Joshua 10

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1 Now it came to pass, when Adoni-zedec king of Jerusalem had heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had 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 of it were mighty.

3 Wherefore Adoni-zedec king of Jerusalem sent 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, that we may 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, assembled themselves, and went up, they and all their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it.

6 And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua to the camp at 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 mountains, are assembled against us.

7 So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor.

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

9 Joshua therefore came to them suddenly, and went up from Gilgal all night.

10 And the LORD discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goeth up to Beth-horon, and smote them to Azekah, and to Makkedah.

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

12 Then spoke Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.

13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still 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 the LORD hearkened to the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.

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

16 But these five kings fled, and hid themselves in a cave at Makkedah.

17 And it was told Joshua, saying, The five kings are found hid in a cave at Makkedah.

18 And Joshua said, Roll great stones upon the mouth of the cave, and set men by it to keep them:

19 And stay you not, but pursue your enemies, and smite the hindmost of them; suffer them not to enter into their cities: for the LORD your God hath delivered them into your hand.

20 And it came to pass, when Joshua and the children of Israel had made an end of slaying them with a very great slaughter, till they were consumed, that the rest who 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 any of the children of Israel.

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

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

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

25 And Joshua said to them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight.

26 And afterward Joshua smote them, and slew them, 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 setting of the sun, that Joshua commanded, and they took them down from the trees, and cast them into the cave in which they had been hid, and laid great stones upon the cave's mouth, which remain until this very day.

28 And that day Joshua took Makkedah, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king of it he utterly destroyed, them, and all the souls that were in it; he let none remain: and he did to the king of Makkedah as he did to the king of Jericho.

29 Then Joshua passed from Makkedah, and all Israel with him, to Libnah, and fought against Libnah:

30 And the LORD delivered it also, and its king, into the hand of Israel; and he smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were in it; he let none remain in it; but did to the king of it as he did to the king of Jericho.

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

32 And the LORD delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel, who took it on the second day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were in it, 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 from Lachish Joshua passed to Eglon, and all Israel with him; 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 in it he utterly destroyed that day, according to all that he had done to Lachish.

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

37 And they took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and its king, and all its cities, and all the souls that were in them; he left none remaining (according to all that he had done to Eglon) but destroyed it utterly, and all the souls that were in it.

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

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

40 So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded.

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

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

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