Joshua 8:3

Frequently does Scripture describe the Christian life as a warfare. We are to war against the evil in ourselves and around us. In the management of our forces for the conflict we may derive comfort and rules of action from the narrative before us. It was not unintentionally recorded. It shows how God fulfils His word, going forth with His people conquering and to conquer; His presence makes the feeble strong, and lends wisdom to the simple.


1. The putting away of known sin may lead us to expect the favour of God. Whilst Achan's theft defiled the Israelites there was no hope of winning the fight. The soldiers of the cross must not entangle themselves with the affairs of this life (2 Timothy 2:4). Those must be clean who are to bear the vessels of the Lord. Sin purged, the light of God's countenance again shone upon His people, and His encouragement - "Fear not" - sounded in their ears. We need be afraid only when doing wrong. Without God we are "without hope," helpless and undone; but when He is our light and salvation whom shall we fear? Advance to the strife courageously!

2. All our strength must be brought to bear upon the contest. So confident had the Israelites been that they deemed 3,000 men sufficient to capture the place. This time no foolish security must be displayed; a second defeat would be disastrous. "All" the people must attack Ai; that is to say, a fully representative force, in contrast with the few who previously made the assault. The help of the Almighty does not release us from the necessity of "bestirring" ourselves (see 2 Samuel 5:24). And what we do we must do with our might. He who is always reserving his power for some future occasion will grow feeble, and when he at length essays a strenuous effort will discover his weakness. Nor must we underrate the strength of the enemy. "We wrestle against principalities, powers, rulers, spiritual wickedness in high places;" wherefore let us take to ourselves "the whole armour of God."

3. Prudence an ingredient in the Christian warfare. A detachment was appointed to lie in ambush. (Several reasons render it probable that vers. 9 and 12 refer to the same ambuscade, composed of 5,000 men; the larger number in ver. 3 being a copyist's error. The same position is assigned in each case; in the account of the battle only one party of men ambushed is mentioned; and 30,000 would be too large a force to remain concealed near the city, even in a valley.) The lawfulness of stratagem in war cannot be disputed, nor does the Bible know anything of that excessive refinement which will hide nothing but requires the blunt truth to be always stated. See 1 Samuel 16:2, where the adoption of a fair pretext to prevent bloodshed is sanctioned - yea, proposed - by the Lord. There must be no falsehood or deception practised; but it is allowable to be "wise as serpents," and to try to win men to the truth by innocent devices. Christian tactics are permissible without pleading the goodness of the end as sanctifying the means employed. Our Captain demands the use of our discretion as well as of our valour.


1. Temporary success blinds the workers of evil. Joshua well knew that the enemy would exultingly exclaim, "They flee before us as at the first," and rush to their doom. Misplaced assurance is the bane of God's enemies. For a season they may flourish and swell with hope and pride, but consider their end! "How are they brought into desolation as in a moment!" What terms can set forth the delusion of those who fight against God?

2. Fidelity to commandment ensures the Christian's triumph. The emphatic assertion, "See, I have commanded you," reminded the troops of their duty, and of obedience as essential to success. All orders were faithfully executed and victory crowned their arms. If we pretend to greater wisdom than our Captain, or think fragmentary adherence to precept will suffice, the battle may be the Lord's, but it will not be ours. Constant study of our war manual and a resolute determination to observe its instructions can alone secure us the victory. Our ears must be attentive to the notes of the clarion, and whither we are sent we must go. Romans 13:11-13 and Ephesians 6:10-18 must be pondered and put into practice.

3. Diversity of position not incompatible with union. In the occupation by the two forces of Israel of separate posts an illustration is afforded of a truth sometimes overlooked. There are different regiments in the Christian army, and to a soldier in the ranks it may appear as if there was a want of connection with any other division. But there is real working unanimity perceptible to the chief, and when the signal is given the enemy shall be attacked on many sides. The end desired is one and the same, the extermination of the empire of evil.

4. No reason for discouragement if at first the battle goes against us. It may be part of the plan that the enemy should be demented by success prior to his overthrow. However distressed, we may, like David, encourage ourselves in the Lord our God.


1. Prophetic of the final overthrow of Satan and his host. Jesus, "the Son of God, was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil." "Death, the last enemy, is being destroyed."

2. Indicative of the Divine hatred of sin. The men and women of Ai were slain and their city set on fire; their king hanged, and a heap of stones his sepulchre. Thus would the Divine wrath extirpate idolatrous abominations. All His judgments were not purifying, this sentence was penal. What a warning to the Israelites! Dull consciences must be aroused by flashes of fire. Granite hearts must have the inscription cut with toil and pains. Inattentive or forgetful scholars must have the teaching imprinted on their minds by irresistible examples, The preceding chapter proves how needful to Israel was the ocular demonstration of the hatefulness of sin. Conclusion, "Who is on the Lord's side?" If this is our position, secure and blissful, diligent and courageous we may be. May we "endure hardness as good soldiers." But if numbered amongst those hostile to God, what terms can describe the dread future that awaits us, unless we repent betimes and seek forgiveness, and receive change of heart and state through Jesus Christ? - A.

So Joshua arose, and all the people of war.
I. Consider THE ADVICE OF THE SPIES which led to such a shameful defeat (Joshua 7:3).

1. Here we shall have to deal with the error of supposing that a part only of the Church will be sufficient to perform the work of the whole.

2. In Joshua's day this error sprang up among the Israelites because, on account of their sins, God was displeased with them. When God is in the midst of a Church He guides its counsels and directs the hearts of men to go about His work in the wisest manner. Even upon the Lord's own people a measure of judicial blindness may come. You may depend upon it that when it becomes a doctrine that only special classes of men are to be expected to work in the Church there is some great wrong in the background.

3. Furthermore, this evil policy arose out of presumption engendered by success. The full sail needs much ballast, lest the boat be overset. We must be more sensible of weakness, more mindful that the conversion of souls is the work of Omnipotence, or we shall see but little done. We must ourselves believe more fully in the need of earnest work for God, and put forth all our strength, and strain every sinew for Him, knowing that it is His power that worketh in us mightily when we strive with all our hearts.

4. Let us not forget that these children of Israel were forgetting their commission and violating the command of God. As they all expected to have a dwelling-place in Canaan, so they were all expected to conquer the territory by their own exertions. They were all an enlisted host for God, and He never ordained that a part only should go forth in His great controversy with the condemned Canaanites. If we ever neglect to render universal service as a Church in the cause of Christ we shall depart from our trust and call, for the Lord has sent all His disciples to testify of Him and contend against sin.

5. These Israelites, in the new fashion which they were trying to set up, were departing from their own model. That model was, doubtless, the siege of Jericho. In that siege there was much dependence upon God, but there was no neglect of instrumentality; and, though all they did was to go round the city and shout, yet in so doing they were literally fulfilling orders, and doing all that was commanded. What, then, is our model as a Church? Is it not Pentecost? In that day did they not break bread from house to house, all of them? Did they not sell their lands and lay the price of them at the apostles' feet? Was there not a burning enthusiasm throughout the entire company of disciples? I suppose there is not one person present who heard that famous sermon by Matthew Wilks upon the universal service rendered by idolaters to their false gods, from the text, "The children gathered wood, and the fathers kindled the fire, and the women kneaded their dough to make cakes to the queen of heaven." The preacher's argument on that occasion was that which I would now press upon you, that all should take part in the work of the Lord. Distinct offices but united aims; diverse operations but the same spirit; many and yet one — so let it be.

6. Again, this error which we are carefully to avoid was no doubt the dictate of carnal wisdom. Spies were norm" of much use to Israel — two only of the first twelve were faithful — what did Israel want with spies? Better far had it been to walk by faith. To Ai they must needs send spies instead of going up at once in. the confidence of faith: evil came of it, for these spies counselled that only part of the people need labour up the hill. And the best ministers of Christ, worthy of all honour, would be the cause of great mischief if once their carnal wisdom should make them think that they can supersede primitive plans with wiser inventions.

7. These children of Israel, in sending to the war only part of the men were breaking in upon the Divine design. The Lord never intended to have two peoples, but one; and so we read that the Beubenites and the Gadites came over Jordan to the war, although their portion was already conquered. It was the Divine intent that they should be one army of the living God, each separate son of the seed of Abraham belonging Go that army and fighting in it; He meant that not some only, but all should see the mighty works of His hand, working with them to overthrow their adversaries. I am sure it is so with the Church of God to-day. Our Lord means to keep all His chosen ones as one army, and to instruct them a]l as one band. And when are we most manifestly one? When we get to work.

II. THE COMMAND THAT ALL ISRAEL SHOULD GO FORTH TO THE FIGHT: "Take all the men of war with thee." We must have all our Church members go to the war. We want to turn out the drones, and we need an increase of true working bees. How is it to be done?

1. We must be ourselves deeply impressed with the evil brought upon idle Christians by their idleness, and the evil which they bring upon the rest of the Church. Indolence is temptation. Certain of our Churches are suffering from unsound teaching, but they are suffering as much from want of work. The moss is growing upon them, the rust is eating them up; the gold becomes dim, the silver is losing its brightness, and all for want of use.

2. We need to be impressed with the mischief which idlers cause to others. One sickly sheep infects the flock; one member who does nothing lowers the tone of the whole body. The indolence of prominent professors is not merely the waste of their own labour, but of that of scores of others. Every man in an army who is not efficient and really serviceable is on the enemy's side.

3. Moreover, we must hunt out the sin which leads to the evil against which we contend, and I believe it is want of vital godliness in many cases. It is often the sin which grows out of too much ease, self-indulgence, and luxurious living. It seems as if the more God gives a man the less return he is inclined to offer. Whatever the secret sin of the Church may be, let us try to discover it, and then by the aid of the Holy Spirit endeavour to educate all our members to work for the Lord.

4. There must be a continual insisting upon the personal obligations of Christians. "What art thou doing for Christ?" is a question to be asked of all. No one must appear before the Lord empty, but either by active or passive service must prove his gratitude to God. And then, while each is responsible, neglect by one is injurious to the common service of the whole. I saw a cart standing this morning on the roadside with one wheel chained; there was no fear of its moving with that one wheel fast. Sometimes one chained wheel in a Church will hinder all.

5. Dwell upon the importance of the enterprise in which we are engaged; and so act as to make others feel its importance. We must make men feel that to save a soul is better than to possess all knowledge, or even to gain the whole world! While others are making a new gospel let us labour to save souls by the old one.

6. Above all, let us pray for more grace. Napoleon used to say, "Conquest has made me what I am, and conquest must maintain me"; and it is so with Christians. You must advance; you must outdo the exploits of the past, and eclipse the deeds of your sires, or you will show yourselves unworthy of them.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

In the days of chivalry a certain band of knights had never known defeat. In all battles their name was terrible to the foe. On their banners was emblazoned a long list of victories; but in an evil hour the leaders of the knights summoned them in chapter, and he said: "My brethren, we cause ourselves too much toil. Let the champions go alone. Yonder knight with his sword can cleave a man in twain at a single stroke, and his comrade can break a bar of iron with his axe; others among us are equally powerful, each one being a host in himself. With the terror of our name behind them, the chosen champions can carry on the war while the rest divide the spoil." The saying pleased the warriors well, but from that hour the knell of their fame was rung, and defeat defiled their standard. When they came together they complained of the champions because they had not sustained the honour of the order, and they bade them exert themselves more heroically. They did so, but with small success. Louder and louder were the notes of discontent and the demands for new champions. Then one of the oldest of the knights said: "Brethren, why do you blame us? The mistake lies here. In the old time, when the enemy assailed us, a thousand men were up in arms, and we who led the van knew that a gallant army followed at our heels. But now you have made us solitary champions, and the adversary takes heart to defy us, finding us unsustained. Come you all with us to the fray as aforetime, and none shall stand against us."

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Let us each question his own heart as to the claims of the heathen: for my own part, I dare not sleep till I have honestly considered whether I ought to go or not. We tell our young men in the college that they must prove that they have not to go, or else their duty is clear. If some of the men of Israel had said to Joshua, "We cannot go to At," Joshua would have replied, "You must prove that you cannot go or you may not be excused." All other things being equal, ministers should take it for granted that it is their duty to invade new territory unless they can prove to the contrary. France is wanting the gospel. See what one beloved brother in Paris has been able to do — are there none who can do the like for other cities in that neigh bout-country? Here and there a good man can say, "I have made a competency" — why not live and employ it where you can lay it out personally for the spread of the Redeemer's kingdom? Such a thing is being done by a few, it is not therefore impossible, and you who follow the grand example shall have your reward. See what Pastor Harms did in the village of Hermansburg, how he stirred up all the people until they gave themselves and their property to the Lord, and built a ship for the mission and went forth in it to Africa, company after company, to evangelise. Should it not be the ambition of a minister to feel that if he stays at home he will at least, by the Holy Spirit's help, produce missionaries by scores in the village where he labours?

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Ye shall lie in





1. The authority of all God-given words.

2. The authority of obedience.

(F. G. Marchant.)

I. THERE IS SUCH A THING AS VICTORIOUS RETREAT. There are times in your life when the best thing you can do is to run. You were once the victim of strong drink. The glass and the decanter were your fierce foes. Your only safety is to get away from them. Your dissipating companions will come around you for your overthrow. Run for your life! Your retreat is your victory. Here is a converted infidel. He is so strong now in his faith in the gospel, he says he can read anything. What are you reading? Bolingbroke? Theodore Parker? Drop them and run. You will be an infidel before you die unless you quit that. Fly before they cut you with their swords and transfix you with their javelins. There are people who have been well-nigh ruined because they risked a foolhardy expedition in the presence of mighty and overwhelming temptations, and the men of Ai made a morning meal of them. So also there is such a thing as victorious defeat for the Church. Thousands of times the kingdom of Christ has seemed to fall back. When the Vaudois of France chose extermination rather than make an unchristian surrender, when on St. Bartholomew's day mounted assassins rode through the streets of Paris, crying, "Kill! Blood-letting is good in August! Kill! Death to the Huguenots! Kill!" When John Bunyan lay rotting in Bedford Jail, saying, "If God will help me, and my physical life continues, I will stay here until the moss grows on my eyebrows rather than give up my faith," the days of retreat for the Church were days of victory. But there is a more marked illustration of victorious retreat in the life of our Joshua, the Jesus of the ages. First falling back from an appalling height to an appalling depth, falling from celestial hills to terrestrial valleys, from throne to manger; yet that did not seem to suffice Him as a retreat. Falling back still further from Bethlehem to Nazareth, from Nazareth to Jerusalem, back from Jerusalem to Golgotha, back from Golgotha to the mausoleum in the rock, back down over the precipices of perdition, until He walked amid the caverns of the eternal captives and drank of the wine of the wrath of almighty God amid the Ahabs and the Jezebels and the Belshazzars. Oh, men of the pulpit and men of the pew, Christ's descent from heaven to earth does not measure half the distance! It was from glory to perdition. He descended into hell. All the records of earthly retreat are as nothing compared with this falling back. Santa Anna with the fragments of his army flying over the plateau of Mexico, and Napoleon and his army retreating from Moscow into the awful snows of Russia, are not worthy to be mentioned with this retreat when all the powers of darkness seem to be pursuing Christ as He fell back, until the body of Him who came to do such wonderful things lay pulseless and stripped. But let not the powers of darkness rejoice quite so soon. Do you hear that disturbance in the tomb of Arimathea? I hear the sheet rending! What means that stone hurled down the side of the hill? Who is this coming out? Push Him back! The dead must not stalk in this open daylight. Oh, it is our Joshua! Let Him come out. He comes forth and starts for the city. He takes the spear of the Roman guard and points that way. Church militant marches up on one side and the Church triumphant marches down on the other side. And the powers of darkness being caught between these ranks of celestial and terrestrial valour, nothing is left of them save just enough to illustrate the direful overthrow of hell and our Joshua's eternal victory.

II. THE TRIUMPH OF THE WICKED IS SHORT. Did you ever see an army in a panic? There is nothing so uncontrollable. If you had stood at Long Bridge, Washington, during the opening of our unfortunate war, you would know what it is to see an army run. And when those men of Ai looked out and saw those men of Joshua in a stampede, they expected easy work. They would scatter them as the equinox the leaves. Oh, the gleeful and jubilant descent of the men of Ai upon the men of Joshua! But their exhilaration was brief, for the tide of battle turned, and these quondam conquerors left their miserable bodies in the wilderness of Bethaven. So it always is. The triumph of the wicked is short. Call over the roll of bad men who prospered, and see how short was their prosperity.

III. How MUCH MAY BE ACCOMPLISHED BY LYING IN AMBUSH FOR OPPORTUNITIES. Are you hypercritical of Joshua's manoeuvre? Do you say that it was cheating for him to take that city by ambuscade? Was it wrong for Washington to kindle camp-fires on New Jersey Heights, giving the impression to the opposing force that a great army was encamped there when there was none at all? I answer, if the war was right then Joshua was right in his stratagem. He violated no flag of truce. He broke no treaty, but by a lawful ambuscade captured the city of Ai. Oh, that we all knew how to lie in ambush for opportunities to serve God! The best opportunities do not lie on the surface, but are secreted; by fact, by stratagem, by Christian ambuscade, you may take almost any castle of sin for Christ. Come up towards men with a regular besiegement of argument, and you will be defeated; but just wait until the door of their hearts is set ajar, or they are off their guard, or their severe caution is away from home, and then drop in on them from a Christian ambuscade. There has been many a man up to his chin in scientific portfolios which proved there was no Christ and no Divine revelation, his pen a scimetar flung into the heart of the theological opponents, who, nevertheless, has been discomfited and captured for God by some little three-year-old child who has got up and put her snowy arms around his sinewy neck and said, "Papa, why don't you love Jesus?" Oh, make a flank movement; steal a march on the devil; cheat that man into heaven! Do not rub a man's disposition the wrong way. Do not take the imperative mood when the subjunctive mood will do just as well. You can take any man for Christ if you know how to get at him. Do not send word to him that to-morrow at ten o'clock you propose to open your batteries upon him, but come on him by a skilful, persevering, God-directed ambuscade.

IV. THE IMPORTANCE OF TAKING GOOD AIM. There must be some signal — a signal to stop the one division and to start the other. Joshua, with a spear on which were ordinarily hung the colours of battle, points towards the city. He stands in such a conspicuous position, and there is so much of the morning light dripping from that spear-tip, that all around the horizon they see it. It was as much as to say: "There is the city. Take it. Take it now. Roll down from the west side. Surge up from the north side. It is ours, the city of Ai." God knows and we know that a great deal of Christian attack amounts to nothing simply because we do not take good aim. Nobody knows, and we do not know ourselves, which point we want to take, when we ought to make up our minds what God will have us to do, and point our spear in that direction, and then hurl our body, mind, soul, time, eternity, at that one target.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

Jericho was taken by the power of God; this was to be by the stratagem of His people. "Lay thee an ambush for the city behind it." The designs of Jehovah engage a diversity of means and operation as may best promote the ends of His infinite wisdom. It had been equally as easy to have taken this city without hands, and to have caused its fenced walls to have yielded to invisible operation, as those of Jericho; but then the courage of faith had not been exercised in His people, nor had the conquest of their enemies, now exulting, been so striking and instructive. The achievements of the Lord's people are all of Him, whether effected by the measures of force or of artifice.

(W. Seaton.)

Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched Out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.
A spear outstretched, outstretched by Divine command, outstretched till the doom of Ai was sealed — what means it?

I. IT WAS THE SIGNAL OF PRUDENCE. Plans had been carefully prepared for the capture of Ai, and that spear, probably with a pennon hanging from its head like the weapon of the Lancers, was a pre-arranged signal for the carrying out of these plans. The outstretched spear would have been useless, meaningless, apart from the plans to which it referred. But it was most important when these are taken into consideration. In the great war we wage against evil within and without, God desires us to use all the appliances of wisdom and prudence. How wary is the fisher as he angles on the stream, taking advantage of every bush and tuft of grass, of every passing cloud and gentle ripple; and the more the waters are fished the more wary and ingenious is he. Oh, for a holy ingenuity, a sanctified sagacity in winning souls! Oh, that the dictates of prudence were more faithfully carried out in the sanctification of the scull

II. IT WAS THE SIGN OF OBEDIENCE. While much was left to human prudence, certain Divine principles clearly laid down must not be traversed. Joshua must not in every respect do as he pleased. There was a circle within which wisdom might have free and full play, but beyond that circle he dared not go at his peril. But not only was there a general obedience to this Divine command, there was also a very special and definite act of obedience in connection with the outstretched spear. Joshua did not do this when he pleased, but waited patiently till he got a clear intimation of the Divine will that the time had come for striking the decisive blow. Thus Joshua's act in stretching out the spear was well-timed. We need the same patient and punctual obedience which Joshua manifested. We must not be like the horse, going before, or the mule lagging behind, and therefore requiring the bit and the bridle of God's providences. We must not be like Moses, who when he was forty was too fast, and when he was eighty was too slow, to obey the Divine command. Let us be like Joshua here, led by the eye of God to a well-timed obedience.

III. IT WAS ALSO A SIGNAL OF ATTACK. Its waving pennon cried to those in ambush, "Up and at them!" It called to those who were retreating, "Turn and smite!" And it shouted to all of them, "Retrieve your lost honour, win back your laurels." How many deeds of daring were the answer to that signal. Every common soldier in Israel was a hero that day, a noble brother of the man who waved that spear aloft. Oh, for like courage and energy in the wars of the Lord, for noble deeds done against deadly sins!

IV. IT WAS ALSO THE MARK OF CONFIDENCE. He did not think because he had once failed that he would fail again. He had no foreboding of defeat. Not with nervous, trembling, fearful hand did he hold it aloft, but with the firm, sure grasp of perfect confidence. From the vantage-ground on which he stood, he ordered the fight, as again an assured victor. Thus should we engage in the war to which we are called — with sublime confidence, sure of victory, aye, even after we have experienced defeat. So should it be in the inner fight, for He who has begun the good work will perfect that which concerns us to the praise of His glorious grace. And so should it be in the outer. Never let us dishearten ourselves or our neighbours with the thought that we are fighting a losing battle. The very idea is blasphemous; as if man or the devil, or both, were stronger than the Almighty.

V. IT MAY BE ALSO LOOKED UPON AS A MEMORIAL OF MERCY. As certainly as Amalek fled before the Lord's hosts, so certainly will the men of Ai. Victory is sure. In the spiritual warfare how stimulating is it to bring to mind past victories; to remember how David and Paul, Luther, Calvin, and Knox, Wesley, Whitefield, and McCheyne, wrestled with evil and prevailed. But above all, the remembrance of hard-won victories in our own experience is pre-eminently fitted to encourage.

VI. IT WAS THE SYMBOL OF PERSEVERANCE. NO doubt Joshua remembered how the battle with Amalek swayed forward and backward as the rod of Moses was elevated or depressed; and this perhaps explains the fact that he never drew back the spear till the work was finished. As if his hand had been glued to that spear he held it aloft, and thus he urged his soldiers to look like himself to the God of Sabaoth, who alone giveth victory. We have seen the battle well begun, with prudence and obedience, courage and confidence. See it nobly continued and ended with stubborn perseverance. Oh, for such a spirit in the fight of faith! Alas! how few endure to the end.

VII. IT WAS ALSO THE OMEN OF DOOM. It hung over Ai like the great sword of the angel over Jerusalem. And it is worthy of notice that these men were not without resources. They showed great zeal and enthusiasm in defending their city, rising early to go out to fight. They also displayed far greater courage than the men of Jericho, for they marched against overwhelming odds. They also showed considerable wisdom in acting on the offensive, and not waiting to be attacked like their neighbours. It was also plain that they believed that union was strength, for they got the men of Bethel to unite their forces with theirs in the attack on Joshua. They also had great confidence in their success, emboldened as they were by their previous victory. They had all these qualities, good in themselves, but all useless because on the wrong side. The all-important question is, On which side are you? Are you on the wrong side? Then cast down your weapons of rebellion. "Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little." Are you on the right side? Then "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life."

(A. B. Mackay.)

Israelites, Joshua, Levites
Ai, Arabah, Bethel, Jericho, Mount Ebal, Mount Gerizim
Ai, Army, Attack, Best, Chooseth, Chose, Fighting, Fighting-men, Forth, Got, Joshua, Mighty, Moved, Ones, Ready, Riseth, Rose, Thirty, Thousand, Valiant, Valor, Valour, War, Warriors
1. God encourages Joshua
3. The plan whereby Ai was taken
29. The king thereof is hanged
30. Joshua builds an altar
32. writes the law on stones
33. and pronounces the blessings and curses

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Joshua 8:1-3

     5214   attack

Joshua 8:1-22

     8131   guidance, results

Joshua 8:3-19

     5178   running

The National Oath at Shechem
'And Joshua said unto the people. Ye cannot serve the Lord: for He is an holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. 20. If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then He will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that He hath done you good. 21. And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord. 22. And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves, that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve Him. And they said,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

February the Seventeenth Blessings and Cursings
"He read all the words of the law, the blessings and the cursings." --JOSHUA viii. 30-35. We are inclined to read only what pleases us, to hug the blessings and to ignore the warnings. We bask in the light, we close our eyes to the lightning. We recount the promises, we shut our ears to the rebukes. We love the passages which speak of our Master's gentleness, we turn away from those which reveal His severity. And all this is unwise, and therefore unhealthy. We become spiritually soft and anaemic.
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Whether it is Lawful to Lay Ambushes in War?
Objection 1: It would seem that it is unlawful to lay ambushes in war. For it is written (Dt. 16:20): "Thou shalt follow justly after that which is just." But ambushes, since they are a kind of deception, seem to pertain to injustice. Therefore it is unlawful to lay ambushes even in a just war. Objection 2: Further, ambushes and deception seem to be opposed to faithfulness even as lies are. But since we are bound to keep faith with all men, it is wrong to lie to anyone, as Augustine states (Contra
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Formation and History of the Hebrew Canon.
1. The Greek word canon (originally a straight rod or pole, measuring-rod, then rule) denotes that collection of books which the churches receive as given by inspiration of God, and therefore as constituting for them a divine rule of faith and practice. To the books included in it the term canonical is applied. The Canon of the Old Testament, considered in reference to its constituent parts, was formed gradually; formed under divine superintendence by a process of growth extending through
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

Five 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

Jesus in the Tomb.
It was about three o'clock in the afternoon, according to our manner of reckoning,[1] when Jesus expired. A Jewish law[2] forbade a corpse suspended on the cross to be left beyond the evening of the day of the execution. It is not probable that in the executions performed by the Romans this rule was observed; but as the next day was the Sabbath, and a Sabbath of peculiar solemnity, the Jews expressed to the Roman authorities[3] their desire that this holy day should not be profaned by such a spectacle.[4]
Ernest Renan—The Life of Jesus

Beth-El. Beth-Aven.
Josephus thus describes the land of Benjamin; "The Benjamites' portion of land was from the river Jordan to the sea, in length: in breadth, it was bounded by Jerusalem and Beth-el." Let these last words be marked, "The breadth of the land of Benjamin was bounded by Jerusalem and Beth-el." May we not justly conclude, from these words, that Jerusalem and Beth-el were opposite, as it were, in a right line? But if you look upon the maps, there are some that separate these by a very large tract of land,
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

Moses and his Writings
[Illustration: (drop cap W) Clay letter tablet of Moses' time.] We now begin to understand a little of the very beginning of God's Book--of the times in which it was written, the materials used by its first author, and the different kinds of writing from which he had to choose; but we must go a step farther. How much did Moses know about the history of his forefathers, Abraham and Jacob, and of all the old nations and kings mentioned in Genesis, before God called him to the great work of writing
Mildred Duff—The Bible in its Making

The Crucifixion.
Subdivision D. Jesus Found to Be Dead. His Body Buried and Guarded in the Tomb. ^A Matt. XXVII. 57-66; ^B Mark XV. 42-47; ^C Luke XXIII. 50-56; ^D John XIX. 31-42. ^d 31 The Jews therefore, because it was the Preparation, that the bodies should not remain on the cross upon the sabbath (for the day of that sabbath was a high day ), asked of Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. [According to rabbinical writing a few hours before the Sabbath were called the Preparation;
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The book of Joshua is the natural complement of the Pentateuch. Moses is dead, but the people are on the verge of the promised land, and the story of early Israel would be incomplete, did it not record the conquest of that land and her establishment upon it. The divine purpose moves restlessly on, until it is accomplished; so "after the death of Moses, Jehovah spake to Joshua," i. 1. The book falls naturally into three divisions: (a) the conquest of Canaan (i.-xii.), (b) the settlement of the
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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