Joshua 10 Commentary

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Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission

Paul J Bucknell - Biblical Foundations for Freedom

(Joshua 13-21)
Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission

Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission

Click charts to enlarge Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission





Josh 1:1-5:15 Josh 6:1-12:24 Joshua 13:1-21:45 Josh 22:1-24:33












ca. 1 Month ca 7 Years ca. 18 Years

See also more detailed Chart by Charles R Swindoll


  1. Joshua 10:1 Commentary
  2. Joshua 10:2 Commentary
  3. Joshua 10:3 Commentary
  4. Joshua 10:4 Commentary
  5. Joshua 10:5 Commentary
  6. Joshua 10:6 Commentary
  7. Joshua 10:7 Commentary
  8. Joshua 10:8 Commentary
  9. Joshua 10:9 Commentary
  10. Joshua 10:10 Commentary
  11. Joshua 10:11 Commentary
  12. Joshua 10:12 Commentary
  13. Joshua 10:13 Commentary
  14. Joshua 10:14 Commentary
  15. Joshua 10:15 Commentary
  16. Joshua 10:16 Commentary
  17. Joshua 10:17 Commentary
  18. Joshua 10:18 Commentary

Joshua 10:1  Now it came about when Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had captured Ai, and had utterly destroyed it (just as he had done to Jericho and its king, so he had done to Ai and its king), and that the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were within their land,

  • Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem Ge 14:18 Heb 7:1 
  • just as he had done to Jericho  Jos 6:21 8:2,22-29 
  • so he had done to Ai Jos 9:15-27 11:19,20 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage: 

Leviticus 18:24-25+  (WHY UTTERLY DESTROY? READ GOD'S VERDICT ON THE CANAANITES!) ‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. 25 ‘For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants. (O America, wake up and learn from God's history!)


Joshua 9-11 should be viewed in a sense as a unit, summarizing the conquest of the central, southern and finally the northern regions of the promised land. (See map summarizing the central, southern and northern campaigns)

Dale Ralph Davis -Joshua 9–11 forms a fairly connected unit. We may briefly summarise it as follows:

    Israel without Yahweh, 9:1–27
    Yahweh with Israel, 10:1–11:15
      Southern campaign, 10:1–43
         Setting, 10:1–5
         Summary, 10:40–43
      Northern campaign, 11:1–15
         Setting, 11:1–5
         Summary, 11:12–15
    Summary, 11:16–23 (Joshua: No Falling Words)

Wiersbe introduces this chapter noting that "When you make agreements with the enemy, expect to end up paying a price and having to defend them in order to protect yourself.  This is why God’s people must remain separated from the world (2 Cor. 6:14–18). I wonder whether Paul had Joshua in mind when he wrote, “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please Him who enlisted him as a soldier” (2Ti 2:4NKJV).  (Be Strong - Joshua: Putting God's Power to Work in Your Life)

Now it came about when Adoni-zedek (not to be confused with Adoni-Bezek) king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had captured Ai, and had utterly destroyed (charam) it (just as he had done to Jericho and its king, so he had done to Ai and its king) - "Ai was about 10 miles north of Jerusalem; Gibeon was only six miles north-northwest of Jerusalem. From Adoni-zedek’s point of view, these new allies of the encroaching Israelites were dangerously close." (Coleson) Not only had Israel annihilated Jericho but now they had done the same to Ai and the kings of both cities were killed. Clearly this king is now concerned about his own life. The verb utterly destroyed is translated in the Septuagint with exolethreuo which means to eliminated by complete destruction and is clearly a keyword in Joshua 10 ( Jos. 10:1; Jos. 10:28; Jos. 10:35; Jos. 10:37; Jos. 10:39; Jos. 10:40)

As an aside Adoni-zedek means something like "Lord of righteousness" but here we find him opposing the true "Lord of Righteousness!" In short he was an Old Testament example of the Anti-Christ (anti = against) John warned about (1Jn 2:18, 22, 4:3). How interesting that like the future literal Anti-Christ, this OT version also leads a confederacy against Joshua, even as the he will lead a confederacy of nations against Christ in the end times (Rev 17:12+ "beast" = Anti-Christ). 

THOUGHT - Gene Getz - Even though we make mistakes, we are to be encouraged that God can still achieve His divine and sovereign purposes in and through our lives. (ED: But this does not give us freedom or license to justify our sinful decisions and actions! Excuses are not allowed in an attempt to protect ourselves. The best way to walk is always straight ahead in God's Word and Will and to turn neither to the right or to the left! We should never blame God for the consequences of our sinful behavior!)

Utley “Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem This name means “my Lord is just” or “righteous” and is related etymologically to the title “Melchizedek” (king is/of righteous, BDB 575) who was the priest/king of the city of Salem. This is the first use of the term “Jerusalem” in the Bible. The Septuagint has “Adoni-bezek” (a place name). The city was originally called “Salem” (cf. Gen. 14:18). Later, it is called Jebus (cf. Jdgs. 19:10, 11; 1 Chr. 11:4). It was given to Benjamin but it is right on the border with Judah. The lower city was captured in Joshua’s day but the upper city (fortress) was not captured until David’s day (cf. 2 Sam. 5:6ff). We learn from the archaeological discovery of the Amarna tablets, around 1400 B.C., that they called the city “Urusalem.”

Adoni-zedek king of JerusalemPersonal name meaning, “the Lord is righteous” or “the god Zedek is righteous.” King of Jerusalem who gathered coalition of Canaanite kings to fight Gibeon after Joshua made a peace treaty with Gibeon (Joshua 10:1 ). Joshua marched to Gibeon's aid and defeated the coalition. Joshua made a public example of the kings before executing them (Joshua 10:22-26 ). He exposed their bodies on trees, a further sign of humiliation, since it postponed burial and a way to celebrate victory. Joshua carefully obeyed the law by taking them from the trees before nightfall (Deuteronomy 21:23 ). It is noticeable that the name is almost the equivalent of Melchizedek, מלכּיצדק , malkı̄cedheḳ , "king of righteousness," who was ruler of Jerusalem in the time of Abraham.

Davis and Whitcomb note that "The Amarna letters indicate that Jerusalem was the center of political activity in the fourteenth century B.C. and was always conscious of its own security."

And that the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were within their land - Gibeon was about 5 miles south of Jerusalem, so now the Gibeonite's are seen as enemies of the Canaanites. Isn't it interesting that the Gibeonites were seeking peace, but their efforts backfired and brought war! 

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary - Verses 1-6. When sinners leave the service of Satan and the friendship of the world, that they make peace with God and join Israel, they must not marvel if the world hate them, if their former friends become foes. By such methods Satan discourages many who are convinced of their danger, and almost persuaded to be Christians, but fear the cross. These things should quicken us to apply to God for protection, help, and deliverance. 

Related Resource:

John Currid - A central aspect of the episode before us in this chapter is the power of prayer, and how God cares for his people by answering their prayers in the most mysterious ways. In his old age, George Müller was asked by a reporter how he had kept his orphanages financially afloat during all the many years of his ministry. Müller responded:

  No man on earth can say that I ever asked him for a penny. We have no committees, no collectors, no voting and no endowments. All has come in answer to believing prayer. My trust has been in God alone; He has many ways of moving the hearts of men to help us all over the world. While I am praying He speaks to this one and another, on this continent and on that, to send us help. Only the other evening, while I was preaching, a gentleman wrote me a cheque for a large amount for the orphans, and handed it to me when the service was over.

Robert Murray M’Cheyne and Andrew Bonar, two ministers of the Church of Scotland, took an important journey in the 1830s. They were sent by the church to see the state of the Jews in Palestine and the effect that the Presbyterian mission to them was having. They were gone from Scotland for a number of months. M’Cheyne left his church in Dundee in the hands of William Burns, a young evangelist who would one day become a famous missionary to China. There was a great revival in Dundee under Burns’ preaching ministry. It is interesting to note that, the very day of the beginning of the revival, there is a statement in M’Cheyne’s diary that he had been in prayer all that Sunday for revival in his church. So what were the means of revival in the Dundee church? It was both Burns’ preaching and M’Cheyne’s praying. In Joshua 10:1–27 we shall see how God answers the prayer of Joshua. (Joshua: Strong and Courageous)

Utterly destroy (destroy completely, devote)(02763charam  means to destroy, to doom, to devote. This word is most commonly associated with the Israelites destroying the Canaanites upon their entry into the Promised Land (Deut. 7:2; Josh. 11:20). This word is used regarding almost all the cities which Joshua's troops destroyed [e.g. Jericho, Jos 6:21; Ai, Jos8:26; Makkedah, Jos 10:28; Hazor, Jos 11:11] thus indicating the rationale for their destruction.Surrendering something irrevocably to God = devoting to service of God, excluding it from use or abuse of man &/or putting it under a ban for utter destruction. [Dt 7:2, 20:17] Usually haram meant a ban for utter destruction, compulsory dedication of thing impeding or resisting God's work which is considered to be accursed before God. Thus the basic idea = setting something aside strictly for God's use. Whatever was set aside was considered most holy by God & could not be sold or redeemed by any substitutionary measure.  Once invoked it was absolutely compulsory.  

Charam - 47v - annihilate(1), covet(1), destroy them utterly(1), destroy utterly(1), destroyed them utterly(1), destroying(1), destroying them completely(2), destruction(2), devote(2), forfeited(1), set apart(1), sets apart(1), utterly destroy(11), utterly destroyed(22), utterly destroying(3). Exod. 22:20; Lev. 27:28; Lev. 27:29; Num. 21:2; Num. 21:3; Deut. 2:34; Deut. 3:6; Deut. 7:2; Deut. 13:15; Deut. 20:17; Jos. 2:10; Jos. 6:18; Jos. 6:21; Jos. 8:26; Jos. 10:1; Jos. 10:28; Jos. 10:35; Jos. 10:37; Jos. 10:39; Jos. 10:40; Jos. 11:11; Jos. 11:12; Jos. 11:20; Jos. 11:21; Jdg. 1:17; Jdg. 21:11; 1 Sam. 15:3; 1 Sam. 15:8; 1 Sam. 15:9; 1 Sam. 15:15; 1 Sam. 15:18; 1 Sam. 15:20; 1 Ki. 9:21; 2 Ki. 19:11; 1 Chr. 4:41; 2 Chr. 20:23; 2 Chr. 32:14; Ezr. 10:8; Isa. 11:15; Isa. 34:2; Isa. 37:11; Jer. 25:9; Jer. 50:21; Jer. 50:26; Jer. 51:3; Dan. 11:44; Mic. 4:13

Made peace (07999shalam ) is a verb that means to be complete, to be safe, to be sound, to repay, to reward. The general meaning behind the root s-l-m is of completion and fulfillment--of entering into a state of wholeness and unity, a restored relationship.  The Hebrew root denotes perfection in the sense that a condition or action is 'complete.'  This word is normally used when God is keeping His people safe. In its simple form, this verb also means to be completed or to be finished. 

Henry Thorne has some thoughts on why God calls for these nations to be utterly destroyed - When one nation or people goes to war with another nation or people there is naturally some reason for it. The Bible as a reasonable book fully states the causes which led to the destruction of the Canaanites and the reason why the Israelites were brought in to occupy this land.  The destruction of the Canaanites. Much false sympathy has been wasted upon the destruction of the Canaanites because the stress has been laid upon  the driving them out and not upon their character, where it belongs and where the Scriptures place it. The abominations practiced in the name of religion were something awful ; every evil thing was worshiped. We have had the testimony of the Bible to this fact, now comes the word of the monuments Lenormant in his manual of the Ancient History of the East ( Vol. 3, p. 219) , has said that " no other nation has rivaled the Canaanites in the mixture of blood and debauchery with which they sought to honor the Deity.” This heathenism was so foul that fifteen hundred years later its spread in Rome was bewailed by the Satirists of the day. ( Juvenal Sat. 3. 62. ) Sodom and Gomorrah, where ten righteous men could not be found, were fit types of this unholy land, Some of these abominations are described in Leviticus 18:21-31 ; Deut 12:30-32.“ The chief god was Baal-the sun-who was worshiped under different names in different places, Moloch, Chemosh ," but everywhere his worship was fierce and cruel. “ His consort Ashtaroth, the Babylonian goddess, Istar, the goddess of love, worshiped as the morning star, Venus,” fostered abominations in her worship almost inconceivable in our times ; it was , ir one word, a worship of impurity. The driving out of the Canaanites is always represented in the Scriptures as a punishment for their sins. Lev. 18:24, 25. The destruction that has fallen upon all the ancient nations is represented by the prophets to be on account of sin. Even Israel, after repeated warning, was not spared. Jerusalem on account of her sins was finally devoted to an awful sack and ruin under the Romans. (A Series of Twenty-four Historical Bible Studies, from Genesis to Revelation)

QUESTION -  Why did God command the extermination / genocide of the Canaanites, women and children included?

ANSWER  - In 1 Samuel 15:2-3, God commanded Saul and the Israelites, “This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.'" God ordered similar things when the Israelites were invading the promised land (Deuteronomy 2:34; 3:6; 20:16-18). Why would God have the Israelites exterminate an entire group of people, women and children included?

This is a difficult issue. We do not fully understand why God would command such a thing, but we trust God that He is just – and we recognize that we are incapable of fully understanding a sovereign, infinite, and eternal God. As we look at difficult issues such as this one, we must remember that God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9; Romans 11:33-36). We have to be willing to trust God and have faith in Him even when we do not understand His ways.

Unlike us, God knows the future. God knew what the results would be if Israel did not completely eradicate the Amalekites. If Israel did not carry out God’s orders, the Amalekites would come back to trouble the Israelites in the future. Saul claimed to have killed everyone but the Amalekite king Agag (1 Samuel 15:20). Obviously, Saul was lying—just a couple of decades later, there were enough Amalekites to take David and his men’s families captive (1 Samuel 30:1-2). After David and his men attacked the Amalekites and rescued their families, 400 Amalekites escaped. If Saul had fulfilled what God had commanded him, this never would have occurred. Several hundred years later, a descendant of Agag, Haman, tried to have the entire Jewish people exterminated (see the book of Esther). So, Saul’s incomplete obedience almost resulted in Israel’s destruction. God knew this would occur, so He ordered the extermination of the Amalekites ahead of time.

In regard to the Canaanites, God commanded, “In the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them — the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites — as the LORD your God has commanded you. Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 20:16-18). The Israelites failed in this mission as well, and exactly what God said would happen occurred (Judges 2:1-3; 1 Kings 11:5; 14:24; 2 Kings 16:3-4). God did not order the extermination of these people to be cruel, but to prevent even greater evil from occurring in the future.

Probably the most difficult part of these commands from God is that God ordered the death of children and infants as well. Why would God order the death of innocent children? (1) Children are not innocent (Psalm 51:5; 58:3). (2) These children would have likely grown up as adherents to the evil religions and practices of their parents. (3) These children would naturally have grown up resentful of the Israelites and later sought to avenge the “unjust” treatment of their parents.

Again, this answer does not completely deal with all the issues. Our focus should be on trusting God even when we do not understand His ways. We also must remember that God looks at things from an eternal perspective and that His ways are higher than our ways. God is just, righteous, holy, loving, merciful, and gracious. How His attributes work together can be a mystery to us – but that does not mean that He is not who the Bible proclaims Him to

Related Resources: (all from

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

Adoni-zedek. This name, signifying lord of righteousness, is very nearly akin to that of Melchizedek, king of righteousness, who reigned at the same place upwards of 400 years before. He might have been a descendant as well as successor of this distinguished personage, or the name, in one form or the other, may have been common, like Pharaoh in Egypt, or Abimelech in Gerar, to the royal line. How the epithet righteous came to be connected with the title of the kings of this remarkable city it is not possible now to determine. Viewed in connexion with its subsequent history, it must be regarded as not a little remarkable, though from the case of this individual it does not appear to have been always a true index of the character of him who bore it.

King of Jerusalem. The name Jerusalem here occurs for the first time in the scriptures. The original designation of the city seems to have been Salem, Gen. 14:18; Ps. 76:2, as it was called in the time of Melchizedek, though whether he were its founder is altogether uncertain. It was afterwards called ירושלים Yerushalayim, Jerusalem, a name supposed to be compounded of יראו yiru (from ראה rââh, to see), and שלם shâlam, peace, and signifying vision of peace, or more literally, they shall see peace, in prophetic allusion to the gospel of peace, which was afterwards to issue from thence. Reland, Schultens and others, it is true, derive it from ירוש yerūsh and שלם shâlam, possession of peace, but we prefer the former, and are not unwilling to believe, with Masius, that the name carries in it a latent reference to the incident mentioned, and the words employed Gen. 22:14, ‘And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.’ The Hebrew יראח yireh or jireh, seems to have been affixed to the ancient denomination Salem, and thus to have formed the word Jerusalem, mystically pointing to the vision of peace which Abraham saw in the future sacrifice that was to be offered up in the latter day on that same memorable mount or in its immediate vicinity. Moriah, one of the mountains of Jerusalem, signifying vision of God, is derived from the same root, and was probably so called for the same reason. After coming into the possession of the Jebusites, it was occasionally called Jebus, Josh. 18:28; Judg. 19:10, 11, from the inhabitants, but it seems never to have been familiarly known by that appellation among the Israelites. It is probable that the city retained in the main the name of Salem, which it had in the days of Abraham, till the Israelites came into the land of Canaan, and that it was called Jerusalem by them when they first took possession of it. Consequently it is so called by anticipation in this place. It was doubtless overruled in providence that a name should be bestowed on the place pre-intimating the nature of the glorious events by which it was afterwards to be distinguished.

Had utterly destroyed. Heb. יחרימה ya’harimâh, had made a curse, had devoted.’

Were among them. Had made alliance with them, had come over to their interest, had put themselves under their protection, and so were entitled henceforth to dwell together with them in the country without being exterminated or disturbed.

Joshua 10:2  that he feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty.

  • feared: Jos 2:9-13,24 Ex 15:14-16 De 11:25 28:10 Ps 48:4-6 Pr 1:26,27 Pr 10:24 Heb 10:27,31 Rev 6:15-17 
  • the royal cities:  1Sa 27:5 2Sa 12:26 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

That he feared greatly - God's great and mighty acts were made evident to men, so that men might fear Him. Of course there are different types of fear, one type like Rahab had which drives one to seek forgiveness from Yahweh (cf Jos 2:9-13+) and another type of fear which causes one to draw away from Yahweh out of dread of consequences of one's sin (we see this latter coming to full fruition in the last days when God begins to pour out His final wrath on the sinful, Christ rejecting world - see the reaction of men "drawing back" in Rev 6:15-17+). In the present context fear led to foolish attempts to resist the people of God. 

Because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty - If a great city capitulated, then it boded ill for the other city states, for it removed one more barrier against the advancing Israelite army. Adoni-zedek saw that it would be important to recover this key city. And so a key Canaanite city in league with Israel caused the Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem and the citizens of the city to be greatly alarmed because Gibeon "was a large city, like one of the royal cities" (NET). To add to their fear, the Gibeonite soldiers had the reputation of being strong warriors. This was an act of treachery for a Canaanite city to covenant with the enemy Israel. Note the description royal cities which does raise the possibility that although no king is every mentioned as associated with the Gibeonites, the word "royal" (mamlāḵāh) does raise the possibility that they did have a king (cf. 1Sa 27:5; 2Sa 12:26–30) 

Guzik - The enemies of Israel feared greatly, but like our spiritual enemies, they do not retreat when they are afraid, but launch attacks that are even more bold, as a wild animal might fight when it feels attacked.. Though they are afraid, they are still clever. Afraid to attack Israel directly, they attack their vassals the Gibeonites.

Coleson - This is the seventh and last report that Canaan was afraid of Israel (cf. Joshua 2:9–11; 2:24; 5:1; 6:1; 9:9–11; 9:24). Their “perfect” fear (represented by the number seven) led the Gibeonites to submit to Israel, but led most of the Canaanite kings to choose war. (Joshua, Judges, Ruth)

Campbell - The handwriting was on the wall. Jerusalem’s security was being severely threatened. If the advances of Israel’s armies continued without challenge Jerusalem would soon be surrounded and captured.  (The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament or Here)

Feared (03372yare s a verb meaning to fear, to be afraid (Ge 3:10+), to respect, to reverence, to be terrified, to be awesome, to be feared, to make afraid, to frighten. Fear is that affection of the mind that arises with the awareness of approaching danger. The most common translations are to be afraid, to fear, to fear God. On one hand yare conveys the sense of threat to one's life, but on the other it can express the idea of reverence and deep respect (as in Ps 25:14). Yare is used 10x in Joshua - Jos. 4:14; Jos. 4:24; Jos. 8:1; Jos. 9:24; Jos. 10:2; Jos. 10:8; Jos. 10:25; Jos. 11:6; Jos. 22:25; Jos. 24:14;

Royal (04467)( מַמְלָכָה mamlāḵāh from melek = king) is a feminine noun meaning kingdom. Often the term refers to the royal power an individual in sovereign authority possesses. Because Solomon did not keep the Lord’s covenant and commandments, his kingdom (that is, his power to rule) was torn from his son (1Ki 11:11; cf. 1Sa 28:17; 1Ki 14:8). In many other places, however, the word is utilized concretely to denote a people under a king (that is, a realm). The kingdom (or realm) of King Sihon of the Amorites and the kingdom (realm) of King Og of Bashan were given to the Gadites, Reubenites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh (Nu 32:33; cf. Ex 19:6; Dt. 28:25; 1Sa 24:20). In some passages, the word functions as an adjective, meaning royal (e.g., city of the kingdom = royal city; Josh. 10:2; 1Sa 27:5; cf. 2Ki 11:1; 2Chr. 23:20; Amos 7:13). This noun derives from the verb mālaḵ (4427), as does its synonym, malḵûṯ (4438). (The Complete Word Study Old Testament)

Mamlakah - 113v - dominion(1), kingdom(58), kingdoms(48), reign(2), royal(6), rule(1), sovereignty(1). Gen. 10:10; Gen. 20:9; Exod. 19:6; Num. 32:33; Deut. 3:4; Deut. 3:10; Deut. 3:13; Deut. 3:21; Deut. 17:18; Deut. 17:20; Deut. 28:25; Jos. 10:2; Jos. 11:10; 1 Sam. 10:18; 1 Sam. 13:13; 1 Sam. 13:14; 1 Sam. 24:20; 1 Sam. 27:5; 1 Sam. 28:17; 2 Sam. 3:10; 2 Sam. 3:28; 2 Sam. 5:12; 2 Sam. 7:12; 2 Sam. 7:13; 2 Sam. 7:16; 1 Ki. 2:46; 1 Ki. 4:21; 1 Ki. 9:5; 1 Ki. 10:20; 1 Ki. 11:11; 1 Ki. 11:13; 1 Ki. 11:31; 1 Ki. 11:34; 1 Ki. 12:26; 1 Ki. 14:8; 1 Ki. 18:10; 2 Ki. 11:1; 2 Ki. 14:5; 2 Ki. 15:19; 2 Ki. 19:15; 2 Ki. 19:19; 1 Chr. 16:20; 1 Chr. 29:11; 1 Chr. 29:30; 2 Chr. 9:19; 2 Chr. 11:1; 2 Chr. 12:8; 2 Chr. 13:5; 2 Chr. 13:8; 2 Chr. 14:5; 2 Chr. 17:5; 2 Chr. 17:10; 2 Chr. 20:6; 2 Chr. 20:29; 2 Chr. 21:3; 2 Chr. 21:4; 2 Chr. 22:9; 2 Chr. 22:10; 2 Chr. 23:20; 2 Chr. 25:3; 2 Chr. 29:21; 2 Chr. 32:15; 2 Chr. 36:23; Ezr. 1:2; Neh. 9:22; Ps. 46:6; Ps. 68:32; Ps. 79:6; Ps. 102:22; Ps. 105:13; Ps. 135:11; Isa. 9:7; Isa. 10:10; Isa. 13:4; Isa. 13:19; Isa. 14:16; Isa. 17:3; Isa. 19:2; Isa. 23:11; Isa. 23:17; Isa. 37:16; Isa. 37:20; Isa. 47:5; Isa. 60:12; Jer. 1:10; Jer. 1:15; Jer. 15:4; Jer. 18:7; Jer. 18:9; Jer. 24:9; Jer. 25:26; Jer. 27:1; Jer. 27:8; Jer. 28:1; Jer. 28:8; Jer. 29:18; Jer. 34:1; Jer. 34:17; Jer. 49:28; Jer. 51:20; Jer. 51:27; Lam. 2:2; Ezek. 17:14; Ezek. 29:14; Ezek. 29:15; Ezek. 37:22; Amos 6:2; Amos 7:13; Amos 9:8; Mic. 4:8; Nah. 3:5; Zeph. 3:8; Hag. 2:22

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

2. That they feared greatly. He and his people; from which it appears that under the term ‘king’ in the preceding verse we are to understand also the people whom he represented.

As one of the royal cities. Heb. כאחת ערי הממלכה kea’hath ârai hammamlâkâh, as one of the cities of the kingdom. Not that it was actually a royal city, the seat of a king, but it was like one, being a capital city and having others subordinate to it, ch. 9:7. Chal. ‘As one of the cities of the kingdoms.’ It was great, well inhabited, and well fortified, after the manner of those cities which served for royal residences. But they were undoubtedly a small but powerful republic, governed by elders, as we hear nothing here or elsewhere of their having a king. See on ch. 9:3.

Joshua 10:3  Therefore Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent word to Hoham king of Hebron and to Piram king of Jarmuth and to Japhia king of Lachish and to Debir king of Eglon, saying,

  • king of Jerusalem : Jos 10:1,5 12:10-13 15:35-39,54,63 18:28 
  • Hebron: Hebron was situated on an eminence, 20 miles south of Jerusalem, and the same distance north of Beersheba.  It is now called El Khalil, "the well-beloved," the usual epithet which the Turks and Arabs apply to Abraham, whose sepulchral cave they still shew; over which St. Helena built a magnificent church.  Its original site was on an eminence, at the southern foot of which the present village is pleasantly situated, on which are the remains of an ancient castle, its sole defence. Jos 14:15 Ge 23:2 37:14 Nu 13:22 2Sa 2:11 
  • Lachish: 2Ki 18:14,17 2Ch 11:9 Mic 1:13 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Therefore Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent word to Hoham king of Hebron (map) and to Piram king of Jarmuth and to Japhia king of Lachish (map) and to Debir king of Eglon (map) saying -These cities were between the central plateau and the coast, all southwest of and all within thirty miles of Jerusalem.  Although the text does not state specifically, undoubtedly these kings normally were not "buddy, buddy," but now that they were faced with annihilation, they came together. In short, they were proving true an ancient proverb that says "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." 

Lachish is mentioned 8x in Joshua 10 -  Jos. 10:3; Jos. 10:5; Jos. 10:23; Jos. 10:31; Jos. 10:32; Jos. 10:33; Jos. 10:34; Jos. 10:35; Jos. 12:11; Jos. 15:39; 2 Ki. 14:19; 2 Ki. 18:14; 2 Ki. 18:17; 2 Ki. 19:8; 2 Chr. 11:9; 2 Chr. 25:27; 2 Chr. 32:9; Neh. 11:30; Isa. 36:2; Isa. 37:8; Jer. 34:7; Mic. 1:13. Clearly this was an strategic city for Joshua to defeat! 

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

3. Wherefore Adoni-zedek sent. Because he was most exposed to danger, Jerusalem being only six miles from Gibeon, and midway between that and the camp at Gilgal, and because also he might have possessed some degree of precedency over the other kings mentioned.

Lachish - (lay' chihssh) Place name meaning “obstinate.” An important Old Testament city located in the Shephelah (“lowlands”) southwest of Jerusalem. It has usually been identified in modern times with the archaeological site called tell ed-Duweir. The same site has more recently come to be called tel Lachish. Lachish is also mentioned in ancient Egyptian, Assyrian and Babylonian records.

The earliest reference to Lachish is in the Amarna letters (about 1400 B.C). It was evidently one of the important Canaanite cities of the time. The Hebrew army under Joshua's command defeated the king of Lachish, killed him and conquered his city (Joshua 10:5 , Joshua 10:23 ,Joshua 10:23,10:32-33 ). Later, Lachish was apportioned to the Tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:39 ). The next Biblical reference to Lachish comes in 2 Chronicles 11:9 , from the reign of Rehoboam who “fortified the city.” Lachish was also the city of refuge for Amaziah who fled there from Jerusalem to escape a conspiracy against him (2 Kings 14:19; 2 Chronicles 25:27 ).

Lachish is perhaps most well known for the story of its siege and conquest in 701 B.C. at the hands of the Assyrian King Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:1; 2 Chronicles 32:1; Isaiah 36:1 ). Two later brief references appear (Jeremiah 34:7; Nehemiah 11:30 ).

The archaeological excavations at Lachish have been extensive and rewarding. They have shown occupation at Lachish from about 4000 B.C. to the time of its conquest by the Persian Empire (539-333 B.C.). The rich and varied finds represent almost all of the periods, but the chief interest for the student of the Bible centers on the periods beginning with the time of the Hebrew invasion of Canaan. Impressive archaeological evidence shows the city was destroyed during the period of the conquest related in the Book of Joshua, but the archaeological evidence does not indicate who the destroyers were. Some scholars date the Lachish destruction layer as late as 1150 B.C. on the basis of a cartouche of Rameses III of Egypt.

The biblical account of Sennacherib's conquest of Lachish in 701 B.C. is supported and amplified by Assyrian records of King Sennacherib's campaign (2 Kings 18:1; 2 Chronicles 32:1; Isaiah 36:1 ). This was graphically recorded in a large and elaborate bas relief on the walls of the royal palace in Nineveh. Presently housed in the British museum in London, these carvings show Assyrian soldiers attacking the walled city, the city inhabitants defending their city, soldiers killing some of the defenders, families with possessions being led away captive, and the king on his throne reviewing the spoils taken from the city. A replica of this relief may be found in the library of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville,

Lachish -22x - Jos. 10:3; Jos. 10:5; Jos. 10:23; Jos. 10:31; Jos. 10:32; Jos. 10:33; Jos. 10:34; Jos. 10:35; Jos. 12:11; Jos. 15:39; 2 Ki. 14:19; 2 Ki. 18:14; 2 Ki. 18:17; 2 Ki. 19:8; 2 Chr. 11:9; 2 Chr. 25:27; 2 Chr. 32:9; Neh. 11:30; Isa. 36:2; Isa. 37:8; Jer. 34:7; Mic. 1:13

Hebron - (hee' brahn) Place name and personal name meaning “association” or “league.” A major city in the hill country of Judah about nineteen miles south of Jerusalem and fifteen miles west of the Dead Sea. The region is over 3,000 feet above sea level. The surrounding area has an abundant water supply, and its rich soil is excellent for agriculture. According to archaeological research the site has been occupied almost continuously since about 3300 B.C.

After his separation from Lot, Abraham moved to Hebron. At that time the area was known as Mamre and was associated with the Amorites (Genesis 13:18; Genesis 14:13; Genesis 23:19 ). Abraham apparently remained at Mamre until after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. When Sarah died, the place was called Kirjath-arba; and the population was predominantly Hittite (Genesis 23:2; Joshua 14:15; Joshua 15:54; Judges 1:10 ). From them Abraham purchased a field with a burial plot inside a nearby cave. Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Leah were buried there (Genesis 23:19; Genesis 25:9; Genesis 35:29; Genesis 49:31; Genesis 50:13 ).

Four centuries later, when Moses sent the twelve spies into Canaan, the tribe of Anak lived in Hebron. According to Numbers 13:22 Hebron was “built” seven years prior to Zoan, the Egyptian city of Tanis. Archaeological evidence suggests that the reference was to Tanis' establishment as the Hyksos capital around 1725 B.C. and not its beginning. Indeed both cities already were inhabited long before 2000 B.C. Therefore, the date may indicate that it was rebuilt by the Hyksos at that time, or it may specify when Hebron became a Canaanite city. After the Israelite conquest of Canaan, Hebron was given to Caleb ( Joshua 14:9-13 ). It also became a city of refuge (Joshua 20:7 ). Later, Samson put the gates of Gaza on a hill outside of Hebron (Judges 16:3 ).

After the death of Saul, David settled in the city (2 Samuel 2:3 ) and made it his capital during the seven years he ruled only Judah (1 Kings 2:11 ). His son, Absalom, launched an abortive revolt against David from Hebron (2 Samuel 15:10 ). Between 922,915 B.C. Rehoboam fortified the city as a part of Judah's defense network (2 Chronicles 11:5-10 ). According to inscriptions found on pottery fragments, royal pottery was made in the city between 800,700 B.C.

Hebron - 57v - Gen. 13:18; Gen. 23:2; Gen. 23:19; Gen. 35:27; Gen. 37:14; Num. 13:22; Jos. 10:3; Jos. 10:5; Jos. 10:23; Jos. 10:36; Jos. 10:39; Jos. 11:21; Jos. 12:10; Jos. 14:13; Jos. 14:14; Jos. 14:15; Jos. 15:13; Jos. 15:54; Jos. 20:7; Jos. 21:11; Jos. 21:13; Jdg. 1:10; Jdg. 1:20; Jdg. 16:3; 1 Sam. 30:31; 2 Sam. 2:1; 2 Sam. 2:3; 2 Sam. 2:11; 2 Sam. 2:32; 2 Sam. 3:2; 2 Sam. 3:5; 2 Sam. 3:19; 2 Sam. 3:20; 2 Sam. 3:22; 2 Sam. 3:27; 2 Sam. 3:32; 2 Sam. 4:1; 2 Sam. 4:8; 2 Sam. 4:12; 2 Sam. 5:1; 2 Sam. 5:3; 2 Sam. 5:5; 2 Sam. 5:13; 2 Sam. 15:7; 2 Sam. 15:9; 2 Sam. 15:10; 1 Ki. 2:11; 1 Chr. 3:1; 1 Chr. 3:4; 1 Chr. 6:55; 1 Chr. 6:57; 1 Chr. 11:1; 1 Chr. 11:3; 1 Chr. 12:23; 1 Chr. 12:38; 1 Chr. 29:27; 2 Chr. 11:10

Joshua 10:4  "Come up to me and help me, and let us attack Gibeon, for it has made peace with Joshua and with the sons of Israel."

  • and help: Isa 8:9,10 41:5-7 Ac 9:24-27 21:28 Rev 16:14 20:8-10 
  • let us: Jos 10:1 9:15 Mt 16:24 Joh 15:19 16:2,3 Ac 9:23 2Ti 3:12 Jas 4:4 1Pe 4:4 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Come up to me and help me, and let us attack Gibeon, for it has made peace with Joshua and with the sons of Israel - Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem is spearheading this confederacy of Canaanites against Gibeon against the traitorous acts of Gibeon. One thought Adoni-zedek may have entertained is that other Canaanite cities might follow suit and seek peace with Israel. Of course it is doubtful he knew the deceptive aspects of how Gibeon had secured the agreement with Israel. 

Coleson - Gibeon and its neighboring cities occupied the plateau of Benjamin (as it came to be called), a relatively level rectangle immediately to the north of Jerusalem, about 100 square miles in area. Control of this plateau was essential to control of the entire hill country. Throughout history, with few exceptions, whoever controlled Benjamin controlled the hill country. With Gibeon now allied to Israel, control of the plateau, and thus of the hill country, belonged to Israel. The Canaanite kings had to conquer Gibeon before Joshua could come to its rescue, or their cause was lost.(Joshua, Judges, Ruth)

Grant has an interesting application - The response of the neighbouring cities illustrates the antagonism of the world towards those who enjoy peace with God. This is often the experience of a Christian who has recently been saved. Former friends and neighbours can become distant and, on occasions, hostile because they feel threatened by the change that is evident in a Christian: “Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you” (1 Pet 4:4). (What the Bible Teaches - Joshua Judges Ruth)

THOUGHT - Believers have a covenant defender in Jesus - see discussion of this comforting truth.

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

3. Wherefore Adoni-zedek sent. Because he was most exposed to danger, Jerusalem being only six miles from Gibeon, and midway between that and the camp at Gilgal, and because also he might have possessed some degree of precedency over the other kings mentioned.

Joshua 10:5  So 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 together and went up, they with all their armies, and camped by Gibeon and fought against it.

  • Jos 10:6 9:1,2 Ge 15:16 Isa 8:9,10 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Source - ESV Global Study Bible 
(Click Map to Enlarge)


So - Term of conclusion. Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem receives a unanimous affirmative response. 

The five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron (also called Kiriath-arba-Josh 20:7), the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered together and went up, they with all their armies, and camped by Gibeon and fought (lacham) against it - "Amorites" is used here as a general term for the Canaanites (). So the battle had begun and clearly Gibeon was defending itself against this formidable force. 

Keil and Delitzsch notes that "The Amorites who dwelt in the mountains were the strongest of all the Canaanites."

It is interesting (and providential) that Adoni-Zedek goes to cities in the southern part of the Promised land which in effect "cooperates" with Joshua's plan for conquest (to go south after securing the central area) - Hebron was 20 miles south, Jamuth 17 miles southwest, Lachish 26 miles southwest and Eglon 32 miles southwest. 

Wiersbe - As this confederation of armies and kings assembled, God in heaven must have laughed (Ps. 2:1–4), because unknown to them He was using these events to accomplish His own purposes. Instead of having to defeat these five city-states one by one, He would help Joshua conquer them all at one time! Just as God used the defeat at Ai to form a battle plan for victory over Ai (Josh. 8), so also He used Joshua’s mistake with the Gibeonites to protect Gibeon and accelerate the conquest of Canaan. The mistakes we make embarrass us, especially those mistakes that are caused by our running ahead of the Lord and not seeking His will. But we need to remember that no mistake is final for the dedicated Christian. God can use even our blunders to accomplish His purposes. Somebody defined success as “the art of making your mistakes when nobody’s looking”; but a better definition would be “the art of seeing victory where other people see only defeat.”  (Be Strong - Joshua: Putting God's Power to Work in Your Life)

Related Resource:

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

The five kings of the Amorites. The name of this people is often taken in a large sense for that of the Canaanites generally, or any one of them, doubtless from their being the most powerful of the distinct tribes that inhabited the country. Strictly speaking, the people of Hebron were Hittites, ch. 11:19, and those of Jerusalem, Jebusites, ch. 15:63; and in one place, 2 Sam. 21:2, the Gibeonites themselves, though generally termed Hivites, are said to be ‘of the remnant of the Amorites.’ The probability is, that the Amorites, being a numerous and powerful people in the Moabitish territory, sent out colonies to these several places, which, having subdued the original inhabitants, communicated their own name very extensively over the country.

Made war against it. Put themselves in a warlike attitude, made ready for an assault, were on the eve of attacking them.

Joshua 10:6  Then the men of Gibeon sent word to Joshua to the camp at Gilgal, saying, "Do not abandon your servants; come up to us quickly and save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites that live in the hill country have assembled against us."

  • the camp: Jos 5:10 9:6 
  • do not abandon: 2Ki 4:24 
  • your servants: Jos 9:15,24,25 Isa 33:22 
  • hill country: Jos 21:11 De 1:15 Ps 125:2 Lu 1:39 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Proposed Location of Gilgal Near Jericho


Then - This marks progression of events. Clearly Gibeon was in danger of being demolished.

The men of Gibeon sent word to Joshua to the camp at Gilgal, saying, "Do not abandon your servants - Hebrew = “do not let your hand drop from us.” Notice the irony of this section. Because Joshua had cut covenant with Gibeon, he was obligated to be their Covenant Defender!

Come up to us quickly and save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites that live in the hill country have assembled against us - Note their cry crescendos from do not abandon to Come up to an almost panic stricken save us and help us. To the Gibeonites this was a crisis of life or death and their only hope was Joshua. Humanly speaking Joshua could have thought just let them destroy themselves. But as we see Joshua is a covenant keeping commander. He understands the solemn, binding nature of the covenant they had entered into with Gibeon. 

THOUGHT - Like the Gibeonites every person born in Adam has a crisis of life or death (Ro 5:12; Ro 3:23) and our only hope is to cry out to "Joshua/Jesus!" Have you recognized your dangerous condition and cried out to Him that you might have His eternal life?

As an aside it might have been tempting to Israel to not go to the rescue of Gibeon and let the 5 kings defeat them. Then they would be free of their obligations to the covenant and the 5 kings would undoubtedly have been weakened. The fact that Joshua did not take this human path is clear indication of the force of covenant in the ancient world. 

Spurgeon - Those who join, the Lord’s side are sure to have enemies, but they may rest assured that the Lord will come to the rescue.

Wiersbe - In spite of their paganism, these Gibeonites are a good example for people to follow today. When they knew they were headed for destruction, they came to Joshua (“Jehovah is Savior”) and obtained from him a promise of protection. Would that lost sinners realize their plight and turn to Jesus Christ by faith! When the Gibeonites found themselves in danger, they believed Joshua’s promise and called on him for help. That’s what God’s people need to do when they find themselves facing the battles of life. The Gibeonites turned the whole burden over to Joshua and trusted him to keep his word, and he did.  (Be Strong - Joshua: Putting God's Power to Work in Your Life)

Currid - An important element of covenant treaties in the ancient Near East is a loyalty, or protection, clause. For example, in a treaty between the Hittite king Mursilis and Duppi-Tessub of Amurru (fourteenth century BC) we read the following clause written by Mursilis:

 If anyone should press you hard, Duppi-Tessub, or [if] anyone should revolt against you, [if] you then write to the king of the Hatti land [Hittites], and the king of the Hatti land dispatches foot soldiers and charioteers to your aid—[if you treat them in an unfair manner], you act in disregard of the gods of the oath.  (Joshua: Strong and Courageous)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

6. Sent unto Joshua. They trusted to the compassion, the nobleness, the generosity, if not the justice of their new ally. They doubted not that he would consider himself bound in honor and conscience to succor and defend them, although it may not have been expressly stipulated for in the articles of the treaty. It was because of their confidence in Israel and their having thrown themselves entirely upon their protection that they were now marked out as objects of the vengeance of their enemies, and to whom should they go in their extremity but to these their natural defenders? So when the powers of darkness, like mighty Amorites, assail the children of God, to whom shall they betake themselves but to Christ, their true Joshua? It is when we are encompassed with evils that we feel the value of that covenant into which we have entered with him. If we attempt to resist our enemies in our own strength, we shall infallibly be vanquished; but if we betake ourselves to the Captain of our salvation by fervent prayer, we cannot but succeed.

Slack not thy hand from thy servants. Do not leave them to the fate which threatens them, put forth vigorous efforts for their deliverance, relax not the hold which thou hast by covenant taken of them. Happy the men of Gibeon, that in this awful moment, this very crisis of their fate, they had an interest in Joshua and the armies of Israel! Happy every trembling suppliant at the throne of mercy, if he be interested by faith in the Almighty Joshua, who hath the armies of the living God at his command! Could a heathen say, when a bird pursued by a hawk flew into his bosom, ‘I will not surrender thee to thine enemy, as thou hast come to me for sanctuary?’ Shall not the Saviour then be an unfailing refuge to those who fly to him in their extremity? See on Josh 1:5.

That dwell in the mountains. Heb. ההר ישבי yōshebē hâhâr, dwellers or inhabitants of the mountain; i. e. of the mountainous regions. The allusion is to the tract lying to the southwest of Jerusalem called ‘the hill country,’ Luke 1:39, 65, in which were situated the four cities mentioned above, v. 3.

Joshua 10:7  So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him and all the valiant warriors.

Source: Joshua Teach the Text Commentary


So - Term of conclusion. Their cry for help elicited an immediate response.

Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him and all the valiant (chayil) warriors - From the text it appears Joshua immediately came to the aid of his covenant partner Gibeon. One might also reason that he saw the strategic opportunity to utterly destroy five enemy kings in "one fell swoop!" The march from Gilgal to Gibeon was about 25 miles with a significant rise in elevation. In human terms Joshua's army must have been exhausted, but remember Yahweh in on their side and He may have given them the strength they needed to make an attack. 

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary - Verses 7-14. The meanest and most feeble, who have just begun to trust the Lord, are as much entitled to be protected as those who have long and faithfully been his servants. It is our duty to defend the afflicted, who, like the Gibeonites, are brought into trouble on our account, or for the sake of the gospel. Joshua would not forsake his new vassals. How much less shall our true Joshua fail those who trust in Him! We may be wanting in our trust, but our trust never can want success. Yet God's promises are not to slacken and do away, but to quicken and encourage our endeavours. Notice the great faith of Joshua, and the power of God answering it by the miraculous staying of the sun, that the day of Israel's victories might be made longer. Joshua acted on this occasion by impulse on his mind from the Spirit of God. It was not necessary that Joshua should speak, or the miracle be recorded, according to the modern terms of astronomy. The sun appeared to the Israelites over Gibeon, and the moon over the valley of Ajalon, and there they appeared to be stopped on their course for one whole day. Is any thing too hard for the Lord? forms a sufficient answer to ten thousand difficulties, which objectors have in every age started against the truth of God as revealed in his written word. Proclamation was hereby made to the neighbouring nations, Behold the works of the Lord, and say, What nation is there so great as Israel, who has God so nigh unto them?

Related Resources - To help you understand the serious, binding nature of covenant in the context of the ancient world...

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

7. And all the mighty men of valor. Rather, ‘even all the mighty men of valor;’ so the particle translated ‘and’ is used in hundreds of instances, and it is not easy to suppose that ‘all the people of war,’ and ‘all the mighty men of valor,’ constituted two separate portions of the host. The meaning is simply that he went up with an army of picked men, men of approved valor and tried skill, to defend the Gibeonites, their new allies, against their invaders. A sufficient force would of course be left to guard the camp at Gilgal. Instead of taking any advantage of the mere letter of their compact, and saying that they never promised to run the hazard of their own lives to save theirs, he nobly acts on its spirit, and resolves that they shall be no losers by the confidence they have reposed in him; that they shall not suffer by any calamity which he can avert. ‘To a good mind the strongest obligation is another’s trust; and even permission in those things we may remedy, makes us no less actors, than consent. We are guilty of all the evil we might have hindered.’ Bp. Hall.

Joshua 10:8  And the LORD said to Joshua, "Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you."

  • Jos 1:5-9 Josh 8:1 11:6 De 3:2 Dt 20:1-4 Jdg 4:14,15 Ps 27:1,2 Isa 41:10-15 Ro 8:31 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Deuteronomy 7:24 “He will deliver their kings into your hand so that you will make their name perish from under heaven; no man will be able to stand before you until you have destroyed them.

Deuteronomy 11:25 “No man will be able to stand before you; the LORD your God will lay the dread of you and the fear of you on all the land on which you set foot, as He has spoken to you. 

Deuteronomy 20:1-4 “When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you. 2 “When you are approaching the battle, the priest shall come near and speak to the people. 3 “He shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today. Do not be fainthearted. Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them, 4f or the LORD your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’


And the LORD said to Joshua - It seems clear that in this battle, Joshua is getting his "orders" from the Captain of the host of the Lord.

THOUGHT - It is worth noting that the LORD is mentioned 13 times in 11 verses in this chapter. The message is clear when we are in spiritual warfare. Keep your eyes on the LORD!  Josh 10:8 Josh 10:10 Josh 10:11 Josh 10:12 Josh 10:14 Josh 10:19 Josh 10:25 Josh 10:30 Josh 10:32 Josh 10:40 Josh 10:42

Do not fear (yare) them - Joshua had heard similar words from Jehovah before (Joshua 1:9, Josh 8:1). Clearly he needed to hear them again.

THOUGHT - God knows when we need to be "re-encouraged," when the enemy's forces seem to be simply overwhelming. God grant us ears to hear in those times when our knees begin to knock (spiritually speaking). Amen. 

For - Terms of explanation are always significant but this one was especially so to Joshua because he undoubtedly had scouting reports of a massive enemy force arrayed against Gibeon (and their ally Israel). God seems to like situations where human ability is simply not a reasonable option as it sets the stage perfectly for supernatural action, in this case one of the great miracles of the Bible! 

Currid points out that "The command from the Lord that Israel should not be afraid has been a foundational principle of the conquest (Deut. 1:29; 7:21; 20:3; 31:6–8; Josh. 1:9). It is the Lord who fights for Israel and he has already ‘given them into your hands’.  (Joshua: Strong and Courageous)

I have given them into your hands - Given into your hands means given into their power (cf Dt. 7:24; Josh. 6:2; 8:1, 18) Once again we see God's sovereignty of giving the 5 kings into the hands (power) of Joshua, but Israel still had to engage the enemy (human responsibility).

Note that given (or delivered - same Hebrew word "nathan") occurs 5 times in Joshua 10 (Joshua 10:8, 12, 19, 30, 32 - each use is translated in Lxx with paradidomi = hand over into the power of another)  and in Joshua 10:19 is actually part of Joshua’s battle cry!

God will make a similar promise in the next chapter in the face of an even larger enemy contingent - "Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow at this time I will deliver (Hebrew - nathan; Lxx with paradidomi) all of them slain before Israel; you shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire.” (Joshua 11:6)

THOUGHT - Every believer faces spiritual battles every day. The Lord's charge to each of us is "Fear not!" Fear can cripple your efforts against your spiritual enemies. Notice why we are not to fear. God promises us victory over the world (see Gal 6:14, Jn 16:33), the flesh (Ro 6:6, 11) and the devil (Heb 2:14-15). 

KJV has "fear not" - Used in 63 passages -  Gen. 15:1; Gen. 21:17; Gen. 26:24; Gen. 35:17; Gen. 43:23; Gen. 46:3; Gen. 50:19; Exod. 20:20; Deut. 1:21; Deut. 20:3; Deut. 31:6; Deut. 31:8; Jos. 8:1; Jos. 10:25; Jdg. 4:18; Jdg. 6:10; Jdg. 6:23; Ruth 3:11; 1 Sam. 4:20; 1 Sam. 12:20; 1 Sam. 22:23; 1 Sam. 23:17; 2 Sam. 9:7; 2 Sam. 13:28; 1 Ki. 17:13; 2 Ki. 6:16; 2 Ki. 17:34; 2 Ki. 25:24; 1 Chr. 28:20; 2 Chr. 20:17; Ps. 55:19; Ps. 64:4; Isa. 7:4; Isa. 35:4; Isa. 41:13; Isa. 41:14; Isa. 43:1; Isa. 43:5; Isa. 44:2; Isa. 54:4; Jer. 40:9; Jer. 46:27; Lam. 3:57; Dan. 10:12; Dan. 10:19; Joel 2:21; Zech. 8:13; Mal. 3:5; Matt. 1:20; Matt. 10:28; Matt. 28:5; Lk. 1:13; Lk. 1:30; Lk. 2:10; Lk. 5:10; Lk. 8:50; Lk. 12:7; Lk. 12:32; Lk. 18:4; Jn. 12:15; Acts 27:24; 1 Pet. 2:18; Rev. 1:17

Not one of them shall stand before you - Yahweh doesn't say "most" won't stand but not one of them!  This is Yahweh's promise to assure Israel carries out utter destruction of the enemy. This is a reiteration of Joshua 1:5.

Alan Carr - He Gave His Promise—The Lord didn’t stop with just a word of encouragement, He also gave them the promise of absolute victory! I would like to say that I still believe the Lord never saved you for you to be defeated! When He saved you, He did so with the promise that you could walk in His victory—1 Cor. 15:57; Rom. 8:37. That doesn’t mean that every situation in life will work out the way you want it to, but it does mean that God will enable you to live above your circumstances and share in His victory over the world, the flesh and the devil!) (Joshua 10:6-14 Valuable Lessons For The Day Of Battle)

Davis offers an interesting insight - The latter part of this assurance had already been given to Joshua in 1:5 before the invasion of Canaan. Now Yahweh repeats it. Such is the usual way God has of reassuring his children: not by unveiling to them some new truth previously unknown, but by reaffirming promises already given, which somehow take on special power because of the present pressing need. That is what God’s people usually need—not new truth but old truth freshly applied to their current need. (Joshua: No Falling Words)

Paul E Toms - Here is a remarkable fresh promise from the Lord that Joshua needed just at this time. God was faithful to supply him with assurance and direction. As a result Joshua immediately went after the enemies and engaged in that strange battle during which the daylight was prolonged, hailstones fell from heaven, and an overwhelming victory was afforded the Israelites. (This Land Is Your Land)

Utley - It is interesting to me to see the relationship between the sovereign word of God recorded in v. 8 and the required human effort recorded in vv. 9 and 11. Although God assured them of the victory, they still had to prepare for the battle and form a strategy to defeat the Canaanites. It is this tension between God’s sovereignty and man’s free will that is found so often in the Bible.

Utley - “Do not fear them” The verb is a Qal IMPERFECT, used in a JUSSIVE sense. It is a recurrent message of God to His people.

    1.      Abraham—Gen. 15:1
    2.      Hagar—Gen. 21:17
    3.      Isaac—Gen. 26:24
    4.      Israel (by Moses)—Exod. 14:13; 20:20; Deut. 1:21; 20:3; 31:6
    5.      Israel (by Joshua)—Josh. 8:1; 10:25

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

8. And the Lord said unto Joshua. More correctly ‘for the Lord had said;’ as we cannot suppose that Joshua undertook this expedition before he had sought counsel of God, and received the encouragement contained in the ensuing words. Without some such encouragement as this, Joshua might have thought that this formidable host was sent against him and his new allies as a judgment upon him for negotiating an unlawful treaty. The verse properly falls into a parenthesis.

I have delivered them into thy hand. The usual form of speech to express the absolute certainty of a future event.

Joshua 10:9  So Joshua came upon them suddenly by marching all night from Gilgal.

  • all night: 1Sa 11:9-11 Pr 22:29 24:11,12 Ec 9:10 2Ti 2:3 4:2 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

Joshua 8:3 So Joshua rose with all the people of war to go up to Ai; and Joshua chose 30,000 men, valiant warriors, and sent them out at night.

Joshua 11:7 So Joshua and all the people of war with him came upon them suddenly by the waters of Merom, and attacked them.

(Source: The Bible Knowledge Commentary)


Forced march - any march that is longer than troops are accustomed to and maintained at a faster pace than usual, generally undertaken for a particular objective under emergency conditions.

So Joshua came upon them suddenly by marching all night from Gilgal - Joshua heard come up to us quickly and responded quickly! Here we see the exercise of man's responsibility. And we also see Joshua and Israel being willing to do it for Gentiles, because they had entered into covenant with them. In verse 8 God had given them into his hands, but here Israel must "use their hands" against the enemy. While it was 25 miles, it was also associated with an traversing into an elevation area (probably a climb of around 4000 feet). If you have ever hiked in the mountains, clearly this is a significant climb for an army carrying their supplies and weapons. And to do it at night adds another variable of difficulty. Humanly speaking the Israelites would have been exhausted on reaching the battleground, not exactly a recipe for certain victory! And yet the Israeli forces undertake a surprise attack on the five kings. 

Davis points out "that verse 9 shows how divine reassurance (v. 8) does not stifle but stimulates human ingenuity (the surprise attack), how God’s comfort does not sedate but calls forth his servant’s activity. Yahweh."  (Joshua: No Falling Words)

Wiersbe - It was a long trek from Gilgal to Gibeon, and the road was uphill; but Joshua assembled his troops and made the journey as quickly as possible. No doubt the men were weary when they arrived, but the Lord was with them and gave them victory. What kept the soldiers going? They believed God’s promise and knew that the victory was assured.  (Be Strong - Joshua: Putting God's Power to Work in Your Life)

Guzik on by marching all night  -Having marched all night from Gilgal: This took hard work and initiative on Joshua’s part. The march from Gilgal to Gibeon involved a climb of 3,300 feet, and the distance was about twenty miles, taking eight to ten hours of hard marching, all through the night.. God does His work, but He draws us into working with Him. Often God waits to see our initiative, our willingness to be a partner with Him, before He does what only He can do.i. This is not the idea that “God helps those who help themselves.” (ED: AND NOT "let go, let God," but "Let God, let's go!) The idea is “God wants to draw His people into partnership with Him in seeing His work done (see notes on 2Co 6:1 = "working together with Him").”

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

9. Went up from Gilgal all night. The distance from Gilgal to Gibeon was about twenty-six miles. By a forced march this distance might have been accomplished in one night; but the words do not necessarily restrict us to this period of time. They imply only that he travelled all night, to which, if we please, we may add, part of the preceding or of the following day. The clause quoted reads somewhat awkwardly as it now stands, from its seeming to put the march after the arrival. By omitting the word ‘and,’ which does not occur in the original, and inclosing the remainder in a parenthesis (‘he had gone up from Gilgal all night,’) every thing is made plain. Though he had received the positive assurance of a victory, yet he neglects no prudent means of effecting it, and therefore adopting a military stratagem, comes upon them by surprise. ‘God’s promises are not intended to slacken or supersede, but to quicken and encourage our own endeavors.’ Henry.

Joshua 10:10  And the LORD confounded them before Israel, and He slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and pursued them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon, and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah.

NET   The LORD routed them before Israel. Israel thoroughly defeated them at Gibeon. They chased them up the road to the pass of Beth Horon and struck them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah.

NLT  The LORD threw them into a panic, and the Israelites slaughtered great numbers of them at Gibeon. Then the Israelites chased the enemy along the road to Beth-horon, killing them all along the way to Azekah and Makkedah.

ESV   And the LORD threw them into a panic before Israel, who struck them with a great blow at Gibeon and chased them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah.

NIV   The LORD threw them into confusion before Israel, who defeated them in a great victory at Gibeon. Israel pursued them along the road going up to Beth Horon and cut them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah.

  • the LORD confounded: Jos 11:8 Jdg 4:15 1Sa 7:10-12 2Ch 14:12 Ps 18:14 44:3 78:55 
  • at Gibeon: Isa 28:21 
  • Beth-horon: Jos 16:3,5 21:22 1Sa 13:18 
  • Azekah: Jos 10:11 15:35 Jer 34:7 
  • Makkedah: Jos 10:28 12:16 15:41 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

Joshua 10:42 Joshua captured all these kings and their lands at one time, because the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.

Upper Bethoron With the Descent


And - This links the previous description of the fatigued army of Joshua with the intervention of Yahweh Himself in this battle. God had promised to fight for Israel and here we see Him clearly entering the battle. Recall Moses' promise given to the Second Generation while they were preparing to enter the Promised Land..

‘The LORD your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, (Dt 1:30, cf Dt 3:22, Ex 14:14. See the striking contrast when the LORD was not with them - Dt 1:42-45)

"When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you....for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.' (Dt 20:1, 4)

The LORD confounded them before Israel, and He slew (nāḵāh) them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and pursued them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon, and struck (nāḵāhthem as far as Azekah and MakkedahThe LORD is the subject of all four verbs (confounded...slew...pursued...struck) in this verse. Confounded (Lxx - existemi - confuse, amaze) describes the results of a divinely caused panic (cf. Ex. 14:24; 23:27; 1 Sa 7:10). Part of the cause of their panic was the "artillery of heaven" in the next verse! While Yahweh is the Subject of the verbs, almost certainly it was His "instrument" Israel whom He used to slay, pursue and strike the Amorite forces. While the exact locations of Azekah and Makkedah are not known, clearly the retreating enemy is fleeing toward the south and west (See map above)

THOUGHT - Beloved, we are in covenant with the same God. As you read this encouraging story of how He came to the aid of Israel in their battle, remember that He is the same LORD today, yesterday and tomorrow. What "overwhelming enemy forces" do you face today? Have you ask Him to come to your aid? 

Wiersbe - Three factors combined to give Joshua success in this attack: believing a divine promise (v. 8), using sound strategy (v. 9), and calling on the Lord in prayer (vv. 10–15).  (Be Strong - Joshua: Putting God's Power to Work in Your Life)

Campbell points out that the escape route of the fiv e kings "was through a narrow pass and down the valley of Aijalon with the Israelites in hot pursuit. This was not the only time that the highroad which led down from the central hill country has been the scene of a rout; in A.D. 66 the Roman general Cestius Gallus fled down this descent before the Jews (see note)." (See note below on Beth-horon)  (The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Coleson -  This is the proper name of a specific road, the easiest and best road to Jerusalem, in this period, from the Mediterranean and the northern coastal plain. The two towns of Upper Beth-horon and Lower Beth-horon marked the path of its main ascent into the hill country. This road branches off from the main interior north-south road near Gibeon—one reason for Gibeon’s importance to Jerusalem as reflected in this narrative. Joshua, Judges, Ruth)

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia has an interesting note on the Battle of Beth-Horon - We are not told by which route he marched, but it is significant that the Amorites fled by the way of Beth-horon; that is to say, not toward their own cities, but away from them. A glance at the map shows that this means that Joshua had succeeded in cutting their line of retreat to Jerusalem. He had probably therefore advanced upon Gibeon from the south, instead of by the obvious route past Ai which he had destroyed and Beeroth with which he was in alliance. But, coming up from Gilgal by the ravines in the neighborhood of Jerusalem, he was exposed to a great danger, for the Amorites might have caught him before he had gained a footing on the plateau, and have taken him at a complete disadvantage. 

Confounded (02000hamam means to make a noise, move noisily, confuse, throw into commotion. "The basic meaning of this word seems to be "to give attention to" in the negative sense, that is, "harass," "trouble," often with the purpose of creating panic." Of the 13 uses below God is the subject in 10 verses. Of these, five times the object is Israel's enemy whom God strikes with panic for their sake. (See 1 Sa 7:10; Ex 14:24; Ex 23:27; Josh 10:10; Jdg 4:15; and also 2 Chr 15:6 with a more general subject.) Thus it denotes an important aspect of holy war. The verb is used parallel to "scatter" in 2 Sa 22:15; Ps 18:14, and Ps 144:6 (parallel passages). God uses arrows and lightnings to trouble his enemies. (Some would translate hāmam as "set in motion" referring to the arrows and lightning.) The word is also used to indicate the effect of a cart wheel on grain (Isaiah 28:28). But some make wheel the object and translate "set in motion." The word describes God's treatment of the Israelites over forty until they died in the wilderness. He made sure of their death (Dt. 2:15). Other subjects of this verb are: Nebuchadnezzar, against Jerusalem (Jeremiah 51:34), and Haman against the Jews (Esther 9:24)

Haman -13 times - brought(1), confounded(1), confuse(1), confused(1), confusion(1), crushed(1), damage(1), destroy(1), disturb(1), routed(3), throw into confusion(1), troubled(1). Exod. 14:24; Exod. 23:27; Deut. 2:15; Jos. 10:10; Jdg. 4:15; 1 Sam. 7:10; 2 Sam. 22:15; 2 Chr. 15:6; Est. 9:24; Ps. 18:14; Ps. 144:6; Isa. 28:28; Jer. 51:34

Slew....struck (05221nāḵāh meaning to beat, to strike, to wound.  The meaning of the vb. ranges from hitting to killing. ni. be hit, be struck down; pu. be battered, ruined, destroyed; hi. strike, hit, beat, strike dead, wound, batter, destroy; ho. be struck down (dead), be taken, be hit (#5782); nom. מַכָּה (makkâ), blow, stroke, wound, plague.  Defeat, conquer, i.e., have a military victory over an opponent or enemy (Jos 10:10)

Uses of nakah in Joshua -  Jos. 7:5; Jos. 8:21; Jos. 8:22; Jos. 8:24; Jos. 9:18; Jos. 10:4; Jos. 10:10; Jos. 10:20; Jos. 10:26; Jos. 10:28; Jos. 10:30; Jos. 10:32; Jos. 10:33; Jos. 10:35; Jos. 10:37; Jos. 10:39; Jos. 10:40; Jos. 10:41; Jos. 11:8; Jos. 11:10; Jos. 11:11; Jos. 11:12; Jos. 11:14; Jos. 11:17; Jos. 12:1; Jos. 12:6; Jos. 12:7; Jos. 13:12; Jos. 13:21; Jos. 15:16; Jos. 19:47; Jos. 20:3; Jos. 20:5; Jos. 20:9;

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

10. The Lord discomfited them. Or, Heb. יחמם yehūmmëm, struck with dismay, confounded. It is the word employed Ex. 23:27, in describing the effect that should be produced by Divine power upon the enemies of Israel, though there rendered less accurately ‘destroy.’ It occurs also Ps. 144:6; 2 Chron. 15:6.

And slew them with a great slaughter. Or, ‘he slew them,’ i. e. Israel slew them. In consequence of the panic into which the Lord had thrown them, his people were enabled to effect a great slaughter. The direct work of God on the occasion appears to be described, v. 11.

At Gibeon. Heb. בגבעון begibōn, in Gibeon; not in the city, but in the adjoining territory or domain called by the same name, as Joshua is said, ch. 5:13, to be in Jericho, when he was merely in the immediate vicinity.

Beth-horon. The tribe of Ephraim contained two places of this name, the upper and lower. The latter is here probably referred to, which lay twelve or fifteen miles to the north-west of Jerusalem, and where Dr. Clarke says there is now an Arab village called Bethoor, or as Prof. Robinson writes it Beit’ Ur.

Azekah. A city of Judah, situated about twelve miles west from Jerusalem. Eusebius and Jerome inform us that there was a town in their time about this place named Ezeca, which was probably the same with the ancient Azekah here mentioned. On referring to the map it will be seen that the conquered kings fled to the northwest of Gibeon, while the residue of their army wheeled off more southerly, flying towards Azekah.

Makkedah. This place was also in the tribe of Judah, about fourteen miles southwest of Jerusalem.

Beth-Horon - The upper and nether, two towns represented by the villages Beit ‘Ur el-foka and Beit ‘Ur et-tahta , said to have been built by Sheerah ( 1 Chronicles 7:24 ). Their position, as commanding the ancient great highroad from the maritime plain into the heart of the mountains of Benjamin, made these places of great importance, and several celebrated battles occurred in their neighbourhood. Here Joshua defeated the Canaanites ( Joshua 10:10-14 ). Solomon fortified both these cities ( 2 Chronicles 8:5 , 1 Kings 9:17 ). By this road Shishak, king of Egypt, invaded Judah. Here Judas Maccabæus defeated the Syrian general Seron ( 1Ma 3:13-24 ) and five years afterwards Nicanor ( 1 Chronicles 7:39-40 ); more than 200 years later the Jews at the same place beat back the Roman army under Cestius Gallus (see note). In few places in Palestine can we with greater precision set history in its geographical setting; the whole ancient road, with abundant traces of Roman work, can be followed throughout, and the two Beit ‘Urs , less than two miles apart, stand sentinel above the road as the two Beth-horons did in ancient times. The Beth-horons were on the frontier between Benjamin and Ephraim ( Joshua 16:3-5; Joshua 18:13-14 ). They belonged to the latter ( Joshua 21:22 ), and followed the Northern Kingdom. Possibly Sanballat the Horonite ( Nehemiah 2:10 ) was from here. (Hastings Bible Dictionary)

Beth-Horon - Used 14x in 13v - Jos. 10:10; Jos. 10:11; Jos. 16:3; Jos. 16:5; Jos. 18:13; Jos. 18:14; Jos. 21:22; 1 Sam. 13:18; 1 Ki. 9:17; 1 Chr. 6:68; 1 Chr. 7:24; 2 Chr. 8:5; 2 Chr. 25:13

Related Resources

Joshua 10:11  And it came about as they fled from before Israel, while they were at the descent of Beth-horon, that the LORD threw large stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died; there were more who died from the hailstones than those whom the sons of Israel killed with the sword.

  • the LORD threw large stones from heaven on them: Ge 19:24 Ex 9:22-26 Jdg 5:20 Ps 11:6 18:12-14 77:17,18 Isa 28:2 30:30 Eze 13:11 Rev 11:19 16:21 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Exodus 9:22-26+ Now the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that hail may fall on all the land of Egypt, on man and on beast and on every plant of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.” 23 Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt. 24 So there was hail, and fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail, very severe, such as had not been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. 25 The hail struck all that was in the field through all the land of Egypt, both man and beast; the hail also struck every plant of the field and shattered every tree of the field. 26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the sons of Israel were, there was no hail. 

Judges 5:20 “The stars fought from heaven, From their courses they fought against Sisera. 

Revelation 16:21+  (A FINAL FUTURE HAILSTORM OF EPIC PROPORTIONS) - And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, *came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague *was extremely severe.

Gustave Dore's Woodcut of "Heavenly Hailstones"
As the Amorites Descend from Upper Beth-horon


And it came about as they fled from before Israel, while they were at the descent of Beth-horon, that the LORD threw large stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died; there were more who died from the hailstones than those whom the sons of Israel killed with the sword - Keep the context in mind as Beth-horon was actually "Twin cities, one higher than the other, and so called Upper and Lower Beth Horon. An important road here dominates the path to the Shephelah, the plain between the Judean hills and the Mediterranean coast." (Holman Bible Dictionary) The position of Upper and Lower Beth Horon commanded "the ancient great highroad from the maritime plain into the heart of the mountains of Benjamin (which), made these places of great importance, and several celebrated battles occurred in their neighbourhood." (Hastings Bible Dictionary) And so the Amorite forces fled descending from Upper Beth-horon to Lower Beth-horon along the route that connected these towns, which the LORD threw large stones!. Yahweh was fighting for Israel. Some would argue that this was not a fair fight, but to say that indicates they do not understand the depth of depravity of those killed and their danger of polluting Israel's moral purity if they were allowed to live. As we see frequently in these battles there is a juxtaposition of God's sovereignty (omnipotence) and Israel's (man's) responsibility.

Spurgeon - Though the Lord fought for his people, he would only give them success when they put forth all their energies. When however they came up to their work zealously, he put forth his power in such a manner, that all the glory of the victory was manifestly seen to belong to him only. Where we do most, God does more; yea, he does all.

Notice also the even greater miracle that as far as we can tell from the text, only the enemy forces were killed by hailstones! Not only that but out of those enemy forces, God spared the 5 kings for He was planning a special ceremony to memorialize Israel's triumph over the strong enemy (Joshua 10:16-18, 22-25, 26, 27) 

The LORD fighting for Israel in this section reminds me of His actions against the Egyptian forces in Exodus 14

The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.”.... He caused their chariot wheels to swerve, and He made them drive with difficulty; so the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from Israel, for the LORD is fighting for them against the Egyptians.” (Ex 14:14,25+)

“The LORD is a Warrior.
The LORD is His Name. 

-- Exodus 15:3+

THOUGHT - The LORD is still a Warrior. Are you availing yourself of His power and presence to enable you to fight your battles against your strong enemies? "If God is for us, who is against us?" (Ro 8:31+)?

Guzik - We notice that Joshua didn’t wait around for the hail to come. He was busy doing what he could do in partnership with God, and God did what only God could do.

Wiersbe comments out that "God took His special “ammunition” out of His storehouse and used it to good advantage (Job 38:22–23). When God’s people are obeying God’s will, everything in the universe works for them, even “the stars in their courses” (Jdg 5:20). When we disobey God’s will, everything works against us. (Read Jonah 1 for a vivid illustration of this truth.)  (Be Strong - Joshua: Putting God's Power to Work in Your Life)

Utley - “that the LORD threw large stones from heaven on them” Here is God using natural means with supernatural timing and intensity (exactly like the plagues of Egypt). In reality more of the enemy died from the hailstones (cf. Isa. 30:30) than from the Israelites’ sword. This shows the tension between Josh 10:8 and Josh 10:9 in a different way.

Kelso remarks that "The crossing of the Jordan at high flood and the cyclonic hail storm at Aijalon are of special theological significance, for Baal was the great Canaanite storm god who was supposed to control the rain, the hail, the snow and the floods of Palestine. These episodes proved that Baal was as powerless before Yahweh in Palestine as he had been in the episode of the plagues in Egypt." Archaeology and Our Old Testament Contemporaries,

Paul P Enns - Several factors indicate the miraculous nature of the victory: (l)God gave supernatural strength to Israel, enabling them to fight after having marched twenty-five miles during the night. (2) The Lord rained hailstones on the Amorites (10:11). (3) More Amorites were killed by the hailstones than by Israel's swords. (4) The hailstones struck only the Amorites despite the close pursuit by the Israelites (cf. Exod. 9:25-26). (Joshua)

Rod Mattoon on hailstones -God demonstrated that Hadad and Baal, the storm gods of the Canaanites, were powerless. More were killed by hailstones than by the sword. Miraculously God’s people were not killed by the stones. Hailstones are not to be taken lightly. On May 1, 1888, two-hundred and fifty people were killed in a hailstorm in Moradad, India. The largest hailstone recorded in America was seventeen and a half inches in circumference and weighed 1.67 pounds. It landed in Kansas in 1970. In the book of Revelation, the hailstones will fall in the Tribulation weighing over one hundred pounds (Revelation 16:16–21). (Treasures From Joshua)

Henry Morris - That this unique event was of the Lord, inexplicable by either human might or natural phenomena, is evident from the entire account. The justification for God's miraculous intervention here was both the importance of this key battle in the entire plan of God for Israel and the world, as well as the testimonial value implicit in demonstrating to the sun-worshipping, moon-worshipping, nature-worshipping Canaanites--as well as the Israelites themselves--that the God of Israel controlled the sun and moon and forces of nature. (KJV New Defenders Study Bible)

Henry Morris - stones from heaven.  The surprise dawn attack by Joshua was enough to give initial victory, but then the Amorites were about to escape and perhaps regroup when the first miracle occurred. The word for "stones" is used elsewhere only of stones of rock. Then came a great fall of "hailstones"--the Hebrew word is used elsewhere only of true hail--which killed still more of the Amorite horde. This implies a unique atmospheric upheaval, probably occasioned by a swift deceleration of the earth's rotation. (KJV New Defenders Study Bible)

Davis - It is too bad much of the church has lost this vision of God or Christ as the warrior who fights for his people. Too many of us regard this conception as substandard, by which we mean it does not fit our sentimental twentieth-century graven images of what God ought to be like. The imagery seems too violent. And we do the same for the Lord Jesus, with perhaps not a little help from church school materials. The popular image of Jesus is that he is not only kind and tender but also soft and prissy, as though Jesus comes to us reeking of hand cream. Such a Jesus can hardly steel the soul that is daily assaulted by the enemy. We need to learn the catechism of Psalm 24. Question: Who is the King of glory? Answer: Yahweh, strong and mighty! Yahweh—mighty in battle! (Ps. 24:8). We must catch the vision of the Faithful and True sitting on the white horse, the One who ‘judges and makes war’ in righteousness (Rev. 19:11–16). No mild God or soft Jesus can give his people hope. It is only as we know the warrior of Israel who fights for us (and sometimes without us) that we have hope of triumphing in the muck of life.  (Joshua: No Falling Words)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

11. The Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them. That is, hail-stones of an extraordinary size, and capable of doing dreadful execution in their fall from heaven. Some have indeed contended that stones, in the common acceptation of the word, or rather meteoric stones, are intended, and that such stones have actually fallen from the clouds or from a greater height is an incontestible fact, But there is no good reason to suppose that any such phenomenon is alluded to here, for it is immediately added, as if to preclude any ground of mistake, that ‘they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.’ The Sept. in both places translates it by λιθοι χαλαζης, hailstones; Josephus calls it ‘a violent tempest of hailstones of prodigious size;’ and the author of Ecclesiasticus, ch. 46:6, thus speaks of the event: ‘With hailstones of mighty power he made the battle to fall violently upon the nations, and in the descent of Beth-horon he destroyed them that resisted.’ That God has, on other occasions, made use of hailstones to destroy both men and cattle, is clear from the instance of the plague of hail in Egypt, Ex. 9:18, and in the predictions of Ezekiel against Gog, ch. 33:22, the Most High is introduced as threatening that ‘he would plead against him with pestilence, and with blood, with an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire and brimstone.’ God himself, moreover, speaks to Job, ch. 38:22, 23, of treasures or magazines of snow and hail, which he has reserved for the day of battle and war. But although we have no doubt that a shower of hailstones is here intended, yet we are equally convinced that this shower, though natural in itself, was supernaturally employed on this occasion. They probably far exceeded the usual size, and it certainly indicates a miraculous interposition of Providence that they should have fallen at the very crisis when God promised to assist his people against their enemies, and that while in falling they slew multitudes of the fugitive Canaanites, they should not have harmed one of their pursuers! The following account of a similar phenomenon happening in our own times is graphically described by one of our own countrymen, who was something more than an eye-witness of its effects. The letter is dated Constantinople, Aug., 1831. ‘We had got perhaps a mile and a half on our way, when a cloud rising in the west, gave indications of an approaching rain. In a few minutes we discovered something falling from the heavens with a heavy splash, and of a whitish appearance. I could not conceive what it was, but observing some gulls near, I supposed it to be them darting for fish; but soon after discovered that they were large balls of ice falling. Immediately we heard a sound like rumbling thunder, or ten thousand carriages rolling furiously over the pavement. The whole Bosphorus was in a foam, as though heaven’s artillery had been discharged upon us and our frail machine. Our fate seemed inevitable; our umbrellas were raised to protect us; the lumps of ice stripped them into ribands. We fortunately had a bullock’s hide in the boat, under which we crawled and saved ourselves from farther injury. One man, of the three oarsmen, had his hand literally smashed; another much injured in the shoulder; Mr. H. received a severe blow in the leg; my right hand was somewhat disabled, and all more or less injured. A smaller kaick accompanied with my two servants. They were both disabled, and are now in bed with their wounds; the kaick was terribly bruised. It was the most awful and terrific scene that I ever witnessed, and God forbid that I should be ever exposed to such another. Balls of ice as large as my two fists fell into the boat, and some of them came with such violence as certainly to have broken an arm or leg had they struck us in those parts. One of them struck the blade of an oar and split it. The scene lasted, perhaps, five minutes; but it was five minutes of the most awful feeling that I ever experienced. When it passed over, we found the surrounding hills covered with masses of ice, I cannot call it hail; the trees stripped of their leaves and limbs, and everything looking desolate. We proceeded on our course, however, and arrived at our destination, drenched and awe-struck. Up to this hour, late in the afternoon, I have not recovered my composure; my nerves are so affected as scarcely to be able to hold my pen, or communicate my ideas. The scene was awful beyond all description. I have witnessed repeated earthquakes; the lightning has played, as it were, about my head; the wind roared, and the waves have at one moment thrown me to the sky, and the next have sunk me into a deep abyss. I have been in action, and seen death and destruction around me in every shape of horror; but I never before had the feeling of awe which seized upon me on this occasion, and still haunts, and I feel will ever haunt me. I returned to the beautiful village of Buyucdere. The sun was out in all its splendor, at a distance all looked smiling and charming, but a nearer approach discovered roofs covered with workmen repairing the broken tiles, desolated vineyards, and shattered windows. My porter, the boldest of my family, who had ventured an instant from the door, had been knocked down by a hailstone, and had they not dragged him in by the heels, would have been battered to death. Of a flock of geese in front of our house, six were killed, and the rest dreadfully mangled. Two boatmen were killed in the upper part of the village, and I have heard of broken bones in abundance. Many of the thick brick tiles, with which my roof is covered, are smashed to atoms, and my house was inundated by the rain that succeeded this visitation. It is impossible to convey an idea of what it was. Imagine to yourself, however, the heavens suddenly frozen over, and as suddenly broken to pieces in irregular masses, of from half a pound to a pound weight, and precipitated to the earth. My own servants weighed several pieces of three-quarters of a pound; and many were found by others of upwards of a pound. There were many which fell around the boat in which I was, that appeared to me to be as large as the swell of a large-sized water decanter. You may think this romance. I refer to the bearer of this letter, who was with me, and witnessed the scene, for the truth of every word it contains.’ Com. Porter’s Letters from Constantinople and its Environs, Vol. i. p. 44.

Joshua 10:12  Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, "O sun, stand still at Gibeon, And O moon in the valley of Aijalon."

  • Sun: Jos 10:13 De 4:19 17:3 Job 9:7 31:26,27 Ps 19:4 74:16 148:3 Isa 28:21 38:8 60:20 Am 8:9 Hab 3:11 
  • stand Hab 2:20 Zec 2:13 
  • valley of Aijalon Jos 19:42 Jdg 12:12
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Joshua Commands the Sun to Stand Still

Aijalon Valley, as seen from Gezer


Then - When? After the LORD attacked with hailstones. Joshua needed time to pursue and slay the enemy in daylight. If the night came, many of the enemy not killed by the hailstones would escape. Keep in mind this prayer is given in the sight of all Israel. 

Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, "O sun, stand still at Gibeon, And O moon in the valley of Aijalon (see Wikipedia) - The sun standing still would give Joshua more light in which to fulfill what the LORD had promised him in Joshua 10:8 that "not one of them shall stand before you." This would allow Joshua to literally utterly destroy these 5 Amorite armies. Imagine the consternation of the pagans who worshiped the heavenly bodies and sought help from them. First they experience hail from heaven and then prolongation of light from heaven. Sadly they recognized the impotence of their so-called deities too late. Sadly, the same will happen to all who reject Christ and His gospel. 

The Believer's Study Bible  - (vv. 12-14) It has been charged that inconceivable catastrophe would have resulted had the earth stopped rotating. Certainly if God can stop the earth, He can do so without causing such catastrophe. Alternately, it has been suggested that prolonged light resulted from (1) the slowing of the earth's rotation so that one day is missing in the earth's astronomical calendar; or (2) the temporary tilting of the earth's axis; or (3) a local refraction of light. It has also been suggested that the sun only appeared to stop because the Israelites were able to accomplish in one day what they might have expected to do in two.

TSK - Joshua doubtless acted, on this occasion, by an immediate impulse upon his mind from the Spirit of God.  The terms here employed to record the miracle, agree with the accustomed manner in which the the motions of the earth and sun are described in our own day.  The sun apparently moves, but really is stationary; while the diurnal movement of the earth on its axis is by us unnoticed, and would not have been known except by astronomical science.  The sun appeared to the Israelites over Gibeon, and the moon over the valley of Ajalon, and there they stayed in their course for "a whole day."  Many vain enquiries have been made concerning the way in which this miracle was wrought, and many difficulties and objections have been urged against understanding it literally. But the fact is authenticated by the Divine testimony; and the manner in which it was accomplished lies entirely out of our province, because beyond our comprehension. 

Davis notes Joshua's prayer "was some prayer! Though it was spoken to Yahweh (v. 12a), it was nevertheless a man’s direct command (v. 12b) to elements under only God’s control. Yet ‘Yahweh listened to the voice of a man.’ Astounding! Isn’t it still amazing that God listens to the voice of a man or woman who comes to him? Doesn’t this view of prayer both rebuke both the flippancy and tedium with which we often approach the Great King? Ought we not catch our breath to think that the God who is seated on high (Ps. 113:5) stoops down and bends his ear to lips of dust and ashes? ‘When he calls to me, I will answer him’ (Ps. 91:15); who ever heard of a God like that?  (Joshua: No Falling Words)

Regarding "large petitions," I love the words of John Newton’s hymn. If you are not yet believer in Jesus listen to the words and I pray the Spirit enables you to sing them honestly Come My Soul, Thy Suit Prepare (Play Matt Foreman's beautiful version) and bring "large petitions" to the King of kings. Amen! 

Come, my soul, thy suit prepare: 
Jesus loves to answer prayer; 
He Himself has bid thee pray, 
Therefore will not say thee nay; 
Therefore will not say thee nay. 

Thou art coming to a King, 
Large petitions with thee bring; 
For His grace and power are such, 
None can ever ask too much; 
None can ever ask too much. 

With my burden I begin: 
Lord, remove this load of sin; 
Let Thy blood, for sinners spilt, 
Set my conscience free from guilt; 
Set my conscience free from guilt. 

Lord, I come to Thee for rest, 
Take possession of my breast; 
There Thy blood bought right maintain, 
And without a rival reign; 
And without a rival reign. 

While I am a pilgrim here, 
Let Thy love my spirit cheer; 
As my Guide, my Guard, my Friend, 
Lead me to my journey’s end; 
Lead me to my journey’s end. 

Show me what I have to do, 
Every hour my strength renew: 
Let me live a life of faith, 
Let me die Thy people’s death; 
Let me die Thy people’s death.

Donald Campbell gives an wonderful explanation of this once in a lifetime day - But the record of this miracle has been called the most striking example of conflict between Scripture and science because, as is well known, the sun does not move around the earth causing day and night. Instead, light and darkness come because the earth rotates on its axis around the sun. Why then did Joshua address the sun rather than the earth? Simply because he was using the language of observation; he was speaking from the perspective and appearance of things on earth. People still do the same thing, even in the scientific community. Almanacs and journals record the hours of sunrise and sunset, yet no one accuses them of scientific error.

The “long day” of Joshua 10, however, must be explained. What did actually happen on that strange day? The answers are numerous (an eclipse, clouds over the sun, refraction of the sun’s rays, etc.). But the best explanation seems to be the view that in answer to Joshua’s prayer God caused the rotation of the earth to slow down so that it made one full rotation in 48 hours rather than in 24. It seems apparent that this view is supported both by the poem in verses 12b–13a and the prose in verse 13b. (The Book of Jashar is a Heb. literary collection of songs written in poetic style to honor the accomplishments of Israel’s leaders; [cf. David’s “lament of the bow” in 2 Sam. 1:17–27].)

God stopped the cataclysmic effects that would have naturally occurred, such as monstrous tidal waves and objects flying around. Evidence that the earth’s rotation simply slowed down is found in the closing words of Joshua 10:13: The sun … delayed going down about a full day. The sun was thus abnormally slow or tardy in getting to sunset, that is, its progression from noon to dusk was markedly lethargic, giving Joshua and his soldiers sufficient time to complete their victorious battle.

An important fact that should not be overlooked is that the sun and moon were principal deities among the Canaanites. At the prayer of Israel’s leader Canaan’s gods were compelled to obey. This disturbance to their gods must have been terribly upsetting and frightening to the Canaanites. The secret of Israel’s triumph over the coalition of Canaanites is found in the words, Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel! In answer to prayer Israel experienced the dramatic intervention of God on their behalf and victory was assured.  (The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament or Here)

New Defender's Study Notes - O sun stand still - Next came the most amazing miracle of all, the stopping of the sun “in the midst of heaven” (presumably at mid-day) along with the simultaneous stopping of the moon in its own orbit about the earth. Since the earth rotates on its axis, the sun could only be made to “stand still” relative to earth by stopping the earth’s rotation. This amazing event could hardly have been a miraculous change in atmospheric refraction of the sun’s rays (as some have suggested) nor supernatural strength imparted to the Israelites, so that it only seemed like a longer day (as others have supposed). Neither would account for either the concurrent hailstones or the halting of the moon. A gradual deceleration of the earth to a stop, then later a gradual acceleration again to its normal speed would not produce any necessary tectonic disturbances in the earth’s crust or any displacement of objects on its surface. It would, however, generate profound atmospheric disturbances, since the normal circulation of the atmosphere is tied in closely with the earth’s rotation. It might even generate volcanic activity, since the earth’s interior magma circulation may also be influenced to some degree by its rotation. Thus a stopping of the planetary rotation and simultaneous stopping of the lunar revolution is the sole explanation satisfying all the descriptors of the event. The entire phenomenon (deceleration, stones from heaven, hailstones, acceleration, etc.) occupied “about a whole day,” so this long day was about twice the length of a normal day. This was surely a unique miracle, but not beyond the capabilities of the Creator of the sun and moon and planets. He started their motions, has maintained them through the ages, and is able to change them at will.  (KJV New Defenders Study Bible)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

12. Then spake Joshua to the Lord. That is, before, in the presence of, having a reference to. Chal. ‘Then declared Joshua before the Lord.’ There is nothing said of a direct address to Jehovah, though we cannot doubt that such an one was made on the occasion, but the address here mentioned was to the sun and moon. The phraseology in the original is not that which is usually employed to intimate a direct address whether in prayer or otherwise from one person to another. Instead of אל יהוה to Jehovah, it is ליהוה properly importing before Jehovah, or in reference to him. It is a similar mode of expression to that employed by Paul, 1 Cor. 14:2, ‘He that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men but unto God;’ i. e. not directly to God, but so that God understands him, God takes cognizance of what he says. 2 Cor. 5:13, ‘For whether we be beside ourselves it is to God,’ i. e. in reference to God, he is the ultimate object of it. So here Joshua’s speaking was not directly to God, but there was a unison between his spirit and the spirit of God in his speaking, and he had all along a believing reference to God. See on v. 14. Seeing the day far spent, Joshua feared that he might not have time to complete the victory which he had so auspiciously begun, and being suddenly prompted from above, and inspired with Divine confidence, he commanded, in the name of Jehovah, the occurrence of a stupendous miracle in order to prolong the day till the destruction of his enemies was completely effected.

He said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still, &c. Or, Heb. ‘he said, In the sight of Israel, Sun, be thou silent in Gibeon.’ The verb in the original (דום dōm) generally rendered cease, rest, be still, keep silence, properly implies cessation from action or noise, rather than from motion, and is perhaps most frequently used metaphorically to signify a silent, submissive frame of spirit, a subdued, patient, expectant attitude of soul, like that of the Psalmist when he says, Ps. 62:1, using this very word, ‘Truly my soul waiteth upon (Heb. דומיה dūmmiyâh, is silent to) God.’ see also 1Sa 14:9; Ps. 4:4; 37:7; Is. 23:2. It is usually spoken of an intelligent agent, and as the import of the Heb. word for sun, is servant, or minister, it is used with great propriety here as expressive of the command of a master to a servant to pause, to rest, in his routine of service, and to assume a still, quiet, patient posture, indicative of the most entire subjection, and as if waiting for further orders. Such is the genuine force of the original, which cannot perhaps be fully expressed in any version.—The phrase ‘in Gibeon,’ means in this connexion over Gibeon, implying that Joshua looked off to a distance and saw the sun apparently standing over the city or cities of Gibeon.—As to the nature of the miracle itself, on which much has been written, it may be remarked, (1) That the scriptures generally speak in popular, and not in scientific language; that they describe the things of the natural world, not according to strict philosophic truth, but according to appearance and common apprehension. Thus they speak of the sun’s rising and setting, of the ends of the earth, of passing from one end of heaven to another, &c. Indeed, it was only in this way that Joshua could have conveyed any clear idea to the people of what he intended to express by the command. Had he uttered the words, ‘Earth, stand thou still upon thine axis;’ they would have thought him absolutely distracted. He spake therefore in the common popular style adopted by philosophers themselves in ordinary discourse, and every one can see that this was obviously the proper mode. Nor can any one object to this diction in the sacred writers without virtually entering his protest against the every-day language of all enlightened countries on the earth. Whether, therefore, the sun or the globe be supposed to have been arrested in its career on this occasion, is immaterial to the truth of the narrative, as the appearance, in each case, would be the same, and it is the appearance, and not the reality, which is described. (2) Of the precise mode in which the miracle took place, two solutions may be given, though it must necessarily ever be impossible to determine positively which of them is the true one. The effect may have been owing to the actual cessation of the earth’s motion round its axis. This, however, without an equally miraculous interference of the Almighty, would have produced the most tremendous effects, not only upon the globe itself but perhaps upon the entire solar system, and the equilibrium of the whole material universe. But the more probable explanation in our opinion is, that the phenomenon related was merely optical; that the rotatory motion of the earth was not disturbed; but that instead of this the light of the sun and moon was supernaturally prolonged by the operation of the same laws of refraction and reflection that ordinarily cause the sun to appear above the horizon when he is in reality below it. He who created the heavenly luminaries, and established the laws which regulate the transmission of light, may at this time have so influenced the medium through which the sun’s rays passed, as to render his disk still visible long after the time when in ordinary circumstances it would have disappeared. This would of course have had all the visible effect of actually bringing the earth-to a pause in its revolution round its axis, and as this answers all the demands of the text, we are not solicitous to seek any more satisfactory solution of the difficulty.

Thou moon in the valley of Aijalon. That is, over the valley of Aijalon. A city of Benjamin in the near neighborhood of Gibeon, so near, in fact, that what is here termed the valley of Ajalon, seems, in Is. 28:24, in allusion to this event, to be called the valley of Gibeon. Junius and Tremellius, for the most part extremely judicious commentators, understand the import of the command to be, that the sun should stay itself from setting over Gibeon, and the moon from rising or advancing over Aijalon, because the appearance of the moon is the signal for the coming on of night, which Joshua would now have to be delayed. Certain it is, that the light of the moon, even when seen, is of very little service while the sun is above the horizon, and as we suppose the sun itself to have been at this time near the horizon, we take this command to the moon to be introduced merely as a poetic ornament to make out the parallelism so common to the poetical style of the Hebrews. It is in fact doubtful whether the whole passage be not a quotation from the book of Jasher mentioned below, and whether that book were not a collection of national songs or lyric poems composed in praise of Joshua and other distinguished heroes and champions of Israel.

QUESTION -  Is it true that the sun stood still?

ANSWER - Joshua 10:12–14 may just relate the most amazing miracle of all time—the day the sun stood still. “On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel: ‘Sun, stand still over Gibeon, / and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.’ / So the sun stood still, / and the moon stopped, / till the nation avenged itself on its enemies. . . . The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!” God miraculously provided twenty-four hours of light to aid Israel in destroying their enemy, the Amorites.

A variety of explanations have been given concerning this event. Some suggest a “local miracle” in which God allowed light to remain in Gibeon, much like the Hebrews had light even when the Egyptians were in the dark (Exodus 10:23). However, the text seems to indicate an actual change of the earth’s rotation, since it says the sun did not set.

Others argue that the language of the passage is poetic and therefore not to be taken literally. This view causes other problems. Primarily, how is a reader to know that this event is figurative and not other events? Applying figurative interpretations to difficult biblical passages does not truly answer the difficulties.

Another view attempts to explain the event as an eclipse that gave the appearance of a long day in which the sun did not set. Alternatively, some combination of an eclipse and refracted light in the atmosphere could have made the day appear longer than normal. God timed the event to miraculously coincide with Joshua’s prayer and moment of need. The main weakness of this view is that an eclipse typically lasts for minutes rather than hours.

Probably the best explanation is simply to take Joshua 10 at face value—God performed a stupendous miracle, causing the sun to delay its “setting.” God stopped the motion of the earth. There are objections to this explanation, based on the physics of motion, but the God who created the world and established natural laws is perfectly capable of compensating for any collateral complications. We may not have a scientific explanation of how God performed this miracle, but He did.

Interestingly, Israel’s enemies worshiped the sun and moon. The arrest of the motion of heavenly bodies and the extended period of light to help Israel clearly affirmed the Lord God as the true God. The Amorites’ own gods were powerless to aid their cause as the God of Israel moved heaven and earth to grant His people the victory.

Joshua described the miracle just as we might describe it, from an earth-bound perspective. From the perspective of someone standing on the earth, it does appear that the sun moves. We ourselves commonly speak of “sunrise” and “sunset”; it is the way we express ourselves.

While we may not fully understand how this “long day” occurred, a miracle does not have to be scientifically proven—just accepted. Joshua prayed, and God supernaturally provided the light necessary for Joshua’s army to win its battle.

The lengthened day was indeed unlike anything ever seen, but in Joshua’s mind the greater miracle may just have been that God listened to him and answered such an amazing prayer.

Henry Morris - Joshua's Long Day

One of the most amazing events of history occurred when "the LORD fought for Israel" to enable them to conquer and occupy the Promised Land, even to the extent that, on one occasion, "the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day" (Joshua 10:13).

Some quibble about the language employed, suggesting that Joshua thought the sun "moves," instead of the earth. The fact is, the motion of any heavenly body must be given in terms of relative motion (since all objects in the universe are moving in some way). Scientists normally assume the fixed point of zero motion to be the one which makes their equations most convenient to use, and this usually is the earth's surface at the location of the observer. Joshua's language was . . . quite scientific!

Furthermore, many scholars have documented numerous traditions of a "long day" (or "long night," in the western hemisphere) about the time of Joshua. The biblical story is well supported as a real fact of history. There was a long day!

Such an event required the direct intervention of the Creator Himself. He who had started the earth rotating in the first place, when He separated day and night (Genesis 1:3-5), now slowed it down again until it stopped, and the daylight continued until Joshua could rout the Amorites.

God may not usually answer prayers and fulfill promises by such a mighty miracle as this, but He does answer prayer and keep His Word, and this unique event shows He is willing and able to do whatever is needed to accomplish His will. "The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went. . . . Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people" (Habakkuk 3:11-13). 

Related Resources: 

Joshua 10:13  So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, Until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies. Is it not written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.

  • until: Nu 31:2 Jdg 5:2 16:28 Es 8:13 Lu 18:7 Rev 6:10 
  • Jasher, Nu 21:14 2Sa 1:18 
  • the sun: Jos 10:11,14 Ps 19:4 74:16,17 136:7-9 148:3 Isa 24:23 38:8 Joe 2:10,31 3:15 Mt 5:45 24:29 Ac 2:20 Rev 6:12 8:12 16:8,9 Rev 21:23 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

Isaiah 38:7-8 (GOD CAN REVERSE THE ROTATION OF THE EARTH!) “This shall be the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that He has spoken: 8“Behold, I will cause the shadow on the stairway, which has gone down with the sun on the stairway of Ahaz, to go back ten steps.” So the sun’s shadow went back ten steps on the stairway on which it had gone down. 


So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, Until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies. Is it not written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day =- NET = "The sun stood still and the moon stood motionless while the nation took vengeance on its enemies. The event is recorded in the Scroll of the Upright One (JASHAR). The book of Jashar is also mentioned in 2Sa 1:17-18. The sun stood motionless in the middle of the sky and did not set for about a full day." Jashar is the Hebrew word yashar which means straight, right, or upright.

Here is the best explanation for the miracle...

Jeremiah 32:17+ ‘Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,

Jeremiah 32:27+ “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?” (Rhetorical question of course! Answer: Nothing!)

C.S. Lewis said “The mind which asks for a non-miraculous Christianity is a mind in process of relapsing from Christianity into mere ‘religion." (Miracles)

God sent hailstones and He can stop the sun. The text says it and I believe regardless of whether or not I can explain it! While it has been described by some as the greatest miracle in the Bible, I submit that the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead on the third day after He was crucified and died is a far greater and far more significant miracle. Paul says

Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. (1Co 15:15-17+)

Henry Morris Until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies  - The Amorite horde, though decimated, could still have escaped down the mountains, particularly as the day wore on into night, but God had commanded their complete destruction. Thus the long day enabled the Israelites to finish the job. These people (whose iniquity was not yet full in Abraham's time) were now irreclaimably evil, and God miraculously aided in their elimination. (KJV New Defenders Study Bible)

NET NOTE - The Scroll of the Upright One was apparently an ancient Israelite collection of songs and prayers (see also 2Sa 1:18). 

Henry Morris book of Jasher.  The original book of Jasher, to which Joshua could appeal for corroboration of this amazing miracle, has been lost. Although there still exists a book of the same name, purporting to be a copy of the original, this copy was probably written much later than the original. The other Biblical mention of the book of Jasher is in reference to the lament of David over the death of Saul and Jonathan (2 Samuel 1:18). Therefore, the original book of Jasher must have been compiled sometime after the time of David. The reference in Joshua was then most likely inserted by a scribe of this later period. In any case, the great miracle was clearly known and believed in these ancient times. (KJV New Defenders Study Bible)

Utley makes an interesting comment - Theologically this shows YHWH’s control over the heavenly bodies (Babylonian deities). These astral gods must now help the Israelites conquer the Canaanites.

Henry Morris sun stopped.  One objection to the long day account is that the writer made a scientific mistake when he said that the sun stood still. The sun does not move, it is argued, so Joshua should have told the earth to stand still. The sun does move, however, and so does every star, planet and satellite in the universe, so far as known. Scientifically, every motion must therefore actually be expressed as relative motion, using some arbitrarily assumed reference point of zero motion. The latter is normally chosen for maximum convenience and simplicity of calculations. As far as relative motion of sun and earth is concerned, the optimum method normally used is to define the point of the observer as the point of zero motion. Thus the most scientific approach (as in the Bible) is to assume that the sun moves relative to the earth. (KJV New Defenders Study Bible)

Life’s evening sun is sinking low,
A few more days, and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done,
Where there will be no setting sun.

Arthur - So here in the CONTEXT of this chapter we discover the SETTING for one of the most staggering events in time. So staggering that even astronomers acknowledge that somewhere along the way we gathered another day! Think about it; this entire incredible event has its root in COVENANT! It gives us much to think about, doesn't it, beloved? (Our Covenant God)

Rod Mattoon - This brings us to a good question. Did anyone else record this miracle in their historical records? Yes!

    * Chinese writings record a legend of a long day. This same legend is recorded among the Inca Indians of Peru and Aztec Indians of Mexico. Both of these tribes worshiped the sun.

    * Babylonian and Persian documents record the legend of a day miraculously extended.

    * Herodotus, an ancient historian, recounts that while in Egypt, the priest showed him their temple records and he read of a day twice its natural length.

    * Harry Rimmer in his book Harmony of the Science of Scripture records the story of a professor of astronomy at Yale University who found the earth was somehow 24 hours out of schedule. Dr. Totter, another professor of Yale challenged him to read the Bible to find the answer. This professor said that 23 hours and 20 minutes was lost at this event in Joshua. He decided the Bible was not the Word of God because there was a 40 minute mistake. Professor Totter showed him the phrase “about the space of a whole day” (Vs. 13B). The professor continues to read Bible and found that God promised to add 15 years to King Hezekiah’s life in answer to his prayer (Isaiah 38:1–21; 2 Kings 20:1–11). God confirmed the promise by turning the sun dial back ten degrees. Ten degrees is forty minutes on the sun dial. The unbelieving astronomer bowed his head and believed in the Lord we are told. (Treasures From Joshua)

Alan Carr - This passage has brought much ridicule upon the Bible. Some believe that this proves the Bible is uninspired, because science has long since proven that the earth rotates around the sun and that the sun doesn’t move. However, I would like to just make a few statements about this miracle that, for me at least, settle the issue.

  • This is the language of observation. (Ill. We all speak of the sunrise and the sunset. We do not use technical, scientific language to describe the things we observe all around us.) Very literally, the sun hung at the zenith of the sky for about a whole day!
  • Ancient history supports this claim. (Ill. The Chinese, the Babylonians, The Incas, the Aztecs, the Egyptians, the Assyrians, and other ancient cultures all record the existence of a long day, which occurred about this time.)
  •  The calendar supports it. Using an ancient Chaldean calendar system, which was built around lunar and solar eclipses, it is possible to count forward to this day and find that this day fell on Tuesday July 22. However, if we count backward, using our system of reckoning days, we will find that this event happened on July 22, a Wednesday. Is there a problem? No, just the fact that an entire day is missing either way you go. Verse 13 tells us where that missing day went!
  • Some will surely counter, “But preacher, this violates all the laws of nature!” I want to remind you that there are no laws of nature! There are only the laws of God which govern nature! We need to remember Who made this world. If He can create it, then surely He can control it!)
  • The bottom line is this, God intervened supernaturally on the behalf of Israel. God gave them all the daylight they needed to get the job done!)

 What does this mean for us? Well, there are times when the Lord will supernaturally intervene in your life and He will fight your battles for you. I have seen people healed of disease. I have seen drunks saved and sobered immediately by the power of God. I have seen drug addicts immediately released from the power of drugs and made clean. I have seen lives changed in miraculous ways by the supernatural intervention of God. I have seen the Lord move in response to the need of His child and move any mountain that needed to be moved to get them what they needed. That is our God! Please understand, He doesn’t always move like that. I have seen drunks delivered, but I have seen others who still struggled with that sin even after they were saved. I have seen saints healed, but I have seen others die with their disease. I am telling this morning that there are times when the Lord will move in supernatural power to meet the need of His child!) (Joshua 10:6-14 Valuable Lessons For The Day Of Battle)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

13. Written in the book of Jasher. Or, Heb. ספר הישר sëpher hayâshâr, the book of the upright; i. e., perhaps, of eminently good and upright men, men. distinguished at once for moral worth and military prowess. As this book is generally supposed to have long since perished, though affirmed by some of the Jews to be still in existence, it is impossible to determine with certainty what it was. Mention of it occurs again 2 Sam. 1:18, where David’s lamentation over Saul is said to be extracted from it. It was probably a collection of poems, or national ballads, celebrating the chief events of the wars of Israel and the praises of their most distinguished heroes.

In the midst of heaven. Heb. בחצי השמים bahatzt hashshâmayim, in the division, or the half of the heavens; i. e. above the horizon, where the upper is divided from the lower hemisphere of heaven. Some have supposed it to mean the same as ‘in the meridian of heaven,’ but at that hour of the day how could the moon be visible, or how did Joshua know but he should have ample time, before sunset, to complete the victory? The other view is, therefore, we think, to be preferred.

Hasted not to go down about a whole day. Heb. ‘hasted not to go down כיום תמים keyōm tâmim, as at the perfect day; i. e. as it naturally does when the day is finished, when the ordinary space of a day has elapsed. This we conceive to be the true force of the original, though aware that it requires one to be acquainted with the Hebrew in order to feel the force of the evidence in favor of such a rendering. Such an one, however, upon turning to the original of Ex. 31:18; Deut. 16:6; 24:13; Ps. 73:19, will find, if we mistake not, ample proof of the correctness of this interpretation. The meaning, as we understand it, is not that the day was miraculously lengthened out to the extent of twelve hours, or another whole day, but simply that when the ordinary duration of a day was completed, the sun still delayed his setting, but for how long a time we are not informed: long enough, however, we may presume, for fully accomplishing the object for which the miracle was granted.

QUESTION - . What is the Book of Jasher and should it be in the Bible?

ANSWER - Also known as the “Book of the Upright One” in the Greek Septuagint and the “Book of the Just Ones” in the Latin Vulgate, the Book of Jasher was probably a collection or compilation of ancient Hebrew songs and poems praising the heroes of Israel and their exploits in battle. The Book of Jasher is mentioned in Joshua 10:12-13 when the Lord stopped the sun in the middle of the day during the battle of Beth Horon. It is also mentioned in 2 Samuel 1:18-27 as containing the Song or Lament of the Bow, that mournful funeral song which David composed at the time of the death of Saul and Jonathan.

The question is, if the Book of Jasher is mentioned in the Bible, why was it left out of the canon of Scripture? We know that God directed the authors of the Scriptures to use passages from many and various extra-biblical sources in composing His Word. The passage recorded in Joshua 10:13 is a good example. In recording this battle, Joshua included passages from the Book of Jasher not because it was his only source of what occurred; rather, he was stating, in effect, “If you don’t believe what I’m saying, then go read it in the Book of Jasher. Even that book has a record of this event.”

There are other Hebrew works that are mentioned in the Bible that God directed the authors to use. Some of these include the Book of the Wars of the Lord (Numbers 21:14), the Book of Samuel the Seer, the Book of Nathan the Prophet, and the Book of Gad the Seer (1 Chronicles 29:29). Also, there are the Acts of Rehoboam and the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah (1 Kings 14:29). We also know that Solomon composed more than a thousand songs (1 Kings 4:32), yet only two are preserved in the book of Psalms (72 and 127). Writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, Paul included a quotation from the Cretan poet Epimenides (Titus 1:12) and quoted from the poets Epimenides and Aratus in his speech at Athens (Acts 17:28).

The point is that the divine Author of the Bible used materials chosen from many different sources, fitting them into His grand design for the Scriptures. We must understand that history as recorded in the Bible did not occur in isolation. The people mentioned in the Bible interacted with other people. For example, though the Bible is clear that there is only one God, the Bible mentions a number of the gods people worshiped both within Israel and in the nations around. Similarly, as in Acts 17:28 and Titus 1:12, we sometimes find secular writers being quoted. This doesn’t mean that these quoted writers were inspired. It simply means they happened to say something that was useful in making a point.

There is a book called “The Book of Jasher” today, although it is not the same book as mentioned in the Old Testament. It is an eighteenth-century forgery that alleges to be a translation of the “lost” Book of Jasher by Alcuin, an eighth-century English scholar. There is also a more recent book titled “The Book of Jashar” by science fiction and fantasy writer Benjamin Rosenbaum. This book is a complete work of fiction.

Another book by this same name, called by many “Pseudo-Jasher,” while written in Hebrew, is also not the “Book of Jasher” mentioned in Scripture. It is a book of Jewish legends from the creation to the conquest of Canaan under Joshua, but scholars hold that it did not exist before A.D. 1625. In addition, there are several other theological works by Jewish rabbis and scholars called “Sefer ha Yashar,” but none of these claim to be the original Book of Jasher.

In the end, we must conclude that the Book of Jasher mentioned in the Bible was lost and has not survived to modern times. All we really know about it is found in the two Scripture quotations mentioned earlier. The other books by that title are mere fictions or Jewish moral treatises.

Spurgeon - The book of Jasher is lost, but the book of God is not, nor a single line of it. See how inspiration embalms all things which are recorded in it. We should never have heard the name of this book if it had not been preserved like a fly in the amber of Scripture.)

Related Resources:

Joshua 10:14  And there was no day like that before it or after it, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel.

  • there was: 2Ki 20:10,11 Isa 38:8 
  • the Lord: Zec 4:6,7 Mt 21:21,22 Mk 11:22-24 Lu 17:6 
  • for the Lord: Jos 10:42 23:3 De 1:30 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Joshua 10:42 Joshua captured all these kings and their lands at one time, because the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.

Joshua 23:3 “And you have seen all that the LORD your God has done to all these nations because of you, for the LORD your God is He who has been fighting for you.

Exodus 14:14 “The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.” 

Deuteronomy 1:30; ‘The LORD your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes,

Deuteronomy 3:22 ‘Do not fear them, for the LORD your God is the one fighting for you.’ 

Deuteronomy 20:4 for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’



And there was no day like that before it or after it, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought (lacham) for Israel - What a beautiful description showing that the LORD was intimately involved from beginning to end. This leads to the concluding statement in Joshua 10:42 "the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel."

THOUGHT - Are you involved in spiritual warfare as you read this note? If you just answered "no" then you are in trouble and the enemy (the world, the flesh and the devil ) has duped and/or deceived you, making you think there is a "temporary truce!" The fact is that believers are continually involved in spiritual warfare 24/7 and will be until the day of our glorification. In the meantime passages like Joshua 10:14 should give us great encouragement! Our Lord is a Warrior (Ex 15:3+) Who has fought and won the victory in the greatest battle at Calvary. And so as the writer of Hebrews says "He is able to come to the aid of those who are (present tense - continually being tested or) tempted." (Hebrews 2:18+). We are not left to ourselves when the spiritual conflict rages. Even as Yahweh fought for Israel, His chosen nation, so too He will fight for us, his His chosen children (1Th 1:4+), His beloved sons and daughters (1Jn 3:1+)! It therefore behooves us to study and know what the Bible teaches about our spiritual warfare (See resources on Spiritual Warfare) Paul in some of the very last words recorded alludes to his warfare and His Warrior

 At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened (endunamoo) me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued (rhuomai) out of the lion’s mouth.(2Ti 4:16-17+)

Matthews - The idiom “listened to” (shama‘ … beqol) means “obey,” indicating in stunning language that God answers Joshua’s prayer. As the celestial bodies obey the Lord, so the Lord “obeys” the words of a mortal man. (Joshua Teach the Text Commentary)

Stephen Grant on the LORD listened to the voice of a man - Firstly, “the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man”. The word “hearkened” (shama) is a strong word which is used in this way on only three occasions in the Old Testament where the Lord is the subject (Nu 21:3; Josh 10:14; 1Ki 17:22). On the other two occasions, the Lord responded to Israel by giving the Canaanites over to them, and to Elijah by bringing a young boy back to life. When the sun and moon stood still, for the first time, the Lord obeyed—for that is the strength of the word—the voice of a man. (What the Bible Teaches - Joshua Judges Ruth)

Spurgeon - To please sceptical minds, scores of explanations of this wonderful occurrence have been laboriously elaborated, but there is no need for them and no use in them. The Almighty God can as easily stop the sun and moon as a watchmaker can alter a watch; he did do so, and how he did it is no question for us: we may rest assured he prolonged the daylight by the very wisest means. It is not ours to try and soften down miracles, but to glorify God in them. At the appearing of our greater Joshua, the sun and moon shall be confounded while he shall be revealed in flaming fire, taking vengeance on his enemies.

Henry Morris no day like that.  This day was unique in history. The main evidence that it really happened is the historical record--not only as recorded in the Bible and (probably) the lost book of Jasher--but in the legends and traditions of all parts of the world. Such legends of a long day are found in Greece, Egypt and other ancient nations; legends of a long night are found among the American Indians, South Sea Islanders and others in the western hemisphere. Reports that a "missing day" turned up in a space program computer analysis of ancient chronology, however, are false. This report seems to have been a modern interpretation of a late nineteenth century astronomical calculation by followers of the British-Israel belief. This calculation had been based on an arbitrary premise concerning the specific date of creation, a necessary starting point for any such attempted calculation. (KJV New Defenders Study Bible)

Bob Marcaurelle - It was a mistake for Joshua to make a treaty with the people of Gibea. God will forgive us but usually leaves the painful consequences so we won’t be so prone to repeat them. But since all things work together for our good (Rom. 8:28), God can turn mistakes into blessings. Our text is a case in point. God turned this mistake into the greatest triumph in the Old Testament—the day the sun stood still because one man had faith enough to ask God to stop it. This miracle was mightier than anything Moses. Verse 14 says, “There has never been a day like it, before or since, when the Lord harkened to the voice of a man” (10:14). Moses usually would cry for help and God would choose the manner, but here Joshua saw a need and commanded the sun to stand still to give him time to defeat the armies of southern Canaan. God said, “Whoa!” and it came to a screeching stop. Joshua was a great warrior because he was a great PRAY-ER. Go behind the scenes of those who do great and good things in Christ’s name and you will find a private place of prayer where they often met with the invisible warrior who walked by their side

Fought (made war)(03898lacham means to do battle, fight, engage in combat, wage war -- against Egyptians (Ex 1:10), against Israel (Nu 21:1, 23, 25, 22:11; Josh 9:2); against Israel's enemies (Josh 10:29). Of Yahweh fighting for His people (Ex 14:14, Ex 14:25, Ex 17:9-10, Dt 1:30, Dt 3:22, Josh 10:14, Jer 21:5, Neh 4:14, 2 Chr 20:29) In doing so, Yahweh often calls into His service not only Israel, but also the elements of nature (Josh 10:11; Josh 24:7; Jdg 5:20). Nevertheless, the Israelites must also join the battle and fight with the Lord. Even though their land has been deeded to them as an inheritance, they must conquer it in battle (Ex 23:27-33).

Uses of lacham in Joshua - NOTE 9x IN JOSHUA 10! - Jos. 9:2; Jos. 10:5; Jos. 10:14; Jos. 10:25; Jos. 10:29; Jos. 10:31; Jos. 10:34; Jos. 10:36; Jos. 10:38; Jos. 10:42; Jos. 11:5; Jos. 19:47; Jos. 23:3; Jos. 23:10; Jos. 24:8; Jos. 24:9; Jos. 24:11

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

14. That the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man. Chal. ‘That the prayer of man should be heard before the Lord.’ That is, for such a purpose. Not that this was the first time that the prayers of a mortal had power with God, for those of Moses had often prevailed with him, but he had never before hearkened to the voice of man to alter so signally the course of nature, or to grant such an illustrious display of his power in behalf of his people. At the voice of a man, the sun that rules the day was stopped, as he descended, and the moon that governs the night, as she arose in the east. These eyes of the lower world, which were probably the gods whom the Amorites worshipped, were compelled, as it were, to stand still and look down upon their mistaken idolaters, who might cry to them for life and deliverance. The passage imports that the command of Joshua was in effect, though not in form, a prayer to Jehovah for the performance of the miracle. In like manner that which seems to have been uttered by Elijah, 1 Kings 17:1, as a prophecy, is spoken of by James, ch. 5:17, as a prayer. Probably no miracles were wrought by the ancient prophets or servants of God but in connexion with the most fervent ‘in-wrought’ prayer. It is only by earnest prayer that we take hold of the strength of God.

For the Lord fought for Israel. Chal. ‘For the Lord fought by his Word.’ This seems to be added as if in answer to the natural inquiry, ‘Why was such a miracle wrought on this occasion? To what was it owing that Israel was so favored?’ Because, says the writer, the Lord fought for them. He was engaged on their side; and it was in consequence of his purpose and his promise to befriend them, v. 8, 12, that he graciously heard the prayer of Joshua.

Joshua 10:14 Help from Heaven

Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel! Joshua 10:14

Today's Scripture & Insight: Joshua 10:6–15

SOS, the Morse code signal, was created in 1905 because sailors needed a way to indicate extreme distress. The signal gained renown in 1910 when used by the sinking steamer Kentucky, saving all forty-six people aboard.

While SOS may be a more recent invention, the urgent cry for help is as old as humanity. We hear it often in the Old Testament story of Joshua, who faced opposition from fellow Israelites (Joshua 9:18) and challenging terrain (3:15–17) for more than fourteen years as the Israelites slowly conquered and settled the land God had promised them. During this struggle “the Lord was with Joshua” (6:27).

In Joshua 10, the Israelites go to the aid of the Gibeonites, allies of Israel who were being attacked by five kings. Joshua knew that he needed the Lord’s help to defeat so many powerful enemies (v. 12). God responded with a hailstorm, even stopping the sun in the middle of the sky to give Israel more time to defeat the enemy. Joshua 10:14 recounts, “Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!”

If you are in the midst of a challenging situation, you can send out an SOS to God. Although help will look different than the assistance Joshua received, perhaps help comes through an unexpected job, an understanding doctor, or peace in the midst of grief. Be encouraged that these are ways He is responding to your call for help and fighting for you. By:  Lisa M. Samra (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Thank You, Father, for walking with me on this difficult journey and hearing me when I cry out to You.

As we cry out to God for help, we can trust that He will be with us.

Joshua 10:15  Then Joshua and all Israel with him returned to the camp to Gilgal.


Then Joshua and all Israel with him returned to the camp to Gilgal - All Israel refers to the valiant warriors not all the rest of the nation (women, children, elderly). 

Wiersbe points out that "You find seemingly contradictory facts stated in Joshua 10:15 and Joshua 10:21. Why would the army go all the way back to Gilgal when the battle wasn’t over? The best explanation is to see verse 15 as the completion of the quotation from the Book of Jasher, beginning at verse 13b. The temporary Jewish camp was at Makkedah, which was near Libnah; and the army didn’t return to Gilgal until they had established their control over central Canaan. (Be Strong - Joshua: Putting God's Power to Work in Your Life)

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary - Verses 15-27. None moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel. This shows their perfect safety. The kings were called to an account, as rebels against the Israel of God. Refuges of lies will but secure for God's judgment. God punished the abominable wickedness of these kings, the measure of whose iniquity was now full. And by this public act of justice, done upon these ringleaders of the Canaanites in sin, he would possess his people with the greater dread and detestation of the sins of the nations that God cast out from before them. Here is a type and figure of Christ's victories over the powers of darkness, and of believers' victories through him. In our spiritual conflicts we must not be satisfied with obtaining some important victory. We must pursue our scattered enemies, searching out the remains of sin as they rise up in our hearts, and thus pursue the conquest. In so doing, the Lord will afford light until the warfare be accomplished. 

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

15. And Joshua returned to Gilgal. The occurrence of this verse in this place has occasioned great perplexity to commentators. As it is verbatim the same as the last verse of this chapter, and is wanting in some of the ancient versions, many have thought that it was inserted here by the error of some transcriber, and that the only way to obtain a correct view of the thread of the narrative is to neglect it altogether. It cannot, it is said, be supposed that Joshua should have broken off in the mid-career of his victory, and just after the above-mentioned miracle marched his army twenty or thirty miles to Gilgal, and then have immediately returned again to the scene of action to complete the work of conquest. What could be the object of such a strange diversion of his forces at such a crisis? But we are inclined to consider it as inserted here merely by anticipation. The writer’s drift is apparently to close the general account of the engagement described above by saying that when it was ended Joshua and the Israelites returned to the camp; not, however, that this took place immediately; there were some additional incidents that occurred prior to that return, which are too important to be overlooked in the history, and which he here takes occasion to relate. This he does in the ensuing verses, 16–42, after which he inserts again, in its proper place, the account of Joshua’s return to the camp. The repetition of the words at the end of the chapter seems designed to correct the misapprehension that might arise, on reading them in their first connexion, as to the precise time to which they refer. This we regard as a safer solution of the difficulty than to suppose an error in the copyist, which in this instance seems to us improbable. It is not, however, to be disguised, that the entire context, v. 11–15, has very much the air of a supplementary insertion, as it evidently breaks the continuity of the narrative, which requires v. 16 to come in immediate connexion with v. 11, and is marked by a higher and somewhat poetical style of expression. If such a conjecture may be admitted, it will perhaps account for the occurrence of v. 15 in this connexion. The author may have seen fit to append to his inserted matter an intimation of what Joshua did after the miracle, and for this purpose have taken the 15th v. from the ensuing narrative.

Joshua 10:16  Now these five kings had fled and hidden themselves in the cave at Makkedah.

  • and hidden: Ps 48:4-6 139:7-10 Isa 2:10-12 Am 9:2 Rev 6:15 
  • in a cave: Jdg 6:2 1Sa 13:6 24:3,8 Isa 2:19-22 24:21,22 Mic 7:17 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Revelation 6:15-16+ Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16 and they *said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb;

Isaiah 2:10-12+ (DESCRIPTION OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION, THE FUTURE DAY OF THE LORD) Enter the rock and hide in the dust From the terror of the LORD and from the splendor of His majesty.  11The proud look of man will be abased And the loftiness of man will be humbled, And the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. 12 For the LORD of hosts will have a day of reckoning Against everyone who is proud and lofty And against everyone who is lifted up, That he may be abased. 

Amos 9:2 Though they dig into Sheol, From there will My hand take them; And though they ascend to heaven, From there will I bring them down. 


Now these five kings had fled and hidden themselves in the cave at Makkedah - The kings were hidden from men but not from the King of kings (Pr 15:3, Heb 4:13! Makkedah is about 35 miles southwest of Gilgal and about 15-17 miles southwest of Gibeon. It is fascinating that God providentially allowed all 5 kings to survive the Israelite swords and the divine hailstones, indicating He wanted them all alive and all together for Joshua's dramatic ceremony of placing his foot on their neck. 

Matthews - Caves were used as burial locations (Gen. 49:29–30), hideouts (1 Sam. 22:1), and dwellings (Gen. 19:30). (Joshua Teach the Text Commentary)

Guzik - We have another striking similarity with the Book of Revelation. Not only does a false “Lord of Righteousness” (Adoni-Zedek) lead a group of nations against Joshua, who has come to possess the land; but also, in the midst of their defeat, the kings hide in caves in fear of the conquering Joshua (Revelation 6:15–16).

Alan Carr - If the first section pictures the supernatural aspect of our battles, then this section portrays the personal aspect of the battles we must fight in life. You see, God gave them a great victory through His mighty power, but there was still more of the battle to be fought. In these verses, we see Israel, not the Lord, engaged in the battle! There is a lesson here for the saints of God!)

Joshua 10:16–18 We Must Control Our Enemy—Notice that these five kings tried to hide themselves in a cave. When they were discovered, Joshua ordered the cave to be sealed up, thus preventing the kings from escaping. This is a picture of control. When you got saved God changed you! However, your old, sinful nature is still alive and well! That’s right, that part of you that loves sin and the world is still active. If you don’t believe, just stick around a few more days and you will see! Just like these kings, our enemy, the flesh, hides itself within us and runs out into the open from time to time to cause us trouble. It may be a problem with the tongue that will come out from time to time. It may be anger, hatred, prejudice, lust, depravity, etc. Whatever that thing may be in your life, it must be controlled, or it will eventually come to control you.) It is important to note that part of the Fruit of the Spirit is “temperance”, Gal. 5:23. This word literally means “self-control”. It refers to that person who is the master of himself. As a child of God, you have no right to do as you please! In fact, if you are saved and allowing sin to reign in your life, you are doing so with stolen property! You are the Lord’s and you have no business using His body, His mind, His anything for sin and wickedness, 1 Cor. 6:19–20. One proof of walking in the Spirit is self-control! How are you doing in this area?)

Joshua 10:22–25 We Must Confront Our Enemy—Notice that after the battle had been won, Joshua came back to that cave and brought these kings out and humiliated them by having his princes place their feet upon their necks. He confronted them openly and publically pronounced the victory over them. Spiritually speaking, we need to do the same thing. Every person in this room knows what kings hide in your life. You know about your secret sins and those problems you have with the flesh. The only way for you to get absolute, permanent victory over these things is for you to confront them. I mean, you need to drag them out of their hiding place and lay them out before the Lord, place your foot on their necks in the name of Jesus and proclaim the victory over them this morning! You will never prosper as a child of God until your sins are handled God’s way, Pr 28:13, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”)

Joshua 10:26–27 We Must Conquer Our Enemy—In these verses, we see Joshua take a step that ensures the victory of these 5 kings. He puts them to death! I just want to remind you that your flesh is good for nothing! Your old sinful nature and your fleshly lusts are good for nothing other than the fires of judgment and hell. The only way for you to walk in victory before the Lord is to put you flesh to death! It must die daily, or it will keep you from walking in power and victory, Col. 3:5.)
(Joshua 10:6-14 Valuable Lessons For The Day Of Battle)

Joshua 10:17  And it was told Joshua, saying, "The five kings have been found hidden in the cave at Makkedah."


TSK - This information brought to Joshua, is an evidence that there were those of the country, who knew the holes and fastnesses of it, that were in his interests.  And the care Joshua took to secure them there, as it is an instance of his policy and presence of mind, even in the heat of action; so, in the success of their project, it shews how they who think to hide themselves from God, not only deceive, but destroy themselves. Their refuge of lies will but bind them over to God's judgment.

And it was told Joshua, saying, "The five kings have been found hidden in the cave at Makkedah (map) - As we would say today the "jig is up!" 

Joshua 10:18  And Joshua said, "Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave, and assign men by it to guard them,

  • Jos 10:22 Jdg 9:46-49 Job 21:30 Am 5:19 9:1 Mt 27:66 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Astriction refers to the act of binding or the state of being bound. 

And Joshua said, "Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave, and assign men by it to guard them - This recalls the scene of making the grave of the King of kings secure, Matthew writing "And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone."(Mt 27:66) Unlike Jesus, these kings will experience no "escape" from the cave, which would eventually be their burial "tomb." 

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

18. Set men by it. Heb. הפקידו עליה אנשים haphkidu âlëhâ anâshim, give men charge over it.

Joshua 10:19  but do not stay there yourselves; pursue your enemies and attack them in the rear. Do not allow them to enter their cities, for the LORD your God has delivered them into your hand."

  • stay: Ps 18:37-41 Jer 48:10 
  • Attack: Heb. cut off the tail, Isa 9:14,15 
  • Do not allow Jos 10:20 2Sa 17:13 20:6 Jer 8:14 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


but do not stay there yourselves - Capturing in the kings would not ensure a rebellious force might not rise up. They had to take them all. 

Pursue your enemies and attack them in the rear. Do not allow them to enter their cities - Joshua ordered the Israelites to "imprison" the five kings, but keep in hot pursuit of their armies before they could reach their fortified cities which potentially would make for a more difficult battle. Attack them in the rear refers to the rear guard, showing no mercy, taking no prisoners for this was a holy war of Yahweh with these depraved pagans. 

For - Term of explanation. Explaining why they should pursue and attack. 

The LORD your God has delivered them into your hand - Joshua encourages his men with the truth that God has already given their enemies into their power. 

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

19. Smite the hindmost of them. Heb. זנבתם zinnabtem, cut off the tail, as the rear-guard of an army is called. The Vulg. of Jerome renders it, ‘cut off the last of the fugitives.’ Arab., ‘Clip off their hindmost.’ The original term occurs only once elsewhere, Deut. 25:18. ‘Servants, dependants, or courtiers, in the East, always follow their superiors. Should one of them cease to serve or follow his master or patron, having gained his end, another on seeing this, asks, “Where is your tail?”—“The tail has been long in my way, I have cut it off.” ’ Roberts.

Suffer them not to enter into their cities. Heb. ‘Give them not to come to their cities.’ Where they would recover strength and renew the war. It seems, however, from the next verse, that a few stragglers succeeded in getting refuge in these defenced cities, but they were soon followed thither and destroyed.

Joshua 10:20  And it came about when Joshua and the sons of Israel had finished slaying them with a very great slaughter, until they were destroyed, and the survivors who remained of them had entered the fortified cities,

  • had finished slaying them: Jos 10:10 8:24 2Ch 13:17 
  • fortified cities: 2Sa 20:6 Jer 8:14 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


And it came about when Joshua and the sons of Israel had finished slaying (nāḵāh) them with a very great slaughter, until they were destroyed - NET has an interesting translation "Joshua and the Israelites almost totally wiped them out." 

And the survivors who remained of them had entered the fortified cities - NET = "But some survivors did escape to the fortified cities."  NLT = "They totally wiped out the five armies except for a tiny remnant that managed to reach their fortified towns." This is a surprising statement, for their enemies were not totally destroyed even though they had been instructed by God to utterly destroy them. 

It is interesting that in the following description of battles the phrase "no survivors" is repeated 6 times (Josh 10:28 Josh 10:30 Josh 10:33 Josh 10:37 Josh 10:39 Josh 10:40). Why there were survivors in Joshua 10:20 is not clear. 

Grant comments "The failure to keep them out of their cities necessitated further action against them (vv. 31–37) and would be the explanation for people remaining in these five cities after this phase of the southern campaign came to a close."   (What the Bible Teaches - Joshua Judges Ruth)

Survivors (remnant)(08300sarid from sarad = to escape, to flee) is a masculine noun which means those who survive or remain after a judgment or a battle. It is a person who has fled from a battle, that is, a "survivor." In Job 20:21 sarid describes physical things that had not been devoured. All other uses describe those who escape an enemy onslaught. In the negative sense sarid describes situations where there are no survivors (Nu 21:35; Josh 10:28; Jer 42:17). Keil and Delitzsch notes that "Sârīd is one who is left after a judgment or a battle; hence in Jeremiah 42:17 and Joshua 8:22 it is connected with pâlīt (one who has escaped from destruction), so that here serīdīm and peletah are actually alike, the serīdīm being just the escaped ones upon Mount Zion."

Sarid -28v -  left(1), remains(1), remnant(2), survived(1), survivor(13), survivors(8), who survived(2). Num. 21:35; Num. 24:19; Deut. 2:34; Deut. 3:3; Jos. 8:22; Jos. 10:20; Jos. 10:28; Jos. 10:30; Jos. 10:33; Jos. 10:37; Jos. 10:39; Jos. 10:40; Jos. 11:8; Jdg. 5:13; 2 Ki. 10:11; Job 18:19; Job 20:21; Job 20:26; Job 27:15; Isa. 1:9; Jer. 31:2; Jer. 42:17; Jer. 44:14; Jer. 47:4; Lam. 2:22; Joel 2:32; Obad. 1:14; Obad. 1:18

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

20. When Joshua and the children of Israel, &c. That is, Joshua by the children of Israel, by their agency. It is evident from v. 21 that Joshua did not accompany them in person, but awaited their return at Makkedah. It is, however, entirely according to scripture analogy to speak of that as done by a commander, which was done by the soldiers under his authority and control. The phrase may also be rendered, ‘Joshua, even the children of Israel.’

Joshua 10:21  that all the people returned to the camp to Joshua at Makkedah in peace. No one uttered a word against any of the sons of Israel.

  • to the camp: Jos 10:15-17 
  • no one: Ex 11:7 Isa 54:17 57:4 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


That all the people returned to the camp to Joshua at Makkedah in peace - NET = "Then the whole army safely returned to Joshua at the camp in Makkedah." All the soldiers returned safe. This is truly miraculous! Don't miss this statement - obedience to the commands of the LORD brings peace! 

No one uttered a word against any of the sons of Israel - Hebrew for No one uttered a word is "No one sharpened a tongue!" The enemy's spirit was broken by Israel's success on the battlefield! Fear and awe came upon the inhabitants of Canaan and none sought to raise his voice against the people of God, not to mention a sword!

Utley - "This was a Hebrew idiom of contempt (literally, “to cut” or “to sharpen,”Qal PERFECT, cf. Ex 11:7), which refers to other Canaanite tribes. As YHWH did in His victory over Egypt, so now He does a similar thing (silence the Canaanites, i.e. Ex 11:7)." 

NET NOTEHeb “no man sharpened [or perhaps, “pointed”] his tongue against the sons of Israel.” Cf. NEB “not a man of the Israelites suffered so much as a scratch on his tongue,” which understands “sharpened” as “scratched” (referring to a minor wound). Most modern translations understand the Hebrew expression “sharpened his tongue” figuratively for opposition or threats against the Israelites.

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

21. All the people returned to the camp at Makkedah. That is, the whole detachment which Joshua had sent out to scour the country and cut off the remaining straggling Canaanites. Probably a temporary encampment had been formed here for the accommodation of the army after the victory, in consequence of the kings being imprisoned in a cave near it.

In peace. Safe and sound. See Gen. 28:21; Judg. 8:9. Vulg. ‘Unhurt and in the same number.’

None moved his tongue. That is, none of the Canaanites; or, as the verb has no nominative, we may understand ‘dog,’ from Ex. 11:7; implying that their victory was so complete, that not even a dog dared to bark against them. Comp. Judith 11:13. They were struck dumb with astonishment; they were so utterly confounded by the display of supernatural power put forth in behalf of Israel, that they presumed not to breathe a whisper of insult or reproach. As the Israelites marched in triumph through their towns and villages, so far from venturing to lift a hand against them, they did not even open their lips. It is a proverbial expression, intimating a freedom from any kind of insult or molestation. ‘When a person speaks of the fear to which his enemy is reduced, he says, “Ah! he dares not now to shake his tongue against me.” “He hurt you! the fellow will not shake his tongue against you.” ’ Roberts. See a similar mode of speech Ex. 11:7. The Chal. renders it, ‘There was no hurt or loss to Israel, for which any man should afflict his soul.’ Whether or no this be the sense of the words, such was no doubt the fact. When the army came to be reviewed after the battle, there was none slain, none wounded none missing, not one Israelite had occasion to lament the loss of a friend or the loss of a limb. The original is very express that not one single Israelite was harmed either by word or weapon. So complete, so superhuman, so glorious was the victory. Such a consummation fitly shadows forth the glorious end of that warfare in which, as soldiers of Jesus Christ, we profess to be engaged. When the last enemy shall be destroyed, the last alarm hushed, the last victory gained, and all the ransomed of the Most High shall come to the camp of their Almighty Leader, in final peace and rest, all the envy, the opposition, the hatred, the malice that was cherished against the Saviour and the saints, will have become extinguished for ever. ‘The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads; and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.’

Joshua 10:22  Then Joshua said, "Open the mouth of the cave and bring these five kings out to me from the cave."


Then Joshua said, "Open the mouth of the cave and bring these five kings out to me from the cave - It was time for these evil pagan kings to meet their Maker! This meeting with the human Joshua, was but a pale preview to their future meeting with the divine Joshua, Jesus the Judge of all mankind, John recording 

Then I saw a great white throne and Him (Jesus - cf Jn 5:22, 27) who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great (INCLUDING THESE FIVE KINGS!) and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.  if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:11-15+)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

22. Then said Joshua, Open the mouth of the cave, &c. Rosenmüller, after Usher, suggests that this was probably done the next day after the defeat of the confederated kings; but although it is clear that a vast amount of action was compressed into the space of a single day, yet we are not to forget that the day was miraculously lengthened by the special interposition of the Most High.

Joshua 10:23  And they did so, and brought these 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.

Map Showing Possible Locations of Towns Mentioned
(From Peninsula Bible Church)


And they did so, and brought these 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 - The rolling away of the stone and first glimmers of light may have given these kings a glimmer of hope that "Surely we will be spared," but all hope would soon be dashed by the heel of a boot and the edge of a sword! 

Joshua 10:24  And it came about when they brought these kings out to Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the chiefs of the men of war who had gone with him, "Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings." So they came near and put their feet on their necks.

  • put your feet: De 33:29 Jdg 8:20 Ps 2:8-12 18:40 91:13 107:40 110:1,5 Ps 149:8,9 Isa 26:5,6 60:11,12 Mal 4:3 Ro 16:20 Rev 2:26,27 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


And it came about when they brought these kings out to Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the chiefs of the men of war who had gone with him, "Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings." So they came near and put their feet on their necks - Notice it is the chiefs or commanders of the Israelite forces who are given this honor. The neck symbolized one's strength and thus to place one's feet on their necks was a symbolic gesture indicating complete defeat and subjugation and it was a custom in the Middle East. (See Feet on Neck Idiom)

Joshua's action recalls Paul's words in Romans 16:20+ that...

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. 

There is a greater day of subjugation of all the enemies of the divine Joshua, Paul recording...

For He must reign until He has put all His enemies UNDER HIS FEE. 26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death. 27 For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.(1 Cor 15:25-27+, cf Heb 1:13)

Davis - Now this act was not simple barbarism nor a mere macho move. It was, if one might speak loosely, a sacrament. Joshua’s words in verse 25 explain the action: ‘Don’t be afraid and don’t lose your nerve; be strong and bold, for this is what Yahweh will do to all your enemies with whom you are fighting.’ The leaders’ feet upon the necks of these prostrate kings was an acted parable, an assuring sign, of how Yahweh would certainly place all their enemies beneath them. The symbolic action is intended as a visible encouragement to the people of God. (Joshua: No Falling Words)

Campbell explains that "following an eastern custom of conquerors, often pictured on Egyptian and Assyrian monuments, Joshua instructed his field commanders to put their feet on the kings’ necks."   (The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament or Here)

Utley "The surviving warriors and leaders were subjected to humiliating treatment in the ancient Near East."  
There are several verbal metaphors used which may be derived from actual events.
    1.      putting your foot on the neck of the defeated foe
      a.      Gen. 49:8
      b.      Josh. 10:24
    2.      treading on the enemy
      a.      2 Sam. 22:39
      b.      Ps. 44:5
      c.      Ps. 60:12
      d.      Ps. 108:13
      e.      Isa. 63:3 (of YHWH)
  (this may relate to Gen. 3:15)
    3.      vanquished as footstool
      a.      1 Kgs. 5:3
      b.      Ps. 18:38
      c.      Ps. 47:3
      d.      Ps. 110:1
            (a–c may relate to metaphor #2)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

24. All the men of Israel. Heb. כל איש ישראל kol ish Yisrael, all the man, or manhood of Israel, i. e. all the men of war, the flower and prime of the army by whom the recent victory had been obtained. We have already remarked, in the notes on ch. 9:6, that the term ‘men’ is often used in a peculiarly emphatic sense, to denote the chief men, or the princes of the congregation. A passage strikingly confirmative of this usage occurs Deut. 29:10, ‘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.’ Here the ‘with,’ as indicated by the Italics, is not found in the original, and the sense undoubtedly is, ‘even all the men of Israel,’ making the clause to stand simply in opposition with what goes before.

Put your feet upon the necks of these kings. Not as a personal insult to the kings, but symbolically, in token not only of the present complete victory, but of the absolute subjection to which all their adversaries would finally be reduced, as Joshua himself explains it in the next verse. ‘This in the East is a favorite way of triumphing over a fallen foe. When people are disputing, should one be a little pressed, and the other begin to triumph, the former will say, “I will tread upon thy neck, and after that beat thee.” A low caste man insulting one who is high, is sure to hear some one say to the offended individual, “Put your feet on his neck.” ’ Roberts. In like manner, we are also taught to regard our victories past as pledges of future and greater conquests.—The severity enjoined towards the vanquished kings, though abhorrent to our humane feelings, was right, because it was commanded, Deut. 20:16, 17, and it was important that in doing the Lord’s work the Israelites should be taught the lesson elsewhere inculcated by the prophet, Jer. 4:8; ‘Cursed be he that doeth the Lord’s work deceitfully, and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood.’ The act here mentioned was in fulfilment of the prediction, Deut. 33:29, ‘Thou shalt tread upon their high places,’ on which see Note.

Joshua 10:25  Joshua then said to them, "Do not fear or be dismayed! Be strong and courageous, for thus the LORD will do to all your enemies with whom you fight."

  • Fear: Jos 1:9 De 31:6-8 1Sa 17:37 Ps 63:9 77:11 2Co 1:10 2Ti 4:17,18 
  • be strong: Eph 6:10 
  • Will do: De 3:21,22 7:19 Ro 8:37 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Joshua then said to them, "Do not fear (yareor be dismayed! Be strong and courageous, for thus the LORD will do to all your enemies with whom you fight (lacham) - This would seem to explain the symbolic foot on neck gesture in the preceding passage. Joshua passes on to the warriors what he had heard from Yahweh "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”(Jos 1:9) The victory over the 5 Amorite kings was just a "preview of coming attractions!"

Notice the repeated pattern "the LORD will do" and "you fight" (God's sovereignty/Man's responsibility). In context the phrase thus the LORD will do to all your enemies depicts Israel's feet on the necks of all the enemy kings! This would encourage faithfulness and fearlessness.

Be strong (chazaq) in the Septuagint is a command in present imperative (in the NT it calls for us to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) and is the verb andrizo which literally means "act like men!" This is the same command Paul issued to the disciples of Jesus at Corinth -

Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love. (1Cor 16:13-14+)

Comment - All these commands are in the present imperative thus all necessitate dependence on the Holy Spirit to obey!

General Joshua is doing for his men what the Lord had done for Him back in Joshua 10:8 "“Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you.”

Joshua's words were to encourage and fortify their faith for warriors without faith were not a good thing in war as shown in the following passages...

Deuteronomy 20:8  “Then the officers shall speak further to the people and say, ‘Who is the man that is afraid and fainthearted? Let him depart and return to his house, so that he might not make his brothers’ hearts melt like his heart.’

Judges 7:3   “Now therefore come, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is afraid and trembling, let him return and depart from Mount Gilead.’” So 22,000 people returned, but 10,000 remained. 

Grant has an interesting comment - It is instructive that encouragement for the people of God was required in times of victory as well as in defeat. It was after the debacle at Ai that the Lord had spoken to Joshua (8:1) and now, in the aftermath of victory, His words are the same. In times of victory and discouragement the Christian needs a word from the Lord. (What the Bible Teaches - Joshua Judges Ruth)

Davis - The encouragement Joshua gives in verse 25 is the very same he had received. God had previously ordered Joshua not to ‘lose your nerve’ (Joshua1:9) and had repeatedly commanded him to ‘be strong and bold’ (Joshua 1:6, 7, 9). Now (10:25) Joshua passes on the encouragement he had received from Yahweh (cf. 2 Cor. 1:4).  (Joshua: No Falling Words)

Wiersbe -  Since Joshua is a type of Jesus Christ, we can apply this scene and these words to Christ and His people. Jesus has defeated all His enemies and will one day return and destroy them forever. No matter how they may rage and rebel (Ps. 2:1–3), our Lord’s enemies are only the footstool at His feet (Ps. 110:1; 1 Cor. 15:25). Through Him, we can claim victory and put our feet on the necks of our enemies (Rom. 16:20).  (Be Strong - Joshua: Putting God's Power to Work in Your Life)

Irving Jensen - The Christian intent on living close to God knows all too well that the enemy of his soul is often not one but a coalition of many foes . Who has not faced a coalition of Delusion, Doubt, Discouragement, and Despair; or of Pride, Pomp, and Prejudice; or of Laxity and Lukewarmness? But God is able--"for thus shall Jehovah do to all your enemies against whom ye fight."  (Joshua- Everyman's Bible Commentary: Rest-Land Won)

Be strong (02388)(chazaq) conveys the basic meaning of to be or become strong (Jos. 17:13), to make strong or strengthen, “Be very firm (Josh 23:6), in the Hiphil to take hold of or seize ("retain His anger" - Mic 7:18+), in the Hithpael to strengthen oneself (to take courage 1 Sa 30:6). To be courageous. To overpower. Chazaq describes strength - severity of a famine (a "strong" famine) (2 Ki 25:3, Jer 52:6), strength of humans to overpower (David and Goliath  1Sa 17:50, cf 1Sa 17:35 = seized;, Amnon and Tamar = 2Sa 13:14), in a battle, to capture (2Chr 8:3), Samson's last demonstration of supernatural strength he prays "please strengthen me" (Jdg 16:28). Used in the charge "Be strong and courageous" (Josh 1:6, 7, 9,18, Josh 10:25, "be firm" = Josh 23:6; "Be strong and courageous" = Dt 31:6-7, 23). Chazaq used 12 times in Ex 4-14 of hardening Pharaoh's heart (cf similar use in Josh 11:20). In a great passage in Da 11:32+ we read "“By smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength (chazaq) and take action."  As in the Qal, when the object of the verb is the heart (ten times), the verb is translated "harden" (Exodus 4:21f.) W E Vine adds "The strong form of the verb is used in Exod. 4:21: "…I will harden his [Pharaoh's] heart…." This statement is found 8 times. Four times we read: "Pharaoh's heart was hard" (Exod. 7:13, 22; Exod. 8:19; Exod. 9:35, niv; kjv, rsv, nasb, "was hardened"). In Exod. 9:34 Pharaoh's responsibility is made clear by the statement "he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart…."

All uses of chazaq in Joshua - Jos. 1:6; Jos. 1:7; Jos. 1:9; Jos. 1:18; Jos. 10:25; Jos. 11:20; Jos. 17:13; Jos. 23:6; 

Joshua 10:26  So afterward Joshua struck them and put them to death, and he hanged them on five trees; and they hung on the trees until evening.

  • Joshua: Jdg 8:21 1Sa 15:33 
  • hanged: Jos 8:29 Nu 25:4 De 21:22,23 2Sa 21:6,9 Es 2:23 7:9,10 Mt 27:25 Ga 3:13 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


So afterward Joshua struck (nāḵāh) them and put them to death, and he hanged them on five trees; and they hung on the trees until evening - The passage suggests that Joshua himself carried out the execution. He is certainly no "Casper milquetoast!" The kings must be killed lest they lead a rebellion against Israel. 

THOUGHT - Do you have some "kings," some sins that seek to reign again on the throne of your heart as they did unhindered before you were crucified with Christ. Read Ro 6:11-13+ especially "do not let sin reign [present imperative with a negative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey] in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts." Our Joshua (Jesus) would say we must slay them without mercy, lest they continue to lead rebell raids on our heart, weakening our spiritual life and witness. 

Rod Mattoon - Like the kings in the cave, do you feel like your enemy is trapped but not destroyed? Are your weaknesses and bad habits under control, but you still have not attained total victory over them? Perhaps, you feel your enemies have you trapped and you are struggling for victory. Realize Christ can set you free and give you the complete victory you are looking for! Do you feel overwhelmed by battles and problems you still need to face? Understand that Christ is our fortress, shield, strength, and peace. (Treasures From Joshua)

Grant comments "Each king bore the curse associated with hanging upon a tree, in accordance with the Law of Moses (Deut 21:22–23) and consistent with the treatment of the king of Ai (8:29). (What the Bible Teaches - Joshua Judges Ruth)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

26. Hanged them on five trees, &c. Chal. ‘On five crosses.’ see on Joshua 8:29.

Joshua 10:27  And it came about at sunset that Joshua commanded, and they took them down from the trees and threw them into the cave where they had hidden themselves, and put large stones over the mouth of the cave, to this very day.

  • they took: Jos 8:29 De 21:23 2Sa 18:17 
  • this very day: Jos 4:9 7:26 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


And it came about at sunset that Joshua commanded, and they took them down from the trees and threw them into the cave where they had hidden themselves, and put large stones over the mouth of the cave, to this very day - These stones were another memorial to remind them of Israel beginning to possess their possessions. 

Utley - From Deut. 21:22-23 we learn what a humiliating act this was in the eyes of the Jews. To be unburied was worse than being dead. We can see how Joshua used this as a sign to ridicule this united Canaanite opposition to the Israeli advance.

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

27. At the time of the going down of the sun. Whether this was on the evening of the day so miraculously lengthened out, or of the following, has been doubted by commentators. But if the fact of the preternatural extension of the day be admitted, we can see no objection to this view.

Cast them into the cave. ‘That which they thought would have been their shelter, was made their prison first, and then their grave. So shall we be disappointed in that which we flee to from God; yet to good people the grave is still “a hiding-place,” Job 14:3.’ Henry.

Laid great stones in the cave’s mouth. Mainly, we presume, for the same reason that a similar monument was raised over the place where Achan was stoned and burnt, ch. 7:26, to perpetuate the memory of the event in connexion with the disgrace and ignominy of the culprits who suffered there. Masius remarks, without specifying his authority, that ‘those who have visited this region say, that the cave is still shown in a hill near Makkedah, its mouth being closed by a wall, to preserve it as a monument.’

Seven Stone Memorials
in Joshua

Joshua 4:20


a reminder of God’s faithfulness in bringing Israel safely across the Jordan into the Promised Land

Joshua 7:26 

Over Achan

a reminder of Israel’s potential for unfaithfulness and of the dire consequences that result

Joshua 8:28-29

over the king of Ai

a monument to Israel’s second chance and restoration

Joshua 8:30-32

Joshua engraves a copy of the law

a reminder of Israel’s duty to live in obedience to the divine “Torah,” or “instruction”

Joshua 10:27

over Amorite kings at Gibeon

a reminder of God’s gracious action in defending Israel’s covenant with a Canaanite city

Joshua 22:34

peace in the land of Gilead

a witness to the unity of the Transjordanian tribes with Israel west of the Jordan

Joshua 24:26-27

covenant renewal at Shechem

a reminder of Israel’s duty to serve the Lord, who fulfilled every promise in bringing them into the land

Joshua 10:28  Now Joshua captured Makkedah on that day, and struck it and its king with the edge of the sword; he utterly destroyed it and every person who was in it. He left no survivor. Thus he did to the king of Makkedah just as he had done to the king of Jericho.

  • Makkedah: Situated, according to Eusebius, 8 miles east from Eleutheropolis.  It was afterwards assigned to the tribe of Judah. Jos 15:41 
  • them: Jos 10:32,35,37,39 6:21 De 7:2,16 20:16,17 Ps 21:8,9 110:1 Lu 19:27 1Co 15:25 
  • he had done: Jos 10:30 8:2 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Joshua's Central and Southern Campaigns
From Holman Bible Atlas (available for purchase in digital or Hardcover
© 1998 B&H Publishing Group used by permission.
Please do not reproduce.
(Click map to enlarge)


Joshua 10:28-42 describe the rest of the southern campaign. And remember from the overview chart at the top of the page, this extensive warfare (Joshua 6-12) which took about 7 years was the necessary preparation for the longer process (about 18 years) of occupation of the land (Joshua 13-22).

Constable on Joshua 10:28-39 - Seven other victories followed the battle at Gibeon. In the record of these encounters the writer highlighted two important facts. Israel was obedient to God’s command to exterminate the Canaanites in these cities. Second, it was Yahweh who gave Israel’s enemies into her hands (Joshua 10:30, 32). The purpose of Joshua’s raids was to destroy the military capability of these city-states and to instill fear and confusion in the remaining Canaanites. Archaeology has confirmed that many of these cities did not suffer violent destruction at this time.

Now Joshua captured Makkedah on that day, and struck (nāḵāh)it and its king with the edge of the sword; he utterly destroyed (charamit and every person who was in it. He left no survivor (sarid). Thus he did to the king of Makkedah  (map just as he had done to the king of Jericho - The city was also under the ban, devoted to God as had been Jericho and Ai. 

Utley - “he utterly destroyed it and every person who was in it. He left no survivor” The holy war (herem, cf. 8:8) judgment is repeated several times (Hiphil, cf. 8:22; 10:28, 30, 33, 39, 40; 11:8, 14; Num. 21:35; Deut. 2:34; 3:3).

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary - Verses 28-43. Joshua made speed in taking these cities. See what a great deal of work may be done in a little time, if we will be diligent, and improve our opportunities. God here showed his hatred of the idolatries and other abominations of which the Canaanites had been guilty, and shows us how great the provocation was, by the greatness of the destruction brought upon them. Here also was typified the destruction of all the enemies of the Lord Jesus, who, having slighted the riches of his grace, must for ever feel the weight of his wrath. The Lord fought for Israel. They could not have gotten the victory, if God had not undertaken the battle. We conquer when God fights for us; if he be for us, who can be against us? 

Alan Carr - Joshua 10:28, 35 We Must Fight Daily—Please note that the battles Israel fought seemed to come day by day. Their’s was a life of battles! The same is true for the child of God. Our battles will confront us daily. Therefore, we must arise each day with the willingness to fight our battles faithfully for the glory of God!) Let me say this to those who may be waiting on easier times to begin serving the Lord. You may never have an easier time! You and I are not promised one more day upon this earth. The only day I have to fight my battles is today. Tomorrow may never come for me! Therefore, let me say to you that if you have something to do for the Lord, do it today! If you have something to give to the Lord, give it today! If there is someone you need to tell about Jesus, tell them today! Tomorrow may never dawn on you! James 4:17!) (Joshua 10:6-14 Valuable Lessons For The Day Of Battle)

Rod Mattoon on Joshua 10:28-42 - This was the Southern Campaign. These cities guarded the approach to the southern highlands. Centuries later Sennacherib and Nebuchadnezzar followed the same military strategy. The common phrase here is “The Lord delivered.” God delivers us from our enemies. He delivers us from sinful habits and behavior that destroys our lives. Hidden insights in the names of the cities reveal the enemies of Christians that Jesus Christ helps us to overcome.

    * Makkedah (vs. 28)= The Hebrew root means “to blaspheme, curse, pierce (piercing words).

    * Libnah (vs. 29)= It means “whiteness.” It was used to describe the corruption of leprosy, the whiteness of death. In Genesis 49:12, it is associated with prosperity and materialism. There is nothing wrong with financial success as long as greed and covetousness don’t take root in the heart. This is what ends up destroying the effectiveness of many believers.

    * Lachish (vs. 31) = It means “obstinate or rebellion.”

    * King Horam (vs. 33)= It means “high spirited, lofty.” A reminder of what pride does to a person.

    * Gezer (vs. 33)= It means “to divide.” This is what criticalness and divisiveness does to people.

    * Eglon (vs. 34)= It means “calf.” This reminds me of false teaching as Israel worshiped a golden calf.

    * Hebron (vs. 36)= It means “confederation, fellowship.” This reminded me of conformity or yoking up with this world; to worldliness.

    * Debir (vs. 38)= Debir means “to speak.” I am reminded of the sins of the tongue that can be so destructive to God’s servants.

Piercing words, materialism, covetousness, rebellion, pride, a critical, divisive spirit, false teaching, worldliness, and sins of the tongue are all enemies of the believer. The city that was not conquered in this chapter was Jerusalem. It was very troublesome to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin until it was finally conquered by David. An important lesson here is this, “If sin is not confronted, confessed, and conquered in our life, it will eat away at our life like an infected sore. "(Treasures From Joshua)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

28. That day Joshua took Makkedah.  (map) The same day on which the kings were hung, and which we have already remarked was probably the day subsequent to that on which the sun stood still. Yet it is possible that the sense may be, that about that time—not on the identical day—he took the city of Makkedah. It might have been a day or two later.

The king thereof he utterly destroyed. Heb. החרים he’harim, devoted, made a curse.

All the souls. Heb. כל נפש kōl nëphesh, all the soul. That is, all the people, men women, and children; for it would appear from ch. 11:14, that the cattle and spoils were given to the conquerors.

As he did unto the king of Jericho. How he had dealt with this king we are not expressly informed. Probably he had been first slain, and then hanged up, as was the king of Ai and the five kings here mentioned.

Joshua 10:29  Then Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Makkedah to Libnah, and fought against Libnah.

  • Libnah: This city was situated in the south of Judah, and in the district of Eleutheropolis, according to Eusebius and Jerome. It is probably the Libnah in the neighbourhood of which the Israelites encamped. Jos 12:15 15:42 21:13 Nu 33:20 2Ki 8:22 19:8 Jer 52:1, as he did, Jos 10:28 6:21 8:2,29 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Then Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Makkedah to Libnah, and fought against Libnah - More utter destruction. This next section summarize Joshua and Israel's conquest of the southern (Joshua 10:29-43) and then is followed by the description of the northern regions (Joshua 11:15) of the land God had promised them. 

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

29. And all Israel with him. That is, all of Israel that had been engaged with him in this late expedition.

Unto Libnah. A city in the tribe of Judah near its western border, not far from Makkedah, about twelve miles west or south-west from Jerusalem. It was afterwards given to the priests, ch. 21:13. Even its ruins have now disappeared.

Joshua 10:30  And the LORD gave it also with its king into the hands of Israel, and he struck it and every person who was in it with the edge of the sword. He left no survivor in it. Thus he did to its king just as he had done to the king of Jericho.


And the LORD gave it (handed it) also with its king into the hands of Israel - While this is the only record of this phrase in these last verses, surely a similar statement could be made for each of the following conflicts!  It is vital that we see that it was the LORD who gave Israel victory over their enemies. 

Joshua 10:30 The LORD gave it also with its king into the hands of Israel, and he struck it and every person who was in it with the edge of the sword. He left no survivor in it. Thus he did to its king just as he had done to the king of Jericho. 

Joshua 10:32 The LORD gave Lachish into the hands of Israel; and he captured it on the second day, and struck it and every person who was in it with the edge of the sword, according to all that he had done to Libnah. 

Joshua 10:42 Joshua captured all these kings and their lands at one time, because the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.

Joshua  11:6 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow at this time I will deliver all of them slain before Israel; you shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire.”

Joshua 11:8 The LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel, so that they defeated them, and pursued them as far as Great Sidon and Misrephoth-maim and the valley of Mizpeh to the east; and they struck them until no survivor was left to them.

Every victory Israel had over their enemies, God gave them.

THOUGHT - Every victory we as disciples of Christ experience, is a victory that the LORD gives us. Of course, we still have to play a part in attaining the victory even as Joshua did, and our part in a word is simply to trust and obey. It is never just "let go and let God" (Keswick movement) but "let God and let's go!" Let me illustrate it in what Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones calls the most important passage in the Bible related to the sanctification of believer. The passage is Romans 8:13b where Paul writes "if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live." Do you see the "Let God" component? Clearly it is the Holy Spirit's enablement (giving us both the desire and the power - Php 2:13NLT+). And what is our role? Killing sin is our job for the remainder of our time on earth, which no furloughs, no time off (because "putting to death" is in the present tense [continual action], active voice [calls for a personal, volitional choice, a choice of our will - God will enable us but will not force us] and indicative mood [mood of reality - JUST DO IT!])

Related Resources: These are worth your investment of time!!!

And he struck (nāḵāhit and every person who was in it with the edge of the sword. He left no survivor (saridin it. Thus he did to its king just as he had done to the king of Jericho - Take no prisoners policy continued. Joshua's obedience was the key to victory over the enemy (cf Josh 11:9, 12, 15, 20), working in synch with the Captain of the hosts of the LORD, Who gave Joshua the victory. 

Joshua 10:31  And Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Libnah to Lachish, and they camped by it and fought against it.

  • Lachish: Jos 10:3,5 12:11 15:39 2Ki 19:8 2Ch 11:9 Isa 37:8 Mic 1:13 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


And Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Libnah to Lachish, and they camped by it and fought against it - See discussion of Lachich above. 

TSK note on Lachish was also situated in the south of Judah, seven miles south from Eleutheropolis, according to Eusebius and Jerome. It appears to have been anciently a very strong place; for though the people were panic struck, and the Israelites flushed with success, yet Joshua could not reduce it till the second day; and the king of Assyria afterwards was obliged to raise the siege.

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

31. Unto Lachish. Situated a few miles directly south of Libnah, near the western limits of Judah. It was probably a strongly fortified place, as Joshua could not take it till the second day, and Sennacherib afterwards was obliged to ‘raise the siege.’ 2 Kings, 19:8; Is. 37:8. Nothing is here said of the king of Lachish, as he was one of the five who had been executed before.

Joshua 10:32  And the LORD gave Lachish into the hands of Israel; and he captured it on the second day, and struck it and every person who was in it with the edge of the sword, according to all that he had done to Libnah.


And the LORD gave Lachish into the hands of Israel; and he captured it on the second day, and struck (nāḵāhit and every person who was in it with the edge of the sword, according to all that he had done to Libnah - This was a large city and the only city it took two days to defeat. 

Lachish is mentioned 8x in Joshua 10 -  Jos. 10:3; Jos. 10:5; Jos. 10:23; Jos. 10:31; Jos. 10:32; Jos. 10:33; Jos. 10:34; Jos. 10:35; Jos. 12:11; Jos. 15:39; 2 Ki. 14:19; 2 Ki. 18:14; 2 Ki. 18:17; 2 Ki. 19:8; 2 Chr. 11:9; 2 Chr. 25:27; 2 Chr. 32:9; Neh. 11:30; Isa. 36:2; Isa. 37:8; Jer. 34:7; Mic. 1:13. Clearly this was an strategic city for Joshua to defeat! 

Archaeology of Lachish - With regard to Lachish (mentioned in Joshua 10:3–31) Ussishkin, who worked there since 1973, concludes: “All evidence seems to indicate that the large city of Level VI came to a sudden end and was destroyed by fire. This was the conclusion of the British expedition … and it is supported by fresh evidence from Areas P and S. We agree with Albright … that the destruction of Level VI city should be attributed to the invading Israelites, as recorded in the Old Testament.” (1978:92; cf. also Mazar 1992:283). (See Wikipedia article on Tel Lachish

Related Resources:

  • Wikipedia article on Tel Lachish
  • Bridgeway Bible Dictionary Lachish
  • Easton's Bible Dictionary Lachish
  • Fausset Bible Dictionary Lachish
  • Holman Bible Dictionary Lachish -- Excerpt = "Place name meaning “obstinate.” An important Old Testament city located in the Shephelah (“lowlands”) southwest of Jerusalem. It has usually been identified in modern times with the archaeological site called tell ed-Duweir. The same site has more recently come to be called tel Lachish. Lachish is also mentioned in ancient Egyptian, Assyrian and Babylonian records.The earliest reference to Lachish is in the Amarna letters (about 1400 B.C). It was evidently one of the important Canaanite cities of the time.
  • Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible Lachish
  • Smith Bible Dictionary Lachish
  • Watson's Theological Dictionary Lachish
  • 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica Lachish
  • International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Lachish
  • Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia Lachish
  • McClintock and Strong's Bible Encyclopedia Lachish Lachish (2)
  • The Jewish Encyclopedia Lachish

Joshua 10:33  Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish, and Joshua defeated him and his people until he had left him no survivor.

  • Gezer: Gezer was situated on the confines of Ephraim and Manasseh, between Beth-horon and the sea; and is evidently the village of Gazara mentioned by Eusebius, four miles (north) from Nicopolis or Emmaus. Jos 12:12 16:3,10 21:21 Jdg 1:29 1Ki 9:16,17 1Ch 6:67 20:4 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish, and Joshua defeated (nāḵāhhim and his people until he had left him no survivor  (sarid)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

33. Horam king of Gezer. There was a city of this name in the tribe of Ephraim twenty miles southwest of Jerusalem, ch. 16:3, 10; Judges 1:19. But this seems too remote from the scene of action. The probability is, that it was some place in the tribe of Judah but little distant from Lachish, the king of which either as an ally of the king of Lachish, or for his own security, offered to aid in resisting the further progress of Joshua. ‘Thus wicked men are often snared in their counsels, and, by opposing God in the way of his judgments, bring them sooner upon their own heads.’ Henry.

Joshua 10:34  And Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Lachish to Eglon, and they camped by it and fought against it.

  • Eglon: This town appears to have been no great distance from Lachish, with which it is mentioned, ch. 15:39, as one of the cities given to Judah. Jos 10:3 12:12 15:39 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


And Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Lachish to Eglon, and they camped by it and fought against it

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

34. Unto Eglen. Another city of Judah, near to Lachish, and fifteen miles from Jerusalem. See Map.

Joshua 10:35  And they captured it on that day and struck it with the edge of the sword; and he utterly destroyed that day every person who was in it, according to all that he had done to Lachish.

  • on that day: Jos 10:32 
  • utterly: Jos 10:37 Lev 26:44 Job 19:10 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


And they captured it on that day and struck (nāḵāhit with the edge of the sword; and he utterly destroyed (charamthat day every person who was in it, according to all that he had done to Lachish

Campbell - First he took Makkedah (v. 28), Libnah (v. 29), Lachish (v. 31), and Eglon (v. 34). These cities, ranging roughly from north to south, guarded the approaches to the southern highlands. Centuries later both Sennacherib and Nebuchadnezzar followed the same strategy in their attacks on Judah.  (The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament or Here)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

35. Took it on that day. The same day on which they encamped against it.

Joshua 10:36  Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron, and they fought against it.

  • Hebron: Jos 10:3,5 14:13,14 15:13,54 21:13 Ge 13:18 Nu 13:22 Jdg 1:10 2Sa 5:1-5 15:9,10 1Ch 12:23,28 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron, and they fought against it - Joshua leads and all Israel follows him. 

Utley - 10:36–37 The capture of Hebron is a good example of conflicting data or partial data recorded in the OT. There are several different traditions about its capture.
    1.      Josh. 10:36–37—Joshua completely destroyed it, its leadership and its surrounding villages
    2.      Josh. 14:6–14; Judg. 1:20—Caleb captured the city, hills and the Anakim (giants)
    3.      Jdg. 1:10—Judah captured the city, hills and the descendants of Anak (the giants)
This is one of many examples of the confusion which modern interpreters face in trying to sort out the historical aspects of this period. It is helpful to remember that the OT is a combination of history and theology. It is not modern, western, chronological, cause and effect, recording of events! We may not know the exact details of the military encounters but the  theology is consistent!

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

36, 37. Unto Hebron—and the king thereof. Probably a successor to him who had been slain and hanged before, v. 23, 26. The rank which this city evidently held among its sister cities doubtless made it important that, in such a crisis as the present, a new head should be immediately appointed.—Though now taken, the city of Hebron seems afterwards to have fallen back into the hands of the Canaanites, which made it necessary for Caleb to take it a second time as related, ch. 15:14; Judges 1:10. The case appears to have been the same in regard to some other of the places captured on this occasion. Judges 1:11–13. The reason of it was, that Joshua, in his rapid conquests, contented himself with taking, demolishing, and burning those cities, but did not garrison any of them for fear of weakening his army. The scattered Canaanites in several instances no doubt took advantage of this, returned, repeopled, and put in a state of defence, the cities from which they had been expelled. Hence the Israelites were obliged to conquer them a second time. So the Christian in his spiritual warfare finds it as much as he can do to keep possession of the ground which he has once gained. His old enemies are incessantly returning upon him. His battles must be fought and his victories achieved anew. The lusts which appeared to be slain, are ever and anon giving signs that they still live; and are intent upon regaining their former ascendency. This makes it dangerous to remit our activity for a single hour. Constant vigilance is the grand condition of final triumph.

All the cities thereof. The cities subject to its jurisdiction and dependant upon it; so that Hebron was properly speaking a metropolis, i. e. a mother city. Such too was Gibeon, spoken of above, v. 2; ch. 9:17.

Joshua 10:37  And they captured it and struck it and its king and all its cities and all the persons who were in it with the edge of the sword. He left no survivor, according to all that he had done to Eglon. And he utterly destroyed it and every person who was in it.

  • king: From ver. 23, we learn that the king of Hebron was one of the five whom Joshua slew and hanged on five trees at Makkedah. This slaying of the king of Hebron, therefore, must either refer to what had already been done, or the Hebronites had set up another, whom Joshua now slew when he took the city.
  • according: Jos 10:35 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


And they captured it and struck (nāḵāh)it and its king and all its cities and all the persons who were in it with the edge of the sword. He left no survivor (sarid), according to all that he had done to Eglon. And he utterly destroyed (charam) it and every person who was in it.

Joshua 10:38  Then Joshua and all Israel with him returned to Debir, and they fought against it.

  • Debir: Debir was situated in the south of the tribe of Judah, near Hebron.  The expression of Joshua's returning to Debir, probably denotes, that having carried his conquests in the southern parts as far as Gaza, (ver. 41,) which was in the south-west angle of Canaan, he then marched back to besiege Debir. Jos 12:13 15:15,49 21:15 Jdg 1:11-15 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Then Joshua and all Israel with him returned to Debir, and they fought against it

Campbell - Joshua next drove into the heart of the southern region and defeated its two chief walled cities, Hebron (v. 36) and Debir (v. 38).
But Jerusalem and Jarmuth, two of the five confederates (v. 5), were bypassed. No explanation is given as to why the defeat of the city of Jarmuth is not mentioned. As for Jerusalem, no doubt Israel’s troops were too weary to undertake this difficult task as they returned to camp at Gilgal. At any rate this pagan “island” in the land was to be troublesome to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin until it was conquered by David (2 Sam. 5:7).  (The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament or Here)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

38. And Joshua returned. That is, turned his course, began to march in a new direction. It is not implied that he had been at Debir before; but that having now advanced to the southwest as far as he thought fit, even as far as Gaza, v. 41, he turned and directed his course towards Gilgal, lying to the northeast, and fell upon Debir on his way. This city was in the tribe of Judah, about thirty miles southwest of Jerusalem and ten miles west of Hebron. It was also called Kirjath-Sepher, ch. 15:15, and Kirjath-Sannah, ch. 15:19, perhaps from its being one of the seats of learning among the Canaanites; the name Kirjath-Sepher signifying the city of books or of letters. The Canaanites having subsequently retaken it, Caleb, to whom it fell by lot, gave his daughter Achsah in marriage to Othniel for his bravery in having carried it by storm, ch. 15:16. It was afterwards given to the priests, ch. 21:15, but no trace of it is to be found at the present time.

Joshua 10:39  And he captured it and its king and all its cities, and they struck them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed every person who was in it. He left no survivor. Just as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir and its king, as he had also done to Libnah and its king.

  • left no survivor: Jos 10:33,37,40 11:8 De 3:3 2Ki 10:11 Ob 1:18 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


And he captured it and its king and all its cities, and they struck (nāḵāhthem with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed (charamevery person who was in it. He left no survivor (sarid). Just as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir and its king, as he had also done to Libnah and its king.

Woudstra - The last city mentioned is Debir. Joshua turned toward it since Debir was 11 miles southwest of Hebron. It was strategically located between the southland (Negeb) and the Shephelah. Its earlier name had been Kiriath-sepher, "city of books". Like Hebron, Debir had to be recaptured at a later point in Israel's history (cf. 14:6-15; 15:15-17; Judg. 1:10-13). The fate of Debir is like that of the other cities. The narrator links explicitly what happened to Debir with the fate of Hebron and Libnah. This enhances the sombre monotony of destruction which characterizes this passage. (The Book of Joshua The New International Commentary)

Constable - According to Carl von Clausewitz (1780–1831), a philosopher of war, there are three principle military objectives in any war. First, the aggressor must destroy the military power of the enemy so he cannot continue or resume war. Second, he must conqueror the land of the enemy so a new military force cannot arise from it. Third, he must subdue the will of the enemy. Joshua accomplished all three of these basic objectives.144

Joshua 10:40  Thus Joshua struck all the land, the hill country and the Negev and the lowland and the slopes and all their kings. He left no survivor, but he utterly destroyed all who breathed, just as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded.

  • the hill country: Jos 15:21-63 18:21-28 19:1-8,40-48 
  • utterly: Jos 10:35,37 1Ki 15:29 Ps 9:17 2Th 1:7-9 
  • as the Lord: Jos 6:17 8:2,27 9:24 Ex 23:31-33 34:12 De 7:2-16 26:16,17 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Thus Joshua struck (nāḵāhall the land, the hill country and the Negev and the lowland and the slopes and all their kings. He left no survivor, but he utterly destroyed (charamall who breathed - All the land refers to the southern campaign "(1) “hill country” names Judah’s mountains, traversing north–south; (2) “Negev” names the area southward; and (3) “western foothills” (lit., “lowlands,” Shephelah) describes Judah’s foothills, which slope toward the seacoast." (Matthews)

Just as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded - Don't miss this! Joshua obeys all the LORD's commands. 

THOUGHT - Dear disciple of Christ, how are you faring against your powerful enemies, the world, the flesh and the devil? Victory over each is your's for the possessing, but you must obey just as the Lord commands you! 

Utley - 10:40 In v. 40 several topological and geographical areas are mentioned.

    1.      “the hill country,” BDB 249, refers to the highlands of Judah, cf. 11:3, 21; 15:48; 18:12; 20:7; 21:11 (not 11:2)
    2.      “the Negev,” BDB 616, means the semi-arid pasture lands of southern Judah, cf. 15:19, 21–23
    3.      “the lowlands,” BDB 1050, strip of land west of the Judean hill country, cf. 15:33 (not 11:2)
    4.      “the slopes,” BDB 78, the hillsides to the east of the Judean hills, sloping toward the Dead Sea, cf. 12:8 (on eastern side of Jordan, cf. 12:3; 13:20; Deut. 3:17; 4:49)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

40. Smote all the country of the hills. Overrun as a conqueror, subdued and took possession of all the southern section of Canaan, familiarly known by the appellation of ההר Hahar, i. e. the hill-country, which subsequently fell to the lot of Judah. Of this mountainous region Burckhardt says, the whole country between Tekoa and Hebron is finer and better cultivated than in the neighborhood of Jerusalem; while the sides of the hills, instead of being naked and dreary, are richly studded with the oak, the arbutus, the Scotch fir, and a variety of flowering shrubs. Of the hitherto unknown tract south of Hebron, Bankes, Leigh, Irby and Mangles inform us that three days to the south of Hebron, they passed towards the Dead Sea through a country well cultivated, but extremely uninteresting: eight or nine miles beyond Kerek they found themselves on the borders of an extensive desert, entirely abandoned to the wandering Bedouins. A tribe of Jellaheen Arabs here told them, that in years of scarcity they were accustomed to retire into Egypt. The same necessity compelled Jacob to the same expedient: and the custom seems handed down from the patriarchs. See Russell’s Palestine.

Of the South. That is, of Canaan. The southern part of the tribe of Judah and Idumea was designated by the general term, the south. Gen. 20:1.

Of the vale. Heb. השפלה hashshephëlâh the low country, i. e. the level champaign on the Mediterranean Sea, extending from Joppa to the borders of Egypt. Deut. 1:7; Judg. 1:9; Jer. 17:26.

The springs. Heb. חאשדות hâashdoth, the descents, i. e. probably the slopes or declivities of mountains, tracts formed by the washing down of the mountains, and so capable of cultivation. See Num. 21:15; Deut. 3:17.

Destroyed all that breathed. That is, of mankind; for they kept the cattle for spoil.

Joshua 10:41  And Joshua struck them from Kadesh-barnea even as far as Gaza, and all the country of Goshen even as far as Gibeon.

  • Kadesh-barnea: Jos 14:6,7 Nu 13:26 32:8 34:4 De 9:23 
  • Gaza: Ge 10:19 Jdg 16:1,21 1Sa 6:17 Zec 9:5 Ac 8:26 
  • all the country: The country of Goshen, mentioned here, seems to have been in the south of Judah; and to have taken its name from the city of Goshen, situated in the same tribe. Jos 11:16 15:51 
  • Gibeon: Jos 10:2,12 1Ki 3:5 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


And Joshua struck (nāḵāhthem from Kadesh-barnea (map) even as far as Gaza (map), and all the country of Goshen even as far as Gibeon (map) - Along with Joshua 10:40, this passage is a summary of  the geographical limits of the southern campaign. 

Don Anderson - It is not known what is meant by the reference: "the whole region of Goshen . " It has not yet been verified archaeologically. This was the name of the location where Jacob and the whole nation lived while they had their tenure in the land of Egypt. Perhaps someone has named a fertile part of the southern section of the land of Israel by this name Goshen . If so , this would be the southern point and Gibeon would be the northern point where the original conflict started.

Matthews - The author’s point is the encompassing victory that the Lord gives. Kadesh Barnea and Gaza mark the southern border, along the east–west direction. Kadesh (Ain el-Qudeirat) is in north Sinai, the infamous site where Israel refuses to enter the land. Gaza (Tell Harube) sits in the southwest region in the coastal plain (Gen. 10:19). Gaza is a member of the Philistine pentapolis (five cities ruled by five “lords”) during the settlement period and is one of the cities that has not been totally conquered (13:3), although it is temporarily controlled (11:22; Judg. 1:18–19). “Goshen to Gibeon” describes the south–north axis. Goshen is a city at the southern border toward the Negev (11:16; 15:51), not to be confused with the residence of the Israelites in the Egyptian delta (Gen. 47:27). (Joshua Teach the Text Commentary)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

41. All the country of Goshen. Not the country of that name in Egypt, the former residence of the Hebrews, but a place so called in Judah, fourteen miles south of Hebron, ch. 11:16; 15:51.

Joshua 10:42  And Joshua captured all these kings and their lands at one time, because the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.

  • because: Jos 10:14 Ex 14:14,25 De 20:4 Ps 44:3-8 46:1,7,11 80:3 118:6 Isa 8:9,10 43:4 Ro 8:31-37 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


And Joshua captured all these kings and their lands at one time (in one campaign), because the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel - NET = "Joshua captured in one campaign all these kings and their lands." The victorious campaign was not due to the military prowess of Israel but the mighty power of Israel's God. 

THOUGHT - Beloved, when we experience victory over our enemies, we need to acknowledge that the Source of our victory was (is) the strong arm of the LORD. Give Him ALL the glory! 

Matthews - Joshua takes all the southern area in one war, a remarkable feat—one that could be achieved only because the Lord “fought for Israel.” ...Although Jerusalem and Jarmuth are part of the coalition, they are not named as cities destroyed, suggesting that the two cities survive (on Jerusalem’s fate, see Judg. 1:8; 15:63; 2 Sam. 5:5–16). (Joshua Teach the Text Commentary)

J Vernon McGee adds "It is important to see that it is God who gave Israel victory and possession. Today our victory is in Christ. The victorious life is His life lived in us. Then we are blessed with all spiritual blessings, which are the possessions He has promised to us " (Joshua 10)

Believer's Study Bible - The words translated "at one time" may be understood as meaning simply "then." Verses 28-43 give a summary of Israel's conquests in the South. Comparison with Jdg. 1 indicates that although these cities were conquered, they were not possessed and so had to be captured again later.

Guzik on one at a time -  God knew which battles to fight and when to fight them. These were not the only Canaanite cities in the region, but they were the military strongholds. God knew what He was doing in selecting which particular battles to fight, and when they needed to be fought.

Constable - God’s people do not have to engage every enemy that exists immediately any more than the Israelites had to kill every individual Canaanite or attack every city immediately. At this stage in their national life God’s will was that they attack only certain selected targets. Sometimes we can experience discouragement when we look at the host of wicked people that surrounds us or the many sins that plague us. We may think, “What can one individual do to stem the tide of lawlessness?” We may even think it is useless to do anything in view of the huge task we face (Matt. 28:19–20). In those situations we need to do what God puts before us to do day by day rather than taking on more responsibility than God wants us to assume immediately (cf. Matt. 6:25–34).

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 10

42. At one time. Heb. פעם אחת paam, ehâth, at one turn or one stroke, i. e. in one uninterrupted course of vigorous action; or, as we should say, in one campaign. The leading idea is that from the time Joshua entered upon this career of victories, till it was closed, there was no pause, no intermission, no cessation.

Because the Lord fought for Israel. This clause is introduced in order to give credibility to the foregoing narrative. Viewed in any other light than as the result of omnipotence, such a tide of victories would naturally stagger all belief.

Joshua 10:43  So Joshua and all Israel with him returned to the camp at Gilgal.

  • the camp at Gilgal. Jos 10:15 4:19 1Sa 11:14 
  • Joshua 10 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Proposed Location of Gilgal Near Jericho


So Joshua and all Israel with him returned to the camp at Gilgal - The southern campaign completed, Joshua returns to base camp. 

Davis - The conquest here seems so decisive that some find problems when they arrive at Judges 1 where, apparently, so much of the conquest remains to be done by the individual tribes. According to verse 43, after the southern campaign Joshua and Israel returned to camp at Gilgal, near the Jordan and what used to be Jericho. Such action implies that Joshua had no intention of occupying the (south) land at that point. Leaving the scene of her victories, Israel has little control over those sites (i.e. they could eventually be repopulated), although one could suppose that Israel had broken the backbone of Canaanite power in the region. (Joshua: No Falling Words

Davis adds that "The emphasis in Joshua 10 is on the fact that Joshua ‘took’ (Heb., lakad) the land or cities. To be sure, he ‘smote’ (nakah) populations and ‘put them under the ban’ (from the root hrm); but the overall emphasis is that Joshua took the cities and land (Josh 10:28, 32, 35, 37, 39, 42). This verb (lakad) must be carefully distinguished from various forms of yarash (to possess, dispossess, drive out), which dominates Judges 1 and denotes effective occupation of territory. Much of the problem of the conquest arises from a failure to distinguish the freight these two verbs carry. What has been ‘lakaded’ may need to be ‘re-lakaded’ later; but what has been ‘yarashed’ has been definitely nailed down."  (Joshua: No Falling Words)

Campbell - When Mark Twain was traveling in Europe with his young daughter, he was feted in several cities by royalty and famed people in the arts and sciences. Toward the end of their journeys, his daughter said to him, "Papa, you know everybody but God, don't you?" Joshua was a man who knew God above all else. The results are impressively recorded here. As Daniel later wrote, "The people who know their God will display strength and take action" (Dan. 11:32b). For Joshua, for Daniel, and for you, knowing God and trusting Him implicitly is the key to victory. (No Time for Neutrality)

Brian Harbour -  What seems to be merely an aside in verse 43 is in fact a significant statement: “Then Joshua returned with all Israel to the camp at Gilgal.” Gilgal (the word means “circle” and probably refers to a circle of stones which formed an altar there) was a significant city for Israel during the time of the invasion. Where Gilgal was --  Scholars believe there were actually a number of different “Gilgals” in Palestine. However, the Gilgal in our text was near the city of Jericho and was the first Hebrew foothold on Palestinian soil, the first worship place for Israel, and the base of operations for Israel’s military operations (Josh 9:6; 10:6; 14:6).   What Gilgal represented.-  Gilgal was to have an illustrious history in the following days of Hebrew history. Samuel held circuit court their annually (1 Sam. 7:16); Saul was both crowned and rejected as king there (1 Sam 11:14–15; 13:14–15); David passed through Gilgal as he fled from Absalom (2 Sam. 19:15,40). But the significance for our story is that Joshua seemed to return to Gilgal as a place of spiritual renewal as he led Israel to fulfill God’s challenge of taking possession of the promised land.