In our study of Joshua chapter ten, we will look at how God is willing to move heaven and earth in support of His people.
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When Adoni-Tzedek king of Yerushalayim heard how Y'hoshua had taken 'Ai and utterly destroyed it - he had done the same to 'Ai and its king as he had done to Yericho and its king - and how the inhabitants of Giv'on had made peace with Isra'el and were living among them, his people became greatly alarmed; because Giv'on was as large as one of the royal cities, larger than 'Ai, and all its men were courageous.
So, news of the events from chapters 8 & 9 had spread throughout the land. From the battle of Jericho, it was known that God was with the Israelites. From the first battle of Ai, it was known that, if the Israelites did not listen to God, then they could be defeated. From the Gibeonites, it was known that the Israelites could be tricked into not listening to God. From this passage, we see how important it is to have a godly reputation. So what is a godly reputation? For us individually, as well as groups of believers, it comes down to the same things that it did for Y'hoshua and the Israelites. Is God among us and working on our behalf as He did with the Israelites and Jericho? Can we be tricked into not listening to God as Israel was with the Gibeonites? Today, when we think of a godly reputation, we get hung up on legalism and whether or not we do or don't do certain things but, as we see here, the most important thing is whether we are in Yeshua Messiah and listening to the Holy Spirit. We see that the king of Jerusalem was worried because Gibeon had a reputation of being a strong city and having a good army. The king was probably thinking that the alliance of Israel and Gibeon would attack and defeat him as well.
So Adoni-Tzedek king of Yerushalayim sent this message to Hoham king of Hevron, Pir'am king of Yarmut, Yafia king of Lakhish and D'vir king of 'Eglon: "Come up and help me, and we'll attack Giv'on, because it has made peace with Y'hoshua and the people of Isra'el." So the five kings of the Emori - the kings of Yerushalayim, Hevron, Yarmut, Lakhish and 'Eglon - got together, went up with all their armies, pitched camp against Giv'on and made war against it.
Why did these five kings attack Gibeon instead of attacking Israel itself? It comes back to Israel's reputation and the fact that they could be tricked into ignoring God. Because of their treaty with the Gibeonites, Israel would have been obligated to come to the defense of Gibeon. From the first battle of Ai, it was known that, if the Israelites did not listen to God, then, they could be defeated. In the case of Gibeon, they were obligated and would not consult God. This is a pattern that we see throughout the Bible where Satan will use the indirect attack in an attempt to defeat the people of God. (See Job chapter 2.)
The people of Giv'on sent a message to Y'hoshua at their camp in Gilgal that said, "Don't ignore your servants! Come up to us quickly, and save us! Help us, because all the kings of the Emori living in the hills have gotten together to fight us." Y'hoshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the fighting men with him, including all the bravest ones.
It looks like the Amorite plan to get Israel to ignore God is working as they do not consult God before going to aid the Gibeonites. In their plea to Y'hoshua, the Gibeonites reminded him that they were Israel's servants and so, as masters, Israel was obligated to defend them.
ADONAI said to Y'hoshua, "Don't be afraid of them, for I have handed them over to you; not one of their men will stand against you."
What a wonderful picture of mercy and grace we see in this verse. Israel had disobeyed God in making the treaty with Gibeon and had marched out without God's orders but, still, the Lord assures them that He is there with them. Today, there are many Christians going through life worried about Yeshua abandoning them because of something that they have said or done. This verse reminds us that, even when we get ourselves into a mess because of our sin, Yeshua will still be there for us. When the chips are down, look up to the mercy and grace of Yeshua Messiah because He does not abandon His servants.
Having spent the entire night marching up from Gilgal, Y'hoshua fell upon them, taking them by surprise. ADONAI threw them into confusion before Isra'el and defeated them in a great slaughter at Giv'on, pursuing them along the road that goes up from Beit-Horon, and beating them back to 'Azekah and all the way to Makkedah. As they fled before Isra'el down the road to Beit-Horon, ADONAI threw huge hailstones down on them all the way to 'Azekah, and they died; more died because of the hail than because Isra'el had killed them with the sword.
Now we see that, not only does God not abandon them, He wins the battle on their behalf as we see that God killed more of the Amorites than Israel did. We are reminded that, throughout the Bible, the number five is associated with lacking and a shortage. Even though the Israelites were facing five kings that opposed the will of God, that force was insufficient to defeat Israel because they were in the will of God. We can take comfort in that as well as, when we are working in the will of God, then, no force of man can stop us.
Then, on the day ADONAI handed over the Emori to the people of Isra'el, Y'hoshua spoke to ADONAI; in the sight of Isra'el he said, "Sun, stand motionless over Giv'on! Moon, you too, over Ayalon Valley!" So the sun stood still and the moon stayed put, till Isra'el took vengeance on their enemies. This is written in the book of Yashar. The sun stood still in the sky and was in no rush to set for nearly a whole day. There has never been a day like that before or since, when ADONAI listened to the voice of a man; it happened because ADONAI was fighting on Isra'el's behalf. Y'hoshua returned with all Isra'el to the camp at Gilgal.
This passage brings to mind some questions and the first is why did Y'hoshua pray for the hot sun to stay over Gibeon for more than a day? We are reminded that Israel and Gibeon were surrounded by five kings and their armies and so his fear was that the sun would go down while they were surrounded. If that had happened, they would have probably been defeated as they would not have been able to see to fight. The next question is did these events really happen. Usually, so-called scholars, try to explain it away as just being poetic and that it did not really happen. Others, try to say that it was an eclipse and scientists have even said that they can give us the exact date of these events. The best explanation is that it happened just as described. You see, the Amorites worshipped the sun and the moon and would have been shocked at the sun being stopped. This would have shown the supremacy of the one true God. This would have also reminded Israel that God does listen to their prayers and acts on their behalf. The next question is does God listen and act on behalf of His people today? In the passage, it says: "There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being." What that verse is saying is that this is the only time that God has ever stopped the flow of time (as we measure it) at the request of man. For us today, this "longest day" is a reminder that the grace of God has been available for a specified period of time. We do not know what the length of that time is but, just as the sun continued on its way during Joshua's time, the "longest day" of God's grace will also have an end. (See Revelation 8.)
But those five kings fled and hid themselves in the cave at Makkedah, and it was reported to Y'hoshua that the five kings had been found hiding in the cave at Makkedah. Y'hoshua said, "Roll big stones to the mouth of the cave, and put men there to guard them. However, you, don't wait, but keep chasing your enemies, and attack those farthest in the rear. Don't allow them to return to their cities, because ADONAI has handed them over to you."
Now, we see that the kings which had attacked fled from the battle and hid in a cave but they were found by the Israelites. Instead of stopping the pursuit of the enemy, Joshua had the cave sealed with the kings inside so that they could be dealt with later. This is a reminder to us, as Christians, to focus on the task that God has laid before us and to not be distracted by world events.
After Y'hoshua and the people of Isra'el had finished killing them off in a very great slaughter, till they had been destroyed, and the remaining remnant had entered the fortified cities, all the people returned safely to Y'hoshua at the camp in Makkedah; and no one said a word against any of the people of Isra'el.
So Israel defeated the armies of the five kings but there was some that escaped and went into fortified cities. The army returned to camp at Makkedah to deal with the kings that were hiding in the cave.
Then Y'hoshua said, "Open up the mouth of the cave, and bring those five kings out of the cave to me. They did it; they brought the five kings out to him - the kings of Yerushalayim, Hevron, Yarmut, Lakhish and 'Eglon. After they had brought the five kings to Y'hoshua, he summoned all the men of Isra'el and said to the commanders of the soldiers who had gone with him, "Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings." They came and put their feet on their necks. Y'hoshua said to them, "Don't be afraid or confused, but be strong and bold, because this is what ADONAI will do to all your enemies that you fight against." With that, Y'hoshua struck them and put them to death, hanging them on five trees, where they remained hanging until evening. At sunset Y'hoshua gave an order, and they lowered them from the trees and threw them into the cave where they had hidden themselves, then laid big stones at the mouth of the cave; and there they remain to this day.
In this passage, we see that one cannot flee from God's judgement as these kings thought that they had found refuge in a cave but, in reality, the judgement had only been delayed until the proper time. We see that Y'hoshua used them as a teaching tool and we see that fear of anything but God leads to confusion which in turn leads to wrong decisions. We also see that, if we are in the will of God, then, our enemies are God's enemies and the result of rebellion is cursing, shame, and death.
Y'hoshua captured Makkedah that day, defeating it and its king by the sword. He completely destroyed them, everyone there - he left no one; and he did to the king of Makkedah what he had done to the king of Yericho. Y'hoshua went on from Makkedah, and all Isra'el with him, to Livnah; and he fought against Livnah. ADONAI also handed it and its king over to Isra'el. He defeated it with the sword, everyone there - he left no one, and he did to its king what he had done to the king of Yericho. Y'hoshua went on from Livnah, and all Isra'el with him, to Lakhish; and he pitched camp against it and fought against it. ADONAI handed it over to Isra'el; he captured it the second day. He defeated it with the sword, everyone there, exactly as he had done to Livnah.
We see the phrase "that day" again and we are reminded that, when we see that phrase, it has kingdom significance. In this case, we see that this judgement on the peoples of Canaan teaches us about the final judgement of all those who oppose the will of God. We see three cities mentioned in this passage and each of them was completely destroyed and once again we see Jericho mentioned. We remember that Jericho was a supernatural victory and that shows us that these victories are also supernatural as, in each case, we see that the Lord handed them over to Israel. In this we see that there is consistency in God's judgement as all who opposed the will of God met the exact same fate which is exactly what will happen on the last day.
But then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lakhish; so Y'hoshua attacked him and his people, until he had no one left with him. Y'hoshua went on from Lakhish, and all Isra'el with him, to 'Eglon; and he pitched camp against it and fought against it. They captured it that very day. He defeated it with the sword, completely destroying everyone there, exactly as he had done to Lakhish. Y'hoshua went up from 'Eglon, and all Isra'el with him, to Hevron; and they fought against it. They captured it, defeating it with the sword, including its king, its villages and everyone there; he left no one, exactly as he had done to 'Eglon; but he completely destroyed it and everyone there. Y'hoshua turned back, and all Isra'el with him, to D'vir and fought against it. They captured it, its king and all its villages, defeating them with the sword and utterly destroying everyone there; he left no one. He did to D'vir and it king as he had done to Hevron and as he had done to Livnah and its king.
The campaign continues as we see more kings fall and we see that each time the king is emphasized. This is a reminder that you need to be careful about who you are following and that includes Christians as well as leaders in the world. In each of these cases, we see that there were no survivors and no excuses accepted. They did not get to blame their leader for the present situation as they had followed a leader that opposed the will of God and the resulting death and destruction was consistent for all.
So Y'hoshua attacked all the land - the hills, the Negev, the Sh'felah and the mountain slopes - and all their kings; he left none but completely destroyed everything that breathed, as ADONAI the God of Isra'el had ordered. Y'hoshua attacked them from Kadesh-Barnea to 'Azah and all the land of Goshen, as far as Giv'on. Y'hoshua captured all these kings and their land all at the same time, because ADONAI the God of Isra'el fought on Isra'el's behalf. Then Y'hoshua returned, and all Isra'el with him, to the camp at Gilgal.
In this passage of the Hebrew text, we see an important change in the wording. Prior to this point, the Hebrew word nephesh was used to describe the people that were judged and that word speaks primarily of the physical. In this passage, the Hebrew word neshema is used instead of nephesh and neshema refers more to the spiritual than the physical. All of this speaks of the coming judgement when all the spiritual as well as the physical will be judged. We see that, at the end of the campaign, Israel returned to Gilgal which speaks of the death of the flesh and redemption.