the king of Jericho, one; the king of Ai, which is near Bethel, one;
I. ALL ARMIES WILL FIND THEIR PLACE IN ONE OF TWO CATALOGUES - THAT OF VICTORS, OR THAT OF VANQUISHED. We lament that to place Israel God must displace others. That heroism conquering a home assumes also heroism fighting in vain to keep one. Life in its deepest action must always be a struggle, ending in victory or defeat. Every foolish life ends in failure, and in a consciousness like that of a beaten general, of plans unwisely formed and forces unhappily employed. Those who follow God's guidance in all the affairs of life are fighters in a combat in which their success confers blessings on themselves and on society at large. All who refuse God's guidance in their general affairs are fighters in a combat in which their success, if achieved, would damage others still more than their failure would hurt themselves. Those who choose wrongly thus find life a losing game, a disastrous battle. It would be well if all realised that not to win a victory with life is to suffer a terrible defeat, is to be left with loss of power, and with infinite damage. In one or other list we all shall be. Crowned as victors, humiliated and discredited as failures.
II. MOST OF THOSE IN THAT LIST NEVER EXPECTED TO BE IN IT. Why should they? They had theories like ours today of the superiority of training in arms, of fortifications, of what they called their civilisation, to any rude force which nomadic hordes could bring. But they are beaten. Pride goeth before destruction. Many reliant in their strength of purpose are destroyed by temptations they despised. Youth dreams of only bright and golden issues to its life. Too often the only issues are deplorable. Do not assume your life is going to be a grand success. Victory is desert - not drift, achievement - not accident. Even to retain requires energy. These men could not transmit to others what had been transmitted to them.
III. THEY WERE NOT SAVED BY PROFESSION OF SANCTITY. Some of the cities here had already had a long reputation for sanctity. "Jerusalem" had been Melchizedek's seat; "Bethel," the old name of the locality (though the city was Luz), means "the house of God." "Kedesh" means "a holy place." These all seem to have been spots consecrated to the service of the true God. Consecrated peoples have God's protection; consecrated places go without. "Judgment" does not spare, it "begins with the house of God." Later inhabitants of Jerusalem may say, "The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord axe these." But the sanctity of the site increases, it does not avert the punishment of those profaning it. There is something very solemn in this removal of the candlesticks which had served the Pre-Abrahamic Church. England is today a great Bethel, a sublime Kedesh. May we have grace to act worthily of, and so retain, our eminence.
IV. THE INDIVIDUAL SHARES THE FATE OF THE COMMUNITY. Some of these kings and their people, doubtless, were worthy of a better fate. But implicated in the fortunes of the general community, leaguing with it for its defence, they come in for its fate. It is strange how the individual has to share the lot of the community. The accident of our birth may determine our calling, our fortune, even our creed, and our character. Advantages for which others have wrought, disabilities which others have transmitted, are inherited by us. "Other men have laboured, and we have entered into their labours." Sometimes other men have sinned, and we have entered into their penalty. There is, indeed, an inner realm whose fortunes depend only on ourselves. But we are members one of another, and must participate the general fortune. We should therefore cherish more patriotism, more religious interest in our country's politics and action. The welfare of those yet unborn depends on the wisdom of the generation today existent. Let us not leave to our successors a "heritage of woe," such as was left to these kings of Canaan. Look on them with pity, with modest humility, asking of your soul, "Who maketh thee to differ?" It may be some Canaanitish bard lamented the dead at the waters of Merom, as the Scottish bard did those who fell at Flodden, and sang tenderly of" the flowers of the forest being a' wede away." Let us be thankful that in the past we have been spared such a doom, and careful in the future to avoid it. - G
The land rested from war.
(A. B. Mackay.)
(A. B. Mackay.)
These axe the kings of the land, which the children of Israel smote.resume of the conquest Moses is not forgotten. He is named as well as Joshua. The Holy Ghost delights to point out how God causes many instruments to work out His designs, and thus takes all praise from man. Thus the chapter is a miniature, suggesting all the victories that Israel won, and all the defeats which overwhelmed the Canaanites. Accordingly it is valuable as a demonstration that both the promises and the threatenings of God will be fulfilled to the letter. Here as in a glass we see on the one hand the course and the end of those who follow God, and on the other the course and the end of those who resist. Or, we have pointed out to us the narrow way that leads to life, and the broad road that leads to destruction. May we ponder these things and learn the way wherein we should walk.
I. THE DIFFERENT ROADS. That of Israel was the path of obedience. Everything was done by Divine command. But it was not always easy work for Israel to obey. The commands of God not only led along a narrow way, but often brought them up to a strait gate. They had just to go right on, according to the command of God. Obedience was their watchword. To stop and parley was to be lost. Patient endurance characterised them all through. When an old general was asked why he picked out the old veterans for a forced march he replied, "Because they have the most staying power." For hard work of any kind this is what tells in the long run; and from the first encounter with Sihon and Og to the last wrestle with the Anakim Israel exhibited this quality both in things physical and things spiritual. Obedience was the path: patient endurance was the characteristic of those who walked therein. On the part of the Canaanites their course was marked by rebellion. They said, "Who is Lord over us?" Thus they hardened themselves against God's will, and fought it out to the bitter end, learning no lesson and yielding no submission. These two paths of obedience and rebellion have not ceased to be trodden. Neither of them is grass-grown. Thank God there are many who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality. If there must be patient continuance on the part of those who walk the narrow way, there must be constant contention on the part of those who hurry down the broad road. There must be the resistance of the Holy Ghost, of the warnings of conscience, of the light of truth. There must be at times the fear of death and judgment and eternity.
II. THE DIFFERENT OBJECTS placed before each. That placed before Israel was something very definite and tangible, viz., the sure promise of Jehovah. To them that promise was the title-deed of the Holy Land; therefore all through this war they had in their eye a Divine inheritance, and all the glory and honour which this implied. Can we find any similar incitement on the part of the Canaanites? Nay. Theirs was a hopeless struggle. They were without God and therefore without hope. They obeyed unrighteousness, and were therefore filled with unrest. So is it now. They who walk in the obedience of faith have a glorious object before their eyes to stimulate and encourage them. They seek for glory and honour and immortality. And they have good hope through grace of obtaining it. Yea, they have God's faithful promise, and therefore glorious assurance of the result. But where is the hope of the rebellious? It is but a vague, unsatisfying dream. At the very best they have no certainty of a happy issue. When they pass hence it is "A leap in the dark." What a miserable plight is this l Notwithstanding their vast coalitions, their imposing armies, their formidable weapons, their notable leaders, they go forward with fear. The Sihon and Og of materialism, the Adoni-zedek of sacerdotalism, the Jabin of false philosophy, can inspire no true and blessed hope in the hearts of their faltering followers.
III. THE DIFFERENT ENDS. We see the Israelites marching on from victory to victory; entering into Canaan, enjoying the smile of God, and reaping the fruit of their labours. We see the Canaanites swept with the besom of destruction, and all that is left of their mightiest kings is the chronicle of their tombstones as given here. The ends are different because the beginnings are different. Of Israel it might be said, "These all fought in faith." Of the Canaanites it might be said, "These all died in unbelief." Paul has laid plainly before us in the Epistle to the Romans these two ends, as we must know them. On the one hand he places eternal life, glory, honour, peace. On the other he places indignation, wrath, tribulation, anguish. One or other of these is the terminus to which every life is hastening. And he also plainly tells us that without faith it is impossible to walk in the good way or to attain the glorious end. Remember then God's solemn record of the dead. He marks His own as precious jewels, to be worn in His crown in the day of glory, but He counts His enemies but worthless ashes to be trodden under foot. In the Divine record of the dead there are no omissions, no oversights, and no lies. He counts His enemies and He counts His friends. How will He count you?
(A. B. Mackay.).
Thou art old and stricken in years
(W. G. Blaikie, D. D.)
(J. Parker, D.D.)
There remaineth yet very much land to be possessed. —I. REVEALED TRUTH YET TO BE LEARNED. We have not yet secured all the sacred knowledge which God has made possible, and which it would be profitable for us to acquire. Here is this book set out before us, the great region of revealed religion. May we not say that "there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed"? Who among us is familiar with all its histories, is acquainted with all its facts, knows all its truths, has seen all its beauties, or learned all its lessons? Some of you have been through the pass of Llanberis — perhaps twenty times. Did you ever see it twice alike? Always the same thing; and yet a different appearance, because seen under different circumstances. If you were to go through it twenty times twenty times, it would never appear twice alike. The light would be falling on it at different angles, and thus make a difference. On a cloudy day you would see something you did not see on a bright day, and on a rainy day you would see something you did not see on a fine day. It is thus with this book. You say that you read the Bible through last year, and you ask, "What is to be gained by reading it through again this year?" Have you the same hopes? the same joys? the same sorrows? the same aspirations? the same motives? and the same experiences? I care not how often you have read it, you have never read it as you feel now, with your present experience and in your present circumstances.
II. A HOLY CHARACTER TO BE ACQUIRED. There remaineth much of that to be possessed. Men in ancient times had not a Divine standard to measure themselves by, or a Divine pattern to contrast themselves with, and learn how deficient they were and full of blemishes. We have had a perfect pattern set before us. In the life of our Lord Jesus Christ we have the map of the good land; see it in its length and breadth, and realise how true it is that there are glorious portions of it over which our flag has not floated, provinces which we have not made our own.
III. CHRISTIAN USEFULNESS. I am not going to slander the Christian Church, and tell you that former times were better than these. There is nothing gained by telling lies for God. If you want to quicken God's people you must not talk as if the Church were more sleepy now than it ever was before. I do not believe it. As I read ecclesiastical history, I cannot find many periods when the Church, as a whole, was more vigorous and devoted than now. Let us not ignore what God has done for us, and enabled us to do. "Not unto us, but unto Him be the praise and glory." But when we take into account all that has been done and all that has been attempted against the world's ignorance, vice, and ungodliness, may we not still say, "There remaineth yet very much land to be possessed"? It is not the season for slothfulness, selfishness, or prayerlessness; the call is urgent and great. "There remaineth yet very much land to be possessed." Why did God keep His people to that struggle? He gave the people the land, and then they had to fight for it. They crossed the Jordan with the best title-deeds man ever possessed; they came from heaven, they were given by Him to whom all the earth belongs. The title-deed of the people said, "The land is yours"; and after God had given it to them they had to buckle on the sword, sharpen the spear, and go and win every acre of it. This is God's way — He gives it to you, and yet He says, "Get it; work it out with fear and trembling." Why does He treat us so? I cannot tell; but this I know, that if we cease to work the powers of evil never will.
I. CANAAN, AS THE ISRAELITES FOUND IT, REPRESENTS THE STATE OF MAN'S HEART WHEN THE GRACE OF GOD ENTERS IT. Think of a soul like thine, made at first in the image of God; a being such as thou art, once occupying a rank in creation next to and but a little lower than that of angels; a heart like thine which, though blighted by sin, still retains some traces of departed glory, alienated from the true God, held captive of the devil, ruled by unholy passions, full of corruptions as difficult to root out as were these sons of Anak who, in Goliath and his giant race, disturbed the peace of Israel and defied the armies of the living God many long years after the land was, in a sense, both conquered and possessed. The Hebrews did not enter Canaan to find an empty land, which they had nothing to do but to occupy; nor does Jesus, when He enters our heart by His Spirit and saving grace. It is in possession of His enemies. They are there to dispute His rights, and resist His entrance — sons of Anak, indeed; more formidable still; for giant sins are less easily conquered than giant men.
II. THE BLESSINGS OF THE KINGDOM OF GRACE, LIKE THOSE OF CANAAN, HAVE TO BE FOUGHT FOR. Bring out every sin before the Lord, and let it be condemned to death; pass the sword of the Spirit through and through it, till it has breathed out its cursed life, and has no more dominion over you. As the apostle says, "Let him that nameth the name of Christ depart from alliniquity." Beware how you leave innate corruption and old sinful habits to draw down on you the anger of a holy God and the afflictions threatened on Israel (Numbers 33:55).
III. THE MOST ADVANCED CHRISTIAN HAS MUCH TO DO IN THE WAY OF SANCTIFICATION. How truly may it be said to the most experienced, aged, honoured Christian, as the Lord said to Joshua, "Thou art old and well stricken in years, and yet there is much land to be possessed. Sin still has more or less power over you, and it should have none; your corruptions are wounded, dying of mortal wounds, but they are not yet dead; your affections are set on heaven, yet how much are they still entangled with earthly things; your heart, like the needle of a sailor's compass to its pole, points to Christ, but how easily is it disturbed, how tremblingly and unsteadily does it often point to Him; your spirit has wings, but how short are its flights, and how often, like a half-fledged eaglet, has it to seek the nest, and come back to rest on the Rock of Ages; your soul is a garden in which, when north and south winds blow to call out its spices, Christ delights to walk, but with many a beautiful flower, how many vile weeds are there — ready to spring up, and ill to keep down; requiring constant care and watching." Indeed, so many impurities and imperfections cleave to the best of us, that it seems to me a change must take place at death only second to what took place at conversion. How that is done is a mystery which we cannot fathom; but it would seem as if grace, like that species of cereus which opens its gorgeous flower only at midnight burst out into fullest beauty amid the darkness of a dying hour.
(T. Guthrie, D. D.)
I. THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. Columbus was not content to pick up a few shells on the beach of the new world — he explored the continent; alas! we are too soon satisfied with coasting for a little on that great continent of the Divine nature.
II. THE STUDY OF THE BIBLE. Christians are too prone to keep to the beaten tracks; they do not make excursions into less familiar paths; some pages well thumbed, others clean and uncut.
III. CHRISTIAN CHARACTER. Canaan was occupied by seven nations of ugly names; but our hearts and lives are cursed by still uglier things. We must not be content until all these are brought under obedience to Christ.
IV. THE HEATHEN WORLD.
(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)
I. Yes, Christians, THERE REMAINETH YET VERY MUCH LAND TO BE POSSESSED — many cities and strongholds, many fine plains, and "springs of water," many beautiful valleys, and very "fruitful hills" — or, to speak less in figure, much of your religion is unattained, unoccupied, unenjoyed; you are far from its boundaries. Very little of it indeed do some of you possess; you command only a small, inconsiderable corner, scarcely affording you a subsistence.
1. Consider your knowledge. After so many years of hearing, what additions have you made to your stores? Are you filled with holy prudence to ponder "the path of your feet," to "look well to your goings," and to discern snares where there is no appearance-of danger? Do you "walk circumspectly; not as fools, but as wise"?
2. Observe your holiness. For the knowledge of persons may surpass their experience; and a growth in gifts is very distinguishable from a growth in grace. Review, then, your sanctification; and suffer me to ask, Have you no remaining corruptions to subdue? Is your obedience universal, unvarying, cheerful? Have you fully imbibed the tempers of your religion? Are there no deficiencies perceivable in every grace, in every duty?
3. Think of your privileges. It is the privilege of Christians to be "careful for nothing." It is the privilege of Christians to "enter into rest." It is the privilege of Christians to "have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." It is the privilege of Christians to "count it all joy when they fall into divers temptations; and to glory in tribulation also." And all this has been exemplified. Men have "received the gospel in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: they have taken pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake"; they have "taken joyfully the spoiling of their goods"; they have approached the flames with rapture; they have loved and longed for "His appearing" — but where are you? Always in darkness and alarms, &c. Do you belong to the same company?
II. Whence is this? Why will you suffer all this remaining religion to be unpossessed? How shall I awaken you from your negligence, and convince you of the PROPRIETY AND NECESSITY OF MAKING FRESH AND CONTINUAL ADVANCES?
1. I place before you the commands of God. You are forbidden to draw back; you are forbidden to be stationary. Something more is necessary than languid, partial, occasional, temporary progression. You are required to be "steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord"; to "add to your faith, virtue," &c.
2. I surround you with all the images employed by the sacred writers when they would describe the nature of a religious life. For which of them does not imply progress, and remind us of the importance of undiminished ardour and increasing exertion? Light. Growing grain. Mustard seed. Leaven.
3. I call forth examples in your presence; they teach you the same truth. Who said, "I beseech thee, show me Thy glory "? A man who had "seen God face to face." Who prayed, "Teach me Thy statutes: open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law"? A man who had "more understanding than all his teachers," a man who "understood more than the ancients."
4. I hold up to view the advantages of progressive religion.(1) A Christian should be concerned for the honour of God. He is under infinite obligations to "show forth the praises of Him, who hath called us," &c.; but "herein is" our "Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit."(2) A Christian should be concerned for the welfare of his fellow-creatures. He should be a blessing to his family, to his country.(3) A Christian should be concerned for his own prosperity. And has he to learn wherein it consists? Need he be told that adding grace to grace is adding "strength to strength," dignity to dignity, beauty to beauty, joy to joy? It is an awful proof that you have no real religion if you are satisfied with what you have. A degree of experience, however small, would stimulate; the relish would provoke the appetite; and having "tasted that the Lord is gracious," your language would be, "evermore give us this bread."
III. SOME ADMONITIONS WITH REGARD TO YOUR FUTURE EFFORTS.
1. Shake off indolence. Nothing is more injurious to our progress; and, alas! nothing is more common. Man loves indulgence; he needs a stimulus, to make him arise from the bed of sloth, to exert his faculties, and to employ the means of which he is possessed. And one would naturally conclude that in religion he would find it. As he sits at ease revelation draws back the veil, and shows him the most astonishing realities — an eternal world; whatever can sting with motive; whatever can alarm with fear; whatever can animate with hope. What a Being to please, on whom it depends to save or to destroy! What a state of misery is there to escape! What an infinite happiness to secure!
2. Beware of diversion. Discharge yourself as much as possible from superfluous cares. Distinguish between diligence in lawful business and "entangling yourselves in the affairs of this life." There are not only diversions from religion, but diversions in it; and of these also you are to beware. Here, finding you are unsuspicious of danger, the enemy often succeeds; for his end is frequently answered by things good in themselves. He is satisfied if he can draw off your attention from great things, and engross it with little ones; if he can make you prefer opinions to practice, and controversy to devotion.
3. Guard against despondency. There are indeed many things which, when viewed alone, have a tendency to discourage the mind. We know your weakness, and we know the difficulties and dangers to which you are exposed. But you have the promise of a faithful God.
4. Be afraid of presumption. Our dependence upon God is absolute and universal. "In Him we live, and move, and have our being." His agency is more indispensable in spiritual things than in natural; sin has rendered us peculiarly weak, helpless, and disaffected.
5. It would be profitable for you to "call to remembrance the former days," and especially to review the beginning of your religious course.
6. It will not be less profitable for you to look forward, and survey the close of all. Christians! "it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is your salvation nearer." Would you slumber on the verge of heaven? The stream increases as it approximates the sea; motion accelerates as it approaches the centre.
(W. Seaton.)"Ne plus ultra" — nothing beyond. But afterwards, when Columbus had discovered America, Spain struck out the negative and left the inscription, "Plus ultra" — more beyond.
PeopleAmmonites, Amorites, Arad, Canaanites, Debir, Eglon, Gad, Gadites, Geshurites, Hepher, Hittites, Hivite, Hivites, Israelites, Jebusites, Joshua, Maacah, Maacathites, Maachathites, Manasseh, Og, Perizzites, Rephaites, Reubenites, Seir, Shimron, Sihon, Tappuah, Tirzah
PlacesAchshaph, Adullam, Ai, Aphek, Arabah, Arad, Aroer, Ashtaroth, Baal-gad, Bashan, Bethel, Beth-jeshimoth, Carmel, Debir, Dor, Edrei, Eglon, Galilee, Geder, Gezer, Gilead, Hazor, Hebron, Hepher, Heshbon, Hormah, Jabbok River, Jarmuth, Jericho, Jerusalem, Jokneam, Jordan River, Kedesh, Lachish, Lasharon, Libnah, Madon, Makkedah, Megiddo, Mount Halak, Mount Hermon, Naphath-dor, Negeb, Pisgah, Salecah, Salt Sea, Sea of Chinneroth, Sea of the Arabah, Seir, Shimron-meron, Taanach, Tappuah, Tirzah, Valley of Lebanon, Valley of the Arnon
TopicsAi, Beside, Bethel, Beth-el, Jericho
Outline1. The two kings whose countries Moses took and disposed of
7. The thirty-one kings on the other side of Jordan which Joshua smote
Dictionary of Bible ThemesJoshua 12:8
LibraryGilgal, in Deuteronomy 11:30 what the Place Was.
That which is said by Moses, that "Gerizim and Ebal were over-against Gilgal," Deuteronomy 11:30, is so obscure, that it is rendered into contrary significations by interpreters. Some take it in that sense, as if it were near to Gilgal: some far off from Gilgal: the Targumists read, "before Gilgal": while, as I think, they do not touch the difficulty; which lies not so much in the signification of the word Mul, as in the ambiguity of the word Gilgal. These do all seem to understand that Gilgal which …
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica
The Lake of Gennesaret; Or, the Sea of Galilee and Tiberias.
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