Acts 12:19

Tree hedge. Vermont state capitol.

Monday, 5 December 2022

“But when Herod had searched for him and not found him, he examined the guards and commanded that they should be put to death.
And he went down from Judea to Caesarea, and stayed there.” Acts 12:19

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

The previous words told of the stir that had arisen among the soldiers. Now, it says “But when Herod had searched for him and not found him.”

The verbs are aorist participles – “And Herod, having searched for him and having not found.” Luke is recording the events as they occurred.

One can see Herod being apprised of the situation and personally coming to the prison and looking it over, seeing if there were any rooms that Peter could have been secreted away in. Maybe there was a trap door, or maybe there was a hidden chamber. He was probably both embarrassed and perplexed at what had transpired and wanted to personally look things over before making any determination as to what he should do.

These words contain the last implied noting of Peter in the account. He was searched for and not found. Peter will not be mentioned again until Acts 15. Next, and speaking of Herod, it says, “he examined the guards.”

Again, it is an aorist participle, “having examined the guards.” The Greek word, translated as examined, signifies a process of distinguishing a matter from “down to up.” In other words, one starts at the very bottom, or beginning, of a matter and thoroughly checks every detail until the top is reached. Such an examination leaves nothing out.

In other words, the lives of the guards are at stake. It would make no sense for them to simply let Peter go, even if he offered them vast sums of money. However, if a gang had abducted the families of the soldiers and threatened to kill them unless they freed Peter, they may have acquiesced.

The examination would consider every imaginable thing that could have prompted the soldiers to do what they did. With the examination complete, and surely with no reasonable explanation for Peter’s disappearance, it next says that Herod “commanded that they should be put to death.”

The Greek reads, “commanded them to be led away.” The supposition is death, and this is what is generally accepted as what occurred. However, without knowing Herod’s command, it could simply be for punishment or for a set duration of incarceration. The word is used in Matthew 27:31, at Jesus’ trial, saying –

“And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.”

As can be seen, the word “crucified” is affixed to the verb. As such, it provides a definitive explanation for what occurred. This is not the case with these soldiers. The leading away could be for a future trial. The probability is that they were executed, but an adamant stand on this is unjustified.

With this thought complete, it now says of Herod, “And he went down from Judea to Caesarea, and stayed there.” Of this, Albert Barnes says, “This journey of Herod is related by Josephus (Antiq., book 19, chapter 8, section 2). He says that it was after he had reigned over all Judea for three years.”

Herod stayed in Caesarea until his death which was not much later. That will be recorded in the verses to come. The word translated as “stayed” is diatribó. One can see the obvious etymological root of the modern word “diatribe.” It is a compound word coming from words meaning “through” and “rub.”

In the case of staying, it signifies “to wear through time.” One can think of being in time (dia/through) and rubbing it away. In the case of a diatribe, one can think of thoroughly rubbing away someone through a verbal attack. As for Herod, he tarried in Caesarea after his arrival there.

Life application: As noted, it is more than probable that the soldiers who had guarded Peter were executed. It may seem unfair to someone that Peter escaped while these soldiers were taken out and punished or even executed. But God determined that Peter should be spared. It is His right to dispose of His creatures according to His wisdom. He is the Creator, and we are merely a part of His creation.

But more, if Peter had done his job, which he surely did, he at least attempted to tell the soldiers about Jesus. In fact, he had just witnessed to Gentiles in Acts 10 and re-explained what occurred in Acts 11. He was fully aware of their need for Jesus and of Jesus’ willingness to accept them. It may be for this very reason that Peter was incarcerated at this time.

And so, someday, we might be in glory and find out that one or more of these soldiers was saved because Peter opened his mouth and spoke out the words of life concerning Jesus. It is a great lesson for us. We have no idea who around us will die before we see them again. What a day of regret to hear that the person we were sitting so close to won’t be around any longer. We had the opportunity and every reason to speak, and yet we chose not to.

Let us consider this and be sure to act accordingly. Let us speak out the wonderful words of life to those we come across!

Yes, Lord God, we have a responsibility to speak out the gospel to those we encounter. May we do so with joy and with a sense of urgency. The day is almost spent, and the time is short. Help us to speak while it is day. Night is coming when that opportunity will have passed. Give us wisdom in this, O God. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Acts 12:18

Interesting architecture across from the Vermont capitol building.

Sunday, 4 December 2022 

Then, as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers about what had become of Peter. Acts 12:18

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

In the previous verse, Peter declared all that had occurred in bringing him out of prison. He then left the church house and departed to another place. Now, the narrative turns to events back at the prison, beginning with, “Then, as soon as it was day.”

It is unknown how long it was from the time of Peter’s being freed until the day came. All it said was that during the night Peter was sleeping when the angel came to deliver him. One would think if it was early morning, just before dawn, Luke would have stated this. Depending upon the times set for each watch, the guards may have been changed at midnight or three am. And so, it can be guessed that maybe Peter had several hours before the day came. All that is certain is that at daybreak “there was no small stir among the soldiers.”

Imagine the chaos, the fear, the possible accusations, and so on that came upon the soldiers. Allowing a prisoner to escape was punishable even up to death, and that death would not be long coming. As such, there would be the greatest consternation “about what had become of Peter.”

He was there in the cell. He was shackled. He was between two soldiers. Outside the cell were more soldiers guarding the door. That was followed by a second guard post and then an iron gate. The impossibility of an escape would have left those inside absolutely stunned at not finding him. And yet, he was not to be found.

Life application: Imagine you are suddenly facing the prospect of death within mere moments. If death was the penalty, these guards would probably not leave the prison before being executed. What if you were suddenly taken captive in a restaurant and the gunmen were executing everyone? What if you were on a ship that was sinking far out at sea, and you had only moments to live? What if you were in Hawaii and a volcano erupted, with lava completely encircling you and coming closer by the minute?

We have no idea about the future. Despite our attempts at controlling the events around us, there is no reason to assume we will be alive in an hour. All we have is the anticipated hope that it will be so. If the knowledge that our time is now up arrives, what will be our final thoughts? “I shouldn’t have yelled at the children last night.” “I wish I could have told dad I loved him.” “I wish I had talked more about Jesus to those around me.”

We cannot control every instance that arises, but we can be attentive to seeking peace with those around us. When we depart for work in the morning, we should be good to those we are leaving, just in case our time has expired. We should also attempt to be somewhat prepared for what will happen to our property and money. Otherwise, it could cause even more trouble for those we would otherwise want to spare such grief.

Time is fleeting, and our final moments shouldn’t be filled with regret. So, from time to time, make a mental note to press yourself to do what is necessary to keep that regret from setting in, just in case. Above all, be sure to redeem the time and tell those around you about Jesus. You may be the one influence in their lives that can make an eternal difference in what happens to them.

O God, we can’t be sure of even the next few moments of our lives. And so, Lord, as we continue on, help us to be about Your business. Help us to remember to tell those around us the good news that this temporary and futile life can be replaced with something eternal and joy-filled if only Jesus is included. Whenever our end comes, may it be with the knowledge that we did what we could to share this good news. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acts 12:17

Flood times. Vermont capitol.

Saturday, 3 December 2022

But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren.” And he departed and went to another place. Acts 12:17

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

The previous verse noted that those inside Mary’s house opened the door and were astonished to see Peter there. Now it says, “But motioning to them.”

Rather, it is an aorist participle, “But having motioned to them.” The word kataseió is introduced here and will only be seen four times, all in Acts. It means to shake the hand up and down to attract attention as if signaling. In this case, Peter first motioned “with his hand to keep silent.”

It is a gesture common throughout the world. When someone is trying to get others to be quiet, they will make hand motions, usually accompanied by some stern facial gesture. Those inside probably started to explode with joy and words of welcome, not realizing that Peter had escaped. He would have to quiet them down and then quietly convey to them what had occurred. That begins with the words, “he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison.”

As there was no article before the word “angel” in the previous verses in this account, it was an unknown divine messenger who assisted Peter in his escape. However, Peter credits the action to the Lord, as is fitting. This is noted in Hebrews 1:14 which says that angels are “all ministering spirits sent forth.” The obvious implication is that they are sent forth by the Lord God. Thus, Peter rightly ascribes the deliverance to the Lord. Next, it says, “And he said, ‘Go, tell these things to James.’”

This is James, the son of Alpheus, also known as the brother of the Lord. In Galatians 2:9, he is noted by Paul as one of the pillars of the church. He will preside over the council in Jerusalem in Acts 15. As with other clues in Acts, this shows us that this James had become the leader of the church at this time. Peter specifically singles him out now rather than any of the other apostles. Only after mentioning James does he add “and to the brethren.”

Though not explicitly stated, the implication is that James held the administrative reigns of church matters. No reason is noted, but he was obviously qualified to handle the affairs of the church in a better manner than the apostles. After his words to those in the house, the verse finishes with, “And he departed and went to another place.”

With the news conveyed, and certainly for the safety of those inside, Peter departed. With this note, the record of the apostleship of Peter in Acts is all but over. He will be mentioned by name in the next verse and then only once again, in Acts 15 during the council at Jerusalem. From this point on, Saul (who is Paul) will become the focus of the Acts narrative until the end of the book.

Life application: The record of Acts thus far has focused mostly on the state of the Jews in relation to the gospel. However, an underlying tone of the account has also carried a strong acceptance of the message by Gentiles. This will increase immensely with the narrative moving to Paul. At the same time, there will be an underlying tone of some Jews remaining faithful to the gospel while the nation itself turns away from it more and more.

Paul will speak of this state of affairs in Romans 9-11. There he will note that “at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (Romans 11:5). This is referring to Jewish believers. As the epistle is written for the church at any time, it is a clear indication that there has been and will be a remnant of believing Jews throughout the church age. And this has been seen all along.

With the coming of the end times, the number of Jewish believers is exploding. Israel is now back in the land they were exiled from, and the prophecies concerning them as a nation are set to be fulfilled. Let us praise God for His faithfulness to this disobedient nation because of His faithfulness to the covenant He made with them.

And in seeing His faithfulness to a covenant that is ready to vanish away, we can be certain of His faithfulness to us in the New Covenant that will never vanish away when they as a nation enter into the New Covenant. We have an eternal hope because of what He has done in the giving of Jesus for us. Consider what it means! Eternal life is promised to us because of Jesus. Thank God for Jesus Christ our Lord.

Glorious Heavenly Father, our hearts are filled with joy because of what You have done for us through the giving of Jesus. Thank You, O God, for Jesus Christ our Lord and our certain hope of eternal life in Your presence. Yes, thank You for this sure hope. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acts 12:16

And when they opened the door…

Friday, 2 December 2022

Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. Acts 12:16

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

The previous verse noted the insistence by Rhoda that Peter was at the door. With that remembered, it next says, “Now Peter continued knocking.”

It is almost a comedy at this point. Peter has knocked. Rhoda came to the door and probably asked, “Who is it?” Peter responded. Rhoda freaked out with joy and instead of opening the door, she ran inside to tell everyone. Nobody believed Rhoda (poor Rhoda!). Finally, Peter must keep knocking while the people are inside debating if Rhoda is crazy, if it is Peter’s angel, or who knows what else. The danger to Peter is unknown, but he was still within the city, and he was supposed to stand trial shortly. With that, relief finally comes, saying, “and when they opened the door and saw him.”

We can imagine those inside thronging to the door and fighting to be the one to grab the handle and unlock it, wondering what to make of Rhoda’s words. With the door open and Peter obviously standing there, it says, “they were astonished.”

The word used has been seen seven times already in Acts. This is its eighth and last time. It will be seen one more time in 2 Corinthians 5:3 where Paul states, “For if we are beside ourselvesit is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you.” It literally means, “to stand aside.”  Hence, one can think of being beside oneself in amazement, and thus astonished. Rhoda wasn’t crazy, after all.

Life application: Unlike this event concerning Peter, when Jesus comes knocking, be sure to let Him in.

Lord God, how blessed was the day when You came into our lives. Now, help us to be prepared to share the good news with those we meet on the path of life. You will knock and anticipate them opening the door, but that will only happen if they first hear the word about You. May we do our part to help fill the halls of heaven with those who have heard and opened the door. Amen.