Joshua 10

Joshua 10,
Thursday, April 12, 2018

One of the kings of one of the peoples takes some initiative to cobble together an alliance of other Amorites.  If the Gibeonites, from the Hivites, cut a deal, thought the king of Jerusalem, what’s next?  Let’s at least get a cluster of southern cities to punish Gibeon, as a threat to other wavering allies!

The Gibeonites call for help under their treaty with Israelites, who honour their word in the name of God.  Joshua, assured of victory by God, moves faster than the Amorites expect, and successfully drives them off from Gibeon, chasing the fleeing troops into the mountains.

The Amorites, vanquished by God, chased by Joshua, then suffer showers of stones, or hailstones, that cause more casualties than Joshua had.  You may want to minimize this as making a big deal out of a weather event and routed rabble – or a miracle of divine stoning.

It’s harder to minimize and rationalize the claim that God stopped the sun and the moon, so that the ‘day’ lasted long enough for Joshua to ‘mop up’ the remaining Amorites.  The text even appeals to the authority of another written account, long since lost!

Joshua heads home to Gilgal after the miraculous long day.  There he hears that the 5 kings are holed up in the cave of Makkedah – and he orders them sealed into the cave.  The Israelites chase down the fleeing troops before they get to their cities, God-given to Israel.

Joshua enacts a ritual with the kings, making his officers put a foot on their enemies’ necks.  Does this remind you of an ISIS video yet? Who is motivated, and who is demoralized by this spectacle?  The bodies are strung up on trees, again only till sundown, then tossed into the cave, sealed again, to remain ‘till this day’. 

How can you distinguish a ‘terrorist’ from an ‘insurgent’?  The leaders of 20th century Israel faced those challenges, from David Ben Gurion to Menachem Begin to Golda Meir.  The leaders of Intifadah I and Intifadah II face the same challenges to their acts of violence.  This month, ‘Land Day’ protests met by IDF forces are killing Palestinians daily.  What news do you read from Syria or Afghanistan today?

There follows a rhythmic recitation of one genocide after another.  It’s as obscene as the recitations of Navy Seals or JTF2 missions, sometimes extra-territorial renditions, with high casualties for ‘them’ and minimal damage to ‘us’ and ‘our’ teams and snipers.  Recall ‘Bomber Harris’ in 1943, Dresden 1944, Hiroshima and Nagasaki 1945, or the past 25 years of ‘shock and awe’ from Kuwait to Iraq, into Afghanistan and Osama Bin Laden’s home in Pakistan.

You need a map to check the closing claims this day.  What started as a fight with a few Amorite kings of cities organized from Jerusalem covers all the highlands to start.  However, it swings south through the Negev to the east delta of the Nile in Egypt – like the 6 Day War of 1967.  Is this factual history, or some form of boasting, closing with ‘Joshua went home to Gilgal’?


When King Adoni-zedek of Jerusalem heard
how Joshua had taken Ai,
 and had utterly destroyed it, 
doing to Ai and its king
as he had done to Jericho and its king, 
and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel
and were among them, 
2he became greatly frightened, 
because Gibeon was a large city,
 like one of the royal cities, 
and was larger than Ai, 
and all its men were warriors.
 3So King Adoni-zedek of Jerusalem sent a message
to King Hoham of Hebron,
 to King Piram of Jarmuth, 
to King Japhia of Lachish, 
and to King Debir of Eglon, 
4‘Come up and help me, 
and let us attack Gibeon; 
for it has made peace with Joshua
and with the Israelites.’
 5Then the five kings of the Amorites—
the king of Jerusalem, 
the king of Hebron, 
the king of Jarmuth,
 the king of Lachish,
 and the king of Eglon—
gathered their forces, 
and went up with all their armies
 and encamped against Gibeon,
 and made war against it.
6 And the Gibeonites sent to Joshua
at the camp in Gilgal, 
 ‘Do not abandon your servants; 
come up to us quickly,
 and save us, 
and help us;
 for all the kings of the Amorites
who live in the hill country
are gathered against us.’
 7So Joshua went up from Gilgal,
 he and all the fighting force with him,
 all the mighty warriors.
 8The Lord said to Joshua,
 ‘Do not fear them, 
for I have handed them over to you;
 not one of them shall stand before you.’
 9So Joshua came upon them suddenly,
 having marched up all night from Gilgal.
 10And the Lord threw them into a panic before Israel, 
who inflicted a great slaughter on them at Gibeon, 
chased them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon, 
and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah.
 11As they fled before Israel, 
while they were going down the slope of Beth-horon,
 the Lord threw down huge stones from heaven on them
as far as Azekah,
 and they died; 
there were more who died
because of the hailstones
than the Israelites killed
with the sword.
12 On the day
 when the Lord gave the Amorites
 over to the Israelites, 
Joshua spoke to the Lord;
 and he said in the sight of Israel,
‘Sun, stand still at Gibeon,
   and Moon, in the valley of Aijalon.’ 

13 And the sun stood still, 
and the moon stopped,
   until the nation took vengeance
on their enemies.

Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? 
The sun stopped in mid-heaven,
 and did not hurry to set
for about a whole day.
 14There has been no day like it
before or since, 
when the Lord heeded a human voice; 
for the Lord fought for Israel.
15 Then Joshua returned, 
and all Israel with him,
 to the camp at Gilgal.
16 Meanwhile, 
these five kings fled
and hid themselves
 in the cave at Makkedah.
 17And it was told Joshua,
 ‘The five kings have been found, 
hidden in the cave at Makkedah.’
 18Joshua said, 
‘Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave,
 and set men by it to guard them; 
19but do not stay there yourselves;
 pursue your enemies,
 and attack them from the rear.
 Do not let them enter their towns,
 for the Lord your God has given them into your hand.’ 
20When Joshua and the Israelites had finished
 inflicting a very great slaughter on them, 
until they were wiped out, 
and when the survivors had entered
into the fortified towns,
 21all the people returned safe to Joshua
 in the camp at Makkedah; 
no one dared to speak
against any of the Israelites.
22 Then Joshua said,
 ‘Open the mouth of the cave, 
and bring those five kings out to me from the cave.’
 23They did so, 
and brought the five kings out to him from the cave, 
the king of Jerusalem,
 the king of Hebron,
 the king of Jarmuth,
 the king of Lachish,
 and the king of Eglon.
 24When they brought the kings out to Joshua, 
Joshua summoned all the Israelites, 
and said to the chiefs of the warriors
who had gone with him,
 ‘Come near, 
put your feet on the necks of these kings.’ 
Then they came near
and put their feet on their necks.
 25And Joshua said to them,
 ‘Do not be afraid or dismayed; 
be strong and courageous; 
for thus the Lord will do
 to all the enemies against whom you fight.’
 26Afterwards Joshua struck them down
and put them to death,
 and he hung them on five trees. 
And they hung on the trees
until evening. 
27At sunset
Joshua commanded, 
and they took them down from the trees
and threw them into the cave
where they had hidden themselves; 
they set large stones
against the mouth of the cave, 
which remain to this very day.
28 Joshua took Makkedah on that day,
 and struck it and its king with the edge of the sword; 
he utterly destroyed every person in it;
 he left no one remaining.
 And he did to the king of Makkedah
as he had done to the king of Jericho.
29 Then Joshua passed on from Makkedah, 
and all Israel with him, 
to Libnah,
 and fought against Libnah
. 30The Lord gave it also and its king
 into the hand of Israel; 
and he struck it with the edge of the sword,
 and every person in it; 
he left no one remaining in it;
 and he did to its king
 as he had done to the king of Jericho.
31 Next Joshua passed on from Libnah,
 and all Israel with him, 
to Lachish,
 and laid siege to it,
 and assaulted it. 
32The Lord gave Lachish
 into the hand of Israel,
 and he took it on the second day,
 and struck it with the edge of the sword,
 and every person in it,
 as he had done to Libnah.
33 Then King Horam of Gezer
came up to help Lachish;
 and Joshua struck him and his people,
 leaving him no survivors.
34 From Lachish Joshua passed on with all Israel
to Eglon; 
and they laid siege to it, 
and assaulted it;
 35and they took it that day,
 and struck it with the edge of the sword; 
and every person in it he utterly destroyed that day,
 as he had done to Lachish.
36 Then Joshua went up with all Israel
 from Eglon to Hebron; 
they assaulted it,
 37and took it, 
and struck it with the edge of the sword, 
and its king and its towns,
 and every person in it;
 he left no one remaining,
 just as he had done to Eglon, 
and utterly destroyed it
with every person in it.
38 Then Joshua, with all Israel,
 turned back to Debir and assaulted it,
39and he took it with its king and all its towns; 
they struck them with the edge of the sword, 
and utterly destroyed every person in it;
 he left no one remaining, 
just as he had done to Hebron, 
and, as he had done to Libnah and its king,
 so he did to Debir and its king.
40 So Joshua defeated the whole land,
 the hill country
 and the Negeb
and the lowland
and the slopes, 
and all their kings; 
he left no one remaining,
 but utterly destroyed
 all that breathed,
 as the Lord God of Israel commanded
. 41And Joshua defeated them
from Kadesh-barnea to Gaza,
 and all the country of Goshen, 
as far as Gibeon. 
42Joshua took all these kings
and their land
 at one time, 
because the Lord God of Israel
fought for Israel. 
43Then Joshua returned, 
and all Israel with him, 
to the camp at Gilgal.