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thy servants: come up to us quick- 1 that the Lord cast down great ly, and save us, and help us; for stones from heaven upon them unall the kings of the Amorites, that to Azekah, and they died: they dwell in the mountains, are gather. were more which died with hailed together against us.
stones than they whom the children 7. So Joshua ascended from Gil. of Israel slew with the sword. gal, he, and all the people of war 12 Then spake Joshua to the with him, and all the mighty men Lord, in the day when the Lord of valour.
delivered up the Amorites before 8. And the Lord said unto Josh- the children of Israel, and he said ua, Fear them not: for I have de- in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand livered them into thine hand; thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, there shall not a man of them stand Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. before thee.
13. And the sun stood still, and 9. Joshua therefore came unto the moon stayed, until the people them suddenly, and went up from had avenged themselves Gilgal all night.
enemies. Is not this written in 10. And the Lord discomfitted the book of Jasher ? So the sun them before Israel, and slew stood still in the midst of heaven, them with a great slaughter at and hasted not to go down about Gibeon, and chased them along a whole day. the way that goeth up to Beth-ho- 14. And there was no day like ron; and smote them to Azekah, that before it, or after it, that the and unto Makkedah.
Lord hearkened unto the voice of 11. And it came to pass, as they a man: for the Lord fought for Isfled from before [srael, and were rael. in the going down to Beth-horon,
The king of Jerusalem takes the lead in this general uprising; though the name Jerusalem appears not to have been given to the place, till a later day. It was evidently an important place, as far back as tħe invasion of Joshua. And from the later history, we learn that it was a very strong place, and difficult to take.
“The inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them :" — that is, a delegation was
Gibeon was a great city. It was great, compared with the other cities belonging to the Gibeonites, which were four in number; or great, compared with other cities, in that region of country.
Though the people of Canaan were seven tribes, they appear to have been divided up into more than that number of petty governments. Every little town and city had a king; though many of these were subject to other kings, who had gained an ascendency over them. See Gen. xiv. It is highly probable that the king of Jerusalem had some kind of authority over the kings that he summons to the field against the Israelites. The immediate object for which they were summoned was to fight against Gibeon, because the latter had made peace with Joshua.
The kings are called Amorites. But they were not of the tribe of the Amorites. The term is here used in its largest sense. The king of Jerusalem was an Amorite; but it is certain that he was not of the tribe of Amorites, for he was a Jebusite. They dwelt in the mountains. The country from Jerusalem to Hebron, and even beyond these limits, was designated as the “mountains.
Whether the league formed with the Gibeonites placed the Hebrews under any direct obligation to defend them; or whether going against the confederated kings, at Gibeon, was merely in the way of Joshua's purpose, we can not say. He loses no time, but starts immediately with his army, and marches all night, through the wildest and roughest region in Palestine, a distance of nearly twenty miles; where he encounters the enemy and slays great numbers of them around the walls of Gibeon, and puts the rest to flight. He went with the divine assurance that he should be successful; and this gave him
Gibeon was not far from the Hebrew camp, as we are informed in the previous chapter; (ix. 16,) and a rapid night's march would bring Joshua and his army to the place. The distance we have said was about twenty miles. We may suppose, if we will, that the roughness of the country made it necessary that two days, or a day and two nights, be occupied in the march. It is evident that the battle commenced in the early part of the day.
The Lord cast down great stones from heaven. This expression is qualified in the next sentence, by the statement, that these stones were hail-stones. This makes the event a natural one, and not supernatural. The intensity of the storm, and the time of its occurrence, are the only circumstances that make it a miracle.
Men of certain constitutions of mind will read this passage, hundreds of times, without taking notice of the clause “hail-stones.” To such minds the more wonderful and marvelous an event is, if the Lord is in any way connected with it, the greater the satisfaction its contemplation gives them. After all, the fact remains, that in general, the miracles of the Bible are natural events, rendered miraculous mainly by their intensity, or the time and circumstances of their occurrence.
Dr. Adam Clarke says he is “ ready to grant," that the shower of stones might have been real stones, as well as hail-stones. “Of late the fall of real stones from the clouds has been closely investigated; and not only the possibility of the fall of such stones from the clouds, or from much higher regions; but the certainty of the case has been fully demonstrated.” In perfect consistency with this view, Dr. Clarke assumes the literal and historical verity of the standing still of the sun and moon, at the command of Joshua See Concluding Remarks of this section. In respect to both these passages, it is sufficient for us that we take the language as it is, and be not wise above what is written.
The destruction of the Canaanites by this hail, and the preservation of the Israelites in spite of it; are circumstances that may seem difficult on the natural theory. It may be admitted, if one is so disposed, that the difference in the result to the two armies was a miracle, and not explainable on any natural basis. At the same time, one can not help seeing that the circumstances of the two armies were quite different. One army was fleeing in the greatest disorder. It was passing over a very rough and stony tract of country. There were horsemen and footmen, horses attached to chariots, and a mixed multitude of men, women and children; such a crowd as followed all oriental armies.
The Israelites were pursuing. They had no occasion for being disorderly. They had their shields to protect them from the hail. They had the shields that had been thrown away by their retreating foes. That which exposed the Canaanites to the greater destruction, gave to the Israelites greater safety and protection. As we know not how many were destroyed on either side, we think it safe to conclude, that the number was only such as would accord with these circumstances.
We read of the "going up to Beth-horon,” and soon after, of the "going down to Beth-horon." ' The reference is to different places. The ground is as well known now as it was then. Beth-horon the upper is situated on high ground, some four or five miles west of Gibeon. The city was approached by going up. Leaving the place would be going down from Beth-horon ; but the passage says nothing of this. In both places the words are "to Beth-horon.
The explanation is, that after the two armies had gone up to Beth-horon the upper, they turn south and go down to Beth-horon the lower or nether; and between the two places the country is rough and stony, and exceedingly difficult to pass over.
JOS. X. 16. And Joshua returned, and Joshua and the children of Israel all Israel with him, unto the camp had made an end of slaying them to Gilgal.
with a very great slaughter, till 16. But these five kings fled, they were consumed, that the rest and hid themselves in a cave at which remained of them entered inMakkedah.
to fenced cities. 17. And it was told Joshua, say. 21. And all the people returned ing, The five kings are found hid to the camp to Joshua at Makkedah in a cave at Makkedah.
in peace: none. moved his tongue 18. And Joshua said, Roll great against any of the children of Israstones upon
the mouth of the cave, el. and set men by it for to keep them; 22. Then said Joshua, Open the
19. And stay ye not, but pursue mouth of thc cave, and bring out after your enemies, and smite the those five kings unto me out of the hindmost of them; suffer them not cave. to enter into their cities : for the 23. And they did so, and brought Lord your God hath delivered them forth those five kings unto him out into your hand.
of the cave, the king of Jerusalem, 20. And it came to pass, when I the king of Hebron, the king of
Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and thus shall the Lord do to all your the king of Eglon.
enemies against whom ye fight. 24. And it came to pass, when 26. And afterward Joshua smoto they brought out those kings unto them, and slew them, and hanged Joshua, that Joshua called for all them on five trees: and they were the men of Israel, and said unto hanging upon the trees until the the captains of the men of war evening. which went with him, Come near, 27. And it came to pass, at the put your feet upon the necks of time of the going down of the sun, these kings. And they came near that Joshua commanded, and they and put their feet upon the necks took them down off the trees, and of them.
cast them into the cave wherein 25. And Joshua said unto them, they had been hid, and laid great Fear not, nor be dismayed: be stones in the cave's mouth, which strong, and of good courage: for ) remain until this very day.
The 15th verse is omitted by the Septuagint, and does not appear in the Hexapla of Origen. It interferes with the sense ; for it is plain that the
Hebrew leader did not return to Gilgal till after the death of the kings. It may be that the verse is genuine except one word. Let Gilgal be taken out, and Makkedah put in, and the passage may be true. That this is the true construction, is rendered probable by the fact, that there was a camp of the army at Makkedah. v. 21.
Joshua slew them, and hanged them on five trees. This verifies our opinion respecting the practice of hang; ing after the criminal was killed.
· Hanging on a tree sometimes denotes crucifixion ; but this form of punishment was not properly of Jewish origin. It was a Roman institution, and was not practiced among the Jews till they came under the Roman government.
He cast them into the cave. The most honorable burials were in caves. Abraham was buried in a cave. So were Isaac and Jacob, etc., etc. But generally more care was taken in the burial. In the present instance, the criminals were cast into the cave. The stones, placed at the mouth of the cave, were not so much for their protection, as for perpetuating a knowledge of the transaction to future ages.