Book of Joshua (Part 2) – Taking the Promised land

Ai - Joshua's soldiers were first defeated here, but then God provided a stunning victory.

Ai – Joshua’s soldiers were first defeated here, but then God provided a stunning victory.

Picking the Book of Joshua back up in chapter 9, the next few chapters are filled with more conquest, and a deception that will have lasting consequences.

  • The Gibeonite Deception (Joshua 9:1-27).  Upon hearing of what had happened at Jericho and Ai, the various Canaanite kings gathered together and joined forces to do battle against the approaching Israelites.  But the people of Gibeon came up with a plan of their own.  Altering their appearance to make themselves look like they had traveled a long distance, they went straight to the Israelite camp and to Joshua, claiming they had come from a distant country, and asking to make a covenant with them.
    • The deception worked, and they extracted an oath of cooperation and protection from the leaders and elders of the congregation.  When the deception was discovered, the anger of the people was kindled, but the oath had been made and would be honored.  But  because of their trickery, many of them would serve the congregation forever, just like servants, as woodcutters and drawers of water.
    • So just as the Lord (and Moses) had specifically warned them many times not to do (as in Deuteronomy 7:2), the Israelites had made a covenant with people in Canaan before the battles were even half over.  And the blame for this horrible mistake lays in their failure to seek counsel from the Lord (Joshua 9:14-15).
  •    The defense of Gibeon and the conquest of the south (Joshua 10:1–43)
    • Gibeon_001

      Gibeon, view north of El Jib; the Gibeonites tricked Joshua to make a treaty with them.

      Gibeon was no small city, and its men were known warriors.  So when the king of Jerusalem, Adoni-zedek, heard of the peace between them and Israel, he was afraid.  Summoning the kings of Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon, he gathered all of their forces to make war against Gibeon.  The men of Gibeon then went to Joshua at Gigal seeking their help.

    • Bound by the oath they had made, Joshua prepared his mighty men to do battle, and the Lord told him in Joshua 10:8 “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands. Not a man of them shall stand before you.”  It was during this battle that the famous “long day” occurred, upon which Joshua commanded the sun to “stand still.”  For our comments on this event, see this previous post.

    • After the victory, Joshua and the men hunted down and executed the five kings.  Then, with God fighting on their side, they won victory after victory in the south, capturing their kings and taking the land “from Kadesh-barnea as far as Gaza.”

  • Joshua 11-12 details the victories of the Israelites in the northern part of the land, with Joshua 12:1-6 recounting the kings that had been defeated under the leadership of Moses (some of which was told in Numbers 21).
/Bob’s boy
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image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

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The Pool of Gibeon

The Pool of Gibeon, where Ishmael dumped the bodies of seventy men he murdered after he murdered Gedaliah, governor of Judah.

The Pool of Gibeon, where Ishmael dumped the bodies of seventy men he murdered after he murdered Gedaliah, governor of Judah.

In 2 Samuel chapter 2, a battle ensued at Gibeon in which Abner and the servants of Saul’s son Ish-bosheth were defeated by the servants of David.  There was a meeting at the “pool of Gibeon” prior to that.  This pool was also the location where Ishmael deceived and slaughtered the seventy in Jeremiah 41.

Excavations at Gibeon (located about 6 miles from Jerusalem at tel el-jib) revealed an elaborate water system. One part of that system is a huge circular shaft (37 feet in diameter).  It was cut into the bedrock about 82 feet deep.  At the bottom of it, there was the water table that formed a pool. The pool was reached by a staircase that was also cut into the limestone. More information can be found in this article at Ferrell’s Travel Blog.

Tomorrow, we start week 8 in our reading schedule.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Joshua 10 – The Sun Stands Still

When the king of Jerusalem, Adoni-zedek, learned of the fall of Ai and of the treaty of the people of Gibeon with Joshua and the people of Israel, he “feared greatly.”  verse 2 says that Gibeon was like a royal city – greater than Ai, and all its men were warriors.  So Adoni-zedek formed an alliance with the kings of Hebron, Lachish, Jarmuth, and Eglon to attack Gibeon.  So the Gibeonites appealed to Joshua for help.

Joshua commanding the sun to stand still

Joshua commanding the sun to stand still (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Though God had commanded them not to make any covenants with any of the Canaanites, now that one had been made with the Gibeonites, He made it clear in verse 8 that He would help them honor it.  So after Joshua and his men marched all night from Gilgal, God threw their adversaries into a panic; and as they chased them from Beth-horon, He struck them with hailstones, killing more than the Israelites did with their swords (verses 10-11).  Then the famous long day as Joshua, consulting with the Lord commanded the sun to “stand still” as they finished off their enemies (verses 12-14). Then, one by one, they took the cities of all 5 of the kings and finished off the captured kings themselves (verses 20-27).   A sizable victory related in verses 40-43 secures the land to ready for the northern campaign.

Side Note 1: A good article on the “sun stand still” event can be found at this page on the Apologetics Press website.

Side Note 2: Contrary to claims of critics, this passage is not geocentric but uses the language of observation; and many passages can be cited to show scientific knowledge and foreknowledge in the Bible.  While I ‘m not going to make those citations in today’s blog, I will offer this quote from

Henry Morris with Henry Morris III, Many Infallible Proofs: Practical and Useful Evidences for the Christian Faith, Master Books, Arizona, 1996, p. 253:

“All motion is relative motion, and the sun is no more “fixed” in space than the Earth is. … The scientifically correct way to specify motions, therefore, is to select an arbitrary point of assumed zero velocities and then to measure all velocities relative to that point. The proper point to use is the one which is most convenient to the observer for the purposes of his particular calculations. In the case of movements of the heavenly bodies, normally the most suitable point is the Earth ‘s surface at the latitude and longitude of the observer, and this therefore is the most “scientific” point to use. David [Psalm 19:6] and Joshua are more scientific than their critics in adopting such a convention for their narratives.”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Joshua 9 – The Gibeonite Deception

As verse one says “the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, heard of this, they gathered together as one to fight against Joshua and Israel.”  The word “this” refers to the complete destruction of Ai.  Word of Jericho’s fall would have already reached them; and as verses 9-10 tell us, all had already heard of the defeat of King Sihon of Heshbon (Num 21:21-26) and Og of Basham (Num 21:31-35).  Indeed, they had been given more than 40 years to dread the Israelites, as verse 9 also acknowledges all that God did for them in Egypt.  But the Gibeonites had a different strategy.

Gibeon, view north of El Jib; the Gibeonites tricked
Joshua to make a treaty with them.

The Lord warned that leaving Canaanites to dwell among the people would be a mistake, and specifically commanded them to make no covenant with any of them. They were commanded not to do this more than once, as in Deuteronomy 7:1-5, where they are told that the Canaanites  “would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods.”  Once again, Joshua failed to consult with God when he made the covenant with the Gibeonites.  Their deception (verses 4-6) was well planned and convincing, however, and Joshua and the elders believed they truly were from another land far away.  They would spend the rest of their days serving the Israelites, but the damage was done, and the vow would not be rescinded.  The Gibeonite cities of Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim were not attacked.

(Side note: The city of Gibeon was positively identified with el-Jib by archaeologist James Pritchard for the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania, whose excavations found numerous inscribed jar handles there over 50 years ago. More information on that, as well as a recent discovery there can be found in this article at Ferrell’s Travel Blog)

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.