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the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 10

Gaebelein's Annotated BibleGaebelein's Annotated

Verses 1-43

10. The Victorious Conquest


1. Adoni-zedec and his confederacy (Joshua 10:1-6 )

2. The war (Joshua 10:7-11 )

3. The miracle (Joshua 10:12-15 )

4. The victory won (Joshua 10:16-21 )

5. The five kings slain (Joshua 10:22-27 )

6. Further conquests (Joshua 10:28-43 )

The name Jerusalem is mentioned here for the first time in the Bible. (Salem in Genesis 14:18 , is generally taken to be Jerusalem. See Psalms 76:2 . The ancient tablets give the name as Ur-Salim. But the name “Jerusalem” is found the first time in Joshua 10:1 .) It is in connection with war, and the next time we find Jerusalem on fire (Judges 1:8 ). This may be taken as a prophecy of the history of that city. Yet something better is in store for Jerusalem. Adoni-zedec is here the King of Jerusalem. His name means “lord of righteousness.” He represents the counterfeit king in opposition to Him who is Jerusalem’s true King, the true Melchizedec, King of righteousness and King of peace. He is a type of Anti-christ. On account of Gibeon having gone over to Israel, Adoni-zedec forms an alliance, which he heads as leader. His confederates are given by name. We give the meaning of their names in parenthesis, which will be helpful in a deeper study of these types. Horam (the noise of a multitude), King of Hebron; Piram (the wild ass), King of Jarmuth; Japhia (causing brightness); King of Lachish; Debir (an oracle), King of Eglon. This satanic alliance was aimed at Gibeon and at Israel as well. And Gibeon appealed to Joshua for help.

Notice that they sent to Gilgal, the first camp of Israel. Joshua and the people were at Gilgal and from Gilgal they ascended. At Gilgal they saw the memorials of God’s power, and encouraged by a direct message from Jehovah they went forth to war. Blessed are we, if in our spiritual warfare we go forth from Gilgal (the place of self-judgment and of power).

The great miracle of the standing still of the sun and the moon occurred then. The way this miracle has been held up to ridicule is known to everybody. Infidels of all generations have sneered at it. Critics have followed, as they always do, close in their footsteps. But even good men have found difficulties here and tried to explain it with their human wisdom. One explanation given is that the Hebrew word _dum, to stand, means rather that the sun was to cease to give its light. Upon this the statement is made, that Joshua’s command was that the sun and moon should cease giving their light, and not that they should cease continuing their apparent motion. Herder in his “Hebraische Poesie” says:

“It is astonishing that this fine passage has been so long misunderstood. Joshua attacked the Amorites in the early morning, and the battle continued till night; that is, for a long day, which seemed to protract itself into night, to complete the victory. The sun and moon were witnesses of Joshua’s great deeds, and held their course in the midst of heaven till the triumph was perfect. Who does not recognize this as poetry, even if it had not been quoted from the Book of Poems on Heroes. In the usual language of the Hebrews such expressions were neither bold nor unusual.”

These are the attempts of man, by which he tries to explain the supernatural by the natural. The occurrence is a miracle. It says the sun stood still. But how is that when science tells us the sun does not move? We give the answer from Kurtz in his Sacred History, because it is the most concise statement we have ever seen:

“A voucher from the Old Testament for the promise in Mark 11:23-24 , ‘Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, etc..’ is furnished by Joshua’s bold word of faith with its fulfilment. It was his prayer that the light of day might be prolonged, and the darkness of night be retarded, until he had secured the object for which he pursued the enemy: he obtained the answer which he sought by the miraculous power of his faith. No investigation respecting the natural means which produced this supernatural effect can furnish valuable results. The command of faith is pronounced in the sense which Joshua assigns to the words; the divine answer is given in the sense in which God understands them. No arguments that are either favorable or unfavorable to any particular system of astronomy are furnished by the occurrence.”

The miracle must have stricken with terror the fighting nations, for they worshipped the sun and the moon.

Signs in heaven are frequently mentioned in the Word.

Read and study carefully the following passages: 2 Kings 20:11 ; Isaiah 38:8 ; Amos 8:9 ; Isaiah 13:10 ; Isaiah 60:20 ; Ezekiel 32:7 ; Joel 2:10 ; Joel 2:31 ; Joel 3:15 ; Matthew 24:29 ; Revelation 6:12 ; Revelation 8:12 ; Revelation 9:2 ; Revelation 16:8 . When the age ends with the battle of Armageddon and the Lord Jesus Christ appears the second time in great power and glory, these signs as predicted in some of these passages will be fulfilled. The sun and moon will be darkened. What terror will take hold upon the great masses of Christendom, who reject the miracle and Christ! Read Revelation 6:12-17 .

What is the book of Jasher, mentioned in verse 13?

The Book of Jasher (or, of the Upright, that is, Israel) was a collection of sacred war-songs, and may have, possibly, formed a continuation, in a certain sense, of the “Book of the Wars of the Lord” (Numbers 21:14 ; 2 Samuel 1:18 ). The collection was probably commenced in the wilderness, and, at different periods, received additions.

The fact that it is no longer in existence proves its non-inspiration.

Great are the victories described in this chapter. See verse 41 as to the territory which was covered. From Kadesh-barnea unto Gaza, all the country of Goshen unto Gibeon. And why? Because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel (verse 42). If God is for us, who can be against us! “And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp of Gilgal.” How wonderful it is to return after our victories to Gilgal, the place of self-judgment and confessed weakness. How often our victories and blessings are more dangerous than our failures and defeats!

Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Joshua 10". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/joshua-10.html. 1913-1922.
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