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.

1 thought on “Joshua 10:15: A Return to Gilgal?

  1. Matthew Henry: “It was a brave appearance, no doubt, which the five kings made when they took the field for the reducing of Gibeon, and a brave army they had following them; but they were all routed, put into disorder first, and then brought to destruction by the hailstones. And now Joshua thought, his work being done, he might go with his army into quarters of refreshment. Accordingly it was resolved, perhaps in a council of war, that they should presently return to the camp at Gilgal (Joshua 10:15), till they should receive orders from God to take possession of the country they had now conquered; but he soon finds he has more work cut out for him. The victory must be pursued, that the spoils might be divided. Accordingly he applies himself to it with renewed vigour.”

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