The five kings mentioned (verse 33Therefore Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent [word] to Hoham king of Hebron and to Piram king of Jarmuth and to Japhia king of Lachish and to Debir king of Eglon, saying,) unite to form a powerful army to punish apostate Gibeon. When Joshua gets the request to help, he is in Gilgal. From there he leaves (verse 77So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him and all the valiant warriors.) and the LORD gives him a great victory. Then he goes back to Gilgal. Even after he has taken several cities in southern Canaan, he returns to Gilgal (verse 4343So Joshua and all Israel with him returned to the camp at Gilgal.).
Gilgal is the place where the people have been circumcised (Jos 5:2-92At that time the LORD said to Joshua, “Make for yourself flint knives and circumcise again the sons of Israel the second time.”3So Joshua made himself flint knives and circumcised the sons of Israel at Gibeath-haaraloth.4This is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the men of war, died in the wilderness along the way after they came out of Egypt.5For all the people who came out were circumcised, but all the people who were born in the wilderness along the way as they came out of Egypt had not been circumcised.6For the sons of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, [that is], the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished because they did not listen to the voice of the LORD, to whom the LORD had sworn that He would not let them see the land which the LORD had sworn to their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey.7Their children whom He raised up in their place, Joshua circumcised; for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them along the way.8Now when they had finished circumcising all the nation, they remained in their places in the camp until they were healed.9Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” So the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day.). For us it means that the Lord Jesus bore the judgment we deserved. To go from victory to victory, we must always remember what the Lord Jesus did for us. Otherwise we will rely on ourselves and the defeat will come.
Joshua is heard in a way no one has ever had (verse 1414There was no day like that before it or after it, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel.). We can also receive such hearing if we trust that the Lord Jesus will fight for us.
In Joshua 10 Joshua comes to our attention in a special way. It is a different Joshua from the failing Joshua of the previous chapters. He shows here the Divine power that characterizes him so much and in which he looks so much like the Lord Jesus in His acting through the Holy Spirit. With this he is also a picture of the individual believer who can come to powerful acts of faith through the Holy Spirit.
After his failure in Joshua 7 he goes to battle against Ai in Joshua 8. He extends the javelin until all enemies are defeated (Jos 8:2626For Joshua did not withdraw his hand with which he stretched out the javelin until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.). The same order we see in Joshua 9-10. After falling into Gibeon’s stratagem in Joshua 9, in Joshua 10 he uncompromisingly attacks the enemy in spiritual power. Joshua is the head of the people. In this chapter they will gain experiences that they would never have had if they had not been weak, such as the standing still of the sun and the stopping of the moon and God’s use of hailstones to defeat enemies.
After weakness come the greatest victories and experiences of faith. That is no excuse for weakness and unbelief. Nevertheless, grace proves itself stronger afterwards. That is typical of grace. God did not want the fall into sin either. Yet thereby His grace shines in a way that would not otherwise have been possible. We may experience this in our lives.