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A. M. 2553, themselves ambassadors come from a far distant country, in order to obtain a league Some Chris with the people of Israel : And to gain credit to this their pretence, they dressed them1451, &c or selves in old clothes, had old clouted shoes on their feet, carried dry musty bread in their
bags, and the bottles wherein they kept their wine were † all sadly tarnished and torn. In this plight they came to the camp at Gilgal, and, being introduced to Joshua, they told him, “ That the fame of many miracles which God had wrought for them in the · land of Egypt, and the wonderful successes wherewith he had blessed their arms against every power that had opposed them in their coming to that place, had reached even their remote and distant country; for which reason their states and rulers had sent them a long way, that by all means imaginable they might obtain a peace with a people so renowned all the world over, and so favoured and honoured by God.” And then shewing their clothes, shoes, and other tokens of the long journey they had taken, they solemnly assured them, that all these things were quite new when at first they set out from home, and thence left them to judge how distant and remote their country was.
This plausible story confirmed, as they thought, by so many evidences, gained credit with the Israelites, so that they entered into amicable alliance with them; and the other took care to have the treaty immediately ratified, both by Joshua and all the princes of the congregation. In three days time the imposture was discovered; and they who pretended to come from a distant country were found to be near neighbours, and some of those very people whom Joshua was commissioned to destroy : So that when the thing came to be rumoured about, the people began to murmur against their princes for their indiscretion, and were for having the league cancelled; but as it was confirmed by a solemn oath, this they could not do without incurring the Divine displeasure. And therefore, though they might not take away their lives, they might nevertheless hold them in a state of servitude, and, as long as they lived, make them useful drudges, hewers of wood, and drawers of water, and the like, which would both punish them much, and prove fully as beneficial to the commonwealth; and with this apology the people were appeased. Joshua however sent for some of the chief of the Gibeonites, and having expostulated the cheat with them (which they excused upon the score of saving their own lives), he told them what the determination of the princes was, viz. that they should remain in a state of perpetual bondage; which they received without any manner of murmuring, and humbly acquiesced in whatever was thought proper to be imposed upon them.
The confederate princes, hearing of this separate treaty, which the Gibeonites had made with Israel, were resolved to be revenged of them for their desertion of the common cause; and accordingly, joining all their forces together, they came and invested their town. The Gibeonites in this distress, not daring to trust to their own strength, sent an express to Joshua for speedy help; who set out with all expedition, and by quick marches, and the favour of the night, came upon the enemy sooner than they expected, and early next morning fell upon them, and routed them. In this expedition God had all along encouraged Joshua, and promised him success; and therefore, as the confederate forces were endeavouring to escape, and save themselves by flight, he poured such a storm of hail upon them, as destroyed more than what perished by the sword. that he did in Egypt, and all that he did to the two thereof in sack-cloth and ashes, they should have kings of the Amorites, that were beyond Jordan, committed the rest to Providence, never doubting but &c." Josh. ix. 9, 10. The idea which they had con- that he, who had changed the very course of nature to ceived of the God of Israel should have put them up. punish the guilty, would always find out some means on some other expedient than that of lying and de- or other to save the penitent; but this they did not ceit. They should have enquired (as far as the ob- do; and therefore they were culpable. Saurin, vol. scure dispensation they were under would have per- iii. dissertation 4. mitted them) into the cause of God's severity against + These bottles were not of glass or clay, as those them. They should have acknowledged, that it was in use among us, but were made of leather, in which their grievous sins which drew down this heavy judge. they formerly (and even now in some countries) kepa ment upon their nation; and after they had repented their wine.
Joshua, on the other hand, was very desirous to make the most of this happy oppor- From Josh. i. tunity; and therefore, in full chase of victory, he addressed himself to God, that the to the end. sun and moon might stand still, and so prolong the day, until he had completed his victory which God was pleased to grant; so that this was the most memorable day that ever happened, wherein the " Almighty listened to the voice of a man" to change the course of nature, and stop the motion of those rolling orbs.
The confederate kings being thus put to flight, and either frightened at the storm of hail, or at the close pursuit of the enemy, made to a cave near † Makkedah, and there ran in to hide themselves: but Joshua having intelligence of it, commanded the cave to be blocked up, and a guard to be set over it, and so continued his pursuit, that he might cut off as many as he possibly could before they reached to their fortified towns. his return he ordered the cave to be opened, and the kings to be brought forth; and when execution was done upon them, he caused their bodies to be hanged upon several trees until the evening; when they were taken down, and cast into the cave where they thought to have hid themselves, so that the place of their intended sanctuary became their sepulchre. After this signal victory, Joshua took all the southern parts of Canaan, which afterwards belonged to the tribes of Judah, Simeon, Benjamin, Dan, and Ephraim; and having thus ended his second campaign, he returned with his army to the camp at Gilgal.
Here he continued for some time without entering upon any fresh action, until several princes of the north of Canaan, under Jabin king of Hazor, confederated together, and raised a vast number of forces, which encamped not far from † the waters of Merom; and what made the army more formidable, was the great number of horses and *2
It was a city in the tribe of Judah, about eight miles distant from Eleutheropolis, which place, though it is no where mentioned in the Scripture History, because it was built after the destruction of Jerusalem, is nevertheless frequently taken notice of by Eusebius and Jerom, as a point from whence they measure the distances of other places. Its name imports a free city, and was itself situate in the tribe of Judah. Wells's Geography of the Old Testament, vol. ii. c. 4.
+ These waters are generally supposed by learned men to be the lake Semechon, which lies between the head of the river Jordan and the lake of Gennesareth; since it is agreed on all hands that the city Hazor, where Jabin reigned, was situate upon this lake
But others think, that the waters of Merom, or Merome, were somewhere about the brook Kishon; since there is a place of that name mentioned in the account of the battle against Sisera, Judges v. 21. And it is more rational to think, that the confederate kings advanced as far as the brook Kishon, and to a pass which led into their country, to hinder Joshua from penetrating it, or even to attack him in the country where he himself lay encamped, than to imagine that they waited for him in the midst of their own country, leaving all Galilee at his mercy, and the whole tract from the brook of Kishon to the lake Semechon. Wells's Geography of the Old Testament, vol. iii. c. 5. Reland's Palest. lib. 1. c. 40. and Calmet on Josh. xi. 5.
* Their whole army, according to Josephus, was computed to amount to three hundred thousand foot, ten thousand horse, and two thousand chariots; and to oppose against these the Israelites had no horse
in their armies, because God had interdicted them, (Deut. xvii. 16.) lest a traffic into Egypt for that sort of cattle should be a snare to entangle them in idolatry; or lest, having a quantity thereof, they should put their confidence rather in them than in the Divine assistance; for which reason the prophet denounces a "woe upon them that go down into Egypt for help, and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many, and in horsemen, because they are strong, but they look not to the Holy One of Is. rael, neither seek they the Lord, Isa. xxxi. 1.
*The chariots, which the ancient historians usually call currus falciferi, covini falciferi, quadrigæ falcatæ, quaтa dęsτarpóga, &c. are described after the following manner: "The beam, to which the horses were fastened, was armed with spikes with iron-points, which projected forward: The yokes of the horses had two cutting falchions of three cubits length: The axle trees had fixed to them two iron spits, with sycthes at their extremities; the spokes of the wheels were armed with javelins, and the very fellows with scythes, which tore every thing they met with to pieces. The axle-tree was longer, and the wheels stronger than usual, that they might be the better able to bear a shock, and the chariot less liable to be overturned." The charioteer, who was covered all over with armour, sat in a kind of tower made of very solid wood, about breast high, and sometimes men well armed were put into the chariot, and fought from thence with darts and arrows. So that a dreadful slaughter these machines must at first have made when they met with the enemy's troops; but, in time, when men came to find out the way of declining then, they did not do so much execution, and were conse
&c. or 3803. Ant. Chris. 1451, &c.
A. M. 2553, armed chariots they had, whereas the Israelites were all on foot. This, however, did
not in the least discourage Joshua, who, in pursuance of the instructions which God
had given him, immediately took the field, marched directly towards the enemy, fell or 1608. __suddenly upon them, and put all (except those * that made their escape into other
countries) to the sword; hamstrung their horses, and burnt their chariots with fire. Jabin had been the head of the confederacy against him; and therefore he killed him, and caused his city to be burnt to the ground; but the other cities, whose inhabitants were slain in battle, he left standing, and gave the plunder of them to the soldiers.
Thus Joshua subdued all the land of Canaan † by degrees : He put its inhabitants, its kings (who were one and thirty in number), and all the giants that dwelt therein, except some few that still remained among the Philistines, to the sword; and having now extended his conquest, as far as it was convenient at that time, he began to think of dividing the country among the tribes that were yet unprovided for, and of dismissing the two tribes and an half, who had accompanied him in the wars, but had their habitations already settled by Moses on the east side of the river Jordan. To this purpose he appointed commissioners, who should take an exact survey of the country, and bring in a full report without delay; which, when they had done, to the country was divided into equal portions, for which each tribe (according (a) to God's directions) cast From Josh. i. lots : But because some tribes were larger, and some territories richer than others, Jo-to the end. shua and Eleazar, together with the princes of the people, took care to adjust the proportion of land to the largeness of the tribe, and in subdividing that, to consider the number of each family and household ; pursuing exactly the orders which God gave to bis servant Moses : (b) “ l'nto these the land shall be divided for an inheritance, according to the number of names. To many thou shalt give the more inheritance; and to few thou shalt give the less inheritance.--Notwithstanding the land shall be divided by lot ;~according to lot shall the possession thereof be divided among many and few."
quently disused, Vid. Diodorus Siculus, lib. 17. produce such swarms, the greatest part of them are Quint. Curtius, lib. 4. Xenophon, Cyropæd, lib. 6. presumed to be the refugees of Canaan, who made Lucretius, De Rer. Nat. lib. 6.
their escape by shipping to all the coasts which lay * Some Jewish authors will needs have it, that round the Mediterranean and Ægean Seas, and even when Joshua went into the land of Canaan he pro. to other parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, as the posed three things to the inhabitants thereof, either learned Bochart has given us a large account in his that they should leave the country, or come and make Canaan, from page 345–699. Calmet's Dissertation their submission, or take up arms and fight him. But sur le Pays, où se sauverent les Cananénes chassez this is said in some measure to excuse the Jewish ge- par Josuè. neral, and to inollify the rigour of his proceedings. + These great achievements may be allowed to have His express command from God was to extirpate the taken up some years. The history indeed informs seven nations, without making any treaty or giving us, that " Joshua made war a long time with all these quarter: And, though the Gibeonites by guile had kings,” Josh. xi. 18. And from the words of Caleb, obtained a kind of league with him, yet the condi- wherein he gives Joshua an account of his age, and tions which he thereupon imposed, were so very hard, that it was tive and forty years since he was sent a that they could not but deter others from making the spy to Kadesh-barnea, there cannot be well less than like attempt. It is not therefore to be wondered, that between six and seven years spent in this war; and the Canaanites, wlio saw themselves drove to the ne. why the war was so long continued, God himself ascessity either of death or slavery, (after they had signs this reason :-" I will not drive them out from tried the fate of their arms so often to no purpose), before thee in one year, lest the land become deso. should endeavour to make their escape from a people late, and the beasts of the field multiply against thee: everywhere victorious, and who were enjoined to be By little and little will I drive them out from before cruel and remorseless by their very God who had gi- thee, until thou be increased and inherit the land." ven them this success. Nor can we suppose but that Exod. xxiii. 29, 30. God, who was miuded to make room for his own peo- +Those who are minded to know what particular ple, did (according to his promise, Exod. xxiii. 27.) towns and territories fell to each tribe, had best coninject upon this occasion a terror extraordinary into sult what Josephus, in his Jewish Antiquities; Jerome, the natives of the country, and make them desire to de Locis Hebraicis; Reland, de Urbibus et Vicis Pabe gone: And when they were desirous to be gone, lestinæ ; Masius, in Joshuam; Fuller, in his Pisgah. they had ports, lying upon the Mediterranean Sea, sight; Raleigh, in his History, part i. lib. 2. Wells, very commodious for their purpose. For whe. in his Geography of the Old Testament, vol. ii. Pather the towns of Tyre and Sidon were at this time trick, Pool, Le Clerc, and several others, in their built or no, it is certain that the places where these Commentaries, have said upon this subject. We towns stood could not but be proper harbours for shall make this one remark, which Masius, in his rich shipping; and as the Phænicians were still masters Commentry upon Joshua, furnishes us with, viz. that of the sea.coasts, by their assistance the Canaanites as Jacob and Moses, at the approach of tlieir deaths, might make their escape into what parts they plea. foretold the very soil and situation of every particused. The Phænicians, much about this time, did lar country that should fall to each tribe ; so, upon certainly send out a vast many colonies ; but, as it this division by lots, it accordingly came to pass. To cannot be supposed that 80 small a country slould the tribe of Judah, there fell a country abounding
Having thus divided the country on the west side of the Jordan, Joshua had a little place given him for his own habitation not far from Shiloh, where, after the wars, the tabernacle was set up, that he might have an opportunity of consulting God upon any occasion; and, after all things were in this manner regulated, he called together the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, who had served for almost seven years as auxiliaries in the wars of Canaan, and gave them an honourable dismission. " He acknowledged, that they had duly executed the condition which they promised to Moses, in accompanying their brethren, and helping them to subdue their enemies, and commended their courage and fidelity for so doing. He exhorted them, now that they were going to separate from the tabernacle, never to neglect the service of God, but to bear always in mind those venerable laws which he had given them by his great legislator. He advised them to distribute a share of the rich booty they had taken from the Canaanites among their brethren on the other side of Jordan; because, though they had not partaken of the peril of the late war, they had nevertheless done them great service, in protecting their families from the insults of their enemies on every side :" And * with these acknowledgments and exhortations, together with many sincere wishes for their prosperity and welfare, *9 he sent them away ; but they had not been long gone, before a sad misunderstanding had like to have happened between them and the other tribes.
Upon their arrival on the other side of Jordan, they erected an altar near the place where they and their brethren had miraculously passed over, not for any religious use, with vines and pasture-grounds, Gen. xlix. 11. To our abode be where it will. It was from one and the that of Ashur, one plenteous in oil, iron, and brass, same God that all our forefathers received their beDeut. xxxiii. 24, 25. To that of Naphthali, one ex. ing; and that God we are all to worship, according tending from the west to the south of Judea, ibid. to the ordinances and institutions left us by Moses. xxxiii. 23. To that of Benjamin, one in which the So long as we stand firm to that, way of religion, we temple was afterwards built, ibid. xxxiii. 12. To may be sure of the favour and protection of that God those of Zebulun and Issachar, such as had plenty of for our comfort; but whenever you apostatise into sea ports, Gen. xlix. 13. To those of Ephraim and an hankering after strange gods, the God of your faManasseh, such as were renowned for their precious thers will cast you off." Jewish Antiquities, lib. 5. fruits, Deut. xxxiii. 14. And to those of Simeon and Levi, no particular countries at all; for as much as *2 The Chronicon Samaritanum (if we may believe the former had a portion with Judah, and the other what it reports, page 92, 93.) teils us, that when Jowas interspersed among the several tribes. Since shua sent the Reubenites away, he appointed Nephiel therefore (as our commentator reasons) each particu to be his deputy on the other side of Jordan ; that he lar lot answered so exactly to each' prediction, it clothed him with a royal robe, put a crown on his must needs be the height of insolence or stupidity head, and made him ride on an horse of state, whilst not to acknowledge the Divine inspiration in these a crier went before him, proclaiming, “ This is the predictions, and the Divine direction in these lots. king of the two tribes and an half, the president of (a) Josh. xiv. 2. (6) Numb. xxvi. 53, &c. justice, the director of affairs, and the general in the
Josephus, in the speech which he introduces Jo- camp: Let his determination be conclusive. In all difshua making to the Reubenites, &c. at their parting, ficult causes let him desire an answer from Eleazar the concludes with these words : " But, I pray ye, let high priest; and if any one shall contradict his sentence, no distance of place set liniits to our friendship. The or withdraw from his allegiance, it shall be lawful for interposition of rivers must never divide our attec- any one to kill that man, and the whole congregation tions : for, on which bank soever, we are all Hebrews shall be blameless.” [This seems to be a groundless still. Abraham was the common father of us all, let fiction.]
1451, &c. or 1608.
A M. 2553, but as a memorial to succeeding generations, that though they were parted by the river, Ant. Chris." yet they were of the same extract and religion, and held an equal right to the taberna
cle at Shiloh, and to the worship of God performed there, that the inhabitants of the other side had. But whether those on the other side were misinformed, or misapprehended their intent, so it was that they fell into a violent rage against them, as apostates from the true religion ; and immediately took up arms for the vindication of the worship and religion of their forefathers, and to avenge the cause of God upon the headis and chief authors of this defection. But before they proceeded to these extremities, they were advised by their rulers to suspend the execution of their wrath, until they had sent a deputation to them, in order to know the reason of their building such an altar; which accordingly they did, and made choice of Phineas, the son of Eleazar, with ten other persons of eminent distinction, to go upon the embassy. As soon as they were come into the land † of Gilead, * they represented the great surprise that the rest of the tribes were in at their building this altar; and told them very roundly, that they feared it portended a defection into idolatry. To dissuade them therefore from that, they put them in mind of the calamities which God had formerly sent upon them for their worship of Baal peor; and that, if so lately he had been so severe upon them for the offence of one man, viz. Achan only, what might they not expect, when two tribes and an half were going to make a general revolt? And as they suspected that the absence of the tabernacle might give some occasion to this innovation, they invited them to come and live among them, where they might not want an opportunity of serving God, according to the custom of their ancestors.
Concerned to hear the ill opinion which their brethren had thus conceived of them, the Reubenites, Gadites, and Manassites *protested their innocence of any idolatrous intention, and made a solemn appeal to God, that so far were they from setting up any altar in opposition to his, that the only design of that structure was to perpetuate their
+ Gilead, which took its name from Gilead, the son ship of false gods : Or if unhappily you should have of Machir, and grandson of Manasseh, is ofen put for been so misled, do but repent and disclaim your error, the whole country that lies on the east side of Jor and return to that reverence you owe to the laws of dan, which the children of Israel took from the Moab. God and of your country, and you shall be still reites and Midianites, &c.
ceived, &c." Jewish Antiquities, lib. 5. c. 1, * Josephus makes Phineas the speaker upon this oc- * If we can suppose any truth in the Samaritan tra. casion, who delivers his commission in words lo this ef- dition, Nephiet, who is said to have been Joshua's lieufect :-“ We are very sensible that the crime char- tenant over the two tribes and a half, may very proged upon you at present is too heinous to be punished perly be thought the person who answered Phineas by words only; but we 'have not taken up arms (hand in the words which Josephus thus puts in his mouth : over head) to execute a vengeance according to the L" We are not conscious of having ever departed degree of the iniquity : For it is out of respect to our from your alliance, neither are we in any sort guilty allies, and in hopes that second and sounder thoughts of that affectation of novelty in erecting this altar, may bring you io better reason, that we are engaged which is now charged upon us. We know but one upon this embassy, and speak in this assembly. We God, and that God is the God of all the Hebrews; do but desire to be sincerely informed, upon what and but one altar, which is the brazen altar before motives, and with what design you have now raised this the tabernacle. As for this allar here, which we are altar. If you have done it out of any pivus end, we suspected for, it was never intended for any religious have no quarrel with you ; but if you are gone over use, but only for a civil memorial to future times of to a false worship, it is for our God and our religion our friendship and alliance, and rather to keep us that we must draw our swords against you. We steady in our ancient religion, than to be any ways speak our fears; for we cannot think it credible yet, introductive to the violation of it. We can safely ap. that a people, so well instructed in the will and in the peal to God, that we had no such thought in setting laws of God, our friends and allies that we have but up this altar as is imputed to us : And therefore, let just now parted with, a people newly established in us intreat you to have a better opinion of your brethe lot of a plentiful possession by God's special grace thren for the future, than to think us guilty of so and Providence: we cannot, I say, believe you to be mortal an apostacy from the rites and customs of our go insensible and ungrateful, as to abandon the holy progenitors, a sin not to be expiated in any of the tabernacle, the ark, the altar, and the worship of your sons of Abraham, but with the loss of his life. Jeteforetathers, to join with the Canaanites in the wor- ish Antiquiries, lib. 5. c. I.