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Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, 11 which was) at Ashtaroth. Wherefore our elders and all the
inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We Care] your servants : therefore now make ye a league with us. They would have Joshua believe that they were ambassadors, who did not come of their own accord, but were sent
by the leading men of their nation. They then go on to describe the 12 length of their journey. This our bread we took hot(for) our pro
vision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto 13 you ; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy : And these
bottles of wine, which we filled, [were] new ; and, behold, they be rent : and these our garments and our shoes
be14 come old by reason of the very long journey. And the men took
of their victuals, io examine whether or not they were so old and
decayed ; and rashly and inconsiderately took their word, and 15 asked not (counsel] at the mouth of the LORD. And Joshua
made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live : and the princes of the congregation sware unto
And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a league with them, that they heard that they (were] 17 their neighbours, and [that] they dwelt among them. And
the children of Israel journeyed, and came unto their cities on the third day ; that is, the army in their march came to their
country. Now their cities [were] Gibeon, and Chephirah, 18 and Beeroth, and Kirjathjearim. And the children of Israel
smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the Lord God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes, because they were
defirived of the spoil of such a rich, populous, and royal city. 19 But all the princes said unto all the congregation, We have
sworn unto them by the Lord God of Israel: now therefore we may not touch them ; it will be violating our oath, a dis
honour to God, and a reproach to our religion, and will prejua 20 dice the Gibeonites against it. But this will we do to them ;
we will even let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of 21 the oath which we sware unto them. And the princes said
unto them, Let them live ; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation ; as the princes had promised them ; let them be as slaves, doing the
greatest drudgery in serving at the altar, which otherwise all 22 the people, in their turns, must have done. And Joshua call
ed for them, and he spake unto them, saying, Wherefore
have ye beguiled us, saying, We Care] very far from you ; 23 when ye dwell among us ? Now therefore ye Care] cursed,
adjudged to a mean, calamitous condition, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, allà hewers of wood and
24 drawers of water for the house of my God. And they an
swered Joshua in a very prudent manner, 80 as to excite his pity, and save their lives, and said, Because it was certainly told thy servants, how that the LORD thy 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
sore afraid of our lives because of you, and have done this 25 thing. And now, behold, we [are] in thine hand, ready to
submit to thy appointment ; as it seemeth good and right unto 26 thee to do unto us, do. And so did he unto them, and de
livered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, that 27 they slew them not. And Joshua made them that day hew,
ers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of the Lord, even unto this day, in the place which he should choose. It is probable they left their own cities, (for the Israelites afterward dwelt in them) and that they were distributed through the tribes as the Levites were, At length the curse was turned into a blessing ; they lived near God's house, had the benefit of ordinances, and afterward were called Nethinims, Ezra viii. 20. because they were devoted to God, and a sacred kind of servants, as Josephus calls them. 17
E see here the obstinacy of sinners, in using those
things as encouragements to sin, which ought to deter them from it. These kings were confederate against Israel, be cause they had heard that other kings were not able to stand singly; but all were destroyed in a miraculous manner. Their wisest way would have been to have sought for terms of peace but they would venture to oppose the people, though they could not but know what had been done for them. There is too much of this temper among sinners now: though they know it is vain to contend with God; for when he judges he will overcome"; yet they still venture on; and run on the thick bosses of 'his buckler, ( Job xv. 26.) to their own destruction. A lamentable case indeed !
2. Religion is often made use of as a pretence, where secular interest is the only thing intended. The 'Gibeonite's pretended great regard for God, and desired to join his people, to become servants of him who had such power and wrought such miracles; but they only wanted to save their lives, and secure their possessions. This is too common a case. Men talk much of God and religion, to answer their temporal ends : but God cannot be de“ceived, though men may: He desireth truth in the inward parte ; and the hypocrisy of the heart is an abomination unto him, Votre II,
3. Let us learn to avoid rash judgment. The Israelites hảstiý made a league, without consulting the Lord, which might easily have been done : then they had acted wisely and safely. Let us guard against too hasty a temper, especially in such solemn affairs as vows and engagements ; remembering Solomon's advice, Be not rash with thy mouth, or hasty to utter any thing before God, in the way of vows or promises. Consult him ; his word, by diligent-search ; his providence, by earnest prayer. Bp. HALL, and after him Mr. HENRY, caution us, from this story, against taking up any sentiments rashly, because they have the appearance of antiquity. Many good men have done this, and been strangely obstinate. But errors are never the better for being patched and seemingly old. When persons judge of men or things rashly, it is a sign that they have not deliberated, not duly weighed the evidence and reasons for them, nor consulted God. Let it teach us in all our ways to acknowledge God, and then he will direct our paths.
4. Let us learn to reverence an oath, and to keep close to our solemn engagements. We ought to stand by our word, and be punctual to our bargain, though it should be to our loss or detriment. The Israelites did so, though their oath was fraudulently obtained. It is monstrous to violate promises and engagements, when made with all honesty and fairness. Had the Israelites understood the evasions of the church of Rome, and acted upon their principles, they had had no cause to mourn; Eleazer the high priest could have given them a dispensation to break it ; ör have rejected them as heretics, and therefore no faith was to be kept with them. But they had not so learned the God of Israel ; they observed the oath ; and it was well they did, for God. would highly have resented the breach of it; and he afterward did so, as we find in 2 Sam. xxi. 1. There was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year, for Saul and his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites. It is an undoubted maxim, that men loše more by making God their enemy, than they can possibly gain by any fraudulent or indirect methods. Therefore, let integrity and uprightness guide and preserve us ; remembering it is the character of one that shall inhabit God's holy hill, that he walketh uprightly, speaketh the truth in his heart ; and though he eears to his own hurt, yet he changes not. Psalm xv.
We have here an account of a confederacy formed against Gibeon
by the neighbouring kings ; their extraordinary defeat by Joshua, while the sun and moon stood still, and finally their execution.
ow it came to pass, when Adonizedec king of Jeru. terly destroyed it ; as he had done to Jericho, and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king; and how the inhabitants
of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them, 2 That they feared greatly because Gibeon (was] a great city,
as one of the royal cities, and because it (was] greater than 3 Ai, and all the men thereof (were) mighty: Wherefore
Adonizedec king of Jerusalem,* sent unto Hoham king of Hebron, and unto Piram king of Jarmuth, and unto Japhia
king of Lachish, and unto Debir king of Eglon, four neigh4 bouring princes, saying, Come up unto me, and help me,
that we may smite Gibeon, Chastise the Gibeonites for their treachery in going to Joshua, and giving him possession of their strong and royal city : for it hath made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel, and thus at once adds to his
strength, tempts others to revolt, and gives him full informa$ tion of the state of all the country. 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 and went up, they, and all their
hosts, and encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it. 6 And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua to the camp to
Gilgal, saying, Slack not thy hand from thy servants, who have put ourselves under thy protection ; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us for all the kings of the Amorites
that dwell in the mountains are gathered together against us. ? So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he, and all the people of
war with him, and all the mighty men of valour; he resolutely undertook their defence, but first consulted God.
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. A sign that God was pleased with
their sparing the Gibeonites ; else he would not have prospered 9 them in fighting for their defence. Joshua therefore came
unto them suddenly, [and] went up from Gilgal all night.
* Adonizedec seems to have been the most active person, and the leader and commander of she expedition : his name signifies king of righteousness, the same as his predecessor Melchizedec, and he wao king of Salem.
The distance was about twenty miles, and coming upon them ung 10 expectedly, he threw them all into confusion. And the LORD
discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goeth up to Bethhoron, and smote them at Azekah, and unto
Makkedah. And to make this victory the more remarkable, 11 God wrought two miracles, And it came to pass, as they fled
from before Israel, [and] were in the going down to Bethho. ron, that the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon then unto Azekah, and they died : (they were] more which died with hailstones than (they] whom the children of Israel
slew with the sword.* 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, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. Joshua saw the con. fusion his enemies were in ; and he thought many would escape before they could be destroyed, or at least that they would reach the fenced cities ; and he felt a strong impulse upon his mind that God would work an extraordinary miracle in fạvour of Isa rael ; and therefore, in the presence of all the people, and at the
head of his army, he said, Sun, stand thou still, &c. This was 13 probably uttered about noon. And the sun stood still, and the
moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies.t [ls] not this written in the book of Jasher,
or, the upright ?! So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, 14 and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there
was no day like that before it or after it, in that climate, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man : for the LORD. fought for Israel, and did all this in answer to Joshua's prayer,
* An ingenious author has attempted to prove that these were real stones; but whether they were such, or only great hailstones, it was a very extraordinary providence that they should do such execution, and not hurt one of the Israelites, who might be mingled with the enemy, or at least very near them ; more especially when we consider that some filed to the north, and others to the south, according to the situation of the places to which they Red. But that related in v. 12. was a still greater miracle.
* Some suppose that this was no miracle at all, and that it is only a poetical phrase, to intimate that Joshua and the people did two days' work in one. Some Jewish writers say, there was an extraordinary twilight only, occasioned by a reflection from the hailstones; or that a luminous meteor was raised on this occasion. But these opinions are not worth a serious answer. The words themselves evidently declare it to be a real miracle, and that daylight continued, the sun appearing in the midst of heaven, as it did when Joshua uttered these words, see, Hab. iii. 11. To this there have been two objections made. 1. That the sun standing still, is directly contrary to the truest system of philosophy. To this it is suf. ficient to answer, that the historian wrote not philosophically, (had he done so he would not have been understood till, a few centuries ago) but according to common appearancese and vulgar apprehensions : when the motion of the earth ceased, the sun and moon would appear to stand still. It is objected, 2. Why do we not read of this in heathen writers? To this it is answered, there is no mention of any history before the Trojan war, which was Jong after Joshua's time. But there are ancient traces of this among the heathen. Herodotus mentions such a tradition among the Egyptians. Some of the pagan fables have an evident allusion to this. Phaeton's guiding the chariot of the sun, and lengthening the day, and who is supposed to have lived about Joshua's time, is a plain allusion to this. Above all, the records of China mention such a thing having happened in the reign of one of their emperors, who lived about the time of Joshua; a plain proof it was not a vapour or meteor, for then it could not have been se 1 in China.
A chronicle containing the memorable acts of God's people in those timer. See ? Sami. 18.