Joshua 10

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1 And it cometh to pass, when Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heareth that Joshua hath captured Ai, and doth devote it (as he had done to Jericho and to her king so he hath done to Ai and to her king), and that the inhabitants of Gibeon have made peace with Israel, and are in their midst, --

2 that they are greatly afraid, because Gibeon [is] a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it [is] greater than Ai, and all its men -- heroes.

3 And Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem sendeth 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 we smite Gibeon, for it hath made peace with Joshua, and with the sons of Israel.'

5 And 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) are gathered together, and go up, they and all their camps, and encamp against Gibeon, and fight against it.

6 And the men of Gibeon send unto Joshua, unto the camp at Gilgal, saying, `Let not thy hand cease from thy servants; come up unto us [with] haste, and give safety to us, and help us; for all the kings of the Amorite, dwelling in the hill-country, have been assembled against us.'

7 And Joshua goeth up from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, even all the mighty men of valour.

8 And Jehovah saith unto Joshua, `Be not afraid of them, for into thy hand I have given them, there doth not stand a man of them in thy presence.'

9 And Joshua cometh in unto them suddenly (all the night he hath gone up from Gilgal),

10 and Jehovah doth crush them before Israel, and it smiteth them -- a great smiting -- at Gibeon, and pursueth them the way of the ascent of Beth-Horon, and smiteth them unto Azekah, and unto Makkedah.

11 And it cometh to pass, in their fleeing from the face of Israel -- they [are] in the descent of Beth-Horon -- and Jehovah hath cast upon them great stones out of the heavens, unto Azekah, and they die; more are they who have died by the hailstones than they whom the sons of Israel have slain by the sword.

12 Then speaketh Joshua to Jehovah in the day of Jehovah's giving up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he saith, before the eyes of Israel, `Sun -- in Gibeon stand still; and moon -- in the valley of Ajalon;'

13 and the sun standeth still, and the moon hath stood -- till the nation taketh vengeance [on] its enemies; is it not written on the Book of the Upright, `and the sun standeth in the midst of the heavens, and hath not hasted to go in -- as a perfect day?'

14 And there hath not been like that day before it or after it, for Jehovah's hearkening to the voice of a man; for Jehovah is fighting for Israel.

15 And Joshua turneth back, and all Israel with him, unto the camp at Gilgal.

16 And these five kings flee, and are hidden in a cave at Makkedah,

17 and it is declared to Joshua, saying, `The five kings have been found hidden in a cave at Makkedah.'

18 And Joshua saith, `Roll great stones unto the mouth of the cave, and appoint over it men to watch them;

19 and ye, stand not, pursue after your enemies, and ye have smitten the hindmost of them; suffer them not to go in unto their cities, for Jehovah your God hath given them into your hand.'

20 And it cometh to pass, when Joshua and the sons of Israel finish to smite them -- a very great smiting, till they are consumed, and the remnant who have remained of them go in unto the fenced cities,

21 that all the people turn back to the camp, unto Joshua, [at] Makkedah, in peace; none moved sharply his tongue against the sons of Israel.

22 And Joshua saith, `Open ye the mouth of the cave, and bring out unto me these five kings from the cave;'

23 and they do so, and bring out unto him these 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 cometh to pass, when they bring out these kings unto Joshua, that Joshua calleth unto every man of Israel, and saith unto the captains of the men of war, who have gone with him, `Draw near, set your feet on the necks of these kings;' and they Draw near, and set their feet on their necks.

25 And Joshua saith unto them, `Fear not, nor be affrighted; be strong and courageous; for thus doth Jehovah do to all your enemies with whom ye are fighting;'

26 and Joshua smiteth them afterwards, and putteth them to death, and hangeth them on five trees; and they are hanging on the trees till the evening.

27 And it cometh to pass, at the time of the going in of the sun, Joshua hath commanded, and they take them down from off the trees, and cast them unto the cave where they had been hid, and put great stones on the mouth of the cave till this very day.

28 And Makkedah hath Joshua captured on that day, and he smiteth it by the mouth of the sword, and its king he hath devoted, them and every person who [is] in it -- he hath not left a remnant; and he doth to the king of Makkedah as he did to the king of Jericho.

29 And Joshua passeth over, and all Israel with him, from Makkedah [to] Libnah, and fighteth with Libnah;

30 and Jehovah giveth also it into the hand of Israel, and its king, and it smiteth it by the mouth of the sword, and every person who [is] in it -- it left not in it a remnant; and it doth to its king as it did to the king of Jericho.

31 And Joshua passeth over, and all Israel with him, from Libnah to Lachish, and encampeth against it, and fighteth against it;

32 And Jehovah giveth Lachish into the hand of Israel, and it captureth it on the second day, and smiteth it by the mouth of the sword, and every person who [is] in it, according to all that it did to Libnah.

33 Than hath Horam king of Gezer come up to help Lachish, and Joshua smiteth him and his people, till he hath not left to him a remnant.

34 And Joshua passeth over, and all Israel with him, from Lachish to Eglon, and they encamp against it, and fight against it,

35 and capture it on that day, and smite it by the mouth of the sword, and every person who [is] in it on that day he hath devoted, according to all that he did to Lachish.

36 And Joshua goeth up, and all Israel with him, from Eglon to Hebron, and they fight against it,

37 and capture it, and smite it by the mouth of the sword, and its king, and all its cities, and every person who [is] in it -- he hath not left a remnant -- according to all that he did to Eglon -- and doth devote it, and every person who [is] in it.

38 And Joshua turneth back, and all Israel with him, to Debir, and fighteth against it,

39 and captureth it, and its king, and all its cities, and they smite them by the mouth of the sword, and devote every person who [is] in it -- he hath not left a remnant; as he did to Hebron so he did to Debir, and to its king, and as he did to Libnah, and to its king.

40 And Joshua smiteth all the land of the hill-country, and of the south, and of the low-country, and of the springs, and all their kings -- he hath not left a remnant, and all that doth breathe he hath devoted, as Jehovah, God of Israel, commanded.

41 And Joshua smiteth them from Kadesh-Barnea, even unto Gaza, and all the land of Goshen, even unto Gibeon;

42 and all these kings and their land hath Joshua captured [at] one time, for Jehovah, God of Israel, is fighting for Israel.

43 and Joshua turneth back, and all Israel with him, unto the camp at 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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