Joshua 10:40: The Southern Campaign, Part 1

Verse 40:[1] So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel (Deut. 20:16, 17) commanded.

[All the hill country, etc.] The entire region, according to the diverse conditions and situations of the places, he distributed into four parts (Bonfrerius out of Masius). The plains are set over against the mountainous places; shaded valleys over against the arid (Masius).

[And the south (thus Munster, Tigurinus, Pagnine, similarly Junius and Tremellius, Syriac), וְהַנֶּגֶב[2]] Of the south (Montanus, Jonathan). By this word, through metalepsis,[3] they understand land arid and sterile, because of the excessive heat of the Sun (Malvenda out of Bonfrerius). Thus the word is taken in Joshua 15:19;[4] Judges 1:15; Psalm 126:4[5] (Malvenda). Moreover, that נֶגֶב properly signifies arid places, the Chaldean tongue plainly shows,[6] which arose from the Hebrew (Masius).

[And of Asedoth (thus the Septuagint, Pagnine), Ashdod[7] (Syriac), וְהָאֲשֵׁדוֹת] Effusions (Montanus). Well-watered places, or, rather, valleys, which are rightly set over against the South and arid land; for those are characterized by soil rich and fertile, since they receive sufficient moisture from the mountains, and are not afflicted with lasting heat, because of the shade of the mountains; whence they are commonly called shaded and green pleasant places by the Poets (Masius). And river-valleys (Tigurinus); a descending [place] (Munster). And declivities, that is, a region that is in the declivities of mountains (Vatablus). And the watering of descents (Junius), by descents (Junius and Tremellius); the descent of waters (Dutch). Certainly אֶשֶׁד is הַנְּחָלִים, an effusion of torrents, or rivers, Numbers 21:14, 15[8] (Drusius). Flowings, of which sort hills pour forth: thus the Jews (Masius). Effusion, or extension, or projection, of the elevated place (Jonathan in Masius). He understands those places that are called ὑπώρειαι by the Greeks, that is, where mountains and hills extend themselves to the plains. This opinion agrees with the context, and with Deuteronomy 3:17.[9] Such places are generally more fertile and more well-cultivated (Masius).

[Everything that was able to breathe] Hebrew: every soul,[10] namely, human (Bonfrerius, Junius). [See what things are on verse 28.[11]]

All that breathed, that is, all mankind, by a synecdoche; for they reserved the cattle for their own uses.

[Just as the Lord had commanded] This is added to mitigate the severity of such a slaughter in the eyes of posterity. Not with private hatreds (for they had not been provoked by any injury), or with a desire for rule, or with a lust for plunder, did they this; but they followed the commands of God, who had for so long patiently endured the increasing impiety of those, but now was coming utterly to destroy them. And hence it was done, that the spirits of the soldiers were not giving in to any mercy, but with one uninterrupted movement were assailing all with indiscriminate slaughter; namely, because they were advancing, not their own, but the cause of God, and were ministers of the vengeance of God (Masius).

As the Lord God of Israel commanded: this is added for the vindication of the Israelites, whom God would not have to suffer in their reputation for executing his commands; and therefore he acquits them of that implacable hatred and heinous cruelty which they might be thought guilty of, and ascribes it to himself and his own just indignation against this most wicked people.

[1] Hebrew: וַיַּכֶּ֣ה יְהוֹשֻׁ֣עַ אֶת־כָּל־הָאָ֡רֶץ הָהָר֩ וְהַנֶּ֙גֶב וְהַשְּׁפֵלָ֜ה וְהָאֲשֵׁד֗וֹת וְאֵת֙ כָּל־מַלְכֵיהֶ֔ם לֹ֥א הִשְׁאִ֖יר שָׂרִ֑יד וְאֵ֤ת כָּל־הַנְּשָׁמָה֙ הֶחֱרִ֔ים כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר צִוָּ֔ה יְהוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

[2] נֶגֶב/south-country, appears to be derived from a verbal root, נגב, to be dry or parched.

[3] By metalepsis, reference is made to one things by means of another thing only weakly related to it.

[4] Joshua 15:19:  “Who answered, Give me a blessing; for thou hast given me a south land (אֶ֤רֶץ הַנֶּ֙גֶב֙); give me also springs of water.  And he gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs.”  So also Judges 1:15.

[5] Psalm 126:4:  “Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south (כַּאֲפִיקִ֥ים בַּנֶּֽגֶב׃).”

[6] In the Chaldean, נֶגֶב, dry soil or south-country, is derived from a verbal root, נגב, to be dry.

[7] Here, אֲשֵׁדָה/foundation/mountain-slope is being related to אַשְׁדּוֹד/Ashdod, a Philistine city in the south-west.

[8] Numbers 21:14, 15:  “Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the Lord, What he did in the Red sea, and in the brooks (וְאֶת־הַנְּחָלִים) of Arnon, and at the stream of the brooks (וְ֙אֶשֶׁד֙ הַנְּחָלִ֔ים) that goeth down to the dwelling of Ar, and lieth upon the border of Moab.”

[9] Deuteronomy 3:17:  “The plain also, and Jordan, and the coast thereof, from Chinnereth even unto the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, under Ashdoth-pisgah (אַשְׁדֹּ֥ת הַפִּסְגָּ֖ה, or, the slopes of Pisgah) eastward.”

[10] Hebrew: כָּל־הַנְּשָׁמָה.

[11] Joshua 10:28:  “And that day Joshua took Makkedah, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof he utterly destroyed, them, and all the souls that were therein (וְאֶת־כָּל־הַנֶּ֙פֶשׁ֙ אֲשֶׁר־בָּ֔הּ); he let none remain:  and he did to the king of Makkedah as he did unto the king of Jericho.”

1 thought on “Joshua 10:40: The Southern Campaign, Part 1

  1. We tend to think much of ourselves, and little of our sin.

    But sin must indeed be a great and grievous thing for the God of all grace and comfort to punish it so.

    The iniquity of the Amorites is full! Behold! and tremble!

Leave a Comment