Joshua 9:1, 2: The Canaanite League of Opposition

Verse 1:[1] And it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side Jordan, in the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of (Num. 34:6) the great sea over against Lebanon, (Ex. 3:17; 23:23) the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof

[With which heard] Namely, that the two cities, Jericho and Ai, were captured and destroyed, which, as it is likely, were esteemed as the bulwarks of all Canaan. And it is to be noted that those do not yet gather troops, but only deliberate, etc., as if the time of waging war be not now pressing. But God sent upon them this stupor and blindness of mind, so that by degrees He might toughen and confirm the spirits of the Israelites, otherwise too much preoccupied with the great opinion of the power of their adversaries, by the very culling and use of the enemy and their places. Indeed, the enemy’s sluggishness appears, not only at the beginning of the war, but all the way to the end. For we shall nowhere see them, with the opportunity seized, which sort of great occasions, it is likely, were often presented, taking the initiative and attacking the Israelites, but everywhere being attacked by them (Masius).

[Which in the mountains] Understanding, were dwelling. Thus, our Father which in heaven, supply, art, or dwellest. Hebrew: in the mountain,[2] that is, in the mountainous region (Drusius); of which sort was Canaan, Deuteronomy 11:11 (Bonfrerius).

[And in the coast, etc. (similarly Jonathan, Arabic, Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Drusius, Vatablus), וּבְכֹל֙ ח֚וֹף] Others translate it port (Junius and Tremellius, Malvenda, Montanus, Drusius, Masius). It is named from concealing:[3] It is a place in which ships are able to lie hidden, safe from the wind (Masius). In the entire tract, which is adjacent to the sea (Vatablus).

[Of the great sea] That is, the Mediterranean. For lakes and lagoons are called seas by the Hebrews (Masius).

[These also that were dwelling near Libanus, אֶל־מ֖וּל הַלְּבָנ֑וֹן] Over against Libanus (Montanus). That were toward Antilibanus (Septuagint). The Septuagint and the Latin supply the and, and maintain that Phœnicia itself is signified, the peculiar seat of Kings, in which Berytus, Sidon, Sarepta, Tyre, and other towns set over against Libanus and Antilibanus, lie near the sea. Others think that it looks to describe further the great sea (Masius). On the coast of the great sea, which is over against Libanus (Jonathan, Syriac). Others: all the way unto the opposite of Libanus (Arabic); all the way unto the region adjacent to Libanus (Junius and Tremellius). Others: next to, or near, Libanus (Drusius). That is to say, those that were dwelling toward the Northern quarter (Masius, Vatablus).

 

Verse 2:[4] That they (Ps. 83:3, 5) gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord (Heb. mouth[5]).

They gathered themselves together; not actually, as the following history shows; but they entered into a league or confederation to do this.

[With one spirit (thus the Syriac, Junius and Tremellius), פֶּ֖ה אֶחָֽד׃] With one mouth (Montanus, Vatablus), that is, with unanimous consent (Vatablus, Arabic, Hebrews in Vatablus, Piscator), all together (Septuagint), in one society (Jonathan).

[1] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֣י כִשְׁמֹ֣עַ כָּֽל־הַמְּלָכִ֡ים אֲשֶׁר֩ בְּעֵ֙בֶר הַיַּרְדֵּ֜ן בָּהָ֣ר וּבַשְּׁפֵלָ֗ה וּבְכֹל֙ ח֚וֹף הַיָּ֣ם הַגָּד֔וֹל אֶל־מ֖וּל הַלְּבָנ֑וֹן הַֽחִתִּי֙ וְהָ֣אֱמֹרִ֔י הַֽכְּנַעֲנִי֙ הַפְּרִזִּ֔י הַחִוִּ֖י וְהַיְבוּסִֽי׃

[2] Hebrew: בָּהָר.

[3] חוֹף/coast appears to be derived from the verbal root חָפַף, to enclose or cover.

[4] Hebrew: וַיִּֽתְקַבְּצ֣וּ יַחְדָּ֔ו לְהִלָּחֵ֥ם עִם־יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ וְעִם־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל פֶּ֖ה אֶחָֽד׃

[5] Hebrew: פֶּה.

1 thought on “Joshua 9:1, 2: The Canaanite League of Opposition

  1. Matthew Henry: “Hitherto the Canaanites had acted defensively; the Israelites were the aggressors upon Jericho and Ai. But here the kings of Canaan are in consultation to attack Israel, and concert matters for a vigorous effort of their united forces to check the progress of their victorious arms. Now, 1. It was strange they did not do this sooner. They had notice long since of their approach; Israel’s design upon Canaan was no secret; one would have expected that a prudent concern for their common safety would put them upon taking some measures to oppose their coming over Jordan, and maintain that pass against them, or to give them a warm reception as soon as they were over. It was strange they did not attempt to raise the siege of Jericho, or at least fall in with the men of Ai, when they had given them a defeat. But they were, either through presumption or despair, wonderfully infatuated and at their wits’ end. Many know not the things that belong to their peace till they are hidden from their eyes. 2. It was more strange that they did it now. Now that the conquest of Jericho had given such a pregnant proof of God’s power, and that of Ai of Israel’s policy, one would have thought the end of their consultation should be, not to fight with Israel, but to make peace with them, and to gain the best terms they could for themselves. This would have been their wisdom (Luke 14:32), but their minds were blinded, and their hearts hardened to their destruction. Observe, (1.) What induced them now at last to enter upon this consultation. When they heard thereof (Joshua 9:1), not only of the conquest of Jericho and Ai, but of the convention of the states of Mount Ebal, of which we have an account immediately before,—when they heard that Joshua, as if he thought himself already completely master of the country, had had all his people together, and had read the laws to them by which they must be governed, and taken their promises to submit to those laws,—then they perceived the Israelites were in good earnest, and thought it was high time for them to bestir themselves. The pious devotion of God’s people sometimes provokes and exasperates their enemies more than any thing else. (2.) How unanimous they were in their resolves. Though they were many kings of different nations, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, etc., doubtless of different interests, and that had often been at variance one with another, yet they determined, nemine contradicente—unanimously, to unite against Israel. O that Israel would learn this of Canaanites, to sacrifice private interests to the public welfare, and to lay aside all animosities among themselves, that they may cordially unite against the common enemies of God’s kingdom among men!”

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