Joshua 10

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1 And it came to pass when Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had taken Ai and had utterly destroyed it, that he had done to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and that the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them,

2 that they feared greatly; for Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty.

3 And Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent to Hoham king of Hebron, and to Piream king of Jarmuth, and to Japhia king of Lachish, and to Debir king of Eglon, saying,

4 Come up to me, and help me, that we may smite Gibeon; for it has made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel.

5 And 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 themselves together, and went up, they and all their armies, and they encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it.

6 And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua, to the camp at Gilgal, saying, Withdraw 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 against us.

7 So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, even all the valiant men.

8 And Jehovah said to Joshua, Fear them not; for into thy hand have I given them: not a man of them shall stand before thee.

9 And Joshua came upon them suddenly; he went up from Gilgal all night.

10 And Jehovah discomfited them before Israel, and smote them [with] a great slaughter at Gibeon; and he chased them on the way of the ascent of Beth-horon, and smote them up to Azekah and Makkedah.

11 And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, -- they were at the descent of Beth-horon, -- that Jehovah cast down great stones from heaven upon them up to Azekah, and they died. They were more who died with the hailstones than they whom the children of Israel had slain with the sword.

12 Then spoke Joshua to Jehovah in the day when Jehovah gave up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand still upon Gibeon; And thou, moon, in the valley of Ajalon!

13 And the sun stood still, and the moon remained where it was, until the nation had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? And the sun remained standing in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a full day.

14 And there was no day like that before it or after it, that Jehovah hearkened to the voice of a man; for Jehovah fought for Israel.

15 And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp, to Gilgal.

16 And these five kings fled, and hid themselves in the cave at Makkedah.

17 And it was told Joshua, saying, The five kings have been found, hid in the cave at Makkedah.

18 And Joshua said, Roll great stones before the mouth of the cave, and set men before it to keep them.

19 And ye, stay not, pursue after your enemies, and smite the hindmost of them; suffer them not to enter into their cities; for Jehovah your God has given them into your hand.

20 And it came to pass when Joshua and the children of Israel had ended smiting them with a very great slaughter, until they were consumed, that the remnant which remained of them entered into fortified cities;

21 and all the people returned to the camp to Joshua, at Makkedah, in peace; none moved his tongue against the children of Israel.

22 And Joshua said, Open the mouth of the cave, and bring forth to me those five kings out of the cave.

23 And they did so, and brought forth to him those five kings out of the cave, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon.

24 And it came to pass when they had brought forth those kings to Joshua, that Joshua called to all the men of Israel, and said to the captains of the men of war who went with him, Come forward, put your feet on the necks of these kings. And they came forward and put their feet on their necks.

25 And Joshua said to them, Fear not, neither be dismayed; be strong and courageous, for thus will Jehovah do to all your enemies against whom ye fight.

26 And afterwards Joshua smote them, and put them to death, and hanged them on five trees; and they were hanging upon the trees until the evening.

27 And it came to pass at the time of the going down of the sun, that Joshua commanded, and they took them down off the trees, and cast them into the cave where they had been hid, and laid great stones before the cave's mouth, [which remain] to this very day.

28 And Joshua took Makkedah on that day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof, him and all the souls that were therein he utterly destroyed; he let none remain; and he did to the king of Makkedah as he had done to the king of Jericho.

29 And Joshua passed, and all Israel with him, from Makkedah to Libnah, and fought against Libnah.

30 And Jehovah gave it also and the king thereof into the hand of Israel; and he smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain in it: and he did to the king thereof as he had done to the king of Jericho.

31 And Joshua passed, and all Israel with him, from Libnah to Lachish, and encamped against it, and fought against it.

32 And Jehovah gave Lachish into the hand of Israel; and they took it on the second day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein, according to all that he had done to Libnah.

33 Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish; and Joshua smote him and his people, until he had left him none remaining.

34 And Joshua, and all Israel with him, passed from Lachish to Eglon; and they encamped against it, and fought against it.

35 And they took it on that day, and smote it with the edge of the sword; and all the souls that were therein he utterly destroyed on that day, according to all that he had done to Lachish.

36 And Joshua went up, and all Israel with him, from Eglon to Hebron; and they fought against it.

37 And they took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof, and all the souls that were therein: he let none remain, according to all that he had done to Eglon; and he utterly destroyed it, and all the souls that were therein.

38 And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir; and fought against it.

39 And he took it, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof, and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed all the souls that were therein; he let none remain: as he had done to Hebron, and as he had done to Libnah, and to the king thereof, so he did to Debir and to the king thereof.

40 And Joshua smote the whole country, the mountain, and the south, and the lowland, and the hill-slopes, and all their kings: he let none remain, but he utterly destroyed all that breathed, as Jehovah the God of Israel had commanded.

41 And Joshua smote them from Kadesh-barnea even to Gazah, and all the country of Goshen, even to Gibeon;

42 and all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time; for Jehovah the God of Israel fought for Israel.

43 And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp, to Gilgal.

  

Exploring the Meaning of Joshua 10      

Joshua 10: The five kings and how the sun stood still.

After hearing that Gibeon - a sizeable city - had made a peace treaty with Israel, the king of Jerusalem called on four other Canaanite kings to join him in attacking Gibeon. The Gibeonites asked Joshua to remember his promise to keep them safe, and Israel did so, coming to their defense. A great battle ensued at Gilgal. With the Lord’s help, the Israelites defeated the five Canaanite kings. As the Canaanites were fleeing, the Lord sent large hailstones raining down on them, killing more soldiers than had died in the battle. Then, Joshua asked the Lord to make the sun stand still until the enemy was defeated, and it stopped moving across the sky for one whole day.

The defeated kings fled, and hid in a cave at Makkeda. Joshua commanded his men to roll stones over the cave entrance, and to attack the rest of their fleeing enemies. After returning to the cave, Joshua’s men brought the kings out of hiding and stood on their necks, to demonstrate that the Lord would vanquish all of Israel’s enemies. Joshua hanged them, put them back in the cave, and once again sealed the entrance with stones. The rest of the chapter chronicles Israel’s defeat of many other Canaanite cities and kings.

This story shows us that life is amazingly connected and full of consequences. Spiritual life has its share of unforeseen consequences too. When we affirm our wish to follow the Lord, evil spirits will try to fill our minds with distressing thoughts to pull us away from Him. Sometimes this can lead us to rise up and resist our decision to follow the Lord (See Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 1683).

The part of the chapter about the sun standing still represents our need to remain focused on the Lord during our struggles with temptation and regeneration. The Lord is our sun, and normally our awareness of the Lord rises and sets. This brings times when we feel the Lord’s presence strongly, and also times when we feel it is up to us to act as we wish. This is our normal rhythm, and it is right for us to have this cycle.

When we are involved in a spiritual crisis, we need to ensure that our mind’s focus stays with the Lord until we have made it through. This is like our sense of the Lord’s presence standing still ‘for a day’ in our mind’s sky, so that we will not lose our direction. This enabled Joshua and Israel to be victorious, just as it will with us (See Swedenborg’s work, Divine Love and Wisdom 105).

When the Lord sent hailstones - frozen water - on the Canaanites, it represents the way in which false ideas from evil intentions backfire on the attacker of good, because evil is notoriously self-destructive. One lie leads to more another, until the wrongdoer is exposed and judged (See Swedenborg’s Heaven and Hell 457).

The cave of Makkedah, where the five kings hid, also holds spiritual significance because of its name, which means ‘the excellent place of shepherds.’ Shepherding represents the Lord’s care for us and our care for each other. Evil may hide behind a semblance of good but it can’t last. Joshua and his men later brought the kings out of the cave and hanged them, signifying that all true life comes from the Lord and His goodness, and He will bring an end to every evil and false way (Divine Love and Wisdom 363).

Israel’s subsequent conquest of other Canaanite cities depicts the follow-through that takes place after an important point in our regeneration: a decision, a refusal, an admission, a prayer to God. This results in a period of witnessing the Lord’s blessings, which naturally follow once we have affirmed our intention to be with the Lord in our life. The chapter ends, “All these kings Joshua took at one time because the Lord God fought for Israel.”

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