Obrázky na stránke

points, till it reached those for whom it was intended. It was customary in ancient times to communicate important news in this way.

The ruse de guerre was entirely successful. How could it be otherwise, when Jehovah himself planned it ?

They let none of them remain or escape. This must not be interpreted too strictly, for we find this place inhabited at a subsequent period. Ezra ii. 28; Neh. vii

. 32. It may be added that both Bethel and Ai (the latter then called Hai) belong back to the time of Abram.

He once built an altar near the spot where the ambush of Joshua was stationed. Gen. xii. 8; xiii. 3. Bethel was then called Luz; it was not called Bethel till Jacob lodged there.

After smiting and destroying all the men of Ai in the field, the army of Joshua enters the city and puts its inhabitants to the sword. This shows the necessity of care not to interpret universal or unlimited expressions too literally. All the people of Ai went out against the Israelites, verse 16; and the latter slew them all, so as to let none remain, verse 22; and now these last enter the city and put the inhabitants to the sword !

Twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai. It is not strange that Joshua succeeded, when thirty thousand was only a small detachment of his army

more than all the people of Ai.

The king of Ai he hanged on a tree. We have reason to believe that with the ancient Hebrews, hanging on a tree, as well as burning, was a post mortem infliction. See the law relating to hanging on a tree. Deut. xxi. 22, 23. The hanging was intended as a warning to passers-by, and therefore the criminal was not allowed to remain suspended over night. That killing took place, before hanging on the tree, may be seen by consulting x. 26. The heap of stones over the place where the king was buried, would be a memorial, for a long time, of the fact here recorded.


JOS. VIII. 30. Then Joshua built an altar | Levites, which bare the ark of the unto the Lord God of Israel in, covenant of the Lord, as well the mount Ebal;

stranger as he that was born 31. As Moses, the servant of the among them: half of them over Lord, commanded the children of against mount Gerizim and half of Israel, as it is written in the book them over against mount Ebal; as of the law of Moses, An altar of Moses the servant of the Lord had whole stones, over which no man commanded before, that they should hath lifted up any iron; and they bless the children of Israel. offered thereon burnt-offerings un 34. And afterward he read all to the Lord, and sacrificed peace- the words of the law, the blessings offerings.

aud cursings, according to all that 32. And he wrote there upon is written in the book of the law. the stones a copy of the law of 35. There was not a word of all Moses, which he wrote in the that Moses commanded which Jopresenee of the children of Israel. shua read not before all the con

33. And all Israel, and their el- gregation of Israel, with the wo. ders, and officers, and their judges, men, and the little ones, and the stood on this side the ark, and on strangers that were conversant that side, before the priests the among them.

Moses, just before his death, had instructed the people, when they should be established in Canaan, to divide the tribes into two equal portions; and, placing one division on mount Ebal and the other on mount Gerizim, to pronounce certain cursings and blessings in their hear. ing. Deut. xxvii. 1 - 26. See Bib. Review. Vol. iii. p. 477. The moral effect of such a scene was, no doubt, the ground on which it was enjoined. The Samaritan copy of the Pentateuch differs from

respect to the names of these mountains. Where we have Gerizim it has Ebal and vice versa. The Samaritans maintain that theirs is the true reading, and that the alteration in our copy has been made by the Jews ; while the Jews throw back the charge of fraud, in altering the text, upon the Samaritans.

The ground of the dispute is, that the Jewish reading places the tribes of Judah and Benjamin on the mount of blessing, together with four of the other tribes, leaving the balance on the mount of cursing. Changing the names of the mountains, reverses the order, and places

ours, in

all the Jews on the mount of cursing, and six out of ten of the other tribes on the mount of blessing. The dispute seems childish; and it is evidently based on a misapprehension of the passage. The blessings were not pronounced on the tribes; nor were the cursings pronounced on them. But both the blessings and cursings were pronounced by the tribes. Such is the reading; nor is there the least intimation that one mountain was any more honorable than the other. It is hardly neces. sary to state, that the Jews are descended from Judah and Benjamin ; and the Samaritans claim a descent from the remaining ten tribes.

It may be added that there is cause for surprise, that the Samaritan and Jewish copies of the Bible, do not differ more than they do ; for the differences are not numerous nor important. The hostility, between these two branches of the children of Israel, seems to have been a providential arrangement, to preserve the Scriptures unimpaired unto the present time.

Some have thought this passage, viii. 30-35, is not in its proper place in the history; as Joshua had not yet conquered the country, as far as Shechem where these mountains are located. It is obvious, however, from the history, that Joshua, with his immense force, could go to any part of the land he pleased. And he had extended his conquests as far as Bethel in the direction of these mountains. At the same time, we should not naturally expect him to carry out this arrangement of Moses, till he had extended his conquests as far as that locality, unless there was some special reason for doing so. there any such reason? We think there was.

From a passage farther along in this history, there is reason to think that the whole law was read before the people on this occasion. That would require more time than we should expect would be appropriated to this service, unless there was some binding obligation to do so, especially as Joshua was now engaged in the conquest of the country. We think there was a binding obligation to


cal year.

do this. It was certainly about the time of the sabbati

We believe it was the sabbatical year; and Moses had enjoined that, in the sabbatical year, the law

the whole law — should be read before all the people. The two requirements — that concerning the placing of the tribes on the two mountains and that of reading the whole law are here observed at one and the same time. This to us seems the most consistent view of the subject.

To avoid the difficulty of supposing that Joshua took all the people back into the country, which he had not yet conquered, some have maintained that the two mountains referred to by Moses were not at Shechem, where they have generally been located, and are so to this day; but nearer the valley of the Jordan. The words of Moses, usually quoted to prove this, prove the opposite. They are found in Deut. xi. 30. Speaking of Ebal and Gerizim he says, " Are they not on the other side Jordan, by the way where the sun goeth down, in the land of the Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal, beside the plains of Moreh?

Ai the time this language of Moses was spoken, there was no Gilgal near the Jordan. That received the name from Joshua, at a later period. But there was another Gilgal in the vicinity of Shechem; and that Moreh was near Shechem, we may learn from Gen. xii. 6. It follows, therefore, that these mountains, being over against Gilgal and beside the plain of Moreh, are the mountains near Shechem, according to the general belief.

Instead of the mountain of Gerizim, we might read the “mountain of the Gerizites ;” and this latter term may denote a class of people of which we read in 1 Sam. xxvii

. 8, as having their residence in the country south of the Philistines. For the word Gezrites in the English version, should be Gerizites to accord with the Hebrew. It is more than probable that they once occupied the ground near Shechem, and left the name Gerizim as a memorial of the fact.

There is reason to believe that two other tribes that are associated with the Gerizites, in the country south of Philistia, once had their residence also near the same place. One of the tribes is the Amalekites, whose memorial was the “mount of the Amalekites," Jud. xii. 15; and the other the Avites, (Hebrew Avim,) whose memorial is a city Avim in the tribe of Benjamin. Jos xviii. 23. SECTION VII. — THE LEAGUE WITH THE GIBEONITES.

JOS. IX. 1. And it came to pass, when all | We are thy servants. And Joshua the kings which were on this side said unto them, Who are ye? and Jordan, in the hills, and in the from whence come ye ? valleys, and in all the coasts of 9. And they said unto him, the great sea over against Lebanon, From a very far country thy serthe Hittite, and the Amorite, the vants are eome, because of the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hi- name of the Lord thy God; for we vite, and the Jebusite, heard there have heard the fame of him, and of,

all that he did in Egypt. 2. That they gathered them. 10 And all that he did to the selves together, to fight with Jo- two kings of the Amorites, that shua and with Israel, with one ac were beyond Jordan, to Sihon king cord.

of Heshbon, and to Og king of Ba3. And when the inhabitants of shan, which was at Ashtarotb. Gibeon heard what Joshua had 11. Wherefore our elders, and done unto Jericho and to Ai, all the inhabitants of our country,

4. They did work wilily, and spake to us, saying, Take victuals went and made as if they had been with you for the journey, and go ambassadors, and took old sacks to meet them, and say unto them, upon their asses, and wine-bottles, We are your servants: therefore old, and rent, and bound up; now make ye a league with us.

5. And old shoes and clouted 12 This our bread we took hot upon their feet, and old garments for our provision out of our houses upon them: and all the bread of 'on the day we came forth to go untheir provision was dry and mouldy. to you; but now, behold, it is dry,

6. And they went to Joshua un- and it is mouldy: to the camp at Gilgal, and said un 13. And these bottles of wine to him, and to the men of Israel, which we filled were new; and beWe be come from a far country: hold, they be rent: and these our now therefore make ye a league garments and our shoes are become

old by reason of the very long 7. And the men of Israel said journey. unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye 14. And the men took of their dwell among us; and how shall victuals, and asked not counsel at we make a league with you? the mouth of the Lord.

8. And they said unto Joshua, 16. And Joshua made peace with

with us.

« PredošláPokračovať »