So Joshua conquered the whole region--the hill country, the Negev, the foothills, and the slopes, together with all their kings--leaving no survivors. He devoted to destruction everything that breathed, just as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded.
I. THE CONDUCT OF JOSHUA. This appears cruel and murderous. But note:
(1) It was in accordance with the customs of the times. Christian lenity was unknown. A man must be judged in the light of his age. It is wrong to "follow a multitude to do evil" (Exodus 23:2), when we know it is doing evil, because the number of guilty persons does not mitigate the guilt of each individual. But our own judgment of what is right and wrong is largely determined by the prevalent ideas and unblamed conduct of our contemporaries; and if, when we have used the best light at our command, "our hearts condemn us not" (1 John 3:21), we cannot be accounted guilty.
(2) It was in obedience to the understood command of God. A supposed command from heaven is no justification for an act which a man sincerely believes to be wrong, because in no case is he justified in violating conscience, and because he has more reason for doubting the Divine origin of the voice without than that of the voice within. But when the certainty of the Divine command is so strong that it carries conviction to the conscience, it becomes right for a man to obey.
(2) It was in execution of what was believed to be a Divine decree of judgment. Joshua did not consider that he was destroying the Canaanites simply to make way for the Israelites. He believed that he was a "scourge of God," sent to bring doom to the guilty, to rid the land of men who lived only to dishonour it, and to introduce a better race in their stead.
II. THE RELATION OF GOD TO THE SLAUGHTER OF THE CANAANITES. Did God really command it? and if so, how can we reconcile this with His character of goodness?
(1) If God commanded this slaughter, He was ordering no more than He does directly in natural events - in tempests, earthquakes, famines, plagues, and visitations of death generally.
(2) If men deserve destruction for their sins, it is really no more harsh for this to be sent by human agency than for it to come from physical causes, as with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
(3) If the punishment of sin generally is reconcilable with the goodness of God, this particular instance may be so.
(4) The extermination of the Canaanites was a blessing to the world.
(5) It was no real evil to the Canaanites. If men are living in sin and will not repent, the judgment which shortens their lives and prevents further evil is rather a blessing than a curse; for any loss or suffering is better for us than that we should be permitted to live on in sin (Luke 17:1, 2). It is better for us that we should be punished for sin than that we should continue in sin unpunished.
III. THE CONTRAST BETWEEN THE EARLIER AND THE LATER DISPENSATIONS.
(1) Joshua brought punishment and destruction to sinners. Christ brings forgiveness and life.
(2) Joshua could only find room for his people after exterminating their predecessors. Christ has room for all who will come to His kingdom (Luke 14:22).
(3) Joshua proved himself fit for the inheritance of his nation by the exercise of destructive warfare. Christians arc made meet for their inheritance by the practice of Christlike deeds of charity (Matthew 25:34-36). - W.F.A.
All these kings and their laud did Joshua take at one time, because the Lord... fought for Israel
Sketches of Sermons.I. GOD HAS AN INDISPUTABLE RIGHT TO DISPENSE HIS FAVOURS TO WHAT PERSONS AND IN WHAT PROPORTIONS HE PLEASES. As the sole proprietor, it is His to dispose of.
1. Worldly goods. One is accordingly born to affluence, while another is cradled in poverty. Before they existed they could, of course, have no claims or demerits; and therefore the difference in their tot must be owing to His sovereign disposal of events.
2. Bodily constitution and health. As variety marks all other of God's works, so here it happens that one is naturally robust, another sickly, a third deformed, &c. Who is it that maketh the strong, the beautiful, &c., to differ? The answer may be found in 2 Samuel 22:30, 35.
3. Mental qualifications. "The inspiration of the Almighty giveth understanding." Much, it is true, depends on personal application. But much depends on natural capacity; given "to one five talents, to another two, and to another one"; and much on the opportunities, instructors, &c., which God either gives or withholds.
4. Spiritual privileges. Mankind soon began to have greater or smaller advantages in this respect, as they descended from families more or less holy; and the case is the same to the present day. Instance the Israelites and heathens formerly; Christians and pagans now.
II. GOD HAS AN EQUAL RIGHT TO RESUME OR TO TRANSFER HIS FAVOURS.
1. We have seen that whatever we possess is of free favour at first, from the original proprietor of all. Such the acknowledgment of the psalmist, "Of Thine own have I given Thee."
2. No person becomes a proprietor of his possessions merely because he has long enjoyed them. Every blessing is a loan resumable at pleasure; and instead of gaining a right by holding it, the holder is becoming more and more indebted. The property is still God's (Psalm 24:1, 10., 12).
3. On this ground He took His own land of promise from the Canaanites and transferred it to Israel. And He still puts down one and raises up another as it pleases Him.
III. GOD MAY JUSTLY PUNISH EVERY VOLUNTARY TRANSGRESSION OF HIS RIGHTEOUS AND EQUITABLE LAWS. Here we remark —
1. That His intelligent and moral creatures are what they are is owing to His sovereign pleasure. Thus Elihu (Job 35:10, 11).
2. Since they are such, and capable of moral government, their nature requires a law, as a test of their obedience and for the exercise of their capabilities; and it is His prerogative, who is not only the sovereign Lord, but infinitely wise, to say what is right, to enact such law.
3. In order to make the law efficient it was necessary it should be guarded and enforced by penal sanctions. Whence it follows —
4. That truth requires, while sovereignty authorises, the just punishment of disobedience to His righteous and equitable commands.
IV. IN EXECUTING HIS RIGHTEOUS PURPOSES GOD MAY EMPLOY WHAT AGENCY OR INSTRUMENTALITY HE PLEASES. He doubtless can and may work immediately on any and every part of His creation. Yet He seldom does so. Oftentimes He employs angels, as in the case of Sennacherib or Herod. And oftentimes storm, pestilence, earthquake, &c. Deists do not object to these. Yet they cavil at God's employing the sword of Israel; a difference merely in the circumstance of instrumentality. Let the subject teach us —
1. Reverence. "Forasmuch as there is none like unto Thee, O Lord," &c. (Jeremiah 10:6, 7). The opposite disposition is reproved (Romans 9:20), and threatened (Isaiah 45:9, 10).
2. Dependence. We enjoy no more or longer than He blesses us, and live no longer than He sustains (Psalm 90:3, 14; Psalm 104:27-29).
3. Humility. "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom," &c. (Jeremiah 9:23, 24; 1 Corinthians 4:7).
4. Gratitude. Who maketh thee to differ?
(Sketches of Sermons.)
Joshua returned, and all Israel with himJudges 4:2-24), and therefore he would in all likelihood have been the head of the great confederacy. The word "Jabin" is not a name, but a title borne by the kings of Hazor, and signifies "The Wise," just as Adoni-zedek means "Lord of Righteousness." Therefore, as we have seen the religious head of the Canaanites marshalling the southern army, so here we see the wise head of the Canaanites marshalling the northern army. The southern might be called the coalition of the priest; the northern the coalition of the sage. How graphically is the spiritual experience of the Christian depicted by these conflicts! No sooner is one set of foes subdued than another arises. There is no rest here. There is also a similarity in the kind of opposition which we have to encounter. As the advance of Israel was opposed now by Adoni-zedek and now by Jabin, so the advance of truth is opposed now by apostate Christianity and now by pompous philosophy. As it is with the Church collectively so is it with the individual. He may lay his account sooner or later to face these two, often in the same order. First comes superstition, with its high-sounding titles, its endless genealogies, its imperious claims, its elaborate ritual, its sensuous will-worship, its irrational bondage. It is resisted, it is overcome. Then comes rationalism, and it cries, "Well done. You have routed these infernal hosts. Now come with us. Finish the work you have so well begun. Cast from you the remaining rags of superstition. Follow the light of Reason. Shake off the remaining fetters and be free." Then the sage who argues thus will, like Jabin, muster whole hosts of imposing arguments. How quickly they come at his bidding: from north, south, east, and west, like the sand that is on the seashore for multitude. And when he reviews them, how imposing is their array I It is a critical time for the soul when he stands gazing on that imposing array, if he is not assured that the Lord is on his side; if he hears not, as did Joshua, the words, "Be not afraid because of them, to-morrow will I deliver them up all slain before Israel." But for faith in the Divine presence and this sure word the soul is in a sad case, and with quaking heart and tottering knees will quit the high places of the field. Alas! alas! how many in our day are dazed by the hosts of unsanctified science! The Christian soldier is not worthy of his name who is not ready with unfeigned faith in the truth of God to proclaim it boldly, whether men hear or forbear, to oppose all the glittering phalanxes of false philosophy with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. As we look at this new army mustered to oppose Joshua, we cannot but renew our wonder at the infatuation of the Canaanites. What a solemn thought it is that the greatest miracles will not in themselves lead the heart of man to subjection! Yet, after all, why should we wonder at these Canaanites, when we have greater cause for wonder in the unbelief of many around us? What were all the miracles of which these Canaanites were cognisant compared with those with which we have been familiar since our childhood?
(A. B. Mackay.).
When Jabin king of Hazor had heard.I. HEALING AND NOT HEARING. The tidings of the overthrow of Sihon and Og, and the fall of Jericho, seem to have made almost no impression on the sleepy King of Hazor.
II. HEARING, BUT HEARING IN VAIN. When Ai fell there seems to have been a general movement all through Canaan west of Jordan (Joshua 9:1). Before Jabin had gathered the northern legions southern Canaan had been destroyed.
III. HEARING, AND HEARING TO RUIN. When Jabin did exert himself, it was but to proceed straight to destruction. Thus do the wicked delay heedlessly, awaken slowly, and finally bestir themselves to anticipate judgment.
(F. G. Marchant.)
Be not afraid because of themI. The directions which God gave Joshua on this occasion were prefaced by WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT according to the Divine custom. Though Jehovah is not to interpose with mighty power as on former occasions, yet He supports and strengthens His servant with timely encouragement. Nothing could be better timed than these words as a preparation for the work that had to be done. Joshua had been made fully acquainted with the foe. His scouts have returned covered with dust, and reported the position and numbers and equipment of this new enemy. As these particulars were all told we can imagine that the boldest held his breath for a time. Joshua's generals would look at each other as if to say, "What shall we do now?" God knows human nature, therefore at this emergency He steps in with the words, "Be not afraid because of them, for to-morrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel." God is always well timed in His announcements. When we seek with all our hearts to do His will we shall never lack encouragement, and the greater the enemy, the harder the task, the more emphatic will that encouragement be. And the encouragement God gave was very definite. He did not speak in a general way. He fixed the day, the hour, and the extent of the victory. Whatever our difficulties may be, if we only search God's Word we will find definite encouragement, that which exactly meets our circumstances. The encouragement was also emphatic. We lose somewhat, in our translation, the emphasis of the original. The "I" is most emphatic. The army before Joshua may be as the sand of the sea for multitude, but what are the hosts of Jabin to the hosts of Jehovah? And the man who has on his side Jehovah of hosts can also count on the hosts of Jehovah. Therefore Joshua, even in the sight of such a foe, has no cause for fear. Does not God deal in the very same way with us? With what emphasis does He point to Himself as the glorious source of light and love and life, so that our hearts may be encouraged to put all their trust in Him, to the casting out of every fear. And the encouragement was also suggestive. God's words bring to remembrance other scenes and other victories. Joshua was not the only one whom God had helped in similar emergencies. All the difficulties that may come upon us may be new to us, but not one of them is new to God. He has brought His people triumphantly through the same or worse before, and He can do so again.
II. This Divine encouragement was coupled with a DIVINE COMMAND. The chief object of Israel's fear would naturally be the horses and chariots which were Jabin's pride and confidence; and it is to them that the command has special reference. God ordered His servants not to seize them and turn them against the enemy, but to destroy them utterly. This command is given for the express purpose of removing a temptation to carnal confidence. Jehovah wishes His people to look to Him alone for victory. This is to be their constant attitude, the holy habit of their souls. The bearing of this command on us is plain, and the lesson is much needed in our day. We are to carry on God's work in God's way. There are many of the weapons and devices of the world which ought not to be pressed into the service of the Church. To handle the iron chariots and the prancing horses of human philosophy against the hosts of unbelief, at the same time retaining our confidence in God as the Giver of every victory, and the consciousness that not a single soul can be savingly convinced except by His might — this is an attainment which the history of the Church from the beginning has proved a practical impossibility. Our one work in the prosecution of the campaign of salvation is to preach "Christ and Him crucified," though fully conscious of the fact that to some it is foolishness, not worth a row of pins; and to others a stumbling-block, utterly repugnant. There is, and has always been, a fatal tendency to use the world's weapons in the Church's work; to worship intellect, learning, genius, scholarship, eloquence; to look on these things as the treasury and armoury of the Church; to depend on what is outward and human, instead of what is spiritual; to depend on that which appeals to the eye, the ear, the intellect, the emotions, rather than on the living God and His glorious gospel. They are the mightiest champions who, like the Master, do all the fighting "not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and with power." Thus encouraged and commanded, Joshua brought his army into close proximity to the foe. He rested during that night, and when the grey dawn was lighting up the rushy marshes round the waters of Merom, he burst like a thunderbolt upon Jabin's camp. The victory could not have been more complete; and it was speedily followed up, as in the south, by the subjugation of all the leading cities in the northern portion of Canaan; the city of Hazor, Jabin's capital, being destroyed with fire. As we think on this crowning victory we remember the words, "An horse is a vain thing for safety, neither shall he deliver any by his great strength." Jabin found this out in that dire encounter. So will it be with all who harden themselves against the gospel of Christ. The more stout in heart they are to resist, the more terrible will be their overthrow. And if Jabin's overthrow reminds us of these things, this last great victory of Joshua also places very emphatically before us the conditions of success in the work of the Lord. They are few and simple, and easy to be understood. They comprise wise purpose, believing courage, sleepless energy, scrupulous obedience, hard blows. As a young student said to a friend when they were speaking of the work to which they had devoted themselves, "Our great work in preaching to people is not to dish up dainty ideas, but to pound them with the truth." Let us only listen to God's encouragement, obey God's command, march with unfeigned faith, and strike with all our might, and victory is sure.
(A. B. Mackay.)1. The enemies of Christ are very many in number.
2. Not only are the enemies of Christ very numerous, but they are perfectly united. There is a common consent amongst them. They hate the good. They are unanimous, and their unanimity is power.
3. The forces of evil are many, united, and desperate. They have made up their minds to work rack and ruin.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
All the spoil of these cities, and the cattle, the children of Israel
PeopleAdonizedec, Amorites, Debir, Eglon, Gibeon, Hoham, Horam, Israelites, Japhia, Jasher, Joshua, Piram
PlacesAi, Azekah, Beth-horon, Debir, Eglon, Gaza, Gezer, Gibeon, Gilgal, Hebron, Jarmuth, Jericho, Jerusalem, Kadesh-barnea, Lachish, Libnah, Makkedah, Negeb, Valley of Aijalon
TopicsBreathe, Breathed, Commanded, Curse, Death, Defeated, Destroyed, Devoted, Foothills, Hill, Hill-country, Hills, Hill-slopes, Including, Joshua, Kings, Low-country, Lowland, Mountain, Negeb, Negev, None, Orders, Overcame, Region, Remaining, Remnant, Slopes, Smiteth, Smote, South, Springs, Struck, Subdued, Survivor, Survivors, Thus, Totally, Utterly, Vale, Western
Outline1. Five kings war against Gibeon
6. Joshua rescues it
10. God fights against them with hailstones
12. The sun and moon stand still at the word of Joshua
16. The five kings are murdered in a cave
22. They are brought forth
24. scornfully used
26. and hanged
28. Seven kings more are conquered
43. Joshua returns to Gilgal
Dictionary of Bible ThemesJoshua 10:40
LibraryFive Kings in a Cave
TEXT: "And it came to pass, when they brought out those kings unto Joshua, that Joshua called for all 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."--Joshua 10:24-25. The history of the …
J. Wilbur Chapman—And Judas Iscariot
Praying Saints of the Old Testaments
Gibeon. Josh 10:06
The Northern Coast of Judea. Beth-Horon.
Subterraneous Places. Mines. Caves.
Sign Seekers, and the Enthusiast Reproved.
Subjects of Study. Home Education in Israel; Female Education. Elementary Schools, Schoolmasters, and School Arrangements.
The Hebrews and the Philistines --Damascus
Meditations of the True Manner of Practising Piety on the Sabbath-Day.
Divine Support and Protection
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