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.

1 thought on “Joshua 10:3-5: Confederacy of the Five Kings against Gibeon

  1. Matthew Henry: “After Israel had waited awhile for an occasion to make war upon the Canaanites, a fair one offers itself…. Five kings combine against the Gibeonites. Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem was the first mover and ringleader of this confederacy. He had a good name (it signifies lord of righteousness), being a descendant perhaps from Melchizedek, king of righteousness; but, notwithstanding the goodness of his name and family, it seems he was a bad man, and an implacable enemy to the posterity of that Abraham to whom his predecessor, Melchizedek, was such a faithful friend. He called upon his neighbours to join against Israel either because he was the most honourable prince, and had the precedency among these kings (perhaps they had some dependence upon him, at least they paid a deference to him, as the most public, powerful, and active man they had among them), or because he was first or most apprehensive of the danger his country was in, not only by the conquest of Jericho and Ai, but the surrender of Gibeon, which, it seems, was the chief thing that alarmed him, it being one of the most considerable frontier towns they had. Against Gibeon therefore all the force he would raise must be leveled. Come, says he, and help me, that we may smite Gibeon. This he resolves to do, either, (1.) In policy, that he might retake the city, because it was a strong city, and of great consequence to this country in whose hands it was; or, (2.) In passion, that he might chastise the citizens for making peace with Joshua, pretending that they had perfidiously betrayed their country and strengthened the common enemy, whereas they had really done the greatest kindness imaginable to their country, by setting them a good example, if they would have followed it. Thus Satan and his instruments make war upon those that make peace with God. Marvel not if the world hate you, and treat those as deserters who are converts to Christ.”

Leave a Comment