Joshua 10:21: Return of the Victorious Army

Verse 21:[1] And all the people returned to the camp to Joshua at Makkedah in peace: (Ex. 11:7) none moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel.

[Where at that time there was a camp] Permanent or makeshift (Grotius). A military camp; for the permanent camp was at Gilgal, verses 15 and 43 (Junius, Malvenda). Note the restraint and obedience of the soldiers, who do not diffuse themselves upon the spoil, but return to their General (Masius).

To the camp; to the body of the army which were encamped there with Joshua to besiege that place.

[And no one dared to murmur against the children of Israel,לֹֽא־חָרַ֞ץ לִבְנֵ֧י יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל לְאִ֖ישׁ אֶת־לְשֹׁנֽוֹ׃] No one murmured with his tongue against the children (or, concerning the children [Septuagint]) of Israel (Munster, Tigurinus, Septuagint). No one moved a tongue against the children of Israel (Pagnine). חָרַץ signifies to move (Kimchi in Masius). The ל [in לְאִישׁ[2]] is superfluous (Vatablus), as inהַשְּׁלִשִׁי֙ לְאַבְשָׁל֣וֹם, the third, Absalom;[3] הָרְג֖וּ לְאַבְנֵ֑ר, they slew Abner[4] (Drusius). Others maintain that the ל is the dative marker, and translate it, One did not move against the children of Israel, not even to one, their tongue (Vatablus). One had not moved against the children of Israel, against any, their tongue (Junius and Tremellius). But rather חָרַץ signifies to sharpen (Masius, Lapide, Malvenda, Bochart’s A Sacred Catalogue of Animals out of Rabbi Salomon). One did not sharpen against the children of Israel, against anyone, his tongue (Malvenda). No enemy shall sharpen his tongue, much less his arms, against Israel (Masius). One, suppley, sharpening, shall not sharpen. The Hebrews are wont to omit the name of the one acting before an active verb. Thus in Micah 2:4, one, namely, one using parables, shall take up a parable against you. Thus in Habakkuk 3:17, he, namely, the divider, waster, shall cut off the flock from the fold (Bochart’s A Sacred Catalogue of Animals 1:2:55:668). It is not unusual for some words to be omitted in well-known proverbs (Masius). Not one, supply, dog, sharpened (Masius, Drusius, Lapide, Bochart’s A Sacred Catalogue of Animals); which is expressed in Exodus 11:7.[5] The same proverb occurs in Judith 11:19[6] (Masius, Malvenda). That is to say, he suffered no evil, so that not even a dog barked at him, an animal especially easily provoked, but to be feared for its teeth, not its tongue (Masius). He shall not sharpen (he shall not thrust forth his tongue into point; by vibrating it between his teeth, he shall not reveal his tongue, as snarling dogs are wont to do); he shall not snarl. The antecedent in the place of the consequent. By the way, note that both שָׁנַן[7] and חָרַץ are used of the tongue, which is sharpened by thrusting it forth; but, as חָרַץ pertains to dogs, so שָׁנַן pertains to men, and to the serpent, which flicks with the three-pronged tongue in its mouth[8] (Bochart’s A Sacred Catalogue of Animals 1:2:55:668). The sense: No one injured them, not even with a word (Vatablus, Junius). There was no loss to the children of Israel, so that a man might afflict his soul (Jonathan in Drusius).

None moved his tongue; not so much as a dog, as it is expressed, Exodus 11:7. Not only their men of war could not find their hands, but they were all so confounded, that they could not move their tongues in way of insultation and reproach, as doubtless they did when the Israelites were repulsed and smitten at Ai; but now they were silenced as well as conquered; they durst no more provoke nor injure the Israelites.

[1] Hebrew: וַיָּשֻׁבוּ֩ כָל־הָעָ֙ם אֶל־הַמַּחֲנֶ֧ה אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֛עַ מַקֵּדָ֖ה בְּשָׁל֑וֹם לֹֽא־חָרַ֞ץ לִבְנֵ֧י יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל לְאִ֖ישׁ אֶת־לְשֹׁנֽוֹ׃

[2] Note the doubling of the ל in לִבְנֵ֧י יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל לְאִ֖ישׁ.

[3] 1 Chronicles 3:1, 2:  “Now these were the sons of David, which were born unto him in Hebron; the firstborn Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitessהַבְּכ֣וֹר׀ אַמְנֹ֗ן לַאֲחִי֙נֹעַם֙) הַיִּזְרְעֵאלִ֔ית); the second Daniel, of Abigail the Carmelitess (שֵׁנִי֙ דָּנִיֵּ֔אל לַאֲבִיגַ֖יִל הַֽכַּרְמְלִֽית׃):  the third, Absalom the son of Maachah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshurהַשְּׁלִשִׁי֙) לְאַבְשָׁל֣וֹם בֶּֽן־מַעֲכָ֔ה בַּת־תַּלְמַ֖י מֶ֣לֶךְ גְּשׁ֑וּר):  the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggithהָרְבִיעִ֖י) אֲדֹנִיָּ֥ה בֶן־חַגִּֽית׃)…”

[4] 2 Samuel 3:30.

[5] Exodus 11:7:  “But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast (וּלְכֹ֣ל׀ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל לֹ֤א יֶֽחֱרַץ־כֶּ֙לֶב֙ לְשֹׁנ֔וֹ לְמֵאִ֖ישׁ וְעַד־בְּהֵמָ֑ה):  that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.”

[6] Judith 11:19:  “And I will lead thee through the midst of Judea, until thou come before Jerusalem; and I will set thy throne in the midst thereof; and thou shalt drive them as sheep that have no shepherd, and a dog shall not so much as open his mouth at thee:  for these things were told me according to my foreknowledge, and they were declared unto me, and I am sent to tell thee.”

[7] For example, Proverbs 25:18:  “A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow (וְחֵ֣ץ שָׁנ֑וּן).”

[8] Virgil’s Georgics 3:439.

1 thought on “Joshua 10:21: Return of the Victorious Army

  1. Matthew Henry: “The result of this vigorous pursuit was…None moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel, Joshua 10:21. This expression intimates, (1.) Their perfect safety and tranquillity; some think it should be read (from Exodus 11:7), Against any of the children of Israel did not a dog move his tongue; no, not against any one man of them. They were not threatened by any danger at all after their victory, no, not so much as the barking of a dog. Not one single Israelite (for the original makes it so particular) was brought into any distress, either in the battle or in the pursuit. (2.) Their honour and reputation; no man had any reproach to cast upon them, nor an ill word to give them. God not only tied the hands, but stopped the mouths, of their enraged enemies, and put lying lips to silence. (3.) The Chaldee paraphrase makes it an expression of their unalloyed joy for this victory, reading it, There was no hurt nor loss to the children of Israel, for which any man should afflict his soul. When the army came to be reviewed after the battle, there was none slain, none wounded, none missing. Not one Israelite had occasion to lament either the loss of a friend or the loss of a limb, so cheap, so easy, so glorious, was this victory.”

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