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Bible Commentaries

Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Joshua 10

Verse 1

Adoni-zedec - i. e “Lord of righteousness” (compare Melchizedek, “King of righteousness”); probably an official title of the Jebusite kings.

Jerusalem - i. e. “foundation of peace,” compare Genesis 14:18. The city belonged to the inheritance of Benjamin Joshua 18:28, but was on the very edge of the territory of Judah Joshua 15:8. Hence, it was the strong and war-like tribe of Judah which eventually captured the lower part of the city, most likely in the days of Joshua’s later conquests Judges 1:8, and after the warlike strength of the Jebusites had been weakened by the defeat in the open field, recorded in this chapter. The upper town, more especially the fortified hill of Zion, remained in the hands of the Jebusites, who accordingly kept a footing in the place, along with the men of Judah and Benjamin, even after the conquest Joshua 15:63; Judges 1:21; and would seem, indeed, to have so far, and no doubt gradually, regained possession of the whole, that Jerusalem was spoken of in the days of the Judges as a Jebusite city. David finally stormed “the stronghold of Zion,” and called it “the City of David” 2 Samuel 5:6-9. It was, probably, only after this conquest and the adoption by David of the city as the religious and political metropolis of the whole nation, that the name Jerusalem came into use 2 Samuel 5:5 in substitution for Jehus.

Verse 3

For Hebron, see Genesis 13:18. Jarmuth, afterward one of the cities of Judah Joshua 15:35, is probably identified with the modern Yarmuk. Lachish was also a city of Judah Joshua 15:39, and, like Jarmuth, occupied by Jews after the captivity, Neh. 11:39. It was fortified by Rehoboam after the revolt of the Ten tribes 2 Chronicles 11:9, and seems to have been regarded as one of the safest places of refuge 2 Kings 14:19. Through Lachish the idolatry of Israel was imported into Judah Micah 1:13, and of this sin the capture of the city by Sennacherib was the punishment 2 Kings 18:14-17; 2 Kings 19:8. Lachish is by most authorities identified with Um Lakis, lying some twenty miles west of Eleutheropolis, on the road to Gaza (and by Conder with El Hesy).

Eglon is the modern Ajlan.

Verse 6

The language reflects the urgency of the crisis. Accordingly Joshua made a forced march, accompanied only by his soldiers Joshua 10:7, and accomplished in a single night the distance from Gilgal to Gibeon (about 15 miles in a direct line), which on a former occasion had been a three days’ journey Joshua 9:17.

Verse 10

Beth-horon - The two places of this name, the upper and the lower Beth-horon (marginal reference), are identified with the villages Beit-ur el Foka (the upper) and Beit-ur et Tahta (the lower): Beit-ur being probably a corruption of Beth-horon. The name itself (“house of caves”) points to the exceedingly rocky character of the district. Upper Beth-horon was between six and seven miles west of Gibeon; and “the way that goeth up to Beth-horon” must accordingly be the hilly road which leads from Gibeon to it. Between the two Beth-horons is a steep pass, “the going down to Beth-horon” Joshua 10:11; and here the Amorites were crushed by the hailstones. The main road from Jerusalem and the Jordan valley to the seacoast lay through the pass of Beth-horon; and, accordingly, both the Beth-horons were secured by Solomon with strong fortifications 2 Chronicles 8:5. It was in this pass that Judas Maccabaeus routed the Syrians under Seron (1 Macc. 3:13ff). and here also, according to Jewish traditions, the destruction of the host of Sennacherib took place 2 Kings 19:35.

Azekah, which has not been as yet certainly identified, was in the hill country, between the mountains around Gibeon and the plain (see the marginal reference). It was fortified by Rehoboam 2 Chronicles 11:9 and besieged by the Babylonians Jeremiah 34:7 shortly before the captivity. It was an inhabited city after the return from the exile Nehemiah 11:30.

Makkedah - The exact site of this town is uncertain. It was situated in the plain between the mountains and the line of seacoast which the Philistines held Joshua 15:41, and no great way northeast of Libnab Joshua 12:15-16. (Warren (Conder) identifies it with the modern el Mughhar, a village on the south side of the valley of Torek.)

Verse 11

Compare Ecclesiasticus 46:6. Frightful storms occasionally sweep over the hills of Judaea; but this was evidently a miraculous occurrence, like the hail which smote Egypt Exodus 9:24 and the tempest which fell on the Philistines at Ebenezer 1 Samuel 7:10.

Verses 12-15

Joshua’s return (compare Joshua 10:43) to Gilgal was not until after he had, by the storm and capture of the principal cities of south Canaan, completed the conquest of which the victory at Gibeon was only the beginning.

This verse is evidently the close of the extract from an older work, which connected the rescue of Gibeon immediately with the return to Gilgal, and omitted the encampment at Makkedah Joshua 10:21, and also the details given in Joshua 10:28-42.

Verse 16

The thread of the narrative, broken by the four intermediate verses, Joshua 10:12-15, is now resumed from Joshua 10:11.

Verse 21

Joshua himself remained at Makkedah with the guards set before the cave. The other warriors would not return from the pursuit until the evening of the overthrow of the Amorites; and the execution of the kings and the capture of Makkedah itself belong, no doubt, to the day following Joshua 10:27-28.

None moved his tongue - See the marginal reference and note.

Verse 24

Put your feet upon the necks of these kings - A symbol of complete subjugation (compare the marginal references and 1 Corinthians 15:25).

Verse 29

Libnah - The word means “white” or “distinct,” and undoubtedly points to some natural feature of the spot, perhaps the “Garde Blanche” of the Crusaders, a castle which stood on or near the white cliffs which bound the plain of Philistia to the east opposite to Ascalon. It was in the southern part of the hill-country of Judah Joshua 15:42, and was one of the cities afterward assigned to the priests Joshua 21:13.

Verse 33

Gezer lies on the southern border of the tribe of Ephraim Joshua 16:3. It was considerably to the northward of Joshua’s present line of operations, and does not appear to have been captured at this time. He contented himself for the present with repulsing the attack made upon him, killed Horam (compare Joshua 12:12), inflicting a severe defeat upon his people, and then continued to pursue his conquests over the confederated kings and their allies in south Canaan.

Verse 37

The king thereof - No doubt the successor of the king slain at Makkedah Joshua 10:23.

All the cities thereof - i. e. the smaller towns dependent upon Hebron. The expression marks Hebron as the metropolis of other subject towns.

Verse 38

Joshua returned - The words mark a change in the direction of the march. Joshua from Hebron turned to the southwest, and attacked Debir or Kirjath-sepher and its dependencies Joshua 15:15.

Verse 40

See Joshua 9:1. “The south” was the Negeb Numbers 13:17. Render “the springs” “slopes.” The word here means the district of undulating ground between “the vale” (or שׁפלה shephêlâh) last named and “the hills.”

Verse 41

From Kadesh-barnea unto Gaza - Numbers 13:26 This limits Joshua’s conquests on the west, as the other line, “all the country of Goshen unto Gibeon,” does on the east. Goshen Joshua 15:51 has not been identified. It was in the southern part of the territory of Judah, and is, of course, quite distinct from the Goshen of Genesis 46:28.

Verse 42

At one time - i. e. in one campaign or expedition, which no doubt lasted some days, or perhaps weeks (compare Joshua 11:18).

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/joshua-10.html. 1870.