(Verses 1 through 9) Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that I have given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so will I be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses My servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and be of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
After the LORD had given the children of Israel sufficient time for mourning the death of Moses, He spoke to Joshua, and told him that it was now time for him to take up the reins of leadership of the Israelites, and lead them across Jordan to begin taking possession of the land of Canaan, which He had sworn to give to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their seed after them. He gave Joshua encouragement, by promising that just as He had been with Moses, so would He be with Joshua, and the children of Israel. He promised that no man would be able to stand against Joshua, and that He would give him and Israel “every place that the sole of thy foot shall tread upon.” He cautioned Joshua that he must “observe to do according to all the law, which Moses My servant commanded thee.” He was not to deviate therefrom in any direction. He instructs Joshua to memorize the entire book of this law, and to meditate therein both day and night. Not only was he to thus study this law, but also to constantly obey it. Thus his way, and that of Israel would always be prosperous. Finally, He says, “For the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” He would never be alone.
(Verses 10 through 15) Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God giveth you to possess it. And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua, saying, Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, The LORD your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land. Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them; Until the LORD have given your brethren rest, as He hath given you, and they also have possessed the land which the LORD your God giveth them: then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses the LORD’S servant gave you on this side Jordan toward the sunrising.
After the LORD finished talking with him, Joshua commanded all the officers of the people to pass through the host, and alert the people to the fact that in three days they would be going across Jordan to begin possessing the land of Canaan. Then he told the two and one half tribes who had received their inheritance on the near side of Jordan that, as they had previously agreed, they were to have all their warriors go armed before their brethren, the remainder of the children of Israel, and help them take possession of the Promised Land, after which they could return to their possessions which had already been given them. While they were going with the others to war, their wives, their children, and their cattle, would all remain in the land that had already been given to them.
(Verses 16 through 18) And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go. According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the LORD thy God be with thee, as He was with Moses. Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of good courage.
All the soldiers of the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, declared unto Joshua that they would do whatsoever he commanded them, just as they had promised Moses. They further, declared the death sentence upon anyone who refused to obey Joshua’s orders. They also prayed that the LORD God of Joshua be with him, as He had been with Moses.
(Verses 1 through 7) And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there. And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to-night of the children of Israel to search out the country. And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country. And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were: and it came to pass about the shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them. But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof. The men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out they shut the gate.
Joshua sent out two men to spy out the land, and see what would be the best way to attack Jericho. It happened that these men came to a house in Jericho which was the home of a woman named Rahab, who took them in. At that time someone told the king of Jericho that these men had come to her house, and that their purpose was to spy out the land. He then sent messengers to Rahab to demand that she send the men to him. Instead of doing as the king had commanded her, Rahab hid the men, and told the messengers that they had stopped there, but had already gone. And she urged the messengers to follow after them, saying that, they would surely overtake them. Many houses in that day were built with flat tops upon which people often stored things, and even carried on the daily activities of living. That is where she hid the men, under some stalks of flax. When the men who were seeking the spies went out to seek them the gates of the city were shut.
(Verses 8 through 13) And before they were laid down, she came up to them upon the roof; and she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token: and that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.
Before the spies lay down to go to sleep, Rahab came up to them, and explained why she had concealed them. It was because she had been made to know that the LORD had given the land to the Israelites, and she had heard what the LORD had done for them at the Red sea, as well as what they had done to Sihon and Og, and their people. She wanted to make an agreement with them, that since she had saved their lives, they would also save the lives of her and her family, which seems a reasonable exchange.
(Verses 14 through 22) And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the LORD hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee. Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall. And she said, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you, and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way. And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear. Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee. And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood will be on our head, if any hand be upon him. And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us swear. And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window.
The spies agreed to what Rahab had asked them to do, and she let them down from a window by a cord. As was true of many houses in those days, hers was built upon the wall of the city, and her manner of helping them escape was a fairly common manner of moving people, or goods, in and out of the city secretly. She advised them to get to the mountain, and hide for three days to let the hunt for them die down, and then they could return to their people. They told her that for the plan they had agreed to work, it must have some means of security for all concerned. So they told her to attach to the window the scarlet line, by which they had been let down. Then when they came back to attack the city, she was to have all those for whom she had asked mercy come home with her, and remain in the house with her. Anyone who did not remain in the house would be responsible for whatever befell him. But they would take the responsibility for all in the house. And to this she agreed. So she fastened the scarlet line in the window.
(Verses 22 through 24) And they went, and came unto the mountain, and abode there three days, until the pursuers were returned: and the pursuers sought them throughout all the way, but found them not. So the two men returned, and descended the mountain, and passed over, and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and told him all things that befell them: and they said unto Joshua, Truly the LORD hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us.
This all seems clear enough. The spies returned to Joshua, and reported the situation as they had found it. And seemingly their confidence was very high concerning the LORD’S promise to deliver the land to them.
(Verses 1 through 6) And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over. And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host; and they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore. And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you. And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.
The next morning Joshua and all the children of Israel got up early, left the camp where they had been, and moved on to the river Jordan. There they stopped, and remained for three days. Then the officers of the people went among them, and gave them instructions for their next move. They ordered the people to wait until they saw the Levites bringing the ark of the covenant. Then they were to follow after it, leaving a space of about two thousand cubits between it and themselves. It was to lead the way because they had never been this way before. Joshua commanded the people to sanctify themselves, for the LORD was going to work some wonderful works for them on this day. He then commanded the priests to take up the ark of the covenant, and go before the people, which they did.
(Verses 7 through 13) And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so will I be with thee. And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan. And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the LORD your God. And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites. Behold, the ark of the covenant of the LORD of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan, Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man. And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the LORD of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above, and they shall stand upon an heap.
The LORD told Joshua that He was about to begin to magnify him in the sight of the children of Israel. And He instructed Joshua what he must do. The first thing he was to do was to command the priests who were bearing the ark, that when they walked into the edge of the water, they were to stop, and stand still in the water. He then called the children of Israel to come near to observe what the LORD was going to do to show them that He was with them, and would be with them, and would surely drive out these seven heathen nations before them. Then he commanded them to choose twelve men, one from each tribe of Israel, to be ready for a work of which he does not at this moment tell them. Then he tells them, “As soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the LORD of the whole earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above, and they shall stand upon a heap.” This seems a clear enough description of what is to take place.
(Verses 14 through 17) And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people; and as they that bare the ark were come into Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest.) That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho. And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.
No doubt one would consider this miracle as almost, if not altogether as great as that of the dividing of the Red sea when the children of Israel passed through it. Certainly this should convince the Israelites that the LORD was with Joshua, just as He had been with Moses. There are many who argue that this never took place: but there are also many that argue that God did not create the world. But the fact remains that the world is here, and also the Israelites crossed the Jordan river during its flood season. I much prefer to take the LORD’S explanation of both matters than that of men.
(Verses 1 through 9) And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying, Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man, and command ye them, saying, take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night. Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man: and Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take you up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: that this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever. And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the LORD spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there. And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day.
The priests that carried the ark stood still until all the children of Israel had passed over Jordan. Then the LORD commanded Joshua to have the twelve men he had already chosen to take twelve stones from the bed of the river where these priests had stood, and bring them to the place where they were going to lodge that night. These stones were to be for a memorial that should stand as a witness of the miracle the LORD had wrought in stopping the river that they might go over dry shod. In the future, when any of their descendants asked what was the meaning of these stones, the story was to be repeated to them that they might know about the almighty power of the LORD. Also, as the LORD had commanded him, Joshua “set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood.” He declares that at the time of this writing those stones were still there.
(Verses 10 through 13) For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until everything was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: and the people hasted and passed over. And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over, that the ark of the LORD passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people. And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses spake unto them. About forty thousand prepared for war passed over before the LORD unto battle, to the plains of Jericho.
The priests who were carrying the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until all these things were finished. The armies of the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, about forty thousand strong, marched over before the remainder of the children of Israel, as Moses had previously told them that they should. And they thus came into the plains of Jericho.
(Verses 14 through 18) On that day the LORD magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life. And the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying, Command the priests that bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan. Joshua therefore commanded the priests, saying, Come ye up out of Jordan. And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as it did before.
This great miracle that the Lord wrought, of stopping the flow of Jordan to give passage to the children of Israel, greatly elevated Joshua in the eyes of the people, so that they feared him all his life, as they had feared Moses. Now the LORD told Joshua to command the priests who were bearing the ark of the covenant to come up out of Jordan, which he did. And as soon as they were on dry land, the river returned to its normal flow, which at this season, was to overflow all its banks.
(Verses 19 through 24) And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho. And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal. And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which He dried up from before us, until we were gone over: that all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.
This crossing of the Jordan was accomplished on the tenth day of the first month. That is, the month Abib. And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, where Joshua left the stones they had taken from the midst of Jordan, even as the LORD had commanded him. Then he reminded the children of Israel that when their children might in years to come , ask the meaning of these stones, they should tell them of the miraculous crossing of the Jordan that the LORD had wrought for them; that this record of the LORD’S work might be known by people of all the earth, and that the children of Israel might fear Him for ever.
(Verse 1) And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel.
Certainly the report of such a miracle as God had wrought here would spread rapidly around the area: and this one did. And it caused great fear on all the people who felt that they were next in line to have to face the children of Israel. However brave they may have been in times passed, all their courage was completely gone because of this great miracle.
(Verses 2 through 9) At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time. And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt. Now all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised. For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that He would not shew them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that He would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey. And their children, whom He raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way. And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole. And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day.
Since on the march through the wilderness the children of Israel had not taken time to circumcise their male babies that were born unto them during that time, the LORD commanded Joshua to make preparations for, and execute this rite. After this operation, the children of Israel remained in camp until they had healed. And the LORD declared to Joshua, “This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you.” And since “Gilgal” means “rolling away,” they called the name of the place, Gilgal.
(Verses 10 through 12) And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho. And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the Passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day. And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna anymore; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.
The children of Israel remained in this location, until after the fourteenth day of the month: and on that day, as the LORD had commanded, they kept the Passover. On the next day, they ate of the “old corn of the land,” that is, that which had grown in the land of Canaan. And on that day the manna was stopped, and they were given no more of it; but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan.
(Verses 13 through 15) And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.
Certainly there can be no need for any explanation of this, seeing that it so clearly set forth. The LORD has appeared to Joshua in the likeness of a man, who is to be the captain of His host. How then can they fail?
(Verses 1 through 5) Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valor. And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with their trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.
The city of Jericho was tightly shut up because of the children of Israel. This is one of the ancient cities that was well protected by a great wall. Some geologists that have been in the excavation of the ruins of this city have reported that these walls were as much as fifteen feet thick, and tall enough that it would have been very difficult, if not impossible to climb over them. But the LORD gave Joshua commandment as to what strategy he should use to breach these walls. Without repeating all the details of this commandment, we would be forced to say that, although many great minds have studied the ruins of this city to try to discover just how this attack must have been made, according to their rules of warfare, and have found it impossible to explain, which brings them back to the conclusion that the LORD must have wrought another mighty miracle in this battle. And, of course that is exactly what was done, as we are here told. They admit that this wall did simply fall down flat, just as the LORD declared it would.
(Verses 6 through 8) And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said unto them, Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD. And he said unto the people, Pass on, and compass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the LORD. And it came to pass, when Joshua had spoken unto the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns passed on before the LORD, and blew with the trumpets: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them.
Thus Joshua had the people follow the instructions the LORD had given him concerning their siege of the city.
(Verses 9 through 16) And the armed men went before the priests that blew with the trumpets: and the rereward came after the ark, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets. And Joshua commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout. So the ark of the LORD compassed the city, going about it once: and they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp. And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD. And seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams’ horns went on continually, and blew with the trumpets: and the armed men went before them; but the rereward came after the ark of the LORD, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets. And the second day they compassed the city once, and returned into the camp: so they did six days. And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose up early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.
Thus Joshua had the people do exactly as he had been commanded of the LORD. For six days they circled the city once each day, and retired to their encampment. Then, on the seventh day they went around the city seven times, and at the end of the seventh time, Joshua commanded the people to shout, because the LORD had given them the city.
(Verses 17 through 21) And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD. So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people herd the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.
As Joshua continues his speech to the people, we should carefully notice that he cautions them that everything of this city is “accursed.” In the case of attacking a city, and giving orders that everything in it is accursed, the meaning is that nothing is to be spared at all, but it must be utterly destroyed. Soldiers were often allowed to plunder a city which they had taken; but they were in no case permitted to take any prey of anything that was declared accursed. And neither was any accursed thing, whether animate, or inanimate, to be allowed to escape. There was, in this case an exception made concerning Rahab and those who were in the house with her, for the sake of the spies she had helped to get away from the people of the city. But no other exceptions were to be made at all. The people were especially commanded to not take anything of the city for themselves, for that would bring a curse upon the camp of Israel. Whatever gold, silver, or vessels of brass and iron there might be were to be taken, and put into the treasury of the LORD. Then the people shouted as Joshua commanded them, and the walls of the city fell down flat, just as the LORD had said they would. So they took the city, and put all the people, except Rahab and those with her, and all the livestock, to the sword.
(Verses 22 through 25) But Joshua said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot’s house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye sware unto her. And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel. And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and iron, they put into the treasury of the LORD. And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.
Joshua had the men who had been sent to spy out Jericho to go into Rahab’s house, and bring out her, and all her kindred that were in the house with her, together with all she had in the house, and take her to the camp of Israel, and leave her there while the city was burned to the ground. And because Rahab had hidden the spies Joshua had sent to Jericho, she was given permanent residence in Israel. All the silver, and gold, and the vessels of brass and iron that were in the city were taken, and put in the treasury of the LORD.
(Verses 26 and 27) And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it. So the LORD was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country.
To show their hatred for the city of Jericho, and although nothing is mentioned about such, no doubt, by the commandment of the LORD, Joshua declared a curse upon the man that should dare to re-build Jericho. And Joshua’s reputation spread abroad over the surrounding country.
(Verses 1 through 5) But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel. And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth-aven, on the east side of Beth-el, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai. And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few. So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.
Without the knowledge of Joshua, one of the soldiers, Achan by name, took something of the spoil of Jericho for himself, which, of course, aroused the anger of the LORD against Israel. Since he was not aware of this, Joshua began preparations for taking Ai, another city of the area. First he sent spies to look over the situation: and they returned with a report that only about two or three thousand men would be sufficient to take the city. Accordingly, Joshua sent only about three thousand men against the city. But the people of Ai were too strong for them, and chased them all the way to a place called Shebarim, while killing thirty six of them. This indeed demoralized the children of Israel.
(Verses 6 through 9) And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads. And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord GOD, wherefore hast Thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan! O LORD, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies! For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt Thou do unto Thy great name?
This disaster caused great disappointment, not only to the people of Israel, but especially to Joshua and the elders, because of it they fell down before the ark of the LORD, and Joshua began praying to the LORD concerning the matter. He was not aware of the sin of Achan; so he asked the LORD why He had permitted the Israelites to be overcome by their enemies. He even began wishing that they had not ever crossed Jordan, thinking that they would have been better off to have remained on the other side. He questioned what the report of this terrible defeat would do, so far as the view of the nations round about were concerned, to the reputation of the LORD.
(Verses 10 through 15) And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow; for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you. In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe which the LORD taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the LORD shall take, shall come by households; and the household which the LORD shall take shall come man by man. And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel.
The LORD answered Joshua concerning this matter. The reason why Israel could not stand before her enemies is that there is a terrible sin in Israel. From this we should readily recognize that, even in the church today, when one member transgresses the commandment of God, it weakens the whole church until the matter is resolved according to the word of the LORD. In this matter the LORD told Joshua exactly what to do about it. Notice that He did not just point out the man to Joshua, and tell him to execute the man. Instead, He told him a step by step method of making a public inquiry into the matter. The whole assembly was to gather before the LORD. Then the lot of the LORD would be cast: first; tribe by tribe; then , family by family, next; household by household, and finally; man by man. That is, a thorough investigation must be made of the matter. The casting of the lot was the common manner of deciding many things. Since it was the manner He chose, no doubt, He would control the lot: and it would give a just verdict. We today, usually, let everyone vote on a matter, which is, in reality, very little different from the casting of lots, in that the LORD can control the casting of lots as easily as He can control the vote. After all the mind of man is not to be relied upon any more that the casting of lots. If the LORD is truly in the matter, He will cause the lot to fall in the way of truth. At the same time, if He is the one who moves the mind of the one who is voting on the matter, the vote will be true and right. And it is obvious in any matter of voting that all minds are not necessarily moved by Him. If they were, the vote would always be unanimous, which is seldom the case. In this matter, the man that is found guilty must be put to death by burning, and all that pertained to him must also be burned.
(Verses 16 through 21) So Joshua rose up early in the morning, and brought Israel by their tribes; and the tribe of Judah was taken: and he brought the family of Judah; and he took the family of the Zarhites: and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man: and Zabdi was taken: and he brought his household man by man; and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah was taken. And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto Him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me. And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: when I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.
So, early the next morning Joshua began the process of elimination the LORD had commanded him: and through it, he came to Achan the son of Carmi. When this had been accomplished, he called upon Achan to make confession, and tell him what he had done that brought such a defeat upon Israel. This Achan did, and also told Joshua where to find the things he had appropriated unto himself.
(Verses 22 through 26) So Joshua sent messengers and they ran unto the tent, and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it. And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD. And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of His anger. Wherefore the name of that place is called The valley of Achor, unto this day.
When the messengers Joshua sent to Achan’s tent had come back with the evidence of Achan’s guilt, Joshua and all Israel took Achan, his wife and children, and all that he owned, down to the valley of Achor. There Joshua said unto him, “Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day.” And the whole congregation stoned him and his family with stones until they were dead, and then burned them, and all his possessions with fire. Then they piled upon them a great heap of stones. And for this they named the place Achor. (The name Achan means, “he that troubles, and bruises,” while the name Achor, simply means “trouble.”) The execution of Achan turned away the wrath of the LORD from Israel.
(Verses 1 through 8) And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people with thee, and arise, and go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land: and thou shalt do to Ai and her king as thou didst unto Jericho and her king: only the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves: lay thee an ambush for the city behind it. So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up against Ai: and Joshua chose out thirty thousand mighty men of valour, and sent them away by night. And he commanded them, saying, Behold, ye shall lie in wait against the city, even behind the city: go not very far from the city, but be ye all ready. And I, and all the people that are with me, will approach unto the city: and it shall come to pass, when they come out against us, as at the first, that we will flee before them, (for they will come out after us) till we have drawn them from the city; for they will say, They flee before us, as at the first: therefore we will flee before them. Then ye shall rise up from the ambush, and seize upon the city: for the LORD your God will deliver it into your hand. And it shall be, when ye have taken the city, that ye shall set the city on fire: according to the commandment of the LORD shall ye do. See, I have commanded you.
The LORD instructed Joshua how to set up his attack on the city of Ai. So, accordingly, Joshua sent by night an army of thirty thousand to set up an ambush behind the city that when he and the remainder of the army went against the city in the morning, and by pretending to be driven away by the people of Ai, thus leading the people of Ai out and away from the city, they might rise up, and take the city. And when they had taken it, they were to set the whole city on fire.
(Verses 9 through 13) Joshua therefore sent them forth: and they went to lie in ambush, and abode between Beth-el and Ai, on the west side of Ai: but Joshua lodged that night among the people. And Joshua rose up early in the morning, and numbered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai. And all the people, even all the people of war that were with him, went up, and drew nigh, and came before the city, and pitched on the north side of Ai: now there was a valley between them and Ai. And he took about five thousand men, and set them to lie in ambush between Beth-el and Ai, on the west side of the city. And when they had set the people, even all the host that was on the north side, and their liers in wait on the west of the city, Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley.
Thus Joshua set all his soldiers in array for the battle against the city Ai. He had two different groups lying in ambush against the city, in addition to the army that was to make the feigned frontal attack to bring the inhabitants of Ai out of the city so that those in ambush might without opposition enter and take the city. Having completed all his arrangements, Joshua went during the night into the midst of the valley that was before Ai. Thus he had the stage set for the battle.
(Verses 14 through 19) And it came to pass, when the king of Ai saw it, that they hasted and rose up early, and the men of the city went out against Israel to battle, he and all his people, at a time appointed, before the plain; but he wist not that there were liers in ambush against him behind the city. And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by way of the wilderness. And all the people that were in Ai were called together to pursue after them: and they pursued after Joshua, and were drawn away from the city. And there was not a man left in Ai or Beth-el, that went not out after Israel. And the LORD said unto Joshua, Stretch out thy spear that is in thy hand toward Ai; for I will give it into thine hand. And Joshua stretched out the spear that he had in his hand toward the city. And the ambush arose quickly out of their place, and they ran as soon as he stretched out his hand: and they entered into the city, and took it, and hasted and set the city on fire.
Thus the battle plan worked exactly as it was planned. All the men of the city were drawn out of the city to join in the pursuit of Israel. Then, at the command of the LORD, Joshua stretched out his spear as a signal to those who were waiting in ambush, and they immediately rose up, entered, and took the city, and set it on fire.
(Verses 20 through 24) And when the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and behold, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that way: and the people that fled to the wilderness turned back upon the pursuers. And when Joshua and all Israel saw the ambush had taken the city, and that the smoke of the city ascended, then they turned again, and slew the men of Ai. And the other issued out of the city against them; so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side: and they let none of them remain or escape. And the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him to Joshua. And it came to pass, when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness wherein they chased them, and when they were all fallen on the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned to Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword.
When the men of Ai discovered that the Israelites had tricked them, and had taken and burned the city, they lost all their courage and all their fighting ability. Then the Israelites who had fled before them turned back upon them, and completely destroyed them. This was a battle in which the Israelites had no intention of taking captives, but only of completely annihilating the enemy. Today there seems to be in most armies a great reluctance to commit genocide, or ethnic cleansing, but that was “the order of the day” for Israel in most of her battles. The LORD had commanded them to completely obliterate certain cities and nations against which they were to make war. In this instance, they did take the king of Ai alive, and brought him to Joshua. But they spared none else.
(Verses 25 through 29) And so it was that all that fell that day, both of men and women, were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai. For Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched out his spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. Only the cattle and the spoil of the city Israel took for a prey unto themselves, according unto the word of the LORD which He commanded Joshua. And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it an heap for ever, even a desolation unto this day. And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase down from the tree, and cast it in at the entering of the gate of the city, and raise thereon a great heap of stones, that remaineth unto this day.
Notice is to be taken that although an exact account is given of the number of the inhabitants of Ai that were slain, nothing is ever said about any casualties among the Israelites. Apparently, the LORD protected all the children of Israel. It is also noteworthy that in speaking of the disposal of the body of the king of Ai, it is said, “Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase down from the tree.” The use of “carcase” instead of “body” seems to indicate that his remains were considered more as the remains of an animal than of a human being. However, instead of burning it, they buried it under a huge heap of stones. The clause, “that remaineth unto this day,” might not indicate that it is still there, but that so far as they are concerned, it does: they never moved it.
(Verses 30 and 31) Then Joshua built an altar unto the LORD God of Israel in mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the LORD commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings.
After this battle, Joshua took , as we would say, time out, to build an altar unto the LORD God on the top of mount Ebal. And he made sure that it was built as Moses had commanded. It was made of whole stones, and care was taken that no iron tool was used in building it. Then the Israelites offered burnt offerings and peace offerings upon it according to the word of the LORD.
(Verses 32 through 35) And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel. And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel. And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.
Moses, before his death, had commanded Israel to “set up great stones,” and plaster them, and write upon them all the words of this law. So Joshua now fulfills this, and goes through all the ceremony that Moses had commanded, reading all this law publicly to the children of Israel. He read all the blessings and the cursings that were written therein, omitting no word thereof. At this reading were not only the men of Israel, but also the women and children, and also even the strangers that dwelt among them. So all the official ceremony of entering into the land was fulfilled.
(Verses 1 and 2) And it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side Jordan, in the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof; that they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord.
When all these nations, (not great nations of millions of people, as we usually think of nations today, but, actually, tribes , with numbers more in line with those of the Indian tribes of this continent when the white settlers arrived here,) heard how Israel had completely destroyed the people of Ai, they joined together for their mutual protection, and prepared to fight Joshua and the children of Israel.
(Verses 3 through 15) And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai, they did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up; and old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy. And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now make ye a league with us. and the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you? And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? And from whence come ye? And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of Him, and all that He did in Egypt, and all that He did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, which was at Ashtaroth. Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake unto us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us. This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto 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 are become old by reason of the very long journey. And the men took of their victuals, and 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 them.
This is a somewhat long text. But it simply states that the inhabitants of Gibeon, a city in that area, sent messengers to Joshua, pretending to be from a country very far away, carrying false evidence of the distance they had come, and tricked him and the princes of Israel into making a league with them, and allowing them and their people to live. This they did by not seeking counsel from the LORD, as they should have done. This should be a lesson to us, teaching us to never depend upon our own “wisdom” in making grave decisions, but to pray that the LORD will give us the right answers to all our problems. For He alone is truly wise.
(Verses 16 through 21) 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 their neighbours, and that they dwelt among them. And the children of Israel journeyed, and came unto their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, and Chephirah, 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. But all the princes said unto the congregation, We have sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel: now therefore we may not touch them. This we will do unto them; we will even let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of 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.
Three days after Joshua and the princes of Israel had made their treaty with these men, they discovered that they had been duped, and the people these men represented lived in their very midst, in four cities, Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kirjath-jearim. This very much upset the congregation of Israel; but the princes declared to the people that since they had sworn an oath by the LORD God of Israel that they would let them live, there was nothing they could do about the situation except spare them. Nevertheless, they would not give them freedom, but would make them serve as “hewers of wood, and drawers of water” for the whole congregation.
(Verses 22 through 27) And Joshua called for them, and he spake unto them, saying, Wherefore have ye beguiled us, saying, We are very far from you; when ye dwell among us? Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be free from being bondmen, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God. And they answered Joshua, 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 thing. And now, behold, we are in thine hand: as it seemeth good and right unto thee to do unto us, do. And so did he unto them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, that they slew them not. And Joshua made them that day hewers 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.
Thus Joshua solved the problem of the complaint of the congregation of Israel against the princes of Israel, in that he called the representatives of the Hivites before him, and declared unto them that they would forever be in slavery to the nation of Israel, as hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of the LORD, and for all the congregation To this the Hivites agreed, and thus they became permanent slaves to Israel. As in other places, where this phrase is used, “even unto this day” may not mean that they are still servants to Israel, but that Israel never set them free.
(Verses 1 through 5) Now it came to pass, when Adonizedec 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; and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them; that they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than 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, saying, Come up unto me, and help me, that we may smite Gibeon: for it hath made peace with the children of Israel. Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king pf 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.
When the king of Jerusalem heard of the great success of the children of Israel in their invasion of the country, he called five of his neighboring kings to come up, and help him against the Gibeonites, since they had made peace with Israel. Accordingly they all came together to make war against Gibeon.
(Verses 6 through 11) And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua to the camp in Gilgal, saying, Slack not thy hand from thy servants; 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. 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. Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly, and went from Gilgal all night. 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 Beth-horon, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makedah. And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Beth-horon, that the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.
When the men of Gibeon found themselves surrounded by the armies of the six kings who had come together against them, they called for Joshua to come and help them, which he did. The LORD commanded him to go without fear, because He would deliver all these enemies into his hand. When the battle was joined, the LORD did fight for Israel. There were more of the enemy killed by the hailstones sent by the LORD, that were slain by Israel with the sword. Certainly there are many who would say, “Such things just cannot be.” This is just a story made up to please the people of Israel. But the truth is that, One Who could, and did, create the heaven and the earth, simply by the power of His word, could certainly do such as is here recorded.
(Verses 12 through 14)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 the LORD, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon, and the sun stood still, and the moon was stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is it not written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. 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.
This is, of course, a strange incident; and many consider it as a fable. But the same God Who created this world certainly could make such take place if, and when, He should desire. I have no difficulty in believing that it took place just as here described. The only thing about which I would make any comment is the fact that Joshua did not cause the LORD to do this: but the LORD caused Joshua to give his command to the sun and the moon, because that was what He was going to bring to pass. And by having Joshua give the command, and causing it to be obeyed, the LORD gave Israel more evidence that Joshua was His chosen servant.
(Verses 15 through 21) And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp at Gilgal. But these five kings fled, and hid in a cave at Makkedah. And Joshua said, Roll great stones upon the mouth of the cave, and set men by it for to keep them: And stay ye not, but pursue after your enemies, and smite the hindermost of them; suffer them not to enter into their cities: for the LORD your God hath delivered them into your had. And it came to pass, when Joshua and the children of Israel had made an end of slaying them with a great slaughter, till they were consumed, that the rest which remained of them entered into fenced cities. And the people returned to the camp to Joshua at Makkedah in peace: none moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel.
After this great battle, Joshua and the Israelites returned to their camp in Gilgal, but the five kings who had gathered together for the war, fled to a cave at Makkedah, and hid themselves therein. Then Joshua gave orders that the Israelites cover the mouth of the cave with great stones, and set a watch before it to keep these kings imprisoned therein. The remainder of his forces continued to chase the enemies, and slaughter them. Joshua’s orders to them were that none of the enemy be allowed to enter into their cities; but, apparently, a few of them did get to their fenced cities. So the people gave up the chase, and returned to Joshua in peace, with none to oppose them.
(Verses 22 through 27) Then said Joshua, Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings unto me out of the cave. 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. And it came to pass, when they brought out those kings unto Joshua, that Joshua called for the men of Israel, and said unto the captains of the men of war which went with him, Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings. And they came near, and put their feet upon the necks of them. And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight. And afterward Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five trees: and they were hanging upon the trees until the evening. 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, 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.
When the situation settled down after the battle, Joshua had the men of Israel to bring out the five kings from the cave where they had hidden themselves, had the captains of the people to come, and put their feet upon the necks of the kings, and then he executed them. After they had been executed, he had them hanged upon five trees, as a sign that they were accursed. He left them on the trees until the time of the going down of the sun, and then he had them removed therefrom and cast into the cave in which they had concealed themselves. (The law of the LORD required that the bodies of those hanged should not remain on the tree through the night, but must be removed at the setting of the sun.) They cast the bodies of the kings therefore into the cave, and covered the mouth of the cave with big stones, and never removed them.
(Verses 28 through 30) And that day 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; he let none remain: and he did to the king of Makkedah as he did unto the king of Jericho. And Joshua passed from Makkedah, and all Israel with him, unto Libnah, and fought against Libnah: and the LORD delivered it also, and the king thereof, into the hand of Israel: and he smote it with the edge if 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.
After all the details of this victory were settled, Joshua started a campaign to cleanse the area by destroying all the enemies that were therein. He began by taking the city of Makkedah, and doing with it and the king, and the people, thereof as he had done to Jericho. Then he moved on to Libnah, and did the same with it, leaving no inhabitants therein.
In verses 31 through 39 we are told that as he continued this conquest, the LORD blessed Joshua with victory over Lachish, and the king and army of Gezer, and over Eglon, Hebron, and Debir. In all of these cities he left none remaining. So all the enemies who dwelt in these cities were completely destroyed.
(Verses 40 through 43) So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded, And Joshua smote them from Kadesh-barnea even unto Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon. And all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time, because the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel. And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp at Gilgal.
Having completed this campaign successfully because of the help of the LORD, Joshua and all Israel returned to their camp at Gilgal. It is not so stated in so many words, but since nothing is said about any casualties among the Israelites, and it is said, “And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him,” It is to be assumed that they had no casualties. And, although this would be indeed miraculous, there is no reason to doubt it, since the LORD was fighting for Israel throughout this conquest.
(Verses 1 through 5) And it came to pass, when Jabin king of Hazor had heard those things, that he sent to Jobab king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron,and to the king of Achshaph, and to the kings that were on the north of the mountains, and of the plains south of Chinneroth, and in the valley, and in the borders of Dor on the west, and to the Canaanite on the east and on the west, and to the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Jebusite in the mountains, and to the Hivite under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh. And they went out, they and all their hosts with them, much people, even as the sand that is upon the sea shore in multitude, with horses and chariots very many. And when all these kings met together, they came and pitched together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel.
There were still plenty of enemies left in other parts of the land after Joshua’s victories over those he had already destroyed. So they gathered themselves together at the “waters of Merom” to wage war on Israel. The significance of their gathering at the waters of Merom is that unless a plentiful supply of water is readily available to an army in battle, it cannot hold out to fight very long, because of the logistical problem of supplying water for those who are in the battle. This was indeed a great army, not only with many men, but also with many horses and chariots, which were in that day the best war machines known to man
(Verses 6 through 9) And the LORD said unto Joshua, Be not afraid because of them: for tomorrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel: thou shalt hock their horses, and burn their chariots with fire. So Joshua came, and all the people of war with him, against them by the waters of Merom suddenly: and they fell upon them. And the LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel, who smote them, and chased them unto great Zidon, and unto Misrephoth-maim, and unto the valley of Mizpeh eastward; and they smote them, until they left none remaining. And Joshua did unto them as the LORD bade him: he hocked their horses, and burnt their chariots with fire.
Although the enemy was probably superior to Israel in numbers, and in war equipment, the LORD was on the side of Israel. So Israel, by the help of the LORD, completely destroyed them. And just as the LORD had commanded him, Joshua crippled all the horses of the enemy, and burned all their chariots with fire.
(Verses 10 through 14) And Joshua at that time turned back, and took Hazor, and smote the king thereof with the sword: for Hazor before time was the head of all those kingdoms. And they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them: there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with fire. And all the cities of those kings, and all the kings of them, did Joshua take, and smote them with the edge of the sword, and he utterly destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the LORD commanded. But as for the cities that stood still in their strength, Israel burned none of them, save Hazor only; that did Joshua burn. And all the spoil of these cities, and the cattle, the children of Israel took as a prey unto themselves; but every man they smote with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them, neither left they any to breathe.
This certainly is clear enough to need no explanation. But it is interesting to know that only a few years ago, geologists uncovered portions of Hazor, and found that, according to their manner of ascertaining the age of such things, the city of Hazor was completely burned with fire at about this time. So, even science bears witness to the truth of the word of God.
(Verses 15 through 20) As the LORD commanded Moses His servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua: he left nothing undone of all that the LORD commanded Moses. So Joshua took all that land, the hills, and all the south country, and all the land of Goshen, and the valley, and the plain, and the mountain of Israel, and the valley of the same; even from mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir, even unto Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon under mount Hermon: and all their kings he took, and smote them, and slew them. Joshua made war a long time with all those kings. There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save the Hivites the inhabitants of Gibeon: all other they took in battle. For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that He might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that He might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.
It took Joshua quite a while to complete the conquest of all these kings and their people. Nevertheless he continued on, and did all that the LORD had commanded Moses to order him to do. This was, perhaps, one of the greatest ethnic cleansings carried on in the history of the world. In all that area there was no city, other than Gibeon of the Hivites, that made peace with Israel. Joshua and his army thoroughly destroyed the inhabitants of all the rest. No doubt verse 20 is quite a shock to many, inasmuch as they think the LORD to be such a kind, gentle being, that He will not even send anything so unpleasant upon anyone: but it says, “For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that He might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that He might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.”
(Verses 21 through 23) And at that time came Joshua, and cut off the Anakims from the mountains, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel: Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities. There was none of the Anakims left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there remained. So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.
After he had finished with his wars against the other inhabitants of the land, Joshua also cut off, and destroyed the Anakims from all the territory except Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod. These were the giants of the land. so Joshua took all the land that the LORD had told Moses to command him to take. And he gave it to Israel as an inheritance, according to the divisions that had been established. Actually this statement is looking a little forward from all these actions recorded in this chapter. In fact, Chapter 13 will begin setting forth the divisions of the inheritance. But now for a time the country rested from war.
(Verses 1 through 6) Now these are the kings of the land, which the children of Israel smote, and possessed their land on the other side Jordan toward the rising of the sun, from the river Arnon unto Hermon, and all the plain on the east: Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt in Heshbon, and ruled from Aroer, which is upon the bank of the river Arnon, and from the middle of the river, and from half Gilead, even unto the river Jabbok, which is the border of the children of Ammon; and from the plain to the sea of Chinneroth on the east, and unto the sea of the plain, even the salt sea on the east, the way to Beth-jeshimoth, and from the south, under Ashdoth-pisgah: and the coast of Og king of Bashan, which was of the remnant of the giants, that dwelt at Ashtaroth and at Edrei, and reigned in mount Hermon, and Salcah, and in all Bashan, unto the border of the Geshurites and Maachathites, and half Gilead, the border of Sihon king of Heshbon. Them did Moses the servant of the LORD and the children of Israel smite: and Moses the servant of the LORD gave it for a possession unto the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh.
This is simply a recital of some things we have already been told before the children of Israel crossed Jordan. It gives a description of the lands taken by the Israelites on the east side of Jordan, and reminds us who were the kings from whom these lands were taken, as well as how Moses divided them among the two and one half tribes who requested them.
(Verses 7 and 8) And these are the kings of the country which Joshua and the children of Israel smote on this side Jordan on the west, from Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon even unto the mount Halak, that goeth to Seir; which Joshua gave unto the tribes of Israel according to their divisions; in the mountains, and in the valleys, and in the plains, and in the springs, and in the wilderness, and in the south country; the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites:
This is the description of the lands taken by Joshua and the children on the west side of Jordan, as well as from what tribes they were taken. Then verses 9 through 23 give us the names of the thirty-one kings whom they destroyed in their conquest, as well as the royal city of each king.
(Verses 1 through 6) Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the LORD said unto hin, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed. This is the land that yet remaineth: all the borders of the Philistines, and all Geshuri, from Sihor, which is before Egypt, even unto the borders of Ekron northward, which is counted to the Canaanite: five lords of the Philistines; the Gazathites, and the Ashdothites, the Eshkalonites, the Gittites; and the Ekronites; also the Avites: from the south, all the land of the Canaanites, and Mearah that is by the Sidonians unto Aphek, to the borders of the Amorites: and the land of the Giblites, and all Lebanon, toward the sunrising, from Baal-gad under mount Hermon unto the entering into Hamath. All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon unto Misrephoth-maim, and all the Sidonians, them will I drive out from before the children of Israel: only divide thou it by lot unto the Israelites for an inheritance, as I have commanded thee.
At this point, the LORD spoke unto Joshua, and reminded him that though he was getting old, there was still much of the land He had promised Israel that remained in the hand of the enemy. And He described to him all this land, and named the people who still held it. Then He commanded Joshua to divide all this land to Israel according to lot, even as He had previously commanded him.
(Verses 7 through 12) Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance unto the nine tribes, and the half tribe of Manasseh, with whom the Reubenites and the Gadites have received their inheritance, which Moses gave them, beyond Jordan eastward, even as Moses the servant of the LORD gave them; from Aroer, that is upon the bank of the river Arnon, and the city that is in the midst of the river, and all the plain of Medeba unto Dibon; and all the cities of Sihon king of the Amorites, and Gilead, and the border of the Geshurites and Maachathites, and all mount Hermon, and all Bashan unto Salcah; all the kingdom of Og in Bashan, which reigned in Ashtaroth and Edrei, who remained of the remnant of the giants: for these did Moses smite, and cast them out.
In this text the LORD describes the land that the Israelites had taken on the other side Jordan, before they crossed over into their present position. And He reminded Joshua that Moses had already allotted this land to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, as per their request.
(Verses 13 and 14) Nevertheless the children of Israel expelled not the Geshurites, nor the Maachathites: but the Geshurites and the Maachathites dwell among the Israelites until this day. And unto the tribe of Levi he gave none inheritance; the sacrifices of the LORD God of Israel made by fire are their inheritance, as he said unto them.
Two of the “nations” that Israel has never driven out of their land are the Geshurites and the Maachathites. No reason for not doing so is given at this time. But they were allowed to remain among the Israelites. And Moses did not divide unto the tribe of Levi any inheritance of land, because to them were given as an inheritance “the sacrifices of the LORD God of Israel made by fire.”
(Verses 15 through 2) And Moses gave unto the tribe of Reuben inheritance according to their families. And their coast was from Aroer, that is on the bank of the river Arnon, and the city that is in the midst of the river, and all the plain by Medeba: Heshbon, and all her cities that are in the plain; Dibon, and Bamoth-baal, and Beth-baal-meon, and Jahaza, and Kedemoth, and Mephaath, and Kirjathaim, and Sibmah, and Zareth-shahar in the mount of the valley. And Beth-peor, and Ashdoth-pisgah, and Beth-jeshimoth, and all the cities of the plain, and all the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, which reigned in Heshbon, whom Moses smote with the princes of Midian, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, which were dukes of Sihon, dwelling in the country. Balaam also the soothsayer, did the children of Israel slay with the sword among them that were slain by them. And the border of the children of Reuben was Jordan, and the border thereof. This was the inheritance of the children of Reuben after their families, the cities and villages thereof.
Here we have quite a detailed description of the land that Moses allotted to the Reubenites. The most interesting part of this text is verse 22, which, actually seems to be unrelated to the principal subject of the text, but is noteworthy in that, it establishes the fact that Balaam was a soothsayer, instead of a prophet of the LORD, as some seem to think. In their conquest of the country the children of Israel killed him with the sword, just as they did many others.
(Verses 24 through 28) And Moses gave inheritance unto the tribe of Gad, even unto the children of Gad according to their families. And their coast was Jazer, and all the cities of Gilead, and half the land of the children of Ammon, unto Aroer that is before Rabbah; and from Heshbon unto Ramath-mizpeh, and Betonim; and from Mahanaim unto the border of Debir; and in the valley, Beth-aram, and Beth-nimrah, and Succoth, and Zaphon, the rest of the kingdom of Sihon king of Heshbon, Jordan and his border, even unto the edge of the sea of Chinnereth on the other side of Jordan eastward. This is the inheritance of the children of Gad after their families, the cities, and their villages.
This is a description of the inheritance Moses allotted to the Gadites, of the land the Israelites took from Sihon and Og before they crossed the river Jordan. There is little here that was not covered at that time, as set forth in Deuteronomy. In verse 25, where it is said, “And their coast was Jazer,” it does not mean that this territory was adjacent to the sea, and had a coast as we commonly consider such. This expression is often used concerning completely land locked areas, and means the same thing as “border,” or, sometimes, “the adjoining area.”
(Verses 29 through 32) And Moses gave inheritance unto the half tribe of Manasseh: and this was the possession of the half tribe of the children of Manasseh by their families. And their coast was from Mahanaim, all the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, and all the towns of Jair, which are in Bashan, threescore cities: and half Gilead, and Ashtaroth, and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan, were pertaining unto the children of Machir the son of Manasseh, even to the one half of the children of Machir by their families.
This is the inheritance of the half tribe of Manasseh, the family of his son Machir.
(Verses 32 and 33) These are the countries which Moses did distribute for inheritance in the plains of Moab, on the other side Jordan, by Jericho, eastward. But unto the tribe of Levi Moses gave not any inheritance: the LORD God of Israel was their inheritance, as He said unto them.
This takes care of the matter of the distribution of all the lands that the children of Israel conquered on the east side of Jordan. Again we are told that , since the LORD God was the inheritance of the tribe of Levi, no lands were given them for inheritance.
(Verses 1 through 5) And these are the countries which the children of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the tribes of the children of Israel, distributed for inheritance to them. By lot was their inheritance, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses, for the nine tribes, and for the half tribe. For Moses had given the inheritance of two tribes and an half tribe on the other side Jordan: but unto the Levites he gave none inheritance among them. For the children of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim: therefore they gave no part unto the Levites in the land, save cities to dwell in, with their suburbs for their cattle and their substance. As the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did, and they divided the land.
This text is simply a summation of the record that has already been set forth in detail, in the foregoing chapters. All the division of these countries among the Israelites was done according to what the LORD had commanded Moses, including the lack of any inheritance of lands for the Levites among their brethren, because the LORD had already declared that He was their inheritance. They were given cities to live in, and suburbs of those cities for their cattle, just as the LORD had commanded.
(Verses 6 through 12) Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the LORD said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadesh-barnea. Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me out from Kadesh-barnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in my heart. Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the LORD my God. And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. And yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. Now therefore give me this mountain whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.
At this time Caleb the son of Jephunneh, one of the spies Moses had sent to spy out the land of Canaan when the Israelites first approached it, came before Joshua, and reminded him that at the time of the spying out of the land, he and Joshua were the only ones who had wanted to do what the LORD had commanded them. He declared himself as strong, and able for war as he was that day. Therefore he made a request to Joshua that he be given a mountain upon which some of the enemies still lived. He said, “If the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.” He was ready, with the help of the LORD, to drive out these enemies, and take possession of the mountain.
(Verses 13through 15) And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance. Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel. And the name of Hebron before was Kirjath-arba, which Arba was a great man among the Anakims. And the land had rest from war.
So, Joshua granted Caleb’s request, and Caleb did drive out the Anakims that had been holding it. So it was his possession permanently.
(Verses 1 through 12) This then was the lot of the tribe of the children of Judah by their families; even to the border of Edom the wilderness of Zin southward was the uttermost part of the south coast. And their south border was from the shore of the salt sea, from the bay that looketh southward: and it went out to the south side to Maaleh-acrabbim, and passed along to Zin, and ascended up on the south side unto Kadesh-barnea, and passed along to Hezron, and then up to Adar, and fetched a compass to Karkaa: from thence it passed toward Azmon, and went out unto the river of Egypt; and the goings out of that coast were at the sea: this shall be your south coast. And the east border was the salt sea, even unto the end of Jordan. And their border in the north quarter was from the bay of the sea at the uttermost part of Jordan: and the border went up to Beth-hogla, and passed along by the north of Beth-arabah; and the border went up to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben: and the border went up toward Debir from the valley of Achor, and so northward, looking toward Gilgal, that is before the going up to Adummim, which is on the south side of the river: and the border passed toward the waters of En-shemesh, and the goings out thereof were at En-rogel: and the border went up by the valley of the son of Hinnom unto the south side of the Jebusite; the same is Jerusalem: and the border went up to the top of the mountain that lieth before the valley of Hinnom westward, which is at the end of the valley of the giants northward: and the border was drawn from the top of the hill unto the fountain of the water of Nephtoah, and went out to the cities of mount Ephron; and the border was drawn to Baalah, which is Kirjath-jearim: and the border compassed from Baalah westward unto mount Seir, and passed along unto the side of mount Jearim, which is Chesalon, on the north side, and went down to Beth-shamesh, and passed on to Timnah: and the border went out unto the side of Ekron northward: and the border was drawn to Shicron, and passed along to mount Baalah, and went out unto Jabneel; and the goings out of the border were at the sea. And the west border was to the great sea, and the coast thereof. This is the coast of the children of Judah round about according to their families.
This is a description of the borders of the land that was given to the tribe of Judah. The borders of it are so irregular that such a description is quite lengthy, and although of great importance to them, it seems of little value to us of today, unless we are going to make a detailed study of the geography of that area.
(Verses 13 through 15) And unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a part among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of the LORD to Joshua, even the city of Arba the father of Anak, which city is Hebron. And Caleb drove thence the three sons of Anak, Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai the children of Anak. And he went up thence to the inhabitants of Debir: and the name of Debir before was Kirjath-sepher.
Joshua gave Caleb the possession he had requested, and he drove out the three sons of Anak from what is now the city of Hebron. Then he went to Kirjath-sepher, another city of that area.
(Verses 16 through 20) And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjath-sepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife. And Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife. And it came to pass, as she came to him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wouldest thou? Who answered, Give me a blessing; for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And he gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs. This is the inheritance of the children of Judah according to their families.
Thus Caleb cleared his possession of the enemies who had held it. After he had driven out all the other enemies, he told his army that he would give his daughter to be the wife of whoever would take the city of Kirjath-sepher from its inhabitants, and drive them out. His nephew did this, and so he kept his word. His daughter may seem to have been a little greedy, but since we do not know all the details of the case, we have no right to make a judgment concerning the matter.
Verses 21 through 62 seem to be only a list of the cities in the possession that was allotted to Judah, and are of little importance to us in the modern day. Perhaps, many of them may have had their names changed since this account was written. So we shall pass them by without comment.
(Verse 63) As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out: but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day.
This seems to have been the only city in their territory that the children of Judah could not overcome.
(Verses 1 through 4) And the lot of the children of Joseph fell from Jordan by Jericho, unto the water of Jericho on the east, to the wilderness that goeth up from Jericho throughout mount Beth-el. And goeth out from Beth-el to Luz, and passeth along unto the borders of Archi to Ataroth, and goeth down westward to the coast of Japhleti, unto the coast of Beth-horon the nether, and to Gezer: and the goings out thereof are at the sea. So the children of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, took their inheritance.
This is an introduction to the description of the lot of the inheritance of the children of Joseph who are in two separate tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh. A short description is given of the borders of this territory, with more details to follow in the next four verses.
(Verses 5 through 8) And the border of the children of Ephraim according to their families was thus: even the border of their inheritance on the east side was Ataroth-addar, into Beth-horon the upper; and the border went out toward the sea to Michmetha on the north side; and the border went about eastward unto Taanath-shiloh, and passed by it on the east to Janohah; and it went down from Janohah to Ataroth, and to Naarath, and came to Jericho, and went out at Jordan. The border went out from Tappuah westward unto Kanah; and the goings out thereof were at the sea. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Ephraim by their families.
No doubt, this description of the land was easy enough to follow when it was written, but with all the changes that have been made in the names of the places and towns of the area since that time, it is very difficult to follow all these borders as here given. But to for those who care to search out all these points of demarcation, this may be of some help.
(Verses 9 and 10) And the separate cities for the children of Ephraim were among the inheritance of the children of Manasseh, all the cities with their villages. And they drave not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer: but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites unto this day, and serve under tribute.
In Chapter 17 we shall find a little information concerning these “separate cities” mentioned in verse 9. The Ephraimites did not drive out the Canaanites from the city of Gezer. Apparently, they simply absorbed them, and let them continue to live among them, but to pay tribute for the privilege.
(Verses 1 and 2) There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh; for he was the firstborn of Joseph; to wit, for Manasseh, the father of Gilead: because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead and Bashan. There was also a lot for the rest of the children of Manasseh by their families; for the children of Abiezer, and for the children of Helek, and for the children of Asriel, and for the children of Shechem, and for the children of Hepher, and for the children of Shemida: these were the male children of Manasseh the son of Joseph by their families.
This is the record of all the male descendants of Manasseh to whom lots of the inheritance were allotted. As we have already seen, some of them received their inheritance on the east side of Jordan, while the rest were given inheritance on the west side thereof.
(Verses 3 through 6) But Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, but daughters: and these are the names of his daughters, Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. And they came near before Eleazar the priest, and before Joshua the son of Nun, and before the princes, saying, The LORD commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brethren. Therefore according to the commandment of the LORD he gave them an inheritance among the brethren of their father. And there fell ten portions to Manasseh, beside the land of Gilead and Bashan, which were on the other side Jordan; because the daughters of Manasseh had an inheritance among his sons: and the rest of Manasseh’s sons had the land of Gilead.
This is a case we have seen before, even while the Israelites were on the other side of Jordan. Because of the peculiar circumstances of this case the LORD commanded that these women receive an inheritance as well as the male descendants of their father’s family. There was one restriction placed upon them. In order that their inheritance never be passed over to anyone outside their tribe, they must marry within their tribe. And this was given as a perpetual statute governing such cases.
(Verses 7 through 10) And the coast of Manasseh was from Asher to Michmetha, that lieth before Shechem; and the border went along on the right hand unto the inhabitants of En-tappuah. Now Manasseh had the land of Tappuah: but Tappuah on the border of Manasseh belonged to the children of Ephraim; and the coast descended unto the river Kanah, southward of the river; : these cities of Ephraim are among the cities of Manasseh: the coast of Manasseh also was on the north side of the river, and the outgoings of it were at the sea. Southward it was Ephraim’s, and northward it was Manasseh’s, and the sea is his border; and they met together in Asher on the north, and Issachar on the east.
This is a description of the borders of Manasseh’s possession on the west side of Jordan. We see that Ephraim and Manasseh had a common border in one area; and in that area each had some cities on the side of the border belonging to the other. These are the cities mentioned in Chapter 16, verse 9, as “separate cities.”
(Verses 11 through 13) And Manasseh had in Issachar and in Asher Beth-shean and her towns, and Ibleam and her towns, and the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, and the inhabitants of En-dor and her towns, and the inhabitants of Taanach and her towns, and the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns, even three countries. Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land. Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute; but did not drive them out.
Manasseh also had in the territories of Issachar and Asher several of these “separate cities,” in which there were still three different nationalities of people dwelling, and they could not drive them out. Finally the children of Israel became strong enough to place all these people under tribute, but they still did not utterly drive them out.
(Verses 14 through 18) And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as the LORD hath blessed me hitherto? And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee. And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us: and all the Canaanites that dwell in the valley have chariots of iron, both they that are of Beth-shean and her towns, and they who are of the valley of Jezreel. And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, Thou art a great people, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot only: but the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down: and the outgoings of it shall be thine: for thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have chariots of Iron, and though they be strong.
The children of Joseph, apparently including both the tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh, complained to Joshua that the land allotted to them was too small for they were a great people. That is, there were very many of them. So Joshua told them that if they were strong enough to drive out the Canaanites from the “wood country” where they still dwelt, they could have that land. Then the children of Joseph complained that although the area they had was too small for them, the Canaanites who dwelt in the area Joshua had told them they could have if they could take it, were strong, and had chariots of iron. But Joshua told them that they were a great people, and would be able to take that land from the Canaanites in spite of their being strong, and having iron chariots.
(Verses 1 through 7) And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued before them. And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance. And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go in to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you? Give out from among you three men for each tribe: and I will send them, and they shall rise, and go through the land, and describe it according to the inheritance of them; and they shall come again to me. And they shall divide it into seven parts: Judah shall abide in their coast on the south, and the house of Joseph shall abide in their coasts on the north. Ye shall therefore describe the land into seven parts, and bring the description hither to me, that I may cast lots for you here before the LORD our God. But the Levites have no part among you; for the priesthood of the LORD is their inheritance: and Gad, and Reuben, and half the tribe of Manasseh, have received their inheritance beyond Jordan on the east, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave them.
After peace was established in the land the congregation of the children of Israel were all assembled together at Shiloh. There still remained seven tribes to whom their possessions had not been allotted. So Joshua asked them what they were waiting for before their lands could be appointed to them. He told them to set forth three men from each of the tribes. (It is not made clear whether these men were to be selected from all the tribes of Israel, or just from the tribes that had not yet received their inheritance, but, probably, the latter.) Joshua would then send these men through the land to survey it, and divide it into seven sections, bringing to him the descriptions of the sections as they had divided them. Then He would cast lots for them before the LORD, and thus determine which tribe would get which section of the land. He reminded them that neither the Levites, nor either of the tribes to whom portions had already been appointed would be included in the distribution according to the lots he would cast.
(Verses 8 through 10) And the men arose, and went away: and Joshua charged them that went to describe the land, saying, Go and walk through the land, and describe it, and come again to me, that I may here cast lots before the LORD in Shiloh. And the men went and passed through the land, and described it by cities into seven parts in a book, and came again to Joshua to the host at Shiloh. And Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the LORD: and there Joshua divided the land unto the children of Israel according to their divisions.
The men whom Joshua sent to survey the land and divide it into seven parts fulfilled their job, and returned to Joshua and the host of Israel. Then Joshua cast lots before the LORD, and divided the land by lot to the tribes of Israel.
Verses 8 through 28 describe the borders of the portion allotted to Benjamin, and give the names of most of the cities thereof. This was the first parcel of the land divided by lot to the children of Israel. There is nothing in this that should be of great interest to us today unless we are studying the geography of the land.
This is a chapter taken up, primarily with the division of the land among the seven tribes who had not received their inheritances. Since the lot of Benjamin was described in the preceding chapter we start with that of the tribe of Simeon, which is given in verses 1 through 9 of this chapter.
Then we have Zebulun’s lot described in verses 10 through 16.
Verses 17 through 23 tell us of the portion allotted to Issachar.
Asher’s inheritance is described in verses 24 through 31.
Verses 32 through 39 describe Naphtali’s inheritance.
And the last lot described is that of Dan in verses 40 through 48.
(Verses 49 and 50) When they had made an end of dividing the land for inheritance by their coasts, the children of Israel gave an inheritance to Joshua the son of Nun among them: according to the word of the LORD they gave him the city he asked, even Timnath-serah in mount Ephraim; and he built the city, and dwelt therein.
So when the inheritances of all the tribes had been properly allotted unto them, the children gave to Joshua the city he requested, Timnath-serah in mount Ephraim. And Joshua took that city, and prepared it for himself, and lived therein.
(Verse 51) These are the inheritances which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of Israel, divided for an inheritance by lot in Shiloh before the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation . So they made an end of dividing the country.
This seems clear enough without further comment.
(Verses 1 through 6) The LORD also spake unto Joshua, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses: that the slayer that killeth any person unawares and unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood. And when he that doth flee unto one of these cities shall stand at the entering of the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them. And if the avenger of blood pursue after him, then they shall not deliver the slayer up into his hand; because he smote his neighbour unwittingly, and hated him not beforetime. And he shall dwell in that city, until he stand before the congregation for judgment, and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come unto his own city, and unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled.
The LORD had previously given Moses a commandment to appoint these cities of refuge. Now that the land had all been divided among the tribes of Israel for their possession, He tells Joshua that the time has come to appoint them.
(Verses 7 through 9) And they appointed Kedesh in Galilee in mount Naphtali, and Shechem in mount Ephraim, and Kirjath-arba, which is Hebron, in the mountain of Judah. And on the other side Jordan eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness upon the plain out of the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead out of the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan out of the tribe of Manasseh. These were the cities appointed for all the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them, that whosoever killeth any person at unawares might flee thither, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood, until he stood before the congregation.
Thus the children of Israel appointed the cities of refuge as the LORD had commanded Moses.
(Verses 1 through 3) Then came near the heads of the fathers of the Levites unto Eleazar the priest, and unto Joshua the son of Nun, and unto the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel; and they spake unto them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, saying, The LORD commanded by the hand of Moses to give us cities to dwell in, with suburbs thereof for our cattle. And the children of Israel gave unto the Levites out of their inheritance, at the commandment of the LORD, these cities and their suburbs.
After appointing the cities of refuge, the next order of business brought up was the appointing of cities and their suburbs for the Levites and their cattle, since they were not given possession of lands as were the other Israelites. The LORD had given commandment for this before the death of Moses; and now the time had come to implement that command.
(Verses 4 through 8) And the lot came out for the families of the Kohathites: and the children of Aaron the priest, which were of the Levites, had by lot out of the tribe of Judah, and out of the tribe of Simeon, and out of the tribe of Benjamin, thirteen cities. And the rest of the children of Kohath had by lot out of the families of the tribe of Ephraim, and out of the tribe of Dan, and out of the half tribe of Manasseh ten cities. And the children of Gershon had by lot out of the families of the tribe of Issachar, and out of the tribe of Asher, and out of the tribe of Naphtali, and out of the half tribe of Manasseh in Bashan, thirteen cities. The children of Merari by their families had out of the tribe of Reuben, and out of the tribe of Gad, and out of the tribe of Zebulun, twelve cities. And the children of Israel gave by lot unto the Levites these cities with their suburbs, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.
Thus the children of Israel gave by lot to the Levites forty eight cities with their suburbs, as the LORD had commanded Moses before his death
(Verses 9 through 12) And they gave out of the tribe of the children of Judah, and out of the tribe of the children of Simeon, these cities which are here mentioned by name, which the children of Aaron, being of the families of the Kohathites, who were of the children of Levi, had: for theirs was the first lot. And they gave them the city of Arba the father of Anak, which city is Hebron, in the hill country of Judah, with the suburbs thereof around about it. But the fields of the city, and the villages thereof, gave they to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for a possession.
Thus the list of these cities that were given to the Levites begins. The first one named was Hebron, and to clarify the situation we are told that this city and its suburbs were given to the children of Aaron, who were also Levites, but the fields and villages of it were given to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as his possession. As will be remembered, the LORD had specified that the Levites should be given cities with their suburbs, but they were not to be given any fields for their possession.
From this point through verse 40 is a listing of the names of all these cities that are given to the Levites. Some of them are also to be cities of refuge; and they are specially noted.
(Verses 41 and 42) All the cities of the Levites within the possession of the children of Israel were forty and eight cities with their suburbs. These cities were every one with their suburbs round about them: thus were all the cities.
All forty eight of the cities the LORD had commanded to be given to the Levites were given them together with their suburbs. All was according to the commandment of the LORD which He gave to Moses.
(Verses 43 through 45) And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which He sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that He sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. There failed not aught of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.
Thus we have a declaration that the LORD fulfilled all His promise to the children of Israel. No part of it failed.
(Verses 1 through 6) Then Joshua called the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and said unto them, Ye have kept all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you: Ye have not left your brethren these many days unto this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the LORD your God. And now the LORD hath given rest unto your brethren, as He promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side Jordan. But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments, and to cleave unto Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul. So Joshua blessed them, and sent them away: and they went unto their tents.
After the land of Canaan had been allotted to the tribes of Israel, Joshua called the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, who had left their wives and children in their cities on the other side of Jordan, and had helped the remainder of the Israelites in their wars against the people of the land of Canaan, and complimented them for their faithful adherence to the promise they had made to Moses. Then he blessed them, and gave them orders to return to their own possessions.
(Verses 7 through 10) Now to the one half of the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given possession in Bashan: but to the other half thereof gave Joshua among their brethren on this side Jordan westward. And when Joshua sent them away also unto their tents, then he blessed them, and spake unto them, saying, Return with much riches unto your tents, and very much cattle, with silver and with gold, and with brass, and with iron, and with very much raiment: divide the spoil of your enemies with your brethren. And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh returned, and departed from the children of Israel out of Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan to go unto the country of Gilead, to the land of their possession, whereof they were possessed, according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses. And when they came unto the borders of Jordan, that are in the land of Canaan, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh built an altar by Jordan, a great altar to see to.
Just as Joshua commanded them the two and one half tribes whose possession was on the east side of Jordan took their journey back to their own homes. When they reached the Jordan, which is the border between their possession and that of the remaining tribes of Israel, they built a great altar “to see to.” That is, it was for a memorial that was to be seen. It was not to be used for offering sacrifices.
(Verses 11 through 14) And the children of Israel heard say, Behold, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh have built an altar over against the land of Canaan, in the borders of Jordan, at the passage of the children of Israel. And when the children of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered themselves together at Shiloh to go up to war against them. And the children of Israel sent unto the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, into the land of Gilead, Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and with him ten princes, of each house a prince throughout all tribes of Israel; and each one was head of the house of their fathers among the thousands of Israel.
When the Israelites in the land of Canaan heard of the altar those of the land of Gilead had built, they were ready to go to war against them for building it. But before starting actual hostilities they sent Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, with a delegation of ten of the princes among Israel, to talk with those of Gilead.
(Verses 15 through 20) And they came unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, unto the land of Gilead, and spake with them saying, Thus saith the whole congregation of the LORD, What trespass is this that ye have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away this day from following the LORD, in that ye have builded you an altar, that ye might rebel this day against the LORD? Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we are not cleansed until this day, although there was a plague in the congregation of Israel. Notwithstanding, if the land of your possession be unclean, then pass over unto the land of the possession of the LORD, wherein the LORD’S tabernacle dwelleth, and take possession among us: but rebel not against the LORD, nor rebel against us, in building you an altar beside the altar of the LORD our God. Did nor Achan the son of Zerah commit a trespass in the accursed thing, and wrath fell upon all the congregation of Israel? and that man perished not alone in his iniquity.
This is the text of the complaint the children of Israel lodged against the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh. They charged them with building themselves an altar that they might turn away from serving the LORD God of Israel, and worship other gods. Then they reminded them of the terrible price they had had to pay when they served idols at Peor, a price from which they still were suffering. And in addition to this they were to consider the trouble brought upon all Israel for the sin of one man, Achan the son of Zerah. Now this that those of Gilead were doing would certainly have dire consequences for all the congregation.
(Verses 21 through 29) Then the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh answered , and said unto the heads of the thousands of Israel, The LORD God of gods, the LORD God of Gods, He knoweth, and Israel shall know; if it be in rebellion, or if in transgression against the LORD, (save us not this day,) that we have built us an altar to turn from following the LORD, or if to offer thereon burnt offering or meat offering, or to offer peace offerings thereon, let the LORD Himself require it; and if we have not rather done it in fear of this thing, saying, In time to come your children might speak unto our children, saying, What have you to do with the LORD God of Israel? For the LORD hath made Jordan a border between us and you, ye children of Reuben and children of Gad; ye have no part in the LORD: so shall your children make our children cease from fearing the LORD. Therefore we said, Let us now prepare to build us an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice: but that it may be a witness between us, and you, and our generations after us, that we might do the service of the LORD before Him with our burnt offerings, and with our sacrifices, and with our peace offerings; that your children may not say to our children in time to come, Ye have no part in the LORD. Therefore said we, that it shall be, when they should so say to us or to our generations in time to come, that we may say again, Behold the pattern of the altar of the LORD, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifices; but as a witness between us and you. God forbid that we should rebel against the LORD, and turn this day from following the LORD, to build an altar for burnt offerings, for meat offerings, or for sacrifices, beside the altar of the LORD our God that is before His tabernacle.
Thus the Gileadites answered the charge that had been brought against them. They had not built the altar as a means of turning away from the LORD God. It was not for use in making offerings and sacrifices, but was only for a witness that they also had part in the service of the LORD God at His tabernacle, and could not, at some later time, be denied as being a part of the congregation of the LORD.
(Verses 30 and 31) And Phinehas the priest, and the princes of the congregation and heads of the thousands of Israel which were with him, heard the words that the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh spake, it pleased them. And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the children of Manasseh, This day we perceive that the LORD is among us, because ye have not committed this trespass against the LORD: now ye have delivered the children of Israel out of the hand of the LORD.
The answer of the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and the children of Manasseh, pleased Phinehas and the delegation with him, and Phinehas absolved them of all blame in this matter.
(Verses 32 through 34) And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and the princes returned from the children of Reuben, and from the children of Gad, out of the land of Gilead, unto the land of Canaan, to the children of Israel, and brought them word again. And the thing pleased the children of Israel; and the children of Israel blessed God, and did not intend to go up against them in battle, to destroy the land wherein the children of Reuben and the children of Gad dwelt. And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad called the altar Ed: for it shall be witness between us that the LORD is God.
This seems clear enough that it needs no comments, except that the name “Ed,” means “witness.”
(Verses 1 through 9) And it came to pass a long time after that the LORD had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age. And Joshua called for all Israel, and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers, and said unto them, I am old and stricken in age: and ye have seen all that the LORD your God hath done unto these nations because of you; for the LORD your God is He that hath fought for you. Behold, I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward. And the LORD your God, He shall expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight; and ye shall possess their land, as the LORD your God hath promised unto you. Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left; that ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve ye them, nor bow yourselves unto them: but cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day. For the LORD hath driven out from before you great nations and strong: but as for you, no man hath been able to stand before you unto this day.
This brings up to the point where Joshua has about gone as far as his age and strength will permit. And he, knowing that his day is almost over, called all the children of Israel , together with all their elders, judges, and other officials, that he might, in words, prepare them for his demise. He reminds them of all the wonderful things the LORD their God has done for them. And upon this basis, he encourages them, and commands them that they have absolutely no liaison with the gods of the nations around them, but hold steadfastly to the LORD their God, worship, and serve, Him, and Him alone.
(Verses 10 through 14) One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, He it is that fighteth for you, as He hath promised you. Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God. Else if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you: know for a certainty that the LORD your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you. And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.
Joshua reminded the people that the LORD had fulfilled every thing He had promised them, even to making them so formidable in battle that one man of them could chase a thousand. And the LORD had given them every thing He had promised. Yet he warned them that they could lose all this, if they turned away from any of the commandments of the LORD. If they began to make marriages with the nations of the land, the LORD would cease from driving these nations out from before the children of Israel, and would leave them among them, thus causing them great affliction. And again he cautioned them to remember that not one thing of the promise of the LORD had failed to come to pass for them. And therefore if all things of the blessings He had promised them were faithful, certainly so would be all the chastisement He had promised if they disobeyed His commandments.
(Verses 15 and 16) Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the LORD your God promised you; so shall the LORD bring upon you all evil things, until He have destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you. When ye have transgressed the covenant of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which He hath given you.
Here Joshua continues His declaration to the children of Israel, declaring that just as surely as the LORD has given Israel all the good things He has promised to give to them, just that surely, if they turn away from Him, and begin to serve other gods, He will also bring upon them all the evils He has spoken, even unto destroying them off from the good land He has given them.
(Verses1 through 4) And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers, and they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods. And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac. And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.
Joshua called another assembly of all the leaders of Israel at Shechem. He began his address to them by recounting to them a very brief history of their fathers. He mentioned that these fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood, and they served other gods. It may be a little unclear as to what he means about their dwelling on the other side of the flood. Certain it is that he is not considering the flood in the days of Noah. But he may have the Euphrates river under consideration, for it is sometimes in scripture called “the great river,” which might also be referred to as a flood. At any rate, when living on the other side of the flood, the fathers served other gods. Abraham may also have served other gods in those days. But the LORD says, “And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.” After the LORD had given Isaac unto Abraham, He also gave Esau and Jacob to Isaac. At this point He gave to Esau mount Seir as his possession. But Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.
(Verses 5 through 7) I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out. And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea. And when they cried unto the LORD, He put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season.
Thus he reminded them of their time in Egypt, and what the LORD had done for them there, as well as their long stay in the wilderness. He does not, at this point mention the reason why the LORD turned them back into the wilderness, and made them travel so long therein. But it is safe to assume that just the mention of their sojourn therein was sufficient to cause them to remember the reason for it.
(Verses 8 through 10) And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you. Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you: but I would not hearken unto Balaam; therefore he blessed you still: so I delivered you out of his hand.
He continued on with his account through their battles with the Amorites, and with the Moabites, reminding them that the LORD had brought them through both of these with victory. This covered their journey until they came to Jordan.
(Verses 11 through 13) And ye went over Jordan, and came to Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I delivered them into your hand. And I sent the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, even two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword nor with thy bow. And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.
The LORD continues to tell them how that He has taken care of them even after they had crossed Jordan. He has given them cities, lands, vineyards, and oliveyards for which they did not labor. He even drove out the inhabitants with hornets, instead of having the Israelites fight the people for them. This is a thing never before known to take place.
(Verses 14 through 18) Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve Him in sincerity and truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose ye this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; for the LORD our God, He it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did all those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way in which we went, and were among all the people through whom we passed: and the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we serve the LORD; for He is our God.
This is a very interesting text. Joshua, having finished his recital of the wonderful things the LORD had done for the Israelites, first gave them a commandment, that because of all these things, they should “put away (actually throw away) the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt, and serve ye the LORD.” As noted above, this has no reference to the flood that came upon the earth in the days of Noah. Even Abraham seems to have served these gods before the LORD called him to come out into the land of Canaan, and gave to him His wonderful covenant. They are to throw away those gods, and serve only the LORD. Then Joshua gave unto some of the Israelites a proposition concerning which he called upon them to make a choice. Some will immediately want to call my hand on this statement, and declare that he gave to all Israel a choice. Wherefore I invite your attention to Joshua’s words. “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD,____” This choice is only for those who think it evil to serve the LORD. No one else is invited to make such a choice. Those who feel that they must serve the LORD are in the same situation as was the Apostle Peter. (John 6:68) “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” They did not feel that they had a choice, for there was no one else to whom they could turn for what they needed. Their choice was made for them by necessity. So the only choice given in this matter was to those who thought it evil to serve the LORD. Now, what was the choice? It was not whether to serve the LORD, or to serve Satan, as we so often hear preached from the pulpits of some churches, but whether they would serve the gods their fathers had served on the other side of the floods, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land they now dwelt. All these gods were false, and nothing but idols. So the only choice set before them was to be made among idols, and not between the LORD and Satan. Joshua gave his testimony much the same as that of the Apostle Peter, as we quoted above. His mind was already made up for him, “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. At this point the children of Israel replied, saying, “God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods.” Then they gave their reasons for their intention to cling to the LORD. It will be noticed that every thing they mentioned had to do with the material blessings the LORD had bestowed upon them, with none even hinting of any love for Him. Compare this with most of David’s writing in the Psalms, where he declared his love for God, and his delight in the law of the LORD. Certainly we should honor God for all the material blessings He has given us: but unless there is in our hearts a love for Him and His laws, we can no more serve Him that could these Israelites.
(Verses 19 through 25) And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for He is an holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then He will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that He hath done you good. And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD. And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve Him. And they said, We are witnesses. Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel. And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and His voice will we obey. So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.
Joshua very sternly warned the congregation that if they set forth to serve the LORD, but then turned away from Him unto other gods, He would destroy them. Instead of continuing to bless them, He would turn against them to destroy them. In fact, he told them, “Ye cannot serve the LORD: for He is an holy God; he is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.” This God with Whom they have to do is not one of these idols whom they can treat in any manner they may please. Since He is both holy and jealous, they cannot serve both Him and idols. Yet they declare their intent to serve Him, and Joshua makes with them a covenant, calling upon them as witnesses against themselves. If at any time they break this covenant, they are witnesses, not for themselves, but against themselves.
(Verses 26 through 28) And Joshua wrote all these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD. And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the LORD which He spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God. So Joshua let the people depart, every man unto his inheritance.
Thus Joshua set up a memorial stone as witness against the children of Israel lest they depart from the LORD, and serve other gods. Then He dismissed the congregation, so that all might go to their own possessions.
(Verses 29 through 31) And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD died, being an hundred and ten years old. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-serah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash. And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the LORD, that He had done for Israel.
This is a simple declaration to the effect that Joshua died and was buried in the land of his possession. Verse 31, by the very fact that it says, “And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua,” seems to say that they immediately began to fall away thereafter, which we shall find, if we follow the story given in the Bible, is indeed the truth of the matter.
(Verses 32 and 33) And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph. And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill that pertained to Phinehas his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim.
So, the bones of Joseph were finally laid to rest in the parcel of land that Jacob had purchased from the sons of Hamor. Also Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest died and was buried in a hill belonging to his son Phinehas. Thus were the children of Israel settled in the land of Canaan, although there were still left in the land some of the Canaanites who had not been driven out of the land.