Joshua 10



1 And it was, when Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had captured Ai, and had doomed it, as he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king; and that they who dwelt·​·in Gibeon had made·​·peace with Israel, and were among them;

2 that they feared exceedingly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the cities of the kingdom, and because it was greater than Ai, and all the men thereof were mighty;

3 and 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 has made·​·peace with Joshua, and with the sons of Israel.

5 And the five kings of the Amorite, 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 camps, and encamped against Gibeon, and fought against it.

6 And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua, to the camp to Gilgal, saying, Slack not thy hands from upon thy servants; come·​·up to us in haste and save us and help us; for all the kings of the Amorite that dwell in the mountain are come·​·together against us.

7 And 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 given them into thy hands; there shall not a man of them stand before thee.

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

10 And Jehovah routed them before Israel, and He smote them with a great smiting at Gibeon, and pursued them by the way going·​·up to Beth-choron, and smote them unto Azekah, and unto Makkedah.

11 And it was, when they fled from before Israel, they were in the descent of Beth-choron, and Jehovah cast upon them great stones from the heavens until Azekah, and they died; there were many more who died with the stones of the hail, than they whom the sons of Israel killed with the sword.

12 Then spoke Joshua to Jehovah, in the day Jehovah put the Amorite before the sons of Israel, and he said before the eyes of the sons of Israel, Sun, be·​·still in Gibeon; and moon in the valley of Ajalon!

13 And the sun kept·​·still and the moon stood, until the nation had avenged itself of its enemies. Is it not written in the Book of Jashar? And the sun stood halfway in the heavens, neither did it hurry to go down as it were an entire day.*

14 And there was not a day as this before it and after it, that Jehovah obeyed the voice of a man; for Jehovah fought for Israel.

15 And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto 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 are found hidden·​·away in the cave at Makkedah.

18 And Joshua said, Roll great stones unto the mouth of the cave, and appoint men by it to keep them.

19 And you, stand not still, pursue after your enemies, and smite the hindmost* of them; allow them not to come into their cities, for Jehovah your God has given them into your hand.

20 And it was, as Joshua and the sons of Israel had completed smiting them with a very great smiting until they were entirely consumed, that the survivors who survived of them came into their fortified cities.

21 And all the people returned to the camp to Joshua, at Makkedah, in peace; no·​·one pointed his tongue at a man of the sons of Israel.

22 And Joshua said, Open the mouth of the cave, and bring·​·out unto me those five kings from the cave.

23 And they did so, and brought·​·out to him those five kings from 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 was, when they brought·​·out those kings unto Joshua, that Joshua called unto every man of Israel, and said unto the captains of the men of war that went with him, Come·​·near, set your feet on the necks of these kings; and they came·​·near and set their feet on their necks.

25 And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, and be· not ·dismayed; be·​·firm and have·​·courage, for thus shall Jehovah do to all your enemies against whom you fight.

26 And after this Joshua smote them, and put· them ·to·​·death, and hanged them on five trees, and they were hanging on the trees until the evening.

27 And it was, at the time of the setting* of the sun, that Joshua commanded, and they took· them ·down from the trees, and cast them down into the cave in which they had hidden·​·themselves, and they set great stones upon the mouth of the cave, unto this same day.

28 And Joshua captured Makkedah on that day, and smote it with the mouth of the sword, and her king; and he doomed them and every soul that was therein; he left no survivor: and he did to the king of Makkedah as he had done to the king of Jericho.

29 And Joshua and all Israel with him crossed·​·over from Makkedah unto 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 mouth of the sword, and every soul who was therein; he left in it no survivor; and he did unto the king thereof as he had done unto the king of Jericho.

31 And Joshua and all Israel with him crossed·​·over from Libnah unto Lachish, and encamped against it and fought·​·against it.

32 And Jehovah gave Lachish into the hand of Israel, and he captured it on the second day, and smote it with the mouth of the sword and every soul that was 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 left him none surviving.

34 And Joshua and all Israel with him crossed·​·over from Lachish unto Eglon; and they encamped against it and fought against it.

35 And they captured it on that day, and they smote it with the mouth of the sword, and every soul that was therein he doomed that day according to all that he had done to Lachish.

36 And Joshua went·​·up and all Israel with him from Eglon unto Hebron; and he fought against it:

37 and he captured it, and smote it with the mouth of the sword, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof, and every soul that was therein; he left no survivor; according to all that he had done to Eglon; and he doomed it and every soul that was therein.

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

39 And he captured it and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof; and he smote them with the mouth of the sword; and he doomed every soul who was therein; he left no survivor; as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir, and to the king thereof; and as he had done to Libnah and her king.

40 And Joshua smote all the land, the mountain, and the south, and the lowland, and the watercourses, and all their kings; he left not a survivor, and all who had breath he doomed, as Jehovah the God of Israel commanded.

41 And Joshua smote them from Kadesh-barnea even·​·to Gaza, and all the land of Goshen, even·​·to Gibeon.

42 And all these kings and their land did Joshua capture at one time, because Jehovah, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.

43 And Joshua returned and all Israel with him unto the camp, toward 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.”

Thanks to the Kempton Project for the permission to use this New Church translation of the Word.