Joshua 10:25-27: The Execution and Hanging of the Five Kings

Verse 25:[1] And Joshua said unto them, (Deut. 31:6, 8; Josh. 1:9) Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for (Deut. 3:21; 7:19) thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight.

[Fear not] They had need of encouragements of this sort, because they had imagined that people invincible and as having the strength of giants, Numbers 13; 14. It is to be noted here that Joshua first says those things that might banish their fear, then those things that might increase their resolve; while God does the contrary.[2] That is, God’s words by their own power produce courage, etc. (Masius).

[To your enemies] Thus he calls them by no other name, than that they were the enemies of God, and to be destroyed by His kingdom (Masius).


Verse 26:[3] And afterward Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five trees: and they (Josh. 8:29) were hanging upon the trees until the evening.

[And he hanged] Not for punishment, which was not able to be inflicted upon the dead; but for public report and example, and so that he might cut off all their hope of impunity for their vices. See Numbers 25:4 (Masius).

He hanged them, after they were dead, as a brand of infamy, and for the terror and instruction of others.


Verse 27:[4] And it came to pass at the time of the going down of the sun, that Joshua commanded, and they (Deut. 21:23; Josh. 8:29) took them down off the trees, and cast them into the cave wherein they had been hid, and laid great stones in the cave’s mouth, which remain until this very day.

[And while the sun was setting, he commanded[5] (similarly the Septuagint, Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic, Montanus, Junius and Tremellius, Piscator)] But Bonfrerius maintains that that while the sun was setting is not to be referred to the he commanded, as if at that time the commandment was given by Joshua, who was remaining there, since he seized yet two cities on that day [concerning which see on the following verse], but to the that they take down (Bonfrerius).

[Into the cave, etc.] This was done, 1. For a monument, or for the perpetual memory of the event (Menochius, Masius). This cave was famous at that time. 2. Lest the bodies, having been dragged out by wild beasts, should come into the sight of men (Masius). 3. Lest anyone should be able to remove the bodies for an honorable burial (Menochius).

Laid great stones in the cave’s mouth; that neither wild beasts could come at them to devour them, nor any of their people to give them honourable burial.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם֙ יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ אַל־תִּֽירְא֖וּ וְאַל־תֵּחָ֑תּוּ חִזְק֣וּ וְאִמְצ֔וּ כִּ֣י כָ֗כָה יַעֲשֶׂ֤ה יְהוָה֙ לְכָל־אֹ֣יְבֵיכֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַתֶּ֖ם נִלְחָמִ֥ים אוֹתָֽם׃

[2] See Deuteronomy 31:6, 8; Joshua 1:9.

[3] Hebrew: וַיַּכֵּ֙ם יְהוֹשֻׁ֤עַ אַֽחֲרֵי־כֵן֙ וַיְמִיתֵ֔ם וַיִּתְלֵ֕ם עַ֖ל חֲמִשָּׁ֣ה עֵצִ֑ים וַיִּֽהְי֛וּ תְּלוּיִ֥ם עַל־הָעֵצִ֖ים עַד־הָעָֽרֶב׃

[4] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֞י לְעֵ֣ת׀ בּ֣וֹא הַשֶּׁ֗מֶשׁ צִוָּ֤ה יְהוֹשֻׁ֙עַ֙ וַיֹּֽרִידוּם֙ מֵעַ֣ל הָעֵצִ֔ים וַיַּ֙שְׁלִכֻ֔ם אֶל־הַמְּעָרָ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר נֶחְבְּאוּ־שָׁ֑ם וַיָּשִׂ֜מוּ אֲבָנִ֤ים גְּדֹלוֹת֙ עַל־פִּ֣י הַמְּעָרָ֔ה עַד־עֶ֖צֶם הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה׃

[5] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֞י לְעֵ֣ת׀ בּ֣וֹא הַשֶּׁ֗מֶשׁ צִוָּ֤ה יְהוֹשֻׁ֙עַ֙.

1 thought on “Joshua 10:25-27: The Execution and Hanging of the Five Kings

  1. Matthew Henry: “The kings that had hidden themselves must now be called to an account, as rebels against the Israel of God, to whom, by the divine promise and grant, this land did of right belong and should have been surrendered upon demand. See here…How they were put to death. Perhaps, when they had undergone that terrible mortification of being trodden upon by the captains of Israel, they were ready to say, as Agag, Surely the bitterness of death is past, and that sufficient unto them was this punishment which was inflicted by many; but their honours cannot excuse their lives, their forfeited devoted lives. Joshua smote them with the sword, and then hanged up their bodies till evening, when they were taken down, and thrown into the cave in which they had hidden themselves, Joshua 10:26, 27. That which they thought would have been their shelter was made their prison first and then their grave; so shall we be disappointed in that which we flee to from God: yet to good people the grave is still a hiding-place, Job 14:13. If these five kings had humbled themselves in time, and had begged peace instead of waging war, they might have saved their lives; but now the decree had gone forth, and they found no place for repentance, or the reversal of the judgment; it was too late to expect it, though perhaps they sought it carefully with tears.”

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