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mi, the son of Zebedias, of the tribe of Judah, || promised beforehand, they now saw unexpectwho, finding a royal garment woven entirely edly their enemies bold with success ; so they of gold,* and a piece of gold that weighed two put sackcloth over their garments, and conhundred shekels, † and thinking it a very hard tinued in tears and lamentation all the day, case that what spoils he, by running some ha- without the least inquiry after food, but laid zard, had found, he must give away, and offer what had happened greatly to heart. thern to God, who stood in no need of them, When Joshua saw the army so much afflictup therein, as supposing he should not only be to their whole expedition, he used freedom concealed from his fellow soldiers, but from with God, and said, “We are not come thus God also.
far out of any rashness of our own, as though Now the place where Joshua pitched his we thought ourselves able to subdue this land camp was called Gilgal,f which denotes liber- with our own weapons, but at the instigation ty:for since they had now passed over the of Moses thy servant, because thou hast proriver Jordan, they looked upon themselves as mised us, by many signs, that thou wouldst freed from the miseries which they had under-give us this land for a possession, and that thou gone from the Egyptians, and in the wilderness. wouldst make our army always superior in
A few days after the calamity that befell Je-war to our enemies, and accordingly some sucricho, Joshua sent three thousand armed men cess has already attended upon us, agreeably to take Ai, a city situate above Jericho ; but to thy promises; but because we have now unupon the fight of the people of Ai with them, expectedly been foiled, and have lost some men they were driven back, and lost thirty-six of out of our army, we are grieved at it, as feartheir men :// when this was told the Israelites, ing what thou hast promised us, and what Moit made them very sad, and exceeding discon- ses foretold us, cannot be depended on; and solate : not so much because of the relation our future expectation troubles us the more the men that were destroyed bare to them, because we have met with such a disaster in though those that were destroyed were all this first attempt. But do thou, O Lord, free good men, and deserved their esteem, as by the us from these suspicions, for thou art able to despair it occasioned; for while they believed find a cure for these disorders, by giving us that they were already in effect in the posses.victory, which will both take away the grief sion of the land, and should bring back the we are in at present, and prevent our distrust army out of the battle without loss, as Godhad | as to what is to come.”
common copies, but Achar, as bere in Josephus, and in Non ego prætulerim Babylonica picta superbe the Apostolic Constitutions, VII. 2. and elsewhere, is evi Texta, Semiramia quæ variantur acu. dent hy the allusion to that name in the curse of Joshua,
Mart. Ep. lib. 8. .54. Why hast thou troubled us? The Lord shall trouble Hæc mihi Memphitis tellus dat munera, victa est thee." Wbere the Hebrew words allude only to the name Pectini Niliaco jam Babylonis acus. Achar, but not to Achan; accordingly this valley of
Ibid. lib. 14. Achar, or Achor, was and is a known place, a little north with many more citations out of several other writers. of Gilgal, so called from the days of Joshua to this day. However this be, it is certain that the robe could not fail See Josb, vii, 24, 26. Is. Ixv. 10. Hos. ii. 15. and Dr. Ber. to be a very rich and splendid one, and therefore capti. nard's notes here.
vated either Achan's pride, or rather covetousness; since * In the original this robe is called a garment of Shi. his purpose seems to have been, not so much to wear it nar, i. e. of Babylon; and the general opinion is, that the himself, as to sell it for a large price; Bocbart's Phaleg. richness and excellency of it consisted not so much in the lib. 1. c. 9. Saurin, lib. 3. dissertation 3. B. stuff whereof it was made, as in the color whereof it was + Here Dr. Bernard justly observes, that a few words dyed, which most suppose to have been scarlet, a color are dropped out of Josephus's copies, on account of the in high esteem among the ancients, and for wbic h the Ba- repetition of the word shekels, and that it ought to be read bylonians were justly famous. Bochart, however, main- | thus, A piece of gold that weighed 50 shekels, and one of tains that the color of this robe was various, and not all silver, that weighed 200 shekels, as in our other copies, of one sort; that the scarlet color the Babylonians first || Josh. vii. 21. received from 'Tyre, but the party color, whether so woven Josh. v.9. or wrought with the needle, was of their own invention, Ś I agree with Dr. Bernard, and approve of Josephus's for which he produces many passages out of Heathen interpretation of Gilgal for liberty. authors. Such as,
|| Josh. vii. 5.
These intercessions Joshua put to God, as I believe he retired, and by that means drew he lay prostrate on his face ; whereupon God them a great way from the city, they still sopanswered him, that he should rise up, and pu- posing that they were pursuing their enemies, rify his host from the pollution which was got and despised them, as though the case had into it, for that consecrated things had been been the same with that in the former battle; impudently stolen, and that this was the occa- after which Joshua ordered his forces to turn sion why this defeat had happened to them; about, and placed them against their front. and that when they should search out and pu- He then made the signals agreed upon to those nish the offender, he would ever take care they that lay in ambush, and so excited them to should have the victories over their enemies. fight; so they ran suddenly into the city; the This Joshua told the people; and calling Elea- inhabitants being upon the walls, nay, others zar, the high-priest, and the men in authority, of them being in perplexity, and coming to he cast lots, tribe by tribe ; and when the lot see those that were without the gates. Acshewed that this wicked action was done by cordingly these men took the city, and slew one of the tribe of Judah, he then again pro- all they met with; but Joshua forced those posed the lot to the several families thereto that came against him to come to a close fight belonging, so it was found to belong to the and discomfited them, and made them ron family of Zachar; and when the inquiry was away; and when they were driven towards the made, man by man, they took Achar, who, city, and thought it had not been touched, as upon God's reducing him to a terrible extre-i soon as they saw it was taken, and perceived mity, could not deny the fact, but confessed it was burnt, with their wives and children, the theft, and produced what he had taken in they wandered about in the fields in a scatterthe midst of them; so this man was immedi-ed condition, and were no way able to defend ately put to death,* and attained no more than themselves, because they had none to support to be buried in the night, in a disgraceful them. Now when this calamity was come manner, and such as was suitable to a con- upon the men of Ai, there were a great num; demned malefactor.
ber of children, and women, and servants, and When Joshua had thus purified the host, he an immense quantity of furniture. The Heled them against Ai; and having by night laid brews also took herds of cattle, and a great an ambush round about the city, he attacked deal of money, for this was a rich country: the enemies as soon as it was day; but as they so when Joshua came to Gilgal, he divided all advanced boldly against the Israelites, be- these spoils among the soldiers. cause of their former victory, he made them But the Gibeonites, † who inhabited very
* Josh. vii. 25. Since the law against sacrilege con disarmed him that he is no more able to rebel against demns transgressors to the flames, and God commanded him 7" But the opinion of this great man seems to be a the person here guilty to be burnt accordingly, Josh. little erroneous in this case. Had the Israelites, indeed, vii. 18. the Jews affirm that Achar was actually burnt: been a pack of coinmun murderers, who, without any como and whereas it is said in the text that he was stonell, they mission from Heaven, were carrying blood and desolation think that this was done, not judicially, but accidentally, into countries where they had no right; or had the Gibeby the people, who were so highly provoked, that they onites been ignorant that a miraculous Providence concould not forbear casting stones at him as he was led to ducted these conquerors; the fraud which they here put execution. Vid. Munst. on Joshua vii. B.
upon them might be then deemed innocent. For there is no + It is a question among the casuists, whether the Gi law that obliges us, under the pretence of sincerity, to beunites could, with a good conscience, pretend that they submit to such incendiaries, and merciless usurpers, as are were foreigners, and tell a lie to save their lives? And for setting fire to our cities, and putting is and our famito this Puffendorf (Droit de la Nature, lib. 4. c. 2.) thus lies to the edge of the sword. But ihe case of the Gibereplies, " The artifice of the Gibeonites,” says be, « had onites was particular; and if in other things they went noihing blameable in it, nor does it properly deserve the contrary to the truth, in this they certainly adhered to it, name of a lie; for what crime is there in any one's mak- when they told Joshua, We are come, because of ibe name ing use of an innocent fiction, in order to elude the fury of the Lord thy God, for we have heard of the fame of him, of an enemy that would destroy all before them? Nor did and all he did in Egypt, and all that he did to the two kings the Israelites, indeed, properly receive any damage from of the Amories that were beyond Jordan, &c. Josh. ix. 9, This imposture ; for what does any one lose in not shedding 10. The idea which they had conceived of the God of the blood of another, when he has it in his power to take Israel should have put theni upon some other expedient from him all his substance, after having so weakened and than that of lying and deceit. They should have inquis
near to Jerusalem, when they saw what mi- li gift to them, they were to have the possession
for the siege, they called upon Joshua to assist || fell upon the enemies as they were going up them; for such was their case, as to expect to the siege ; and when he had discomfited to be destroyed by these Canaanites, but to them, he followed and pursued them down suppose that they should be saved by those that the descent of the bills. The place is called came for the destruction of the Canaanites, Beth-horon, where he also understood that because of the league of friendship that was God assisted bim, which be declared by thunbetween them. Accordingly Joshua hastened der and thunderbolts, as also by the falling of with his whole army to assist them; and, hail * larger than usual. Moreover it hapmarching day and night, in the morning he pened that the day was lengthened,t that the
* Josh. 8. 11.
of Joshua, the most learned astronomers had no notion of + This miracle is thus related in Holy Writ: “ Joshua the improvements which our modern professors have since said, in the sight of all Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon | attained to. They never once dreamed of the earth's roGibeon, and thou Moon in the valley of Ajalon : and the tation upon its own axis; but, according to common apsun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had pearance, were fully persuaded that the sun and moon avenged themselves of their enemies. Is not this written had their respective courses. Upon this supposition they in the book of Jasher ? So the sun stood still in the midst formed their schemes, and thought themselves able to anof heaven, and hastened not to go down about a whole swer every phenomenon by them. jAnd therefore, if God day: and there was no day like that, before it or after it, had promoted Joshua to desire the prolongation of the day that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man; for the in a manner more agreeable to our new astronomy, or to Lord fought for Israel.' (Josh. x. 12, &c.) Now for record the miracle in terms more suitable to it, this would the better understanding of these words, we must ob have been a plain contrariety to all the rules of science serve,
then in use. The people who heard him utter the words, I. That nothing is more common in Scripture than to Earth, rest upon thy axis, would have thought him disexpress things, not according to the strict rules of philo. tracted; and those who read his account of what had hapsophy, but according to their appearances, and the vulgar pened, if related in suitable expressions, would have deapprehension concerning them. The sun and moon, for cried it as false in fact, or passed it by with coatempt and instance, are called two great lights; (Gen. i. 16.) but, disregard, as a wild fancy or blunder of his own. however that title may agree with the sun, it is plain that II. In relation to the places over which the two heavenly the moon is but a small body, the least that has yet been bodies were to stand, the sun over Gibeon and the moon discovered in the planetary system; and that it has no over the valley Ajalon, we must observe, that (even upon light at all, but what it borrows, and reflects from the the supposition of the sun's motion) the Jewish general rays of the sun; and yet, because it is placed near us, it cannot be thought to speak in a proper and philosophical appears to us larger than other heavenly luminaries; and sense. For since the sun is almost a million of times bigger from that appearance the Holy Scriptures give it such an tban the earth, and 95 millions of miles distant from it, to appellation.
justify the strict sense of the words, a line drawn from the And in like manner, because the sun seems to us to move, centre of the sun to that of the earth must exactly pass and the earth to be at rest, the Scriptures speak a great deal by Gibeon, which we know it cannot do, because no part of the pillars, and basis, and foundations, of the earth, and of the Holy Land lies within the tropics: and therefore of the sun's rejoicing, like a giant, to run its race, (Psalm we must conclude that Joshua here speaks according to xix. 5.) and of his arising, and going down, and hasting the outward appearance of things, which makes the sense to the place where it arose, &c. (Eccles. i. 5.) Whereas of his words plain and intelligible. it is certain, that if the sun were made to revolve round Wherever we are, (if so be we are not hindered by obabout the earth, the general law of nature would thereby jects immediately surrounding us,) we can cast our eye be violated; the harmony and proportion of the heavenly upon part of the surface of the earth, and at the same bodies destroyed; and no small confusion and disorder time take into our prospect some small extent of the firmabrought into the frame of the universe: but, on the con ment of heaven, which seems as it were to cover the trary, if the earth turned upon its own axis every day, be other; and each celestial body, which we perceive in this made to go round the sun in the space of a year, it will extent above, appears to us to be directly over such and then perform its circulation, according to the same law such part of the earth as we alternately turn our eyes-to: which the other planets observe; and, without the least and it is thus, thật the sun, when Joshua spake, seemed to exception, there will be a most beautiful order and har him, and to those that were with him, to be over Gibeon, mony of motions every where preserved through the and the moon to be over the valley of Ajalon. This valley, whole frame of nature. As therefore the Scriptures were in all likelihood, took its name from some adjacent town; designed to teach us the art of holy living, and not to in- but then, as there are three Ajalons mentioned in Scripture, struct us in the rudiments of natural knowledge, it can be one in the tribe of Ephraim, (1 Chron. vi. 69.) another deemned no diminution either to their perfection, or divine in Zebulun, (Judg. xii. 12.) and another in Dan, (Josh. authority, that they generally speak according to the xix. 42.) it is reasonable to think that the place here common' appearance of things, and not according to their spoken of was in Dan, the most remule province in reality or philosophiç truth. The plain matter of fact is, Gibeon; for we must suppose that these two places were that in the early ages, both before, and long after, the days at some considerable distance, otherwise Joshua could not
night might not come on too soon, and be an ites; and those Canaanites that dwelt in the obstruction to the zeal of the Hebrews in pur- plain country, with auxiliaries out of the land suing their enemies, insomuch that Joshua of the Philistines; pitched their camp at Betook the kings, who were hidden in a certain roth, a city of the Upper Galilee, not far from cave at Makkedah, and put them to death. Cadesh; which is itself also a place in GaliNow that the day was lengthened at this time, lee. The number of the whole army was three and was longer than ordinary, is expressed in hundred thousand armed footmen, ten thouthe books laid up in the temple.
sand horsemen, and twenty thousand chariots. These kings who made war with, and were so that the multitude of the enemies alarmed ready to fight, the Gibeonites, being thus over-both Joshua himself, and the Israelites; and thrown, Joshua returned again to the moun. they, instead of being full of hope of success, tainous parts of Canaan. And when he made were superstitiously timorous, with the great a great slaughter of the people there, and terror with wbich they were stricken. Wheretook their prey, he came to the camp at Gil-upon God npbraided them with the fear they
And now there went a great fame were in ; and asked them, whether they desired abroad
among the neighboring people of the || a greater help than he could afford them ? courage of the Hebrews; and those that heard and promised them that they should overcome what a number of men were destroyed were their enemies; withal charging them to make greatly affrighted at it.
at it. So the kings that their enemies' horses useless, and to burn their lived about mount Libanus, who were Canaan- chariots. So Joshua became full of courage
see the sun and moon both appear at the same time, as it much better grace, have attributed the extraordinary is probable they were both in his eye when he uttered | length of this day to the refraction of its rays from the these words.
clouds, which at that time were loaded with hail; (Tract. III. In relation to the time when this miracle began, and Theol. Politic, c. 2,) or Peirerius to some aurora borealis, how long it lasted, the Scripture's expression is, that the or parhelium, which, after the setting of the sun, might sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go appear about the territories of Gibeon, and so be mistaken down about a whole day; which words can import no less for the sun's standing still: but now, by fixing it in its than that the sun stood still in the meridian, or much about | meridian point, all these cavils are effectually silenced; noon, and that in this position it continued for the space. (Prædam. lib. 4. c. 6,) and God, no doubt, who heard him of a civil or artificial day, i. e. for twelve hours. But so readily, (Calmet's Disser. sur le Commandement, &c.) Maimonides is of opinion, (More Nevoch. part ii. chap. inspired the Hebrew general with that wish or prayer, 39.) and in this he is followed by some Cbristian writers, which otherwise perhaps would never have come into his (Grotius and Masius, in locum,) that there was no such head. Keil's Astronomical Lectures. cessation of the sun and moon's motion, but that the whole Besides this general argument of Mr. Keil's, Mr. Whispurport of the miracle was this :- That God, at Joshua's ton has one, which he accounts no less than a demonstrarequest, granted him and his soldiers such a degree of tion: . If the earth,' says he, ' have an annual revolution spirits, activity, and dispatch, as enabled them to gain a about the sun, it must affect the apparent motion of all the complete victory, and do as much execution in one day as other planets and comets; and notwithstanding the regumight otherwise have taken up two :' but this is a con larity of their several motions in their own orbits, must struction so repugnant to the genuine sense of the words render these regular motions, to us, as living upon the as to need no formal confutation.
moving earth, sometimes direct, and that swiftly and There is something more, however, to be said to the slowly; sometimes stationary, and sometimes retrograde, notion of other learned men, who, with regard to the time and that swiftly or slowly also; and all this, at such certain when Joshua. might send up his request, and the miracle | periods, in such certain places, for such certain durations, begin, think it more probable that he should pray and according to such certain circumstances, (as geometry longer day, when he perceived the sun just going to leave | and arithmetic will certainly determine,) and pot otherhim, than when it was in its height. But Joshua, no wise. Now that this is the real case in fact, and that doubt, had reasons for what he did. He was an old expe- every one of these particulars are true in the astronomical rienced general, eager for a complete victory, and able to world, all that are skilful in that science do freely confess, compute what time it would take to achieve it: so that his even those who do not think fit to declare openly for this fear of losing any part of the present advantage might | annual revolution of the earth, which yet is the natural make him pray that the day might be thus prolonged, and certain consequence of that concession: Whiston's until he had obtained the whole. If the sun in its declen- || Astron. Princ. of Relig. The reader that is desirous to sion had stopped its course it might have answered his know more, both of the annual and diurnal inotion of the purpose perhaps; but then it had given a juster handle to earth, may consult Mr. Derham’s Prelim. Diss. to his the suggestions of those who would deny the whole merit Astro-Theol. B. of the miracle. For, if the retardation of the sun had not happened until it was going to set, Spinosa might, with a
* Josh. x. 15.