Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 6:21

They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Rahab;   War;   Thompson Chain Reference - Destruction;   Miracles;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Sword, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Anathema;   Rahab;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Nature;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Scripture, Unity and Diversity of;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Cattle;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Anathema;   Booty;   Jericho;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Accursed;   Archaeology and Biblical Study;   Cattle;   Joshua, the Book of;   Rahab;   Sword;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Cruelty;   Israel;   Jericho;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Miracles;   Rahab, Rachab ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Jericho;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Anathema;   Ark;   Journeyings of israel from egypt to canaan;   Rahab;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Arms;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Palestine (Recent Exploration, I.e. as of 1915);   War;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Ban;   Cruelty;   Joshua, Book of;   Sheep;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

They utterly destroyed - both man, and woman, etc. - As this act was ordered by God himself, who is the Maker and Judge of all men, it must be right: for the Judge of all the earth cannot do wrong. Nothing that breathed was permitted to live; hence the oxen, sheep, and asses, were destroyed, as well as the inhabitants.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 6:21". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-6.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city,.... All the inhabitants of it, by the direction of Joshua, and according to the order of the Lord, Deuteronomy 7:1; being guilty of capital crimes, which deserved death, as idolatry, incest, &c.

both men and women, young and old; neither sex nor age were spared:

and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword; in which creatures chiefly lay the substance of the eastern people; see Job 1:3.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 6:21". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-6.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

Young and old — Being commanded to do so by the sovereign Lord of every man's life; and being informed by God before that the Canaanites were abominably wicked, and deserved the severest punishments. As for the infants, they were guilty of original sin, and otherwise at the disposal of their creator; but if they had been wholly innocent, it was a great favour to them to take them away in infancy, rather than reserve them to those dreadful calamities which those who survived them were liable to.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 6:21". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-6.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 6:21 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.

Ver. 21. And they utterly destroyed all.] So God had commanded them; [Deuteronomy 20:16-17] and the iniquity of these Amorites was now full. [Genesis 15:16] Let us look upon these writs of execution recorded in Scripture, and be warned.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 6:21". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-6.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Being commanded to do so by the sovereign Lord of every man’s life; and being informed by God before that the Canaanites were abominably wicked, and deserved the severest punishments. As for the infants, they were guilty of original sin, and otherwise at the disposal of their Creator, as the clay is in the hands of the potter; but if they had been wholly innocent, it was a great favour to them to take them away in infancy, rather than reserve them to those dreadful calamities which those who survived them were liable to.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 6:21". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-6.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

And they devoted (utterly destroyed as an offering to YHWH) all that was in the city, both men and women, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.’

Warfare is ever a dreadful business. Even practically speaking they dared not leave men alive in their rear who could attack them from behind when they went on. And to leave the women and children alone and undefended would have been unacceptable. death would be seen as preferable. But here Jericho was the firstfruits of their inheritance, and therefore dedicated to YHWH. And they were carrying out God’s judgment on the particular wickedness of the Canaanites, their debased idolatry and their sexual perversions, wickedness which if it was not destroyed would in the end prove harmful to them (as later it did). None could be allowed to live. They were under the judgment of God. The slaughtering of the animals, which they would have liked to keep, demonstrates that it was not just blood lust.

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Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 6:21". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-6.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

21.They utterly destroyed all that was in the city — The Israelites in this indiscriminate massacre were simply obeying a plain command of God, (Deuteronomy 20:16-17,) and hence the charge of cruelty, if any, must be brought not against Israel, but God. And there have not been wanting men to urge the question, On what principles can the righteousness of God in this case be vindicated? A sufficient answer is furnished in the following considerations, condensed from Dr. Paley’s sermon in justification of God’s dealings with the Canaanites: (1.) They were destroyed for their excessive, wilful, habitual, and incurable wickedness. Leviticus 18:24-30. Their “abominable customs ” show that the grossest vices had become inherent, in their national character, and constituted even a part of their religion, for they were “done unto their gods.” Because of these heinous sins, and not to make way for the Israelites, they were cut off. (2.) God’s treatment of these crimes was impartial. The Jews, the chosen and favoured people, are told that for like sins the land shall “vomit you out also.” “As the nations which the Lord destroyed before your face, so shall ye perish.” (3.) God suffered long with the Canaanites. In the days of Abraham, four generations before, it was said, “The iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full;” (Genesis 15:16;) for this reason that patriarch was not put in possession of their country. They had not profited by the pure example of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, nor had they taken warning from the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. (4.) If the destruction be just, the manner is of little importance, whether by earthquake, pestilence, or famine, which spare neither age nor sex, or by the hand of their enemies. In all national punishments the innocent are of necessity confounded with the guilty. The Israelites were God’s sheriffs, charged with the duty of inflicting capital punishment upon an incorrigible nation. Without the command from God they would have sinned in this act, the same as a man would sin who should kill a fellow man from motives of private resentment, and not by a warrant from the chief magistrate. (5.) There was a peculiar fitness in the destruction of the Canaanites by the agency of Joshua. The people of those ages were affected by no proof of the power of their gods so deeply as by their giving them victory in war. All the neighbouring nations, for whose admonition this dreadful example was intended, were hereby convinced not only of the supreme power of the God of Israel, but also of his utter abhorrence of the abominations for which the Canaanites were destroyed. (6.) Vices of all kinds, especially licentiousness, are astonishingly infectious. If any of these idolatrous tribes were spared they would taint the Hebrews. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. Hence, “Thou shall utterly destroy them, that they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods.” Deuteronomy 20:17-18. Moreover, this growing corruption might have polluted the whole ancient world if it had not received this signal and public demonstration of God’s indignation.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 6:21". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-6.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Joshua 6:21. Young and old — Being commanded to do so by the sovereign Lord of every man’s life; and being informed by God before that the Canaanites were abominably wicked, and deserved the severest punishments. As for the infants, they were at the disposal of their Creator; and it was a great favour to them to take them away in their infancy, rather than reserve them to those dreadful calamities to which those who survived them were exposed.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 6:21". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-6.html. 1857.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

destroyed devoted to destruction Figure of speech Ellipsis (App-6), to be thus supplied.

with the edge = according to the mouth. "Mouth" by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Cause), App-6= without quarter.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 6:21". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-6.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 6:21". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-6.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(21) And ox, and sheep, and ass.—Even the animals must be destroyed, that Israel might not seem to be slaughtering the Canaanites for the sake of plunder. Everything was ordered in such a way as to mark the vengeance of God.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 6:21". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-6.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
And they
The Canaanites were ripe for destruction; and God was pleased, instead of destroying them by a pestilence, a famine, or an earthquake, to employ the Israelites as the executioners of his vengeance. Had an angel been commissioned to slay them, who would have charged him with iniquity or cruelty? In all public calamities infants are involved; and tens of thousands of infants die in great agony every year. Now, either God is not the agent in these calamities, (which opinion, though often implied in men's reasonings on these subjects, is not far from atheism;) or they must consist with the most perfect justice and goodness.
utterly
9:24,25; 10:28,39; 11:14; Deuteronomy 2:34; 7:2,3,16; 20:16,17; 1 Samuel 15:3,8,18,19; 1 Kings 20:42; Psalms 137:8,9; Jeremiah 48:18; Revelation 18:21
Reciprocal: Numbers 31:15 - GeneralJoshua 7:24 - his sons;  Joshua 8:2 - do to Ai;  Joshua 8:22 - let none;  Joshua 10:1 - as he had;  Joshua 10:29 - Libnah;  1 Samuel 22:19 - men;  1 Samuel 27:9 - and the camels;  Jeremiah 44:7 - to cut;  Lamentations 2:21 - young

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 6:21". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-6.html.