Joshua 10:28-43 (So Joshua Conquered All the Land)

Joshua 10:28-43
So Joshua Conquered All the Land

As we read through the Bible, it’s hard to keep track of everything going on. There are so many names of people and places, so many repetitions and variations on things that it gets overwhelming at times.

People will ask me about something I have preached or taught on, and I will say, “Oh man, I don’t remember. I’ll have to go back and read my notes.” That usually results in the look that says I must not know what I’m talking about.

Try memorizing 30,000 pages of notes with some things that are so complex that they took hours of study to figure out. It’s not possible. For example, the book of Acts is 28 chapters long. The morning I typed this sermon, I posted a commentary on Acts 10:23. So, we’re not halfway through the book. And yet, that was page 792 in the ongoing commentary.

When someone gives me the look as if I don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s pretty certain they have overestimated my abilities. I write things down so that I don’t have to remember them. There is no other way to handle the load.

Text Verse: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17

For this sermon alone, I referred to many previous sermons to make sure I was following the typology consistently. Even then, I wonder what I have missed or erred in. But one thing I know, even if I am wrong about a point, it is not the word’s fault. Listen to what the Pulpit Commentary says about a part of our passage today –

“… in spite of the alleged carelessness of our compiler, who is credited with having put together shreds of the various narratives in the most perfunctory manner, he takes care to add (Joshua 16:10) that the inhabitants of Gezer were not driven out. In like manner, with the single exception of Hebron, the people of which must have at once chosen another king, he carefully omits the mention of the king in the cities which had lost their kings in the battle before Gibeon. … Thus a careful examination of the narrative puts the care and accuracy of the history very carefully before us.” Pulpit Commentary

In other words, where people are alleging that the Bible is haphazardly put together and forms its own internal errors and contradictions, just the opposite is true. The word is precise, perfectly detailed, and minutely exacting in its presentation.

The only reason why we might suppose there is an error is because we have failed to fully check things out. Yes, it can be tiresome and tedious, but it will also be rewarding. Be sure that if this is God’s word, then He has carefully set things in His word with purpose and intent which prove it to be His word.

That truth continues to be seen and expanded upon in today’s passage. Great things are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today, and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. Then Joshua Returned (verses 28-43)

28 On that day Joshua took Makkedah,

v’eth maqedah lakhad Yehoshua ba’yom ha’hu – “And Makkedah took Joshua in the day, the it.” The meaning seems clear. The battle described in the previous verses included the defeat of Makkedah. The first hint of this was seen in verse 10 –

“So the Lord routed them before Israel, killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, chased them along the road that goes to Beth Horon, and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah.” Joshua 10:10

Then in verse 16, it noted that the five kings had fled and hidden themselves in a cave in Makkedah. Having the kings pinned down in Makkedah implies control over the area. And finally, in verse 21, it said, “And all the people returned to the camp, to Joshua at Makkedah, in peace.”

This again implies total control over the area. It is true that the term ba’yom ha’hu, or “in the day, the it,” can mean a general period of time. That is seen, for example, in Deuteronomy –

“And I will surely hide My face in that day because of all the evil which they have done, in that they have turned to other gods.” Deuteronomy 31:18

However, it seems that we are being told that Makkedah was totally subdued during the single day of fighting recorded earlier. As a reminder, Makkedah means “Place of Shepherds.” The city will fall within Judah’s inheritance but will never be mentioned again after Joshua 15.

28 (con’t) and struck it and its king with the edge of the sword.

va’yakeha l’pi kherev v’eth malkhah – “And struck her to mouth sword, and her king.” It is referring to the entire city. She was as a mother to the people with a king reigning in her, but both were consumed. Essentially, the same thought will be seen four times in this passage. As for the destruction, it is next more fully described as…

28 (con’t) He utterly destroyed them—all the people who were in it.

hekherim otam v’eth kal ha’nephesh asher bah – “He anathematized them and every the soul who in her.” It refers to the city, the king, and all of the people. Unlike Jericho, which was noted as being totally anathematized, and unlike Ai which had exceptions for the booty, nothing is said here as to what was the case with Makkedah. As for Ai, it said –

“For Joshua did not draw back his hand, with which he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. 27 Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took as booty for themselves, according to the word of the Lord which He had commanded Joshua. 28 So Joshua burned Ai and made it a heap forever, a desolation to this day.” Joshua 8:26-28

As Jericho was the initial city and a type of firstfruits to the Lord, my speculation is that the livestock and booty of Makkedah would have been spared, but the account completely skips over that, noting only the total destruction of the city, her king, and her people…

28 (con’t) He let none remain.

It is a noun, not a verb: lo hishir sarid – “no he left survivor.” This phrase will also be mentioned four times in this passage. The words are more fully explained by what is said later in verse 40 –

“So Joshua conquered all the land: the mountain country and the South and the lowland and the wilderness slopes, and all their kings; he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel had commanded.” Joshua 10:40

Saying “but utterly destroyed all that breathed” does not necessarily mean the animals too. It is certain that this at least refers to the people. Further, the spoil of these five cities is probably included in the words of chapter 11 –

“And all the spoil of these cities and the livestock, the children of Israel took as booty for themselves; but they struck every man with the edge of the sword until they had destroyed them, and they left none breathing.” Joshua 11:14

It is probable that the spoil was taken. But the point of my focus on the detail is to note that the destruction of the cities and their people is being highlighted. The command was set forth in Deuteronomy to destroy every person and Joshua is now fulfilling it.

28 (con’t) He also did to the king of Makkedah as he had done to the king of Jericho.

What happened to the king of Jericho was not explicitly stated. Rather, in chapter 6, all it said was, “And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword” (Joshua 6:21). From there, it notes this in chapter 8 –

“Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; take all the people of war with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land. And you shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king. Only its spoil and its cattle you shall take as booty for yourselves. Lay an ambush for the city behind it.” Joshua 8:1, 2

And then –

“And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until evening. And as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his corpse down from the tree, cast it at the entrance of the gate of the city, and raise over it a great heap of stones that remains to this day.” Joshua 8:29

As such, it can be speculated that something similar was done to the king of Jericho even though that was never recorded in the details of chapter 6. Such details, or the lack thereof, really help to reveal the typology being conveyed in each account.

29 Then Joshua passed from Makkedah, and all Israel with him, to Libnah; and they fought against Libnah.

The translation is off a bit. More precisely it reads, “And crossed over, Joshua, and all Israel with him, from Makkedah to Libnah. And he fought with Libnah.” Being singular, the subject is probably Joshua. Or it may be speaking of Israel as a whole, as if a single man is fighting.

As for the term “all Israel,” it simply means “all Israel in the battle who fought with him.” The city is in a westerly direction from Makkedah.

Libnah means “Whiteness.” However, that comes from lavan, a verb meaning to make whiter or make bricks because bricks whiten when they are made.

As for the city itself, it was near Makkedah. It will be granted to the inheritance of Judah as is recorded in Joshua 15. From there, it is noted as being designated a priestly city in Joshua 21:13. The city will revolt from Judah as is recorded in 2 Kings 8:22, probably because the king was a wicked man. However, Libnah appears to have returned to Judah later. The city will be noted even until the time of the exile of the people to Babylon.

30 And the Lord also delivered it and its king into the hand of Israel; he struck it and all the people who were in it with the edge of the sword. He let none remain in it, but did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho.

Here, Joshua is left out of the verse. He was noted in the previous verse involving this battle, but now the subject is Israel. This is certainly revealing the united nature of Joshua and Israel, acting as one in order to defeat these foes.

As mentioned earlier, city is a feminine noun. Hence, translating it as “her” gives the biblical sense of what is being said. This continues all the way through Revelation where Mystery Babylon is spoken of as a woman. Hence, just for the typological clarity, this verse would more appropriately read –

“And gave Yehovah also her in hand Israel, and her king. And he struck her to mouth sword. And every the soul who in her, no he left in her survivor. And did to her king according to which had done to king Jericho.”

To get the sense of this, the words of Isaiah when speaking of Zion might help. Referring to Zion in the feminine, it says –

“Then you will say in your heart,
‘Who has begotten these for me,
Since I have lost my children and am desolate,
A captive, and wandering to and fro?
And who has brought these up?
There I was, left alone;
But these, where were they?’” Isaiah 49:21

She was a mother bereaved of children. In these battles in Joshua, the same is true. The mother was struck and her children as well. However, in the case of a city like Libnah, the mother continues with new children when Israel takes the cities and fills them with people, using the same name as she previously had.

And more, the king of Libnah is noted, like the king of Makkedah, as receiving the same treatment as the king of Jericho.

31 Then Joshua passed from Libnah, and all Israel with him, to Lachish; and they encamped against it and fought against it.

Again, it reads in the singular: “And crossed over, Joshua, and all Israel with him, from Libnah to Lachish, and he encamped against her and fought against her.” Saying it in the singular, it is either referring to Joshua or to Israel as a unified whole.

The movement is in a south-westerly direction. Lachish means Obstinate, Invincible, or Impregnable. Despite such a decisive name, it could not withstand Joshua because…

32 And the Lord delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel, who took it on the second day, and struck it and all the people who were in it with the edge of the sword, according to all that he had done to Libnah.

Again, I would render it: “And gave Yehovah Lachish in hand Israel, and he took her in the day, the second. And struck her to mouth sword, and every the soul who in her, according to all that had done to Libnah.”

The fact that the “second day” is noted shows that the city was well-defended, and it gives understanding to the name it was given. This is also confirmed in reading the accounts in 2 Kings 18 and 19 (see also 2 Chronicles 32) and in Jeremiah 34.

A second possibility for the words is that the city fell the next day after Libnah fell, but that seems less likely. Rather, it is more likely a note concerning Lachish being a strong fortress.

Like the previous two verses, it mentions Joshua and all Israel, and then it notes that Yehovah delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel. The united nature of Joshua and Israel is again highlighted.

Also, this battle does not say that they also killed its king. Rather, the king of Lachish was killed in verse 10:26. It may be that no king was appointed to replace him before this battle occurred. Next, despite the fact that Lachish was overthrown, the battle involved more…

33 Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish;

Rather than “then,” as if it happens next, it says: az alah horam melekh gezer la’zor eth lakhish – “At that time ascended Horam, king Gezer, to help Lachish.” It was while the battle was being waged that he came up to assist.

This may help explain the fact that it took two days rather than one to defeat Lachish. Not only was it fortified, but Israel had to deal with another army joining in the battle against them.

The name Horam means “Mountainous” or “Mountaineer.” Of this, Abarim says –

“The noun הר (har) is the Bible’s common word for mountain or hill. Intuition dictates that the root of the word for mountain probably has to do with being elevated, but that’s not correct. In Hebrew thought, a mountain is not something that’s high but rather a lot of something gathered. And so, a mountain became synonymous for a large but centralized group of people (Jeremiah 51:25), or even gods (Isaiah 14:13).” Abarim

The name Gezer comes from the verb gazar, to cut or divide, and it is identical with the noun gezer, a part or a portion. Hence, it means Part or Portion. Despite the assistance on the part of Gezer, it was a futile effort…

33 (con’t) and Joshua struck him and his people, until he left him none remaining.

Rather, like before, it is not an adjective but a noun: ad bilti hishir lo sarid – “until none he left to him survivor.” Here again we see the united nature of Joshua and Israel. Joshua is said to have struck him, killing all in the process. Next…

34 From Lachish Joshua passed to Eglon, and all Israel with him; and they encamped against it and fought against it.

Literally rendered, it says: “And crossed over Joshua and all Israel with him from Lachish to Eglon. And they camped against her, and they fought against her.” Notice how it says “they” instead of “he.” In verse 29, it said in the singular that “he fought against Libnah.” The same is the case in verses 30, 31, 32, and 33.

The direction is now eastward from Lachish to Eglon. Eglon means Heifer-like, Calf-place, or Fine Bull Calf.

35 They took it on that day and struck it with the edge of the sword; all the people who were in it he utterly destroyed that day, according to all that he had done to Lachish.

Notice the change from the plural to the singular: “And they took it in the day, the it, and they struck her to mouth sword. And every soul that in her in the day, the that, he anathematized according to all that he had done to Lachish.”

This is the second city where it does not say that they also killed its king. Rather, the king of Eglon was killed in verse 10:26. Again, it may be that no king was appointed to replace him before this battle occurred. The account is being precise and very detailed. With the destruction of Eglon, it next says…

36 So Joshua went up from Eglon, and all Israel with him, to Hebron; and they fought against it.

More literally: “And ascended Joshua and all Israel with him from Eglon to Hebron. And they fought against her.” The detail of the geography is exacting. While in the plain, it says they “crossed over” from place to place. Here, it says they ascended because it is in the hilly region. Once there, it says…

37 And they took it and struck it with the edge of the sword—its king, all its cities, and all the people who were in it;

This leaves the narrative with a difficulty, but not one that is beyond a moment of thought. It says: “And they took her and struck her to mouth sword and her king and all her cities, and every the soul in her.”

The difficulty is how can he have killed the king of Hebron if he had already been killed in verse 10:26? The answer is that this is either including him in the totality of the campaign against Hebron, or – more likely – a new king, such as a son of the king, rose to lead the city. This is just what is seen constantly in the books of Kings and Chronicles. Of this battle…

37 (con’t) he left none remaining, according to all that he had done to Eglon, but utterly destroyed it and all the people who were in it.

This introduces another difficulty. It reads: “no he left survivor according to all that he had done to Eglon. And he anathematized her and every the soul who in her.” The difficulty supposedly arises from what it says elsewhere, such as in Judges 1:8-10 –

“Now the children of Judah fought against Jerusalem and took it; they struck it with the edge of the sword and set the city on fire. And afterward the children of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites who dwelt in the mountains, in the South, and in the lowland. 10 Then Judah went against the Canaanites who dwelt in Hebron. (Now the name of Hebron was formerly Kirjath Arba.) And they killed Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai.”

The question is, why was it necessary to go after Hebron if it was destroyed already? There are two options. The first is that the battles being described here are over a long period and encompass the whole time of battles while subduing the land. In other words, this is a summary of what is more explicitly detailed.

Or it could be the cities were destroyed and then rebuilt. If one notices how quickly cities are rebuilt after any recent war, it suddenly becomes no problem at all. People moved back into an area that was destroyed and reestablished it.

Unless Joshua set up a garrison in every city that was attacked and destroyed, there would eventually be cities that were reinhabited and refortified. With that, it next notes…

38 Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir; and they fought against it.

More precisely, it reads: “And returned Joshua, and all Israel with him, to Debir. And he fought against it.” Debir means Place of the Word, The Writer, or Oracle. Saying Joshua “returned” probably indicates that this was a city that lay in the direction of Gilgal. As they were heading back to that area, Debir was along the route, and the city was taken and destroyed.

This location is noted in Joshua 15:15 as being previously called Kirjath Sepher, City of Books or City of Scribes. It is also known in Joshua 15:48 as Kirjath Sannah, which may mean City of Learning. As for the city, it says…

39 And he took it and its king and all its cities; they struck them with the edge of the sword and utterly destroyed all the people who were in it.

Again, to be consistent, I would translate this as: “And he took her and her king and all her cities, and they struck them to mouth sword, and anathematized every soul who in her.” Notice the change from the singular, he, to the plural, they, as the words progress. And again, it says…

39 (con’t) He left none remaining; as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir and its king, as he had done also to Libnah and its king.

More literally: “No he left survivor according to that he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir and her king, and according to that he had done to Libnah and her king.” The change back to the singular is either focusing on Joshua, or the collective of Israel. As the next words refer to Joshua, it is probably the former…

40 So Joshua conquered all the land:

va’yakeh Yehoshua eth kal ha’arets – “And struck Joshua all the land.” This is obviously not the entire land of Canaan, but it comprises what is next stated…

40 (con’t) the mountain country and the South and the lowland and the wilderness slopes, and all their kings;

More literally: “the mountain and the Negev (meaning south), and the sh’phelah (meaning lowland), and the slopes, and all their kings.” Each city that was faced, in whatever type of terrain they were located, was defeated by Joshua. And more…

40 (con’t) he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed,

lo hishir sarid v’eth kal han’shamah hekherim – “no he left survivor and each the breath he anathematized.” This is exactly in accord with Deuteronomy 20 where this command was given using the same word, neshamah, or breath –

“But of the cities of these peoples which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive, 17 but you shall utterly destroy them.” Deuteronomy 20:16, 17

40 (con’t) as the Lord God of Israel had commanded.

It is true that Yehovah gave commands concerning the destruction of those in Canaan, but the only time the word neshamah, or breath, is used in this context is from Moses’ hand. Hence, this gives another clear evidence of the divine inspiration of Moses’ words in Deuteronomy.

Exactly as the Lord God inspired Moses to write, so Joshua fulfilled. And more…

41 And Joshua conquered them from Kadesh Barnea as far as Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even as far as Gibeon.

It reads: “And struck them, Joshua, from Kadesh Barnea and until Gaza, and all country Goshen and until Gibeon.” The location of each of these except Goshen is known. There are various opinions on where Goshen is, but the point is that the named locations form the borders of Joshua’s conquests.

Kadesh Barnea means either Sacred Desert of Wandering, or maybe in the active sense, Holy Purifying Wanderings. Gaza, or Azzah, means Strong. Goshen means Drawing Near or Approaching, and Gibeon means Hill Town or Hilly.

42 All these kings and their land Joshua took at one time,

v’eth kal ha’melakhim ha’eleh v’eth artsam lakhad Yehoshua paam ekhat – “And all the kings, the these, and their land, took Joshua stroke one.” It was one sweeping engagement that brought down city after city along with their kings. Exactly as they were instructed to do in the law, so he did.

42 (con’t) because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel.

Joshua’s conquests are explicitly stated to have been successful because Yehovah, God of Israel, was the One who fought for Israel. With that noted…

*43 (fin) Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.

After the campaign was complete, this final note is given. The camp had remained at the Gilgal, and Joshua with his warriors returned there having done exactly as the law commanded, and in accord with the presence of the Lord who fought for them.

Every foe is defeated throughout the land
Every king has been slain that waged war against us
This, the result of the power of God’s right hand
Yes, it is all accomplished by the Lord Jesus

That which stood against us is defeated
That which was contrary to us is no more
The source of its power has been unseated
And it shall be this way now and forevermore

Jesus has gained the victory!
In Him the battle has been won for us
Look at the deeds of the Lord! Open your eyes and see
Look at the glorious work of our Lord Jesus

II. Pictures of Christ

The passage began with the defeat of Makkedah, or Place of Shepherds, which Joshua is said to have taken. A place of shepherds speaks of those who tend to the flocks. They can be either good shepherds or bad shepherds. The latter are found repeatedly in Ezekiel 34 –

Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.” Ezekiel 34:10

It noted that both Makkedah and her king were slain with the edge of the sword. Saying “with the edge of the sword” should make us think “with the law.” The word for sword and the word Horeb where the law was received are both comprised of the same three Hebrew letters. These were anathematized.

It also showed that what occurred to the king of Jericho also happened to the king of Makkedah. Remembering that Jericho, or Place of Fragrance, is a type of paradise will help to understand the typology.

From the passage, it is to be understood that he was hung from a tree. The King of Paradise became a curse for us so that we might receive the blessing of Abraham through faith. Likewise, Jesus, the Shepherd, became a curse for us so that we could be included in His flock. This same typology has been seen in the previous kings who were each a type of Christ in their deaths. In this, Jesus is the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep.

From Makkedah, the account next went to Joshua passing from Makkedah to Libnah, or Whiteness (v.29). Following the use of the root word, even since the early Genesis account where the people made lavan, or bricks, to build the tower of Babel, it has consistently pictured works-based salvation.

In verses 29 and 30, the battle against Libnah is described, revealing that it was struck along with its king. Again, it notes what had been done to the king of Jericho. This then anticipates the works of Christ being the only suitable works before God. His righteousness, based on His works, is imputed to us through His death. The gospel of John especially speaks of the works of Christ –

“But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.” John 5:6

As for those who believe, our works are summed up by Him also, saying, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent” (John 6:39).

From Libnah, the narrative moved to Lachish, or Obstinate. Again, the city is taken and anathematized. This time, however, the text does not say that the king was given the treatment of the king of Jericho. It typologically looks to the battle that was won by the Lord, defeating the obstinate nature in those who come to Him. Where believers once rejected Him, they now accept Him.

At that time, however, it told us that Horam, king of Gezer, came to help Lachish. This is an obvious picture. Horam signifies Mountaineer. Abarim gave us the idea of that signifying a large but centralized group of people. This extends to the idea of a government in the Bible.

He was described as having come from Gezer, meaning to cut or divide into parts; hence, Part or Portion. It is typical of all who are centralized against the gospel, attempting to divide the Lord’s people. This would be those would join with the obstinate trying to divide through the government of the law. One can either have a part in Jesus’ grace, or he will have his portion under the law.

Of them, it said that Joshua struck him until there was no survivor. In the end, there will only be those left who receive the grace.

After this, Joshua passed on to Eglon (v.34). If you remember from the previous two sermons, Eglon was typical of Israel’s apostasy with the golden calf. It was seen in this section that the pronouns went from “he” to “they.”

We won’t address every instance of this after the occurrence in that verse, but you should get the point. There is the work of Christ and then there is the needed obedience of those to the work of Christ, who is the true Israel. People being responsible for their actions when committing idolatry appears to be the point of the pronoun changes.

However, the final pronouns reverted to the singular – “he anathematized according to all that he had done to Lachish.” Like with Lachish, no note concerning the king being treated in the same manner as the king of Jericho was given.

It typologically looks to the battle that was won by the Lord, defeating the idolatrous nature in those who come to Him. Where believers once followed whatever idol was before them, they now follow Jesus.

After that, Joshua went up from Eglon to Hebron, or Alliance. Hebron in the last sermons was given to reveal the alliance between Israel and the Lord at the giving of the law. That was never intended to be a permanent state. Rather it was a temporary dispensation, as Paul says –

“But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.” Galatians 3:23-25

The final pronouns of this battle were in the singular as well. Christ is the One who has defeated the law, the alliance made with Israel, by fulfilling it. In this, He anathematized it. That is perfectly expressed in Paul’s words of Galatians –

“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed [Greek: anathema]. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:6-9

From there, it says that “Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir” (v.38). The meaning is Place of the Word, meaning an Oracle. Jesus is the Oracle. He is the spot from where the Word issues from because He is the embodiment of the law.

And it is He who died in fulfillment of it as well. Interestingly, verse 39 said that “he did to Debir and its king, as he had done also to Libnah and its king.” The words then skip over the previous four battles Hebron, Eglon, and Gezer, and Lachish to identify with the king of Libnah who is, in turn, identified with the king of Jericho.

It again speaks of the substitutionary nature of Christ’s work for us, becoming a curse so “that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:14). This cannot come through law, except as the law is fulfilled through Christ. And the law is only fulfilled through Christ who died on a tree in fulfillment of it.

The lesson is brought back to us, again and again, to understand that there is nothing we can do to merit salvation except trust in Christ’s work.

Verse 40 then revealed the scope of the victory saying, “all the land” and then describing it. It noted that he left no survivor and every person that had breath was anathematized. It then ended with “as Yehovah, God of Israel, had commanded.”

Jesus completely and entirely fulfilled every word that was given to Him to fulfill. He destroyed every obstacle that stood against His people. Every vestige of that which stands against God’s people is removed in Him.

With that seen, verse 41 mentioned the four areas that comprised the scope of Joshua’s conquest – Kadesh Barnea, the Holy purifying wanderings of Israel under the law; Gaza, the strength of sin, which is the law; Goshen, the approaching of God’s grace in Christ; and Gibeon, the termination of the law at the knoll where Christ was judged and in Him was judged sin, Gabbatha.

In verse 42, it said that Joshua took all of these kings and their land in one stroke. That is exactly what Christ did. He engaged the enemy, and He defeated him in one stroke at the cross of Calvary. What is seen here is a snapshot of the trek from law to grace, as it says, Joshua (Jesus) took all of these in one stroke because Yehovah, God of Israel, fought for Israel. As it says in Romans –

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

What God did for Israel through Joshua is what Jesus has done for all who are His. It is His victory, not ours, and it is in His deeds, not ours, that the victory is secured.

In that, the verses ended with, “Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.” It’s a beautiful ending, Jesus and all of Israel returned to the camp at the Liberty. Jesus placed Himself under the bondage of the law in order to redeem Israel from the law and to provide them with the Liberty that was lost in Eden.

And for any who come to Him, Jew or Gentile, they become a part of the commonwealth of Israel. The story is magnificent, and it is another of the many repetitions of the same theme that God keeps revealing to us in His word. Man under law is condemned. Christ came under the law to make it possible to be free.

What is it that we can give God that will earn our salvation? Think it through. This is what every single religion or supposed point of righteousness that man conjures up expresses. It is what we can do to restore us to God.

Only in Christ do we find what God has done to restore us to Him. Give up on self; it is a dead-end street. Look to Christ and His cross where peace and reconciliation are found. This is what I would ask you to do. Please, do it today.

Closing Verse: “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Romans 10:2-4

Next Week: Joshua 11:1-15 For the battle, many men left home… (The Waters of Merom) (23rd Joshua Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It is He who has defeated the enemy and who now offers His people rest. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

So Joshua Conquered All the Land

On that day Joshua took Makkedah
And struck it and its king with the edge of the sword
He utterly destroyed them—all the people who were in it
He let none remain, according to the word of the Lord

He also did to the king of Makkedah, so we know
As he had done to the king of Jericho

Then Joshua passed from Makkedah
And all Israel with him, to Libnah because things were going well
And they fought against Libnah
And the LORD also delivered it and its king into the hand of Israel

He struck it and all the people who were in it
With the edge of the sword, a mighty blow
He let none remain in. Not one person split
But did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho

Then Joshua passed from Libnah
And all Israel with him, to Lachish they went
And they encamped against it and fought against it
They fought and did not relent

And the LORD delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel
Who took it on the second day, and struck it
And all the people who were in it with the edge of the sword
According to all that he had done to Libnah, not giving in a bit

Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish
Thinking the victory he was gaining
And Joshua struck him and his people
Until he left him none remaining

From Lachish Joshua passed to Eglon
And all Israel with him
And they encamped against it
And fought against it, for Eglon, things were lookin’ grim

They took it on that day and struck it
With the edge of the sword, wiping out everyone
All the people who were in it he utterly destroyed that day
According to all that he to Lachish had done

So Joshua went up from Eglon
And all Israel with him, to Hebron, a mighty horde
And they fought against it
And they took it and struck it with the edge of the sword

Its king, all its cities, and all the people who were in it
He left none remaining. He kept on and didn’t quit
According to all that he had done to Eglon
He utterly destroyed it and all the people who were in it

Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir
And they fought against it, surely Debir was floored
And he took it and its king and all its cities
They struck them with the edge of the sword

And utterly destroyed all the people who were in it
He left none remaining, as he had to Hebron done
So he did to Debir and its king
As he had done also to Libnah and its king, until
———-the battle was won

So Joshua conquered all the land:
The mountain country and the South as well
And the lowland and the wilderness slopes
And all their kings, sending them straight to… oh do tell!

There were none remaining
As the situation demanded
Joshua utterly destroyed all that breathed
As the LORD God of Israel had commanded

And Joshua conquered them from Kadesh Barnea
Rolling on and on
As far as Gaza, and all the country of Goshen
Even as far as Gibeon

All these kings and their land Joshua took at one time
Because the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel
Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him
To the camp at Gilgal, time for a break and relaxing as well

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

28 On that day Joshua took Makkedah, and struck it and its king with the edge of the sword. He utterly destroyed them—all the people who were in it. He let none remain. He also did to the king of Makkedah as he had done to the king of Jericho.

29 Then Joshua passed from Makkedah, and all Israel with him, to Libnah; and they fought against Libnah. 30 And the Lord also delivered it and its king into the hand of Israel; he struck it and all the people who were in it with the edge of the sword. He let none remain in it, but did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho.

31 Then Joshua passed from Libnah, and all Israel with him, to Lachish; and they encamped against it and fought against it. 32 And the Lord delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel, who took it on the second day, and struck it and all the people who were in it with the edge of the sword, according to all that he had done to Libnah. 33 Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish; and Joshua struck him and his people, until he left him none remaining.

34 From Lachish Joshua passed to Eglon, and all Israel with him; and they encamped against it and fought against it. 35 They took it on that day and struck it with the edge of the sword; all the people who were in it he utterly destroyed that day, according to all that he had done to Lachish.

36 So Joshua went up from Eglon, and all Israel with him, to Hebron; and they fought against it. 37 And they took it and struck it with the edge of the sword—its king, all its cities, and all the people who were in it; he left none remaining, according to all that he had done to Eglon, but utterly destroyed it and all the people who were in it.

38 Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir; and they fought against it. 39 And he took it and its king and all its cities; they struck them with the edge of the sword and utterly destroyed all the people who were in it. He left none remaining; as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir and its king, as he had done also to Libnah and its king.

40 So Joshua conquered all the land: the mountain country and the South and the lowland and the wilderness slopes, and all their kings; he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel had commanded. 41 And Joshua conquered them from Kadesh Barnea as far as Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even as far as Gibeon. 42 All these kings and their land Joshua took at one time, because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel. 43 Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.

 

 

 

Joshua 10:16-27 (The Battle for Gibeon, Part II)

Artwork by Doug Kallerson

Joshua 10:16-27
The Battle for Gibeon, Part II

After typing last week’s sermon, it took several days of mulling over the meaning before I finally got my first hint of what is being pictured in this passage around 2:30 one night. I fell asleep after that and got up at 3:30 feeling relieved.

Without knowing the typology, you get a sermon with a lot of details, but nothing to explain why the words are there. A good life application sermon on verses like this is simple and quick.

Reading Matthew Henry’s commentaries will fill you with all kinds of ideas about such things. They have less to do with the substance of the verses, and more to energize you to do your best to achieve whatever point he is making.

Without knowing the typology and pictures being revealed, you are really no further along the path of knowing what God is actually trying to convey to you. Verse 18 confirmed the typology, and it fit the conclusion of last week’s sermon and expanded on it. Relief!

Text Verse: “And I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, ‘Your eyes have seen all that the Lord your God has done to these two kings; so will the Lord do to all the kingdoms through which you pass. 22 You must not fear them, for the Lord your God Himself fights for you.’” Deuteronomy 3:21, 22

In Deuteronomy, Moses encouraged Joshua concerning the battles ahead. He had seen the victories over Sihon and Og and was assured that things would go well for him in Canaan, too. The victory in today’s passage is proof to him that what Moses had said remains true.

You might be wondering already what the passage is about. Well, what is the Bible about? Yes, you in the third row. You are correct. It is about Jesus. And what is it that Jesus offers us? Yes, you in the back, that is correct, grace – God’s grace.

See you’ve already got it figured out. Let’s finish with that and go home for a nap. Or not. Please sit back down. You have to first find out how the grace is to be given. What do five kings attacking Gibeon have to do with what has already been seen?

What does hanging five kings on five trees and then casting them into a cave have to do with Jesus? Stay tuned and we’ll go over it together. Great things are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today, and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. Hidden in the Cave at Makkedah (verses 16-21)

16 But these five kings had fled and hidden themselves in a cave at Makkedah.

With the poetic insert about the sun and moon standing over Israel until Joshua had avenged his enemies complete, the narrative continues with these words: va’yanasu khamashet ham’lakhim ha’eleh va’yekhaveu bam’arah b’maqedah – “And fled five the kings, the these, and are hidden in the cave in Makkedah.”

The word mearah, or cave, comes from ur, meaning to be exposed, bare, or made naked. They had gone into the cave to be hidden, but instead, they have been exposed. In this case, it is a specific cave as identified by the definite article – “the cave in Makkedah.”

Further, the words “in Makkedah” are disputed by some to mean “the area of Makkedah” and not the immediate city because it isn’t until verse 28 that the city is said to have been taken. But that verse doesn’t give the timing of the event. It only says, “in that day.”

Therefore, for all we know, it could have been during the battle itself that someone came to Joshua and said, “We have the five kings cornered in a cave in Makkedah.” The timeline of Chapter 10 has not been chronological. In the earlier verses, we can see that. There is no reason to assume it is here as well.

Hence, the words “in Makkedah” could be referring to the immediate area of the city. It may have been fortified, and that would explain the reason why the kings would go there to hide. With that understood, it next says…

17 And it was told Joshua, saying, “The five kings have been found hidden in the cave at Makkedah.”

The matter is conveyed to Joshua, certainly to find out what he wanted done with them, and the words are similar to what was said in the previous verse: nim’seu khameshet ham’lakhim nekh’beim bam’arah b’maqedah – “Have been found five, the kings, hidden in the cave in Makkedah.”

It again says, “in the cave in Makkedah,” and the words form a sort of pun when the root meaning is understood. The place of hiding, the cave, is where they are exposed. As noted last week, the name Makkedah means Place of Shepherds. In response to this knowledge, Joshua issues his order…

18 So Joshua said, “Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave,

The order from Joshua is: golu avanim g’doloth el pi ham’arah – “roll stones whopping into mouth the cave.” With enough men, really large stones could be manhandled to fill the mouth of the cave. For those inside, it would be a great chore to undo such a blockade, but just in case, he also says…

18 (con’t) and set men by it to guard them.

v’haph’qidu aleha anashim l’shameram – “And appoint over her men to watch them.” A cave, like a city, is a feminine noun. Saying “it” is fine, but simply to identify it as feminine, I used the word her. Joshua has ordered men to be appointed to watch over it until these kings can be dealt with. In the meantime, a battle continues that must be attended to…

19 And do not stay there yourselves,

v’atem al ta’amodu – “And you, not do stand.” It was appointed for certain men to watch over the cave hiding the kings, but those appointed to continue the battle were not to simply stand there. Instead, they were to continue on…

19 (con’t) but pursue your enemies, and attack their rear guard.

rid’phu akhare oyevekhem v’zinavtem – “Pursue your enemies and tail them.” Here is a word that is found for the second and last time in the Bible, zinev. It means to extend or to tail out, coming from zanav, a tail.

The only other use was in Deuteronomy 25:18 when Moses spoke of Amalek attacking the rear of Israel when they were tired and weary. Joshua instructs the main army to continue on and complete the task of destroying the enemy, and…

19 (con’t) Do not allow them to enter their cities, for the Lord your God has delivered them into your hand.”

The words read: al tit’num lavo el arehem – “no give them to enter into their cities.” It would be like a present to the enemy if they failed to cut them off. And Joshua was not going to gift them such a thing. They are already defeated: ki nathanam Yehovah elohekhem b’yedkhem – “for has given them Yehovah your God in your (pl.) hand.”

The Lord has gifted the enemy to Israel, and so Israel is not to give them an inch by allowing them to enter into their cities.

20 Then it happened, while Joshua and the children of Israel made an end of slaying them with a very great slaughter, till they had finished,

Vayhi k’khaloth Yehoshua u-bene Yisrael l’hakotam makah gedolah meod ad tumam – “And it came to pass according to Joshua and sons Israel to strike them – stroke whopping, very – until they finished.”

The meaning here is referring to the entire battle, not just the cutting off of the tail. In other words, these words initiate the summary of what began in verses 10:7-10 –

“So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor. And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before you.’ Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly, having marched all night from Gilgal. 10 So the Lord routed them before Israel, killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, chased them along the road that goes to Beth Horon, and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah.”

“Then it happened, while Joshua and the children of Israel made an end of slaying them with a very great slaughter…”

The day of battle is complete before the day’s end, the people had avenged their enemies (v. 13), and there was only a few remaining to be dealt with. As it next notes…

20 (con’t) that those who escaped entered fortified cities.

The word “that” gives a false sense of what is being said, as if it is an action based on what was just said. Rather, it is simply a statement of fact concerning the battle: v’has’ridim sar’du mehem va’yavou el are ha’miv’tsar – “and the survivors survived of them and entered into cities fortified.”

It is these who will be dealt with when the five cities are engaged and destroyed in verses 28-42. The battle of the kings and their armies is effectively ended at this time. Destroying the cities filled with noncombatants and those few soldiers who fled to their cities would not be a great chore but rather a mopping-up operation.

21 And all the people returned to the camp, to Joshua at Makkedah, in peace.

With the battle sufficiently complete the people returned to Makkedah where Joshua was. The obvious but unsaid meaning is that during the battle the people were told that Makkedah would be the place where the troops settled after the battle.

The meaning of b’shalom, or “in peace,” is that there was no more war to be waged against the enemy at this time because the armies of the five kings had been defeated. Hence…

21 (con’t) No one moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel.

lo kharats liv’ne Yis’rael l’ish eth l’shono – “no sharpened to sons Israel to man tongue.” It is a proverbial saying going back to Exodus 11 –

“But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that the Lord does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.” Exodus 11:7

Some translations make this an action of Israel – “none of the house of Israel harmed a man with his tongue.” But the context here is that not one of the enemies of Israel sharpened his tongue against any man of Israel. The idea of the Gentiles being dogs would be understood from the proverb. As a dog wags its tongue, so would the Gentiles, if they could. But none dared or were able.

These five will never bother you again
They are finished up and have seen their last
They have been the downfall of many men
But they are dead, and their time is past

A new Leader has taken control
And a new direction is laid out ahead
On Him we can every care and worry roll
Because those five are strung up and dead

Now, the enemy can no longer afflict us
We have a new hope because they are dead
Thank God for our Lord, our precious Jesus
Thank God that He is there as our Head

II. Large Stones Against the Cave’s Mouth (verses 22-27)

22 Then Joshua said, “Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings to me from the cave.”

The leader of the people will now have the leaders of the enemy brought out for the purpose of a public humiliation and execution. It is not said when this occurred. If it was on the day of the battle, then the day would be on its way to ending. If it was the next day, it would mean a prolonged humiliation for these kings.

Either way, they are now brought forth. The cave that was supposed to hide them is the beginning of their exposure…

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

Reading the Hebrew, the naming of the kings is almost rhythmic – melekh Yerushalaim eth melekh Khevron eth melekh Yarmuth eth melekh Lakhish eth melekh Eglon – “king Jerusalem, king Hebron, king Jarmuth, king Lachish, king Eglon.” They are named as if they are being brought out in order to be presented to the victorious leader…

24 So it was, when they brought out those kings to Joshua,

Here, the kings are presented to Joshua as vanquished enemies. Their power is entirely removed, and soon their presence will be removed as well. It is at the time of bringing them out…

24 (con’t) that Joshua called for all the men of Israel,

Rather, it is singular: va’yiqra Yehoshua kal ish Yis’rael – “and called Joshua unto every man Israel.” It is as if he is personally addressing each person before him. Each should take heed and understand the importance of the event to take place.

24 (con’t) and said to the captains of the men of war who went with him,

va’yomer el qetsine anshe ha’milkhamah hehalekhu ito – “and said unto the rulers men the war the goers with him.” With all of the men heeding Joshua, he then speaks to their rulers.

Here is a new word, qatsin, or ruler. It comes from qatsah meaning to scrape off. Hence, it is one who determines or decides a matter, as if scraping off the superfluous in order to come to a conclusion or a resolution. It is not a common word in Scripture, being used just twelve times, but a good verse to get the sense of it is –

“By long forbearance a ruler is persuaded,
And a gentle tongue breaks a bone.” Proverbs 25:15

They will be making decisions in the future, and so they are to be given an object lesson concerning the state of the enemies they will face in the future based on the enemies they will now humiliate. As such…

24 (con’t) “Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings.” And they drew near and put their feet on their necks.

Though still alive, the kings are utterly powerless. In this state, they will be perfectly humiliated. The foot upon the neck demonstrates possession. They possess the authority over these kings, and thus over their domains.

The tsavar, or back of the neck, is the spot that signifies the settling of a matter, either by the individual or externally. The word comes from tsur, an adversary.

If one turns the back of his neck toward the Lord, he has made himself an adversary of the Lord. If one is pursued by an enemy, he will turn his neck to find out how close he is. One can have a yoke on his neck, being brought under external control. If one puts his neck to the work, it means he has set himself to do the job diligently.

These men are setting themselves upon the enemy while demonstrating total possession, and thus authority, over them. What is happening here is well reflected by the words of David –

“For You have armed me with strength for the battle;
You have subdued under me those who rose against me.
41 You have also given me the necks of my enemies,
So that I destroyed those who hated me.” 2 Samuel 22:40, 41

25 Then Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; be strong and of good courage,

The words closely match words already spoken by Moses to Joshua, to the people, by the Lord to Joshua, and to Joshua from the people. Joshua speaks in like manner to these men…

25 (con’t) for thus the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.”

The word “against” isn’t in the Hebrew. Also, the word “you” is emphatic. It says, “to all your enemies whom you fight.” Any enemies they face in battle will be totally vanquished just as these kings under their feet will be.

With this promise to the people made, and with the humiliation of the enemies brought upon them while they are alive, they will next become another type of humiliation before all the people…

26 And afterward Joshua struck them and killed them,

More precisely, it reads, “And struck them, Joshua, thus, and put them to death.” The kings were brought into total subordination, they were humiliated, and then they were put to death – all by Joshua…

26 (con’t) and hanged them on five trees;

Again, it is credited as the action of Joshua: va’yitlem al khamishah etsim – “and hanged (sg.) them upon five trees.” One tree for each of the kings. The word etsim means “wood.” It could be trees, stakes, poles, or so on made from the tree.

As for the act itself, Matthew Poole rightly says, “to their shame and disgrace, and the terror of others.” It is well stated. It is a note of shame upon the enemy, and it is a note of warning and terror upon those who understood its significance. Next, in accord with the law of Moses, it says…

26 (con’t) and they were hanging on the trees until evening.

The Hebrew is more precise – “until the evening.” It is on the same day that they were hung. On that very same day at evening, which is directed in the law…

27 So it was at the time of the going down of the sun that Joshua commanded,

vayhi l’eth bo ha’shemesh tsivah Yehoshua – “And it came to pass to time go the sun, commanded Joshua.” It is the end of the day and just before the beginning of the new day that Joshua instructs the men to accomplish the word of the law…

27 (con’t) and they took them down from the trees,

va’yoridum me’al ha’etsim – “and they took them from upon the trees.” This is in accord with Moses’ words –

“If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God.” Deuteronomy 21:22, 23

It is the same symbolism as when the king of Ai was hanged. These men died in sin, a moral issue. It isn’t the physical body that is being referred to, even though defilement does come to one who touches a dead body. And it is not a ceremonial defilement that is being referred to. A moral issue is being addressed.

And more, it does not mean that a person who is hanged is accursed in the sense of not being saved. That would mean that any saved person who was hanged on a tree could not be saved. That is not the issue. The meaning is that the person becomes a curse when hanged on a tree. Why?

Because sin is in all people. Anyone who is publicly displayed on a tree is dead. Death is the final penalty for sin. It is not the physical body, but the sin that is being focused on. Sin hangs on the tree and that sin is accursed of God.

Therefore, the hanging is a sign of being accursed. In leaving the bodies up overnight, the corpses would defile the land. Hence, Joshua instructs compliance with the precept of the law. They…

27 (con’t) cast them into the cave where they had been hidden,

The bodies were returned to the cave. Remember that the word cave comes from ur, to be exposed. If you dig a cave, it exposes what was once not seen. It is like a mental pun where they hid in this place that was exposed. Now, they are being returned to that place…

27 (con’t) and laid large stones against the cave’s mouth,

va’yasimu avanim gedoloth al pi ham’arah – “And placed stones whopping upon mouth the cave.” In verse 18, they rolled stones into the cave’s mouth. In verse 22, they opened the cave’s mouth. Now they place stones upon the cave’s mouth. It is shut and covered over. With that, it next says a most unusual phrase…

*27 (fin) which remain until this very day.

ad etsem ha’yom ha’zeh – “Until bone, the day, the this.” The meaning is the exact same day, as in “bone of my bones.” The writer is penning the narrative, and he says, “until this very same day.” The same as what?

This same term, “the very same day,” is used in Genesis 7:13, Genesis 17:23, Exodus 12:17, and Joshua 5:11. Each time, it is referring to something that happened on the same day that something else has happened.

But when the word “until” is used along with “this day,” it refers to the day the author writes the passage. And so there is a conundrum. Keil attempts to reconcile the words by saying –

“If, therefore, it has any meaning at all in the present instance, we must connect the whole clause with the one preceding, and even construe it as a relative clause: ‘where they (the kings) had hidden themselves, and they (the Israelites) had placed large stones at the mouth of the cave until that very day’ (on which the kings were fetched out and executed).” Keil

But what would be the point of saying this? Rather, it appears that the author is either saying, “Until this very same day,” meaning the day he is writing, which would be forced and not have any real meaning, or personally, I think he is extending the thought beyond his day of writing to the day when his words are read, whenever that may be.

The meaning would then be that the kings are buried in that cave forever. As unusual as that may be, it is what I propose.

Their bodies have been cast away
And the mouth of the cave is covered over forever
Before us stands a brand-new day
We shall never return to the past, no, not ever!

What marvelous things has our God done
When He sent us Jesus Christ our Lord
In Him is the victory, God’s own Son
He has slain the enemy with His glorious sword

We shall go forth in the strength of Jesus
And we shall do it for eternal days
Great and wonderful things God has done for us
And so, forever and ever we shall sing His praise

III. Pictures of Christ

In Chapter 9, the Gibeonites were brought into a covenant relationship with Israel. Now, they are being attacked by five kings, led by the king of Jerusalem and who are said in verse 5 to be of the Amorites, even though they are not actually all Amorites. Amorite means Renown.

Verse 1 of Chapter 10 notes the name Adoni-zedek and says he is the king of Jerusalem. He had heard of the destruction of Ai. That was typologically the ending of the law for Israel. It also noted the destruction of Jericho. That was typologically given as coming out of the state of anathema, being restored to access to God.

Still in verse 1, it noted the king had heard that Gibeon had made peace with Israel. They were brought into the covenant protections. Gibeon is etymologically tied to the name Gabbatha, the knoll where Christ was judged.

Jesus submitted Himself to the Roman authority in order to establish the New Covenant in His blood. The Gibeonites submitted themselves to Joshua in order to enter into the covenant relationship that had been established with Israel.

Now, this covenant relationship is in jeopardy because of five kings who I suggest are representative of Israel’s depiction in the books of Moses.

They are of Jerusalem/Foundation of Peace – Genesis (the Lord establishes Israel). Hebron/Alliance – Exodus (an alliance between Israel and the Lord). Jarmuth/Elevation – Leviticus (the priestly class who interacts with the Lord). Lachish/Obstinate – Numbers (Israel’s rejection of the Lord). Eglon/Heifer-like – Deuteronomy (Moses reminds Israel of their apostasy with the calf in Deuteronomy 9).

Jerusalem being the head of this alliance would then represent the law itself, it being the city from which the law is administered as Paul notes in Galatians 4:25.

Because of this, the contents of this passage are not unlike those of Genesis 34. These kings, representing the law, have come to destroy Gibeon just as Judaizers of the past and the Hebrew Roots movement today attempt to destroy the faith of the Gentiles who have come to Christ.

As Matthew Henry says of this passage, not tying it in with the law, but seeing it as revenge against Gibeon, “As Satan, so wicked men, cannot abide to lose any of their communitie.” This is exactly what Judaizers and Hebrew Roots folks do.

Verse 4 noted the call to attack Gibeon “for it has made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel.” This is just what the Gentiles did with Christ and what the Judaizers in Acts and Galatians did against those same Gentiles. They are not of Israel because they are not of Christ (Romans 9:6). Instead, they are of the law which was fulfilled and ended by Christ.

Verse 5 noted that they are the five kings of the Amorites, or Renown, even though they are not actually Amorites. It is they who are self-exalted because of their adherence to the law. “We are the Renown!” There it notes who they are kings of, but not their names, just where they ruled. Their rule is the law, the five books of Moses, and they have camped before Gibeon (think of Gabbatha) to wage war against it.

Verse 6. The men of Gibeon sent to Joshua (Jesus) at Gilgal (Liberty) pleading for help. This is exactly the substance of the council at Jerusalem in Acts 15. The Judaizers wanted to bring the Gentiles under the bondage of the law. An appeal was made to clarify that matter. It was clarified beautifully in the letter penned by the council.

As for the attack by the Judaizers, it is an attempt to destroy the grace of God in these people. But Gibeon calls out with a pun on the name of Joshua, “come up to us quickly, save us and help us.” The word translated as “save” is the word, yasha, from which Joshua’s (and Jesus’) name is derived. The call is well reflected by the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:1, 2. The people have asked for Joshua’s salvation. They need grace, not the law –

“We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says:

‘In an acceptable time I have heard you,
And in the day of salvation I have helped you.’

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

Verse 6 also said that all the kings of the Amorite (sg.) who dwell in the mountain (sg.) had gathered against Gibeon. It is the mountain (the government) of the law. With that, verse 7 noted that Joshua ascended from Gilgal (Liberty) to help the Gibeonites. One cannot help but see the words of Paul in this –

“Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.” Galatians 2:3-5

The Lord said to Joshua that He had delivered the enemy into his hand. The Judaizers and Hebrew Roots people will not prevail. They will all be swept away. The credit of the march from Gilgal was in the singular – Jesus ascended from Liberty to aid Gibeon.

It then noted in verse 10 that the Lord (Yehovah) routed the enemy before Israel and “killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon” (think of Gabbatha). From there, they were chased to Beth Horon, the House of Freedom.

It is reflective of the words of Jesus, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). It is through Christ’s fulfillment of the law, not ours, that one is set free. He has defeated the law. Verse 10 also noted Azekah and Makkedah. The enemy is defeated before a field properly Tilled for the seed and in a Place of Shepherds that watch over the flock.

It is in this area that it said the Lord destroyed the enemy. He will never forsake His people and He will destroy the enemy before them.

Verses 12-14 were the poetic insert concerning the work of the Lord on behalf of Israel. It is the Lord who defeated the enemy. The sun standing over Gibeon would be reflective of Gabbatha. The moon over emeq Ayalon or the Depth of Aijalon would then be where Christ derived His strength on the same day before He went to the cross – “Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him” (Luke 22:43).

The point is that in a single day according to Hebrew reckoning (evening to evening) the enemies of Israel had been defeated. The poetic nature of the words highlights the fact. The avenging of the people Israel over their enemies (verse 13) means that they have done this through Christ, not on their own.

The note concerning the Book of Jasher tells us that Jesus, the Upright One (the Lord) fights for Israel. As the Gibeonites have become a part of the commonwealth of Israel, it is inclusive of them as well. The account also noted that the entire battle was won on a single, finished (perfect) day.

Verses 13 and 14 summed this up noting that the Lord heeded the voice of a man. It is reflective of the words of Psalm 66, a messianic psalm –

“If I regard iniquity in my heart,
The Lord will not hear.
19 But certainly God has heard me;
He has attended to the voice of my prayer.” Psalm 66:18, 19

Verse 15 curiously ended with Joshua and all Israel returning to the camp at Gilgal. That actually doesn’t happen until the end of the chapter, but it is placed there to indicate the Liberty that is found in Christ’s finished work, not the law.

With that, this week’s passage opened with the five kings hiding in the cave in Makkedah. They tried to hide in a place that has been exposed at the Place of Shepherds. It tells us that in the church, the law is exposed to reveal Christ, not itself.

Joshua then said to roll large stones into its mouth. The law is shut up by Christ –

“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” Romans 3:19

It is the law by which we stand guilty before God. It is Christ who takes that guilt away. With that, it said to “appoint over her men to watch them.” The cave is the Torah (both feminine nouns) where the law, meaning the five books of Moses, is. That is appointed to be watched over until Joshua (Jesus) directs.

While they are hidden there, Israel continued to pursue the enemies, tailing them. Every remnant of law observance must be dealt with and eliminated. Grace cannot be earned. Jesus is the true Israel who fulfills every aspect of the law, thus defeating each for His people.

With the entire law vanquished (verse 20), leaving only those who escaped into fortified cities (who will be dealt with later) the power of the law is effectively ended. Israel returned to Makkedah in peace. Not a word could be spoken against Israel. Those who have trusted in Christ have prevailed. The symbolism of His victory is then given when the mouth of the cave was opened.

The Law is opened, exposing what is hidden there. The five kings, the five books of Moses, are brought out and are named again: king Jerusalem, king Hebron, king Jarmuth, king Lachish, and king Eglon. They had come against the people and now they will be ended.

Every man of Israel is called forward and the rulers, the qatsin, those who scrape off or determine a matter, are told to place their feet on the necks of the kings. They now possess them in their entirety, signified by the foot. Making it on the neck signifies the settling of the matter. The law was an adversary, and now it is defeated.

With this, Joshua encouraged them to not be afraid or dismayed, but to be strong and of good courage. Further, it said, “for thus the LORD will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.” As it says in Hebrews 13 –

“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:6

Holding on to Christ’s victory means that there is complete victory. The teachings of the Judaizers cannot harm when one holds to Christ’s fulfillment of the law. That is then seen in verse 26 where Joshua (Jesus) struck the five kings, putting them to death.

It is in Christ’s death that the law died. This is the typology being seen. The victory over the law is complete, but the picture of it is not yet finished. That is seen in the five kings being hung on five trees. Their place of reign was mentioned three times in this passage, but their names were only mentioned once. Each looks to Christ and His work –

Adoni Zedek – Lord of Righteousness
Hoham – Whom Yehovah impels
Piram – Indomitable
Japhia – Illuminous
Debir – Place of the Word

What is being seen here is the same typology as with Ai. Charles Ellicott was close to seeing this. He said, “Upon the cross of the true Joshua, the enemies of the Israel of God are exhibited. ‘He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it (Colossians 2:15).’”

This is just what is being seen. Christ is the King of the law. He and no other. And He was talah, hung on a tree, becoming a curse for us. Paul explains that in Galatians –

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’).” Galatians 3:13

The five books of Moses, known as the law, are defeated, but the curse of the law stands without this part of Christ’s work. Jesus became a curse so that His people could be freed from the law’s demands.

Sin is a moral, not a physical or ceremonial, issue. It infects all people. Christ became a curse under the law. He paid the final penalty for sin. Our sin, in His fulfillment and ending of the law, hung on the tree, becoming that curse of the law.

This picture goes beyond that of the hanging of the king of Ai. It lets us know that it isn’t just a part of the law, such as Deuteronomy, that Christ fulfilled, but He is the embodiment of the entire law. The hanging of these five kings reveals this.

Once taken down from the trees, in accordance with the law, it then says that the kings’ bodies were cast into the cave. The place of being exposed will now hide the law. But more, it says that whopping stones were placed “upon” the mouth of the cave. Not only is the law hidden away, it is completely covered up, being entirely removed from sight through the work of Christ.

With that, the verses ended with the highly unusual phrase that this remained so “until this very same day.” The only explanation I can find for these words is what I already gave. The words extend to any time that they are read, forever. The power of the law, found in the five books of Moses, is removed forever in Christ.

Matthew Poole was cited earlier concerning these five kings, saying, “to their shame and disgrace, and the terror of others.” The law is ashamed before Christ. It has no power against Him because He has prevailed over it.

But this fact is also a note of warning and what should rightfully be terror upon those who hear and fail to understand the significance of what occurred. To throw oneself back under the law is a self-condemning act.

The Bible ends with the words, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” The law is diametrically opposed to grace. If one chooses the law, he has nowhere else to go but to fulfill the law. Paul says as much using circumcision as a benchmark of the law, “And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law” (Galatians 5:3).

The Lord has shown us this same theme so many times since Genesis 1:1 that we simply cannot overlook or ignore it. The question for all people is, “Where do you want to hang your hat?” You can trust in the law and be judged by the law, meaning every single precept found in the law, or you can trust in Christ’s fulfillment of it and be freed from its power.

This was one purpose of the law. It was to show us what God expects in order to be right with Him. In seeing the enormity of the burden the law carries, it was to then lead us to Jesus.

Hence, to say that we will live according to the law’s standard is to claim a self-righteousness equal to God. It is self-deceiving and it can only lead to condemnation. To trust in Jesus is to trust in God’s provision, thus giving all glory to God, not to self. Be wise, be discerning, and yield yourself to God through the Lord Jesus Christ. And please, do so today.

Closing Verse: “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2:13-15

Next Week: Joshua 10:28-43 His victory is complete and it is grand… (So Joshua Conquered All the Land) (22nd Joshua Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It is He who has defeated the enemy and who now offers His people rest. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Battle for Gibeon, Part II

But these five kings had fled
And hidden themselves at Makkedah in a cave
And it was told Joshua, saying
“The five kings have been found hidden in the cave at Makkedah
————-all trembly and not so brave”

So Joshua said, “Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave
And set men by it to guard them like a prison yard
And do not stay there yourselves
But pursue your enemies, and attack their rear guard

“Do not allow them to enter their cities, please understand
For the LORD your God has delivered them into your hand”

Then it happened, while Joshua and the children of Israel
Made an end of slaying them, not showing any pities
With a very great slaughter, till they had finished
That those who escaped entered fortified cities

And all the people returned to the camp
To Joshua at Makkedah, in peace – all was well
No one moved his tongue
Against any of the children of Israel

Then Joshua said, “Open the cave’s mouth, so let it be
And bring out those five kings from the cave to me”

And they did so
And brought out those five kings to him from the cave:
The king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth
The king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon
———-for them, things were looking grave

So it was, when they brought out those kings to Joshua
That Joshua called for all the men of Israel
And said to the captains of the men of war
Those who went with him, to them he did tell…

“Come near, put on the necks of these kings your feet”
And they drew near and put their feet on their necks
———-a sign of their defeat

Then Joshua said to them
“Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, that wouldn’t be right
Be strong and of good courage
For thus the LORD will do to all your enemies
———-against whom you fight”

And afterward Joshua struck them and killed them
And hanged them on five trees
And they were hanging on the trees until evening
Attracting lots of flies and fleas

So it was at the time of the going down of the sun
That Joshua commanded
And they took them down from the trees
Cast them into the cave where they had been hidden
———-as the situation demanded

And laid large stones against the cave’s mouth
———-big stones on display
Which remain until this very day

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16 But these five kings had fled and hidden themselves in a cave at Makkedah. 17 And it was told Joshua, saying, “The five kings have been found hidden in the cave at Makkedah.”

18 So Joshua said, “Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave, and set men by it to guard them. 19 And do not stay there yourselves, but pursue your enemies, and attack their rear guard. Do not allow them to enter their cities, for the Lord your God has delivered them into your hand.” 20 Then it happened, while Joshua and the children of Israel made an end of slaying them with a very great slaughter, till they had finished, that those who escaped entered fortified cities. 21 And all the people returned to the camp, to Joshua at Makkedah, in peace.

No one moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel.

22 Then Joshua said, “Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings to me from the cave.” 23 And they did so, and brought out those five kings to him from the cave: the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon.

24 So it was, when they brought out those kings to Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the captains of the men of war who went with him, “Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings.” And they drew near and put their feet on their necks. 25 Then Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; be strong and of good courage, for thus the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.” 26 And afterward Joshua struck them and killed them, and hanged them on five trees; and they were hanging on the trees until evening. 27 So it was at the time of the going down of the sun that Joshua commanded, and they took them down from the trees, cast them into the cave where they had been hidden, and laid large stones against the cave’s mouth, which remain until this very day.

Joshua 10:1-15 (The Battle for Gibeon, Part I)

Artwork by Doug Kallerson

Joshua 10:1-15
The Battle for Gibeon, Part I

The passage before us in Joshua 10 is an exceedingly exciting set of verses. But you may not be overly excited about my evaluation of them. I have read the account many times and have had a presupposition about their meaning because I have trusted the words of the translators.

After setting those presuppositions aside, I have a completely different view of what these verses are saying. For those who don’t accept my evaluation, there will be the usual disappointment that comes from being steered away from the sensational, like when finding out that Nephilim are not the product of angels who sleep with human women. But that is so much more dramatic.

However, we must go where the text leads. I sent this to my good old friend who reads and understands Hebrew to look over my comments because I didn’t want to be wrong in the evaluation. He came back saying, “…if one completely removes the previous knowledge of this account, then yes, that’s the way to read it.” Thanks, Sergio.

The words of the Lord in Job help explain the sensational nature of the work of the Lord as described in the passage today. How is it that the Lord intervenes in this passage? We will find out. Job 38 gives us a hint…

Text Verse: “Have you entered the treasury of snow,
Or have you seen the treasury of hail,
23 Which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
For the day of battle and war?” Job 38:22, 23

A portion of our verses today is poetical. Thus, by its very nature, it is not necessarily to be taken as it may at first appear. Translating poetry is complicated. We saw that in the Song of Moses.

As for the Book of Jasher which is referenced in this passage, that takes us down another avenue of sensational teaching. It is a book mentioned only twice in Scripture. And, of course, there are teachers out there that claim they have the book of Jasher and will sell you a copy of it. Ooooh, ahhh!

The problem with that is that it is a forgery. But, but, but it is sensational, and so people would rather spend money on that than read the Bible. We see it all the time. The book of Enoch. The book of Jubilees. People will read any of these before the Bible.

It is a terrible waste of time, but sensation sells. Be wise, spend your time in the word, and be content that it is sensational enough in what it tells us because it tells us about Jesus. Such wonderful things are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today, and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. Not a Man Shall Stand Before You (verses 1-11)

Now it came to pass when Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard

With the destruction of both Jericho and Ai, along with the treaty made by the Gibeonites, there is a stir arising in the land. This will all be brought forth in the clauses and verses ahead, but the beginning of the matter rests with Adoni-Tsedeq melekh Yerushalaim, or Adoni-Zedek, king Jerusalem.

His name means Lord of Righteousness or My Lord is Righteous. The name Jerusalem is now introduced into Scripture. Despite its fame as a city, the meaning of the name is debated. It may mean Foundation of Peace, Rain of Peace, Teaching Peace, Possession of Peace, Vision of Peace, He Shall See Peace, In Awe of Peace, or some other variant. Any of these may be correct based on the surrounding context.

The name itself carries with it the sense of a plural word as it ends with a dual termination sound – Yerushalaim. That might signify that the city has two areas, an upper and a lower half. But that is debated as well. The complicated meaning of the name of the city is almost as great as is the historical fame of it.

The name Adoni-Zedek, Lord of Righteousness, is not unlike Melchizedek, or King of Righteousness, who reigned in this same place at the time of Abram. Thus, it may be an official title that was given to the king of the city like Pharaoh is given to the king of Egypt. Of this king, it next describes what he heard. It was…

1 (con’t) how Joshua had taken Ai and had utterly destroyed it—

ki lakhad Yehoshua eth ha’ai va’yakharimah – “that had taken Joshua the Ai and anathematized her.” It wasn’t just that Joshua had taken Ai and subdued it, making the people subject to Israel. Nor was it that they took Ai captive. Rather, the city was taken, and it was utterly devoted to the Lord, meaning every living being was destroyed. This was…

1 (con’t) as he had done to Jericho and its king, so he had done to Ai and its king—

ka’asher lirikho u-l’malkah ken asah la’ay u-l’malkah – “According to which to Jericho and to her king, thus he has done to Ai and to her king.” The highlight is on the act of anathema waged against the cities. In other words, it isn’t just that they devoted one city and then began to show mercy. Rather, they utterly destroyed Jericho, and then they utterly destroyed Ai.

But more, it says “and to her king” for both Jericho and Ai. It is the king of Jerusalem who is the subject of the verse. He fully understands that not only were the cities overrun and destroyed, but the kings of the cities were shown no mercy. He knows he will not be able to buy his way out of whatever pickle he finds himself in when Israel comes to his city. And more…

1 (con’t) and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them,

v’ki hishlimu yosh’ve giv’on eth Yis’rael va’yihyu b’qir’bam – “And that had acquiesced inhabitants Gibeon toward Israel and were in their midst.” The word is shalam, signifying the completion of something. In this case, there was a state of enmity that is now becoming an alliance by covenant.

Gibeon, after having seen the total destruction of Jericho and Ai, had simply made peace without even attempting to defend themselves. They had voluntarily become totally subservient to Israel. This is especially problematic because Israel has a foothold in a strategic location in the heart of the land. The entire southern region of Canaan would be more exposed to the incursions of Israel. Hence, the king wanted to recapture this location if possible.

As a reminder, Jericho means Place of Fragrance. Ai means Heap of Ruins. Gibeon means Hilly or Hill Town. Concerning the events that took place among these three cities, it next says…

that they feared greatly,

The translation is correct: va’yir’u meod – “And they feared greatly.” Verse 1 spoke only of the king of Jerusalem. The text switches to the plural, they, here. This could be referring to him and his subjects within Jerusalem, but it may be anticipatory of the kings that will be mentioned in the next verse. Either way, there is a great fear of what had happened…

2 (con’t) because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities,

The word “royal” is an adjective, but the Hebrew has a noun: ki ir gedolah giv’on k’akhat are ha’mamlakha – “for city whopping, Gibeon, according to cities the kingdom.” Hence, I would speculate that Gibeon actually had its own king, but when they went to make the treaty with Israel, he abdicated his throne.

This would explain why it never mentions any leader when the covenant was cut in Chapter 9. It is possible they never had a king, but based on the listing of cities, each with its own king, in Joshua 12, it seems unlikely that they were without a formal leader. This seems especially so based on the next words…

2 (con’t) and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty.

v’ki hi gedolah min ha’ay v’kal anasheha giborim – “and for she whopping from the Ai and all her men – heroes.” Ai had its own king and men of war. If Gibeon was greater than Ai and its men are all described as great men, then it would logically follow that they also had a king. Again, this is personal speculation, but it would explain why the account continues as it does…

Therefore Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem sent to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish, and Debir king of Eglon, saying,

Some of these names have various meanings, but essentially they are: 1) Hoham – whom Yehovah impels. Hebron – Alliance. 2) Piram – Indomitable. Jarmuth – Elevation. 3) Japhia – Illuminous. Lachish – Obstinate. 4) Debir – Place of the Word. Eglon – Heifer-like.

It should be remembered from Numbers and Deuteronomy that the great and tall people known as the Anakim dwelt in Hebron. They are also noted in Joshua 11 as being elsewhere. Hence, they would probably be a part of the alliance to be made.

Each of these four named cities was in the area eventually granted to Judah. It is to these kings that Adoni-Zedek said…

“Come up to me and help me, that we may attack Gibeon,

The planned attack is not against Joshua and Israel but against Gibeon. Throughout the book, Joshua will always be on the offensive against the nations it wars with. As for Gibeon, there are probably several reasons for attacking it.

First, it would set an example for any other Canaanite cities that they were not to make a treaty with Israel. Second, being strategically located, it would be good to have the area recaptured in order to regain command of the surrounding area.

And, third, it was probable that Gibeon would have been either disarmed or mostly disarmed by Israel once it was discovered that they were close by. As such, they could only lightly defend the city, but probably not much more than that. Each of these could be considered in the next words…

4 (con’t) for it has made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel.”

Although Jerusalem is the city nearest to Gibeon, the loss of Gibeon would eventually be a threat to all of them. Therefore, to act quickly and decisively against Gibeon would be the desirable option to take.

By aligning with the other kings, it would also strengthen their ties into the future, making it more likely one would come to the aid of another if any was attacked by Israel. Obviously, this plan was well received as it next says…

Therefore the five kings of the Amorites,

It is singular, showing the united nature of the people: va’yeas’phu va’yaalu khameshet malkhe ha’emori – “And gathered together and went up five kings the Amorite.” It is five kings, but one people, even though they were not all Amorites.

Rather, they included Hittites, Jebusites, etc. But they are lumped together as being a part of “the Amorite.” To further unite them in thought, the next words include no definite articles in the Hebrew…

5 (con’t) the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered together and went up,

Rather, it simply reads: “king Jerusalem, king Hebron, king Jarmuth, king Lachish, king Eglon.” It is five kings united as one…

5 (con’t) they and all their armies,

Rather than armies, it says: hem v’kal makhanehem – “they and all their camps.” The kings went forward to besiege the city and then to make war against it. Hence, they are called camps. They set up in an array in order to hem the city in. As it next says…

5 (con’t) and camped before Gibeon and made war against it.

It isn’t just that their armies went up and began a full-on assault. Rather, Gibeon is besieged and attacked according to a set plan, probably figuring that word could not make it to Joshua if they had them surrounded. However…

And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp at Gilgal,

Despite being besieged, they were able to get word out to Joshua. Several possibilities exist. It could be the word was sent while the armies were gathering. If so, then the message was sent prior to the city being besieged (i.e. “had sent to Joshua”). Maybe some were working in the fields and saw the camps setting up. Maybe some broke through the lines at night. Whatever the case, the fact is that some of the men were able to get word to Joshua at Gilgal…

6 (con’t) saying, “Do not forsake your servants;

The words contain a jussive: al tereph yadekha m’avadekha – “Not [might you] relax your (sg.) hand from your (sg.) servants.” The words are spoken to Joshua, and they are certainly an appeal to the covenant that was cut, but without directly commanding anything. In essence, “You are (hopefully) not to relax your hand from your servants according to our agreement.” Instead…

6 (con’t) come up to us quickly, save us and help us,

There is a sort of play on the name of Joshua here: aleh elenu m’herah v’hovoshiah lanu – “Come up to us quickly and save us and help us.” The word translated as “save” is the word, yasha, from which Joshua’s name is derived. They are calling out for Joshua to be their savior and their helper in their time of need. The reason is…

6 (con’t) for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the mountains have gathered together against us.”

Again, it is singular – “all kings the Amorite.” They are contrasting themselves to the people group of Canaan and have indicated their alliance with Joshua. Also, the word “mountains” is singular. It is “the mountain.”

This is said even though some of the kings dwelt in the low country. Hence, “the mountain,” is certainly referring to Jerusalem as the main identity in the alliance. The kings of the Amorite who dwell in the mountain have gathered (or were gathering) together against Gibeon…

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

The words at first seem to give two classes – va’yaal Yehoshua min ha’gilgal hu v’kal am ha’milkhamah imo v’kol gibore he’khayil – “And ascended Joshua from the Gilgal, he, and all people the war with him, and all mighty the valor.”

The structure of the words, however, is a way of the second clause describing those of the first clause, such as, “All the people of war, even all the mighty men of valor.” Joshua responded immediately according to the terms of the covenant that had been cut, and he set out with his best soldiers. And more…

And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand;

The word nathan, give, is used – “I have given them into your hand.” The enemy is as a present to Joshua, and so he is not to be afraid as he faces the foe in battle. And more…

8 (con’t) not a man of them shall stand before you.”

lo yaamod ish mehem b’phan’ekha – “No shall stand man from them in your (sg.) presence.” The meaning is that despite there being five kings with their combined forces, they will be so utterly defeated that all will either be killed or will flee away. But none shall be left to stand before him.

Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly, having marched all night from Gilgal.

The words are more precise, and they speak only of Joshua: “And came unto them Joshua suddenly (all the night ascended (sg.) from the Gilgal).” What was a march that took until the third day to be complete in verse 9:17 has been completed in a single night.

And more, it was an ascent all the way from Gilgal to Gibeon. In this, they would have been completely undetected as they approached the camps surrounding the city…

10 So the Lord routed them before Israel,

v’humem Yehovah liphne Yisrael – “And confused (sg.) them, Yehovah, before Israel.” It is the same word, hamam, that the Lord used when He promised just this in Exodus 23 –

“I will send My fear before you, I will cause confusion [hamam] among all the people to whom you come, and will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. 28 And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite from before you.” Exodus 23:27, 28

The word signifies to make a noise or move noisily, and thus to cause confusion. This is ascribed to the Lord, and it very well could be because of a thundering storm that came at the time of the battle. Whatever threw them into confusion, it is exactly what the promise from Exodus 23 said would happen. Also…

10 (con’t) killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon,

The words are most forceful, and they give the credit to the Lord: va’yakem makah gedolah b’giv’on – “And struck (sg.) them blow whopping in Gibeon.”

The people were obviously unprepared for an external attack and had set up their forces for a siege on the city. When Joshua showed up, they were completely confused and decisively struck. From there they…

10 (con’t) chased them along the road that goes to Beth Horon,

Again, the action is credited to the Lord: va’yird’phem derek maaleh beith horon – “and chased (sg.) them way ascent Beth Horon.” Beth Horon means House of the Hollow and also House of Freedom. Even if it is Israel who was engaged in the battle, the Lord is who is spoken of.

It was His assurances of victory that impelled the men to march all night, to attack without sleep, and to sustain them throughout the day. The singular nature of the battle’s description next says…

10 (con’t) and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah.

va’yakem ad azeqah v’ad maqedah – “and struck (sg.) them unto Azekah and unto Makkedah.” The action of the Lord will be more fully described in the next verse. For now, Azekah means “Tilled Over.” Makkedah means “Place of Shepherds.”

11 And it happened, as they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon,

The translation is close enough. We are being given an exacting description of the events: who, where, and so on. The details are particular to give the reader the mental ability to follow along as if it is happening before his eyes. While these men are running down the slope in Beth Horon, it was…

11 (con’t) that the Lord cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died.

It says, “and Yehovah cast upon them stones whopping from the heavens until Azekah, and they died.” This cannot simply be a rockslide, but an actual atmospheric event that came from the skies.

If the previous confusion was caused by a storm and thundering, this would then fit well with hailstones coming down upon the people. The carnage from these was so great that…

11 (con’t) There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword.

rabbim asher metu b’avne ha’barad m’asher hargu bene Yisrael b’kharev – “more who died in stones the hail from who killed sons Israel in the sword.” This word for hail, barad, hasn’t been noted since the time of the Exodus when the Lord sent hail upon Egypt.

It is the same word used in our text verse today where the Lord claims to use it in exactly this circumstance, meaning the day of battle and war. Throughout the Bible, the Lord uses the elements according to His wisdom and in order to demonstrate his greatness.

The Canaanites had various gods, including the god of the storm, Hadad. That is also the Hebrew word for “thunder.” The Bible does not ascribe deity to the storm, but it shows that God is above the storm, using it according to His purposes.

Hence, while the Canaanites were worshipping the elements, Yehovah is using the elements to gain victory over them and to gain glory for Himself. With that noted, the next account is given…

The Lord will fight the battle for you
Watch and behold the greatness of His splendid hand
All that is necessary to win the victory, He will do
Trust in Him and He will accomplish what He has planned

He will fight for you and bring the victory
Upon the enemy He will work out His plan
What He purposes will come about, you will see
When He responds to the voice of a Man

It will all be accomplished before the day’s end
And the enemy will be defeated on that day
Upon him the Lord many woes will send
At that time, “Hallelujah to our God” our voices will say

II. Then Joshua Spoke to the Lord (verses 12-15)

12 Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel,

az y’daber Yehoshua Yehovah b’yom teth Yehovah eth ha’emori liph’ne bene Yisrael – “At that time, spoke Joshua, Yehovah, in day gave Yehovah the Amorite before sons Israel.” The word az is a demonstrative adverb signifying the beginning of something. Hence, what is said is at the beginning of the matter.

Using the word “then” here gives a false sense of the intent of the words. Rather, just when the battle was getting started, Joshua spoke. The reason this is important is because it sets the tone for the day of battle and of what will occur.

Also, as before, it says, “the Amorite.” The collective nature of the people is highlighted. They are the Renowned, and yet they are delivered to the children of Israel. In their being delivered, it is the Lord who gains renown for Himself. To increase the victory of the Lord, Joshua spoke to Him…

12 (con’t) and he said in the sight of Israel:

va’yomer l’ene Yisrael – “and he said to eyes Israel.” Rather than, “in the ears of Israel,” it says, “to the eyes of Israel.” This is key to understanding the nature of the words to come. It is the same expression used in Numbers 20:8 where Moses and Aaron were to speak to the rocks “to their eyes,” meaning the eyes of Israel.

They were to see the event based on the words. Joshua made a request of the Lord in the sight of Israel. Should the Lord accept his words as a request, it would be a sure sign to them that the Lord was fully satisfied with the people and willing to act on their behalf when they were living in accord with His will. As for his words, Joshua next says…

12 (con’t) “Sun, stand still over Gibeon;

The words here are poetical in nature and must be taken that way:  shemesh b’giv’on dom – “Sun, in Gibeon, be silent.” There is no article before sun or moon. Rather, the words are spoken to the sun and the moon as Moses and Aaron were to speak to the rock. But the rock was not going to respond. The Lord was.

Likewise, the sun and moon are not going to respond. The Lord will. The word is damam. Depending on the context, it means to wait (1 Samuel 14:9); to be still, such as lying on one’s bed and being still (Psalm 4:4); be silent (Psalm 31:7); to cease as in ending something (Psalm 35:5); to be cut off, such as in men of war being cut off (Jeremiah 50:30); and so on.

There is no reason to assume that Joshua is actually asking for the sun to stop where it is in the sky. Rather, it is a poetic wish for the sun to tarry in the sky until the task is complete. Psalm 19 notes that the voice of the heavens goes forth. This includes the sun –

“In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun,
Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
And rejoices like a strong man to run its race.
Its rising is from one end of heaven,
And its circuit to the other end;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.” Psalm 19:4-6

Instead of the sun speaking its voice as it runs its race, Joshua is asking it to be silent. As such, Joshua is certainly conveying to the Lord his great desire is that the sun would not go down before he had a chance to completely destroy his enemies.

This would then be a petition for his actions to complete the job in a timely manner, rather than for the sun to delay its actions. The poetic action is for the sun to belay its setting, but the actual action is for Joshua to complete the battle before the sun sets, as verse 13 will clearly indicate.

12 (con’t) And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”

v’yareakh b’emeq Ayalon – “And moon in depth Aijalon.” The emeq is a deep valley. The name Aijalon comes from ayyal or deer. Hence, it signifies Place of the Deer. However, that comes from the same as ayil, or ram, which is derived from a word indicating strength. Hence, I would think Place of Strength is not out of line.

At this time, the moon is west. This is often the case when the sun rises, and the descending moon is to the west. This is certain because if the sun is over Gibeon at this point and the moon is over Aijalon, it means that the sun is still eastward, and the day is not yet half-spent. And more likely, it is just beginning.

The battle began early in the morning, and Joshua is poetically asking that he can accomplish the battle before the day ends. There is nothing here to suggest that he is asking for the day to stop, but that his mission will be accomplished before the day ends. With this, the poetic nature of the words continues…

13 So the sun stood still,

The verb is imperfect: va’yidom ha’shemesh – “And is silent the sun.” This is a poetic response to Joshua noting that the sun remained silent, not rushing to run its course while Joshua continued the battle…

13 (con’t) And the moon stopped,

Rather: v’yareakh amad – “And moon stood.” The word amad means to stand. It can mean stopped, such as when Leah stopped bearing children. But it can also mean to endure, as in continuing in a matter. These are clearly poetic words.

If we want a job done before nightfall, we might say, “I hope the sun stands long enough for us to complete this task.” Being poetic lines, this is surely all that this means. It does not mean that a great thing isn’t taking place, but we must allow the word to define what the great thing is, and it will…

13 (con’t) Till the people had revenge
Upon their enemies.

The verb translated as “had revenge” is imperfect – avenges. Also, the word nation is singular, thus contrasting Israel with the Amorite: ad yiqom go oy’vah – “Until avenges nation upon his enemies.” The sun did not go down until the task was complete.

To this point, there is nothing to ascribe the miraculous to the suspension of the sun and moon in the heavens. To understand, we could go back to the previous example. “It was great! The sun stood in the sky until our job was complete.” Even if that is not so miraculous, the earlier verses have spoken of the miraculous, and the account will continue to do so as well.

13 (con’t) Is this not written in the Book of Jasher?

ha’lo hi ketuvah al sepher ha’yashar – “Not it written upon scroll the Upright (One)?” The book of Jasher is noted twice in the Bible, here and in 2 Samuel 1:18. From the two uses, it appears likely that it is a poetical book of the heroic deeds of the people.

It very well may be the same book called “the Book of the Wars” in Numbers 21:14. The poetic verses cited in that passage are said to have been written there. At that time, we noted that it was probably a collection of songs or psalms that celebrated the great acts of the powerful deliverances the Lord’s people experienced through His personal action.

With the use of the name Jeshurun, or Upright, by Moses to describe Israel in Deuteronomy, it very well may be that the Book of the Wars was renamed the Book of the Upright One to indicate the wars of Israel under the Lord. It is all speculation, but it does fit with the ongoing narrative. Putting them side by side, one can see from the Hebrew that each is a play upon the name Israel –

Israel – Yisrael:  יִשְׂרָאֵל
Jeshurun – Yeshurun: יְשֻׁרוּן
The Upright (One) – ha’Yashar: הַיָּשָׁ֑ר

13 (con’t) So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.

One will naturally translate the words as they presuppose the meaning to be. Until I studied them, I presupposed that this was a literal occurrence of the sun not moving for a whole day. But when evaluating Scripture, we must do our best to drop all presuppositions and simply read the words as they are given.

It does not necessarily say “stood still.” It does not necessarily say “midst.” It does not say “about.” And one must presuppose the word “whole.” It says: va’yaamod ha’shemesh ba’khatsi ha’shamayim v’lo az la’bo ke’yom tamim – “And stood the sun in the half of the heaven’s and no hasten to go, according to day complete.”

The word tamam signifies that which is blameless, complete, sound, without blemish, perfect, entire, and so on. The meaning is simply that the sun didn’t rush to its setting before things were done. It went at its usual pace, standing in the heavens as it would on any complete (perfect) day.

Also, notice the important words that have been excluded. This verse, which is the completion of the action, says nothing of the moon remaining in the sky. It does say earlier in the verse ad, or until, but that is referring to the completion of taking vengeance. It did stand, during the battle, even if it eventually slipped below the horizon. It was the sun that continued, and it remained until the requested action was complete. If both had stopped, it surely would have said so.

Going back to our example from before, the words can simply mean, “It was the perfect day. We completed everything before the sun rushed off and set, disappearing below the horizon.”

In this, we are talking in poetic fashion and demonstrating gratefulness that the job was complete. With that noted, the miraculous is seen in the next words and they tell us that it is not that the sun and the moon stopped. Rather…

14 And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded the voice of a man;

v’lo hayah ka’yom ha’hu l’panav v’akharav lishmoa Yehovah b’qol ish – “And no has been according to day, the it, before it or after it, to hearken Yehovah in voice man.” The meaning is that Joshua spoke, and his words were answered by the Lord in a manner that had not been done before or after that day.

What is the miracle? First, it is based upon the words of verse 12 which anticipate the battle. If Joshua said the words in the eyes of Israel, it means that he said them before the battle started.

He petitioned the Lord to allow the day to not end before the nation had avenged itself upon his enemy. As such, the battle was engaged, and to ensure that it would be successfully completed according to Joshua’s words the Lord personally intervened…

14 (con’t) for the Lord fought for Israel.

This is the miracle. The battle was engaged by men who had marched all night. They began the battle immediately, and as they were set to battle, Joshua had asked the Lord to allow the task to be complete before the sun went down.

In order for that to come about, the Lord personally engaged the enemies of Israel, confusing the people and casting down whopping hailstones upon them as was recorded in verses 10 & 11. The “heeding the voice of a man” is answered by the words ki Yehovah nilkham l’Yisrael – “for Yehovah fought to Israel.”

The word ki, or “for” is an explanatory conjunction. With that noted, it next says…

*15 (fin) Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.

va’yashav Yehoshua v’kal Yisrael imo el ha’makhaneh ha’gilgalah – “And returned Joshua, and all Israel with him, to the camp, the Gilgal.” The words are a part of the quotation concerning the book of Jasher that began in verse 12, demonstrating that the sequence of events as I outlined is correct.

Verses 12-15 go back and speak of the events detailed in verses 9-11 that confirm the words of Joshua. The Lord fought the battle for Israel, something that had not happened in such a manner before that day or after it, at least until the time that the words were inscribed in the Book of Jasher.

We know this is correct concerning this verse because in verse 21 (in next week’s passage) the people will return to Makkedah, not Gilgal. The men then continued the conquest of these five kings and their cities after that and only then did they return to Gilgal, as is recorded in verse 43.

To assume anything else would be to assume that the sun did not set during the entire campaign over the five cities, something that would have taken an extended period of time, meaning days, weeks, or even months. It is also something contrary to the narrative itself based on the timeline provided in verses 28-43.

Rather, Joshua petitioned the Lord that the battle of that day would not be complete before the sun set, and to ensure that it was accomplished according to his desire, the Lord worked on behalf of Israel for it to come about.

That alone is miraculous because the words were spoken before the entire band of fighting men. Each could testify to what he saw, exactly as would have been the case if Moses and Aaron had obeyed the Lord’s word while at the Rock in Numbers 20.

Hearing my evaluation of these verses may leave you either a little miffed or a little disappointed if you want to accept that the sun actually stood still in the sky for an extended period of time. But it shouldn’t be so. The Lord is said to have brought the sun backward on the sundial of Ahaz ten degrees in Isaiah 38.

Other events in the Bible demonstrate the miraculous in nature, such as the parting of the Red Sea and the parting of the Jordan. Signs are given and prophecies are fulfilled, but this section of Joshua is a poetic look into the Lord’s response to a need stated by Joshua. Even if the sun moved as it always did, the miraculous is in the story, nonetheless.

An army traveling all night, engaging an enemy comprised of five kings and their armies, and who then defeats that enemy before the sunset, stands as its own miracle. It truly demonstrates that the Lord fought for Israel. I can only go where I believe the text leads, and that speaks of the Lord’s response to Joshua’s call as outlined in a body of poetry –

“At that time, spoke Joshua, Yehovah, in day gave Yehovah the Amorite before sons Israel and he said to eyes Israel:

‘Sun, in Gibeon, be silent.
And moon in depth Aijalon.’

And is silent the sun.
And moon stood.
Until avenges nation upon his enemies.

Not it written upon scroll the Upright (One)? And stood the sun in the half of the heaven’s and no hasten to go, according to day complete.

And no has been according to day the it, before it or after it, to hearken Yehovah in voice man, for Yehovah fought to Israel. And returned Joshua, and all Israel with Him, to the camp, the Gilgal.”

Notice the structure:

V.12 – At that time, spoke Joshua, Yehovah, in day gave Yehovah the Amorite before sons Israel and he said to eyes Israel.

V.13 Until avenges nation upon his [Israel’s] enemies.

V.15 – And no has been according to day, the it, before it or after it, to hearken Yehovah in voice man, for Yehovah fought to Israel.

The bracketing thoughts explain what the miracle was. And isn’t that enough? We needed a Savior, and the Lord has fought for us. He has brought about the victory. Do we need something more to satisfy our sensations? Rather, what the Lord did is so far beyond our comprehension that we have a literal eternity ahead of us to discover all it actually means.

Let us be thankful to the Lord that He has responded to the voice of a Man, and that He now responds to the voice of men. Christ spoke out our salvation, and now we simply need to speak out the word of faith. Thank God for Jesus Christ our Lord who has fought for us.

Closing Verse: “Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.” Psalm 24:7,8

Next Week: Joshua 10:16-27 The battle went on and on until it was through… (The Battle for Gibeon, Part II) (21st Joshua Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It is He who has defeated the enemy and who now offers His people rest. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Battle for Gibeon, Part I

Now it came to pass
When Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard (his ears did ring)
How Joshua had taken Ai and had utterly destroyed it
As he had done to Jericho and its king

So he had done to Ai and its king
And how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace
With Israel and were among them
That they feared greatly their knee knocking wouldn’t cease

Because Gibeon was a great city
Like one of the royal cities all-righty
And because it was greater than Ai
And all its men were mighty

Therefore Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem
Sent to Hoham king of Hebron, words he was relaying
And Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish
And Debir king of Eglon, saying

“Come up to me and help me
That we may attack Gibeon,” to them he did tell
For it has made peace with Joshua
And with the children of Israel

Therefore the five kings of the Amorites
The king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron also
The king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish
And the king of Eglon all joined the show

And gathered together and went up
They and all their armies, a mighty corps
And camped before Gibeon
And against it made war

And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp at Gilgal
Saying, “Do not forsake your servants; come up to us quickly
———-(that would be a major plus)
Save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites
Who dwell in the mountains have gathered together against us”

So Joshua ascended from Gilgal
Up they did go
He and all the people of war with him
And all the mighty men of valor also

And the LORD said to Joshua
“Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand
Not a man of them shall stand before you
Your victory will be grand

Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly, like a storming wall
Having marched all night from Gilgal

So the LORD routed them before Israel
Killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon – oorah!
Chased them along the road that goes to Beth Horon
And struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah

And it happened, as they fled before Israel
And were on the descent of Beth Horon
That the LORD cast down large hailstones from heaven on them
As far as Azekah, and they died, death from a large stone

There were more who died from the hailstones, a great horde
Than the children of Israel killed with the sword

Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day
When the LORD delivered up the Amorite
Before the children of Israel
And he said in Israel’s sight:

“Sun, stand still over Gibeon
And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon”

So the sun stood still
And the moon stopped
Till the people had revenge upon their enemies
Up they were chopped

Is this not written in the Book of Jasher?
So the sun in the midst of heaven stood still
And did not hasten to go down
For about a whole day, saving on the lighting bill

And there has been no day like that
Before it or after it, for sure we can tell
That the LORD heeded the voice of a man
For the LORD fought for Israel

Then Joshua returned, probably having a ball
And all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now it came to pass when Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard how Joshua had taken Ai and had utterly destroyed it—as he had done to Jericho and its king, so he had done to Ai and its king—and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them, that they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty. Therefore Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem sent to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish, and Debir king of Eglon, saying, “Come up to me and help me, that we may attack Gibeon, for it has made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel.” Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered together and went up, they and all their armies, and camped before Gibeon and made war against it.

And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp at Gilgal, saying, “Do not forsake your servants; come up to us quickly, save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the mountains have gathered together against us.”

So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor. And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before you.” Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly, having marched all night from Gilgal. 10 So the Lord routed them before Israel, killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, chased them along the road that goes to Beth Horon, and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah. 11 And it happened, as they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the Lord cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword.

12 Then Joshua spoke 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 still over Gibeon;
And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”
13 So the sun stood still,
And the moon stopped,
Till the people had revenge
Upon their enemies.

Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. 14 And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel.

15 Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.

 

Joshua 9:19-27 (War Are Your Servants, Part II)

Artwork by Douglas Kallerson

Joshua 9:19-27
We Are Your Servants, Part II

Of the Gibeonites, Adam Clarke said, “Had they come to the Israelites, and simply submitted themselves without opposition and without fraud, they had certainly fared much better. Lying and hypocrisy always defeat their own purpose, and at best can succeed only for a short season. Truth and honesty never wear out.”

Again, as he summed up his commentary on chapter 9, he said –

  1. The Gibeonites told lies, in order to save their lives. No expediency can justify this, nor are we called to attempt it. The Gibeonites were heathens, and we can expect nothing better from them.
  2. They did not profit by their falsity: had they come in fairly, sought peace, and renounced their idolatry, they would have had life on honorable terms. As it was, they barely escaped with their lives, and were utterly deprived of their political liberty. Even the good that is sought by unlawful means has God’s curse on it.
  3. We need not be solicitous for the character of the Gibeonites here; they are neither our models, nor believers in the true God, and therefore pure religion is not concerned in their prevarication and falsity.

For someone whose commentary I so enjoy, he can get very far afield at times. He said, “Had they come to the Israelites, and simply submitted themselves without opposition and without fraud, they had certainly fared much better.”

Rather, they would have all been killed. This was the command of the Lord. The people were devoted to God, and they could not spare them. We already saw what happened when Achan broke the law of kherem.

Next, he said of their lying, “No expediency can justify this.” Actually, the saving of their lives did justify it, just as was the case with Rahab. After that, he said, “They did not profit by their falsity.” Actually, the result of their falsity was one hundred percent profit. They would have lost everything otherwise.

They did escape with their lives. And even if they did not possess all the rights of Israel, they were given the political liberty of Israel because they were granted protection under the covenant of Israel.

Finally, he said that the Gibeonites were not “believers in the true God.” Actually, they were. This is exactly why they came to Joshua, just as Rahab already had done.

Text Verse: “‘I create the fruit of the lips:
Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near,’
Says the Lord,
‘And I will heal him.’
20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea,
When it cannot rest,
Whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
21 There is no peace,”
Says my God, “for the wicked.’” Isaiah 57:19-21

The Lord offers peace to those who are far off, and he says there is no peace for the wicked. In last week’s passage, Joshua was said to have made shalom, or peace, with the Gibeonites. Did the Lord take a nap during the events that transpired, or are we being shown something else than what Adam Clarke has noted?

From the text itself, we can see that the Gibeonites profited off of their lies. That may have upset Israel, but the Gibeonites were not under the Law of Moses. They were, however, under the law of conscience. They weighed out their options, saw that only one may possibly preserve their lives, and they did what any rational person would do who was in a similar circumstance.

For Christians, this is not a note condoning lying, but neither are we under the law. Consider the Jews in Nazi Germany. They have been marked for extermination. If we hide one in our basement and then lie about it, we have evaluated the circumstance, made a moral decision, and weighed out the positives and negatives. Even if our lives are forfeit for what we have done, it is surely the proper course to take.

Try not to sit too high on your bench of supposed moral superiority. You may find out that when you fall, it will be a painful experience. It is right and proper to tell the truth, but it can be right and proper to not do so at times. It is certain that Corrie ten Boom and many like her would agree.

Seek the highest moral principle at all times, and the way you can know which is right is to study the word of God. In it, you will find the proper standard of all morality by which you can then rightly conduct your affairs.

For now, we will continue on with the story of the Gibeonites. It is a marvelous part of God’s superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again, and… May God speak to us through His word today, and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. Woodcutters and Water Carriers (verses 19-27)

19 Then all the rulers said to all the congregation,

The words of the rulers now are given in response to what was said in the final verse of the previous sermon –

“But the children of Israel did not attack them, because the rulers of the congregation had sworn to them by the Lord God of Israel. And all the congregation complained against the rulers.” Joshua 9:18

The people complained against the rulers because they were not allowed to attack and plunder the Gibeonites. In response, the rulers now speak to all the congregation, saying…

19 (con’t) “We have sworn to them by the Lord God of Israel;

anakhnu nishbanu lahem b’Yehovah elohe Yisrael – “We have sworn to them in Yehovah, God of Israel.” It is true that the Gibeonites entered into the covenant under false pretenses, but it is also true that Israel did not do their due diligence in searching out the matter before agreeing and entering into the covenant.

When they did search it out, it was already confirmed “in Yehovah, God of Israel.” It was thus binding upon them. The thought is reflected in a list of traits the Lord expects of His people found in Psalm 15. A couple of them are –

“In whose eyes a vile person is despised,
But he honors those who fear the Lord;
He who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
He who does not put out his money at usury,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.

He who does these things shall never be moved.” Psalm 15:4, 5

The people feared the Lord in whose name the oath was made. This was true for both the Gibeonites and those of Israel. The people had sworn, even to their own hurt, and now they had to stand by their words. Because of this…

19 (con’t) now therefore, we may not touch them.

In this case, the general word naga, or touch, carries with it the sense of striking or harming them. They must keep their hands off them because of the covenant that had been cut. The fact that this is correct is validated hundreds of years later when Saul violated the terms of the covenant –

“Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, “It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites.” 2 Samuel 21:1

The words had been spoken, and Israel was bound to them. But this does not mean that they didn’t have other options at their disposal while still remaining faithful to their oath…

20 This we will do to them:

There is no profit that can be gained from the Gibeonites through their death and the plundering of their goods. That is established through the oath. However, they can be profited off through their lives, and so…

20 (con’t) We will let them live,

There is a strong emphasis through the use of an infinitive absolute verb: v’hakhayeh otam – “And letting live them.” This sets the parameters as required by the covenant. Without complying, the leaders knew there would be consequences…

20 (con’t) lest wrath be upon us because of the oath which we swore to them.”

v’lo yihyeh alenu qetseph al ha’shevuah asher nishbanu lahem – “And no become upon us wrath upon the oath which we swore to them.” They directly tie the Lord’s wrath to the cutting of the covenant. As noted, this is exactly what came upon Israel when Saul violated it many generations later.

As one can see, there is now a conflict between the precept of the law that demanded Israel kill every living person in Canaan and being obedient to the covenant that was made. Both are explicitly addressed in the law, and yet one precept now must trump the other (see Numbers 30:2 and Deuteronomy 20:16).

But this has already happened in the oath the two spies made with Rahab. That can be seen as nothing but a violation of the precept of the law, and yet, they were obligated to preserve her after the oath was made. For the Gibeonites, the covenant stands. However, nothing was said about any of the finer details. Israel will now use that to their advantage…

21 And the rulers said to them, “Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers for all the congregation, as the rulers had promised them.”

There is a particular emphasis in the words that even the English displays pretty well: yikhyu va’yihyu – “Let them live, and let them be…” It was the Gibeonites who came to Israel to make a covenant. Israel agreed, but the covenant itself was based on falsity.

Therefore, there was nothing to limit them beyond the basic words of the covenant. They were to be subjected to the lowest form of servile labor. In this, they use a proverbial expression first stated in Deuteronomy –

 “All of you stand today before the Lord your God: your leaders and your tribes and your elders and your officers, all the men of Israel, 11 your little ones and your wives—also the stranger who is in your camp, from the one who cuts your wood to the one who draws your water— 12 that you may enter into covenant with the Lord your God, and into His oath, which the Lord your God makes with you today, 13 that He may establish you today as a people for Himself, and that He may be God to you, just as He has spoken to you, and just as He has sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 29:10-13

It will be seen later that this specifically includes a job tied to the service of the Lord. The designation for this service eventually became known as Nethinim, or those given to the service of the Temple. They are mentioned mostly in Ezra and Nehemiah, and some of those people are possibly descendants of these Gibeonites.

22 Then Joshua called for them, and he spoke to them, saying, “Why have you deceived us, saying, ‘We are very far from you,’ when you dwell near us?

Whether Joshua realizes it or not, the fingers are actually pointing in both directions at the same time – “Why have you deceived us?” It is true that the Gibeonites deceived Israel, but the reason for it is as obvious as the nose on one’s face. They wanted to live.

The Gibeonites could just as easily have said, “And why didn’t you do a better job of checking things out?” Joshua could have said, “We will send ambassadors with you to your people and consult with them first.” That would have resolved the matter immediately.

One can see that the Gibeonites knew, without a doubt, that Israel would hold fast to the covenant if it was made. This is what they were counting on, and that has been proven true. The subterfuge worked, the lie obtained its purpose, and Israel was limited in what it could do. But they were not completely hand-tied…

23 Now therefore, you are cursed,

v’atah arurim atem – “And now cursed you.” This is actually nothing new. These people descended from Canaan, the son of Ham and the grandson of Noah –

“Canaan begot Sidon his firstborn, and Heth; 16 the Jebusite, the Amorite, and the Girgashite; 17 the Hivite, the Arkite, and the Sinite; 18 the Arvadite, the Zemarite, and the Hamathite.” Genesis 10:15-18

Canaan, meaning him and all who issued from him, had been cursed by their ancestor Noah in Genesis 9 –

“So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him. 25 Then he said:
‘Cursed be Canaan;
A servant of servants
He shall be to his brethren.’” Genesis 9:24, 25

From one curse to another, the Gibeonites were still blessed enough to have saved their lives through cunning.  However…

23 (con’t) and none of you shall be freed from being slaves—

v’lo yikareth mikhem eved – “and no shall be cut (sg.) from you (pl.) servant.” This follows after the curse of Noah. They were slaves (servants – the word is the same), and they were to remain that way forever. With that stated, Joshua clarifies the words of verse 21…

23 (con’t) woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God.”

Not only are they to be woodcutters and water carriers, but they are to do so l’beit elohay – “to house my God.” The meaning of this is actually twofold. First, they were to supply wood and water continuously for the maintenance of the tabernacle. This would be for burning of the sacrifices and offerings and for the required washings mandated by the law.

However, this surely would have also included service in the building of the temple at the time of Solomon –

“All the people who were left of the Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, who were not of Israel— that is, their descendants who were left in the land after them, whom the children of Israel did not destroy—from these Solomon raised forced labor, as it is to this day. But Solomon did not make the children of Israel servants for his work. Some were men of war, captains of his officers, captains of his chariots, and his cavalry. 10 And others were chiefs of the officials of King Solomon: two hundred and fifty, who ruled over the people.” 2 Chronicles 8:7-10

One can see that the Gibeonites (Hivites) were not the only ones who were not destroyed by Israel. Rather, Israel generally failed to comply with the words of the law in utterly exterminating many people in the land.

Despite this, the forced labor went beyond the temple even to the building of Solomon’s house, the storage cities, and so on. With the burdensome mandate levied upon the Gibeonites by Joshua, they next respond as to why they chose this path…

24 So they answered Joshua and said,

Joshua is obviously speaking to the rulers of the people, and they together respond with the motivating issue behind their scheme…

24 (con’t) “Because your servants were clearly told that the Lord your God commanded His servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you;

The words are emphatic: ki huged hugad la’avadekha – “for declaring it was declared to your servants.” They knew without any question that the law had been set forth and that all in Canaan were to be exterminated. But more, they note that it was a command from Yehovah through Moses…

24 (con’t) therefore we were very much afraid for our lives because of you, and have done this thing.

va’nira meod l’naphshotenu mipenekhem va’naaseh eth ha’davar ha’zeh – “And feared greatly to our souls from your presence and did the word, the this.” Of this, Cambridge incorrectly states, “Fear had been their sole motive in seeking an alliance with Israel. Theirs was not the faith, which had prompted Rahab to save the spies.” ather, fear is exactly what made Rahab do what she did –

“Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men: ‘I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you.’” Joshua 2:8, 9

It was faith in the Lord that drove both Rahab and the Gibeonites to fear the Lord. If they didn’t believe in the Lord, they would have been like everyone else. But they believed the word concerning the Lord and they believed the word of the Lord spoken to Moses. Thus, they acted in faith which was spurred on by fear.

This is no different than Cornelius in Acts 10:2 who was “a devout man and one who feared God.” The Lord saw his faith, his fear, and his deeds. And so, He led him to Himself.

And again, Albert Barnes misses the scope of the matter, saying, “They sought for union with God’s people, not for its own sake, but to save their lives. Rahab’s motives were higher. … Hence, she was adopted into Israel; the Gibeonites remained forever bondsmen of Israel.”

This is not entirely correct. We don’t know what happened to the family of Rahab other than that they dwelt among Israel, just as the Gibeonites did (Joshua 6:25). Also, Ishmaiah the Gibeonite is specifically noted as a chief man among David’s warriors in 1 Chronicles 12:4. As for the Gibeonites at the time of Joshua…

25 And now, here we are, in your hands;

v’atah hinu b’yadekha – “And now behold us in your (sg.) hand.” They have placed themselves solely at the mercy of Joshua and his power – “in your hand.” They know their lives will be spared. This is all they could have hoped for. If their plan failed, they would have died, which is exactly what they knew lay ahead for them anyway. Anything beyond execution is, therefore, grace. And so…

25 (con’t) do with us as it seems good and right to do to us.”

The words are solely to Joshua in the singular: katov v’khayashar b’enekha la’asoth lanu aseh – “According to the good and according to the straight in your eyes to do to us, do.” He is the leader of Israel, he has made his judgment, and they have agreed without any protest at all, acknowledging that his determination is good – meaning it is fair – and that it is straight – meaning that it is in accord with the words of the covenant that was already cut.

26 So he did to them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, so that they did not kill them.

Here is righteousness. It cannot be said that this is so much an act of mercy. Mercy would be if these people came and said, “We are Gibeonites and we submit ourselves to you. Please do not kill us,” and that was then followed by an agreement to not kill them. However, that would have been unrighteous mercy because they were already commanded to utterly kill the inhabitants.

Instead, it is the Gibeonites who acted with subterfuge and Israel cut the covenant without properly checking the necessary facts. Despite this, the covenant was cut. As such, Joshua is displaying righteousness in his upholding of the covenant. Along with that…

27 And that day Joshua made them woodcutters and water carriers for the congregation

It is more personal and precise: va’yitenem Yehoshua ba’yom ha’hu khot’ve etsim v’shoave mayim la’edah – “And gave them, Joshua, in the day, the it, hewers wood and drawers water to the congregation.” They have placed themselves in Joshua’s hand, and Joshua now gives them as a gift to the congregation.

This is justice. The people were denied the plunder of the cities, and the Gibeonites were given to the people to replace the failing of cutting the covenant which deprived the people of their spoil. The people would be happy, the Gibeonites would be alive, and Joshua has resolved the matter without violating the covenant that had been cut. Also…

*27 (fin) and for the altar of the Lord, in the place which He would choose, even to this day.

u-l’mizbakh Yehovah ad ha’yom ha’zeh el ha’maqom asher yivkhar – “and to altar Yehovah until the day, the this, to the place which He would choose.”

This is grace. Despite being a lowly job, it is a service to the Lord, and thus it is the highest service one could perform. It is reminiscent of the words of Psalm 84 –

“For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts,
Blessed is the man who trusts in You!” Psalm 84:10-12

Despite not being a part of the congregation, the Gibeonites were spared in order to serve the Lord’s people and the altar of the Lord. Hence, despite their situation, they fared better than those of other nations who had not yet even heard of the Lord. It is better to share in the Lord as a servant than to have no share in the Lord.

Better a slave of Christ than to be the richest king
To have Jesus is more wonderful than the finest gold
Sharing in His goodness, we shall forever sing
And revel in the greatest story ever told

Better to have Jesus than gems galore
To have all the world’s silver is to be rejected
Such things will never get a sinner through the Door
That will only happen when right faith is detected

If you possessed Satan’s signet ring
And you had all the world’s authority and power
Such things would not mean a thing
When finally came your dying hour

Rejoice in the Lord and rest in Jesus always
Only He can give life and bestow eternal days

II. Pictures of Christ

The first chapters of Joshua showed the process of Israel coming to Christ. Chapter 8 revealed the ending of the Old Covenant and the acceptance of the New in the account of building the altar at Mount Ebal. That is something still in Israel’s future.

The New Covenant was made not with the Gentiles, but with Israel. That is clearly stated in Jeremiah 31 –

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34

That is clear and unambiguous. It is also addressed to the people of Israel long before the coming of Christ. Hence, it is impossible for it to be referring to anyone but Israel. That is confirmed in Hebrews 8:7-13, much of which is a direct citation from Jeremiah.

The author of Hebrews is addressing the Hebrew people, not the church, even if aspects of the letter apply to all believers. When Jesus established the New Covenant as recorded in the gospels, He did so in accordance with the words of Jeremiah, meaning, it was made with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.

Nothing He said could lead anyone to any other conclusion. And yet, Paul refers to the New Covenant in 1 and 2 Corinthians. First, he cites Jesus’ words from the gospels –

“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Next, he speaks of those who administer this New Covenant –

“And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2 Corinthians 3:4-6

Paul is clearly writing to Gentiles as the Apostle to the Gentiles. But this doesn’t explain how Gentiles are included in the New Covenant if it was given to Israel and Judah. The account of the Gibeonites in this passage reveals how that occurs.

Obviously, there is a real account that is being dealt with, and so there is a lot that has to be stripped out of it to get to the basics. The reason this is so is that the Gibeonites were real people who really served Israel in their history. And so what happens includes details concerning their state as servants of Israel.

But the point is that they were brought into a covenant standing with Israel who is in a covenant (or a New Covenant) standing with the Lord. And so this account is presented.

If you noticed, there were lots of people groups mentioned as serving as laborers in Israel in the account from 2 Chronicles 8, including Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. With the exception of the Canaanites, these same groups were mentioned in verse 1 of this chapter. There is no need to mention the Canaanites because other than the Perizzites, they are Canaanite people groups.

But it is the Gibeonites who are highlighted here in order to set the typology. All the people groups formed an alliance in order to fight against Israel, but the Gibeonites want to be allied with Israel.

In verse 4, we saw that the Gibeonites were as cunning against Israel as Israel had been against Ai. Israel defeated the law, overcoming it through Christ. Now, the Gibeonites (those who want to join Israel) act in cunning to join with them.

To do this, they have old sacks on their donkeys, old wineskins torn and mended, old and patched shoes, old garments, and bread that is dry and crumbly. In this state, in verse 6, it said that they went to Joshua and spoke to him and to all the men of Israel, noting they were from a land far away, and ask for a covenant to be made with them.

Although this isn’t true, it still reflects their state. If they were from Haijima, Japan, for all intents and purposes, they wouldn’t be any closer to Israel concerning their rights than being from Gibeon which is geographically just down the road a bit. They truly are far off from Israel, at least in that sense.

In verse 7, Joshua is not mentioned, just the men of Israel who respond with, “And said (pl.) man (sg.) Israel unto the Hivite (sg.).” As noted, the name probably means Tent Villager, but it is identical to khavah or “Life,” the name of Adam’s wife (Eve).

Abarim notes that the verb form khavah “means to lay out in order to live collectively, and describes investing one’s personal sovereignty into a living collective like a symbiont. It’s mostly translated as to prostrate, which is to submit oneself wholly and bodily to a collective or to the leader of that collective.” That is essentially what they are doing, submitting themselves to a collective. But more, they are doing it to find… life.

In the next verses, they speak to Joshua, noting they are his servants and have come because of the name of Yehovah and they had heard of His fame and of all He did in Egypt. Also what He had done to Sihon and Og. Israel had been brought out of bondage and the Gibeonites wanted to share in that.

It must be noted that Israel had been brought out of Egypt and into the law. Nothing was said by the Gibeonites about Israel crossing the Jordan as they did. In other words, the typology of crossing through Christ was supposedly unknown to them, even though they knew perfectly well that Israel had passed through the Jordan.

After this, and for a second time, the account focused on the bread, the wineskins, the garments and the sandals. It is then that we noted the contrast to Israel –

“And I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet. You have not eaten bread, nor have you drunk wine or similar drink, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 29:5, 6

That all occurred while Israel was under the law. The typology is obvious: these people were not under the law. No need to worry in this regard. Israel is under the New Covenant and these people are not under the law. In other words, typologically, these are not Judaizers trying to get Israel to return to the law.

To more fully understand that you could go back and review those verses in the Deuteronomy 29 sermon, but suffice it to say that Israel, while under the punishment of the law, lacked the things that would normally keep people alive and united – food, wine, and strong drink. And yet, they remained a people.

They are now united in Christ under the New Covenant. These Gibeonites are not law observers, they are not members of the New Covenant, and they are far off from Israel.

With that noted, Israel accepted that they were who they said they were, and they were willing to cut a covenant with them, even without inquiring of the Lord.

As such, it says Joshua made peace with them and cut a covenant with them to let them live. It also noted that the rulers swore to them. In typology, Joshua represents Jesus, and the elders represent the rulers. That can be established based on Jesus’ words of Matthew 19:28 –

“So Jesus said to them, ‘Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’”

One who sits on a throne is a ruler. The apostles were in agreement concerning the conversion of Gentiles as noted in Acts 15 and elsewhere.

After the subterfuge was discovered, it said that Israel journeyed to their cities and four cities were named. I couldn’t identify anything in the names that gives additional typology, but the number four is the world number. Hence, it is surely indicating that there is Israel, and there is the agreement made with the world beyond Israel.

With that, the final verse from last week noted that Israel did not attack them because they had sworn by the Lord God of Israel. Because of this, the congregation complained against the rulers. That seems obvious enough. Israel wants it to be all about them, but there are others that are brought into the covenant relationship as well.

The verses for today show the actual response of Israel to the cunningness of the Gibeonites, but the point of those verses is that there was nothing they could do. The covenant had been cut and nothing could be done to them.

But what Israel saw as a loss turned out to be a benefit for them. They may not have been able to plunder their spoil, but they were able to use the productivity of these Gentiles for their benefit. This was to be literally true in Israel. And typologically it has been true as well.

It is the Gentiles who have done the work of expanding the kingdom, building the church, and searching out God’s word. Thus, Israel has benefitted, even if they were unhappy about the situation at first. The Gentiles were granted life through the covenant cut with Jesus, and they have been productive for the kingdom ever since.

In short, this story is given to reveal how the Gentiles ended up under the New Covenant even though that covenant was promised to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.

The name Gibeon, as we saw, means Hill Town or Hilly. But the name comes from gavia, which is derived from a root word conveying the sense of elevation or roundness, hence it means a cup or a bowl. When upside down, it looks like a hill.

I would surmise that they were chosen because the name is etymologically akin to the Aramaic word Gabbatha which means an elevated place, a knoll – hence a rounded area like a goblet.

Jesus submitted Himself to the Roman authority in order to establish the New Covenant in His blood. The Gibeonites submitted themselves to Joshua in order to enter into the covenant relationship that had been established with Israel.

And actual distance aside, they were as far from the nation of Israel as they could have been. Hence, there was the strong focus on the word far. It was used three times in the passage, and twice it was joined to the superlative meod, or very. That perfectly fits with Paul’s words of Ephesians –

“Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:11-13

The Gibeonites submitted themselves to Joshua (verse 9:8) and it said in verse 15, “So made (sg.) with them, Joshua, peace and cut (sg.) to them covenant to live them.” It practically mirrors the words of Isaiah from our text verse –

“Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near,’
Says the Lord,
‘And I will heal him.’” Isaiah 57:19

That is also exactingly stated by Paul in Ephesians 2, and that will be cited in our closing verse today. As far as the idea of being woodcutters and water bearers, that is not given in typology, but as a poetic idea of providing for the altar of the Lord. It is something we have all participated in if you think about it.

Christ died on the cross for our sins. If we can put ourselves into that picture, we can see that with our sins we actually helped cut the wood, that of His cross, our altar before God. And what do we do with the salvation that comes from it? Isaiah says –

“And in that day you will say:
‘O Lord, I will praise You;
Though You were angry with me,
Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.
Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song;
He also has become my salvation.’
Therefore with joy you will draw water [shaav]
From the wells of salvation.” Isaiah 12:1-3

Isaiah uses the same word to describe drawing of waters from the wells of salvation that is used of the Gibeonites drawing water for Israel. As noted, it is the Gentiles that have carried the banner of the church, and it is from those efforts that Israel will someday realize they need Jesus. When that comes about, the water from those wells will truly be used to minster to Israel.

The typology in the passage here, and of which I have failingly presented to you because of so much that has surely been missed, is given to show us several things. First and foremost, it is to again let us know that the church has not replaced Israel.

Rather the church is a body made up of both Jews and Gentiles and it is based on the New Covenant, the Christ Covenant. Israel as a nation today has not yet entered into that New Covenant, but we have been shown in the previous chapters that they will do so someday.

Until they do, there needed to be an explanation provided as to how the Gentiles are brought into this New Covenant, and thus into the commonwealth of Israel. This passage has addressed that. The Gibeonites were never under the law or the sustaining hand of Israel during their time of punishment under the law.

Further, Gentiles have been far off from the promises to Israel. There was no hope; rather, there was only the promise of being destroyed. But those Gentiles who come to Jesus in faith, just as the Gibeonites came to Joshua in faith, will be saved. They will be given life. The typology tells us this, even if I may have failed to present some of the finer points.

For you today, it is your duty to come to Christ, believe the gospel, and receive the salvation He offers to those who will.

Closing Verse: “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” Ephesians 2:14-18

Next Week: Joshua 10:1-15 The fighting will go on and on, until the battle is done… (The Battle for Gibeon, Part I) (20th Joshua Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It is He who has defeated the enemy and who now offers His people rest. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

We Are Your Servants, Part II

Then all the rulers said to all the congregation
“We have sworn to them by the LORD God of Israel
Now therefore, we may not touch them
Shoot, darn, dangitall, and oh well

“This we will do to them:
We will let them live, no haw or hem
Lest wrath be upon us
Because of the oath which we swore to them”

And the rulers said to them, “Let them live
But let them woodcutters be
And water carriers for all the congregation
As the rulers had promised them after their trickery

Then Joshua called for them, and he spoke to them, saying
“Why have you deceived us
Saying ‘We are very far from you,’ when you dwell near us?
This is not so kosher and not “plus, plus, plus”

Now therefore, you are cursed
And none of you shall from being slaves be freed
Woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God
Because of your sneaky deed

So they answered Joshua and said
“Because your servants were clearly told words not so grand
That the LORD your 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 very much afraid; yes, our ears did ring
For our lives because of you
And so we have done this thing

“And now, here we are, in your hands, for us it is a plus
Do with us as it seems good and right to do to us”

So he did to them
And delivered them out of the hand
Of the children of Israel
So that they did not kill them as they planned

And that day Joshua made them woodcutters
And water carriers for the congregation, so it was that way
And for the altar of the LORD
In the place which He would choose, even to this day

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

Joshua 9:1-18 (We Are Your Servants, Part I)

Artwork by Douglas Kallerson.

Joshua 9:1-18
We Are Your Servants, Part I

The week before typing this sermon, it was my birthday. For my birthday, some special folks gave me a copy of the movie Leap of Faith. The main character is played by the comedian and actor Steve Martin.

The basic plot is that of a touring evangelistic ministry that exists pretty much for the sake of ripping people off through false miracles, false healings, and outright deceit. And yet, the evangelist, Jonas Nightengale, openly admits this to those who ask about it. Most don’t, simply because they want to believe in the miraculous.

The ministry is so obviously pointing to the false healing ministries in the world today that one cannot help but identify one or more of them even if you have only watched a few minutes of Christian TV. They have a whole crew out doing what Jonas Nightengale’s crew was doing. They are slick, they are showy, and they are sharks.

Text Verse: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

As I watched the movie, I was literally upset at what I was watching. Not because Steve Martin was inaccurately portraying these people, but because he was accurately portraying them. They are shameless people who exploit the name of Jesus in order to get rich and famous.

What makes me even more upset is that the movie accurately portrayed the people who went to his revivals. Like those who fall for the false teachers of the church, they are just dumb, ignorant sheep that are taken in by such people. And the reason for this comes down to one thing: a lack of knowledge about the word.

Hosea, quoting the Lord, said of Israel, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” People are ripped off, led down the heresy highway, never given the truth about ten thousand points of proper doctrine, and lead miserable lives simply because they lack proper knowledge of the word.

Told to tithe? You’ve been duped. Mormon? You’re following a false Christ. Accepting of homosexuality or some other perversion in your church? You are accepting what Christ openly and strongly condemns. Believe you can lose your salvation? You haven’t been properly instructed on what the word “grace” means. Told you must be circumcised? Paul says that is anathema. You have fallen from grace, and you are (or will be) a debtor to the entire law.

We could go on and on and on. But instead, we will go on. Learn your Bible. Have discernment and forget “trust but verify.” Rather, trust no one until verified. In today’s passage, Israel will trust without full verification, even though they thought they had it. Why? Because they didn’t ask the Lord.

Be sure to ask the Lord about stuff. Great lessons such as this are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again, and… May God speak to us through His word today, and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. Perhaps You Dwell Among Us (verses 1-8)

And it came to pass when all the kings who were on this side of the Jordan,

Though obvious, the reference as to which side of the Jordan it is speaking of must be inferred: vayhi kishmoa kal ham’lakhim asher b’ever ha’yarden – “And it came to pass according to hearing all the kings who in side the Jordan.” It simply says, “in side the Jordan.” From there, one must know that it is speaking of Canaan proper.

The word got out very quickly that first Jericho and now Ai had been destroyed. Because of this, it is understood that a slow and methodical chipping away at the cities of the land is starting to take place. Unless something is done about this, each city stood on its own, and as such, could not stand. This included those kings…

1 (con’t) in the hills and in the lowland and in all the coasts of the Great Sea toward Lebanon

All of the locations are stated in the singular: in the hill-country, in the lowland, and in all the coastland of the Sea, the Great, toward against the Lebanon. The three areas mentioned would be the hill-country, meaning the mountains of Ephraim and Judah, but probably not the mountains of the northeastern area. Those will be dealt with later in Joshua.

Next is the sh’felah or lowland which is the plain area to the west of Jerusalem. It is also known as the Judean foothills. It comprises an area somewhat between Joppa and Gaza. The khoph, or coastland, probably would be the area in the north from Joppa to Tyre due to the words “toward against the Lebanon.” Of these locations, the people groups are…

1 (con’t) —the Hittite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite—heard about it,

It is correct. Each is identified in the singular. Thus, each is set in opposition to the nation of Israel. Hence, taken together, they are six nations against one. Hittite means Terror, Terrible, Fearsome. Amorite means Talkers (active) or Renown (passive). Canaanite means Humiliated, or Humbled, or even Subdued. Perizzite means A Breach or Irruption. Hivite means Villagers, or more specifically Tent Villagers. Jebusite means Treading Down (active) or Trodden Underfoot (passive). It is when these groups heard…

that they gathered together to fight with Joshua and Israel with one accord.

va’yitqabtsu yakhdav l’hilakhem im Yehoshua v’im Yisrael pe ekhad – “And gathered together to battle with Joshua and with Israel – mouth one.” The expression “one mouth” means that instead of placing the interests of their individual clan above the others, they united as if one person, speaking with one thought and expressing it with one voice. John Gill presents the thought well –

“…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.” John Gill

However, in contrast to these people groups, there is a portion of them that understands the gravity of the situation. Despite the magnificent force that could be mustered, if God was not on their side, they could not prevail. And because of their understanding about what the Lord had done to Egypt, including the crossing of the Red Sea, as well as the parting of the Jordan, it was clearly evident that He was with Israel. Therefore, it next says…

But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai,

v’yosheve giv’on shameu eth asher asah Yehoshua lirikho v’la’ay – “And dwellers Gibeon heard what had done Joshua to Jericho and to the Ai.” The name Gibeon, or Giv’on, comes from gavia, meaning a cup or a bowl. When upside down, it looks like a hill. As such, it means Hill Town or Hilly.

These are of the Hivite people group. Their city will eventually be granted to the tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 18:25), and it will become a Levitical city within Benjamin (Joshua 21:17). At this point, they have heard of the destruction that was brought against both Jericho and Ai, and they knew they would not be long for this world if they didn’t act. Therefore…

they worked craftily,

va’yaasu gam hemah b’ar’mah – “And did also in cunning.” Here, the word gam, or also, is referring to Joshua of the previous verse where the same word, asah or “to do,” is used –

Asher asah [had done] Yehoshua
Va’yaasu [did] gam hemah

Joshua did this, and so they did that. And the “that” they have done is to act in a cunning or crafty way. That craftiness led them to…

4 (con’t) and went and pretended to be ambassadors.

The words “pretended to be” are not correct. Being ambassadors is exactly what they are: va’yel’khu va’yitstayaru – “and went as ambassadors.” It is a word found only here in the Bible, tsayar. It signifies acting as an envoy, coming from tsiyr, an envoy.

These men were, in fact, sent out as envoys. Hence, the craftiness is not in who they are but in what they will do. If your Bible reads differently, such as, “and they took along provisions,” the change comes from substituting a single consonant in the Hebrew.

This is how the Greek and some other ancient translations make it. Thus, it would agree with the “moldy bread” that will be mentioned in verse 12. But that is dealt with in verse 5, so that seems less likely. Either way, as for the craftiness itself, that begins to be explained with the next words…

4 (con’t) And they took old sacks on their donkeys,

va’yiqhu saqim balim la’khamorehem – “And took sacks worn out to their donkeys.” Here is a new word, baleh, or worn out. It will be seen four times in verses 9:4 and 9:5 and then only one more time in Ezekiel 23:43. At this point, we have no idea what the old sacks are for. But they are placed on the donkeys.

The word khamor, or donkey, comes from khamar, meaning to ferment or boil. The idea is that as a pot boils, it glows from redness. Therefore, the donkey gets its name from its red dun color. Next, it mentions…

4 (con’t) old wineskins torn and mended,

v’nodoth yayin balim um’buqaim um’tsorarim – “and skins wine old, and burst, and bound up.” The word nod, or wineskin, is used here for the first of six times. It is a bag made of skin and used for fluids. In this case, it is for fermented wine.

It does not say the place where the skins burst is sewn. Rather, they are just bound up. The surest way to repair such a skin would be to put a patch on it and sew it. Instead, this gives the sense of them grabbing the skin to close the hole and then winding a string around it to tie it off as people would do on a journey.

It still isn’t known what the items are used for, but it is getting intriguing as the narrative continues. One can see that whatever is coming, it is a deception given in contrast to Israel’s warfare against Ai. Israel had set out a diversionary attack against the city which was then overtaken by the main force.

Now, we are seeing the inhabitants of Gibeon using their own trickery in order to overtake Israel in some unusual way. As such it explains the contrasting expression which began the verse, “And did also in cunning.” Israel was cunning against Ai, and now Gibeon is being cunning against Israel. This crafty plan continues with…

old and patched sandals on their feet,

un’aloth baloth um’tulaoth b’raglehem – “And shoes old and spotted in their feet.” The word tala is elsewhere translated as “spotted.” As such, the idea is that they had shoes that needed patches, and the patches made them look mottled, or it could be that they were worn through or stained and thus they looked spotted. The word translated as “shoe” can mean sandal, but one patches a shoe while one mends a sandal. Also…

5 (con’t) and old garments on themselves;

u-s’lamoth baloth alehem – “and garments old upon them.” We still haven’t been told what is coming, but it’s starting to sound like a hobo convention in a Roger Miller song. Also…

5 (con’t) and all the bread of their provision was dry and moldy.

v’kol lekhem tsedam yavesh hayah niqudim – “and all bread provision dry had become speckled.” Here is another new word, niqud. It comes from an unused word meaning to mark by puncturing or branding. And so this means it is either 1) crumbly, thus falling apart and making speckles, 2) pierced by vermin that ate holes in it, or 3) moldy because it has spots.

The only other time it is used outside of this chapter is in 1 Kings 14:3 where it cannot mean moldy. Rather, there it speaks of a type of bread probably for dipping, as in honey. Hence, pierced or crumbly bread is surely what is meant here.

And they went to Joshua, to the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the men of Israel,

The translation is close enough to get the full sense. These Gibeonites have left with all of their old stuff and traveled a short distance from their city to the Gilgal by the Jordan. It is a distance that can be traveled in a single night as is seen in Joshua 10:9.

6 (con’t) “We have come from a far country;

me’erets r’khoqah banu – “From land far we have come.” This isn’t just a lie, but a blatant one. The word far can mean a lot of things, maybe even if they were from the border by Lebanon, but it cannot mean a distance of what is reckoned as 15 to 20 miles.

That might be a long walk for someone whose donkey is broken down on the side of the road, but not for a group of ambassadors who are coming to meet with another group of people about an important matter. The craftiness of the preparations has not yet been explained, but their cunning is perfectly evident from the lie.

6 (con’t) now therefore, make a covenant with us.”

v’atah kirtu lanu berit – “and now cut to us covenant.” The meaning is that a sacrifice is made and those who make it invoke their God or gods, swearing allegiance to be faithful to the covenant that is made in connection with the cutting of the sacrifice.

It was, at times, accompanied by dividing the sacrificed animals in half and those who agreed to the stipulations would pass through the pieces. In this, it was a way of stating that the same end should come upon those who violate the covenant as that of the animal. In other words, it is an irrevocable matter.

Such a covenant can be fulfilled, but it cannot be arbitrarily revoked. Hence, when Jesus spoke of the Law of Moses, He said –

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” Matthew 5:17, 18

In the case of Israel, even to this day, it is an indication that they are still bound to the terms of the Mosaic covenant until they accept the terms of the New Covenant. As for the meeting between Israel and the Gibeonites…

Then the men of Israel said to the Hivites,

The Hebrew spoken form (sg.) is different from the written (pl.) to avoid a confusion in what is conveyed, but the subject and the object are singular. The written form is: va’yomeru ish Yisrael el ha’khivi – “And said (pl.) man (sg.) Israel unto the Hivite (sg.).”

Though confusing, it is essentially all of the men speaking with one voice. To make it a bit more understandable, it could be rendered, “And they said, the man of Israel, unto the Hivite.” This would take us in thought back to verse 1 where all of the people groups spoke with one mouth. The same is being conveyed here.

There is a united voice that is being portrayed as the words of a single man (Israel) and it is conveying words to a single entity, the Hivite. As noted, the name Hivite means Tent Villager, but it is identical to khavah or “Life,” the name of Adam’s wife (Eve).

Abarim notes that the verb form khavah “means to lay out in order to live collectively, and describes investing one’s personal sovereignty into a living collective like a symbiont. It’s mostly translated as to prostrate, which is to submit oneself wholly and bodily to a collective or to the leader of that collective.” That is, surprisingly, what they are now doing. The response to them by Israel is…

7 (con’t) “Perhaps you dwell among us; so how can we make a covenant with you?”

ulay b’qirbi atah yoshev v’ek ekhroth l’kha berith – “Perhaps in my (sg.) midst you (sg.) dwell, and how I (sg.) make to you (sg.) covenant?” The entire point of what is being conveyed is that Israel has already made claim on the land of Canaan – “my midst.”

As this is so, the question is obvious – “How can I, Israel, make a covenant with you (people group) if you live in my midst?” Added to that would be the implied thought, “Because you do not belong here any longer!”

Of these confusing words, and specifically the term “in my midst,” Keil says, “which is to be explained on the ground that only one of the Israelites (viz., Joshua) was speaking as the mouthpiece of all the rest. The plural ויּאמרוּ [va’yomeru – “and they said”] is used, because Joshua spoke in the name of the people.”

I would argue it is exactly the opposite. The people are speaking as a single entity in the previous clause (“Then said (pl.) the men of Israel … perhaps in my (sg.) midst you dwell”) rather than Joshua being referred to in the plural.

Israel is saying that anyone in the land does not belong there any longer because Israel, the single entity comprised of many, has moved in. Obviously, such could not be the case and so Israel could never agree to such a thing. Hence, the Gibeonites continue…

But they said to Joshua, “We are your servants.”

The translation is now correct. It is plural, and they are addressing the leader of Israel alone. But more, it completely blows off the people’s questions as if they were never asked. Instead, they masterfully speak in the customary way found elsewhere in Scripture to indicate courteous fellowship with a hint of subordination – “We are your servants.”

They have come to make a covenant, and thus, they are – at this time – subordinating themselves to Joshua in order to secure it, showing that they are willing to accept reasonable terms. Despite this, Joshua remains unsatisfied…

8 (con’t) And Joshua said to them,

Again, it is correct. Joshua alone speaks now to them all. The people have spoken, they have conveyed the fact that they are united and that the land belongs to Israel. Joshua now prods further to determine their people group and their land with direct questions…

8 (con’t) “Who are you, and where do you come from?”

The verb is imperfect: mi atem u-me’ayin tabou – “who you and from where you coming.” They represent a people group. As such, for them to come means that the people group is coming and will continue to come.

In other words, if a group of emissaries was to go from Israel to Iran today, they would be representing Israel. If they form an alliance by cutting a covenant, then it would be that from then on, Israel could come to Iran and Iran would come to Israel. The new bond would be formed.

With that understood, the Gibeonites will now speak out their answers to his questions, and as Adam Clarke says, they will “do it very artfully by a mixture of truth, falsehood, and hypocrisy.”

For sure we are telling the truth
We wouldn’t deceive you and that’s no lie
We are honest Injun, even since our youth
And we shall be that way till the day we die

Here is the proof that we are honest men
These things will validate our story is true
If we have to, we will repeat it again and again
We would never do anything to deceive you

Trust in us, we are faithful to our word
We are the straightest of shooters, that is for sure
You can trust every word you have heard
We are honest, upright, clean, and pure

II. Make a Covenant with Us (verses 9-18)

So they said to him: “From a very far country your servants have come,

In full crafty mode, they completely ignore the first question which would ruin any chance of an agreement. Instead, they launch directly into answering the second question while using a perfect verb: me’erets rekhoqah meod bau avdekha – “from land far very have come your servants.”

The “your servants” is singular. They are emissaries who have arrived to make an alliance with Joshua on behalf of their people. The perfect verb in essence means, they are not “coming;” they “have come.” They are here to make a covenant, and to them, it is a done deal in regard to their submission to it. Hence, they subordinate themselves to him. And this is…

9 (con’t) because of the name of the Lord your God;

l’shem Yehovah elohekha – “to name Yehovah your God.” The meaning of “to” equates to “for.” They acknowledge that Yehovah, Joshua’s God (because Joshua stands as representative of all Israel), is the reason for their coming. And more…

9 (con’t) for we have heard of His fame, and all that He did in Egypt,

The same word, translated as “His fame,” is used of the Lord now which was used in verse 6:27 when referring to Joshua. It signifies a report and thus fame. They have heard the report of the Lord based on all that He had done in Egypt. But more…

10 and all that He did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan—

It is singular: ha’emori – “the Amorite.” They speak of the two kings as one people implicitly in opposition to Israel, the people under the Lord. They then continue by stating their specific knowledge of these two kings.

As such, it implies that they were great kings to have been renowned even in a land “very far” away. Therefore, it conveys the idea of the greatness of the Lord on behalf of Israel concerning what He did…

10 (con’t) to Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who was at Ashtaroth.

The battle against these two foes was recorded in Numbers 21. The name Ashtaroth, however, has only been seen in Deuteronomy 1. It is believed to signify Union of Instructions, and thus One Law. The emissaries openly speak about these as obviously great victories. Thus the report, or fame, of the Lord had come to their knowledge because of these.

What is notable is that this is where they stop their words on this line of thought. They prudently mention nothing about the crossing of the Jordan or of the battles of Jericho and Ai.

This would give the sense that these recent deeds had not yet reached their ears. And yet, ironically, they might possibly have even heard the sounds of battle and smelled the smoke of the burning if the wind was in the right direction.

With that large gap in their supposed understanding of recent events, they then bolster this as they continue speaking…

11 Therefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spoke to us, saying,

All the pronouns in the verse are plural. The superlative nature of the statement is given to add icing to the cake they have already baked up. They note the elders but mention no king. Thus, they are a people that is small and without power, or they are a people that would not have a threatening system of power under a single ruler.

As such, mentioning the elders would be expected, but they add in, “all the inhabitants of our country.” Their unity of thought is the great, mutually agreed upon idea in this non-threatening country.

It is as if the nation was stirred up with the success of the Lord working on Israel’s behalf, and so they came flooding forward agreeing that something needed to be done. And so…

11 (con’t) ‘Take provisions with you for the journey,

The word “provision” is singular: qehu b’yedkhem tsedah la’derek – “take in your hands provision to the way.” Everything they loaded up is taken as a single provision. The reason for this is that it was all comprised of things that were supposedly suitable for sustaining them as a single group as they departed. “You have a load of provision. Everything you need is provided, head out…”

11 (con’t) and go to meet them, and say to them, “We are your servants;

The plural of the pronouns continues. The whole nation of people told them to go, and they are to meet the whole nation of people in Israel. “You are great! We are your servants.” The appeal is from people group to people group, one subordinating themselves to the other. And so…

11 (con’t) now therefore, make a covenant with us.”’

v’atah kirtu lanu berit – “and now cut (you all) with us covenant.” They are a friendly people that agree among one another, they don’t have a king over them, and they are awed by the fame of the Lord over Israel. They have subordinated themselves to the people they desire to covenant with. There are no negatives to raise doubts as to what should be done.

And, certainly, their story must be true. The evidence of it is right in front of them…

12 This bread of ours we took hot for our provision from our houses on the day we departed to come to you.

The translation is close enough. They pull out their old bread that was either crumbled or insect eaten and show it to them, claiming that it was hot the day they left. The word kham, or hot, is introduced here. It will only be seen again in Job 37:17. It signifies warm or hot, just as one would expect with bread that is freshly made and handed to the travelers…

12 (con’t) But now look, it is dry and moldy.

v’atah hineh yabesh v’hayah niqudim – “And now, behold! Dry and become crumbled (or insect eaten).” It is a nice touch if you think about it. Like in a Columbo movie, there is always some small thing that the bad guy overlooks. Well, in this case, it sure isn’t the bread.

One can see them having gone out behind the local baker’s place and picking up pieces of bread that had been gnawed on by rats or that had been stepped on by the feet of passersby. It was a totally convincing argument because bread is what sustains. Who would travel without food that was satisfactory for a trip? And more…

13 And these wineskins which we filled were new, and see, they are torn;

This is not an improbable thing. Wineskins that are filled have weight. When they rub long enough, they will split. If they are pulled out at a stop and the people drink, they may get put down on a rock that will puncture them.

If the travelers do a bit of extra drinking after a long day, they are bound to be handled even a bit more roughly. A bit more drinking and… you get the point. Hence, after a while, they would bear the marks of their overuse. However, it still takes a lot to wear through skins, and so a long journey easily explains the matter. Columbo hasn’t found a clue yet…

13 (con’t) and these our garments and our sandals have become old because of the very long journey.”

The words should more appropriately read “from the exceeding greatness of the way” (YLT). It refers to the route itself and the distance that was traversed.

Again, this is what one would expect, especially in the dry, rocky area of the Mideast. A donkey would get tired if ridden too long, and so there would be plenty of walking next to it. If it was heavily loaded for a long journey, walking would be all that occurred. Everything is satisfactorily straight in this regard.

And more, everything here is given in complete contrast to Israel since they had left Egypt –

“And I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet. You have not eaten bread, nor have you drunk wine or similar drink, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 29:5, 6

Israel would have heard their words, considered their own situation in light of that, and concluded that the Lord’s miraculous provision for them was in complete contrast to these people now coming to seek the fame of the Lord. Everything passed the Columbo test in their eyes, thus far…

14 Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions;

It’s obvious that the NKJV translator of this passage simply copied someone else. The words “of Israel” are not in the text and yet they are not italicized: va’yiqhu ha’anashim mitsedam – “And took the men from their provision.” Maybe the translator was too busy sampling the “provision” himself.

Despite that, it is debated whether “the men” are the emissaries who simply take out their provisions to show Israel (which has already been noted above), or if it is Israel who took of them, meaning tried them. The answer is obvious based on the next clause. The men of Israel took and sampled.

The verse reveals a careful attention to detail by Israel. They tried whatever was packed to see if it was fresh or not, and what they tried obviously passed the smell test. That is the last note of their inquiry into the matter…

14 (con’t) but they did not ask counsel of the Lord.

v’eth pi Yehovah lo shaalu – “And mouth Yehovah no they did ask.” This shows that the previous clause was referring to those of Israel. It also obviously shows a great failing on behalf of the people. But the text is careful to remove Joshua from the overall responsibility for the matter by leaving out his name.

It is an indication that there is typology being conveyed for us to consider. Israel did not do the one thing that is most important of all in this matter.

And yet, we have to consider it from both directions. Not only did Israel not seek the counsel of the Lord, but the Lord did not speak to Joshua as He has already done at least a dozen times so far in the book.

This pretty certainly tells us that the Lord was willing to allow them to make their own mistakes, but they are mistakes that are 1) not going to lead to a permanent disability in the plan of redemption, 2) will (hopefully) teach Israel a lesson, 3) will actually have some benefit in the redemptive narrative, and 4) will typologically show us something concerning the future.

Some find this an actual violation of the Mosaic law –

“And the Lord said to Moses: ‘Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; 19 set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight. 20 And you shall give some of your authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. 21 He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the Lord for him by the judgment of the Urim. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, he and all the children of Israel with him—all the congregation.” Numbers 27:18-21

There is nothing to say that Joshua was required to go before the Lord in all instances. It simply notes that this was something that was available for him to do. And there are already recorded times where the Lord clearly speaks directly to Joshua. Hence, this cannot be considered a violation of the law.

15 So Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let them live;

Joshua is the one highlighted here. “So made (sg.) with them, Joshua, peace and cut (sg.) to them covenant to live – them.” It isn’t just that Israel wouldn’t kill them, but that they are covenanted to preserve them as when nations are attacked by other nations. This is an important point that is not long in being brought forth. They made the appropriate sacrifices, and the covenant is cut…

15 (con’t) and the rulers of the congregation swore to them.

Not only did Joshua make peace with them and cut a covenant with them, but it is acknowledged by the rulers in an oath as well. With this now done, it cannot be undone. And yet…

16 And it happened at the end of three days, after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were their neighbors who dwelt near them.

Rather than “made a covenant,” it more precisely reads, “cut a covenant.” Other than that, the translation is fine. Nothing is said about how Israel found this out. It could be as simple as the men getting back on their donkeys, going back to Gibeon and telling them the news, and then Gibeon sending the men, or others, back to Israel to tell them the truth.

Whatever the situation was, it was enough to cause Israel to respond with a display of their displeasure…

17 Then the children of Israel journeyed and came to their cities on the third day.

In using the term, “the children of Israel,” it appears that the entire army went out, just in case there was any trouble to arise. Hence, it took till the third day to reach them. With that noted, it next says…

17 (con’t) Now their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kirjath Jearim.

This shows that it was no small number of people involved in the treaty. For reference, Gibeon means Hill Town or Hilly. Chephirah means Village. Beeroth means Wells. Kirjath Jearim means City of Forests or City of Honeycombs.

The first three cities will eventually be allotted to the land grant of Benjamin. The last will be allotted to Judah. It explains why there will be trouble with something that Saul will do in the future which will cause great distress for Israel. Saul will kill many of the Gibeonites, thus breaking this treaty.

Despite showing up in force, the text notes how Israel’s hands are tied in the next words…

18 But the children of Israel did not attack them,

v’lo hikkum bene Yisrael – “And no did strike them sons Israel.” There is a never-ending supply of speculation as to why they did not strike them, as if the entire text has no meaning and people need to try to discover some unintelligible reason.

But the answer has already been given, and it will be given again in the next clause. A covenant was cut, an oath was made, and that is the end of it. There is no need to speculate beyond that. As it next clearly says…

18 (con’t) because the rulers of the congregation had sworn to them by the Lord God of Israel.

ki nishbeu lahem n’sie ha’edah b’Yehovah elohe Yisrael – “for had sworn to them rulers the congregation in Yehovah God Israel.” As just noted, a covenant was cut, and the elders of Israel had sworn an oath. This was in the name of the Lord, and it was absolutely binding. Despite this…

*18 (fin) And all the congregation complained against the rulers.

The word lun signifies to lodge, as in staying overnight. However, it also means to complain or murmur. It is possible that our term “to lodge a complaint” is derived from this thought. For now, one can see that Israel is upset at what has transpired.

They see four cities that would increase their own wealth through plundering, and they care less about their agreement than they do about enriching themselves. But the agreement has been made, so all they can do is moan about it against the rulers.

Unfortunately, it is time to end the verses for the day. We’ll have to finish things up next Sunday. A few simple lessons to learn from the account are obvious. Even though there is nothing prescriptive in here for us today, it is always wise to consult the Lord before making any type of binding agreement.

Our means of consulting the Lord is two-fold. One is to read, know, contemplate, meditate on, and apply the word. If we do this, then we will not do what is contrary to the word. That is obvious. The second is to not neglect what Israel neglected, which is to speak to the Lord.

Not everything we do or want to do is laid out in Scripture. As such, we have decisions that must be made that are up to us. But it is the imprudent soul who will fail to talk to the Lord about the important things, and – indeed – even the minor things that we encounter in our daily lives.

When we tell him what our plans are, we should then ask Him to favor the decision if it is in His will, and to keep them from coming about if it is not. We can then assume that even if catastrophe results from our decision, that the Lord determined that it was the right thing to happen.

The other thing we can learn from today’s passage is that not everything people present to us is as it appears. Even those who seem convincingly honest often have an ulterior motive. Hence, I would ask you to consider who you believe and why you do so.

Have you checked out the facts to the fullest extent possible? There is always a Jonas Nightengale ready to pull the wool over your eyes. So watch out concerning what you accept.

Closing Verse: “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.” Ephesians 4:13, 14

Next Week: Joshua 9:19-27 Being slaves is what they deserveants, yes it is true… (We Are Your Servants, Part II) (19th Joshua Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It is He who has defeated the enemy and who now offers His people rest. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

We Are Your Servants, Part I

And it came to pass when all the kings
Who were on this side of the Jordan, as the line is drawn
In the hills and in the lowland
And in all the coasts of the Great Sea toward Lebanon

The Hittite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite
The Hivite, and the Jebusite heard about it – yes, that word
That they gathered together to fight
With Joshua and Israel with one accord

But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard
What Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai
They worked craftily
And went and pretended to be ambassadors – gee, I wonder why

And they took old sacks on their donkeys
Old wineskins torn and mended
Old and patched sandals on their feet
And old garments on themselves, but the story isn’t ended

And all the bread of their provision
Was dry and moldy. Being sneaky was their decision

And they went to Joshua at the camp at Gilgal
And said to him and to the men of Israel
“We have come from a far country
Now therefore, make a covenant with us so that things go well

Then the men of Israel said to the Hivites
“Perhaps you dwell among us
So how can we make a covenant with you?”
That would be a big minus and not a plus

But they said to Joshua
“We are your servants. Come, come!”
And Joshua said to them
“Who are you, and where do you come from?”

So they said to him: “From a very far country
———-your servants have come
We walked and walked but happily no one tripped
Because of the name of the LORD your God
For we have heard of His fame, and all that He did in Egypt

And all that He did to the two kings of the Amorites
Who were beyond the Jordan. Yes, we heard that note
To Sihon king of Heshbon
And Og king of Bashan, who was at Ashtaroth

Therefore, our elders and all the inhabitants of our country
Spoke to us, saying, (and making a bit of a fuss)
‘Take provisions with you for the journey, and go to meet them and say
“We are your servants; now therefore, make a covenant with us”’

This bread of ours we took hot
For our provision from our houses on the day
We departed to come to you
But now look, it is dry and moldy. See how it has gotten that way!

And these wineskins which we filled were new
And look, they are torn – see the proof! No need for an attorney
And these our garments and our sandals have become old
Because of the very long journey

Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions
———-according to their word
But they did not ask counsel of the LORD

So Joshua made peace with them
And made a covenant with them to let them live
And the rulers of the congregation swore to them
Their vow to them they did give

And it happened at the end of three days
After they had made a covenant with them
That they heard that they were their neighbors
Who dwelt near them, those rascally men

Then the children of Israel journeyed
And came to their cities on the third day
Now their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth
———-and Kirjath Jearim
To them, they had strong words to say

But the children of Israel did not attack them
Because the rulers of the congregation
Had sworn to them by the LORD God of Israel
And all the congregation complained against the rulers
———-of the nation

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And it came to pass when all the kings who were on this side of the Jordan, in the hills and in the lowland and in all the coasts of the Great Sea toward Lebanon—the Hittite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite—heard about it, that they gathered together to fight with Joshua and Israel with one accord.

But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they worked craftily, and went and pretended to be ambassadors. And they took old sacks on their donkeys, old wineskins torn and mended, old and patched sandals on their feet, and old garments on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry and moldy. And they went to Joshua, to the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a far country; now therefore, make a covenant with us.”

Then the men of Israel said to the Hivites, “Perhaps you dwell among us; so how can we make a covenant with you?”

But they said to Joshua, “We are your servants.”

And Joshua said to them, “Who are you, and where do you come from?”

So they said to him: “From a very far country your servants have come, because of the name of the Lord your God; for we have heard of His fame, and all that He did in Egypt, 10 and all that He did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan—to Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who was at Ashtaroth. 11 Therefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spoke to us, saying, ‘Take provisions with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say to them, “We are your servants; now therefore, make a covenant with us.”’ 12 This bread of ours we took hot for our provision from our houses on the day we departed to come to you. But now look, it is dry and moldy. 13 And these wineskins which we filled were new, and see, they are torn; and these our garments and our sandals have become old because of the very long journey.”

14 Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord. 15 So Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore to them.

16 And it happened at the end of three days, after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were their neighbors who dwelt near them. 17 Then the children of Israel journeyed and came to their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kirjath Jearim. 18 But the children of Israel did not attack them, because the rulers of the congregation had sworn to them by the Lord God of Israel. And all the congregation complained against the rulers.