Joshua
Introduction 1-5 The Amorites Unite against Gibeon 6 The Gibeonites Call Joshua for Help 7-15 The LORD Defeats the Amorites 16-27 Joshua Kills the Five Kings 28-43 The Cities in the Negev Conquered
Introduction

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.


The Amorites Unite against Gibeon

1Now it came about when Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had captured Ai, and had utterly destroyed it (just as he had done to Jericho and its king, so he had done to Ai and its king), and that the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were within their land, 2that he feared greatly, because Gibeon [was] a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men [were] mighty. 3Therefore 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, 4“Come up to me and help me, and let us attack Gibeon, for it has made peace with Joshua and with the sons of Israel.” 5So the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, [and] the king of Eglon, gathered together and went up, they with all their armies, and camped by Gibeon and fought against it.

After the Gibeonite trick, the enemies unite and form a large army. This is the result of the weakness of God’s people shown in the previous chapter. But God knows how to use the failure of His people and even the wicked actions of man to His glorification. “But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD, And they do not understand His purpose; For He has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor” (Mic 4:1212“But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD,
And they do not understand His purpose;
For He has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor.
; cf. Rev 17:1717For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled.).

Adoni-zedek – that means ‘lord of justice’ – the king of Jerusalem, takes the initiative to form a common army to fight Israel. He heads the enemy allies. Here for the first time Jerusalem is mentioned, apart from Genesis 14, where Melchizedek – that is, ‘king of righteousness’ – the king of Salem, is mentioned (Genesis 14:18). Melchizedek blesses Abraham, unlike Adoni-zedek who heads the enemies of Abraham’s offspring. Adoni-zedek is a picture of the antichrist who will also be king of Jerusalem.

The application for us is that the further we get into the land, the more we meet an enemy that defends itself more and more, making the fight more and more fierce. Those who do not know the heavenly blessings, do not know any struggle in the land. Often the reason for not knowing the blessings is that one does not want to make an effort to get to know them. The believer has to make spiritual things his own. To be aware that the spiritual blessings are there is something else than to really know them.

Gibeon is a big city, her men are heroes and want to stay alive. Therefore they have entered into the people of God with deceit. This requires a certain amount of courage. They don’t belong to the people, but neither to the world, which is now hostile to them. They are never really happy. First they are afraid of Israel, now they are afraid of their former friends.


The Gibeonites Call Joshua for Help

6Then the men of Gibeon sent [word] to Joshua to the camp at Gilgal, saying, “Do not abandon your servants; come up to us quickly and save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites that live in the hill country have assembled against us.”

Through their friendship with Israel, Israel is now also obliged to work for them. Israel does not use them, but they need Israel. ‘Gibeonites’ among us can be influential in the world, but they always lack spiritual strength. For this they call upon the people of God. They are just a plague and a burden. But God stands above it and can still use it to fulfill His plans. He has allowed it for that.


The LORD Defeats the Amorites

7So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him and all the valiant warriors. 8The LORD said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you.” 9So Joshua came upon them suddenly by marching all night from Gilgal. 10And the LORD confounded them before Israel, and He slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and pursued them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah. 11As they fled from before Israel, [while] they were at the descent of Beth-horon, the LORD threw large stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died; [there were] more who died from the hailstones than those whom the sons of Israel killed with the sword. 12Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,
“O sun, stand still at Gibeon,
And O moon in the valley of Aijalon.”
13So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped,
Until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies.
Is it not written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and did not hasten to go [down] for about a whole day. 14There 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. 15Then Joshua and all Israel with him returned to the camp to Gilgal.

God wants His blessing to emerge from the failure of His own. If we see that, fear will disappear (verse 88The LORD said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you.”). If faith is directed toward God, that is, if we trust in Him, we can continue trustingly. God has promised them victory. They must act, there must be fight. But when fighting with the LORD’s promise in mind, fight is only victory.

They move in the night. The attack is surprising. The LORD is fighting along. He confuses the enemy, so that the people can gain victory. The LORD has his own weapon in the hailstones: “Have you seen the storehouses of the hail, Which I have reserved for the time of distress, For the day of war and battle? (Job 38:22b-2322“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
Or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
23Which I have reserved for the time of distress,
For the day of war and battle?
; cf. Exo 9:24-2524So there was hail, and fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail, very severe, such as had not been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.25The hail struck all that was in the field through all the land of Egypt, both man and beast; the hail also struck every plant of the field and shattered every tree of the field.). With it He kills more than His people do by the sword.

The prophetic application is obvious when we think of the book of Revelation, where we also see hailstones coming as judgment from heaven (Rev 16:2121And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, *came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague *was extremely severe.). The events in Joshua indicate the final victory. If we rejoice for the appearance of the Lord Jesus, we are also pleased that God will cleanse the earth of all evil and that our victories have also come to an end in the final victory. Then there is no more battle to fight.

From what Joshua says, speaks an enormous faith (verse 1212Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,
“O sun, stand still at Gibeon,
And O moon in the valley of Aijalon.”
). The Lord Jesus told us that we can move mountains if we have faith (Mt 21:21-2221And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen.22And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”; Mk 9:2323And Jesus said to him, “ ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.”). Joshua is aware of the blessing God wants to give. Therefore he turns to God in faith and commands the sun and moon to stand still in the Name of God. He speaks his words before the eyes of the people, making them all witnesses of the consequences of his statement of faith. It gives his faith an extra dimension. He is sure of the hearing and bears witness to it. The people did not have that faith, but after seeing the hearing they will be strengthened by it. It may also have that effect on us.

We live in the day of victory, fighting against the wickedness in the heavenly places. The battle is not only between Joshua and Adoni-zedek, but between the God of Israel and the idols of the Canaanites, which are in reality the demonic powers that conceal behind these idols. Baal is the sun god and Astarte the moon god. The enemy believes that the sun and moon are on their side. Through Joshua’s faith, they are fixed in their movement as proof that the God of Israel is truly and solely God.

We have the struggle against spiritual rulers and powers. Joshua seems to understand that it is not only about the kings of flesh and blood, but about those they are led by and who are on the side of the enemies. Joshua asks God to show His power over the evil powers.

When Joshua commands the sun to stand still, he fulfills God’s purpose, Whose power is all-powerful and Whose command sun and moon obey. Idolaters may call to the sun and moon for help, that is to say to Baal and Astarte, but the LORD, the supreme One, shows to His people that the powers of heaven are but his servants.

When Joshua says “sun, stand still”, it is not scientific language, but what is said in everyday language. Everyone says that the sun rises and sets. On that day the sun stays in the sky twelve hours longer. It is a very special, unique day. The voice of Joshua is heard as never was the voice of anyone else. He is a picture of the Lord Jesus.

We can also see the sun as a picture of the Lord Jesus. When the sun stands still, it remains longer light. The sun does not set over the world until the believers are caught up. The believers are “for you are all sons of light and sons of day” (1Thes 5:5a5for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness;). By the power of the Spirit of Christ, they can already in faith achieve victories that God will once publicly achieve over the whole earth.

We already see the Lord Jesus. He is heard by God in His death and resurrection. He is the Sun at God’s right hand. We live in the day that does not end until full victory is achieved. We see Him to Whom “all authority has been given … in heaven and on earth” (Mt 28:1818And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.). The demonic powers shudder and tremble before this light of the sun.

The “the book of Jashar” or “the book of the upright” is a history book in which certain acts are recorded, possibly in poetic form, which are generally not included in the Scriptures (2Sam 1:1818and he told [them] to teach the sons of Judah [the song of] the bow; behold, it is written in the book of Jashar.
; Num 21:1414Therefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of the LORD,
“Waheb in Suphah,
And the wadis of the Arnon,
; 1Kgs 14:19,2919Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, how he made war and how he reigned, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.29Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?). It is ancient Hebrew literature that has been lost. If it fits into God’s plan for His Word, Bible writers quote from it (cf. Tit 1:1212One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”).


Joshua Kills the Five Kings

16Now these five kings had fled and hidden themselves in the cave at Makkedah. 17It was told Joshua, saying, “The five kings have been found hidden in the cave at Makkedah.” 18Joshua said, “Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave, and assign men by it to guard them, 19but do not stay [there] yourselves; pursue your enemies and attack them in the rear. Do not allow them to enter their cities, for the LORD your God has delivered them into your hand.” 20It came about when Joshua and the sons of Israel had finished slaying them with a very great slaughter, until they were destroyed, and the survivors [who] remained of them had entered the fortified cities, 21that all the people returned to the camp to Joshua at Makkedah in peace. No one uttered a word against any of the sons of Israel. 22Then Joshua said, “Open the mouth of the cave and bring these five kings out to me from the cave.” 23They did so, and brought these five kings out to him from the cave: the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, [and] the king of Eglon. 24When they brought these kings out to Joshua, Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the chiefs of the men of war who had gone with him, “Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they came near and put their feet on their necks. 25Joshua then said to them, “Do not fear or be dismayed! Be strong and courageous, for thus the LORD will do to all your enemies with whom you fight.” 26So afterward Joshua struck them and put them to death, and he hanged them on five trees; and they hung on the trees until evening. 27It came about at sunset that Joshua gave a command, and they took them down from the trees and threw them into the cave where they had hidden themselves, and put large stones over the mouth of the cave, to this very day.

In battle we don’t always have time to consider. Therefore, we must always listen to the Lord Jesus. The kings who have fled are first locked up, then the battle continues and later they deal with the kings. For every action the people receive instructions from Joshua.

Because the sun continues to shine, the kings flee for the light and seek the darkness of a cave to hide (Jn 3:2020For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.; cf. Rev 6:15-1715Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains;16and they *said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb;17for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”). Their self-sought safety becomes first their prison and finally their grave. First they are locked up there, kept for the moment of judgment (cf. 2Pet 2:44For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;; Jude 1:66And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day,). When the time for this has come, they are called out of darkness by name (verse 2323They did so, and brought these five kings out to him from the cave: the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, [and] the king of Eglon.), brought into light, and killed (verse 2626So afterward Joshua struck them and put them to death, and he hanged them on five trees; and they hung on the trees until evening.).

The kings have escaped the hailstones, like Pharaoh and his horsemen escaped the plagues of Egypt. But escaping judgment is only temporary and for a purpose. God has let Pharaoh and his horsemen escape, “to show”, as He says to Pharaoh “you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth” (Exo 9:1616But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth.). That is also the case with these kings. It makes the final judgment all the clearer and includes a message, an encouragement, for the people.

Furthermore, some of them manage to escape (verse 2020It came about when Joshua and the sons of Israel had finished slaying them with a very great slaughter, until they were destroyed, and the survivors [who] remained of them had entered the fortified cities,). That also fits in with God’s plan. There are always enemies left. That determines us that we must always remain vigilant.

The people return to the camp unharmed. The fact that no one dared to utter a word against them (verse 2121that all the people returned to the camp to Joshua at Makkedah in peace. No one uttered a word against any of the sons of Israel.) indicates that no Israelite has been in trouble for a single moment during the struggle or pursue (cf. Exo 11:77But against any of the sons of Israel a dog will not [even] bark, whether against man or beast, that you may understand how the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.’). Also, their actions were entirely in accordance with God’s will, so that no one could come up with and express a complaint about a wrong treatment.

The kings must be humiliated. This can seem overconfident and the danger of becoming overconfident is always present. We are never so weak as when we have achieved a great victory. But here it is an encouragement to the people. Every enemy will fall down for the people. Haman, the hater of the Jews, is an example of this: “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish origin, you will not overcome him, but will surely fall before him” (Est 6:13b13Haman recounted to Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to him. Then his wise men and Zeresh his wife said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish origin, you will not overcome him, but will surely fall before him.”).

The people see the big, impressive enemies. Joshua orders the captains to put their feet on the kings’ necks. The putting of the foot on the neck is a proof of the complete victory and for the conquered a proof of complete humiliation (1Kgs 5:33“You know that David my father was unable to build a house for the name of the LORD his God because of the wars which surrounded him, until the LORD put them under the soles of his feet.; Psa 110:11A Psalm of David.
The LORD says to my Lord:
“Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”
). Thus, according to the word of Moses, they step, spiritually spoken, on the heights – the heights we see here in these great men – of their enemies (Deu 33:2929“Blessed are you, O Israel;
Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD,
Who is the shield of your help
And the sword of your majesty!
So your enemies will cringe before you,
And you will tread upon their high places.”
).

In the same way we are encouraged by the following promise: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Rom 16:20a20The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.). This is not brag of Paul, but the language of faith. Thus will all enemies be to the Lord Jesus as a footstool for Him (1Cor 15:2525For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.; Heb 1:1313But to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand, Until I make Your enemies A footstool for Your feet”?).

Joshua makes it clear through his command (verse 2424When they brought these kings out to Joshua, Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the chiefs of the men of war who had gone with him, “Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they came near and put their feet on their necks.) that there is no power left in the feared kings. They must accept this in faith. There is no more reason for fear (verse 2525Joshua then said to them, “Do not fear or be dismayed! Be strong and courageous, for thus the LORD will do to all your enemies with whom you fight.”). Joshua kills the kings. This is also the final victory for the Lord Jesus. He kills His enemies. God gave “Him authority to execute judgment, because He is [the] Son of Man” (Jn 5:2727and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is [the] Son of Man.). We, the church, are involved. We will judge the world and even angels, that is to say, rule it, govern it (1Cor 6:2-32Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent [to constitute] the smallest law courts?3Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?).


The Cities in the Negev Conquered

28Now Joshua captured Makkedah on that day, and struck it and its king with the edge of the sword; he utterly destroyed it and every person who was in it. He left no survivor. Thus he did to the king of Makkedah just as he had done to the king of Jericho. 29Then Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Makkedah to Libnah, and fought against Libnah. 30The LORD gave it also with its king into the hands of Israel, and he struck it and every person who [was] in it with the edge of the sword. He left no survivor in it. Thus he did to its king just as he had done to the king of Jericho. 31And Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Libnah to Lachish, and they camped by it and fought against it. 32The LORD gave Lachish into the hands of Israel; and he captured it on the second day, and struck it and every person who [was] in it with the edge of the sword, according to all that he had done to Libnah. 33Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish, and Joshua defeated him and his people until he had left him no survivor. 34And Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Lachish to Eglon, and they camped by it and fought against it. 35They captured it on that day and struck it with the edge of the sword; and he utterly destroyed that day every person who [was] in it, according to all that he had done to Lachish. 36Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron, and they fought against it. 37They captured it and struck it and its king and all its cities and all the persons who [were] in it with the edge of the sword. He left no survivor, according to all that he had done to Eglon. And he utterly destroyed it and every person who [was] in it. 38Then Joshua and all Israel with him returned to Debir, and they fought against it. 39He captured it and its king and all its cities, and they struck them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed every person [who was] in it. He left no survivor. Just as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir and its king, as he had also done to Libnah and its king. 40Thus Joshua struck all the land, the hill country and the Negev and the lowland and the slopes and all their kings. He left no survivor, but he utterly destroyed all who breathed, just as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded. 41Joshua struck them from Kadesh-barnea even as far as Gaza, and all the country of Goshen even as far as Gibeon. 42Joshua captured all these kings and their lands at one time, because the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel. 43So Joshua and all Israel with him returned to the camp at Gilgal.

Striking in this section is the recurring expression “Joshua and all Israel with him” (verses 29,31,34,36,38,4329Then Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Makkedah to Libnah, and fought against Libnah.31And Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Libnah to Lachish, and they camped by it and fought against it.34And Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Lachish to Eglon, and they camped by it and fought against it.36Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron, and they fought against it.38Then Joshua and all Israel with him returned to Debir, and they fought against it.43So Joshua and all Israel with him returned to the camp at Gilgal.). Here we can see a picture of the unity of the Lord Jesus and His own in judgment (Rev 19:14-15a14And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white [and] clean, were following Him on white horses.15From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.).

Joshua captures the cities of three of the five kings: Lachis (verses 31-3231And Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Libnah to Lachish, and they camped by it and fought against it.32The LORD gave Lachish into the hands of Israel; and he captured it on the second day, and struck it and every person who [was] in it with the edge of the sword, according to all that he had done to Libnah.), Eglon (verses 34-3534And Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Lachish to Eglon, and they camped by it and fought against it.35They captured it on that day and struck it with the edge of the sword; and he utterly destroyed that day every person who [was] in it, according to all that he had done to Lachish.) and Hebron (verses 36-3736Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron, and they fought against it.37They captured it and struck it and its king and all its cities and all the persons who [were] in it with the edge of the sword. He left no survivor, according to all that he had done to Eglon. And he utterly destroyed it and every person who [was] in it.). The other two cities, Jerusalem and Jarmuth, are not yet captured. In this part of the land Gezer is also defeated (verse 3333Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish, and Joshua defeated him and his people until he had left him no survivor.). Horam, the king of Gezer, wants to come to the rescue with his army Lachis, who has lost his king. He appears to be interfering in the matter to his own destruction.

Joshua also captures three more royal cities. First Makkedah (verse 2828Now Joshua captured Makkedah on that day, and struck it and its king with the edge of the sword; he utterly destroyed it and every person who was in it. He left no survivor. Thus he did to the king of Makkedah just as he had done to the king of Jericho.), in the neighborhood of which the five kings fled (verse 1616Now these five kings had fled and hidden themselves in the cave at Makkedah.). Now that Joshua and his armed forces have come there to persecute and kill the kings who have fled, he captures by the way the city. The flight of the kings thus accelerates the fall of this city. After that he also takes Libnah (verses 29-3029Then Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Makkedah to Libnah, and fought against Libnah.30The LORD gave it also with its king into the hands of Israel, and he struck it and every person who [was] in it with the edge of the sword. He left no survivor in it. Thus he did to its king just as he had done to the king of Jericho.) and Debir (verses 38-3938Then Joshua and all Israel with him returned to Debir, and they fought against it.39He captured it and its king and all its cities, and they struck them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed every person [who was] in it. He left no survivor. Just as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir and its king, as he had also done to Libnah and its king.).

The king of Hebron is killed (verse 3737They captured it and struck it and its king and all its cities and all the persons who [were] in it with the edge of the sword. He left no survivor, according to all that he had done to Eglon. And he utterly destroyed it and every person who [was] in it.). But, as we might notice, he is already killed among the five (verses 23:2623They did so, and brought these five kings out to him from the cave: the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, [and] the king of Eglon.), isn’t it? One solution may be that a new king has risen immediately after his death. Enemies quickly follow each other to resist God’s people.

We could suppose that, now that the army has already entered the land so far and conquered it, they can also set their camp a bit further. But the army stays always in Gilgal (verse 4343So Joshua and all Israel with him returned to the camp at Gilgal.; verse 77So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him and all the valiant warriors.). There the army is always reminded of the circumcision. This is necessary to gain strength for the next battle. That the LORD fights for Israel does not diminish the need to be reminded of the judgment of sin, of the flesh. We must always return to the place that suits us for God: the complete discarding of ourselves. There is a time to act and there is also a time to be still and to place ourselves before God so that we may be able to act.

Our consciousness of who we are we gain when we look at the death of Christ on the cross. That is the starting point for the battle in which the Lord is leading. Just then we will give Him everything in His hands. If the flesh starts to boast, the next defeat is a fact. Then there is no place for Him and He cannot fight for us. We return, not to be circumcised again, but to be reminded of the words of the Lord Jesus: “The flesh profits nothing” (Jn 6:6363It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.). If we remember that, we will perform the command: “Put to death therefore your members which [are] upon the earth” (Col 3:55Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. Darby Translation).


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