10 The Land Conquered

<< Joshua 10: The Land Conquered and Divided among the Tribes >>

WHEN it was known that the Gibeonites had made a league with the children of Israel, the kings of the southern part of Canaan, five of them, with the king of Jerusalem as their leader, came against Gibeon. Joshua came with an army to help the Gibeonites. The five kings were defeated and killed and all the southern part of Canaan came into ‘ the hands of the children of Israel.

Before we read the story find on the map Beth-horon, a little to the northwest of Gibeon. There were two Beth-horons, Upper and Lower. When you stand at Upper Beth-horon you are on the edge of the highland which makes the backbone of the land of Canaan, and look out over lower hills and the broad green plain of Philistia to the Mediterranean Sea. A rocky pass, narrow and steep, leads down to Lower Beth-horon at the foot of the hills.

It was here that the children of Israel overtook their enemies as they fled from Gibeon towards the Philistine country. Great hailstones also fell and killed many of them, and the children of Israel chased them far into the Philistine plain, to Makkedah near Ekron. Here there were caves and in one of them the five kings hid themselves.

Perhaps Joshua was standing at Upper Beth-horon when he cried, “Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.” Gibeon was in the south-east, and Ajalon the same distance away to the southwest. Our sun could not stand still without destroying this earth and all the other planets, but we may helieve that a light was given to the children of Israel by the Lord, so that it seemed to them that the sun and moon moon stood still to help them for a whole day.

The words which Joshua spoke to the sun mid moon were written in the book of Jasher, which was a book of sacred prophecy, a part of the Ancient Word, which was the Bible before our Bible was written.

After the battle Joshua and his army made a wide circuit through the southern country, going as far to the south as Kadesh. They destroyed many cities, among them the old town of Hebron. The Philistine city Lachish, one of those which had made war, was also taken. It was a very strong city as we know from the ruins of great walls, twenty-five to thirty feet in thickness, which remain. Other interesting things have been found at Lachish, among them a letter of about the time of Joshua, written on a clay tablet and baked hard, which was a common way of writing in those days.

So all the southern part of Canaan was conquered by the children of Israel in the strength which the Lord gave them, and they came back to the camp at Gilgal.

Now it came to pass, when Adonizedec 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; 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. Wherefore Adonizedec 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, 10:4 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. 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. 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.

So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valour. 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. Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly, and went up from Gilgal all night. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. And Joshua smote them from Kadeshbarnea even unto Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon. And all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time, because the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel. And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal.—Joshua X. 1-14, 40-43

After this the kings of the northern part of Canaan gathered their armies together, with many horses and chariots, at the waters of Merom, the lake through which the Jordan runs before it reaches the Sea of Galilee. Their leader was Jabin king of Hazor, a city on the highland to the northwest of Lake Merom. The kings were beaten in the battle, and the northern part of Canaan came into the power of the children of Israel.

Then the holy tabernacle was set up in Shiloh, “the place of peace,” or “of rest.” Shiloh was near the middle of the land, a little off the main road, on a hill, with a meadow about it, and this shut in by higher hills. The people gathered in this peaceful place and lots were drawn before the Lord, to know where the tribes which had not already found their homes should live. The map shows you nearly how the land was divided among the tribes.

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.—Joshua XI. 23.

Author: William L. Worcester 1904

Spiritual Correspondences

Sun and moon standing still >> Judgment of Divine Love and Truth perverted

Hailstones from Heaven >> Falsities into which truth is perverted in evil minds

Southern kings attacking the Gibeonites >> Evil in us attacks the good things which remain from childhood