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The Defeat of the Five Kings on a Day of Miraculous Length
v. 1. Now, it came to pass, when Adoni-zedec, king of Jerusalem, had heard how Joshua had taken Ai and had utterly destroyed it, (as he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king, a judgment of extermination having been carried out upon them,) and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them, in alliance with them, the entire Central Canaan thus being in the hands of the invaders,
v. 2. that they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, the capitals occupied by the sheiks, or kings, of the various tribes and nations, and because it was greater than Ai and all the men thereof were mighty.
v. 3. Wherefore Adoni-zedec, king of Jerusalem, sent unto Hoham, king of Hebron, the ancient city in Southern Canaan, and unto Piram, king of Jarmuth, and unto Japhia, king of Lachish, and unto Debir, king of Eglon, these cities being in the lowlands toward the southwest, bordering on Philistia, saying,
v. 4. Come up unto me and help me that we may smite Gibeon; for it hath made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel. The campaign was not directed against Israel, but against Gibeon, for the action of the Gibeonites was construed as a betrayal of the Canaanites' cause, as a going over to the enemy.
v. 5. Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon, gathered themselves together, formed an alliance, and went up, they and all their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it. Thus these kings hardened their hearts against the obvious proofs of God's power and plunged headlong into their destruction.
v. 6. And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua, to the camp, to Gilgal, for they were now in alliance with Israel, saying, Slack not thy hand from thy servants, do not withdraw it in this emergency; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us, the appeal being in the form of a climax; for all the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the mountains are gathered together against us. Since the Amorites of the mountains, the Jebusites, were the strongest among the allies, the entire army of the enemy is described accordingly.
v. 7. So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, in a forced night march, he and all the people of war with him and all the mighty men of valor, a picked portion of the army.
v. 8. And the Lord said unto Joshua, Fear them not, for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee. Cf Joshua 2:24; Joshua 6"2; 8:1-18.
v. 9. Joshua, therefore, came unto them suddenly, in a surprise attack, the rapid march being a proof of his great military genius, and went up from Gilgal all night.
v. 10. And the Lord discomfited them, the Amorites, before Israel, made them confused and helpless at this sudden attack, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goeth up to Beth-horon, the pass in the mountains which led to the plains beyond, and smote them to Azekah and unto Makkedah, far down in the lowlands of Philistia, the battle thus rapidly changing to flight and pursuit over a distance of some thirty miles.
v. 11. And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Beth-horon, where the foothills converge into the plains of Philistia, that the Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, in a terrible hailstorm, and they died; they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword. The Israelites were to see and understand that it was not their own strength, but the divine assistance of Jehovah, which gave them the victory.
v. 12. Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, in a mighty prayer of faith, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, wait, delay some time; and thou, Moon, in the Valley of Ajalon. This must, therefore, have happened while the moon was in its first quarter. The command was a heroic prayer to the Lord and Creator of the world to interfere in the order of nature and not to permit the setting of the main lights controlling the division of time until Israel would have completed her vengeance upon her enemies.
v. 13. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, they were held back, they did not continue their course, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies, completely destroyed them. Is not this written in the Book of Jasher (of the righteous), a book of poems praising the great deeds of Jehovah? S o the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down, made no progress toward the west, about a whole day.
v. 14. and there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel. Thus the living, almighty God wrought a great miracle, for the religious destiny of all the world was here at stake. All the efforts of Bible-scholars and critics to explain away this fact avail them nothing; the text is too clear and too powerful.
The Five Kings put to Death
v. 15. And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp, to Gilgal, this central location being convenient for all campaigns.
v. 16. But these five king's fled, and hid themselves in a cave at Makkedah, for the lime-and chalk-rocks of this neighborhood contain many suitable caves.
v. 17. And it was told Joshua, saying", The five king's are found hid in a cave at Makkedah.
v. 18. And Joshua said, Roll great stones upon the mouth of the cave, and set men by it for to keep them, to guard the entrance, lest they escape;
v. 19. and stay ye not, but pursue after your enemies, and smite the hindmost of them, the rear-guard, so far as there was still a semblance of order in their ranks; suffer them. not to enter into their cities, to escape into fortified places; for the Lord, your God, hath delivered them into your hand.
v. 20. and it came to pass, when Joshua and the children of Israel had made an end of slaying them with a very great slaughter, till they were consumed, that the rest which remained of them, a small remnant, entered into fenced cities, where they were safe for the time being.
v. 21. And all the people returned to the camp, to Joshua, at Makkedah, where he had pitched for the purpose of continuing the campaign, in peace; none moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel, Exodus 11:7. The enemies were so thoroughly subdued and frightened that no one ventured to do any harm to any of the children of Israel, although they must have been scattered far and wide in their pursuit of the Amorite army.
v. 22. Then said Joshua, Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings unto me out of the cave.
v. 23. And they did so, and brought forth those five kings unto him out of the cave, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon.
v. 24. And it came to pass, when they brought out those kings unto Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said unto the captains of the men of war which went with him, Come near and put your feet upon the necks of these kings, in token of their complete subjection and of the conquest of all enemies of the Lord. And they came near and put their feet upon the necks of them.
v. 25. And Joshua said unto them, to the officers of his army, Fear not, nor be dismayed, filled with terror, be strong and of good courage; for thus shall the Lord do to all your enemies against whom ye fight.
v. 26. And afterward, after this symbolical act, Joshua smote them, the five kings, and slew them, and hanged them on five trees; and they were hanging upon the trees until the evening. Cf Joshua 8:29.
v. 27. And it came to pass at the time of the going down of the sun that Joshua commanded, and they took them down off the trees, Deuteronomy 21:23, and cast them into the cave wherein they had been hid, and laid great stones in the cave's mouth, which remain until this very day, or, which the Israelites had kept in the mouth of the cave to the day when the kings were executed. It was an act of God's punishment, and shows the manner in which He is able to deal with all His enemies and those who interfere with His plans in His Church.
The Conquest of Southern Canaan
v. 28. And that day, while the five kings were suspended from trees, Joshua took Makkedah, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof he utterly destroyed, them and all the souls that were therein, in the same manner of extermination employed in the case of Jericho and Ai; he let none remain; and he did to the king of Makkedah as he did unto the king of Jericho, Joshua 6:21.
v. 29. Then Joshua passed from Makkedah, and all Israel with him, unto Libnah, a few miles to the south, and fought against Libnah;
v. 30. and the Lord delivered it also and the king thereof into the hand of Israel; and he smote it with the edge of the sword and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain in it, but did unto the king thereof as he did unto the king of Jericho.
v. 31. And Joshua passed from Libnah, and all Israel with him, unto Lachish, following up every advantage immediately, and encamped against it, and fought against it.
v. 32. And the Lord delivered Lachish, which was almost in the center of the country of the Philistines, southwest of Libnah, into the hand of Israel, which took it on the second day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein, according to all that he had done to Libnah.
v. 33. Then Horam, king of Gezer, in Northern Philistia, came up, from the lowlands, to help Lachish; and Joshua smote him and his people until he had left him none remaining.
v. 34. And from Lachish Joshua passed unto Eglon, a few miles to the east, and all Israel with him; and they encamped against it, and fought against it;
v. 35. and they took it on that day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein he utterly destroyed that day, according to all that he had done to Lachish.
v. 36. And Joshua went up from Eglon, and all Israel with him, unto Hebron, in the mountains, some thirty miles east; and they fought against it;
v. 37. and they took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof, the successor to him who had been executed at Makkedah, and all the cities thereof, the tributary suburbs, and all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining, according' to all that he had done to Eglon; but destroyed it utterly and all the souls that were therein.
v. 38. And Joshua returned, turned back, toward the southwest, and all Israel with him, to Debir, some ten miles from Hebron, and fought against it.
v. 39. And he took it and the king thereof and all the cities thereof, those under its jurisdiction; and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining; as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir and to the king thereof; as he had done also to Libnah and to her king. This territory, the extreme southern part of Canaan, was afterward again occupied by the Anakim and the Amorites, which made a second conquest of Hebron and the vicinity necessary.
v. 40. So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, the mountainous section of Central and Southern Canaan, and of the south, the plain forming the southern portion of Judea, and of the vale, the lowlands of the southwest, and of the springs, the foothills section, or piedmont region, from Joppa to Gaza, and all their kings; he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded, Deuteronomy 20:16-17.
v. 41. And Joshua smote them from Kadesh-barnea even unto Gaza, all the land between the Jordan valley and the Mediterranean in one direction, and all the country of Goshen, a section of the southern mountains, even unto Gibeon, from the heights of Gibeon to the wilderness.
v. 42. And all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time, in one campaign, because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel.
v. 43. And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp, to Gilgal, where he still had his headquarters, and where his soldiers could rest after their strenuous exploits. God is great and wonderful and past understanding in His judgments, but also at all times holy and righteous.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Joshua 10". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent