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Bible Commentaries

Grant's Commentary on the Bible

Joshua 10

Verses 1-43


(vv. 1-2)

Abimelech had been no help to Israel in his three years of authority, now another man, Tola of Issachar, "arose to save Israel" (v. 1). We are not told what he saved Israel from, and nothing is said of his character or of his actions. But if he saved Israel from the idol worship they had adopted, this was good work. Generally, where there is no recorded history the implications are good. He judged Israel 23 years and died. Though there is nothing particularly outstanding in the good he did, yet there is nothing to the contrary.


(vv. 3-5)

Jair was from Gilead, and again there is nothing said of his character or of what he may have done. He judged Israel for 22 years. But he evidently made provision for his own family, each of his 30 sons having a city and each riding on a donkey. This may imply that Jair was partial to his family, therefore not particularly concerned about all Israel. It is said only that he judged Israel, not that he saved Israel, as did Tola. But combining the length of Tola's and Jair's tenure, there was evidently comparative peace for 45 years.


(vv. 6-18)

Once more the children of Israel fell into the evils of idolatry, serving many false gods of the nations around them, from Syria, Sidon, Moab, Ammon and the Philistines. How easily it seems the people of God slip into the habits of the ungodly world around us! We hardly realize how far we have fallen until the Lord brings on us the results of our disobedience and we suffer at the hands of the enemy.

We too have many enemies ready to take advantage of us to cause us harm and damage, not enemies of flesh and blood, but spiritual enemies, of which the many enemies of Israel are symbolical. If we are not on guard, we may too easily be overcome by them.

The Lord's anger was such that He sold Israel into the hands of the Philistines and the children of Ammon (vv. 6-7). The Philistines (meaning "wallowers") stand for formal ritualistic religion that is only a shell without reality. If this kind of thing is adopted, Ammon is ready to take advantage of it. Ammon (meaning "peoplish") speaks of false, satanic doctrines that please the people. The king of Ammon was named Nahash, meaning "a serpent" (1 Samuel 10:2).Thus, wicked doctrine will thrive under a formal show of religion, but it is intensely sad when believers in any measure fall under such influence. Just as Israel accepted this kind of compromise, so they found themselves oppressed by it, and for 18 years (v. 8).

At first this affected only those east of Jordan, but Ammon then crossed the Jordan to attack Judah, Benjamin and Ephraim (v. 9). After years of such oppression, the children of Israel finally cried out to the Lord in confession of their sin in having forsaken Him and served idols (v. 10).

The Lord did not immediately deliver them, but answered them severely, reminding them that He had before delivered them from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the people of Ammon and the Philistines. Also the Sidonians, the Amalakites and Maonites had oppressed them and God had delivered Israel from them (vv.11-12). Why should He deliver them any more if they give themselves up to false gods? Let them pray to the idols they have chosen (vv. 13-14). Thus God makes them think over the enormity of their sin in forsaking Him.

What could Israel do? They knew their idols had no ability to help them. They could only again confess their sin before God and show themselves willing to accept any governmental consequences God might send. Only they entreat Him to deliver them (v. 15). At the same time they put away their foreign gods, and took the place of serving the Lord (v. 16). God, seeing this change in their attitude, "could no longer endure the misery of Israel." In spite of their disobedience over and over again, His compassion was always awakened by their turning to Him in their misery. Wonderful indeed is the grace of our God and Father!

Satan is always alert to see any turning to God on the part of God's people, and will very soon prepare war against them. The Ammonites gathered and camped in Gilead, being anxious to repress any revolt against their oppression (v. 17). The Israelites however had energy enough to assemble also and camp in Gilead, though as yet they had no leader strong enough to follow. They knew it was time they broke the yoke of Ammon, but questioned who could take the responsibility of leading Israel into battle (v. 18).

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Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Joshua 10". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. 1897-1910.