Joshua 12 Outline

A catalogue of the kings, and their possessions, out of which they were driven by the Israelites; first in the time of Moses on the other side Jordan, 1-6, and afterwards by Joshua on this side of Jordan, 7-23; in all one and thirty kings, 24.

Joshua 11:22, 23: Joshua Takes the Entire Land, Part 6

Verse 22:[1] There was none of the Anakims left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza, in (1 Sam. 17:4) Gath, (Josh. 15:46) and in Ashdod, there remained.

[He left none…in the land, etc.] Either, because he killed all; or, if any escaped the sword, they took refuge with the Philistines (Bonfrerius).

[Gaza and Gath and Ashdod] These three were maritime cities (Masius, Bonfrerius). [Concerning these things, see more, if you wish, in Masius.]

Gaza…Gath…Ashdod: Three cities of the Philistines, to which they retired, and where we find some of them afterwards, 1 Samuel 17:4; 2 Samuel 21:15, 16; which may be one reason why the Israelites durst not make an attempt upon these places, though they were a part of their possession.

 

[1445 BC] Verse 23:[2] So Joshua took the whole land, (Num. 34:2, etc.) according to all that the LORD said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel (Num. 26:53; Josh. 14-19) according to their divisions by their tribes. (Josh. 14:15; 21:44; 22:4; 23:1; 11:18) And the land rested from war.

[He took the whole land] Synecdochically, that is, the greatest part (Malvenda out of Masius); the better part, and, as it were, all (Lapide, Drusius): or, all upon which he made war (Lapide, Bonfrerius): or, all, that is, land of every sort, plains, mountains, fields, slopes, etc. (Drusius out of Masius): or, all he conquered so far, so that no one might raise arms (Masius, Bonfrerius): or, he took all the land, that is, he subdued (Grotius). Procopius writes, The Wars of Justinian “The Vandal War” 2:7, Near the town of Tingis[3] in Numidia there were two columns, on which in the language of the Phœnicians these words were inscribed: WE FLEE FROM THE FACE OF THE ROBBER JOSHUA, THE SON OF NAVE (Malvenda).

The whole land, synecdochically, that is, the greatest and the best part of it, for some parts and places are expressly excepted in the following history.

[He delivered it…according to their parts and tribes; that is to say, according their to parts, that is, according to their Tribes (Lapide),כְּמַחְלְקֹתָ֖ם לְשִׁבְטֵיהֶ֑ם] According to, or by, their distributions (Montanus, Syriac) to their tribes (Montanus), or, in their tribes (Syriac), or, by the tribes (Junius and Tremellius), or, unto the tribes (Lapide).

From war; from actual war; so far that they could now quietly survey, and distribute, and possess the land.

[1] Hebrew: לֹֽא־נוֹתַ֣ר עֲנָקִ֔ים בְּאֶ֖רֶץ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל רַ֗ק בְּעַזָּ֛ה בְּגַ֥ת וּבְאַשְׁדּ֖וֹד נִשְׁאָֽרוּ׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיִּקַּ֙ח יְהוֹשֻׁ֜עַ אֶת־כָּל־הָאָ֗רֶץ כְּ֠כֹל אֲשֶׁ֙ר דִּבֶּ֣ר יְהוָה֮ אֶל־מֹשֶׁה֒ וַיִּתְּנָהּ֩ יְהוֹשֻׁ֙עַ לְנַחֲלָ֧ה לְיִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל כְּמַחְלְקֹתָ֖ם לְשִׁבְטֵיהֶ֑ם וְהָאָ֥רֶץ שָׁקְטָ֖ה מִמִּלְחָמָֽה׃

[3] That is, Tangier, in northwestern Morocco.

Joshua 11:21: Joshua Takes the Entire Land, Part 5

Verse 21:[1] And at that time came Joshua, and cut off (Num. 13:22, 33; Deut. 1:28; Josh. 15:13, 14) the Anakims from the mountains, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel: Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities.

[He killed the Anakim[2] (similarly the Septuagint, Junius and Tremellius)] Others: he drove out the giants (Vatablus, similarly Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic). Of these there was mention in Numbers 13:22, 33 (Bonfrerius). They appear to have been the offspring of a certain man by the name of Anak; hence they are called בְּנֵ֥י עֲנָ֖ק, that is, the sons of Anak, Numbers 13:33, and יְלִדֵ֥י הָֽעֲנָ֖ק, the children of Anak, Numbers 13:28 (Masius).

At that time, that is, in that war; for it cannot be meant of any particular and short time, because the work here related was done in divers times and years. The Anakims; a race of giants, of which see Numbers 13:33.

[From the mountains] Since it was a race of men strange to all humanity, and, as it appears from Numbers 13:33, ἀνθρωποφάγον/man-eating, it was by preference dwelling in mountains, after the fashion of wild beasts, in which it was digging burrows for itself (which sort moisture does not allow to be done in fields): which Homer relates concerning the Cyclopes in Odyssey ι´, Τοῖσιν δ᾽οὔτ᾽ ἀγοραὶ, etc., they have no laws nor assemblies of the people, but live in caves on the tops of high mountains; each is lord and master in his family, and they take no account of their neighbours; and elsewhere, in Iliad α´, Κάρτιστοι μὲν ἔσαν καὶ καρτίστοις ἐμάχοντο Φηρσὶν ὀρεσκῴοισι, etc., these were the mightiest men, and, when they fought the mightiest Wild Beasts of the mountains, they utterly overthrew them, etc. He calls the Centaurs the sild beasts of the mountains (Masius).

From the mountain, or, mountains, the singular number for the plural: these barbarous and monstrous persons either chose to live in the dens or caves, which were frequent in the mountains of those parts; or else they were driven thither by the arms and success of the Israelites.

[Hebron] This was of old built on a mountain, afterwards in the plain: Benjamin’s Itinerary[3] 47 (Drusius). That these Giants inhabited the mountains around Hebron, is related in Numbers 13:22. In that place that brood was yet remaining. Since these were setting their hearts on new property, and in diverse places, in which they had their dens, they began to show themselves, it appears that they were to be repressed, lest they should hinder the coming distribution of the land with new disturbances (Masius). Question: How did Joshua destroy them, since after the death of Joshua, Caleb and Othniel are said to have done it, Joshua 14:12; Judges 1:10-13? Response 1: This is said by way of anticipation, and to Joshua are attributed those things that he began, but his successors perfected (Tostatus in Lapide). Response 2: Some think that Caleb did these things while Joshua was yet alive, and that they are attributed to Joshua as the General; but that they are ascribed to Caleb, because he threw himself into that battle with greater zeal. Thus Kimchi and Rabbi Isaiah. Now, what things were written in the Book of Judges they translate throught the pluperfect, Judah had proceeded against the Canaanite dwelling in Hebrew…he had smitten Sheshai…Caleb had said…Othniel had taken, and so the rest, until it is related that Judah set out against Gaza with Simeon.[4] [This is not satisfying to Masius.] 1. Let us grant to them that Caleb drove the giants from Hebron, and Othniel from Debir, etc., what shall they make of the other places mentioned here, Anab, the mountain of Israel, the whole land, etc.? Will they say that these also pertain to that narration in Judges? 2. That narration in Judges proceeds in a lovely and uninterrupted course, and the situation of the places answers to the military engagements in order, so that it would not be fitting to interrupt it with words of a different time. 3. They are mentioned in Judges after the defeat of Adoni-bezek (whom Joshua is nowhere said to have defeated) and capture of Jerusalem as proceeding to Hebron, etc. 4. Augustine thinks that the victory of Caleb is related in the book of Joshua κατὰ πρόληψιν, proleptically, but in Judges in its own time and place (Masius). Response 3: It is likely that those immense monsters (rather than men), while previously they, some having hidden in their caves, others having fled into the nearby cities, Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod, had escaped the hands of Joshua, occupied again those seats of their ancestors, and stirred up others to fresh hostilities, until they were completely annihilated by Caleb (Masius, Lapide). The following verse insinuates this (Lapide).

[And Debir] Of Hebron and Debir we spoke on Joshua 10:36, 38 (Masius, Lapide).

[Anab] This, like the previous two, was in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:50 (Bonfrerius). It was near Diospolis,[5] where there is yet a farmstead called Beth-Anoba (Eusebius in Masius). Whence I conclude that the it was same city, which was at first called עֲנָב/Anab, then through aphæresis[6] נוֹב/Nob, which they today call Bethanobe and Bethanopolis (Masius).

[And from all the mountain of Judah and Israel] Therefore, the kingdom of the Hebrews was already divided into two; and so this book either was first composed by another author, or it was edited from the Sacred annals that were kept in the Temple (certain interpreters in Malvenda). Concerning the mountain of Israel we spoke on verse 16. The Mountain of Judah signifies all those mountains that lie from Jerusalem southward in the land of Canaan (Masius). To others it is Hebron, which was in the mountains of Judah (Malvenda).

[And he destroyed their cities] But you will say that Hazor was destroyed in that expedition. Responses: 1. Therefore, this was a new expedition. 2. Or the cities of the Anakim, as defended by the stoutest men, were not able to be taken except with the bulwarks overthrown, and therefore those bulwarks were destroyed. 3. Or עָרִים signifies, not cities, but citizens; that is to say, these with their citizens, among whom they held dominion, were destroyed (Masius).

From Debir; either, 1. From the territories belonging to these cities, as we have oft seen in this history, cities mentioned for the country subject to them; for the cities were taken before by Joshua, Joshua 10:36-38. Or, 2. From the cities themselves; and so either the cities were retaken by the giants, which it is not probable that God would permit in Joshua’s time; or he speaks here of that time when he took those places mentioned here and Joshua 10, which history he here in part repeats and enlargeth with this memorable circumstance, that, together with the rest, he destroyed also the giants which were in those places. Anab; a place in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:50. From all the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel: it doth not follow from hence, which some conclude, that this book was written by some other person long after Joshua’s death, even after the division of the Israelites into two kingdoms, of Israel and Judah; but only that this was one of those clauses which were added or altered and suited to the style of the present times by Ezra, or some other prophet, though that be not necessary; for since it was evident to Joshua, from Genesis 49:9, etc., that the tribe of Judah was to be the chief of all the tribes, and some dawnings of its eminency appeared in that time, in their having the first lot in the land of Canaan, Joshua 15:1, and the largest inheritance, Joshua 19:9, it is no wonder that it is mentioned apart, and distinguished from the rest of the tribes of Israel, though that also be one of them; even as the daughter of Pharaoh is distinguished from the strange women, 1 Kings 11:1, and Saul from all David’s enemies, Psalm 18 title, and Peter from the disciples, Mark 16:7, though they were each of the same nature and quality with the rest. Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities. Question. How could Joshua utterly destroy these, when Caleb and Othniel destroyed some of them after Joshua’s death, Joshua 14:12; Judges 1:10-13. Answer. This might be, either, 1. Because these places being in part destroyed and neglected by the Israelites, might be repossessed by the giants, either in Joshua’s time, or after his death, and by them kept till Caleb dispossessed and destroyed them. Or rather, 2. Because this work, though done by the particular valour and industry of Caleb, is ascribed to Joshua as the general of the army, according to the manner of all historians; and therefore it is here attributed to Joshua, though afterwards, that Caleb might not lose his deserved honour, the history is more particularly described, and Caleb owned as the great instrument in the achievement of it, Joshua 14; Judges 1.

[1] Hebrew: וַיָּבֹ֙א יְהוֹשֻׁ֜עַ בָּעֵ֣ת הַהִ֗יא וַיַּכְרֵ֤ת אֶת־הָֽעֲנָקִים֙ מִן־הָהָ֤ר מִן־חֶבְרוֹן֙ מִן־דְּבִ֣ר מִן־עֲנָ֔ב וּמִכֹּל֙ הַ֣ר יְהוּדָ֔ה וּמִכֹּ֖ל הַ֣ר יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל עִם־עָרֵיהֶ֖ם הֶחֱרִימָ֥ם יְהוֹשֻֽׁעַ׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיַּכְרֵ֤ת אֶת־הָֽעֲנָקִים֙. כָּרַת, in the Qal and Hiphil conjugations, signifies to cut off.

[3] Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela (died 1173) was a Spanish Jew, who chronicled his travels through Europe and Asia, unto the very borders of China.

[4] Verse 17.

[5] Diospolis was in the north-western portion of Judah.

[6] That is, the loss of a sound or sounds at the beginning of a word.

Joshua 11:19, 20: Joshua Takes the Entire Land, Part 4

Verse 19:[1] There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save (Josh. 9:3, 7) the Hivites the inhabitants of Gibeon: all other they took in battle.

[There was not a city, etc.] He gives the reason for the long-lasting war; namely, by force of arms was the matter to be conducted against a most obstinate enemy, and ἄσπονδον/implacable, and full of desperation (Masius).

There was not a city, etc.: To wit, all that were taken by Joshua, were taken by the sword, and therefore it is no wonder that the war was long, when the enemy was so obstinate.

[All he took] Namely, either, those that were mentioned above, or, unto which Joshua approached with arms (Masius out of Augustine).

 

Verse 20:[2] For (Deut. 2:30; Judg. 14:4; 1 Sam. 2:25; 1 Kings 12:15; Rom. 9:18) it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, (Deut. 20:16, 17) as the LORD commanded Moses.

[It was the decree of the Lord that their hearts might be hardened,מֵאֵ֣ת יְהוָ֣ה׀ הָיְתָ֡ה לְחַזֵּ֣ק אֶת־לִבָּם֩] It was from the Lord to strengthen (or, to harden [Dutch]) their heart (Montanus). [Some refer this to God:] That He, namely, God, might harden (Pagnine), or, make obdurate (Drusius); who hardened, or strengthened (Munster, Tigurinus). He rendered their heart hard (Arabic). [Others refer this to the Canaanites:] That they might make obdurate their heart (Masius); that they were making obdurate their heart, etc. (Junius and Tremellius); so that, with obstinate hearts, they might rush to war, etc. (Castalio); or, so that their hearts might be made obdurate (Drusius, similarly the Syriac). Thus לִקְרֺא in Genesis 4:26 signifies to be called[3] (Drusius). Of itself it is an ambiguous expression, whether God hardened the heart of the Canaanites, or they hardened their own. And certainly either is rightly able to be said, as it is evident from Exodus 9:12, 34; 14:17; Deuteronomy 2:30 (Masius). The doubling of the preposition, from unto God, or, from with God, it was, is not without emphasis, to indicate the great and most secret methods of the Divine Providence to harden and overthrow them (Malvenda). God did not send among them terror as He was able; indeed, He also withdrew much of their prudence (Grotius). The language of heart is put for the mind (Masius).

[And they might fight against Israel, לִקְרַ֙את הַמִּלְחָמָ֤ה אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙[4]] Unto an encounter of war with Israel (Pagnine, Montanus). It is a Hebraism; with war imminent with Israel (Vatablus). To set in order battle with Israel (Jonathan); so that they might rush to war, etc. (Arabic, similarly Junius and Tremellius, Syriac, Septuagint, Munster, Tigurinus).

[And they might not find any mercy, לְבִלְתִּ֥י הֱיוֹת־לָהֶ֖ם תְּחִנָּ֑ה] So that by no means, or not, there might be, or be found, for them grace, or mercy, or compassion (Malvenda, Junius and Tremellius, similarly the Septuagint, Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic, Vatablus). So that they might not pity them (Vatablus). So that they might be completely uprooted by the Israelites without any mercy, by which we are wont to be moved, not towards those opposing, but towards supplicants (Masius).

It was of the Lord, etc.: It was the design of God’s providence not to soften their hearts to a compliance with the Israelites, but to give them up to their own animosity, pride, confidence, and stubbornness; that so both their abominable and incorrigible wickedness might be severely punished and that the Israelites might not be mixed with them, but be entire among themselves in the possession of the land. Compare Deuteronomy 2:30, and for the phrase, Exodus 7:13; 9:12; 14:17.

[1] Hebrew: לֹא־הָיְתָ֣ה עִ֗יר אֲשֶׁ֤ר הִשְׁלִ֙ימָה֙ אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל בִּלְתִּ֥י הַחִוִּ֖י יֹשְׁבֵ֣י גִבְע֑וֹן אֶת־הַכֹּ֖ל לָקְח֥וּ בַמִּלְחָמָֽה׃

[2] Hebrew: כִּ֣י מֵאֵ֣ת יְהוָ֣ה׀ הָיְתָ֡ה לְחַזֵּ֣ק אֶת־לִבָּם֩ לִקְרַ֙את הַמִּלְחָמָ֤ה אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ לְמַ֣עַן הַֽחֲרִימָ֔ם לְבִלְתִּ֥י הֱיוֹת־לָהֶ֖ם תְּחִנָּ֑ה כִּ֚י לְמַ֣עַן הַשְׁמִידָ֔ם כַּאֲשֶׁ֛ר צִוָּ֥ה יְהוָ֖ה אֶת־מֹשֶֽׁה׃

[3] Genesis 4:26:  “And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos:  then began men to call upon the name of the Lord (לִקְרֹ֖א בְּשֵׁ֥ם יְהוָֽה׃, to be called by the name of the Lord).”  The infinitive is formally active, but may be taken in a passive sense.

[4] קָרָא can signify to meet or encounter, or to call.

Joshua 11:18: Joshua Takes the Entire Land, Part 3

Verse 18:[1] (Josh. 11:23) Joshua made war a long time with all those kings (till 1445 BC).

[A long time[2]] He adds this so that the confidence due to the history might be greater, and lest anyone that so great wars were finished in the space of a few days. יָמִים/days is used for time, or for years. Josephus, in Jewish Antiquities 5:2, defines this time as five years (Masius). But others, more correctly, as seven years, at least begun. Thus the Jews in Seder Olam[3] (Masius, thus Serarius, Lapide, Bonfrerius, Lyra). Which they prove in this way: Caleb was forty years old when he was sent as a spy from Kadesh-Barnea. But now, when these wars were finished, forty-five years had passed from that time, Joshua 14:7-10, from which, if you subtract thirty-eight years, which after the return of the spies the Israelites spent wandering in the desert, as is gathered from Deuteronomy 2:14, seven years would remain. Thus the Jews calculate, etc., and rightly. (Compare Numbers 33:38 and Deuteronomy 1:3 [Masius].) But, since God was easily able to root out all the Canaanites with a single nod, and to send His people into an empty possession, it is asked why this war was drawn out for such a long time. Responses: 1. The Israelites were to be trained by those long-lasting wars, as by perpetual miracles, and to be exercised in the love of God, and dependence on Him alone, while piety had taken root in their souls through a longer space of time. 2. As the occupation of the land was arduous by the hindrances introduced and the great impediments, so the love of God shines all the more, and His care toward the Church. 3. So that the Israelites might learn to endure in adverse situations, and not to despond because of obstacles. 4. So that the impiety of the Canaanites might be more thoroughly observed, who so obstinately continued to oppose God, who had shown Himself so beneficient toward His worshippers, and so powerful against His enemies. 5. So that there might be a testimony vast mercy of God, He allowed a place for repentance to these, His worst enemies. See Wisdom of Solomon 12:2-10[4] (Masius).

A long time: For divers years together, as is evident by the following history, and by comparing Deuteronomy 2:14 with Joshua 14:7, etc. And this is here expressed, lest it should be thought that as all these wars are here recorded in a short narration, so they were despatched in a short time. And God would have the land to be conquered gradually, for many weighty reasons: 1. Lest the sudden extirpation of those nations should have made a great part of the land desert, and thereby have increased the numbers of wild beasts, Deuteronomy 7:22. 2. Lest being done suddenly and easily, it should soon be forgotten and despised, as the nature of man is apt to do in those cases. 3. That by long exercise the Israelites might grow skilful in the art of war, which was very useful and needful for them in that land. 4. For the trial and exercise of their patience, and courage, and trust in God. 5. To oblige them to the greater care to please and obey God, whom they yet needed for their help against their enemies.

[1] Hebrew: יָמִ֣ים רַבִּ֗ים עָשָׂ֧ה יְהוֹשֻׁ֛עַ אֶת־כָּל־הַמְּלָכִ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה מִלְחָמָֽה׃

[2] Hebrew: יָמִ֣ים רַבִּ֗ים.

[3] Seder Olam Rabbah was a chronicle from Adam to the Bar Kochba rebellion, written around 160 AD.  Tradition ascribes the work to Yose ben Halafta, a Tanna of the fourth generation and student of Rabbi Akiva, but it was probably supplemented and edited by later hands.

[4] Wisdom of Solomon 12:2-10:  “Therefore chastenest thou them by little and little that offend, and warnest them by putting them in remembrance wherein they have offended, that leaving their wickedness they may believe on thee, O Lord.  For it was thy will to destroy by the hands of our fathers both those old inhabitants of thy holy land, whom thou hatedst for doing most odious works of witchcrafts, and wicked sacrifices; and also those merciless murderers of children, and devourers of man’s flesh, and the feasts of blood, with their priests out of the midst of their idolatrous crew, and the parents, that killed with their own hands souls destitute of help:  that the land, which thou esteemedst above all other, might receive a worthy colony of God’s children.  Nevertheless even those thou sparedst as men, and didst send wasps, forerunners of thine host, to destroy them by little and little.  Not that thou wast unable to bring the ungodly under the hand of the righteous in battle, or to destroy them at once with cruel beasts, or with one rough word:  but executing thy judgments upon them by little and little, thou gavest them place of repentance, not being ignorant that they were a naughty generation, and that their malice was bred in them, and that their cogitation would never be changed.”

Joshua 11:17: Joshua Takes the Entire Land, Part 2

Verse 17:[1] (Josh. 12:7) Even from the mount Halak (or, the smooth mountain[2]), that goeth up to Seir, even unto Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon under mount Hermon: and (Deut. 7:24; Josh. 12:7) all their kings he took, and smote them, and slew them.

[And part of the mountain that ascends to Seir,מִן־הָהָ֤ר הֶֽחָלָק֙ הָעוֹלֶ֣ה שֵׂעִ֔יר וגו״[3]] [They render it variously.] From the mount of division (Jonathan, Munster, Tigurinus), or, the dividing mountain (Aquila in Masius, Syriac). So it was called, either, because it was distributed or divided into two parts (Malvenda); because, even if it was one continuous mountain, it was divided into many, partial, as it were, mountains (Bonfrerius): or, because it divided Canaan from Idumæa (Lapide, Bonfrerius). Our translation, in the place of הֶחָלָק, read הָחֶלֶק/part (Lapide). Others translate it, from the mountain slippery, or smooth, or bald (thus Pagnine, Montanus, Arabic, Junius and Tremellius, Masius, Vatablus, Drusius), that is, being without trees (Vatablus, Junius), grass, and herbs (Dutch). It appears to be thus named κατ᾽ ἀντίθεσιν, by antithesis, from the nearby Seir: For שֵׂעִיר/Seir signifies hairy, as I will thus call it (Masius). To others it is a proper name (Dutch). Ἀπὸ ὄρους Χαλκὰ (Septuagint), that is, from the mountain stony, or, bald and smooth on account of the abundance of stones (Bochart’s Sacred Geography “Canaan” 1:5:376). Now, this mountain extended unto mount Seir near Kadesh-Barnea. (Rabbi Salomon and Kimchi do not have it otherwise, who locate it near the desert of Sin.) But the whole of Canaan is here contained in two boundaries, this mountain in the South, and Baal-gad in the North (Masius).

[That ascends to Seir, הָעוֹלֶה] That rises (Pagnine), that is, extends in ascending (Vatablus). Where it is ascended (Junius and Tremellius). Hebrew: ascending Seir; Metonymy (Junius). It is to be noted that there is a twofold Seir and a twofold Idumæa. See what things are on Genesis 32:3. One Seir is in eastern Idumæa; another in the South. I supposed the former to be understood here: but, with the matter considered more carefully, I understand it of the Southern one with Masius, and that because of the obviously similar place in Joshua 12:7, where it is treated of the whole western tract on this side of Jordan, and its two opposite boundaries on both ends are assigned, from Baal-gad in the field of Libanus unto the mount, a part of which ascends unto Seir. Moreover, Seir, of which mention is made here, is not mount Seir, for it is on the interior of Idumæa, but Idumæa itself, which is often called Seir through synecdoche (Bonfrerius).

That goeth up to Seir, that is, to the country of Seir or Edom, to wit, that part of it which was south from Judea, not that which was eastward from it, as appears from hence, that here, as also Joshua 12:7, is mention of the two extreme bounds of the land conquered by Joshua; whereof the other which follows being in the north, this must needs be in the south of the land.

[Unto Baal-gad (thus most interpreters), בַּ֤עַל גָּד֙] Others: the plain of Gad (Jonathan, Munster, Vatablus). But I do not remember בַּעַל/Baal signifying a field or plain (Masius). Baal-gad was part of Libanus, but toward the East, for it is described here, and in Joshua 13:5, as next to Hermon. Now, Mizpeh, which was adjacent to Hermon, Joshua 11:3, was situated toward the East, verse 8 (Masius).

[Unto Baal-gad through the plain of Libanus[4]] Unto Baal-gad in the valley of Libanus (Junius and Tremellius). There it was situated (Malvenda, Bonfrerius). Unto the plain of Gad, which is in the fields or valley of Lebanon (Vatablus). Now, the plain of Libanus was to the east of it, between Libanus and Hermon: And Baal-gad signifies not a mountain, but a city, at the foot of mount Hermon, as it is said here and in the following chapter (Bonfrerius).

Baal-gad; a part of Mount Lebanon.

[1] Hebrew: מִן־הָהָ֤ר הֶֽחָלָק֙ הָעוֹלֶ֣ה שֵׂעִ֔יר וְעַד־בַּ֤עַל גָּד֙ בְּבִקְעַ֣ת הַלְּבָנ֔וֹן תַּ֖חַת הַר־חֶרְמ֑וֹן וְאֵ֤ת כָּל־מַלְכֵיהֶם֙ לָכַ֔ד וַיַּכֵּ֖ם וַיְמִיתֵֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: הָהָ֤ר הֶֽחָלָק֙.

[3] חָלַק can signify to divide, or to be smooth.

[4] Hebrew: וְעַד־בַּ֤עַל גָּד֙ בְּבִקְעַ֣ת הַלְּבָנ֔וֹן

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.