ANOTHER GREAT VICTORY
Lord, thank You for vindicating Your people.
Read JOSHUA 10:1–15
10 Now it came to pass, when Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had [a]utterly destroyed it (as he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king), and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them; 2 that they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all the men thereof were mighty. 3 Wherefore Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent unto Hoham king of Hebron, and unto Piram king of Jarmuth, and unto Japhia king of Lachish, and unto Debir king of Eglon, saying, 4 Come up unto me, and help me, and let us smite Gibeon; for it hath made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel. 5 Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon, gathered themselves together, and went up, they and all their hosts, and encamped against Gibeon, and made war against it.
6 And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua to the camp to Gilgal, saying, Slack not thy hand from thy servants; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us: for all the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the hill-country are gathered together against us. 7 So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor. 8 And Jehovah said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thy hands; there shall not a man of them stand before thee. 9 Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly; for he went up from Gilgal all the night. 10 And Jehovah discomfited them before Israel, and he slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah. 11 And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, while they were at the descent of Beth-horon, that Jehovah cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more who died with the hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.
12 Then spake Joshua to Jehovah in the day when Jehovah delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel; and he said in the sight of Israel,
Sun, [b]stand thou still upon Gibeon;
And thou, Moon, in the valley of Aijalon.
13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed,
Until the nation had avenged themselves of their enemies.
Is not this written in the book of [c]Jashar? And the sun stayed in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. 14 And there was no day like that before it or after it, that Jehovah hearkened unto the voice of a man: for Jehovah fought for Israel.
15 And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal.
Joshua 10:1 Hebrew devoted.
Joshua 10:12 Hebrew be silent.
Joshua 10:13 Or, The Upright
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Cor 15:57).
This passage tells of another great victory for Joshua’s army. There are four aspects to the victory. First, God is pictured as the warrior of Israel fighting for His people (8,11). It is God who ‘threw them into confusion’ (10) and who ‘hurled large hailstones down’ (11). Second, God’s part still leaves room for Joshua’s clever strategy of a surprise attack (9). Third, Joshua and the army need to display great courage to take on the five kings (5). Fourth, the victory is an answer to Joshua’s prayer (12).
The passage makes clear that Israel’s victory is due to God’s intervention; but it is more difficult to understand exactly what has happened. The reference to the sun standing still comes from the ancient poem from the Book of Jashar. The poetry of verses 12–14 is difficult to reconcile with the prose account of the battle which precedes it. The editor of the book of Joshua seems to be interpreting the factual victory figuratively with reference to the ancient poem, which is incidentally one of many accounts in ancient literature of time actually standing still to enable a victory to be achieved [For example, Agamemnon prayed to Zeus not to let the sun go down before the Achaeans had been victorious (Iliad II)]. Among those who take the sun standing still literally, some see it as giving extra daylight, whereas others see the sun not rising to give extra darkness for the surprise attack. The fact that the word translated ‘stand still’ (12) literally means ‘be silent’ does not make understanding any easier.
While we are unlikely to experience God’s intervention in our lives in such a spectacular way, we can take from the passage the encouragement of God’s sovereignty and the assurance that He still acts in answer to the prayers of his children who put their trust in Him.
What areas in your church or your personal life do you need to give to God in prayer and ask for His intervention?
Lord, we continue to be amazed over the limitless power at Your disposal and Your willingness to deploy it on our behalf.
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