Joshua 11:21: Joshua Takes the Entire Land, Part 5

Verse 21:[1] And at that time came Joshua, and cut off (Num. 13:22, 33; Deut. 1:28; Josh. 15:13, 14) the Anakims from the mountains, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel: Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities.

[He killed the Anakim[2] (similarly the Septuagint, Junius and Tremellius)] Others: he drove out the giants (Vatablus, similarly Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic). Of these there was mention in Numbers 13:22, 33 (Bonfrerius). They appear to have been the offspring of a certain man by the name of Anak; hence they are called בְּנֵ֥י עֲנָ֖ק, that is, the sons of Anak, Numbers 13:33, and יְלִדֵ֥י הָֽעֲנָ֖ק, the children of Anak, Numbers 13:28 (Masius).

At that time, that is, in that war; for it cannot be meant of any particular and short time, because the work here related was done in divers times and years. The Anakims; a race of giants, of which see Numbers 13:33.

[From the mountains] Since it was a race of men strange to all humanity, and, as it appears from Numbers 13:33, ἀνθρωποφάγον/man-eating, it was by preference dwelling in mountains, after the fashion of wild beasts, in which it was digging burrows for itself (which sort moisture does not allow to be done in fields): which Homer relates concerning the Cyclopes in Odyssey ι´, Τοῖσιν δ᾽οὔτ᾽ ἀγοραὶ, etc., they have no laws nor assemblies of the people, but live in caves on the tops of high mountains; each is lord and master in his family, and they take no account of their neighbours; and elsewhere, in Iliad α´, Κάρτιστοι μὲν ἔσαν καὶ καρτίστοις ἐμάχοντο Φηρσὶν ὀρεσκῴοισι, etc., these were the mightiest men, and, when they fought the mightiest Wild Beasts of the mountains, they utterly overthrew them, etc. He calls the Centaurs the sild beasts of the mountains (Masius).

From the mountain, or, mountains, the singular number for the plural: these barbarous and monstrous persons either chose to live in the dens or caves, which were frequent in the mountains of those parts; or else they were driven thither by the arms and success of the Israelites.

[Hebron] This was of old built on a mountain, afterwards in the plain: Benjamin’s Itinerary[3] 47 (Drusius). That these Giants inhabited the mountains around Hebron, is related in Numbers 13:22. In that place that brood was yet remaining. Since these were setting their hearts on new property, and in diverse places, in which they had their dens, they began to show themselves, it appears that they were to be repressed, lest they should hinder the coming distribution of the land with new disturbances (Masius). Question: How did Joshua destroy them, since after the death of Joshua, Caleb and Othniel are said to have done it, Joshua 14:12; Judges 1:10-13? Response 1: This is said by way of anticipation, and to Joshua are attributed those things that he began, but his successors perfected (Tostatus in Lapide). Response 2: Some think that Caleb did these things while Joshua was yet alive, and that they are attributed to Joshua as the General; but that they are ascribed to Caleb, because he threw himself into that battle with greater zeal. Thus Kimchi and Rabbi Isaiah. Now, what things were written in the Book of Judges they translate throught the pluperfect, Judah had proceeded against the Canaanite dwelling in Hebrew…he had smitten Sheshai…Caleb had said…Othniel had taken, and so the rest, until it is related that Judah set out against Gaza with Simeon.[4] [This is not satisfying to Masius.] 1. Let us grant to them that Caleb drove the giants from Hebron, and Othniel from Debir, etc., what shall they make of the other places mentioned here, Anab, the mountain of Israel, the whole land, etc.? Will they say that these also pertain to that narration in Judges? 2. That narration in Judges proceeds in a lovely and uninterrupted course, and the situation of the places answers to the military engagements in order, so that it would not be fitting to interrupt it with words of a different time. 3. They are mentioned in Judges after the defeat of Adoni-bezek (whom Joshua is nowhere said to have defeated) and capture of Jerusalem as proceeding to Hebron, etc. 4. Augustine thinks that the victory of Caleb is related in the book of Joshua κατὰ πρόληψιν, proleptically, but in Judges in its own time and place (Masius). Response 3: It is likely that those immense monsters (rather than men), while previously they, some having hidden in their caves, others having fled into the nearby cities, Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod, had escaped the hands of Joshua, occupied again those seats of their ancestors, and stirred up others to fresh hostilities, until they were completely annihilated by Caleb (Masius, Lapide). The following verse insinuates this (Lapide).

[And Debir] Of Hebron and Debir we spoke on Joshua 10:36, 38 (Masius, Lapide).

[Anab] This, like the previous two, was in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:50 (Bonfrerius). It was near Diospolis,[5] where there is yet a farmstead called Beth-Anoba (Eusebius in Masius). Whence I conclude that the it was same city, which was at first called עֲנָב/Anab, then through aphæresis[6] נוֹב/Nob, which they today call Bethanobe and Bethanopolis (Masius).

[And from all the mountain of Judah and Israel] Therefore, the kingdom of the Hebrews was already divided into two; and so this book either was first composed by another author, or it was edited from the Sacred annals that were kept in the Temple (certain interpreters in Malvenda). Concerning the mountain of Israel we spoke on verse 16. The Mountain of Judah signifies all those mountains that lie from Jerusalem southward in the land of Canaan (Masius). To others it is Hebron, which was in the mountains of Judah (Malvenda).

[And he destroyed their cities] But you will say that Hazor was destroyed in that expedition. Responses: 1. Therefore, this was a new expedition. 2. Or the cities of the Anakim, as defended by the stoutest men, were not able to be taken except with the bulwarks overthrown, and therefore those bulwarks were destroyed. 3. Or עָרִים signifies, not cities, but citizens; that is to say, these with their citizens, among whom they held dominion, were destroyed (Masius).

From Debir; either, 1. From the territories belonging to these cities, as we have oft seen in this history, cities mentioned for the country subject to them; for the cities were taken before by Joshua, Joshua 10:36-38. Or, 2. From the cities themselves; and so either the cities were retaken by the giants, which it is not probable that God would permit in Joshua’s time; or he speaks here of that time when he took those places mentioned here and Joshua 10, which history he here in part repeats and enlargeth with this memorable circumstance, that, together with the rest, he destroyed also the giants which were in those places. Anab; a place in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:50. From all the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel: it doth not follow from hence, which some conclude, that this book was written by some other person long after Joshua’s death, even after the division of the Israelites into two kingdoms, of Israel and Judah; but only that this was one of those clauses which were added or altered and suited to the style of the present times by Ezra, or some other prophet, though that be not necessary; for since it was evident to Joshua, from Genesis 49:9, etc., that the tribe of Judah was to be the chief of all the tribes, and some dawnings of its eminency appeared in that time, in their having the first lot in the land of Canaan, Joshua 15:1, and the largest inheritance, Joshua 19:9, it is no wonder that it is mentioned apart, and distinguished from the rest of the tribes of Israel, though that also be one of them; even as the daughter of Pharaoh is distinguished from the strange women, 1 Kings 11:1, and Saul from all David’s enemies, Psalm 18 title, and Peter from the disciples, Mark 16:7, though they were each of the same nature and quality with the rest. Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities. Question. How could Joshua utterly destroy these, when Caleb and Othniel destroyed some of them after Joshua’s death, Joshua 14:12; Judges 1:10-13. Answer. This might be, either, 1. Because these places being in part destroyed and neglected by the Israelites, might be repossessed by the giants, either in Joshua’s time, or after his death, and by them kept till Caleb dispossessed and destroyed them. Or rather, 2. Because this work, though done by the particular valour and industry of Caleb, is ascribed to Joshua as the general of the army, according to the manner of all historians; and therefore it is here attributed to Joshua, though afterwards, that Caleb might not lose his deserved honour, the history is more particularly described, and Caleb owned as the great instrument in the achievement of it, Joshua 14; Judges 1.

[1] Hebrew: וַיָּבֹ֙א יְהוֹשֻׁ֜עַ בָּעֵ֣ת הַהִ֗יא וַיַּכְרֵ֤ת אֶת־הָֽעֲנָקִים֙ מִן־הָהָ֤ר מִן־חֶבְרוֹן֙ מִן־דְּבִ֣ר מִן־עֲנָ֔ב וּמִכֹּל֙ הַ֣ר יְהוּדָ֔ה וּמִכֹּ֖ל הַ֣ר יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל עִם־עָרֵיהֶ֖ם הֶחֱרִימָ֥ם יְהוֹשֻֽׁעַ׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיַּכְרֵ֤ת אֶת־הָֽעֲנָקִים֙. כָּרַת, in the Qal and Hiphil conjugations, signifies to cut off.

[3] Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela (died 1173) was a Spanish Jew, who chronicled his travels through Europe and Asia, unto the very borders of China.

[4] Verse 17.

[5] Diospolis was in the north-western portion of Judah.

[6] That is, the loss of a sound or sounds at the beginning of a word.

1 thought on “Joshua 11:21: Joshua Takes the Entire Land, Part 5

  1. Jonathan Edwards, “Types of the Messiah”: ‘The great agreement there is between the history of Joshua and the things said of him in Scripture, and the things said of the Messiah in the Old Testament, strongly argues Joshua to be a type of the Messiah…. The high walls of God’s enemies came down before Joshua agreeably to the prophecies of the Messiah. Isaiah 25:12, “And the fortress of the high fort of thy walls shall he bring down, lay low and bring to the ground, even to the dust.” Isaiah 26:5, “For he bringeth down them that dwell on high; the lofty city he layeth it low, he layeth it low even to the ground; he bringeth it even to the dust.” Isaiah 30:25, “In the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fell.” Joshua destroyed the giants, Joshua 11:21; agreeably to this see Isaiah 45:14, “The Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over to thee. In chains shall they come over, and they shall fall down unto thee.” Isaiah 10:33, “And the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled.” This seems to be connected with the prophecy in the beginning of the next chapter, in the next verse but one.’

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