Joshua 10:3-5: Confederacy of the Five Kings against Gibeon

Verse 3:[1] Wherefore Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent unto Hoham king of Hebron, and unto Piram king of Jarmuth, and unto Japhia king of Lachish, and unto Debir king of Eglon, saying…

[Therefore, Adoni-zedek sent] Either, 1. because he was nearest the danger (Malvenda). From Gibeon he was only two leagues, or hours,[2] distant (Lapide). Or, 2. because he excelled the others in dignity (Masius, Menochius). Or, 3. because he had a certain power over the others (Montanus in Menochius).

He sent, either because he was superior to them in power or dignity, or because he was nearest the danger, and most forward in the work.

[To Hoham, king of Hebron, etc.] All those cities stood in the hill-country of Judea, as it is called in Luke 1:39, 65 (Masius).


Verse 4:[3] Come up unto me, and help me, that we may smite Gibeon: (Josh. 10:1; 9:15) for it hath made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel.


Verse 5:[4] Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon, (Josh. 9:2) gathered themselves together, and went up, they and all their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it.

[Kings of the Amorites] That is, of the Canaanites; for the name of Amorites is here taken broadly (Drusius out of Masius). It is certain that the citizens of Hebron were Hittites, as we showed on Joshua 1:4 (Masius); and that the citizens of Jerusalem were Jebusites[5] (Drusius, Bonfrerius). Thus the Gibeonites are called Amorites, 2 Samuel 21:2, who it is certain were Hivites (Malvenda). The Amories appear to have dwelt dispersedly throughout Canaan: For, although that nation had first occupied those most prosperous kingdoms of Sihon and Og, soon (as it is likely), increased with a most numerous offspring, they sent many colonies into diverse parts of Canaan: see Genesis 14:7; Numbers 13:29; Deuteronomy 1:20; 2 Chronicles 20:1, 2: it is not strange that whatever Canaanites are called by this name (Masius).

Amorites; this name being here taken largely or generally for any of the Canaanites, as is frequent; for, to speak strictly, the citizens of Hebron, here mentioned, verse 3, were Hittites; thus the Gibeonites, who were Hivites, Joshua 11:19, are called Amorites, 2 Samuel 21:2. It is reasonably supposed that the Amorites, being numerous and victorious beyond Jordan, did pour forth colonies or forces into the land of Canaan, and there subdued divers places, and so communicated their name to all the rest.

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּשְׁלַ֙ח אֲדֹנִי־צֶ֜דֶק מֶ֣לֶךְ יְרוּשָׁלִַ֗ם אֶל־הוֹהָ֣ם מֶֽלֶךְ־חֶ֠בְרוֹן וְאֶל־פִּרְאָ֙ם מֶֽלֶךְ־יַרְמ֜וּת וְאֶל־יָפִ֧יעַ מֶֽלֶךְ־לָכִ֛ישׁ וְאֶל־דְּבִ֥יר מֶֽלֶךְ־עֶגְל֖וֹן לֵאמֹֽר׃

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

[3] Hebrew: עֲלֽוּ־אֵלַ֣י וְעִזְרֻ֔נִי וְנַכֶּ֖ה אֶת־גִּבְע֑וֹן כִּֽי־הִשְׁלִ֥ימָה אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ וְאֶת־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

[4] Hebrew: וַיֵּאָסְפ֙וּ וַֽיַּעֲל֜וּ חֲמֵ֣שֶׁת׀ מַלְכֵ֣י הָאֱמֹרִ֗י מֶ֣לֶךְ יְרוּשָׁלִַ֜ם מֶֽלֶךְ־חֶבְר֤וֹן מֶֽלֶךְ־יַרְמוּת֙ מֶֽלֶךְ־לָכִ֣ישׁ מֶֽלֶךְ־עֶגְל֔וֹן הֵ֖ם וְכָל־מַֽחֲנֵיהֶ֑ם וַֽיַּחֲנוּ֙ עַל־גִּבְע֔וֹן וַיִּֽלָּחֲמ֖וּ עָלֶֽיהָ׃

[5] See, for example, Joshua 15:63; Judges 1:21.

Joshua 10:2: The Fear of Adoni-zedek, Part 2

Verse 2:[1] That they (Ex. 15:14-16; Deut. 11:25) feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities (Heb. cities of the kingdom[2]), and because it was greater than Ai, and all the men thereof were mighty.

[He feared] Hebrew: they feared,[3] namely, the King and his people (Vatablus, Masius). It is plural, because in the word King the citizens are also metonymically contained (Masius). Or, he and the other Kings, verse 3 (Piscator, Masius).

They feared, that is, he and his people, the king being spoken of verse 1, as a public person representing all his people. Or, he and the following kings, verse 3. But this fear is mentioned, verse 2, as the cause why he sent to those kings.

[And one of the royal cities, כְּאַחַ֖ת עָרֵ֣י הַמַּמְלָכָ֑ה] As one of the cities of the kingdom (Montanus, Drusius), or, of kingdoms (Jonathan), from among the cities royal, or regal (Vatablus, Masius, Drusius, Piscator, Junius and Tremellius), that is, in which is a residence of the king (Vatablus, similarly Masius). It was one of the principal cities of the kingdom of the Canaanites (Lapide). But it was not one kingdom, but many, verse 3 (Piscator). Equally as great as whatever other of the cities of the kingdom (Syriac, Arabic). From the particle כ/as they gather that Gibeon was not a royal city (and there is no mention anywhere of a King of the Gibeonites), but was the equal of such. But to others the כ/as does not signify similitude, but the truth of the matter, as in John 1:14; Philippians 2:7 (Bonfrerius).

As one of the royal cities; either, 1. Really a royal city, the Hebrew particle כ/caph oft signifying the truth of a thing, as Hosea 4:4;[4] 5:10,[5] and oft elsewhere. Or, 2. Equal to one of the royal cities, though it had no king, but seems to be governed aristocratically by their elders, Joshua 9:11.

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּֽירְא֣וּ מְאֹ֔ד כִּ֣י עִ֤יר גְּדוֹלָה֙ גִּבְע֔וֹן כְּאַחַ֖ת עָרֵ֣י הַמַּמְלָכָ֑ה וְכִ֙י הִ֤יא גְדוֹלָה֙ מִן־הָעַ֔י וְכָל־אֲנָשֶׁ֖יהָ גִּבֹּרִֽים׃

[2] Hebrew: עָרֵ֣י הַמַּמְלָכָ֑ה.

[3] Hebrew: וַיִּירְאוּ.

[4] Hosea 4:4:  “Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another:  for thy people are as they that strive (כִּמְרִיבֵי) with the priest.”

[5] Hosea 5:10:  “The princes of Judah were like them that remove (כְּמַסִּיגֵי) the bound: therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water.”

Joshua 10:1: The Fear of Adoni-zedek, Part 1

Verse 1:[1] Now it came to pass, when Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem had heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it; (Josh. 6:21) as he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to (Josh. 8:22, 26, 28) Ai and her king; and (Josh. 9:15) how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them…

[Adoni-zedek] The Kings of Jerusalem had a common name, either, MELCHIZEDEK, that is, King of Righteousness,[2] or, Adonizedek, that is, Lord of Righteousness[3] (Masius, Kimchi in Drusius). Whence I infer that the city was formerly called צֶדֶק/Righteousness (Masius), for Melchizedek transplanted this city there (Lapide, Bonfrerius), from whom the name passed to Adoni-zedek, without the substance, as often happens (Bonfrerius). That city was also called שָׁלֵם/Salem/Peace.[4] Such august names were divinely attributed to it because of the mystery of the economy of the Passion of Christ to be accomplished there (Lapide out of Masius).

[And they were their confederates, וַיִּֽהְי֖וּ בְּקִרְבָּֽם׃] And they were in the midst of them (Pagnine, Drusius), namely, of the Israelites, out of Joshua 9:16 (Drusius). It is a Hebraism for they were dwelling with them (Vatablus). They were abiding among them, that is, either, they were dwelling continually in their camps, or, they were joined with them in community of law and all of life (Masius). Others thus: and the Israelites were in the midst of them, that is, the Gibeonites, that is, they came unto their cities, Joshua 9:17, and they now obtained the dominion over them (Malvenda out of Junius). This does not satisfy: for the Israelites were not at that time in the midst of the Gibeonites, but were still in Gilgal, Joshua 10:6, neither is it thus read in Joshua 9:17, but only that they came to their cities. Therefore, it appears that the Israelites, with the cities of the Hivites occupied, and with the servitude of the Gibeonites decreed, returned unto their camps at Gilgal. Therefore, I translate it, and they (that is, the Gibeonites) were in the midst of them, that is, the Israelites, that is, in their land, which they already occupied through surrender (Piscator).

And were among them: that is, Were conversant with them, had yielded themselves to their disposal, submitted themselves to their laws, had mingled interests with them.

[1] Hebrew: וַיְהִי֩ כִשְׁמֹ֙עַ אֲדֹֽנִי־צֶ֜דֶק מֶ֣לֶךְ יְרוּשָׁלִַ֗ם כִּֽי־לָכַ֙ד יְהוֹשֻׁ֣עַ אֶת־הָעַי֮ וַיַּחֲרִימָהּ֒ כַּאֲשֶׁ֙ר עָשָׂ֤ה לִֽירִיחוֹ֙ וּלְמַלְכָּ֔הּ כֵּן־עָשָׂ֥ה לָעַ֖י וּלְמַלְכָּ֑הּ וְכִ֙י הִשְׁלִ֜ימוּ יֹשְׁבֵ֤י גִבְעוֹן֙ אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַיִּֽהְי֖וּ בְּקִרְבָּֽם׃

[2] מַלְכִּי־צֶדֶק/Melchizedek is a compound of מֶלֶךְ/king and צֶדֶק/righteousness.

[3] אֲדֹנִי־צֶדֶק/Adoni-zekek is a compound of אֲדוֹן/lord and צֶדֶק/righteousness.

[4] See Genesis 14:18; Hebrews 7:1, 2.

Joshua 10 Outline

Five of the kings of Canaan, afraid of Joshua, are angry with the Gibeonites, and wage war against them; they send to Joshua for succours, 1-5. He rescues them, 6-10. God casts down hailstones upon the enemy, 11. Joshua prays to God, and commands the sun to stand still, which it does for the space of a day, 12-15. The five kings hide themselves in caves, where Joshua causeth them to be shut up, afterwards to be brought forth, scornfully used, and hanged, and thrown into a cave by Makkedah, 16-27. This place taken, the king, city, and all therein are burnt, 28. Joshua doth the same to Libnah and Lachish, 29-32; to Gezer, Eglon, Hebron, Debir, and all the land, 33-42. Joshua returns to Gilgal, 43.