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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible
Joshua 10

 

 

Verse 1

FIVE KINGS WAR AGAINST GIBEON, Joshua 10:1-5.

1. Adoni-zedek — The name means lord of justice. Compare the kindred word Melchizedek, king of justice. Genesis 14:18. All that is known of this Amorite king and his four confederates is recorded in this chapter. Alarmed at the victories of Joshua and the defection of Gibeon, his nearest neighbour on the north, he aroused the kings in the south, and combined them against the seceding state. This drew Joshua to the aid of his ally, and to the discomfiture of his confederated foes, and the execution of Adonizedek and his four royal associates.

Jerusalem — This is the first time that undisputed mention is made in the Bible of this celebrated city. Probably the Salem in Genesis 14:18, is Jerusalem, although Jerome contends that Salem was in the southern part of Galilee, near Scythopolis. Jerusalem is called “Jebus” and the “city of the Jebusites” in Judges and some later books. It became the metropolis of the Hebrews under David at a comparatively late date, after the nation had gone through the period of the Judges and entered on the Monarchy. Bethel, Hebron, and Shechem were ancient holy places when the Jebusite was still possessing Jerusalem.

It is a little south of the centre of Palestine, thirty-two miles from the coast and eighteen from the Jordan, and is two thousand six hundred feet above the level of the sea. It is surrounded on three sides by hills still higher, from which it is separated by precipitous ravines, which rendered it, before the invention of gunpowder, almost impregnable. “It is on the ridge, the broadest and most strongly marked ridge, of the backbone of the complicated hills which extend through the whole country, from the plain of Esdraelon to the desert. Every wanderer, every conqueror, every traveller, who has trod the central route of Palestine from north to south, must have passed through the table-land of Jerusalem. It was the water-shed between the streams, or, rather, the torrent beds, which find their way eastward to the Jordan and westward to the Mediterranean.” — Stanley. See note, Matthew 2:1.

And were among them — That is, were having amicable intercourse with the Israelites.


Verse 2

2. They feared greatly — The loss to the Amorites of so powerful a commonwealth as Gibeon, and its alliance with Joshua, was a sufficient cause of fear, aside from the fact that Joshua, now securely established in this central position, had completely cut off northern from southern Palestine, so that he could conquer each in detail.

As one of the royal cities — It was not a royal capital, but as important. The fact that so large a city, in their immediate vicinity, renowned for bravery, had submitted to the invader without striking a blow, was indeed appalling.


Verse 3

3. Hebron — This city, one of the most ancient in the world, is situated among the mountains of Judah, twenty miles south of Jerusalem. It is two thousand eight hundred feet above the Mediterranean, and is the highest town in Palestine, being six hundred feet above Jerusalem. Hence the appropriateness of the expression in Joshua 20:7 : “Hebron in the mountain of Judah.” It was well known when Abraham sojourned there, nearly four thousand years ago. Its original name was Kirjath-Arba, the city of Arba, and it was sometimes called Mamre. Ritter argues that the original name was Hebron, and that this name was restored after the expulsion of the Anakim. Joshua 15:14. It is now called by the Mohammedans El-Khulil, “the Friend,” that is, of God — the designation of Abraham, whose tomb, the cave of Machpelah, is still here, one of the historic remains in the Holy Land of which travellers have no doubts. It is enclosed within a mosque. The present population is about ten thousand. Jarmuth was a town in the low country of Judah, but not so far west as the plain. It was southwest from Jerusalem about eighteen miles. Robinson found here a hamlet called Yarmuk, which doubtless represents the ancient capital of Piram, and contains among the hewn stones of its ruins some traces of its ancient greatness. Lachish, probably the modern Um-Lakis, is about fifteen miles west of Hebron, on the lower range of hills, so far below the summit of Hebron that it is called “the plain.” It was rebuilt after Joshua destroyed it, and in the reign of Hezekiah was taken by Sennacherib. The siege is mentioned in 2 Chronicles 32:9, and a plan of the city and its capture is portrayed on slabs found by Layard at Nineveh. See notes and cuts at 2 Kings 18:14; 2 Kings 19:8. Eglon was about eight miles west by north from Lachish on the plain. Its name is supposed to survive in Ajlan, a shapeless mass of ruins covering a round hillock. In translating this verse the Septuagint has erroneously called this place Adullam.


Verse 6

THE GIBEONITES APPEAL FOR AID, Joshua 10:6.

6. Save us — As soon as the hostile army of the confederated Amorites pitched their camp before their walls the Gibeonites sent to Joshua for aid. It was of the first importance that Joshua should rescue them and retain their allegiance. Had the Gibeonites been neglected by Joshua they would have been either forced into a league with the Amorites, or defeated by their superior numbers.


Verse 7

JOSHUA’S NIGHT-MARCH TO GIBEON, Joshua 10:7-9.

7. Ascended — This expression (repeated in Joshua 10:9) most obviously has reference to the ascent from the Jordan valley to the interior of Palestine. See notes on Joshua 8:10; Joshua 9:6. All the people of war is an expression limited by its appositive in the next clause, all the mighty men of valour, which is the Hebrew way of saying, all the bravest men of the army.


Verse 8

8. Fear them not — He was constrained to aid Gibeon not only by military necessity, but also by the encouraging assurance of the Lord that he should be victorious. As Joshua up to this time had fought only single cities, he needed additional assurance when he was about to meet for the first time the allied armies of Canaan.


Verse 9

9. Suddenly — Because Joshua believed the words of Jehovah he made a bold and sudden movement. Great faith is essential to a great captain.

Went up from Gilgal all night — He had marched over this route several times before, and was familiar with it. The distance from Gilgal to Gibeon was about the same as that from Gilgal to Ai, fifteen miles. See Joshua 8:9, note. This night march was a memorable prelude to the most astounding miracle of history.

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Verse 10-11

THE GREAT BATTLE OF GIBEON AND BETH-HORON, Joshua 10:10-11.

[“The battle of Beth-boron, or Gibeon,” says Stanley, “was one of the most important in the history of the world; and yet so profound has been the indifference, first of the religious world, and then (through their example or influence) of the common world, to the historical study of the Hebrew annals, that the very name of this great battle is far less known to most of us than that of Marathon or Cannae. It is one of the few military engagements which belong equally to ecclesiastical and to civil history, which have decided equally the fortunes of the world and of the Church.”] 10. And the Lord discomfited them — The victory is ascribed not to Joshua but to the Lord. He had inspired the great Hebrew chieftain with confidence to strike a sudden blow, probably in the early morning dawn, and the panic-stricken enemy fled in confusion. There is no need of supposing, with some expositors, that God made use of thunder and lightning, or any other terrific natural phenomena, to discomfit the Amorite host early in the morning. The sudden assault of Joshua with his battalion of picked men was sufficient to produce such a result. God is often said to do that which is done through the agency of men. The issue of battles, like every other human event, is in the hands of Almighty God. In the sphere of mind there is a field for divine interposition, breathing courage into one army and dismay into the other. Hence many of the most wonderful triumphs in the world’s history have been achieved by the weaker army.

Beth-horon — The house of caves. Upper Beth-horon is on an elevation northwest of Gibeon, higher up, and is at the head of a ravine through which there is a steep pass to Lower Beth-horon and to the plain of Sharon. The flight of the Amorites was toward this pass up the long ascent, the way that goeth up. Then came the second stage of the flight down the steep ravine, in the going down to Beth-horon the lower. Azekah was a town in the rich agricultural plain into which the valley of Aijalon opens westward. Its position has not yet been recognized. Makkedah is supposed to be in the same plain, but its situation has hitherto eluded discovery.


Verse 11

11. The Lord cast down great stones. — Some have supposed that this was a shower of meteoric stones, but before the statement is concluded hailstones are mentioned. Neither of these, considered by itself, is a miraculous event; but either of them occurring at that particular crisis in the flight, and falling only on the foes of Israel, must be regarded as supernatural. Both meteoric stones and hail may have fallen. I have before me the account of a shower of stones in Normandy, in France, in 1803. The stones fell with a hissing noise from a small rectangular cloud, which did not seem to move, and they were scattered over a tract of country eight miles long by three broad. Above two thousand were collected, the largest weighing seventeen and a half pounds. In the Yale College cabinet may be seen a similar stone, weighing sixteen hundred and thirty-five pounds, which fell in Arkansas. Others are found in South America, one whose estimated weight is fifteen tons. The most reasonable hypothesis is, that these stones are fragments of small invisible planets moving through space, drawn within the sphere of the earth’s attraction. That a shower of such projectiles may have been directed by the Ruler of the universe to fall on the descent to Lower Beth-horon while his foes were fleeing from Joshua is not an incredible supposition to one who believes in a personal God. There are many instances of hail storms so violent as to be destructive of life, aside from that recorded in Exodus, (Exodus 9:23-26,) a plague so destructive to all who were unsheltered. In our own country, in Jackson, La., 1834, within ten minutes, a little after midnight, a great number of cattle were killed by the hailstones, and much damage was done to the houses and woods. Sir Robert Wilson describes a terrible thunder and hail-storm at Marmorice Bay, Asia Minor, while the British fleet were at anchor there in February, 1801. It continued, at intervals, two days and nights to pour hailstones as large as walnuts, deluging the camps with a torrent of them till the earth was covered two feet deep. In August, 1831, there was a hail-storm so violent that two boatmen in a village on the Bosphorus were killed, and many others were severely wounded, by balls of ice of a pound weight. Sudden showers of hail are not unusual in Palestine. The destructiveness of this shower of hail to the Amorites only, and its occurrence at this time, mark it as a miraculous event. The Lord cast down great stones from heaven, by intensifying and controlling natural agencies.


Verse 12

12. Then spake Joshua to the Lord — What Joshua said to the Lord we do not know, unless we are to construe the command to the sun and moon as Joshua’s prayer, “O Lord, let the sun stand still.” But it is more probable that the great captain, standing on the mountain summit, and seeing his fugitive enemies hastening for their lives far down in the valley below, ejaculated a prayer to Jehovah for supernatural aid, and that he was, in answer to prayer, suddenly endowed with the gift of faith to believe that the laws of the universe would be suspended at his command. The difference between the grace of faith and the gift of faith is this: The trust which Joshua reposed in God’s promise at Gilgal, Joshua 10:8, was an exercise of the grace of faith, which has a moral character, inasmuch as its opposite, a disbelief of God’s word, would have been sin; while the gift of faith is an extraordinary endowment, enabling the possessor to ask for things for which he has no specific promise, the non-exercise of which faith would not be sinful, inasmuch as it does not discredit God’s word. The Lord had never promised to arrest the sun in answer to Joshua’s command. Hence it would have been the highest presumption for Joshua to command a thing so extraordinary on the ground of God’s general promises. But being endowed with this miraculous gift of faith, the act of Joshua in giving orders to the sun and moon to halt in their march through the heavens — given, doubtless, in the name of Jehovah — becomes perfectly proper.

He said in the sight of Israel — That is, in their presence, or in sight of the army. This was done in their presence, in order that they might know to what cause to attribute so remarkable an occurrence, and might glorify God, who had given such power to a man. They could afterward attest to their children the truth of an event of which they had been eye-witnesses.

Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon — [Joshua 10:12 and the first part of Joshua 10:13 may be thus poetically rendered:

Then spake Joshua to Jehovah.

In the day of Jehovah’s giving the Amorite

In the presence of the sons of Israel;

And he said in the eyes of Israel:

Sun, in Gibeon be still,

And moon, in the valley of Aijalon.

Then still was the sun,

And the moon stood,

Until a nation should take vengeance on its enemies.]

Various have been the theories devised to explain the manner of this stupendous miracle. Some assert that the passage is merely a poetical interpolation to adorn the narrative and heighten its effect. They allege that it is never quoted in the catalogues of Old Testament miracles. To this we reply, that, as we never find any exhaustive catalogues of those miracles, the omission of this proves nothing. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews omits the striking and unquestioned miracle of the passage of the Jordan. See Hebrews 11:29-30. Others explain this miracle as merely a poetical statement of the fact that the Israelites, in answer to Joshua’s prayer, were endowed with power to do two days’ work in one; a theory too absurd to call for sober refutation. There are others who insist that the earth’s motion on its axis was actually arrested, causing a cessation of the apparent diurnal revolution of the sun and moon. Our objection to this theory is, that it involves several secret miracles. A sudden check in the velocity of rotation of the earth on its axis would violently throw down objects on its surface, especially near the equator. If a resisting force were gradually applied, like a brake to a car-wheel, Prof. Mitchell has ascertained that “in forty seconds the motion might cease entirely, and the change would not be sensible to the inhabitants of the earth, except from the appearance of the heavens.” But this would require a direct interposition of a secret miracle to keep the ocean, which is sustained at a higher level in the equatorial regions by the centrifugal force, from flowing toward the poles, and from submerging much of the continents, and to keep the Mediterranean Sea from dashing over Palestine. Again: By the recent discovery of the correlation of forces it has been demonstrated that a force requisite to arrest the revolution of the earth must convert momentum into heat equal to that generated by the burning of a mass of anthracite coal fourteen times as large as the globe itself. Another secret miracle would be required to prevent this universal conflagration. But secret miracles, so far as we know, have no place in the divine system, since they cannot authenticate a revelation, or demonstrate to man the interposition of God’s hand in the course of nature. We, therefore, with a large number of commentators and Christian philosophers, adopt the theory that the standing still of the sun and moon was optical, and not literal — that we have a description of phenomena as presented to the eyes of the spectators. The language of the Scriptures is evidently popular, and not scientific; as when they speak of the earth as standing still and the sun as rising and setting. By the supernatural refraction, or bending of the rays of light, the sun and moon might maintain a stationary appearance for several hours. Even by natural refraction we daily see the sun before he has risen above, and after he has gone below, the horizon. The miraculous receding of the shadow on the dial of Ahaz (2 Kings 20:11; Isaiah 38:8) was probably caused by a similar supernatural refraction of the sun’s rays. This explanation of these astronomical miracles involves the principle which is found in nearly all miracles, namely, the intensifying of some natural agency rather than the violation of any natural laws. As in the case of the widow’s cruse and the feeding of the multitudes, new oil and new loaves were not created, but that which was in existence was multiplied, so do we believe that instead of a new and strange force brought to bear on nature the natural law of refraction was intensified in both of these miracles.

There is no astronomical difficulty in the statement of the positions of the sun and the moon at that time. To Joshua, standing at Upper Beth-horon, the direction of Gibeon was southeast, which would also be the direction of the sun in the early part of the day, at which time the moon might have been in the southwest, above the valley of Aijalon, approaching its setting. See map of the scene of the battle, page 74. To the question why Joshua should ask for the day to be lengthened while more than half the day was still unspent, we reply that the account does not say that he asked for such a miracle. He “spake to the Lord.” We are left to supply the subject-matter of his prayer, which would most naturally be for aid to annihilate God’s foes. He receives no answer, but is suddenly endowed with the gift of faith that at his command to the sun and moon God will work an unheard-of miracle, for the demonstration of his sovereignty over physical law, and of his interest in his people.

It is quite probable that the sun and the moon, the gods of so many pagan nations, were the divinities of the Canaanites, to whom they were then appealing for aid against the victorious Hebrews. If this be true, there is a peculiar appropriateness in this miracle, strikingly demonstrating to both armies the superiority of the God of Joshua.

The absence of any account of this miracle in the annals of other nations should have little weight with us, since the records of nearly all the contemporaneous nations have perished, and none of them have histories containing complete accounts of that early period.


Verses 12-15

THE SUN AND MOON STAND STILL, Joshua 10:12-15.

We are not to regard these remarkable verses as giving an unauthentic and merely poetical description of the victory, as rationalistic expositors teach, but rather a parenthesis thrown into the narrative, by the author himself, or by a later hand, and taken from the book referred to in Joshua 10:13. This may be clearly seen from the statement, in Joshua 10:15, that Joshua returned to Gilgal, which he did not do until the close of the campaign, as stated in Joshua 10:43. On the supposition that Joshua 10:15 is the conclusion of the quotation all the confusion is cleared up. We may admit that this quotation from the Book of Jasher was inserted here some time after the Book of Joshua was otherwise completed. The Book of Jasher was not completed, possibly not composed, until the time of David. See note on Joshua 10:13. But from this admission it does not follow that the passage is unhistorical, or to be explained merely as poetry.


Verse 13

13. The book of Jasher — This was a poetical book in praise of the heroes of the theocracy — a collection of national songs. Both its name and extant fragments seem to show that it was composed to celebrate upright men in Israel, like Joshua and Jonathan. Jasher signifies the upright. It was probably written in the reign of David, or soon after. It may have been compiled gradually through a long course of years, one national song after another being added to the collection, but it certainly was not completed till David’s time, for it contained his elegy on Saul and Jonathan. See 2 Samuel 1:18. Furst is of the opinion that Jasher is a collective term for Israelites, and that it should be translated the book of the Israelites, that is, the national book. We are ignorant of its author or compiler. If it had been divinely inspired, Providence would doubtless have preserved it for the benefit of mankind. The modern works bearing its title are later and spurious.

About a whole day — The exposition of Bush, who translates this passage as at the perfect day, signifying only that the sun did not go down at its usual time at the close of the day, but pretty soon after, is rather far-fetched. The Vulgate version, “Nor was there before nor afterward so long a day,” contains the true explanation of this expression, namely, that the day was greatly extended, perhaps nearly doubled in length. A study of the whole chapter, and a consideration of the many acts performed by Joshua and his army, would seem to require about two days for their accomplishment.


Verse 14

14. No day like that — No day was ever before or since supernaturally extended at the command of man. God had often before this hearkened unto the voice of man, but never before to the voice of a man inspired with miracle-working faith to control the movements of the heavenly bodies.


Verse 15

15. And Joshua returned — This must be regarded as the close of the quotation from the book of Jasher. The writer of that book drops all the further acts of the campaign, and speaks of its conclusion. See note introductory to Joshua 10:12.


Verse 16

THE PURSUIT AND SLAUGHTER OF THE AMORITES, Joshua 10:16-21.

16. The thread of the narrative, broken at the end of Joshua 10:11 by the quotation from the Book of Jasher, is here resumed.

Five kings — See Joshua 10:3.

A cave — Caves still abound in that region. Beth-horon signifies a house of caves. Travellers relate that these hiding places are found in all parts of Palestine. “The rocks are perforated in every direction with ‘caves’ and ‘holes’ and ‘pits,’ crevices and fissures sunk deep in the rocky soil.” — Stanley.


Verse 18

18. Roll great stones — The cave when thus barricaded would require but a small guard. The rest of the men could be employed in the pursuit. The golden hour for the victor is the time when his enemies are fleeing disordered and panic-stricken. The rigorous commander in such an hour neglects even his own wounded and dying that he may make his victory decisive.


Verse 19

19. Pursue after your enemies — The excitement of such a victory would in a wonderful manner keep up the strength of the soldiers, and perhaps supernatural vigour was also imparted to them.

For the Lord… hath delivered — Compare notes on Joshua 6:2; Joshua 8:1. But though the enemies’ destruction is a foreseen certainty in the Divine Mind, the conditions, pursue, smite, are insisted on.


Verse 20

20. Till they were consumed — That is, utterly defeated, demoralized, and dispersed.

That the rest which remained — These words and the restof this verse should be put in parentheses and rendered, And the survivors escaped from them and went into fortified cities. The sense of this passage is, therefore, well expressed by Keil: “Only a remnant of them was left, and they took refuge in the fortified cities.” The parenthesis thus qualifies the clause till they were consumed.


Verse 21

21. All the people — The army that had pursued the foe.

None moved his tongue — Or, pointed his tongue. None uttered an impious or threatening word against Israel. The enemy was reduced to the most abject silence.

This is the Hebrew way of expressing the complete subjection of all that region. Compare Exodus 11:7.


Verses 22-24

THE FIVE KINGS EXECUTED, Joshua 10:22-27.

24. Called for all the men of Israel — This must be limited to the bravest warriors; those only were at Makkedah; the rest of the people were at Gilgal. See Joshua 10:7, note, also Joshua 10:43. A grand assembly of the army was made for the formal humiliation and public execution of the five kings. It was desirable to make the execution as impressive as possible.

Put your feet upon the necks of these kings — Symbolical actions are very common in the East, such as passing under yokes and kissing the conqueror’s feet, and in case of extreme and perfect subjection the victor proclaimed his triumph by treading on the neck of his conquered foe. This impressive act inspirited the Israelites, and struck terror into their enemies yet unconquered. Some regard this as the fulfilment of the prophecy of Moses in Deuteronomy 33:29. It also explains the expression, “to make one’s enemies his footstool.” Psalms 110:1.


Verse 25

25. Thus shall the Lord do to all your enemies — Unless ye forfeit my favour by your sin, as in the first battle with Ai. Thus every Christian, if faithful to Christ, will “find his latest foe under his feet at last.”


Verse 26

26. Joshua smote them — Here observe, they were slain before they were hung. This summary infliction of capital punishment so abhorrent to the humane spirit of our Christian civilization, was in accordance with the character of that age and people, who would have construed mercy as cowardice. European nations in their wars with the semi-barbarous Orientals of modern times are compelled to adopt the severe war-code of those nations. Compare the note on Joshua 8:29.

Hanged them on five trees — As a mark of further indignity, and to strike the enemy with increased terror.

Until the evening — See on Joshua 8:29.


Verse 27

27. Cast them into the cave — The place of their concealment was made their sepulchre.

Until this very day — See note, Joshua 8:28.


Verse 28

CONQUEST OF SOUTHERN PALESTINE, Joshua 10:28-43.

28. That day — Joshua and a part of the host took Makkedah while the rest were pursuing the flying foe.

Destroyed… all the souls — All the human beings. For considerations justifying this indiscriminate extermination of the Canaanites, see note, Joshua 6:21.


Verse 29

29. Libnah, according to Stanley and Robinson, is the present Tel-el-Safieh, which is only a mile from Eleutheropolis, in the plain of Judah; but Van de Velde, with more probability, identifies it with Arak el-Menshyeh, a hill about five miles west of Eleutheropolis, and showing signs of having been an ancient fortified place. But the identity is far from certain. It was a city of Judah (Joshua 15:42) appropriated to the priests, Joshua 21:13. In the reign of Jehoram it revolted from Judah, (2 Kings 8:22,) and still later was besieged by Sennacherib. 2 Kings 19:8.


Verse 31

31. Lachish — See Joshua 10:3, note.


Verse 32

32. On the second day — The second day of the siege.


Verse 33

33. Horam, like the other ill-fated kings mentioned in this chapter, has left no other record. Gezer must have been between the Lower Beth-horon and the sea. It does not seem to have been destroyed by Joshua. Some identify it with the village Jazur, four or five miles east of Joppa, but this is uncertain. [It was an important city of the Caaaanites, and fell within the borders of Ephraim, (Joshua 16:3,) but that tribe failed to drive out the original inhabitants. Judges 1:19. Subsequently Pharaoh, king of Egypt, captured it, slew its Canaanitish inhabitants, and presented it to his daughter, Solomon’s wife. Pharaoh burned the city, but Solomon rebuilt and fortified Joshua 2 :1 Kings 9:16-17.]


Verse 34

34. Eglon — See on Joshua 10:3.


Verse 38

38. Hebron — See on Joshua 10:3. As the king of Hebron had been executed at Makkedah, his successor is probably referred to as killed in this siege.

[38. And Joshua returned… to Debir — Debir has not been with certainty identified with any modern name. Van de Velde finds it in a place called Dilbeh, six miles southwest of Hebron. Compare Stanley’s note at Joshua 15:18. Others suppose it to have been nearer Hebron, on the west. Dr. Rosen places it, with much probability, at Dewirban. Its earlier name was Kirjath-sepher, (Joshua 15:15,) which means book city, and intimates that the original Canaanitish inhabitants were acquainted with writing and books, and that their city became noted for learning. The same place is called Kirjath-sannah in Joshua 15:49, a name of similar meaning.]


Verse 40

40. Country of the hills — The mountain ridge, which is the backbone of the Holy Land, is cut up into hills by ravines which stretch away to the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean. The heads of these valleys often interlap for a considerable distance, forming numerous steep hills.

The south — The Negeb. This term designates that territory which was subsequently occupied by Judah and Simeon, and also a portion of Edom. It is a geographical term, used constantly to designate the land lying to the south of Palestine, and should always be translated the south country, as it is in Genesis 20:1. In later Hebrew writers it extended from Southern Canaan to Arabia Petraea and Egypt.

The vale — The shephelah. This word, with one exception, (Joshua 11:16,) always designates the maritime plain of Philistia, from Joppa to the borders of Egypt.

The springs אשׁדות, slopes where torrents flow together; ravines.


Verse 41

41. [Kadesh-barnea was a most important station in the southern border of the Holy Land, the starting-point of the forty years’ wandering, the place where Miriam died, and whence the spies went out to explore the Land of Promise. There has been uncertainty as to its exact location. Stanley proposes to identify it with Petra, the modern Wady Mousa; Robinson locates it at Ain el-Weibeh, twenty miles northwest of Mount Hor; but more recently Captain Palmer argues for the opinion first maintained by Dr. Rowlands, that the ancient Kadesh-barnea is represented by the modern Ain Gadis, a fountain in the plateau of Jebel Magrah, some forty miles west of Mount Hor. This view will probably gain general acceptance.] Gaza is still standing, and is a place larger than Jerusalem, situated on the Mediterranean Sea in Southern Palestine. It has been the scene of many remarkable events. See at Genesis 10:19.

Country of Goshen — A city and district generally supposed to be in the mountains of Judah, though some think that it was on the plain. Its name suggests that it may have been founded by a colony from Goshen in Egypt.


Verse 42

42. At one time — During one campaign, which commenced with the great battle of Gibeon and Beth-horon.

Because the Lord… fought for Israel — The unprecedented rapidity and success of Joshua’s movements is here ascribed to his great ally, Jehovah. The only miraculous interposition in aid of Joshua was on the memorable first day of the campaign; but the marvellous victories obtained in quick succession over a foe which, forty years before, by reason of their stature and the strength of their walled cities struck terror into the hearts of the Hebrew spies, show that God was the author of that courage which now nerved the people, and also of that despair which paralyzed their foes so perfectly that before they could reorganize a combined resistance they were cut off, city by city.


Verse 43

43. All Israel — All who had served in this campaign.

Gilgal — The old camp in the Jordan valley. See note on Joshua 9:6; also Joshua 10:9. The transfer of this statement to Joshua 10:15 shows the passage in Joshua 10:12-15 to be an interpolation.

 


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 10:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-10.html. 1874-1909.

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Monday, August 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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