Joshua 10:19: Pursuit of the Enemy

Verse 19:[1] And stay ye not, but pursue after your enemies, and smite the hindmost (Heb. cut off the tail[2]) of them; suffer them not to enter into their cities: for the LORD your God hath delivered them into your hand.

[Stand ye not[3]] That is, Do not delay, as in Numbers 9:8.[4] Or, Do not remain here standing, but pursue your enemies: or, stand ye not, that is, cease ye not. Thus in Genesis 29:35, she stood from bearing, she ceased to bear[5] (Drusius). He speaks to those cohorts that, now weary, were gathering about him, as if the battle were over. For, after he found that not even those Kings, for whom all things were in perfect readiness for flight, escaped unto their defensive positions, he, understanding more rightly the Divine counsel from emergent circumstances, stirs again the spirits of all to pursue the survivors of the battle, and that with these arguments: 1. From the shame of idleness; Stand ye not: 2. From justice and equity; your enemies: 3. From ease; inasmuch as he makes mention of the tail: 4. From utility; lest they be allowed to come to their cities, whence they might be able to renew war: 5. From the most certain hope of victory; He has delivered them: Ye possess a victory already accomplished; why would ye throw it away? The Lord of all things, for whom nothing is difficult; your God: and therefore it would be the height of impiety to allow His benefits to be bestowed in vain. But, whether the Commander-in-Chief himself pursued the enemy, or he made camp at Makkedah, with the swiftest dismissed unto this matter, is uncertain: Yet the latter is more likely, verse 21 (Masius).

[Smite the hindmost, וְזִנַּבְתֶּם] Ye shall cut off their tails (Montanus), that is, smite the hindmost (Arabic, Junius and Tremellius, similarly Munster, Tigurinus, Vatablus, Masius), smite their tail (Pagnine). The last troop of an army is called זָנָב, the tail (Drusius). Thence זִנֵּב is to cut off the tail; as from שֺׁרֵשׁ/root is the verb שֵׁרֵשׁ, to eradicate (Drusius out of Masius). Others otherwise: Grab their tail (Septuagint); overtake their hindmost, and stick fast to them (the Chaldean in Masius); catch them (Syriac).

[To enter into their strongholds[6] (thus the Septagint, Chaldean, Masius)] The verb בֺּא also signifies to enter (certain interpreters).

Stay ye not; lose not your opportunity by your sloth or negligence. The hindmost of them; their rereward, all whom you can overtake. To enter into their cities, whereby they will recover their strength, and renew the war. The Lord hath delivered them into your hand; your work will be easy, God hath already done the work to your hands.

[1] Hebrew: וְאַתֶּם֙ אַֽל־תַּעֲמֹ֔דוּ רִדְפוּ֙ אַחֲרֵ֣י אֹֽיְבֵיכֶ֔ם וְזִנַּבְתֶּ֖ם אוֹתָ֑ם אַֽל־תִּתְּנ֗וּם לָבוֹא֙ אֶל־עָ֣רֵיהֶ֔ם כִּ֧י נְתָנָ֛ם יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֖ם בְּיֶדְכֶֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: וְזִנַּבְתֶּם.

[3] Hebrew: וְאַתֶּם֙ אַֽל־תַּעֲמֹ֔דוּ.

[4] Numbers 9:8:  “And Moses said unto them, Stand still (עִמְדוּ), and I will hear what the Lord will command concerning you.”

[5] Genesis 29:35b:  “…therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearingוַֽתַּעֲמֹ֖ד) מִלֶּֽדֶת׃).”

[6] Hebrew: לָבוֹא֙ אֶל־עָ֣רֵיהֶ֔ם.

Joshua 10:16-18: The Capture of the Five Kings

Verse 16:[1] But these five kings fled, and hid themselves in a cave at Makkedah.

[For the five kings had fled] According to the sense already given (Masius), and others translate it, but they had fled (Lapide, Bonfrerius). The poor wretches did not know that no one is able to flee from the avenging eye of God, and that there is no protection for mortals against the wrath of God, except in His readiness to forgive and clemency. Into one cave, as if into a snare, God drove them, so that He might bring greater fear upon the remaining Kings, and raise the spirits of the Israelites (Masius).

The five kings named above, verse 3. In a cave, as a place of most secrecy or security; but there is no escaping the eye or hand of God, who here brought them into a net of their own making. At Makkedah; Hebrew, in Makkedah:[2] not in the city, for that was not yet taken; but in the territory of it; as in Gibeon, verse 10.[3]


Verse 17:[4] And it was told Joshua, saying, The five kings are found hid in a cave at Makkedah.

[Lying hidden, נֶחְבְּאִ֥ים] A Sheva (ְ) is under the ב in the place of a Kamatz (ָ),[5] so that a less encumbered pronunciation might be able to hasten to the final syllable, which is to be pronounced with the accent; while a little longer delay was to be made beforehand in the breath of the letter ח (Masius).

[In a cave] The same was done by others: Tacitus’ Annals 14. See Judges 6:2 (Grotius).

[Makkedah] Hebrew: in Makkedah.[6] Not in the city (for then neither the stones had been able to be applied, nor the Kings had been able to be led out, except with the city conquered, although nevertheless these things were done previously); but near the city (Bonfrerius). This is used as above, in Gibeon,[7] and in Jericho[8] (Drusius).


Verse 18:[9] And Joshua said, Roll great stones upon the mouth of the cave, and set men by it for to keep them…

[Up to the mouth of the cave] Tacitus spoke of the mouths and exits of caves, Annals 14 (Grotius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיָּנֻ֕סוּ חֲמֵ֖שֶׁת הַמְּלָכִ֣ים הָאֵ֑לֶּה וַיֵּחָבְא֥וּ בַמְּעָרָ֖ה בְּמַקֵּדָֽה׃

[2] Hebrew: בְּמַקֵּדָה.

[3] Joshua 10:10a:  “And the Lord discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon (בְּגִבְעוֹן, in Gibeon)…”

[4] Hebrew: וַיֻּגַּ֖ד לִיהוֹשֻׁ֣עַ לֵאמֹ֑ר נִמְצְאוּ֙ חֲמֵ֣שֶׁת הַמְּלָכִ֔ים נֶחְבְּאִ֥ים בַּמְּעָרָ֖ה בְּמַקֵּדָֽה׃

[5] The expected form is נֶחְבָּאִים.

[6] Hebrew: בְּמַקֵּדָה.

[7] Verse 10.

[8] Joshua 5:13.

[9] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ גֹּ֛לּוּ אֲבָנִ֥ים גְּדֹל֖וֹת אֶל־פִּ֣י הַמְּעָרָ֑ה וְהַפְקִ֧ידוּ עָלֶ֛יהָ אֲנָשִׁ֖ים לְשָׁמְרָֽם׃

Joshua 10:15: A Return to Gilgal?

Verse 15:[1] (Josh. 10:43) And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal.

[And he returned…unto the camp of Gilgal] How was this able to be done, since it was a longer space from Gilgal to Makkedah than that troops might be able so easily to be brought back and forth? Responses: He was returning here signifies he resolved, or prepared, to return (Masius, Serarius, Drusius). Thus Balaam is said to have returned to his own, Numbers 24:25, that is, he intended to return. See Joshua 13:22. Indeed, the Commander-in-Chief, since he thought the enemy to be routed, and the army to be fatigued, perhaps decided to sound the retreat; but, when he unexpectedly received news concerning the five Kings, and concerning the great number of fleeing enemies yet remaining, he formed another plan to meet the situation, and decided to pursue the enemies even further (Masius, Menochius). [This does not satisfy Bonfrerius.] For how, with the Sun commanded to stand still so that he might finish the battle, next, without any narration made of any matter pertaining to victory, is it so abruptly subjoined that Joshua prepared himself to return (Bonfrerius)? Response 2: A great many think that this was said by way of Anticipation (Bonfrerius, thus Lapide, Lyra, certain interpreters in Vatablus); and they translate it, but he had returned (Vatablus). 3. There is continual hyperbaton[2] from this verse unto the end; for, before he might return unto Gilgal with the army, all that he subjoins was conducted (Junius). 4. I think that this verse is unnecessary in this place, and is to be pushed back unto the end of the chapter (Masius), where the entirely same things are found, and, if the Hebrew words be attended to, in the very same words; wherefore this verse is also wanting in the Septuagint verse (Bonfrerius). 5. Or read in verse 16, previously they had fled, namely, before they returned to Gilgal (Drusius). 6. Others take it simply, that at that time the entire army returned to Gilgal; and what things follow were accomplished the follow day, or days. 7. I conclude that half of verse 13, with all of verses 14 and 15, are cited as words out of the book of Just: then in verse 16 there is a continuation of the narrative concerning the matters conducted at that time by Joshua (Malvenda).

And Joshua returned…to Gilgal: Not immediately, or upon the same day, but after he had despatched the matter which here follows; as appears by verse 43, where the very same words are repeated, to show that that was the meaning of them. And they are put here to close the general discourse of the fight, which begun verse 10, and ends here; which being done, he particularly describes some remarkable passages, and closeth them with the same words.

[1] Hebrew: וַיָּ֤שָׁב יְהוֹשֻׁ֙עַ֙ וְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֣ל עִמּ֔וֹ אֶל־הַֽמַּחֲנֶ֖ה הַגִּלְגָּֽלָה׃

[2] That is, an inversion of normal word order.

Joshua 10:14: Sun and Moon Stand Still, Part 3

Verse 14:[1] And there was (see Isa. 38:8) no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for (Deut. 1:30; Josh. 10:42; 23:3) the LORD fought for Israel.

[There was no day so long before or after] Question: How is this true? they object the much longer days in the polar regions. Response: The comparison of the days is not made except with respect to the same region of Palestine (Bonfrerius, Maresius). But they object the day of Hezekiah, which was thirty-two hours long. For it went back by ten degrees: therefore, ten hours were consumed in the retrogression, and just so many again in the return to its prior location. Responses: 1. The Sun did not go backwards gradually, but completed those ten degrees as if in a moment, and began again to retraverse in the usual way (Menochius, Masius). Thus the day was only twenty-two hours long, while this our day lasted at least twenty-four (Masius). 2. The day of Joshua was actually around the summer solstice, and so the artificial day was fourteen hours long, and, with those doubled, this day was twenty-eight hours long (Bonfrerius, Lapide). But, on the other hand, perhaps the day of Hezekiah was at the time of the winter solstice, and at that time the twelve artificial hours prove to be only ten natural hours, and so ten hours of retrogression are eight natural hours and a little more. Therefore, these with the ten hours of regression do not quite prove to be seventeen whole natural hours. Thus that day shall not be twenty-seven hours long, and is exceeded by the day of Joshua by one hour (Bonfrerius out of Lyra). 3. By the name of individual lines in 2 Kings 20 others understand half-hours. Thus Bertram[2] Lucubrations in Frankenthal.[3] Others: quarter-hours (Serarius, Menochius). 4. A comparison of the length of this day is not undertaken, but it is only set before whatever other days, because God prolonged no other day in this way at the prayers of any man for the sake of smiting enemies (Masius). 5. This writer denies that any day was so long either before or afterward, but he does not deny that one might be afterwards (Bonfrerius). Now, some understand here a natural day (thus the Hebrews in Munster): others, an artificial day; for this alone provides light; and he indicates this in Ecclesiasticus 46:4[4] (thus Lapide, Bonfrerius). And this was a day of twenty-four, or more exactly twenty-eight, hours (Lapide).

[With God hearkening unto the voice of a man] There is an antithesis between mortal man and the immortal God (Piscator).

[לִשְׁמֹ֥עַ יְהוָ֖ה בְּק֣וֹל אִ֑ישׁ] That the Lord hearkened to the voice of any man (Syriac, similarly Jonathan, Arabic, Junius and Tremellius), that is, petitioning that the course of nature be changed (Vatablus). In which God obeyed, etc. (Pagnine), that is, accommodated himself to the will of Joshua, and in a certain manner gratified him (Bonfrerius). It is a portent that God would listen to a man (Lapide). The Sun and moon are obedient to the son of Joseph, Genesis 37:9 (Lightfoot).

There was no day like that, to wit, in those parts of the world in which he here speaks, and about which the comparison is here made: vain therefore is that objection, that the days are longer near the northern and southern poles, where they are constantly longer at certain seasons, and that by the order of nature; whereas the length of this day was purely contingent, and granted by God in answer to Joshua’s prayer, as is here added. Objection. In Hezekiah’s time, and at his prayer, there was a day which may seem to have been longer; for the sun went back ten degrees in ten hours, and then returned again ten degrees in ten hours, and so it was twenty hours longer than a common day, and so longer than this. Answer. It is not certain either that each degree designed an hour, and not rather half an hour, or a quarter, as others think; or that the sun returned those ten degrees as slowly as he went down before or after. Besides, it was now near summer solstice, when the day was longest, and about fourteen hours; and that being doubled, the artificial day was twenty-eight hours; and because there is not the least evidence that Hezekiah’s day was longer, but rather of the contrary, it is much more reasonable to believe this Scripture assertion, than to deny or question upon mere suppositions or idle conjectures. Hearkened unto the voice of a man, to wit, in such a manner to alter the course of nature, and of the heavenly bodies, that a man might have more time to pursue and destroy his enemies.

[And with Him fighting[5]] I translate it, For God was fighting. It renders the reason,either, why no day was the equal of this day. For on no other day did God fight for Israel with stony hail (Hebrews in Masius). Or, rather, why God rushed to meet Joshua in that prayer; that is to say, so that God might fulfill the obligation of His promise, He prolonged the day: For He said, I have delivered into thy hand;[6] but, with night now coming on, the enemies saw that they were going to escape, unless the Sun had stood still. Or, the particle כִּי does not signify the cause, but the time, when He fought. It is to be noted here that God rather forces the stable law of the nature of things, than that He might fail to provide things convenient for His Church (Masius).

The Lord fought for Israel this is added as the reason why God was so ready to answer Joshua’s petition herein, because he was engaged and resolved to fight for Israel, and that in a more than ordinary manner.

[1] Hebrew: וְלֹ֙א הָיָ֜ה כַּיּ֤וֹם הַהוּא֙ לְפָנָ֣יו וְאַחֲרָ֔יו לִשְׁמֹ֥עַ יְהוָ֖ה בְּק֣וֹל אִ֑ישׁ כִּ֣י יְהוָ֔ה נִלְחָ֖ם לְיִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

[2] Bonaventure Cornelius Bertram (1531-1594) was minister of the Gospel and Professor of Hebrew at Geneva, at Frankenthal, and at Lausanne.  His revision of the French Bible is used by French Calvinists to the present day.

[3] Lucubrationes Franktallenses, sive Specimen Expositionum in Difficillima Utriusque Testamenti Loca.

[4] Ecclesiasticus 46:4:  “Did not the sun go back by his means? and was not one day as long as two?”

[5] Hebrew: כִּ֣י יְהוָ֔ה נִלְחָ֖ם לְיִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃.

[6] Verse 8.

Joshua 10:13: Sun and Moon Stand Still, Part 2

Verse 13:[1] And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. (2 Sam. 1:18) Is not this written in the book of Jasher (or, the upright[2])? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.

[And the sun and moon stood still] Question: Did they actually stand still? Response 1: Some deny that anything changed in heaven, but therefore something appeared to have changed, because on earth Joshua conducted so great matters with such swiftness that it rather appeared that the day was prolonged, and that the Sun stood still, than that he conducted those things so swiftly (certain interpreters in Serarius). They maintain that this was the prayer of Joshua, that, before the Sun and Moon set, he might be able to punish his enemies. And that this was miraculous, because at the prayers of man he wrought so great a slaughter in so small a space of time (Rabbi Levi ben Gershon and Maimonides in Masius). The Sun and Moon appeared to have stood still, that is, on account of the brevity of the time in which the Israelites subdued their enemies; which was certainly the work of many days: that is to say, Grant it, Lord, that in so short an interval we might avenge ourselves on our enemies as the Sun will stand over Gibeon, and the Moon this night over Ajalon (Vatablus). They maintain that the expression is poetic, as if the Sun had waited until the slaughter of their enemies was completed; although rather the Israelites did not cease to pursue their enemies as long as either the Sun or the Moon were supplying light. The Writer to the Hebrews, relating the remarkable rewards of faith, in Hebrews 11:30 made mention of the overthrow of Jericho; he did not make mention of a change in the course of the heavens, which would have been much greater. And it now follows that God hearkened to the voice of a man, not indeed by stopping the Sun, but by fighting, that is, by furnishing strength to those fighting and an invincible spirit against hardships, by sending in addition stones for hail (Grotius). But Moses in no place exercised power over the motion of the heavenly spheres, who nevertheless excelled all others in the glory of miracles (Rabbi Levi ben Gershon in Masius). But in this Moses was greater than Joshua, because the former wrought more and longer lasting miracles than the latter (Masius out of Maimonides). Others maintain that the Sun progressed only more slowly: For those words, it did not hasten to go down, take away haste, not motion (Rabbi Levi ben Gershon in Serarius and in Masius). Others maintain that God a body of a new sort in heaven, which represented the Sun, after the Sun had set. Thus a Hebrew by the name of שֶׁם טוֹב, Shem Tov[3] (Masius). Thus Radak [that is, Rabbi David Kimchi] and his father, Rabbi Joseph Kimchi[4] (Serarius). It is not impossible for God by reflection to show after the setting of the Sun an appearance of it in a cloud standing above the horizon (Grotius). But all these things are against the altogether clear light of the history, and against the opinion of all interpreters. These, while they turn from the miracle that Scripture clearly relates, forge new miracles. But those that refer this to the swiftness of Joshua, either are mentally impaired, or altogether impudent. For who, whether Orator or Poet, sacred or profane, ever described swiftness in this way? On the contrary, while matters are toilsome, days seem longer: Plautus’ Amphitryon 1; Horace’s Epistles 1 (Serarius). And the prophet Habakkuk, among other miracles of God, recounts that the Sun and Moon stood still, Habakkuk 3:11; thus Ecclesiasticus 46:4, 5[5] (Masius). Response 2: Therefore, all others affirm that the Sun and Moon actually stood still. Neither is it the case that anyone marvels that so great a matter was not handed down to posterity in the books of the Gentiles; for in those nothing is related of those things that happened before the Trojan War, than which the matter conducted by Joshua were older by almost a thousand years (Masius). Nevertheless, I do not doubt that hence, or from the retrogression of the Sun in the time of Hezekiah,[6] it was taken, what the Poets contrived, with the form somewhat inverted, concerning the night double by Jove, so that he might enjoy Alcmene for a longer time.[7] For it was necessary that as long as the rising of the Sun in the other hemisphere was put off, just so long the Sun stood still and stayed in that one. Thus in Plautus’ Amphitryon: Sosia: By Pollux, I certainly know, if anything that I believe is otherwise…[8] (Maresius’[9] In Refutation of the Fable of the Preadamites[10] 7:18-19:245). Moreover, since both luminaries together began to stand still and stopped, that delay does not hinder Astronomical calculation; just as in harmonious singing in Music the harmony remains intact, and the sounds are not discordant, if the voices in a sign of agreement rest together, and afterwards proceed to complete the song according to the notes of all and each (Ussher’s[11] Annals 1:39).

[Until the nation avenged itself on its enemies[12] (thus Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, similarly Junius and Tremellius, Bochart’s Sacred Catalogue of Animals)] גּוֹי/nation/people is used for the Israelites, as elsewhere (Masius); and אֹיְבָיו, its enemies, is used in the place of מֵאֺיְבָיו, from its enemies, an ellipsis of the preposition מ/from, than which nothing is more frequent (Bochart’s Sacred Catalogue of Animals 1:2:50:590). Montanus translates it without the ellipsis, until the nation punish its enemies. This is very satisfying; for it is יִקֹּם, it punishes, not יִנָּקֵם, it is avenged; then nothing is to be understood (Drusius). But others, because they are unwilling to apply גּוֹי/nation, which is wont to signify profane nations, to the Israelites, maintain that it is accusative, and take it concerning their enemies: until God punish their enemies (Septuagint, similarly the Arabic); until He (that is, God) had punished the people, their enemies (Symmachus in Masius).

[Is not this written] Understanding, song, or miracle (Vatablus).

[In the book of Just Men, עַל־סֵ֣פֶר הַיָּשָׁ֑ר] Upon the book, or, in the book, of the Righteous? (Montanus, Junius and Tremellius, Arabic, Septuagint, Munster), or, the Just? (Tigurinus). To others it is a proper name (Malvenda). In the book of Jasher? (Pagnine). The name of the author, who is thus called; that is to say, the righteous (Malvenda). In the book of uprightness? (Masius), or, right living? that is, a Directory (certain interpreters in Malvenda). In the book of law? (other interpreters in Malvenda). Question: What is this book? Responses: 1. Writings preserved in the Temple, Josephus’ Antiquities 5. 2. Annals of the people of the Jews (Masius). That was a book of court-records, or of public acts, which has perished, like many other court-records of which Scripture made mention (Junius). It is called the book of the Righteous, either, because with the utmost trustworthiness it touched upon matters conducted; or, because it contained the deeds of Israel, which is called יְשֻׁרוּן/Jeshurun, the Upright, Deuteronomy 32:15 (Masius). But annals are not wont to be written in metrical verse, in which this was nevertheless written, as Masius acknowledges (Bonfrerius). This book was, as it were, a Catalog of Saints, written concerning the deeds of Heroes and Saints (Lapide, Bonfrerius), in metrical verse (Bonfrerius). It appears that there was a book in which rites were contained to direct practice in various functions and actions of the republic; perhaps begun by Moses, then at various times, as it is done in books of this sort, with various additions added. It is not strange that this does not survive. It is certain evident that those, which are the Sacred books even now in our hands, are abundantly sufficient for discerning the will of God and finding the path of eternal life, if only we be teachable. But you will say, Joshua ineptly made use of the testimony of his equivalent. Responses: 1. It is not at all absurd, if he confirmed the matters conducted by himself by the testimony of the public records. 2. But I do not think that Joshua was the author of this Register (Masius).

[And so the sun stood still] There is no mention of the Moon here. Evidently, the Sun did not set until the battle was over. And therefore, as I said, the opinion of the Jews is refuted, who think that the Moon as a substitute luminary succeeded the Sun (Masius).

[In the midst of heaven[13]] Question: How is this to be taken? Responses: 1. In the heaven itself (Drusius, Lapide, Menochius). The midst of heaven, in the place of that part of heaven, not altogether the last, in which the Sun illumines the earth with a light not faint (Masius). The midst signifies any part between the extremes: just as in Joshua 7:13, there is an accursed thing in the midst of thee;[14] and in Isaiah 6:5, in the midst of a people, etc.[15] (Tostatus and Magalianus in Bonfrerius). But Serarius rightly notes here that it is not בְּקֶרֶב or בּתוֹךְ, in the midst of, but בַּחֲצִי, which everywhere signifies the center and equal parts (Bonfrerius). 2. By the midst of heaven, therefore, others with greater likelihood understand the meridian zone, by which the upper hemisphere is divided into two equal parts (Bonfrerius, thus Kimchi and Lyra and Serarius in Bonfrerius). Nevertheless, the midst is here to be taken morally, not mathematically (Serarius). In the midst of heaven; on that Northern line, that is, in the midst of East and West, that is, at Midday (Vatablus). In that part of the upper hemisphere by which that is divided into two equal parts: namely, near the apex in its proper sphere (Piscator). The Sun stood still at noon (Munster, Kimchi and others, Masius). And I would not wish to rebut that; for the sequence of events does not at all appear to disagree with that time. At first light he attacked them; and, while some fight, and others are cut down, several hours had passed before all fled, and escaped unto that plain (Ajalon) (Masius). But these things hinder understanding by the midst of heaven the meridian zone. 1. If the Sun had stood still at noon, men would have melted with excessive heat; especially since it was the Summer Solstice at that time. 2. The Sun is not able to appear to us in the meridian in any city, or to bear down from above, unless that city is in the same meridian zone with us. But Joshua was not now under the same meridian with Gibeon, because he had already withdrawn from Gibeon a great distance, and that toward the West, as it is evident from Josephus’ Jewish War 2:23, and from almost all Geographers. And so the Sun was not able to appear to Joshua in Gibeon, if it was noon (Bonfrerius). Therefore, others maintain that the Sun was now nearly set (thus Masius, our Mayer, Lapide). That anxious prayer was not offered before he noticed that the day was waning unto evening, but that the greater part of the victory was yet ahead, and feared lest approaching night should bring a safe flight for his enemies (Masius). This does not satisfy: Joshua would not have been able at that time to see the Sun bearing down from above upon a city which was eastward (as was proven), if the Sun was waning toward its setting. Therefore, others maintain that this time in which the Sun stood still was early and before noon. Otherwise the Sun was not able to be seen in a city further east, or to hang over it. But the Moon at that time seems to be close to setting (Bonfrerius). It is able to be objected, 1. that the word is חֲצִי, which signifies the center. Response: It does indeed signify the center, not of the entire hemisphere, but of the quadrant from the horizon to the apex. Objection 2: Why would he command the Sun to stand still, when the greater part of the day was left? Response: Either he commanded the Sun to stand still before the day grew hot, etc.; or, he wished to finish the battle on that day. Objection: Joshua was not able to complete so many things between Dawn and that hour of the day. Response: He was altogether able. For, from Dawn, about which time he made an assault upon the enemy, verse 9, that is, one hour before the rising of the Sun, there were able to be five whole hours, in which the Israelites partly smote the enemy, partly pursued them unto Beth-horon (which was perhaps three or four leagues[16] from Gibeon) (Bonfrerius).

[And it hasted not to fall[17]] [Similarly all interpreters; or, to its setting] or, to go in (Jonathan).

[The space of one day, כְּי֥וֹם תָּמִֽים׃] As in a complete day (Grotius, Montanus, Jonathan); in the space (or, close to the space [Munster]) of an entire day (Arabic, Munster); an entire day, as it were (Junius and Tremellius, similarly Tigurinus, Pagnine, Masius, Vatablus). By a complete day they understand the longest day, or a summer day, which sort was at that time in those places (Grotius, Hebrews in Vatablus).

Stood still; Hebrew, was silent,[18] that is, still, as this phrase is commonly used, as 1 Samuel 14:9;[19] Psalm 4:4;[20] Jonah 1:12;[21] the cessation of the tongue’s motion being put synecdochically for the cessation of any other motion or action. Until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies, that is, till they had utterly destroyed them, as is mentioned in the following chapter. The book of Jasher; either of a man so called, or of the righteous or upright, wherein possibly the memorable actions of worthy men were recorded, and this amongst the rest. And this book was written and published before Joshua wrote his, and so is fitly alleged here. But this, as well as some few other historical books, is lost, not being a canonical book, and therefore not preserved by the Jews with the same care as they were. So the sun stood still: here is no mention of the moon, because the sun’s standing was the only thing which Joshua desired and needed; and the moon’s standing he desired only by accident, to prevent irregularity in the motions of those celestial lights. Some take this to be but a poetical phrase and relation of the victory, that Joshua did so many and such great things in that day, as if the sun and moon had stood still and given him longer time for it. But the frequent repetition and magnificent declaration of this wonder manifestly confutes that fancy. That the sun and moon did really stand still, is affirmed, Habakkuk 3:11; Ecclesiasticus 46:4, 5. And if it seem strange to any one that so wonderful a work, observed by the whole world that then was, should not be mentioned in any heathen writers; he must needs be satisfied, if he, considers, that it is confessed by the generality of writers, heathens and others, that there is no certain history or monument in heathen authors of any thing done before the Trojan wars, which was a thousand years after Joshua’s time; and that all time before that is called by the learnedest heathens the uncertain, unknown, or obscure time. In the midst of heaven; not mathematically, in the very meridian or middle part of that hemisphere; but morally, and with some latitude, when it had begun a little to decline, the consideration whereof seems to have given Joshua occasion for his desire. About a whole day, that is, for the space of a whole day. Understand an artificial day, between sunrising and sun-setting; for that was the day which Joshua needed and desired, a day to give him light for his work.

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּדֹּ֙ם הַשֶּׁ֜מֶשׁ וְיָרֵ֣חַ עָמָ֗ד עַד־יִקֹּ֥ם גּוֹי֙ אֹֽיְבָ֔יו הֲלֹא־הִ֥יא כְתוּבָ֖ה עַל־סֵ֣פֶר הַיָּשָׁ֑ר וַיַּעֲמֹ֤ד הַשֶּׁ֙מֶשׁ֙ בַּחֲצִ֣י הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וְלֹא־אָ֥ץ לָב֖וֹא כְּי֥וֹם תָּמִֽים׃

[2] Hebrew: הַיָּשָׁר.

[3] Shem Tov ibn Shem Tov (c. 1390-c. 1440) was a Spanish Rabbi and Kabbalist.  He opposed attempts to wed Judaism with rationalistic philosophy.  In his Sefer ha-Emunot, he discusses Joshua’s words concerning the sun standing still as one of the points of contention between rationalistic philosophy and historic Jewish belief.

[4] Rabbi Joseph Kimchi (1105-1170) was a Spanish Rabbi.  Although only fragments survive, Joseph Kimchi is said to have written commentaries on all of the books of the Hebrew Bible, emphasizing the literal meaning of the text, as over against the Christological allegorizing.

[5] Ecclesiasticus 46:4, 5:  “Did not the sun go back by his means? and was not one day as long as two?  He called upon the most high Lord, when the enemies pressed upon him on every side; and the great Lord heard him.”

[6] 2 Kings 20:9-11; Isaiah 38:7, 8.

[7] In Greek mythology, Alcmene is said to have been tall, dignified, and incredibly beautiful.  She was betrothed to Amphitryon, but Zeus, appearing as Amphitryon, lay with her, extending the night so that he might continue with her.  She conceived Hercules.

[8] Amphitryon 269.  Sosia, Amphitryon’s slave, marvels over the extension of the night.

[9] Maresius, or Samuel Desmarets (1599-1673), was a French Huguenot minister and polemist.  He held various ministerial posts, and served as Professor of Theology at Sedan (1625-1636), and at Groningen (1643-1673).

[10] In Refutatione Fabulæ Præadamiticæ.

[11] James Ussher (1580-1655) was an Irish churchman and scholar of the first rank, who eventually rose to the office of Archbishop of Ireland.  He is most remembered for his Annals of the World.

[12] Hebrew: עַד־יִקֹּ֥ם גּוֹי֙ אֹֽיְבָ֔יו.

[13] Hebrew: בַּחֲצִ֣י הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם.

[14] Joshua 7:13b:  “…Sanctify yourselves against to morrow:  for thus saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee (בְּקִרְבְּךָ), O Israel…”

[15] Isaiah 6:5b:  “…Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and in the midst of a people of unclean lips (וּבְתוֹךְ֙ עַם־טְמֵ֣א שְׂפָתַ֔יִם) I dwell…”

[16] A league was roughly three-miles, about the distance one could walk in an hour.

[17] Hebrew: וְלֹא־אָ֥ץ לָב֖וֹא.

[18] Hebrew: וַיִּדֹּם.

[19] 1 Samuel 14:9:  “If they say thus unto us, Tarry until we come to you (דֹּ֕מּוּ עַד־הַגִּיעֵ֖נוּ); then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them.”

[20] Psalm 4:4:  “Stand in awe, and sin not:  commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still (וְדֹמּוּ).  Selah.”

[21] Jonah 1:12, 15:  “And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be silent unto you (וְיִשְׁתֹּ֥ק הַיָּ֖ם מֵֽעֲלֵיכֶ֑ם):  for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you….  So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging (וַיַּעֲמֹ֥ד הַיָּ֖ם מִזַּעְפּֽוֹ׃).”

Joshua 10:12: Sun and Moon Stand Still, Part 1

Verse 12:[1] Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, (Is. 28:21; Hab. 3:11; Ecclus. 46:4[2]) Sun, stand thou still (Heb. be silent[3]) upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of (Judg. 12:12) Ajalon.

[Then Joshua spoke to the Lord (similarly Montanus, Septuagint, Arabic, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius), אָ֣ז יְדַבֵּ֤ר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ֙ לַֽיהוָ֔ה] Then he spoke before the Lord (Syriac, Munster), understanding, a song (Vatablus). He praised (the Chaldean in Vatablus), that is, in song; that is, he gave thanks (Vatablus, Lyra). He sang (Drusius out of Kimchi). Thus, David spoke the words of this song[4] (Drusius). But he had not yet secured the victory (Bonfrerius). Others: he spoke, namely, in prayers (Junius, Piscator, Bonfrerius, Masius). He chanted a song after praying (Kimchi in Drusius). Or, to speak to God is able to be taken in the place of to speak in the name of God, or in trust of God (Masius).

[He delivered up the Amorite in the sight of the children of Israel,לִפְנֵ֖י בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל] In front of the children of Israel (Jonathan, Syriac); into the hand (or power [Vatablus]) of the children of Israel (Arabic); He exposed to the children of Israel; Hebrew, He posited before the children of Israel[5] (Junius).

[And he said in their presence, וַיֹּ֣אמֶר׀ לְעֵינֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל] And he said in the eyes of Israel (Montanus, Munster, Pagnine, Jonathan), before the eyes (Junius and Tremellius), with Israel present (Syriac, Tigurinus, similarly the Arabic), with them seeing and hearing (Piscator). But one is not aptly enough said to speak in the eyes. Therefore, I prefer to refer this to stand still (Masius), or, rest: In the eyes of Israel, O Sun, in Gibeon be silent, that is, rest. Which division the accent appears to confirm.[6] Nevertheless, to see is sometimes put in the place of to hear; and, in the eyes, in the place of, in the ears (Drusius).

Joshua spake to the Lord, to wit, in way of petition for this miracle; being moved to beg it out of zeal to destroy God’s enemies, and directed to it by the motion of God’s Spirit; and receiving a gracious answer, and being filled with holy confidence of the success, he speaks the following words before the people, that they might be witnesses of it. In the sight of Israel, that is, in the presence and audience of Israel; seeing being sometimes put for hearing, as Genesis 42:1, compared with Acts 7:12; although these words may seem rather to be joined with the following, thus, In the sight of Israel stand still, O sun, etc., which sense the Hebrew accents favour.

[O Sun…move not, שֶׁמֶשׁ—דּוֹם] O Sun, be silent (Montanus, Malvenda), that is, rest (Drusius, Bonfrerius, Munster). Thus to be silent is taken in Psalm 4:4, and be ye silent, that is, rest ye;[7] in Jonah 1:12, and the sea was silent, that is, rested.[8] A silent sea, that is, tranquil, where is no murmur (Drusius). Neither is it strange that rest is indicated by silence, to which is conjoined the cessation of the tongue and lips from motion (Bonfrerius). Others render it, stop, or, halt, or, stand (thus the Arabic, Vatablus, Junius and Tremellius, Masius). Fix position (Tigurinus, Vatablus, Syriac); draw out a delay (Munster, Masius). Others: wait (Pagnine, Munster). Thus it is taken in 1 Samuel 14:9,[9] and in that דּ֤וֹם׀ לַיהוָה֮, wait for the Lord[10] (Drusius). That דּוּם signifies stand is evident from the verb עָמָד, it stood, which is attributed to the Moon in the like case[11] (Masius).

[And moon] This he names, not that it was necessary to furnish light, but because with poetic fullness he writes on the Sun and the Moon, just as on Gibeon and Ajalon: This verse and the following are Hebrew measures (Lapide out of Masius). It is likely that Joshua saw both stars (Bonfrerius); for the Moon was new at that time, and it did not travel far from the Sun (Masius out of Rabbi Isaiah). Now, these two stars are put in the place of their spheres; and perhaps for the entire machine of heaven (Masius). The rest of the stars and the mobile heavens appear to have been altogether at rest (Bonfrerius): and, so that he might indicate this, he named the Sun and the Moon, which are the principal stars (Lapide). The sense: O Lord, allow that the Sun and Moon would not leave us with their light, until we have entirely subdued our enemies (Vatablus).

[Sun, against Gibeon, etc.] That is, over against, or, opposite to, Gibeon. Joshua was able to say this, either, if, positioned between Gibeon and the Sun, he discerned the latter on the opposite hand; or, if, regarding Gibeon from a distance, he saw the Sun standing over it, as it were; and thus here it ought to be taken (Bonfrerius): that is to say, To thee, O Sun, in the name of God I command that thou stop opposite to Gibeon (Lapide). Let the Sun stand in the presence of (or above [Vatablus]) Gibeon (the Septuagint in Lapide). But in what circumstances does he say this, while he and the army of Israel were near Gibeon? Response: This fight happened at the summer solstice, when the Sun overhangs the heads of men, especially in that land (Hebrews in Munster). The sense: O Sun, decline not upon us fighting in Gibeon, etc. (Junius).

[Moon, against the valley of Ajalon] בְּעֵמֶק they translate here, in the valley (Montanus, Junius and Tremellius, Masius), over the valley (Septuagint), on the plain (Jonathan, Syriac), over the field[12] (Arabic). But where is Ajalon? and how was it situated with respect to Gibeon? Response 1: Some maintain that these cities were neighbors (Masius, Drusius, Lapide). There was a middle valley between them, where the battle was conducted (Lapide). It is altogether certain that there was a plain beneath Gibeon and Ajalon, unto which there is a descent from Beth-horon (Masius). And that plain, as it is here called of Ajalon, so in Isaiah 28:21 it is called of Gibeon, where, alluding to this battle, he says, as in the valley of Gibeon the Lord shall be angry (Masius, Drusius). [This opinion is not satisfying to Bonfrerius:] For, if these two cities had been close neighbors, he observed the Sun and the Moon in almost the same place; which is not able to happen, because proximity of the Sun snatches away the sight of the Moon; but it is likely that he saw both stars (Bonfrerius). Response 2: To others these cities are more removed from each other: Gibeon was on mount Silo, as testify Brochardus and Adrichomius, in the tribe of Benjamin, Joshua 18:25; 21:17 (Bonfrerius on Joshua 9:3). Ajalon was either in the tribe of Zebulon, Judges 12:12, toward the other boundry of the Promised Land toward the North (for this Ajalon was different than that in Joshua 19:42 [Junius]), or in the tribe of Dan (Kimchi in Drusius, Bonfrerius, Adrichomius in Bonfrerius); to which support is given in Joshua 19:42 (Drusius) and Judges 1:35. It was further West than Gibeon, perhaps also further South (Bonfrerius).

Upon Gibeon, that is, over and above or against Gibeon, that is, in that place and posture in which now it stands towards and looks upon Gibeon. Let it not go down lower, and by degrees, out of the sight of Gibeon. It may seem that the sun was declining; and Joshua perceiving that his work was great and long, and his time but short, begs of God the lengthening out of the day, and that the sun and moon might stop their course, and keep the place in which they now were. In the valley, or, upon the valley; as before, upon Gibeon; the preposition being the same there and here. Ajalon; either, 1. That Ajalon which was in the tribe of Zebulun, Judges 12:12, northward from Gibeon. Or rather, 2. That Ajalon which was in the tribe of Dan, Joshua 19:42; Judges 1:35, westward from Gibeon. For, 1. This was nearer Gibeon than the other. 2. This was most agreeable to the course of the sun and moon, which is from east to west. 3. This way the battle went, from Gibeon westward to Ajalon, and so further westward, even to Lachish, Joshua 10:31. And he mentions two places, Gibeon and Ajalon, not as if the sun stood over the one, and the moon over the other, which is absurd and ridiculous to affirm, especially these places being so near the one to the other; but partly to vary the phrase, as is common in poetical passages; partly because he was in his march in the pursuit of his enemies to pass from Gibeon to Ajalon; and he begs that he may have the help and benefit of longer light to pursue them, and to that end that the sun might stand still, and the moon also; not that he needed the moon’s light when he had the sun’s, but because it was fit, either that both the sun and moon should go, or that both should stand still, to prevent disorder and confusion in the heavenly bodies.

[1] Hebrew: אָ֣ז יְדַבֵּ֤ר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ֙ לַֽיהוָ֔ה בְּי֗וֹם תֵּ֤ת יְהוָה֙ אֶת־הָ֣אֱמֹרִ֔י לִפְנֵ֖י בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיֹּ֣אמֶר׀ לְעֵינֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל שֶׁ֚מֶשׁ בְּגִבְע֣וֹן דּ֔וֹם וְיָרֵ֖חַ בְּעֵ֥מֶק אַיָּלֽוֹן׃

[2] Ecclesiasticus 46:4:  “Did not the sun go back by his means? and was not one day as long as two?”

[3] Hebrew: דּוֹם.

[4] 2 Samuel 22:1:  “And David spake unto the Lord the words of this songוַיְדַבֵּ֤ר דָּוִד֙) לַֽיהוָ֔ה אֶת־דִּבְרֵ֖י הַשִּׁירָ֣ה הַזֹּ֑את) in the day that the Lord had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul…”

[5] Joshua 10:12a:  “Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel (בְּי֗וֹם תֵּ֤ת יְהוָה֙ אֶת־הָ֣אֱמֹרִ֔י לִפְנֵ֖י בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל)…”

[6] Joshua 10:12b:  “…and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon (וַיֹּ֣אמֶר׀ לְעֵינֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל שֶׁ֚מֶשׁ בְּגִבְע֣וֹן דּ֔וֹם)…”

[7] Psalm 4:4:  “Stand in awe, and sin not:  commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still (וְדֹמּוּ).  Selah.”

[8] Jonah 1:12, 15:  “And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be silent unto you (וְיִשְׁתֹּ֥ק הַיָּ֖ם מֵֽעֲלֵיכֶ֑ם):  for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you….  So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging (וַיַּעֲמֹ֥ד הַיָּ֖ם מִזַּעְפּֽוֹ׃).”

[9] 1 Samuel 14:9:  “If they say thus unto us, Tarry until we come to you (דֹּ֕מּוּ עַד־הַגִּיעֵ֖נוּ); then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them.”

[10] Psalm 37:7:  “Rest in the Lord (דּ֤וֹם׀ לַיהוָה֮), and wait patiently for him:  fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.”

[11] Verse 13.

[12] עֵמֶק, from the verbal root עָמֹק, to be deep, signifies a valley, or a plain.

Joshua 10:11: Hailstones from Heaven

Verse 11:[1] And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Beth-horon, (Ps. 18:13, 14; 77:17; Is. 30:30; Ecclus. 46:6;[2] Rev. 16:21) that the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.

[Great stones] Namely, hail, as the word בָּרָד[3] shows (and thus the Septuagint and Arabic translate it, stones of hail), but more powerfully compacted with greater force of cold. Now, that with so certain a blow God cast down upon enemies, that the victors mixed with these, or at least following hard upon them, this calamity did not touch, is more marvelous than what was done in Exodus 9:25, 26. Moreover, that thunder and lightning came down with the hail appears from Habakkuk 3:11, and is affirmed by Josephus in Antiquities 5:2 (Masius). It rains stones often in the histories (Grotius). Livy is a witness, History of Rome 1:1; 3:10. But those rains eutger were produced by a certain intemperance of air, or were generated by Satan, the ape of God in a great many matters (Masius, Bonfrerius).

Great stones, that is, hailstones of extraordinary greatness and hardness, cast down with that certainty as to hit the Canaanites, and not their pursuers the Israelites, and with that force as to kill them. Josephus affirms that thunder and lightning were mixed with the hail, which may seem probable from Habakkuk 3:11.

[From heaven] Either because they came down from God; or because they were from the middle region of atmosphere (Masius). That similar helps of lightning were sent to the Christian legion under Marcus Aurelius[4] is related by Eusebius, Church History 5:5, and Tertullian, Apology 5: and also by Claudian[5] in The Consulship of Honorius 6, and Dio[6] on Marcus Aurelius; although they ascribe this matter to Magic, or to the probity of the Emperor (Bonfrerius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֞י בְּנֻסָ֣ם׀ מִפְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל הֵ֞ם בְּמוֹרַ֤ד בֵּית־חוֹרֹן֙ וַֽיהוָ֡ה הִשְׁלִ֣יךְ עֲלֵיהֶם֩ אֲבָנִ֙ים גְּדֹל֧וֹת מִן־הַשָּׁמַ֛יִם עַד־עֲזֵקָ֖ה וַיָּמֻ֑תוּ רַבִּ֗ים אֲשֶׁר־מֵ֙תוּ֙ בְּאַבְנֵ֣י הַבָּרָ֔ד מֵאֲשֶׁ֥ר הָרְג֛וּ בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל בֶּחָֽרֶב׃

[2] Ecclesiasticus 46:6:  “And 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 the nations might know all their strength, because he fought in the sight of the Lord, and he followed the Mighty One.”

[3] Joshua 10:11:  “And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Beth-horon, that the Lord cast down great stones (אֲבָנִ֙ים גְּדֹל֧וֹת) from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones (בְּאַבְנֵ֣י הַבָּרָ֔ד, with stones of hail) than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.”

[4] Marcus Aurelius was Roman Emperor from 161 to 180.

[5] Claudian (late fourth-early fifth century AD) was a Roman poet from Alexandria.

[6] Dio Cassius was a Roman historian of the third century AD.  His Historiæ Romanæ is an important sourse of information concerning that period.

Joshua 10:9, 10: Joshua Relieves Gibeah, Part 2

Verse 9:[1] Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly, and went up from Gilgal all night.

[He rushed upon them suddenly] Unforeseen evils strike more grievously. But why this caution, since God had promised certain victory? Response: It is not to be supposed that the benignity of God looks to the fostering of our idleness. Suddenly: That was noted of Cæsar that, Μηδὲν ἀναβαλλόμενος, he put off nothing; and of Themistocles,[2] that he was patient with friends, swift with enemies, when each was asked concerning his victories (Masius).

[All night] Question: Since the distance from Gilgal to Gibeon was twenty-six miles, how did he traverse this in one night? Response: By the words of Holy Scripture to the night it is permissible to add as much of the preceding day as you wish. They only signify that no part of the night was given to rest, but that the whole was taken up in making the journey (Masius).

Joshua therefore came unto them suddently, etc.: Though assured by God of the victory, yet he useth all prudent means, and surpriseth them. It is not said that he went from Gilgal to Gibeon in a night’s space, but only that he travelled all night; unto which you may add part either of the foregoing or of the following day.


Verse 10:[3] And the LORD (Judg. 4:15; 1 Sam. 7:10, 12; Ps. 18:14; Isa. 28:21) discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goeth up (Josh. 16:3, 5) to Beth-horon, and smote them to (Josh. 15:35) Azekah, and unto Makkedah.

[And He discomfited, וַיְהֻמֵּם[4]] And He wore them out (Hebrews in Munster, the Chaldean in Masius); He destroyed (Arabic); He routed (Junius and Tremellius); He agitated them in mind (the Septuagint in Masius). הָמָה does indeed signify that, to which הָמָם is related; neither is it absurd that the one word is used in the place of the other. He threw into confusion. God here brings to pass what He had promised, Exodus 23:27, וְהַמֹּתִי, and I will discomfit, etc.;[5] and there is an allusion here to those words (Masius). He terrified (Piscator).

[And he slew] Who? Either, the Lord, both with the sword of the Israelites, and with stones (Junius). Or, Israel: I translate it, and so he struck them (Piscator). Or, both God and Israel, who accommodated themselves to the counsel of God (Masius).

Slew them, or, he slew them; either God or Israel; for God’s work is described verse 11.

[In Gibeon] That is, at Gibeon; or, in Gibeonite territory; as, in Joshua 5:13, Joshua is said to be in Jericho,[6] which nevertheless was shut up[7] (Masius).

At Gibeon: Hebrew: in Gibeon; not in the city, but in the territory belonging to it; as Joshua is said to be in Jericho, Joshua 5:13.

[By the way of the ascent of Beth-horon] Beth-horon was twofold, an upper and a nether. Mention is made of both in 1 Chronicles 7:24; 2 Chronicles 8:5 (Masius). I think that both were in the tribe of Ephraim, because they were built by a woman of the tribe of Ephraim, 1 Chronicles 7:20, 24. It is treated here of the nether. But that city was not yet built (for it was not possible, whether because of the [yet] brief stay in Canaan, or because of enemies, especially in this place, gathered on every side). And so the sense shall be, by the way in which in this time one ascends to Beth-horon (Bonfrerius).

[And he smote unto Azekah and Makkedah] These were two cities of the tribe of Judah, as it is evident out of Joshua 15:20, 35, 41. Neither is it strange that they went from Gibeon, which was in the tribe of Benjamin, into the tribe of Ephraim (that is, that part of it which was bordering on the Tribe of Benjamin), and soon into the tribe of Judah (Bonfrerius). For, either they followed the curves and windings of the way; or, being in great perplexity, they seized upon a most uncertain way there, and did not flee directly toward their cities, but retreaed first toward the North, then, as if with their error discerned, toward the West and South (Masius). Moreover, since mention is made here of the ascent, and in the following verse of the declivity, of Beth-horon, it was able to be one place that was sometimes called the ascent, sometimes the descent (Masius). Something is to be understood here: He smote them (supply, in pursuing) unto Azekah (Vatablus).

[1] Hebrew: וַיָּבֹ֧א אֲלֵיהֶ֛ם יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ פִּתְאֹ֑ם כָּל־הַלַּ֕יְלָה עָלָ֖ה מִן־הַגִּלְגָּֽל׃

[2] Themistocles (c. 524-459 BC) was an Athenian politician and general, and instrumental in defending Greece in the First and Second Persian Invasions.

[3] Hebrew: וַיְהֻמֵּ֤ם יְהוָה֙ לִפְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַיַּכֵּ֥ם מַכָּֽה־גְדוֹלָ֖ה בְּגִבְע֑וֹן וַֽיִּרְדְּפֵ֗ם דֶּ֚רֶךְ מַעֲלֵ֣ה בֵית־חוֹרֹ֔ן וַיַּכֵּ֥ם עַד־עֲזֵקָ֖ה וְעַד־מַקֵּדָֽה׃

[4] הָמַם signifies to confuse, or to discomfit.

[5] Exodus 23:27:  “I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy (וְהַמֹּתִי) all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.”

[6] Joshua 5:13a:  “And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho (בִּירִיחוֹ, in Jericho), that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand…”

[7] Joshua 6:1.

Joshua 10:7, 8: Joshua Relieves Gibeah

Verse 7:[1] So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he, and (Josh. 8:1) all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valour.

So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, etc.: Having, no doubt, asked advice of God first, which is implied by the answer God gives to him, verse 8.

[And all the army of warriors, וְכָל־עַ֤ם הַמִּלְחָמָה֙] And all the war-like men (Arabic, similarly the Septuagint, Jonathan, Syriac, Vatablus), the people bellicose (Munster), or, apt for war (Tigurinus). I understand the bravest and most pugnacious soldiers chosen from the rest. For who would believe that most were not left to defend the camp in Gilgal (Masius)?

[The mightiest men, גִּבּוֹרֵ֥י הֶחָֽיִל׃] Powerful, or mighty, in strength (Drusius), who are mighty in strength, not so much of the body, but of the soul. Thus חַיִל is taken in Genesis 47:6;[2] Ruth 3:11;[3] Proverbs 31:10[4] (Drusius out of Masius).

And all the mighty men, or, even, or that is, as this particle is oft used, as hath been noted before. So it seems put here by way of explication and restriction; having said all the people of war, he now adds, even all the mighty men, etc., that is, an army of the most valiant men picked out from the rest; for it is not probable, either that he would take so many hundred thousands with him, which would have hindered one another, or that he would leave the camp without an army to defend it.


Verse 8:[5] And the LORD said unto Joshua, (Josh. 11:6; Judg. 4:14) Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; (Josh. 1:5) there shall not a man of them stand before thee.

[And He said] They translate it, He had said (Masius, Drusius, Junius and Tremellius), before the expedition (Drusius out of Masius). This was consistent with the character of Joshua, who was unwilling to lead soldiers from the camp before consulting God. But that Venerable man perceives this oracle, not sought from God, but voluntarily given (Masius).

[Fear not] For the holiest men are not free from all fear; nevertheless, God most graciously pardons us for it, and shows in words of this sort that boldness is His own gift (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיַּ֙עַל יְהוֹשֻׁ֜עַ מִן־הַגִּלְגָּ֗ל ה֚וּא וְכָל־עַ֤ם הַמִּלְחָמָה֙ עִמּ֔וֹ וְכֹ֖ל גִּבּוֹרֵ֥י הֶחָֽיִל׃

[2] Genesis 47:6:  “The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell:  and if thou knowest any men of activity (אַנְשֵׁי־חַיִל) among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.”

[3] Ruth 3:11:  “And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest:  for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous womanכִּ֛י אֵ֥שֶׁת חַ֖יִל) אָֽתְּ׃).”

[4] Proverbs 31:10:  “Who can find a virtuous woman (אֵשֶׁת־חַיִל)? for her price is far above rubies.”

[5] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֙אמֶר יְהוָ֤ה אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֙עַ֙ אַל־תִּירָ֣א מֵהֶ֔ם כִּ֥י בְיָדְךָ֖ נְתַתִּ֑ים לֹֽא־יַעֲמֹ֥ד אִ֛ישׁ מֵהֶ֖ם בְּפָנֶֽיךָ׃

Joshua 10:6: The Gibeonites Petition Joshua for Relief

Verse 6:[1] And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua (Josh. 5:10; 9:6) to the camp to Gilgal, saying, Slack not thy hand from thy servants; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us: for all the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the mountains are gathered together against us.

[They sent] While they were surrounded and besieged by enemies, as it appears, not beforehand: which shows their confidence in the power of God, whose religion they had recently undertaken. Hence they say, Save us, as those doubting nothing (Masius). I translate it, they had sent, namely, before the siege (Piscator).

The men of Gibeon sent, or, had sent, when their enemies were drawn towards them, which they could easily learn.

[Withdraw not thine hands (thus Tigurinus), אַל־תֶּ֥רֶף יָדֶ֖יךָ[2]] Slack not thine hands (Munster, similarly Montanus, Septuagint). Relax not thine hands, that is, neglect not to bring help (Vatablus).

Slack not thy hand; do not neglect nor delay to help us.

[From the help of thy servants] Hebrew: from thy servants.[3] They understand in whose presence they plead. Barbarous men would hesitate at this appellation, and would enter into this reasoning among themselves: The loss of servants is a trifle: Why should we communicate our dangers with them, etc.? But whom pure Religion has informed, as in the love of God, so also in true humanity, to them every condition of life, however lowly, instills the necessity of brining help. Neither is a Prince able to neglect his citizens, nor a master his servants, in dangers of life or body, without base cruelty; no more than a father his own children. And the civil laws liberate the servant that, imperiled by sickness, his master cast out, etc. (Masius). Subordinates (are) to be defended. Livy, History of Rome 7, their honor seemed to be involved in not betraying those that had surrendered[4] (Grotius).

From thy servants, whom thou art obliged to protect both in duty, as thou art our master and ruler; and by thy own interest, we being part of thy possessions; and in ingenuity, because we have given ourselves to thee, and put ourselves under thy protection. In the mountains; in the mountainous country.

[They gathered together against us[5]] [Most render it similarly.]  It is not unusual to use אֵלֵינוּ, toward us, in the place of עֲלֵינוּ, against us (Masius).

[All the kings, etc.] The body, which they indicate, so that they might more powerfully urge the Commander-in-Chief, they limit to the inhabitants of the mountain, which I take of the mountainous regions of Judea (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּשְׁלְח֣וּ אַנְשֵׁי֩ גִבְע֙וֹן אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֤עַ אֶל־הַֽמַּחֲנֶה֙ הַגִּלְגָּ֣לָה לֵאמֹ֔ר אַל־תֶּ֥רֶף יָדֶ֖יךָ מֵֽעֲבָדֶ֑יךָ עֲלֵ֧ה אֵלֵ֣ינוּ מְהֵרָ֗ה וְהוֹשִׁ֤יעָה לָּ֙נוּ֙ וְעָזְרֵ֔נוּ כִּ֚י נִקְבְּצ֣וּ אֵלֵ֔ינוּ כָּל־מַלְכֵ֥י הָאֱמֹרִ֖י יֹשְׁבֵ֥י הָהָֽר׃

[2] רָפָה signifies to sink or relax.  The Hiphil conjugation frequently conveys a causative sense.

[3] Hebrew: מֵעֲבָדֶיךָ.

[4] In book 7 of History of Rome, Livy gives an account of events leading to the First Samnite War (343-341 BC).  The Samnites attacked the Campanians, and the Campanians appealed to Rome for help.  Because of a pre-existing treaty of friendship, the Romans refused to take up arms against the Samnites.  So, the Campanians surrendered to Rome; the Romans now esteemed themselves to be honor-bound to protect those that had surrendered to them.  This soon led to war with the Samnites.

[5] Hebrew: נִקְבְּצ֣וּ אֵלֵ֔ינוּ