all that [are] therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that [are] with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent."

"Shall be accursed": The Hebrew term means "utterly destroyed", as in verse 21; i.e., to ban or devote as spoil for a deity. Here it is stated to be retained for God's possession, a tribute belonging to Him for the purpose of destruction.

Jericho was put under a divine ban. "Accursed" translates the Hebrew cherem a "consecrated/devoted thing" so that the "city" and "all that are therein" were under divine disposition. None was to be left alive except "Rahab" and those in her house, and nothing was to be taken as a spoil of war (compare 7:1, 11). Some have questioned the propriety of such a near total extermination of the populace. However, the complete degradation of the Canaanites had received divine condemnation previously (compare Num. 21:1-3; Deut. 7:1-2; 12:29-32; 13:15-17; 20:17-18). Because the time for their judgment had come (compare Gen. 15:16), and because such wickedness could only spell spiritual disaster for the Israelites (compare Deut. 7:23-26), nothing short of a total extermination could suffice. As such Jericho serves as a reminder and prelude of God's final annihilation of evil.

The entire city full of people will be destroyed, except for faithful Rahab and those of her household. Over and over, we have seen the faithful saved in the middle of the tumult. Rahab is no different. She believed in God, and it was counted unto her as righteousness. Just as Noah's family was saved by Noah's act of faith, Rahab's family was saved by her act of faith. She had been a friend to God.

Joshua 6:18 "And ye, in any wise keep [yourselves] from the accursed thing, lest ye make [yourselves] accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it."

From laying hold on, secreting, and enjoying as their own, what was devoted to another use.

"Lest ye make yourselves accursed": Or devoted to destruction.

"When ye take of the accursed thing": Any part of it, be it what it will, gold or any other metal, or raiment, and the like.

"And make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it": For being done secretly, and not known who did it, the whole body of the people would be chargeable with it, and suffer on account of it. Unless discovered and punished, and as more fully appears by an after instance.

The entire city except Rahab and her household, was accursed. This meant everything as well as everyone, was accursed. The Israelites were to be a holy people separated from worldliness. They were not to desire anything of this city, because some of the sinfulness of the city would be on those things. These people had worshipped false gods and practiced all sorts of evil. The things of this city would need to be destroyed, to cleanse the city.

Joshua 6:19 "But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, [are] consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD."

Or rather, "for all the silver", etc. as the particle here used sometimes signifies, and is so rendered. Each of these metals, and whatsoever were made of them, were set apart for the Lord, and dedicated to sacred uses, and might not be converted to any other. Unless what were upon their idols, which were to be burnt with fire (Deut. 7:25).

"They shall come into the treasury of the Lord": Be brought into the tabernacle, as Kimchi and Abarbinel interpret it. Into some apartment there destined for such service, and which is clear from (Joshua 6:24). The same where the offering of the officers was brought after the battle with Midian (Num. 31:54).

The precious metals could be heated and melted. They belonged to God. They would be purified, because they were holiness unto the LORD.

Joshua 6:20 "So the people shouted when [the priests] blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city."

What the people shouted was either a war cry (1 Sam. 17:20), or a shout of celebration over the victory they were about to experience (1 Sam. 4:5-6). Reputable scholars such as B. G. Wood argue that the major excavation reports from Jericho contain remarkable parallels with the biblical account, including the collapse of the eastern walls before fire scorched them. This is consistent with the author's report that the "wall fell down flat" before Israel burned the city (6:24).

Whether this large army of people walking around the wall had weakened the foundation, or whether God sent a small earthquake, or whether the shout from so large a number shattered the walls, we do not know. Whatever happened, it was a miracle of God. The entire wall fell at once. The army did not trickle into the city. They all entered at once. It is interesting that, Rahab's house was in the city wall, and it did not fall. It was not difficult for them to take the city.

Verses 21-25: The general details of Jericho's fall have been illustrated by various archaeological excavations. Although the archaeological data relative to Jericho and the date of its conquest have undergone divergent interpretations at the hands of archaeologists and biblical scholars, recent examinations of the evidence had increasingly confirmed the accuracy of a fifteenth century B.C. date for the fall of Jericho, as necessitated by the biblical chronological framework given (in 1 Kings 6:1). Adequate evidence exists for the destruction of Jericho in Joshua's time.

Joshua 6:21 "And they utterly destroyed all that [was] in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword."

All the inhabitants of it, by the direction of Joshua, and according to the order of the Lord (Deut. 7:1). Being guilty of capital crimes, which deserved death, as idolatry, incest, etc.

"Both men and women, young and old": Neither sex nor age were spared.

"And ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword": In which creatures chiefly lay the substance of the eastern people (see Job 1:3).

This was total annihilation of every living thing except Rahab's household. One of the reasons for them not taking booty, is that this was a holy war. They were not to make war for personal gain. The purpose of war is very important.

Verses 22-23: Rahab's house apparently remained standing, and she and her family were rescued, as the spies promised. (Matthew 1:5), reports that she was absorbed into the Israelite community (see also 6:25). She married an Israelite named Salmon and became the great-great grandmother of David and an ancestor of Jesus.

Joshua honored the promise of safety to the household of Rehab. The part of the wall securing this house must not have fallen, and all possessions in the dwelling were safe.

Joshua 6:22 "But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot's house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye sware unto her."

Whom he had sent on that errand (Joshua 2:1). And what follows he had said unto them before the people entered into the city, and perhaps before the walls of it fell. And indeed from (Joshua 6:16), it appears to have been said at the time he gave the people orders to shout.

"Go into the harlot's house": He does not mention her name but they full well knew who he meant.

"And bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath": Not so much her substance, as her father's household. She had got together there, that they might be saved, as had been promised her.

"As ye sware unto her": So that this order was partly on account of her kindness to them (Joshua 6:17). And partly on account of the oath which they had taken, and which Joshua would have inviolably kept.

This is so beautiful to me, because it verifies the following Scripture.

Psalms 91:7 "A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; [but] it shall not come nigh thee."

God has saved Rahab and her household in the middle of this destruction. Notice, Joshua did not say go, and see if you can find her. She was in her own house (a portion of the wall which was unharmed). The two she had befriended were to come, and get her and her household, and carry them to safety.

Joshua 6:23 "And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel."

And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had. And they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel.

They were supernaturally protected by God Himself. They were left outside the camp of Israel, because they were Gentiles. The Jews classed them as unclean.

Joshua 6:24 "And they burnt the city with fire, and all that [was] therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD."

As Babylon the great, of which this city was an emblem, as has been observed (see notes on Joshua 6:20), will be burnt with fire (Rev. 18:8).

"Only the silver and the gold, and the vessels of brass and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord" (see notes on Joshua 6:19).

The sin of this city was burned away in the fire. The precious metals belonged to God, and were taken to the treasury of the house of the LORD. We discussed how metals are purified and made clean for another use, by heating them until they melt.

Joshua 6:25 "And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father's household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel [even] unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho."

From perishing by the sword, as the rest of the inhabitants did. Kimchi says, some interpret it of his giving her food, and an inheritance by which she might live. And Josephus intimates the same: he says, he gave her fields, and had her in great honor and esteem. And it is the notion of some Jewish writers, that he took her to wife, and that this is meant by saving her alive. Which sense Kimchi disapproves of, as being foreign. Besides, it was not Joshua, but Salmon, a prince in Israel, that married her (Matt. 1:5).

"And her father's household, and all she had": That is, he saved alive all her relations, and it may be her cattle, if she had any. And those of her kindred also, as their sheep, oxen, and asses, when those of others were killed (Joshua 6:21). Some also understand this of intermarriages of principal persons in Israel with some of her father's. But it only signifies that their lives were spared, when the whole city was destroyed with the edge of the sword.

"And she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day": Which may be meant either personally of Rahab, who was living and dwelt in the land of Canaan, when this history was written. And serves to strengthen the opinion that Joshua was the writer of it, and to explain the meaning of the phrase "unto this day", elsewhere used in this book. And to remove any objection from it against his being the author of it. Or else of her dwelling there in her posterity. And so, she might dwell in it unto the times of the Messiah, who sprang from her (Matt. 1:5).

"Because she hid the messengers which Joshua, sent to spy out Jericho": This was the reason of her and her father's family being saved alive (see notes on Joshua 6:17).

Rahab not only was saved, but all her household. She was accepted into Israel because of her faith in the LORD, which caused her to hide the spies.

Joshua 6:26 "And Joshua adjured [them] at that time, saying, Cursed [be] the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest [son] shall he set up the gates of it."

God put a curse on whoever would rebuild Jericho. While the area around it was later occupied to some extent (2 Sam. 10:5), in Ahab's reign Hiel rebuilt Jericho and experienced the curse by losing his eldest and youngest sons (1 Kings 16:34).

The curse was designed to keep "Jericho" from again becoming a walled stronghold. Although Jericho's environs were subsequently occupied to some extent (compare 18:21; Judges 3:13; 2 Sam. 10:5), the full weight of the curse was literally carried out against those who attempted to rebuild it as a fortified "city" (1 Kings 16:34).

Even unto this day, Jericho has never been rebuilt. "Adjured" in this verse, means caused them to swear.

Joshua 6:27 "So the LORD was with Joshua; and his fame was [noised] throughout all the country."

Counselling and directing him what to do, prospering and succeeding him in all that he engaged. The Targum is, "the Word of the Lord was for the help of Joshua." The essential Word, Christ the Son of God, called the Captain of the Lord's host (Joshua 5:14). And who, continued with him speaking to him and giving him orders (Joshua 6:2).

"And his fame was noised throughout all the country": For his wisdom and courage, for the wonderful things done for him and by him. And the great success that attended him, through the power and presence of God with him. Which struck terror into the inhabitants of the land, and made his conquest of it the easier.

God kept His pledge that He would be with Joshua (1:5-9).

Joshua Chapter 6 Question

1. Why was Jericho shut up, so no one could enter or leave?

2. Who are they afraid of?

3. The Captain of the LORD's host is the same as the ________.

4. What positive statement does God make about Israel and Jericho?

5. How many times each day, were they to go around the city for six days?

6. Who goes before the ark?

7. What do they have with them?

8. The number "seven" means _____________ _____________.

9. How many times were they to go around the city on the seventh day?

10. The trumpets were the sound of __________.

11. What were the horns made of?

12. How large was Israel's army?

13. When do the people shout?

14. What do some writers compare the horn that blows on the seventh day with?

15. What effect does the shout of the people have?

16. What is different about the priests that carried the ark into the water, and the priests, here, that go with the troops?

17. Who were the armed men, probably?

18. How does the marching order around the city remind us of the march across the wilderness?

19. What had Joshua commanded these troops not to do, until he gave the order for the shout?

20. When they were not marching around the city, what did they do?

21. What was the order of the march?

22. What lesson can be learned by this seven day march?

23. The city shall be __________, even it and all that are therein.

24. Why was Rahab and her household saved?

25. All the metals are to be saved for what?

26. What are some of the possibilities why the walls fell?

27. What did the Israelites utterly destroy?

28. After they brought Rahab out, what did they do with the city?

29. What does "adjured", in verse 26, mean?

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Joshua 7

Joshua Chapter 7

Verses 1-5: Israel's defeat here is similar to an earlier setback against the Amalekites (Num. 14:39-45).

Joshua 7:1 "But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel."

The expression "committed a trespass" refers to a breaking of trust between two parties. The people of Israel broke trust with God when Achan took what was "accursed" in spite of the Lord's command that nothing should be taken from Jericho except the items that were consecrated to Him. (6:18-19).

Achan's "trespass" (literally "treacherous-secret act"), while personally condemnable (verses 20-21), also compromised the holiness of the entire nation. As a covenant nation, Israel functioned under the twin mandates of corporate solidarity (compare Deut. 6:18), and individual responsibility (Deut. 24:16). Accordingly, Israel had "committed a trespass" (compare verse 11), in Achan's sin. The incident was serious because such transgressions bring the holy name and reputation of God into disrepute (compare Deut. 9:26-29).

Achan is referred to as "Achar, the troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the accursed thing" (1 Chron. 2:7). He was stoned to death for violating the "ban" during the conquest of Jericho (verse 1). Achan stole 200 shekels of silver, a Babylonian garment, and a wedge of gold weighing 50 shekels and hid them in the earthen floor of his tent (verse 21). The sin of Achan was imputed to the whole nation (verses 11-12), and thus they were soundly defeated in the battle of Ai (verses 4-5). Israel learned the hard way that what one person does could affect the well-being of the whole nation. He was buried in the valley of Achor ("trouble"), verse 26). Achor is used in a figurative sense (in Isaiah 65:10 and Hosea 2:15), to describe the messianic age or the time of restoration that would result for the nation of Israel only after they passed through trouble (Joshua 7:1; 7:1-26).

In the last lesson, we found that God had forbidden the people to take anything from this evil city. It appears from this, that Achan has done the very thing God had forbidden them to do. He has been tempted, and taken of the accursed things. Notice that this is just one man who brought this terrible thing on the entire company of Israelites. This is similar to one minister going bad, and all Christendom suffering for it. Sin of this nature, has an effect upon this man, the family he was born into, the tribe he came from, his immediate family and the people of God in general. This cannot be tolerated.

Verses 2-5: Success makes people more vulnerable to temptation. Coming off of their victory at Jericho, the Israelites expected Ai to be easily conquered, especially since "they are but few". But in a shocking reversal, the Israelites were soundly defeated and suddenly they lost their courage (their "hearts" ... melted"). This defeat was humiliating, but God's judgment against Israel's sin would be horrifying.

Joshua 7:2 "And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which [is] beside Beth-aven, on the east side of Beth-el, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai."

The location of "Ai" has been disputed. The most commonly held theory that Ai was to be identified with Et-Tell ran into the problem that this site was not occupied during the time of the conquest. However, recent archaeological evidence convincingly suggest that Et-Tell is not the site of ancient Ai. Rather, the biblical location is to be identified with Khirbet Nisya, an identification that not only accords with the biblical data but is in harmony with the location of Ai given by the early historian Eusebius. Ai was also famous as one of the geographical places for the spot where Abram first pitched his tent and built an altar to the Lord (Gen. 12:8; 13:3-4).

"Ai" was a Canaanite city of Palestine (Gen. 12:8; Joshua 10:1), east of Bethel (Gen. 12:8), "Beside Beth-aven", and north of Michmash (Isa. 10:28). Abraham pitched his tent here before journeying to Egypt (Gen. 12:8). Ai figured prominently in Israel's conquest of Palestine (chapters 7 and 8). After the Israelites conquered Jericho, they were soundly defeated at Ai due to Achan's sin. Then Joshua sent 30,000 soldiers against Ai and captured the city by a clever military tactic. Although Ai was previously identified with Et-tell, a mound situated southeast of Bethel, recent archaeological discoveries at Khirbet Nisya, 10 miles north of Jerusalem, suggest strongly that it is the proper location. Ai is also called Aiath (Isa. 10:28), Aija (Neh. 11:31), and Hai (Gen. 12:8; 13:3).

This is the same as sending the spies to Jericho to search it out. Joshua sent these men, so there is nothing wrong with them searching out Ai, to take it.

Joshua 7:3 "And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; [and] make not all the people to labor thither; for they [are but] few."

After they had reconnoitered the place, they came back to their general, and gave it as their opinion, that there was no need for the whole army to go up against the city.

"But let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai": Such a number they judged were sufficient to take it.

"And make not all the people to labor thither": Carrying their tents, bearing their armor, and going uphill.

"For they are but few": The inhabitants of Ai. Men and women making but twelve thousand Joshua 8:25).

This is not a heavily fortified area, and it does not have many people to fight. The Hebrew spies, say it will take only two or three thousand men to take it.

Joshua 7:4 "So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai."

Joshua detached from the army the largest number proposed, that there might be strength enough to take the place. And those he sent under proper officers to Ai, who went up to the very gate of the city, as appears from (Joshua 7:5).

"And they fled before the men of Ai": For upon their appearing at the gate of their city, they came out with all their forces against them. And as soon as they did, the children of Israel durst not face them, but without engaging with them fled at once. God having forsaken them, their courage failed, the dread of their enemies falling on them.

Their confidence in their own ability sent them to a war not blessed of their God, and Israel fled before them.

Joshua 7:5 "And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them [from] before the gate [even] unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water."

In the pursuit of them, which were but few, but a sufficient rebuke of Providence. Their loss was but small, but their shame and disgrace great.

"For they chased them from before the gate": The gate of the city of Ai.

"Even unto Shebarim": Not that there was a place of this name before, but it was so called from hence, because there they were broken, as Kimchi observes. And the Targum and Jarchi render it, "until they were broken, "their lines broken, not being able to retreat in order, but were scattered, and fled to their camp as they could.

"And smote them in the going down": The hill from Ai; "Morad", rendered "going down", may be taken for the proper name of a place, and which, Kimchi says, was a place before Ai. In which there was a downward slope, and in that place they smote them when they fled.

"Wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water": That is, the whole body of the people, when this little army returned defeated. Their spirits failed them, their courage was lost, their nerves were loosed, and they became fatigued, faint, and feeble. Not that their loss was so great, but that they perceived God had forsaken them, and what the issue of this would be they dreaded.

When the Israelites saw they were defeated, they ran in fear. Israel lost 36 men in this battle. The Israelites had become over confident in their own ability, instead of knowing God had won Jericho for them. When they saw their men killed, they ran in fear.

Verses 6-15: God responded to Joshua's confusion by telling him to "get thee up" and deal with the sin in the camp. Sin has consequences, often far beyond the individual sinner. And that was particularly true among God's chosen people. In this case, an army was defeated "could not stand before their enemies"), 36 men died (7:5), and a man, his entire family, and all his possessions were destroyed (7:24-25).

Joshua 7:6 "And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads."

Joshua rent his clothes": In testimony of great sorrow, as (Gen. 37:34 44:13), for the loss felt. The consequent mischief feared, and the sin which he suspected.

"Fell to the earth upon his face": In deep humiliation and fervent supplication.

"Until the eventide": Continuing the whole day in fasting and prayer.

"Put dust upon their heads": As was usual in case of grief and astonishment (1 Sam. 4:12; 2 Sam. 1:2; 13:19; Jonah 3:6; Micah 1:10).

This is a sign of great mourning. Joshua knows that God was not with the men who went against Ai. He does not understand why God was not with them. God had told them to take this land. He and the elders fell on their faces before God and threw dust on their heads, trying to reach God. This was near the ark, where the LORD's presence was.

Joshua 7:7 "And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord GOD, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan!"

What a miserable and distressed condition are we in! Have pity and compassion on us. Who could have thought it, that this would have been our case?

"Wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us"? Who are mentioned either for the whole people of the land of Canaan; or rather, because the people of Israel were now in that part of the country which they inhabited. These words discover much weakness, uncertainty, and distrust, and bear some likeness to the murmurs of the children of Israel in the wilderness. But not proceeding from that malice of spirit theirs did, but from a concern for the good of the people and the glory of God, they are not resented by him.

"Would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan": In which he seems to cast the blame, not upon the Lord but upon himself and the people. Who were not content to dwell on the other side, but were desirous of a larger and better country. And now ruin seemed to be the consequent of that covetous disposition and discontented mind.

These are words that came from Joshua, because he did not understand why they had failed at Ai. He reminds God that this was God's request for them to come and take this land. They would have been perfectly satisfied with the land Gad, Reuben, and the half tribe of Manasseh received on the other side of Jordan. Joshua is like so many Christians today. When troubles come, he immediately decides God is not with them. It is almost as if he is blaming God for their failure.

Joshua 7:8 "O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies!"

For the comfort and encouragement of the people of Israel, in vindication of thy power and faithfulness. And against the charge of weakness in thyself, unfaithfulness to thy promises, and unkindness to thy people, brought by our enemies.

"When Israel hath turned their backs before their enemies?" Or after they have done it; what is to be said now, this being the case? He speaks as a man confounded, and at the utmost loss how to account for the power, the providence, and promises of God.

The only reason God allows Joshua to say all of this, is the fact he is unaware of the problem. It is a shame for them to turn their backs on the enemy. It is also saying, their God is not sufficient for these battles. Joshua sees this as a shame they have brought on God.

Joshua 7:9 "For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear [of it], and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name?"

"What wilt thou do unto thy great name"? The main issue is the glory and honor of God (compare Daniels's prayer in Dan. 9:16-19).

This would give their enemies confidence to come against Israel. The name of the LORD was glorified in the victories of Israel. This will bring shame to the people of God and to the LORD. When Christians, who are God's representatives on the earth go bad, it defames God as well as the person.

Joshua 7:10 "And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?"

From the ground where he lay prostrate, with his face to it. This he said, not as refusing his supplication to him, but rather as encouraging and strengthening him. Though chiefly he said this in order to instruct him, and that he might prepare for what he was to do.

"Wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?" In this manner, so distressed and dejected. Or for this thing, as the Targum. For this defeat of the army; something else is to be done besides prayer and supplication.

This is almost a reprimand of Joshua by the LORD. He says get up from there, and find out the reason for the problem. It is not God's fault that they failed, it is theirs. Praying to God will not fix this. Joshua must root out the problem and deal with it.

Verses 11-13: This is delivered as a summary of charges against "Israel", even though all the fighting men except one had complied with God's commands. God accused them of having: "sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant" (literally, "passing beyond a boundary"), "taken of the accursed thing ... stolen ... dissembled", and put stolen goods with their own things. As punishment, the entire nation "turned their backs before their enemies". This phrase had previously been used only of Israel's enemies, but now God threatened to bring destruction on Israel (6:17; Deut. 7:26).

Joshua 7:11 "Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put [it] even among their own stuff."

For though one only had committed the sin, others might have known of it, and connived at it. However, there was sin committed among them, and it must be discovered, the guilt charged, and punishment inflicted.

"Transgressed my covenant": i.e. broken the conditions of my covenant which I have commanded them, and they have promised to perform. In other words, obedience to all my commands (Exodus 19:8; 24:7). Whereof this was one, not to meddle with the accursed thing.

"Of the accursed thing": Which I charged them not to meddle with.

"And have also stolen": i.e. taken my portion which I had reserved (Joshua 6:19).

"Dissembled": Covered the fact with deep dissimulation, and a real, if not verbal, profession of their innocence. Possibly Achan might be suspected; and being accused, had denied it, or was resolved to deny it.

"Put it even among their own stuff": Converted it to their own use, and added obstinacy and resoluteness to the crime. Thus, he loads this sin with different crimes.

Now we see the cause of the problem. Israel has sinned. God will not bless them, when there is sin in the camp. God's blessings on Israel depended on their obedience to His commands. They have done the very thing He told them not to do. They have taken of the accursed things.

Joshua 7:12 "Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, [but] turned [their] backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you."

Being forsaken of God for the sin committed among them.

"But turned their backs before their enemies": Had not courage to face them, but fled as soon as they appeared.

"Because they were accursed": Of God for the accursed thing that had been taken. As was threatened would be their case, should they take any of it (Joshua 6:18).

"Neither will I be with you any more, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you": That is, until they had put to death the person who had taken of the accursed thing, and made himself thereby accursed. And even all the camp of Israel; till this was done. The Lord would not be with them to protect and defend them, and give them success against their enemies.

God has removed His blessings from the entire house of Israel, until they rid themselves of this accursed thing and the accursed people who did this. The people became accursed, when they took the things.

Joshua 7:13 "Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, [There is] an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you."

The first step to dealing with their sin was for the entire nation to "sanctify" themselves (3:5). This means engaging in prescribed physical purification rites as a reminder of their inward sinfulness and God's holiness.

Israel is like the church in this. They are thought of as one body. They must remove the accursed, before the whole nation becomes accursed. "Sanctify" is to set aside for the purposes of God. They must ceremonially cleanse themselves and be ready to stand before God. The sin in the camp must be removed, before God will go with them in battle.

Verses 14-21: The threefold repetition of the phrase "the Lord shall take" (or taketh; in verse 14), reveals that God was behind the process of elimination that uncovered "Achan" as the disobedient one. Notice his verbs (in verse 21): after covetousness comes sin and hiding. This is reminiscent of Adam and Eve's behavior (in Genesis chapter 3).

Joshua 7:14 "In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, [that] the tribe which the LORD taketh shall come according to the families [thereof]; and the family which the LORD shall take shall come by households; and the household which the LORD shall take shall come man by man."

One or more of every tribe, according to the number of them. Were to be brought the next morning before Joshua and the elders of Israel, the Sanhedrim and council of the nation, and very probably the tabernacle, where they assembled for this purpose.

"And it shall be, that the tribe which the Lord taketh": How a tribe and so a family or household were taken is differently understood. It seems best to understand the whole affair as done by casting lots; so Josephus and Ben Gersom. And they might in this way be said to be taken by the Lord, because the disposition of the lot is by him (Prov. 16:33). Now it is said, that the tribe that should be taken, as Judah was, from what follows.

"Shall come according to the families thereof": That is, the families in that tribe, meaning the heads of them, as Kimchi well observes. These were to come to the place where the lots were cast.

"And the family which the Lord shall take shall come by households": On whatsoever family in the tribe the lot should fall. The heads of households in that family should appear and have lots cast on them.

"And the household which the Lord shall take shall come man by man": That household that should be taken by lot, the men thereof. The heads of the house, should come each of them and have lots cast on them, that the particular man that sinned might be discovered.

For the casting of lots, see the note at (1 Sam. 14:41-42).

All of the tribes must appear before the LORD. The LORD will separate out the tribe where the problem is. Then that tribe will pass before the LORD, and He will separate out a family where the problem is. The households of that family, in turn will pass before the LORD in judgement, and God will separate out the household with the problem. The last judgement will separate the individual man that caused the problem.

Verses 15, 24 and 25: Achan's family faced execution with him. They were regarded as co-conspirators in what he did. They helped cover up his guilt and withheld information from others. Similarly, family members died in Korah's rebellion (Num. chapter 16), Haman's fall (Esther 9:13-14), and after Daniel's escape (Dan. 6:24).

Joshua 7:15 "And it shall be, [that] he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel."

He that is taken by lot, and the accursed thing found with him, this should be the death. Burning, one of the four capital punishments with the Jews. This was ordered in this case, because the city of Jericho, accursed or devoted, was burnt with fire (Joshua 6:24).

"He and all that he hath": The particulars of which are enumerated (Joshua 7:24).

"Because he hath transgressed the covenant of the Lord": (see notes on Joshua 7:11).

"And because he hath wrought folly in Israel": As all sin and every transgression of the law is, and was the cause of Israel's turning their backs on their enemies. Which, as Abarbinel says, was folly, and made the people of Israel look foolish, mean, and contemptible. The word has also the signification of a dead carcass, and may possibly have respect, to the thirty-six men whose death he was the occasion of (Joshua 7:5). And therefore, justly ought to die himself.

The cleansing of the camp has to be with fire. The accursed thing, and everyone who has come into contact with it, must be burned to cleanse the camp. Even all his possessions shall be burned, because they have become accursed too. The sin is the breaking of the covenant with the LORD.

Joshua 7:16 "So Joshua rose up early in the morning, and brought Israel by their tribes; and the tribe of Judah was taken:"

Which showed his readiness and diligence to obey the command of God. And as there was much work to do, it required that he should rise early.

"And brought Israel by their tribes": Before the Lord, at the tabernacle, where he and the high priest and elders attended. Each tribe was brought by their representatives.

"And the tribe of Judah was taken": Either his stone in the breastplate of the high priest looked dull, as some say, or rather the lot being cast fell on that tribe.

God first revealed that the person was of the tribe of Judah.

Joshua 7:17 "And he brought the family of Judah; and he took the family of the Zarhites: and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man; and Zabdi was taken:"

That is, the tribe of Judah, as Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret it. Or rather, the several families in that tribe, even the heads of them.

"And he took the family of the Zarhites": Which descended from Zerah the son of Judah. That was taken by lot.

"And he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man": And cast lots on them.

"And Zabdi was taken": That part of the family of the Zarhites which sprung from Zabdi, a son of Zerah.

Now we see the family of Zabdi separated out as the guilty family.

Joshua 7:18 "And he brought his household man by man; and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken."

The household of Zabdi, the heads of each house therein.

"And Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken": The lot fell upon him, and he was laid hold on, and detained.

The household of Achan was separated out.

Joshua 7:19 "And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide [it] not from me."

To show that this severe inquisition and sentence did not proceed from any hatred to his person, which he loved as a father doth his son. And as a prince ought to do each of his subjects.

"Give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel": As thou hast highly dishonored him, now take the shame and blame to thyself, and ascribe unto God the glory of his omniscience in knowing thy sin. Of his justice in punishing it in thee, and others for thy sake. Of his omnipotence, which was obstructed by thee. And of his kindness and faithfulness to his people, which was eclipsed by thy wickedness. All which will now be evident by thy sin confessed and punished.

"And make confession unto him": Of the sin he had been guilty of. This Joshua might urge, partly for his own good, who might more reasonably expect the forgiveness of his sin. So it is said in the Misnah, whoever confesses has a part in the world to come, for so we find concerning Achan (Joshua 7:19). And partly for the glory of God, this being the instance in which he is directed to give it to him.

"And tell me now what thou hast done, hide it not from me": What were the particular things he had taken. The lot showed he had taken something, but what that was, as yet was unknown, and where it was. And this Joshua desires him he would inform him of and satisfy him about, and without any reserve openly declare the truth.

Now that God has singled Achan out, Joshua wants him to tell what he has done and repent.

Joshua 7:20 "And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done:"

He made a free and open confession of his sin.

"Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel". Against him who had been so good to Israel in many instances, and particularly in delivering Jericho into their hands in so extraordinary a manner. Against a law of his, respecting the spoil of that city, which sin was the more aggravated thereby. And that he had committed the sin he was taken for and charged with, he owns was a true and real fact.

"And thus and thus have I done": Such and such things have I taken, and in the manner as follows.

Achan knows he is caught and begins to confess his sin in detail. He knows his only chance lies in forgiveness.

Joshua 7:21 "When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they [are] hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it."

"I saw": There are 4 steps in the progress of Achan's sin. "I say ... I coveted ... took ... hid". David's sin with Bathsheba followed the same path (2 Sam. chapter 11; compare James 1:14-15).

"A goodly Babylonish garment": A costly, ornate robe beautified by colored figures of men or animals, woven or done in needlework, and perhaps trimmed with jewels. The word is used for a king's robe (in Jonah 3:6).

One of the ten commandments of God is, "Thou shalt not covet". He has broken God's law. He did not confess until after he was found out. It is too late for forgiveness. The silver and gold belonged to God, so he has stolen from the LORD. The garment was unclean and should have been burned. He knew how bad this was, he had buried the things in the floor of his tent.

Verses 22-25: Achan's sin was dealt with swiftly ("messengers ... ran"), publicly "took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them ... before the Lord", and completely so that at this pivotal point in Israel's history, the people would understand the need for complete obedience. There is no victory where sin is present.

Joshua 7:22 "So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, [it was] hid in his tent, and the silver under it."

Directly to Achan's tent, to see if it was as he had said, and to bring the things with them.

"And they ran unto the tent": Either for joy that the iniquity was discovered, as Kimchi. Or that none of the tribe of Judah or of Achan's family or relations should get there before them, and take them from thence and make void the lot; so Jarchi, Ben Gersom, and Abarbinel. But, no doubt, it is remarked, to show the readiness and diligence of the messengers to obey the order of Joshua.

"And, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it": As Achan had said.

This is immediately checked out and found to be true.

Joshua 7:23 "And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD."

Out of the place, hole, or pit in which they were hid.

"And brought them to Joshua and to the children of Israel": To Joshua as the chief ruler, and to the elders and heads of the tribes assembled together.

"And laid them out before the Lord": Or "poured them out". The golden wedge, out of the garment in which it was wrapped, and the two hundred shekels of silver found under it. It seems as if these were poured or laid out separately upon the ground before the tabernacle, where the ark of the Lord was. They belonging to the spoils which were devoted to him. As well as hereby they were plainly seen by the Israelites, that these were the very things which Achan had confessed.

This is speaking of the accursed things found in the possession of Achan. The sin is exposed to the entire camp. The punishment here, will serve as a warning to the others not to commit a similar sin.

Verses 24-26: "All Israel" bore Achan's guilt, so it must participate in carrying out the divine sentence. Two different Hebrew words are used for the act of stoning; ragam (verse 25a), stresses that the act was a form of capital punishment; saqal (verse 25b), emphasizes that the resultant "heap of stones" (verse 26), would serve as a grim memorial of the fruits of selfish lust and willful disobedience. Achan means "Trouble". Achan's name is rendered Achar (in 1 Chron. 2:7).

"Achan" sounds similar to the Hebrew term for "trouble". Since the accursed things were hidden in his tent, Achan's family was probably complicit in his sin. They were killed along with him so that the sin could be rooted out completely. This thorough response abated the "fierceness" of the Lord's "anger".

Joshua 7:24 "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."

Joshua and all Israel are mentioned, to show the perfect agreement between Joshua and the heads of the people in this affair of Achan. And in the nature and manner of his punishment.

"And the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold": Which, though devoted to sacred uses, yet having been converted to another's use, and made his property. Was not to be employed in the service of the sanctuary, but to be burnt with him.

"And his sons and his daughters": Though, as Achan may be supposed to be a man in years, being but the fourth generation from Judah. His sons and daughters were grown up in all probability, and might be accessories in this affair. And so, as some Jewish writers remark, were worthy of death. Because they saw and knew what was done, and were silent and did not declare it. And it seems by what is said (Joshua 22:20); that they died as well as Achan. Since it is there said, "that man perished not alone in his iniquity". Though it may be interpreted of his substance, his cattle, perishing with him. And indeed from (Joshua 7:25); it seems as if none were stoned but himself, that is, of his family. No mention is made of his wife, who, if he had any, as Kimchi observes, knew nothing of the matter, it being hid from her.

"And his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep": In which lay his substance, as that of the eastern people generally did.

"And his tent, and all that he had": The tent he and his family dwelt in, with all the household goods in it.

"And they brought them unto the valley of Achor": So called by anticipation here. For it had its name from the trouble Achan gave to Israel, and with which he was troubled himself.

The reason for all of Israel being involved in the punishment, is to show their disgust of the sin committed. The family and everything else Achan owned were accursed, because of their near contact with the accursed thing. They were brought to be destroyed along with Achan.

The valley of Achor was above Jericho. "Achor" means trouble.

Joshua 7:25 "And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones."

Been the occasion of so much trouble to us, by committing this sin.

"The Lord shall trouble thee this day": By the destruction of him and all that belonged to him. This is said to show that his punishment was of God, and according to his will. In the Misnah an emphasis is laid on the phrase "this day", and it is observed, "this day thou shalt be troubled, but thou shalt not be troubled in the world to come". Suggesting that though temporal punishment was inflicted on him, yet his iniquity was forgiven, and he would be saved with an everlasting, salvation. And as it may be hoped from the ingenuous confession that he made, that he had true repentance for it, and forgiveness of it.

"And all Israel stoned him with stones": Hence some gather, that only Achan himself suffered death, and not his sons and daughters.

"And burnt them with fire after they had stoned them with stones": Which the Jewish commentators understand of his oxen, asses, and sheep; so Jarchi, Ben Gersom, and Abarbinel. Likewise, his tent, and household goods, the Babylonish garment, gold and silver, were burnt, and he himself also, for that is the express order (Joshua 7:15). The Jews say, as particularly Jarchi observes, that he was stoned because he profaned the Sabbath, it being on the Sabbath day that Jericho was taken. And stoning was the punishment of the Sabbath breaker, and he was burnt on the account of the accursed thing; so Abendana.

Notice all Israel was involved in their stoning to show their disapproval of their sin. After they were dead from the stoning, they burned them and everything they owned. There would be nothing of it left to contaminate the camp. Joshua's question is valid. They had brought grief on all of the Israelites with their sins.

Joshua 7:26 "And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day."

As a monument of the sin and judgment here mentioned, that others might be instructed and warned by the example. And as a brand of infamy (as Joshua 8:29; 2 Sam. 18:17).

"Wherefore the name of the place was called the valley of Achor unto this day": From the trouble Achan met with, and the people of Israel on his account (see Joshua 7:24). And so it was called in the days of Isaiah and Hosea (Isaiah 65:10). And where it is prophesied of as what should be in time to come. According to Bunting, it was twelve miles from Jerusalem.

We remember that heaps of stones were done in memorials of things that happened. This heap would be a constant reminder of what sin will bring. It is correct for this place to be called valley of trouble (Achor). God is satisfied the sin is removed, and ceases His anger.

Joshua Chapter 7 Questions

1. How had Israel committed a trespass against God?

2. Who committed the sin?

3. What tribe was he from?

4. This one man bringing this terrible thing is similar to what for the Christians?

5. Where did Joshua send spies?

6. What report did the spies bring back to Joshua?

7. How many men went to Ai to fight?

8. What happened to them?

9. How many of Israel died?

10. What did Joshua do in grief over the lost battle?

11. Who mourned with Joshua?

12. What rash statement does Joshua make to God?

13. The name of the LORD was glorified in the ____________ of Israel.

14. When Christians go bad, it __________ God, as well as the person?

15. What does God tell Joshua to do, that is almost a reprimand?

16. What must Joshua do?

17. What was the sin?

18. When will God return to bless Israel?

19. How is Israel like the church in this?

20. What must they do, before standing before God?

21. By what process of elimination shall God set the guilty person out?

22. What will happen to the person found with the accursed thing?

23. Who, besides Achan, was stoned to death?

24. What was done, after they were stoned to death?

25. What had Achan taken?

26. Who did the metals belong to?

27. Where had he hidden the accursed thing?

28. Who stoned them?

29. What was the purpose in this?

30. Who had Achan brought grief upon?

31. What does "Achor" mean?

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Joshua 8

Joshua Chapter 8

Joshua 8:1 "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:"

God repeated His declaration to Joshua that the battle before them was already won; they simply had to obey Him and carry out the victory (1:9; 6:2; Deut. 1:21; 7:18). To succeed, Israel would have to live God's way.

The LORD encourages Joshua here. The first time they had sent 3,000 men. This time the LORD tells them to take all of the fighting men. God is with them, and Ai will crumble and fall. It is no problem to defeat all obstacles before them, if the Lord is with them. The real enemy they face is sin that might crop up in their own ranks.

Joshua 8:2 "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."

No explanation is offered as to why the spoils of victory at Jericho were accursed but the "spoil" for "Ai" was not. Whether or not God's commands make sense to His people, they can submit without fear, knowing that He always acts righteously.

Possibly as a reward for collective obedience, the ban is not applied strictly to "Ai" as it had been to "Jericho", but the more customary war regulations are (compare Deut. 24-35; 3:6-7).

Christians are in constant warfare with the devil, or the lust of their own flesh. God is with us and we are victorious, when we stay faithful to Him. Even though God sees that we have victory, we still have to fight the war. We notice in the verse above, that they may keep the spoil of Ai, unlike the spoil of Jericho which was accursed. They are allowed to keep the cattle as well. This ambush is to keep them from running away.

Verses 3-12: The variance in numbers of the men assigned to the ambush as well as the difficulty in determining the precise chronology of the details of the campaign caused some doubt as to the trustworthiness of the scriptural record. Assuming that the figures (in verses 3 and 12), refer to the same group, since "Ai's" casualty figures are a mere "twelve thousand" (verse 25), a force in ambush of "thirty thousand" men seems disproportionate. The word translated "thousand" may also be understood in the sense of "leaders" or even "contingents". Thus, there could be 30 leaders or contingents that made up the five thousand men in ambush. The logistics of concealing five thousand men also seems difficult.

Verses 3-29: God instructed Joshua to lay a trap for Ai. This battle plan was much more conventional than the one for Jericho. It too worked, and God gave the victory. This time, "Israel" obeyed "according to the "word of the Lord" in every detail.

Joshua 8:3 "So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up against Ai: and Joshua chose out thirty thousand mighty men of valor, and sent them away by night."

As the Lord had commanded him.

"And Joshua chose out thirty thousand mighty men of valor": Out of all the men of war. These were a select company, picked men, not the whole army, as some have thought. For he was ordered to take all the people of war, as he did.

"And sent them away by night": From the main army, that they might pass the city and get behind it undiscovered, for they were sent for an ambush. And of these some were to take the city, and be left in it to burn it. And some to smite the men of Ai, as Abarbinel notes.

"Thirty thousand mighty men": Joshua's elite force was far superior to that of Ai, with a mere 12,000 total population (8:25). This time Joshua took no small force presumptuously (compare 7:3-4), but had 30,000 to sack and burn Ai, a decoy group to lure defenders out (verses 5-6), and a third detachment of about 5,000 to prevent Beth-el from helping Ai (verse 12).

This is ten times the number that went against Ai the first time. It appears that Joshua assaulted Ai with 30,000 men. It also appears from another Scripture, that 5,000 men were used in ambush. They moved by night, so as not to be detected. Notice God has Joshua to figure out the details of the battle plan. God will help us, but we must put out effort as well.

Joshua 8:4 "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:"

At the time he sent them away.

"Behold, ye shall lie in wait against the city, even behind the city": That is, on the west side of it (Joshua 8:9).

"Go not very far from the city, but be ye all ready": To enter into it, as soon as the forces are drawn out eastward to meet the army of Israel.

He moved the entire army near to the city. They were to wait there for further orders.

Joshua 8:5 "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 us, as at the first, that we will flee before them,"

That is, Joshua with the main body of the army would march up to the city the next morning, in order to draw out the inhabitants of it to fight them.

"And it shall come to pass, when they come out against us, as at the first": As they had done before, when the three thousand were sent against them (Joshua 7:4).

"That we will flee before them": As the three thousand did, which would animate them to pursue them with the greater eagerness, and to a distance from their city.

It appears that Joshua, has chosen some men to go with him into the edge of the city. When Ai attacks this small group of soldiers, they will appear to be retreating and bring them to the men who are waiting outside the city.

Joshua 8:6 "(For they will come out after us) till we have drawn them from the city; for they will say, They flee before us, as at the first: therefore we will flee before them."

Of which there could be no doubt, when they should see them run from them.

"Till we have drawn them from the city": Some distance from it, that they could not return soon enough to save it from the ambush, or prevent their entrance into it, and burning it.

"For they will say, they will flee before us, as at the first": They run away as they did before, and let us pursue them and smite them as we did then.

"Therefore we will flee before them": To draw them out of the city, and make your way easy to get into it.

This is just a trick to get the fighting men of Ai out of the city, chasing this group led by Joshua.

Joshua 8:7 "Then ye shall rise up from the ambush, and seize upon the city: for the LORD your God will deliver it into your hand."

"God will deliver it into your hand": God had sovereignly caused Israel's defeat earlier due to
Achan's disobedience (7:1-5). Yet, this time, despite Israel's overwhelming numbers, God was still the sovereign power for this victory (8:7).

After Joshua has led the soldiers out of Ai. The 5,000 of Israel who had waited in ambush, will go in and take the city. The LORD is with them, so the trick will work.

Joshua 8:8 "And it shall be, when ye have taken the city, [that] ye shall set the city on fire: according to the commandment of the LORD shall ye do. See, I have commanded you."

Entered it and become masters of it.

"That ye shall set the city on fire": Not the whole city, only some outlying houses of it, to make a smoke which might be seen both by Israel and the men of Ai, for different purposes. For the spoil of the city was first to be taken before it was utterly burnt with fire.

"According to the commandment of the Lord shall ye do": Plunder the city, destroy the inhabitants of it, and then burn it.

"See I have commanded you": Delivered the command of the Lord unto them, and therefore were left without excuse, and could not plead ignorance. Besides, he was their general, and he expected his orders to be obeyed, as they ought to have been.

This city is like Jericho. It is to be destroyed by fire after they have taken it. There is no other reason given for this, than the fact that God commands it.

Joshua 8:9 "Joshua therefore sent them forth: and they went to lie in ambush, and abode between Beth-el and Ai, on the west side of Ai: but Joshua lodged that night among the people."

The thirty thousand chosen men.

"And they went to lie in ambush": As they were ordered (Joshua 8:2).

"And abode between Beth-el and Ai, on the west side of Ai": For as Ai was on the east of Beth-el (Joshua 7:2). Bethel must be on the west of Ai, as Jarchi notes.

"But Joshua lodged that night among the people": The main body of the army, to direct them in the affair of war, how they should behave the next day, when they came to fight. And to inspire them with courage and confidence, that they might not be afraid, because of their having been smitten before by this people, so Ben Gersom. Or rather that he and they might be ready in the morning to march towards Ai, as Jarchi and Kimchi.

It appears there were 30,000 fighting men, and 5,000 of them lay in ambush, waiting for Joshua to draw them out of the city.

Joshua 8:10 "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."

To see if there were any wanting, and to put them in proper order for their march.

"And went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai": These elders were either the seventy elders who went with Joshua as council to him; or it may be rather they were inferior officers, who went at the head of their respective corps under them.

This is not the same as the numbering in the book of numbers. This is a surveying of the troops. Joshua and the elders led the way into Ai.

Joshua 8:11 "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 was] a valley between them and Ai."

To the city of Ai:

"And came before the city": As if they intended to besiege it, storm it, or force an entrance into it.

"And pitched on the north side of Ai": Which was judged fittest for the purpose.

"Now there was a valley between them and Ai": Which the Rabbins call the valley of Halacha, as Jarchi says. So that they were upon a hill, at least on rising ground, and might the more easily be seen by the inhabitants of Ai. Whom they wanted to draw out of their city.

The other troops were stationed on the west side, and these are on the north side. There was just a valley between them and Ai.

Joshua 8:12 "And he took about five thousand men, and set them to lie in ambush between Beth-el and Ai, on the west side of the city."

This was another ambush, as both Jarchi and Kimchi observe. And the latter adds, perhaps he set them nearer the city than the former. And they suppose that Joshua had with him but thirty thousand men in all, five thousand of which he sent to lie in ambush, and the other twenty-five thousand remained with him.

"Between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city": And though they were on the same side of the city with the first and larger ambush. Yet, as Abarbinel observes, they might be set nearer the city and to the army.

This seems to be a repetition of the earlier verse. It appears this 5,000 is part of the whole.

Joshua 8:13 "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."

In battle array (as in 1 Kings 20:12); that is, Joshua and the officers of the army.

"Even all the host that was on the north of the city": Where Joshua and the main army were.

"And the liers in wait on the west of the city": Both the first and second ambush. When all, were prepared and got ready by their several officers, to act the part they were to do.

"Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley. According to Ben Gersom, to see whether the guards or sentinels which were placed there were awake or asleep. Lest the men of Ai should come suddenly upon them and smite them. But perhaps it might be to pray and meditate.

It seems that Joshua left a group on the west and on the north, and then took a group to the middle of the valley near Ai to entice the army into the ambush.

Joshua 8:14 "And it came to pass, when the king of Ai saw [it], that they hasted and rose up early, and the men of the city went out against Israel to battle, he and all his people, at a time appointed, before the plain; but he wist not that [there were] liers in ambush against him behind the city."

Not the ambush on the west side, but the host or army on the north side. Or however, some of his people gave him notice of it.

"That they hasted and rose up early": Or made haste to rise out of their beds, on the alarm given of Israel's near approach.

"And the men of the city went out against Israel to battle": Being raised out of their beds and clothed with armor, and put into a military order, they marched out with their king at the head of them, to give Israel battle.

"He and all his people, at a time appointed, before the plain": Which was before the city, the same with the valley mentioned (Joshua 8:11). The city was built on an eminence, and this plain or valley lay at the bottom of it. And on an eminence on the other side of the valley the army of Israel was pitched. Wherefore the king of Ai and all his men of war went out to attack Israel, and this is said to be at an appointed time. It is difficult to say what is meant by it, when they seem to have hurried out as best as they could, as soon as they perceived the Israelites were near them. Ben Gersom and Abarbinel think it was the same time of the day they went out at first, which the king might choose as lucky, being before successful. And to encourage the men, that as they conquered them before, they should now. Which seems not amiss, though perhaps it rather designs an appointed place, as their rendezvous, and where to attack Israel, and where they had been before victorious.

"But he wist not that there were liers in ambush against him behind the city": That he knew nothing of, and therefore took no precaution against them to prevent their plan.

It appears that the trap worked. The king of Ai came out into the valley to fight with Joshua and his men. The ambush took place at this point.

Joshua 8:15 "And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness."

Or smitten, as some of them might be in the pursuit.

"And fled by the way of the wilderness": Not a barren desert, but, according to Kimchi and Ben Melech, a place for the pasture of cattle. Though perhaps it is the same with the wilderness of Beth-aven.

Joshua pretended to be beaten, all the while leading the men of Ai away from the city.

Joshua 8:16 "And all the people that [were] in Ai were called together to pursue after them: and they pursued after Joshua, and were drawn away from the city."

Because the host of Israel was very numerous, it was judged proper that all the people in Ai should assist in pursuing them. Not only to kill the more in the pursuit, but to carry off the spoil and prisoners they should take. Or rather the sense is, that all the people in Ai, which were come out with the king to battle, when they saw Israel flee, "cried", or shouted, as soldiers do when victorious, "in" or "while pursuing" after them.

"And they pursued after Joshua, and were drawn away from the city": At some considerable distance from it; which was the design to be answered by faking a flight.

The shouting of the men of Ai was a victorious shout, which drew the people to follow and see the victory.

Joshua 8:17 "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."

For as these two places were very near to each other, but a mile apart. They were in confederacy, and acted together, and could easily be called to the help of each other when required. Though there is a difficulty how the men of Beth-el could join those of Ai, when the ambush lay between them both (Joshua 8:12). They either went another way, or the ambush purposely let them pass, for fear of a discovery by a skirmish with them. And that Bethel as well as Ai might be cleared of its armed inhabitants, and so fall an easy prey to them as well as Ai. This must be understood only of men of war; for otherwise there were inhabitants left, as old men, and such as were unfit for war, afterwards slain (Joshua 8:24).

"And they left the city open": They did not stay to shut the gates, nor left porters or any guards about, to take care of, protect, and defend the city.

"And pursued after Israel": With great eagerness and vehemence, not having the least apprehension of their city being in any danger.

This explains that every man went with the pursuit of Joshua and the army of Israel, not even realizing they were leaving their city open for attack.

Joshua 8:18 "And the LORD said unto Joshua, Stretch out the spear that [is] in thy 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."

"The spear": Joshua's hoisted spear represented the go-ahead indicator to occupy Ai. Possibly the raising was even a signal of confidence in God: "for I will give it into thine hand". Earlier, Moses' uplifted rod and arms probably signified trusting contact with God for victory over Amalek (Exodus 17:8-13).

This spear seemed to be the signal to those lying in ambush in the north and the west to go and take Ai. This is similar to Moses stretching out the staff God had given him, and bringing judgement from God.

Joshua 8:19 "And the ambush arose quickly out of their place, and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand: and they entered into the city, and took it, and hasted and set the city on fire."

As soon as the sentinels set in proper places observed the signal, and gave them notice of it. Which was the stretching out of the spear, as appears by what follows.

"And they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand": And the spear in his hand; from whence it is plain, that though the Lord is said to bid Joshua do this now, he had orders from him for it before and the ambush must have been made acquainted with it before they were sent away. And this was only a renewal of the order from the Lord, and which pointed out the proper time, the very crisis, when it should be stretched out.

"And they entered into the city": Without any difficulty, the gates being open.

"And took it": Took possession of it, and the strong holds in it.

"And hasted and set the city on fire": That is, they made haste to set some houses on fire as the signal to the army of Israel to return.

They not only take the city, but set fire to it as well.

Joshua 8:20 "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."

On some account or another, perhaps observing that the army of Israel made a full stop and was gazing at the city.

"They saw, and, behold, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven": From whence they concluded an enemy was there, and had set fire to it.

"And they had no power to flee this way or that way": For if they turned back to their city there was an enemy, how powerful they knew not, possessed of it, and whom they might expect would meet them. And if they pushed forward, there was the whole army of Israel against them, which now turned and faced them, showing no fear of them.

"And the people that fled to the wilderness turned back upon the pursuers": The people of Israel, that fled by the way of the wilderness (Joshua 8:15), turned about, and fell upon the men of Ai that pursued them.

When the men of Ai saw the fire, they knew they had been tricked. There is now nowhere to run, because Joshua and his men are on one side and the men who set fire to Ai are on the other.

Joshua 8:21 "And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city, and that the smoke of the city ascended, then they turned again, and slew the men of Ai."

"And all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city": Which they knew by the smoke, as follows.

"And that the smoke of the city ascended": In large columns, which sufficiently indicated that the whole city was taken and fired by the ambush.

"They turned again and slew the men of Ai": Great numbers of them.

Joshua had not been afraid at all. They had lured the men out of the city. Now they turn on the men of Ai and kill them.

Joshua 8:22 "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."

That is, the ambush, or at least a part of them.

"So that they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side": Or, as we commonly say, they were between two fires, the ambush on one side, the army of Israel on the other.

"And they smote them, so that they let none of them remain or escape": Not one was saved alive, excepting their king (as in Joshua 8:23). No quarter was given them, nor any suffered to make their escape.

By this time the men who had been in the city, have turned on the troops of Ai from the other side of where Joshua attacked them. They kill every one of them.

Joshua 8:23 "And the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him to Joshua."

They spared him, and reserved him for a more shameful death.

"And brought him to Joshua": Their general; delivering him into his hands as his prisoner, to do will, him as seemed good in his sight.

Joshua 8:24 "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."

That came out against them.

"In the field, in the wilderness wherein they chased them": Both in the suitable farming lands that were sown with corn, and now covered with it. The wheat especially, not being gathered in, as not yet ripe, and in the pasture ground, designed by the wilderness (see Joshua 8:15).

"And when they were all fallen on the edge of the sword": And were slain by it.

"Until they were consumed": And not one left.

"That all the Israelites returned unto Ai": Both the ambush that came out of it, and the army that came against it.

"And smote it with the edge of the sword": That is, the inhabitants that were left in it unfit for war, as old men, infirm persons, women and children, as follows.

When they had made sure they killed all of them in the field, they returned to Ai and sought out any that might have lived through the fire, and killed them.

Joshua 8:25 "And [so] it was, [that] all that fell that day, both of men and women, [were] twelve thousand, [even] all the men of Ai."

Partly in the city, and partly in the field, both by the ambush and the army: both of men and women.

"Were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai": So that the city was not a very large one, and the numbers of inhabitants were comparatively but few (as in Joshua 7:3).

The city perhaps, had more people than 12,000. That was the number of adult men and women that were killed. It appears from this, that there were no men left alive, except for the king who had been taken to Joshua.

Joshua 8:26 "For Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai."

But continued it, and that stretched out.

"Until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai": Just as the hand of Moses was held up, and kept held up until Amalek was destroyed by Joshua (Exodus 17:12).

Joshua kept his spear pointed out to cause the people to continue to fight, until all of the inhabitants were killed.

Joshua 8:27 "Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took for a prey unto themselves, according unto the word of the LORD which he commanded Joshua."

Even all their substance, as besides their cattle, also their gold, silver, household goods, merchandise, etc.

"According unto the word of the Lord which he commanded Joshua": (Joshua 8:2).

The animals are to be saved, as gains from war. God allows them to spoil Ai. God had said it was alright to take spoil here.

Joshua 8:28 "And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it a heap for ever, [even] a desolation unto this day."

The whole city, fire being only set before to a few houses, to make a smoke as a signal. He did with it as he had done with Jericho, for so he was ordered (Joshua 8:2).

"And made it a heap for ever": That is, for a long time, for it appears to have been rebuilt, and to have been inhabited by the Jews, after their return from their Babylonish captivity (Neh. 11:31).

"Even a desolation unto this day": To the time of the writing of this book; and by what has been just observed, it appears that Ezra could not be the writer of it, since this city was inhabited in his time.

The city of Ai was not only destroyed, but cursed for generations to come. This burning by Joshua was in addition to the burning the soldiers had done. This speaks of total destruction.

Joshua 8:29 "And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase 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."

"The king of Ai": The complete execution of Ai's populace included hanging even the king. This wise move prevented later efforts to muster a Canaanite army. Further, as a wicked king, he was worthy of punishment according to biblical standards (Deut. 21:22; Joshua 10:26-27). This carried out the vengeance of God on His enemies.

These details are in harmony with the scriptural injunctions in (Deut. 21:22-23), and the action taken against Achan (7:26; see also 10:26-27). With this, the shameful campaign for "Ai" ended.

Joshua hanged the king of Ai as an example to all that looked on, and those other nations who heard about it. It is written, cursed is everyone who hangeth on a tree. The carcase was taken to the gate of the city, and buried under a pile of rocks as a memorial of this evil man.

Verses 30-35: This ceremony took place in obedience to (Deut. 27:1-26), at the conclusion of Joshua's central campaign (compare 6:1 - 8:35).

Thanks is offered to God for giving victory. The altar, in obedience to the instruction of (Exodus 20:24-26), was built of uncut stones, thus keeping worship simple and untainted by man's showmanship. Joshua gave God's Word a detailed and central place. This special commemoration service in this perfectly suited location was specified by "Moses" (Deut. Chapter 27).

Joshua 8:30 "Then Joshua built an altar unto the LORD God of Israel in mount Ebal,"

The erection of the "altar" on "mount Ebal", as the initial phase of the conquest ends, may be a conscious repetition of Abraham's earlier practices as he entered Canaan (compare Gen. 12:7-8). In any case, it was in clear obedience to the Mosaic command (compare Exodus 20:24-25; Deut. 27:2-6). The building of the altar, the offering of sacrifices, the inscribing of the law, and the reading of what Moses had ordered all point to a ceremony of covenant renewal at this time. Having come into the Land of Promise, the people were entering a new phase of existence that called for worship and obedience to their God and King. In a distinctive way, they were to consider themselves on active duty in His service.

"Mount Ebal" is about 3,109 feet above sea level, forming the north side of the Shechem pass opposite Mount Gerizim in the Samaritan hills (Deut. 11:29). Moses gave instructions to the Israelites concerning a religious ceremony they should observe after they crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land. The people were to whitewash stones with lime, set them on Mount Ebal, and build an altar to the Lord (Deut. 27:4-5). Later on, Joshua and the leaders did all these things as Moses had commanded (verses 30-35). When Joshua read the blessings of the law, the people on Mount Gerizim responded with an "Amen"; when he read the curses of the law, the people on Mount Ebal responded with an "Amen". Thus, Mount Ebal became known as the Mount of Cursing. The tops of the two mountains are about two miles distant from each other. Jebel Eslamiyeh is the modern name of Mount Ebal.

This is a place to worship God, and thank Him for the victories. There would be no opposition to this type of thing, because of the example Joshua had made of Ai's king. The surrounding people would be terrified.

Joshua 8:31 "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 lift up [any] iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings."

(See Deut. 27:5).

"An altar of whole stones, on which no man hath lift up any iron" (see Exodus 20:25; Deut. 27:5-6).

"And they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the Lord, and sacrificed peace offerings": By way of thanksgiving for the good land they were introduced into, and this was what they were ordered to do by Moses (Deut. 27:6).

This is a verification that this was written after the book of Deuteronomy. These sacrifices were made, to continue the blessings of God upon these people.

Joshua 8:32 "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."

Not upon the stones of which the altar was made, though some have so thought. But upon other stones erected in the form of a pillar, and plastered over (Deut. 27:4). Which copy of the law was not the whole book of Deuteronomy, as some, at least only an abstract of the laws in it. But rather the Decalogue, as Abarbinel; or the blessings and curses later read, as Ben Gersom.

"Which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel": They being witness of it, that he did what was enjoined.

These stones were plastered, as they had received instructions to do (in Deut. chapter 27).

Deuteronomy 27:2-4 "And it shall be on the day when ye shall pass over Jordan unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, that thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaster them with plaster:" "And thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over, that thou mayest go in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, a land that floweth with milk and honey; as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee." "Therefore it shall be when ye be gone over Jordan, [that] ye shall set up these stones, which I command you this day, in mount Ebal, and thou shalt plaster them with plaster."

Joshua has done exactly as God had commanded, and has written the law on these stones.

Joshua 8:33 "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 LORD, 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."

Some on Ebal, and some on Gerizim.

"Before the priests and the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord": In full view of them.

"As well the stranger, as he that was born among them": That is, as well the proselytes as the native Israelites, both appeared and were in the same situation.

"Half of them over against Mount Gerizim": That is, half of the tribes, and these were Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin.

"And half of them over against Mount Ebal": Which were the tribes of Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali (see notes on Deut. 27:12-13).

"As Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel": As in (Deut. 27:12).

The presence of God, symbolized by the Ark, was in the middle of the people. The people were gathered and blessed of God.

Joshua 8:34 "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."

Not the whole Pentateuch, nor the whole book of Deuteronomy, but either some parts of it, the Decalogue, or whatsoever he had written on the stones, and as follows.

"The blessings and cursings, according to all that was written in the book of the law": (Deut. 27:14; see note on Deut. 27:11).

This law was read to all the people, because it was the law of the people. They would be without excuse. They all knew the law, from the least to the greatest.

Joshua 8:35 "There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them."

Since it was possible for the women and children to sin, they must hear the law as well. Even the stranger that lived among them was subject to the law. A person could not keep the law, unless he knew what the law was. It was very important that it be read aloud to the people.

Joshua Chapter 8 Questions

1. What does the LORD tell Joshua, in verse 1, to encourage him?

2. What is the real enemy they face?

3. What will be different about their destruction of Ai from the destruction of Jericho?

4. Christians are in constant battle against the _______.

5. How can we win the battle?

6. How many men did Joshua send out by night?

7. What were these men that went out by night, to do?

8. Where will Joshua go?

9. Why will Joshua appear to be running from them?

10. After the men of Ai come out to chase Joshua, what will those lying in ambush do?

11. Where were the two places the men were waiting in ambush?

12. When they take the city, what are they to do to it?

13. What is the numbering, in verse 10, speaking of?

14. Where did Joshua go to entice the men of Ai to chase him?

15. What does verse 15 say that Joshua pretended?

16. Why were the men of Ai shouting?

17. What did Joshua stretch out, that caused the men in ambush to move on the city?

18. What is this spear similar to?

19. What did the men of Ai realize, when they saw the city burning?

20. Who slew the men of Ai?

21. Who was the only one kept alive?

22. They took the king to __________.

23. How many men and women fell that day?

24. How many men were left alive?

25. What did God tell the Israelites they could take at Ai?

26. The city of Ai was not only destroyed, but __________ for generations to come?

27. What happened to the king of Ai?

28. What was written on the stones that were erected for an altar?

29. Who did Joshua read the law aloud to?

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Joshua 9

Joshua Chapter 9

Verses 1-15: God had directed His people to "make no covenant ... nor show mercy to" the inhabitants of Canaan (Deut. 7:1-2), although they were allowed to make treaties with those in far-off lands (Deut. Chapter 20). Knowing this, the Gibeonites pretended to be from "a far country". There is often more to be feared from seduction than from combat, Satan can dress up new things and make them look old, as he did with the Gibeonites. He stands every ready to seduce God's people away from God's purposes.

Joshua 9:1 "And it came to pass, when all the kings which [were] on this side Jordan, in the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard [thereof];"

On the side Israel now were, and was that in which the land of Canaan lay. And was now governed by many kings, and all that were now remaining. Even all but the kings of Jericho and Ai, who were slain. Both those;

"In the hills, and in the valleys": That dwelt in the mountainous part of the country, and in the plains of it.

"And in all the coasts of the great sea, over against Lebanon": Who inhabited and governed in that part of the country which lay on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The country of Phoenicia, in which were Tyre, Sidon, and other cities. And were over against Mount Lebanon, which was on the northern part of the country. According to the Latin version, they dwelt near Lebanon; and according to the Septuagint, near Antilibanus. It seems best, with Noldius, to render the words, "even unto Lebanon", for it designs all the sea coasts reaching to it. For all the maritime coasts did not lie over against it.

"The Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof": What they heard is not said, but to be understood. Particularly they heard what had been done by Joshua, and the people of Israel, to Jericho and Ai: and their kings (Joshua 9:3). Some think, as Abarbinel, that they had heard of the altar Joshua had made, and of the stones he had set up. And of his reading the law to the people, by which they were to be governed. All which they understood as taking possession of the country, and looking upon it as conquered, and obliging his people to swear loyalty to him. All the nations of Canaan are mentioned but the Girgashites; which, according to the Jewish writers, are omitted, because they were but few. The Septuagint version has them in some copies.

In the last lesson, we saw Ai destroyed like Jericho had been destroyed. The word quickly spread to the people in this area that Joshua would lead his people against all of them, and destroy them. The names above, are lists of the people that would have to fight Joshua and the Israelites. It seems these people have gathered to discuss their mutual problem.

Joshua 9:2 "That they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord."

Not at this time, but they met together to consult what was proper to be done in order to secure themselves, and their people, and put a stop to the successes of the arms of Israel. And for this purpose, entered into alliances with each other to assist one another. Or at a convenient time and place to join their forces together, and attack Israel, as afterwards they did (Joshua 11:1). And this they did;

"With one accord": Were unanimous in their councils and resolutions. They all confederated together, and agreed as one man to make a common cause of it. And oppose Israel with their united forces.

They have decided that they cannot individually defeat Joshua and the Israelites. They came together and made an alliance, where they would fight Joshua and the Israelites all at once.

Verses 3-4: Although Israel was commanded to destroy the Canaanite cities, she could enter into a peace treaty with more distant people (Deut. 7:1-2; 20:10-17). Hence, "Gibeon", which lay close at hand, hoped to preserve its existence by sending ambassadors of peace who feigned their arrival as being after a long journey. The Gibeonites' wily tactics were successful because the Israelites failed to ask counsel of the Lord (verse 14). Israel's failure to seek divine guidance in the matter led to a formal treaty with the Gibeonites (verse 15). Although they had been tricked, since Joshua and the leaders had sealed the covenant with a solemn oath, the Israelites were obliged to keep its terms (compare 11:19). The ill-advised alliance was to be a source of constant trouble for Israel (compare 10:1-15; 2 Sam. 21:1-14).

Joshua 9:3 "And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai,"

"Inhabitants": Gibeon of the Hivites (verse 7), or Horites (compare Gen. 36:2, 20), was northwest of Jerusalem and about 7 miles from the area of Ai. It was a strong city with capable fighting men (10:2). Three other towns were in league with it (9:17).

"Gibeon" was a city in the territory of Benjamin about six miles northwest of Jerusalem. The first reference to Gibeon in the Bible (is Joshua 9:3). The inhabitants established a covenant with the Israelites through deceit and were made slaves. They were protected by Joshua from the alliance of five Amorite kings. In Israel's battle with the kings the sun stood still (10:1-13). Because Saul broke the treaty with the Gibeonites, seven of his sons were impaled there during a famine in David's reign (2 Sam. 21:1-15). In the time of King David young warriors led by Joab and Abner fought on the edge of a pool at Gibeon (2 Sam. 2:2-17). The prophet Jeremiah also mentions "great waters that are in Gibeon" (Jer. 41:12). Confirmation of the biblical data came when archaeologists discovered a large open pit about 36 feet in diameter and 36 feet deep. Cut along its edge is a stairway that spirals down to the bottom of the shaft to an elaborate water system.

This is speaking of a confederation of cities, with Gibeon as their leader. These were Hivites. It seems, they had heard of the destruction of Ai and Jericho and feared for their own lives. We mentioned before, that they feared Israel's God.

Verses 4-15: The Gibeonite plot to trick Israel worked. Israel's sinful failure occurred because they were not vigilant in prayer to assure that they acted by God's counsel (verse 14; compare Prov. 3:5-6).

Joshua 9:4 "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;"

Acted craftily, dealt in much cunning and subtlety. Our version leaves out a very emphatic word, "also"; they also, as well as other nations, acted a cunning part, but in a different way. They did not enter into consultations and alliances with others, how to defend themselves, but made use of a stratagem to make peace, and enter into a league with Israel. Or also as the Israelites had done, either as Simeon and Levi had dealt craftily with the Shechemites, who were Hivites (Gen. 34:2). So now the Gibeonites, who also were Hivites (Joshua 9:7); wrought in a wily and crafty manner with them. So Jarchi; or as the Israelites had lately done in the affair of Ai.

"And went and made as if they had been ambassadors": From some states in a foreign country, sent on an embassy to the people of Israel, to compliment them on their successes, and to enter into alliance with them, which they thought would be pleasing and acceptable to them. The Targum is, "they prepared food," which they took with them for their journey; and so the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions.

"And took old sacks upon their asses": In which they put, their provisions.

"And wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up": Not made of glass, as ours usually are, but of the skins of beasts, as the bottles in the eastern countries commonly were. Which in time grew old, and were rent and burst, and they were obliged to mend them, and bind them up, that they might hold together, and retain the liquor put into them (see Matt. 9:17).

This "working wilily", means they schemed and came up with a plan to save their lives. They were intelligent enough to know they would lose their lives if they went to war against Israel and Israel's God.

Joshua 9:5 "And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry [and] mouldy."

Which being worn out, were patched with various pieces of leather.

"And old garments upon them": Full of holes and rents, ragged and patched.

"And the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy": Having been kept a long time, and unfit for use. Or like cakes over baked and burnt, as the Targum and Jarchi. The word for "moldy" signifies pricked, pointed, or spotted. As moldy bread has in it spots of different colors, as white, red, green, and black, as Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret it. Or it signifies bread so dry, as Ben Gersom notes, that it crumbles into pieces easily, with which the Vulgate Latin version agrees. Or rather through being long kept, it was become dry with a hard like crust.

Everything they took with them would make them appear to have been on a very long journey. Their clothes were worn out and their food was stale.

Joshua 9:6 "And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us."

From whence it appears, that after Jericho and Ai were destroyed, the army of Israel returned to their encampment at Gilgal (Joshua 5:10). And here they were when the Gibeonites applied to them.

"And said unto him, and to the men of Israel": Not to the whole body of the people, but either to the seventy elders, the great council, who were with Joshua, or the princes of the congregation, after mentioned, who are said to swear to them. And so some render the words, "to the chief men of Israel". The word "Ish" here used sometimes denotes an eminent person or persons (see Isaiah 2:9).

"We be come from a far country": This lie they told, that they might not be thought to be inhabitants of Canaan, and be destroyed as those of Jericho and Ai were. And as the rest of the inhabitants would be, of which they had intelligence. As the design of the Israelites, and what their orders were. According to Jerom, Gibeon was but four miles from Beth-el. Unless he means Gibeah; however, it could not be at a much greater distance. And as Gilgal was a mile and a quarter from Jericho, where the Gibeonites now were. And Ai but three miles from Jericho, and Beth-el a mile from thence, and Gibeon four miles from Beth-el. They were come but little more than nine miles. Bunting makes it twelve miles from Gilgal to Gibeon.

They knew that Israel would not make an alliance with them if they knew they were from close by. To save their lives, they lied about being from a long distance. We know that Rahab lied to the king's men, to save her life. This is a desperate move on their part to save their lives.

Joshua 9:7 "And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you?"

Though they did not know them to be such, but as they afterwards appeared to be the Hivites, as the Gibeonites were, they are here so called (see Joshua 11:19). The name signifies "serpents"; according to a Derash, or mystical exposition, mentioned by Kimchi. The Gibeonites are so called, because they did the work of the serpent. That is to say, they deceived the Israelites, as the serpent deceived Eve.

"Peradventure ye dwell among us": Of which they had some suspicion.

"And how shall we make a league with you?" Which they were forbid to do with any of the seven nations (Deut. 7:2).

In Deuteronomy 7, it was forbidden to make alliance with those who live among them.

Deuteronomy 7:2 "And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, [and] utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them:"

Joshua 9:8 "And they said unto Joshua, We [are] thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who [are] ye? and from whence come ye?"

Not that they meant to be subjects of his, and tributaries to him; but this they said in great humility and lowliness of mind, being willing to be or do anything he should enjoin them. Abarbinel observes, that this they proposed to Joshua singly, not to be servants to all the people, but to him only, and to have him for their head and governor.

"And Joshua, said, who are ye? And from whence come ye?" By what name are ye called? And from what country do ye come? Suspecting, as it should seem, that they were the inhabitants of Canaan. Or however he was cautious and upon his guard, lest they should be such, and yet was not enough upon his guard to prevent imposition.

These Hivites felt it would be better to be Israel's servants, than to die in battle against them. Joshua asks them again, who they are and from where did they come?

Joshua 9:9 "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,"

Which they magnified and expressed in stronger terms than before, but were careful not to mention any country. Lest such questions should be asked about it, their answers to which would betray them.

"Because of the name of the Lord thy God": Because of what they had heard of his name, his power and goodness; or "unto the name of the Lord thy God". That is, they were come to profess it, and to embrace the religion of the Israelites, and be proselytes to it. Which they knew would be very agreeable to them, and engage them to show them favor. And so the Samaritan Chronicle represents them as promising to do this, saying, "we will believe in thy Lord, nor will we contradict him in what ye shall mark out for us, be it small or great". Which seems to be, confirmed by what follows.

"For we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt": The miracles wrought there, the plagues he inflicted on the Egyptians, and the wonderful deliverance of the children of Israel from their slavery.

They speak of Egypt instead of Ai and Jericho, to prove they are from a far country. They proclaim belief in Israel's God here. The miracles God has done along the way, have convinced them that He is truly God.

Joshua 9:10 "And all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites, that [were] beyond Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, which [was] at Ashtaroth."

On the other side of Jordan from Gilgal.

"To Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan in Ashtaroth": The history of which see in (Num. 21:21). They wisely took no notice of the miracle of dividing the waters of Jordan, to make a passage for the Israelites. Nor of the destruction of Jericho and Ai, which were recent things, and could not be thought as yet to have reached a far country they pretended to come from. And which, if they mentioned, might have created a stronger suspicion still of their being Canaanites.

These two kings of the Amorites were on the eastern side of the Jordan River. They had been thought of as very powerful in battle.

Joshua 9:11 "Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of 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."

They suggest, that their senate, or the states of their country, their principal men were convened. And that it was the unanimous voice of them, and of the people, that they should go on this embassy.

"Saying, take victuals with you for the journey": Sufficient for so long a journey. For, in those times and countries, inns on the road were not frequent as now.

"And go to meet them": To prevent their coming in a hostile manner unto them, and make peace, and enter into an alliance with them.

"And say unto them, we are your servants": Ready to come into any terms with them, just and reasonable.

"Therefore now make ye a league with us": That we may live in friendship, and mutually assist each other, as occasion should require.

Gibeon and the other cities in league here, did not have a normal government with a king as did the other countries around them. They governed themselves. Part of this is true. The people were more willing to be their servants, than to be dead.

Joshua 9:12 "This our bread we took hot [for] 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:"

These are not the words of the elders to the messengers they sent, continued, but of the ambassadors to the Israelites, pointing to the bread they brought with them. Which they pretended was newly baked and took hot out of the oven.

"On the day we came forth to go unto you": But now, behold, it is dry.

"And it is mouldy": (see note on Joshua 9:5); which they gave as a demonstration and proof that they were come from a far country, as they had asserted.

Joshua 9:13 "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."

That is, on the day they came out on their journey.

"And, behold, they be rent": Which were owing to the long use that had been made of them, as they pretended.

"And these our garments, and our shoes, are become old by reason of the very long journey": Quite worn out through length of time and tedious travels.

This part is total deception and lies. They are trying to convince the leaders of Israel that they came from a long way off.

Verses 14-15: The people of Israel had just stood between Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal and had heard about the "blessing" of living God's way and the "curses" for disobeying Him. Complacent in their strong position, confident of their own judgment, and sure that they saw the whole truth (even after God had proven that they could not even defeat tiny Ai without Him), they failed to "ask counsel of the Lord" before making this treaty. God's people set themselves up for failure when they fail to consult Him. It is not enough to pray for God's provision; His direction must be sought as well.

Joshua 9:14 "And the men took of their victuals, and asked not [counsel] at the mouth of the LORD."

I.e. the princes, as before (Joshua 9:6).

"Took of their victuals": Not from their want or any desire they could have to such unpleasant and unwholesome food. Nor in a ceremony usual in making leagues, for that was not now done. But in the next verse; but that they might examine the truth of what they said.

"And asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord": As they might and should have done. By desiring the high priest to inquire of the Lord by Urim and Thummim. But this they neglected, which, had they attended to, the fraud would have been discovered. Or however, they would have had the mind of God about making peace with the Gibeonites. Which in all likelihood he would not have disapproved of, they becoming proselytes, and giving up their possessions to Israel. But this did not excuse their neglect.

It is not wise to make such a decision, without asking counsel of the LORD. They made the same mistake many of us do, they went ahead without praying about their decision.

Joshua 9:15 "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."

Israel precipitously made peace with the Gibeonites (11:19), who lived nearby, even though God had instructed them to eliminate the people of cities in the Land (Deut. 7:1-2). God permitted peace with cities outside (Deut. 20:11-15).

Their story has convinced Joshua and the leaders of their honesty. Joshua agrees to an alliance with them, and the princes swear to it.

Verses 16-27: Although Joshua had to abide by the treaty, his wise solution was that the Gibeonites must become bondservants. Knowing that influence tends to trickle down, there was little risk of intermarriage with the people of Israel if the Gibeonites were in a subservient role. He also involved them in the worship of the Lord - preparing the wood for Israel's sacrifices and carrying the water used in the cleansing rituals - hoping this would influence them toward the one true God.

Joshua 9:16 "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 neighbors, and [that] they dwelt among them."

The league seems to have been made the same day they came. The Gibeonites were no doubt in haste to have it concluded, lest they should be discovered. And Joshua, and the princes of Israel, took no pains, and gave themselves no great trouble to inquire about them, but made peace with them at once. And it was but three days after, or within three days of its being made.

"That they heard that they were their neighbors, and that they dwelt among them": That is, in their neighborhood, as the Arabic version. And so Noldius renders the words, "and that they dwelt near them". For the Gibeonites did not dwell among the Israelites, or in the midst of them, but near the place where they were. And this they understood either by some deserters that came to the camp of Israel, or by some of the Israelites who were sent to check out several parts of the country. Especially such as lay nearest, or for the sake of getting provisions for their camp.

It did not take long for Joshua to find out they had been tricked. Three days later, they are aware of their foolish mistake.

Joshua 9:17 "And the children of Israel journeyed, and came unto their cities on the third day. Now their cities [were] Gibeon, and Chephirah, and Beeroth, and Kirjath-jearim."

Not the whole camp, for that still remained at Gilgal, and continued there until the Gibeonites in distress sent to them for assistance in virtue of the league, as appears from the following chapter. But a party of them, who were sent along with some of the princes, to know the truth whether the Gibeonites were their neighbors or not, as had been reported to them.

"And came unto their cities on the third day": Not on the third day from their setting out on their journey, for it was but one night's march from Gilgal to them (Joshua 10:9). But on the third day from the making of the league. It is very probable it was early on the third day they heard of their being their neighbors. Upon which a party was sent out at once to know the truth of it, who arrived there the same day.

"Now their cities were Gibeon and Chephirah, and Beeroth and Kirjath-jearim": Gibeon was the metropolis, and the other three were subject to it. The three first fell to the lot of Benjamin, and the last to the tribe of Judah. We shall meet with them again in the lots of the several tribes, in (Joshua 15:60).

It is possible that these would have been the next cities to have been destroyed, and that prompted the men to come and make an alliance. These cities are all close together. They are located close to Jerusalem. "Kirjath-jearim" means the city of forests. It is better known for the fact that the ark remained there for approximately 20 years.

Joshua 9:18 "And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes."

The inhabitants of the four cities, when they came to them, though they found it to be a true report that was brought them of their being neighbors. And that they were imposed upon by them.

"Because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the Lord God of Israel": By the Word of the Lord God of Israel, as the Targum, and therefore they restrained the people from smiting and plundering them. For it was not the oath of the princes the people so much regarded, or had such an influence on them as to abstain from seizing on them. But the princes, by reason of their oath, would not suffer them to touch them.

"And all the congregation murmured against the princes": Not only for taking such an oath, but chiefly because they restrained them from smiting the Gibeonites, and taking their substance for a prey. Their eager desire of revenge, and of seizing their goods, and inhabiting their cities, raised a murmur in them against the princes. This is to be understood not of the whole body of the people at Gilgal, but of all that party that was sent to Gibeon, and of the princes that went with them.

These princes had sworn to God that they could live. They could not go back on that. The congregation is disappointed in their princes, and make it known by murmuring. Their only real mistake was not praying, before they made such an important decision.

Joshua 9:19 "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."

That is, all the princes that went to Gibeon addressed all the Israelites that were there.

"We have sworn unto them by the Lord God of Israel": By the Word of the Lord God, as the Targum. An oath is a solemn sacred thing, and not to be broken. And a good man will make conscience of it, and keep it, though he has sworn to his own hurt: and;

"Now therefore we may not touch them": Neither take away their lives nor their substance.

When Israelites took an oath, they could not and would not break it. They feared God if they did.

Joshua 9:20 "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."

Either this favor we will show them, preserving their lives, next mentioned, or this punishment we will inflict on them, making them hewers of wood, and drawers of water.

"We will even let them live": This by all means must be done, their lives must not be taken away as the rest of the Canaanites.

"Lest wrath come upon us, because of the oath which we sware unto them": That is, lest the wrath of God come upon us princes, and upon the whole community, for perjury. A breach of the third command (Exodus 20:7). Since this was agreed upon on all hands, that the Gibeonites be allowed to live; and since it was an act of kindness and goodness. And especially they would have no reason to be angry and wrathful with them, when they heard them out, what they had further to propose to them. To make them their servants, though they spared their lives.

They have no choice, because of the oath. They will have to let them live.

Verses 21-23: While honoring the pledge of peace with the Gibeonites (verse 19), Joshua made them woodcutters and water carriers because of the deception. This curse extended the perpetual (verse 23), part of "there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen" (Gen. 9:26). Gibeon became a part of Benjamin's land area (Joshua 18:25). Later, Joshua consigned Gibeon as one of the Levite towns (21:17). Nehemiah had help from some Gibeonites in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem (Neh. 3:7).

Joshua 9:21 "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 them."

Although the Gibeonites' lives are spared, they are reduced to the status of virtual servitude (compare Deut. 29:11).

They had offered to be Israel's servants and that is exactly what they will be. They had deceived Israel into sparing their lives. Israel will have to punish them for their deception. They make them servants of physically hard jobs, in way of punishing them for their lies.

Joshua 9:22 "And Joshua called for them, and he spake unto them, saying, Wherefore have ye beguiled us, saying, We [are] very far from you; when ye dwell among us?"

The Gibeonites, who came as ambassadors for their people, who were detained at Gilgal until the children of Israel returned from Gibeon. And upon their return, and having made their report to Joshua that they found it to be true that they were near neighbors. Joshua ordered them to be brought before him.

"And he spake unto them, saying, wherefore have ye beguiled us?" What is your reason and motive for so doing? what has induced you to act such a deceitful part, to tell such lies and falsehoods, and impose upon us after this manner?

"Saying, we are very far from you, when ye dwell among us": Pretending to come from a very far country, when they were inhabitants of the land Israel were come to possess.

We must remember, that these people were trying to live. They were not familiar with the law of God, and did not know it was a sin to lie. They were doing whatever was necessary to live. Joshua questions them, because of their dishonesty. We remember in the previous lesson, how Joshua and Israel had tricked Ai, and got them to follow Joshua long enough for the men in hiding to burn Ai. A person will take drastic measures when he is about to lose his life.

Joshua 9:23 "Now therefore ye [are] cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God."

You shall not escape the curse of God, which by Divine sentence belongs to all the Canaanites, who are a people devoted by God to ruin. You shall feel that curse of bondage and servitude, which is proper to your race by virtue of that ancient decree (Gen. 9:25). You shall live indeed, but in a poor, vile, and miserable condition.

"There shall none of you be freed from being bond-men": The slavery which is upon you shall be entailed to your posterity.

"Hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God": This only service they mention here, because it was their principal and most durable servitude. Being first in the tabernacle, and then in the temple, where they were called temple assistants (1 Chron. 9:2; Ezra 2:43). Whereas their servitude to the whole congregation would in a great measure cease when the Israelites were dispersed to their several habitations.

This means they will not be freed of servitude at Jubilee. They will remain servants, as long as they live. Their destiny was servitude.

Joshua 9:24 "And they answered Joshua, and said, Because it was certainly told thy servants, how that the LORD 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."

Or "it was told". Not only told, but frequently told them, they had often heard of it by one means or another.

"How that the Lord thy God commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land": All the land of Canaan, no part excepted": They had heard much of the Lord God of Israel, and of Moses, what character he bore, and of the commands of the Lord to him. They seem to have knowledge of God, and faith in him as to his promises and threatening, believing they would be fulfilled.

"And to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you": As the gift of the land of Canaan to Israel was often spoken of by the Lord to Moses. And frequently mentioned by him. So there were instructions given him from the Lord, and which lie delivered to Israel, utterly to destroy the inhabitants of Canaan. So, that these people had accurate intelligence and information of this matter (see Deut. 7:1).

"Therefore we were sore afraid of our lives because of you, and have done this thing": They answer to Joshua's question, "wherefore have ye beguiled us" (Joshua 9:22). That it was fear of losing their lives, which nothing is dearer to a man, and the principle of self-preservation that put them upon framing and using this device.

This is actually the truth. Their fear of Israel's God caused them to do this. They believed Israel's God would keep His Word and give them all of the land. They knew the inhabitants of Ai and Jericho had been destroyed. They were afraid for their lives. They felt it better to serve Israel, than to die.

Joshua 9:25 "And now, behold, we [are] in thine hand: as it seemeth good and right unto thee to do unto us, do."

In thy power, and at thy disposal, and are ready to submit to whatsoever may be enjoined us.

"As it seemeth good and right unto thee to do unto us, do": Do what is consistent with the laws of kindness, and with the rules of justice. And particularly with the league made, and oath taken. All which they left with him to consider of, and to do as in his wisdom and goodness he should see fit.

They are willing to take whatever punishment Joshua places upon them. They feel it is better than death.

Joshua 9:26 "And so did he unto them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, that they slew them not."

What was good and right, he showed them favor, and did them justice.

"And delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, that they slew them not": Who were so incensed against them for imposing on them in the manner they did, that they were ready many of them to draw their swords and slay them. And would have done it, had it not been for the interposition of Joshua, and the orders he gave to the contrary.

At least their lives were saved. Joshua would not let the children of Israel destroy them, because of the oath that had been made in front of God. A very good lesson for the Israelites here, and for us as well, is that hasty judgements should not be made. Every major decision should be made after prayerful consideration. We should ask God to keep us from making the wrong agreements with people. One of the most important decisions that any of us make aside from salvation, is the mate we choose for life. God says, in:

2 Corinthians 6:14 "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"

That is about what they have done here. They are yoked with those who know not God.

Joshua 9:27 "And Joshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of the LORD, even unto this day, in the place which he should choose."

Constituted and appointed them, ordered and settled them, in the post and office after mentioned. Or "gave" them; hence some think they had the name Nethinim (temple assistants). Persons given to the Levites for the service of the sanctuary. Namely, to be;

"Hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of the Lord": Some think they were employed both for the service of the congregation, when they wanted wood and water, and for the altar, and what belonged to it, that needed both. Abarbinel supposes that they served the congregation while they were engaged in war, and subduing the land. But after the division of the land they only served the sanctuary (see note on Joshua 9:21).

"Even unto this day in the place which he should choose": To have the tabernacle pitched, and the altar set up therein. As it was in various places, before the temple built by Solomon at Jerusalem, which was the place the Lord chose. And this shows that the writer of this book lived before the building of the temple, or otherwise it, is highly probable he would have expressly mentioned it. whereas he uses only the phrase that Moses frequently expressed it by in his time (see Deut. 12:5).

They were to serve Israel. It appears, that much of their physical labor was to cut wood for the altar of sacrifice and draw water for the temple washings as well.

Joshua Chapter 9 Questions

1. What were the names of some of the nations in this land?

2. What had frightened them?

3. What do all of these people do, when they decide that individually they cannot defeat Israel?

4. What did the inhabitants of Gibeon do?

5. Gibeon is actually speaking of a _________________ of cities.

6. These people from Gibeon were ___________.

7. Who did these people of Gibeon fear?

8. What does "working wilily" mean?

9. What did they believe would happen to them, if they had war with Israel?

10. What things did they do, to make it appear they had been on a very long journey?

11. Who did they go to see at Gilgal?

12. What did they want Israel to do?

13. This was a desperate move on their part to save their _________.

14. In verse 8, they offer to do what?

15. Why did they mention the miracles from Egypt, instead of the recent destruction of Jericho and Ai?

16. What two Amorite kings did they mention next?

17. What was unusual about their government?

18. What is deceptive about verse 12 and 13?

19. What mistake did Joshua and the men make?

20. The princes ________ to the agreement.

21. When did Joshua find out who they were?

22. "Kirjath-jearim" means what?

23. What is it better known for?

24. How did the congregation feel about the decision the princes had made?

25. Why must Israel not break the oath?

26. What punishment was spoken on these Hivites?

27. When will they be free not to serve?

28. What true statement did they make in verse 24?

29. God says, "Be ye not ___________ _________ together with unbelievers."

30. What was much of the physical labor they were to do?

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Joshua 10

Joshua Chapter 10

Verses 1-11: Gibeon and 3 other towns (9:17), were attacked by a coalition of 5 cities. Israel came to the rescue, with God giving the victory (verse 10).

Verses 1-5: King "Adoni-zedek" heard about the treaty between "Israel" and "Gibeon" and was fearful that two such strong nations would crush his city ("Jerusalem"), so he made an alliance with four other kings to destroy Gibeon. These were city-states; that is, each city was ruled by its own king. This alliance actually helped Israel, because instead of waging war on five different cities, they only had to defeat one army.

Joshua 10:1 "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;"

So called, perhaps by anticipation, Jerusalem, since it seems to have had this name given it by the Israelites, when they had got possession of it. And Jerusalem signifies "the possession of Salem", and in memory of this its ancient name.

"Had heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it": Which, being nearer to him than Jericho, the more alarmed him.

"As he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king": Burnt the one, and slew the other. And this terrified him, lest he and his city should undergo the same fate.

"And how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them": Which as it weakened the interest of the kings of Canaan, might set an example to other places to do the same.

"Adoni-zedek" means lord of justice. This name of the king of Jerusalem indicates that at some time earlier Jerusalem had been inhabited by people who did believe in God. They are now inhabited by the Amorites who are very definitely not pleasing unto God. This evil king has received word that Israel is headed their way. He has kept up with their exploits along the way. He has even heard of the alliance of Israel with Gibeon.

Joshua 10:2 "That they feared greatly, because Gibeon [was] a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it [was] greater than Ai, and all the men thereof [were] mighty."

The dread inspired by the rapid conquests of the Israelites had been immensely increased by the fact of a state so populous and so strong as Gibeon having found it expedient to submit to the power and the terms of the invaders.

"As one of the royal cities": Although itself a republic (Joshua 9:3), it was large and well-fortified. Like those places in which the chiefs of the country usually established their residence.

The king of Jerusalem is very angry with Gibeon because they have set a bad example for the other cities around them, by surrendering themselves to serve Israel. Gibeon was bigger and stronger than Ai. They had mighty warriors. If they could not defeat Israel, who could? The king of Jerusalem thinks they showed cowardice.

Joshua 10:3 "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 Debir king of Eglon, saying,"

"Hebron" was one of the "central" cities in the southern hill country of Judah some 20 miles south-southwest of Jerusalem on the road to Beer-sheba. It is situated at one of the highest points (3,040 feet above sea level), on the central mountainous ridge and is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in Palestine. Originally Hebron was called Kirjath-arba (Gen. 23:2).

(Numbers 13:22), speaks of Hebron being built seven years before Zoan (Tanis), in Egypt. This probably refers to the rebuilding of the city by the Hyksos rulers of Egypt (1710 - 1570) B.C.). The 12 Hebrew spies viewed Hebron on their mission (Num. 13:22). Earlier, Abram spent much time in Mamre in the area of Hebron (Gen. 13:18; 14:1-13; 18:1-15). Later, Sarah died at Hebron (Gen 23:2). During the period of the conquest, Joshua killed the king of Hebron (verses 3-27). Later, Caleb drove out the Anakim and claimed Hebron for an inheritance (14:12-15). Hebron was one of the cities of refuge (20:7). David ruled from Hebron during the first seven years of his reign (2 Sam. 2:11). Absalom made Hebron his headquarters when he rebelled against his father, David (2 Sam. 15:7-12). The city was a key storage city from rations of Uzziah's army (2 Chron. 26:10).

Joshua 10:4 "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."

For which he thought himself not a match, not only because it was a great city, and full of mighty men, and had other cities subject to it, but because he might reasonably judge that Joshua would come to their assistance if possible, being in league with him. He sends to these kings in an authoritative manner, as if they were in some respects subject to him. And he proposes Jerusalem as the place of their rendezvous, and which it seems lay higher than their cities, though they were in the mountainous part of the country.

"For it hath made peace with Joshua, and with the children of Israel": Their avowed enemies, and so had separated themselves from their countrymen, and from their common interest. And therefore it was thought proper to make an example of them, that others might fear to do the same.

There are several reasons these 5 evil kings wanted to come against Gibeon. One reason was they did not want the strength of Gibeon on the side of Israel. Another reason was to discourage any of the others from falling away. Another reason was their anger at Gibeon for doing this, and they wanted revenge. Adoni-zedek knew he could not defeat them by himself, so he got the other 4 kings to help him. They had made an agreement earlier to fight together against Israel.

Joshua 10:5 "Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon, gathered themselves together, and went up, they and all their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it."

The league with "Gibeon" was to be the propelling cause that opened the southern campaign for Canaan. Repulsing the Amorite thrust into Canaan's center at Gibeon, the follow-up battles would take Israel into Canaan's southland.

They were less afraid of Gibeon than they were of the God of Israel. They think they will be able to eliminate Gibeon and they will have that problem out of the way. They have forgotten their alliance with Israel.

Verses 6-8: Joshua had not anticipated that his treaty with "Gibeon" would be tested so quickly, but he immediately rallied his troops for the roughly 15 mile journey to come to their aid. Even though circumstances had changed since the treaty was signed, Joshua would honor his commitment. And because he was in the will of God, God promised to help him.

Joshua 10:6 "And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua to the camp to Gilgal, saying, Slack 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."

Which some think they did when besieged, and not before. Which showed their faith in the power of God, whom they now professed. But it is not likely that they should defer sending for help so long, since it is reasonable to suppose they might have heard of the design of the five kings against them. Or that they should be able to send out messengers when surrounded on all sides.

"Saying, slack not thine hands from thy servants": They entreat that he would not neglect them, be indifferent to them, and delay to assist them, since they were his subjects. And were entitled to his protection.

"Come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us": They did not doubt, if he made haste and helped them, but they should be saved by him.

The Gibeonites knew they were no match for 5 groups of the Amorites. They quickly send for help from Joshua.

Joshua 10:7 "So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor."

The language reflects the urgency of the crisis. Accordingly, Joshua made a forced march, accompanied only by his soldiers (Joshua 10:7). And accomplished in a single night the distance from Gilgal to Gibeon (about 15 miles in a direct line), which on a former occasion had been a three days' journey (Joshua 9:17).

This was not because of any great love that Joshua had for Gibeon, but because of their agreement. This would also be an opportunity to eliminate 5 of their enemies at once. The Israelites had hundreds of thousands of soldiers.

Joshua 10:8 "And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee."

Either when upon the march, and while he was proceeding on in his journey to the assistance of the Gibeonites, or rather before he set out. And it is highly probable he consulted the Lord on this occasion. Having, it may be, some doubt on his mind, whether he should go to their assistance, since the league between them was obtained by fraud. And the words may be rendered, "and the Lord hath said": before he set forward with his men of war.

"Fear them not": The five kings, and their combined army.

"For I have delivered them into thine hand": Had determined to do it, and which was as certain as if it had been actually done.

"There shall not a man of them stand before thee": But be either cut off, or obliged to flee.

The LORD encourages Joshua that they will fall to Israel. God fights on Israel's side and they cannot fail. Fear is the opposite of faith. God wants Joshua and Israel to have faith in Him.

Joshua 10:9 "Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly, [and] went up from Gilgal all night."

Armed with the Lord's promise of victory, even an all-night march up from "Gilgal" to Gibeon would not leave Joshua's forces too fatigued for fighting (verse 10). The miraculous arrival of great hailstones that killed a majority of the enemy was evidence of the Lord's intervention (verse 11; compare Job 38:22-23).

The five Amorite kings had not planned on this happening. The "suddenly" shows they were not expecting Joshua and his troops.

Joshua 10:10 "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."

Disturbed, troubled, and frightened them, at the appearance and presence of the people of Israel. They were thrown into terror and confusion upon their approach, being so sudden and unexpected.

"And slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon": By the Israelites, who came upon them suddenly.

"And chased them along the way that goeth up to Beth-horon": There were two places of this name, the upper and the lower, both built by Sherah, the daughter or granddaughter of Ephraim (1 Chron. 7:24).

"And smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah": The former of which is placed by Jerom between Eleuthero-polis and Jerusalem, and was a village in his days.

This just says there was great loss of life of the Amorites at Gibeon. Those who were not killed at Gibeon, ran. They fled to Beth-horon, Azekah, and Makkedah. This would soon be known as the land of Judah.

Verses 11-12: There is no other way to explain what happened here: This was a miracle. The Lord designated on whom the "hailstones" would fall, and they fell on the Amorites and not the Israelites, killing more of them than Israel had in battle. This incident recalls many of the plagues in Egypt. As part of God's miraculous help, we see the command; "Sun, stand thou still" (Hab. 3:11). In other words, the army had 24 hours of daylight to fight and rout the enemy. The integrity of God, which was demonstrated to Joshua in times of peace (1:30), was now demonstrated under terrible pressure.

Joshua 10:11 "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] whom the children of Israel slew with the sword."

The hailstones were miraculous. Note their:

(1) Source, God;

(2) Size, large;

(3) Slaughter, more by stones than by sword;

(4) Selectivity, only on the enemy;

(5) Swath, "as far as Azekah";

(6) Situation, during a trek down a slope and while God caused the sun to stand still; and

(7) Similarity to miraculous stones God will fling down during the future wrath (Rev. 16:21).

This is not a rockslide, but is speaking of giant hailstones that miraculously fall from heaven. Things like this Scripture let us know beyond a shadow of doubt that God is control of all the elements of the earth, and the heavens. God has killed the enemies of Israel here. It is interesting that more were killed of the enemy of these giant hailstones that God sent, than were killed in the entire battle by Israel. It is also interesting that none of the Israelites were killed with the hailstones.

Verses 12-15: Clearly Israel's "long day", by which Joshua's forces were able to defeat the enemy fully, was something miraculous and an answer to prayer. Various scientific and literary explanations have been proposed, such as the slowing or stopping of the earth on its axis, the prolonging of daylight by a special refraction of the sun's ray, or the prolonging of darkness (e.g., by a solar eclipse or by the hailstorm), so the battle might be fought in the shade. But the best explanation is simply that the event was a miracle, just as the Bible presents it. Joshua's poetical exclamation and the report of the miraculous victory were preserved in the "book of Jasher", apparently, an early collection of poetic songs commemorating Israel's heroic deeds (compare 2 Sam. 1:18).

Another view has it as only language of observation; i.e., it only seemed to Joshua's men that the sun and moon stopped as God helped them do in one literal 24-hour day what would normally take longer. Others view it as lavish poetic description, not literal fact. However, such ideas fail to do justice to (10:12-14), and needlessly question God's power as creator. This is best accepted as an outright, monumental miracle. Joshua, moved by the Lord's will, commanded the sun to delay (Hebrews "be still, silent, leave off"). The earth actually stopped revolving or, more likely, the sun moved in the same way to keep perfect pace with the battlefield. The moon also ceased its orbiting. This permitted Joshua's troops time to finish the battle with complete victory (verse 11).

Joshua 10:12 "Then spake Joshua to the LORD in 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."

In prayer, and entreated as follows, that the sun and moon might stand still, until the victory was complete.

"In the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel": The five kings of the Amorites, and their armies (Joshua 10:5).

"And he said, in the sight of Israel": In their presence, and in the hearing of great numbers, being under a divine impulse. And having strong faith in the working of the miracle, after related, and that it would be according to his word. He was bold to say what he did, being fully persuaded he should not be disappointed, and made ashamed.

"Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon": Notice the great faith of Joshua, and the power of God answering it by the miraculous staying of the sun, that the day of Israel's victories might be made longer.

We notice that Joshua spoke to the LORD in this. This is not some miraculous power that Joshua has, it is the power of the LORD speaking through Joshua. Notice he speaks to the sun and moon as if that is their proper name. They have initial caps. The sun and the moon were created to be containers for the Light. The source of all Light is the LORD. Joshua is asking for the light to remain until he can finish this battle. Scientists have now discovered that there was possibly a time when this very thing did happen. The sun and moon stood still at the Word of God.

Verses 13-15: "Book of Jasher": Jasher means "upright". It may be the same as the book called Wars of the Lord (Num. 21:14). The Book of Jasher is mentioned again (in 2 Sam. 1:18), and a portion is recorded (in 1:19-27). The book appears to have been a compilation of Hebrew songs in honor of Israel's leaders and exploits in battle.

Joshua 10:13 "And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. [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."

The sun that came out of his chamber like a bridegroom, and rejoiced as a strong man to run his course, stopped his course at once. And the moon that walks in her brightness proceeded not on, but both stood still.

"Until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies": I.e. till they had utterly destroyed them, as is mentioned in the following chapter.

"The book of Jasher": Either of a man so called, or of the righteous or upright, wherein possibly the memorable actions of worthy men were recorded, and this amongst the rest. And this book was written and published before Joshua wrote his, and so is fitly alleged here. But this, as well as some few other historical books, is lost, not being a canonical book, and therefore not preserved by the Jews with the same care as they were.

"So the sun stood still": That the sun and moon did really stand still, is affirmed (Hab. 3:11).

"About a whole day": I.e. for the space of a whole day. Understand an artificial day, between sun-rising and sun-setting. For that was the day which Joshua needed and desired, a day to give him light for his work.

Because (2 Sam. 1:18), refers to a lament (song of mourning), in the "Book of Jasher", scholars believe this book was a collection of historical accounts put to music. No parts of it have been found.

It is normal for the sun to shine about 12 hours, so this would be assumed that the sun shone for 24 hours on this particular occasion. The book of Jasher is mentioned again (in 2 Samuel).

2 Samuel 1:18 "(Also he bade them teach the children of Judah [the use of] the bow: behold, [it is] written in the book of Jasher.)"

These two witnesses show that there was a book of Jasher. My own personal knowledge of this book is limited. It would possibly be a book such as the Apocryphal books. The sun shining twice as long this day as any other in history would certainly be classed as one of the great miracles of God.

Joshua 10:14 "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."

Which must be understood as referring not to natural days, or such as are according to the natural course of things. As those in the northern and southern poles, which are much longer, but to miraculous and extraordinary ones. Never was there such a day as this, occasioned by the sun standing still. And as for Hezekiah's day, which is objected, when the sun went ten degrees backward on the dial of Ahaz, it is not certain whether those degrees were hours, or half hours, or quarters of an hour.

"That the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man": Expressed in prayer, and which prayer was a prayer of faith.

"For the Lord fought for Israel. By casting hailstones upon their enemies, and preserving them from them by the stopping the course of the sun, until they had taken full vengeance on them. The day on which this miracle was wrought, is conjectured to be Wednesday the eleventh of April, in the year before Christ 1454.

The LORD answered the prayer of Joshua and extended the light until the battle could be finished. This day is like no other in all of history.

Joshua 10:15 "And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal."

That is, he thought to have returned, had determined upon it, and prepared for it, but was prevented by hearing that the five kings had hid themselves in a cave at Makkedah. Which he ordered to be stopped up till the people had finished the pursuit of their enemies, when he destroyed Makkedah, and which led him on to the conquest of other places before he returned.

When the battle was won, Joshua returned to Gilgal with all Israel.

Joshua 10:16 "But these five kings fled, and hid themselves in a cave at Makkedah."

They were not killed by hailstones, nor slain by the sword of the Israelites, but made their escape, being reserved by the providence of God for a more shameful end.

"And hid themselves in a cave at Makkedah": Not in the city of Makkedah, which as yet was not in the hands of Israel, whereas this cave was, as appears by what follows. But it was in some hill, or mountain, near it; in the border of it, as Kimchi expresses it.

Their armies were dead, so they fled to a cave in the mountains. Makkedah was in Palestine.

Joshua 10:17 "And it was told Joshua, saying, The five kings are found hid in a cave at Makkedah."

Either by some of his own people, or by some of the inhabitants of the land in his interest, who had observed it.

"Saying, the five kings are found hid in a cave at Makkedah": This seems to make it appear that they were others, and not Joshua's soldiers, that found them. For had they, no doubt they would have seized them, and brought them before him, or slain them, unless they chose first to know his will concerning them, next expressed.

It appears that some of Joshua's men had followed and knew where the kings were hiding.

Joshua 10:18 "And Joshua said, Roll great stones upon the mouth of the cave, and set men by it for to keep them:" Joshua had them imprisoned by rolling great stones to the mouth of the cave. There would be no way out, unless someone from outside freed them.

To keep the kings in, that they might not make their escape, until he had convenient time to have them brought before him, and be treated by him as they deserved. And no doubt there were plenty of stones about the hill or mountain, in which this cave was, fit for this purpose.

"And set men by it for to keep them": As a guard upon them, to prevent their escape.

Joshua 10:19 "And stay ye not, [but] 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."

That is, do not stay at this cave, but having placed a sufficient guard there, go in pursuit of the enemy, with as much swiftness as possible.

"And smite the hindmost of them": Their rear; or "tail" them, as the word is, cut off the tail of them.

"Suffer them not to enter their cities": Where they would not only be safe themselves for a while, but would be able to hold out against a siege for some time, and give much trouble to conquer them.

"For the Lord your God hath delivered them into your hands": This he said to encourage them, and quicken them to the pursuit of them with all eagerness and vehemence. According to the Samaritan Chronicle, the signal or watchword was, "God is strong in battle, God is his name."

This had probably happened before Joshua went back to Gilgal. He was not going to allow them to get away. The troops followed them and killed them, until there were no more except for the handful that escaped. If they had made it to their cities, they might have been able to hide from the troops of Israel. They would not fail in destroying them, because it was the will of God for Israel to defeat them.

Joshua 10:20 "And it came to pass, when Joshua and the children 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."

Joshua seems to have pitched his camp at Makkedah, while the rest of his army pursued the fleeing Canaanites, and when he and they were at different places.

"Had made an end of slaying them with a very great slaughter, till they were consumed": And not to be seen in any large bodies, but scattered here and there.

"That the rest which remained of them entered into fenced cities": To which they belonged, and which were afterwards taken, as related in the latter part of this chapter (Joshua 10:28).

There were very few that escaped. Those few fled to their walled cities and hid from Joshua and all Israel.

Joshua 10:21 "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."

Sound and well, as not one killed or missing. So not one wounded, as the Vulgate Latin version, "sound and in full number:"

"None moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel": As to curse them, reproach them, and speak ill of them. For invading them, and using them in the manner they did, such was the terror that was upon them. It may be supplied, "not a dog moved" his tongue, as in (Exodus 11:7). As it was with them when they came out of Egypt, so it was when they entered the land of Canaan. It seems to be a proverbial expression, as Ben Gersom observes. Signifying that no harm was done to them by word or deed.

This is explaining that there was no murmuring for what happened. The fact that they returned to Makkedah, instead of Gilgal, shows this is relating what happened before Joshua returned to Gilgal.

Verses 22-24: A common practice in those days was for the victor to put his foot on the neck of a conquered king as a symbol of dominance over his captives. In the Israelites' triumph, all the nations could see that God was stronger than any earthly king (Isa. 26:5-6).

Joshua 10:22 "Then said Joshua, Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings unto me out of the cave."

That is, roll away the great stones that were laid at the mouth of it.

"And bring out those five kings unto me out of the cave": To receive their sentence in a public manner. For the encouragement of his troops and the terror of the Canaanites, particularly Makkedah, now besieged by him.

The 5 Amorite kings were brought out of their prison cave and brought before Joshua for judgement.

Joshua 10:23 "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."

Opened the mouth "of" the cave, by rolling away the stones.

"And brought forth those five kings unto him out of the cave": Who are next mentioned by name, one by one, according to their dignity, and in the order, they were brought unto him.

"The king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon. Who are particularly named for the greater glory of the conquest, and the triumph over them.

The names of the 5 kings are given again here, to show they are the same that started this war.

Joshua Chapter 10 Questions

1. Who was king in Jerusalem?

2. What had he heard about Joshua?

3. What had he heard about Gibeon?

4. "Adoni-zedek means what?

5. What does the meaning of his name indicate?

6. How did he describe Gibeon?

7. Why was he so angry at Gibeon?

8. Who did Adoni-zedek make a pact with?

9. What were some of the reasons the 5 evil kings wanted to come against Gibeon?

10. They were less afraid of Gibeon than they were of the ______ of Israel.

11. They were the 5 kings of the _____________.

12. What have they forgotten about Gibeon?

13. When Gibeon saw them encamped around them, what did they do?

14. Why did Joshua come to help Gibeon?

15. What encouragement does the LORD give Joshua?

16. Where did they run for safety?

17. What were the stones, in verse 11, that God cast down on them?

18. What are some interesting things about those stones from God?

19. In verse 12 who does Joshua speak to?

20. Why were the sun and moon capitalized in verse 12?

21. How long did the sun shine that day?

22. Where is there another mention of the book of Jasher?

23. Where did the five kings hide?

24. How did Joshua find out where they were?

25. What did Joshua have his men to do to the cave?

26. Where did the few that were left of the Amorites go?

27. Who were the five kings?

Joshua Chapter 10 Continued

Joshua 10:23 "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."

Opened the mouth "of" the cave, by rolling away the stones.

"And brought forth those five kings unto him out of the cave": Who are next mentioned by name, one by one, according to their dignity, and in the order they were brought unto him.

"The king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon": Who are particularly named for the greater glory of the conquest, and the triumph over them.

Joshua 10:24 "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."

"Feet upon the necks": This gesture (1) symbolized victory and (2) promised assurance of future conquest (verse 25).

Verse 23 is repeated to show who the kings were and where they had been. It also brings us up to date about them being brought before Joshua. The kings had to be lying on the floor in front of these captains. To put their feet upon the necks of these Amorite kings, shows them that God has put their enemies under their control. This was to inspire the captains to go ahead and win all of this land.

Joshua 10:25 "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."

In Joshua's encouragement to Israel is the Lord's encouragement for all His people: sometimes the battle gets fierce and it seems like the enemy is advancing, but a day is coming when the Lord will put His foot on the neck of all of His enemies, especially his arch-enemy, Satan (Psalm 110:1; 1 Cor. 15:25-27; Rev. 20:10). Those who are allied with God will be victorious (Rev. 21:6-7).

This was to encourage them to have faith in God's ability to put their enemy into their control. Christians should share their victories over the devil with other Christians to encourage them to have more faith.

Joshua 10:26 "And afterward Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five trees: and they were hanging upon the trees until the evening."

With the sword; either by his own hands, or by others whom he ordered to slay them.

"And hanged them on five trees": To their shame and disgrace, and the terror of others.

"And they were hanging upon the trees until the evening": By way of contempt of them, and as a spectacle of terror to others, especially to the inhabitants of Makkedah, and their king they were now besieging.

This does not say they died from hanging. We do not really know the method they were killed by. Joshua hung them out for all Israel to view. The entire army would be encouraged that God would kill their enemies before them.

Joshua 10:27 "And it came to pass at the time of the going down of the sun, [that] Joshua commanded, and they 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, [which remain] until this very day."

Which was the time fixed by the law of God for taking down bodies that were hanged (Deut. 21:23).

"That Joshua commanded, and they took them down off the trees": Not from any respect to them, but that they might not defile the land, as dead bodies in a ceremonial sense did (Deut. 21:23). And this Joshua was the more careful of, as they were just entered into it, and were taking possession of it.

"And they cast them into the cave wherein they had been hid": So that what had been their hiding place now became their grave.

"And laid great stones in the cave's mouth": Not as a monumental pile, as in the instances of Achan and the king of Ai (Joshua 7:26). But to prevent their carcasses being dragged out, and eaten by wild beasts, as some think. Or that they might not be taken out, and buried in a more honorable manner.

"Which remain until this very day": When Joshua was grown old, the writer of this book.

At the end of the day they had served their purpose, and Joshua had them cut down and buried in the cave they had hidden in. Joshua was strictly keeping the law in Deuteronomy as well.

(Deut. 21:23) "His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged [is] accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance."

Verses 28-42: Joshua "utterly destroyed" all the nations he conquered, in obedience to God's decree (in Deuteronomy 7:2).

Joshua 10:28 "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 [were] therein; he let none remain: and he did to the king of Makkedah as he did unto the king of Jericho."

After the final defeat of the five Amorite kings at "Makkedah, Joshua" pushed still further south and west in a great expedition that took him into lower Canaan. He took strategic cities far to the south and west of Jerusalem (verses 29-42), before returning to the field headquarters in Gilgal (verse 43).

Makkedah is not mentioned as one of the cities of the evil confederacy, but was friendly toward them because the kings hid there. All the people were killed male and female.

Joshua 6:21 "And they utterly destroyed all that [was] in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword."

Joshua 10:29 "Then Joshua passed from Makkedah, and all Israel with him, unto Libnah, and fought against Libnah:"

After he had taken it, and destroyed its inhabitants, and its king.

"And all Israel with him": That is, all the men of war he took with him from the camp at Gilgal, from whence he went to the relief of Gibeon.

"Unto Libnah, and fought against Libnah": A city that fell to the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:42). Jerom says, in his time it was a village, in the region of Eleuthero-polis, and was called Libnah. According to Bunting, it was but two miles from Makkedah.

All Israel, is speaking of all the able bodied soldiers. Libnah became one of the Levitical cities in the tribe of Judah.

Joshua 10:30 "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 [were] therein; he let none remain in it; but did unto the king thereof as he did unto the king of Jericho."

At once, no opposition being made that we read of.

"And he smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein, he let none remain in it": That is, Israel smote it, or Joshua, and indeed both. And this was according to the orders given them to be observed with respect to all the cities and nations of Canaan. And that because of their abominable sins and wickedness, and to make way and room for the people of Israel (Deut. 7:1).

"But did unto the king thereof as he did unto the king of Jericho": Slew him with the inhabitants.

The troops of Israel totally destroyed Libnah. They killed everyone, as we read about Makkedah above.

Joshua 10:31 "And Joshua passed from Libnah, and all Israel with him, unto Lachish, and encamped against it, and fought against it:"

Which, according to Bunting, was eight miles from Libnah, and twenty miles from Jerusalem to the southwest of this city (see Joshua 10:5).

"And encamped against it, and fought against it": For it seems this city stood out, and would not surrender at once. Which obliged Joshua to encamp about it, and besiege it.

The army of Israel moved from Libnah to Lachish. They seemed to be going from one city to the next destroying them.

Joshua 10:32 "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."

In the various battle accounts, "the Lord" is given credit for the victory. He is the one who should receive glory for every battle won, both then and now (10:10, 19).

This is unusual to take a city in just two days, but we must remember that Israel had a very large army compared to these towns. In each case God had told Israel to leave no one alive. All the souls, means men and women were killed.

Joshua 10:33 "Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish; and Joshua smote him and his people, until he had left him none remaining."

10:28-43 Joshua made speed in taking these cities. See what a great deal of work may be done in a little time, if we will be diligent, and improve our opportunities. God here showed his hatred of the idolatries and other abominations of which the Canaanites had been guilty, and shows us how great the provocation was, by the greatness of the destruction brought upon them. Here also was typified the destruction of all the enemies of the Lord Jesus, who, having slighted the riches of his grace, must for ever feel the weight of his wrath. The Lord fought for Israel. They could not have gotten the victory, if God had not undertaken the battle. We conquer when God fights for us; if he be for us, who can be against us?

"And Joshua smote him, and his people, until he had left him none remaining": Destroyed him and all his army, so that there were none left to return and relate their unhappy case.

Gezer was reported to have 14-foot-wide walls surrounding it. The destruction of Gezer's army here is at Lachish. They came to help Lachish and were killed. This does not mean there were no inhabitants of Gezer who survived. It means the army that came to help Lachish died.

Joshua 10:34 "And from Lachish Joshua passed unto Eglon, and all Israel with him; and they encamped against it, and fought against it:"

Which, according to Bunting, was eight miles from Lachish, and twelve from Jerusalem southward, of which see (Joshua 10:5).

"And all Israel with him, and they encamped against it, and fought against it": It not surrendering at once, but attempted to hold out a siege.

Joshua did not go to the city of Gezer from Lachish. He passed on to Eglon which had been part of the evil confederacy. Lachish and Eglon had been part of that confederacy.

Joshua 10:35 "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 he had done to Lachish."

The same day they encamped about it and besieged it; the besieged finding they were not able to keep it.

"And smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein he utterly destroyed that day": Made an utter devastation of all its inhabitants.

"According to all that he had done to Lachish": The last city he took. They having no king as Lachish had not, its king being one of the five that had been hanged (Joshua 10:26).

God was with Joshua, and it took only one day to destroy Eglon. Again there was no one spared. They killed them all.

Joshua 10:36 "And Joshua went up from Eglon, and all Israel with him, unto Hebron; and they fought against it:"

Which lay in the hill country, and therefore they are said to go up to it from Eglon, which lay lower. And, according to Bunting, it was sixteen miles from it.

"And they fought against it": It making some resistance at first, and did not surrender at once, as demanded.

Hebron was another of the confederacy. Joshua had killed their men in their army at Makkedah. He now kills the rest of Hebron.

Joshua 10:37 "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 [were] therein; he left none remaining, according to all that he had done to Eglon; but destroyed it utterly, and all the souls that [were] therein."

For though the king of Hebron was one of the kings that were taken in the cave of Makkedah, and hanged. Yet before Joshua came up to it, they had set up another king over them.

"And all the cities thereof": For Hebron was a metropolitan city, and had other cities dependent on it, and subject to it.

"And all the souls that were therein": Both in Hebron, and in the cities subject to it.

"He left none remaining": In any of them.

"According to all that he had done to Eglon": The last place he came from.

"But destroyed it utterly, and all the souls that were therein": But it seems that afterwards some that made their escape before the taking of the city, and other Canaanites driven out of their habitations, re-peopled it. So that after Joshua's death it was recovered again by the tribe of Judah (Judges 1:10). Unless there is given in that place a more particular account of the taking of this city, with others at this time. But the former seems most likely.

This too, was totally destroyed. Joshua takes Hebron here. We will find in a later lesson that Caleb will retake it.

Joshua 10:38 "And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir; and fought against it:"

A city, according to Kimchi, which he passed by when he went to Hebron, and did not fight against it. But, when he had taken Hebron, returned and took it; and which Bunting says was but a mile from it, and twenty-two miles from Jerusalem, towards the south. It is the same with Kirjath-sepher and Kirjath-sannah (Joshua 15:15; 49). The city of a book or books; and the Rabbins say, that with the Persians Debir signifies the same, and had its name from a library which was here kept.

"And fought against it": It refusing to submit to him upon his summons.

This had been a frontier fortress of one of the five kings of the Amorites.

Joshua 10:39 "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."

For this also was a royal city, and had others dependent on it; and therefore, must lie further from Hebron than before suggested. And indeed, Burchard says it was five or six miles from it.

"And they smote them with the edge of the sword": The inhabitants of Debir, and the other cities adjacent to it:

"And utterly destroyed all the souls that were therein, he left none remaining": And yet it seems this city recovered again, and was re-inhabited. And after the death of Joshua was taken by Othniel (Judges 1:11). Unless, as before observed, with respect to Hebron, there is a more particular account of the taking of it at this time. As he had done to Hebron, so did he to Debir, and to the king thereof.

"As he had done also to Libnah and her king": That is, slew them.

God had commanded that they totally destroy the people of these cities, and make examples of their evil kings so no others would rise up in their place. Debir was destroyed as the other cities had been.

Verses 40-43: A summary of Joshua's southern campaign (compare 9:1 - 10:43).

Joshua 10:40 "So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded."

That part of the land of Canaan which lay southward, and consisted of hills and vales. Which abounded with springs, and was a well-watered country, and agrees with the description Moses gives of it, though he never saw it (Deut. 8:7).

"He left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed": That is, all human creatures. As for the cattle, they were spared as a prey.

"As the Lord God of Israel commanded": This law is still in existence (Deut. 20:16); and which is here observed to clear the Israelites from the charge of cruelty and inhumanity. Since what they did was not of themselves, nor from a private spirit of revenge, nor a greedy desire after the substance of the inhabitants. But in obedience to the command of God, and who ordered this as a righteous punishment of those people for their gross abominations of idolatry, incest, etc. (see Lev. 18:1).

This seems cruel, but we must remember that all of these people had their opportunity to turn to God and they did not. They also could leave no women living besides the men, because they would intermarry with those who worshipped other gods. We can see the purpose in this is, that God wanted them to be a holy separated people to Him. The lands they took, and the cities they destroyed had been given to them as part of the Promised Land. God had given it to them as long as they remain obedient to His commands.

Joshua 10:41 "And Joshua smote them from Kadesh-barnea even unto Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon."

"Gaza was one of the five principal cities of the Philistines. It was about three miles from the Mediterranean coast, marking the southern border of Canaan. Situated on the great caravan route between Mesopotamia and Egypt, at the junction of the trade route from Arabia, to the tribe of Judah (15:47). But it was not immediately occupied (Judges 1:18), because the Anakim were still present in the city (11:22; 13:3). Soon afterward the Philistines recovered Gaza (Judges 13:1). Samson was humiliated in this city (Judges 16:21), but in his last heroic act he destroyed many Philistines (Judges 16:23-31). Hezekiah dealt the decisive blow to the Philistines (2 Kings 18:8). Amos's prophecy concerning Gaza (Amos 1:6-7), was fulfilled by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C. In (Acts 8:26), the Ethiopian eunuch was converted and baptized on the road from Jerusalem to the ruins of old Gaza.

This is an explanation of how far the land reached that they had taken in this war. We also must remember they were acting under orders from God to do this. God fought for them and they were able to take the land God had promised them.

Joshua 10:42 "And all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time, because the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel."

Tribute belongs to the Lord for all the victories, as "in everything give thanks" (1 Thess. 5:18).

Not in one day, but in a very short time. In a few days, as the history clearly shows.

"Because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel": Which is the true reason of such quick dispatch being made. Otherwise in all probability much longer time must have been consumed in subduing them. The Targum is, "because the Lord God of Israel fought by his Word for Israel."

"At one time" means during this one campaign. It probably happened over a period of a few weeks. We remember one city was taken in two days and another in just one day. It seemed they went from city to city while they were fighting. God was with them and they won without much difficulty.

Joshua 10:43 "And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal."

After all these kings and their cities had been taken by him, and not before, though the same is said, (Joshua 10:15). Before the history of those facts (see note on Joshua 10:15).

"And all Israel with him to the camp in Gilgal": Where the body of the people were left, and where was the tabernacle of the Lord. And no doubt he and Israel with him gave public praise and thanksgiving there for the victories they had obtained over the Canaanites.

It seems from this, that Gilgal was home base. This was a holy war, commanded by God Himself.

Joshua Chapter 10 Continued Questions

1. What did Joshua tell the captains to do to the five kings?

2. What does this show?

3. Why did Joshua tell the captains to fear not?

4. Why should Christians share their victories over the devil with other Christians?

5. What did Joshua do to the five kings?

6. Where did he bury the kings?

7. Where did Joshua attack that day?

8. Whose life was spared?

9. Who is all Israel in verse 29 speaking of?

10. What was the second city that was destroyed?

11. Lachish was taken in ________ days.

12. What does "all the souls" mean?

13. Who came to help Lachish?

14. How wide were the walls at Gezer?

15. What did Lachish and Eglon have in common?

16. Joshua takes Hebron here. Who takes Hebron at a later time?

17. Where does verse 40 say they took?

18. Why was it important to leave none of the women living?

19. What does verse 42 mean by "at one time"?

20. How long did the campaign last, probably?

21. One city was taken in _____ days and another in _____ day.

22. Where did Joshua return after the fighting was finished?

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Joshua 11

Joshua Chapter 11

Verses 1-4: Another set of allied armies came against Israel. Josephus, the secular historian, says that the combined force of the "Canaanites" in this war was 300,000 foot soldiers, 10,000 cavalry and 20,000 chariots. The armies and horses seemed as vast as grains of "sand that is upon the sea shore" (Judges 7:2; 1 Sam. 13:5). The use of "horses and chariots" was a new element in the battle for the land, indicating that Canaan was a formidable foe.

Joshua 11:1 "And it came to pass, when Jabin king of Hazor had heard [those things], that he sent to Jobab king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron, and to the king of Achshaph,"

"Jabin" is apparently a hereditary throne name used by successive kings of "Hazor" (compare Judges Chapter 4). King Jabin led a coalition of kings from several city-states in Galilee and to the west against Joshua, whose victory reports in the south had spread northward.

"Hazor": Was an ancient Canaanite fortress city in northern Palestine located four miles southwest of Lake Huleh and 10 miles northwest of the Sea of Galilee. Hazor was one of the most important fortresses in the land when Joshua and the Israelites invaded Palestine (verse 10). Hazor was enormous. It had a large population and a strategic location on the main road between Egypt and Mesopotamia.

Jabin, the king of Hazor, was defeated by Joshua and the city was burned (verses 1-14). Later, during the Judges' period, God allowed the armies of Hazor to oppress Israel for 20 years (Judges 4:1-3). Deborah and Barak defeated Sisera, the captain of the armies of Hazor, and his nine hundred chariots (Judges 4:4-24). The city was allotted to the territory of Naphtali (19:32, 36). During the united monarchy, Hazor assumed a major role as one of Solomon's chief fortified cities (1 Kings 9:15), along with Gezer and Megiddo. Around 733 B.C., Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria invaded Galilee and captured Hazor (2 Kings 15:29), about 10 years before the collapse of the norther kingdom (in 722 B.C).

"Jabin" means intelligent. This was more of a title than a name. He was head of the Canaanites against Israel. It appears their governments were small and fragmented from the other little nations around them. Israel did not have to fight them all at once, because they had no lasting agreement with each other. With God leading Israel it was not a problem to take on one of these small nations and defeat them. It seems that Jabin was trying to form a group of the people around him to join in and fight Israel. Madon and Shimron are not known of elsewhere in the Bible.

Joshua 11:2 "And to the kings that [were] on the north of the mountains, and of the plains south of Chinneroth, and in the valley, and in the borders of Dor on the west,"

"South of Chinneroth, and in the valley": This refers to the deep rift of the Jordan River valley to the south of the Lake of Chinneroth (12:3), later called the Sea of Galilee. Chinneroth was probably a town not far north of the lake. The lowland or foothills are an area somewhat west of the Jordan, toward the Mediterranean Sea. Here also is the plain of Sharon and the heights of Dor, i.e., foothills extending to Mt. Carmel, nearer the Mediterranean coast and Dor, a seaport city.

These are some more of the small nations or kingdoms that Jabin is trying to get to come in with him to fight Israel. These are from the north, south and west. Chinneroth is one name for the Sea of Galilee. This was in the land of Galilee.

Joshua 11:3 "[And to] the Canaanite on the east and on the west, and [to] the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Jebusite in the mountains, and [to] the Hivite under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh."

That is, that particular nation of the seven so called. Part of which dwelt in the eastern part of the land, by the dead sea, and by the coast of Jordan (Num. 13:29). And others dwelt on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, which was to the west of the land.

"And to the Amorite, and to the Hittite, and to the Perizzite": Which were scattered about in several parts of the country.

"And the Jebusite in the mountains": In the mountainous part of Judea, in the mountains about Jerusalem, and which they still inhabited, and did to the times of David.

"And to the Hivite under Hermon, in the land of Mizpeh": So described to distinguish them from the Gibeonites, who were also Hivites. Mizpeh is the place, as Kimchi thinks, where the people of Israel are often said to meet together. Which he supposes they did, on account of the great salvation wrought here in Joshua's time. Hermon was a mountain that adjoined to Lebanon, where it is certain some of the Hivites dwelt (Judges 3:3).

Now we see all of the people that God had promised to give Israel are gathered against Israel. They could all be classed as Canaanites. Each had their own tribal names like Amorite, Hittite, Perizzite, Jebusite, and Hivite.

Joshua 11:4 "And they went out, they and all their hosts with them, much people, even as the sand that [is] upon the sea shore in multitude, with horses and chariots very many."

The several kings and people sent to. These went out from the places they inhabited.

"They and all their hosts with them": The kings of those several places, with their armies.

"Much people, even as the sand that is upon the seashore in multitude": A proverbial expression, to denote an exceeding great number.

"With horses and chariots very many": Being supplied with horses from Egypt, and their chariots were chariots of iron (see Judges 4:3). Josephus gives us the number of this great army, and says it consisted of three hundred thousand footmen, ten thousand horses, and thirty thousand chariots. Some copies read only twenty thousand. And these chariots were armed with iron hooks or scythes, to cut down men as they drove along, and so were very terrible.

All of them together made up a sizable army. They also had many war chariots and horses. We might remember back that Pharaoh had all of this too, and God drowned them in the Red Sea.

Joshua 11:5 "And when all these kings were met together, they came and pitched together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel."

"Merom": These copious springs a few miles southwest of Lake Huleh, about 13 miles north from the Lake of Chinneroth, which provided the northern armies a rendezvous point.

The reason they were willing to fight together is, they knew individually they had no chance against Israel. "Merom" means the waters of heights. They will all come against Israel at once.

Verses 6-9: The destruction of the "horses and ... chariots" is important for at least two reasons: (1) God did not want the chariots used against His own people in some future war; and (2) Israel had been commanded never to take horses unto themselves, for they were not to trust in horses or chariots but in God alone (Deut. 17:14-20; Psalm 20:7).

Joshua 11:6 "And the LORD said unto Joshua, Be not afraid because of them: for tomorrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel: thou shalt hough their horses, and burn their chariots with fire."

"Hough": Or hamstring. They cut the large sinew or ligament at the back of the hock on the rear leg, which crippled the horses, making them useless.

Joshua needed encouragement with this large army set to come against them. The horses and chariots in particular made them seem more powerful than they were. Notice God says he will deliver them up slain. The chariots will burn with fire. Perhaps, the reason God wants the horses and chariots destroyed is so Israel will not start depending on them for their own protection.

Joshua 11:7 "So Joshua came, and all the people of war with him, against them by the waters of Merom suddenly; and they fell upon them."

Being encouraged by the Lord, they set out with Joshua at the head of them, to fight the kings and their forces. It is highly probable that these were not the whole body of armed men in the camp of Israel, but a select company Joshua took of them. And who would be able to make quicker marches on this expedition.

"By the waters of Merom suddenly": The Targum is, "they lay by the waters of Merom;" as they were thoughtless and careless, and not on their guard. Joshua and his forces came to them suddenly, unawares, and they not ready for them.

"And they fell upon them": At once, which threw them into disorder and confusion.

It appears from this, that Joshua attacked.

Joshua 11:8 "And the LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel, who smote them, and chased them unto great Zidon, and unto Misrephoth-maim, and unto the valley of Mizpeh eastward; and they smote them, until they left them none remaining."

"Great Zidon": A city on the Phoenician coast, north of Hazor. "Great" may refer to surrounding areas along with the city itself.

"Misrephoth-maim": This location lay west of Hazor and also on the Mediterranean.

Joshua's army was too powerful for them and they began to run. Joshua's troops followed them unto Zidon, unto Misrephoth-main, and unto Mizpeh and killed all of them.

Joshua 11:9 "And Joshua did unto them as the LORD bade him: he houghed their horses, and burnt their chariots with fire."

Namely, in the following instances.

"He houghed their horses, and burnt their chariots with fire": Not consulting his own worldly interest or that of the people of Israel, but the command of God, which he carefully obeyed. And reserved none for himself or them, as David in another case afterwards did (see 2 Sam. 8:4).

The tendon behind the horse's hoof was cut and left the horses of no use at all. They burned the chariots as well. God was Israel's help and they did not need earthly power.

Joshua 11:10 "And Joshua at that time turned back, and took Hazor, and smote the king thereof with the sword: for Hazor beforetime was the head of all those kingdoms."

After the victory was won, Joshua returned to the city of "Hazor" and brought out King Jabin to have him executed. Jabin was made an example for creating this coalition of enemy armies and being a champion of evil.

Hazor was destroyed first because they were the ones who had put this coalition army together against Israel.

Joshua 11:11 "And they smote all the souls that [were] therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying [them]: there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with fire."

Men, women, and children.

"There was not any left to breathe": Any human creature; for as for the cattle they were taken for a prey.

"And he burnt Hazor with fire": As he did Jericho and Ai, though no other cities he had taken. But it seems that this city, though burnt, was built again and inhabited by Canaanites, who had a king over them of the same name with this in the times of Deborah (Judges 4:2).

They killed all the women, the men, and even the children.

Verses 12-15: Joshua "left nothing undone" (1:7) regarding the Lord's instructions. This is how the victories recorded in this book were possible. None of the cities were "burned ... save Hazor only". This was probably done to make a statement about the fate of those who might try to resist Israel's occupation of the land.

A summary of Joshua's northern campaign (11:1-15).

Joshua 11:12 "And all the cities of those kings, and all the kings of them, did Joshua take, and smote them with the edge of the sword, [and] he utterly destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the LORD commanded."

As particularly Madon, Shimron, and Achshaph, with others which he marched unto, after he had burnt Hazor. In which he took their kings, whither they had fled, or else he had taken them before in the pursuit.

"And smote them with the edge of the sword": Both the kings and the inhabitants of those cities.

"And he utterly destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the Lord commanded": So that, in doing what he did, he did not indulge a spirit of revenge, cruelty, and greed. But had regard purely to the command of Moses, which was of God (Deut. 7:1).

It appears, that some of the cities Joshua had already destroyed all the people in, had been re-populated with other people. He now burns Hazor with fire to keep this from happening here.

Joshua 11:13 "But [as for] the cities that stood still in their strength, Israel burned none of them, save Hazor only; [that] did Joshua burn."

Whose walls were not demolished when taken, as Kimchi and Jarchi interpret it. Or that "stood upon their heaps"; upon an eminence, being built on hills and mountains.

"Israel burned none of them": But reserved them for their own habitations. Being well fortified, and having no need of new walls being built to them, or being in a very agreeable situation.

"Save Hazor only, that did Joshua burn": Because it was the chief city where the scheme was formed, and the combination against Israel was made, and was the rendezvous of the confederate forces against them. The Jews have a tradition, that God said to Moses, and Moses said to Joshua, that he should burn it, and that only.

This perhaps means these cities were up on a hill separate from the other cities. They were good look-outs. They would also not be easily re-populated because of their position.

Joshua 11:14 "And all the spoil of these cities, and the cattle, the children of Israel took for a prey unto themselves; but every man they smote with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them, neither left they any to breathe."

The gold, silver, household goods, corn, wine, oil, or any mercantile goods, together with cattle of every sort. All were taken by them for a prey, for their own use and benefit, which was allowed them.

"But every man they smote with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them, neither left they any to breathe": For which they had warrant so to do from the Lord, as follows.

In many cases, they had killed all of the livestock as well. In this particular case, they had kept the livestock and spoiled the city just killing all of the people.

Joshua 11:15 "As the LORD commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD commanded Moses."

Joshua's faithfulness to the Lord's will and Moses' directions is constantly underscored (compare verses 12, 20, 23). Joshua's own farewell testimony emphasizes the faithfulness and goodness of God (compare 23:15).

We see from this that Joshua was doing exactly as he had been commanded by Moses to do. God had given these commands to Moses before he gave them to Joshua.

Deuteronomy 4:2 "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish [ought] from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you."

Deuteronomy 7:2 "And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, [and] utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them:"

Verses 16-17: "Joshua took all that land": The sweeping conquest covered much of Palestine.

"The hills": In the south, in Judah.

"South country": The Negev south of the Dead Sea.

"Goshen": Probably the land between Gaza and Gibeon.

"The valley": Or foothills; refers to an area between the Mediterranean coastal plain and the hills of Judah.

"The valley of the same": The rift valley running south of the Dead Sea all the way to the Red Sea's Gulf of Aqabah.

The hill country of Israel is distinct that that in 11:16, lying in the norther part of Palestine. The conquest reached from Mt. Halak, about 6 miles south of the Dead Sea, to Mt. Hermon about 40 miles northeast from the Lake of Chinneroth.

Joshua 11:16 "So Joshua took all that land, the hills, and all the south country, and all the land of Goshen, and the valley, and the plain, and the mountain of Israel, and the valley of the same;"

The whole land of Canaan, described as follows. Both as to the southern and northern parts of it.

"The hills": The hill country of Judea, of which (see Luke 1:39).

"And all the south country": Where lived the five kings; and those of other places, the account of the taking of which we have in the preceding chapter (Joshua 10:40).

"And all the land of Goshen": (See Joshua 10:41).

"And the valley, and the plain": The low places and campaign fields which lay between the hills and mountains. Particularly all the plain and campaign country near Eleuthero-polis, towards the north and west. Jerom says, in his day, was called "Sephela", or "the vale".

"And the mountain of Israel, and the valley of the same": By which may be meant Jerusalem, situated on a mountain, and is so called (Ezek. 17:23). And its valley may be the valley of Hinnom or of Jehoshaphat, as they were after called, which were near it. Some think the hill of Samaria or the mountains about that are meant.

Joshua 11:17 "[Even] from the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir, even unto Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon under mount Hermon: and all their kings he took, and smote them, and slew them."

Or the "smooth" and "bald" mountain, which had no trees on it, as some interpret it, observed by Kimchi. It was a mount on the borders of Edom, to which the land of Canaan reached on that side.

"Even unto Baal-gad, in the valley of Lebanon, under Mount Hermon": And so describes the northern part of the land conquered by Joshua.

"And all their kings he took, and smote them, and slew them": Both in the southern and northern parts of the land.

He did all of this in obedience to the commands of God.

Deuteronomy 1:7 "Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all [the places] nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates."

Joshua 11:18 "Joshua made war a long time with all those kings."

"War a long time": The conquest took approximately 7 years (ca. 1405 - 1398 B.C.; compare 14:10). Only Gibeon submitted without a fight (verse 19).

For, though the account of the conquest of them is put together, and lies in a small compass. Yet those victories were not obtained at once, or in a few days, as were those of the five kings, and others, related in the preceding chapter (Joshua 10:10). But were the work of some years. The common notion of the Jews is that Joshua was seven years in subduing the land of Canaan.

The war in the south lasted weeks or perhaps a few months, but the war in the north lasted much longer. Some historians say the taking of their cities took somewhere between 5 and 7 years.

Joshua 11:19 "There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save the Hivites the inhabitants of Gibeon: all [other] they took in battle."

Though, according to the Jews, Joshua, upon his first landing in Canaan, sent letters and messages to all the inhabitants of the land, offering them peace on certain terms. Particularly that he sent three messages, or proposed three things to them. That those who had a mind to flee might flee; that those who were desirous of making peace might make it; and they that were for war, let them fight. All were for the last, and so perished.

"Save the Hivites and the inhabitants of Gibeon": These, some have thought, did not hear of the offers of peace, others think they did. And at first rejected them, but repenting were obliged to take the crafty methods they did to obtain it. Of which see (Joshua 9:1).

"All other they took in battle": Refusing to submit to them and make peace with them.

The cities all had to be taken by force, except the Hivites who tricked Joshua into accepting them as servants of Israel. Gibeon was the main city that was saved.

Joshua 11:20 "For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, [and] that they might have no favor, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses."

"It was of the LORD to harden their hearts": God turned the Canaanites' hearts to fight in order that Israel might be His judging instrument to destroy them. They were willfully guilty of rejecting the true God with consequent great wickedness, and were as unfit to remain in the Land as vomit spewed out of the mouth (Lev. 18:24-25).

In order for Israel to settle in the land and be the nation God intended them to be, all pagan and evil influences had to be eradicated. God's people often must engage in battle to take full possession of what God has promised. Today, this takes the form of spiritual warfare, fighting against the devil's schemes to undermine God's work (Eph. 6:10-18).

God's wrath was against them, as it had been against Pharaoh of Egypt. In both instances, God hardened their heart and then destroyed them. God had planned to give this land to Israel for their Promised Land. The people were not followers of God, so He destroyed them and gave the land to Israel.

Joshua 11:21 "And at that time came Joshua, and cut off the Anakims from the mountains, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel: Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities."

"Anakims": Enemies who dwelt in the southern area which Joshua had defeated. They descended from Anak ("long necked"), and were related to the giants who made Israel's spies feel small as grasshoppers by comparison (Num. 13:28-33). Compare also Deut. 2:10-11, 21. Their territory was later given to Caleb as a reward for his loyalty (14:6-15).

The Anakims had been going back and taking over the cities that Joshua had already defeated. Now Joshua goes in and destroys the Anakims. "Anakims" means long necked men.

Joshua 11:22 "There was none of the Anakims left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there remained."

"Anakims ... Gath": Some of them remained in Philistine territory, most notably those who preceded Goliath (compare 1 Sam. 17:4).

The "Anakim" were the giants the 12 spies saw in the land (Num. chapters 13-14). Just as Joshua and Caleb predicted, God enabled the Israelites to conquer these mighty men so they could claim the land He had promised them.

"Gath" was one of the five chief cities of the Philistines (Judges 3:3), located on the coastal plain in southern Palestine (13:3). Like Ashdod, it was one of the remaining homes of the Anakim (giants; compare verse 22; 2 Sam. 21:22). Its precise location remains uncertain. The city is mentioned twice in stories about the Ark of the Covenant (1 Sam. chapters 4 to 6; 2 Sam. chapter 6). The Philistine inhabitants of Ashdod sent the Ark to Gath (1 Sam. 5:8; 6:17; 7:14). Gath was also the home of Goliath the Philistine (1 Sam. 17:4, 23). David befriended Achish, the king of Gath, during the days when he fled from King Saul (1 Sam. 27:2-12). David captured Gath (1 Chron. 18:1; 2 Chron. 26:6), during his reign. The residents of Gath, known as Gittites, were still subject to Israel during Solomon's reign, although they had their own king (1 Kings 2:39, 42). Solomon's son, Rehoboam, fortified Gath (2 Chron. 11:8), but the city returned to the hands of the Philistines. Later, Hazael recaptured Gath (2 Kings 12:17), and Uzziah broke down its walls (2 Chron. 26:6).

"Ashdod" was one of the five principal Philistine cities (1 Sam. 6:17), situated three miles from the Mediterranean coast and 18 miles northeast of Gaza. The city's military and economic significance was enhanced by its location on the main highway between Egypt and Syria. Some of the Anakim were found there in the days of Joshua (verse 22), and the inhabitants were too strong for the Israelites at that time. It was among the towns assigned to Judah, but was not occupied by them (13:3; 15:46). Ashdod was still independent in the days of Samuel, when, after the defeat of the Israelites, the Ark was taken to the house of Dagon in Ashdod (1 Sam. 5:1). There is no report that it was occupied by David, although he defeated the Philistines many times. Likewise, no definite knowledge exists that it was ever subdued by Judah before the time of Uzziah (2 Chron. 26:6). The prophet Amos predicated the destruction of the city because of its inhumane treatment of the Israelites (Amos 1:8; 3:9). Zephaniah (Zeph. 2:4), refers to the desolation of Ashdod, and Zechariah (Zech. 9:6), to its degraded condition. It continued to be inhabited, however, for Jews intermarried with women of Ashdod after the return from Babylon (Neh. 13:23).

There was a remnant of these giant people who lasted even until the time of David, because Goliath was a giant over 9 feet tall. There was just a handful of giants left. They were almost annihilated in the time of Joshua here. Gaza was a stronghold of the Philistines. Gath and Ashdod were too.

Joshua 11:23 "So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war."

"The whole land": Here is a key verse for the book which sums up (11:16-22). How does this relate to (13:1), where God tells Joshua that he did not take the whole land? It may mean that the major battles had been fought and supremacy demonstrated, even if further incidents would occur and not every last pocket of potential resistance had yet been rooted out.

The chief resistance of the entire land was now broken. Further conflict with the Canaanites would yet continue for some time (compare 23:29-30; Deut. 7:22; Judges 2:20-23). The land resting periodically from war will form a major theme in the Book of Judges.

They took the entire Promised Land as God had commanded them to do. Joshua divided it up among the tribes as God had told him to do. This does not mean that he had killed every single person in opposition to Israel. It just means they were in total control of the land of promise. They cast lots to determine who got what piece of land. We remember, the Levites got cities instead of land. All the other tribes got their allotted land. There was no more war, because the few people left greatly feared Israel's God.

Joshua Chapter 11 Questions

1. Who was king of Hazor?

2. What does "Jabin" mean?

3. This was more of a ________ than a ________.

4. What was Jabin trying to do, beginning with verse 1?

5. Chinneroth is another name for the ______ of __________.

6. What small nations could all be classified as Canaanites?

7. What two things did the Canaanite armies have that Israel did not?

8. Where did they meet to fight against Israel?

9. What does "Merom" mean?

10. What made these armies seem powerful to Joshua?

11. What does "hough" mean?

12. What will God do to their chariots?

13. Where did they run toward?

14. What, exactly, did Joshua's men do to the horses?

15. Why was Hazor destroyed?

16. Why did Joshua and his army kill all of the people?

17. In verse 14 the Israelites were allowed to take what?

18. What is meant by "long time" in verse 18?

19. Which was the only city that made peace with Israel?

20. What did God do to these people to cause them to fight Israel?

21. What does "Anakims" mean?

22. How tall was Goliath?

23. Gaza was a stronghold of the _______________.

24. How was the land divided?

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Joshua 12

Joshua Chapter 12

Verses 1-24: This detailed list of the 31 "kings" the Israelites defeated" is historical verification that the Israelites were able to conquer all their enemies, through the power of God and according to the promises of God.

"The kings ... Israel smote": The actual list of 31 kings conquered (verse 24), follows and fills out the summary of "all the land" in (11:16-17, 23). The roster shows the kings whom "Moses defeated" east of the Jordan earlier (verses 1-6; compare Num. chapter 21; Deut. 2:24 - 3:17); then those whom Joshua conquered west of the Jordan. A summary (verses 7-8); central kings (verse 9); southern kings (verses 10-16); and northern kings (verses 17-24).

Joshua 12:1 "Now these [are] the kings of the land, which the children of Israel smote, and possessed their land on the other side Jordan toward the rising of the sun, from the river Arnon unto mount Hermon, and all the plain on the east:"

In the days of Moses, as Jarchi remarks, and as it clearly appears from what follows.

"And possessed, their land on the other side Jordan toward the rising of the sun": On the east of the land of Canaan.

"From the river Arnon unto the mount Hermon, and all the plain on the east": Arnon was the border of Moab between them and the Amorites (Num. 21:13). And from hence to Hermon, a mountain adjoining to Lebanon, lay the country of the two kings of the Amorites after mentioned (Deut. 3:8). And the plain on the east were the plains of Moab, which lay to the east of Jordan.

The list of conquered kings (in chapter 12), forms a logical expansion (of the closing verses of chapter 11).

Joshua is about to give a complete description of the kings they had conquered, and the lands they had possessed. This first mention is of the kings and their lands on the eastern side of Jordan. The land on the eastern side of Jordan you remember, was given to Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh. This was a beautiful land for grazing animals. The lands on the east side of Jordan had been ruled by the giants Og and Sihon. The land was bordered on the west by the Jordan River. It reached from the river Arnon to Mount Hermon.

Joshua 12:2 "Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt in Heshbon, [and] ruled from Aroer, which [is] upon the bank of the river Arnon, and from the middle of the river, and from half Gilead, even unto the river Jabbok, [which is] the border of the children of Ammon;"

Which he took from the Moabites, and made his capital city (Num. 21:2).

"And ruled from Aroer, which is upon the bank of the river of Arnon": A city of Moab, which never fell into the hands of Sihon, and therefore he is said to rule from it but not over it.

"And from the middle of the river": That is, the river Arnon, which being the boundary of the Moabites and Amorites, the king of the Amorites might be said to rule from the middle of it.

"And from half Gilead even unto the river Jabbok, which is the border of the children of Ammon": So it is said to be (Deut. 3:16). It should be rendered, not "from half Gilead", but "and half Gilead", as it is in the Hebrew text, and so in the Targum. For half Gilead belonged to the kingdom of Sihon, as the other half did to the kingdom of Og. As in (Joshua 12:5); and so Jarchi remarks.

Numbers 21:23-24 "And Sihon would not suffer Israel to pass through his border: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel into the wilderness: and he came to Jahaz, and fought against Israel." "And Israel smote him with the edge of the sword, and possessed his land from Arnon unto Jabbok, even unto the children of Ammon: for the border of the children of Ammon [was] strong."

Joshua 12:3 "And from the plain to the sea of Chinneroth on the east, and unto the sea of the plain, [even] the salt sea on the east, the way to Beth-jeshimoth; and from the south, under Ashdoth-pisgah:

Or rather, "and the plain". The plains of Moab, which, before possessed by the Israelites, belonged to the kingdom of Sihon. And the plains of Jordan, which reached;

"To the sea of Cinneroth on the east": The same with the lake of Gennesaret, and sea of Tiberias, mentioned in the New Testament (Matt. 14:34).

"And unto the sea of the plain": Where stood the cities of the plain, Sodom, Gomorrah, etc.

"Even the salt sea on the east": The same with the Dead Sea, into which the plain the above cities stood on was converted.

"The way to Beth-jeshimoth; which was a place in the plains of Moab (Num. 33:49).

"And from the south under Ashdoth-pisgah": Or the springs of Pisgah, which flowed from the mount of that name (Deut. 3:17).

Chinneroth is the same as the Sea of Galilee, and the Salt Sea is the same as the Dead Sea. These are extremities of the eastern side of the territory. Beth-jeshimoth is speaking of the desert area near the Dead Sea. "Beth-jeshimoth" means house of desolations. It perfectly describes this area, even today. Pisgah was the mountain you could stand on and see the Promised Land. This was the mountain Moses climbed to get his view of the Promised Land. It was actually across from Jericho.

Joshua 12:4 "And the coast of Og king of Bashan, [which was] of the remnant of the giants, that dwelt at Ashtaroth and at Edrei,"

The country that he reigned over, who was another king of the Amorites. Smitten by Israel in the times of Moses.

"Which was of the remnant of the giants": (see note at Deut. 3:11).

"That dwelt at Ashtaroth and at Edrei": Of which two places see (Deut. 1:4). It seems as if Og had a palace in each of those cities, and sometimes was at one and sometimes at another, as is usual with kings.

Ashtaroth was a very evil city worshipping the stars. Og was one of the last kings of the giants. They were defeated by Moses.

Joshua 12:5 "And reigned in mount Hermon, and in Salcah, and in all Bashan, unto the border of the Geshurites and the Maachathites, and half Gilead, the border of Sihon king of Heshbon."

That is, over all the people that inhabited that mount or dwelt under it (Joshua 11:17). And adjacent to it, of which mountain (see notes on Deut. 3:8-9).

"And in Salcah": Which was a city belonging to the kingdom of Og (Deut. 3:10).

"And in all Bashan": Or Batanea, a country famous for pasturage (Micah 7:14), and for fat cattle, (Ezek. 39:18), and for oaks (Isa. 2:13), frequently mentioned in Scripture.

"Unto the border of the Geshurites, and the Maachathites": Which were two nations the Israelites never expelled (Joshua 13:13; see Deut. 3:14).

"And half Gilead": Which belonged to Og. As the other half did to Sihon, before observed, which was as follows.

"The border of Sihon king of Heshbon": Here the two kingdoms joined, even in the midst of Gilead, which was divided between them. But now wholly fell into the hands of Israel.

The Geshurites were on the north-east corner of Bashan. They bordered on Aram. They were located east of Jordan. The Maachathites were the inhabitants of a small kingdom near Palestine. Some of these warriors joined Israel's army. The Geshurites and the Maachathites are mentioned in the time of David, so they are not annihilated here.

Joshua 12:6 "Them did Moses the servant of the LORD and the children of Israel smite: and Moses the servant of the LORD gave it [for] a possession unto the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh."

That is, the inhabitants of those kingdoms they smote with the edge of the sword, and took possession of them. The history of which see in (Num. 21:1).

"And Moses the servant of the Lord gave it": The whole dominion of the two kings before mentioned.

"For a possession unto the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh": Of which grant, and the conditions of it (see Num. 32:1).

On the eastern side of Jordan Moses was still in charge. The lands we mentioned in the previous verses here were all east of Jordan. These were the lands that were such good lands for livestock that Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh received. They had to go and help the other tribes fight for their land on the west side of Jordan, but the LORD gave them time to settle their families here before going over the Jordan River.

Joshua 12:7 "And these [are] the kings of the country which Joshua and the children of Israel smote on this side Jordan on the west, from Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon even unto the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir; which Joshua gave unto the tribes of Israel [for] a possession according to their divisions;"

After particularly named (Joshua 12:9).

"Which Joshua and the children of Israel smote on this side Jordan on the west": That is, on the west of Jordan.

"From Baal-gad, in the valley of Lebanon, even unto the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir": Of which see (Joshua 11:17).

"Which Joshua gave unto the tribes of Israel": For a possession.

"According to their divisions": As after related in this book.

Moses died and was buried on the eastern side of the Jordan River. Joshua took over in His place and led their people across the Jordan River to their Promised Land. We remember the lands are divided by lot after they have won the land from its inhabitants. This is their inheritance from God. Baal-gad was a city at the foot of Mount Hermon. This borders Lebanon. Seir is the area of the Dead Sea.

Joshua 12:8 "In the mountains, and in the valleys, and in the plains, and in the springs, and in the wilderness, and in the south country; the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites:"

Which is a description of the whole land of Canaan. Some parts of which were hills and mountains, others vales and level fields. Others were dry and barren, and others well-watered. Some part of it lay to the north, as towards Lebanon, and others to the south, towards Seir.

"The Hittites, the Amorites, and the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites": Which were the nations that inhabited the land of Canaan before it was taken and possessed by the Israelites.

This is a list of the people who were living there before the LORD had Joshua to take it for Israel. These were people who knew not God.

Joshua 12:9 "The king of Jericho, one; the king of Ai, which [is] beside Beth-el, one;"

Who was first taken, and so named first (Joshua 6:21).

"The king of Ai, which is beside Bethel, one": Who was next taken and though Beth-el was so near Ai, it had a king of its own, after mentioned (see Joshua 7:1).

In the previous lesson, we got into the details of the overthrow of these kings and their lands. The kings were killed and most of the cities burned. There were many more cities than the ones listed here. These are some of the cities that were centers. Jericho and Ai were two of the more prominent cities.

Joshua 12:10 "The king of Jerusalem, one; the king of Hebron, one;"

Whose name was Adoni-zedek, and was one of the five kings taken and hanged (Joshua 10:1).

"The king of Hebron, one": Another of the five kings, whose name was Hoham (Joshua 10:3).

Joshua 12:11 "The king of Jarmuth, one; the king of Lachish, one;"

Whose name was Piram, a third of the five kings before observed (Joshua 10:3).

"The king of Lachish, one": Another of them, whose name was Japhia (Joshua 10:3).

Joshua 12:12 "The king of Eglon, one; the king of Gezer, one;"

The last of the five kings, and his name was Debir (Joshua 10:3).

"The king of Gezer, one": Who came up to help Lachish, and his name was Horam (Joshua 10:33).

Joshua 12:13 "The king of Debir, one; the king of Geder, one;"

The same with Kirjath-sepher, of which place (see Joshua 10:38).

"The king of Geder, one": Jerom seems to confound this with the tower of Eder, beyond which Jacob pitched his tent (Gen. 35:21). And he speaks of a Geder in the tribe of Judah, in his time a village belonging to the country about Aelia or Jerusalem. And of Gahedur in the tribe of Judah, a large village, ten miles from Diospolis or Lydda, as you go to Eleuthero-polis. It seems to be the same with Gederah (Joshua 15:36), or Gedor (Joshua 15:58).

Joshua 12:14 "The king of Hormah, one; the king of Arad, one;"

Hormah, and Arad were cities in the Negeb. This was a very dry area, bordering Edom.

Which was formerly called Zephath (Judges 1:17; see Joshua 15:3).

"The king of Arad, one": Perhaps the same with Arath, which, Jerom says, is the border of the land of Judah (see Num. 21:1).

Joshua 12:15 "The king of Libnah, one; the king of Adullam, one;" This would later be associated with the Philistines.

Taken at the same time as the kings of Makkedah, Debir, and of other places were (Joshua 10:29).

"The king of Adullam, one": A city in the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:35). Jerom says there was a village in his time, not a small one, called by this name, ten miles to the east of Eleuthero-polis. Near to this place was a cave where David hid himself when he fled from Saul (1 Sam. 22:1; see notes on Micah 1:15).

Joshua 12:16 " The king of Makkedah, one; the king of Beth-el, one;"

In a cave near to which five kings hid themselves, and were taken out and hanged, and the city afterwards was taken by Joshua (Joshua 10:16). Which fell to the lot of the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:41).

"The king of Bethel, one": A city near to Ai, about a mile from it, and yet had a king over it. It was taken at the same time that Ai was (Joshua 7:2). And fell to the lot of Benjamin (Joshua 18:22).

Joshua 12:17 "The king of Tappuah, one; the king of Hepher, one;"

Which Jerom calls Thaffu. It signifies an apple, and perhaps had its name from plenty of that fruit that grew there. A city of this name fell to the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:34). Where also was another place called Beth-tappuah (Joshua 15:53). And both different from another Tappuah on the border of Manasseh, which belonged to the tribe of Ephraim (Joshua 17:8). By some thought to be meant here.

"The king of Hepher, one": Mention is made of Gittah-hepher as on the border of Zebulun (Joshua 19:13). The same with Gath-hepher, of which place was the Prophet Jonah (2 Kings 14:25). And of the land of Hepher in (1 Kings 4:10). Which is said by Jerom to be in the same tribe, and not far from Diocaesarea or Zip-pore. And we read of a Chepher or Hepher in the Jewish writings, which, according to the account of it there given, could not be far from the same place, at least it must be less than twelve miles from it.

Joshua 12:18 "The king of Aphek, one; the king of Lasharon, one;"

There was a place called Aphekah in the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:53). And an Aphek that was on the border of the Amorites (Joshua 13:4). And another in the tribe of Asher (Joshua 19:30). But Andrichomius places this Aphek in the tribe of Issachar, whose king Joshua smote, and takes it to be the same place where the Philistines in the times of Samuel and David brought their armies against Israel (1 Sam. 4:1). And where the king of Syria fought against Israel (1 Kings 20:26). And says that its ruins were now shown in the great plain not far from Gilboa to the east of Mount Carmel, and five miles from Tabor.

"The king of Lasharon, one": Which, according to the Vulgate Latin version, is the same with Saron, which (in Acts 9:35), in some copies is called Assaron. So Andrichomius, who places it in the tribe of Ephraim, and takes it to be the same Sharon Isaiah speaks of (Isa. 33:9). And of which Jerom says, to this day there is a country between Tabor and the lake of Tiberias called Saronas, and also that from Caesarea of Palestine to the town of Joppa, all the land that is seen bears that name.

Joshua 12:19 "The king of Madon, one; the king of Hazor, one;"

Whose name was Jobab (Joshua 11:1).

"The king of Hazor, one": Whose name was Jabin, and of him and his city (see Joshua 11:1).

Joshua 12:20 "The king of Shimron-meron, one; the king of Achshaph, one;"

See (Joshua 11:1), this place fell to the tribe of Zebulun (Joshua 19:15).

"The king of Achshaph, one": See (Joshua 11:1); this city fell to the lot of Asher (Joshua 19:25).

Joshua 12:21 "The king of Taanach, one; the king of Megiddo, one;"

It was in the tribe of Manasseh (Joshua 17:11). Jerom says in his time it was a large village, distant from Legion on the plain of Esdraelon three miles.

"The king of Megiddo, one": Which belonged to the same tribe (Joshua 17:11). Near this place were some waters where the Canaanites fought with the Israelites (Judges 5:19). And a valley where Josiah was slain (2 Chron. 35:22).

Megiddo is in the area where the battle of Armageddon will be fought in the end days.

Joshua 12:22 "The king of Kedesh, one; the king of Jokneam of Carmel, one;"

Which afterwards fell to the tribe of Naphtali, and was one of the cities of refuge (Joshua 19:37). It was situated in upper Galilee on Mount Naphtali, four miles from the city of Sephet, and as many from Capernaum, and twenty miles from Tyre.

"The king of Jokneam of Carmel, one": A city that came to the lot of the tribe of Zebulun (Joshua 19:11). And was given to the Levites (Joshua 21:34). It was not far from Mount Carmel, from whence it is described.

Joshua 12:23 "The king of Dor in the coast of Dor, one; the king of the nations of Gilgal, one;"

Of which (see Joshua 11:2). It fell to the lot of Manasseh, but never was possessed by them. As were not Taanach and Megiddo, before mentioned (Joshua 17:11; Judges 1:27).

"The king of the nations of Gilgal, one": Not the place where Joshua encamped after he had passed Jordan, for that was then no city. The Septuagint version renders it the land of Galilee.

Gilgal was the plain of Jordan.

Joshua 12:24 "The king of Tirzah, one: all the kings thirty and one."

The mention of numerous kinglets in Canaan at this time is confirmed by the Amarna Tablets, in which many of the same names occur.

The conquest of all these kings, covering areas up and down the "whole land" (11:23), was due to the Lord's faithful help, which fulfilled His Word. God promised the Land in His covenant with Abraham (Gen. 12:7), and reaffirmed that He would give success in conquest (Joshua 1:3, 6).

In this group, there are 31 kings killed. You can see by all of these divisions that they would have not been as strong as they would have been if they were one nation. There are many more cities taken. These are mentioned specifically because they were the primary city in their area. Many of the other cities Israel does not burn. They do kill most of the people however.

Joshua Chapter 12 Questions

1. What is Joshua doing, beginning with verse 1?

2. These first few verses are on which side of Jordan?

3. Who was the land on the eastern side of Jordan given to?

4. Who had this area been ruled by?

5. This area was bordered on the west by the _________ ________.

6. Sihon was king of the ____________.

7. What did Sihon refuse Israel?

8. What were the results of this battle?

9. Chinneroth is the same as what?

10. The Salt Sea is the same as the ________ Sea.

11. "Beth-jeshimoth" means what?

12. What mount did Moses go on to see the Promised Land?

13. Who were the remnants of the giants?

14. The Geshurites were on the north east corner of __________.

15. Some of the ______________ warriors joined Israel's army.

16. On the eastern side of Jordan, _________ was still in charge.

17. Why did Reuben want the land on the east of Jordan?

18. What requirement was made of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh to receive the land east of Jordan?

19. Where was Moses Buried?

20. Who took his place?

21. How were the lands divided?

22. Who were the people who previously owned the land of promise?

23. What were two of the more prominent cities destroyed?

24. What is Megiddo well known for?

25. How many kings, listed here, died?

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Joshua 13

Joshua Chapter 13

Verses 1-2 "Much land": Some land had not yet actually been occupied by the Israelites through the previous general victories. Pockets or areas in (13:2-6), still lay untouched by specific invasion and occupation (see note on 11:23). When Joshua allotted areas to individuals and tribes, they bore the challenge to drive out lingering resisters. If not, they would disobey God's mandate to be resolute in conquest (Deut. 11:22-23). Failure to do this thoroughly is a sad theme (in Judges chapter 1).

Verses 1-7: Even though Israel still had "much land to be possessed", God promised Joshua that He would give it to them, so he should include the yet-unconquered territory in his division of the land. When God promises something, His children should respond as if He has already done it, because He has.

Joshua 13:1 "Now Joshua was old [and] stricken in years; and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old [and] stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed."

"Joshua was old": By this time, he was about 95, in comparison to Caleb's 85 years (see 14:10; in 23:1 he was old and stricken in age at 110; and in 24:29 he was near death and he died).

Chapters 13 to 19 deal with the careful allotment of land to the tribes of Israel. The division was to be carried out on spiritual grounds (compare verse 6; 14:2; 18:6), as well as on the basis of the needs of the tribes. The whole process was presided over by Joshua, Eleazar the priest, and by the heads of the tribes (14:1). It was carried out carefully by a committee of men specially selected to study the land and determine its boundaries (18:4-1).

We know that Joshua had been without a spot on his life all during the wilderness wanderings. He was thrust into the shoes of one of the greatest men in history (Moses). He did not pale to him however. He knew the task before him, and did it just as Moses had commanded him to do. The crossing of the Jordan River was just as dramatic as the crossing of the Red Sea, but has had much less fame. This is so interesting to me, that God would say there is still much to do. This is very much like Christianity. The battle never stops. It seems too, that we all must work until Jesus comes, or until our life on earth is over. There is no retirement.

Verses 2-6: This is a detailed list of allotted land yet to be conquered by the Israelites. The names proceed from south to north, covering the area between the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the coastal mountains.

The mention of the "Philistines" and the five lords" of their principal cities has been considered anachronistic by some due to the omission of the Philistines from the inheritance list of (12:8), and the statement in (11:21-22), that the Anakim were still the chief force in southwestern Canaan. However, the presence of small numbers of Philistines in the area was noted as early as the patriarchal period (Gen. 21:32; compare Exodus 13:17), so that some Philistine presence was already known by Joshua's day. The precision regarding the discussion concerning the Philistines here may be an editorial updating, detailing the conditions of the territory that would be dominated by the Philistines after Joshua's time. Indeed, the Philistines would become a source of increasing irritation to Israel during the era of the Judges (compare Judges 3:3-4, 31). By the time of Samson (a century-and-a-half later), they became a distinct threat (Judges chapters 13 to 16).

Joshua 13:2 "This [is] the land that yet remaineth: all the borders of the Philistines, and all Geshuri,"

Unconquered and not enjoyed, namely, what is after described. And this account is given for Joshua's information, that he might know what to divide, and for the people of Israel's sake, that they might know what they had a right to a claim upon. What they should endeavor to possess themselves of, and what the Lord would deliver into their hands, provided they were obedient to his will. For, because they were not, hence many of these places never came into their possession, though divided to them by lot.

All the borders of the Philistines": whose country bordered and lay upon the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, in the southwest of the land of Canaan.

"And all Geshuri": The principal city belonging to it is said to be in Syria (2 Sam. 15:8). And had a king over it in the times of David (2 Sam. 3:3). And seems never to have come into the hands of the Israelites.

These Philistines were powerful opponents. Some of the area of Lebanon was taken, and some were not. The Geshurites were the earlier inhabitants or that land, and were also known as the Avites.

Joshua 13:3 "From Sihor, which [is] before Egypt, even unto the borders of Ekron northward, [which] is counted to the Canaanite: five lords of the Philistines; the Gazathites, and the Ashdothites, the Eshkalonites, the Gittites, and the Ekronites; also the Avites:"

"Ekron" was one of the five cities ruled by a Philistine "tyrant" (verse 3; 1 Sam. 6:17). The city was near the Mediterranean Sea about 22 miles west of Jerusalem. Its territorial boundary marked the northern extension of the coastal area not taken in the Israelites' initial invasion of the land (verse 3; Judges 1:18-19). In the tribal allotments Ekron was assigned to the Danites (19:43), leaving their coastal territory to be absorbed by Judah (15:45-46). Thus, the border of Judah passed along the ridge to the north of Ekron (15:11). After David killed Goliath, the Israelites pursued the Philistines to the very gates of the fortified stronghold of Ekron (1 Sam. 17:52). Still later, according to the Assyrian Annals, Hezekiah held as prisoner Padi, the king of Ekron, against who he and the city's nobility had rebelled. Elijah was called to challenge the authority of Ekron's god, Baal-zebub, to indicate Israelite King Amaziah's fate (2 Kings 1:2-16). Amos (Amos 1:8), Jeremiah (Jer. 25:20), Zephaniah (Zeph. 2:4), and Zechariah (Zech. 9:5-7), denounced Ekron as a symbol of evil power to be destroyed.

"Sihor": Probably related to the Nile (Isa. 23:3; Jer. 2:18), and possibly a name for that river or an eastern tributary of it. The name could also refer to a seasonal rain through which runs to the Mediterranean, the Wadi-el-Arish in the desert south of Palestine, northeast of Egypt.

"Sihor" is a name given the Nile in Scripture. In this case, I believe it means something else. The word "Sihor" means black, dark, or turbid. It was probably a lake or a pool. Some believe this is speaking of the brook of Egypt. Ekron is a city about 11 miles north of Gath. The fly god was worshipped here. The others listed are the tribal nations classified as Philistines.

Joshua 13:4 "From the south, all the land of the Canaanites, and Mearah that [is] beside the Sidonians unto Aphek, to the borders of the Amorites:"

That is, of those Canaanites who were particularly so called, in distinction from those of the other nations or tribes, and who dwelt in several parts of the land. Some in the east and others in the west (see Joshua 11:3). And, as it seems here, some in the south: now on the side of the south, as Kimchi interprets it, all the land of the Canaanites was left, that is, remained unconquered and not possessed.

"And Mearah that is beside the Sidonians": The inhabitants of Sidon, and parts adjacent: what this place was, which belonged to the Sidonians": For so it may better be rendered, is not certain; some take it to be a cave belonging to them. Sandys speaks of a number of caves cut out of the rock in those parts, called the caves of the Sidonians, and afterwards the caves of Tyre. But rather something of more importance than a cave or a river is meant; most likely a tract of land near Sidon, and which belonged to it, and reached;

"Unto Aphek, to the borders of the Amorites": Of this place (see note on Joshua 12:18).

This is south of the Philistine tribes, not the southernmost part of the Promised Land. All of Canaan up to Philistine territory, is meant here. Mearah was probably a prominent cave, perhaps, the cave of Tyre. Aphek was supposed to be a place of rare beauty on the northwest slopes of Lebanon. Aphek is 23 miles north of Beirut.

Joshua 13:5 "And the land of the Giblites, and all Lebanon, toward the sunrising, from Baal-gad under mount Hermon unto the entering into Hamath."

This was another country that remained unconquered. The Greeks call it Byblus, and near to which Pliny speaks of a place called Gabale, and is now called Gibyle. It is said to be "pleasantly situated by the seaside, and at present it contains but a little extent of ground, but yet more than enough for the small number of its inhabitants: "it was in greater splendor, and its inhabitants of more fame, in the times of Ezekiel (Ezek. 27:9).

"And all Lebanon toward the sunrising": Or east of the land; all that inhabited that mountain remained unconquered, though the conquest was carried as far as the borders thereof.

"From Baal-gad, under Mount Hermon": Of which (see Joshua 11:17).

"Unto the entering into Hamath": Which was the north border of the land (see Num. 34:8).

The Giblites were inhabitants of Gebal, which was known also by Byblus. It was Phoenician. The Israelites never really inhabited this area, even though it was a part that was to have been conquered. Hamath was included in that.

Joshua 13:6 "All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon unto Misrephoth-maim, [and] all the Sidonians, them will I drive out from before the children of Israel: only divide thou it by lot unto the Israelites for an inheritance, as I have commanded thee."

Presently after thy death, if the Israelites do not hinder it by their unbelief or wickedness. Though they be now unconquered, yet divide them, partly, as a pledge to assure them of my help in conquering them after thy death. Partly, to lay an obligation upon the Israelites to proceed in conquering work, and to bear witness against them in case they did not. And partly, as a wall of partition between them and the Canaanites, to prevent all agreements, contracts, and confederacies with them, to which God saw they began to incline.

Sidon remained independent. This is speaking of the part of the land of the Sidonians that was included in the Promised Land. Israel did defeat them, and incorporated them into Israel. The hill country of Lebanon was the border on this side.

Joshua 13:7 "Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance unto the nine tribes, and the half tribe of Manasseh,"

"Divide this land": God commanded Joshua to devise allotments within boundaries for inheritances as He had prepared for earlier (Num. chapters 32-34). Joshua announced divisions made clear by lot to tribes east of the Jordan (13:8-33), tribes west of the Jordan (Joshua chapters 14-19), Caleb (14:6-15; compare 15:13-19), his own area (19:49-51), cities of refuge (20:1-9), and Levite towns (chapter 21).

All of the land mentioned on the west side of the Jordan is to belong to the nine and a half tribes of Israel. The other two and a half tribes inherited their land on the eastern side of Jordan. Manasseh had a half tribe on either side of Jordan.

Joshua 13:8 "With whom the Reubenites and the Gadites have received their inheritance, which Moses gave them, beyond Jordan eastward, [even] as Moses the servant of the LORD gave them;"

Hebrew with him, i.e. with the half tribe of Manasseh. Not that half which is expressed (Joshua 13:7), as is evident from the thing. But the other half, which is sufficiently and necessarily understood, the relative being here put for the antecedent, understood, as it is (Num. 7:89; Psalm 114:2; Isa. 8:21; Jonah 1:3).

"As Moses the servant of the Lord gave them": Which Moses gave them by my command, and therefore do not thou disturb them in their possessions, but proceed to divide the other possessions to the rest.

Reuben and Gad were herdsmen and they liked the pastureland on the east of the Jordan River. They were not mistreated by giving them this land. They had specifically requested it. Moses got permission from God for them to have it.

Joshua 13:9 "From Aroer, that [is] upon the bank of the river Arnon, and the city that [is] in the midst of the river, and all the plain of Medeba unto Dibon;"

A city belonging to Moab, from whence the description begins. The river Arnon, on which it was situated, being the border between Moab and the Amorites (Num. 21:13).

"And the city that is in the midst of the river": Or "even the city"; meaning the same city of Aroer, it lying both on the bank of it, and in the middle of it. Or it was a double city, as may seem from (Isa. 17:2). And so differently situated at that river.

"And all the plains of Medeba unto Dibon": Of these two places (see Num. 21:30). Between them lay a plain, which some take to be the plain of Moab. But it rather seems to be a plain that was between these two places. And, according to (Joshua 13:17), Dibon itself was in a plain.

This is land on the eastern side of Jordan. Aroer was on the river. Arnon was in the extreme south of the territory of Reuben. Dibon became a city of Gad.

Joshua 13:10 "And all the cities of Sihon king of the Amorites, which reigned in Heshbon, unto the border of the children of Ammon;"

A city he took from the Moabites, and made it his royal seat (Num. 21:26).

"Unto the border of the children of Ammon": Which was the river Jabbok (Deut. 3:16).

Sihon and Og were defeated by Moses, and all of their land was taken.

Joshua 13:11 "And Gilead, and the border of the Geshurites and Maachathites, and all mount Hermon, and all Bashan unto Salcah;"

The land of Gilead, which was part of the kingdom of Og. Half of which was given to Reuben, and the other half to Gad.

"And the border of the Geshurites and Maachathites": Of which see (Deut. 3:14).

"And all Mount Hermon": Called also Sirion, Shenir, and Sion (Deut. 3:9).

"And all Bashan unto Salcah": Another part of the dominions of Og (Deut. 3:10).

This is a repetition of chapter 12 verse 5. The Geshurites, we remember were on the northeast corner of Bashan. The Maachathites were the inhabitants of a small kingdom near Palestine.

Joshua 13:12 "All the kingdom of Og in Bashan, which reigned in Ashtaroth and in Edrei, who remained of the remnant of the giants: for these did Moses smite, and cast them out."

See note on (Joshua 12:4).

"Who remained of the remnant of the giants": Was descended from those that remained in Ashtaroth, after the rest were cut off by Chedorlaomer (Gen. 14:5). Called there the Rephaim, as here.

"For these did Moses smite, and cast them out": That is, not only the giants, but the inhabitants of the above kingdom, the greatest part of them. For the Geshurites and the Maachathites are excepted in (Joshua 13:13).

Og had been a very powerful king who led an army of giants. Moses and the children of Israel fought them, and killed nearly all of them.

Joshua 13:13 "Nevertheless the children of Israel expelled not the Geshurites, nor the Maachathites: but the Geshurites and the Maachathites dwell among the Israelites until this day."

Neither in the times of Moses, nor in the times of Joshua.

"But the Geshurites and the Maachathites dwell among the Israelites until this day": In full possession of their cities unmolested. Yea, in later times they became separate and distinct kingdoms. For we read both of the king of Geshur, and of the king of Maachah (2 Sam. 3:3).

Even up until the time of David there were still some of them around.

2 Samuel 13:37 "But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And [David] mourned for his son every day."

Joshua 13:14 "Only unto the tribe of Levi he gave none inheritance; the sacrifices of the LORD God of Israel made by fire [are] their inheritance, as he said unto them."

Because they were priests who were to be supported by the people through the tithe, the "tribe of Levi" was given "none inheritance" (no land; 13:33). They were supposed to spend their time and energy serving God and His people in the tabernacle (18:7), rather than tending land or livestock.

The Levitical tribe was not to inherit land. They lived of the altar of God in the tabernacle. They did inherit cities to live in. They did not go to war, and they did not inherit land.

Joshua 13:15 "And Moses gave unto the tribe of the children of Reuben [inheritance] according to their families."

According to the number of them, and sufficient for them.

Now they will explicitly show what land each tribe received. Moses gave Reuben's tribe their inheritance before Moses died. They received land according to how many were in their families. This land would be theirs for all generations to come.

Joshua 13:16 "And their coast was from Aroer, that [is] on the bank of the river Arnon, and the city that [is] in the midst of the river, and all the plain by Medeba;"

As the country of Sihon is described (Joshua 13:9). From whence it appears that it was his country which was given to Reuben, though not all of it.

"And the city that is in the midst of the river" (see note on Joshua 13:9).

"And all the plain by Medeba": Which reached unto Dibon (Joshua 13:9).

Joshua 13:17 "Heshbon, and all her cities that [are] in the plain; Dibon, and Bamoth-baal, and Beth-baal-meon,"

Which was by Medeba, and reached to Dibon.

"Dibon, and Bamoth-baal, and Beth-baal-meon": Dibon was rebuilt by Gad, though it belonged to Reuben, and perhaps was inhabited by both, being on the borders of each. And Bamoth-baal signifies the high places of Baal (see Num. 22:41). Perhaps this is the same with Bamoth in the valley (Num. 21:20). And Beth-baal-meon is the same with Baal-meon in (Num. 32:38). Where it is highly probable was a temple of Baal, since both "beth" signifies a house, and "meon" a habitation.

Joshua 13:18 "And Jahazah, and Kedemoth, and Mephaath,"

Called Jahaz (Num. 21:23), where the battle was fought between Sihon and Israel.

"And Kedemoth": Near to which was a wilderness, which took its name from it, from whence Moses sent messengers with words of peace to Sihon (Deut. 2:26).

"And Mephaath": Thought to be the Maipha of Ptolemy. Here Jerom says, in his time was a garrison of Roman soldiers, because of the desert that was near. It was a city, with its suburbs, given to the Levites, as were the two preceding (Joshua 21:36). Andrichomius takes it to be the same with Malle, which, Josephus says was called the city of the strangers.

Joshua 13:19 "And Kirjathaim, and Sibmah, and Zareth-shahar in the mount of the valley,"

Of which See note on (Num. 32:37).

"And Sibmah": Of which (see note on Num. 32:3; and 32:38).

"And Zareth-shahar, in the mount of the valley": Which was built on one of the mountains that looked over the valley of Moab, as did Nebo, Pisgah and Abarim. Perhaps it is the same place Josephus calls Zara. To which he joins the valley of the Cilicians, and mentions it along with Heshbon, Medeba, and other cities of Moab. According to Andrichomius, it was in the mount of the valley of Beth-peor, which next follows.

Joshua 13:20 "And Beth-peor, and Ashdoth-pisgah, and Beth-jeshimoth,"

So called from Peor, the idol of the Moabites. And where very likely there had been a temple built to the honor of it. Over against this place was a valley, where Israel abode some time (Deut. 3:29).

"And Ashdod-pisgah" (of which see Deut. 3:17).

"And Beth-jeshimoth": (of which see Num. 33:49).

Joshua 13:21 "And all the cities of the plain, and all the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, which reigned in Heshbon, whom Moses smote with the princes of Midian, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, [which were] dukes of Sihon, dwelling in the country."

In the open level country, as well as those in the mountainous part.

"And all the kingdom of Sihon": Or, as Masius renders the words, "which all had been the kingdom of Sihon". For the whole kingdom of Sihon was not given to Reuben, only a part of it, and the rest to Gad (as in Joshua 13:27).

"King of the Amorites, which reigned in Heshbon" (as in Joshua 13:10).

"Whom Moses smote with the princes of Midian, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba": Not at the same time that Sihon was smitten by him, but afterwards in a war with Midian (Num. 31:8). Where their names are given as here. And there they are called kings of Midian, petty kings, and, as it seems by what follows, were subject to Sihon, and therefore are here mentioned.

"Which were dukes of Sihon dwelling in the country": For Midian, as Kimchi supposes, and not without reason, was under the government of Sihon. And these were his nobles, though they dwelt in the land of Midian.

We find that all of the above were given to Reuben's descendants for a possession. There were many cities not even mentioned. Some of them were burned with fire and some were kept as cities for the Reubenites. Each of the dukes were destroyed along with Sihon. They had ruled their people, and had made a treaty with Sihon. They were subordinate kings to Sihon.

Joshua 13:22 "Balaam also the son of Beor, the soothsayer, did the children of Israel slay with the sword among them that were slain by them."

The story of "Balaam" is found in (Num. chapter 22-24). His divided heart, so bent on personal gain, eventually led to his demise as his nation was overtaken by the Israelites.

"Balaam ... Israel slay with the sword": This Israelite slaying of the infamous false prophet occurred at an unidentified point during the conquest (compare Num. chapters 21-25; 31:16; Joshua 24:9-10; 2 Peter 2:15; Jude 11; Rev. 2:14).

A "soothsayer" is the same as a diviner, or someone who tells the future. We remember the incident with Balaam and the ass. Balaam pretended to be on the side of the Israelites, but got the Moabite women to entice them into idolatry and adultery. He was killed because of his evil heart.

Joshua 13:23 "And the border of the children of Reuben was Jordan, and the border [thereof]. This [was] the inheritance of the children of Reuben after their families, the cities and the villages thereof."

As their border eastward was Aroer on the river Arnon, so their border westward was the river Jordan.

"This was the inheritance of the children of Reuben, after their families, the cities and the villages thereof": Which Moses gave them on the other side Jordan. And next follow an account of the inheritance of the tribe of Gad in those parts.

The western side of their inheritance was the Jordan River. All of the list above was divided among Reuben's descendants.

Joshua 13:24 "And Moses gave [inheritance] unto the tribe of Gad, [even] unto the children of Gad according to their families."

On the other side Jordan, as he did to Reuben.

"Even unto the children of Gad, according to their families": According to the number and largeness of them, dividing to each their part and portion.

Joshua 13:25 "And their coast was Jazer, and all the cities of Gilead, and half the land of the children of Ammon, unto Aroer that [is] before Rabbah;"

Their southern coast; of Jazer (see Num. 21:32); where it is called Jaazer. And is mentioned in (Isa. 16:8; Jer. 48:32), where it is spoken of as a city of Moab. As it was in the days of those prophets.

"And all the cities of Gilead": Which lay in those parts. For the whole was not given to this tribe, half of Gilead was given to the half tribe of Manasseh (Joshua 13:31).

"And half the land of the children of Ammon": Not what then belonged to them, but what had been taken from them by the Amorites. And which Israel taking from them, had a right to retain. Though they were forbid meddling with any of their land in present possession (see Deut. 2:19; Judges 11:13).

"Unto Aroer that is before Rabbah": Aroer was a city of Moab, situated on the river Arnon (Joshua 13:9). And stood over against Rabbath, a city of the Amorites, since called Philadelphia. The same that Joab took (2 Sam. 12:26). Though Reland thinks, that according to the situation of these cities, another Aroer must be here meant, and which belonged to the Amorites.

Joshua 13:26 "And from Heshbon unto Ramath-mizpeh, and Betonim; and from Mahanaim unto the border of Debir;"

This was their coast from the south to the north, and so describes their eastern border. Which reached from Heshbon, given to the tribe of Reuben (Joshua 13:7). To these places mentioned; Ramath-mizpeh, the same with Ramoth-gilead, which Jerom says was a village in his time, and lay two miles from Philadelphia. Or Rabbath before mentioned, to the east. It should be to the west; of Betonim we nowhere else read, it seems to have been near to Ramath.

"And from Mahanaim unto the border of Debir": The former of these was the place where the angels met Jacob, and who gave it the name from thence. And in later times a city of this name was built there, and was near the river Jabbok (Gen. 32:2). Debir is different from that in the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:15). In the Septuagint version here it is called Daibon, perhaps the same with Dibon, the tribe of Gad rebuilt, and is called Dibon-gad (Num. 32:34).

Joshua 13:27 " And in the valley, Beth-aram, and Beth-nimrah, and Succoth, and Zaphon, the rest of the kingdom of Sihon king of Heshbon, Jordan and [his] border, [even] unto the edge of the sea of Chinnereth on the other side Jordan eastward."

The same with Beth Haran (see Num. 32:36).

"And Beth-nimrah": Sometimes called Nimrah (Num. 32:3). Near to which were some waters, called the waters of Nimrim (Isa. 15:6). It was in Jerom's time a large village and it seems to have its name from leopards, which perhaps had their haunts hereabout.

"And Succoth": The place where Jacob pitched his tent after he had passed over Jabbok. It is called in the Jerusalem Talmud Thaarabah.

"And Zaphon": Which in the same Talmud is Amatho or Amathus, which Jerom says is a village beyond Jordan, twenty-one miles from Pella to the south, though he places it in the tribe of Reuben.

"The rest of the kingdom of Sihon king of Heshbon": Which was not given to the tribe of Reuben (Joshua 13:21).

"Jordan and his border": That is, the cities which were near it, as Kimchi. Or that were upon the bank of it, as Jarchi.

"Even unto the edge of the sea of Chinnereth": The same with the lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1).

"On the other side Jordan eastward": The other from that in which the inheritance of Gad lay. Which was beyond Jordan, from the land of Canaan.

Joshua 13:28 "This [is] the inheritance of the children of Gad after their families, the cities, and their villages."

As described in (Joshua 13:27).

"The cities and their villages": The cities given them, some of which are mentioned by name, and the villages adjacent and belonging to them were included in them.

Each tribe had their land divided up among their families. Gad's inheritance joined Reuben's on one side. It extended to the Sea of Galilee (Chinnereth) and to Jordan on one side. On the other side, it joined the inheritance of the half tribe of Manasseh, near the Sea of Galilee. They inherited many cities and villages along with the land.

Joshua 13:29 "And Moses gave [inheritance] unto the half tribe of Manasseh: and [this] was [the possession] of the half tribe of the children of Manasseh by their families."

Some of Manasseh's people settled on the far side of the Jordan River, while half crossed over and were given an inheritance with the rest of the tribes. This geographical separation is why they are referred to as the "half tribe of Manasseh".

Joshua 13:30 "And their coast was from Mahanaim, all Bashan, all the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, and all the towns of Jair, which [are] in Bashan, threescore cities:"

A place in the tribe of Gad (Joshua 13:26). Which was the boundary of the half tribe that way.

"All Bashan": So famous for its oxen, and for pasturage for them, and for its oaks, called by Josephus Batanea.

"All the kingdom of Og king of Bashan": Which, besides Bashan, took in the kingdom of Argob or Trachonitis. Half the land of Gilead, all which was possessed by the half tribe of Manasseh (see Deut. 3:13).

"And all the towns of, Jair which are in Bashan, threescore cities": Of Jair, and his relation to Manasseh, and of his taking these cities, and the number of them (see Numbers 33:41).

Threescore, is sixty cities they inherited. The inheritance of the half tribe of Manasseh lay north of the inheritance of Gad.

Joshua 13:31 "And half Gilead, and Ashtaroth, and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan, [were pertaining] unto the children of Machir the son of Manasseh, [even] to the one half of the children of Machir by their families."

The other half not given to the Gadites, who had that half of it which Sihon possessed. And the tribe of Manasseh that half of it which Og possessed (see Deut. 3:12).

"And Ashtaroth, and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan": Which are particularly mentioned, because royal cities (Joshua 13:10; see Deut. 1:4).

"Were pertaining unto the children of Machir the son of Manasseh": And who was his only son. However, to his posterity only was this inheritance given, though not to them all.

"Even to one half of the children of Machir, by their families": Which seems to confirm it that Manasseh had no other son. Since his whole posterity, both the half tribe on the other side, as well as that in the land of Canaan, were denominated from him. Though he seems to have had another son, who perhaps died without issue (1 Chron. 7:14).

Joshua 13:32 "These [are the countries] which Moses did distribute for inheritance in the plains of Moab, on the other side Jordan, by Jericho, eastward."

Which is particularly described, that each might know their proper portion.

"On the other side Jordan by Jericho eastward": Of the land of Canaan. Of Jordan by Jericho (see note on Num. 22:1).

The main thing we must see in all of this, is that God gave each one by inheritance the land they needed to take care of their families properly. All of this was on the eastern side of the Jordan River. The land taken from Og and Sihon, became the land of Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh.

Joshua 13:33 "But unto the tribe of Levi Moses gave not [any] inheritance: the LORD God of Israel [was] their inheritance, as he said unto them."

"Tribe ... Levi ... gave not any inheritance": God did not give this tribe a normal allotment of land. This suited His choice of Levites for the special ministry of the tabernacle service. Their inheritance consisted in this unique role to share His holy ministrations (18:7). God did assign them cities and adjacent lands (14:4; Num. 35:2; 4-5), scattered at 48 places (21:41) throughout all the tribes. This made these religious servants accessible to all the people (compare chapter 21).

The tribe of Levi did not inherit land, because they had been chosen to minister to the LORD. Their inheritance was the cities they dwelt in, and they shared the offerings with the altar of God. They were not to go to war, nor were they to raise a cash crop. Their work was in the tabernacle or in the temple.

Joshua Chapter 13 Questions

1. What did the LORD tell Joshua in the first verse?

2. What was just as dramatic a miracle, as the crossing of the Red Sea?

3. How does the statement, God made in the first verse, remind the author of Christianity?

4. These ______________ were powerful opponents.

5. The Geshurites were the ______________ inhabitants, known as the Avites.

6. The word "Sihor", in verse 3, means what?

7. What was it, probably?

8. What strange false god was worshipped at Ekron?

9. Mearah was, probably, a prominent ________.

10. What rare quality was at Aphek?

11. How far out of Beirut is Aphek?

12. Who were the Giblites?

13. What was another name it was known by?

14. Where is the land of the nine and one half tribes located?

15. Who got land on the other side of Jordan?

16. Why did they inherit their land on the east side of Jordan?

17. Dibon became a city of _______.

18. Who were the two great kings defeated, whose land had been on the east of Jordan?

19. Who were the remnant of the giants?

20. Which tribes were not destroyed, but lived among the Israelites?

21. What was the Levitical tribe to live of?

22. They did not go to ________, and they did not inherit ______.

23. How much land did each tribe receive?

24. Who were destroyed along with Sihon?

25. What is a soothsayer?

26. What terrible thing did Balaam do to the Israelites?

27. Which tribe's inheritance was between the other two?

28. How many cities did the half tribe of Manasseh receive?

29. What is the main message in this for us?

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Joshua 14

Joshua Chapter 14

Joshua 14:1 "And these [are the countries] which the children of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, distributed for inheritance to them."

Of which an exact account is given in the following chapters, particularly in (Joshua 15:1).

"Which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, distributed for an inheritance unto them": Namely, ten princes, one of each tribe, who, with Eleazar and Joshua, were appointed of the Lord by name to do this business, even seven years ago. Before their entrance into the land of Canaan (Num. 34:17).

"The land of Canaan": The name for the land west of the Jordan.

We see all aspects of the lives of the Israelites represented here. Joshua was their representative, like Moses had been and was over all. The priests represented the church in all of this, and actually were under Joshua in matters like this. Then the one chosen from each tribe to separate the portion each tribe got was next. The order and the unity of the Israelites was shown in this. God had given explicit instructions to Joshua, and he had done exactly as God commanded him.

Joshua 14:2 "By lot [was] their inheritance, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses, for the nine tribes, and [for] the half tribe."

Every tribe had its part and portion assigned to it, by the casting of lots. Which was done to prevent any future quarrels, animosities and strifes among the tribes. The disposition being of the Lord. And to show the exact agreement between the lot and the divine predictions by Jacob and Moses. And to make it appear that the division of the land was not owing to the private combination of the above men, and their private settlement of it. But to the providence of God, the director of the lot. Their chief business was to see that the lot was executed in a faithful manner, and that every tribe had its allotment according to it. In this Canaan was a type of the heavenly inheritance, which the saints obtain by lot. In and through Christ, the antitypical Joshua (Eph. 1:11).

"As the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses" (Num. 26:55).

"For the nine tribes, and for the half tribe (see Joshua 13:7). The reason why this number of them is particularly mentioned follows.

God had instructed them to cast lots, to decide which tribe got each portion of land. They believed the wishes of God would be shown in this manner. The land on the other side of Jordan had already been given. This casting of lots is for the land west of the Jordan River, to be divided to the nine and a half tribes.

Joshua 14:3 "For Moses had given the inheritance of two tribes and a half tribe on the other side Jordan: but unto the Levites he gave none inheritance among them."

The two tribes of Gad and Reuben, and the half tribe of Manasseh, whose inheritance is described in (Joshua 13:8).

"But unto the Levites he gave none inheritance among them": This is frequently observed, that it might be taken notice of, to show the disinterestedness of Moses in this affair, Levi being his own tribe. And to recommend the care of the Levites to the other tribes, according to the provision God had made for them.

We remember the land on the eastern side of Jordan had already been given to Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh. The Levites inherited some cities to live in, and their living was of the offerings in the tabernacle.

Verses 4-5: Joseph's family received a double inheritance, with his sons "Manasseh" and "Ephraim" each heading a tribe (Gen. chapter 48). Jacob had declared these boys to be like sons to him (Gen. 48:5).

Joshua 14:4 "For the children of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim: therefore they gave no part unto the Levites in the land, save cities to dwell [in], with their suburbs for their cattle and for their substance."

For the birthright being forfeited by Reuben, was given to Joseph, who had the double portion, the privilege of the firstborn. By which means the number of the twelve tribes was kept up in the division of the land. Though that of Levi had no share in it. And which is also a reason why they had none, that Joseph's two sons might be reckoned two tribes.

"Therefore they gave no part unto the Levites in the land": To make way for the sons of Joseph to have the double portion.

"Save cities to dwell in": And that only, for they might not sell them. As other Israelites could theirs.

"With their suburbs, for their cattle, and for their substance": The Targum is, "for all their beasts, and for their cattle." That is, for convenient places to put them into, and for pasturage for them. Which Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret of their larger and lesser cattle, their herds and their flocks, and their oxen and sheep.

Since the tribe of Levi did not inherit land, there was an extra portion. God gave the tribe of Joseph, through his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh, two portions. Without Joseph, there would have been no tribes. He had kept them alive in Egypt during the famine. The Levites received a small portion of land around the cities they inherited, to have a place to graze their cattle.

Joshua 14:5 "As the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did, and they divided the land."

"So the children of Israel did": They obeyed in some things, but not in all (see note on 13:1-2).

The commandment had been given to Moses, before he died. Moses had passed this information on to Joshua. Joshua did not question this. He did just as he had been commanded of God through Moses.

Joshua 14:6 "Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the LORD said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadesh-barnea."

"Caleb" was chosen by Moses as Judah's representative to evaluate the land of Canaan (Num. 13:6). Among the 12 spies only he and Joshua returned with a favorable report. Accordingly, only Caleb and Joshua were permitted to survive (verse 38), because they "followed the Lord" (Num. 32:12; Deut. 1:36; Joshua 14:9). Still living for God at the age of 85, he asked for and received the city of Hebron as his special inheritance based on the promise of God and Moses (verses 6-14). He drove out from there the three sons of Anak (the giants of Num. 13:33, who had terrorized the Israelites), and later gave up Hebron to the Levites and lived in the suburbs (15:13-19; 21:12-13; Num. 13:6; 13:30 - 14:24).

Caleb was not a full-blood Israelite. His father, Jephunneh, was a "Kenizzite" (Num. 13:6; 14:30). The Kenizzites were one of the many tribes to be driven out of the land. Somehow Caleb and his family ended up in Egypt with the Israelites and became part of the Israelite community. As Caleb came to understand the history of God's people, he fell in love with the God they served and devoted his life to Him.

Caleb was a Kenezite. He and Joshua were the only two, of the twelve spies that searched the Promised Land, that were allowed to see the Promised Land.

Joshua 14:7 "Forty years old [was] I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-barnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as [it was] in mine heart."

Not he alone, but eleven more with him, one out of every tribe. His age he mentions, and of which, or near it, it is highly probable the rest of the spies were. To show that he and they were in the prime of their days. Both as to bodily strength and intellectual capacity, which were requisite for such service as to spy out the land. Of what quality the land and its inhabitants were. And Moses he calls the servant of the Lord, because it was by the order and appointment of God, signified to Moses, that this was done. And the place from whence they were sent forth is named, which ascertains what that Kadesh was. Where Israel was encamped when the spies were sent (Num. 13:26).

"And I brought him word again, as it was in mine heart": That is, he gave to Moses upon his return a sincere, honest and faithful representation of the land. And its inhabitants, as it appeared to him.

This is explaining that Caleb knew in his heart they could take the Promised Land, but he was outnumbered. After this search of the Promised Land, they wandered another 38 years in the wilderness before coming back to enter the Promised Land. This means at that time, Caleb would have been 78 years old. Joshua's battles, with the enemy, have lasted about 7 years at this time. This means he is 85 years old approximately, when this is written.

Joshua 14:8 "Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the LORD my God."

Nearly every time Caleb is mentioned in Scripture, he is described as having "wholly followed the Lord". Because Caleb exhibited an obedient spirit and consistent faith even when those around him failed to believe God's promises (Num. 13:26 - 14:10), God promised that he would enter the Promised Land (Num. 14:24).

This is an explanation of Caleb's position in the matter of the searching out the Promised Land. Caleb believed that nothing was too strong for God. He believed with God leading the way, they could take the Promised Land. The other ten (not including Joshua), thought the people of Canaan were too strong for them to take. The ten doubters convinced the Israelites they could not take the Promised Land. Caleb was totally obedient to God, even in the face of all the other's doubt.

Verses 6-9: This passage reviews what is also recounted (in Numbers chapters 13 and 14). This includes a celebration of God's faithfulness (verses 7-11), and Caleb's specific inheritance (verses 12-15). Later, he conquered the area (15:13-14), and conferred blessing on Othniel and his daughter (15:15-19).

Joshua 14:9 "And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children's for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God."

Or declared the oath of the Lord. For it was the Lord that sware to what follows (see Deut. 1:34).

"Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children's for ever": Not the whole land of Canaan, nor all the parts of it Caleb travelled through, but particularly Hebron. Which though not expressly mentioned in the aforesaid oath, yet was understood and known to be the meaning of it. And which Joshua by the following grant owned, and it is elsewhere expressly affirmed (Judges 1:20). And it is remarked, that it is not said "they", but "he" came to Hebron (Num. 13:22). That is Caleb, so that it was literally true that his feet had trodden there. Now the reason of this oath, and the inheritance assured by it to Caleb, was:

"Because thou hast wholly followed the Lord thy God": In all his ways, and with full purpose of heart. And particularly had acted the upright and faithful part in the report he made of the good land (see note on Num. 14:24).

Numbers 14:22-24 "Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;" "Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:" "But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land where into he went; and his seed shall possess it."

Joshua 14:10 "And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while [the children of] Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I [am] this day fourscore and five years old."

"Fourscore and five years old": Given (1) that Caleb was 40 at Kadesh-barnea and (2) that the Israelites had wandered in the wilderness 38 years, then the conquering of the Land took 7 years (ca. 1405 - 1398 B.C.), Caleb was now 85 years old.

We see a confirmation that the time this is being spoken, Caleb is 85 years old. God had not let Caleb die with the doubters in the wilderness, but kept His Word and brought Caleb to the land of promise.

Joshua 14:11 "As yet I [am as] strong this day as [I was] in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength [was] then, even so [is] my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in."

To spy the land, forty-five years ago. Suggesting that he was as sound in his mind, understanding, judgment and memory, and as hale, strong, and robust in his body now, as he had been so