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The daily summaries are written by Wayne D. Turner, Pastor of Fayette Bible Church in Fayetteville, Georgia

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BibleTrack Summary: April 22
<< Josh 8

For New King James text and comment, click here.

Joshua 9-11    Listen Podcast

 

An oath is an oath! (Joshua 9)

1 And it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side Jordan, in the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof;
2 That they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord.
3 And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai,
4 They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up;
5 And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy.
6 And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us.
7 And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you?
8 And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye?
9 And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt,
10 And all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, which was at Ashtaroth.
11 Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us.
12 This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy:
13 And these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey.
14 And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.
15 And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them.
16 And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a league with them, that they heard that they were their neighbours, and that they dwelt among them.
17 And the children of Israel journeyed, and came unto their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, and Chephirah, and Beeroth, and Kirjathjearim.
18 And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes.
19 But all the princes said unto all the congregation, We have sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel: now therefore we may not touch them.
20 This we will do to them; we will even let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath which we sware unto them.
21 And the princes said unto them, Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation; as the princes had promised them.
22 And Joshua called for them, and he spake unto them, saying, Wherefore have ye beguiled us, saying, We are very far from you; when ye dwell among us?
23 Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.
24 And they answered Joshua, and said, Because it was certainly told thy servants, how that the LORD thy God commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you, therefore we were sore afraid of our lives because of you, and have done this thing.
25 And now, behold, we are in thine hand: as it seemeth good and right unto thee to do unto us, do.
26 And so did he unto them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, that they slew them not.
27 And Joshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of the LORD, even unto this day, in the place which he should choose.

Remember how Jacob tricked Isaac and Esau to secure the first-born birthright (Genesis 27, see notes)? Nevertheless...an oath is an oath. Remember how Laban tricked Jacob on his wedding night with the ol' bride switch-a-roo (Genesis 29, see notes)? Upset? Sure...but an oath is an oath. Here we go again. The local Gibeonites (of Canaan) pull a fast one over on Jacob's descendants...and live to tell about it. The acting was apparently superb (verses 12-13) as they convinced Joshua and the elders that they couldn't possibly be local residents. And once again, just like that thrashing Israel took in their first round at Ai, we see in verse 14 that Joshua failed to consult with God before making this covenant with the Gibeonites. God had been very specific about treaties with the inhabitants of Canaan. DON'T DO IT! Recall God's instructions regarding them in Deuteronomy 7:1-6 (see notes) and Deuteronomy 20:16-18 (see notes) - ALL THE CANAANITES HAD TO GO! But Joshua did make a treaty (a binding vow) with these deceitful Gibeonites...ignorantly...but a treaty nonetheless. The key verse here is 14, "And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD." With their tattered-looking clothing and supplies added to their bold-faced lying, the Gibeonites had convinced Joshua and company to enter into a binding treaty of mutual protection with them.

Where's a good attorney when you need one? In our litigious society, it would be unthinkable to honor the terms of a contract when blatant deceit and lying were involved in the formulation of the contract. Yet the Jews viewed contracts differently. It goes back to the Ten Commandments of God given to the Jews in Exodus 20 (see notes) and Deuteronomy 5 (see notes).

Notice the specific instruction regarding the third of the Ten Commandments:

Exodus 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Deuteronomy 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

This includes the frivolous use of God's name. Note Leviticus 19:12 (see notes), "And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD." The modern-day practice of the usage of "God" in profanity is just a subset of this commandment. The primary intent of the third commandment and confirmed by Leviticus 19:12 is that the Jews were forbidden from invoking God's name frivolously. If you used God's name, you had better mean it!

So, understanding the gravity of invoking God's name into a proposition, let's look closely at the wording of verse 18, "And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes." To renege on a guarantee for safety after swearing as they had done would have been a violation of the third commandment.

Joshua did, however, add some consequence to the proposition in verse 23, "Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God." Nonetheless, note the provisions of Deuteronomy 29:9-11:

9 Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do.
10 Ye stand this day all of you before the LORD your God; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel,
11 Your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water:

So, it is established that these Gibeonites will be protected under God's covenant with Israel just like a naturally-born Hebrew. As a matter of fact, the Gibeonites call in a covenant marker in chapter 10 (see below), and Joshua is instructed by God to protect them.

If you made an oath under false assumptions, everyone still regarded the oath to be binding. So, how long must they honor this treaty anyway? Well...an oath is an oath; unless otherwise stated, it's forever. Over 400 years later we find in II Samuel 21:1-14 (see notes) that God punished Israel with a famine because Saul had previously violated this oath made to the Gibeonites before his death.Joshua 9-11 Map

For more information on the Law of Moses concerning vows, click here to read the summary on Leviticus 27.

Imagine the surprise of Joshua and the tribal leaders of Israel when they discovered that they have been duped (verses 17-19). The Hebrews were upset that their own leadership had entered into this treaty, but everyone honored it. However, Joshua decreed that day that, even though they would not be killed, the Gibeonites would serve as slaves of Israel (verse 27). Incidentally, we see in verse 7 here and in Joshua 11:19 that the folks of Gibeon were Hivites.

When God does your fighting, good things happen (Joshua 10:1-15)

1 Now it came to pass, when Adonizedek king of Jerusalem had heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it; as he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king; and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them;
2 That they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all the men thereof were mighty.
3 Wherefore Adonizedek king of Jerusalem sent unto Hoham king of Hebron, and unto Piram king of Jarmuth, and unto Japhia king of Lachish, and unto Debir king of Eglon, saying,
4 Come up unto me, and help me, that we may smite Gibeon: for it hath made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel.
5 Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon, gathered themselves together, and went up, they and all their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it.
6 And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua to the camp to Gilgal, saying, Slack not thy hand from thy servants; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us: for all the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the mountains are gathered together against us.
7 So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valour.
8 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee.
9 Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly, and went up from Gilgal all night.
10 And the LORD discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goeth up to Bethhoron, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah.
11 And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Bethhoron, that the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.
12 Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.
13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.
14 And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.
15 And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal.

Five kings (verse 3) decide it's time to put a stop to Israel's migration. They decide to go up against the people in Gibeon - not the Israelites, the Gibeonites (see above). These Gibeonites get word and make a plea to Joshua for help. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Maybe Joshua should have let those five kings destroy the Gibeonites before engaging them in battle; that should have solved the dilemma of that whole vow thing back in chapter 9 (see above). However, Joshua does consult God this time; he's instructed to fight, and the result is a major victory! As a matter of fact, the battle victory is guaranteed by God before it begins in verse 8, "And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee." And then Israel gets some additional divine assistance in verse 11 with hailstones falling from the sky upon the enemy, "...they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword." Furthermore, Joshua gets a little bonus here - extra daylight to finish up the job - a whole day's worth (verse 13). Talk about daylight saving time! By the way, we are told that the Book of Jasher referenced here was probably a kind of national sacred song-book, a collection of songs in praise of the heroes of Israel. I'm certain it had to have made a huge impression on Israel when Joshua says in verse 12, "Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon."

Now consider this: Based upon the oath Joshua had made with the Gibeonites in chapter 9 (see above), Joshua had no choice but to protect them. They were under the protection of God's covenant.

The five Amorite kings are executed (Joshua 10:16-27)

16 But these five kings fled, and hid themselves in a cave at Makkedah.
17 And it was told Joshua, saying, The five kings are found hid in a cave at Makkedah.
18 And Joshua said, Roll great stones upon the mouth of the cave, and set men by it for to keep them:
19 And stay ye not, but pursue after your enemies, and smite the hindmost of them; suffer them not to enter into their cities: for the LORD your God hath delivered them into your hand.
20 And it came to pass, when Joshua and the children of Israel had made an end of slaying them with a very great slaughter, till they were consumed, that the rest which remained of them entered into fenced cities.
21 And all the people returned to the camp to Joshua at Makkedah in peace: none moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel.
22 Then said Joshua, Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings unto me out of the cave.
23 And they did so, and brought forth those five kings unto him out of the cave, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon.
24 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.
25 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.
26 And afterward Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five trees: and they were hanging upon the trees until the evening.
27 And it came to pass at the time of the going down of the sun, that Joshua commanded, and they took them down off the trees, and cast them into the cave wherein they had been hid, and laid great stones in the cave’s mouth, which remain until this very day.

What do you do when you have just witnessed the God of the Hebrews actually lengthening a day so his people could thoroughly trounce your people? Answer: Hide in a cave? Maybe that wasn't such a good idea after all, but that's what these five Canaanite kings do. Joshua simply has the cave sealed up until the battle is won; he uses these cowardly kings for a God-is-great object lesson in verses 24-25. Then they are hanged in public and placed back into the cave. That's what they get for leaving their troops to fight while they hide.

As a symbol of disgrace, hanging a dead body on a tree was to make a point - POINT MADE! As a matter of fact, that's why the cross (hang on a tree) was necessary for the death of Jesus rather than stoning. The Jews had tried to stone Jesus to death on numerous occasions leading up to the crucifixion, but they failed each time. Jesus had to go to the cross. No other form of death would do. He prophesied that he would go to the cross in John 3:14 (see notes) and again in John 12:33 (see notes). Paul makes this point regarding hanging on a tree in Galatians 3:13 (see notes) when he says, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." Just as these five kings were cursed on a tree, so was Jesus at his crucifixion on the cross.

We're on a roll; let's head south! (Joshua 10:28-43)

28 And that day Joshua took Makkedah, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof he utterly destroyed, them, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain: and he did to the king of Makkedah as he did unto the king of Jericho.
29 Then Joshua passed from Makkedah, and all Israel with him, unto Libnah, and fought against Libnah:
30 And the LORD delivered it also, and the king thereof, into the hand of Israel; and he smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain in it; but did unto the king thereof as he did unto the king of Jericho.
31 And Joshua passed from Libnah, and all Israel with him, unto Lachish, and encamped against it, and fought against it:
32 And the LORD delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel, which took it on the second day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein, according to all that he had done to Libnah.
33 Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish; and Joshua smote him and his people, until he had left him none remaining.
34 And from Lachish Joshua passed unto Eglon, and all Israel with him; and they encamped against it, and fought against it:
35 And they took it on that day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein he utterly destroyed that day, according to all that he had done to Lachish.
36 And Joshua went up from Eglon, and all Israel with him, unto Hebron; and they fought against it:
37 And they took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof, and all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining, according to all that he had done to Eglon; but destroyed it utterly, and all the souls that were therein.
38 And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir; and fought against it:
39 And he took it, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof; and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining: as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir, and to the king thereof; as he had done also to Libnah, and to her king.
40 So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded.
41 And Joshua smote them from Kadeshbarnea even unto Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon.
42 And all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time, because the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel.
43 And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal.

Then Joshua leads these quick in-an-out raids against numerous cities in the southern portion of Canaan - defeating each city. Verse 42 says it all, "And all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time, because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel." One big campaign through South Canaan gets the job done. Again, notice that God directed this campaign. Joshua, take note: When God leads, you do well; when you lead by yourself...well...you know.

Verses 40-42 sum up this campaign:

Joshua 10:40 So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded.
Joshua 10:41 And Joshua smote them from Kadeshbarnea even unto Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon.
Joshua 10:42 And all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time, because the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel.

Battle strategy: disable their transportation (Joshua 11)

1 And it came to pass, when Jabin king of Hazor had heard those things, that he sent to Jobab king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron, and to the king of Achshaph,
2 And to the kings that were on the north of the mountains, and of the plains south of Chinneroth, and in the valley, and in the borders of Dor on the west,
3 And to the Canaanite on the east and on the west, and to the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Jebusite in the mountains, and to the Hivite under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh.
4 And they went out, they and all their hosts with them, much people, even as the sand that is upon the sea shore in multitude, with horses and chariots very many.
5 And when all these kings were met together, they came and pitched together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel.
6 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Be not afraid because of them: for to morrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel: thou shalt hough their horses, and burn their chariots with fire.
7 So Joshua came, and all the people of war with him, against them by the waters of Merom suddenly; and they fell upon them.
8 And the LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel, who smote them, and chased them unto great Zidon, and unto Misrephothmaim, and unto the valley of Mizpeh eastward; and they smote them, until they left them none remaining.
9 And Joshua did unto them as the LORD bade him: he houghed their horses, and burnt their chariots with fire.
10 And Joshua at that time turned back, and took Hazor, and smote the king thereof with the sword: for Hazor beforetime was the head of all those kingdoms.
11 And they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them: there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with fire.
12 And all the cities of those kings, and all the kings of them, did Joshua take, and smote them with the edge of the sword, and he utterly destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the LORD commanded.
13 But as for the cities that stood still in their strength, Israel burned none of them, save Hazor only; that did Joshua burn.
14 And all the spoil of these cities, and the cattle, the children of Israel took for a prey unto themselves; but every man they smote with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them, neither left they any to breathe.
15 As the LORD commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD commanded Moses.
16 So Joshua took all that land, the hills, and all the south country, and all the land of Goshen, and the valley, and the plain, and the mountain of Israel, and the valley of the same;
17 Even from the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir, even unto Baalgad in the valley of Lebanon under mount Hermon: and all their kings he took, and smote them, and slew them.
18 Joshua made war a long time with all those kings.
19 There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save the Hivites the inhabitants of Gibeon: all other they took in battle.
20 For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.
21 And at that time came Joshua, and cut off the Anakims from the mountains, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel: Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities.
22 There was none of the Anakims left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there remained.
23 So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.

Ol' King Jabin organizes a coalition of kings from the northern part of Canaan to come down after Israel. Verse 4 has that phrase ("as the sand that is upon the sea shore in multitude") that indicates there were so many of them (the enemy), they could not even be counted. God knew how many there were and how to defeat them - cripple their horses and burn their chariots ("hough" means "hamstring"). It's kind of like blowing the tread off their tanks like they did back in WWII.

Hey! You're not in Gibeon anymore! That's what we see in verse 20. Rahab and the Gibeonites demonstrated that God spared those who called upon the God of Israel, but destroyed those who did not. The "hardened" concept we saw back in Exodus regarding Pharaoh is at work here in this verse, "For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses." These kings chose war, not peace. See notes on Deuteronomy 7:1-6. We see in verses 22-23 that only that area in southwest Israel known today as the Gaza strip remains to be taken. They finish the job in Judges 1:18 (see notes) where it says, "Also Judah took Gaza with the coast thereof, and Askelon with the coast thereof, and Ekron with the coast thereof." And...interestingly enough, Joshua was the one being attacked rather than the aggressor. The enemy came from all over Canaan to attack Israel, only to fall in defeat.


For commentary on another passage, click here.


Copyright 2003-2011 by Wayne D. Turner