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In Joshua 9-11 inclusive we have the account of two great campaigns, in which Joshua successively defeats a confederacy of the petty kings of southern Palestine under the king of Jerusalem, and a combination of the northern chiefs under Jabin, king of Hazor. Joshua 12 concludes the narrative of the conquest, with a summary of the successes of Moses on the E. and of Joshua on the W. of Jordan. Critics have been much exercised by the apparent contrast of this narrative of the invasion with that in Judges 1. There we have—in the case of Judah and Simeon at least—independent tribal action. Here there is no word of anything but a general action of Israel, under Joshua’s leadership, resulting (Joshua 11:23) in a conquest of the ’whole land.’ The solution of the difficulty may perhaps be (a) that these chapters give us the account of two grand campaigns complete and successful in themselves, but involving a prolonged guerilla warfare and a number of local enterprises, such as those mentioned in Judges. Or it may be (b) that there is in these rounded accounts of the northern and southern conquests something of historical foreshortening; for we must remember that in Judges 11:18 it is described as a ’long’ war (see on Joshua 11:16-23). Or possibly a combination of these two explanations may give the true solution.
The League with the Gibeonites
Joshua 9 forms an introduction to the narrative of the Southern campaign (Joshua 10). The Gibeonite cities were important enough both politically and geographically (see on Joshua 9:17 and Joshua 10:2) for their defection to frighten the surrounding kinglets into concerted action against Israel.
1, 2. The petty kings combine against Israel.
3. Gibeon] 2 m. N. of Jerusalem. For its importance see on Joshua 10:2, Joshua 10:10.
14. Took of their victuals] thus accepting their specious story, and incidentally committing themselves, according to Eastern rule of hospitality, to at least a temporary friendship. Asked not counsel by Urim and Thununim] as e.g. we find them asking in Judges 1:1.
17. Now their cities were] All these four cities have been identified in the territory afterwards occupied by Benjamin and the N. border of Judah.
20. Lest wrath come upon us] Centuries later we are told (2 Samuel 21) that the Israelites of David’s time felt this ’wrath’ when Saul had broken his ancestral compact with Gibeon.
21. Hewers of wood, etc.] This is the description of the normal function of resident aliens in Deuteronomy 29:11. From Joshua 9:23, Joshua 9:27 we find that their tasks were mainly, though not entirely, concerned with the sacrificial worship of the House of God.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Joshua 9". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany