Joshua 11:16: Joshua Takes the Entire Land, Part 1

Verse 16:[1] So Joshua took all that land, (Josh 12:8) the hills, and all the south country, (Josh. 10:41) and all the land of Goshen, and the valley, and the plain, and the mountain of Israel, and the valley of the same…

[He took, וַיִּקַּח] He possessed (the Chaldean in Masius). For concerning the Kings taken and the cities conquered לָכַד, to capture or take, is used.[2] But לָקַח is also thus taken (Masius).

[All the land] Hebrew: all that land.[3] There the reading is to stop, on account of the Rebia (֗) accent.[4] Here he places many dominions under the eyes of the readers, as it were, so that they, comprehending such an abundance of so easily accomplished works in a single glance, as it were, might more clearly understand that God lavishly discharged the obligation of His promises (Masius).

All that land, of Canaan, whose parts here follow.

[Mountainous land] Of which it was spoken on Joshua 10:40. But here the plain is able to be set in opposition to it. The like is said at the same time concerning the south country. Now, the western tract is that whole region from Kadesh-barnea unto Gaza, concerning which Joshua 10:41. For that, at least with respect to the Tribe of Judah, was sloping down toward the West (Bonfrerius).

The hill, or, the mountain, that is, the mountainous country, to wit, of Judea, as may seem, 1. Because in the following enumeration he begins in the south parts, where there was an eminent mountain, Numbers 13:17. 2. Because a considerable part of Judea was called the hilly or the mountainous country, Luke 1:39, 65, which is not likely to be omitted in this particular description of the land; the rather because Hebron, one of the places taken by Joshua, Joshua 10:36, 37 was in the mountain of Judah, Joshua 20:7. 3. Because this is here distinguished from the mountain of Israel, and therefore most likely to be the mountain of Judah, especially if you compare this with Joshua 11:21, where having mentioned the mountain in general, from which Joshua cut off the Anakims, he comes to particularize, and names only two, all the mountain of Judah, and all the mountain of Israel. All the south country, that is, not only the mountainous part, but all the country of Judea, which lay in the southern part of Canaan, and oft comes under the name of the south, as Numbers 13:22, 29; 21:1; Joshua 10:40; 18:5, etc. The land of Goshen; of which see Joshua 10:41. The vale; the low countries. The plain; the fields or champaign grounds.

[And the mountain of Israel] Question: What is the mountain of Israel here? Response: Some particular mountain is indicated, but it is obscure which that might be. This phrase does not occur except in Ezekiel 17:23; 20:40, and that metaphorically (Bonfrerius). 1. When the mountain of Judah is distinguished from the mountain of Israel, the mountainous places around Samaria are undoubtedly called the mountain of Israel, which were thus called after the secession of the ten tribes (Masius). Objection: But, since Joshua wrote this book, who would believe that this name was given prophetically by Joshua so long before the secession (Bonfrerius)? Response: Masius hence concludes that this book was not written by Joshua, but by another long after him (Lapide). Whoever composed this history from the Sacred annals made use of the names of his own age (Masius). 2. The Mountain of Israel, or of Jacob, appears to be the mountain of Bethel, on which Jacob had that famous vision, Genesis 28, and received Divine promises concerning the land of Canaan, etc., unto which he also returned, Genesis 35, and there remained for some time, and built an altar to God (Bonfrerius). 3. Or, if this does not quite satisfy, let it be some mountain near to Shechem, or Gerizim, or some other within that field that Jacob had bought, Genesis 33:19 (Bonfrerius out of Salmasius,[5] Cajetan in Lapide). The Mountain of Israel is where Jacob had formerly dwelt (Munster).

The mountain of Israel; either, 1. Some one particular and eminent mountain, possibly the hill of Samaria, mentioned 1 Kings 16:24; or rather, 2. The mountains or mountainous country of Israel. See above on this verse.

[And the plain of it[6]] That is, of the land, which the affix shows. For the feminine ה affix is pointed as if it were the masculine ו[7] (Piscator).

The vale of the same, that is, of Israel.

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּקַּ֙ח יְהוֹשֻׁ֜עַ אֶת־כָּל־הָאָ֣רֶץ הַזֹּ֗את הָהָ֤ר וְאֶת־כָּל־הַנֶּ֙גֶב֙ וְאֵת֙ כָּל־אֶ֣רֶץ הַגֹּ֔שֶׁן וְאֶת־הַשְּׁפֵלָ֖ה וְאֶת־הָעֲרָבָ֑ה וְאֶת־הַ֥ר יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל וּשְׁפֵלָתֹֽה׃

[2] For example, Joshua 10:42:  “And all these kings and their land did Joshua take (לָכַד) at one time, because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel.”

[3] Hebrew: אֶת־כָּל־הָאָ֣רֶץ הַזֹּ֗את.

[4] The Rebia is among the strong disjunctive accents.

[5] Claudius Salmasius, or Claude Saumaise (1588-1653) was a French Protestant scholar of classical antiquity.  He succeeded Joseph Scaliger in the professorship at Leiden.

[6] Hebrew: וּשְׁפֵלָתֹה.

[7] שְׁפֵלָתֹה is indeed an irregular form.  The expected pointing for the third person, singular, masculine suffix would be שְׁפֵלָתוֹ; for the third person, singular, feminine suffix, שְׁפֵלָתָהּ.

Joshua 11:14, 15: Joshua’s Obedience

Verse 14:[1] And all the spoil of these cities, and the cattle, the children of Israel took for a prey unto themselves; but every man they smote with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them, neither left they any to breathe.

 

Verse 15:[2] (Ex. 34:11, 12) As the LORD commanded Moses his servant, so (Deut. 7:2) did Moses command Joshua, and (Josh. 1:7) so did Joshua; he left nothing undone (Heb. he removed nothing[3]) of all that the LORD commanded Moses.

[Just as the Lord had commanded] The sense is, that he did nothing rashly either through anger, avarice, lust, etc., or neglected nothing through indolence and sloth (Masius).

[He did not neglect any of all the commandments, לֹֽא־הֵסִ֣יר דָּבָ֔ר מִכֹּ֛ל וגו״[4]] He did not remove (he did not make void [Syriac]) a word of all (Vatablus, Montanus); he detracted (or omitted [Pagnine]) nothing of all (Junius and Tremellius); in such a way that he did not take away anything, etc. (Tigurinus, similarly Munster).

[1] Hebrew: וְ֠כֹל שְׁלַ֞ל הֶעָרִ֤ים הָאֵ֙לֶּה֙ וְהַבְּהֵמָ֔ה בָּזְז֥וּ לָהֶ֖ם בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל רַ֣ק אֶֽת־כָּל־הָאָדָ֞ם הִכּ֣וּ לְפִי־חֶ֗רֶב עַד־הִשְׁמִדָם֙ אוֹתָ֔ם לֹ֥א הִשְׁאִ֖ירוּ כָּל־נְשָׁמָֽה׃

[2] Hebrew: כַּאֲשֶׁ֙ר צִוָּ֤ה יְהוָה֙ אֶת־מֹשֶׁ֣ה עַבְדּ֔וֹ כֵּן־צִוָּ֥ה מֹשֶׁ֖ה אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁ֑עַ וְכֵן֙ עָשָׂ֣ה יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ לֹֽא־הֵסִ֣יר דָּבָ֔ר מִכֹּ֛ל אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּ֥ה יְהוָ֖ה אֶת־מֹשֶֽׁה׃

[3] Hebrew: לֹֽא־הֵסִ֣יר דָּבָ֔ר.

[4] סוּר, to turn aside, in the Hiphil conjugation signifies to cause to turn aside, or to remove.

Joshua 11:12, 13: The Taking of the Other Northern Cities

Verse 12:[1] And all the cities of those kings, and all the kings of them, did Joshua take, and smote them with the edge of the sword, and he utterly destroyed them, (Num. 33:52; Deut. 7:2; 20:16, 17) as Moses the servant of the LORD commanded.

[Just as Moses had commanded] In this way they are both cleared from the reputation of cruelty, and at the same time commended for obedience. It is great piety to destroy, when God commanded it; but on the other hand, it is a foolish, even impious, lenience to spare. See 1 Kings 20:42; Jeremiah 48:10 (Masius).

 

Verse 13:[2] But as for the cities that stood still in their strength (Heb. on a heap[3]), Israel burned none of them, save Hazor only; that did Joshua burn.

[Except for the cities that were situated on hills and mounds, הָעֹֽמְדוֹת֙ עַל־תִּלָּ֔ם] The Vulgate appears to have read here עַל תִלִּם, instead of תלִּים, through a loss of the י. And I confess that, if it be read in this manner, the sense is plain (Dieu). [Interpreters translate it variously.] Which were standing upon their mound (Montanus), or, on their mounds (Tigurinus), or rather, on their mound (Dieu, Masius, Drusius). Which were remaining in their strength (the Chaldean in Masius), strong (Theodotion), κεχωματισμένας, that is, fortified with mounds (the Septuagint in Masius), which is to say, Only those cities were preserved, the bulwarks of which, when they were conquered, were not destroyed by the force or fury of the soldiers; that is, which the first fury and impetus had spared: no city was deliberately destroyed except Hazor (Hebrews in Masius). Which remained with their rampart (Junius and Tremellius), that is, which indeed did expect a siege, but, before their ramparts were cast down by force, surrendered themselves, according to the law of Deuteronomy 20:10 (Junius). [This does not satisfy Louis de Dieu.] Why then [says he] is Hazor here excepted? had it not surrendered itself? Indeed, not one of those cities surrendered itself, verse 19. That yet stood in their strength (Pagnine, English). That stood in their fortification after the assault. That remained in their integrity (Castalio). Others maintain that their eminence of place is signified. That were situated, or stood, upon inclines, or hills (Dieu, Dutch, Syriac, Bochart’s A Sacred Catalogue of Animals, Masius). That yet stood on their heap (read mound [Dieu]), that is, as they were situated: for at that time they were situated as frequently as possible in elevated places (Vatablus). That were built on more eminent places, and for that were more easily defended. תֵּל, or תִּלָּה, is a mound: and in Scripture some cities have their names from such a situation; like Tel-melah, Ezra 2:59;[4] Thelasar, 2 Kings 19:12;[5] Tel-abib, Ezekiel 3:15.[6] Thus, Jerusalem shall be built עַל־תִּלָּהּ, upon its own heap, Jeremiah 30:18, that is, upon the same mountains, concerning which Psalm 87:1, His foundation is in the holy mountains (Bochart’s Sacred Geography “Canaan” 1:29:615). A comparison is made between these cities, and those that are mentioned as burned, namely, Jericho and Ai, which were situated in flat places. Hence one is said to descend from Jerusalem to Jericho.[7] Therefore, since most cities of the Promised Land were situated on slopes and mounds, he spared those, with the exception of Hazor (Dieu). The people did not burn the fortified cities on the hills, since those were more easily able to be defended (Lapide, similarly Bonfrerius). But they destroyed the rest, lest they become refuges for the remnants of the Canaanites (Bonfrerius, similarly Lapide).

In their strength; Hebrew, with[8] (for so this preposition is oft used, as Exodus 35:22;[9] Leviticus 2:2;[10] Ezekiel 16:37,[11] etc.) their fence or fences, walls or bulwarks, that is, which were not utterly ruined together with their walls in the taking of them.

[Only Hazor] The chief city. For, if this had remained intact, it would have been a continual occasion for war, with the Canaanites keeping perpetual watch to reclaim this royal city (Bonfrerius). Now, it is to be noted that, not Israel, but Joshua, is related to have burned Hazor: that is to say, this was not done in passion, or rashly, and with military license, but calmly, and designedly, and as a result of the deliberation of the Commander-in-Chief. The remaining cities were preserved, so that they might at length be refuges for the Israelites. For it was sufficient that a memorable example of the power of God be set up in the capital, by which the remaining enemies might be terrified (Masius).

Save Hazor only; which though taken by the Israelites, was not so much destroyed as other places were. That did Joshua burn, because this city began the war; and being the chief and royal city, might renew the war, if the Canaanites should ever seize upon it.

[1] Hebrew: וְֽאֶת־כָּל־עָרֵ֣י הַמְּלָכִֽים־הָ֠אֵלֶּה וְֽאֶת־כָּל־מַלְכֵיהֶ֞ם לָכַ֧ד יְהוֹשֻׁ֛עַ וַיַּכֵּ֥ם לְפִי־חֶ֖רֶב הֶחֱרִ֣ים אוֹתָ֑ם כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר צִוָּ֔ה מֹשֶׁ֖ה עֶ֥בֶד יְהוָֽה׃

[2] Hebrew: רַ֣ק כָּל־הֶעָרִ֗ים הָעֹֽמְדוֹת֙ עַל־תִּלָּ֔ם לֹ֥א שְׂרָפָ֖ם יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל זוּלָתִ֛י אֶת־חָצ֥וֹר לְבַדָּ֖הּ שָׂרַ֥ף יְהוֹשֻֽׁעַ׃

[3] Hebrew: עַל־תִּלָּם.

[4] Ezra 2:59a:  “And these were they which went up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsaמִתֵּ֥ל) מֶ֙לַח֙ תֵּ֣ל חַרְשָׁ֔א), Cherub, Addan, and Immer…”

[5] 2 Kings 19:12:  “Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed; as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Thelasar (בִּתְלַאשָּׂר)?”

[6] Ezekiel 3:15a:  “Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel-abib (תֵּל אָבִיב), that dwelt by the river of Chebar…”

[7] See Luke 10:30.

[8] Hebrew: עַל.

[9] Exodus 35:22a:  “And they came, both men and women (הָאֲנָשִׁ֖ים עַל־הַנָּשִׁ֑ים), as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold…”

[10] Leviticus 2:2:  “And he shall bring it to Aaron’s sons the priests:  and he shall take thereout his handful of the flour thereof, and of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof (עַ֖ל כָּל־לְבֹנָתָ֑הּ); and the priest shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar, to be an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord…”

[11] Ezekiel 16:37:  “Behold, therefore I will gather all thy lovers, with whom thou hast taken pleasure (אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָרַ֣בְתְּ עֲלֵיהֶ֔ם), and all them that thou hast loved, with all them that thou hast hated (עַ֖ל כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר שָׂנֵ֑את); I will even gather them round about against thee, and will discover thy nakedness unto them, that they may see all thy nakedness.”

Joshua 11:10, 11: The Taking of Hazor

Verse 10:[1] And Joshua at that time turned back, and took Hazor, and smote the king thereof with the sword: for Hazor beforetime was the head of all those kingdoms.

[And returning, he took Hazor] He is rightly said to have returned, for far beyond this city in all directions he had pursued his enemies (Masius).

[And he smote the king thereof] Either, he had already previously smitten him in the battle (Malvenda out of Masius); or, Jabin escaped unto his palace out of the hands of those hunting him, and so Joshua returned here, so that he might fall upon the originator of this war, even at that time fearful after his flight (Masius). Or, this was another, whom they recently had appointed into the place of the dead kig (Malvenda out of Masius).

Smote the king thereof; either in the former battle, though it be mentioned here; or rather in his royal city, to which he fled out of the battle.

[Hazor…was holding the supremacy] Understand this of that part of Canaan with which we are concerned (Masius, Lapide, Bonfrerius). That is to say, Joshua attacked it, because it was chief of cities, and therefore the most well-fortified, with which captured the approach to the others would be easier (Bonfrerius). Where kingdoms are small, one of the Kings is wont to be chosen, who might take the lead in war: which histories witness to be done in Japan, Java,[2] and other places of the Orient (Grotius).

The head of all those kingdoms; not of all Canaan, but of all those who were confederate with him in this expedition.

 

Verse 11:[3] And they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them: there was not any left to breathe (Heb. any breath[4]): and he burnt Hazor with fire.

[He did not leave in it any remnants] Understand, not that all were pursued, but that of however many were able to be pursued they did not spare any life (Bonfrerius, Masius). For some escaped by flight, either at that time, or previously, who after the death of Joshua recovered strength, and restored the cities, and appointed new Kings for themselves, whom they also called by the names of the former Kings, according to custom. Hence Jabin afflicted Israel, Judges 4 (Lapide out of Masius). Hence the Midianites, cut off by Moses, Numbers 31, grew up again, and were prostrated by Gideon, Judges 6. So also the Hebronites, here in verse 21, compared with Judges 1:10 (Lapide).

There was not any, that is, no human person.

[1] Hebrew: וַיָּ֙שָׁב יְהוֹשֻׁ֜עַ בָּעֵ֤ת הַהִיא֙ וַיִּלְכֹּ֣ד אֶת־חָצ֔וֹר וְאֶת־מַלְכָּ֖הּ הִכָּ֣ה בֶחָ֑רֶב כִּֽי־חָצ֣וֹר לְפָנִ֔ים הִ֕יא רֹ֖אשׁ כָּל־הַמַּמְלָכ֥וֹת הָאֵֽלֶּה׃

[2] Java is one of the Indonesian islands.

[3] Hebrew: וַ֠יַּכּוּ אֶת־כָּל־הַנֶּ֙פֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר־בָּ֤הּ לְפִי־חֶ֙רֶב֙ הַֽחֲרֵ֔ם לֹ֥א נוֹתַ֖ר כָּל־נְשָׁמָ֑ה וְאֶת־חָצ֖וֹר שָׂרַ֥ף בָּאֵֽשׁ׃

[4] Hebrew: כָּל־נְשָׁמָה.

Joshua 11:8, 9: Joshua’s Victory over the Confederacy

Verse 8:[1] And the LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel, who smote them, and chased them unto great Zidon (or, Zidon-rabbah[2]), and unto (Josh. 13:6) Misrephoth-maim (or, salt pits; Heb. burnings[3]), and unto the valley of Mizpeh eastward; and they smote them, until they left them none remaining.

[Unto great Zidon] Not that there was another, lesser Zidon, but because it was famous, both for the industry of craftsmen, and for the convenience of the port (Lapide out of Masius). It appears that it was formerly the capital city of Phœnicia (Lapide); and it was more ancient than Tyre, as Strabo, Geography 16, and Justinus, Philippic History[4] 18, testify. And, in Isaiah 23:12, Tyre is called the daughter of Zidon (Bonfrerius). And Homer, who often extols Zidon,[5] does not even mention Tyre. It had its name from Sidon, son of Canaan;[6] or from the abundance of fish, as Justinus maintains.[7] Those nations call a Fisherman ציד/Said. And the city today is called Said by the common people (Masius).

Zidon, a great and famous city in the northwest part of Canaan, and upon the sea.

[And the waters of Misrephoth, מִשְׂרְפ֣וֹת מַ֔יִם][8]] [They render it variously. To some it is a proper name, either the whole, or in part.] Μασφερὼθ-μαεὶμ/Maspheroth-maim (the Septuagint in Masius). Misrephoth of the waters (Aquila, Pagnine). Misrephoth on the sea; he was reading מִיָּם, on the sea (Symmachu in Masius). The Chaldean: ditches, or pools, of waters, as it is my manuscript of the Complutensian codex; or, ditches of the sea. Following this, the Jews do not hesitate to write that there were pools there near the sea, into which having been drawn, the briny water was drying up by the heat of the Sun into salt (Masius). Unto the salt-pans (certain interpreters in Vatablus, Lyra). Others: the places of burning (the combustions, or burnings [Munster, Vatablus], heatings [Tigurinus], fires [Castalio]) of waters (Masius). It is able to be taken either actively, in the place of waters kindling, or passively, in the place of waters kindled (Bonfrerius out of Serarius). To the place of hot water (Arabic). In which hot waters were bubbling up (Hebrews in Vatablus); which sort belong to Aquisgrana for baths[9] (Lapide). Unto the furnaces, or workshops, of glass (Masius, Junius and Tremellius, Serarius), with which that region abounds, with material taken out of the Belus River[10] (Junius, Masius). Perhaps in that place also the sands for making glass were dug up: But sand, so that it might be able to be fashioned into glass, must be boiled with contiuous fire, as we saw (Masius). Question: Why then is it called the burnings of waters? Responses: Either, 1. because the sands were believed to have sprung in a certain way from the waters of the marsh, as we shall say on Joshua 19:11 (Bonfrerius). Or, 2. It is Catachresis;[11] as when we call what is in fact a clepsammium/sand-glass a clepsydra/water-clock (Serarius). Moreover, Zidon and the waters of Misrephoth do not appear to indicate two diverse boundaries, but these waters appear to be set as the borders of the Zidonians toward Zidon. See on Joshua 13:6 (Bonfrerius).

Misrephoth-maim, a place not far from Zidon, supposed to be so called from the salt or glass which they made there.

[And the field of Mizpeh[12]] Or, the valley of Mizpeh (Masius, Junius and Tremellius, Drusius). In verse 17, that is called the valley of Lebanus. Recently we saw that Mizpeh was located at the foot of Hermon[13] (Masius).

[Which is toward the eastern part of that] Of that, that is, in comparison with the place in which the battle was fought; with respect to which also Zidon was on the West. Thus it signifies that they fled this way and that (Bonfrerius).

The valley of Mizpeh, under Mount Hermon, as appears by comparing this with verses 3, 17, where it seems to be called the valley of Lebanon. This lay on the east, as Zidon did on the west; and so it seems they fled several ways, and the Israelites also divided themselves into two bodies, one pursuing east, and the other west.

 

Verse 9:[14] And Joshua did unto them (Josh. 11:6) as the LORD bade him: he houghed their horses, and burnt their chariots with fire.

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּתְּנֵ֙ם יְהוָ֥ה בְּיַֽד־יִשְׂרָאֵל֮ וַיַּכּוּם֒ וַֽיִּרְדְּפ֞וּם עַד־צִיד֣וֹן רַבָּ֗ה וְעַד֙ מִשְׂרְפ֣וֹת מַ֔יִם וְעַד־בִּקְעַ֥ת מִצְפֶּ֖ה מִזְרָ֑חָה וַיַּכֻּ֕ם עַד־בִּלְתִּ֥י הִשְׁאִֽיר־לָהֶ֖ם שָׂרִֽיד׃

[2] Hebrew: צִיד֣וֹן רַבָּ֗ה.

[3] Hebrew: מִשְׂרְפ֣וֹת מַ֔יִם.

[4] Junianus Justinus was a Roman historian of the third century.  He composed an Epitome of the forty-four volume Philippic History of Cnænus Pompeius Trogus (a late first century BC-early first century AD Roman historian).

[5] For example, Iliad 6:290, 291; 23:743, 744; Odyssey 15:118.

[6] See Genesis 10:15.

[7] Epitome 18:3.

[8] מִשְׂרְפוֹת may be related to שָׂרַף, to burn.

[9] Aquisgrana was a city in western Germany, long famous for its springs and mineral baths.

[10] The Na’aman River in north-western Israel was known as the Belus to ancient writers.

[11] That is, a semantic misuse.

[12] Hebrew: וְעַד־בִּקְעַ֥ת מִצְפֶּ֖ה.

[13] See on verse 3.

[14] Hebrew: וַיַּ֤עַשׂ לָהֶם֙ יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר אָֽמַר־ל֖וֹ יְהוָ֑ה אֶת־סוּסֵיהֶ֣ם עִקֵּ֔ר וְאֶת־מַרְכְּבֹתֵיהֶ֖ם שָׂרַ֥ף בָּאֵֽשׁ׃

Joshua 11:7: Joshua’s Surprise Attack upon the Confederacy

Verse 7:[1] So Joshua came, and all the people of war with him, against them by the waters of Merom suddenly; and they fell upon them.

[Suddenly] So that he might unexpectedly overwhelm the enemy, free from all fear, as it is likely, and occupied with counsels of bringing war, not of warding it off; or perhaps given especially to the care of the body, fatigued from the journey, and excessive in indulgences (Masius).

Suddenly: When they least expected them, intending there to refresh, and prepare, and order themselves for the offensive war which they designed.

[1] Hebrew: וַיָּבֹ֣א יְהוֹשֻׁ֡עַ וְכָל־עַם֩ הַמִּלְחָמָ֙ה עִמּ֧וֹ עֲלֵיהֶ֛ם עַל־מֵ֥י מֵר֖וֹם פִּתְאֹ֑ם וַֽיִּפְּל֖וּ בָּהֶֽם׃

Joshua 11:6: God Encourages Joshua to Engage the Confederacy of Kings

Verse 6:[1] And the LORD said unto Joshua, (Josh. 10:8) Be not afraid because of them: for to morrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel: thou shalt (2 Sam. 8:4) hough their horses, and burn their chariots with fire.

[Be not afraid] It appears that Joshua was afraid; this is not strange: for cavalry and chariots armed with scythes were for good reason terrifying to infantry, especially unprotected infantry. This ought to suggest to us just how little firm confidence we all have in God, unless His continual answers prop us up (Masius).

[For tomorrow at this very hour (thus the Septuagint), כִּֽי־מָחָ֞ר כָּעֵ֣ת הַזֹּ֗את] Tomorrow close to, or about, this time (Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Montanus, similarly Junius and Tremellius, Jonathan), at the like time (Arabic). When God interposes the delay of only one day to fight and to conquer, hence it appears to be gathered that the place where the Kings had assembled to fight with Israel was not far from the camp of the Israelites. But it could easily be responded that that to fight, etc., is to be taken of their counsels for the management of the war; but that God said this to Joshua, not with the camp at Gilgal, but with the enemy even then having already advanced far in the way. And thus Josephus thinks, who writes that Joshua came upon the enemy at last on the fifth day from Gilgal.[2] But he does not relate enough to make a determination (Masius).

[I] There is great force in this pronoun: that is to say, There is no reason why thou oughtest to weigh the burden of the imminent war with thy strength: I will provide for that matter, etc. (Masius).

[I will deliver] Hebrew: giving[3] (Malvenda); or, I render. The verb of the present tense places the very matter in the sight of the Commander-in-Chief, as if it were in his hands (Masius).

[Those to be wounded, חֲלָלִים[4]] Pierced (Syriac, Junius and Tremellius); striken down (Arabic); wounded (Tigurinus, Drusius), that is, dead from wounds. From that which precedes, that which follows. But the sense requires slain (thus Munster, Pagnine, Montanus, Masius, the Chaldean and Symmachus in Masius).

[And thou shalt hamstring the horses (thus Pagnine, Montanus, Septuagint, Jonathan), or, thou shalt cut the sinews (Vatablus, Drusius), תְּעַקֵּר] Thou shalt cut from below (Munster); thou shalt cut the sinews (Tigurinus), that is, of the shanks and of the hooves (Menochius, Bonfrerius). Thou shalt cut from below their hocks (Arabic, Junius and Tremellius, Lapide, Vatablus). עִקֵּר signifies to remove the foundation, or root (Masius). It signifies to pluck up and to root out, Ecclesiastes 3:2;[5] Daniel 7:8[6] (Bochart’s A Sacred Catalogue of Animals). Now, the feet of horses are their foundation and root, otherwise than in man (who is an inverted tree, and has his roots above): for this reason the cutting of the shanks of a beast is called a rooting out, as if it were a plucking out of a plant by its root. Thus Kimchi in Bochart’s A Sacred Catalogue of Animals. What if עָקַר by metathesis[7] is used in the place of ערק, which denotes a sinew? then it is properly to hamstring (Bochart’s A Sacred Catalogue of Animals 1:2:11:178). God willed this, lest afterwards they might make use of them in war, and put confidence in them (Vatablus, Estius, Tirinus). Hence also the King was forbidden to multiply horses, Deuteronomy 17:16. For helps of this sort were easily able to lessen the opinion of Divine aid, in which alone is it right completely to put confidence. See Psalm 147:10 (Masius, similarly Bonfrerius, Lapide).

Hough their horses, that is, cut their hamstrings, that they may be unfit for war. For God forbade them to have or keep many horses, Deuteronomy 17:16, now especially, that they might not trust to their horses, as men are apt to do, nor distrust God for want of so necessary a help in battle; nor ascribe the conquest of the land to their own strength, but wholly to God, by whose power alone a company of raw and unexperienced footmen were able to subdue so potent a people, which besides their great numbers, and giants, and walled cities, had the advantage of many thousands of horses and chariots.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֙אמֶר יְהוָ֣ה אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁעַ֮ אַל־תִּירָ֣א מִפְּנֵיהֶם֒ כִּֽי־מָחָ֞ר כָּעֵ֣ת הַזֹּ֗את אָנֹכִ֞י נֹתֵ֧ן אֶת־כֻּלָּ֛ם חֲלָלִ֖ים לִפְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל אֶת־סוּסֵיהֶ֣ם תְּעַקֵּ֔ר וְאֶת־מַרְכְּבֹתֵיהֶ֖ם תִּשְׂרֹ֥ף בָּאֵֽשׁ׃

[2] Antiquities 5:1:18.

[3] Hebrew: אָנֹכִ֞י נֹתֵ֧ן.

[4] חָלָל, pierced through or fatally wounded, appears to be related to the verbal root חָלַל, to pierce.

[5] Ecclesiastes 3:2:  “A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up (לַעֲקוֹר) that which is planted…”

[6] Daniel 7:8a:  “I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots (אֶתְעֲקַרוּ)…”

[7] That is, a transposition of letters.

Booklet: Noah’s Flood and the Genesis of the Ancient Myths

Many of the oldest civilizations on earth have a Flood Story; it is not unique to the Bible. This has made its way into public education in the West: “Many ancient civilizations preserved a story of a Great Deluge among their myths; and no one takes these old stories as anything but mythology. The Hebrew people were participants in this milieu; it is not particularly surprising that they have a version of the Flood Story. But, their version is worthy of no more credit than any of the others.”

But is there not something more that might be said about this? Euhemerus, a fourth century BC mythographer, argued that the ancient myths have historical roots in actual events, the accounts of which have been corrupted and/or exaggerated over time. As Christianity began to spread through the Greco-Roman world, a school of Christian Euhemerism began developing almost immediately, and continued in some strength into the early modern era. Could it be that the ancient myths are perversions of the Biblical history?

Exegetical Studies in Poole's Synopsis:  Genesis 9:19:  Noah's Flood and the Genesis of the Ancient Myths

In the late-seventeenth century, the Puritan divine and Biblical scholar, Matthew Poole, compiled his massive and masterly Synopsis Criticorum (Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters), a verse-by-verse history of interpretation, drawing together the exegetical wealth of the Jewish Rabbis, early Church Fathers, Medieval Schoolmen, and Reformation-era exegetes (Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed).  His thought:  To set the most important interpreters and interpretive positions side-by-side, for the help of the student of God’s Word.  His achievement:  The ascended Christ promised to provide faithful teachers for His Church in all ages (Ephesians 4:11-13); the Synopsis is a record of their testimony concerning the right reading of Holy Scripture.

These Exegetical Studies in Poole’s Synopsis are intended to capture some of the sweetest, most informative and edifying sections in a readily accessible format.  Filled with content rare and wonderful, it is hoped that these booklets will whet the appetite of the people of God for the Word of God, rousing them to ever greater exertions in Biblical studies.

Joshua 11:5: The Confederacy of the Northern Kings against Israel, Part 5

Verse 5:[1] And when all these kings were met together (Heb. assembled by appointment[2]), they came and pitched together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel.

[And they assembled (thus Pagnine, Montanus, Septuagint, similarly Munster, Tigurinus), וַיִּוָּעֲדוּ[3]] By appointment, or agreement, they assembled (Masius, Junius and Tremellius). It could be translated, by pacts, or solemn engagements, they were bound to one another. For יָעַד also signifies to enter into an agreement, and both Aquila and Symmachus render it, ὡμολόγησαν, they entered into an agreement. With the Chaldean, I translate it, they gathered at the appointed time (Masius). And agreeing upon a place (they encamped) (Syriac). And, conspiring, they came (Arabic).

[Near the waters of Merom, מֵ֣י מֵר֔וֹם] Thus they are called, either, 1. because they were in the upper tract of the Israelites toward Tabor,[4] where the King of Shimron-Meron had dominion: for which reason the elevated places are called the Merom of the field by Deborah[5] (Junius). Or, 2. because here the lake was above the other of Gennesaret (Serarius). But where the waters of Merom might have been, I do not yet quite understand (Masius). [Therefore others rush to help at this point.] It is a lacus/lake (thus read, not locus/place) of Jordan, that which lies between its spring and the lake of Gennesaret, and the lake is called Semechonitis (Serarius, Bonfrerius); concerning which see Josephus’ Jewish Wars 4:1. Which, when the melted snow flows down from Libanus, is full; but in summer is nearly dries up. Here they assembled, because near this lake was situated Hazor, the King of which was governing the other kings (Bonfrerius).

The waters of Merom; a lake made by the river Jordan in the northern part of it, which was in the territory of the king of Shimron, or Shimron-meron, and near Hazor, Jabin’s royal city, and almost in the middle of these confederate kings.

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּוָּ֣עֲד֔וּ כֹּ֖ל הַמְּלָכִ֣ים הָאֵ֑לֶּה וַיָּבֹ֜אוּ וַיַּחֲנ֤וּ יַחְדָּו֙ אֶל־מֵ֣י מֵר֔וֹם לְהִלָּחֵ֖ם עִם־יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיִּוָּעֲדוּ.

[3] יָעַד, to appoint, in the Niphal signifies to gather by appointment.

[4] מֵרוֹם/Merom may be related to the verb, רוּם, to be high.  Mount Tabor was just south-west of the Sea of Galilee.

[5] Judges 5:18:  “Zebulun and Naphtali were a people that jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field (מְרוֹמֵ֥י שָׂדֶֽה׃).”

Joshua 11:4: The Confederacy of the Northern Kings against Israel, Part 4

Verse 4:[1] And they went out, they and all their hosts with them, much people, (Gen. 22:17; 32:12; Judg. 7:12; 1 Sam. 13:5) even as the sand that is upon the sea shore in multitude, with horses and chariots very many.

[Even as the sand] It signifies an innumerable multitude (Masius). They were, according to Josephus, three hundred thousand infantrymen, ten thousand horsemen, two thousand chariots.[2] (But Zonaras,[3] who plagiarized Josephus, reads thirty thousand chariots.) This commends to our attention the fruitfulness of the land. While an impious nation was so prolificly increased there, who would fear that those boundaries would be too narrow for the innumerable offspring promised to Abraham (Masius)?

[And chariots] Namely, armed with scythes, or made of iron (Masius, Serarius, Drusius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיֵּצְא֣וּ הֵ֗ם וְכָל־מַֽחֲנֵיהֶם֙ עִמָּ֔ם עַם־רָ֕ב כַּח֛וֹל אֲשֶׁ֥ר עַל־שְׂפַת־הַיָּ֖ם לָרֹ֑ב וְס֥וּס וָרֶ֖כֶב רַב־מְאֹֽד׃

[2] Antiquities 5:1.

[3] John Zonaras (twelfth century), native of Constantinople, was a statesman, historian, and theologian.  His most important work, Extracts of History, extends from the creation of the world to the death of Alexios (1118).  The early sections are largely lifted from Josephus.