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I"' HIS methodized and practical exposition of the Historical Books ventures abroad, with fear and 
-■- trembling, in the same plain and homely dress with the former, on the Pentateuch: omari res ipsa 
negut, contenta doceri — The subject requires no ornament, to have it afifirehended is all. But I trust, 
through grace, it proceeds from the same honest design, that is, to promote the knowledge of the scrip- 
ture, in order to the reforming of men's hearts and lives. If I may but be instrumental to make my 
readers wise and good, wiser and better, more watchful against sin, and more careful of their duty botn 
to God and man, and, in order to that, more in love with the word and law of God, I have all I desire, 
all I aim at. May he that ministereth seed to the sower, multifily the seed sown, by increasing the fruita 
of righteousness, 2 Cor. 9. 10. 

It is the history of the Jewish Church and Nation, from their first settlement in the promised land, 
after their four hundred and thirty years' bondage in Egypt, and their forty years' wandering in the wil- 
derness, to their re-settlement there, after their seventy years' captivity m Babvlon — from Joshua to 
Nehemiah. The five books of Moses were taken up more with their laws, institutes, and charters; but 
all these books are purely historical, and in that way of writing, a great deal of very valuable learning 
and wisdom has been conveyed from one generation to another. 

The chronology of this history, and the ascertaining of the times when the several events contained in 
it, happened, would very much illustrate the history, and add to the brightness of it; it is therefore well 
worthy the search of the curious and ingenious, and they may find both pleasure and profit in perusing 
the labours of many learned men who have directed their studies that wav. I confess I could willingly 
have entertained myself and reader, in this preface, with a calculation of 'the times through which this 
history passes; but! consider, that such a babe in knowledge as I am, could not pretend either to add 
to, or correct what has been done by so many great writers, much less to decide the controversies that 
have been agitated among them. I had indeed some thoughts of consulting my worthy and ever- 
honoured friend Mr. Tallents of Shrewsburj-, the learned author of the View of Universal History, 
and to have begged some advice and assistance from him in methodizing the contents of this history; but 
in the very week in which I put my last hand to this part, it pleased God to put an end to his useful life, 
(and useful it was to the last,) and to call him to his rest in the eighty-ninth year of his age: so that pur- 
pose was broken off, that thought of my heart. But that elaborate performance of his, commonly called 

great ' 

As ' " ' 


of them, which are sufficient to silence the atheists and antiscripturists, and roll away froni the sacred • 
records all the reproach of contradiction and inconsistency with themselves; for to do that, it is enough 
to show that the difference may be accommodated either this way or that, when at the same time one 
cannot satisfy one's self which way is the right. 

But it is well that these are things about which we may verj' safely and very comfortably be ignorant 
uud un;c:;"lvcd, ^^/hat c"r!ce'^-e '"'"' t^oivoi-inn^ is nloin pnnucrTi. qnH we nepd not nerplex ourselves about 
the niceties of chronology, genealogy, or chorogfaphy. At least, my undertaking leads me not into 
those labyrinths. What is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in 
righteousness, is what I intend to observe; and I would endeavour to open what is dark and hard to be 
understood, only in order to that. Every author must be taken in his way of writing; the sacred 
penmen, as they have not left us formal systems, so they have not left us formal annals, but usefiil narra- 
ti\ es of things proper for our direction in the way of duty, which some great judges of common writers 
have thought to be the most pleasant and profitable histories, and most likely to answer the end. The 
word of God, manifestis fiascit, obscuris exercet, (Aug. in Joh. Tract. 45. ) as one of the Ancients expresses 
it, that is, it has enough in it that is easy, to nourish the meanest to life eternal, yet enough that is diffi- 
cult, to try the industry and humility of the greatest. 

There are several things which should recommend this part of sacred -writ to our diligent and constant 

I. That it is history; and therefore entertaining and very pleasant, edifying, and very serviceable to 
the conduct of human life. It gratifies the inquisitive with the knowledge of that which the most 
intense speculation could not discover any other way. By a retirement into ourselves, and a serious con- 
templation of the objects we are surrounded with, close reasoning may advance many excellent truths 
without being beholden to any other. But for the knowledge of past events, we are entirely indebted 


(and must be so) to the reports and records of others. A notion or hypothesis of a man's own framing 
may gain him the reputation of a wit, but a history of a man's own framing will lay him under the 
reproach of a cheat, any fiirther than as it respects that which he himself is an eye or ear witness of. 
How much are we indebted then to the divine wisdom and goodness for these writings, whicli have made 
things so long since past as familiar to us as any of the occurrences of the age and place we live in! 

History is so edifying, that parables and apologues have been invented to makeup the deficiencies of 
it, for our instruction concerning good and evil; and whatever may be said of other history, we are sure 
that in this history there is no matter of fact recorded, but what has its use, and will help either to ex 
pound God's providence or guide man's prudence. 

II. That it is true histoiy, and what we may rely upon the credit of, and need not fear being deceived 
in That which the heathens reckoned temfius aSuKor, that is, which they knew nothing at all of, and 
ter'fius /uvStKov, that is, the account of which was wholly fabulous, is to us temfius Uofunov, that is, what 
we have ? ntiost authentic account of. The Greeks were with them the most celebrated historians, and 
vet their successors in learning and dominion, the Romans, put them into no good name for their credi- 
bility, witness that of the poet: Et quicquid Graecia mendax audet in Historia — All that lying Greece 
has dared to record, Juv. Sat 10. But the history which vwe have before us, is of undoubted certainty, 
and no cunningly-devised fable. To be well assured of this is a great satisfaction, especially since we 
meet with so many things in it truly miraculous, and many more great and marvellous. 

III. That it W ancient history, far more ancient than was ever pretended to come from any other 
hand. Homer, the most ancient genuine heathen writer now entirely extant, is reckoned to have lived at 
the beginning of the Olympiads, near the time when it is computed that the city of Rome was founded 
by Romulus, which was but about the reign of Hezekiah king of Judah. And his writings pretend not 
to be historical, but poetical fiction all over: rhapsodies indeed they are, and the very Alcoran of 

The most ancient authentic historians now extant are Herodotus and Thucydides, who were contem- 
porai-ies with the latest of our historians, Ezra and Nehemiah, and could not write with any certainty 
of events much before their own time. The obscurity, deficiency, and uncertainty, of all ancient 
history, except that which we find in the scripture, is abundantly made, out by the learned Bishop Stil- 
lingfleet, in that most useful Book, his Origines Sacrse; Lib. 1. Let the antiquity of this history not 
only recommend it to the curious, but recommend to us all that way of religion it directs us in, as the 
good old way, in which if we walk, we shall Jind rest to our souls, Jer. 6. 16. 

IV. That it is church history, the history of the Jewish Church, that sacred society, incoi-porated for 
religion, and the custody of the oracles and ordinances of God, by a charter under the broad seal of 
heaven, a covenant confirmed by miracles. Many great and mighty nations there were at this time in 
the world, celebrated, it is likely, for wisdom, and learning, and valoui-, illustrious men, and illustrious 
actions; yet the records of them are all lost, either in silence or fables, while that little inconsiderable 
nation of the Jews, that dwelt alone, and ivas not reckoned among the riations. Numb. 23. 9. makes so 
greit a figure in the best known, most ancient, and most lasting, of all histories; while no notice is taken 
in it, of the affairs of other nations, except only as they fall in with the affairs of the Jews; for the 
Lord's fiortion is his fieofile, Jacob is the lot of his inheritance, Deut. 32. 8, 9. Such a concern has God 
for his church in every age, and so dear have its interests been to him; let them therefore be so to us, 
that we may be followers of him as dear children. 

V. That it is a divine history, given by inspiration of God, and a part of that blessed book which is to 
be the standing rule of our faith and practice. And we are not to think it a part of it which might have 
been spared, or which we may now pass over, or cast a careless eye upon, as if it were indifferent 
whether we read it or no, but we are to read it as a sacred record, preserved for our benefit on whom the 
aids of the world are come. 

1. This histoiy is of great use for the understanding of some other parts of the Old Testament. The 
account we have here of David's life and reign, and especially of his troubles, is a key to many of his 
Psalms. And much light is given to most of the prophecies by these histories. 

2. Though we have not altogether so many types of Christ here, as we had in the history of the law 
il Moses, vet even herewe meetwith divers who were figures of Him that was to come, such as Joshua, 
Samson, Solomon, Cyrus, but especially David, whose kingdom was typical of the kingaom of the Mes- 

.siah and the covenant of royalty made with him, a dark representation of the covenant of redemption 
made with the eternal Word; nor know we how to call Christ the son of David, unless we be acquamted 
withthishistory; nor how to receive it that John Baptist was the Ellas that was to come. Matt. 11. 14. 

3. The state of the Jewish Church, which is here set before us, was typical of the Gospel Church, 
and the state of that in the days of the Messiah; and as the firofihecies which related to it, looked fur- 
ther to the latter days, so did the histories of it; and still these things happened to them for ensamfiles, 1 
Cor. 10. 11. By the tenor of this history we are given to understand these three things concerning the 
church; for the thing that hath been, is that which shall be, Eccl. 1. 9. (1.) That we are not to expect 
the perf^ect purity and unity of the church in this world, and therefore not to be stumbled, though we 
are grieved, at its corruptions, distempers, and divisions; not to think it strange concerning them, as 
though some strange thing happened, much less to think the worse of its laws and constitutions for the 
sake of them, or to despair of its pei-petuity. What wretched stains of idolatry, impiety, and immo- 
rality, ayjpear on the Jewish Church; and what a woful breach was there between Judah and Ephraim, 
yet God took them (as I may say) with all their faults, and never wholly rejected them, till they rejected 
tne Messiah. Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah, of her God, though their land was filled with 
sin against the Holy One of Israel, Jer. 51. 5. (2.) That we are not to expect the constant tranquillity 
and prosperity of the church. It was then often oppressed and afflicted from its youth, had its years of 
servitude, as well as its days of triumph, was often obscured, diminished, impoverished, and brought 
low; and yet still God secured to himself a remnant, a holy seed, which was the substance thereof, Isa. 
6. 13. Let us not then be surprised to see the Gospel-Church sometimes under hatches, and driven into 
the wilderness, and the gates of hell prevailing far against it. (3. ) That yet we need not fear the utter 
extirpation of it. The Gospel-Church is called, the Israel of God, Gal. 6. 16. and the Jerusalem 
whicnis above. Gal. 4. 26. the heavenly Jerusalem: for as Israel after the flesh, and the Jerusalem that 
then was, by the wonderful care of the divine Providence, outrode all the storms with which they were 


tossed and threatened, and continued in being till they were made to resign all their honours to the Gos- 
pel-Church, which they were the figures of; so shall that also, notwithstanding all its shocks, be preserved, 
till the mystery of God shall be finished, and the kingdom of Grace shall have its perfection in the 
kingdom of Glory. 

4 This history is of great use to us for our direction in the way of our duty; it was written for our 
learning, that we may see the evil we should avoid, and be armed against it, and the good we should do, 
and be quickened to it. Though they are generally judges, and kings, and great men, whose lives are 
here written, yet in them, even those of the meanest rank may see the defoi-mity of sin, and hate it, and 
the beauty of holiness, and be in love with it; nay, the greater the person is, the more evident are both 
these; for if the great be good, it is their goodness that makes their greatness honourable; if bad, their 
greatness does but make their badness the more shameful. The failings even of good people are also 
recorded here for our admonition, that he who thinks he stands, may take heed lest he fall; and that he 
who has fallen, may not despair of forgiveness, if he recover himself by repentance. 

5. This history, as it shows what God requires of us, so it shows what we may expect from his provi- 
dence, especially concerning states and kingdoms. By the dealings of God with the Jewish nation, it 
appears that as nations are, so they must expect to fare; that while princes and people serve the interests 
of God's kingdom among men, he will secure and advance their interests; but that when they shake off 
his government, and rebel against him, they can look for no other than an inundation of judgments. It 
was so all along with Israel; while they kept close to God, they prospered; when they forsook him, 
every thing went cross. That great man. Archbishop Tillotson, f Vol. I. Serm. 3. on Prov. 14. 34.) 
suggests. That though as to particular persons, the providences of God are promiscuously administered 
in this world, because there is another world of rewards and punishments for them, yet it is not so with 
nations as such, but national virtues are ordinarily rewarded with temporal blessings, and national sins 
punished with temporal judgments; because, as he says, public bodies and communities of men, as such, 
can be rewarded and punished only in this world, for in the next they will all be dissolved. So plainly 
are God's ways of disposing kingdoms laid before us in the glass of this history, that I could wish 
christian statesmen would think themselves as much concerned as preachers, to acquaint themselves 
with it; they miglit fetch as good maxims of state and rules of policy from this as from the best of the 
Greek and Roman historians. We are blessed (as the Jews were) witii a divine revelation, and make a 
national profession of religion and relation to God, and therefore are to look upon ourselves as in a 
peculiar manner under a divine regimen, so that the things which happened to them, were designed for 
ensamples to us. 

I cannot pretend to write for great ones. But if what is here done, may be delightful to any in read- 
ing, and helpful in understanding and improving, this sacred history, and governing themselves by the 
dictates of it, let God have all the glory, and let all the rivers return to the ocean from whence they 
came. When I look back on what is done, I see nothing to boast of, but a great deal to be ashamed of; 
and when I look forward on what is to be done, I see nothing in myself to trust to for the doing of it; I 
have no sufficiency of my own, but by the grace of God, I am what I am, and that grace shall, I trust, 
be sufficient for me. Surely in the Lord have I righteousness and strength. That blessed s^;;^cj«^/a, 
which the apostle speaks of, Phil. 1. 19. that continual supply or communication of the Spirit of Jesus 
Christ, is what we may in faith pray for, and depend upon, to furnish us for every good word and work. 

The pleasantness of the study has drawn me on to the writing of this, and the candour with which 
my friends have been pleased to receive my poor endeavours on the Pentateuch, encourages me to pub- 
lish it; it is done according to the best of my skill, not without some care and application of mind, in the 
same method and manner with that; I wish I could have done it in less compass, that it might have been 
more within the reach of the fioor of the flock. But then it would not have been so plain and full as I 
desire it may be for the benefit of the lambs of the flock; Brevis esse laboro, obscurus fio — Labouring to 
be concise, I become obscure. 

With an humble submission to the divine providence and its disposals, and a humble reliance on the 
divine grace and its conduct and operation, I purpose still to proceed, as I have time, in this work. Two 
volumes more will, if God permit, conclude the Old Testament; and then, if my friends encourage me, 
and God spare me, and enable me for it, I intend to go on to the New Testament. For though many 
have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those parts of scripture which are yet before us, 
(Luke 1. 1.) whose works firaise them in the gates, and are likely to outlive mine, yet while the subject 
is really so copious as it is, and the manner of handling it may possibly be so various, and while one book 
comes into the hands of some, and another into the hands of others, and all concur in the same design 
to advance the common interests of Christ's kingdom, the common faith once delivered to the saints, 
and the common salvation of precious souls; (Tit. 1. 4. Jude 3.) I hope store, of this kind, will be 
thought no sore. I make bold to mention my purpose to proceed thus publicly, in hopes I may have the 
advice of my friends in it, and their prayers for me, that I may be made more ready and mighty in the 
scrifitures, that understanding and utterance may be given to me, that I may obtain of the Lord Jesus, 
to be found \iis faithful servant, who am less than the least of all that call him Master. 

M. H. 

Chester, June 2, 1708, 






I We have now before us, the history of the Jewish nation, in this book, and those that follow it to the 
end of the book of Esther. These books, to the end of the books of the Kings, the Jewish writers 
call, the first book of the firofihets, to bring them within the distribution of the books of the Old Testa- 
ment, into the law, the prophets, and the Chetubim, or Hagiographa, Luke 24. 44. The rest 
they make part of the Hagiographa. For though history is their subject, it is justly supposed that 
prophets were their penmen: to those books that are purely and properly /iro/ihetical the name of the 
prophet is prefixed, because the credibility of the prophecies depended much upon the character of 
the prophets; but these historical books, it is probable, were collections of the authentic records of 
the nation, which some of the prophets (the Jewish Church was for many ages more or less continually 
blessed with such) were divinely directed and helped to put together for the service of the Church 
to the end of the world; as their other officers, so their Historiographers, had their authority /rowz 

Heaven. It should seem that though the substance of the several histories was written when the 

events were fresh in memory, and written under a divine direction, yet that under the same direction, 
they were put into the form in which we now have them, by some other hand, long afterward 
probably, all by the same hand, or about the same time. The grounds of the conjecture are, ll 
Because former writings are so often referred to, as the Book of Jasher, Josh. 10. 13. and 2 Sam. 1. 18. 
and the Chronicles of the kings of Israel and Judah often; and the books of Gad, Nathan, and Iddo. 
2. Because the days when the things were done, are spoken of sometimes as days long since passed; 
as 1 Sam. 9. 9, He that is now called a profihet, ivas then called a seer. And 3. Because we so 
often read of things remaining unto this day, as stones. Josh. 4. 9. — 7. 26. — 8. 29. — 10. 27. 1 Sam. 6. 18. 
. Names of places. Josh. 5. 9.-7. 26. Judg. 1. 26.— 15. 19.— 18. 12. 2 Kings 14. 7. Rights and 
possessions, Judg. 1. 21. 1 Sam. 27. 6. Customs and usages, 1 Sam. 5. 5. 2 Kings 17. 41. Which 
clauses have been since added to the history by the inspired collectors, for the confirmation and 
illustration of it to those of their own age. And if one may offer a mere conjecture, it is not unlikely 
that the historical books to the end of the Kings were put together by Jeremiah the prophet a httle 
before the captivity, for it is said of Ziklag, 1 Sam. 27. 6. it pertains to the kings of Judah (which 
style began after Solomon, and ended in the captivity) unto this day: And it is still more probable 
that those which follow, were put together by Ezra the scribe, some time after the captivity. 
However, though we are in the dark concerning their authors, we are in no doubt concerning their 
authority; they were a part of the oracles of God, which were committed to the Jews, and were so 

received and referred to by our Saviour and the apostles. In the five books of Moses we had a 

very full account of the rise, advance, and constitution, of the Old Testament Church, the family out 
of which it was raised, the promise, that great charter by which it was incorporated, the jniracles by 
WiiiCii it Wcia Luilt' Up, Qiiu uii^ lavva aiid oiuiiiaiicca by wiiicli it was CO be governed. From which 
one would conceive an expectation of its character and state very different from what we find in this 
history. A nation that had statutes and judgments so righteous, one would think, should have been 
very holy; and that had promises so rich, should have been very happy. But, alas! a great part of 
the history is a melancholy representation of their sins and miseries, for the law made nothing fierfect ; 
that was to be done by the bringing in of a better hope. And yet if we compare the history ot the 
Christian Church with its constitution, we shall find the same cause for wonder, so many have been 
its errors and corruptions; for neither does the Gospel make any thing perfect in this world, but leaves 
us still in the expectation of a better hope in the future state. 
n. We have next before us the book of Joshua, so called, perhaps, not because it was written by him, 
for that is uncertain. However that be, it is written concerning him, and if any 
Dr. Lightfoot thinks other wrote it, it was collected out of his journals, or memoirs. It contains the 
it.*^ Bishop^Patrick°is history of Israel under the command and government of Joshua, how he pre- 
ciear that Joshua wrote sided as general of their armies, 1. In their entrance into Canaan, ch. 9--'5. 
it himself. 2. In their conquest of Canaan, ch. 6 • • 12. 3. In the distribution of the land of 

Canaan among the tribes of Israel, ch. 13 •• 21. 4. In the settlement and esta- 
blishment of religion among them, ch. 22 ' • 24. In all which he was a great example of wisdom, 
courage, fidelity, and piety, to all that are in places of public trust But that is not all the use that 

Vol. II. — B. 



IS to be made of this history; we may see in it, (1.) 3Iuch of God and his providence; his power In 
the kingdom of nature; his justice in punishing the Canaanites when the measure of their iniquity nvaa 
full; his faithfulness to his covenant with the patriarchs; and his kindness to his people Israel, not- 
withstanding their provocations. We may see him as the Lord of Hosts determining the issues of war, 
and as the Director of the lot, determining the bounds of men^s habitations. (2.) Much of Christ and 
his ^race. Though Joshua is not expressly mentioned in the New Testament as a type ot Christ, yet 
all agree that he was a very eminent one. He bore our Sa\ iour's name, as did also another type ol 
him, Joshua the High Priest, Zech. 6. 11, 12. The LXX. giving the name of Joshua a Greek termina- 
tion, call him all along, 'Uo-s?, Jesus, and so he is called. Acts 7. 45. and Heb. 4. 8. Justin Martyr, 
one of the first writers of the Christian Church, {Dialog, cum Tryfih. fi. mihi 300) makes that promise, 
Exod. 23. 20, Mine angel shall bring thee into the place I have prepared, to point at Joshua; and these 
words. My name is in him, to refer to this, that his name should be the same with that of the Messiah; 
it signifies. He shall save. Joshua saves God's people from the Canaanites; our Lord Jesus saves them 
from their sins. Christ, as Joshua, is the Captain of our Salvation, a Leader and Comniander of the 
peqple, to tread Satan under their feet, and to put them in possession of the heavenly Canaan, and to 
gtve them rest, which (it is said, Heb. 4. 8. ) Joshua did not. 



The book begins with the history, not of Joshua's life, 
(many remarkable passages of that we had before in the 
books of Moses,) but of his reign and government. In 
this chapter, I. God appoints him in the stead of Moses, 
gives him an ample commission, full instructions, and 
great encouragements, v. 1..9. II. He accepts the 
government, and addresses himself immediately to the 
business of it, giving orders to the officers of tlie people 
in general, v. 10, 11. And particularly to the two tribes 
and a half, v. 12.. 15. III. The people agree to it, and 
take an oath of fealty to him, v. 16.. 18. A reign which 
thus began with God, could not but be honourable to 
the prince, and comfortable to the subject. The last 
words of Moses are still verified, Happy art thou, Is- 
rael ! who is like unto thee, people ? Deut. 33. 'J9. 

NOW after the death of Moses the 
servant of the Lord, it came to 
pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the 
son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying, 2. 
Moses my servant is dead*, now therefore 
arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this 
people, unto the land which I do give to 
them, even to the children of Israel. 3. 
Every place that the sole of your foot shall 
tread upon, that have 1 given unto you, as 
[ said unto Moses. 4. From the wilder- 
ness and this Lebanon, even unto the great 
river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the 
Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the 
going down of the sun, shall be your coast. 
5. T^here shall not any man be able to stand 
before thee all the days of thy life : as 1 was 
with Moses, so I will be with thee : 1 will 
not fail thee, nor forsake thee. 6. Be strong 
and of a good courage ; for unto this people 
shaltthou divide for an inheritance the land, 
which I sware unto their fathers to give 
them. 7. Only be thou strong and very 
courageous, that thou mayest observe to do 
according to all the law which Moses my 
servant commanded thee : turn not from it 
tb Ac right hand or to the left, that thou 
mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. 
8. This book of the law shall not depart 
out of thy mouth ; but thou shalt meditate 

therein day and night, that thou mayest ob- 
serve to do according to all that is written 
therein : for then thou shalt make thy way 
prosperous, and then thou shalt have good 
success. 9. Have not I commanded thee ? 
Be strong and of a good courage ; be not 
afraid, neither be thou dismayed : for the 
Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever 
thou goest. 

Honour is here put upon Joshua, and great power 
lodged in his hand, by Him that is the Fountain of 
honour and power, and by whom kings reign; in- 
structions are given him by infinite wisdom, and en- 
couragements by the God of all consolation. God 
had before spoken to Moses concerning him. Numb. 
27. 18. But now he speaks to him, v. 1. probably, 
as he sp;vke to Moses, Lev. 1. 1, out of the taberna- 
cle of the congregation, where Joshua had with 
Moses presented himself, Dcut. 31. 14. to le ivn the 
way of attending there. Though Ele.izar had the 
breastplate of judgment, which Joshua was directed 
to consult as there was occasion, Numb. '27. 21. 
yet, for his great encouragement,God here speaks to 
him immediately, some think, in a dream or vision, 
(as Job 33. 15.) for though God has tied us to in- 
stituted ordinances, in them to attend him, yet he 
lias not tied himself to them, but that he may, 
without them, make himself known to his people, 
and speak to their hearts otherwise than by their 

Concerning Joshua's call to the government, ob- 
serve here, 

L The time when rt was given him, Jifter the 
death of Moses. As soon as ever Moses was dead, 
Joshua took upon him the administration, by virtue 
of his solemn ordination in Moses's life-time; an in- 
terregnum, though but for a few days, might ha\e 
been of ill consequence; but, it is probable, that 
God did not speak to him to go forward toward Ca- 
naan, till after the thirty days of mc ujning for Mo- 
ses were ended; not, as the Jews say, b'^causc the 
sadness of his spirit during those days unfitted him 
for communion with God; (he sorrowed not as one 
that had no hope;) but by this solemn pause, and 
a month's adjournment of the public councils, even 
now when time was so very precious to then), Ciod 
would put an honour upon the memory of Moses, 
and give time to the people not only to lament their 
loss of him, but to repent of their miscarriages 
toward him during the forty years of his govern- 



II. The place Joshua had been in before he was 
'.bus preferred. He was Moses's minister, that is, 
an immediate attendant upon liis person and assis- 
tant in business. The LXX. translate it uTri^yo;, 
a workman under Moses, under his direction and 
command. Observe, 1. He that was here called to 
honour, had been long bred to business. Our L( rd 
Jesus himself took, upon him the form of a ser\ ant, 
and then God highly exalted him. 2. He was 
trained up in subjection, and under command. 
Those are fittest to rule, that ha\'e learnt to obey. 
3 He that was to succeed Moses was intimately 
acquauited with him, that lie might fully knoiu his 
doctrine and manner of life, his fiurjwse and long- 
siiff'ering, (2 Tim. 3. 10.) might take the same 
measures, walk in the same spirit, in the same steps, 
having to can-y on the same work. 4. He was here- 
in a type of Christ, who might therefore be called 
Moses's Minister, because he was made under the 
law, and fulfilled all the righteousness of it. 

III. The call itself that God gave him, which is 
very full. 

1. The consideration upon which he was called 
to the government; Moses my servant is dead, v. 2. 
All good men are God's servants; and it is no dis- 
paragement, but an honour, to the greatest of men 
to be so; angels themselves are his ministers. Moses 
was called to extraordinary work, was a steward in 
(rod's house, and in the discharge of the trusts re- 
posed in him, he served not himself but (iod who 
employed him; he was faithful as a servant, and 
with an eye to the Son, as is intimated, Heb. 3. 5. 
■where what he did, is said to be for a testimony of 
the things that should hesfioken after; God will own 
his servants, will confess them in the great day. 
'^at Moses, though God's servant, and one that 
CLuld ill be spared, is dead; for God will change 
hands, to show that whatever instruments he uses, 
he is not tied to any. Moses, wlien he has done his 
work as a servant, dies and goes to rest from his la- 
hours, and enters into the joy of his Lord. Oljserve, 
God takes notice of the death of his ser\-ants. /; is 
firetious in his sight, Ps. 116. 15. 

2. The call itself; J\''ow therefore arise. (1.) 
Though Moses is dead, the wc k must go on, there- 
fire ai'ise, and go about it. Let not weeping hinder 
sowing, nor the withering of the most useful hands 
be the we ikening of our's; for when God has w; rk 
to do, he will either find or make instruments fit to 
carry it on. Moses, the servant is dead, but God 
the Masterh not, he lives for ever. (2.) " Because 
Moses is dead, tlierefore the work devolves upon 
thee as his successor, for hereunto thou wast ap- 
pointed. Therefore there is need of thee to fill up 
his place. Up, and be doing." Note, [1.] The re- 
mov'al of useful men should quicken survivors to be 
s^ much the more diligent in doing good. Such and 
stvh are dead, and we must die shortly, therefore 
let as work while it is day. [2.] It is a great mercy 
to a people, if, when useful men are taken away in 
the midst of their usefulness, others are raised up 
in their stead to go on where they broke off. Joshua 
must arise to finish what Moses began, thus the lat- 
ter generations enter into the labours of the former. 
And thus Christ, our Joshua, does that for us which 
could never be done by the law of M-Oses; justijies. 
Acts 13. 39. and sanctifies, Rom. 8. 3. The life of 
Moses made way for Joshua, and prepared the peo- 
ple for what was to be done by him: thus the law is 
a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. And then the 
death of Moses made room for Joshua: thus we are 
dead to the law our first husband, that we may be 
married to Christ, Rom. 7. 4. 

3. The particular service he was now called out 
to. " Arise, go over this Jordan, this river, which 
vou have in view, and on the banks of which you lie 
encamped. " This was a trial to the faith of Joshua, 

whether he would gi\e orders to make preparation 
for passing the river, when there was no visible way 
of getting over it, at least, not at this place and at 
this time, when all the banks nvere overfloivn, ch. 3. 
15. He had no pontons or bridge of boats by which 
to convey them o\ er, aud yet he must belie\ e, that 
God, having ordered them over, would open a way 
fir them. Going over Jordan was going into Ca- 
naan; thither Moses might not, could not, bring them, 
Deut. 31. 2. Thus the honour of bringing the ma- 
ny sons to glory is reserved for Christ the Ca/itain 
of our salvation, Heb. 2. 10. 

4. The grant of the land of Canaan to the children 
of Israel is here repeated, v. 2.. 4. I do give it them. 
To the patriarchs it was /iromised, I nvill give it, 
l)ut now that the fourth generation was expired, the 
iniquity of the Amorites was full, and the time v/as 
come for the performance of the promise, it is actu- 
ally conveyed, and they are put in possession of that 
which they had long been in expectation of, " I do 
give it, enter upon it, it is all your own, nay, v. 3. 
I have given it; though it be yet unconquered, it is 
as sure to you as if it were in your hands. " Observe, 
(1.) The persons to whom the conveyance is made, 
to them, even to the children of Israel, v. 2. because 
they are the seed of Jacob, who was called Israel 
then when this promise was made to him. Gen. 35. 
10, 12. The children of Israel, though they had 
been very provoking in the wilderness, yet for their 
fathers' sakes should have the entail preserved. 
And it was the children of the murmurers that God 
said should enter Canaan, Numb. 14. 31. (2.) The 
land itself that is conveyed, from the river Euphrates 
eastward to the Mediterranean sea westward, v. 4. 
Though theii' sin cut them short of this large pos- 
session, and they never replenished all the country 
within the bounds here mentioned; yet had they 
been obedient, God would have given them this and 
much more. Out of all these countries, and many 
others, there were in process of time proselytes to 
the Jewish religion, as appears. Acts 2. 5, &c. If 
their chuirh was enlarged, though their nation was 
not multiplied, it cannot be said that the promise 
was of none effect. And if this promise had not its 
full accomplishment in the letter, believers might 
thence infer that it had a further meaning, and was 
to be fulfilled in the kingdrm of the Messiah, both 
that of grace and that of glory. (3.) The condition 
is here implied, upon which this grant is made, in 
those words, as I said unto Mosm, that is, "upon 
the terms that Moses told you cf many a time; [fye 
will keefi my statutes, you shall go in and possess 
that good land. Take it under those previses and 
limitations, and not otherwise. The precept and 
promise must not be separated." (4.) It is intirns'- 
cd with what case they should gain tire possession 
' f this land, if it were not their own faidt, in these 
words, " Everu place that the sole of your foot shall 
tread ufion (v>'ithin the following l:)Ounds) shall be 
vou'" own. Do but set your foot upon it, and vou 
shall ha\e it." 

5. The promises God here makes to .Joshua f.-r 
his enrouragement. (1. ) That he should be sure of 
the presence of God with him in this great v.-ork to 
which he was called, v. 5. " As I was with Mi&cs 
to direct and strengthen him, to own and prosper 
him, and giv e him success in bringing Israel out of 
Egypt, and leading them through the wilderness, so 
I will be with thee to enable thee to settle them in 
Canaan." Joshua was sensible how far he c^me 
short nf Moses, in wisdom and grace, but what Men- 
ses did, w.^s done by virtue of the presence of Gnd 
with him; and though Joshua had not always the 
same presence of mind that Moses had, yet if he had 
always the same presence of Gcd, he would do well 
enough. Note, It is a great comfort to the rising 
generation of ministers and christians, that the same 



grace which was sufficient for those that went before 
them, shall not be wanting to them, if they be not 
wanting to themselves in the improvement of it. It 
is repeated here again, v. 9. " 77;e Lord thy God 
is nvith thee as a God of power, and that power en- 
iraged for thee whithersoever thou goest. " Note, 
Those that go where God sends them, shall have 
liim with them wherever they go, and they need de- 
sire no more to make them easy and prosperous. 
(2. ) That the presence of God should never be with- 
drawn from him, / taill not fail thee, nor forsake 
thee, V. 5. Moses had assured him of this, Deut. 
;>1. 8. that though he must now leave him, God 
never would; and here God himself confirms that 
word of his semmnt Moses, (Isa. 44. 26. ) and en- 
gages never to leave Joshua. We need the presence 
ot God, not only when we are beginning our work 
to set us in, but in the progress of it to further us 
with a continual help. If that at any time fail us, 
we nre gone; but this we may be sure of, that the 
Lord is nvith us while nve are with him. This pro- 
mise here made to Joshua is applied to all believers, 
rind improved as an argument against covetousness, 
Heb. 13.5, Be content with such things as ye have, 
for he h^th said, I will nerter leave thee. (3.) That 
lie should have victory over all the enemies of Israel, 
V. 5. There shall not any ?nan, that comes against 
thee, be able to stand before thee. Note, There is 
no standing before those that have God on their 
side; JJ he be for us, who can be against us? God 
promises him clear success, the enemy should not 
make any head against him; and constant success, 
all the days of his life; however it might be with Is- 
rael when he was gone, all his reign should be grac- 
ed with triumphs. What Joshua had himself en- 
couraged the people with long ago, Numb. 14. 9. 
(iod here encourages him with. f4.) That he 
should himself have the dividing of this land among 
the people of Israel, v. 6. It was a great encou- 
!-agement to him in beginning this Avork, that he was 
sure to see it finished, and his labour should not be 
in vain. Some make it a reason whv he should arm 
himself with resolution, and be of good courage, be- 
cause of the bad character of the people whom he 
must cause to inherit that land; he knew well what 
a frnward discontented people they were, and how 
unmanigeable they had been in his predecessor's 
time; let him therefore expect vexation from them 
and be of good courage. 

6. The charge and cimmand he gives to Joshua, 
which is, 

(1.) That he conform himself in every thing to 
tlie law of God, and make that his rule, v. 7, 8. 
God does as it were put the book of the law into 
Joshua's hand; as when Joash was crowned, they 
gave him the testimony, 2 Kings 11. 12. And con- 
cerning this bonk, he is charged, [1.] Tt) meditate 
therein day and night, that he might understand it, 
and have it ready to him upon all occasions. If evei- 
any man's business might have excused him from 
meditation, and other acts of devotion, one Avould 
think that Joshua's might at this time; it was a great 
trust that was lodged in his hands, the care of it was 
enough to fill him, if he had ten souls, and yet he 
must find time and thoughts for meditation. What- 
ever affairs of this world we have to mind, we must 
not neglect the one thing needful. [2.] Not to let 
it depart out of his mouth, that is, all his orders to 
the people, and his judgments upon a])peals made 
to him, must be consonant to the law of God; upon 
all occasions he must s/ieak according to this rule; 
Isa. 8. 20. Joshua was to maintain and carrv on the 
work that Moses had begun, and therefore he must 
not only complete the salvation Moses had wrought 
for them, but must uphold the holy religion he had 
established among them. There was no occasion 
to make new laws, but that good thing which was 

committed to him, he must carefully and faithfullv 
keep, 2 Tim. 1. 14. [3.] He must observe to do 
according to all this law. To this end he must 
meditate therein, not for contemplation sake only, 
or to fill his head with notions, or that he might find 
something to puzzle the priests with, but that he 
might both as a man and as a magistrate observe to 
do according to what was written therein; and se- 
veral things were written there, which had particu- 
lar reference to the business he had now before hin>, 
as the laws concerning their wars, the destroying 
of the Canaanites, and the dividing of Canaan, &c. 
these he must religiously observe. Joshua was a 
man of great, power and authority, yet he must him- 
self be under command and do as he is bidden. No 
man's dignity or dominion, how great soever, sets 
him above the law of God. Joshua must not only 
govern by law, and take care that the people ob- 
serve the law, but he must observe it himself, and 
so by his own example maintain the honour and 
power of it. First, He must do what was written; it 
is not enough to hear and read the word, to com- 
mend and admire it, and know and remember it, to 
talk and discourse of it, but we must do it. Second- 
ly, He must do according to what was written, exact- 
ly observing the law as his copy, and doing, not only 
that which was there required, but in all circum- 
stances according to the appointment. Thirdly, 
He must do according to all that was written, with- 
out exception or reserve, having a respect to all 
God's command }nn:ts, e^en those which are most 
displeasing to flesh and blood. Fourthly, He must 
observe to do so, observe the checks of conscience, 
the hints of providence, and all the advantages of 
opportunity: careful obser\'ance is necessary to uni- 
versal obedience. Fifthly, He must 7iot turn from 
it, either in his own practice, or in any act of go- 
vernment, to the right hand or to the left, for there 
are errors on both hands, and virtue is in the mean. 
Sixthly, He must be strong and courageous, that 
he may do according to the law. So many discou- 
ragements there are in the way of duty, that those 
who will proceed and persevere in it, must put on 
resolution. And {lastly) to encourage him in his 
obedience, he assures him, that then he shall do 
wisely, (as it is in the margin,) and make his way 
prosfierous, v. 7. 8. They that make the word of 
God their rule, and conscientiously walk by that 
rule, shall both do well and speed well ; it will fur- 
nish them with the best maxims by which to order 
their conversation, Ps. 111. 10. And it will entitle 
them to the best blessings; God shall give them the 
desire of their heart. 

(2.) That he encourage himself herein with the 
promise and presence of God, and make those his 
stay, V. 6, Be strong and of a good courage. And 
again, v. 7. as if this was the one thing needful, 
onlu be strong and very courageous. And he con- 
cludes with this, V. 9, Be strong and of a good cou- 
rage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed. 
Joshua had long since signalized his valour in the 
war with Amalek, and in his dissent from the report 
of the evil spies, and yet Gcd sees fit thus to incul- 
cate this precept upon him. Those that have grace, 
have need to be called upon again and again to ex- 
ercise grace and to improve in it. Joshua Avas hum- 
ble and low in his own eyes, not distrustful of God, 
and his power, and promise, but diffident of himself, 
and of his own Avisdom, and strength, and sufficiency 
for the work, especially coming after so great a man 
as Moses; and therefore God repeats this so often, 
" Be strong and of a good courage; let not the sense 
of thine OAvn infirmities dishearten thee, God is all- 
sufficient. Have not I commanded thee? [1.] «'I 
have commanded the Avork to be done, and tliercfore 
it shall'be done, how invincible soever the difficulties 
may seem that lie in the way." Nay, [2.] "I have 



commanded, called, and commissioned, thee to do it, 
and therefore will be sure to own thee and strength- 
en thee, and bear thee out in it. " Note, When we 
are in the way of our duty, we have reason to be 
strong and very courageous; and it will help very 
much to animate and embolden us, if we keep our 
eye upon the divine warrant, and hear God saying, 
"Have not I commanded thee? I will therefore help 
thee, succeed thee, accept thee, reward thee. " Our 
Lord Jesus, as Joshua here, was borne up under his 
sufferings by a regard to the will of God, and the 
commandment he had received from his Father, 
John 10. 18. 

10. Then Joshua commanded the officers 
of the people, saying, 1 1 . Pass through the 
host, and command the people, saying. Pre- 
pare your victuals ; for within three days ye 
shall pass ov'er this Jordan, to go in to pos- 
sess the land, which the Lord your God 
giveth you to possess it. 12. And to the 
Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half 
the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua, say- 
ing, 1 3. Remember the word which Moses 
the servant of the Lord commanded you, 
saying. The Lord your God hath given you 
rest, and hath given you this land. 14. 
Your wives, your Uttle ones, and your cat- 
tle, shall remain in the land which Moses 
gave you on this side Jordan ; but ye shall 
pass before your brethren armed, all the 
mighty men of valour, and help them, 15. 
Until the Lord have given your brethren 
rest, as he hath given you, and they also have 
possessed the land which the Lord your 
God giveth them: then ye, shall return unto 
the land of your possession, and enjoy it, 
which Moses, the Lord's servant, gave you 
on this side Jordan, toward the sun-rising. 

Joshua, being settled in the government, imme- 
diately applies himself to business; not to take 
state or to take his pleasures, but to further the 
work of God among the people over which God 
had set him. As he that desires the office of a min- 
ister, (1 Tim. 3. 1.) so he that desires the office of 
a magistrate, desires a work, a good work; neither 
is preferred to be idle. 

I. He issues out orders to the people to provide 
for a march; and they had been so long encamped 
in their present post, that it would be a work of 
some difficulty to decamp. The officers of the 
people that commanded under Joshua in their re- 
spective tribes and families, attended him for or- 
ders which they were to transmit to the people. 
Inferior magistrates are as necessary and as ser- 
viceable to the public good in their places as the su- 
preme magistrate in his. What would Joshua have 
done without officers? We are therefore required 
to be subject, n ,t only to the king as supreme, but 
to governors, as to them that are sent by him, 1 Pet. 
2. 13, 14. By these officers, 1. Joshua gi\ es public 
notice, that they were to fiass over Jordan within 
three days. These orders, I suppose, were not 
given till after the return of the spies that were 
sent to bring an account of Jericho, though the striry 
of that affair follows, ch. 2. And perhaps that was 
such an instance of his jealousy, and excessive cau- 
tion, as made it necessary that he should be so often 
bidden as he was, to be strong and of a good cou- 
rage. Observe with what ass arKnce Joshua says it 

to the people, because God had said to him. Ye 
shall fiass over Jordan, and shall possess the land. 
We greatly honour the trath of God, when we stag- 
•ger not at the promise of God. 2. He gives them di- 
i-ections to prepare victuals, not to prepare transport 
vessels; he that bore them out of Egj'pt upon ea- 
gles' wings, would in like manner bear them into 
Canaan, to bring them to himself, Exod. 19. 4. But 
those that wei'e minded to have other victuals be- 
side the manna, which had not yet ceased, must 
prepare it, and have it ready against the time ap- 
pointed. Perhaps, though the manna did not qui\e 
cease till they were come into Canaan, ch. 5. 12. 
yet since they were come into a land inhabited, 
(Exod. 16. 35.) where they might be furnished in 
part with other provisions, it did not fall so plenti- 
fully, nor did they gather so much as when they 
had' it first given them in the wilderness, but de- 
creased gradually, and therefore they aie ordered 
to provide other victuals, in which perhaps was in- 
cluded all other things necessary to their march. And 
some of the Jewish writers considering that having 
manna, thev needed not to pi'ovide other victuals, 
understand i't figuratively, that they must repent oj 
their sins, and make their peace ivith God, and re- 
solve to live a new life, that they might be ready 
to receive this great favour. See Exod. 19. 10, 11. 
II. He reminds the two tribes and a half of the 
obligation they were under to go over Jordan with 
their brethren, though they left their possessions 
and families on this side. Interest would make the 
other tribes glad to go over Jordan, but in these it 
was an act of self-denial, and against the grain: 
therefore it was needful to produce the agreement 
which Moses had made with them, when he gave 
them their possession before their brethren, v. 13, 
Remember the royrd which iMof<es commanded yo7i. 
Some of them perhaps were ready to think now 
that Moses was dead, who they thought was too 
hai-d upon them in this matter, they might find 
some excuse or other to discharge themselves from 
this engagement, or might prevail with Joshua to 
dispense with them; but he holds them to it, and 
lets them know, though Moses was dead, his com- 
mands and their promises were still in full force. 
He reminds them, 1. Of the advantages they had 
received in being first settled: " The Lord your 
God hath given you rest, given your minds rest, 
you know what you have to trust to, and are not as 
the rest of the tribes, waiting the issue of the war 
first and then of the lot. He has also given your 
families rest, 3'our wives and children, whose settle- 
ment is your satisfaction. He has given you rest, 
by giving you this land, this good land, which you 
are in full and quiet possession of. " Note, When 
God by his providence has given us rest, we ought to 
consider how we may honour him with the advan- 
tages of it, and what ser\ice we may do to our 
brethren who are unsettled, or not so well settled 
as we are. When God had given David rest, (2 
Sam. 7. 1.) see how restless he was till he had 
found out a habitation for the ark, Ps. 132. 4, 5. 
When God has given us rest, we must take heed of 
slothfulness, and of settling upon our lees. 2. He 
reminds them of their agreement to help their breth- 
ren in the wars of Canaan, till God had in like man- 
ner given them rest, v. 14, 15. This was, (1.)- 
reasonable in itself; so closely were all the tribes 
incorporated, that they must needs look upon them- 
selves as members one of another. (2.) It was en- 
joined them by M^ses, the servant of the Lord; he 
commanded them to do this, and Joshua his succes- 
sor would see his commands observed. (3.) It was 
the only expedient they had to save themselves 
from the guilt of a great sin in settling on that 
side Jordan, a sin which would one time or other 
find them out, Numb. 32. 23. (4 ) It Avas the con- 


JOSHUA, il. 

ditiin of the grantMoses had made them of the land 
they were possessed of, so that they could not be 
sure of a good title to, or a comfortable enjoyment 
of, the land of their possession, as it is here called, 
7'. 15. if they did not fulfil the condition. (5.) 
They themselves had covenanted and agreed there- 
unto. Numb. 32. 25, Thy servants will do as my 
lo7-d commandeth. Thus we all lie under manifold 
obligations to strengthen the hands one of another, 
and not to seek our own welfare only but one an- 

16. And they answered Joshua, saying, 
All that thou commandest us we will do, 
and whithersoever thou sendest us we v\'il] 
go. 17. According as we hearkened unto 
Moses in all things, so will we hearken 
unto thee : only the Lord thy God be with 
thee, as he was with Moses. 18. Whoso- 
;'ver lie be that doth rebel against thy com- 
mandment, and will not hearken unto thy 
words in all that thou commandest him, he 
shall be put to death : only be strong and 
of a good courage. 

This answer was not given by the two tribes and 
a half only, (though they are spoken of immedi- 
ately before,) but by the officers of all the fieofile, 
{y. 10.) as their representati\es, concurring with 
the divine appointment, by which Joshua was set 
over them, and they did it heartily, and with a great 
deal of cheerfulness and resolution. 

1. They promise him obedience, v. 16. not only 
as subjects to their prince, but as soldiers to their 
general, of whose particular orders they are to be 
observant; he that hath soldiers under him, saith to 
this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another. Come, 
and he cometh; Matt. 8. 9. Th'^s the people of Is- 
rael here engage themselves to J.shui, "a// that 
thou con.mandest us to do ive ivill readily do, with- 
out murmuring or disputing; and whithersoe\'er 
thou sendest us, though upon the most difficult and 
])erilous expedition, we will go." We must thus 
swear allegiance to our Lord Jesus, as the Captain 
of our salvation, and bind ourselves to do what he 
commands us by his word, and to go whither he 
sends us by his pro-vidence. 

And since Joshua, being humbly conscious to him- 
self how far short he came of Moses, feared he 
should not have such influence upon the people, and 
such an interest in them, as Moses had, they here 
]>romise that they would be as obedient to him as 
ever they had been to Moses, v. 17. To speak 
truth, they had no reason to boast of their obedience 
to Moses, he had found them a stiff-necked people, 
Deut. 9. 24. But they mean that they would be as 
observant of Joshua as they should have been, and 
as some of them were (the generality of them at 
least sometimes) of Moses. Note, We must not so 
magnify them that are gone, how eminent soever 
they were, either in the magistracy or in the minis- 
try, as to be wanting in the honour and duty we owe 
to those that survive and succeed them, though in 
gifts they may come short of them. Obedience 
for conscience sake will continue, though Pro\i- 
dcnce change the hands by which it rules and acts. 

2. They pray for the ])resence of God with him, 
V. 17. " Only the Lord thy God he with thee, to 
bless and prosper thee, and give thee success, as he 
was with Moses." Prayers and supplications are 
to be made for all in authority, 1 Tim. 2. 1, 2. And 
the best thing we can ask of God for oui' magis- 
trates, is, that they may have the presence of God 
with them; that will make them \.> us, so 

that in seeking this for them, we consult our own 
interest. A reason is here intimated, why they 
would obey him as they had obeyed Moses, because 
they believed (and in faith prayed) that God's pre- 
sence would be with him as it was with Moses. 
Th(;se that we have reason to think ha\ e favoui 
fi 1 n\ God, should have honour and respect from us. 
Some understand it as a limitation of their obedi- 
ence; "We will obey only as far as we perceive 
the Lord is with thee, but no further. While thou 
keepcst close to God, he will keep close to thee ; 
hitherto shall our obedience come, but no further." 
But they were so far from having any suspicion cf 
Joshua's deviating from the di\ ine rule, that there 
needed not such a pro\ iso. 

3. They pass an act to make it death to any Is- 
raelite to disobey Joshua's orders, or rebel against 
his commandment, v. 18. Perhaps, if such a law 
had been made in Moses's time, it might ha\ e pre- 
\ ented many of the rebellions that were formed 
against him, for most men fear the sword of the ma- 
gistrate more than the justice of God. Yet there 
was a special reason for the making of this law, now 
that they were entering upon the wars cf Canaan, 
for in time of war the severity of military discipline 
is more necessaiy than at other times. Some think 
that in this statute they have an eye to that law 
concerning the prophet God would i-aise up like 
unto Moses, which they think, though it refer 
chiefly to Christ yet takes in Joshua by the way, 
as a type of him, that whosoever would not hear- 
ken to him, should be cut off from his people, Deut. 
18. 19. I ivill require it of him. 

4. They animate him to go on with cheerfulness 
in the work to which Grd had called him; and, in 
desiring that he would be strong and of a good cou- 
rage, they do in eff"ect promise him that they would 
do all they could, by an exact, bold and cheerful ob- 
servance of all his orders, to encourage him. It 
veiy much heartens those that lead in a good work, 
to see those that follow, follow with a good will. 
Joshua, though of appro\ ed valour, did not take it 
as an aff'ront, but as a gi-eat kindness, for the pec 
pie to bid him be strong and of a good courage. 


In this we have an account of the scouts that were em- 
ployed to brinar an account to Joshua of the pastura 
of the city of Jericho : Observe here, I. How Joshua 
sent them, v. 1. II. How Rahab received them, and 
protected them, and told a lie for them, v. 2. . 7. so that 
they escaped out of the hands of the enemy. III. The 
account she gave them of the present posture of Jericho, 
and the panic-fear they were struck with upon the approach 
of Israel, v. 8. . 11. IV. The bargain she made with 
them for the security of herself and her relations in the 
ruin she saw coming upon her city, v. 12. .21. V. Their 
safe return to Joshua, and the account they gave him of 
their expedition, v. 22. . 24. And that which makes this 
story most remarkable, is, that Rahab, the person prin- 
cipally concerned in it, is twice celebrated in the New 
Testament as a great believer, Hth. 11. 31. and as one 
whose faith proved itself by,good works, James 2. 25. 

1. k ND Joshua the son of Nun sent out 
j\. of Shittim two men to spy secretly, 
saying. Go view the land, even Jericho. And 
they went, and came into a harlot's house, 
named Rahab, and lodged there. 2. And 
it was told the king of Jericho, saying. Be- 
hold, there came men in hither to-night of 
the children of Israel, to search out the 
country. 3. And the king of Jericho sent 
unto llahab, saying. Bring forth the men 
(hat are come to thee, which arc entered 

JOSHUA, 11. 


imo thine house : for they be come to search 
out all the country. 4. And the woman 
took the two men, and hid them, and said 
tiius, There came men unto me, but I wist 
not whence they ?uerc. : 5. And it came to 
pass, about the time. of shutting of the gate, 
when it was dark, that the men went out : 
whither the men went I wot not: pursue 
after them quickly ; for ye shall overtake 
them. 6. But she had brought them up to 
the roof of the house, and hid them with the 
stalks of flax, which she had laid in order 
upon the roof. 7. And the men pursued 
after them the way to Jordan, unto the 
fords : and as soon as they which pursued 
after them were gone out, they shut the gate. 
In thes3 verses we have, 

I. The prudence of Joshua, in sending spies to 
observe this important pass, which was likely to be 
disputed at the entrance of Israel into Canaan, v. 
1, Go vknt) the land, even Jericho. Moses had sent 
spies, Numb. 13. (Joshua himself was one of them,) 
and it proved of ill consequence: yet Joshua now 
sends spies, not as the former were sent to survey 
the whole land, but Jericho only; not to bringthe ac- 
count to the whole congregation, but to Joshua onlv; 
who, like a watchful General, was continually pro- 
jecting fir the public good, and was particularly 
careful to take the first step well, and not to stum- 
ble at the threshold. It was not fit that Joshua 
should venture over Jordan, to make his remarks 
incognito — in dinguise, but he sends two men, two 
young men (say the LXX. ) to view the land, 
that from their report he might take his mei- 
sures in attacking Jericho. Observe, 1. There 
is no remedy, but great men must see with other 
people's eyes, wh'ch makes it verv necessary 
that they be cautious in the choice of those they 
employ, since so much often depends on their fide- 
lity. 2. Faith in God's promise ought not to super- 
sede but encour ige our diligence in the use of pro- 
per means. Joshua is sure he has God with him, 
and yet sends men before him. We do not trust 
God, but tempt him, if our expectations sl;icken our 
endeavours. See how I'eady these men were to go 
upon this hazardous enterprise; though they put 
their li\ es in their hands, vet they ventured in obe- 
dience to Joshua their General, in zeal for the 
service of the caoip, and ifi dependence upon the 
power of that God, who being the keeper of Israel 
in general, is the Pr^itector of every particular Is- 
raelite in the wav of his duty. 

II. The providence of God, directing the spies 
to the house of Rahab. How they got over Jordan 
we are not told, but into Jericho they came, which 
was about seven or eight miles from the ri\ er, and 
there seeking for a convenient inn, were directed to 
the house of Rahab, here called a harlot; a woman 
that had formerly been of ill fame, the reproach of 
which stuck to her name, though of late she had 
repented and reformed. Simon the leper, (Matt. 
26. 6.) though cleansed from his leprosy, wore the 
reproach of it in his name as long as he lived; so Ra- 
hab the harlot, and she is so called in the New 
Testament, where both her faith and her good 
works are praised-, to teach us, 1. That the great- 
ness of sin is no bar to pardoning mercy, if it be 
truly repented of in time. We read of publicans 
and harlots entering into the kingdom of the Mes- 
siah, and being welcomed to all the privileges of 
that kingdom. Matt. 21. 31. 2. That there are 
many, who before their conversion were ^■ery wick- 

ed and vile, and yet afterward come to great emi- 
nence in faith and holiness. Even those that through 
grace have repented of the sins of their youth, must 
expect to bear the reproach of them, and when they 
hear of their old faults, must renew their repentance; 
and as an evidence of that, hear of them patiently. 

God's Israel, for aught that appears, had but one 
friend, but one well-wisher in all Jericho, and that 
was Rahab, a harlot. God has often ser\ed his 
own purposes and his church's interests by m^n rf 
indifferent morals. Had these scouts gone to any 
other house than this, they had certainly lieen be- 
trayed and put to death without mercy. But God 
knew where they had a friend that would be true 
to them, though they did not, and directed, them 
thither. Thus that which seems to us most con- 
tingent and accidental, is often over-ruled by the 
Divine Providence to serve its great ends. And those 
that faithfully acknowledge God in their ways, he 
\w\\\ guide them ivith hia rye. See Jer. 36. 19, 26. 

III. The piety of Rahab in receiving and prt)- 
tecting these Israelites. Those that keep public- 
houses, entertain all comers, and think themselves 
obliged to be civil to their guests. But Rahab 
showed her guests more than common civility, and 
went upon an uncommon principle in what she did; 
it was by faith that she received those with peace, 
against whom her king and country had denounced 
war, Heb. 11. 31. 1. She bid them welcome to 
her house, they lodged there, though it appeai-s by 
what she said to them, v. 9. she knew both whence 
they came, and what their business was. 2. Per- 
ceiving th:it they were observed coming into the 
city, and that umbrage was taken at it, she hid 
them upon the roof of the house, which was flat, 
and covered them vvith stalks of flax, {v. 6.) so that 
if the oflicers should come hither to search for 
them, there they might lie undiscovered. By these 
stalks of fl.ix, which she herself had laid in order 
upon the roof to dry in the sun, in order to the 
beating of it, and making it ready for the wheel, it 
appears she had one of the good characters of the 
virtuous woman, however in' others of them she 
misrht be deficient, that she sought wool and flax, 
and wrought willingly with her hands, Prov. 31. 
13. From which instance of her honest industry, 
one would hope, that whatever she had been for- 
merly, she was not now a harlot. 3. When slv 
was examined concerning them, she denied they 
were in her house, turned off the officers that had 
a warrant to search for them with a sham, and so 
secured them. No marvel that the king of Jericho 
sent to inquire after them, v. 2, 3. he had cause to 
fear when the enemy was at his door, and his fear 
made him suspicious and jealous of all strangers; 
he had reason to demand from Rahab that she 
should bring forth the men to be dealt with as spies: 
but Rahab not only disowned that she knew them, 
or where they were, but, that no further search 
might be made for them in the city, told the pur- 
suers they were gone away again, aiid in all proba- 
bility might be overtaken, x'. 4, 5. 

Now, (1.) We are sure this was a good work : it 
is canonized by the apostle, James 2. '25. wheie she 
is said to hejusfijied by works, and this is instanced 
in that she received the messengers, arid sent them 
out another way, and she did it by faith, such a 
f nth as set her above the fear of man, e\'en of 
the wrath of the king. She believed, upon the 
report she had heard of the wonders wrought for 
Israel, that their God was the only true God, and 
that therefore their declared design upon Canaan 
would undoubtedly take effect, and in this faith she 
sided with them, protected them, and courted their 
favour. Had she said, "1 believe God is your*3 
and Canaan your's, but I dare not show you any 
kindness," her faith had been dead and inactive. 



and would not have justified her. But by this it ap- 
peared to be both ahve and lively, that she exposed 
herself to the utmost peril, even of life, in obedience 
to her faith. Note, 1 hose only are true believers, 
that can find in their hearts to venture for God; 
and those that by faith take the Lord for their 
God, take his people for their people, and cast in 
their lot among them. They that have God for 
then- refuge and hiding-place, must testify their 
grat^fude by their readiness to shelter his people 
when there is occasion: lei mine outcasts dwell ivith 
thee, Isa. 16. 3, 4. And we must be glad of an op- 
portunity cf testifying the sincerity and zeal of our 
love to God, by hazardous services to his church 
and kingdom among men. 

But, (2.) There is that in it which it is not easy 
to justify, and yet it must be justified, or else it 
could not be so good a work as to justify her. [1.] 
It is plain that she betrayed her country by har- 
bouring the enemies of it, and aiding those that 
were designing its destruction, which could not con- 
sist with her allegiance to her prince, and her af- 
fection and duty to the community she was a mem- 
ber of. But that which justifies her in this, is, that 
ihe knew that the Lord had given them this land, 
V. 9. knew it by the incontestable miracles God 
had wrought for them, which confirmed that grant; 
and her obligations to God were higher than her 
obligations to any other. If she knew God had 
given them this land, it would have been a sin to 
join with those that hindered them from possessing 
it. But since no such grant of any land to any people 
can now be proved, this will by no means justify 
any such treacherous practices against the public 
welfare. [2. ] It is plain that she deceived the of- 
ficers that examined her, with an untruth. That 
she knew not wlience the men were, that they 
were gone out, that she knew not whither they 
were gone. What shall we say to this? If she had 
either told the truth, or been silent, she had be- 
trayed the spies, and that had certainly been a 
great sin: and it does not appear that she had 
another way of concealing them, than by this iron- 
ical direction to the officers to pursue them another 
way, which if they would suffer themselves to be 
deceived by, let them be deceived. None are 
bound to accuse themselves, or their friends, of 
that which, though inquired after as a crime, they 
know to be a virtue. This case was altogether ex- 
traordinary, and therefore cannot be drawn into a 
precedent: and that may be justified here, which 
would be by no means lawful in a common case. 
Rahab knew by what was already done on the 
other side Jordan, that no mercy was to be showed 
to the Canaanites, and from thence inferred, if 
mercy were not owing them, ti'uth was not; they 
that might be destroyed, might be deceived. Yet 
divines generally conceive that it was a sin, which 
however admitted of this extenuation, that being a 
Canaanite she was not better taught the evil of ly- 
ing; but God accepted her faith and pardoned her 
infirmity : however it was in this case, we are sure 
it is our duty to speak every man the ti-uth to his 
neighbour, to dread and detest lying, and never to 
do evil, that evil, that good may come of it, Rom. 
3. 8. But God accepts what is sincerely and ho- 
nestly intended, though there be a mixture of frail- 
ty and folly in it, and is not extreme to mark what 
we do amiss. Some suggest that what she said 
might possibly be true of some other men. * 

* However tho Riiilt of Rahab's falsehood may lie extonualed, it 
seems best to admit iioiliiiii; wlii( h lends to explain it away. Wc 
are sure that G<k1 (liscriiniiiated hrtween what was pood in her con- 
duct, aird what was had, rewarditip the former, anil pardoning llie 
latter. Iler views of the divine law mnst have heeii exceedingly 
dim and contrnclrd; a similar falsehood, told by those who enjoy 
the lipht of revniaiion, however laudable the motive, would (if 
coiirsn deserve much heavier cenaure. 

8. And before they were laid down, sh6 
came up unto them upon the roof; 9. And 
she said unto the men, I know that the 
Lord hath given you the land, and that 
your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the 
inhabitants of the land faint because of you. 
10. For we have heard how the Lord 
dried up the water of the Red Sea for you, 
when ye came out of Egypt ; and what ye 
did unto the two kings of the Amorites that 
ivere on the other side Jordan, Sihon and 
Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. 11. And 
as soon as we had heard these things, our 
hearts did melt, neither did there remain 
any more courage in any man, because of 
you : for the Lord your God, he is God in 
heaven above, and in earth beneath. 12. 
Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me 
by the Lord, since I have showed you 
kindness, that ye will also show kindness 
unto my father's house, and give me a true 
token : 13. And that ye will save alive my 
father, and my mother, and my brethren, 
and my sisters, and all that they have, and 
deliver our lives from death. 14. And the 
men answered her. Our life for yours, if ye 
utter not this our business. And it shall 
be, when the Lord hath given us the land, 
that we will deal kindly and truly with 
thee. 15. Then she let them down by a 
cord through the window : for her house 
ii-as upon the town wall, and she dwelt up- 
on the wall. 1 6. And she said unto them, 
Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers 
meet you ; and hide yourselves there three 
days, until the pursuers be returned : and 
afterward may ye go your way. 1 7. And 
the men said unto her. We will be blame- 
less of this thine oath which thou hast 
made us swear. 18. Behold, when we 
come into the land, thou shalt bind this hne 
of scarlet thread in the window which thou 
didst let us down by ; and tliou shalt bring 
thy father, and thy mother, and thy bre- 
thren, and all thy father's household, home 
unto thee. 19. And it shall be, that who- 
soever shall go out of the doors of thy house 
into the street, his blood shall be upon his 
head, and we ivill be guiltless : and whoso- 
ever shall be with thee in the house, his 
blood shall be on our head, if ani/ hand be 
upon him. 20. And if thou utter this ouj 
business, then we wilf be quit of thine oath 
which thou hast made us to swear. 21. 
And she said. According unto your words 
so be it. And she sent them away, and 
they departed : and she bound the scarlet 
line in the window. 

The matter is here settled between Rahab and 
the spies, respecting the service she was now to do 



for them, and the favovir they were afterward to 
show to her. She secures them on condition that 
they should secure her. 

I.' She gives them, and by them sends to Joshua 
•\nd Israel, all the encouragement that could be de- 
sired to make their intended descent upon Canaan. 
This was what they came for, and it was worth 
coming for. Being got clear of the officers, she 
comes up to them to the roof of the house where 
they lay hid, finds them perhaps somewhat dis- 
mayed at the peril they apprehended themselves 
in from the ofhcers, and scarcely recovered fron) 
the fright, but has that to say to them which will 
give them abundant satisfaction. 1. She lets them 
know that the report of the great things God had 
done for them, was come to Jericho, v. 10. not only 
that they had an account of their late victories ob- 
tained over the Amorites, in the neiglibouring 
country, on the other side the river, but that their 
miraculous deliverance out of Egypt, and passage 
through the Red-sea, a great way off, and forty 
years ago, were remembered and talked of afresh 
in Jericho to the amazement of every body. Thus 
this Joshua and his fellows were men wondered at, 
Zech. 3. 8. See how God makes his ivonderful 
works to be remembered, Ps. 111. 4. so that men 
shall sfieak of the might of his terrible acts, Ps. 145. 
6. 2. She tells them what impressions the tidings 
of these things had made upon the Canaanites, 
your terror has fallen upon us, t. 9. our hearts did 
Tnelt, V. 11. If she kept a public house, that would 
give her an opportunity of understanding the sense 
of various companies, and of travellers from other 
parts of the country; so that they could not know 
this any way better than by her inform atifn; and it 
would be of great use to Joshua and Israel to know 
it, it would put courage into the most cowardly Is- 
raelite to hear how their enemies were dispirited; 
and it was easy to conclude, that they who now 
fainted before them, would infallibly fall before 
them: especially because it was the accomplish- 
ment of a promise God had made them, that he 
would lay the fear and dread of them upon all this 
land, Deut. 11. 25. and so it would be an earnest of 
the accomplishment of all the other promises God 
had made them. Let not the stout man glory in 
his courage, any more than the strong man in his 
strength, for God can weaken both mind and body. 
Let not God's Israel be afraid of their most power- 
ful enemies, for their God can, when he pleases, 
make their most powerful enemies afraid of them. 
Let none think to harden their hearts against God 
and prosper, for he that made man's soul, can at 
any time make the sword of his terrors approach 
to it. She hereupon makes the profession of her 
faith in God and his promise; and jjerhaps there 
was not found so great faith (all things considered,) 
no, not in Israel, as in this woman of Canaan. '(1.) 
She believes God's power and dominion over all the 
world,!;. 11. "Jehovah your God whom you wor- 
ship and call upon, is so far above all gods, that he 
is the only true God; for lie is God in heaven above 
and in earth beneath, and is served by all the hosts 
of both." A vast distance there is between heaven 
and earth, yet both are equally under the inspec- 
tion and government of the great Jehovah. Heaven 
is not above his power, nor earth below his cogni- 
zance. (2.) She believes his promise to his peo- 
ple Israel, v. 9, I know that the Lord hath given 
you the land. The king of Jericho had heard as 
much as she had of the great things God had done 
for Israel, yet he cannot infer from thence that the 
Lord had given them this land, but resolves to hold 
it out against them to the last extremity: for the 
most powerful means of conviction Avill not of them- 
selves attain the end without divine grace, and by 
that grace, Rahab the harlot, who had only heard 

Vol. it.— C 

of the wonders God had wrought, sj^eaks Avith more 
assurance of the truth of the promise made to the 
fathers, than all the eldeis of Israel had done who 
were eye-witnesses of those wonders, many of 
whom perished ttirough unbelief of this proiiiise. 
Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have 
believed; so Rahab did; O woman, great is thij 

II. She engaged them to take her and her rela- 
tions under their protection, that they might not 
perish in the destiniction of Jericho, T». 12,13. Now, 

I. It was an evidence of the sincerity and strength 
of her faith concerning the approaching revolution 
in her country, that she was so solicitous to make 
an interest for herself with the Israelites, and court- 
ed their kindness. She foresaw the conquest of her 
countiy, and in the belief of that bespoke in time 
the favour of the conquerors. Thus l^oah, being 
moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of 
his house, and the condemning of the world, Heb. 

II. 7. They who truly believe the divine revela- 
tion, concerning the ruin of sinners, and tl;e grant 
of the heavenly land to God's Israel, will give dili- 
gence to flee from the wrath to come, and to lay 
hold on eternal life, by joining themselves to God 
and to his people. 2. The provision she made for 
the safety of her relations, as well as for her own, 
is a laudable instance of natural aflFection, and an 
intimation to us in like manner to do all we can for 
the salvation of the souls of those that are dear to 
us, and, with ourselves, to bring them, if possible, 
into the bond of the covenant. No mention is made 
of her husband and children, but only her parents 
and brothers and sisters, whom, though she was 
herself a housekeeper, she retained a due concern 
for. 3. Her request that they would swear unto 
her by Jehovah, is an instance of her acquaintance 
with the only true God, and her faith in him, and 
devotion toward him, one act of which is religiously 
to swear by his name. 4. Her petition is very Just 
and reasonable, that since she had protected them, 
they should protect her; and since her kindness to 
them extended to their people, for whom they 
were now negotiating, their kindness to her should 
take in all her's. It was the least they could do for 
one that had saved their Iia'cs with the hazard of 
her own. Note, Those that show mercy may ex- 
pect to find mercy. Observe, She does not de- 
mand any preferment by way of reward for her 
kindness to them, though they lay so much at her 
mercy that she might have made her own terms, 
but only indents for her life, which, in a general de- 
struction would be a singular favour. Thus God 
promised Ebed-Melech in recompense for his 
kindness to Jeremiah, that in the worst of times he 
should have his life for a prey, Jer. 39. 18. Yet 
this Rahab was afterward advanced to be a prin- 
cess in Israel, the wife of Salmon, and one of the an- 
cestors of Christ, Matt. 1. 5. Those that faithfully 
serve Christ, and suffer for him, he will not only 
protect, but prefer, and will do for them more than 
then are able to ask or think. 

III. They solemnly engaged for her preservation 
in the common destruction, v. 14, " Our life for 
yours. We will take as much care of your lives 
as of our own, and would as soon hurt ourselves as 
any of you." Nay, they imprecate God's judg- 
ments on themselves, if they should violate their 
promise to her. She had pawned her life for their's, 
and now they in requital pawn their lives for her's, 
and (as public persons) with them they pawn the 
public faith and the credit of their nation, for they 
plainly interest all Israel in the engagement of those 
words. When the Lord has given 7is the land, 
meaning not themselves only, but the people whose 
agents they were. No doubt, they knew them- 
selves suflBciently authorised to treat with Rahab 



concerning this matter, and were confident tluit 
Joshua would ratify what they did, else they had not 
dealt honestly; the general law, that they should 
mike no covenant with the Canaanites, (I)eut. 7. 
2.) did not forbid them to take under their protec- 
tion a particular person, that was heartily ccme into 
their interests, and had done them real kindnesses. 
The law of gratitude is one of the laws of nature. 
Now observe here, 

1. The promises they made her. In general, 
" JVe will deal kindly and truly ivit/i thee, v. 14. 
We will not only be kind in promising now, but 
true in performing what we promise, and not only 
true in performing just what we promise, but kind 
in out-doing thy demands and expectations." The 
goodness of God is often expressed by his kindness 
and truth, (Ps. 117. 2.) and in both these we must 
be followers of him. In particular, "If a hand 
be iifion any in the house with thee, his blood shall 
be on our head, v. 19. If hurt come through our 
carelessness to those whom we are obliged to pro- 
tect, we thereby contract guilt, and blood will be 
found a heavy load." 

2. The provisos and limitations of their promises. 
Though they were in haste, and it may be in some 
confusion, yet we find them very cautious in settling 
this agreement and the terms of it, not to bind 
themselves to more than was fit for them to per- 
form. Note, Covenants must be made with care, 
and we must swear in judgment, lest we find our- 
seh es perplexed and entangled when it is too late 
after vows to make inquiry. 1'hey that will be 
conscientious in keeping their promises, will be 
cautious in making them, and perhaps may insert 
conditions which others may think frivolous. 

Their promise is here accompanied with thiee 
provisos, and they were necessary ones. They will 
protect Rahab, and all her relations always, pro- 
vided, (1.) That she tie the scarlet cord with which 
she was now about to let them down, in the window 
of her house, v. 18. This was to be a mark upon 
the house, which the spies would take care to give 
notice of to the camp of Israel, that no soldier, how 
hot and eager soever he was in miUtary executions, 
might offer any violence to the house that was thus 
distinguished- This was like the blood sprinkled 
upon the door-post which secured the first-born 
from the destroying angel, and being of the same 
colour, some allude to this also, to represent the 
safety of believers, under the protection of the 
blood of Christ sprinkled on the conscience. The 
•same cord that she made use of for the pi-eserva- 
tion of these Israelites, was to be made use of for 
her preservation. What we serve and honour God 
with, we may expect he will bless and make com- 
fortable to us. (2. ) That she should have all those 
-whose safety she had desired in the house with her, 
and keep them there; and that at the time of taking 
fhe town, none of them should dare to stir out of 
doors, V. 18, 19. This was a necessary^ proviso, 
for Rahab's kindred could not be distinguished any 
other way than by being in her distinguished house; 
should they mingle themselves with their neigh- 
bours, there was no remedy, but the sword would 
'devour o^/e as well as another. It was a reasonable 
T^roviso, tlaat since they were saved purely for Ra- 
hab's, her house should have the honour of 
being tlieir castle; and that if they would not fierish 
with them that believed not, they should thus far 
believe the certainty and severity of the ruin com- 
■uig u])on their city, as to retire into a place made 
safe by promise^ as Noah in the ark, and Lot into 
Zoar, and should save themselves from this unto- 
ward (generation, by separating from them. It was 
likewise a signi/icant proviso, intimating to us that 
those who are added to the church that tliey may 
be saved, must keep close to the society of the faith- 

fa', and ha-, ing escaped the corruption that is in the 
world through lust, must take heed of being again 
entangled therein. (3. ) That she should keep coun- 
sel, V. 14, 20. If thou utter this our business, that 
is, " If thou betray us when we are gone, or if thou 
make this agreement public, so as that others tie 
scarlet lines in their windows, and so conft und us, 
then we will be quit of thine oath." They are un- 
worthy of the secret of the Lord, that know not how 
to keep it to themselves when there is occasion. 

IV. She then took effectual care t» secure her 
new friends, and sent them out another way, James 
2. 25. Having fully understood the bargain they 
made with her, and consented to it, v. 21. she then 
let them down by a cord over the city wall, v. 15. 
the situation of her house befriending them herein: 
Thus Paul made his escape out of Damascus, 2 
Cor. 11. 33. She also directed them which way to 
go for their own safety, being better acquainted 
with the country than they were, v. 16. She di- 
rects them to leave the high road, and abscond in 
the mountains till the pursuers were returned, for 
till then they could not safely venture over Jordan. 
Those that are in the way of God and their duty, 
may expect that Providence will protect them, but 
that will not excuse them from taking all prudent 
methods for their own safety. God will keep us, 
but then we must not wilfully expose ourselves. 
Pro\'idence must be trusted, but not tempted. Cal- 
vin thinks that their charge to Rahab to keep this 
matter secret, and not to utter it, was intended for 
her safety, lest she, boasting of her security from 
the sword of Israel, should, before they came to 
protect her, fall into the hands of the king of Jeri- 
cho, and be put to death for treason : thus do they 
prudently advise her for her safety, as she advised 
them for their's. And it is good advice, which wfc 
should at any time be thankful for, to take heed to 

22. And they went, and came unto the 
mountain, and abode there three days, until 
the pursueis were returned : And the pur- 
suers sought thevi throughout all the way, 
but found them not. 23. So the two men re- 
turned, and descended from the mountain, 
and passed over, and came to Joshua the 
son of Nun, and told him all things that 
befell them : 24. And they said unto 
Joshua, Truly the Lord hath delivered 
into our hands all the land ; for even all the 
inhabitants of the countiy do faint because 
of us. 

We have here the safe return of the spies Joshua 
had sent, and the great encouragement they brought 
with them to Israel to proceed in their descent upon 
Canaan. Had they been minded to discourage the 
people, as the evil spies did that Moses sent, they 
might have told them what they had observed of 
the height and strength of the walls of Jericho, and 
the extraordinary vigilance of the king of Jericho, 
and how narrowly they escaped out of his hands: 
but they were of another spirit, and depending 
themselves upon the divine promise, they animated 
Joshua likewise. 

1. Their return in safety was itself an encourage- 
ment to Joshua, and a token for good. That God 
provided for them so good a friend as Rahab was, in 
an enemy's country, and that, notwithstanding the 
rage of the king of Jericho, and the eagerness of 
the pursuers, they were come back in ^-eacc, with 
such an instance of God's great care concerning 
them for Israel's sake, as might assure the people 



of the divine conduct and care they were under, 
which would undoubtedly make the progress of 
their arms glorioufe. He that so wonderfully pro- 
tected their scouts, would preserve their men of 
war, and cover their heads in the day of battle. 

2. The report they brought was much more en- 
couraging, V. 24. "lill the inhabitants of the coun- 
try, though resolved to stand it out, yet do faint 
because of us, they ha\ e neither wisdom to yield, 
nor courage to fight;" whence they conclude, 
" Truly the Lord has delivered into our hands all 
the land, it is all our own, we have nothing to do, in 
effect, but to take possession." Sinners' frights are 
sometimes sure presages of their fall. If we resist 
our spii'itual enemies, they will flee before us, 
which will encourage us to hope that in due time 
we shall be more than conquerors. 


T hi» chapter, and that which follows il, gives us the history 
lit" Israel's passing through Jordan into Canaan, and a 
very memorable history it is. Long after, they are bid 
to remember, what God did for them between Shittim 
(whence they decamped, v. 1.) and Gilgal, where they 
next pitched, ch. 4. 19. Mic. 6. 5, That they might 
know the righteousness of the Lord. By Joshua's order 
they marched up to the river's side, v. 1. and then al- 
mighty power led them through it. They passed through 
the Red-sea unexpectedly, and in their flight by night, 
but they have notice some lime before of their passing 
through Jordan, and their expectations raised. I. The 
people are directed to follow the ark, v. 2 . . 4. 11. They 
are commanded to sanctify themselves, v. 5. III. The 
priests with the ark are ordered to lead the van, v. 6. 

IV. Joshua is magnified and made commander in chief, 

V. 7, 8. V. Public notice is given of what God is about 
to do for them, v. 9 . . 13. VI. The thing is done, Jor- 
dan is divided, and Israel brought safely through it, \ . 
14 . . 17. This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous 
in our eyes. 

i. A ND Joshua rose early in the morn- 
-/\. ing; and they removed from Shit- 
tim, and came to Jordan, he and all the 
children of Israel, and lodged there before 
they passed over. 2. And it came to pass, 
after three days, that the officers went 
through the host ; 3. And they commanded 
die people, saying. When ye see the ark 
of the covenant of the Lord your God, 
and the priests the Levites bearing it, tlien 
ye shall remove from your place, and go 
after it. 4. Yet there shall be a space be- 
tween you and it, about two thousand cubits 
by measure : come not near unto it, that ye 
may know the way by which ye must go : 
for ye have not passed this way heretofore. 
5. And Joshua said unto the people. Sanc- 
tify yourselves: for to-morrow the Lord 
will do wonders among you. 6. And 
Joshua spake unto the priests, saying. Take 
up the ark of the covenant, and pass over 
before the people. And they took up the 
ark of the covenant, and went before the 

Rahab, in mentioning to the sp'es the drying vfi 
of the Red Sea, ch. 2. 10. the report of which 
terrified the Canaanites more than any thing else, 
in,timates that they on that side the water expected 
that Jordan, that great defence of their coimtry, 
would in like manner give way to them; whether 
the Israelites had any expectation of it, does not 

appear. God often did things for them which thty 
looked not for, Isa. 64. 3. Now here we are told, 

1. Tliat they came to Jordan and lodged there, 
xt. 1. Though they were not yet told how they 
should pass the ri\ er, and were unprovided for the 
passing of it in any'ordinajy way, yet they went 
forward in faith, having been t( Id, ch. 1. 11. that 
they should pass it. We must go on in the way of 
our duty, though we foresee difficulties, trusting 
God to help us through them, when we come to 
them. Let us piocecd as far as we can, and de- 
pend on divine sufficiency for that which we find 
ourseh es not sufficient for. In this march Joshua 
led them, and particular notice is taken of his early 
rising; as there is afterward upon other occasions, 
ch. 6. 12. — 7. 16. — 8. 10. which intimates how lit- 
tle he loved his ease, how much he lo^■ed his busi- 
ness, and what care and pains he was willing to 
take in it. Those that would bring gretit things 
to pass, must rise early- Love not sleep, lest thou 
come to poverty. Joshua herein set a good example 
to the officers under him, and taught them to rise 
early, and to all that are in public stations especially 
to attend continually to the duty of their place. 

II. That the people were directed to follow the 
ark; officers were appointed to go through the host 
to give these directions, X'. 2. that every Israelite 
might know both what to do, and what to depend 

L They might depend upon the ark to lead 
them; that is, upon God himself, of whose presence 
the ark was an instituted sign and token. It seems, 
the pillar of cloud and fire was removed, else that 
had led them, unless we suppose that that now ho- 
vered over the ark, and so they had a double guide, 
honour was put upon the ark, and a defence upon 
that glory. It is called here the ark of the covenant 
of the Lord their God. What greater encourage- 
ment could they have than this. That the Lord was 
their God, a God in covenant with them? Here 
was the ark of the covenant; if God be cur's, we 
need not to fear any evil. He was nigh to them, 
present with them, went before them: What could 
come amiss to them that were thus guided, thus 
guarded? Formerly, the ark was carried in the 
midst of the camp, but now it went before them to 
search out a resting-place for them. Numb. 10. 33. 
and, as it were, to gi\e them livery and seisin of the 
promised land, and put them in possession cf it. In 
the ark the tables of the law were, and over it the 
mercy-seat, for the di' ine law and grace reigning 
in the heart are the surest pledges of God's presence 
and fa\our; and those that would be led to the 
heavenly Canaan, must take the law of God for 
their guide, (if thou ivilt enter into life, keep the 
co7nmandments,J and have the great Prrpitiation 
in their eve, looking for the mercy of our Lora 
Jesus Christ unto eternal lif. 

2. They might depend upon the priests and Le- 
vites, who were appointed for that purpose to carry 
the ark before them. The work of ministers is to 
hold forth the word of life, and to take care of the 
administration of those ordinances which are the 
tokens of God's presence, and the instruments of 
his power and grace; and herein they must go be- 
fore the people of God in their way to heaven. 

3. The people must follow the ark. Remove 
from your place and go after it; (1.) As those that 
are resolved never to forsake it; wherever God's 
ordinances are, there we must be; if they flit, we 
must remove and go after them. (2.) As those 
that are entirely satisfied in its guidance, that it 
will lead in the best way to the best end; and there- 
fore. Lord, I ivill follow thee ivhithersocver thou 
goest. This must be all their care, to attend the 
motions of the ark, and folh^w it with an implicit 
faith. Thus must we walk after the rule of the 



word, and the direction of the Spirit in every thing, 
so shall peace be u/ion us, as it now was upon the 
Israel of God. They must follow the priests as far 
as they carried the ark, but no further; so we must 
f jUow our ministers only as they follow Christ. 

4. In following the ark, they must keefi their dis- 
tance, V. A: Tliey must none of them come within 
a thousand yards of the ark. (1.) They must thus 
express theii- awful and reverent regard to that 
token of God's presence, lest its familiarity with 
them should breed contempt. This charge to 
them, not to come near, was agreeable to that dis- 
pensation of darkness, bondage, and terror: but we 
now through Christ have access with boldness. 
(2.) Thus it was made to appear, that the ark was 
able to protect itself, and needed not to be guarded 
by the men of war, but was itself a guard to theni. 
\Vith what a noble defiance of the enemy did it 
lea\e ail its friends half a mile behind, but the 
unarmed priests that carried it, as perfectly suffi- 
cient for its own safety and their's that followed it. 
(3.) Thus it was the better seen by those that 
were to be led by it, that ye may know the way by 
which ye must go, seeing it, as it were, chalked out 
or tracked by the ark. Had they been allowed to 
come near it, they would have surrounded it, and 
none would have had the sight of it but those that 
v/ere close to it; but as it was put at such a distance 
before them, they would all have the satisfaction of 
seeing it, and would be animated by the sight. 
And it was with good reason that this provision was 
made for their encouragement, for ye have not 
fiassed this way heretofore. This had been the 
character of all their way through the wilderness, 
it was an untrodden path, but this especially 
through Jordan. While we are here, we must ex- 
pect and prepare for unusual events, to pass ways 
that we have not passed before: and much more 
when we go hence; our way through the valley of 
the shadow of death is a way we have not gone be- 
fore, which makes it the more formidable. But if 
we have the assurance of God's presence we need 
not fear, that will furnish us with such strength as 
we never had, when we come to do a work we 
never did. 

III. They were commanded to sanctify them- 
selves, that they might be prepared to attend the 
ark; and for this there was good reason, for to- 
morrow the Lord will do wonders among you, v. 5. 
See how magnificently he speaks of God's works, 
he doeth wonders, and is tlierefore to be adored, 
admired, and trusted in. See how intimately ac- 
quainted Joshua was with the divine counsels, he 
could tell beforehand what God would do, and when. 
See what preparation we must make to receive the 
discoveries of God's glory and the communications 
of his grace, we must sa^ictify ourselves. This we 
must do when we are to attend the ark, and God by 
it ir, cb'jut to d^/ v/>^;:di,rs among us; we must sepa- 
rate ourselves from all other cares, devote ourselves 
to God's honour, and cleanse ourselves from alljil- 
thiness of flesh and spirit. The people of Israel 
were now entering into the holy land, and therefore 
must sanctify themselves. God was about to give 
them uncommon instances of his favour, which by 
meditation and prayer they must compose their 
minds to a very careful observation of, that they 
might give God the glory, and take to themselves 
the comfort, of these appearances. 

IV. The priests were ordered to take up the ark 
and carry it before the people, v. 6. It was the 
Levites' work ordinarily to carry the ark, Numb. 
4. 15. But on this great occasion the priests were 
ordered to do it. And they did as they were com- 
manded, took u/i the ark, and did not think them- 
selves disparaged, went before the people,and did not 
think themselves exposed; the ark they carried was 

both their honour and defence. And now we may sup- 
pose that prayer of Moses used, when the ark set for- 
ward. Numb. 10. 35, Kise up. Lord, and let thine 
enemies be scattei-ed. Magistrates are here instruct- 
ed to stir up ministers to their work, and to make 
use of their authority for the furtherance of religion; 
ministers must likewise learn to go before in the 
way of God, and not to shrink or draw back when 
dangers are before them. They must expect to be 
most struck at, but they know whom they have 

7. And the Lord said unlo Joshua, This 
day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight 
of all Israel, that they may know that, as 1 
was with Moses, so 1 will be with thee. 8. 
And thou shalt command the priests that 
bear the ark of the covenant, saying. When 
ye are come to the brink of the water of 
Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan. 9. 
And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, 
Come hither, and hear the words of the 
Lord your God. 10. And Joshua said. 
Hereby ye shall know that the living God 
is among you, and that he will without fail 
drive out from before you the Canaanites, 
and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the 
Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the 
Amorites, and the Jebusites. 11. Behold, 
the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all 
the earth passeth over before you into Jor- 
dan. 12. Now therefore take ye twelve 
men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every 
tribe a man. 13. And it shall come to pass, 
as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests 
that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of 
all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jor- 
dan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut 
oKfrom the waters that come down from 
above ; and they shall stand upon a heap. 

We may observe here how God honours Joshua, 
and, by this wondrous work he is about to do, de • 
signs to make Israel know that he is their governor 
And then, how Joshua honours God, and endea 
vours by it to make Israe' know that he is their God. 
Thus those that honour God he will honour, and 
those whom he has advanced, should do what they 
can in their places to exalt him. 

I. God speaks to Joshua to put honour upon him, 
V. 7, 8. 

1. It was a great honour God did him that he 
spake to him, as he had done to Moses from off the 
mercy-seat, before the priests removed it with the 
ark. This would make Joshua easy in himself and 
great among the people, that God was pleased to 
speak so familiarly to him. 

2. That he designed to magnify him in the sight 
of all Israel. He had told him before he would be 
with him, ch. 1. 5. that comforted him, but now all 
Israel shall see it, and that magnified him. Those 
are tnily great with whom God is, and whom he 
employs and owns in his service. God magnified 
him, because he would have the people magnify 
him. Pious magistrates are to bei highly honoured 
and esteemed as public blessings, and the more we 
see of God with them, the more we should honour 
them. By the dividing of the Red-sea, Israel was 
convinced that God was with Moses in bringing 
them out of Egypt; therefore they an. said to be 

JOSHUA, 111. 


bafitized unto Moses in the sea, 1 Cor. 10. 2. And 
upon that occasion they believed him, Exod. 14. 31. 
And now by the dividing of Jordan, they shall be 
convinced, that God is in like manner with Joshua 
in bringing them into Canaan. God had magnified 
Joshua befoi-e on several occasions, but now he be- 
gan to magnify him as the successor of Moses in the 
government. Some have observed, it was at the 
banks of Jordan that God began to magnify Joshua, 
and at the same place he began to magnify our 
Lord Jesus as Mediator; for John was baptizing at 
Bethabara, the house of passage, and there it was, 
that when our Saviour was baptized, it was pro- 
claimed concerning him. This is my beloved Son. 

3. That by him he gave orders to the priests 
themselves, though they were his immediate at- 
tendants, V. 8, 77iou shall command the firiests, 
that is, "Thou shalt make known to them the di- 
vine command in this matter, and take care that 
they observe it, to stand still at the brink of Jordan 
while the waters part, that it may appear to be at 
the p.resence of the Lord, of the mighty God of Ja- 
cob, that Jordan is driven back," Ps. 114. 5, 7. 
God could have divided the river without the 
priests, but they could not without him. The 
priests must herein set a good example to the peo- 
ple, and teach them to do their utmost in the 
service of God, and trust him for help in time of 

II. Joshua speaks to the people, and therein ho- 
nours God. 

1. He demands attention, v. 9. " Come hither to 
me, as many as can come within hearing, and before 
you see the works, hear the words of the Lord your 
God, that you may compare them together, and 
they may illustrate each other." He had com- 
manded them to sanctify themselves, and therefore 
calls them to hear thq ivord of God, for that is the 
ordinary means of sanctifi cation, John 17. 17. 

2. He now tells them at length, by what way they 
should pass over Jordan, by the stopping of its 
stream, v. 13, The waters of Jordan shall be cut 
off. God could by a sudden and miraculous frost 
have congealed the surface, so that they might all 
have gone over upon the ice; but that being a thing 
sometimes done even in that country, by the ordi- 
nary power of nature, (Job 38. 30.) it would not 
have been such an honour to Israel's God, nor such 
a terror to Israel's enemies; it must therefore be 
done in such a way as had no precedent but the di- 
viding of the Red-sea: and that miracle is here 
repeated, to show that God has the same power to 
finish tlie sahation of his people, that he had to be- 
gin it, for he is the yllfiha and the Omega; and that 
the IVord of the Lord, (as the Chaldee reads it, v. 
7.) the essent'al eternal Word was as truly with 
Joshua as he was with Moses. And by the dividing 
of the waters from the waters, and the making of 
the dry land to appear which had been covered, 
God would remind them of that which Moses by 
revelation had instructed them in, concerning the 
work of creation, Gen. 1. 6, 9. That by what they 
now saw, their belief of that which they there read, 
might be assisted, and they might know that the 
God whom they worshipped, was the same God 
that made the world, and that it was the same 
power that was engaged and employed for them. 

3. The people having been directed before to fol- 
low the ark, are here told that it should fiass before 
them into Jordan, XK 11. Observe, (1.) The ark 
of the covenant must be their guide. During the 
reign of Moses, the cloud was their guide, but now, 
in Joshua's reign, the ark; both were visible signs 
of God's presence and presidency, but divine grace 
under the Mosaic dispensation was wrapt up as in a 
cloud and covered with a vail, while by Christ, our 
Joshua, it is revealed in the ark of the covenant un- 

vailed, (2.) It is called the ark of the covenant oj 
the Lord oj all the earth. " He that is your God, 
V. 9. in covenant with you, is the Lord of all the 
earth, has both right and power to command, con- 
trol, use, and dispose of all nations and of ?11 crea- 
tures. He is the Lord of all the earth, therefore 
he needs not you, nor can be benefited by you; 
therefore it is your honour and happiness to have 
him in covena»nt with you: if he be your's, all the 
creatures are at your service, and when he pleases, 
shall be employed for you." When we are praising 
and worshipping God as Israel's God, and our's 
through Christ, we must remember that he is the 
Lord of the whole earth, and reverence him and 
trust in him accordingly. Some observe an accent 
in the original, which they think directs us to trans- 
late it somewhat more emphatically, Behold the ark 
of the covenant, even the ark of the Lord, or even 
of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth. (3.) 
They are told that the ark should fass before them 
into Jordan, God would not appoint them to go any 
where, but where he himself would go before them, 
and go with them; and they might safely venture, 
even into Jordan itself, if the ark of the covenant 
led them. While we make God's precepts our rule, 
his promises our stay, and his providence our guide, 
we need not dread the greatest difficulties we may 
meet with in the way of duty. That promise is 
sure to all the seed, Isa. 43. 2, When thou fiassest 
through the waters, I will be with thee, and t/irough. 
the rivers, they shall not overfiow thee. 

4. From what God was now about to do for them, 
he infers an assurance of what he would yet further 
do. This he mentions first, so much was his heart 
upon it, and so great a satisfaction did it gi\ e him, 
V. 10. " Hereby ye shall know that the living God 
(the true (iod, and God of power, not one of the 
dead gods of the heathen) is among you, though you 
see him not, nor are to liave any image of him;' is 
among you to give you law, secure your welfare, 
and receive your homage: is among you in this great 
undertaking now before you; and therefore ye shall, 
nay, he himself, will, vSith out fail, drive out from 
before you the Canuanitts. " So that the di\ iding of 
J(")rdan was intended to be to them, (1.) A sure to- 
ken of God's presence with them; by this they could 
not but know that God was among them, unless 
their unbelief was as obstinate against the most con- 
vincing evidence, as that of their fathers was, who, 
presently after (iod had divided the Red-sea before 
them, impudently asked, Is the Lord among us, or 
is he not? Exod. 17. 7. (2.) A sure pledge of the 
conquests of Canaan; if the living God is among you, 
exftelling he will expel, (so the Hebrew phrase is) 
from bifore you the Canaanites. He will do it cer- 
tainly, and do it effectually. What should hinder 
him? What can stand in his way, before whom 
rivers are divided, and dried up? The forcing cf 
the lines was a certain presage of the ruin of all 
their hosts: how could they stand their ground 
when Jordan itself was driven back? When they 
had not courage to dispute this pass, but tremb'ecl 
at tlie approach of the mighty God of Jacob, Ps. 
114. 7. What opposition could they ever make af- 
ter this? This assurance which Joshua here gives 
them, was so well grounded, as that it would enable 
one Israelite to chase a thousand Canaanites, and 
two to put ten thousand to flight: and it would be 
abundantly strengthened by rememl:)ering the song 
of Moses, dictated forty years before, which plainly 
foretold the dividing of Jordan, and the influence it 
would have upon the driving out of the Canaanites, 
Exod. 15. 15"17. The inhabitants of Canaan shall 
melt awaii, and so be effectually driven out, thev 
shall be as still as a stone till thy people pass over, 
and then thou shalt luring them in and j)lant them. 
Note, God's glorious appearances for his church 


JOSHUA, 111. 

and people, ouglit to be improved by uss tor the cn- 
couf genient ol our faith and hope for the future. 
As for God, hia nvork is fitrfcct. If Jordan's flood 
cannot keep them out, Canaan's force cannot turn 
them out again. 

5. He directs them to get twelve men ready, one 
of each tribe, who must be within call, to receive 
such orders as Joshua should afterward give them, 
V. 12. It does not appear that they wei e to attend 
the priests, and walk with them when they carried 
tije ark, that they might more immediately be 
witnesses of the wonders done by it, as some think; 
but they were to be at hand for the service they 
were called to, ch. 4. 4, &c. 

! 4. And it came to pass, when the peo- 
ple removed from their tents, to pass over 
Jordan, and the piiesls bearing the ark of 
the covenant before the people; 15. And as 
they that bear the ark were come unto Jor- 
dan, and the feet of the priests that bare the 
ark were dipped in the brim of the water, 
(for Jordan overtloweth all his banks at the 
time of harvest,) 1 6. That the waters which 
came down from above stood and rose up 
upon a heap very far from the city Adam, 
that is beside Zaretan : and those that 
came down toward the sea of the plain, 
even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: 
and the people passed over right against 
Jericho. 17. And the priesti- that bare the 
ark of the covenant of the Lor<D stood firm 
on dry ground in the midst of Jordan ; and 
all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, 
until all the people were passed clean over 

Here we have a short and plain account of the 
di '/iding of the river Jordan, and the passage of the 
children of Israel through it. The story is not gar- 
nished with the flowers of rhetoric, gold needs not 
to be painted; but it tells us, in short, matter of 

1. That this river was now broader and deeper 
than usually it was at other times of the year, v. 15. 
The melting of the snow upon the mountains 
of Lebanon, near which this river had its rise, 
was the occasion, that, at the time of harvest, 
barley-harvest, which was the spring of the year, 
Jordan overflowed all his banks. This great fiood, 
just at that time, (which Providence might have 
restrained for once, or which he might have order- 
ed them to cross at another time of the year,) \ery 
much magnified the power of God and his kindness 
to Israel. Note, Though the opposition given to 
the salvation of God's people, have all imaginable 
advantages, yet God can and will conquer it. Let 
the banks of Jordan be filled to the brink, filled till 
they run over, it is as easy to Omnipotence to divide 
them, and dry them up, as if they were never so 
narrow, never so shallow; it is all one with the 

2. That as soon as ever the feet of the priests 
dipped in the brim of the water, the stream stop- 
])ed immediately, as if a sluic-- nad been made to 
dam it u]), v. 15, 16. So that the waters above 
swelled, stood on a hca]), and ran back, and yet, as 
it should seem, did not spread, i)ut coiigealed; 
which unaccountable rising of the river was ob- 
served with amazement by those that lived upwai-d 
upon it many miles oft', and the remembrance of it 

remained among them long after; the waters on the 
other side this invisible dam ran down of course, 
and left the bottom of the river dry as far down 
ward, it is likely, as they swelled upward. When 
they passed through the Red-sea, the waters were 
a v/all on either hand, here onlv on the right hand. 
Note, The God of nature, can, wlen he pleases, 
change the course of nature, and alter its proper- 
ties, can turn fluids into solids, waters into sranding 
rocks, as on the contrary, rocks into standing iva- 
ters, to serve his own purposes. See Ps. 114. 5, 8. 
What cannot God do? What will he not do for the 
perfecting of his people's salvation? Sometimes he 
cleaves the earth ivith rivers, Hab. 3. 9. and some- 
times, as here, cleaves the rivers without earth. It 
is easy to imagine how, when the course of this 
strong and rapid stream was arrested on a sudden, 
the maters roared and tvere troubled, so that the 
mountains seemed to shake ivith the sirelling there- 
of, Ps. 46. 3. how the floods lifted thrir voice, the 
poods lifted up their waves, while the Lord rn high 
showed himself mightier than the noise of these 
many waters, Ps. 93. 3, 4. With reference to this, 
the prophet asks. Was the Lord displeased against 
the rivers, was thine anger against the rii'ers? Hab. 
3.8. No, Thou wentest forth for the salvation of 
thy people, v. 13. In allusion to this, it is foretold 
among the great things God will do for the Gospel- 
church in the latter days, that the great river Eu- 
plirates shall be dried up, th;i.t the way of the Kings 
of the east may be prepared. Rev. 16. 12. When 
the time is crme for Israel's entrance into the land 
of promise, all the difficulties shall be crnquered, 
mountains shall become plains, Zech. 4. 7. and 
rivers become dry, for the ransomed of the Lord to 
pass over. When we have finished our pilgrimage 
through this wilderness, death will be like this Jor- 
dan between' us and the heavenly Canaan, but the 
ark of the covenant has prepared us a way through 
it, it is the enemy that shall be destroyed. 

3. That the people passed over ri^ht against Jeri- 
cho, which was (1.) An instance ot their boldness, 
and a noble defiance of their enemies; Jericho was 
one of the strongest cities, and yet they dared to 
face it at their first entrance. (2.) It was an en- 
couragement to them to venture through Jordan, 
for Jericho was a goodly city, and the country about 
it extremely pleasant; and having that in view as 
their own, what difficulties could discourage them 
from taking possession? (3.) It would increase the 
confusion and terror of their enemies, who, no 
doubt, strictly observed their motions, and were the 
amazed spectators of this work of wonders. 

4. Thsft the priests stood still in the midst of Jor- 
dan while the people passed over, v. 17. There the 
ark was appointed to be, to show that the same 
power that parted the waters, kept them parted 
as long as there was occasion, and had not the di- 
vine presence, of which the ark was a token, been 
their security, the water had returned upon them 
and buried them. There the priests were appoint- 
ed to stand still, (1.) To try their faith, whether 
they could venture to take their post when God as- 
signed it them, with mountains of water over their 
heads: as they made a bold step when they set the 
first foot into Jordan, so now they made a bold stand 
when they tarried longest in Jordan; but they knew 
tliey carried their own protection with them. Note, 
Ministers in times of peril should be examples of 
courage and confidence in the divine goodness. (2.) 
It was to encourage the faith of the people, that 
tliey might go triumphantly into Canaan, and fear 
no evil, no not in this valley of the shadow of death, 
(for so the divided ri\ er was) being assured of God's 
presence which interposed between them and the 
greatest danger, between them and the proud wa- 
ters, which otherwise had gone over their souls 



Tlius in the greatest dangers the saints are com- 
ftrted with his rod and his staff, Ps. 23. 4. 


This chapter gives a further account of the miraculous 
passage of Israel througrh Jordan. I. The provision that 
was made at that time to preserve the memorial of it, by 
twelve stones set up in Jordan, v. 9. and other twelve 
stones taken up out of Jordan, v. 1 . . 8. II. The march 
of the people through Jordan's channel, the two tribes 
first, tlien all the people, and the priests that hare the 
ark last, v. 10.. 14. III. The closing of the waters 
again upon their coming up with the ark, v. 15.. 19. 

IV. Tiie erecting of the monument in Gilgal, to preserve 
the remembrance of this work of wonder to posterity, 

V. 20 . . 24. 

1 . A N D it came to pass, when all the peo- 
-lJL pie were clean passed over Jordan, 

that the Lord spake unto Joshua, saying, 

2. Take you twelve men out of the people, 
out of every tribe a man, 3. And com- 
mand you them, saying, Take you hence 
out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place 
where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve 
stones ; and ye shall carry them over v^'ith 
you, and leave them in the lodging place 
where you shall lodge this night. 4. Then 
Joshua called the twelve men whom he had 
prepared of the children of Israel, out of 
every tribe a man : 5. And Joshua said 
unto them, Pass over before tlie ark of the 
Lord your God into the midst of Jordan, 
and take ye up every man of you a stone 
upon his shoulder, according unto the num- 
ber of the tribes of the children of Israel : 6. 
That this may be a sign among 3^011, that 
when your children ask their fathers in time 
to come, saying, What mean you by these 
stones? 7. Then ye shall answer them. 
That the waters of Jordan were cut off be- 
fore the ark of the covenant of the Lord; 
when it passed over Jordan, the waters of 
Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall 
be for a memorial unto the children of Is- 
rael forever. 8. And the children of Israel 
did so as Joshua commanded, and took up 
twelve stones out of thf^ midst of Jordan, as i 
the Lord spake unto Joshua, according to j 
the number of the tribes of the children of 
Israel, and carried them over with them 
unto the place where they lodged, and laid 
them down there. 9. And .Toshua set up 
twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in 
the place where the feet of the priests which 
bare the ark of the covenant stood : and 
they are there unto this day. 

We may well imagine how busy Joshua and all 
the men of war were, while they were passing over 
Jordan, when beside their owri marching iiito an 
enemy's country, and in the face of the enemy, 
which could not but occasion them many thoughts 
of heart, they had their wives, and children, and 
fjimilies, tlieir cattle, and tents, and all their effects, 
bag and baggage, to convey by this strange and un- 
trodden path whicV we must suppose either very 

muddy, or very stony, troublesome to thi weaK, 
and frightful to the timorous, the descent to the 
bottom of the ri\ er, and the ascent out of it steep, 
so that every man must needs have his head full cf 
care and his hands full of business, and Joshua more 
than any of tliem. And yet in the midst of all his 
hurry, care must be taken to perpetuate the memo 
rial of this wondrous work of God, and this care 
might not be adjourned to a time of greater leisure. 
Note, How much soever we have to do of business 
for ourselves, nnd our families, we must not neg- 
lect or omit what we have to do for the glory of 
God and the serving of his honour, for that is cur 
best business. Now, 

I. God gave orders for the preparing of this me- 
morial. Had Joshua done it without di\ine direc- 
tion, it might have looked like a design to perpetu- 
ate his own name and honour, nor would it have 
commanded so sacred and venerable a regard from 
posterity, as now, when God himself appointed it. 
Note, God's works of wonder ought to be kept in 
everlasting remembrance, and means devised for the 
preserving of the memorial of them. Some of the 
Israelites that passed over Jordan, perhaps were so 
stupid, and so little affected with this great favour 
of God to them, that they felt no concern to have it 
remembered; while others, it may be, were so 
much affected with it, and had such deep impres- 
sions made upon them by it, that they tliought there 
needed no memorial of it to be erected, the heart 
and tongue of every Israelite in every age wculd be 
a living, lasting monument of it. But God, know- 
ing their frame, and how apt they had been soon to 
forget his works, ordered an expedient for the 
keeping of th's in remembrance to all generations, 
that those who could not, or wculd not, read the 
record of it in sacred history, might come to the 
knowledge of it by the monument set up in remem- 
brance of it, which the common tradition of the 
country would be an explication of; it would like- 
wise serve to corrol)orate the proof of the matter of 
fact, and would remain a standing evidence of it to 
those who in after-ages might question the truth 
of it. 

A monument is to be erected, and 1. Joshua, as 
chief captain, must give directions about it, 1'. 1. 
IVhen all the fieo/ile ivere clean passed ox^er Jordan, 
not even the feeble, that were the hindmost o{ 
them, left behind, so that G'^d had done his work 
completely, and every Israelite got safe into Ca- 
naan, then God spake unto Joshua to provide ma- 
terials for this monument. It is the pious conjecture 
of the learned Bisho]) Patrick, that Joshua was gone 
into some place of retirement, to return thanks im- 
mediately for this wonderful mercy, and then God 
met him, and spake thus to him. ' Or, perhaps, it 
was by Eleazar the priest, that God gave these and 
other instructions to Joshua, for though he is not 
mentioned here, yet when Joshua was ordained bv 
the imposition of hands to this great trust, God ap- 
pointed that Eleazar should ask counsel for him af- 
ter the judgment of Urim, and at his ivo'rd, Joshua, 
and all the children of Israel must go out and come 
in. Numb. 27. 21. 2. One man out of each tribe, 
and he a chosen man, must be employed to pi-epare 
materials for this monument, that each tribe might 
have the story told them by one of themselves, and 
each tribe might contribute something to the glory 
of God thereby, v. 2, 4, Out of every tribe a man. 
Not the Levites only, but every Israelite must, in 
his place, help to jnake known to the sons of men 
God's mighty acts, Ps. 145. 12. The two tribes, 
though seated already in their possession, vet shar- 
ing in the mercy, must lend a hand to the memorial 
of it. 3. The stones that must be set up for this 
memorial, are ordered to be taken out of the midst 
cf the chaimel, (where, probably, there lav abim 



(lance of great stones,) and as near as might be from 
the very place where the priests stood with the ark, 
V. o, 5. This intended monument deserved to 
have been made of stones curiously cut with the 
finest and most exquisite art, but these stones out 
of the Ijottom of the river were more natural and 
moie apt indications of the miracle; let posterity 
know bv this, that Jordan was driven back, for 
these very stones were then fetched out of it. In 
the institution of signs, God always chose that 
which was most proper and significant, rather than 
that which is pompous or curious; for God hath 
chosen the foolish things of the world. These 
twelve men, after they got over Jordan, must be 
sent back to the place where the ark stood, being 
permitted to come near it, (which others might 
not,) for this service; pass over before the ark, v. 
5. that is, "into the presence of the ark, which 
now stands in tlie midst of Jordan, and thence fetch 
these stones." 4. The use of these stones is here 
appointed for a sign, v. 6. a memorial, v. 7. They 
would give occasion to the children to ask their pa- 
rents in time to come, How came these stones thi- 
ther? Probably the land about was not stony; but 
the parents would inform them, as they themselves 
had been informed, that in this place Jordan was 
divided by the almighty power of God, to give Is- 
rael passage into Canaan, as Joshua enlarges on this 
head, v. 22, &c. 
II. Accordii-g to these orders the thing was done. 

1. Twelve stones were taken up out of the midst 
of Jordan, and carried in the sight of the people to 
the place where they had their head-quarters that 
night, V. 8. It is probable that the stones they 
took, were as big as they could well carry, and as 
near a-s might be of a size and shape. But whether 
they went away with them immediately to the 
place, or whether they staid to attend the ark, and 
kept pace with the solemn pri cession of that, to 
gi'ace its triumphant entry into Canaan, is not cer- 
tain. By hese stones, v^hich they were oi-dered to 
take up, God did, as it were, give them livery and 
seisin of this good land, it is all their own, let them 
enter and take possession; therefore what these 
twelve did, the children of Israel are said to do, v. 
8. because they were' the representatives of their 
respective tribes. In allusion to this, we may ob- 
serve, that when the Lord Jesus, our Joshua, hav- 
ing overcome the sharpness of death, and dried up 
that Jord \n, had opened the kingdom of heaven to 
all believers, he appointed his twelve apostles, ac- 
cording to the number of the tribes of Israel, by the 
memorial of the gospel to transmit the knowledge 
of this to remote places and future ages. 

2. Other twelve stones (probably, much larger 
than the other, for we read not that they were each 
rf them one man's load) were set up in the midst 
of Jordan, v. 9. piled up so high in a heap or pillar, 
as that the top of it might be seen above water, 
when the river was low, or seen in the water, when 
it was clear, or at least the noise or commotion of 
the water passing over it would be observable, and 
the bargemen would avoid it, as they do a rock; 
some way or other, it is likely, it was discernible so 
as to notifv the very place where the ark stood, and 
to serve for a duplicate to the other monument, 
which was to be set on dry land in Gilgal, for the 
coufirming of its testimony, and the preserving of 
its tradition. The sign being doubled, no doubt, 
the thing was certain. 

10. For the priests which bare the ark 
stood in the midst of Jordan, until every thin^ 
was finislied that the Lord commanded 
Joshua to speak unto the people, according 
to all that Moses commanded Joshua : and 

the people hasted and passed over. 1 1 . And 
it came to pass, when all the people were 
clean passed over, that the ark of the Lord 
passed over, and the priests, in the presence 
of the people. 12. And the children of 
Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half 
the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed 
before the children of Israel, as Moses 
spake unto them: 13. About forty thou- 
sand prepared for war passed over before 
the Lord unto battle, to the plains of Jeri- 
cho. 1 4. On that day the Lord magnified 
Joshua in the sight of all Israel ; and they 
feared him, as they feared Moses, all the 
days of his hfe. 15. And the Lord spake 
unto Joshua, saying, 16. Command the 
priests that bear the ark of the testimony, 
that they come up out of Jordan. 17. 
Joshua therefore commanded the priests, 
saying, Come ye up out of Jordan. 1 8. 
And it came to pass, when the priests that 
bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord 
were come up out of the midst of Jordan, 
and the soles of the priests' feet were lifted 
up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jor- 
dan returned unto their place, and flowed 
over all his banks, as they did before. 19. 
And the people catne up out of Jordan 
on the tenth day of the first month, and en- 
camped in Gilgal, in the east border of Je- 

The inspired historian seems to be so well pleas- 
ed with his subject here, that he is loath to quit it, 
and is therefore very particular in his narrative, es- 
pecially in observing how closely Joshua pursued 
the orders God gave him, and that he did nothing 
without divine direction, finishing all that the Lord 
had commanded him, (x*. 10.) which is also said to 
be what Moses commanded. We read not of any 
particular commands that Moses gave Joshua about 
this matter, the thing was altogether new to him. 
It must therefore be understood of the general in- 
structions Moses had given him to follow the divine 
conduct, to deliver that to the people, which he had 
received of the Lord, and to take all occasions to 
remind them of their duty to God, as the best re- 
turn for his favours to them: This which Moses, 
who was now dead and gone, had said to him, he 
had in mind at this time, and did accordingly. It is 
well for us to have the good instructions that have 
been given us, ready to us, when we have occasion 
for them. 

1. All the people hasted and passed over, v. lu. 
Some understand it of the twelve men that carried 
the stones, but it seems rather to be meant of the 
body of the people; for though an account was gi\ en 
of their passing over, v. 1. yet here it is repeated 
for the sake of this circumstance, which was to be 
added, that they passed over in haste, either becaust 
Joshua by their officers ordered them to make haste, 
for it was to be but one day's work, and they must 
not leave a hoof behind; or, perhaps, it was their 
own inclination that hastened them. (1. ) Some hast- 
ed, because they were not able to trust God, they 
were afraid the waters should return upon them, 
being conscious of guilt, and diffident of the divine 
power and goodness. (2.) Others, because they 
were not willing to tempt God to continue the mira- 



cle longer than needs must, nor would they put the 
patience cf the priests that bare the ai'k too much 
to the stretch by unnecessary delay. (3.) Others, 
because they were eager to be in Canaan, and would 
thus show how much they longed after that plea- 
sant land. (4. ) Those that considered least, yet 
hasted because others did. He that believeth, 
maketh haste, not to anticipate God's counsels, but 
to attend them. Isa. 28. 16. 

2. The two tribes and a half led the van, -v. 12, 
13. So they had promised, when they had their lot 
given them on that side Jordan, Numb. 32. 27. 
And Joshua had lately reminded them of their pro- 
mise, ch. 1. 12, &c. It was fit that they who had 
the first settlement, should be the first in the en- 
counter of difficulties, the rather, because they had 
not the incumbrance of families with them as the 
other tribes had, and they were all chosen men, and 
fit for service, ready armed. It was a good provi- 
dence that they had so strong a body to lead them 
on, and would be an encouragement to the rest. 
And the two tribes had no reason to complain, the 
post of danger is the post of honour. 

3. When all the people were got clear to the 
other side, the priests with the ark came up out of 
Jordan. This, one would think, should have been 
done of course, their own reason would tell them 
that now there was no more occasion for them, and 
yet they did not stir a step till Joshua ordered them 
to move, and Joshua did not order them out of Jor- 
dan till God dii-ected him to do so, v. 15 . . 17. So 
observant were they of Joshua, and he of God, 
which was their praise, as it was their happiness to 
be under such good direction. How low a condition 
soever God may at any time bring his priests or 
people to, let them patiently wait, till by his provi- 
dence he shall call them up out of it, as the priests 
here were called to come up out of Jordan, and let 
them not be weary of waiting, while they have the 
tokens of God's presence with them, even the 
ark of the covenant, in the depth of their ad- 

4. As soon as ever the priests and the ark were 
come up out of Jordan, the waters of the river, 
which had stood on a heap, gradually flowed down 
according to their nature and usual course, and soon 
filled the channel again, -v. 18. This makes it yet 
more evident, that the stop which had now been 
given to the river, was not from any secret natural 
cause; but purely from the power of God's pre- 
sence, and for the sake of his Israel, for when Israel's 
turn was served, and the token of his presence was 
removed, immediately the water went forward 
again: so that if it be asked. What ailed thee, O 
Jordan, that thou wast driven back? It must be 
answered, It was purely in obedience to the God 
of Israel, and in kindness to the Israel of God: 
there is therefore none like unto the God of Jeshu- 
run; hnfifiy also art thou, Israel! who is like unto 
thee, O fieofile? Some observe here, by way of al- 
lusion, that when the ark and the priests that 
bare it, are removed from any place, the flood-gates 
are drawn up, the defence is departed, and an in- 
undation of judgments is to be- expected shortly. 
Those that are unchurched, will soon be undone. 
The glory is departed, if the ark be taken. 

5. Notice is taken of the honour put upon Joshua 
bv all this, v. 14. On that day the Lord magnijied 
Joshua, both by the fellowship he admitted him to 
with himself, speaking to him upon all occasions, 
and being ready to be consulted by him, and by the 
authority he confirmed in him, over both priests 
and people. Those that honour God he will ho- 
nour, and when he will magnify a man, as he had 
said he would magnify Joshua, {ch. 3 7.) he will do 
it effectually. Yet it was not for Joshua's sake only 
that he was thus magnified, but to put him in a ca- 

VoL. II.— D 

pacity of doing so much the more service to Israel, 
for hereupon they feared him as they feared Moses. 
See here what is the best and surest way to com- 
mand the respect of inferiors, and to gain their re- 
verence and observance, not by blustering and 
threatening, and carrying it with a high hand, but 
by holiness and love, and all possible indications 
of a constant regard to their welfare, and to God's 
will and honour. Those are feared in the best 
manner, and to the best purpose, who make it ap- 
pear that God is with thorn, and that they set him 
before them. Those that are sanctified are truly 
magnified, and are worthy of double honour. Fa 
vourites of heaven should be looked on with awe. 

6. An account is kept of the time of this great 
event, v. 19. it was on the tenth day of the first 
month, just forty years since they came out of 
Egypt, wanting five days. God had said in his 
wrath that they should wander ^orty years 'n\ the 
wilderness, but to make up that forty wo must take 
in the first year, which was then past, and had been 
a year of triumph in their deliverance out of Egypt, 
and this last, which had been a year of triumph 
likewise on the other side Jordan, so that all the 
forty were not years of sorrow; and at last he 
brought them into Canaan, five days before the forty 
years were ended, to show how little pleasure God 
takes in punishing, how swift he is to show mercy, 
and that for the elect's sake the days of trouble are 
shortened, Matt. 24. 22. God ordered it so that 
they should enter Canaan four days before the an- 
nual solemnity of the passover, and on the very day 
when the preparation for it was to begin, Exod 12. 
3. because he would have their entrance into Canaan 
graced and sanctified with that religious feast, and 
would have them to be reminded of their deliver- 
ance out of Egypt, that comparing them together, 
God might be glorified as the Aljxha and Omega of 
their bliss. 

20. And those twelve stones, which they 
took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gil- 
gal. 21. And he spake unto the children 
of Israel, saying. When your children shall 
ask their fathers in time to come, saying, 
What mean these stones ? 22. Then ye 
shall let your children know, saying, Israel 
came over this Jordan on dry land. 23. 
For the Lord your God dried up the wa- 
ters of Jordan from before you, until ye 
were passed over, as the Lord your God 
did to the Red Sea, which he dried up from 
before us, until we were gone over : 24. 
That all the people of the earth might 
know the hand of the Lord, that it is 
mighty ; that ye might fear the Lord your 
God for ever. 

The twelve stones which were laid down in Gil- 
gal, V. 8. are here set up either one upon another, 
yet so as that they might be distinctly counted, or 
one by another in rows; for after they were fixed, 
they are not called a heap, of stones, but these stones. 

I.' It is here taken for granted, that posterity 
would inquire into the meaning of them, supposing 
them intended for a memorial. YoJir children shall 
ask their fathers, (for whom else should they ask?) 
What mean these stones? Note, Those that will be 
wise when they are old, must be inquisitive when 
they are voung. Our Lord Jesus, though he had in 
himself the fulness of knowledge, has by his exam- 
ple taught children and young people to hear and 



ask questions, Luke 2. 46. Perhaps when John 
was baptizing in Joi-dan at Bethabara, (the house 
of passiige where the people passed over) he point- 
ed at these very stones, while saying, Matt. 3. 9, 
God is able of these stones (which were at first set 
up by the twelve tribes) to raise ufi children tinto 
Abraham. The stones being the memorial of the 
miracles, the children's question gave occasion for 
tlie impro\'ement of it; but our Saviour says, Luke 
19. 40, If the children should hold their fieace, the 
%'ones vj-juld immediately cry out; for one way or 
other the Lord will be glorified in his works of 

II. The parents are here directed what answer to 
give to this inquiry, v. 22. '* Ye shall let your chil- 
dren know that which you have yourselves learned 
from the written word, and from your fathers." 
Note, It is the duty of parents to acquaint their 
children betimes with the word and works of God, 
that they may be trained up in the way they should 

1. They must let their children know that Jordan 
was driven back before Israel, who nvent through it 
ufion dry land, and, that this was the very place 
where they passed over. They saw how deep and 
strong a stream Jordan now was, but the divine 
power put a stop to it, even then when it overflow- 
ed all its banks — " and this for you, that live so 
long after. " Note, God's mercies to our ancestors 
were mccies to us: and we should take all occa- 
sions to revive the remembrance of the great things 
God did for our fathers in the days of old. The 
place thus marked would be a memorandum to 
them; Israel came over this Jordan. A local me- 
mory would be of use to them, ;ind the sight of the 
place remind them of that which was done there; 
and not only the inhabitants of that country, but 
strangers and travellers, would look upon these 
stones and receive instruction. Many, upon the 
sight of the stones, would go to their bibles, and 
there read the history of this wondrous work; and 
some, perhaps, upon reading the history, though 
living at a distance, would have the curiosity to go 
and see the stones. 

2. They must take that occasion to tell their chil- 
dren of the drving up of the Red-sea forty years 
before, as the Lord your God did to the Bed Sea. 
Note, (1.) It greatly magnifies later mercies to com- 
pare them with former mercies, for, by making the 
comparison, it appears that God is the same yester- 
day, to-day, and forever. (2. ) Later mercies should 
liring to remembrance former mercies, and revi\ e 
cur thankfulness for them. 

3. They must put them in the way of making a 
good use of these works of wonder, the knowledge 
whereof was thus carefuMy transmitted to them, v. 
24. (1.) The power of God was hereby mag- 
nified. All the world was, or might be, convinced 
that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that nothing is 
too hard for God to do; nor can anv power, no, not 
that of nature itself, oljstvuct what God will effect. 
The deliverances of God's people are instructions to 
all i)eople, and fair warnings not to contend with 
Omnipotence. (2.) The people of God were en- 
gaged and encouraged to ])crsevere in his service; 
" That ye might fear the Lord your God, and con- 
liequently do your duty to him, and this for ever;" 
or all days, (Margin.) "Every day, all the 
days of vcur lives, and your seed throughout your 
generations." The remembrance of this wonder- ! 
i\\\ work should effectually restrain them from the 
worship of other gods, and constrain them to abide 
and abound in the service of their own God. Note, 
In all the instructions and informations parents give 
thtir children, they should ha\e chiefly in their eye 
to teach and engage them to fear God for ever. Se- 
rious godliness is the best learning. 


Israel is now got over Jordan, and the waters which had 
opened before them to favour their inarch forward, are 
closed again behind them to foibid their retreat back- 
ward ; they have now got footing in Canaan, and must 
apply themselves to the conquest of it ; in order to which 
this chapter tells us, I. How their enemies were dispirit- 
ed, V. 1. II. What was done at their first landing to as- 
sist and encourage them. 1. The covenant of circumci- 
sion was renewed, v. 2. .9. 2. 'I'he fe'ast of the passover 
was celebrated, v. 10. 3. Their camp was victualled 
with the corn of the land, whereupon the manna ceased, 
V. 11, 12. 4. The Captain of the Lord's host himself ap- 
peared to Joshua, to animate and direct him, v. 13- 'Id- 

L A ND it came to pass, when all the 
XV kings of the Amorites, which were 
on the side of Jordan westward, and all 
the kings of the Canaanites, which ?vere by 
the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up 
the waters of Jordan from before the chil- 
dren of Israel, until we were passed over, 
that their heart melted, neither was there 
spirit in them any more, because of the 
children of Israel. 2. At that time the 
Lord said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp 
knives, and circumcise again the children 
of Israel the second time. .3. And Joshua 
made him sharp knives, and circumcised 
the children of Israel at the hill of the fore- 
skins. 4. And this is the cause \^ hy Joshua 
did circumcise : all the people that came 
out of Egypt, that loere males, even all the 
men of war, died in the wilderness by the 
way, after they came out of Egypt. 5. 
Now all the people ihat came out were cir- 
cumcised : but all the people that icere born 
in the wilderness by the way as they came 
forth out of Egypt, them they had not cir- 
cumcised. 6. For the children of Israel 
walked forty years in the wilderness, till all 
the people that loere men of war, which 
came out of Egypt, were consumed, be- 
cause they obeyed not the voice of tiie 
Lord: unto whom the IjOrd sware that 
he would not show them the land which 
the Lord sware unto their fathers that he 
would give us, a land that floweth with milk 
and honey. 7. And their children, whom 
he raised up in their stead, them Joshua cir- 
cumcised : for they were uncircumcised, 
because they had not circumcised them by 
the way. 8. And it came to pass, when 
they had done circumcising all the people, 
that they abode in their places in the camf) 
till they were whole. 9. And the Lord 
said unto Joshua, This day have 1 rolled 
away the reproach of Egypt from off you. 
Wherefore the name of the place is called 
Gilgal unto this day. 

A vast show, no doubt, the numerous camp of Is- 
rael made in the plains of Jcricli(\ where now thev 
had pitched their tents; Jf7io can count the dust of 
Jacob? That which had Icngbeen the church m the 



wilderness, is now come ufi from the wilderness, 
leaning u/ion her Beloved, and looks forth as the 
morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and ter- 
rible us an army with banners: how terrible she 
was in the eyes of her enemies, we are here told, 
V. 1. how fair and clear she was made in the eyes of 
her friends, by the rolling away of the reproach of 
Egypt, we are told in the following verses. 

I. Here is the fright which the Canaanites were 
put inti by their miraculous passing over Jordan, xk 
1. The news of it was soon dispersed all the coun- 
try over, not only as a prodigy in itself, l)ut as an 
alarm to all the kings and kingdoms of Cinaan. 
Now, as when Babylon was taken, One jiost runs 
to meet another, and one messenger to meet another, 
to carry the amazing tidings to every corner of theii" 
land, Jcr. 51. 31. And here we are told what im- 
pressions the tidings made upon the kings of this 
land, their heart melted like wax before the fire, 
neither nvas there spirit in them any more. This in- 
timates that though the heart of the people gene- 
rally had fainted before, as Rahab owned, ch. 2. 9. 
yet the kings had till now kept up their spirits 
pretty well, had promised themselves that, being in 
possession, their country populous, and their cities 
fortified, they should be able to make their part 
good against the invaders; but when they heard, not 
only that tlicy were come over Jordan, and that that 
defence of their country was broken through, but 
that they were come over by a miracle, the God of 
niture manifestly fighting for them, their hearts 
failed them too, they gave up the cause for gone, 
and were now at their wits' end. And, 1. They had 
reason enough to be afraid; Israel itself was a for- 
midable body, and much more so wlicn Gud was its 
head, a God of almighty power. What can make 
he d ag iinst them, if Jordan be driven back before 
them? 2. God impressed these fears upon them, 
. and dispirited them, as he had promised, Exod. 
23. 2r, / will send my fear before thee. God can 
make the wicked to fear where no fear is, Ps. 53. 
5. much more where there is such cause for fear as 
was here. He made the soul, can, when he 
pic ises, make his sword thus to approach to it and 
Kill it with h's terrors. 

n. The opportunity which this ga^ e to the Is- 
r.\elites to cinumcise those among them that Avere 
uncircumcised, j^t that time, {y. 2.) when the coun- 
try about them was in that great consternation, God 
ordered Joshua to circimicise the children of Israel, 
for at that time it might be done with safety even 
in an enemy's country; their heai'ts being melted, 
their hands were t'ed, that they could not take this 
advantage against them as Simeon and Levi did 
against the Shechemites, to come upon them when 
they were sore. Joshua could not be sure of this, 
and therefore if he had ordered this general cir- 
cumcision just at this time of his own head, he might 
justly have been censured as imprudent, for how 
good soever the thing was in itself, in the eye of 
reason it was not seasonable at this time, and might 
have been of dangerous consequence; but when God 
commanded him to do it, he must not consult with 
flesh and blood: he that bid them do it, no doubt, 
would protect them and bear them out in it. Now 

1. The occasion there was for this general cir- 
cumcision. (1.) All that came out of Egypt were 
circumcised, x'. 5. While they had peace in Egypt, 
doubtless, they circumcised their children the 
eighth day, according to the law. But after they 
began to be oppressed, especially when the edict 
was made for the destruction of their male infants, 
ihe administration of this ordinance was interrupted; 
many of them were uncircumcised, of whom there 
was a general circumcision, either during the time 
of the three days' darkness, as Dr. Lightfoot con- 

jectures, or a year after, just before their eating a 
second passover at mount S.nai, and in order to that 
solenmity. Numb. 9. 2. as many Uiink. And it is 
with reference to that general circumcision, that 
this here is called a second; v. 2. Bat the learned 
Masius thinks it refei-s to the general circumcision 
of Abraham's Family, whenth t ordinance was first 
instituted. Gen. 17. 23. That first confirmed the 
promise of the land of Canaan, this second was a 
thankful celebration of the jierformimce of that pro- 
mise. But, (2.^ All were 6c/r?/ in the wilder- 
ness, namely, after their walking in the wilderness, 
became by the divine sentence a judgment upon 
them for their disobedience, as is intimated by that 
repetition of the sentence, v. 6. all that were born 
since that fat d d ly, on which God swore in his 
wrath that none of that generation shoi.ld enter i7i(o 
his rest, were uncircumcised. 

But what shall we say t-i this? Had not God en- 
jcined it to Abraham under a very severe penalty, 
that every man-cliild of his seed should be circum- 
cised, on the eighth day? Gen. 17. 9"14. Was it 
not the seal of the everlasting co\enant? Was not 
so great a stress laid upon it then when they were 
coming out of Egypt, that when immediately after 
the first passover the law concerning that feast was 
made perpetual, this was one clause of it, that no 
uncircumcised person should eat of it, but should be 
deemed as a stranger? And }et under the go\ern- 
ment of Moses himself, to have all their children 
that were born fir thirty-eight years together left 
uncircumcised, is unaccountable. So great an omis- 
sion could not be generally but by di\ ine direction. 

Now, [1.] Some think circumcision was omitted 
becaise it was needless: it was appointed to be a 
mark of dstinction between the Israelites and other 
nations, and therefore, in the wilderness, where 
j they were so perfectly separated from all, and min- 
gVd With none, there was no occasion for it. [2.] 
Others think that they did not look upon the precept 
of circumcision as obligatory till they came to settle 
in C'anaan, for in the covenant m;ide with them at 
mrunt Sinai, nothing was said about circumcision, 
neither w;is it of Moses but of the fathers, John 7. 
22. and with particular reference to the grant of 
the land of Canaan, Gen. 17. 8. [3.] Others think 
that God favoui'ably dispensed with the omission of 
this ordinance in consideration of the nnsettledness 
of their state, and their frequent removes while they 
were in the wilderness. It was requisite that chil- 
dren after they were circumcised, should rest for 
some time while they were sore, and stirring them 
might be dangerous to them; G(>d therefore would 
have mercy and not sacrifice. This reason is general- 
ly acquiesced in, but to me it is not satisfactory, for 
sometimes they stayed a year in a place. Numb. 9. 
22. if not much longer; and in their removes the lit- 
tle children, though sore, might be wrapt so warm, 
and carried so easy, as to receive no damage, and 
might certainly be much better accommodated than 
the mothers in travail or while lying-in. Therefore, 
[4.1 To me it seems to have been a continued token 
of God's displeasure against them for their unbelief 
and murmuring. Circumcision was originally a 
seal of the promise of the land of Canaan, as we ob- 
served before. It was in the believing hope of that 
good land, that the patriarchs circumcised their 
children: but when God had sworn in hk wrath 
concerning the men of war which came out of 
Egypt, that they should be consumed in the wilder- 
ness, and never enter Canaan, nor come within 
sight of it, (as that sentence is here repeated, v. 6. 
reference being made to it,) as a further ratification 
of that sentence, and to be a constant memorandum 
of -it to them, all that fell under that sentence, and 
were to fall by it, were forbidden to circumcise their 
children; by which they were plainly told, that 



whatever others might, they should nevei- have the 
benefit of that promise which circumcision was the 
seal of. And this was such a significant indication 
of God's wrath, as the breaking of the tables of the 
covenant was, when Israel had broken the covenant 
by making the golden calf. It is true, there is no 
express mention of this judicial prohibition in the 
account of that sentence; but an intimation of it, 
Numb. 14. 33, Your children shall bear your 
whoredoms. It is probable, the children of Caleb 
and Joshua were circumcised, for they were ex- 
cepted out of that sentence, and of Caleb it is par- 
ticularly said. To him will I give the land, and 
to his children, Deut. 1. 36. which was the very 
promise that circumcision was the seal of: and Josh- 
ua is here hid to circumcise the people, not his own 
family. Whatever the reason was, it seems that 
this great ordinance was omitted in Israel for almost 
forty years together, which is a plain indication that 
it was not of absolute necessity, nor was to be of 
perpetual obligation, but should in the fulness of 
time be abolished, as now it was for so long a time 

2. The orders given to Joshua for this general 
circumcision, t;. 2, Circurncise again the children of 
Israel, not the same persons, but the body of the 
people. Wliy was this ordered to be done now? 
Answ. (1.) Because now the promise which cir- 
cumcision was instituted to be the seal of, was per- 
formed. The seed of Israel was brought safe into 
the land of Canaan, "Let them therefore hereby 
own the trutli of that promise which their fathers 
had disbelie^•ed, ;ind could not find in their hearts 
to trust to." (2.) Becavise now the threatening 
which the suspending of circumcision for thirty- 
eight years was the ratification of, was fully exe- 
cuted by the expiring of the forty yenrs. That 
ti'urfure is acconi/ilishid, that iniquity is pardoned, 
(Isa. 40. 2. ) and therefore now the seal of the cove- 
nuit is revived again. But why was it not done 
soi ncf — why not while they were resting some 
months in the plains of Mo;ib — why not during the 
thirty days of their mourning for Moses — why was 
it nrt defcrved longer till they had made some pro- 
gress in the conquest of Canaan, and had gained a 
settlement there, at least till they had intrenched 
themselves, and fortified their camp — why must it 
be done the very next day after they were come 
over Jordan? Answ. Bec;;use di\ine wisdom saw 
that to be the fittest time, just when the forty years 
were ended, and they had entered Canaan; and the 
reasons which human wisdom would have offered 
against it, were easily over-ruled. [1.] God would 
hereby show that the camp of Israel was not gov- 
erned by the ordinarv rules and measures of war, 
but by immediate direction from God, who, by thus 
exposing them, in the most dangerous moments, 
magnified his own power in protecting them, even 
then. And this great instance of securitv, in disa- 
bling themselves for action just then when they 
were entering upon action, proclaimed such confi- 
dence in the divine care for their safety as would 
increase their enemies' fears: much more when 
their scouts informed them not only of the thing 
itself that was done, but of the meaning of it; that 
it was a seal of the grant of this land of Israel. [2.] 
God w-^-iuld hereby animate his people Israel against 
the difficulties they were now to encounter, by con- 
firming his covenant with them, which gave them 
unquestionable assurance of victory and success, and 
the full possession of the land of promise. [3.] God 
would hereby teach them, and us with them, in all 
grc'it undertakings to begin with God, to make sure 
of his fa\our, by offering ourselves to him a living 
sacrijice, (for that was signified by the blood of cir- 
cumcision,) and then we may expect to prosper in 
all we do. [1. ] The reviving of circumcision, after 

it had been so long disused, was designed to revive 
the observation of other institutions, the omission of 
which had been connived at in the wilderness. 
This command to circumcise them was to remind 
them of that which Moses had told them, Deut. 12. 
8. that when they were come over Jordan they 
must not do as they had done in the tvilderntss, 
but must come under a stricter discipline. It was 
said concerning many of the laws God had gi\ en 
them, that they must observe them in the land to 
which they were going, Deut. 6. 1..12. 1. [5.] This 
second circumcision, as it is here called, was typical 
of the spiritual circumcision with which the Israel 
of God, when they enter into the gospel-rest, are 
circumcised; it is the learned Bishop rierson's ob- 
servation. That this circumcision being performerl 
under the conduct of Joshua, Moses's successor, it 
points to Jesus as the true Circumciser, the Author 
oi another circumcinio?! than that of the flesh, com- 
manded by the law, even the circmncision of the 
heart, Rom. 2. 29. called the nrcw7/ici6io7i oy"C7;r/s?, 
Col. 2. 11. 

3. The people's obedience to these orders. Joshua 
circumcised the children of Israel, v. 3. not himself 
with his own hands, but he commanded that it 
should be done, and took care that it was done: it 
might soon be despatched, for it was not necessary 
that it should be done by a priest or Levite, but any 
one might be employed to do it. All those that 
were under twenty years old when the people were 
numbered at mount Sinai, and not being numbered 
with them, fell not by the fatal sentence, were cir- 
cumcised, and by them all the rest might be cir- 
cumcised in a little time. The people had promised 
to hearken to Joshua, as they had hearkened to 
Moses, ch. 1. 17. and here they gave an instance of 
their dutifulness, submitting to this painful institu- 
tion, and not calling him for the sake of it a bloody 
governor, as 7Apfiorah because of the circumcision 
called AIof:es a bloody husband. 

Lastly, The names given to the place where this 
was done, to perpetuate the memory of it. (1.) It 
was called the hill of the foreskins, v. 3. Probablv, 
the foreskins that were cut off, were laid on a heap, 
and covered with earth, so that they made a little 
hillock. (2.) It was called Gilgal, from a word 
which signifies to take away, from that which God 
said to Joshua, v. 2, This day have I rolled away 
the refiroach of Egypt. God is jealous for the ho- 
nour of his people, his own honour being so much 
interested in it; and whatever reproach they may 
lie under for a time, first or last it will certainly be' 
rolled away, and every tongue that riseth up against 
them, he will condemn. [1.] Their circumcision 
rolled away the reproach of Egypt. They were 
hereby owned to be the free-bom children of God, 
having the seal of the covenant in their flesh, and so 
the reproach of their bondage in Eg)'pt was remov- 
ed. They were tainted with the idolatry of Egypt, 
and that was their repi'oach; but now that they 
were circumcised, it was to be hoped they would be 
so entirely devoted to Ciod, that the reproach c'+" 
their affection to Egypt would be rolled away. [2. ] 
Their coming safe to Canaan rolled away the 
proach of Egypt, for it silenced that spiteful sug- 
gestion of the Egyptians, that for mischief they 
were brought out, the wilderness had shut them iv, 
Exod. lA. 3. Their wandering so long in the wil- 
derness confirmed the reproach, but now that they 
had entered Canaan in triumph, that reproach \v;,s 
done away. When (iod glorifies himself in ])tr- 
fecting the salvation of his people, he not only .-iU n- 
ces the reproach of their enemies, but rolls it uj i n 

10. And the children of Israel enraniorcl 
in Gilgal, and kept the passov er on tlie four- 



tet^ntli day of the month, at even, in the 
plains of Jericho. 1 1 . And they did eat of the 
old coin of the land, on the morrow after the 
passover, unleavened cakes and parched 
corn in the self-same day. 12. And the man- 
na ceased on the morrow after they had 
eaten of the old corn of the land ; neither 
had the children of Israel manna any more ; 
but they did eat of the fruit of tlie land of 
Canaan that year. 

We may well imagine that the people of Canaan 
were astonished, and that when they observed the 
motions of the enemy they could not but think them 
very strange. When soldiers take the field, they 
are apt to think themselves excused from religious 
exercises, (they have not time or thought to attend 
them,) yet Joshua opens the campaign with one act 
of devotion after another. What was afterwards 
said to another Joshvia, might truly be said to this. 
Hear now, O Joshua, thou, and thy ftflloivs that sit 
before thee, are men tvondered at, Zech. 3. 8. and 
yet indeed he took the right method. This is likely 
to end well, that begins with God. 

Here is, 

I. A solemn passover kept, at the time appointed 
by the law, the fourteenth day of the first month, 
and in the same place where they were circumcised, 
V. 10. While they were wandering in the wilder- 
ness, they were denied the benefit and comfort of 
this ordinance, as a further token of God's displea- 
sure; but now, in answer to the prayer of Moses, 
upon the passing of that sentence, Ps. 90. 15. God 
comforted them again, af^er the time that he had 
afflicted them, and therefore now that joyful ordi- 
nance is revived again. Now tliat they had entered 
into Canaan, it was very reasonable to remember 
those wondrous works of divine power and good- 
ness, by which they were brought out of Egypt. 
The finishing of mercies should bring to mind the 
beginning of them ; and wlien it is perfect day we 
must not forget how w^elcome the morning light was, 
when we had long waited for it. The solemn pass- 
over followed immediately after the solemn circum- 
cision; thus, when they that received the word 
were Ij.iptized, immediately we find them breaking 
of bread. Acts 2. 41, 42. They kept this passover 
in the plains of Jericho, as it were in defiance of the 
Canaanites that were round about them and enrag- 
ed against them, and yet could not give them any 
disturbance. Thus God gave them an early instance 
of the performance of thit promise, that when they 
went up to keep the feasts, their land should be 
taken under the special protection of the Di\ ine 
Providence, Exod. 34. 24, A'either shall any man 
drn'-e thii land. He now firefiared a table before 
them m the firesence of tuen- tutmits, Ps. 23. 5. 

II. Provision made for their camp of the com of 
their land, and the ceasing of the manna thereupon, 
T. 11, 12. Manna was a wonderful mercy to them 
when they needed it; but it was the mark of a wil- 
derness state, it was the food of children, and there- 
fore, though it was angels' food, and not to be com- 
plained of as light bread, yet it would be more ac- 
ceptable to them to eat of the corn of the land, and 
that they are now furnished with; the country peo- 
ple being i-etired for safety into Jericho, left their 
barns and fields, and all that was in them, which 
served for the subsistence of this great army. And 
the supply came very seasonable, for, 1. After the 
passover, they were to keep the feast of unleavened 
bread, which' they could not do according to the ap- 
pointment, when they had nothing but manna to 
live upon; perhaps this was one reason why it was 
mtermitted in the wilderness. But nowthev found 

old corn enough in the bam of the Canaanites to 
supply them plentifully for that occasion; thus the 
■wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just, and little 
did they who laid it up, think, whose all these things 
should be, which they had provided. 2. On the mor- 
row after thepassover-sabbath, they were to wave 
the sheaf of first-fruits before the Lord, Lev. 23. 10, 
11. And this they were particularly ordered to do, 
when they were come into the land which God would 
givt them; and they were furnished for this with the 
fruit of ihe land that year, v. 12. which was then 
growing and beginning to be ripe. Thus thc> were 
well provi.ied for, both v/ith old and 7iew corn, as 
good householders. Matt. 13. 52. And as soon as 
ever the fruits of this good land came to their 
hands, they had an oj^portunity of honouring God 
with them, and employing them in his service ac- 
cording to his appointment. And thus, behold all 
things are clean and comfortable to them. Calvin 
is of opinion, that they had kept the passo\ er every 
year in its season during their wandering in the 
wilderness, though it is not mentioned, and that 
God dispensed with their being uncircumcised, as 
he did notwithstanding that, admit them to offer 
other sacrifices. But some gather from Amos 5. 
25. that after the sentence passed upon them, there 
were no sacrifices offered till they came to Canaan, 
and consequently no passover kept. And it is ob- 
servable, that aft.r that sentence. Numb. 14. the 
law which follows, ch. 15. concernin'- sacrifices, be- 
gins, T'. 2, When ye shall be come into the land of 
your habitations, you shall do so and so. 

Notice is taken of the ceasing of the manna as 
soon as ever they had eaten the old corn of the 
land; (1.) To show that it did not come by chance 
or common providence, as snow or hail does, but 
by the special designation of divine wisdom and i 
goodness; for as it came just when they needed it, 
so it continued as long as they had occasion for it, 
and no longer. (2.) To teach' us not to expect ex- 
traordinary supplies, when they may be had in an 
ordinary way. If (iod had dealt with Israel ac- 
cording to their deserts, the manna had ceased then 
when they called it light bread; but as long as they 
needed it, God continued it, though they despised it; 
and now that they needed not, God withdrew it, 
though perhaps some of them desired it. He is a 
wise Father, who knows the necessities of his chil- 
dren, and accommodates his gifts to them, not to 
their humours. The word and ordinances of God 
are spiritual manna, with which God nourishes his 
people in this wilderness, and though often forfeit- 
ed, yet they are continued while we are here; but 
when we come to the heavenly Canaan, this manna 
will cease, for we no longer have need of it. 

1 3. And it came to pass, when Joshua 
was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and 
loolied and behold ^h'^re ^'^ood a "^ap over 
against him with his sword drawn in his 
hand : and Joshua went unto him, and said 
unto him. Art thou for us, or for our adver- 
saries ? 14. And he said. Nay; but as 
captain of the host of the Lord am I now 
come. And Joshua fell on his face to the 
earth, and did worship, and said unto him, 
What saith my Lord unto his servant? 
15. And the captain of the Lord's host 
said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe fi-om off 
thy foot ; for the place whereon thou stand- 
est is holy. And Joshua did so. 

We have hitherto found God often speak to 
Joshua, but we read not till now of any appearance 



of God's glory to him; now that his difficulties in- 
creased, his encouragements were increased in pro- 
portion. Observe, 

I. The time when he was favoured with this 
vision; it was immediately after he had performed 
the great solemnities of circumcision, and the pass- 
over; then God made himself known to him. Note, 
We may tlien expect the disco\eries of the di\ine 
grace, when we are found in the way of our duty, 
and aie diligent and sincere in our attendance on 
holy ordinances. 

it. The place where he had this visioh; it was 
by Jericho, in Jericho, so the word is, in it by faith 
and hope, tliough as yet he had not begun to lay 
siege to it; in it in thought and expectation, or in 
the fields of Jericho, hard by the city; there, it 
should seem, he was all alone, fearless of danger, 
because sure of the divine protection. There he 
was (some think) meditating and praying, and to 
those who are so employed, God often graciously 
manifests himself. Or, perhaps, there he was to 
take a \ iew of the city, to observe its fortifications, 
and contri\ e how to attack it, and perhaps he was 
at a loss within himself how to make his approach- 
es, Avhen God came and directed him. Note, God 
will help, those that helfi themselves; Vigilmitibus 
non dormieyi'ibus siiccurrit lex — The lanv succours 
those ivho watch, not those %vho sleefi. Joshua was 
in his post, as a General, when God came and 
made himself known to him as Generalissimo. 

III. The appearance itself ; Joshua, as is usual 
with those that are full of thought and care, was 
looking downward, his eyes fixed on the ground, 
when of a sudden he was surprised with the ap- 
pearance of a man who stood before him at some 
little distance, which obliged him to lift up his eyes, 
and g ive a diversion to his musings, v. 13. he ap- 
peared unto him as a man, but a considerable man, 
and one fit to be taken notice of. Now, 1. We have 
reason to think that this man was the Son of God, 
the eternal Word, who before he assumed the hu- 
man nature for a perpetuity, frequently appeared 
m a human shape. So Bishop Patrick thinks, con- 
sonant to tiie judgment of the Fathers. Joshua 
gave him divine honours, and he received them, 
wliich a created angel would not have done, and he 
IS called Jehovah, ch. 6. 2. 2. He here appeared 
as a soldier, with his- sword drawn in his hand. To 
Abraham in his tent, he appeared as a traveller; to 
Joshua in the field :',s a man of war: Christ will be 
to his people what their faith expects and desires. 
Christ had his sword drawn, which served, (1.) 
To justify the war Joshua was engaging in, and to 
show him that it was of God, who gave liim com- 
mission to kill and slay. If the sovereign draw the 
sword, that proclaims war, and authoi'ises the sub- 
ject to do so too. The sword is then well drawn 
when Christ draws it, and give^ the banner to them 
that frar him, to be dis/ilayed because of the truth, 
Ps. 60. 4. (2.) To encourage him to carry it on 
with vigour; for Christ's sword drawn in his hand 
denotes how ready he is for the defence and salva- 
tion of his people, who through him shall do \'a- 
liantly. His sword turns every way. 

IV. The bold question with which Joshua ac- 
costed him; he did not send a servant, but stept up 
to him himself, and asked, jirt thou for us, or for 
our adversaries? Which intimates his readiness to 
entertain him if he were for them, and to fight him 
if he were against them. This speaks, 1. His great 
courage and resolution. He was not ruffled by the 
suddenness of the appearance, nor daunted with 
the majesty and bravery, which no doubt appeared 
in the countenance of the person he saw; but, with 
a presence of mind that became so great a General, 
put this fair question to him. God had bid Joshua 
be courageous, and by this it appears that he was 

so; for what God by his word requires of his peo 
pie, he does by his grace work in them. 2. His 
great concern for the people and their cause; so 
heartily has he embarked in the interests of Israel, 
that none shall stand by him with the face of a man, 
but he will know whether he be a friend or a fee. 
It should seem, he suspected him for an enemy, a 
Goliath that was come to destroy the armies of the 
living God, and to give him a challenge. Thus 
apt are we to look upon that as against us, v.hich is 
most for us. The question plainly implies, that 
the cause between the Israelites and Canaanites, 
between Christ and Beelzebub, will not admit of 
a neutrality. He that is not with us, is against us. 

V. The account he gave of himself, v. 14. 
♦' Nay, not for your adversaries, you may be 
sure, but as Captain of the host of the Lord am I 
now come, not only for you as a friend, but over 
you, as commander in chief." Here were now, as 
of old, Gen. 32. 2, Mahanaim, two hosts, a host of 
Israelites ready to engage the Canaanites, and a host 
of angels to protect them therein, and he, as Captain 
of both, conducts the host of Israel, and commands 
the host of angels to their assistance. Perhaps in 
allusion to this, Christ is called the Captain of our 
salvation, Heb. 2. 10. and a Leader and Com- 
mander to the people, Isa. S5. 4. They cannot but 
be victorious, that have such a Captain. He now 
came as Captain to review the troops, to animate 
them, and to give the necessary orders for the be- 
sieging of Jericho. 

VI. The great respect Joshua paid him when he 
understood who he was; it is probable that he per- 
ceived not only by wh-'t he said, but by some other 
sensible indications, that he was a divine person, 
and not a man. 

1. Joshua paid homage to him. He fell on his 
face to the earth and did worship. Joshua was him- 
self General of the forces of Israel, and vet he Avrs 
far from looking with jealousy upon this stranger, 
wlio produced a commission as Captain of the 
Lord's host above him; he did not offer to dispute 
his claims, but cheerfully submitted to him as his 
commander. It well becomes the greatest men to 
be hiiml^le and reverent in their addresses to God. 

2. He begged to receive comm'mds and direc- 
tions from Irm, T17iat saith 7ny Lord unto his ser- 
vant? His former question was not more brld and 
soldier-like, than this was pious ;ind saint-like; nor 
was it any disparagement to the greatness of Josh- 
ua's spirit, thus to humble himself when he had 
to do with God: even crowned heads cannot bow 
too low before the throne of the Lord Jesus, who is 
King of kings, Ps. 2. 10, 11.-72. 10, 11. Rev. 19. 
16. Observe, (1.) The relation he owns between 
himself and Christ; that Christ was his Lord, and 
himself his servant and under his command, Christ 
his Captain, and himself a soldier under him, to do 
as he is bidden. Matt. 8. 9. Note, The foundation 
of all acceptable obedience is laid in a sincere dedi- 
cation of ourselves, as servants to Jesus Christ as 
our Lord, Ps. 16.2. (2.) The inquiry he makes 
pursuant to this relation, What saith my Lord? 
Which implies an earnest desire to know the will 
of Christ, and a cheerful readiness and resolution 
to do it. Joshua owns himself an inferior officer, 
and stands to receive orders; this temper of mind 
shows him fit for the post he was in, for those 
know best how to command, that know how to 

VII. The further expressions of reverence 
which this divine Captain required from Joshua, 
V. 15, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot, in token ot 
reverence and respect, which with us are signified 
by uncovering the head; and as an acknowledg 
mentof a divine presence, which, while it continucil 
there, did in a manner sanctif)' the place and dig 



nify it. We often say of a person whom we have a 
great affection for, that we lo\e the \ ery ground he 
^'oes upon; thus Joshua must show his reverence 
tur this divine person, he must not tread the ground 
he stood on with his shoes on, Eccl. 5. 1. Outward 
expressions of inward reverence, and a religious 
awe rf God, well become us, and are required of 
us, whenever we appi'oach to him in solemn ordi- 
nances. Bishop Patrick well observes here, that the 
veiT same orders that God gave to Moses at the bush, 
when he was sending him to bring Israel out of 
Egvpt, Exod. 3. 5. he here gives to Joshua, for the 
confirming of his faith in the promise he had lately 
gi\ en him, that as he had been with Moses, so he 
would be with him, ch. 1. 5. Had MoSes such a 
presence of God with him, as, when it became sen- 
sible, sanctified the ground? So had Joshua. 

And (lastly) Hereby he prepares him to receive 
the insti-uctions he was about to give him, concern- 
ing the siege of Jericho, which this captain of the 
Lord's host was now come to give Israel posses- 
sion of. 


Joshua opened the campaig-n with the siege of Jericho, a 
city which could not trust so much to the courage of its 
people, as to act offensively and to send out its forces to 
oppose Israel's landing and encamping, hut trusted so 
much to the strength of its walls, as to stand upon its 
defence, and not to surrender, or desire conditions of 
peace. Now here we have tiie story of the taking of it. 
1. The directions and assurances which the Captain of 
llie Lord's host gave concerning it, v. 1 . . 5. II. The 
trial of the people's patient obedience in waliiing round 
the city six days, v. 6 . . 14. III. The woiulerful delivery 
of it into their hands the seventh day, with a solemn 
charge to them to use it as a devoted thing, v. 15. .21. 
and v. 24. IV. The preservation of Rahab and her rela- 
tions, V. 22, 23, 25. V. A curse pronounced upon the man 
that should dare to rebuild this city, v. 26, 27. An ab- 
stract of this story we find among the trophies of faith, 
Heb. 11. 30, By faith, the walls of Jericho fell doion, af- 
ter they were compassed about seven days. 

1. I^TOW Jericho was straitly shut up, 
Jl!^ because of the children of Israel : 
none went out, and none came in. 2. And 
the Lord said unto Joshua, See, I have 
jE;iven into thine hand Jericho, and the king 
thereof, and the mighty men of valour. 3. 
And ye shall compass the city, all ]/e men 
of war, and go round about the city once. 
Thus shalt thou do six days. 4. And se- 
ven priests shall bear before the ark seven 
trumpets of rams' horns : and the seventh 
day ye shall compass the city seven times, 
and the priests shall blow with the trum- 
pets. 5. And it shall come to pass, that 
when they make a long blast with the rams' 
horns, and when ye hear the sound of the 
trumpet, all the people shall shout with a 
great shout ; and the wall of the pity shall 
fall down flat, and the people shall' ascend 
up, every man straight before him. 

We have here a contest between God and the 
men of Jericho^ and their different resolutions, upon 
which it is easy to say whose word shall prevail. 

I. Jericho resolves Israel shall not be its master, 
V. 1. It was straitly shut up, because of the chil- 
dren of Israel it dicl shut up, and it ivas shut up. 
So it is in the margin, it did shut up itself, being 
.strongly fortified both by art and nature, and it was 
ihut up, by the obstinacy and resolution of the in- 

habitants, who agreed never to surrender or so 
much as sound a parley; none went out as deserters 
or to treat of peace, nor were any adnutted in to 
offer peace. Thus were they infatuated, and their 
hearts hardened to their own destruction — the mise- 
rable case and character of all those that strengthen 
themselves against the Almighty, Job 15. 25. 

II. God resell es Israel shall be its master, and 
that quickly. The captain of the Lord's h< st, here 
called Jehovah, taking notice how strongly Jericho 
Avas fortified, and how strictly guarded, and know- 
ing Joshua's thoughts and cares about reducing it, 
and perhaps his fears of a disgrace theie, and of 
stumbling at the threshold, gave him here all the 
assurance he could desii e of success, v. 2, See, I 
have given into thine hand Jericho. Not, " I will 
do it, but / have done if; it is all thine own, as sure 
as if it were already in thy possession." It was de- 
signed that this city, being the first-fruits of Canaan, 
should be entirely devoted to God, and that neither 
Joshua nor Israel should ever be one mite the richer 
for it, and yet it is here said to be given into their 
hand, for we must reckon that most cur own, 
which we have an opportunity of honouring God 
with, and employing in his service. 

Now, 1. The 'Captain of the Lord's host gives 
directions how the city should be besieged. No 
trenches are to be opened, no batteries erected, or 
battering rams drawn up, nor any military prepa- 
rations made; but the ark of God must be carried 
by the priests round the city, once a day for six days 
together, and seven times the seventh day, attended 
bv the iTien of war in silence, the priests all the 
while blowing with trumpets of ram's horns, v. 5, 
4. This was all they were to do. 

2. He assures theiri, that on the seventh day be- 
fore night, they should without fail, be masters of 
the town; upon a s'gnal given, they must all shout, 
and immediately the wall should fall down, which 
would not only expose the inhabitants, but so dis- 
pirit them, that they would not be able to make 
any resistance, v. 5. God appointed this way, (1.) 
To magnify his o^vn power, that he might be ex- 
alted in his own strength, Ps. 2L 13. not in the 
strength of instruments. God would hereby yet 
further make bare his own almighty arm for the 
encouragement of Israel, and the terror and con- 
fusion of the Canaanites. (2.) To put an honour 
upon his ark, the instituted token of his presence, 
and to give a reason for the laws, by which the peo- 
ple were obliged to look upon it with the most pro- 
found veneration and respect. W'hen, long after 
this, the ark was brought into the camp without 
orders from God, it was looked upon as a profana- 
tion of it, and the people paid dear for their pre- 
sumption, 1 Sam. 4. 3, &c. But now that it was 
done by the divine appointment, it was aii honour to 
the ark of God, and a great encouragement to the 
faith of Israel. (3.) It was likewise to put honour 
upon the priests, who were appointed upon this oc- 
casion to carry the ark, and sound the trumpets. 
Ordinarily, the priests were excused from war; 
that that privilege, with other honours and powers 
that the law had given them, might not be grudged 
them, in this service they are principally employed, 
and so the people are made sensible what blessings 
they were to the public, and how well worthy of all 
the advantages conferred upon them. (4. ) It was 
to try the faith, obedience, and patience, of the 
people, to try whether they would observe a pre- 
cept, which to human policy seemed foolish to 
obey, and believe a promise which inhumnn proba- 
bility seemed impossible to be performed. They 
were also proved, whether they could patiently 
bear the reproaches of their enemies, and patiently 
wait for the salvation of the I^ord. Thus, by faith, 
not bv force, the walls of Jericho fell down. (5.1 



It was to encourage the hope of Israel, with refer- 
ence to the remaining difficulties that were before 
them. That suggestion of the evil spies, that Ca- 
naan could never be conquered, because the cities 
were nvalled ufi to heaven, (Deut. 1. 28.) would by 
this be for ever silenced. The strongest and high- 
est walls cannot hold out against Omnipotence; 
they needed not to fight, and therefore needed not 
to fear, because God fought for them. 

6. And Joshua the son of Nun called 
the priests, and said unto them, Take up 
the ark of the covenant, and let seven 
priests bear seven trumpets of rams' horns 
before the ark of the Lord. 7. And he 
said unto the people. Pass on, and compass 
the city, and let him that is armed pass on 
before the ark of the Lord. 8. And it 
came to pass, when Joshua had spoken 
unto the people, that the seven priests bear- 
ing the seven trumpets of rams' horns 
passed on before the Lord, and blew with 
the trumpets ; and the ark of the covenant 
of the Lord followed them. 9. And the 
armed men went before the priests that 
blew with the trumpets, and the rearward 
came after the ark, the priests going on, and 
blowing with the trumpets. 10. And Joshua 
had commanded the people, saying. Ye 
shall not shout nor make any noise with 
your voice, neither shall any word proceed 
out of your mouth, until the day I bid you 
shout ; then shall ye shout. 1 1 . So the ark 
of the Lord compassed the city, going 
about it once: and they came into the 
camp, and lodged in the camp. 12. And 
Joshua rose early in the morning, and the 
priests took up the ark of the Lord. 13. 
And seven priests, bearing seven trumpets 
of rams' horns before the ark of the Lord, 
went on continually, and blew with the 
trumpets : and the armed men went before 
them but the rearward came after the ark 
of the Lord, the priests going on, and 
blowing with the trumpets. 14. And the 
second day they compassed the city once, 
and returned into the camp", so they did 
six days. 1 5. And it came to pass on the 
seventh day, that they rose early about the 
dawning of the day, and compassed the 
city after the same manner seven times : 
only on that day they compassed the city 
seven times. 16. And it came to pass at 
the seventh time, when the priests blew 
with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the 
people. Shout; for the Lord hath given you 
the city. 

We have here an account of the cavalcade which 
Israel made about Jericho, the orders Joshua gave 
concerning it, as he had received them from the 
Lord, and their punctual observance of these orders. 
We do not find that he gave the people the express 
assurances God had given him, that he would de- 

liver the city into their hands; he tried whether 
they would obey orders with a general confidence 
that it would end well, and we find them very ob- 
serv ant both of God and Joshua. 

I. Wherever the ark went the people attended 
it, V. 9. The armed men went before it to clear 
the way, not thinking it any disparagement to them, 
though they were men of war, to be pioneers to the 
ark of God. If any obstacle should be found in 
crossing all the roads that led to the city, (which 
they must do in walking round it,) they would re- 
move it; if any opposition should be made by the 
enemy, they would encounter it, that the priests' 
march with the ark might be_ easy and safe. It is 
an honour to the greatest of men to do any good 
office to the ark, and to serve the interests of re- 
ligion in their country. The rearivard, either 
another body of armed men, or Dan's squadron, 
which marched last through the wilderness, or, as 
some think, the multitude of the people who were 
not armed or disciplined for war, (as many of them 
as would,) followed the ark, to testify their respects 
to it, to grace the solemnity, and to be witnesses of 
what was done. Every faithful zealous Israelite 
would be willing to undergo the same fatigues, and run 
the same hazard with the priests that bare the ark. 

II. Seven priests went immediately before the 
ark, having trumpets in their hands, with which 
they were continually sounding, v. 4, 5, 9, 13. The 
priests were God's ministers, and thus in his name, 
1. They proclaimed war with the Canaanites, and 
so struck a terror upon them; for by terrors upon 
their spirits they were to be conquered and sub- 
dued. Thus God's ministers, by the solemn decla- 
rations of his wrath against all ungodliness, and 
unrighteousness of men, must blow the trumpet in 
Sion, and sound an alarm in the holy mountain, that 
the sinners in' Sion may be afraid. They are God's 
heralds to denounce war against ^11 those that go on 
still in their trespasses, but say, "We shall have 
peace, though we go on." 2. They proclaimed 
God's gracious presence with Israel, and so put life 
and courage into them. It was appointed that 
when they went to war, the priests should en- 
courage them with the assurance of God's presence 
with them, Deut. 20. 2.. 4. And particularly 
their blowing with trumpets was to be a sign to the 
people, that they should be remembered before the 
Lord their God in the day of battle. Numb. 10. 9. 
It encouraged Abijah, 2 Chron. 13. 12. Thus 
God's ministers, by sounding the Jubilee trumpet 
of the everlasting gospel, which proclaims liberty 
and victory, must encourage the good soldiers oj 
Jesus Christ in their spiritual warfare. 

III. The trumpets they used, were not these 
silver ti-umpets which were appointed to be made 
for their ordinary sei-\'ice, but trumpets of rams' 
horns, bored hollow for the purpose, as some think; 
these trumnets were of the basest matter, duller 
sound, and 'least show, that the excellency of tht 
power might be of God. Thus by the foolishness 
of preaching, fitly compared to the sounding ot 
these rams' horns, the devil's kingdom is thrown 
down, and the weapons of our tvarfare, though 
they are not carnal, nor seem to a carnal eye likely 
to bring any thing to pass, are yet mighty through 
God to the pulling daw?! of strong -holdn, 2 Cor. 
10. 4, 5. The word here is trumfiets ofJohel, that 
is, such trumpets as they used to blow withal in the 
year of jubilee; many intei-preters understand it so, 
as signifying the complete liberty to which Israel 
was now brought, and the bringing of the land of 
Canaan into the hands of its just and rightful 

IV. All the people were commanded to be silent, 
not to speak a word, nor make any noise, t. 10. that 
they might the more carefully attend to tlie sound 



of the sacred trumpets, which they were now to 
look upon as the voice of God among them; and it 
does not become us to speak when God is speaking. 
It Hkewise intimates their reverent expectation of 
the event, Zech. 2. 13, Be silent, O all Jiesh before 
(he Lord. Exod. 14. 14, God shall fight, and ye 
shall hold your peace. 

V. They were to do this once a day for six days 
together, and seven times the seventh day, -v. 14, 
15. God could have caused the walls of Jericho to 
fall upon the first surrounding of them, but they 
must go round them thirteen times before they fall, 
that they might be kept waiting patiently for the 
Lord. Though they were lately come into Canaan, 
and their time was very precious, (for they had a 
great deal of work before them,) yet they must 
linger so many davs about Jericho, seeming to do 
nothing, nor to make any progress in their business. 
As promised deliverances must be expected in 
God's way, so they must be expected in his time. 
He that helieves, does not make haste, not more 
haste than God would have him make. Go yet 
sex'en times before any thing hopeful appears, 1 
Kings 18. 43. 

VI. One of these days must needs be a sabbath- 
day, and the Jews say that it was the last, but that 
is not certain; however, if he that api)ointed them 
to rest on the other sabbath-days, appointed them 
to walk on this, that was sufficient to justify them in 
it; he never intended to bind himself by his own 
laws, but that when he pleased he might dispense 
with them. The impotent man went upon this 
principle when he argued, John 5. 11, He that 
made me ivhole (and therefore has a divine power,) 
he said u7ito me, Take ufi thy bed. And in this 
case here, it was an honour to the sabbath-day, by 
which our time is divided into weeks, that just 
seven days were to be spent in this work, and seven 
priests were employed to sound seven trumpets; 
that number being, on this occasion, as well as 
many others, made remarkable, in remembrance 
of the six days' work of creation, and the seventh 
day's rest from it. And, besides, the law of the 
sabbath forbids our own work, which is servile and 
secular, but this which they did, was a religious act. 
It is certainly no breach of the sabbath-rest to do 
the sabbath-work, for the sake of which the rest 
was instituted; and what is the sabbath- work but to 
attend the ark in all its motions? 

VII. They continued to do this, during the time 
appointed, and seven times the seventh day, though 
they saw not any effect of it, believing that at the 
end the vision would speak and not lie, Hab. 2. 3. 
If we persevere in the way of duty, we shall lose 
nothing by it in the long run. It is probable they 
walked at such a distance from the walls, as to be 
out of the reach of the enemies' arrows, and out of 
the hearing of their scoffs. We may suppose the 
oddness of the thing did at first amuse the besieged, 
but by the seventh day they were grown secure, 
feeling no harm from that, which perhaps they look- 
ed upon as an enchantment. Probably, they bantered 
the besiegers, as they, Neh. 4. 2, " Jiliat do these fee- 
ble Jenvs? Is this the people they thought so formi- 
dable? Are these their methods of attack?" Thus 
they cried Peace and Safety, that the destruction 
might be the more terrible when it came. JVicked 
men (says Bishop Hall) think God in Jest when he 
is firefiaiing for their judgment; but they will be 
convinced of their mistake when it is too late. 

VIII. At last they were to give a shout, and did 
so, and immediately the walls fell, v. 16. This 
was a shout for mastery,' a triumphant shout, the 
shout of a king is among them. Numb. 23. 21. 
This was a shout of faith; they believed that the 
walls of Jericho would fall, and by that faith they 
were thrown down. It was a shout of prayer, an 

Vol.. II. — E 

echo to the sound of the trumpets which proclaimed 
the promise that God would remember them; Avith 
one accord, as one man, they cry to heaven for 
help, and help comes in. Some allude to this to 
show that we must never expect a complete victory 
over our own corruptions till the very evening of 
our last day, and then we shall shout in triumph 
over them, when we come to the number and mea- 
sure of oiir perjections, as Bishop Hall expresses it. 
A good heart (says he) groans under the sense of his 
infir7nities, fain would be rid of them, and striven 
and prays, but when all is done, until the end of th.e 
seventh day it cannot be; then judgment shall be 
brought forth unto victory. And at the end of 
time, when our Lord shall descend from heaven 
with a shout, and the sound of a trumpet, Satan's 
kingdom shall be completely ruined, and not till 
then, when all opposing rule, principality, and 
power, shall be effectu lly and eternally put down. 

17. And the city shall be accursed, even 
it and all that are therein, to the Lord : 
only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all 
that are with her ni the h >use, because she 
hid the messengers that we sent. 1 8. And* 
you, in any wise keep yourselves from the 
accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves ac- 
cursed, when ye take off the accursed thing, 
and make the camp of Israel a curse, and 
trouble it. 19. But all the silver, and gold, 
and vessels of brass and iron, are conse- 
crated unto the Lord: they shall come 
into the treasury of the Lord. 20. So the 
people shouted when the priests blew with 
the trumpets : and it came to pass, when 
the people heaid the sound of the trumpet, 
and the people shouted with a great shout, 
that the wall fell down flat, so that the peo- 
ple went up into the city, every man straight 
before him, and they took the city: 21. 
And they utterly destroyed all that was in 
the city, both man and woman, young and 
old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the 
edge of the sword. 22. But Joshua had 
said unto the two men that had spied out 
the country. Go into the harlot's house, and 
bring out thence the woman, and all that 
she hath, as ye sware unto her. 23. And 
the young men that were spies went in, and 
brought out Rahab, and her father, and her 
mother, and her brethren, and all dial she 
had -, and they brought out all her kindred, 
and left them w ithout the camp of Israel. 
24. And they burnt the city with fire, and 
all that u-as therein : only the silver, and the 
gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, 
they put into the treasury of the house of 
the Lord. 25. And Joshua saved Rahab 
the harlot alive, and her father's household, 
and all that she had ; and she dwelleth in 
Israol even unto this day ; because she hid 
the messengers which Joshua sent to spy 
out Jericho. 26. And Joshua adjured them 
at that time, saying, Cursed be the man be- 
fore the Lord that risoth up and buildeth 



this city Jericho : he shall lay the foundation 
thereof in his first-born, and in his youngest 
son shall he set up the gates of it. 27. So 
the Lord was with Joshua ; and his fame 
was noised throughout all the country. 

The people had reli^ously observed the orders 
gi'/en them concei'iiingthe besieging of Jericlio, and 
now at length Joshua had told them, v. 16, " T/ie 
Lord hath piven you the city, enter and take pos- 
session. " Accordingly, in these verses we have, 

I. The rules they were to observe in taking pos- 
session; God gives it them, and therefore may direct 
it to what uses and intents, and clog it with what 
provisos and limitations he thinks fit. It is given 
to them to be devoted to God, as the first, and per- 
haps the worst, of all the cities of Canaan. 

1. The city must be burnt, and all the lives in it sa- 
crificed without mercy to the justice of God. All this 
they knew was included in those words, v. 17. The 
city shall be a cherem, a devoted thing, it and all 
therein, to the Lord; no life in it might be ransomed 
upon any terms, they must all be snvelyfiut to death, 
Lev. 27. 29. So He appoints, from whom as crea- 
tures they had received their lives, and to v/hom as 
sinners they had forfeited them; and who may dis- 
pute his sentence? /* God unrighteous, who thus 
taketh vengeance? God forbid we should entertain 
such a thought! There was more of God seen in 
the taking of Jericho, than of anv other of the cities 
of Canaan, and therefore that must be more than 
any other devoted to him. And the severe usage of 
this city would strike a terror upon all the rest and 
melt their hearts yet more before Israel. Only 
when this severity is ordered, Rahab and her fami- 
ly are excepted; she shall live and all that are with 
her. She had distinguished herself from her neigh- 
bours by the kindness she showed to Israel, and 
therefore shall be distinguished from them by the 
speedy return of that kindness. 

2. All the treasure of it, the monev and plate and 
valuable goods, m.ust be consecrated to the service 
of the tabernacle, and brought into the stock of dedi- 
cated things: The Jews say, because the citv was 
taken on the sabbath-day. Thus God would be ho- 
noured by the beautifying and enriching of his 
tabernacle; thus preparation was made for the 
extraordinary expenses of his service: and thus the 
Israelites were taught not to set their hearts upon 
worldly wealth, nor to aim at heaping up abundance 
of it for themselves. God had promised them a land 
Rowing with milk and honey, not a land abounding 
with silver and gold, for he would have them live 
comfortably in it, that they might serve him cheer- 
fully, but not covet either to trade with distant 
countries, or to hoard for aftertimes. He would 
likewise have them reckon themselves enriched in 
the enriching of the tabernacle; and to think that 
which was laid up in God's house as truly their ho- 
nour and wealth as if it had been laid up in their 

A particular caution is given them to take heed 
of meddling with the forbidden spoil; for what was 
devoted to God, if they offered to appropriate it to 
their own use, would prove accursed to them; there- 
fore, T'. 18, "In any wise kee/i yourselves from the 
accursed thing; vou will find yourselves inclined to 
reach towards it, but check yourselves, frighten 
yourselves from having anything to do with it." 
He speaks as if he foresaw the sin of Achan, which 
we have an account of in the next chapter, when he 
gives that reason for the caution, lest ye make the 
cam/i of Israel a curse, and trouble it, as it proved 
that Achin did. 

II. The entrance that was opened to them into 
the city by the sudden fall of the walls, or at least 

that part of the wall over-against which they then 
were when they gave the shout, v. 20, J'Ae wall 
fell down flat, and, probably, killed abundance of 
people; the guards that stood sentinel upon it, or 
others that crowded upon it, to look at the Israel- 
ites that were walking around. We read of thou- 
sands killed by the fall of a wall, 1 Kings 20 30. 
Thut which they trusted to for defence, proved their 
destiniction. The sudden fall of the wall, no doubt, 
put the inhabitants into such a consternation, chat 
they had no strength nor spirit to make any resist- 
ance, but they became an easy prey to the sword of 
Israel, and saw to how little purpose it was to shut 
their gates against a people that had the Lord oji the 
head of them, Mic. 2. 13. Note, The God of hea- 
ven easily can, and certainly will, break down all 
the opposing power of his and his church's enemies. 
Gates of brass and bars of iron are, before him, but 
as straw and rotten wood, Isa. 45. 1, 2. Who will 
bring me into the strong city? Wilt not thou, O God? 
Ps. 60. 9, 10. Thus shall Satan's kingdom fall, nor 
shall any prosper, that hardened themselves against 

III. The execution of the orders given concern 
this devoted city. All that breathed, were put 
the sword; not only the men that were found 
arms, but the women and children and old peop 
Though they cried for quarter, and begged ever 
earnestly for their lives, there was no room for co 
passion, pity must be forgotten, they utterly t 
stroyed all, v. 21. If they had not had a divi 
warrant, under the seal of miracles for this exec 
tion, it could not have been justified, nor can 
justify the like now, when we are sure no su( 
warrant can be produced. But being appointed 1 
the righteous Judge of heaven and earth to do i 
who is not unrighteous in taking vengeance, they ai 
to be applauded in doing it, as the faithful ministe 
of his justice. Work for God was then bloody 
work; and cursed was he that did it deceitfully, 
keefiing back, his sword f-om blood, Zgv. 48. 10. But 
the spirit of the gospelis \ ery different, for Christ 
came not to destroy men's lives but to save them, 
Ijuke 9. 56. Chiist's victories were of another na- 
ture. The cattle were put to death with the 
owners, as additional sacrifices to the divine justice. 
The cattle of the Israelites, when slain at the altar, 
were accepted as sacrificesyor them, but the cattle 
of those Canaanites were required to be slain as sa- 
crifices with them, for their iniquity was not to be 
purged with sacrifice and offering: both were for 
the glory of God. 2. The city was bur?it withjire, 
and all that was in it, v. 24. The Israelites, per- 
haps, when they had taken Jericho, a large and 
well-built city, hoped they should have that for 
their head-quarters; but God will have them yet to 
dwell in tents, and therefore fires this nest, lest they 
should nestle in it. 3. All the silver and gold, and 
all those vessels which were capable of being puri- 
fied by fire, were brought into the treasury of the 
house of the Lord; not that he needed it, but he 
would be honoured by it, as the Lord of hosts, of 
their hosts in particular, the God that gave the vic- 
tory, and therefore might demand the spoil; either the 
whole, as here, or, as sometimes, a tenth, Heb. 7. 4. 

IV. The preservation of Rahab the harlot, or 
inn-keeper, who fierished not with them that believ- 
ed not, Heb. 11. 31. The public faith was engaged 
for her safety, by the two spies, who acted therein 
as public persons; and therefore though the hurry 
they were in at the taking of the town, no doubt, 
was very great^et Joshua took effectual care for her 
preservation. The same persons that she had secur- 
ed, were employed to secure her, v. 22, 23. They 
were best able to do it, who knew her and her house, 
and they were fittest to do it, that it might appeal 
it was for the sake of her kindness to thero. that she 



■was thus distingi'".slted, and had her life given her 
for H prey. All her kindred were saved with her; 
like Noah she believed to the saving of her house; 
and thus faith in Christ brings salvation to the house, 
Acts 16. 31. Some ask, how her house, which is 
said to have been u/ion the wall, ch. 2. 15. escaped 
falling; with the wall; we are sure it did escape, for 
she and her relations were safe in it: either though 
it joined so near to the wall as to be said to be upoji 
it, yet it was so far off as not to fall either with the 
wall or under it; or rather that part of the wall on 
which her house stood, fell not. Now being pre- 
served alive, 1. She was left for some time without 
the camp to be purified from the gentile supersti- 
tion, which she was to renounce, and to be prepared 
for her admission as a proselyte. 2. She was in due 
time incorporated with the church of Israel, and 
she and her posterity dwelt in Israel, and her fami- 
ly was remarkable long after. We find her the 
wife of Salmon, prince of Judah, mother of Boaz, 
and named among the ancestors of our Saviour, 
Matt. 1. 5. Having received Israelites in the name 
of Israelites, she had an Israelite's reward. Bishop 
Pierson observes, that Joshua's saving Rahab the 
harlot, and admitting her into Israel, was a figure 
of Christ's receiving into his kingdom, and enter- 
taining there, the publicans and the harlots, Matt. 
21, 31. Or it may be applied to the conversion of 
the Gentiles. 

V. Jericho is condemned to a perpetual desola- 
tion, and a curse pronoimced upon the man that at 
any time hereafter should offer to rebuild it, v. 26. 
Joshua adjured them, that is, the elders and people 
of Israel, not only by their own consent, obliging 
themselves and their posterity never to rebuild this 
city, but by the divine appointment; God himself 
having forbidden it under the severe penalty here 
annexed. 1. God would hereby show the weight 
of a divine curse; where it rests there is no contend- 
ing with it nor getting from under it; it brings ruin 
without remedy or repair. 2. He would ha\ e it to 
remain in its ruins a standing monument of his wrath 
against the Canaanites, when the measure of their 
iniquity was full; and of his mercy to his people, 
when the time was come for their settlement in Ca- 
naan. The desolations of their enemies were wit- 
nesses of his favour to them, and would upbraid them 
with their ingratitude to that God who had done so 
much for them. The situation of the city was very 
pleasant, and probably, its nearness to Jordan was an 
advantage to it, which would tempt men to build up- 
on the same spot; but they are here told it is at their 
peril if they do it. Men build for their posterity, 
but he that builds Jericho, shall have no posterity to 
enjoy what he builds; his eldest son shall die when 
he begins the work, and if he take not warning by 
that stroke to desist, but will go on presumptuously, 
the finishing of his work shall be attended with the 
funeral of his youngest, and we must suppose all the 
rest cut off between. This curse, not being a cur-e 
causeless, did come upon that man who long after 
rebuilded Jericho, 1 Kings 16. 34. but we are net to 
think it made the place ever the worse when it was 
built, or brought any hurt to them that inhabited it. 
We find Jericho afterward graced with the presence, 
not only of those two great prophets Elijah and Eli- 
sha, but of our blessed Saviour himself, Luke 18. 
35- 19. 1. Matt. 20. 29. Note, It is a dangerous 
thing to attempt the building up of that which God 
will have to be destroyed. See Mai. 1. 4. 

Lastly, All this magnified Joshua and raised his 
reputation, v. 27. it made him not only acceptable 
to Israel, but formidable to the Canaanites, because 
it appeared that God was with him of a truth: the 
Word of the Lord was with him, so the Chaldee, 
even Christ himself, the same that was with Moses. 
Nothing can more raise a man's reputation, nor 

make him appear more truly gi eat, than to have 
the evidences of God's presence with him. 


More than once we have found the affairs of Israel, then 
when they were in the happiest posture, and gave the 
most hopeful prospects, perplexed and embarrassed by 
sin, and a stop thereby put to the most promising 
proceedings. The golden calf, the murmuring at Ka- 
desh, and the iniquity of Peor, had broken their mea- 
sures and given them great disturbance; and in this 
chapter we have such another instance of the interrup- 
tion given to the progress of theii- arms by sin. But »l 
being only the sin of one person or family, and soon 
expiated, the consequences %vere not so mischievous as 
of those other sins; however it served to let them know 
that they were still upon their good beliaviour. We have 
here, I. The sin of Achan in meddling with the accursed 
thing, V. 1. II. The defeat of Israel before Ai thereupon, 
V. 2.. 5. III. Joshua's humiliation and prayer on occa- 
sion of that sad disaster, v. 6.. 9. IV. The directions 
God gave him for the putting away of the guilt, which 
had provoked God thus to contend with them, v. 10. .15. 
V. The discovery, trial, conviction, condemnation, and 
execution, of the criminal, by which the anger of God 
was turned away, v. 1G..26. And by this story it 
appears that, as the law, so Canaan itself, made nolning 
perfect, the perfection both of holiness and peace to 
God's Israel is to be expected in the heavenly Canaan 

1. X3[UT the cliildren of Israel committed 
AB a trespass in the accursed thing : for 
Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, 
the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took 
of the accursed thing : and the anger of the 
Lord was kindled against the children of 
Israel. 2. And Joshua sent men from Jeri- 
cho to Ai, which is beside Beth-aven, on the 
east side of Beth-el, and spake unto thern, 
saying. Go up and view the country. And 
the men went up and viewed Ai, 3. And 
they returned to Joshua, and said unto him. 
Let not all the people go up ; but let about 
two or three thousand men go up and smite 
Ai ; and make not all the people to labour 
thither ; for they are hut few. 4. So there 
went up thither of the people about three 
thousand men : and they fled before the men 
of Ai. 5. And the men of Ai smote of them 
about thirty and six men : for they chased 
them from before the gate even unto Sheba- 
rim, and smote them in the going down ; 
wherefore the hearts of the people melted, 
and became as water. 

The story of this chapter begins with a but. The 
Lord ivas nvith Joshua, aiid his fame was noised 
through all that country; so the foregoing chaptei 
ends, and it left no room to doubt but that he would 
go on as he had begun, conquering and to conquer. 
He did right, and observed his orders in every 
thing. But the children of Israel committed a tres 
fiass, and so set God against them; and then evei. 
Joshua's name and fame, his wisdom and courage, 
could do them no service. If we lose our God, we 
lose our friends, who cannot help us unless God be 
for us. Now here is, 

I. Achan sinning; v. 1. Here is only a general 
mention made of the sin, we shall afterward have 
a more particular account of it from his own mouth. 
The sin is here said to be taking of the accursed 
thing, in disobedience to the command, and in defi- 
ance of the threatening, ch. 6. 18. In the sacking 



of Jeficho, orders were given, that they should 
neither spare any lives, nor take any treasure to 
themselves; we read not of the breach of the 
former prohibition, (thei'e were none to whom they 
showed any mercy,) l)ut of the latter. Compas- 
sion was put off, and yielded to the law, but covet- 
o'jsness was indulged. The love of the world is 
that root of bitterness, which of all others is most 
hardly rooted up. Yet the history of Achan is a 
plain intimation that he of all the thousands of Israel 
was the only delinquent in this matter. Had there 
been more in like manner guilty, no doubt we 
s'iould have heard of it; and it is strange there 
were no more. The temptation was strong, it was 
easy to suggest what a p,ty it was that so many 
things of value should be l^urnt, to what purpose is 
this waste? In plundering cities, every man reck- 
ons himself entitled to what he can lay his liands on. 
It was easy to promise themselves secrecy and im- 
punity; yet by the grace of God such impressions 
were made upon the minds of the Israelites by the 
ordinances ot God, circumcision and tl\e passover, 
which they had lately been partakers of, and by 
the providences of God which had been concern- 
ing them, that they stood in awe ol tlie divine pre- 
cept and judgment, and generously denied them- 
selves in obedience to their (iod. And yet, though 
it was a single person that sinned, the children of 
Israel are said to commit the tresfiass, because one 
of their body did it, and he was not as yet separated 
from them, nor disowned by them. They did it, 
that is, by what Achan did, guilt was derived upon 
the whole society of which he was a member. 
This should be a warning to us to take heed of sin 
oiirselves, lest by it many be defiled or disquieted, 
Heb. 12. 15. and to take heed of having fellowship 
with sinners, and of being in with them, lest we 
share in their guilt. Many a careful tradesman has 
been broken by a careless partner. And it con- 
cerns us to watch over one another for the prevent- 
ing of sin, because others' sins may redound to our 

II. The camp of Israel suffering for the same. 
The anger of the Lord luas kindled against Israel; 
he saw the offence, though they did not, and takes 
a course to make them see it; for, one way or other, 
sooner or later, secret sins will be brought to light; 
and if men inquire not after them, God will, and 
with his inquiries will awaken their's. Many a 
community is under guilt and wrath, and is not 
aware of it, till the fire breaks out: here it broke 
out quickly. 

1. Joshua sends a detachment to seize upon the 
next city that was in their way, and that was Ai. 
Only three thousand men were sent, advice being 
brought him by his spies that the place was incon- 
siderable, and needed no greater force for the re- 
duction of it, V. 2, 3. Now perhaps it was a 
culpable assurance, or security rather, that they 
sent so small a party on the expedition; it might 
also be an indulgence of the people in the love 
of ease, for they will not have all the /leo/ile to 
labour thither; perhnps the people were the less 
forward to go upon tliis expedition, because they 
were denied the plunder of Jericho; and these spies 
were willing they should be gratified. Whereas 
when that town was to be taken, though God by 
his own power would throw down the walls, yet 
they must all labour thither, and labour there too, 
in walking round it. It did not bode well at all, 
that God's Israel began to think mrich of their 
labour, and contrived how to sfiare their pains. It 
is required that we work out our salvation, though 
it is God that works in us. It has likewise often 
proved of bad consequence to make too light of an 
enemy. They are but few, (say the spies,) but as 
few as they were, they were too many for them. 

It will awaken our care and diligence in our 
christian warfare, to consider that we wrestle with 
princifialities and powers. 

2. The party he sent, in their first attack upon 
the town were repulsed with some loss, v. 4, 5, 
they Jied before the men of jli, finding themselves 
unaccountably dispirited, and their enemies to saily 
out upon them with more vigour and resolution than 
they expected. In their retreat they had about 
thirty-six men cut off: no great loss indeed cut of 
such a number, but a dreadful surprise to those 
who had no reason to expect any other in any 
attack than clear, cheap, and certain victory. And 
now, f.s it proves, it is well there were but three 
thousand that fell under this disgrace. Had the 
body of the army been there, they had been no 
more able to keep their ground, noAV they were 
under guilt and wrath, than this small party, and 
to them the defeat would ha\ e been much more 
grievous and dishonourable. However, it was bad 
enough as it was, and served, (1.) To humble God's 
Israel, and to teach them always to rejoice with 
trembling. Let not him that girdeth on the har- 
ness, boast as he that putteth it off. (2. ) To harden 
the Canaanites, and to make them the more secure, 
notwithstanding the teiTors they had been struck 
with, that their ruin, when it came, might be the 
more dreadful. (3.) To be an evidence of God's 
displeasure ;i gainst Israel, and a call to them to 
purge out the old leaven. And this was principally 
intended in their defeat. 

3. The retreat of this party in disorder, put the 
whole camp of Israel into a fright; the hearts of the 
people melted, not so much for the loss as for the 
disappointment. Joshua had assured them that the 
living God would without fail drive out the Ca- 
naanites from before them, ch. 3. 10. How can 
this event be reconciled to that promise? To every 
thinking man among them it appeared an indication 
of God's displeasure, and an omen of something 
worse, and therefore no marvel it put them into 
such a consternation; if God turn to be their enemy 
and Jight against them, what will become of them? 
Time Israelites tremble when God is angry. 

6. And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell 
to the earth upon his face before the ark of 
the Lord until the even-tide, he and the 
elders of Israel, and put dust upon their 
heads. 7. And Joshua said, Alas ! O Lord 
God, wherefore hast thou at all brought this 
people over Jordan, to deliver us into the 
hand of the Amorites, to destroy us ? 
Would to God we had been content, and 
dwelt on the other side Jordan ! 8. O 
£jORd what shall T sa^', ^vhe^ Israel turn- 
eth their back before their enemies ! 9. 
For the (Canaanites, and all the inhabitants 
of the land shall hear of it, and shall en- 
viron us around, and cut off our name from 
the earth : and what wilt thou do unto thy 
great name ? 

We have here an account of the deep concern 
Joshua was in, upon this sad occasion. He, as a 
public person, interested himself more than any 
other in this public loss; and is therein an example 
to princes and great men, and teaches them to lay 
much to heart the calamities that befall their peo- 
ple: he is also a *.ype of Christ, to whom the blood 
of his subiects is brecious, Ps. 72. 14. 


I. How he grieved; he rent his clothes, v. 6. in 



token of great sorrow for this public disaster, and | 
especially a dread of God's displeasure, which was 
certainly the cause of it. Had it been but the com- 
mon chance of war, (as we are too apt to express 
it,) it had not become a General to droop thus 
under it: but when God was angry, it was his duty 
to honour and feel thus. One of the bravest sol- 
diers that ever was, owned that his ^fleah trembled 
for fear of God, Ps. 119, 120. As "one humb/hig- 
himself under the mighty hand of God, he fell to 
the earth ufion his face, not thinking it any dispa- 
ragement to him to lie thus low before the great 
God, to whom he directed this token of reverence, 
bv keeping his eye toward the ark of the Lord. 
The elders of Israel, being interested in the Cduse, 
and influenced by his example, prostrated them- 
selves witli him, and, in token of deep humiliation, 
fiut dust ufion their heads, not only as mourners, 
but as penitents; not doubting but it was for some 
sin or other, that God did thus contend with them, 
(though they knew not what it was,) they humbled 
themselves before God, and thus deprecated the 
pi'ogress of his wrath. This they continued until 
even-tide, to show that it was not the result of a 
sudden feeling, but proceeded from a deep convic- 
tion of their misery and danger if God were any 
way provoked to depart from them. Joshua did 
not fall foul upon his spies for their misinformation 
concerning the strength of the enemy, nor upon the 
soldiers for their cowardice, th()ugh perhaps both 
were blame-worthy, but his eye is u]i to God; for is 
there any evil in the camp, and he has not done it? 
His eye is upon God as displeased, and that trou- 
bles him. 

H. How he prayed, or pleaded rather, humbly 
ex])ostulating the case with God; not sullen, as Da- 
vid when the Lord had made a breach ufion Uzzah, 
but much affected; his spirit seemed to be some- 
what ruffled and discomposed, yet not so as to be 
put out of fi-ame for prayer; but by gi\ ing vent to 
his trouble in an humble address to God, he keeps 
his temper, and it ends well. 

1. Now he wishes they had all taken up with the 
I'^t of the two tribes on the other side Jordan, v. 7. 
He th'nks it had been better to have stayed there 
and been cut short, than come hither to be cut off. 
This savours too much of discontent and distrust of 
God, and cannot be justified, though the surprise 
and disappointment to one deeply concerned for the 
public interest may in part excuse it. Those 
words, JVhcrefore hast thou brought us over Jordan 
to destroy us? are too like what the murmurers often 
said, Exnd. 14. 11, 12.— 16. 3.— 17. 3. Numb. 14. 2, 
3. but he that searches the heart, knew they came 
from another spirit, and therefore was not extreme 
to mark ivhat he said amiss. Had Joshua considei*- 
ed that this disorder which their affairs were put 
into, no doubt, proceeded from something amiss, 
wliich yet might easily be redressed, and all set to 
rights again, (as often in his predecessor's time) he 
would not have spoken of it as a thing taken for 
granted, that they were delivered into the hands of 
the yl77iorites to be destroyed. God knows what he 
does, tho\igh we do not; but this we may be sure of, 
he never did, nor ever will, do us any wrong. 

2. He speaks as one quite at a loss concerning the 
meaning of this event, v. 8. •' JVhat shall I say, 
what consti-uction can I put upon it, vjhen Lsrael, 
thy own people, for whom thou hast lately done 
such great things, and to whom thou hast promised 
the full possession of this land, when they turn 
their backs before their enemies," (their necks, so 
the word is,) "when they not only flee before 
them, but fall before them, and become a prey to 
them? What shall we think of the divine fiower, 
.Is the Lord's arm shortened? Of the divine firo- 
mise Is his word yea and nay? Of what God has 

done for us, Shall that be all undone again and 
prove in vain?" Note, The methods of Providence 
are often inti'icate and perplexing, and such as the 
wisest and best of men know not what to say to; but 
they shall know hereafter, John 13. 7. 
' 3. He pleads the danger Isi-ael was now in of 
being ruined; he gives up all for gone. " The Ca- 
naanites shall environ us round, concluding that, 
now our defence being departed, and the scales 
turned in their favour, we shall be in their e) es as 
contemptible as e\ er we were formidable, and they 
shall cut off our 7ia?ne from the earth," v. 9. 
Thus even good men, when things go against them 
a little, are too apt to fear the worst, and make 
harder conclusions than there is reason for. But 
this comes in here as a plea; "Lord, let not Israel's 
name, which has been so dear to thee and so great 
in the world, be cut off. " 

4. He pleads the reproach that would be cast on 
God, and that if Israel were ruined, his glory would 
suflTer by it. They will cut off our name, says he, 
yet as if he had corrected himself for insisting upon 
that, it is no great matter (thinks he) Avhat comes 
of our little name, (the cutting off of that will be a 
small loss,) but what wilt thou do for thy great 
name? This he looks upon and laments as the 
great aggravation to the calamity, he feared it 
would reflect on God, his wisdom and power, his 
goodness and faithfulness; what would the Egv'ptians 
say? Note, Nothing is more grievous to a gracious 
soul than dishonour done to God's name. This also 
he insists upon as a plea for the preventing of his 
fears, and a return of God's favour; it is the only 
word in all his address, that has any encouragement 
in it, and he concludes with it, leaving it to this 
issue, Father, glorify thy name. The name of God 
is a great name, above every name; and whatever 
happens, we ought to believe that he will, and pray 
that he would, woik for his own name, that that 
may not be polluted. This should be our concern 
more than any thing else, on this we must fix our 
eye as the end of all our desires, and from this we 
must fetch our encouragement as the foundation of 
all our hopes: we cannot urge a better p'.ea than 
this. Lord, ivhat wilt thou do for thy great name? 
Let God in all be glorified, and then welcome his 
whole will. 

10. And the Lour) said unto Joshua, 
Get thee up ; wherefore hest thou thus upon 
thy face 1 11. Israel hath sinned, and they 
have also trfinsgressed my covenant which 
I commanded them : for they have even 
taken of the accursed thing, and have also 
stolen, and dissembled also, and they have 
put it even among their own stulf. 12. 
Therefore the children of Israel could not 
stand before their enemies, hit turned their 
backs before their enemies, because they 
were accursed : neither will I be with yoii 
any more, except ye destroy the accursed 
from among you. 13. Up, sanctify the peo- 
ple, and say, Sanctify yourselves against 
to-morrow : for thus saith the Lord God of 
Israel, There is an accursed thing in the 
midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not 
stand before thine enemies, until ye take 
away the accursed thing from among you. 
14. In the morning therefore ye shall be 
brought according to your tribes : and it 
shall be, that the tribe which the Lord 


JOSHUA, Vll. shall come according to the families 
thereof; and the family which the Lord 
shall take shall come by households; and 
the households which the Lord shall take 
shall come man by man. 15. And it shall 
bv", thai he that is taken with the accursed 
thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all 
that he hatli ; because he hath transgressed 
tJie covenant of the Lord, and because he 
hath wrought folly in Israel. 

We ha\ e here God's answer to Joshua's address, 
which, we may suppose, came from the oracle over 
the ark, before which Joshua had prostrated him- 
self, V. 6. Those that desire to know the will of 
Grd, must attend with their desires upon the lively 
oracles, and wait at wisdom's gates for wisdom's 
dictates, Prov. 8. 34. And let those that find them- 
selves under the tokens of God's displeasure, ne\ er 
complain o/" him, but complain to him, and they 
shall recene an answer of peace. The answer 
came immediately, vjhile he was yet speaking, Isa. 
65. 24. as that of Daniel, c/i. 9. 20, isTc. 

I. God encourages Joshua against his present 
despondencies, and the black and melancholy ap- 
prehensions he had of the present posture of Is- 
rael's affairs, v. 10, " Get thee up, suffer not thy 
spirits to droop and sink tlms, wherefore liest thou 
thus upon thy face? No douljt, Joshua did well to 
humble himself before God, and mourn as he did, 
under the tokens of his displeasure; but now Ciod 
tells him, it was enough, he would not ha^"e him 
continue any longer in that melancholy posture, for 
God delights not in the grief of penitents when 
they afflict their souls, further than as it qualifies 
them for pardon and peace; the days even of that 
mourning nmst be ended. Arise, shake thyself 

from the dust, Isa. 52. 2. Joshua continued his 
mourning till even-tide, v. 6. so late, that they could 
do nothing that night toward the discovery of the 
criminal, but were forced to put it off till next 
morning. Daniel {ch. 9. 21.) and Ezra {ch. 9. 5, 
6. ) continued their mourning only till the time of 
the evening sacrifice; that re\ ived them both, but 
Joshua went ])ast that time, and therefore is thus 
roused; " Get thee up, do not lie all night there." 
Yet we find that Moses fell down before the Lord 
forty days and forty nights, to make intercession 
for Israel, Deut. 9. IS. Joshua must get up be- 
cause he has other work to do than to lie there; the 
accursed thing must be discovered and cast out, and 
the sooner the better; Joshua is the man that must 
do it, and therefore it is time for him to lay aside 
his mourning weeds, and put on his judge's robes, 
and clothe himself with zeal as a cloke; weeping 
must not hinder sowing, nor one duty of religion 
justle cut anrJther. Every thing is beautiful in its 
season. Shechaniah perhaps h id an eye to this in 
what he said to Ezra upon a like occasion. See 
Ezri 10. 2.. 4. 

II. He informs him of the tnie and only cause of 
this disaster, and shows him wherefore he contend- 
ed with them, i'. 11, hrael hath sinned. "Think 
not that God's mind is changed, his arm shortened, 
or his promise about to fail; no, it is sin, it is sin, 
th:it great mischief-maker, that has stopjied the cur- 
rent of divine favours, and has made tliis breach upon 
vou." The sinner is not named, thougli the sin 
IS described; but it is spoken of as the act of Israel 
in general, till tliey have fastened it \ipon the par- 
ticular ])erson, and their godly norrow ha\ e so 
wrought a clearing of thfmselve^-, as the'r's did, 2 
Cor. 7. n. Observe how the sin is here made to 
appear exceeding sinful. 1. They havt transgress- 

ed my covenant, an express precept with a penalty 
annexed to it. It was agreed, that God should have 
all the spoil of Jericho, and they should have the spoil 
of the rest of the cities of Canaan, but in robbing Gcd 
of his part, they transgressed this covenant. 2. 
They have even taken of ihe devoted thing, in con- 
tempt of the cui se which was so solcnmlv denr u!i- 
ced against him that should dare to break in uprn 
God's property, as if that curse had nothing in it 
formidable. 3. They have also stolen; they d d it 
clandestinely, as if they could conceal it from the 
di\ ine onmiscience, and they weie ready to sav, 
1 he Lord shall not see, or will not miss so small' a 
matter out of so great a sptnl. Thus thou thought- 
est I was altogether such a one as thyself 4. They 
have dissembled also. Probably, when the acticii 
was over, Joshua called all the tribes, and asked 
them, whether they had faithfully disposed of the 
spoil according to the divine command, and char- 
ged them, if they knew of any transgression, they 
sliouid disco\ er it; but Achan joined with the rest in 
a general protestation of innocency, and kept his 
countenance, like the adulterous woman that eats 
and wipes her mouth, and says, I have done no 
wickedness. Nay, 5. They have put the accursed 
thing among their own goods, as if they had as good 
a title to that as to any thing they have; never ex- 
pecting to be called to an account, nor designing to 
make restitution. All this Joshua, though a wise and 
vigilant ruler, knew nothing of, till God told him, 
who knows all the secret wickedness that is in the 
world, which men know nothing of. God cou'.d at 
this time ha\e told him who the person was that 
had done this thing, but does not. (1.) To exercise 
the zeal of Joshua and Israel, in searching out the 
criminal. (2.) To give the sinner himself space to 
repent and make confession. Joshua, no dculjt, 
proclaimed immediately throughout the c; mp, th; t 
there was such a transgression committed, up n 
which, if Achan had surrendered himself, and peni- 
tently owned his guilt, and prevented the scrutiny, 
Avho knows but he might have had the benefit cf 
that law which accepted of a trespass-offering, with 
restit7ition, from those that had sinned through ig- 
norance in the holy things of the law? Lev. 5. 15, 
16. But Achan never disco\ ering himself till the 
lot discovered him, evinced the hardness cf his 
heart, and therefore he found no mercy. 

III. He awakens him to inquire further into it, 
by telling him, 1. That this was the only ground 
for the controversy God had with them; this, and 
nothing else; so that when this accursed thing was 
put away, he needed not fear, all would be well, the 
stream of their successes, when this one obstruction 
was removed, would run as strong as evei'. 2. That 
if this accursed thing were not destroyed, they 
could not expect the return of God's gracious pre- 
sence; in plain terms, neither will I be with you ami 
more as I have been, except ye destroy the accursed, 
that is, the accursed person, who is made so by the 
accursed thing. That which is accursed, will be 
destroyed; and they whom God has intrusted to 
bear the sword, bear it in vain, if they make it not 
a terror to that wickedness which I>rings these 
judgments of God on a land. By personal repent- 
ance and i-eformation, we destroy the accursed thing 
in cur own hearts, and unless we do that, we must 
never expect the fa\ our of the blessed God. Let 
all men know that it is nothing hut sin that separates 
between them and God, ancl if that be not sincerely 
repented of and forsaken, it will separate eternally. 

IV. He directs him in what method to make tliis 
inquiry and prosecution. 1. He must sanctfy the 
peo/ile, now over-night, that is, as it is cxpiainedj 
he must command them to sanctify themselves, v. 
13. And whit can either magistrates or ministers ■ 
do more toward sanctificationi' They nmst [.ut 



t'leniselves into a suitable frame to appear before 
God, and submit to the divine scrutiny; must ex- 
amine themselves, now that God was coming to 
examine them; must firefiare to meet their God. 
They were called to sanctify themselves, when they 
were to receive the divine law, Exod. 19. and now 
also when they were to come under the divine judg- 
ment; for in both God is to be attended with the ut- 
most reverence. There is an accursed thing in the 
midit of thee, and therefore sanctify yourselves, that 
is, "Let all that are innocent, be able to clear 
themselves, and be the more careful to cleanse 
themselves: the sins of others may be improved by 
us, as furtherances of our sanctihcation, as the scan- 
dal of the incestuous Corinthian occasioned a bless- 
ed reformation in that church, 2 Cor. 7. 11. 2. He 
must bring them all under the scrutiny of the lot, v. 
14. the tribe which the guilty person was of, should 
first be discovered by lot, then the family, then 
the household, and last of all the person. The 
conviction came upon him thus gradually, that he 
might have some space given him to come in and 
surrender himself; for God is not ivilling that any 
should fierish, but that all should come to repent- 
ance. Observe, The Lord is said to take the tribe, 
and family, and household, on which the lot fell; 
because the disposal of the lot is of the Lord, and 
however casual it seems, is under the direction of 
infinite wisdom and justice; and to show, that when 
the sin of sinners finds them out, God is to be ac- 
knowledged in it; it is he that seizes them, and the 
arrests are in his name. God hath found out the 
iniquity of thy servants. Gen. 44. 16. It is also in- 
timated with what a certain and imerring judgment 
the righteous God does and will distinguish between 
the innocent and the guilty, so that though for a 
time they seem involved in the same condemnation, 
as the whole tribe did, when it was first taken by 
the lot, yet he who has his fan in his hand, will ef- 
fectually provide for the taking out of the precious 
from the vile; so that though the righteous be of the 
same tribe, and family, and household, with the 
wicked, yet they shall never be treated as the wick- 
ed, Gen. 18. 25. 3. When the criminal was found 
out, he must be put to death without mercy, (Heb. 
10. 28.) and with all the expressions of a holy de- 
testation, v. 15. He and all that he has, must be 
burnt with fire, that there might be no remainders 
of the accursed thing among them; and the reason 
given for this severe sentence, is, because the cri- 
minal has, (1.) Given a great affront to God, he 
has transgressed the covenant of the Lrrrd, who is 
jealous particularly for the honour of the holy co- 
venant. (2.) He has done a great injury to the 
church of God, he has wrought folly in Inrael, has 
shamed that nation which is looked upon by all its 
neighbours to be a wise and an understanding 
peofile; has infected that nation which is sanctified 
to God, and troubled that nation of which He is the 
Protector. These being crimes so heinous in their 
nature, and of such pernicious consequence and ex- 
ample, the execution, which otherwise would have 
come under the imputation of cruelty, is to be ap- 
plauded as a piece of necessary justice. It was Sa- 
crilege, it was invading God's rights, alienating his 
property, and converting to a private use that which 
was devoted to his glory, and appropriated to the 
service of his sanctuary — this was the crime to be 
thus se\erely ])un!shed, for warning to all people in 
all ages to take heed how they rob God. 

16. So .Toshua rose up early in the morn- 
ing, and brought Israel hy their tribes ; and 
the tribe of Judah was taken : 17. And he 
brought the family of Judah ; and he took 
the family of the Zarhites : and he brought 

the family of the Zarhites man by man ; 
and Zabdi was taken : 1 8. iVnd he brought 
his household man by man ; and Achan, 
the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son 
of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. 
19. And Joshua said unto Achau, My son 
give, I pray thee, glory to the I.ord God ol 
Israel, and make confession unto him ; and 
tell me now what thou hast done ; \\k\v. it not 
from me. 20. And Achan answered .Joshua 
and said. Indeed I have sinned against the 
Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus 
have I done: 21. When I saw among the 
spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and 
two hundred sliekels of silver, and a wedo-e 
of gold of fifty shekels weight, then 1 covet- 
ed them, and took them ; and, behold, they 
are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, 
and the silver under it. 22. So Joshua sent 
messengers, and they ran unto the tent ; 
and, behold, it was hid in his tenl, and the 
silver under it. 23. And they took them 
out of the midst of the tent, and brought 
them unto Joshua, and unto all the childien 
of Israel, and laid them out before the 
Lord. 24. And Joshua, and all Israel 
with him, took Achan, the son of Zerah, 
and the silver, and the garment, and the 
wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daugh- 
ters, and his oxen, and his assts, and his 
sheep, and his tent, and all that he had : 
and they brought them unto the valley of 
Achor. 25. And Joshua said, Wh}- hast 
thou troubled us ? the Lord shall trouble 
thee this day. xAnd all Israel stoned him 
with stones, and burned them with fire after 
they had stoned them with stones. 20. And 
they raised over him a great heap of stones 
unto this day. So the Lord turned from 
the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the 
name of that place was called, The valley 
of Achor, unto this day. 

We have in these verses, 

I. The discovery of Achan by the lot, which 
proved a perfect lot, though it proceeded gradual- 
ly. Though we may suppose that Joshui slept 
the better, and with more ease and satisf.iction, 
when he knew the worst of the disease of that body, 
which, under God, he was the head of, and which 
was put into a certain method of cure, yet he rose 
up early in the morning, v. 16. so much was his 
heart upon it, to put away the accursed thing. We 
liave found Joshua upon other occasions an early 
riser, here, it shows his zeal and vehement desire 
to see Israel restored to the divine favour. In the 
scrutiny observe, 1. That the guilty tribe was that 
of Judah, which was, and was to be, of all the 
tribes the most honourable and illustrious; this was 
an allay to their dignity, and might serve as a check 
to their pride: many there were, who were its glo- 
ries, but here was one that was its reproach. Let 
not the best families think it strange, if there be 
those found in them, and descending from them, that 
prove their grief and shame. Judah was to have 



the first and largest lot in Canaan, the more inex- 
cus ible is fine of that tribe, if, not content to wait for 
his own share, he bre.ik. in upon God's property. 
The Jews' tradition is, that when the tribe of Ju- 
dah Avas taken, the valiant men of that tribe drew 
theirswords, and professed they would not sheathe 
them again till they saw the criminal punished, and 
themselves cleaved who knew their own innocency. 
2. That the guilty persnn was at length fastened 
upon, and the language of the lot was. Thou art the 
man, v. 18. It was strange that Achan, being con- 
scious to himself of guilt, when he saw the lot come 
nearer and nearer to hnn, had not either the wit to 
make an escape, or the grace to make a confession; 
but hjs heart was hardened through the dcceitful- 
ness of svi, and it proved to be to his oivn destruc- 
tion. We may well im igine how his countenance 
changed, and what horror and confusion seized him 
when he was singled out as the delinquent, when 
the eyes of all Israel were fastened upon him, 
and every one was re idy to s ly, Have lue found 
thee, our enemy? See here, (1.) The folly of 
those that promise themselves secrecy in sin; the 
righteous God has many ways of bringing to light 
the hidden works of darkness, and so bringing to 
shame and ruin those that continue their fellowship 
with those unfruitful works. A bird of the air, 
when God pleases, shall carru the voice, Eccl. 10. 
20. See Ps. 94. 7, i:fc. (2.) How much it is 
our conceni, when God is contending with us, 
to find out what the cause of action is, what the 
particular sin is, that, like Achm, troubles our 
r 'mp. We must tlius ex'mine ourselves and care- 
fully review the records of conscience, that we may 
find out the arcirscd thin-r, and pray earnestly 
with holv Job, Lord, show ?ne whej'efore thou con- 
t ndcsf with me. Disco, er the traitor, and he shall 
r.o Hnger be harlj-nired. 

IT. His arraignment and examination, v. 19. 
Joshua sits judge, and thf^urh al)nndantly satisfied 
of his guilt hv the determination of the lot, yet urges 
him to make a penitent confession, that his soul 
might be sived bv it in the other world, though he 
could not give him any encouragement to hope that 
he shou'd save his life by it. Observe, 1. How he 
accosts him, with the greatest mildness and tender- 
ness that cnuld be, like a true disciple of iMoses. 
He mitrht justly have called him "thief," and 
"rebel," '•Raca,"and "thou fool," but he calls 
him " sin;" he might hnve adjured him to confess, 
as the High Priest did our blessed Saviour, or 
threatened him with the torture to extort a con- 
fession, but for love's sake he rather beseeches him, 
T firny thee, make conf ssion. This is an example 
to all, mt to insult over those that are in misery, 
thou'^h they have brought themselves into it by 
their own wickedness, but to treat even offenders 
with the spirit of meekness, not knowing what we 
ourscl" es shovdd have been and done, if God had 
put us into the hand of our own counsels. It is like- 
wise an example to magistrates, in executing justice, 
to govern their own passions with a strict and pru- 
dent hand, and never suffer themselves to be trans- 
ported bv them into any indecencies of behaviour 
or langinge, no, n^^t towards those that have given 
the greatest provocations. The wrath of man work- 
eth vot the righteouftiie^s of God. Let them re- 
member the judgment is God's, who is Lord of his 
ang^r. This is the likeliest method of bringing of- 
fenders to repentance. 2. What he wishes him to do; 
to confess the fa(-t, to confess it to God, the party 
offended by the crime; Joshua was to him in God's 
stead, so that in confessing to him, he confessed to 
Ciod. Hereby he would satisfy Joshua and the 
congregation concerning that which was laid .to his 
charge; his confession would also be an e\ idence of 
his repentance, and a warning to others to take 

heed of sinning after the similitude of his trans 
gression: but that which Joshua aims at herein, is, 
that God might be honoured by it as the Lord, 
the God of infinite knowledge and power, from 
whom no secrets are hid; and as the God of Israel, 
who as he does particularly resent affi-onts given 
to his Israel, so he does the affronts given him by 
Israel. Note, In confessing sin, as we take shame 
to ourselves, so we give glory to God, as a righteous 
God, owning him justly displeased with us, and as a 
good God who will not improve our confessions as 
evidences against us, but is faithful and just to for- 
gi\'e, when we are brought to own that he would be 
faithful and just if he should punish. By sin we have 
injured God in his honour; Christ by his death has 
made satisfaction for the injury: but it is lequired, 
that we by repentance show our good-will to his 
honour, and, as far as in us lies, give glory to him. 
Bishop Patrick quotes the Samaritan chronicle, 
making Joshua to say here to Achan, Lift up thine 
eyes to the King of heaven and earth, and acknow- 
ledge that nothing can be hid from him who knoweth 
the greatest secrets. 

III. His confession, which, now at last, when he 
saw it was to no purpose to conceal his crime, was 
free and ingenuous enough, v. 20, 21. Here is, 

1. A penitent acknowledgment of the fault, 
"Indeed I have sinned, what I am charged with is 
too true to be denied, and too bad to be excused. I 
own it, I lament it; the Lord is nghteo\:s in bring- 
ing it to light, for indeed I have sinned." This is 
the language of a penitent that is sick of his sin, 
and whose conscience is loaded with it. "I have 
nothing to accuse any one else of, but a great deal 
to say against myself; it is with me that the ac- 
cursed thing is found, I am the man who ha\e 
perverted that which was right, and it profited 
7ne vot." And that wherewith he aggr.ivates the 
sin, is, that it was committed against the Lord 
God of Israel. He was himself an Is?-aelite, a 
sharer with the rest of that exalted nat'on in their 
privileges, so that, in offending the Cod of Lrael, 
lie offended his own God, which laid him \mder 
the guilt of the basest treachery and ingratitude 

2. A particular narrative of the fact. Thus and 
thus have I done. God had told Joshua in general, 
that a part of the devoted things was alienated, but 
leaves it to him to draAv from Achan an account of 
the particulars; for, one way or other, God will 
make sinners' own tongues to fall upon themselves, 
(Ps. 64. 8.) if ever he bring them to repentance, 
they will be their own accusers, and their awaken- 
ed consciences will be instead of a thousand wit- 
nesses. Note, It becomes penitents, in' the confes- 
sion of their sin to God, to be very particulir; not 
only, " I have sinned," but, " In this and that in- 
stance I have sinned ;" reflecting with regret upon 
all the steps that led to the sin, and all the circum- 
stances tliat aggravated it and made it exceeding 
sinful; thus arid thus hai'e I clone. He confesses, 
(1.) Tathe things taken. In plundering a house in 
Jericho he found a goodly Bibylonish g;\rmcnt; the 
word signifies a robe, such as princes wore when 
they appeared in state, probably it belonged to the 
king of Jericho; it was far-fetched, if fetched, -.a 
we translate it, from Babylon. A garment of di- 
vers colours, so some render it; whatever it was, 
in his eyes it made a glorious show; " A thousand 
pities" (thinks Achan) "that it should be burnt, 
then it will do nobody any good, if I take it for my- 
self, it will serve me many a year for my best gar- 
ment." Under these pretences, he makes bold 
with this first, and thinks it no harm to save it from 
the fire; but his hand being thus in, he proceeds to 
take a bag of money, fivo hundred sheki Is, that is, 
one hundred ounces of silver, and a "H'co'ge of gjla 



which Aveiehed fifty shekels, that is, twenty-five 
ounces. He could not plead that, in taking these, 
he saved them /rora the fire, (for the silver and 
gold were to be" laid up in the treasury,) but they 
that make a slight excuse to serve in daring to 
commit one sin, will have their hearts so hardened 
by that, that they will venture upon the next with- 
out such an excuse, for the way of sin is down-hill. 
See w!\at a poor prize it was for which Achan ran 
thisdesperate huzard.aud what an unspeakable loser 
lie was by the bargain. See Matt. 16. 26. (2.) He 
confesses the manner of taking them. [1. ] The sin 
began in the eye. He saw these fine tilings, as Eve 
saw the forbidden fruit, and was strangely charmed 
with the sight. See what comes of suffering the 
heart to walk after the eyes, and what need vve 
have to make this covenant with our eyes, that if 
they wander, they shall be sure to weep for it. 
Look not thou ufion the wine that is red, upon the 
woman that is fair; close the right eye that thus of- 
fends thee, to prevent the necessity of plucking it 
out, and casting itfrotn thee. Matt. 5. 28, 29. [2.] 
It proceeded out of the heart. He OAvns, I coveted 
them. Thus lust conceived and brought forth this 
sin. They that would be kept from sinful actions, 
must mortify and check in themselves sinful de- 
sires, particularly the desire of worldly wealth, 
which we more particularly call covetousness. O 
what a world of evil is the love of money the root 
of ! Had Achan looked upon these things with an 
eye of faith, he would have seen them accursed 
things, and would have dreaded them, but looking 
upon them with an eye of sense only, he saw them 
goodly things, and coveted them. It was not the 
looking, but the lusting, that ruined him. [3.] 
When he had committed it, he was very industri- 
ous to conceal it. Having taken of the forbidden 
treasures, fearing lest any search should be made 
f n- prohibited goods, he hid them in the earth, as 
one that resolved to keep what he had gotten, and 
never to make restitution. Thus does Achan con- 
fess the whole matter, that God might be justified 
in the sentence passed upon him. See the deceit- 
fulness of sin; that which is pleasing in the com- 
mission, "is bitter in the reflection, at the last it bites 
like a serpent. Particularly, see what conies of ill- 
gotten goods, and how they will be cheated that 
i-ob God, Job. 20. 15, He hath swallowed down 
riches, and he shall vomit them up. again. 

IV. His conviction. God had convicted him by 
the lot, he had convicted himself by his own con- 
fession; but that no room might be left for the most 
discontented Israelite to object against the process, 
Joshua has him further convicted by the searching 
of his tent, in which the goods were found which 
he confessed to. Particular notice is taken of the 
haste which the messengers made, that were sent 
to search, they ran to the tent, v. 22. Not only to 
show their readiness to obey Joshua's orders, but 
to show how uneasy thev were till the camp was 
cleared of the accursed thing, that they might I'e- 
gain the divine favovir. They that feel themselves 
under wrath, find themselves concerned not to de- 
fer the putting away of sin. Delays are dangerous, 
and it is no time to trifle. When the stolen goods 
were brouglit, they were laid out before the Lord, 
V. 23. that all Israel might see how plain the evi- 
dence was against Achan, and might adore the 
strictness of God's judgments in punishing so se- 
verely the stealing of such small things, and y^et the 
justice of his judgments in maintaining his right to 
devoted things, and might be afraid of ever offend- 
ing in the like kind. In laying them out before the 
Lord, they acknowledged his title to them, and 
waited to receive his directions concerning them. 
Note, Those that think to put a cheat upon God, 
:lo but deceive themselves; what is taken from 

VoT. u.—F 

him, he will recover, Hos. 2. 9. and he will be a 

loser by no man at last. 

V. His condemnation. Joshua passes sentenc*' 
upon him, v. 25, JVhy hast thou troubled us? 
There is the ground of the sentence, 0, how much 
hast thou troubled us? So some read it. He refers 
to what was said when the warning was given not 
to meddle with the accursed thing, ch. 6. 18, lest ye 
ynake the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. 
Note, Sin is a very troublesome thing, not only to a 
sinner himself, but to ;dl about him. He that is 
greedy of gain, as Achan was, troubles his own 
house, Prov. 15. 27. and all the ccninmnities he be- 
longs to. New (says Joshua) God shall trouble 
thee. See why Achan was so severely dealt with, 
not only because he had robbed God, but because 
he had troubled Israel; over his head he had (as 
it were) this accus.ition written, Achan, the trou- 
bler of Israel, as Ahab, livings 18. 18. This tliere- 
fore IS liis doom, (iod shall trouble thee. Note, 
The righteous G(d will ( eitainly recompense tribu- 
lation to them that trouble his people, 2 Thess. 1. 
6. Those that are troublesome, shall be troubled. 
Some of the Jewish doctors, from that word, which 
determines the troubling of him to tins day, infer, 
that therefore he should not be troubled in the 
world to come; the flesh was destroyed, that the 
spirit might be saved, and if so, the dispensation 
was really less severe than it seemed. In the de- 
scription, both of his sin and of his punishment, by 
the trouble that was in br th, there is a plain allu- 
sion to his name Achan, or, as he is called, 1 Chror. 
2. 7, Achar, which signifies trouble. He did too 
much answer his name. 

VI. His execution. No reprieve could be ob- 
tained, a gangrened niemlicr must be cut off im- 
mediately. When he is pr"\'ed to be an anathema, 
and the troubler of the camp, we may suppose all 
the people cry out aga'nst him. Away with him, 
away with him! Stone him, stone him! Here is, 

1. The place of execution: they bnuglit him out 
of the camp, in token of their \>v\i\\w^ fur from them 
that wicked person, 1 Cor. 5. 13. When (urLord 
Jesus was made a curse for us, that by his trouble 
we might have peace, he suffered as an accursed 
thing without the gate, bearing our reproach, Heb. 
13. 12, 13. The execution was at a distance, that 
the camp which was distui"t:)ed by Achan's sin, 
might n( t be defiled by his death. 

2. The persons employed inliis execution; it was 
the act of all Israel, v. 24, 25. They were all spec- 
tators of it, that they might see and fear. Public 
executions are public cxam])les. Nay, they were 
all consenting to his death, and as m: ny as could, 
were active in it, in token of the uni\'ersal detesta- 
tion in which they held his sacrilegious attempt, 
and their dread of God's displeasure against them. 

3. The partakers with him in the punishment; 
iov he perished not alone in his iniquitii, ch. 22. 20. 
(1.) The stolen goods were destroyed with him, the 
garment burnt, as it should have been with the rest 
of the combustible things in Jericho, and the silver 
and gold defaced, melted, lost, and buried, in the 
ashes of the rest of his goods, under the heap of 
stones, so as never to be put to any other use. (2. ) 
All his other goods were destroyed likewise, not 
only his tent, and the furniture of that, but his 
ojcen, asses, and sheep; to show, that goods gotten 
unjustly, especially if they be gotten by sacrilege, 
will not only turn to no account, but will blast and 
waste the rest of the possessions to which they are 
added. The eagle in the fable, that stole flesh 
from tlie altar, brought a coal of fire with it, which 
burnt her nest, Hab. 2. 9, 10. Zech. 5. 3, 4. They 
lose their own, that grasp at more than their own. 
(3.) His sons and daughters were put to death with 
hill.- Some indeed think that they were brought 



out, {v. 24.) only to be the spectators of their fa- 
ther's punishment, but most conclude that they 
died with him, and that they must be meant, v. 
25. where it is said, they burned them with fire 
after they had stoned them with stones. God had 
•expressly provided that magistrates should not put 
fhe children to death for the father's sins; but he 
did not intend to bind himself by that law, and in 
this c ise he had expressly ordered, x-. 15. that the 
criminal and all that he had, should be burnt. Per- 
haps his sons and daughters were aiders and abettors 
in tlie villany, had helped to carry off the accursed 
things. It is very probable that they assisted in 
the concealment, and that he could not hide them 
in the midst of his tent, but they must know and 
keep his counsel, and so they became accessaries e:r 
post facto — after the fact; and if they were ever so 
little partakers in the crime, it was so heinous, 
that they were justly sharers in the punishment. 
However, God was hereby glorified, and the judg- 
ment executed was thus made the more tremen- 

4. The punishment itself that was inflicted on 
him; he was stoned, some think, as a sabbath- 
breaker, supposing tliat the sacrilege was commit- 
ted on the sabbath-day; and then his dead body 
was burnt as an accursed thing, of which there 
should be no remainder left. The concurrence of 
all the people in this execution, teaches us how 
much it is the interest of a nation, that all in it 
should contribute what they can, in their places, to 
the suppression of vice and profaneness, and the 
reformation of manners; sin is a refiroach to any 
peofxle, and therefore every Israelite indeed will 
have a stone to throw at it. 

5. The pacifying of (iod's wrath hereby, z'. 26, 
The Lord turned from the fierceness of his anger. 
The putting away of sin by true repentance and re- 
formation, as it is the only way, so it is a sure and 
most effectual way, to i-ecover the di\ ine favour. 
Take away the cause, and the effect will cease. 

VII. The record of his conviction and execution; 
care was taken to preserve the remembrance of it, 
fnr warning and instruction to posterity: 1. A heap 
of stones was raised on the place where Achan 
was executed, every one perhaps of the congre- 
gation throwing a stone at the heap, in token 
of his detestation of the crime. 2. A new name 
was given to the place; it was called, the Valley of 
Achor, or Trouble. This was a perpetual brand 
of infamy upon Achan's name, and a perpetual 
warning to all people not to invade God's property. 
By this severity against Achan, the honour of Josh- 
ua's government, now in the infancy of it, was 
maintained, and Israel, at their entrance upon the 
promised Canaan, were minded to observe, at their 
peril, the provisos and limitations of the grant by 
which they held it. The Valley of Achor is said 
to be given for a door of hofie, because when we 
put away the accursed thing, then there begins to 
be hope in Israel, Hos. 2 15. Ezra 10. 2. 


The embarrassment which Achan's sin gave to the affairs 
of Israel beinpf over, we have them here in a very jrood 
posture a<,'ain, the affiiirs both of war and rclig-ion. Here 
is, I. The trlorious progress of their arms in the taking 
of Ai, before wliich they had lately suffered disgrace. 
I. God encourages Joshua to attack it, with the assu- 
rance of success, and directs him what method to take, 
V. 1, 2. 2. Joshua gives orders accordingly to the men 
of war, V. 3. .8. 3. The stratagem is managed as it was 
projected, and succeeds as it was desired, v. 9. .22. 4. 
Joshua becomes master of this city, puts all to the sword, 
burns it, hangs the king, but gives the plunder to the 
soldiers, v. 23. .29. II. The great solemnity of writing 
and reading the law before a general assembly of all Is- 
rael, drawn up for that purpose upon the tn v mountains 

of Gerizim and Ebal, according to an order which Moses 
had received from the Lord, and delivered to them, v. 
30. .35. Thus did they take their work before them, and 
make the business of their religion to keep pace with 
their secular business. 

1. k ND the Lord said unto Joshua, 
l\.. Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: 
take all the people of war with thee, and 
arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into 
thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and 
his city, and his land. 2. And thou shalt 
do to Ai and her king as thou didst unt(^ 
Jericho and her king : only the spoil there- 
of, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for 
a prey unto yourselves : lay thee an am- 
bush for the city behind it. 

Israel were very happy in having such a com 
mander as Joshua, but Joshua was more happy in 
having such a director as Grd himself; when any 
difficulty occurred, he need not to call a council of 
war, who had God so nigh unto him, not only to 
answer, but even to pre\ ent his inquiries. It should 
seem, Joshua was now at a stand, had scarcely re- 
covered from the discomposure he was put into by 
the trouble Achan gave them, and could not think, 
without fear and trembling, of pushing forward, 
lest there should be in the camp another Achan; 
then God spake to him, either by \ ision, as before, 
ch. 5. as a man of war with his sword drawn, or by 
the breastplate of judgment. Note, When we have 
faithfully put away sin, that accursed thing, which 
separates between us and God, then, and not till 
then, we may expect to hear from Ciod to our com- 
fort; and God's directing us how to go r n in our 
christian work and warfare, is a good evidence ot 
his being reconciled to us. Obser e here, 

I. The encouragement God gives to Joshua to 
proceed; Fearnot, neither be thou dismayed, v. 1. 
This intimates that the sin of Achan, and the con- 
sequence of it, had been a very great discourage- 
ment to Joshua, and made his heart f.lnirst ready 
to fail. Corruptions within the church we: ken the 
hands, and damp the spirits of her guides and help- 
ers, more than oppositions from without; tr.e;ichrr- 
ous Israelites are to be dreaded more than mali- 
cious Canaanites. But God bids Joshua not to be 
dismayed; the same power that keeps Israel from 
being ruined by their enemies, shall keep them 
from ruining themselves. To animite him, 1. He 
assures him of success against Ai, tells him it is all 
his own; but he must take it as God's gift, I have 
given it into thy hands, which secured him both 
title and possession, and obliged him to giAc God 
the glory of both, Ps. 44. 3. 2. He allows the peo- 
ple to take the spoil to themselves. Here the spoil 
was not consecrated to God as that of Jericho, and 
therefore there was no danger of the people's com- 
mitting such a trespass as they had committed 
there. Observe, How Achan, who catched at for- 
bidden spoil, lost that, and life, and all; but the 
rest of the people, who had conscientiously refrain- 
ed from the accursed thing, were quickly recom- 
pensed for their obedience with the spoil of Ai; the 
way to have the comfort of what God allows us, is, 
to forbear what he forbids us. No man shall lose by 
his self-denial; let God have hisducs first, and then 
all will be clean to us and sure, 1 Kings 17. 13. 
God did not bring them to these goodly cities, and 
houses filled with all good things, to tantalize them 
with the sight of that which they might not touch; 
but, having received the first-fruits from Jericho, the 
spoil of Ai, and of all the cities which from hence- 
forward came into their hands, they might take fcr 
a prey to themselves. 

JOSHUA, Vlll. 


II. The direction he gives him in attacking Ai. 
It must not be such a work of time as the taking of 
Jericho was, that would have prolonged the war too 
much; they that had patiently waited seven days 
for Jericho, shall have Ai given them in one day. 
Nor was it, as that, to be taken by miracle, and pure- 
ly by the act of God, but now their own conduct and 
<:ourage must be exercised; having seen God work 
for them, they must now bestir themselves. God 
directs him, 1. To take all the people, that they 
might all be spectators of the action, and sharers in 
the spoil. Hereby God gave him a tacit rebuke for 
sending so small a detachment against Ai, in the 
former attempt upon it, ch. 7. 4. 2. To lay an am- 
bush behind the city; this was a method which 
Joshua would not have thought of at this time, if 
God had not directed him to it; and though now 
we are not to expect direction, as here, by visions, 
voices, or oracles, yet whenever those who are in- 
stiTicted with public counsels, take prudent mea- 
sures for the public good, it must be acknowledged 
XhSit God puts it into their hearts; he that teaches 
the husbandman discretion, no doubt, teaches the 
statesman and general. 

3. So Joshua arose,and all the people of war, 
to go up against Ai : and Joshua chose out 
thirty thousand mighty men of valour, and 
sent them away by night. 4. And he com- 
manded them, saying, Behold, ye shall lie in 
wait against the city, even behind the city: go 
not very far from the city, but be ye all 
ready: 5. And I, and all the people that 
are with me, will approach unto tiie city : 
and it shall come to pass, when tliey come 
out against us, as at the first, that we will 
flee before them, 6. (For they will come 
out after us,) till we have drawn them from 
the city : for tliey will say. They flee be- 
fore us, as at the first : therefore we vs'ill 
flee before them. 7. Then ye shall rise up 
from the ambush, and seize upon the city : 
for the Lord your God will deliver it into 
your hand. 8. And it shall be, when ye 
have taken the city, that ye shall set the 
city on fire : according to the commandment 
of the Lord shall ye do. See, I have com- 
manded you. 9. Joshua therefore sent them 
forth : and they went to lie in ambush, and 
abode between Beth-el and Ai, on the west 
side of Ai : but Joshua lodged that night 
among the people. 10. And Joshua rose 
up early in the morning, and numbered the 
people, and went up, he and the elders of 
Israel, before the people to Ai. 11. And all 
the people, even the people of war that ivere 
with him, went up, and drew nigh, and came 
before the city, and pitched on the north 
side of Ai : now there was a valley between 
them and Ai. 12. And he took about five 
thousand men, and set them to lie in am- 
bush between Beth-el arid Ai, on the west 
side of the city. 1 3. And when they had 
set the people, even all the host that was on 
the north of the city, and their liers in wait 

on the west of the cily, Joshua went that 
night into the niidst of the valley. 14. 
And it came to pass, when the king of Ai 
saw it, that they hasted and rose up early, 
and the men oj' the city went out against 
Israel to battle, he and all his people, at a 
time appointed, beibre the plain ; but he 
wist not that there were liers in ambush 
against him behind the city. 15. And 
Joshua and all Israel made as if they were 
beaten before them, and fled by the way 
of tiie wilderness. 16. And all the people 
that were in Ai were called together to pur- 
sue after them : and diey pursued after 
Joshua, and were drawn away from the 
city. 17. And there was not a man left in 
Ai or Beth-el that went not out after Israel : 
and they left the city open, and pursued af- 
ter Israel. 18. And the Lord said unto 
Joshua, Stretch out the spear that is in thy 
hand toward Ai ; for I will give it into thine 
hand. And Joshua stretched out the spear 
that he had in his hand toward the city. 19. 
And the ambush arose quickly out of their 
place, and they ran as soon as he had 
stretched out his hand ; and they entered 
into the city, and took it, and hasted, and 
set the city on fire. 20. And when the 
men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, 
and, behold, the smoke of the city ascended 
up to heaven, and they had no power to 
flee this way or that way : and the people 
that fled to the wilderness turned back upon 
the pursuers. 21. And when Joshua and 
all Israel saw that the ambush had taken 
the city, and that the smoke of the city as- 
cended, then they turned again, and slew 
the men of Ai. 22. And the other issued 
out of the city against them ; so they were 
in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and 
some on that side : and they smote them, 
so that they let none of them remain or es- 

We have here an account of the taking of Ai by 
stratagem. The stratagem here used, we are sure, 
was lawful and good: God himself appointed it, and 
we have no reason to think, but that the like is lawful 
and good in other wars. Here was no league brok- 
en, no oath or promise violated, nor any thing like 
it; it was not by the pretence of a parley, or treaty 
of peace, that the advantage was gained, no, these 
are sacred things, and not to be jested with, nor 
used to serve a turn ; truth, when once plighted, 
becomes a debt even to the enemy. But in this 
stratagem here was no untruth told; nothing was 
concealed but their own counsels, which no enemy 
ever pretended a right to be entrusted with; nothing 
was dissembled, nothing counterfeited but a re- 
treat, which was no natural or necessary indication 
at all of their inability to maintain their onset, cr of 
any design not to renew it; the enemy ought to 
have been upon their guard, and to have kept within 
the defence of their own walls; common prudence, 
had they been governed by it, would have directed 


JOSHUA, vrii. 

them not to venture on the pursuit of an army 
which they saw was so far superior to them in 
numbers, and leave their rity unguarded; but (Si 
fiofiulus vult deci/ii, dici/iiatur — If the peofile nvill 
be deceived, let them. ) if the Caiiaanites were so 
easily imposed upon, and, in pursuit of God's Is- 
rael, will break through all the laws of policy and 
good management, the Israelites are not at all to be 
blamed for taking ad\antage of their fury and 
-houghtlessness: nor is it any way inconsistent with 
the character God is pleased to give of them, that 
thev are children that will not lie. 

Now in the account here given of this matter, 

I. There is some difficulty in adjusting the num- 
»>ers that were employed to effect it. Mention is 
made, v. ", of thirty thousand, that were chosen 
and sent away by night, to whom the charge was 
given to surprise the city as soon as ever they per- 
ceived it was evacuated, x". 4, 7, 8. And yet after- 
Avard, -v. 12. it is said, Joshua took Jive thouscind 
men, and set them, to lie in ambush behind the city, 
and that ambush entered the city, and set it on Jive, 
V. 19. Now, 1. Some think there were two par- 
ties sent out to lie in ambush, thirty thousand first, 
and afterward five thousand to guard the roads, and 
to intercept those of the city that might think to 
save themselves by flight, or to strengthen those 
that were first sent out; and that Joshua made his 
open attack upon the city, with all the thousands 
of Israel. So the learned Bishop Patrick, insisting 
upon God's command, v. 1, to take all the fieo/ile of 
war with him. But, 2. Others think that all the 
people were taken onlv to encamp before the city, 
and that out of them J'nshua chose out thirtv thru- 
sand men to be employed in the action, out of which 
he sent five thousand to lie in ambush, which were 
as manv as could be supposed to march incognito 
— without being discovered: (more would have been 
seen, and thus the design would ha\ e been broken;) 
and that then with the other twenty-five thousand 
he made the open attack, as Masius thinks, or with 
the thirty thousand, which, as Calvin thinks, he 
kept entire for that purpose, having, beside them, 
sent out five thousand for an ambuscade. And those 
five thousand (they think) must be meant by them, 
V. 3. which he sent envoy by night, with orders to 
lie in wait behind the city, though the particular 
number is not specified till i-. 12. If we nray admit 
such a seeming disturbance in the order of the. nar- 
rative, (of which, ])erhaps, similar instances might 
be cited from the other scripture-histories,) it seems 
most probable that there was but one ambushment, 
which consisted only of five thousand, enough for 
such a purpose. 

II. Yet the principal parts of the story are plain 
enough, that a detachment being secretly marched 
behind the citv, on the other side to that on which 
the main body of the army lay, (the situation of 
the countrv, it is probable, favouring their con- 
cealment,) Joshua, and the forces with him, faced 
the city; the garrison made a vigorous sally out up- 
on them, whereupon they withdrew, gave ground 
and retreated in some seeming disorder toward the 
wilderness; which being perceived by the men of 
.\i, they drew out all tlic force they had to pursue 
them. This gave a fair opportunity for them that 
lay in ambush to make themselves masters of the 
citv, whereof when they had given notice, by a 
smoke to Joshua, he, with all his force, returned 
upon the pursuers, Avhonow, when it was too late, 
were aware of the share they were drawn into, for 
their retreat being intercepted, they were every 
man of them cut ofl". The like artifice we find 
ased, Judg. 20, 29, isfc. 

Now in this story we may observe, 
1. What a brave commander Joshua was. See, 
(1.) His conduct and prudence. God gave him 

the hint, v. 2. that he should lay in ambush behind 
the city, but left him to himself to order the parti- 
culars, which he did admirably well. Doubtless, 
iVisdom strengthens the wise more than ten mighty 
meri, Eccl. 7. 19. (2.) His care and industry, v. 
10. He rose ufi early in the morning, that he 
might lose no time, and to show how intent his mind 
was upon his business. Those that would maintain 
their spiritual conflicts, must not love their ease. 
(3.) His courage and resolution; though an army of 
Isi-aelites had been repulsed before Ai, yet he re- 
solves to lead them on in person the second time, 
V. 5. Being himself also an elder, he took the el- 
ders of Israel with him to m;ike this attack u])rn 
the citv, x". 10. as if he were go'ng rather to sit in 
judgment upon them as criminals, than to fight 
them as enem'es. (4.) His caution and considera- 
tion, 7^' 13. He we7il that night into the midst of the 
valley, to make the necessary dispositions for an at- 
tack, and to see that every thmg was in good order. 
It is the pious conjecture of .the learned Bishop 
Patrick that he went into the valley alone to pray 
to God for a blessing upon his enterprise, and he 
did not seek in vain. (5.) His constancy and per- 
severance; when he had stretched out his spear 
toward the city, v. 18. (a spear almost as fatal and 
formidable to the enemies of Israel as the rod cf 
Moses was) he never drew back his hand till the 
work was done. His hands in fighting, like Mo- 
ses's in interceding, were steady to the going down 
of the sun. Those that have stretched out their 
hands against their spiritual enemies, must never 
draw them back. Lastly, \\'hat Joshua did in ihe 
stratagem is applicable to our Lord Jesus, of whom 
he was a tvpe. Joshua conquered by }'ielding, as 
if he had himself been conquered; so our Lord .Tc- 
sus, when he bowed his head and ga\'e up the 
ghost, seemed as if death had triumphed over h"m, 
and as if he and all his interests had been routed 
and ruined: but in his resurrection he rallied agiin 
and gave the powers of darkness a total defeat ; he 
broke the serpent's head, by suffiering him to bruise 
his heel. A glorious stratagem! 

2. What an obedient people Israel was; what 
Joshua commanded them to do according to thecom- 
mandment of the Lord, v. 8. they did it without 
murmuring or disputing. They that weie sent to 
lie in ambush between Beth-el and Ai, (two cities 
confederate against them,) were in a post (if dan- 
ger, and had they been discovered, might all have 
been cut off, and yet they ventured it; and when 
the body of the army retreated and fled, it was both 
disgracefiil and perilous; and yet, in obedience to 
Joshua, they did it. 

3. What an infatuated enemy the king of Ai was, 
(1.) That he did not by his scouts discover those 
that lay in ambush behind the city, v. 14. Some 
observe it as a remarkable instance of the power of 
God in making men blind to their own interest, and 
the tilings that belong to their peace, that he wist 
riot that there were Hers in wait against him. They 
are most in danger, who are least aware that they 
are so. (2.) That when Israel seemed to fly, he 
drew out all his forces to ]mrsue them, and left none 
to guard his city and to secure his retreat, v. 17. 
Thus the church's enemies often run themselves 
into destruction by their own fury and the \iolence 
of their rage against the Israel of God. Pharaoh 
plunged himself into the Red-sea by the eagerness 
with which he pursued Israel. (3.) That from the 
killing of thirty-six men out rf three thousand, when 
Israel mvide the former attack upon his city, he 
should infer the total routing of so great an army as 
now he hud to deal with, v. 6, 77?^!/ flee before us 
as at the first. See how the prosperity of fools de- 
stroys them, and hardens them to their ruin. God 
had made use of the men of Ai as a scourge to chas- 

JOSHUA. Vlll. 


tise his people for meddling with the accursed 
thinj;, and this had puffed them up with a conceit, tliey must have the honour of delivering their 
country from these formidable invaders; but they 
were soon made to see their mistake, aiid that when 
the Israelites had reconciled themselves to their 
God, they coidd have no power against them. God 
had made use of them only for the rebuking of Is- 
rael, with a purpose, when the correction was over, 
to throw the rod itself into the fire; howbeit, they 
meant not so, but it was in their heart to destroy and 
cut off, Isa. 10. 5- -7. 

4. What a complete victory Israel obtained over 
them by the favour and blessing of God. Each did 
his part, the divided forces of Israel, by signals 
agreed on, undeistood one another, and every thing 
succeeded according to the project; so thai the men 
of Ai, then when they were most confident of vic- 
to:y, found themselves surrounded, so that they 
had neither spirit to resist nor room to fly, but were 
under a fatal necessity of yielding their lives to the 
destroyers. And now it is hard to say, whether the 
shouts of the men of Israel, or the shrieks of the 
men of Ai, were the louder, but easy to imagine 
what terror and confusion they were filled with, 
when their highest assurances sunk so suddenly 
into the heaviest despair. Note, The triumphing of 
the wicked is short. Job 20. 5. They are exalted for 
a little while, that their fall and ruin may be the sorer, 
Job 24. 24. See how easily, how quickly, the scale 
turns against them that have not God on their side. 

23. And the king of Ai they took alive, 
and brought him to Joshua. 24. And it 
came to pass, when Israel had made an 
end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in 
the field, in the wilderness wherein they 
chased them, and when they were all fallen 
on the edge of the sword, until they were 
consumed, that all the Israelites returned 
unto Ai, and smote it with the edge of the 
sword. 25. And so it was, that all that fell 
tliat day, both of men and women, loere 
twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai. 
26. For Joshua drew not his hand back, 
wherewith he stretched out the spear, until 
he had utterly destroyeid all the inhabitants 
of Ai. 27. Only the cattle and the spoil 
of that city, Israel took for a prey unto 
themselves, according unto the word of the 
Lord, which he commanded Joshua. 28. 
And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it a heap 
for ever, even a desolation, unto this day. 
29. And the king of Ai he iianged on a tree 
until even-tide : and as soon as the sun was 
down, Joshua commanded that they should 
take his carcase down from the tree, and 
cast it at the entering of the gate of the 
city, and raise thereon a great heap of 
stones, that remaineth unto this day. 

We have here an account of the improvement 
which the Israelites made of their victory over Ai. 

1. They put all to the sword, not only in the 
field, but in the city, man, woman, and child, none 
of them remained, v. 24. God, the righteous 
Judge, had passed this sentence upon them for their 
wickedness, so that the Israelites were only the 
ministers of his justice, and the executioners of his 
•loom. Once in this story, and but once, mention 

is made of the men of Beth-el, as confederates 
with the men of Ai, v. 17. Though they had a 
king of their own, and were not subjects to the 
king of Ai, (for the king of Beth-el is reckoned 
among the thirty-one kings that Joshua destroyed, 
ch. 12. 16.) yet Ai being a stronger place, they 
threw themselves into that, for their own safety, 
and the strengthening of their neighbours' hands, 
and so (we may presume) were all cut off with 
them; thus, that by which they hoped to prevent 
their own ruin hastened it. The whole number 
of the slain, it seems, was but twelve thousand, an 
inconsiderable body to make head against all the 
thousands of Israel; but whom God will destroy, 
he infatuates. Here it is said, v. 26, that Joshua 
drew not his hand back wherewith he stretched out 
the sfiear, v. 18. till the slaughter was completed. 
Some think the spear he stretched out, was not to 
slay the enemies, but to animate and encourage his 
own soldiers, some flag or ensign being hung out at 
the end of this spear; and, they observe it as an in- 
stance of self-denial, that though the fire of courage 
wherewith his breast was filled, would have pushed 
him forward, sword in hand, into the hottest of the 
action, yet, in obedience to God, he kept the infe- 
rior post of a standard-bearer, and did not quit it 
till the work was done. By the spear stretched 
out, he directed the people to expect their help 
from God, and to him to gi\ e the praise. 

2. They plundered the c'ty, and took all the 
spoil to themselves, x>. 27. Thus the wealth of the 
smner is laid up for the just; the spoil they brought 
out of Egypt, by borrowing of their neighbours, 
was much of it expended upon the tabernacle they 
had reared in the wilderness, for which they are 
now reimbursed with interest. The spoil here 
taken, it is probable, was all biought together, and 
distributed by Joshua in due proportions, as that of 
the Midianites was. Numb. 31. 26, ^c. It was not 
seized with irregularity or violence, for God is the 
God of order and equity, and not of confusion. 

3. They laid the city in ashes, and left it to re- 
main so, V. 28. Israel must yet dwell in tents, and 
therefore this city, as well as Jericho, must be 
burnt. And though there was no curse entailed 
upon him that should rebuild it, yet, it seems, it 
was not rebuilt, unless it be the same with Aija, 
which we read of, long after, Neh. 11. 31. Some 
think it was not rebuilt, because Israel had received 
a defeat before it, the remembrance of which 
should be buried in the ruins of the city. 

4. The king of Ai was taken prisoner and cut off, 
not by the sword of war, as a soldier, but by the 
sword of justice, as a malefactor. Joshua ordered 
him to be hanged, and his dead body thrown at 
the gate of his own city, under a heap, of stones, 
V. 23, 29. Some particular reason, no doubt, there 
was for this severity against the king of Ai; it is 
liVply he had been notoriously wicked and vile, and 
a blasphemer of the God of Israel, perhaps, upon 
occasion of the repulse he had given to the forces 
of Israel in their first onset. Some observe, that 
his dead body was thrown at the gate where he had 
been wont to sit in judgment, that so much the 
greater contempt might thereby be poured upon 
the dignity he had been proud of, and he might be 
punished for the unrighteous decrees he had made in 
the very place where he had made them. Thus the 
Lord is known by the judgments which he executes. 

30. Then Joshua built an altar unto the 
Lord God of Israel in mount Ebal, 31. 
As Moses the servant of the Lord com- 
manded the children of Israel, as it is writ- 
ten in the book of the law of Moses, An 
altar of whole stones, over which no man 



hath lifted up any iron: and they offered 
thereon burnl-offerings unto the Lord, and 
sacrificed peace-offerings. 32. And he 
wrote there upon the stones a copy of the 
law of Moses, which he wrote in the pre- 
sence of the children of Israel. 33. And 
all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and 
their judges, stood on this side the ark and 
on that side, before the priests the Levites, 
\v hich bare the ark of the covenant of the 
Lord, as well the stranger as he that was 
born among them : half of them over against 
mount Gerizim; and halfof them over against 
mount Ebal ; as Moses the servant of the 
Lord iiad commanded before, that they 
should bless the people of Israel. 34. And 
afterward he read all the words of the law, 
the blessings and cursings, according to all 
that is written in the book of the law. 35. 
There was not a word of all that Moses 
commanded which Joshua read not before 
all the congregation of Israel, with the wo- 
men, and the little ones, and the strangers 
that were conversant among them. 

This religious solemnity which we have here an 
account of, conies in somewhat surprisingly in the 
midst of the history of the wars of Canaan. After 
the taking of Jericho and Ai, we should have expected 
that the next news should have been of their taking 
possession of the country, the pushing on of their 
victories in other cities, and the carrying of the war 
into the bowels of the nation, now that they had made 
themselves masters of these frontier towns. But 
here a scene opens of quite another nature; the 
camp of Israel is drawn out into the field, not to 
engage the enemy, but to offer sacrifice, to hear the 
law read, and to say Amen to the blessings and the 
curses. Some think this was not done till after 
some of the following victories were obtained, which 
we read of, ch. 10. and 11. But it should seem by 
the maps, tliat Shechem, (near to which these two 
mountains, Gerizim and Ebal, Avere) was not so far 
oif from Ai, but that when they had taken that, 
they might penetrate into that country as far as 
those two mountains, and therefore I would not wil- 
lingly admit a transposition of the story; and the 
rather, because as it comes in here, it is a remark- 
able instance, 1. Of the zeal of Israel for the ser- 
vice of God and for his honour. Though never 
was war more honourable, moi'e pleasant, or more 
gainful, nor ever was war more sure of victory, or 
more necessary to a settlement, (for they had 
neither houses nor lands of their own, till they had 
won them by the sword, no, not Joshua himself,) 
yet all the business of the war shall stand still, 
while they make a long march to the place ap- 
pointed, and there attend this solemnity. God ap- 
fointed them to do this when they were got over 
ordan, and they did it as soon as possibly they 
could, though they might have had a colourable 
pretence to have put it off. Note, We must not 
think to defer our covenanting with God till we are 
settled in the world, nor must any business put us 
bv from minding and pursuing the one thing need- 
ful. The way to prosper, is to begin with God, 
Matt. 6. 33. 2. It is an instance of the care of God 
concerning his faithful servants and worshippers. 
Though they were in an enemy's countr}% as yet 
unconquercd, yet in the service of God they were 
^afc, as Jacob, when in this verj^ country he was 

going to Beth-el to pay his vows, the terror of God 
was ufion the cities round about, Gen. 35. 5. Note, 
When we are in the way of duty, God takes us 
under his special protection. 

Twice Moses had given express orders for this 
solemnity; once Deut. 11. 29, 30. where he seems 
to have pointed to the very place where it was to be 
performed; and again, Deut. 27. 2, Isfc. It was a 
federal transaction: the covenant was now renewed 
between God and Israel \ipon their taking posses- 
sion of the land of promise, that they might be en- 
couraged in the conquest of it, and might know 
upon what terms they held it, and come under fresh 
obligations to obedience. In token of the covenant, 

I. They built an altar, and offered sacrifice to 
God, V, 30, 31. in token of their dedication of them- 
selves to God, as living sacrifices to his honour, in 
and by a mediator, who is the altar that sanctifies 
this gift. This altar was erected on mount Ebal, 
the mount on which the curse was put, Deut. 11. 
29. to signify that there, where by the law we had 
reason to expect a curse, by Christ's sacrifice of 
himself for us, and his mediation, we have peace 
with God; he has redeemed us from the curse of 
the law by being made a curse for us, Cial. 3. 13. 
Even there where it was said, by the curse. Ye are 
not my fieofile; there it is said, through Christ the 
Altar, Ye are the childreyi of the living God, Hos. 
1. 10. The curses pronounced on mount Ebal 
would immediately have been executed, if atone- 
ment had not been made by sacrifice. 

By the sacrifice offered on this altar they did 
likewise give God the glory of the victories they 
had already obtained, as Exod. 17. 15. Now that 
they had had the comfort of them in the spoils of 
Ai, it was fit that Grd should have the praise of 
them; and they also implored his favour for their 
future success; for supplications as well as thanks- 
givings were intended in their peace-offerings. The 
way to prosper in all that we put our hand to, is, to 
take God along with us, and in all our ways to ac- 
knowledge him by prayer, praise, and dependence. 

The altar they built, was of rough unhewn stone, 
according to the law, Exod. 20. 25. for that which 
is most plain and natural, and least artful and 
affected in the worship of God, he is best pleased 
with. Man's device can add no beauty to God's 

II. They received the law from God; and this 
they must do, that would find favour with him, and 
expect to have their offerings accepted; for if we 
turn away our ear from hearing the law, our pray- 
ers will be an abomination. When God took Israel 
into covenant, he gave them his law, and they, in 
token of their consent to the covenant, subjected 
themselves to the law. Now here, 

1. The law of the ten commandments was writ- 
ten upon stones in the presence of all Israel, as an 
abridgment of the whole, t. 32. This copy was 
not graven in the stone, as that which was reserved 
in the ark, that was to be done only by the finger 
of God; it is his prerogative to write the law in the 
heart, but the stones were plastered, and it was 
written upon the plaster, Deut. 27. 4, 8. It was 
written, that all might see what it was that they 
consented to, and that it might be a standing re- 
maining testimony to posterity, of God's goodness 
in giving them such good laws, and a testimony 
against them, if they were disobedient to them. It 
is a great mercy to any people to have the law of 
God in writing, and it is fit that the written law 
should be exposed to common view in a known 
tongue, that it may be seen and read of all men. 

2. The blessings and the curses, the sanctions of 
the law, were publicly read, and the peoj:)le, (we 
may suppose,) according to Moses's appointment, 
said Amen to them, x'. 33, o-i. The auditory was 



%efy large; (1.) The greatest prince was not ex- 
cused, the elders, officers, and judges, are not above 
the cognizance of the law, but will come under the 
blessing or the curse, according as they are or are 
not obedient to it, and therefore they must be pre- 
sent to consent to the covenant, and to go before the 
people therein. (2 ) The poorest stranger was not 
excluded; here was a general naturalization of 
them, as well the stranger as he that was born 
among them, was taken into covenant: this was an 
encouragement to proselytes, and a happy presage 
of the kindnesses intended for the poor Gentiles in 
the latter days. 

The tribes were posted, as Moses directed, six 
toward Gerizim, and six toward Ebal. And the 
ark in the midst of the valley was between them, 
for it was the ark of the covenant; and, in it were 
shut up the close rolls of that law, which were co- 
pied out, and shown openly upon the stones. The 
covenant was commanded, and the command cove- 
nanted. The priests that attended the ark, or 
some of the Lev itcs that attended them, after the 
people had all taken their places, and silence was 
proclaimed, pronounced distinctly the blessings and 
the curses, as Moses had drawn them up, to which 
the tribes said jinnn; and vet it is here onlv said, 
that they should bless the people, for the lilessing 
was that which was first and chiefly intended, and 
which God designed in giving the law. If they fell 
under the curse, that was their own fault. And it 
was i-eallv a blessing to the people that they had this 
matter laid so plainly before them. Life and death, 
^ood and evil; he had not dealt so with other nations. 

3. The law itself also containing the precepts and 

?irohibitions was read, {v. 35.) it should seem by 
oshua himself, who did not tliink it below him to 
be a reader in the congregation of the Lord. In 
conformity to this example, the solemn reading of 
the law, which was appointed once in se\ en years, 
(Deut. 21. 10, 11.) was performed by their king or 
chief magistrate. It is here intimated what a 
general publication of the law this was, (1.) Every 
word was read; even the minutest precepts were 
not omitted, nor the most copious abridged; not one 
iota or tittle of the law shall pass away, and there- 
fore none was, in reading, skipped over, under pre- 
tence of want of time, or that any part was needless, 
or not proper to be read. It was not many weeks 
since Moses had preached the whole book of Deu- 
teronomy to them, yet Joshua must now read it all 
over again; it is good to hear twice what God has 
spoken once, Ps. 62.. 11. and to review what has 
been delivered to us, or to have it repeated, that we 
may not let it slip. (2.) Every Israelite was pre- 
sent, even the tvomen and the little ones, that all 
might know and do their duty. Note, Masters of 
families should bring their wives and children with 
them to the solemn assemblies for religious wor- 
ship. All that are capable of learning, must come 
to be taught out of the law. The strangers also 
attended with them ; for wherever we are, though 
but as strangers, we should improve every oppor- 
tunity of acquainting ourselves with God and his 
holy will. 


Here is in this chapter, I. The impolitic confederacy of the 
kingrs of Canaan against Israel, v. t, 2. II. The politic 
confederacy of the inhabitants of Gibeon with Israel. I. 
How it was subtilely proposed and petitioned for by the 
Gibeonites, pretending to come from a far country, v. 
3. .13. 2. How it was unwarily consented to by Joshua 
and the Israelites, to the disgust of the congregation 
when the fraud was discovered, v. 14. .18. 3. How the 
matter was adjusted to the satisfaction of all sides, by 
giving these Gibeonites their lives, because they had co- 
venanted with them, yet depriving them of their liberties, 
because the covenant was no' '"lirly obtained, v. 19, . 27. 

1. 4 ND it came to pass, when all the 
l\. kings which laere on this side Jordan, 

in the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the 
coasts of the great sea over against Leba- 
non, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the 
Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and 
the Jebiisite, heard thereof., 2. That they 
gathered themselves together, to fight with 
Joshua and with Israel, with one accord. 

Hitherto the Canaanites had acted defensively, 
the Israelites were the aggressors upon Jericho aiid 
Ai; but here the kings of Canaan are in consultation 
to attack Israel, and concert matters for a vigorous 
effort of their united forces, to check the progress 
of their victorious arms. Now, 1. It was strange 
they did not do this sooner. They had notice long 
since of their approLich; Israel's design upon Canaan 
was no secret; one would have expected that a pru- 
dent concern for their common safety should have 
put them upon taking some measures to oppose their 
coming over Jordan, and maintain that pass against 
them, or to have given them a warm reception as 
soon as they were over. It was strange they did 
nut attempt to raise the siege of Jericho, or at least 
fall in with the men of Ai, when they had given 
them a defeat. But they were either, through pre- 
sumption or despair, wonderfully infatuated, and at 
their wit's end; many know not the things that be- 
long to their peace till they are hid from their eves. 

2. It Avas more strange that they did it now. Now 
that the conquest cf Jericho had given such a preg- 
nant proof of God's power, and that of Ai of Israel's 
policy, one would have thought the end of their 
consultation should have been, not to fight with Is- 
rael, but to make peace with them, and to gain the 
best terms they could for themselves. This had 
been their wisdom, Luke 14. 32. but their minds 
were blinded, and their hearts hardened to their 

Observe, (1.) What induced them now at last to 
enter upon this consultation. When they heard 
thereof, v. 1. not only of the conquest of Jericho 
and Ai, but of the convention of the states of mount 
Ebal, which we have an account of immediately be- 
fore; when they heard that Joshua, as if bethought 
himself aire idy complete master of the country, 
had had all his people together, and had read the 
laws to them, by which they must be governed, 
and taken their promises to submit to those laws, 
then they perceived the Israelites were in good 
earnest, and thought it was high time for them to 
bestir themselves. The pious dcAOtions of God's 
people sometimes provokes and exasperates their 
enemies more than any thing else. (2.) How 
unanimous they were in their resolves. Though 
they were many kings of different nations, Hittites, 
Amorites, Perizzites, ?cc. doubtless of different in- 
terests, and that had often been at variance one 
with another, yet they determined, nemine contra- 
dicente — unanimously, to unite against Israel. O 
that Israel would learn this of Canaanites, to sacri- 
fice private interests to the public welfare, and to 
lay aside all animosities among themselves, that 
they may cordially unite against the common ene- 
mies of God's kingdom among men ! 

3. And when the inhabitants of Gibeon 
heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho 
and to Ai, 4. They did work wilily, and 
went and made as if they had been ambas- 
sadors ; and took old sacks upon their asses, 
and wine-bottles, old, and rent, and bound 



up: 5. And old shoes and clouted upon 
their i'evU and old garments upon them ; and 
all the bread of tlieir provision was dry and 
mouldy. 6. And they went to Joshua unto 
the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and 
to the men of" Israel, We be come from a 
far country : now therefore make ye a 
league with us. 7. And the men of Israel 
said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye 
dwell among us ; and how shall we make a 
league with you ? 8. And they said unto 
Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua 
said unto them, Who are ye 1 and from 
whence come ye ? 9. And they said unto 
him, From a very far country thy servants 
are come, because of the name of the Lord 
thy God : for we have heard the fame of him, 
and all that he did in Egypt, 10. And all 
that he did to the two kings of the Amorites 
that ivere beyond Jordan, to Sihon king of 
Heshbon, and to Og kingof Bashan, which 
was at Ashtaroth. 11. Wherefore our el- 
ders and all the inhabitants of our country 
spake to us, saying. Take victuals with you 
for the journey, and go to meet them, and 
say unto them. We are your servants: 
therefore now make ye a league with us. 
1 2. This our bread we took hot ybr our pro- 
vision out of our houses on the day we came 
forth to go unto you ; but now, behold, it is 
dry, and it is mouldy : 13. And these bot- 
tles of wine, which we filled, were new ; 
and, behold, they be rent: and these our 
garments and our shoes are become old by 
reason of the very long journey. 14. And 
the men took of their victuals, and asked 
not counsel at the mouth of the Lord. 


I. The Gibeonites desire to make peace with 
Israel, being alarmed by the tidings they heard of 
the destruction of Jericho, v. 3. Other people 
heard those tidings, and were irritated thereby to 
make war upon Israel; but the Gibeonites heard 
them, and were ind\iced to make peace with them. 
Thus the discovery of the glory and the grace of 
God in the gospel, is to some a savour of life unto 
life; but to others, a savour of death unto death, 2 
Cor. 2. 16. 1 lie same sun soicens wax and hardens 
clay. I do not remember that we read any where 
of a king of Gibeon. Had their government been at 
this time in a single person, perhaps his heart 
would have been too high to yield to Israel, and he 
would have joined with the rest of the kings against 
Israel. But these four united cities, mentioned v. 
17. seem to have been governed by elders or sena- 
tors, x'. 11. who consulted the common safety more 
than their own personal dignity. The inhabitants 
of Gibeon did well for themselves. We have, 

II. The method they took to compass it. They 
knew that all the inhabitants of the land of Canaan 
were to be cut oflF, perhaps they had some spies in 
the congregation at Ebal, when the law was read, 
who observed and brought them notice of the com- 
mand given to Israel, Deut. 7. l- -3. that they should 
show no mercy to the Canaanites, give them no 
quarter in battle, which made them afraid of fight- 

ing them, and that they should make no covenan. 
with them, which made them despair of gaining 
any advantage by ti-eating with them : and therefore 
there was no way of saving their lives from the 
sword of Israel, unless they could, by disguising 
themselves, make Joshua believe that they came 
from some very far country, which the Israelites 
were not commanded to make war upon, nor for- 
bidden to make peace with, but were particularly 
appointed to offer peace to, Deut. 20. 10, 15. Un- 
less they could be admitted under this notion, they 
saw there was but one way with them, thev must 
submit to the fate of Jericho and Ai. Though 
the neighbouring princes knew that all the men 
thereof were mighty, {ch. 10. 2.) and they knew it 
themselves, yet they durst not contend with Israel, 
who had an Almighty God on their side. This 
therefore is the only game they have to play, and 
they play it very artfully and successfully; never 
was any such thing more craftily managed. 

1. They came under the character of ambassa- 
dors from a foreign state, Avhich they thought would 
please the princes of Israel, and make them proud 
of the honour of being courted by distant countries: 
we find Hezekiah fond of those that came to him 
from a far country, Isa. 39. 3. they had not used to 
be thus courted. 

2. They pretended to have undergone the fatigues 
of a very long journey, and produced what passed 
for an ocular demonstration of it. It should seem it 
was then usual for those that undertook long jour- 
nies, to take with them, as we do now for long 
voyages, all manner of provision in kind, the coun- 
try not being furnished as our's is now with houses 
of'^ entertainment, for the convenience of which, 
when we have occasion to make use of them, we 
have reason to be very thankful. Now, they here 
pretended that their provision, when they brought 
it from home, was fresh and new, but now it ap- 
peared to be old and dry, whereas it might well be 
presumed they had not loitered, but made the best 
of their way; so that from hence it must be inferred 
that they came, as they said they did, from a very 
far country, their sacks or portmanteaus were old, 
the wine all urc.nk, and the bottles in which it had 
been, broken, their shoes and their clothes were 
worse than those of tlie Israelites in forty years, 
their bread mouldy, v. 4, 5. and again, v. 12, 13. 
Thus God's Israel have often been deceived and 
imposed upon with a show of antiquity. But fas 
Bishop Hall expresses it) errors are neter the olcter 
for being patched, and so seeming old; but they 
that will be caught with this Gibeonitish stratagem, 
prove they have not consulted with God. And thus 
there are those who make themselves poor with the 
badges of want and distress, and yet have great 
riches, Prov. 13. 7. or at least have no need of re- 
lief, by which fraud charity is misplaced, and de- 
nied to those that are real objects ot it. 

3. When they were suspected, and more strictly 
examined from whence they came, they industri- 
ously declined telling the name of their countiy, 
till the agreement was settled; (1.) The men of 
Israel suspected a fraud, v. 7. " Peradventure xje 
dwell among us, and then we may not, we must 
not, make any league with you;" this might have 
discouraged the (iibeonitcs from urging the mattei 
any further, concluding that if the peace were mad<^. 
the Israelites would not think themselves obliged 
to keep it, having thus solemnly protested against 
it, in case they dwelt among them; but knowins^ 
that there was no hope at all if they stood it out, 
they bravely ventured a submission; " Who knows 
but the people of Israel may save us alive, though 
thus inveigled into a promise, and if we tell them at 
last, we shall but die." (2.) Joshua put the ques- 
tions to them, Who are ye? and from whence come 



ye? He finds himself concerned to stand upon his 
euard against secret fraud, as well as against open 
force; we in our spiritual warfare must stand against 
the wiles- of the devil, remembering he is a subtle 
serpent as well as a roaring lion. In all leagues of 
relation and friendship we must first try, and then 
trust, lest we repent at leisure agreements made in 
haste. (3.) they would not tell whence they 
came; but still repeat the same thing. We are come 
from a very far country, v. 9. They will have it 
thought, that it is a country Israel knows nothing 
of, nor ever heard of, and therefore would be never 
the wiser if they should tell him the name of it. 

4. They profess a respect for the God of Israel, 
the more to ingratiate themselves with Joshua, and 
we charitably believe they were sincere in this pro- 
fession, " IVe are come because of the name of the 
Lord thy God, v. 9. because of what we have lieard 
of that name, which has convinced us that it is 
above every name, and because we have a desire 
toward that name, and the remembrance of it, and 
would gladly come under its protection. 

5. They fetch their inducements from what had 
been done some time before in Moses's reign, the 
tidings Avhereof might easily be supposed ere this to 
have reached distant regions, the plagues of Egypt 
and the destruction of Sihon and Og, v. 9, 10. but 
prudently say nothing of the destruction of Jericho 
and Ai, (though that was the true inducement, v. 
3.) because they will have it supposed that they 
came from home long before those conquests were 
made. We need not be long to seek for reasons why 
we should submit to the God of Israel; we may be 
furnished either with new or old, which we will. 

6. They make a good submission. We are your 
servants, and humbly sue for a general agreement, 
ma fee a league with us, v. 11. They insist not upon 
terms, but will be glad of peace upon any terms; 
nor will the case admit of delays, lest the fraud be 
discovered; fain would they have the bargain strack 
up immediately; if Joshua will but make a league 
with them, they have all they come for, and they 
hope their ragged clothes and clouted shoes will be 
no exception against them; God and Israel reject 
none for their poverty. 

Now, (1.) Their falsehood cannot be justified, nor 
ought it to be drawn into a precedent. We must 
not do evil, that good may come. Had they owned 
their country but renounced the idolatries of it, re- 
signing the possession of it to Israel, and themselves 
to the God of Israel, we have reason to think Joshua 
would ha^ e been directed by the oracle of God to 
spare their lives, and they needed not to have made 
these pretensions. It is observal)le, when they had 
once said, We are come from a far country, v. 6. 
they found themselves necessitated to say it again, 
V. 9. and to say what was utterly false concerning 
their bread, their bottles, their clothes, v. 12, 13. 
for one lie is an inlet to another, and tiiat to a third, 
and so on. The way of that sin is down-hill. 

But (2. ) Their faith and prudence are to be greatly 
commended; our Lord commended even the unjust 
steward, because he had done wisely and well for 
himself, Luke 16. 8. In submitting to Israel, they 
submitted to the God of Israel, which implied 
a renunciation of the God they had served, a resig- 
nation to the laws of the true religion. They had 
heard enough to convince them of the infinite power 
of the God of Israel, and from thence might infer 
his other perfections of wisdom and goodness; and 
how can Ave do better for ourselves, than surrender 
at discretion to infinite wisdom, and cast ourselves 
ufion the 7nercy of a God of infinite goodness? The 
submission of these Gibeonites was the more lauda- 
ble, because it was, [1.] Singular; their neighbours 
took another course, and expected they should join 
with them. [2. 1 Speedy; they did not stay till Is- 

VoT,. II.— G 

rael had besieged their cities; then it had been too 
late to capitulate; but when they were at some dis- 
tance, they desired conditions of peace. The way 
to avoid a judgment is to meet it by repentance. 
Let us imitate these Gibeonites, and make our 
peace with God in the rags of humiliation, godly 
sorrow, and mortification, so our iniquity shall not 
be our ruin. Let us be servants to Jesus, cur blessed 
Joshua, and make a league with him and the Israel 
of God, and we shall live. 

15. And Joshua made peace with them, 
and made a league with them, to let them 
live: and the princes of the congregation 
sware unto them. 1 6. And it came to pass, 
at the end of three days, after they had 
made a league with them, that ihey heard 
that they were their neighbours, and thai 
they dwelt among them. 1 7. And the chil- 
dren of Israel journeyed, and came unto 
their cities on the third day. Now their 
cities were Gibeon, and Chephirah, and Bee- 
roth, a7iG?Kirjath-jearim. 18. And the chil- 
dren of Israel smote them not, because the 
princes of the congregation had sworn unto 
them by the Lord God of Israel. And all 
the congregation murmured against the 
princes. 1 9. But all the princes said unto 
all the congregation. We have sworn uiito 
them by the Lord God of Israel : now, 
therefore we may not touch them. 20. This 
we will do to them ; we will even let them 
live ; lest wrath be upon us, because of the 
oath which we sware unto them. 21. And 
the princes said unto them. Let them live ; 
but let them be hewers of wood and drawers 
of water unto all the congregation -, as the 
princes had promised them 

Here is, 

I. The treaty soon concluded with the Gibeon- 
ites, V. 14, 15. The thing was not done with much 
formality, but in short. 1. They agreed to let 
them live, and more the Gibeonites did not ask. In 
a common war this had been but a small matter to 
be granted; but in the wars of Canaan, which were 
to make a general destruction, it was a great favour 
to a Canaanite to have his life given him for a prey, 
Jer. 45. 5. 2. This agreement was made not by 
Joshua only, but by the princes of the congregation, 
in conjunction with him. Though Joshua had an 
extraordinary call to tne government, and extraor- 
dinary qualifications for it, yet he would not act in 
an affair of this nature, without the counsel and con- 
currence of the princes, who were neither kept in 
the dark nor kept under foot, but were treated by 
him as sharers in the government. 3. It was rati 
fied by an oath, they sware unto them, not by any 
of the gods of Canaan, but by the God of Israel 
only, V. 19. They that mean honestly, do not 
startle at assurances, but satisfy those with whon) 
they treat, and glorify God, by calling him to wit- 
ness to the sincerity of their intentions. 4. Nothing 
appears to have been culpable in all this, but that 
it was done rashly; they took of their victuals, by 
which they satisfied themselves that it was indeed 
old and dry, but did not consider that that was no 
proof of their bringing it fresh from home; so that, 
making use of their senses only, but not their rea- 
son, they received the men (; s the margin reads it) 



because of their victuals, perceiving perhaps, upon 
the view and taste of their bread, not only that now 
it was old, but that it had been fine and very good 
at first, whence they inferred that they were per- 
sons of some quality; and therefore the friendship 
of their country was not to be despised. But they 
asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord. They 
had the Urim and Thummim with them, which 
they might have advised with in this difficult case, 
and that would have told them no lie, would have 
led them into no error; but they relied so much on 
their own politics, that they thought it needless to 
bring: the matter to the oracle. Joshua himself was 
not altogether without blame herein. Note, We 
then make more haste than good speed in any busi- 
ness, when we stay not to take God along with us, 
and by the word and prayer to consult him. Many 
a time we see cause to reflect upon it with regret, 
that such and such an affair miscarried, because we 
asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord; would 
we acknowledge him in all our ways, we should 
find them more safe, easy, and successful. 

II. The fraud soon ciiscovered by which this 
league was procured. A lying tongue is but for a 
moment, and truth will be the daughter of time. 
Within three days they found, to their great sur- 
prise, that the cities which these ambassadors had 
treated for, were very near them, but one night's 
foot-march from the camp at Gilgal, ch. 10. 9. 
Either their own scouts, or the parties that sallied 
out to acquaint themselves with the country, or per- 
haps some deserters that came over to them from 
the enemy, informed them of the truth of this mat- 
ter. They that suffer tliemselves to be deceived 
by the wiles of Satan, will soon be undeceived to 
their confusion, and will find that near, even at 
the door, which they imagined was very far off 

III. The disgust of the congregation at this. 
They did indeed submit to the restraints which this 
league laid upon them, and smote not the cities of 
the Gibeonites, neither slew the persons, nor seized 
the prey; but it vexed them to have their hands 
thus tiecl, and they murmured against the princes, 
{y. 18.) it is to be feared, more from a jealousy for 
their own profit, than from a zeal for the fulfilling 
of God's command, though some of them perhaps 
had a regard to that Many are forward to arraign 
and censure the actions of princes while they are 
ignorant of the springs of those actions, and are in- 
competent judges of the reasons of state that go- 
vern them. While therefore we are satisfied in 
general that those who are over us aim at nothing 
but the public good, and sincerely seek the welfare 
of their people, we ought to make the best of what 
they do, and not exercise ourselves in things above 

IV. The prudent endeavour of the princes to pa- 
cify the discontented congregation, and to accom- 
modate the matter; herein all the princes concur- 
I'ed and were unanimous, which doubtless disposed 
the people to acquiesce. 

1. They resolved to spare the lives of the Gibe- 
unites, for so they had expressly sworn to do, v. 15. 
to let them live. 

(1.) The oath was lawful, else it had not bound 
them any more than Herod's oath bound him to 
cut off John Biptist's head; it is true, God had ap- 
pointed them to destroy all the Canaanites, but that 
law must be construed in favorem vitx — with some 
fender alloivancc, to mean those only that stood it 
out, and would not surrender their country to them, 
and not to bind them so far to put off the sense of 
lionour and humanity, as to slay those who had 
never lifted up a hand against them, nor ever 
would, but before they were reduced to any ex- 
tremity, or ever attempted any act of hostility, with 
one consent humbled themselves; the kiiigs of Is- 

rael were ceriairily more merciful kings than to do 
so, ,1 Kings 20. 31. and the God of Israel a more 
merciful God than to order it so; Satis est firos- 
trdsse leoni — It is enough to have laid the lion pros- 
trate. And besides, the reason of the law is the 
law; the mischief designed to be pre\ ented by that 
law, was the infecting of the Israelites with their 
idolatry; Deut. 7. 4. But if the Gibeonites re- 
nounce their idolatry, and become friends and ser- 
vants to the house of God, the danger is effectually 
prevented, the reason of the law ceases, and conse- 
quently the obligation of it, especially to a thing of 
this nature. The conversion of sinners sliall pre- 
vent their ruin. 

(2. ) The oath being lawful, both the princes, and 
the people for whom they transacted, were bound 
by it, bound in conscience, bound in honour to the 
God of Israel, by whom they had sworn, and whose 
names would have been blasphemed by the Ca- 
naanites, if they had \ iolated this oath. They speak 
as those that y^-arerf en oa^A (Eccl. 9. 2.) when they 
argued thus; We will let them live, lest wrath be 
upon us, because of the oath which we sware, v. 20. 
He that ratifies a promise with an oath, imprecates 
the divine vengeance if he wilfully break his pro- 
mise, and has reason to expect that divine justice 
will take him at his word. God is not mocked, 
and therefore oaths are not to be jested with. The 
princes will keep their word, [1.] Though they 
lest by it. A citizen of Sion swears to his own hurt, 
and changes not, Ps. 15. 4. Joshua and the princes, 
when they found it was to their prejudice that they 
had thus bound themselves, did not apply them- 
selves to Eleazar for a dispensation, much less did 
they pretend that no faith is to be kept with here- 
tics, with Canaanites; no, they were strangers to 
the modern artifices of the Roman Church, to elude 
the most sacred bonds, and even to sanctify per- 
juries. [2.] Though the people were uneasy at it, 
and their discontent might have ended in a mutinv, 
yet the princes would not violate their engagement 
to the Gibeonites; we must never be over-awed, 
either by majesty or multitude, to do a sinful thing, 
and to go against our consciences. [3. ] Though 
they were drawn into this league by a wile, and 
might have had a very plausible pretence to de- 
clare it null and void, yet they adhered to it. They 
might have pleaded that though these were the 
men with whom they exchanged the ratifications, 
yet these were not the cities intended in the league; 
they had promised to spare certain cities, without 
names, that were very far off, and upon the express 
consideration of their being so, but these were very 
near, and therefore not the cities that they covenant- 
ed with. And many learned men have thought that 
they were so grossly imposed upon by the Gibeonites, 
that it would have been lawful for them to have re- 
called their promise; but to preserve their reputa- 
tion, and to keep up in Israel a veneration for an 
oath, they would stand to it; but it is plain that 
they thought themselves indispensably obliged by 
it, and were apprehensive that the wrath of God 
would fall upon them if they broke it. And how- 
ever their adherence to it might be displeasing to 
the congregation, it is plain that it was acceptable 
to God, for when, in pursuance of this league, they 
undertook the protection of the Gibeonites, God 
gave them the most glorious victory that ever they 
had in all their wars, ch. 10. and long after severely 
avenged the wrong Saul did to the Gibeonites in vio- 
lation of this league, 2 Sam. 21. 1. Let this con- 
vince us all how religiously we ought to perform 
our promises, and make good our bargains; and 
what conscience we ought to make of our words, 
when they are once given. If a covenant obtained 
by so many lies and deceits might not be broken, 
shall we think to evade the obligation of those that 



have been made with all possible honesty and 
fairness? If the fraud of others will not justify or 
excHse our falsehood, certainly the honesty of 
others in dealing with us, will aggravate and con- 
demn our dishonesty in dealing with them. 

2. Though they spared their lives, yet they 
seized their liberties, and sentenced them to be 
hewers of wood, and drawers of water, to the con- 
gregation, V. 21. By this proposal the discontent- 
ed congregation was pacified; for (1.) They who 
were angry that the Gibeonites lived, might be 
content when they saw them condemned to that 
which, in the general apprehension, is worse than 
death, perpetual servitude. (2. ) They who were 
angry that they were not spoiled, might be content 
when their service of the congregation would be 
more to the public advantage, than their best ef- 
fects could be; and, in short, the Israelites would 
be no losers either in honour or profit by this peace 
with the Gibeonites; convince them of this, and 
they will be satisfied. 

22. And Joshua called for them, and he 
spake unto them, saying, Wherefore have 
ye beguiled us, saying. We are very far 
from you ; when ye dwell among us? 23. 
Now therefore ye are cursed ; and there 
shall none of you be freed from being bond- 
men, and hewers of wood and drawers of 
water for the house of my God. 24. And 
they answered Joshua, and said. Because 
it was certainly told thy servants, how that 
the Lord thy God commanded his servant 
Moses to give you all the land, and to de- 
stroy all the inhabitants of the land from be- 
fore you, therefore we were sore afraid of 
our lives because of you, and have done 
this thing. 25. And now, behold, we are 
in thine hand : as it seemeth good and right 
\mto thee to do unto us, do. 26. And so 
did he unto them, and delivered them out 
of the hand of the children of Israel, that 
they slew them not. 27. And Joshua made 
them that day hewers of wood and draw- 
ers of water, for the congregation and for 
the altar of the Lord, even unto this day, 
in the place which he should choose. 

The matter is here settled between Joshua and 
the Gibeonites, and an explanation of the league 
agi'eed upon; we may suppose that now, not the 
messengers who were first sent, but the elders of 
Gibeon, and of the cities that were dependent upon 
it, were themselves present, and treated with, that 
the matter might be fully compromised. 

I. Joshua reproves them for their fraud, v. 22. 
And they excuse it as well as they can, d. 24. 1. 
Joshua gives the reproof very mildly; lllierefore 
have ye beguiled us'/ He does not load them with 
any ill names, does not give them any harsh pro- 
voking language, does not call them, as they de- 
served to be called, base liars, but only asks them, 
Why have ye beguiled us? Under the greatest pro- 
vocations, it is our wisdom and duty to keep our 
temper, and .to bridle our passion; a just cause 
needs not anger to defend it, and a bad one is made 
never the better by it. 2. They make the best ex- 
cuse for themselves that the thing would bear, v. 
24. They found by the word of God, that sentence 
of death was passed upon them, (the command was 

to destroy all the inhabitants of the land, without 
exception,) and they found by the works of God 
already wrought, that there was no opposing the 
execution of this sentence; they considered that 
God's sovereignty is incontestable, his justice in- 
flexible, his power irresistible, and therefore re- 
sol\ ed to try what his mercy was, and found it was 
not in vain to cast themselves upon it. They do 
not go about to justify their lie, but in effect beg 
pardon for it, pleading it was purely to save 
their lives that they did it, which every man that 
finds in himself the R:rce of the law of self-pre- 
servation, will theref' re make great allowances 
for; especially in such a case as this, where the 
fear was not merely of the power of man, (if that 
were all, one might flee from that to the divine 
protection,) but of the power of God himself, 
which they saw engaged against them. 

II. Joshua condemns them to servitude, as a pun- 
ishment of their fraud, x'. 23. and they submit to 
the sentence, v. 25. and for aught that appears, 
both sides are pleased. 

1. Joshua pronounces them perpetual bondmen. 
They had purchased their lives with a lie, but that 
being no good consideration, he obliges them to hold 
their lives under the rent and reservation of their 
continual labours, in hewing wood and drawing wa- 
ter, the meanest and most toilsome employments. 
Thus their lie was punished; had they dealt fairly 
and plainly with Israel, perhaps they had had more 
honourable conditions granted them, but now, since 
they gain their lives with ragged clothes and clout- 
ed shoes, the badges of servitude, they are con- 
demned for ever to wear such, so must their doom 
be. And thus the ransom of their lives is paid; do- 
minion is acquired by the preservation of a life that 
lies at mercy ( Serx'us dicitur a servanda — A ser- 
vant is so called from the act of saving,) they 
owe their service to them to whom they owe their 
lives. Observe how the judgment is given against 
them. (1.) Their servitude is made a curse to 
them. " Now ye are cursed with the ancient curse 
of Canaan," from whom these Hivites descended, 
a serx'ant of servants shalt thou be. Gen. 9. 25. 
What shall be done to the false tongue but this? 
Cursed shall it be. (2. ) Yet this curse is turned 
into a blessing; they must be servants, but it shall 
be for the house of my God. The princes would 
have them slaves unto all the congregation, v. 21. 
at least, they chose to express themselves so, for 
the pacifying of the people that were discontented, 
but Joshua mitigates the sentence, both in honour 
to God and in favour to the Gibeonites: it would be 
too hard upon them to make them every man's 
drudge; if they must be hewers of wood and draw- 
ers of water, than which there cannot be a greater 
disparagement, especially to them who are citizens 
of a royal city, and all mighty men, ch. 10. 2. yet 
they shall be so to the house of mv God, than 
which there cannot be a greater preferment: Da- 
vid himself could have wished to be a door-keeper 
there. Even servile work becomes honourable 
when it is done for the house of my God, and the 
offices thereof. 

[1. ] They were hereby excluded from the liber- 
ties and privileges of true-born Israelites, and a re- 
maining mark of distinction put upon their posteritv 
throughout all their generations. [2. ] Tliey were 
hereby employed in such services as required their 
personal attendance upon the altar of God, in the 
filace which he should choose, v. "27. which would 
bring them to the knowledge of the law of God, 
keep them tight to that holy religion to which they 
were proselyted, and prevent their revolt to the 
idolatries of their f;;thers. [3.] This would be a 
gre; t advantage to the priests and Levites to have 
so many, and those mighty men, constant attend- 



ants upon tliem, and engaged by office to do all 
tiie drudgery of the tabernacle. A great deal of 
wood must be hewed for fuel for God's house, 
iiot only' to keep the fire burning continually 
upon the altar, but to boil the flesh of the 
pea -.e-offerings, c^c. And a great deal of water 
mist be drawn for the divers washings which the 
law prescribed; these and other such servile works, 
such as washing the vessels, carrying out ashes, 
sweeping the courts, isfc. which otherwise the Le- 
vites must have done themselves, these Gibeonites 
were appointed to do. [4.] They were herein 
servants to the congregation too; for whatever pro- 
motes and helps forward the worship of God, is 
real service to the commonwealth. It is the inter- 
est of every Israelite, that the altar of God be well 
attended. Hereby also the congregation was excus- 
ed from much of this servile work, which per- 
haps would otherwise have been expected from 
some of them. God had made a law that the Is- 
raelites should never make any of their brethren 
bondmen; if they had slaves, they must be of the 
heathen that were round about them. Lev. 25. 44. 
Now, in honour of this law, and of Israel that was 
honoured by it, God would not have the drudgery, 
no, not of the tabernacle itself, to be done by Israel- 
ites, but by Gibeonites, who were afterward called 
JVHhinim, men given to the Levites as l/iey were to 
the priests, (Numb. 3. 9.) to minister to them in 
the service of God. [5. ] This may be looked upon 
as typifying the admission of the Gentiles into the 
Gospel-Church. Now they were taken in upon 
their submission to be under-officers, but afterward 
God promises that he will take of them for priests 
and Levites, Isa. 66. 21. 

2. They submit to this condition, v. 25. Con- 
scious of a fault in framing a lie whereby to deceive 
the Israelites, and sensible also how narrowly they 
escaped with their lives, and what a kindness it was 
to have them spared, they acquiesce in the propo- 
sal. Do as it seemeth right unto thee. Better live in 
servitude, especially such servitude, than not live 
at all. Those of the veiy meanest and most despi- 
cable condition, are described to be hewers ofivood, 
and drawers of water, Deut. 29. 11. But skin for 
skin, liberty and labour, and all that a man has, 
•will he give for his life, and no ill bargain. Accor- 
dingly the matter was determined, (1.) Joshua de- 
livered them out of the hands of the Israelites that 
they should not be slain, v. 26. It seems there 
were those who would have fallen upon them with 
the sword, if Joshua had not interposed with his 
authority; but wise generals know when to lock up 
the sword, as well as when to draw it. (2. ) He 
then delivered them again into the hands of the Is- 
raelites to be enslaved, v. 27. They were not to 
keep possession of their cities, for we find afterward 
that three of them fell to the lot of Beniamin, and one 
to that of Judah ; nor were they themselves to be 
at their own disposal, but, as Bishop Patrick thinks, 
were dispersed into the cities of the priests and Le- 
vites, and came up with them in their courses to 
serve at the altar, out of the profits of which, it is 
probable, they were maintained. And thus Israel's 
bondmen became the Lord's freemen, for his ser- 
vice in the meanest oflice is liberty, and his work is 
its own wages. And this they got by their early 
submission. Let us, in like manner, suljmit to our 
Lord Jesus, and refer ourselves to him, saying, 
" We are in thy hand, do unto us as seemeth good 
and right unto thee; only save our souls, and we 
shall not repent it:" if he appoints us to bear his 
cross, and draw in his yoke, and serve at his altar, 
that shall be afterward neither shame nor grief to 
us, while the meanest office in God's service will 
entitle us to a dwelling in the house of the Lord 
all the days of our life. 


We have in this chapter an account of the conquest of the 
kings and kingdoms of the southern part of the land 
of Canaan, as, in the next chapter, of the reduction 
of the northern parts, which together completed the 
glorious successes of the wars of Canaan. In this 
chapter we have an account, I. Of the routing of 
their forces in the field- In which observe, I. Their con- 
federacy against the Gibeonites, v. 1 . . 5. 2. The Gib- 
eonites' request to Joshua to assist them, v. 6. 3. Josh- 
ua's speedy march under divine encouragement for their 
relief, v. 7.. 9. 4. The defeat of the armies of these 
confederate kings, v. 10, 11. 5. The miraculous pro- 
longing of the day by the standing still of the sun in fa- 
vour of the conquerors, v. 12 . . 14. II. Of the execu- 
tion of the kings that escaped out of the battle, v. 15. . 
27. III. Of the taking of the particular cities, and the 
total destruction of all that were found in them. Mak- 
kedah, v, 28. Libnah, v. 29, 30, Lachish, v. 31, 32, and 
the king of Gezer that attempted its rescue, v. 33. Eg- 
lon, T. 34, 35. Hebron, v. 36, 37. Debir, v. 38, 39. And 
the bringing of all that country into the hands of Israel, 
V. 40. . 42. And lastly, the return of the army to their 

1 'l^rOW it came to pass, when Adoiii- 
JJ^ zedek king of Jerusalem liad 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 Gibe- 
on 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 ivas greater 
than Ai, and all the men thereof were 
mighty. 3. Wherefore Adoni-zedek king 
of Jerusalem sent unto Hoham king of He- 
bron, and unto Piram king of Jarmuth, and 
unto Japhia king of Lachish, and unto De- 
bir king of Eglon, saying, 4. Come up 
unto me, and help me, that we may 
smite Gibeon : for it hath made peace 
with Joshua and with the children of Is- 
rael. 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, gathered them- 
selves together, and went up, they and all 
their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon, 
and made war against it. 6. And the men 
of Gibeon sent unto 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 Am- 
orites that dwell in the mountains are gath- 
ered together against us. 

Joshua and the hosts of Israel had now been a 
good while in the land of Canaan, and no great 
matters were effected; they were made masters of 
Jericho by miracle, of Ai by stratagem, and of Gib- 
eon by surrender, and that was all; hitherto the • 
progress of their victories has not seemed propor- 
tionable to the magnificence of their entry and the 
glory of their beginnings. Those among them that 
were impatient of delays, it is probable, complain 
ed of Joshua's slowness, and asked why they did not 
immediately penetrate into the heart of the coimtry, 
before the enemy could rally their forces to make 


head against them; why they stood trifling, while 
they were so confident both of their title and of 
their success. Thus Joshua's prudence, perhaps, 
was censured as slothfulness, cowardice, and want 
of spirit. But, 1. Canaan was not to be conquered 
in a day. God had said, that by little and little he 
would drive out the Canaanites, Exod. 23. 30. He 
that believeth, will not make haste, or conclude 
that the promise will never be performed, because 
it is not performed so soon as we expected. 2. 
Joshua waited for the Canaanites to be the aggress- 
ors; let them first make an onset upon Israel, on 
the allies of Israel, and then their destruction will 
be, or at least will appear to be, the more just and 
the more justifiable. Joshua had warrant sufficient 
to set upon them, yet he stays till they strike the 
first stroke, that he might provide for honest things, 
in the sight, not only of God, but of men; and they 
would be the more excusable in tlieir resistance, 
now that they had seen what favour the Gibeonites 
found with Israel. 3. It was for the advantage of 
Israel to sit still a while, that the forces of these 
little kings might unite in one body, and so might 
the easier be cut off at one blow. This God had 
in his eye when he put it into their hearts to com- 
bine against Israel; though they designed thereby 
to strengthen one another, that which he intended, 
was, to gather them as sheaves into the floor, to fall 
together under the flail, Mic. 4. 12. Thus often- 
times that seeming paradox proves wholesome 
counsel, Stay a "while, and we shall have done the 

After Israel had waited a while for an occasion to 
make war upon the Canaanites, a fair one offers 

I. Five kings combine against the Gibeonites. 
Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem was the first mover 
and ringleader of this confederacy. He had a good 
name; it signifies lord of righteousness; a descendant 
perhaps from Melchizedek, king of righteousness; 
but notwithstanding the goodness of his name and 
family, it seems he was a bad man, and an implaca- 
ble enemy to the posterity of that Abraham, whom 
his predecessor, Melchizedek, was such a faithful 
friend to. He called upon his neighbours to join 
against Israel, either because he was the most ho- 
nourable prince, and had the precedency among 
these kings, (perhaps they had some dependence 
upon him, at least they paid a deference to him, as 
the most public, powerful, and active man they 
had among them,) or, because he was first or most 
apprehensive of the danger his country was in, not 
only by the conquest of Jericho and Ai, but the sur- 
render of Gibeon, which, it seems, was the chief 
thing that alarmed him, it being one of the most 
considerable frontier-towns they had. Against Gib- 
eon therefore all the force he could raise, must be 
levelled; Come, says he, and hel/i me, that we may 
smite Gibeon. This he resolves to do, either, 1. In 
policy; that he might retake the city, because it 
was a strong city, and of great consequence to his 
country, in whose hands it was; or, 2. In passion, 
that he might chastise the citizens for making 
peace with Joshua, pretending that they had per- 
fidiously beti-ayed their country and strengthened 
the common enemy, whereas they had really done 
the greatest kindness imaginable to their country 
by setting them a good example, if they would have 
followed it. Thus Satan and his instruments make 
war upon those that make peace with God: marvel 
not if the world hate you, and treat those as desert- 
ei's, who are converts to Christ. 

II. The Gibeonites send notice to Joshua of the 
distress and danger they were in, v. 6. Now they 
expect benefit from the league they had made with 
Israel, because though it was obtained by deceit, it 
was afterward confirmed when the truth came out. 

They think Joshua obliged to help them, 1. In 
conscience, because they were his servants, not in 
compliment, as they had said in their first address, 
ch. 9. 8, We are thy sen-aTits, but in reality made 
servants to the congregation; and it is the duty of 
masters to take care of the poorest and meanest of 
their servants, and not to see them wronged when 
it is in the power of tlieiir hand to right them. They 
that pay allegiance may reasonablv expect protec- 
tion. Thus David pleads with God, Ps. 119. 94, / 
am thine; save me; and so may we, if indeed we be 
his. 2. In honour, Ijecause the ground of their ene 
mies' quarrel with them, was, the respect they had 
shown to Israel, and the confidence they had in a 
covenant with them. Joshua cannot refuse to help 
them, when it is for their affection to him, and to 
the name of his God, that they are attacked. Da- 
vid thinks it a good plea with God, Ps. 69. 7, For 
thy sake I have borne refiroach. When our spirit- 
ual enemies set themselves in array against us, and 
threaten to swallow us up, let us, by faith and prayer, 
apply ourselves to Christ, our Joshua, for strength 
and succour, as St. Paul did, and we shall receive 
the same answer of peace. My grace is sufficient 
for thee, 2 Cor. 12. 8, 9. 

7. So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he 
and all the people of war with him, and all 
the mighty men of valour. 8. And the 
Lord said unto Joshua, Fear them not ; 
for I have delivered them into thine hand : 
there shall not a man of them stand before 
thee. 9. Joshua therefore came unto 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 unto Makke- 
dah. 1 1 . And it came to pass, as they fled 
from before Israel, and were in the going 
down to Beth-horon, that the Lord cast 
down great stones from heaven upon them 
unto Azekah, and they died: thcT/ were more 
which died with hailstones than thei/ whom 
the children of Israel slew with the sword. 
12. Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the 
day when the Lord delivered up the Amor- 
ites 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 etood 
still, and the moon stayed, until the pec»|3le 
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 hearken- 
ed unto the voice of a man : for the Lord 
fought for Israel. 


I. Joshua resolves to assist the Gibeonites, and 
God encoui-ages him in that resolve. 1. He ascend- 
ed from Gilgal, v. 7. that is, he designed, deter- 
mined, and prepared for, this expedition to relieve 



G'heon, for it is probable it was before he stirred a 
step that God s]Kike to him to encourage him. It 
WAS generous and just in Josluia to help his new al- 
lies, though perhaps the king of Jerusalem, when 
he attacked them, little thought that Joshua would 
have been so ready to help them, but expected he 
would abandon them as Canaanites, the rather 
because they had obtained their league with him by 
fraud; therefore h-e speaks with assurance, v. 4. of 
smiting Gibeon. But Joshua knew that his promise 
t"> let them live, obliged him, not only not to slay 
t'lem himself, but not to stand by and see them 
skin, when it was in the power of his hand to 
prevent it, Prov. 24. 11, 12. He knew that when 
they embraced the faith and worship of the God 
rf Israel, they az??i(? to trust under the shadow of 
his wings, (Ruth 2. 12.) and therefore, as his ser- 
vants, he was bound to protect them. 2. God ani- 
mati'd him for his undertaking, v. 8. Fear not, that 
is, (1.) "Doubt net of the goodness of thy cause, 
and the clearness of thy call; though it be to as- 
s'st Gibeonites, thou art in the way of duty, and 
God is with thee of a truth. " (2. ) " Dread riot the 
power of the enemy; though so many enemies are 
confederate against thee, and are resolved to make 
their utmost efforts for the reduction of Gibeon, 
and, it may be, will fight desperately in a desperate 
cause; yet let not that discourage thee, I have de- 
livered them into thine hand;" and those can make 
neither resistance, nor escape, whom God has 
marked for destruction. 

II. Joshua applies h'mself to execute this resolve, 
and God assists him in the execution. Here we have, 
1. The great industry of Joshua, and the power 
ot God working with that for the defeat of me ene- 
my. In this action, 

(1.) Joshua showed his good- will in the haste he 
tnade for the relief of Gibeon, t. 9, He came unto 
them suddenly; for the extremity was such as would 
not admit delay. If one of the tribes of Israel had 
been in danger, he could not have showed more 
care or zeal for its relief than here for Gibeon, re- 
membering in this, as in other cases, there must be 
one law for the stranger that was proselyted, and 
for him that was bom in the land. Scarcely had 
the confederate princes got the'r forces together, 
and sat down before Gibeon, when Joshua was upon 
them, the surprise of which would put them into 
the greatest confusion. Now that the enemy were 
actually drawn up into a body, Avhich had all as it 
were but one neck, despatch was as serviceable to 
his cause, as before delay was, while he waited for 
this general rendezvous; and now that things were 
ripe for execution, no man more expeditious than 
Joshua who before had seemed slow. Now, it shall 
never be said. He left that to do to-morrow which 
he could do to-day. When Joshua found he could 
not reach Gibeon in a day, lest he should lose any 
real advantages against the enemy, or so much as 
seem^to come short, or to neglect h's new allies, he 
m*rched all night, resolving not to give sleep to his 
eyes, nor slumber to his eve-lids, till he had accom- 
plished this enterprise. It was well the forces he 
took with him were mighty men of valour, not 
only able-bodied men, but men of spiiit and resolu- 
tion, and hearty in the cause, else they neither 
could nor would have borne this fatigue, but would 
have murmured at their leader, and would have 
asked, ''Is this the rest we were promised in Ca- 
naan.'" But they well considered that the present 
toil was in order to a haj^py settlement, and there- 
fore were reconciled to it. Let the good soldiers 
of Jesus Christ learn from hence to endure hard- 
ness, in following the I,amh whithersoever he goes, 
and not thmk themselves undone, if their religion 
lose them now and then a night's sleep; it will be 
enou':,h to rest, v/hen we come to heaven. 

But why needed Joshua to put himself and his 
men so much to the stretch? Had not God pro- 
mised him, that without fail he would deliver the 
enemies into his hand? It is true he had; but God's 
promises are intended, not to slacken and super- 
sede, but to quicken and encourage our endeavours. 
He that believeth, doth not make haste to antici- 
pate providence, but doth make haste to attend it, 
with a diligent, not a distrustful speed. 

(2.) God showed his great power in defeating the 
enemies which Joshua so vigorously attacked, xk 
10, 11. Joshua had a very numerous and powerful 
army with him, hands enough to despatch a dis 
pirited enemy, so that the enemy might have been 
scattered by the ordinaiy fate of war; but God him- 
self would appear in this great and decisive battle, 
and draw up the artillery of heaven against the 
Canaanites, to demonstrate to his people, that they 
got not this land in possession by their own sword, 
neither did their ow?i arm save them, but God's 
right hand and his arm, Ps. 44. 3. The Lord dis- 
comfited them before Israel; Israel did what they 
could, and yet God did all. [1.] It must needs be 
a very great terror and confusion to the enemy, to 
perceive that heaven itself fought against them; for 
who can contest with, flee from, or fence against 
the powers of heaven? They had affronted the 
true God, and robbed him of his honour, by wor- 
shipping the host of heaven, giving that worship to 
the creature which is due to the Creator only; and 
now the host of heaven fights against them, and 
even that part of the creation which they had 
idolized, is at war with them, and even triumphs in 
their ruin, Jer. 8. 2. There is no way of making 
any creature propitious to us, no not by sacrifice or 
offering, but only by making our peace with God, 
and keeping ourselves in his love. This had been 
enough to make them an easy prey to the victorious 
Israelites, yet this was not all. [2.] Beside the 
terror stmck upon them, there was a great slaugh- 
ter made cf them by hail-stones, which were so 
large, and came down v/ith such a force, that more 
were killed by the hail-stones than by the sword of 
the Israelites, though no doubt, they were busy. 
God himself speaks to Job of treasures, or maga- 
zines, of snow and hail, which he has resented for 
the day of battle and war. Job 38. 22, 23. and here 
they are made use of to destroy the Canaanites. 
Here was hail shot from Gcd's great ordinance, 
that, against whomsoever it was directed, was sure 
to hit, (and never glanced upon the Israelites 
mixed with them,) and Avhenever it hit was sure to 
kill. See here how miserable they are, that have 
God for their enemy, and how sure to perish; it is 
a fearful thing to fall into his hands, for there is no 
fleeing out of them. Some oljserve, that Beth- 
horon lay north of Gibeon, Azekah and Makkedah 
lay south, so that they fled each way; by which way 
soever they fled, the hail-stones pursued them, anil 
met them at every turn. 

2. The great faith of Joshua, and the power of 
God crowning that with the miraculous arrest of 
the sun, that the day of Israel's victories might be 
prolonged, and so the enemy totally defeated. The 
hail-stones had their rise no higher than the clouds, 
but, to show that Israel's help came from above the 
clouds, the sun itself, who by his constant motion 
serves the whole earth, by halting when there was 
occasion, served the Israelites, and did them a kind- 
ness; the sun and moon stood still in their habitation, 
at the light of thine arrowy which gave 'he signal, 
Hah. 3." 11. ■ 

(1.) Here is the praver of Joshua that the sun 
might stand still. I call it \v[s prayer, liecause it is 
said, x<. 12, he spake to the Lord; as Elijah, though 
we read, 1 Kings 17. 1. only by his prophesying of 
the drought, yet is said, James 5. 17, to pray for it. 


Observe, [1.] An instance of Joshua's unwearied 
acti\ity in the service of God and Israel, that 
though he had marched all night and fought all 
day, and, one might expect, would be inclined to 
repose himself and get a little sleep, and give his 
army some time to rest, that, like the hireling, he 
would earnestly have desired the shadow, and bid 
the night welcome, when he had done such a good 
day's work, yet, instead of that, he wishes for 
nothing so much as the prolonging of the day. 
Note, Those that ivait on the Lord, and work for 
him, shall renew their strength, shall run and not 
be ivea-Ai, shall wa/^ and not faint, ls^. 40. 31. 
[2. ] An instance of his great faith in the almighty 
power of God, as above the power of nature, and 
able to control and alter the usual course of it. No 
doubt, Joshua had an extraordinary impulse or im- 
pression upon his spirit, which he knew to be of 
divine original, prompting him to desire that this 
miracle might be wrought upon this occasion, else 
it had been presumption in him to desire or expect 
it, the prayer had not been granted by the divine 
power, if it had not been dictated by the divine 
grace; God wrought this faith in him, and then said, 
*' According to thy faith, and thy prayer of faith, 
be it unto thee." It cannot be imagined however 
that such a thing as this should have entered into 
his mind, if God had not put it there; a man would 
have had a thousand projects in his head for the 
completing of the victory, before he would have 
thought of desiring the sun to stand still; but even 
in the Old Testament saints, the Spirit made inter- 
cession according to the will of God; what God will 
give, he inclines the hearts of his praying people to 
ask ; and for what he will do, he will be inquired 
of, Ezek. 36. 37. 

Now, Fii-st, It looked great for Joshua to say, 
Sun, stand thou still. His ancestor Joseph had in- 
deed dreamed that the sun and moon did obeisance 
to him; but who would have thought that, after it 
had been fulfilled in the figure it should again be 
fulfilled in the letter to one of his posterity. The 
prayer is thus expressed with authority, because it 
was not an ordinary prayer, such as is directed and 
supported only by God's common providence or 
promise, but the prayer of a prophet at this time 
divinely inspired for this purpose; and yet it inti- 
mates to us the prevalency of prayer in general, so 
Ear as it is regulated by the word of God, and may 
remind us of that honour put upon prayer, Isa. 45. 
11, Concerning the work of my hands, command ye 
me. He bids the sun stand still ufion Gibeon, the 
place of action and the seat of the war, intimating 
that what he designed in this request, was, the ad- 
vantage of Israel against their enemies; it is proba- 
ble that the sun was now declining, and that he did 
not call for the lengthening out of the day, imtil he 
observed it hastening toward its period. He does 
likewise, in the name of the King of kings, arrest 
the moon, perhaps because it was requisite for the 
preserving of the harmony and good order of the 
spheres, that the course of the rest of the heavenly 
bodies should be stayed likewise, otherwise, while 
the sun shone, he needed not the moon; and hei'e 
he mentions the valley of Ajalon, which was near 
to Gibeon, because there he was at that time. 

Secondly, It was bold indeed to say so before Is- 
rael, and argues a very sti'ong assurance of faith. 
If the event had not answered the demand, nothing 
could have been a greater slur upon him; the Israel- 
ites would have concluded he was certai .ly going 
mad, or he had never talked so extravagantly. But 
he knew very well God would own and answer -a 
petition which he himself directed to be drawn up 
and presented, and therefore was not afraid to sav 
before all Israel, calling them to observe 'this work 
of wonder Sun, stand thou still, for he was confi- 

dent in him whom he had trusted. He believed 
the almighty power of God; else he could not have 
expected that the sun, going on in its strength, 
driving in a full career, and rejoicing as a strong, 
man to run a race, should be stopped in an instant. 
He believed the sovereignty of God in the kingdom 
of nature; else he could not have expected that the 
established law and course of nature should be 
changed and interrupted, the ordinances of heaven, 
and the constant usage according to these f rdi- 
nances, broken in upcn. And he belie\ed God's 
particular favour to Israel above all pet pie under 
the sun; else he could not have expected, that, to 
favour them upon an emergency with a double day, 
he should (which must follow of course) amuse and 
terrify so great a part of the terrestrial globe with 
a double night at the same time; it is true, he 
causeth the sun to shine u/ion the just and the un- 
just, but this once the unjust shall wait f(tr it be- 
yond the usual time, while, in fa\ our to righteous 
Israel, it stands still. 

(2.) The wonderful answer to this prayer. No 
sooner said than done, t. 13, 7 he sun stood still, 
and the moon stayed. Notwithstanding the vast 
distance between the earth and the sun, at the 
word cf Joshua, the sun stopped immediately; for 
the same God that rules in heaven above, rules at 
the same time on this earth, and, when he pleases, 
even the heavens shall hear the earth, as here. Con- 
cerning this great miracle, it is here said, [].] That 
it continued a whole day, that is, the sun continued 
as long again above the horizon, as otherwise it 
would ha^e done. It is commonly supposed to 
have been about the middle of summer that this 
happened, when, in that country, it was about four- 
teen hours between sun and sun, so that this day 
was about twenty-eight hours long; yet if we sup- 
pose it to have been at that time of the year when 
the days are at the shortest, it will be the more 
probable that Joshua should desire and pray for the 
prolonging of the day. [2.] That hereby the peo- 
ple had full time to avenge themselves of their ene- 
mies, and to give them a total defeat. We often 
read in history of battles which the night put an end 
to, the shadows of which favoured the retreat of 
the conquered; to prevent this advantage to the 
enemy in their flight, the day was doubled, that the 
hand of Israel might 7?;?c? 02it all their eiiemies; but 
the eye and hand of God can find them out without 
the help of the sun's light, for to him the night 
shineth as the day, Ps. 139. 12. Note, Sometimes 
God completes a great sal\ ation in a little time, and % 
makes but one day's work of it. Perhaps this 
miracle is alluded to, Zech. 14. 6, 7. where the day 
of God's fighting against the nations is said to be 
one day, and that at evening-time it shall be light, 
as here. And, [3.] Thiit there wrs never am/ day 
nice it, before or since, in which God put such aii 
honour upon faith and prayer, and Israel's catise; 
never did he so wonderfully comply with the re- 
quest of a min, or so wonderfully fight for his peo- 
ple. [4.] This is said to be written in the book of 
Jasher, a collection of state-poems, in which the 
poem made upon this occasion was preserved 
among the rest; pi-obably, the same with that book 
of the wars of the Lord, Numb. 21. 14. Avhich af- 
terward was continued and carried on by one 
Jasher. Those words. Sun, stand thou still upon 
Gibeon, and thou moon, in the valley of Jjalon, 
sounding metrical, are supposed to be taken from 
the narrative of this event, as it was found in tht- 
book of Jasher. Not that the divine testimonv of 
the book of Joshua needed any confirmation fron) 
the book of Jasher, a human composition: but to 
those who had that book in their hands, it would be 
of use to compare this history with it; which war 
rants the appeals the learned make to profane his- 



lory fur ■ corroborating the proofs of the truth of 
buc cd history. 
But surely this stupendous miracle of the stand- 
■ ing still of the sun, was intended for something 
more than merely to give Israel so much the more 
time to find out and kill their enemies, which, with- 
out this, might have, been done the next day. 
J''irst, God would hereby magjiify Joshua, ch. 3. 7. 
:;s a particular favourite, and one whom he did de- 
light to honour; being a type of Him who has all 
power both in heaven and in earth, and whom the 
winds and the seas obey. Secondly, He would 
hereby notify to all the world what he was doing 
for his people Israel here in Canaan; the sun, the 
eye of the world, must be fixed for some hours 
upon Gibeon, and the valley of Ajalcn, as if to con- 
template the great works of God there for Israel, 
and so to engage the children of men to look that 
way, and to inquire of this wonder done in the land, 
(2 Chron. 32. 31.) Proclamation was hereby made 
to all the neighbouring nations, Come, behold the 
works of the Lord, Ps. 46. 8. and say, " What na- 
tion is there so great as Israel /?, who has God so 
nigh unto them? One would have supposed this 
would have brought such real ambassadors as the 
Gibeonites pretended to be, from a very far coun- 
try, to court the friendship of Israel because of the 
name of the Lord their God. Thirdly, He would 
hereby convince and confound those idolaters that 
worshipped the sun and moon, and gave divine 
honour to them, by demonstrating that they were 
subject to the command of the God of Israel, and 
that, as high as they were, he was above them; and 
thus he would fortify his people against the temp- 
tations to this idolatiy, which he foresaw they 
would be addicted to, (Deut. 4. 19.) and which, 
notwithstanding this, they afterward corrupted 
themselves with. Fourthly, This miracle signified 
(it is the learned Bishop Plerson's notion) that in the 
latter days, when the light of the world was tending 
towards c night of darkness, the Sun of righteous- 
ness, even our Joshua, should arise, (Mai. 4. 2.) 
give check to the approaching night, and be the 
true light. To which let me add, that when Christ 
conquered our spiritual enemies upon the cross, the 
miracle wrought upon the sun was the reverse of 
this, it was then darkened as if it were gone down 
at noon, for Christ needed not the light of the sun 
to carry on his victories, he then made dark- 
ness his pavilion: and lastly, the arresting of the 
sun and moon in this day of Ijattle, figured the turn- 
ing of the sun into darkness, and the moon ifito 
blood, in the last great and terrible day of the Lord. 

15. And Joshua returned, and all Israel 
with him, unto the camp to 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 for to 
keep them: 19. And stay you not, but 
pursue after 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 slay- 
ing them with a very great slaughter, till 
they were consumed, that the rest tohich 
remained of them entered into fenced 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 out 
those five kings unto me out of the cave. 
23. And they did so, and brought forth 
those five kings unto him out of the cave, 
the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, 
the king of Jarmuth, the king of Itachish, 
and the king of Eglon. 24. And it came 
to pass, v^^hen they brought out those kings 
unto Joshua, that Joshua called for all the 
men of Israel, and said unto the captains 
of the men of war which 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 unto them. Fear not, nor 
be dismayed, be strong and of good cou- 
rage : 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 hanged upon the trees until the 
evening. 27. And it came to pass at the time 
of the goingdownof the sun,that Joshua com- 
manded, and they took them down off the 
trees, and cast them into the cave wherein 
they had been hid, and laid great stones in 
the cave's mouth, which remain until this 
very day. 

It was a brave appearance, no doubt, which the 
five kings made when they took the field, for the 
reducing of Gibeon, and a brave army they had fol- 
lowing them; but they were all routed, put into 
disorder first, and then brought to destruction, by 
the hail-stones. And now Joshua thought, his 
work being done, he might go with his army into 
quarters' of refreshment: accordingly it was resolv- 
ed, perhaps in a council of war, that they should 
presently return to the camp, to Gilgal, x\ 15. till 
they should receive orders from God to take pos- 
session of the country they had pow conquered; but 
he soon finds he has more work cut out for him, 
the victory must be pursued, that the spoils might 
be divided. Accordingly he applies himself to it 
with renewed vigour. 

I. The force that had dispersed themselves, must 
be folloAved and smitten. When tidings are brought 
to Joshua where the kings were, he ordered a guard 
to be set upon them for the present, v. 18. rescTV- 
ing them for another day of destruction, and to be 
brought forth to a day of wrath. Job 21. 30. He 
directs his men to pursue the common soldiers, as 
much as might be, to prevent their escaping to the 
garrisons, which would strengthen them, and make 
the reduction of them the more difficult, -v. 19. 
Like a prudent general, he does that first, which is 
most needful, and defers his triumphs till he has 
completed his conquests; nor was he in such haste 
to insult over the captive kings, but that he would 
first prevent the rallying again of their scattered 
forces. The success of tliis vigorous ])ursuit, was, 
1. That a very great slaughter was made of the 
enemies of God and Israel. And, 2. The field was 
cleared of them, so that none remained but such as 



got into fenced cities, where they would not long be 
safe themselves, nor were they capable of doing any 
service to the cities that sheltered them, unless 
they could have left their fears behind them. 3. 
J\ione moved his tongue against any of the children 
of Israel, v. 21. This expression intimates, (1.) 
'riieir perfect safety and tranquillity: some think it 
sliould be read, from Exod. 11. 7, Against any of 
the children of Israel did not a dog move his tongue; 
no, n^t against any one man of them. They were 
not threatened by any danger at all after their vic- 
tory, no, not so much as the barking of a dog. Not 
one single Israelite (for the original makes it so 
particular) was brought into any distress, either in 
the battle, or in the pursuit. (2.) Their honour 
and reputation; no man had any reproach to cast 
upon them, or an ill word to give them. God not 
only tied the hands, but stopped the mouths of their 
enraged enemies, and put lying lips to silence. (3.) 
The Chaldee paraphrase makes it an expression of 
their unallayed joy for this victory, reading it. 
There was no hurt or loss to the children of Israel, 
for which any man should afflict his soul. When 
the army came to be reviewed after the battle, 
there was none slain, none wounded, none missing, 
not one Israelite had occasion to lament either the 
loss of a friend, or the loss of a limb. So cheap, so 
easy, so glorious, was this victory. 

II. The kings that had hidden themselves, must 
now be called to an account, as rebels against the 
Israel of God, to whom, by the divine promise and 
grant, this land did of right belong, and should have 
been surrendered upon demand. 

See here, 1. How they were secured. The cave 
which they fled to, and trusted in for a refuge, be- 
came their prison, in which they were clapped up, 
till Joshua sat in judgment on them, v. 18. It seems, 
they all escaped both the hail-stones and the sword, 
(iod so ordering it, not in kindness to them, but that 
they might be reserved for a more solemn and ter- 
ril)le execution ; as, for this cause, Pharaoh survived 
the plagues of Egypt, and was made to stand, that 
God might in him show his fiower, Exod. 9. 16. 
They all fled, and met at the same place. Provi- 
dence directing them; and now they who were 
lately consulting against Israel, were put upon new 
counsels to preserve themselves, and agreed to take 
shelter in the same cave. The information brought 
to Joshua of this, is an evidence that there' were 
those of the country, who knew the holes and fast- 
nesses of it, that were in his interests. And the care 
Joshua took to keep them there when they were 
there, as it is an instance of his policy and presence 
of mind, even in the heat of action; so, in the suc- 
cess of their project, it shows how they not only 
deceive themselves, but destroy themselves, who 
think to hide themselves from God. Their refuge 
of lies will but bind them over to God's judgment. 

2. How they were ti-iumphed over. Joshua or- 
dered them to be brought forth out of the cave, set 
before him at the bar, and their names called over, 
V. 22, 23. And when they either were bound and 
cast upon the ground, unable to help themselves, 
or throw themselves upon the ground, humbly to 
beg for their lives, he called for the general officers 
and great men, and commanded them to trample 
upon these kings, and set their feet upon their 
necks; not in sport, and to make themselves and 
the company merry, but with the gravity and deco- 
rum that became the ministers of the divine justice, 
who were not herein to gratify any pride or passion 
of their own, but to give glory to the God of Israel 
as higher than the highest, who treads ufion jirinces 
as mortar, (Is^. 41. 25.) and is terrible to the kings 
of the earth, Ps. 76. 12. The thing does indeed 
look barbarous, thus to insult over men in misery, 
that were suddenly fallen from the highest pitch of 

Vol. II.— H 

honour into this disgrace; it was hard for crowned 
l«;ads to be thus trodden upon, not by Joshua him- 
self, (that might better have been borne,) at least 
not by him only, but by all the captains of the army; 
certainly it ought not to be drawn into a precedent, 
for the case was extraordinary, and we have reason 
to think it was by divine direction and impulse that 
Joshua did this. (1. ) God would hereby punish the 
abominable wickedness of these kings, the measure 
of whose iniquity was now full. And by this public 
act of justice d<ine upon these ringleaders of the 
Canaanites in sin, he would possess his people with 
the greater dread and detestation of those sins of 
the nations that God cast out from before them, 
which they would be tempted tb imitate. (2.) He 
would hereby have the promise by Moses made 
good, (Deut. 33. 29.) Thou shall tread ujion their 
high places, that is, their great men, whicli should 
the rather be speedily fulfilled in the letter, because 
they are the very last words of Moses that we find 
upon recoi-d. (3.) He would hereby encourage the 
faith and hope of his people Israel, in reference to 
the wars that were yet before them. Therefore 
Joshua said, v. 25, Fear not, nor be dismayed. [1.] 
** Fear not these kings, or any of their's, as if there 
were any danger of ha\ ing this affront now put upon 
them, in after-time revenged upon youi selves; a 
consideration which keeps many from being inso- 
lent toward those they have at their mercy, because 
they know not how soon the uncertain fate of war 
may turn the same wheel upon themselves; but you 
need not fear that any should rise up ever to re- 
venge this quarrel." [2.] "Fear not any other 
kings, who may at any time be in confederacy 
against you, for you see these brought down, whom 
you thought formidable. Thus shall the Lord do 
to all your enemies; now that they begin to fall, to 
fall so low, that you may set your feet on their 
necks, you may be confident they shall not prevail, 
hnt s\va\\ surely fall before you," 'Es.ih. 6. 13. (4.) 
He would hereby give a type and figure of Christ's 
victories over the powers of darkness, and believers' 
victories through liim. All the enemies of the Re- 
deemer shall be made his footstool, Ps. 110. 1. 
(And, see Ps. IS. 40.) The kings of the earth set 
themselves against him, Ps. 2. 2. but sooner or 
later we shall see all things put under him, Heb. 2. 
8. and /uincipalities and powers made a show of. 
Col. 2. 15. And in these triumphs we are more 
than conquerors, may t7rad u/ion the lion and adder, 
Ps. 91. 13. may ride on the high places of the earth, 
Isa. 58. 14. and may l^e confident that the God of 
peace shall tread Satan under our feet, shall do it 
shortlv, and do it effectually, Rom. 16. 20. See 
Ps. 149. 8, 9. 

3. How they were put to death. Perhaps when 
they had undergone that terrible mortification of be- 
ing trodden upon by the captains of Israel, they 
were ready to say, as Agag, Surely the bitterness 
of death ii past, and that sufficient unto them was 
this punishment which ivas inflicted by many; but 
their honours cannot excuse their lives, their for- 
feited, devoted lives. Joshua smote them with the 
sword, and then hanged up their bodies till evening, 
when they were taken down, and thrown into the 
cave in which they had hid themselves, v. 26, 27. 
That which they thought would have been their 
shelter, was made their prison first, and then their 
grave; so shall we be disappointed in tiiat which we 
flee to from God, yet to good people the grave is 
still a hiding-place. Job. i4. 13. If these five kings 
had humbled themselves in time, and had begged 
peace instead of waging war, they might have sav- 
ed tfieir lives; but now the decree was gone forth, 
and thev fou7id no place for repentance, or the re- 
versal of the judgment, it was too late to expect it, 
though, perhaps, they sought it carefully with tears. 



28. And that clay Joshua took Makke- 
dah, and smote it with the edge of the 
sword, and the king thereof lie utterly de- 
stroyed, them, and all the souls that loej-e 
♦herein ; he let none remain : and he did to 
the king of Makkedah as he did unto the 
king of Jericho. 29. Then Joshua passed 
from AJaKkedah, and all Israel with him, 
unto Lihnah, and fought against Libnah : 
30 And the Lord delivered it also, and the 
king thereof, into the hand of Israel ; and he 
smote it u'ith the edge of the sword, and all 
the souls that lorre therein; he let none re- 
main in it ; but did unto the king thereof as 
he did unto the king of Jericho. 31. And 
Joshua passed from Libnah, and all Israel 
with him, unto Lachish, and encamped 
against it, and fought against it: 32. And 
the Lord delivered Lachish into the hand 
of Israel, which took it on the second day, 
and smote it with the edge of the sword, 
and all the souls that 7vere therein, accord- 
ing 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 re- 
maining. 34. And from Lachish Joshua 
passed unto 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 therein 
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, unto 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 ?oere therein ; he left none remain- 
ing, according to all that he had done to 
Eglon ; but destroyed it utterly, and all the 
souls that 7crre therein. 38. And Joshua 
returned, an 1 all Israel with him, to Debir, 
and fought against it : 39. And he took it, 
and the king tliereof, and all the cities 
thereof; and they smote them with the edge 
of the. sword, and utterly "destroyed all the 
souls that ivcre therein ; he left none remain- 
ing : as he had done to Hebron, so he did 
to Debir, and to the king thereof; as he had 
done also to Libnah, and to her king. 40. 
So Joshua s note 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 com- 
manded. 41. And Joshua smote them h-om 
Kadesh-barnea even unto Gaza, and all the 
countiy of Gosb^n even unto Gibeon 42. 

And all these kings and their land did Josh- 
ua take at one time, because the Lokd 
God of Israel fought for Israel. 43. And 
Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, 
unto the camp to Gilgal. 

We have here Joshua's improvement of the late 
glorious victory he had obtained, and the advan- 
tages he had gained by it, and to do this well is 
a general's praise. 

I. Here is a particular account of the several 
cities wliich he immediately made himself mastei 
of. I. The cities of three of the kings whom iie 
had conquered in the field, he went and took pos- 
session of, Lachish, v. 31,32. Eglon, v. 34, 35. and 
Hebron, v. 36, 27. The other two, Jerusalem and 
Jarmnth, were not taken at this time; perhaps his 
forces were either so much fatigued with what they 
had done, or so well content with what they had 
got, that they had no mind to attack those places, 
and so they slipped the ftiirest opportunity they 
could ever expect of reducing them with ease, 
which afterward was not done without difficulty, 
Judg. 1. 1. 2 Sam. 5. 6. 2. Three other cities, and 
royal cities too, he took; Makkedah, into the neigh- 
bourhood of which the five kmgs were fled, which 
brought Joshua and his forces thither in pursuit of 
them, and so hastened its ruin, v. 28. Libnah, v. 29, 
30. and Debir, v. 38, 39. 3. One king that brought 
in his forces for the relief of Lachish, that had lost 
its king, proved to meddle to his own hurt; it was 
Koram king of Gezer, who, either in fr endship to 
his neighbours, or for his own security, offered to 
stop the progress of Joshua's arms, and was cut off 
with all his forces, v. 33. Thus wicked men are 
often snared in their counsels, and, by opposing God 
in the way of his judgments, bring them the sooner 
on their own heads. 

IL A general account of the country which was 
hereby reduced and brought into Israel's hands, v. 
40..42. The part of the land of Canaan which 
they first got possession of lay south of Jerusalem, 
and afterwai'd fell, for the most part, to the lot of 
the tribe of Judah. 

Observe in this narrative, 1. The great speed 
Joshua made in taking these cities, which, some 
think, is intimated in the manner of relating it, 
which is quick and concise. He flew like lightning 
from place to place; and though they all stood it out 
to the last extremity, and none of these cities open- 
ed their gates to him, yet in a little time he got 
them all into his hands, summoned them, and 
seized them, the same day, v. 28. or in two days, v. 
32. Now that they were struck with fear by the 
defeat of their armies, and the death of their kings, 
Joshua prudently followed his blow. See what a 
great deal of work may be done in a little time, if 
we will but be busy, and improve our opportunities. 
2. The great severity Joshua used toward those he 
conquered. He ga^e no quarter to man, woman, 
or child, put to the sword ull the srm/s, v. 28, 30, 
32, 35, &c. utterly destroyed all that breathed, v. 
40. 2LX\di left none remaining. Nothing could justify 
this militarv execution, but that herein they did as 
the Lord Ciod of Israel commanded, v. 40. which 
was sufficient not only to bear them out, and save 
them from the imputation of crueltv, but to smctify 
what they did, and make it an acccptJilc piece of 
service to his justice. God would herehv. (1.) 
Manifest his hatred of the idolatries, and other 
abominations, which the Canaanites had been 
guilty of, and leave us to judge how great the pro- 
vocation was, which they had given him, by the 
greatness of the destruci:ion which was Ijrought 
upon them when the measure of their iniquity was 
full. (2.) Hft would hereby magnify nis love to his 



people Israel, in giving so many men for thtm, 
and fico/iU' for their Ufe, Is.u -13. 4. when the hea- 
then are to he cast out to make room for this vine, 
(Ps. 80. 8.) Divine justice appears more prodigal 
tiian ever of human blood, that the Israelites might 
find themselves for ever obliged to spend their 
li\es to the glory of that God, who had sacrificed 
so nianv of the lives of his creatures to their inter- 
est. (3.) Hereby was typified the final and eternal 
destructi;in of all the impenitent implacable enemies 
of the Lord Jesus, who having slighted tlie riches 
of his grace, must for ever feel the weight of his 
wrath; and shall have judi^ment without mercy. 
JVations that forget God, shall be turned into hell, 
and no reproach at all to God's infinite goodness. 
3. The great success of this expedition. The spoil 
of these cities was now divided among the men of 
war that plundered them; and the cities themselves, 
with the land about them, were shortly to be di- 
vided among the tribes, for the Lord fought for 
Israel, v. 42. They could not have gotten the vic- 
tory, if God had not undertaken the battlv; then we 
conquer when God fights for us; and if he be for 
us, ivho can be against us? 


This chapter continues and concludes the history of the 
conquest of Canaan ; of the reduction of the southern 
parts we had an account in the foregoing chapter ; after 
which we may suppose Joshua allowed his forces some 
breathing-time ; now here we have the story of the war 
in the north, and the happy success of that war. I. The 
confederacy of the northern crowns against Israel, v. 
4 . . 5. II. The encouragement wl^-h God gave to 
Joshua to engage them, v. 6. III.*lis victory over 
them, V. 7 . . 9. IV. The taking of tlieir cities, v. 10 . . 
15. V. The destruction of the Anakims, v. 21, 22. VI. 
The general conclusion of the story of this war, 16 . . 
20, 23. 

1 . k ND it came to pass, when Jabin kin^ 
J\l. of Hazor had heard those thi?igs\ 
that he sent to Jobab king of Madon, and 
to the king of Shimron, and to the king of 
Achshaph, 2. And to the kings that were 
on the north of the mountains, and of the 
plains south of Chinneroth, and in the valley, 
and in the borders of Dor on the west, 
3. And to the Canaanite on the east and 
on the west, and to the Amorite, and the 
Fiittite, and the Perizzite, and the Jebusite 
in the mountains, and to the Hivite under 
Hermon, in the land of Mizpeh. 4. And 
they went out, they and all their hosts with j 
them, much people, even as the sand that 
is upon the sea-shore in multitude, with i 
horses and chariots very many. 5. And 
when all these kings were met together, I 
they came and pitched together at the i 
waters of Merom, to fight against Israel. 
6, And the Lord said unto Joshua, Be not 
afraid because of them: for to-morrow 
about this time will I deliver them up all 
slain before Israel : thou slialt hough their 
horses, and burn their chariots with fire. 7. 
So Joshua came, and all the people of war 
with him, against them by the waters of 
Merom suddenly; and they fell upon them. 
8. And the Lord delivered them into the 
hand of Israel, who smote them, and 

chased them unto great Zidon, and unto 
Misrephoth-maim, and unto the valley of 
Mizpeh eastward; and they smote them, 
until they left them none remaining. 9. 
And Joshua did unto them as the Lord 
bade him : he houghed their horses, and 
burnt their chariots with fire. 

We are here entering upon the strry of another 
campaign that Joshua made, and it was a glorious 
one, no less illustrious than the former in the suc- 
cess of it, though in respect of mh-acles, it was in- 
ferior to it in glory. The wonders God then 
wrought for them, were to initiate and enc^ urage 
them to act vigorously themselves. Thu the war 
curried on by the preaching of the Gospel against 
Satan's kingdom, was at first forwarded by mira- 
cles; but the war being by them sufficiently proved 
to be of God, the managers of it are now left to the 
ordinary assistance of divine grace in the use cf the 
sword of the Spirit, and must not expect hail- 
stones, or the standing still of the sun. 

In this story we have, 

I. Tl-iC Canaanites taking the field against Israel. 
Thev were the aggressors, God hardening their 
lie Its to begin the war, that Israel might be justi- 
fied beyond exception in destroying them. Joshua 
and all Israel were returned to the camp at Gilgal, 
and perhaps these kings knew no other than thv.t 
they intended to sit down content with the conquest 
they had already made, and yet they prepare war 
against them. Note, Sinners bring ruin upon their 
own heads, so that (iod ivill be Justified when he 
spea/c.s, and tliey alone shall bare the blame for 
e er. Judah was now coMc/;erf as a lion gone u/i 
from the firey; if the northern kings rouse him up, 
it is at their peril, (ien. 49. 9. Now, 

I. Several nations joined in this confederacy, 
srme in the mountains, and some in the fdains, v. 
2. Canaanites from east and west, Amorites, Hit- 
tites, Perizzites, &:c. v. 3. rf difl'erent crnstitutions, 
and divided interests among themselves, and yet 
they here unite against Israel, as against a common 
enemy. Thus are the children of this world more 
unanimous, and therein wiser, than the children of 
light. The oneness of the church's enemies should 
shame the church's friends out of their discords and 
divisions, and engage them to be one. 2. The head 
of this confederacy was Jabi?7 Icing of Hazor, v. 1. 
as Adoni-zedek wascf the former; it is said, v. 10. 
Hazor had been the head of all those Icingdorns, 
which could not have revolted, without occasioning 
ill-will; but that was forgotten and laid aside upon 
this occasion, I)y consent of parties, (Luke 23. 12.) 
When they had all drawn up their forces together, 
every kingdom bringing in its quota, they were a 
very great army, much greater than the former, as 
the sand on the sea-shore in multitude, and, upon 
this account, much stronger and more formidable, 
that they had horses and chariots very many, which 
we do not find the southern kings had; thereby they 
had a great advantage against Israel, for their army 
consisted only of foot, and the}^ never I)rough't 
horses or chariots into the field. Josephus tells us, 
that the army of the Canaanites consisted of three 
liundred thousand foot, ten thousand h'Tse, and 
twenty thousand chariots. Many there be tha rise 
up. against God's Israel; doubtless their nuj ibers 
made them very confident of success, but it proved 
that so much the greater slaughter was made of 

II. The encouragement God gave to Joshua to 
give them the meetine:, even upon the ground of 
their own choosing, v. 6, Be not afraid because oj 

, them, Joshua was remarkable for his courage, it 



was his master-grace, and yet it seems, he had need 
to be again and again cautioned not to be afraid. 
Fresh dangers and difficulties make it necessary to 
fetch in fresh supports and comforts from the word 
of God, which we have always nigh unto us, to be 
made use of in every time of need. Those that 
ha\ e God on their side, need not be disturbed at the 
number and power of their enemies; more are thty 
that are with us, than they that are against us; they 
liHv e the hosts of the Lord, that have the Lord of 
hosts engaged for them. For his encouragement, 
1. (iod assures him of success, and fixes the hour; 
Tj-morrow about thin time, when an engagement 
(it is probable) was expected and designed on both 
sides, / will deliver them u/i slain. Though they 
were to be slain by the sword of Israel, yet it is 
spoken of as God's work, that he would deliver 
them up. 2. He appoints him to hough their 
horses, hamstj-ing them, la?ne them, and burn their 
chariots, not only that Israel might not use them 
hereafter, but that they might not fear them now, 
their God designing this contempt to be put upon 
them. Let Israel look upon their chariots but as 
rotten wood designed for the fire, and their horses 
of war as disabled things, scarcely good enough for 
the cart. 

This encouragement which God hei-e gave to 
Joshua, no doubt, he communicated to the people, 
wlw perhaps were under some apprehensions of 
danger from this vast army, notwithstanding the 
experiences they had had of God's power engaged 
for tliem. And the wisdom and goodness of God is 
to be observed, (1.) In infatuating the counsels of 
the enemy, that all the kings of Canaan, who were 
not dispersed at such a distance fi-om each other, 
but that they might ha\ e got altogether in a bodv, 
did not at first confederate against Israel, but were 
di'.ided into the southern and northern comb'nation, 
and s) became less form. dable. And, (2.) In pre- 
paring liis people to encounter the greater force, by 
breaking the less. They first engage witii five 
kings together, and now' wiih many more. Ciod 
propo:tu)ns our trials to our strength, and our 
strengch to our trials. 

III. J shua's march against these confederate 
forces, V. 7, He came u/ion them suddenly, and 
surprised them in their quarters. He made tliis 
haste, 1. That he miglit put them into the greater 
confusion, by giving them an alarm, when they 
l;t:tle thought he had been near them. 2. Tliat he 
might be sure not to come short of the honour God 
had fixed, to give him the meeting at the enemy's 
camp, to-morrow about this time. It is fit we 
should keep time with God. 

IV. His success, v. 8. He obtained the honour 
and advantage of a complete victory; he smote 
thjin and chased them, m the several ways they 
t > >k in their flight; some fled toward Zidon, which 
l..y to the noith-west, others toward Mizpeh, cast- 
ward, both the parties Joshua sent out, pursued 
them eac'a way. So the Lord delivered them into 
the hand of Israel; they would not deliver them- 
selves into the hands of Israel to be made proselytes 
and tributaries, and so off'ered up to God's grace, 
Rom. 15. 16. and therefore God delivered them 
into their hands to be made sacrifices to his justice; 
for God will be honoured by us or ufion us. 

V. His obedience to the orders given him, in 
destroying the horses and chariots, v. 9. which was 
an instance, 1. Of his subjection to the divine will, 
as one under authority, that must do as he is bid- 
den. 2. Of his self-denial, and crossing his own 
genius and inclination in compliance with God's 
command. 3. Of his confidence in the power of 
God engaged for Israel, which enabled them to 
despise the chariots and horses which others trusted 
in, Ps. 20. 7.-33. 17. 4. Of his care to keep up in 

the people the like confidence in God, by taking 
that from them, which they would be tempted to 
trust too much to. This was cutting off a right 

10. And Joshua at that time turned back, 
and took Hazor, and smote the king there- 
of with the sword: for Hazor beforetinu- 
was the head of all those kingdoms. 1 1 . 
And they smote all the souls that tcere 
therein with the edge of the sword, utterly 
destroying them : there was not any left to 
breathe : and he burnt Hazor with fire. 
12. And all the cities of those kings, and 
all the kings of them, did Joshua take, and 
smote them with the edge of the sword ; 
and he utterly destroyed them, as Moses the 
servant of the Lord commanded. 13. 
But as for the cities that stood still in their 
strength, Israel burned none of them, save 
Hazor only ; that did Joshua burn. 1 4. 
And all the spoil of these cities, and the 
cattle, the children of Israel took for a prey 
unto themselves ; but every man they smote 
with the edge of the sword, until they had 
destroyed them, neither left they any to 

We ha^ e here the same improvement made of 
this victory, that was of that in the foregoing chap- 

1. The destruction of //aror is particulaily re- 
corded, because in it, and by the king thereof, this 
daring design against Israel was laid, x<. 10, 11. 
The king of Hazor, it seems, escaped with his life 
out of the battle, and thought himself safe when he 
was got back into his own city, and Joshua was gone 
in pursuit of the scattered troops another way; but 
it proved that that which he thought would have 
been for his welfare, was his trap, in it he was taken 
as in an evil net, there he was slain, and his city, 
for his sake, burnt. Yet we find that the remains 
of it being not well-looked after by Israel, the Ca- 
naanites rebuilt it, and settled there under another 
king of the same name, Judg. 4. 2. 

2. The rest of the cities of that part of the coun- 
try are spoken of only in general; that Joshua got 
them all into his hands, but did not bum them as he 
did Hazor, for Israel was to dwell in great and 
goodly cities which they builded not, Deut. 6. 10. and 
m these among the rest. And here we find Israel 
rolling in blood and treasure. (1.) In the blood of 
their enemies; they sfnote all the souls, v. 11. 
neither left they any to breathe, i'. 14. that there 
might be none to infect them with the abominations 
of Canaan, and none to disturb then\ in the possess- 
ion of it. The children were cut off, lest thty 
should afterward lay claim to any part of this land 
in the riglit of their parents. (2.) In the wealth 
of their enemies: the spoil, and the cattle, they took 
for a firey to themselves, v. 14. As they were en- 
riched with the spoil of their oppressors when they 
came out of Egypt, wherewith to defray the 
charges of their apprenticeship in the wilderness; 
so they were now enriched with the spoil of their 
enemies, for a stock wherewith to set up in the land 
of Canaan. Thus is the wealth of the sinner laid 
up for the just. 

15. As the Lord commanded Moses his 
servant, so did Moses command Joshua, 



and so did Joshua ; he left nothing undone 
of all that the Lord commanded Moses. 
IG. So Joshua took all that land, the hills, 
and all the south country, and all tiie land 
of Goshen, and the valley, and the plain, 
and the mountain of Israel, and the valley 
of the same; 17. Evc?i from the mount 
Halak, that goeth up to Seir, unto Baal- 
gad, in the valley of Lebanon, unto mount 
Hermon : and all their kings he took, and 
smote them, and slew them. 1 8. Joshua 
made war a long time with all those kings. 
1 9. There was not a city that made peace 
vvitli the children of Israel, save the Hivites^ 
the inhabitants of Gibeon: all other they 
took in battle. 20. For it was of the Lord 
to harden their hearts, that they should 
come against Israel in battle, that he 
might destroy them utterly, and that they 
might have no favour, but that he might 
destroy them, as the Lord commanded 
Moses. 21. And at that time came Josii- 
ua, and cut off the Anakims from the 
mountains, from Hebron, from Debir, from 
Anab, and from all the mountains of Judah, 
and from all the mountains of Israel : Josh- 
ua destroyed them utterly with their cities. 
22. There was none of the Anakims left 
in the land of the children of Israel : only 
in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there re- 
Inained. 23. So Joshua took the whole 
land, according to all that the Lord said 
unto Moses ; and Joshua gave it for an in- 
heritance unto Israel, according to their di- 
visions by their tribes. And the land rest- 
ed from war. 

We have here the conclusion of this whole mat- 

I. A short account is here given of what was done 
in four things, 

1. The obstinacy of the Canaanites in their oppo- 
s'tion to the Israelites. It was strange, that though 
it appeared so manifestly that God fought for Israel, 
and in every engagement the Canaanites had the 
worst of it, yet they stood it out to the last; not one 
city made peace with Israel, but the Gibeonites 
only, who understood the things that belonged 
to their peace better than their neighbours, v. 
19. It is intimated that other cities might have 
made as good terms for themseh es, without rag- 
ged clothes and clouted shoes, if they would 
liave humbled themselves, bvit they never so much 
as desired conditions of peace. We are told whence 
this unaccountable infatuation came, Ic was of the 
Lord to harden their hearts, v. 20. As Pharaoh's 
heart was hardened by his own pride and wilfulness 
first, and afterward by the righteous judgment of 
God, to his destruction, so were the hearts of these 
C maanites. To punish them for all their otlier 
follies, God left them to this, to make those their 
enemies, whom they might have made their friends. 
This was it that ruined them, they came against 
Tsrjfl in battle, and gave the first blow, and there- 
f-re might have 710 favour ^\io\v&^ ih^va. Those 
kn ^\w not what they do, who give the provocation to 
di.iac 'justice, or the authorised instiniments of it. 

yire ive stronger than God? Obsen-e here, that 
hardness of heart is the ruin of sinners. Those 
that are stupid and secure, and heedless of divine 
warnings, are already marked for destruction. 
What hope is there of those concerning whom 
God has said. Go, makt their hearts fat? 

2. The constancy of the Israelites in prosecuting 
this war, v. 18. Joshua made war a long time; 
some reckon it five years, others seven, that were 
spent in subduing this land. So long God would 
train up Israel to war, tnd gi\ e them repeated in- 
stances of his power and goodness in e\ ery new vic- 
tory that he ga\ e them. 

3. The conquest of the Anakims at last, v. 21, 
22. Either this was done, as they met with them 
where they were dispersed, as seme think, or ra- 
ther, it should seem the Anakims were retired to 
their fastnesses, and so were lumted out, and cut off 
at last, after all the rest ( f their enemies. The 
mountains of Judah ;ind Israel were the habitations 
of those mountains of men; but neither their height, 
nor the strength of their caves, nor the difficulty of 
the passes to them, could secure, no, not these 
mighty men from the sword of Joshua. The cutting 
off of the sons of Anak is particularly mentioned, 
because these had been such a terror to the spies 
forty years before, and their bulk and strength had 
been thought an insuperable difficulty in the way of 
the reducing of Canaan, Numb. l.l. 28, 33. Even 
that opposition which seemed in^•incible, was got 
over. Ne\er let the sons of Anak be a terror to the 
Israel of God, for even their d^y will come, to fall. 
Giants are dwarfs to Omnipotence; yet this strug- 
gle with the Anakims was veser > ed for the latter 
end of the war, when the Israelites were become 
more expert in the arts of war, and had had more ex- 
perience of the power and goodness of (iod. Note, 
God sometimes reserves the sharpest trials of his 
people by affliction and temptation for the latter end 
of their days. Therefore li^t not him that girds on 
the harness, boast as he that /luts it off. Death, 
that tremendous son of Anak, is the last enemy 
that is to be encountered, but it is to be destroyed, 
1 Cor. 15. 26. Thai.ks be to God, who will give 
us the victory. 

4. The end and issue of this long war. The Ca- 
naanites were rooted out, (not perfectly, as we shall 
find after in the book of Judges,) but in a good mea- 
sure; they were not al)le to make any head, either, 
(1.) So as to keep the Israelites out of possess- 
ion of the land, .Joshua took all that land, v. 16, 17. 
And we may suppose the people dispersed them- 
selves and their families into the countries they had 
conquered, at least those that lay nearest to the 
head-quarters at Gilgal, until an orderly distribu- 
tion should be made by lot, that every man might 
know his own. Or, (2.) So as to keep them in ac- 
tion, or give them any molestation, v. 23, The 
land rested from nvar. It ended not in a peace nvith 
the Canaanites, (that was forbidden,) but in peace 
from them. There is a rest, a rest from war, re- 
maining for the people of God, into which they 
shall enter, when their warfare is accomplished. 

II. That which Avas now done, is here compared 
with that which had been said to Moses. God's 
word and his works, if viewed and considered to- 
gether, will mutually illustrate each other. It is 
here observed in the close, 

1. That all the precepts God had given to Mo- 
ses relating to the conquest of Canaan, were obeyed 
on the people's part, at least, while Joshua lived. 
See how solemnly this is remarked, v. 15, .As the 
Lord commanded Moses his servant, by whose 
hand the law was given, so did Moses command 
Joshua, for Moses was faithful, as a lawgiver, to 
him that appointed him, he did his part, and then 
he died; but were the commands of Moses observ- 



ed when he was In his grave? Yes, they were, ,so 
did Joahuu, who was, in his place, as faithful, as 
Moses in his. He left nothing undone (Heb. he 
removed nothing J of all that the Lord commanded 
JMoses. They that lea^e their duty undone, do 
what they can to remo\e or make void the com- 
mand of God, by which they are obliged to it; but 
Joshua, by performing the precept, confirmed it, as 
the expression is, Deut. 27. 26. Joshua was him- 
self a great commander, and yet nothing was more 
h's praise than his obedience. They that rule others 
at their will, must themselves be ruled by the di- 
vine will, then their power is indeed their honour, 
and not otherwise. The pious obedience for which 
Joshua is here commended, respects especially the 
command to destroy the Canaanites, and to break 
donvn their altars, and burn their images, Deut. 7. 
2.. 5. Exod. 23. 24.-34. 13. Joshua, in his zeal 
for the Lord of hosts, spared neither the idols 
nor the idolaters. Saul's disobedience, or ra- 
ther his partial obedience, to the command of 
God, for the utter destruction of the Amalekites, 
cost him his kingdom. It should seem, Joshua him- 
self gives this account of his most careful and punc- 
tual observance of his orders in the execution of 
his commission, that in all respects he had done as 
Moses commanded him; and then it intimates that 
he had more pleasure and satisf iction in reflecting 
upon h's obedience to the commands of God in all 
this war, and valued himself more upon that, than 
upon all the gains and triumphs with which he was 
enriched and advanced. 

2. That all the promises God had gi\ en to Mo- 
ses, relating to this conquest, were accomplished on 
his part, v. 23. Joshua took the "whole land, con- 
quered it, and took possession of it, according to all 
that the Lord said unto Moses. God had promised 
to drive out the nations before them, Exod. 33. 2. 
— 34. 11. and to bj-ing them down, Deut. 9. 3. And 
now it was done. There failed not one word of the 
promise. Our successes and enjoyments arc then 
doubly sweet and comfortable to us, when we see 
them flowing to us from the promise; this is accor- 
ding to what the Lord said: as our obedience is 
then acceptable to God, when it has an eye to the 
precept. And if we make conscience of our duty, 
we need not question the performance of the pro- 

CHAP, xir. 

This chapter is a summary of Israel's conquests, I. Their 
conquests under Moses, on the other side Jordan, (for 
we now suppose ourselves in Canaan,) eastward, which 
we had the history of, Numb. 21. 24, &c. And here the 
abrid;j-mcnt of that history, v. 1 . . 6. II. Their con- 
quests under Joshua, on this side Jordan, westward. 1. 
The country they reduced, v. 7, 8. 2. The kings they 
£uhd{Kd, thirty-one in all, v. 9 . . 24. x\nd this comes in 
here, not only as a conclusion of the history of the wars 
of Canaan, (that ive mipht at one view see what they 
had pot) but as a preface to the history of the dividing of 
Canaan, that all that mipht be put together, which thev 
were now to make a distribution of. 

I.'^OW these are. the kin^s of the land, 
1.^ which the children of Israel smote, 
and possessed their land on the other side 
Jordan, toward the rising of the snn; from 
the river Arnon unto mount Hermon, and 
all the plain on the cnst : 2, Sihon king 
of the Amorites, who dwelt in Heshbon, 
mid ruled from Aroer, which is upon the 
bank of the river Arnon, and from the mid- 
dle of the river, and from half Gilead, unto 
tJie river Jabbok, tchich is the border of the 

childien of Ammon ; 3. And from the 
plain to the sea of Chinneioth on the east, 
and unto the sea of the plain, cveji the salt 
sea on the east, the way to Beth-jeshimoth; 
and from the south, under Ashdoth-pisgah: 
4. And the coast of Og king of Eashan, 
ivhic/i was of the remnant of the giants, that 
dwelt at Ashtaroth and at Edrei, 5. And 
reigned in mount Hermon, and in Salcah, 
and in all Bashan, unto the border of the 
Geshurites, and the Maachathites, and hali 
Gilead, the border of Sihon king of Hesh- 
bon. 6. Them did Moses the servant of 
the Lord and the children of Israel smite: 
and Moses the servant of the Lord gave it 
for a possession unto the Reubcnites, and 
Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh. 

Joshua, or whoever else is the historian, before 
he comes to sum up the new conquests Israel had 
made, in these verses recites their fo: mer conquests 
in Moses's time, under whom they became masters 
of the great and potent kingdoms of Sihon and Og. 
Note, Fresh mercies must not drown the remem- 
brance of former mercies, nor must the glory cf the 
present instruments of good to the church, be suf- 
fered to eclipse and diminish the juslrhonour of 
those who have gone before them, and who were 
the blessings and ornaments r f their day. Joshua's 
services and achievements are confessedly great, but 
let net those under Moses be overlocked and for- 
gotten, since Gc d was the same who wrought both, 
and both put together, proclaim him the alpha and 
omega of Israel's great salvation. Here is, 

1. A description of this conquered country, the 
measure and bounds of it in general, v. 1, From 
the river ylrnon in the south, to mou?it Hermcn in 
the north. In particular, here is a description r f 
the kingdom of Sihon, v. 2, 3. and that of Og, v. 
4, 5. Moses had described this country very par- 
ticularly, Deut. 2. 36. — 3. 4, &:c. and this descrip- 
tion here agrees with his. King Og is said to dwell 
at Ashtaroth and Edrei, v. 4. probably, because 
they were both his royal cities, he had palaces in 
both, and resided sometimes in one, and sometimes 
in the other; one perhaps was his summer-seat, 
and the other his winter-seat; but Israel took both 
from him, and made one grave to serve him, that 
could not be content with one palace. 

2. The distribution of this country; Moses as- 
signed it to the two tribes and a half, at their re- 
quest, and divided it among them, v. 6. of which 
we have the story at large. Numb. 32. The divi- 
ding of it Avhen it was conquered by Moses, is here 
mentioned as an exam])le to Joshua, what he must 
do now that he had conquered the country on this 
side Jordan. Moses, in his time, ga^ e to one part 
of Israel a very rich and fruitful country, but it was 
on the outside of Jordan; Joshua gave to all Israel 
the holy land, the mountain of God's sanctuary, 
within Jordan: so the law conferred upon some few 
of God's spiritual Israel, external temporal bless- 
ings, which were earnests of good things to 
come; but our Lord Jesus, the true Joshua, has 
provided for all the children of promise spiritual 
blessings, the privileges of the sanctuary, and the 
heavenly Canaan. The triumphs and grants of the 
Law were glorious, but those of the Gospel far ex- 
ceed in glory. 

7. And these are the kings of the coun- 
try which Joshua and the children of Israe.' 

JOSHUA, Xlll. 


^mote on this side Jordan on the west, from 
i-Jaul-gad in the valley of Lebanon even 
unto tlie mount Halak, that goeth up to 
Seir ; which Joshua gave unto the tribes of 
Israel for a possession, according to tlieir 
divisions: 8. In the mountains, and in the 
valleys, and in the plains, and in the springs, 
and in the wilderness, and in the south 
country ; the Hittites, the Amorites, and the 
(vanaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and 
tlie Jebusites : 9. The king of Jericho, 
one; the king of Ai, which h beside Beth- 
el, one; 10. The king of Jerusalem, one; 
ihe king of Hebron, one ; 11. The king of 
Jarmuth, one ; the king of Lachish, one ; 
1 2. The king of Eglon, one ; the king of 
Gezer, one ; 1 3. The king of Debir, one ; 
the king of Geder, one ; 1 4. The king of 
Hormah, one; the king of Arad, one; 15. 
7'he king of Libnah, one ; the king of Adul- 
1am, one;- 16. The king of iVIakkedah, 
one; the king of Beth-el, one ; 17. The 
king of Tappuah, one ; the king of He- 
pher, one; 18. The king of Aphek, one; 
the king of Lasharon, one; 19. The king 
of Madon, one ; the king of Hazor, one ; 
20. The king of Shimron-meron, one ; the 
king of Achshaph, one; 21. The king of 
Taanach, one ; the king of Megiddo, one ; 
22. The king of Kedesh, one ; the king of 
Jokneam of Carmel, one ; 23. The king 
of Dor in the coast of Dor, one ; the king 
of the nations of Gilgal, one ; 24. The king 
of Tirzah, one: All the kings thirty and one. 

We have here a bveviate of Joshua's conquests. 

I. The limits of the country he conquered; it lay 
between Jordan on the east, and the Mediterranean 
sea on the west, and extended from Baal-gad near 
Lebanon in the north, to Halak, which lay upon 
the country of Edom in the south, v. 7. The 
boundaries are more largely described, Numb. 34. 
2, 8cc. this only is enough to show that God had 
been as good as his word, and had given them pos- 
session of all he had pi-omised them by Moses, if 
they would but ha\e kept it. 

II. The various kinds of land that were found in 
this country, wliich contributed both to its pleasant- 
ness and to its fruitfalness, v. 8. There were 
mountains, not craggv and rocky and barren, which 
are frightful to the traveller, and useless to the in- 
habitants, but fruitful hills, such as put forth pre- 
cious things, Deut. 33. 15. which charmed the 
spectator's eye, and filled the owner's hand. And 
valleys, not mossy and boggy, but cox>ered with corn, 
Ps. 65. 13. There were plains, and springs to wa- 
ter them; and even in that rich land there were 
wildernesses too, or forests, which were not so 
thickly inhabited as other parts, yet had towns and 
houses in them, but served as foils to set off the 
more pleasant and fruitful countries. 

III. The several nations that had been in posses- 
sion of this country, Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, 
&c. all of them descended from Canaan the accurs- 
ed son of Ham, Gen. 10. 15- -18. Seven nations 
they are called, Deut. 7. 1. and so many are there 
reckoned up, but here six only are mentioned, the 

Girgashites being here either lost or left out, though , 
we find them, (ien. 10. 16. and 15. 21. Either 
they were incorporated with some other of these 
nations, or, as the tradition of the Jews is, upon the 
approach of Israel under Joshua, they all withdrew 
and went into Africa, leaving their country to be 
possessed by Israel, with whom they saw it was to 
no purpose to contend, and therefoi e they are not 
named among the nations that Joshua subdued. 

IV. A list of the kings that wei e conquered and 
subdued by the sword of Israel, some in the field, 
others in their own cities. Thirty one in all, and 
very particularly named and counted, it should 
seem, in the order in which they -were conquered; 
for the catalogue begins with the kings of Jericho 
and Ai, then takes in the king of Jerusalem, and the 
princes of the south that were in confederacy with 
him, and then proceeds to those of the northern as- 
sociation. Now, 

1. This shows what a very fmitful country 
Canaan then was, which could support so many 
kingdoms, and in which so many kings chose to 
throng together, rather than disperse themselves 
into other countries, which we may suppose not yet 
inhabited, but where, though they might find more 
room, they could not expect such plenty and plea- 
sure: this was the land God spied out for Israel j and 
yet at tiiis dav it is one of the most barren, despica- 
ble, and unprofitable, countries in the world; such 
is the effect of the curse it lies under, since its pos- 
sessors rejected Christ and his Gospel, as was fore- 
told by Moses, Deut. 29. 23. 

2. It shows what narrow limits men's ambition 
was then confined to. These kings contented them- 
selves with the government, each of them, of one 
city, and the towns and villages that pertained to 
it; and no one of them, for aught thnt appears, 
aimed to make himself master of the rest, but, 
when there was occasion, united for the common 
safety. Yet it should seem that what was wanting 
in the extent of their territories, was made up in 
the absoluteness of their power, their subjects being 
all their tenants and vassals, and entirely at their 

3. It shows how good God was to Israel, in giving 
them victory over all these kings, and possession of 
all these kingdoms, and what obligations he hereby 
laid upon them to observe his statutes, arid to keefi 
hbi lavjs, Ps. 105. 44, 45. Here were thirty-one 
kingdoms, or signiories, to be divided among nine 
tribes and a half of Israel. Of tliese there fell 
to the lot of Judah, the kingdoms of Hel:)ron, Jar- 
muth, Lachish, Eglon, Debir, Arad, Libnalh, and 
Adullam, eight in all, beside part of the k ngdom 
of Jerusalem, and part of Geder. Benjamin had 
the kingdoms of Jericho, Ai, Jerusalem, Makke 
dah, Beth-el, and the nations of Gilgal, sx in all 
Simeon had the kingdom of Hormah, and ]:art ot 
Geder. Ephraim had the kingdoms of Ciezer and 
Tirzah. Manasseh (that half-tribe) had the king- 
doms of Tappuah and Hepher, Taanach and Me- 
giddo. Asher had the kingdoms of Aphek and 
Achshaph. Zebulon had the kingdoms of L isha- 
ron, Shimron-meron and Jokneam. Na])htali had 
the kingdoms of Madon, Hazor, and Kedesh. And 
Issachar had that of Dor. These were some of the 
great and famous kings that God smote, /o?- his 
mercy endureth for ever; and gave their land for 
a heritage, even a heritage unto Israel his servant, 
for his mercy eiidurethfor ever, Ps. 136. 17, &:c. 


At this chapter begins the account of the dividing of the 
land of Canaan among the tribes of Israel by lot; a nar- 
rative not so entertaining and instructive as that of the 
conquest of it, and yet iO is thought fit to be inserted in 
the sacred history, to illustrate the performance of tie 



promise made to the Fathers, that this land should be 
gircn to the seed of Jacob, to them, and not to any 
other. The preservinnf of this distribution would be of 
great use to the Jewish nation, who were obliged by the 
law to keep up this first distribution, and not to transfer 
inheritances from tribe to tribe, Jfuvib. 36. 9. It is like- 
wise of use to us for the exp'aining of other scriptures: 
the learned know how much light the geographical de- 
scription of a country gives to the history of it. And 
therefore we are not to skip over these chapters of hard 
names, as useless and not to be regarded; where God 
has a mouth to speak, and a hand to write, we should 
find an ear to hear, and an eye to read; and God give us 
a heart to profit ! In this chapter, I. God informs Joshua 
what parts of the country that were intended in the grant 
to Israel, yet remained unconquered, and not got in pos- 
session, V. 1 . . 6. II. He appoints him, notwithstand- 
ing, to make a distribution of what was conquered, v. 7. 
III. To complete this account, here is a repetition of the 
distribution Moses had made of the land on the other 
side Jordan; in general, v. 8 . . 14. In particular, the lot 
of Reuben, V. 15.. 23. Of Gad. v. 24 .. 28. Ofthehalf- 
tribe of Manasseh, v. 29 . . 33. 

1. ^LfOW Joshua was old and stricken in 
JL^ years ; and the Lord said unto him, 
Thou art old and stricken in years, and there 
remaineth yet very much land to be pos- 
sessed. 2. This is the land that yet remain- 
eth : all the borders of the Philistines, and 
all Geshuri, 3. From Sihor, which is be- 
fore Egypt, even unto the borders of Ekron 
northward , ivhich is counted to the Canaan- 
ite : five lords of the Philistines ; the Gazath- 
ites, and the Ashdothites, the Eshkalonites, 
the Gittites, and the Ebonites ; also the 
Avites : 4. From the south, all the land of 
the Canaanites, and Mearah that is beside 
the Sidonians, unto Aphek, to the borders 
of the Amorites : 5. And the land of the 
Giblites, and all Lebanon, tow^ard the sun- 
rising, from Baal-gad under mount Hermon 
unto the entering into Hamath : 6. All the 
inhabitants of the hill countiy, from Leba- 
non unto Misrephoth-maim, and all the Si- 
donians, them will I drive out from before 
the children of Israel : only divide thou it by 
lot unto the Israelites for an inheritance as 
I have commanded thee. 


I. God puts Joshua in mind of his old age, v. 1. 
1. It is said that Joshua was old and stricken in 
years, and he and Caleb were at this time the only 
old men among the thousands of Israel; none (ex- 
cept thenij of all liiuse who were numbered at 
mount Sinai being now alive. He had been a man 
of war from his youth, Exod. 17. 10. btit now he 
yielded to the infirmities of age, with which it is in 
vain for the stoutest man to think of contesting. It 
should seem Joshua had not the same strength and 
vigour in his old age, that Moses had; all that come 
to old age, do not find it alike good; generally, the 
days of old age are evil days, and such as there is 
no pleasure in them, nor expectation of service from 
them. 2. God takes notice ">f it to him, God said 
unto him, Thou art old. Note, It is good for those 
who are old and stricken in years, to be put in re- 
membrance of their being so. Some have gray 
hairs here and there ufion them, and perceive it not, 
Hos. 7. 9. they do not care to think of it, and there- 
fore need to be told of it, that they may be quick- 
ened to do the work of life, and make preparation 
tor death which is coming toward them apace. 

But God mentions Joshua's age and growing infir 
mities, (1.) As a reason why he should now lay by 
the thoughts of pursuing the war; he cannot expect 
to see an end of it quickly, for there remained 
mucji land, more perhaps than he thought, to be 
possessed, in several parts remote from each other: 
and it was not fit that at this !;ge he should be put 
upon the fatigue of renewing the war, and carrying 
it to such distant places; no, it was enough for him 
that he had reduced the body of the country, let 
him be gathered to rest, with honour and the thanks 
of his people, for the good services he had done 
them, and let the conquering of the skirts of the 
country be left for those that shall come after. As 
he had entered into the labours of Moses, so let 
others enter into his, and bring forth the top-stone; 
the doing of which was reserved for David long 
after. Observe, God considers the frame of his 
people, and would not have them burthened with 
work above their strength. It cannot be expected 
that old people should do as they have done for God 
and their country. (2.) As a reason why he shou'd 
speedily apply himself to the dividing of that which 
he had conquered. That work must be done, and 
done quickly; it was necessary that he should pre- 
side in the doing of it, and therefore, he being old 
and stricken in years, and not likely to continue 
long, let him make that his concluding piece of ser- 
vice to God and Isi-ael. All people, but especially 
old people, should set themselves to do that quickly 
which must be done before they die, lest death pre- 
vent them, Eccl. 9. 10. 

II. He gives him a particular account of the land 
that yet remained unconquered, which was intend- 
ed for Israel, and which, in due time, they should 
be masters of, if they did not put a bar in their own 
door. Divers places are here mentioned, some in 
the south, as the country of the Philistines, govern- 
ed by five lords, and the land that lay toward 
Egypt, V. 2, 3. Some westward, as that which lay 
toward the Sidonians, v. 4. Some eastward, as all 
Lebanon, v. 5. Joshua is told this, and he made 
the people acquainted with it, 1. That they might 
be the more affected with God's goodness to them 
in giving to them this good land, and might thereby 
be engaged to love and serve him; for if this which 
they had was too little, God would moreover e-fre 
them such and such things, 2 Sam. 12. 8. 2. That 
they might not be tempted to make any league, or 
contract any dangerous familiarity with these their 
neighbours, so as to learn their way, but might ra- 
ther be jealous of them, as people that kept them 
from their right, and that they had just cause ot 
quarrel with. 3. That they might keep them- 
selves in a posture for war, and not think of putting 
off the harness, as long as there remained any land 
to be possessed. Nor must we lay aside our spirit- 
ual armour, or be off our watch, till our \ictory be 
complete in the kingdom of glory. 

III. He promises that he would make the Israel- 
ites masters of all those countries that were yet 
unsubdued, though Joshua was old, and not able to 
do it, old and not likely to live to see it done. 
Whatever becomes of us, and however we may be 
laid aside as dtspised broken vessels, God will do 
his own work in his own time, v. 6, / will drive 
them out. The original is emphatical, '* If is /that 
nvill do it, I that can do it, when thou art dead and 
gone, and ivill do it, if Israel be not wanting to 
themselves." "I will do it by my Word," so the 
Chaldec here, as in mnny other places, "by the 
eternal Worcl, the Captain of the hosts (f the 
Lord." This promise that he would drive them out 
from before the children of Israel, plainly supposes 
it as the condition of the promise, that the chil- 
dren of Israel must themselves attempt and endea 
vour their extirpation, must go up against them, 



else thev could not be said to be driven out before 
them; it afterwards, Isn.el, through sloth, or cow- 
ardice, or atfeclioii to these idolaters, sit still and 
let them alone, they must blame themselves, and 
not God, if they be not driven out. We must work 
out our sah ation, and then God will work in us, and 
work with us; we must resist our spiritual enemies, 
and then God will tread them under our feet; we 
must go forth to our christian work and warfare, 
and then God will go forth before us. 

7. Now therefore divide this land for an 
inheritance unto the nine tribes and the half 
tribe of Manasseh, 8. With whom the 
Reubenites and the Gadites have received 
their inheritance, which Moses gave them, 
beyond Jordan eastward, even as Moses the 
servant of the Lord gave them ; 9. From 
Aroer, that is upon the bank of the river 
Arnon, and the city that is in the midst of 
the river, and all the plain of Medeba unto 
Dibon ; 10. And all the cities of Sihon 
king of the Amorites, which reigned in 
Heshbon, unto the border of the children of 
Ammon ; 11. And Gilead, and the border 
of the Geshurites and Maachathites, and all 
mount Hermon, and all Bashan unto Sal- 
cah; 12. All the kingdom ofOgin Bashan, 
which reigned in Ashtaroth and in Edrei, 
who remained of the remnant of the giants : 
for these did Moses smite, and cast them 
out. 13. Nevertheless the children of Is- 
rael expelled not the Geshurites, nor the 
Maachathites ; but the Geshurites and the 
Maachathites dwell among the Israelites 
until this day. 1 4. Only unto the tribe of 
Levi he gave none inheritance ; the sacrifi- 
ces of the Lord God of Israel made by fire 
are their inheritance, as he said unto them. 
1 5. And Moses gave unto the tribe of the 
children of Reuben inheritance according to 
their families: 16. And their coast was 
from Aroer, that is on the bank of the river 
Arnon, and the city that is in the midst of 
the river, and all the plain by Medeba ; 1 7. 
Heshbon, and all her cities that are in the 
plain ; Dibon, and Bamoth-baal, and Beth- 
baal-meon, 18. And .Tahaza, and Kede- 
moth, and Mephaath, 19. And Kirjathaim, 
and Sibmah, and Zareth-shahar in the 
mount of the valley, 20. And Beth-peor, 
and Ashdoth-pisgah, and Beth-jeshimoth, 
21. And all the cities of the plain, and all 
the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, 
which reigned in Heshbon, whom Moses 
smote with the princes of Midian, Evi, and 
Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, 
which laere dukes of Sihon, dwelling in the 
country. 22. Baalam also the son of Beor, 
the soothsayer, did the children of Israel 
slay with the sword among them that were 
slain by them. 23. And tlie border of the 

Vol. II.— I 

children of Reuben was Jordan, and the 
border thertof. This icas the inhenlance 
of the childien of Reuben after then' fami- 
lies, the cities and villages thereof 24 
And Moses gave inheritance unto the tribe 
of Gad, even unto the children of Gad ac- 
cording to their families: 25 And then 
coast was Jazer, and allele cities of Gi 
lead, and half the land of tlw children of Am 
mon, unto Aroer that is heibr(! Kabbah ; 
26. And from Heshbon unto Ramath-iniz- 
peh, and Betonim ; and from Mahanaim 
unto the border of Debir ; 27. Ana in the 
valley, Beth-aram, and Beth-nimrah, and 
Succoth, and Zaphon, the rest of the king- 
dom of Sihon king of Heshbon, Jordan and 
his border, even unto the edge of the sea of 
Chinneroth, on the other side Jordan east- 
ward. 28. This is the inheritance of the 
children of Gad after their families, the 
cities, and their villages. 29. And Moses 
gave inheritance unto the half tribe of Ma- 
nasseh : and this was the possession of the 
half tribe of the children of Manasseh by 
their families. 30. And their coast was 
from Mahanaim, all Bashan, all the king- 
dom of Og king of Bashan, and all the 
towns of Jair, which are in Bashan, three- 
score cities; 31. And half Gilead, and 
Ashteroth, and Edrei, cities of the kingdom 
of Og in Bashan, were pertaining unto the 
children of Machir the son of Manasseh, 
even to the one half of the children of Machir 
by their families. 32. These are the coun- 
tries which Moses did distribute for inherit- 
ance in the plains of Moab, on the other 
side Jordan, by Jericho, eastward. 33. But 
unto the tribe of Levi, Moses gave not any 
inheritance : the Lord God of Israel was 
their inheritance, as he said unto them. 

Here we have, 

I. Orders given to Joshua to assign to each tribe 
its portion of this land, including that which was 
yet unsubdued, which must be brought into the lot, 
in a believing confidence that it should be conquered 
when Israel was multiplied, so as to have occasion 
for it, V. 7, JVow divide this land. Joshua thought 
all must be conquered, before any must be divided: 
"No," said God, "there is as much conquered as- 
will serve your turn for the present, divide that, 
and make vour best of it, and wait for the remain- 
der hereafter." Note, We must take the comfort 
of what we have, though we cannot compass all we 
would have. Observe, 

1. The land must be divided among the several 
tribes, and they must always live in common, as 
now they did. Which way soever a just property 
is acquired, it is the will of that God who has given 
the earth to the children of men, that there should 
be such a thing, and that every man should know 
his own, and not invade that which is another's. 
The world must be governed, not by force, but 
right, by the law of equity, not of arms. 

2. That it must be divided for an inheritance, 
though they got it by conquest. (1.) The promise 


JOSHUA, xiii. 

of it came to them as an inheritance from their 
'i'athers; the land of promise pertained to the chil- 
Iren of promise, who were thus beloved for their 
fathers' sakes, and in performance of the covenant 
with them. (2.) The possession of it was to be 
transmitted by them, as an inheritance to their 
children. Frequently, what is got by force, is soon 
lost again; but Israel, having an incontestable title 
to this land by the divine grant, might see it thereby 
secured as an inhentance to their seed after them, 
and that God kep^is mercy for thousands. 

3. That Joshua must divide it, not by his own 
will; though he was a very wise, just, and good man, 
it must not be left to him to give what he pleased to 
each tribe; but he must do it by lot, which referred 
*^he matter wholly to God, and to his determination, 
for he it is that appoints the bounds of our habita- 
tion, and every man's judgment must proceed from 
him. But Joshua must preside in this affair, must 
manage this solemn appeal to Providence, and see 
that the lot was drawn fairly and without fraud, and 
that every tribe did acquiesce in it. The lot indeed 
causeth contention to cease, Prov. 18. 18. But if 
upon this lot any controversy should arise, Joshua 
by his wisdom and authority must determine it, 
arid prevent any ill consequences of it. Joshua 
must have the honour of dividing the land, (1.) Be- 
cause he had undergone the fatigue of conquering 
it; and when, through his hand, each tribe received 
its allotment, they would thereby be made the 
more sensible of their obligations to him. And 
what a pleasure must it needs be to a man of such 
a public spirit as Joshua was, to see the people that 
were so dear to him, eating the labour of his hands! 
(2.) That he might be herein a type of Christ, who 
has not only conquered for us the gates of hell, but 
has opened to us the gates of heaven, and having 
purchased the eternal inheritance for all believers, 
will in due time put them all in possession of it. 

II. An account is here given of the distribution 
of the land on the other side Jordan, among the 
Reubenites, and Gadites, and half of the tribe of 
Manasseh, which comes in, 1. As the reason why 
this land within Jordan must be di\ided only to the 
nine tribes and a half, because the other two and a 
half were already provided for. 2. As a pattern to 
Joshua in the work he had now to do. He had 
seen Moses distribute the land, which would give 
him some aim in distributing this, and from thence 
he might take his measures; only this was to be 
done by lot, but it should seem, Moses did that him- 
self, according to the wisdom gi\ en unto him. 3. 
As an inducement to Joshua to hasten the dividing 
of this^land, that the nine tribes and a half might 
not be kept any longer than was necessary out of 
their possession, since their brethren of the two 
tribes and a half were so well settled in their's; and 
God, their common Father, would not have such a 
difference made between his children. 

(1.) Here is a general description of the country 
that was given to the two tribes and a half, which 
Moses gave them, even as Moses gave them, v. 8. 
The repetition implies a ratification of the grant by 
Joshua, iVIoses settled that matter, and as Moses 
settled it, so shall it rest; Joshua will not, under any 
pretence whatsoever, go about to alter it. And a 
reason is intimated why he would not, because Mo- 
ses was the servant of the Lord, and acted in this 
matter bv secret direction from him, and was faith- 
ful as a servant. Here we have, [1.] The fixing 
of the boundaries of this country, by which they 
were divided from the neighbouring nations, v. 9, 
isfc. Israel must know their own, and keep to it, 
AX\6 may not under pretence of their being God's 
peculiar people, encroach upon their neighbours, 
and invade their rights and properties, to which 
:hev had a gncxl and firm title by providence, 

though not, as Israel, a title by promise. [2.] An 
exception of one part of this country fn m Israel's 
possession, though it was in their gn^nt, namely, the 
Geshurites, and the Maachathites, v. 13. They 
had not leisure to reduce all the remote and ob- 
scure corners of the country in Moses's time, and 
afterward they h?d no mind to it, be'ng easy with 
what they had. Thus those who are not sti-aitened 
in God's promises, are yet straitened in their own 
faith, and prayers, and endeavours. 

(2.) A particular account of the inherit:. nee of 
these two tribes and a half; how they were sepa- 
rated from each other, and what cities, with the 
towns, villages, and fields, commonly known and 
reputed to be appurtenances- to them, belonged to 
each tribe. This is very fully and exactly set 
down, [1.] That posterity might, in reading this 
history, be the more affected with the gocdness of 
God to their ancestors, when they found what a 
large and fruitful country, and what abundance of 
great and famous cities, he put them in possession 
of. God's grants look best, when we descend to the 
particulars. [2.] That the limits of each tribe 
being punctually set down in this authentic record, 
disputes might be prevented, and such contests 
between the tribes, as commonly happen where 
boundaries have not been adjusted, nor this matter 
brought to a certainty. And we ha^ e reason to 
think that the register here prescribed and pub- 
lished of the lot of each tribe, was cf great use to 
Israel in after-ages, was often appealed to, and 
always acquiesced in, for the determining of meuiv 
and iuum — mine and thine. 

First, We have here the lot of the tribe of Reu- 
ben, Jacob's first-born ; who, though he had lest 
the dignity and power which pertained to the birth- 
right, yet, it seems had the advantage cf being first 
served. Perhaps those of that tribe had an eye to 
this, in desiring to be seated on that side Jordan, 
that, since they could not expect the benefit of the 
best lot, they might have the credit of the first. In 
the account of the lot of this tribe, mention is made 
of the slaughter, 1. Of Sihon, king of the Amorites, 
who reigned in this country, and might have kept 
it and his life, if he would have been neighbourly, 
and have suffered Israel tn pass through his territo- 
ries, but, by attempting to oppose them, justly 
brought ruin upon himself. Numb. 21. 21, ISfc. 2. 
Of tiie princes of Midian, who were slain after- 
ward in another war, Numb. 31. 8. and yet are 
here called dukes of Sihon, and are said to be 
S7nitten Tjiih him, because they were either tributa- 
ries to him, or, in his opposition to Israel, confeder- 
ates with him, and hearty in his interests, and his 
fall made w;.y for their's not long after. 3. Of Ba- 
laam particularly, that would, if he could, have 
cursed Israel, and was soon after recompensed 
according to the wickedfiess of his endeavour, Ps. 
28. 4. For he fell with those that set him on. 
This was recorded before. Numb. 31. S. and is here 
repeated, because the defeating of Balaam's pur- 
pose to curse Israel, was the turning of that curse 
into a blessing, and was such an instance of the 
poiver and goodness of God, as was fit to he had in 
everlasting remembrance. See Micah 6. 5. 

Within the lot of this tribe was that mount Pis- 
gah, from the top of which Moses took his -view 
of the earthly Canaan, and his flight to the hea- 
venly. And not far off thence Elijah was, when he 
was fetched up to heaven in a chariot of fire. The 
separation of this tribe from the rest by the river 
Jordan, was that which Deborah lamented; and the 
preference they gave to their private interests 
above the public, was what she censured, Judg. 5. 
15, 16. In this tribe lay Heshbon and Sibmah, 
famed for their fruitful fields and vineyards. See 
Isa. 16. 8, 9. Jer. 48. 32. This tribe, with thit 



r>l Gad, was sorel)' shaken by Hazael king of Syria, 
2 Kings 10. 33. and afterward dislodged and carried 
into captivity, twenty years before the general cap- 
tivity of the ten tribes by the king of Assyria, 1 
Chron. 5. 26. 

Secondly, The lot of the tribe of Gad, v. 24« ''28. 
This lay north of Reuben's lot; the country of 
Ciilead lay in this tribe, so famous for its balm, that 
it is thought strange indeed if there be no balm in 
Oilead, and the cities of Jabesh-Gilead, and Ra- 
motli-Gilead, which we often read of hi scripture. 
Sue; oth and Peniel, which we read of in the story 
of Gideon, were in this tribe; and that forest which 
is called the wood ofEfihraim, (from the slaughter 
Jephthah made there of the Ephraimites,) in which 
Absalom's rebellious army was beaten, while his 
father David lay at Mahanaim, one of the frontier- 
cities of this tribe, v. 26. Sharon was in this tribe, 
famous for Roses. And within the limits of this 
tribe li\ ed those Gadarenes, that loved their swine 
better than their Saviour, fitter to be called Gar- 
gashites than Israelites. 

Thirdly, The lot of the half-tribe of Manasseh, 
T». 29' 'Si. Bashan, the kingdom of Og, was in 
this allotment, famous for the best timber, witness 
the oaks of Bashan, and the best breed of cattle, 
witness the bulls and rams of Bashan. This tribe 
lay north of Gad, reached to mount Hermon, and 
had in it part of Gilead. Mizpeh was in this half- 
tribe, and Jephthah was one of its ornaments; so 
was Elijah, for in this tribe was Thisbe, whence he 
is called the Tishbite, and Jair was another. In 
the edge of the tribe stood Chorazin, honoured 
with Christ's wondrous works, but ruined by his 
righteous woe for not improving them. 

Lastly, Twice in this chapter it is taken notice 
of, that to the tribe of Levi Moses gave no inherii- 
ance, v. 14. 33. for so God had appointed. Numb. 
18. 20. If they had been appointed to a lot entire 
by themselves, Moses would have served them first, 
not Ijecause it was his own tribe, but because it was 
God's, but they must be provided for in another 
manner; their habitations must be scattered in all the 
tribes, and their maintenance brought out of all the 
tribes, and God himself was the portion both of their 
inheritance and of their cup, Deut. 10. 9. — 18. 2. 


Here is, I. The fjeneral method that was taken in dividing 
the land, v. 1..5. 11. The demand Caleb made of 
Hebron, as his by promise, and therefore not to be put 
into the lot with the rest, v. 6 . . 12. II[. And Joshua's 
g;rant of that demand, v. 13.. 15. This was done at 
Gilgal, which was as yet their head-quarters. 

1. A ND these are the coimtriefi which the 
l\ children of Israel inherited in the 
land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, 
and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads 
of the fathers of the tribes of the children 
of Israel, distributed for inheritance to 
them. 2. By lot was their inheritance, as 
the Lord commanded by the hand of Mo- 
ses, for the nine tribes, and fc- the half 
tribe. 3. For Moses had e;iven the inherit- 
ance of two tribes and a half tribe on the 
other side Jordan : but unto tlie Levites he 
gave none inheritance among them. 4. 
For the children of Joseph were two tribes, 
Manasseh and Ephraim : therefore they 
gave no part unto the Levites in the land, 
save cities to dwell ?>?, with their suburbs 
for their cattle and for their substance. 5. 

As the Lord comniandctl Moses, so the 
children of Israel did, and they divided the 

The historian, haxing in the foregohig chapter 
gi\ en an account of the disposal of the countries on 
the other side Jordan, now comes to tell us what 
they did with the countries in the land of Canaan. 
They were not conquered to be left desert, a habi- 
tation for dragons, and a court for owls, Isa. 34. 
13. No. The Israelites that had hitherto been 
closely encamped in a body, and the greatest part 
of them such as never knew any other way cf liv- 
ing, must now disperse themselves to replenish 
these new conquests. It is said of the earth, God 
created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited, 
Isa. 45. 18. Canaan would have been subdued in 
vain, if it had not been inhabited. Yet every man 
might not go and settle where he pleased, but a;- 
there seems to ha\ e been in the days of Peleg an 
orderly and regular division of the habitable earth 
among the sons cf Noah, Gen. 10. 25, 32. so there 
was now such a division of the land of Canaan 
among the sons of Jacob. God had given Moses 
directions how this distribution should be made, and 
those directions are here punctually observed. See 
Numb. 33. 53, is'c. 

I. The managers of this great affair, were Joshua 
the chief magistrate, Eleazar the chief priest, and 
ten princes, one of each of the tribes that were now 
to have their inheritance, whom God himself had 
nominated (Numb. 34. 17, is'c.) some years before, 
and it should seem, they were all now in being, and 
attended this service, that every tribe having a 
representative of its own, might be satisfied that 
there was fair dealing, and might the more con- 
tentedly sit down by its lot. 

II. The tribes among whom this dividend was to 
be made, were nine and a half. 1. Not the two 
and a half that were already seated, v. 3. though 
perhaps now that they saw what a good land Ca- 
naan was, and how effectually it was subdued, they 
might some of them repent their choice, and wish 
they had now been to have their lot ■with their bre- 
thren, upnn which condition they would gladly 
have given up what they had on the other side Jor- 
dan; but it would not l)e admitted, they had made 
their election without power of -revocation, and so 
must their dorm be, themsehes have decided it, 
thev must adhere to their choice. 2. Not the tribe' 
of Le\i, that was to be otherwise provided for. 
(Jod had distinguished them from, and dignified 
them ihcve, the other tribes, and they must not 
now mingle themselves with them, nor cast in their 
lot among them, for that would entangle them in 
the affairs nf this life, which would not consist with 
a due attendance on their sacred function. But, 3. 
Joseph made two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim, 
pursuant to Jacob's adoption of Joseph's two sons, 
;ind so tlic number of the tribes was kept up to 
twelve, though Levi was taken out, which is inti- 
mated here, t'. 4, The children of Joseph were two 
tribes, therefore they gave no part to Lex'i, they be- 
ing twelve without him. 

III. The rule by which they went, was the lot, 
V. 2. The dif>fiosal of that is of the Lord, Prov. 16. 
33. It was here used in an affair of weight, and 
which could not otherwise be accommodated to uni- 
versal satisfaction, and it was used in a solemn reli- 
gious manner as an appeal to God, by consent of 
parties. In dividing by lot, 1. They referred them- 
selves to God, and to liis wisdom and sovereignty, 
believing him fitter to determine for them, than 
they for themselves, Ps. 47. 4, He shall choose our 
inheritance for us. 2. They professed a willingness 
to abide by the determination of it; for every man 
must take what is his lot, and make the best of it. 



In allusion to this, we nre s^id to obtain an inherit- 
ance in Chriat, Kph. 1. H- U/,»gw3-«^iy, vjc have 
obtained it by lot. So the word signifies; for it is 
obtained by a divine designation. Clirist, our Josh- 
u 1, gives eternal life to uh many as were given him, 
John' 17. 2. 

V). 'riicii tho fhildron of Judali came unto 
Joshua in Gilgal : and Caleb the son pf Je- 
piuuineh tho Kene/ite said unto him, Thou 
knowest the thing that the Lord said unto 
Moses the man of God concerning nie and 
thee in Kadesh-barnea. 7. Forty years old 
iras 1 when Moses the servant of the Lord 
sent me from Kadesh-barnea to espy out 
the land ; and I brought him word again as 
// was in mine heart. 8. Nevertheless my 
brethren that went up with me made; the 
heart of the people melt : but 1 wholly fol- 
lowed the Lord my God. 9. And Moses 
sware on that day, saying, Surely the land 
whereon thy feet have trodden shall be 
thine inheritance, and thy children's for 
ever, because thou hast wholly followed 
the Lord my God. 10. And now, behold, 
the Lord hath kept me ahve, as he said, 
these forty and five years, even since the 
Lord spake this word unto Moses, while 
the chilrlren nflsrae] wandered in the wil- 
derness : and now, lo, I am this day four- 
score and five years old. II. As yet I am 
as strong this day as / icas in \\w day that 
Moses sent me: as my strength was then, 
even so is my strength now, for war, both 
to go out and to come in. 1 2. Now there- 
fore give me this mountain, whereof the 
Lord spake in that day ; for thou heardest 
in that day how the Anakims were th(;re, 
and that the cities ivere gi-eat and fenced : if 
so be the Lord will be with me, then I 
shall be able to drive them out, as the Lord 
said. 13. And Joshua blessed him, and gave 
unto Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, Hebron 
for an inheritance. 14. Hebron therefore 
became the inheritance of Caleb, the son 
of Jephunn(^h the Kenezite unto this day, 
because that he wholly followed the Lord 
God of Israel. 15. And the name of He- 
bron before ivas Kirjath-arba: inhirh Arha 
mas a great man among the Anakims. And 
the land had rest from war. 

Before the lot was cast into the lap for the deter- 
mining of the portions of the respective tribes, the 
particular portion of Caleb is assigned him, who 
was now, except Joshua, not only the oldest man in 
all Israel, but was twenty years older than any of 
them, for all that were above twenty years old 
when he was forty, were dead in the wilderness; it 
was fit therefore that this phoenix of his age should 
have some particular marks of honour ])ut upon 
him in the dividing of the land. Now, 

I. Caleb here presents his petition, or rather, 
makes his demand, to have Hebron given him for 
a possession, (Um mountain, he calls it, v, 12.) and 

not to have that put into the lot with the other 
p^rts of the country. To justify his demand, he 
shows that God had long since, by Moses, proniised 
him that very mountain; so that God's mind being 
already made known in this matter, it would be a 
vain and needless thing to consult it iuny further by 
casting lots, by which we are to appeal to God in 
those cases only which, cannot otherwise be decided, 
not in those which like this here, are already de- 
termined. Caleb is here called the Kenezitc, some 
think, from some remarkable \ ictory obtained by 
him over the Kenezites, as the Romans gave their 
great generals titles from the countries they con- 
quered, as Afncanus, Germanicus, &c. 

To enforce his petition, 1. He brings the children 
of Judah, that is, the heads and great men of that 
tribe, along with him, to present it, who were will- 
ing thus to pay their respects to that ornament of 
their tnbe, and to testify their consent that he should 
be provided for by himself, and that they would 
not take it as any reflection upon the rest of his 
tribe. Caleb was the person whom God had 
chosen out of that tribe to be employed in dividing 
the land, Numb. 34. 19. And therefore, lest he 
should seem to improve his authority as a commis- 
sioner for his own private advantage and satisfac- 
tion, he brings his brethren along with him, and 
waving his own power, seems rather to rely upon 
their interest. 2. He appeals to Joshua himself 
concerning the truth of tlie allegations, upon which 
he grounded his j)etition. Thou fcnotvest the thingi 
V. 6. 3. He makes a very honourable mention of 
Moses, which he knew would not be at all unplcas- 
ing to Joshua, Moses the man of God, v. 6. and the 
servant of the Lord, v. 7. What Moses said, he 
took as from (iod himself, because Moses was his 
mouth, and his agent, and therefore he had reason 
both to desire and expect it should be made good. 
What can be more earnestly desired than the to- 
kens of God's favour.-* And what more confidently 
expected than the grants of his promise? 
Caleb, in his petition, sets forth, 
(1.) The testimony of his conscience concerning 
his integrity in the management of that great affair, 
on which it proved the fate of Israel turned, the 
spying out of the land. Caleb was one of the twelve 
that were sent out on that errand, v. 7. and he noW 
reflected upon it v/ith comfort, and mentioned it, 
not in pride, but as that which, being the consider- 
ation of the grant, was necessary to be inserted in 
the plea. [1.] That he made his report as it wf s 
in his heart, that is, he spake as he thought, when 
he spake so honourably of the land of Canaan, so 
conhdcntly of the power (jf God to put them in pos- 
session of it, and so contemptibly of the opposition 
that the Canaanites, even the Anakims themselve;, 
could make against them, as wc find he did. Numb. 
13. 30. — 14. 7- -9. He did not do it merely to please 
Moses, or to keep the people ciuiet, much less frojn 
a spirit of contradiction to his fellows, but from la 
full conviction of the truth of what he said, and Ja 
firm belief of the divine promise. [2.] That herei|ii 
he wholly followed the Lord his (iod, that is,' he 
kept close to his duty, and sincerely aimed at tlje 
gloi-y of God in it. He conformed himself to the 
divine will with an eye to the divine favour. He 
had ol)tained this testimony from God himself. 
Numb. 14. 24. and thereff)rc it was not vain-glory 
in him to speak of it, any more than it is for tlipsc 
who have God's 8/iirit witnessing with their sfiirits 
that they arc the children of'CJod, humbly and 
thankfully to tell others for their encouragement 
what Ciod has done for their souls. Note, They 
that' follow God fully when they are young, shall 
have both the credit and comfort of it when they 
are old, and the reward of it for ever in the heaven- 
ly Canaan. [3.] That he did this when all his 



brethren and companions in that service, except 
Joshua, did otherwise. They made the heart of the 
fieojile melt, v. 8. and how pernicious the conse- 
quences of it were, was very well known. It adds 
much to the praise of following God, if we adhere 
to him when others desert and decline from him. 
Caleb needed not to mention particularly Joshua's 
conduct in this matter, it was sufficiently known, 
and he would not seem to flatter him; it was enough 
to say, x\ 6, Thou knoivest what the Lord s/iake 
concerning mc and thee. 

(2. ) The experience he had had of God's good- 
ness to him ever since to this day. Though he had 
wandered with the rest in the wilderness, and had 
been kept thirty-eight years out of Canaan, as they 
were, for that s'in, which he was so far from having 
a hand in, tliat he had done his utmost to prevent; 
yet, instead of complaining of that, he mentions, to 
the glory of God, his mercy to him in two things, 
[1.] That he was kept alive in the wilderness, not 
only notwithstanding the common perils and fa- 
tigues of that tedious march, but though all the 
generation of Israelites, except himself and Joshua, 
were one way or other cut off by death: with what 
a grateful sense of God's goodness to him does he 
speak it! v. 10, J^fonVy behold, (behold and wonder,) 
the Lord hath kejit me alive these forty and Jive 
years — thirty-eight years in the wilderness, through 
the plagues of the desert, and seven years in Ca- 
naan through the perils of war! Note, First, 
While we live, it is God that keeps us alive; by his 
power he protects us from death, and by his bounty 
supplies us continually with the supports and com- 
forts of life. He hohleth our soul in life. Secondly, 
Tl\e longer we live, the more sensible we should be 
of God's goodness to us in keeping us alive, his care 
in ])rolonging our frail li\es, his patience in prolong- 
ing our forfeited lives. Has he kept mc ali\ e these 
firry-five vears? Is it about that time of life with 
us^ Or is it more? Or is it less? We have reason 
to sav. It is of the Lord's mercies that ive are not 
consumed. How much are we indebted to the fa- 
^•our of God, and what shall we render? Let the 
life thus kej)t by the pro\idence of God, be devoted 
to his praise. Thirdly, The death of many others 
round about us, should make us the more thankful 
to God for sparing us and keeping us alive. Thou- 
s-inds falling on our right hand and our left, and yet 
ourselves spared — these distinguishing favours im- 
pose on us strong ol:)ligations to singular obedience. 
[2. 1 That he was fit for business, now that he was 
in Canaan. Though eighty-five yearj^ old, yet as 
heartv and lively as when he was forty, v. 11, yls 
my strength was then, so it is now. This was the 
fruit of the promise, and out-did what was said; for. 
God not only gives what he promises, but he gi, es 
mofe; life by promise, shall be life, and health, and 
strength, and all that which will make the pro- 
mised life a blessing and a comfort. Moses had 
said in his prayer, Ps. 90. 10. tliat at eighty years 
old even tlieir strength is labour and sorrovj, and 
so it is most commonlv, but Caleb was an excep- 
tion to the nile; his strcngtli at eighty-five was 
ease and joy, this he got h\ following the Lord ful- 
ly. Caleb takes notice of tliis here to the glory of 
God, and as an excuse for his asking a portion 
which he must fetch out of the giants' hands: let 
not Joshua tell him \\(iknew not what he asked; could 
lie get the possession of that which he begged for a 
title to? "Yes," says he, "why not? I am as fit 
for war now as ever I was. " 

(3.) The promise Moses had made him in God's 
name, that he should have this mountain, v. 9. 
This promise is his chief plea, and that on which 
he relies. As we find it, Numb. 14. 24. it is gene- 
ral, him will I bring into the land whereunto lie 
went, and his seed shall fiossess it: but it seems it 

was moi-e particular, and Joshua knew it; both 
sides understood this mountain for which Caleb was 
now a suitor, to be intended. This was the place 
from which, more than any other, the spies took 
their report, for here they met with the sons of 
Anak, Numb. 13. 22. the sight of whom made such 
an impression upon them, v. 33. We may suppose 
that Caleb, observing what stress they laid upon 
the difficulty of conquering Hebron, a city garri- 
soned by the giants, and how from thence they in- 
ferred that the conquest of the whole land was ut- 
terly impracticable, in opjjosition to their sugges- 
tions, and to convince the peo])le that he spake as 
he thought, bravely desired to have that city which 
they called invincible, assigned to himselt for his 
own portion; "I will undertake to deal with that, 
and if I cannot get it for my inheritance, I will be 
without." " Well," said Moses, "it shall be thine 
own then, win it and wear it." Such a noble heroic 
spirit Calel) had, and so desirous was he to inspire 
his brethren with it, that he chose this place, only 
because it was the most difficult to be conquered. 
And to show that his soul did not decay any more 
than his body, now forty five years after he adheres 
to his choice, and is still of the same mind. 

(4.) The hopes he had of being master of it, 
though the sons of Anak were in possession of it, 
V. 12, If the Lord will be with me, then I shall be 
able to drive them out. The city of Hebron Joshua 
had already reduced, ch. 10. o7. but the mountain 
which I)elonged to it, and wliich was inhabited by 
the sons of Anak, was vet unconquered, for though 
the cutting off the Anakimsfrom Hebron was men- 
tioned, ch. 11. 21. because the historian would re- 
late all the military actions together, yet it seems it 
was not conquered till after they had begun to di- 
vide the land. Observe, He builds his hopes of 
driving out the sons of Anak upon the presence of 
God with him. He does not say, " Because I am 
now as strong for war as I was at forty, therefore I 
shall drive them out," depending upon his personal 
valour; nor does he depend upon his interest in tlie 
warlike tribe of Judah, who attended him now in 
making this address, and no doubt would assist him. 
Nor does he court Joshua's aid, or put it upon that. 
If thou wilt be with me I shall gain my point." 
But if the J^ord will be with me. Here, [1.] He 
seems to speak doul)tfully of (iod's being with him, 
not from any distrust of his goodness or faithfulness. 
He had spoken without tlie least hesitation of God's 
presence witli Israel in general. Numb. 14. 9, The 
Lord is with us; but for himself, from a humble 
sense rf his own unworthiness of such a favour, he 
chooses to express himself thus, If the I^ord will be 
with me. The Chaldee j^araphi-ase reads it. If the 
JVord of the Lord be my hel/ier, that Word whicli 
is God, and in the fulness of time was made flesh, 
and is the Captain of our salvation. [2.] But 
he speaks without the least doubt, he is assured 
that if God were with him, he should be able to 
disj)ossess the sons of Anak. " If God be with us, 
if God be for us, who can be against us, so as to pre- 
vail?" It is also intimated that if God were not 
with him, though all the forces of Israel should 
come in to his assistance, he should not be able to 
gain his point. ^Vhatever we undertake, God's 
favourable presence with us is all in all to our suc- 
cess; that therefore we must earnestly pray for, 
and carefully make sure of, by keeping ourselves in 
the lo\e of God; and on that we must depend, and 
from that take our encouragement against the 
greatest difficulties. 

Upon the whole matter, Caleb's request is, v. 12, 
Give me this mountain, First, Because it was for- 
merlv in God's promise, and he would le^ Israel 
know how much he valued the promise, insisting 
upon this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that 



r/av, as m'st desirable, ihnugh perhaps as good a 
;>ortic>n might haxe fallen to liiin by lot in common 
with the rest. They tiiat liv e by filth, value that 
which is gi\en by promise far abo\e that which is 
i^ivcn by pro\ idence only. Secondly, Because it was 
now in the Anakims' possession, and he would let 
Israel know how little he feared the enemy, and 
would bv his example animate them to push on their 
(f nquests. Herein Caleb answered his name, which 
signiiies all heart. 

il. Joshua grants his petition, v. 13, Joshua bless- 
ed him, commended his bravery, applauded his re- 
(|uest, and ga-. e him what he asked. He also pr.iyed 
for him, and for his good success in his intended 
undertaking against the sons of Anak. Joshua was 
b'ith a prince and a prophet, and upon both accounts 
it was proper for him to gi\ e Caleb his blessing, for 
the less is blessed of the better. Hebron was settled 
on Caleb and his heirs, v. 14, because he wholly 
folloivcd the Lord God of Israel. And happy are 
we if we follow him. Note, Singular piety shall be 
crowned with singular favours. Now, 1. We are 
here told what Hebron had been; the city of Arba, 
a great man among the AnaKims, x>. 15. we find it 
called Kirjath-arba, Gen. 23. 2. as the place where 
Sarah died. Hereabouts Abraham, Isaac, and Ja- 
cob, lived most of their time in Canaan, and near to 
it was the cave of Machpelah where they were bu- 
ried, which perhaps had led Caleb hither, when he 
went to spy out the land, and had made him covet 
this rather than any other part for his inheritance. | 
2. We are afterward told what Hebron was. (1.) 
It was one of the cities Ijelonging to the priests. 
Josh. 21. 13. and a city of refuge. Josh. 20. 7. when 
Caleb had it, he contented himself with the country 
:ibout it, and cheerfully gave the city to the priests 
and Lord's ministers: thinking it could not be better 
I It stowed, no not upon his own children, nor that it 
was the less his own for being thus devoted to God. 
(2) It was a royal citv, and in the beginning of Da- 
vid's reign the metropolis of the kingdom of Judah; 
■ tbiithcr the ponple resorted to him, and there he 
I eigned seven years. Thus highly was Caleb's city 
honoured; ]3ity there sjiould ha\ e been such a ble- 
mish upnn his family long after, as Nabal was, who 
was of the house of Caleb, 1 S m 25. 3. But the 
nest men cannot entail their virtues. 


The land, Ihoutfh not completely conquered, yet being (as 
•.vas said in the close of the forenroing chapter) at rest 
from irar, for the present, their armies all drawn out of 
the field to a general rendezvous at Gilgal, there they 
be<ran to divide the land, thoug^h the work was afterward 
perfected at Shiloh, ch. IS. 1, &c. In this chapter, we 
iiave the lot of the tribe of .Judah, which in this, as in 
other thinfrs, liad the preccdencv: I. The borders or 
bounds of the inheritance of Judah, v. 1. .12. II. The 
particular assignment of Hebron and the country there- 
about to Caleb and his family, v. 13.. 19. III. The 
names of the several cities that fell within Judah's lot, 
V. 21..63. 

1 . rWlHIS then was the lot of the tribe of the 
JL children of Judah by their families, 
f'rpn to the border of Edoni ; the wilderness of 
Zin southward iras the uttermost part of the 
•outh roast. 2. And their soulh border was 
from the shore of th(; salt sea, from the bay 
that looketh southward : 3. And it went out 
to the south side to IVIaaleh-arrnbbim, and 
pass(>d alonijto Zin, and ascended up on the 
south side untoKadesh-barnea ; and passed 
alonjr to He/ron, and went up to Adar, and 
fetched a compass to Karkaa: 4. Fro7ii 

thence it passed toward Azmon, and went 
out unto the river of Egypt ; and the goings 
out of that coast were at the sea : This shall 
be your south coast. 5. And the east bor- 
der ivas the salt sea even unto the end of 
Jordan. And their border in the north 
quarter ivas from the bay of the sea at the 
uttermost part of Jordan: 6. And the bor- 
der went up to Beth-hoglah, and passed 
along by the north of Beth-arabah ; and the 
border went up to the stone of Bohan the 
son of Reuben : 7. And the border went up 
toward Uebir from the valley oi Achor, and 
so northward, looking toward Gilgal, that is 
before the going up to Adummim, uhich is 
on the south side of the river : and the bor- 
der passed to\^•ard the waters of En-she- 
mesh, and the goings out thereof were at 
En-rogel : 8. And the border went up by the 
valley of the son of Hinnom unto tiie south 
side of the Jebusite ; the same is Jerusalem : 
and the border went up to the top of the 
mountain that lieth before the valley of 
Hinnom westward, which is at the end of 
the valley of the giants northward : 9. And 
the border was drawn from the top of the 
hill unto the fountain of the water of Neph- 
toah, and w-ent out to the cities of mount 
Ephron; and the border was drawn to Baa- 
lah, which 25 Kirjath-jearim : 10. And the 
border compassed from Baalah westward 
unto mount Seir, and passed along unto the 
side of mount Jearim, which is Chesalon, 
on the north side, and went down to Beth- 
shemesh, and passed on to Timnah : 11. 
And the border went out unto the side of 
Ekron northward: and the border was 
drawn to Shicron, and passed along to 
mount Baalah, and went out unto Jabneel; 
and the goings out of the border were at the 
sea: 12. And the west border iras to the 
great sea, and the coast thereof. This is the 
coast of the children of Judah round about, 
according to their families. 

Judah and Joseph were the two sons of Jacob, on 
whom Reuben's forfeited birthright devolved. Ju- 
dah had the dominion entailed on him, and Joseph 
the douljle portion, ard therefore these two tribes 
were first se;ited; Judah in the southern part cf the 
land of Canaan, and Joseph in the noithern part, and 
on them the other seven did attend, and had their 
respective lots as appurtenances to these two; the 
lots of Benjamin, Simeon, and Dan, were appendant 
to Judah, and those of Issachar and Zcbulon, Naph- 
tali and Asher, to Joseph. These two were first set 
up to be pro\ ided for, it should seem, before there 
was such an exact survey of the land as^ve find af- 
terward, ch. 18. 9. It is probable that the most 
considerable parts of the northern and scuttvern 
countries, and those that lay nearest to Gilgal, and 
which the people were best acquainted with, were 
first put into two portions, and the lot was cast upon 
tViem between these two principal tribes, of the one 
of which Joshua was, and of the other Caleb, whc 



was the first commissioner in this writ of partition; 
and by the decision of that lot, the southern country 
fell to Judah, and which we have an account of in 
this chapter, and the northern to Joseph, of which 
we liave an account in the two following cliapters. 
And when this was done, there was a more equal 
dividend (either in quantity or quahty) of the re- 
mainder among the seven tribes. And this, proba- 
bly, was intended in that general i ule which was 
given concerning this partition. Numb. 33. 54, to the 
more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the 
fewer ye shall give the less, and every man's inheri- 
tance shall be ivhere his lotfalleth, that is, " Ye shall 
appoint two greater portions which shall be deter- 
mined by lot to those more numerous tribes of Ju- 
dah and Joseph, and then the rest shall be lesser 
portions to be allotted to the less numerous triljes. " 
The former was done in Gilgal, the latter in Shiloli. 
In these verses we have the borders of the lot of 
Judah, which as the rest, is said to be (iy their fami- 
lies, that is, with an eye to the number of their fa- 
milies. And it intimates that Joshua and Eleazar, 
and the rest of the commissioners, when they had 
by lot given each tribe its portion, did afterward (it 
is probable by lot likewise) subdivide those larger 
jjortions, and assign to each family its inheritance, 
and then to each household, which would be better 
done by this supreme authority, and be apt to give 
less disgust, than if it had been left to the inferior 
magistrates of each tribe to make that distribution. 
The borders of this tribe are here largely fixed, 
yet not unalterably, for a good deal of that which 
lies within these bounds was afterward assigned to 
the lots of Simeon and Dan. 

1. The eastern border was all, and only, the salt 
sea, V. 5. Every sea is salt, but this was of an ex- 
traordinary and more than natural saltness, the ef- 
fects of that fire and brimstone with whicli Sodr m 
and Gomorrah were destroyed in Abraham's time, 
whose ruins lie buried in the bottom of this dead 
water, which never either was moved itself, or had 
any li\ ing thing in it. 

2. The southern border was that of the land ( f 
Canaan in general as will appear by comparing v. 
1"4. with Numb. 34. 3- '5. So that this power- 
ful and warlike tribe of Judah guarded the frontiers 
of the whole land, on that side which lay toward 
their old sworn enemies, (though their two fathers 
were twin-brethren,) the Edomites. Our Lord 
therefore, who sprang out of Judah, and whose 
the kingdom is, shall judge the mount of £sau, 
Obad. 21. 

3. The northern border divided it from the lot 
of Benjamin. In this, mention is made of the stone 
of Bohan a Reubenite, x'. 6. who, probably, was a 
great commander of those forces of Reuben that 
came over Jordan, and died in the camp at Gilgal, 
and was buried not far off under this stone. The 
valley of Achor likewise lies under this border, v. 7. 
to remind the men of Judah of the trouble which 
Achan, one of their tribe, gave to the congregation of 
Israel, that they might not be too much lifted up with 
their services. Thisnorthem line touched close upon 
Jerusalem, v. 8. so close as to include in the lot of 
this tribe, mount Zion and mount Moriah, though 
the greater part of the city lay in the lot of Ben- 

4. The west border went near to the great sea at 
first, XK 12. but afterward the lot of the tribe of Dan 
took off a good part of Judah's lot on that side; for 
the lot was only to determine between Judah and 
Joseph, Avhich should have the north, and whi>h 
ilie south, and not immoveably to fix the b'rder of 

Judah's inher'tai ce had its boundaries determin- 
ed; though it w s a powerful warlike tribe, and had 
a gi-eat interest in the o'hcr tribes, yet tliey must 

not therefore be left to their own choice, lo enlarge 
their possessions at pleasure, but nmst li\ e so as 
that their neighbours might live by them. Those 
that are placed high, yet must not think to be 
filaced alone in the midst of the earth. 

13. And unto Caleb the son of Jophiin- 
neh he gave a part among the chilchen of 
Judah, according to the commandment of 
the Lord to Joshua, tven the city of Arba 
the father of Anak, which city is Hebron. 
14. And Caleb drove thence the three sons 
of Anak, Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai. 
the children of Anafc. 15. And he went up 
thence to the inhabffants of Debir: and the 
name of Debir before was Kirjath-sepher. 
16. And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kir- 
jath-sepher, and taketh it, to him will 1 give 
Achsah my daughter to wife. 17. And 
Othniel the son of Kenaz, tlie brother of Ca 
leb, took it: and he gave him Achsah his 
daughter to wife, 18. And it came to pass, 
as she came 2(nto Iiim, that she moved him to 
ask of her fatiier a field : and she lighted off 
her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What 
wouldest thou? 19. Who answered, Give 
me a blessing; for thou hast given me a 
south land ; give me also springs of water. 
And he gave her the upper springs, and the 
nether springs. 

The historian seems pleased with every ocr;isifT. 
to make mention of Caleb, and to do him honour, 
because he had honoured (Tod in following him fidlv. 
The grant Joshua made him of the mountain of He- 
bron for his inheritanre is here repented, v. 13. 
And it is said to be given him, 1. ylccording to the 
com/nand of the Lord to Joshua. Though Caleb, mi 
his petition, had made out a very good title to it by 
pnmiise, yet because God had ordered Joshua to di- 
vide the land by lot, he would not in this one single 
instance, no not to gratify his old friend Caleb, do 
otherwise, without orders from God, whose oracle, 
it is probable, he consulted upon this occasion. In 
exeiy doubtful case it is very desirable to know the 
mind of God, and to see the way of our duty plain. 
2. It is said to be a pait among the children of Ju- 
dah; though it was assigned him before the lot of 
the tribe came up, yet it proved, God so directing 
the lot, to be in the heart of that tril^c, which was 
graciously ordered in kindness to him, that he 
might not be as one separated from his brethren, 
and surrounded by those of other tribes. 

Now Caleb having obtained this grant, we are 

I. How he signalized his own valour in the con- 
q\iest of Hebron, v. 14. He drove thence the three 
sons of Jnak; he and those that he engaged to ass'st 
him in this service. This is mentioned here, to 
show that the confidence he had expressed of suc- 
cess in this affair through the presence of God with 
him, ch. 14. 12. did not deceive him, but the e\ ent 
answered his expectation. It is not said that he slenv 
these giants, but he drove them thence, which inti- 
mates that tlicy retired upon his approach, and fled 
before him; the strength and stature of their bodies 
could net keep up the cf urage of their minds, but, 
with the countenances of lions, thev had the heaits 
of trembling hares. Thus does God often cut off 
the spirit offirivces, Ps. 7&, 12. take ctvav the heart 
j of the chief of the people. Job 12, 24. and so shame 



tne confidence of the proud; and thus if we resist 
ihe devil, that roaring lion, though he fall not, yet 
he will flee. 

II. How he encouraged the valoul* of those about 
lilm in the conquest of Debir, v. 15, kJ'c. It seems, 
tiiough Ji shui had once made himself master of 
bebir, c/i. 10. 39. yet the Canaanites had regained 
ti.e possession in the absence of the army, so that the 
work was to be done a second time; and when Caleb 
had completed the reduction of Hebron, which was 
for himself and his own family, to show his zeal for 
the public good, as much as for his own private in- 
terest, he pushes on his conquest to Debir, and will 
not lay down his arms till he sees that city also ef- 
fectually reduced, which lay but ten miles south- 
ward from Hebron, though he had not any particu- 
lar concern in it, but the I'educing of it would be to 
the general advantage of his tribe. liCt us learn 
hence, not to seek and mind our own things only, 
but to concern and engage ourselves for the welfare 
of the community we are members of; we are not 
born for ourselves, nor must we live to ourselves. 

1. Notice is taken of the name of this city. It 
had been called Kirjath-sefiher, the city of a book, 
and Kirjath-sanha, v. 40. which some translate 
tfie city of learning; so the LXX. Uoki; yfnt/u/udrmv, 
whence some conjecture that it had been an uni- 
versity among the Canaanites, like Athens in 
Greece, in which their youth were educated; or 
perhaps the books of their chronicles or records on 
the antiquities of the nation, were laid up there; 
and, it may be, this was it that made Caleb so de- 
sirous to see Israel master of this city, that they 
might get acquainted with the ancient learning of 
the Canaanites. 

2. The proffer that Caleb made of his daughter, 
and a good ])nrtion with her, to any one that would 
undert ike to reduce that city, and to command the 
forces tint shfiukl be employed in that service, v. 
15. Thus S lul promised a daughter to him that 
would kill Goliath, 1 Sam. 17. 25. neither of them 
intending to f n^ce their daughter to marry such as 
they could nit love, but both of them presuming 
upon tlieir daughter's obedience, and submission to 
their father's will though it might perhaps be con- 
trary to their own Immour or inclination. Caleb's 
family was n^X only honour; ible and wealthy, but 
religious; he that himself /b//o7i'erf the Lord fully, 
no doubt, t uight his children to do so, and therefore 
it could not bnt l)e a desirable match to any young 
gentleman. Calel), in making the proposal, aims, 
(1.) To do service to his country by the reducing 
of that imijort.uit place: And, (2.) To marry a 
daughter well, to a man of learning, that would 
have a particular affection for the city of books, and 
a man of war, that would Oe likely to serve his 
country :!nd di worthily in his generation. Could 
he but marry his child to a man of such a charac- 
ter, he would think her well bestowed, whether 
the share in the lot of his tribe were more or less. 

3. The plice w is bravely taken by Othniel, a 
nephew of Caleb's, whom, probably, Caleb had 
thoughts of when he made the proffer, t. 17. This 
Othnipl, who thus signalized himself when he was 
young, long after, in his advanced years, was led 
bv the S])irit to be both a deliverer and a judge in 
Israel, the first single person that presided in their 
affairs aficr Joshua's death; it is good for those who 
are setting out in the world, to begin betimes with 
that whirli is great and good; that, excelling in 
service when they are young, they may excel in 
honour when they grow old. 

4. Hcreup-in (all parties being agreed) Othniel 
married his cousin-german, Achsah, Cilel)'s daugh- 
ter. It is ])robab'e that he had a kindness for her 
before, which put him upon this hold undertaking 
•^o obtain her. Love to his country, an ambition of 

honour, and a desire to find favour with the princes 
of his people, might not have engaged him in this 
great action, but his affection for Achsah did, that 
made it intolerable to him to think that any one 
else should do more to win her favour than he 
would, and so inspired him with this generous fire. 
Thus is love strong as death, and jealousy cruel as 
the grave. 

5. Because the histoiian is now upon the dividing 
of the land, he gives us an account of Achsah 's 
portion, which was in land, as more valuable, be- 
cause enjoyed by virtue of the divine promise, 
though we may suppose the conquerors of Canaan, 
who had had the spoil of so many rich cities, were 
full of money too. (1.) Some land she obtained by 
Caleb's free grant, which was allowed while she 
married within her own tribe and family, as Zelo- 
phehad's daughter did. He gave her a south land, 
V. 19. Land indeed, but a south land, dry, and 
apt to be parched. (2. ) She obtained more upon 
her request; she would have had her husband to 
ask for a field, probably, some particular field, or 
champaign ground, which belonged to Caleb's 
lot, and joined to that south land which he had 
settled upon his daughter at marriage. She thought 
her husband had the best interest in her father, 
who, no doubt, was extremely pleased with his late 
glorious achievement, but he thought it was more 
proper for her to ask, and she would be more 
likely to prevail; accordingly she did, submitting to 
her husband's judgment, though contrary to her 
own; and she managed the undertaking with great 
address. [1.] She took the opportunity when her 
father brought her home to the house of her hus- 
band, when the satisfaction of having disposed of 
his daughter so well, would make him think nothing 
too much to do for her. [2.] She lighted off her 
ass, in token of respect and reverence to her fati\- 
er, whom she would honour still, as much as before 
her marriage. She cried or sighed, from off her ass, 
so the LXX. and the vulgar Latin read it, she ex- 
pi'essed some grief and concern, that she might 
give her father occasion to ask her what she want- 
ed. [3.] She calls it a blessing, because it would 
add much to the comfort of her settlement; and 
she was sure, that since she married, not only with 
her father's consent, but in obedience to his com- 
mand, he would not deny her his blessing. [4. ] 
She asks only for the water, without which the 
ground she had would be of little use, either for 
tillage or pasture, but she means the field in which 
the springs of water were; the modesty and rea- 
sonableness of her request gave it a great advan- 
tage. Earth without water would be like a tree 
without sap, or the body of an animal without blood; 
therefore when God gathered the waters into one 
place, he wisely and graciously left some in everj' 
place, that the earth might be enriched for the 
service of man. See Ps. 104. 10, &c. Well, 
Achsah gained her point, her father ga\ e her what 
she asked, and perhaps more, for he gave her the 
upper springs and the nether s/iririgs. Two fields, 
so called from the springs that were in them; as we 
commonly distinguish between the higher field and 
the lower field. Those who understand it but of 
one field, watered both with the rain of heaven and 
the springs that issued out of the bowels of the 
earth, gave countenance to the allusion we com- 
monly make to this, when we pray for spiritual and 
heavenly blessings which relate to our souls, as 
blessings of the upper springs, and those which re- 
late to the body and the life that now is, as bless 
ings of the nether springs. 

From this stoi y, we learn, First, That it is no 
breach of the tenth commandment, moderately to 
desire those comforts and conveniences of this life, 
which we see attainable in a fair and regular way. 



Secondly y That husbands and wives should mutually 
ad\ ise, imd jointly agree about that which is for the 
common gt)od of their family; and much more 
should they concur in asking of their heavenly 
Father the' best blessings, those of the ufifier 
sfirings. Thirdly, That parents must never think 
that lost, which is bestowed upon their children for 
their real advantage, but must be free in giving 
tliem portions as well as maintenance, especially 
when they are dutiful. Caleb had sons, 1 Chron. 
4, 15. and yet gave thus liberally to his daughter. 
Those parents forget tliemselves and their rela- 
tions, who grudge their children what is convenient 
for them, when they can conveniently part with it. 

20. This is the inheritance of the tribe 
of the children of Judah according to their 
families. 21. And the uttermost cities of 
the tribe of the children of Judah, toward 
the coast of Edom southward, were Kab- 
zeel, and Eder, and Jagur, 22. And Kinah, 
and Dimonah, and Adadah, 23. And Ke- 
desh, and Hazor, and Ithnan, 24. Ziph, 
and Telem, and Bealoth, 25. And Hazor, 
Hadattah, and Kerioth, and Hezron, which 
is Hazor, 26. Amam, and Shema, and 
Moladah, 27. And Hazar-gaddah, and 
Heshmon, and Beth-palet, 28. And Hazar- 
shual, and Beer-sheba, and Bizjothjah, 29. 
Baalah, and lim, and Azem, 30. And 
Eltolad, and Chesil, and Hormah, 31. 
And Ziklag, and Madmannah, and San- 
sannah, 32. And Lebaoth, and Shilhim, 
and Ain, and Rimmon : all the cities are 
twenty and nine, with their villages : 33. 
And in the valley, Eshtaol, and Zoreah, 
and Ashnah, 34. And Zanoah, and En- 
gannim, Tappuah, and Enam, 35. Jar- 
muth, and AduUam, Socoh, and Azekah, 
36. And Sharaim, and Adithaim, and Ge- 
derah, and Gederothaim ; fourteen cities 
with their villages: 37. Zenan, and Ha- 
dashah, and Migdal-gad, 38. And Dilean, 
and Mizpeh, and Joktheel, 39. Lachish, 
and Bozkath, and Eglon, 40. And Cab- 
bon, and Lahmam, and Kithhsh, 41, And 
Gederoth, Beth-dagon, and JNaamah, and 
Makkedah ; sixteen cities with their vil- 
lages: 42. Libnah,and Ether, and Ashan, 

43. And Jiphtah, and Ashnah, and Nezib, 

44. And Keilah, and Achzib, and Ma- 
reshah ; nine cities with their villages. 45. 
Ekron with her towns and her villages: 
46. From Ekron even unto the sea, all that 
lail near Aslidod, with their villages : 47. 
Ashdod with her towns and her villages, 
Gaza u ith her tov^^ls and her villages, unto 
the river of Egypt, and the great sea, and 
i\\e hoxdev thereof : 48. Arni in the moun- 
tains, Shamir, and Jattir, and Socoh, 49. 
And Dannah, and Kiijath-sannah, which 
is Debir, 50. And Anab, and Eshtemoh, 
and Anim, 51. And Goshen, and Holon, 

\ OL. II. — K 

and Giloh ; eleven cities with their villages : 
52. Arab, and Dumah, and Eshean, 53. 
And Janum, and Beth-tappuah, and Aphe- 
kah, 54. And Humtah, and Kirjalh-arba 
(which is Hebron,) and Zior ; nine cities 
with their villages: bb. Maon, Carmel, 
and Ziph, and Juttah, 5Q. And Jezreel, 
and Jokdeam, and Zanoah, 57. Cain, 
Gibeah, and Timnah ; ten cities with their 
villages : 58. Halhul, Beth-zur, and Gedor, 
59. And Maarath, and Beth-anoth, and 
Eltekon ; six cities with their villages : 60. 
Kiijath-baal (which is Kirjath-jearim,) and 
Rabbah ; two cities with their villages : 61 . 
In the wilderness, Beth-arabah, Middin, 
and Secacah, 62. And Nibshan, and the 
city of Salt, and En-gedi ; six cities with 
their villages. 63. As for the Jebusites, the 
inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of 
Judah could not drive them out: but the 
Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah 
at Jerusalem unto this day. 

We have here a list rf the several cities that fell 
within the lot of the tribe of Judah, which are men- 
tioned by name, that they might know their own, 
and both keep it, and keep to it, and might, neither 
through cowardice nor sloth, lose the possession of 
what was their own, nor through co\ etcusness, seek 
the possession of what was not their own. The 
cities are here named, and numbered in several 
classes, which they tlicn coiild acccunt for the rea- 
son of, better than we can now. Here are, 1. Some 
that are said to be the uttermost cities tonvard the 
coaat of Eden, v. 21"32. Here are thirty-eight 
named, and yet said to be twenty-nine, v. '32. be- 
cause nine rf these were afterward transferred to 
the lot of Simeon, and are reckoned as belonging to 
that, as ajipears by comparing ch. 19. 2, l:fc. there- 
fore those only are counted, (though the rest are 
named,) which remained to Judah. 2. Others that 
are said to be in the valley, v. 33. are counted to be 
fourteen, yet fifteen are named; but it is probable, 
that Gederah, and Gederothaim were either two 
names, or two paits, of one and the same city. 3. 
Then sixteen are named without any head of dis- 
tinction, V. 37- '41. and nine mci-e, 42.. 44. 4. 
Then the three Philistine cities, Ekrcn, Ashdod, 
and Gaza, v. 45.. 47. 5. Cities in the mountains, 
eleven in all, v. 48"51. nine more, v. 52' •54. ten 
more, v. 55' -57. six more, v. 58, 59. then two, v. 
GO. and six in the wilderness, a part of the country 
not so thick of inhabitants as some others were. 

Now here, (1.) We do not find Bethlehem, 
which was afterward the city cf David, and was 
ennobled b)- the birth of cur Lord Jesus in it. But 
that city, which at tlie best was but little among the 
thousands of Judah, Mic. 5. 2. except tliat it wa.s 
thus dignified, was now so little as not to be ac- 
counted one of the cities, but perhaps was one of 
the villages not named. Christ came to give 
honour to the places he was related to, net to re- 
ceive honour from them. (2.) Jerusalem is said to 
continue in the hands of the Jebusites, i'. 63, for 
the children of Judah could not drive them out, 
through their sluggishness, stupidity and unbelief; 
had they attempted it with vigour and resolution, 
we have reason to think God would not have been 
wanting to them, to give them success; but they 
could not do it, because they would not. Jerusalem 
was afterward to be the holy city, the royal city, 



the city of the great King, the brightest ornament 
of all the land of Israel, God had designed it should 
be so. It may therefore be justly looked upon as a 
punishment of their neglect to conquer other cities 
which God had given them, that they were so long 
kept out of this. 

Among the cities of Judah (in all one hundred 
and fourteen) we meet with Libnah, which in Jo- 
ram's days revolted, and probably set up for a free 
independent state, 2 Kings 8. 22. and Lachish, 
wliere king Amaziah was slain, 2 Kings 14. 19. it 
led the dance in idolatry, Mic. 1. 13. it was the be- 
gimiing of sin to the daughter of Sion. Giloh, 
Aliitophei's town, is here mentioned, and Tekoa, 
of which the prophet Amos was, and near which 
Jehoshaphat obtained that glorious victory, 2 
Chron. 20. 20, U'c. and Maresha, where Asa was 
a conqueror. Many of the cities of this tribe occur 
in the history of David's troubles. AduUam, Ziph, 
Kellah, Mion, En-gedi, Ziklag, were places here 
reckoned in this tribe, near which David had most 
of his haunts; for though sometimes Saul drove 
him out from the inheritance of the Lord, yet he 
kept as close to it as he could. The wilderness of 
Judah he frequented much, and in it John Baptist 
preached, and there the kingdom of heaven com- 
menced. Matt. 3. 1. The riclies of this country, 
no doubt, answered Jacob's blessing of this tribe, 
that he should wash his garments in wine, Gen. 49. 
11. And in general, Judah, thou art he whom thy 
brethren should praise, not envy. 


It is a pity that this and the following chapter should be 
.separated, for both of them {rive us the lot of the chil- 
dren of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, who, next to 
Judah, were to have the post of honour, and there- 
fore had the first and best portion in the northern 
part of Canaan, as Judah now had in the southern part. 
In this chapter, we have, I. A general account of the lot 
of these two tribes together, v. 1..4. II. The borders 
of the lot of Ephraim in particular, v. 5. . 10. That of 
Manasseh following in the next chapter. 

ND the lot of the children of Joseph 
fell from Jordan by Jericho, unto the 
water of Jericho on the east, to the wilder- 
ness that soeth up from Jericlio throughout 
mount Beth-el, 2. And goeth out from 
Beth-el to Luz, and passeth along unto the 
borders of Archi to Ataroth, 3. And goeth 
down w^estward to the coast of Japhleti, 
unto the coast of Beth-horon the nether, and 
to Gezer : and the goings out thereof are at 
the sea. 4. So the children of Joseph, 
Manasseh and Ephraim, took their inherit- 

Though Joseph was one of the younger sons of 
Jacob, yet he was his eldest by his most just and best 
beloved wife, Rachel; was himself ///■? A'^.s? beloved 
non, and had been the greatest ornament and sup- 
port of his family, kept it from perishing in a time 
of famine, and had been the shef herd and stone of 
Israel, and therefore his posterity were very much 
favoured by the lot. Their portion lay in the very 
heart of the land of Canaan. It extended from 
Jordan in the east, v. 1. to the sea, the Mediterra- 
nean sea, in the west, so that it took up the whole 
breadth of Canian from side to side; and, no ques- 
tion, the fruitfulness of the soil answered the bless- 
ings both <^f Jacob and Moses, Gen. 49. 25, 26. 
ao'l Dent. 33. 13, l:fc. 

Tlif> p'^rti'^ns alh tted to Ephraim and Manas 
seh are nit so particularlv described as tho^ <A 

the other tribes; we have only the llnnts and boun 
daries of them, not the particular cities in them, a.s 
before we had of the cities of Judali, and after- 
ward those of the other tribes. Fi r which no rea- 
son can be assigned, unless we may suppose that 
Joshua, being liimself of the children of Joseph, 
they referred it to him ahme to distribute among 
them the several cities that lay within their 
lot, and therefore did not bring in the names of 
their cities to the great council of their princes 
which sat upon this affair; by which means it came 
to pass tliat they were not inserted with the rest in 
the books. 

5. And the border of the children of 
Ephraim, according to their families, was 
thiisj even the border of their inheritance 
on the east side was Ataroth-addar, unto 
Beth-horon the upper : 6. And the border 
went out toward the sea to Michmethah, on 
the north side ; and the border went about 
eastward unto Taanath-shiloh, and passed 
by it on the east to Janohah : 7. And it 
went down from Janohah to Ataroth, and 
to Naarath, and came to Jericho, and went 
out at Jordan. 8. The border went out 
from Tappuah westward unto the river Ka- 
nah ; and the goings out thereof weie at tlie 
sea. This is the inheritance of thp tribe of 
the children of Ephraim by their families. 
9. And the separate cities for the children 
of Ephraim were among the inheritance of 
the children of Manasseh, all the cities with 
their villages. 10. And they drave not out 
the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer ; but the 
Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites 
unto this day, and serve under tribute. 


1. The border of the lot of Ephraim is set down, 
by which it was divided on the south from Ben- 
jamin and Dan, who lay between it and Judah, 
and on the north from Manasseh; for east and 
west it reached from Jordan to the great sea. The 
learned, who aim to be exact in drawing the line 
according to the directions here, find themselves 
very much at a loss, the description here being short 
and intricate. The report of those who in these 
latter ages have travelled those countries, will not 
serve to clear the difficvdties, so vastly unlike is it 
now to what it was then; not only cities liave been 
so destroyed, as that no mark or footstep of them 
remains, but brooks are dried up, rivers alter their 
courses, and even the mountain falling cometh to 
naught, and the rock is removed out of his place. 
Job. 14. 18. Unless I could hope to sohe the 
doubts that arise upon this draught of the border of 
Ephraim, it is to no purpose to mention them; 
no doubt, they were then perfectly understood, st) 
as that the first intention of recording them was ef- 
fectually answered, which was to notify the ancient 
landmarks, which posterity must by no means re- 

2. Some separate cities are spt ken of, that lav not 
within these borders, at least, not if tlie lijic wei-e 
drawn direct, but lay within the h t of M.m;',sseh, 
V. 9. which miglit better be read, and there were 
separate cities for the children of Kphraim , among the 
inheritance of the children of JManas.seh; heciiuse 
.it proved that Manasseh cruhl sji ire them, rnd 
EphraJTO had need of them, and it mglu. be h:p,ed 



that no inconvenience would arise from this mixture 
of these two tribes together, who were both the 
sons of Joseph, and should love as brethren. And 
by this it appears, that though when the tribes were 
numbered in the plains of Moab, Manasseh had got 
the start of Ephraim in number, for M inasseh was 
then fifty-two thousand, and Ephraim but thirty- 
two thousand. Numb. 26. 34, 37. yet by the time 
they were well settled in Canaan, the hands were 
crossed again, and the blessing of Moses was veri- 
fied, Deut. 33. 17, They are the ten thousands of 
Kjihraim, aiid they are the thousands of Manasseh. 
Families and kingdoms are diminished and increas- 
ed, increased and diminished again, as God pleases. 
3. A .brand is put upon the Ephraimites, that 
they did not drive out the Canaanites from Gezer, 
V. 10. Either through carelessness or cowardice, 
either for want of faith in the promise of God, that 
he would give them success if they would make a 
vigorous effort, or for want of zeal for the command 
of God, which obliged them utterly to drive out 
the Canaanites, and to make no peace with them. 
And though they hoped to satisfy the law by put- 
ting them under tribute, yet (as Calvin thinks) 
that made the matter worse, for it shows that they 
spared them out of covetousness, that they might 
be profited by their labours, and by dealing with 
them for their tribute they were in danger of being 
infected with their idolatry; yet some think, when 
they brought them under tribute, they obliged them 
to renounce their idols, and to obser\ e the seven 
precepts of the sons of Noah; and I should think so, 
but that we find in the sequel of the story, that the 
Israelites were so far from restraining idolatry in 
others, that they soon fell into it themseU es. 

Many famous places were within this lot of the 
tribe of Ephraim, though not mentioned here. In 
it were Ramah, Samuel s city, called in the New 
Testament, Arimathea, of which Joseph was, tliat 
look care of our Saviour's burial, .'md Shiloh, 
where the tabernacle was first set up. Tirzah, also, 
ihe royal city of Jeroboam and his successors, and 
Deborah's palm-tree, under which she judged Is- 
rael, were in this tribe. Samaria, built by Omri, 
after the burning of the royal palace of Tirzah, was 
in this tribe, and was long the royal city of the king- ! 
dom of the ten tribes ; not far from it were She- i 
chem, and the mountains Ebal and Gerizim, and 
Sychar, near which was Jacob's well, where Christ [ 
t liked with the woman of Samaria. We read much 
of mount Ephraim in the story of the Judges, and of i 
a city called Efihraim, it is probable in this tribe, i 
to which Christ retired, John 1 1. 54. The whole ! 
kingdom of the ten tribes is often in the prophets, j 
especially in Hosea, called Efihraim. ! 


The half-tribe of Manasseh comes next to be provided for; 
and here we have, I. The families of that tribe that were 
to be portioned, V. 1.6. II. The country that fell to 
their lot, v. 7 . . 13. III. The joint request of the two 
tribes that descended from Joseph, for the enlargement 
of their lot, and Joshua's answer to that request, v. 14. . ; 
18. I 

1. nnHERE was also a lot for the tribe of 
1- Manasseh, for he was, the first-born 
of Joseph ; to wit, for Machir the first-born 
of Manasseh, the father of Gilead ; because I 
he was a man of war, therefore he had Gi- 1 
load and Bashan. 2. There was also a 
lot for the rest of the children of Manas- i 
seh by their families ; for the children of ' 
Abiezer, and for llie children of Helek,and 
for the children of Asriel, and for the chil- 

dren of Shechem, and for the children of 
Hepher, and for tjie children of Shemida: 
these 2vere the male children of Ma- 
nasseh the son of Joseph by their la- 
milies. 3. But Zelophehad, the son of 
Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of 
Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, 
but daughters : and these are the names of 
his daughters, Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah,, 
Milcah, and Tirznh. 4. And they came 
near before Eleazar the priest, and before 
Joshua the son of Nun, and before the prin- 
ces, saying. The Lord commanded Moses 
to give us an inheritance among our breth- 
ren. Therefore, according to the com- 
mandment of the Lord, he gave them an 
inheritance among the brethren of their fa- 
ther. 5. And there fell ten portions to Ma- 
nasseh, beside the land of Gilead and Ba- 
shan, which iverc on the other side Jordan ; 
6. Because the daughters of Manasseh had 
an inheritance among his sons : and the 
rest of Manasseh's sons had the land of 

Manasseh was itself but one half of the tribe of 
Joseph, and yet was divided and subdi\ ided. 

1. It was divided into two parts, one already set- 
tled on the other side Jordan, consisting of those 
who were the posterity of Machir, v. 1. Tins Ma- 
chir was born to Manasseh in Egypt, there he 
had signalized himself as a man of war, piobably, 
in the contest between the Ephraimites and the 
men of Gath, 1 Chron. 7. 21. His warlike disposi- 
tion descended to his posterity, and therefore INIoses 
gave them (iilead and Bashan, on the other side 
Jordan, of which before, ch. 13. 31. It is here said, 
that the lot came to Manasseh, ybr he was the first- 
born o/ Joseph. Bishop Patrick thinks it should be 
translated, though he ivas the first-born of Joseph, 
and then the meaning is plain, that the second lot 
was for Manasseh, because, though he was the 
first-born, yet Jacob had preferred Ephraim be- 
fore him. See the names of those heads of the fa- 
milies that settled on the other side Jordan, 1 
Chron. 5. 24. 

2. That part on this side Jordan was subdivided 
into ten families, xk 5. There were six sons of 
Gilead here n;mied, v, 2. the same that are record- 
ed. Numb. 26. 30. 32. only that he who is there 
called Jeezer, is here called Abiezer; fi\ e of these 
sons had each of them a portion, the sixth, which 
was Hepher, had his male line cut off in his son 
Zelophehad, who left daughters only, five in num- 
ber, of whom we have often read, and tliese five 
had each of them a portion ; though perhaps they 
claiming under Hepher, all the'r five portions were 
but equal to one oftlie portions of the five sons. Or if 
Hepher had other sons beside Zelophehad, in whom 
the name of his family was kept up, their posterity 
married to the daughters of Zelophehad the elder 
brother, and in their right had these portions as- 
signed them. See Numb. 36. 12. 

Here is, (1.) The claim which the daughters of 
Zelophehad made, grounded upon the commands 
God gave to Moses concerning them, v. 4. Thev 
had themselves, when they were young, pleaded 
their own cause before Moses, and obtained the 
grant of an inheritance with their brethi-en, and 
now they would not lose the benefit of th^t grant 



tor want of speaking to Joshua, but seasonable 
put in their demand themselves, as it should seem, 
and not their husbands for them. (2.) The assign- 
ment of their portions according to their claim ; 
Joshua knew very well what God had ordered in 
their case, and did not object, that they having net 
served in the wars of Canaan, there was no reason 
wliy they should share in the possessions of Ca- 
n lan, but readily ga\ e them an inheritance amo7ig 
the brethren of their father. And now they leaped 
the benefit of their own pious zeal and prudent 
forecast in this matter. Thus they who take care 
in the wilderness of this world, to make sure to 
themselves a place in the inheritance of the saints 
in l.ght, will certainly have the comfort of it in the 
other world, while those that neglect it now, will 
lose it for ever. 

7. And the coast of Manasseh was from 
Asher to Michmethah, that lieth before She- 
chern ; and the border went along on the 
right hand unto the inhabitants of En-tap- 
miah. 8. Now Manasseh had the land of 
Tappuah : but Tappuah, on the border of 
Manasseh, belonged to the children of 
Ephraim. 9. And the coast descended unto 
the river Kanah, southward of the river : 
these cities of Ephraim are among the cities 
of Manasseh: the coast of Manasseh also 
was on the north side of the river, and the 
out-goings of it were at the sea: 10. South- 
ward it ivas Ephraim^s, and northward it 
■was Manasssh's, and the sea is his border ; 
and they met together in Asher on the 
north, and in Issachar on the east. 1 1 . 
And Manasseh had in Issachar, and in 
Asher, Beth-shean and her towns, and Ib- 
leam and her towns, and the inhabitants of 
Dor and her towns, and the inhabitants of 
En-dor and her towns, and the inhabitants 
of Taanach and her towns, and the inha- 
bitants of Megiddo and her towns, even 
three countries. 12. Yet the children of 
Manasseh could not drive out the inhabit- 
ants o/" those cities; but the Canaanites 
would dwell in that land. 1 3. Yet it came 
to pass, when the children of Israel were 
waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites 
to tribute ; but did not utterly drive them 

We ha'> e here a short account of the lot of this 
half-tribe. It reached from Jordan on the cast, to 
the great sea on the west, on the south it lay all 
along contiguous to Ephraim, but on the north it 
abutted upon Asher and Issachar ; Asher lay north- 
west, and Issachar north-east, which seems to be 
the meaning of that, v. 10. that they (that is, Ma- 
nasseh, and Ephraim as related to it, both together 
making the tribe of Joseph) met in Asher on the 
nortli, and Issachar on the east, for Ephraim itself 
reached not those tribes. 

Some things are particularly observed concerning 
this lot: 

1. That there was great communication between 
this tribe rmd that of Ephraim. The city of Tap- 
puah belonged to Ephraim, but the country adjoin- 
ing; to Manasseh, v. 8. there were likewise many 

cities of Ephraim, that lay within the border of Ma 
nasseh, v. 9. of which before, ch. 16. 9. 

2. That Manasseh likewise had cities with their 
appurtenances in the tribes of Issachar and Ash- 
er, V. 11. God so ordering it, that though each 
tribe had its peculiar inheritance, which might not 
be alienated trom it, yet they should thus intermix 
one with another, to keep up mutual acquaintance 
and correspondence between the tribes, and to give 
occasion for the doing of good offices one to anoth- 
er, as became those, who, though of different 
tribes, were all one Israel, i.nd were bound to love 
as brethren. 

3. That they suffered the Canaanites to live 
among them, contrary to the command of God, ser- 
ving their own ends by conniving at them, for they 
made them tributaries, v. 12, 13. The Ephraim- 
ites had done the same, ch. 16. 10, and from them 
perhaps the Man.issites learned it, and with their 
example excused themselves in it. 

The most remarkable person of this half-tribe in 
after time, was Gideon, whose great actions were 
done within this h-t. He was of the family of Abie- 
zer; Cesai'ea was in this lot, and Antipatris, famed 
in the latter ages of the Jewish state. 

14. And the children of Joseph spake 
unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given 
me but one lot and one portion to inherit, 
seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as 
the Lord hath blessed me hitherto? 15. 
And Joshua answered them. If thou be a 
great people, then get thee up to the wood 
country, and cut down for thyself there in 
the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, 
if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee. 
16. And the children of Joseph said. The 
hill is not enough for us : and all the Ca- 
naanites that dwell in the land of the valley 
have chariots of iron, both they who are of 
Beth-shean and her towns, and they who 
are of the valley of Jezreel. 1 7. And Josh 
ua spake unto the house of Joseph, even to 
Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, Thou 
art a great people, and hast great power ; 
thou shalt not have one lot onhj : 1 8. But 
the mountain shall be thine ; for it is a wood, 
and thou shalt cut it down : and the outgo- 
ings of it shall be thine : for thou shalt drive 
out the Canaanites, though they have iron 
chariots, ajid though they be strong. 


I. The children of Joseph quarrel with their lot; 
if they had had any just cause to quarrel with it, v,e 
have reason to think Joshua would have relieved 
them, by adding to it, or altering it, which it dees 
not appear he did. It is yirobable, because Joshua 
was himself of the tribe of Ephraim, they promised 
themselves that they should ha\'e some particular 
favour showed them, and should not be confined to 
the decision of the lot so closely u-s the other tribes; 
but Joshua makes them know that in the discharge 
of his office, as a public person, he had no more re- 
gard to his own tribe than to any other, but would 
administer impartially, without favour or affection; 
wlierein he has left an excellent example to all in 
public trusts: It was a very competent provision 
that was made for them, as much, for aught that 
appears, as they were able to msmage, and yet they 
call it in disdain but one lot, as if that which was 



assigned to them both, was scarcely sufficient for 
OJie. The word for comfilainers (Jude 16.) is 
fAiu-^iixoi^oi, blamers of their lot, like the children 
of Joseph, who would ha\ e that altered, the dispo- 
sal whereof is from the Lord. Two things they 
suggest, to enforce their petition for an augmenta- 
tion of their lot. 1. That they were very nume- 
i"0us, through the blessing of God upon them, v. 14, 
I am a great peofile, for the Lord has blessed me; 
and we have reason to hope that he that hath sent 
mouths, wil, send meat. •*/ am a great people, 
and in so small a lot shall not have room to thrive." 
Yet, observe, when they speak thankfully of their 
present increase, they do not speak confidently of 
the continuance of it; "the Lord has blessed me 
hitherto, however he may see fit to deal with me 
for the future." The uncertainty of what may be, 
must not make us unthankful for what has been, 
and is done in kindness to us. 2. That a good part 
of that country which was now fallen to their lot, 
was in the hands of the Canaanites, and that they 
were formidable enemies, who brought into the field 
of battle chariots of iron, v. 16. that is, chariots with 
long scythes fastened to the sides of them, or the 
axle-tree, which made great destruction of all that 
came in their way, mowing them down like com. 
They urge, that though they had a good portion 
assigned them, yet it was in bad hands, and they 
could not come to the possession of it, wishing to 
have their lot in those countries that were more 
thoroughly reduced than this Avas. 

II. Joshua endeavours to reconcile them to their 
lot, he owns they were a great people, and being 
two tribes, ought to have more than one lot only, v. 
17. but tells them, that what was fallen to their 
share, would be a sufficient lot to them both, if they 
would but work and fight. They desired a lot in 
which they might indulge themselves in ease and 
luxuiy; "No," says Joshua, "you must not count 
upon that; in the sweat of thij face shalt thou eat 
bread, is a sentence in force, even in Canaan itself." 
He retorts their own argument, that they were a 
great people, " tf so, you are the better able to help 
yourselves, and have the less reason to expect help 
from others. If thou hast many mouths to be fill- 
ed, thou hast twice as many hands to be employed; 
eani, and then eat." 

1. He bids them work for more, v. 15. Get 
thee up to the wood-country, which is within thy 
own border, and let all hands be set on work to cut 
down the trees, rid the rough lands, and make 
them, with art and industry, good arable ground. 
Note, Many wish for large possessions, who do not 
cultivate and make the best of what they have, 
think they should have more talents given them, 
who do not trade with those with which they are 
entrusted. Most people's poverty is the effect of 
their idleness ; would they dig, they need not beg. 

2. He bids them fight for more, v. 17, 18. when 
they pleaded that they could not come at the wood- 
lands he spoke of, because in the valley between 
them and it, there were Canaanites whom they 
durst not enter the list with. " Never fear them,'' 
said Joshua, "thou hast God on thy side, and thou 
shalt drive out the Canaanites, it thou wilt set 
about it in good earnest, though they have iron cha- 
riots. " We straiten ourselves by apprehending the 
difficulties in the way of our enlargement to be 
greater than really they are. What can be insu- 
perable to faith and holy resolution? 


In this chapter we have, I. The setting up of the taberna- 
cle at Shiloh, v. 1. II. The stirring up of the seven 
tribes that were yet unsettled, to look afier their lot, 
and the puttinsr of them in a method for it, by Joshua, v. 
2 . . 7. Ill T?iP distributing of the land into seven lots, 

by certain men employed for that purpose, v. 8, 9, IV. 

The determining of these seven portions to the seven 
tribes yet unprovided for by lot, v. 10. V. The particu- 
lar lot of the tribe of Benjamin, the borders of it, v. 11. . 
20. And the cities contained in it, v. 21 . . 28. The 
other six tribes %ve shall find well provided for in the 
next chapter. 

1. 4 ND the whole congregation of the 
j\. children of Israel assembled together 
at Shiloh, and set up tl>e tabernacle of the 
congregation there. And the land was 
subdued before them. 

In the midst of the story of the dividing of the 
land, comes in this account of the setting up the ta- 
bernacle, which had hitherto continued in its old 
place in the centre of their camp; but now that 
three of the four squadrons that used to surround it 
in the wilderness, were broken and diminished, 
those of Judah, Ephraim, and Reuben, by the re- 
moval of those tribes to their respective possessions, 
and that of Dan only remained entire, it was time 
to think of removing the tabernacle itself into a city. 
Many a time the priests and Levites had taken it 
down, carried it, and set it up again in the wilder- 
ness, according to the directions given them. 
Numb. 4. 5, &c. but now they must do it for good 
and all, not one of the stakes thereof must any more 
be removed, nor any of the cords thereof broken, 
Isa. 33. 20. Observe, 

1. The place to which the tabernacle was remov- 
ed, and in which it was set up. It was Shiloh, a 
city in the lot C)f Ephraim, but lying close upon the 
lot of Benjamin. Doubtless, God himself did some 
way or other direct them to this place, for he had 
promised to choose the place where he would make 
his name to dwell, Deut. 12. 11. It is most proba- 
ble, God made known his mind in this matter by 
the judgment of Urim. This place was pitcheii 
upon, (1.) Because it was in the heart of the coun- 
try, nearer the centre than Jerusalem was, and 
therefore the more con\ enient for the meeting of 
all Israel there from the several parts of the coun- 
try; it had been in the midst of their camp in the 
wdderness, and therefore must now be in the midst 
of their nation, as that which sanctifieth the whole, 
and was the glory in the midst of them. See Ps. 
46. 5. (2. ) Because it was in the lot of that tribe 
of which Joshua was, who was now their chief ma- 
gistrate, and it would be both for his honour and 
con\enience, and for the advantage of the country, 
to have it near him. The testimony of Israel and 
the thrones of judgment do well together, Ps. 122. 
4, 5. (3.) Some think there was an eye to the 
name of the place, Shi/oh being the name by which 
the Messiah was known, in dying Jacob's prophecy, 
Gen. 49. 10. which prophecy, no doubt, was well 
known amnng the Jews; the setting up of the taber- 
nacle in Shiloh gave them a hint, that in that 
Shiloh, whom Jacob spoke of, all the ordinances of 
this worldly sanctuary should have their accom- 
plishment in a greater and more perfect tabernacle, 
Heb. 9. 1, 11. And Dr. Lightfoot thinks that the 
place where the tabernacle was set up, was there- 
fore called Shiloh, because of the peaceableness of 
the land at this time; as afterward in Salem was his 
temple, which also si^ifies peaceable. 

2. The solemn manner of doing it. The "ahole 
congregation assembled together to attend the so- 
lemnity, to do honour to the ark of God, as the token 
of his presence, and to bid it welcome to its settle- 
ment. Every Israelite was interested in it, and 
therefore all testified their joy and satisfaction upon 
this occasion. See 2 Sam. 6. 15. It is probable, 
those tribes that were yet encamped when the ta 
bemacle was removed to Shiloh, decamped from 



Gilgal, and pitched about Shiloh, for every Israel- 
ite will desire to fix there where God's tabernacle 
fixes. Mention is made, on ^nis occasion, of the 
land's being subdued before them, to intimate, that 
the country, hereabouts at least, being thoroughly 
reduced, they met with no opposition, nor were 
they apprehensive of any danger, but thought it 
time to make this grateful acknowledgment of 
God's goodness to them in the constant series of 
successes with which he had blessed them. It was 
a good presage of a comfortable settlement to them- 
selves in Canaan, when their first care was to see 
the ark well settled, as soon as they had a safe 
place leady to settle it in. Here the' ark continued 
about three hundred years, till the sins of Eli's 
house forfeited the ark, lost it, and ruined Shiloh, 
and its ruins were long after made use of as warn- 
ings to Jerusalem; Go, see what J did to Shiloh, 
Jer. 7. 12. Ps. 78. 60. 

2. And there remained among the chil- 
dren of Israel seven tribes which had not 
yet received their inheritance. 3. And Josh- 
ua said unto the children of Israel, How 
long are ye slack to go to possess the land 
which the Lord God of your fathers hath 
given you ? 4. Give out from among you 
three men for each tribe : and I will send 
them, and they shall rise and go through the 
land, and describe it, according to the inhe- 
ritance of them ; and they shall come again 
lo me. 5. And they shall divide it into seven 
parts : Jiidah shall abide in their coast on 
the south, and the house of Joseph shall 
abide in their coasts on the north. 6. Ye 
shall therefore describe the land into seven 
parts, and bring the description hither to me, 
that I may cast lots for you here before the 
Lord our God. 7. But the Levites have 
no part among you ; for the priesthood of 
the Lord i& their inheritance : and Gad, and 
Reuben, and half the tribe of Manasseh, 
have received tlieir inheritance beyond Jor- 
dan on the east, which Moses the servant 
of the Lord gave them. 8. And the men 
arose, and went away : and Joshua charged 
them that went to describe the land, saying, 
Go and walk through the land, and describe 
it, and come again to me, that I may here 
cast lots for you before the Lord in Shiloh. 
9. And the men went, and passed through 
the land, and described it by cities, into 
seven parts, in a book, and came again to 
.Toshua to the host at Shiloh. 10. And Josh- 
ua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the 
Lord : and there Joshua divided the land 
unto the children of Israel, according to their 


I. Joshua reproves those tribes which were yet 
unsettled, that they did not bestir themselves to 
gain a settlement in the land which God had given 
them. Seven tribes were yet unprovided for: though 
sure of an inheritance, yet uncertain where it should 
be, and, it seems, in no great care about it, v. 2. 
and with them Joshua reasons, v. 3, How long are 

ye stack? 1. They were too well pleased with their 
present condition, liked well enough to \\\ e in a 
body together, the more the nieir,er, and, like the 
Babel-builders, had no mind to be scattered abroad, 
and break good company. The spoil of the cities 
they had taken, served them to live plentifully upon 
for the present, and they banished the thoughts of 
time to come. Perhaps, the tribes of Judah and 
Joseph, who had already recei\ ed their inheritance 
in the countries next adjoining, were generous in 
entertaining their brethren, who were yet unpro- 
vided for, so that they went from one good house to 
another among their friends, with Avhich, instead of 
grudging that they were postponed, they vvere so 
well pleased, that they cared not of going to houses 
of their own. 2. They were slothful and dilatory; 
it may be, they wished the thing done,, but haci not 
spirit to stir in it, or move toward the doing of ft, 
though it was so much for their own advantage; like 
the sluggard, that hides his hand in his bosom, and 
it grieves him to bring it to his mouth again. The 
countries that remained to be divided, lay at a dis- 
tance, and some parts of them in the hands of the 
Canaanites, If they go to take possession of them, 
the cities must be rebuilt or repaired, they must 
drive their flocks and herds a great way, and carry 
their wi\ es and children to strange places, and this 
will not be done without care and pains, and break- 
ing through some hardships; thus. He that observes 
the wind, shall not sow; and he that regards the 
clouds shall not reap, Eccl. 11. 4. Note, Many are 
diverted from real duties, and debarred from real 
comforts, by seeming difficulties. God by his grace 
has given us a title to a good land, the heavenly Ca- 
naan, but we are slack to take possession, we enter 
not into that rest, as we might, by faith, and hope, 
and holy joy; we live not in heaven, as we might, 
by setting our affections on tilings above, and hav- 
ing our conversation there. How long shall it be 
thus with us? How long shall we thus stand in our 
own light, ?i\\A forsake our own mercies for lying 
vanities? Joshua was sensible of the inconveniences 
of this delay, that while they neglected to take pos- 
session of the land that was conquered, the Canaan- 
ites were recovering strength and spirit, and 
fortifying themselves in the places that were yet in 
their hands, which would make the total expulsion 
of them the more difficult. They would lose their 
advantages by not following their blow; and there- 
fore as an eagle stirreth up her nest, so Joshua stirs 
them up to take possession of their lot. He is ready 
to do his part, if they will but do thcir's. 

II. He puts them in a way to settle themselves 
1. The land that remained must be surveyed, ai 
account taken of the cities, and the territories be 
longing to them, v. 4. These must be divided into 
seven equal parts, as near as they could guess at 
their true value, which they must have an eye to, 
and not only to the number of the cities, and exteni 
of the country. Judah is fixed on the south, and 
Joseph on the north, of Shiloh, to protect the taber- 
nacle, V. 5. and therefore they need not describe 
their country, but those countries only that wen 
yet undisposed of. He gives a reason, v. 7. why 
they must divide it into seven parts only, because 
the Levites were to have no temporal estate, ( a^ 
we say,) but their benefices only, which were en 
tailed upon their families. The priesthood of thi 
Lord 'us their inheritance, and a very honourable, 
comfortable, plentiful inhei-itance it was. Gad and 
Reuben, with half of the tribe of Manasseh, were 
already fixed, and needed not to have any further 
care taken of them. Now, (1.) The surveyors 
were three men out of each of the seven tribes that 
were to be provided for, v. A. onc-and-twenty in all, 
who, perhaps, for greater expedition, because they 
had already lost time, di\ ided themselves into three 



companies, one of each tribe m each company, 
and took each their district to survey. The mat- 
ter was thus referred equally, that there might be 
neither any partiality used in making up the seven 
lots, nor any umbrage or suspicion gi\ en, but all 
might be satisfied that they had right done them. 
(2. ) The survey was accordingly made, and brought 
in to Joshua, v. 8, 9. Josephus says it was seven 
months in the doing. And we must in it observe, 
[1. ] The faith and courage of the persons employ- 
ed, abundance of Canaanites remamed in the land, 
and all raging against Israel, as a bear robbed of her 
lohelfis, the business of these surveyors would soon 
be known, and what could they expect but to be 
waylaid, and have their brains knocked out by the 
fierce observers? But, in obedience to Joshua's 
command, and in dependence upon God's power, 
they thus put their lives in their hands to serve 
their counti-y. [2. ] The good providence of God 
in protecting them from the many deaths they were 
exposed to, and bringing them all safe again to the 
host at Shiloh. When we are in the wav of our 
duty, we art; under the special protection of the 

2. When it was surveyed, and reduced to seven 
lots, then Joshua would by appeal to God, and di- 
rection from him, determine which of these lots 
should belong to each tribe, v. 6. That I may cast 
lots for you here at the tabernacle (because it was a 
s-icred trans.iction) bt-fore the Lord our God, to 
whom each tribe must have an eye, with thankful- 
ness for the conveniences, and submission to the in- 
conveniences, of their allotment. What we have 
in the world, we mufet acknowledge God's property 
in, and dispose of it as before him, with justice and 
charity, and dependence upon Providence. The 
heavenly Canaan is described to us in a book, the 
book of the scriptures, and there are in it maubions 
and portions sufficient for all God's spiritual Israel; 
Christ is our Joshua that divides it to us, on him we 
must attend, and to him we must apply ourselves, 
for an inheritance with the saints in light. See 
John 17. 2, 3. 

11. And the lot of the tribe of the child- 
ren of Benjamin came up according to their 
families : and the coast of their lot came up 
forth between the children of Judah and the 
children of Joseph. 12. And their border, 
on the north side, was from Jordan : and the 
border went up to the side of Jericho on the 
north side, and went up through the moun- 
tains westward ; and the goings out thereof 
were at the wilderness of Beth-aven. 13. 
And the border went over from thence to- 
ward Luz, to the side of Luz, (which is 
Beth-el,) southward ; and the border de- 
scended to Ataroth-adar, near the hill that 
lielh on the south side of the nether Beth- 
horon. 14. And the border was drawn 
thence, and compassed the corner of the sea 
seuthward, from the hill that lieth before 
Beth-horon southward; and the goings out 
thereof were at Kirjath-baal (which is Kir- 
jath-jearim,) a city of the children of Judah : 
this icas the west quarter. 15. And the 
south quarter toas from the end of Kirjath- 
jearim; and the border went out on the 
west, and went out to the well of waters of 
Nephtoah : 16. And the border came down 

to the end of the mountain that llcth before 
the valley of tlu; son of Hinnom, and which 
is in the valley of the giants on the nortli, 
and descended to the valley of Hinnom, to 
the side of Jcbusi on the south, and descend- 
ed to En-rogel, 1 7. And was drawn from tlu' 
north, and went fortli to En-shemesh, and 
went forth toward Geliloth, which is o\('r 
against the going up of Adummim, and de- 
scended to the stone of Bohan the son ol" 
Reuben, 18. And passed along toward the 
side over against Arabah northward, and 
went down unto Arabah : 1 9. And the bor- 
der passed along to the side of Beth-hoglah 
northward: and the outgoings of the border 
were at the north bay of the salt sea, at the 
south end of Jordan : this loas the south coast. 
20. And Jordan was the border of it on the 
east side. This ivos the inheritance of the 
children of Benjamin, by the coasts thereof 
round about, according to their families. 21 . 
Now the cities of the tribe of the children of 
Benjamin, according to their families, were 
Jericho, and Beth-hoglah, and the valley of 
Keziz, 22. And Beth-arabah, and Zema- 
raim, and Bclh-el, 23. And Avim, and Pa- 
rah, and Ophrah, 24. And Chephar-haam- 
monai, and Ophni, and Gaba; twelve cities 
with their villages : 25. Gibeon, and Ramah, 
and Beeroth, 26. And Mizpeh, and Che- 
phirah, and Mozah, 27. And Rckem, and 
Irpeel, and Taralah, 28. And Zelah, Eleph, 
and Jebusi (which is Jerusalem,) Gibeath, 
ajid Kirjath; foiu'teen cities with their vil- 
lages. This is the inheritance of the children 
of Benjamin, according to their families. 

We ha\ e here the lot of the tribe of Benjamin, 
which Providence cast next to Joseph on the one 
hand, because Benjamin was own and only brother 
to Joseph, and was little Benjamin, Ps. 68. 27. that 
needed the protection of great Joseph, and yet had 
a better Protector, for the Lord shall cover him all 
the day lonif, Deut. 33. 12. And next to Judah, on 
the other hand, that this tribe might hereafter unite 
with Judah in an adherence to the throne of David, 
and the temple at Jeiiisalem. Here we have, 

1. The exact borders and limits of this tribe, 
which we need not be exact in the explication of; as 
it had Judah on the south, and Joseph on the north, 
so it had Jordan on the east, and Dan on the west. 
The western border is said to comfiass the corner 
of the sea southward, v. 14. whereas no part of the 
lot of this tribe came near to the great sea. Bishop 
Patrick thinks the meaning is, that it ran along in a 
parallel line to the great sea, though at a distance. 
Dr. Fuller suggests that since it is not called the 
great sea, but only the sea, which often signifies any 
lake or mere, it may be meant of the pool of Gibeon, 
which may be called a corner or canton of a sea; it 
is called the great waters in Gibeon, Jer. 41. 12. and 
it is compassed by the western border of this tribe. . 

2. The particular cities in this tribe, not all, but 
the most c( nsiderable, twenty-six, are here named. 
Jericho is put first, though dismantled, and forbid- 
den to be rebviilt ;is a city with gates and walls, be- 
cause it might i}c built and inhabited as a ccu'itry 



village, and so wrts not useless to this tribe. Gilgal 
was jn this tribi.'. where Israel fii-st encamped when 
Saul was made king, 1 Sam. 11. 14. It v/ as afterward 
a very profane place, PIos. 9. 15, jM their wicked- 
ness is in Gilgul. Beth-el was in this tribe, a fa- 
mous place; though Benjamin adhered to the house 
of David, )'et Beth-el, it seems, was in the posses- 
sion of the house of Joseph, Judg. 1. 23. . 25. and 
there Jeroboam set up one of his cah es. Gibeon 
was in this tribe, where the altar was in the begin- 
ning of Solon)on's time, 2 Chron. 1. 3. Gibeah like- 
wise, that infamous place, where the Levite's con- 
cubine was abused; Mizpeh, and near it, Samuel's 
Eben-ezer; Anathoth also, Jeremiah's city, were in 
this tribe, as was the northern part of Jerusalem. 
Paul was the honour of this tribe, Rom. 11. 1. Phil. 
3. 5. but where his land lay, we know not, he sought 
the better country. 


In the description of the lots of Judah and Benjamin, we 
have an account both of the borders that surrounded 
them, and of the cities contained in them. In that of 
Ephraim and Manasseh we have the borders, but not the 
cities; in this chapter, Simeon and Dan are described by 

^their cities only, and not their borders, because they lay 
very much within Judah, especially the former, the rest 
have both their borders described, and their cities named, 
especially frontiers. Here is, I. The lot of Simeon, 
V. 1..9, II- OfZebulun, v. 10.. 16. III. Of Issachar, 
V. 17..23. IV. Of Asher, V.24..31. V. Of Naphta- 
li, V. 32 . . 39. VI. Of Dan, v. 40 . . 48. Lastly, the in- 
heritance assigned to Joshua himself and his own fa- 
mily, V. 49. . 61. 

1. A ND tlie second lot came forth to Si- 
J\. meon, even for the tribe of the child- 
ren of Simeon according to their families : 
and their inheritance was within the inhe- 
ritance of the children of Judah. 2. And 
they had in their inheritance, Beer-sheba or 
Sheba, and Moladah, 3. And Hazar-shual, 
and Balah, and Azem, 4. And Eltolad, and 
Bethiil, and Hormah, 5. And Ziklag, and 
Beth-marcaboth, and Hazar-susah, 6. And 
Beth-lebaoth, and Sharuhen ; thirteen cities 
and their villages : 7. Ain, Remmon, and 
Ether, and Ashan ; four cities and their vil- 
lages : 8. And all the villages that were round 
about these cities to Baalath-beer, Ramath 
of the south. This is the inheritance of the 
tribe of the children of Simeon according to 
their families. 9. Out of the portion of the 
children of Judah icas the inheritance of the 
children of Simeon ; for the part of the child- 
ren of Judah was too much for them ; there- 
fore the children of Simeon had their inherit- 
ance within the inheritance of them. 

Simeon's lot was drawn after Judah's, Joseph's, 
and Benjamin's, because Jacob had put that tribe 
under disgrace, yet it is put before the two younger 
sons of Leah and the three sons of the hand-maids. 
Not one person of note, either judge or prophet, 
was of the tribe, that we know of. 

1. The situation of their lot was within that of 
Judah, -v. 1. and was taken from it, if. 9. It seems, 
they that first surveyed the land, thought it larger 
than it was, and that it would have held out, to give 
every tribe in proportion as large a share as they 
had carved out of Judah; but, upon a more strict in- 
quiry, it was found that it would not reach, t^. 9, the 
fiart of the children of Judah was too much for 
themy more than they needed, and more, as it 

I pi'oved, than fell to their share. Yet God did not 
by the lot lessen it, but left it to their prudence and 
care afterward to discover and rectify the mistake, 
which when they did, (1.) The men of Judah did 
not oppose the taking away of the cities again, 
which by the first distribution fell within their bor- 
der, when they were convinced that tliey had more " 
than their proportion. In all such cases, en'ors 
must be expected, and a review admitted if there 
be occasion. Though, in strictness, what fell to 
their lot, was their right against all the world, yet 
they would not insist upon it, when it appeared that 
another tribe would want what they had to spare. 
Note, We must look on the things of others, and 
not on our own only. The abundance of some must 
supply the wants of others, that there may be some- 
thing of an equality, for which there may be equity 
where there is not law. (2.) That which was thus 
taken off from Judah to be put into a new lot. Pro- 
vidence directed to the tribe of Simeon, that Jacob's 
prophecy concerning this tribe might be fulfilled, / 
will divide them iri Jacob. The cities of Simeon 
were scattered in Judah, with whichP tribe they 
were suiTOunded, except on that side toward the 
sea. This brought them into a confederacy with 
the tribe of Judah, Judg. 1. 3. and afterward was a 
happy occasion of the adherence of many of this 
tribe to the house of Da\ id, at the time of the re- 
volt of the ten tribes to Jeroboam, 2 Chron. 15. 9, J 
out of Simeon (hey fell to Asa in abundance. It is I 
good being in a goocl neighbourhood. 

2. The cities within their lot are here named. 
Beer-sheba, or Sheba, for they seem to be the same „ 
place, is put first, Ziklag is one of them, which we 
read of in David's story. What course they took to 
enlarge their borders and make room for them- 
selves, we find 1 Chron. 4. 39, iT'c. 

10. And the third lot came up for the 
children of Zebulun, according to their fa- 
milies : and the border of their inheritance 
was unto Sarid : 11. And their border went 
up toward the sea, and Maralah, and reach- 
ed to Dabbasheth, and reached to the 
river that is before Jokneam; 12. And 
turned from Sarid eastward, toward the 
sun-rising, unto the border of Chisloth-ta- 
bor, and then goeth out to Daberath, and 
goeth up to Japhia, 13. And from thence 
passeth on along on the east to Gittah-he- 
pher, to Ittah-kazin, and goeth out to Rem- 
mon-melhoar to Neah ; 1 4. And the border 
compasseth it on the north side to Hanna- 
thon : and the outgoings thereof are in the 
valley of Jiphthah-el : 15. And Kattath, and 
Nahalal, and Shimron, and Idalah, and 
Beth-lehem: twelve cities with their vil- 
lages. 16. This is the inheritance of the 
children of Zebulun according to their fami- 
lies, these cities with their villages. 

This is the lot of Zebulun, who, though born of 
Leah after Issachar, yet was blessed by Jacob and 
Moses before him; and therefore it was so ordered, 
that his lot was drawn before that of Issachar's, 
north of which it lay, and south of Asher. 

1. The lot of this tribe was washed by the great 
sea on the west, and by the sea of Tiberius on the 
east, answering Jacob's prophecy. Gen. 49. 13, Ze- 
bulun shall be a haven of ships; trading ships on 
the great sea, and fishing ships on the sea of Galilee. 

2. Though there were some palaces in this tribe 



which were made famous in the Old Testament, 
especially mount Curinel, on which the famous 
tnal was between God and Baal in Elijah's time, 
yet it was made much more illustrious in the New 
Testament, for within the lot of this tribe was Na- 
zareth, where our blessed Saviour spent so much 
of his time on earth, and from which he was 
called Jesus of J\''a~areth, and mount Tabor on 
which he was transfigured, and that coast of the sea 
of Galilee on which Christ preached so many ser- 
mons, and wrought so many miracles. 

17. And the fourth lot came out to Issa- 
char, for the children of Issachar according 
to their families. 1 8. And their border was 
toward Jezreel, and Chesulloth, and Shu- 
nem, 19. And Haphraim, and Shihon, and 
Anaharath, 20. And Rabbith, and Kishion, 
and Abez, 21. And Remeth, and En-gan- 
nim, and En-haddah, and Beth-pazzez -, 22. 
And the coast reacheth to Tabor, and Sha- 
hazimah, and Beth-shemesh ; and the out- 
goings of their border were at Jordan : six- 
teen cities with their villages. 23. This is 
the inheritance of the tribe of the children 
of Issachar according to their families, the 
cities and their villages. 

The lot of Issachar ran from Jordan in the east, 
to the great sea in the west, Manasseh on the south, 
and Zebulun on the north. A numerous tribe. 
Numb. 26. 25. Tola, one of the judges, was of this 
tribe, Judg. 10. 1. So was Baasha, one of the kings 
of Israel, 1 Kings 15. 27. The most considerable 
places in this tribe were, 1. Jezreel, in which was 
Ahab's palace, and near it Naboth's vineyard. 2. 
Shunem, where lived the good Shunamite, that en- 
tertained Elisha. 3. 'llie river Kishon, on the 
banks of which, in this tribe, Sisera was beaten by 
Deborah and Barak. 4. The mountains of Gilboa, 
on which Saul and Jonathan were slain, which were 
not far from En-dor, where Saul consulted the 
witch. 5. The valley of Mt^giddo, where Josiah 
was slain, near Hadad-rimmon, 2 Kings 23. 29. 
Zech. 12. 11. 

24. And the fifth lot came out for the tribe 
of the children of Ash?r according to tlieir 
families. 25. And their border was Hel- 
kath, and Hali, and Beten, and Achshaph, 
26. And Alammelech, and Amad, and Mi- 
sheal; and reacheth to Carniel westward, 
and to Shihor-libnath; 27. And turneth to- 
ward the sun-rising to Beth-dagon, and 
reacheth to Zebulun, and to the valley of 
Jiphthah-el, toward the north side of Beth- 
emek, and Neiel, and goeth out to Cabul 
on the left hand, 28. And Hebron, and Re- 
hob, and Hammon, and Kanah, even unto 
great Zidon ; 29. And then the coast turn- 
eth to Ramah, and to the strong city Tyre ; 
and the coast turneth to Hosah; and- the 
outgoings thereof are at the sea, from the 
coast to Achzib : 30. Ummah also, and 
Aphek, and Rehob : twenty and two cities 
with their villages. 31. This is the inherit- 
ance of the tribe of the children of Asher 

Vol. II. — L 

according to their families, these cities witii 
their villages. 

The lot of Asher lay upon the coast of the great 
sea; we read not of any famous person of this tribe, 
but Anna the prophetess, who was a constant resi- 
dent in the temple at the time of our Saviour's birth, 
Luke 2. 36. Nor were there many famous places 
in this tribe. Aphek, mentioned v. 30. was the 
place near which Ben-hadad was beaten by Ahab, 
1 Kings 20. 30. But close adjoining to this tribe 
were the celebrated sea-port towns of Tyr-e and Si- 
don, which we read so much of. Tyre is called here 
that strong city, v. 29. but Bishop Patrick thinks it 
was not the same Tyre that we read of afterwards, 
for that was built on an island; this old strong city 
was on the continent. And it is conjectured by 
some, that into these two strong holds, Sidon and 
Tzor, or Tyre, many of the people of Canaan fled 
and took shelter, when Joshua invaded them. 

32. The sixth lot came out to the chil- 
dren of Naphtali, even for the children of 
Naphtali according to their families, 33. 
And their coast was from Heleph, from Al- 
lon to Zaanannim, and Adami, Nekeb, 
and Jabneel, unto Laktmi ; and the outgo- 
ings thereof were at Jordan; 34. And then 
the coast turneth westward to Aznoth-tabor, 
and goeth out from thence to Hukkok, and 
reacheth to Zebulun on the south side, and 
reacheth to Asher on the west side, and to 
Judah upon Jordan toward the sun-rising. 

35. And the fenced cities are Ziddim, Zer, 
and Hammath, Rakkath, and Chinnereth, 

36. And Adamah, and Ramah, and Hazor, 

37. And Kedesh, and Edrei, and En-hazor, 

38. Andiron, andMigdal-el,Horem,Beth- 
anath, and Beth-shemesh; nineteen cities 
with their villages. 39. This is the inherit- 
ance of the tribe of the children of Naph- 
tali according to their families, the cities 
and their villages. 

Naphtali lay furthest north of all the tribes, bor- 
dering on mount Libanus. The city of Leshem, or 
Laish, lay on the utmost edge of it to the north, and 
therefore, when the Danites had made themselves 
masters of it, and called it Dan, the length of Ca- 
naan from north to south was reckoned from Dan to 
Beer-sheba. It had Zebulun on the south, Asher 
en the west, and Judah upon Jordan, probably, a 
citv of that name, and so distinguished from the 
tribe of Judah, on the east. It was in the lot of this 
tribe, near the waters of Merom, that Joshua fought 
and routed Jabin, ch. 11. 1. JjJ'c. In this tribe stood 
Capernaum and Beth-saida, on the north end of the 
sea of Tiberias, in which Christ did so many mighty 
works; and the mountain (as is supposed) on which 
Christ preached. Matt. 5. 1. 

40. And the seventh lot came out for the 
tribe of the children of Dan, according to 
their families. 41. And the coast of their 
inheritance was Zorah, and Eshtaol, and 
Ir-shemesh, 42. And Shaalabbin, and Aja- 
lon, and Jethlah, 43. And Elon, and Thim- 
nathah, and Ekron, 44. And Eltekeh, and 
Gibbethon, and Baalath, 45. And Jehud. 



and Bene-berak, ai.d Gath-iimmon, 46. 
And Me-jarkon, and Rakkon, with the bol- 
der before Japho. 47. And the coast ol" the 
children of Dan went out too little for them ; 
therefore the children of Dan went up to 
fight against Lesheni, and took it, and smote 
it with the edge of the sword, and possessed 
it, and dwelt therein, and called Leshem, 
Dan, after the name of Dan their father. 
45. This is the inheritance of the tribe of 
the children of Dan according to their fami- 
lies, these cities with their villages. 

Dan, though commander of one of the four squa- 
drons of the camp of Israel, in tlie wilderness, that 
which brought up the rear, yet was last provided 
for in Canaan, and his lot fell in the southern part 
of Canaan, between Judah on the east, and the land 
of the Philistines on the west; Ephraim on the 
north, and Simeon on the south. Providence or- 
dered this numerous and powerful tribe into a post 
of danger, as best able to deal with those vexatious 
neighbours the Philistines, and so it was found in 
Samson. Here is, 

1. An account of what fell to this tribe by lot: 
Zorah, and Eshtaol, and the camp of Dan there- 
abouts, we read of in the storj' of Samson. And 
near there was the valley of Eshcol, whence the 
spies brought the famous bunch of grapes. Japho, 
or Joppa, was in this lot. 

2. An account of what they got by their own in- 
dustry and valour, which is mentioned here, t. 47. 
but related at large, Judg. 18. 7, iJfc. 

49. When they had made an end of di- 
viding the land for inheritance by their 
coasts, the children of Israel gave an inhe- 
ritance to Joshua the son of Nun among 
them : 50. According to the word of the 
Lord, they gave him the city which 
he asked, even Timnath-serah in mount 
Ephraim : and he built the city, and dwelt 
therein. 51. These are the inheritances 
which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the 
son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of 
the tribes of the children of Israel, divided 
for an inheritance by lot in Shiloh before the 
Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of the 
congregation. So they made an end of di- 
viding the countr>'. 

Before this account of the dividing of the land is 
solemnly closed up, in the last verse, which inti- 
mates that the thing was done to the satisfaction of 
all, here is an account of the particular inheritance 
assigned to Joshua. 

1. He was last served, though the eldest and 
greatest man of all Israel, and who, having com- 
inanded in the conquest of Canaan, might have de- 
manded the first settlement in it for himself and his 
family. But he would make it appear that in all he 
did, he sought the good of his country, and not any 
private interest of his own. He was content to be 
unfixed till he saw them all placed; and herein is a 
great example to :ill in public places, to prefer the 
common welfare before their particular satisfaction. 
Let the ])viblic first be served. 

2. He had his lot according unto the word of the 
Lord; it is probable, when God by Moses told Ca- 
leb what inneritance he should have, Josh. 14. 9. he 

gave the like promise to Joshun, which he had an 
eye to m making his election, which made his por- 
tion doubly pleasant, that he hi.d it, not as the rebt, 
by common pi o\ idence, but by special promise. 

3. He chose it in mount Ephraim, which belong- 
ed to his own tribe, with which he thereby put hin>- 
self in common, when he might by prerogati\e have 
chosen his inheritance in some other tribe, as sup- 
pose that of Judah, and thei'eby have distinguishefl 
himself from them. Let no man's preferment or 
honour make him ashamed of his family or country, 
or estrange him from it. The tabernacle was set 
up in the lot of Ephraim, and Joshua would forecast 
not to be far from that. 

4. The children of Israel are said to give it him, 
V. 49. which bespeaks his humility, that he would 
not take it to himself without the people's consent 
and approbation, as if he would thereby own him- 
self, though major singulis — greater than any one, 
yet minor untversis — less than the whole assem- 
blage, and would hold even the estate cf his family, 
under God, by the grant of the people. 

5. It was a city that must be built before it was 
fit to be dwelt m: while others dwelt in houses 
which they builded not, Joshua must build for him- 
self, that he might be a pattern of industry and con- 
tentment with mean things, such buildings as he 
could hastily run up, without curiosity or magnifi- 
cence. Our Lord Jesus thus came and dwelt among 
lis, not in pomp but poverty, providing rest for us, 
yet himself not having where to lay his head. Even t 
Christ pleased not himself. 


This short chapter is concerning the cities of refusre, which 
we often read of in the writings of Moses, but this is the 
last time that we find mention of them, for now that 
matter was thoroughly settled. Here is, I. The law 
God gave concerning them, v. 1.. 6. II. The people's 
designation of the particular cities for that u«p, v. 7. .9. 
And this remedial law was a figure of g-nr'l things to 

1. rinpIE Lord also spake unto .Toshua 
1 saying, 2. Speak to the children of 
Israel, saying. Appoint out for 3'ou cities of 
refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the 
hand of Moses: 3. That the slayer that 
killeth any person tmawares and unwitting- J 
ly may flee thither : and they shall be your ■ 
refuge from the aveiger of blood. 4. And 
when he that doth flee unto one of those ci- 
ties shall stand at the entering of the gate of 
the city, and shall declare his cause in the 
ears of the elders of that city, they shall 
take him into the city unto them, and give 
him a place, that he may dwell among 
them. 5. And if the avenger of blood pur- 
sue after him, then they shall not deliver 
the slayer up into his hand; because he 
smote his neighbour unwittingly, and hated 
him not beforetime. 6. And he shall dwell 
in that city, until he stand before the con- 
gregation for judgment, and until the death 
of the high priest that shall be in those days: 
then shall the slayer return, and come unto 
his own city, and unto his own house, unto 
the city from whence he fled. 

Many things were by the law of Moses ordered 
to be done when they came to Canaan, and this 



among the rest, the appointing of sanctuaries for 
the protecting oi those th t were guilty of casual 
murder; which was a privilege to all Israel, since 
. no man could be s ire but some time or other it 
might be his own case; and it was for the interest 
of the land, that the blood of an innocent person, 
whose hand only was guilty, but not his heart, 
should not he shed, no not by the avenger of blood: 
of this law God here reminds them, which was so 
much for their advantage, that they might remind 
themsehes of the other laws he had given them, 
which concerned his honour. 

I. Orders are given for the appointing of these 
cities, V. 2. and veiy seasonably at this time when 
the land was surveyed, and so they were the better 
a!)ie to divide the coasts of it into three parts, as 
God had directed them, in order to the more con- 
venient situ.ition of these cities of refuge, Deut. 19. 3. 
Yet, it is probable that it was not done till after the 
Le\ ites had their portion assigned them in the next 
chapter, because the cities of refuge were all to be 
Levites' cities. As soon as ever God had given 
them cities of 7-est, he bade tnem appoint cities of 
rc/tige, to which none cf them knew but they might 
be glad to escape. Thus God provided, not only for 
their ease at all times, but for their safety in time 
of danger, and such times we must expect and pre- 
pare for in this world. And it intimates what God's 
spiritual Israel have, and shall have in Christ and 
hea\'en, not only to repose themselves in, but refuge 
to secure themselves in. And we cannot think these 
cit'es of refuge would have been so often and so 
much spoken of in the law of Moses, and ha\ e had 
so much care taken about them, (when the inten- 
tion (^f them might ha\ e been effectually answered, 
as it is in our law, by authorising the courts of judg- 
ment to protect and acquit the manslayer in all 
those cases wherein he was to have privilege of 
sanctuary,) if they were not designed to typify the 
relief which the gospel provides for poor penitent 
sinners, and their protection from the curse of the 
law and the w;'ath of God, in our Lord Jesus, to 
■whom believers flee for refuge, Heb. 6. 18. and Jn 
w/iom they found, Phil. 3. 9. as in a sanctuary, 
where they are privileged from an-ests, and there is 
now 710 condemnation to them, Rom. 8. 1. 

II. Instructions are given for the using of these 
cities. The laws in this matter we had before, 
Numb. 35. 10, i!fc. where they were opened at 

1. It is supposed that a man might possibly kill 
a person, it may be, his own child, ordearest friend, 
unawares and unwittingly, v. 3. not only whom he 
hated not, but whom he truly loved, beforetime, v. 
5, for the ivay of man is not in hithself What rea- 
son have we to thank God who has kept us both 
from slaying, and from being slain by accident! 
In this case, it is supposed tliat the relations of 
the person slain would demand the life of t!ie 
slayer, as a satisfaction to that ancient law, that 
who sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be 

2. It is provided, that if upon trial it appeared, 
that the murder was done purely by accident, and 
not by design, either upon an old grudge, or a sud- 
den passion, then the slayer should be sheltered 
from the avenger of blood in any one of these cities, 
V. 4, 6. By this law he was entitled to a dwelling 
in that city, was taken into the care of the govern- 
ment of it, but vvas confined to it, as a prisoner at 
large; only if he survived the High Priest, then, 
and not till then, he miglit return to his own city. 
And the Jews say, "If he died before the High 
Priest in the city of his refuge and exile, and was 
buried there, yet at the death of the High Priest, 
his bones should he removed with respect to the 
place of his fathers' sepulchres." 

7. And they appointed Kedesh in Galilee 
in mount Naphtali, and Shechem in mount 
EphrauTi, and Kiijalh-arba (which is He- 
bron,) in the mountain of Judah. 8. And 
on the other side Joidan by Jericiio east- 
ward, they assigned Bezer in (he wilderness 
upon the plain out of the tribe of Reuben, 
and Ramoth in Giltad out of the tribe of 
Gad, and Golan in Piashan out of the tribe 
of Manasseh, 9. These were the cities ap- 
pointed for all tlie children of Israel, and 
for the stranger tliat sojourneth among them, 
that whosoever killeth amj person at un- 
awares might flee thither, and not die by 
the hand of the avenger of blood, until hr 
stood before the congregation. 

We have here the nomination of the cities of re- 
fuge in the land of Canaan, which was made by the 
advice and authority of Joshua and the princes, v. 
7. and upon occasion of the mention of this, is re- 
peated the nomination of the other three in the lot 
of the other two tribes and a half, which was made 
by Moses, Deut. 4. 43. but (as Bishop Patrick 
thinks) they liad not the privilege till now. 

1. They are said to sanctfy these cities, that is 
the original word for a/ipointed, v. 7. Not that anv 
ceremony was used to signify the consecration c'f 
them, only they did by a public act of court solemn- 
1)' declare them cities of refuge; and, as such, sa- 
cred to the honour of God, as the protector of ex- 
posed innocency. If they were sanctuaries, it was 
proper to say, they were sanctijied. Christ, our 
Refuge, was sanctified by his Father; nay, for cur 
sakes he sanctified himself, John 17. 19. 

2. These cities (as those also on the other side 
Jordan) stood in the three several parts of the coun- 
try, so conveniently that a man might (they say) in 
half a day reach some one of them from any corner 
of the countrj'. Kedesh was in Naplitali, the mosi 
northern tribe, Hebron in Judah, the most southern, 
and Shechem in Ephraim, which lay in the mid- 
dle, about equally distant from the other two. God 
is a refuge at hand. 

3. They were all Levites' cities, which put an 
honour upon God's tribe, making them judges in 
those cases wherein divine providence was so nearly 
concerned, and protectors to oppressed innocency; 
it was also a kindness to the poor refugee, that 
when he might not go up to the house of the Lord, 
nor tread his courts, yet he had the servants of 
God's house with him, to instruct him, and pray 
for him, and help to make up the want of public 
ordinances. If he must be confined, it shall be to 
a Levite-city, where he may, if he will, improve 
h;s time. 

4. These cities were upon hills to be seen afar 
off, for a city on a hill cannot be hid; and this would 
both direct and encourage the poor distressed man 
that was making that way; and though therefore 
his way at last was up-hill, yet this would comfort 
him, that he would be in his place of safety quick- 
ly; and if he could but get into the suburbs of the 
city, he was well enough off. 

5. Some observe a significancy in the names of 
these cities with application to Christ our Refuge. 
I delight not in quibbling upon names, yet am will- 
ing to take notice of these. Kedesh signifies holy, 
and our refuge is the holy Jesus. Shechem, a shoul- 
der, and the government is upon his shoulder. He- 
bron, fellowship, and believers are called into the 
fellowship of Christ Jesus our Lord. Bezer, afor- 
t'Jication, for he is a Strong-hold to all them that 



tmst in mm. Havioth, high or exalted, for him 
liath God exalted wilIi his own right liand. Golan, 
joy or exultation, for in liim all the saints are justi- 
fied, and shall glory. 

Lastly, Beside all these, the horns of the altar, 
wherever it was, were a lefuge to those who took 
hold on them, if the crime were such as that sanc- 
tuary allowed. This is implied in that law, Exod. 
21. 14, that a wilful murderer shall be taken from 
(iod's altar and be put to death. And we find the 
i.ltar used for this purpose, 1 Kings 1. 50. — 2. 28. 
Christ is our Altar, who not only sanctijies the gifts, 
but protects the giver. 


\\ had been often said that the tribe of Levi should have 
no inheritance with their brethren, no particular part of 
the country assig-ned them, as the other tribes liiad, no 
not the country about Shiloh, which, one would have 
expected, should have been appropriated to them as the 
lands of the church; but though they were not thus cast 
into a country by themselves, it appears, by the provision 
made for them in this chapter, that they were no losers, 
but the rest of the tribes were very much gainers, by 
their being dispersed. We have here, I. The motion they 
made to nave their cities assigned them, according to 
God's appointment, t. 1, 2. II. The nomination of the 
cities accordingly, out of the several tribes, and the dis- 
tribution of them to the respective families of this tribe, 
v. 3. . 8. III. A catalogue of the cities, forty-eight in 
all, v. 9.. 42. IV. A receipt entered in full of all that 
God had promised to his people Israel, v. 43. . 45. 

1 . ^T^HEN came near the heads of the 
A fathers of the Levites unto Eleazar 
the priest, and unto Joshua the son of Nun, 
and unto the heads of the fathers of the 
tribes of the children of Israel ; 2. And 
they spake unto them at Sliiloh in the land 
of Canaan, saying, The Lord commanded 
by the hand of Moses to give us cities to 
dwell in, with the suburbs thereof for our 
cattle. 3. And the children of Israel gave 
unto the Levites out of their inheritance, at 
the commandment of the Lord, these cities 
and their suburbs. 4. And the lot came 
out for the families of the Kohathites : and 
the children of Aaron the priest, ivhich were 
of the Levites, had by lot, out of the tribe 
of Judah, and out of the tribe of Simeon, 
and out of the tribe of Benjamin, thirteen 
cities. 5. And the rest of the children of 
Kohath had by lot, out of the families of the 
tribe of Ephraim, and out of the tribe of 
Dan, and out of the half tribe of Manasseh, 
ten cities. 6. And the children of Gershon 
had by lot, out of the families of the tribe 
of Issachar, and out of the tribe of Asher, 
and out of the tribe of Naphtali, and out of 
the half tribe of Manasseh in Bashan, thir- 
teen cities. 7. The children of Merari, by 
their families, had, out of the tribe of Reu- 
ben, and out of the tribe of Gad, and out of 
the tribe of Zebulun, twelve cities. 8. And 
the children of Israel gave by lot unto the 
IjCvites these cities with their suburbs, as 
the Lord commanded by the hand of 

Here is, 

I. The Levites' petition presented to this genei-al 

convention of the states, now sitting at Shiloh, v. 
1, 2. Observe, 

1. They had not their lot assigned them till they 
made their claim. There is an inheritance pro- 
vided for all the saints, that royal priesthood, but 
then they must petition for it, '^sk, and it shall be 
given you. Joshua had quickened the rest of the 
tribes who were slack, to put in their claims, but 
tlie Levites, it may be supposed, knew their duty 
and interest better than the rest, and were there- 
fore forward in this matter, wlien it came to their 
turn, without being called upon. They build their 
claim upon a very good foundation, not their own 
merits or services, but the di\ ine precept. " 7he 
Lord commanded by the hand of Moses to ^h'f us 
cities, commanded you to grant them, which im- 
plied a command to us to ask them." Note, The 
maintenance of ministers is not an arbitrary thing, 
left purely to the good-will cf the people, who may 
let them starve if they please; no, as the God of Is- 
rael commanded that the Levites should be well 
provided for, so has the Lord Jesus, the King of 
the christian church, ordained, and a peVpetual or- 
dinance it is, that they which preach the gospel, 
should live of the gospel, 1. Cor. 9. 14. and should 
live comfortably. 

2. They did not make their claim till all the rest 
of the tribes nvere provided for, and then they did it 
immediately. There was some reason for it: every 
tribe must first know their own, else they would 
not know what they gave the Levites, and so it 
could not be such a reasonal^le service as it ought 
to be. But it is also an instance of their humility, 
modesty, and patience, (and Levites should be ex- 
amples cf these and other virtues,) that they were 
willing to be served last, and they fared never the 
worse for it. Let not God's ministers complain if 
at any time they find themselves postponed in men's 
thoughts and cares, but let them make sure of the 
favour of God, and the honour that comes from 
him, and then they may well enough afford to bear 
the slights and neglects of men. 

n. The Levites' petition granted immediately, 
without any dispute, the princes of Israel being per- 
haps ashamed that they needed to be called upon 
in this matter, and that the motion had not been 
made among themselves for the settling of the Le- 

1. The children of Israel are said to give the ci- 
ties for the Levites. God had appointed how many 
they should be in all, forty-eight. It is probable 
that Joshua, and the princes, upon consideration, of 
the extent and value of the lot of each tribe as it 
was laid before them, had appointed how many ci • 
ties should be taken out of each; and then the fa- 
thers of the several tribes themselves agreed which 
they should be, and therefore are said togive them 
as an offering, to the Lord; so God had appointed. 
Numb. 35. 8, Every one shall give of his cities to 
the Levites. Here God tried their generosity, and 
it was found to praise and honour, for it appears by 
the following catalogue, that the cities they gave to 
the Levites, were generally some of the best and 
most considerable in each tribe. And it is probable, 
that they had an eye to the situation of them, taking 
care they should be so dispersed, as that no part of 
the country should be too far distant from a Levites' 


2. They gave them at the cornrr.andment of th,: 
Lord, that is, with an eye to the command, and in 
obedience to it, which was it that sanctified the 
grant. They gave the number that God command- 
ed, and it was well that matter was settled, that the 
Levites might not ask more, nor the Israelites offer 
less. They gave them also with their suburbs, or 
glebe-lands, belonging to them, so many cubits by 
measure from the walls of the citv, as God had 



commanded, Numb. 35. 4, 5. and did not go about 
to cut them short. 

3. When the forty-eight cities were pitched upon, 
they were divided into four lots, as they lay next 
together, and then by lot were determined to the 
four several families of the tribe of Levi. When 
the Israelites had surrendered the cities into the 
hand of God, he would himself have the distributing 
of them among his servants. (1.) The family of 
Aaron, who were the only priests, had to their 
share the thirteen cities that were given by the 
'.ribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin, v. 4. God 
in wisdom ordered it thus, that though Jerusalem 
iiself was not one of their cities, it being as yet in 
the possession of the Jebiisites, (and those generous 
tribes would not mock the Levites who had an- 
other warfare to mind, with a city that must be re- 
co. ered by the sword before it could be enjoyed,) 
vet the cities that fell to their lot were those which 
lay next to Jerusalem, because that was to be in 
process of time, the holy city, where their business 
would chiefly lie. (2.) The Kohatliite Levites 
(among whom were the posterity of Moses, though 
ne\ er distinguished from them) had the cities that 
lay in the lot of Dan, which lay next to Judah, and 
in that of Ephj-aim, and the half tribe of Manasseh, 
which lay next to Benjamin. So they who descend- 
ed from Aaron's father, joined nearest to Aaron's 
s }ns. (3. ) Gershon was the eldest son of Levi, and 
therefore, though the younger house of the Kohath- 
ites was preferred before his, yet his children had 
the precedency of the other family of Merari, v. 6. 
(4. ) The Merarites, the youngest house, had their 
lot last, and it lay furthest off, v. 7. The rest of 
the sons of Jacob had a lot for every tribe only, but 
Levi, God's tribe, had a lot for each of its families; 
for there is a particular providence directing and at- 
tending the removes and settlements of ministers, 
and appointing where t/iey shall fix, who are to be 
the lights of the world. 

9. And they gave out of the tribe of the 
children of Judah, and out of the tribe of the 
children of Simeon, these cities which are 
here mentioned by name, 10. Which the 
children of Aaron, behig of the families of 
the Kohathites, 7vho were of the children of 
Levi, had : for theirs was the first lot. 11. 
And they gave them the city of Arba, the 
father of Anak, (which citi/ is Hebron,) in 
the hiW-countn/ of Judah, with the suburbs 
thereof round about it. 12. But the fields 
of the city, and the villages thereof, gave 
they to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for his 
possession. 13. Thus they gave to the 
children of Aaron the priest, Hebron with 
her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the 
slayer; and Libnah with her suburbs, 14. 
And Jattir with her suburbs, and Eshtemoa 
with her suburbs, 15. And Holon with her 
suburbs, and Debir with her suburbs, 16. 
And Ain with her suburbs, and Juttah with 
her suburbs, and Beth-shemesh with her 
suburbs ; nine cities out of those two tribes. 

1 7. And out of the tribe of Benjamin, Gibe- 
on with her suburbs, Geba with her suburbs, 

18. Anathoth with her suburbs, and Almon 
with her suburbs ; four cities. 1 9. All the 
<nties of the children of Aaron the priests, 

were thirteen cities with their suburbs. 20 
And the families of the children of Kohath 
the Levites which remained of the children 
of Kohath, even they had the cities of their 
lot out of the tribe of Ephraim. 2 1 . For 
they gave them Shechem with her suburbs 
in mount Ephraim, to be a city of refuge for 
the slayer; and Gezer with her suburbs, 

22. And Kibzaim with her suburbs, and 
Beth-horon with her suburbs ; four cities. 

23. And out of the tribe of Dan, Eltekeh 
with her suburbs, Gibbethon with her sub- 
urbs, 24. Ajalon with her suburbs, Gath- 
rimmon with her suburbs ; four cities. 2b. 
And out of the half tribe of Manasseh, Taa- 
nach with her suburbs, and Gath-rimmon 
with her suburbs ; two cities. 26. All the 
cities were ten, with their suburbs, for the 
families of the children of Kohath that re- 
mained. 27. And unto the children of 
Gershon, of the families of the Levites, out 
of the other half tribe of Manasseh, thci/ 
gave Golan in Bashan with her suburbs, to 
be a city of refuge for the slayer ; and Beesh- 
terah with her suburbs; two cities. 28. 
And out of the tribe of Issachar, Kishon 
with her suburbs, Dabareh with her suburbs, 
29. Jarmuth with her suburbs, En-gannim 
with her suburbs ; four cities. 30. And 
out of the tribe of Asher, Mishal with her 
suburbs, Abdon with her suburbs, 31. Hel- 
kath with her suburbs, and Rehob with her 
suburbs ; four cities. 32. And out of the 
tribe of Naphtali, Kedesh in Galilee with 
her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the. 
slayer ; and Hammoth-dor with her suburbs, 
and Kartan with her suburbs; three cities. 
33. All the cities of the Gershonites, accord- 
ing to their families, were thirteen cities with 
their suburbs. 34. And unto the families 
of the children of Merari, the rest of the Le- 
vites, out of the tribe of Zebulun, Jokncam 
with her subuibs, and Kartah with her 
suburbs, 35. Dimnah with her suburbs, 
Nahalal with her suburbs ; four cities. 36. 
And out of the tribe of Reuben, Bezer with 
her suburbs, and Jahazah with her suburbs, 
37. Kedemoth with her suburbs, and Me- 
phaath with her suburbs ; four cities. 38. 
And out of the tribe of Gad, Ramoth in 
Gilead with her suburbs, tn be a city of re- 
fuge for the slayer ; and Mahanaim with 
her suburbs, 39. Heshbon with her suburbs, 
Jazer whh her suburbs; four cities in all. 
40. So all the cities for the children of Me- 
rari, by their families, which were remain- 
ing of the families of the Levites, were, bij 
their lot, twelve cities. 41. All the cities 
of the Levites within the possession of the 

I children of Israel were forty and eight cities 



with their suburbs, 42. These cities were 
eveiy one with tlieiv suburbs round about 
them : thus ivcre all these cities. 

We have here a particular account of the cities 
which were given to the children of Levi, out of the 
several tribes, not only to be occupied and inha- 
bited by them, as tenants to the several tribes in 
which they lay; no, their interest in them was not 
dependent and precarious, but to be owned and 
possessed by them as lords and proprietors, and as 
li.;\nig the same title t;) tliem that the rest of the 
tribes had to their cities or lands, as appears by the 
law v.'hich ihe houses in the Levites' ci- 
ties from being alienated any longer than till the 
\ ear of jubilee, Lev. 25. 32, 33. Yet it is probable, 
that the Levites ha\ ing only the cities and suljurbs, 
while the land about pertained to the tribes in 
which they lay, those of that trilje, for the conve- 
nience of occupying that land, might commonly rent 
houses of the Levites, as tliey could spare them 
in their cities, and so live among ihcm as their 

Several things may be obsei-vcd in this account, 
!)eside what was observed in the law concerning it, 
Numb. 35. 

1. That the Levites were dispersed into all the 
tribes, and not suffered to live all together in any 
one part of the country: this would find them all 
with work, and employ them all for the good of 
!;thers; for ministers, of all people, must neither be 
idle, nor live to themselves, or to one another only. 
Christ left his twelve disciples together in a body, 
but left orders that they should in due time disperse 
themselves, that they ' might /2?Yac/( the gospel to 
rvery creature. The mixing of the Levites thus 
with the other tribes, would be an obligation upon 
them to walk circumspectly, and as became their 
sacred function, and to a\ oid every thing that might 
disgrace it; had they lived all together, they would 
have been tempted'to wink at one another's faults, 
and to excuse one another when they did amiss; but 
by this means they were made to see the eyes of all 
Israel upon them, and therefore saw it their con- 
cern to walk so as that their ministry might in no- 
thing be blamed, nor their high character suffer by 
tbeir ill carriage. 

2. That every tribe of Israel was adorned and 
enriched with its share of Levites' cities, in propor- 
tion to its compass, even those that lay most remote. 
They were all God's people, and therefore they all 
1iad Levites among them. (1.) To .show kindness 
to, as God appointed them, Lieut. 12. 19. — 14. 29. 
They were God's r ceivers, to whom the people 
might give their grateful acknowledgments of God's 
vroodness, as the occasion and disp' sition were. (2.) 
To receive ad\ice and instruction from; when they 
could not go up to the taljernacle to consult those 
who attended there, they might ro to a Levites' 
city, and be tauglu the good km wledge of the Lord. 
Thus Ciod set up a candle in every room of his 
liouse, to give light to all his family; as those that 
attended the altar, kefit the charge of the Lord, to 
see that no divine appointment was neglected there; 
so they that were scattered in the country, had 
their charge too, which was to see that no idolatrous 
superstitious usages were introduced at a distance, 
and to ivatch for the souls of God's Israel. Thus 
did (iod graciously pro\ ide fnr the keeping up of 
religion among them, and that they might havetlie 
word nigh them; yet, blessed be (ind, we under the 
Gospel, have it vet nigher, not only Levites in every 
county, but Le\ ites in every parish, whose office it 
is still to teach the pe pie knowledge, and to go be- 
fore them in the things nf God. 

3. That here were thirteen cities, and these some 
of the best, appointed fir the priests, tlie sons of 

Aaron, v. 19. Aaron left but two sons, Eleaz ir and 
Ithamar, yet his family wasnow so much increased, 
and it was foreseen that it would in process of time 
grow so numerous, as to replenish all these cities; 
thoi gh a considerable number must of necessity be 
resident wherever the ark and the altar were. We 
read in both Testaments of such numbers of priests, 
that we may suppose none of all the families of Is- 
rael that came out cf Egypt, increased afterward so 
much as that of Aaron did; and the premise after- 
ward to the house cf Aaron, is, God shall increase 
you more and rnore, you and your children, Ps. 
115. 12, 14. He will raise up a seed to sei-x'e him. 

4, I'hat some of the Levites' cities were after- 
ward famous upon otlier accounts. Hebron was 
the city in which David began his reign, and in 
Mahanaim, another Levites' city, v. 38. he lay, and 
had his head-quai tcrs when he fled from Absalom. 
The first Israelite that ever wore the title cf k-r.g, 
namely, Abimelech, the s' n of Gideon, reigned in 
Schechem, another Levites' city, v. 21. 

5. That the number of them in all was more than 
of most of the tribes, except Judah, though the 
tribe of Le\ i was one of tlie least of the tribes, to 
show how liberal God is, and his people should be, 
to his ministers; yet the disproportion will not ap- 
pear so great as at first it seems, if we consider that 
the Levites had cities, only with the suburbs to 
dwell in, but the rest of the tribes, beside their ci- 
ties, (and those perhaps were many more than <; 
named in the account of their lot,) had many :.;• 
walled towns and villages which they inhabited, 
beside country-houses. 

LTpon the whole, it appears that effectual care 
was taken, that the Levites should live both com- 
fortably and usefully; and those, whether ministers 
or others, for whom Providence has done well, 
must look upon themselves as obliged thereby to do 
good, and, according as their capacity and oppor- 
tunity are, to serve their gener^ition. 

43. And the Lord gave unto Fsrael all 
the land which he sware to give unto their 
fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt 
therein. 44. And the LiORn gave them rest 
round about, according to all that he sware 
unto their fathers : and there stood not a 
man of all their enemies before them ; tlie 
Lord delivered all their enemies into their 
hand. 45. There failed not aught of any 
good thing which the Lord had spoken 
unto the house of Israel ; all came to pass. 

We have here the conclusion of this whole mat- 
ter, the foregoing history summed up, and, to make 
it appear the more bright, compared with the pro- 
mise, of which it was the full accomplishment. 
God's word and his works mutually illustrate each 
other. The performance makes the promise ap- 
pear very true, and the promise makes the per- 
formance appear very kind. 

1. God had promised to give the seed of Abraham 
the land of Canaan for a possession, and now at last 
he performed that promise, 7'. 43. they possessed it, 
and dwelt therein. Though they had often forfeited 
the benefit of that promise, and God had long 
delayed the performance of it, vet, at last, all 
difficulties were concjuered, and Canaan was their 
own. And tlie promise of the hea\ cnly Canaan is 
as sure to :dl God's spiritual Israel, for it is the pro- 
mise of him that cannot lie. 

2. God had promised to ci\e them rest in ihal 
land, and ww they h;id rest round about. Rest 
from the fatigues of their tra\ el through the wil- 
derness, which tedious march, perhaps, was long 



fn their bones; rest from their wars in Canaan, and 
the iiisults which their enemies there had at first 
cftered them. They now dwelt, not in habita- 
tions of their own, but those, quiet and peaceable 
ones; though therew ere Canaanites that i emained, 
yet none that had either strength or spirit to attack 
them, or so much as to give them an alurm. This 
rest continued, till they by their own sin and folly 
put thorns into their- own beds, and their own eyes. 

3. Ciod had promised to give them victory and 
buccess in their wars, and this jjromise likewise was 
fulfilled, there stood not a man before them, v. 44. 
They had the better in every battle, and which way 
soever they turned their forces, they prospered. It 
is true, there were Canaanites now remaining in 
many parts of the land, and such as afterward made 
liead against them, and became very formidable. 
But, (1.) As to the present remains ot the Canaan- 
ites, they were no contradiction to the promise, for 
(iod held said he would not drive tliem out all at 
once, but by little and little, Exod. 23. 30. They 
had now as much in their full possession as they had 
occasion for, and as they had hands to manage; so 
that the Canaanites only kept possession of some of 
the less cultivated parts of the country against the 
beasts of the field, till Israel, in process of time, 
siiould become numerous enough to replenish them, 
(2.) As to the after-prevalency of the Cana mites, 
that was purely the effect of Israel's cowardice and 
slothfulness, and the punishment of their sinful in- 
clination to the idolatries and other abominations 
of the heathen, which the Lord would have cast 
out before them, but they harboured and indulged 

So that the foundation of God stands sure: Israel's 
experience of God's fidelity is here upon record, 
and is an acquittance under their hands to the ho- 
nour of God, the vindication of his promise which 
had been so often distrusted, and the encourage- 
ment of all believers to the end of the world. There 
failed not anij ^ood thing, no, nor aught of any 
good thing, (so full is it expressed,) which the Lord 
had sfioken unto the house of Israel, but in due time 
all came to pass, v. 45. Such an acknowledgment 
us this, here subscribed by Joshua, in the name of 
all Israel, we afterward find made by Solomon, and 
all Israel did in effect say amen to it, 1 Kings 8. 56. 
I'he inviolable truth of God's promise, and the per- 
formance of it to the utmost, is what all the saints 
have been ready to bear their testimony to; and if 
in any thing it has seemed to come short, they have 
been as ready to own that they themselves must 
bear all the blame. 


Many particular things we have read concerning the two 
tribes and a half, tiiough nothing separated them from 
the rest of the tribes except the river Jordan, and this 
chapter is wholly concernina- them. I. Joshua's dismis- 
sion of the militia of those tribes from the camp of Israel, 
in which they had served as auxiliaries during all the 
wars of Canaan, and their return thereupon to their own 
country, V. 1. .9. II. The altar they built on the borders 
of Jordan, in token of their communion uith the land of 
Israel, v. 10. III. The offence which the rest of the tribes 
took at this altar, and the message they sent thereupon, 
V. 11 . .20. IV. The apology which the two tribes and a 
half made for what they had done, V. 21. .29. V. The sa- 
tisfaction which their apology gave to the rest of the 
tribes, v. 30. .34. And (which is strange) whereas in most 
differences that happen, there is a fault on both sides, on 
this there was fault on no side; none (for aught that ap- 
pears) were to be blamed, but all to be praised. 

THEN Joshua called the Reubenites, 
and the Gadites, and the half tribe 
of Manasseh, 2. And said tmto them, Ye 
have keot all that Moses the servant of the 

Lord commanded you, and have oU'^ycc 
my voice in all that I commanded you : 3 
V e have not left your brethren these man} 
days unto this day, but have kept the charge 
oi" the commandment of the Lord your 
God. 4. And now the Lord your God 
hath given rest unto your brethren, as he 
promised them : therefore now return ye, 
and get you unto your tents, and unto the 
land of your possession, v^'hich Moses the 
servant of the Lord gave you on the other 
side Jordan. 5. But take diligent heed 
to do the commandment and the law, which 
Moses the servant of the Lord charged 
you, to love the Lord your God, and to 
walk in all his ways, and to keep his com- 
mandments, and to cleave unto him, and to 
serve him with all your heart and with all 
your soul. 6. So Joshua blessed thrm, and 
s(;nt tliem away: and they went unto theii 
tents. 7. Now, to the o/zehalf of the tribe oi 
Manasseh Moses had ^wew possession in Ba 
shan;biit untothe o/Aer half thereof gave Josh- 
ua among their brethren on this side Jordan 
westward. And when Joshua sent them 
away also unto their tents, then he blessed 
them; 8. And he spake unto them, saying, 
Return with much riches imto your tents, 
and with very much cattle, with silver, and 
with gold, and with brass, and with iron, 
and with very much raiment: divide the 
spoil of your enemies with your brethren. 
9. And the children of ]leuben, and tlie 
children of Gad, and the half tribe of Ma- 
nasseh, returned, and departed from the 
children of Israel out of Shiloh, which is in 
the land of Canaan, to go unto the country 
of Gilead, to the land of their possession, 
whereof they were possessed, according to 
the word of the Lord by the hand oi 

The war being ended, and ended gloriously, 
Joshua, as a prudent general, disbands his army, 
who never designed to make war their trade, aiid 
sends them home to enjoy what they had conquer- 
ed, and to beat their swords into ploughshares, and 
their spears into pruning-hooks; and, particularly, 
the forces of these separate tribes, who had receiv- 
ed their inheritance on the other side Jordan from 
Moses, upon this condition, that their men of war 
should assist the other tribes in the conquest of Ca- 
naan, which they promised to do, Numb. 32. 32. 
and renewed the promise of Joshua at the opening 
of the cimpaign. Josh. 1. 16. And now that they 
had performed their bargain, Joshua publicly and 
solemnly in Shiloh gives them their discharge. 
Whether this was done, as it was])!aced, not till 
after the land was divided, as some think, (r 
whether after the war was ended, and before the 
di\ ision was made, as others think, (because there 
was no need of their assistance in dixiding the land, 
but only in conquering it, nor were there any of 
their tribes employed as commissioners in that affair, 
but only of the other ten. Numb. 34. 18, 8cc.) this is 
II certahi, it was not done till after Shiloh was made 



U\e head-quarters, v. 2. and the land was begun to 
be divided before thev removed from Gilgal, ch, 
14. 6. 

It is probable that this army of Reubenites and 
(iaditcs, which had led the van in all the wars of 
Canaan, had sometimes, in the intervals of action, 
, and when the rest of the army retired into winter- 
quarters, some of them, at least, made a step over 
Jordan, for it was not far, to visit their families, and 
*.) look after their private affairs, and perhaps tar- 
ried at home, and sent others in their room more 
serviceable; but still these two tribes and a half had 
their quota of troops ready, forty thousand in all, 
which, whenever there was occasion, rendered 
themselves at their respective posts, and now at- 
tended in a body to receive their discharge. Though 
t'leir affection to their families, and concern for 
then- affairs, could not but make them, after so long 
absence, very desirous to return, yet, like good sol- 
diers, they would not move till they had orders 
from their general. So though our heavenly Fa- 
ther's house above be never so desirable, (it is 
Bishop Hall's allusion,) yet must we stay on earth 
till our warfare be accomplished, wait for a due dis- 
charge, and not anticipate the time of our removal. 

I. Joshua dismisses them to the land of their pos- 
sesnion, v. 4. They that were first in the assignment 
nf their lot, were last in the enjoyment of it; they got 
the start of their brethren in title, but their breth- 
ren were before them in full possession ; so the last 
shall be first, and the first last, that there may be 
something of equality. 

II. He dismisses tliem with their pay; for who 
goes a warfare at his own charge? v. 8, Returri 
7vnh much riches unto your tents. Though all the 
land they had helped to conquer, was to go to the 
other tribes, yet they should ha\e their share of the 
plunder, and had so, and that was all the pay that 
any of the soldiers expected; f a- the wars of Canaan 
bore their own charges. "Go," says Joshua, "go 
Iv^me to your tents," that is, '• your houses," which 
he c ills imts, bee luse they had been so much used 
to tents in the wilderness; and indeed the strongest 
and stateliest hcmses in this world are to be looked 
upon but as tents, mean and moveable in compari- 
son with our house above. "Go home ivith much 
riches, not only cattle, the spoil of the country, but 
silver and gold, the plunder of the cities, and," 1. 
"Let your brethren whom you leave behind, have 
your good word, who have allowed you your share 
in full, though the land is entirely their's, and have 
not offered t) make any di'awback. Do not say that 
you are losers by us." 2. "Let your brethren 
whom you go to, who abode by the stuff, have some 
share of the spoil. Divide the sfioil with your breth- 
ren, as that was di^ ided, which was taken in the 
war with Mid'an, Numb. 31. 27. Let your breth- 
ren that ha\ e wanted you all this while, be the bet- 
ter for you when you come home." 

III. He dismisses them with a very honourable 
character. Though their ser\ ice was a due debt, 
and the performance of a promise, and they liad 
done no more than was their duty to do, yet he 
highly commends them; not only gives them up 
their bonds, as it were, now that they had fulfilled 
the condition, but applauds their good services. 
Though it was by the favour of God and his power, 
that Israel got possession of this land, and he must 
have all the glory, yet Joshua thought there was a 
thankful acknowledgment due to their brethren 
who assisted them, and whose sword and bow were 
employed for them. God must be chiefly eyed in 
our praises, yet instioimcnts must not be altogether 
o^•erlooked. He here commends them, 1. For the 
readiness of their obedience to their commanders, t'. 
'2. When Moses was gone, they remembered and 
observed the charge he had given them; and all the 

orders which Joshua, as general of the forces, had 
issued out, they had carefully obeyed, went, and 
came, and did, as he appointed. Matt. 8. 9. It is as 
much as any thing the soldier's praise, to observe 
the word of command. 2. For the constancy of 
their affection, and adherence to their brethren, 
Ye have not left them these many days. How many 
days, he does not say, nor can we gather it for cer- 
tain from any other place. Calvisius and others of 
the best chronologers compute, that the conquering 
and dividing the land was the work of about six or 
seven years, and so long, these separate tribes at- 
tended their camp, and did them the best service 
they could. Note, It will be the honour of those 
that have espoused the cause of God's Israel, and 
twisted interests with them, to adhere to them, and 
never to leave them till God has given them rest, 
and then they shall rest with them. 3. For the 
faithfulness of their obedience to the divine law. 
They had not only done their duty to Joshua and Is- 
rael, but, which was best of all, they had made 
conscience of their duty to God, Ye have kept the 
charge; or, as the word is. Ye have kept the keep- 
ing, that is, "Ye have carefully and circumspectly 
kept the commandment of the Lord your God; not 
only in this particular instance of continuing in the 
service of Israel to the end of the war, but, in gene- 
ral, you have kept up religion in your part of the 
camp, a rare and excellent thing among soldiers, 
and where it is worthy to be praised. " 

IV. He dismisses them with good counsel, not to 
cultivate their ground, foi-tify their cities, and now 
that their hands were inured to war and victory, to 
invade their neighbours, and so enlarge their own 
territories, but to keep up serious godliness among 
them in the power of it. They were not politic but 
pious instructions that he gave them, v. 5. In gen- 
eral, to take diligent heed to do the cortimandment 
and the law. They that have the commandment 
have it in vain, unless they do the commandment; 
and it will not be done aright, (so apt are we to turn 
aside, and so industrious are our spiritual enemies to 
turn us aside,) unless we take heed, diligent heed. 
In particular, to love the Lord our God, as the best 
of beings, and the best of friends, and as far as that 
principle rules in the heart, and is the spring of its 
pulses, there will be a constant care and sincere en- 
deavour to ivalk in his ways, in all his ways, even 
those that are narrow and up hill, in every particu- 
lar instance, and in all manner of conversation to 
keep his commandments; and at all times, and in all 
conditions, with purpose of heart to cleave unto him, 
and to serve him and his honour, and the interests 
of his kingdom among men, with all our heart, and 
with all our soul. What good counsel was here 
given to them, is given to us all; (iod give us grace 
to take it! 

V. He dismisses them with a blessing, v. 6. par- 
ticularly the half tribe of Manasseh, to which 
Joshua, as an Ephraimite, was somewhat nearer 
akin than to the other two, and who, perliaps, were 
the more loath to depart, because they left one half 
of their own tribe behind them, and therefore, bid- 
ding often farewell, and lingering behind, had a 
second dismission and blessing, v. 7. Joshua not 
only prayed for them as a friend, but blessed them 
as a father in the name of the Lord, recommending 
them, their families and affairs, to the grace of God. 
Some, by the blessing Joshua gave them, understand 
the presents he made them, in recompense of their 
services; but Joshua being a prophet, and having 
given them one part of a prophet's reward, in the 
instructions he gave them, v. 5. no doubt, we must 
understand this of the other, even the prayers he 
made for them, as one having authority, and as 
God's vicegerent. 

Being thus dismissed, they returned to the lana 



of their /lossession in a body, v. 9. ferry-boats being, 
it is likely, provided for their repassing Jordan. 
Though masters of families may have occasion to be 
absent, long absent, from their families sometimes, 
yet, when their business abroad is finished, they 
must remember home is their place, from which 
they ought not to wander as a bird from her nest. 

10. And when they came unto the bor-. 
ders of Jordan, that are in the land of Ca- 
naan, the children of Reuben, and the child- 
ren of Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, 
built there an altar by Jordan, a great altar 
to see to. 11. And the children of Israel 
heard say. Behold, the children of Reuben, 
and the children of Gad, and the half tribe 
of Manasseh, have built an altar over against 
the land of Canaan, in the borders of Jor- 
dan, at the passage of the children of Israel. 
1 2. And when the children of Israel heard 
of it, the whole congregation of the children 
of Israel gathered themselves together at 
Shiloh, to go up to war against them. 1 3. 
x\nd the children of Israel sent unto the 
children of Reuben, and to the children of 
Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, into 
the land of Gilead, Phinehas, the son of Ele- 
azar the priest; 14. And with him ten 
princes, of each chief house a prince through- 
out all the tribes of Israel ; and each one 
was a head of the house of their fathers 
among the thousands of Israel. 15. And 
they came unto the children of Reuben, 
and to the children of Gad, and to the half 
tribe of Manasseh, unto the land of Gilead ; 
and they spake with them, saying, IG. 
Thus saith the whole congregation of the 
Lord, What trespass is this that ye have 
committed against the God of Israel, to turn 
away this day from following the Lord, in 
that ye have builded you an altar, that ye 
might rebel this day against the Lord ? 17. 
Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from 
which we are not cleansed until this day, 
although there was a plague in the congre- 
gation of the Lord, 18. But that ye must 
turn away this day from following the Lord? 
and it will be, seeing ye rebel to-day against 
the Lord, that to-morrow he will be wroth 
with the whole congregation of Israel. 1 9. 
Notwithstanding, if the land of your posses- 
sion he unclean, then pass ye over unto the 
land of the possession of the Lord, wherein 
the Lord's tabernacle dwelleth, and take 
possession among us: but rebel not against 
the Lord, nor rebel against us, in building 
you an altar, besides the altar of the Lord 
our God. 20. Did not Achan the son of 
Zerah commit a trespass in the accursed 
thing, and wrath fell on all the congregation 
of Israel ? and that man perished not alone 
in his iniquitv. 

Vol. II.— M 

Here is, 

I. The pious care of the separated tribes to keep 
their hold of Canaan's religion, then when they 
were leaving Canaan's land, that they might not be 
as the sons of the stranger, utterly sefiarated from 
God's fieofile, Isa. 56. 3. In order to this, they 
built a great altar on the borders of Jordan, to be a 
witness for them that they were Israelites, and as 
such, /mrta/cers of the altar o/the Lord, 1 Cor. 10. 
18. When they came to Jordan, v. 10. they did not 
consult how to preserve the remembrance of their 
own exploits in the wars of Canaan, and the ser- 
vices they had done thcii- brethren, by erecting a 
monument to the immortal honour of the two tribes 
and a half. But their relation to the church of God, 
together with their interest in the communion of 
saints, is that which they are solicitous to preserve 
and perpetuate the proofs and evidences of; and 
therefore, without delay, when the thing was first 
proposed by some among them, who, though glad 
to think that they were going toward home, were 
sorry to think that they were going from the altai 
of God, immediately they erected this altar, which 
served as a bridge to keep up their fellowship with 
the other tribes in the things of God. Some think 
they built this altar on the Canaan-side of Jordan, 
in the lot of Benjamin, that looking over the river, 
they might see the figure of the altar at Shiloh, 
when they could not conveniently go to it; but it is 
more likely that they built it on their own side of 
the water, for what had they to do to build upon 
another man's land without his consent? And it is 
said to be over-against the land of Canaan, nor 
would there have been any cause of suspecting it 
designed for sacrifice, if they had not built it among 

This altar was very innocently and honestly de- 
signed, but it had been well, if, since it had in it an 
appearance of evil, and might be an occasion of of- 
fence to their brethren, they had consulted the 
oracle of God about it before they did it; or at least 
acquainted their brethren with tjieir purpose, and 
given them the same explication of their altar be- 
fore, to pre\ent their jealousy, which they did after, 
to remove it. Their zeal was commendable, but it 
ought to have been guided with discretion; there 
was no need to hasten the building of an altar for 
the pui-pose they intended this, but they might have 
taken time to consider and take advice; yet, when 
their sincerity was made to appear, we do not fiild 
that they were blamed for their rashness; God does, 
and men should, overlook the weakness of an h( n- 
est zeal. 

II. The holy jealousy of the other tribes for the 
honour of God, and his altar at Shiloh. Notice was 
immediately brought to the princes of Israel of the 
setting up this altar, t. 11. And they, knowing 
how strict and severe that law was, which required 
them to offer all their sacrifices in the place whicli 
God should choose, and not elsewhere, Deut. 12. 5, 
7. were soon apprehensive, that the getting up of 
another altar, was an affront to the choice which 
God had lately made of a place to put his name in, 
and had a direct tendency to the worship of some 
other God. 

Now, 1. Their suspicion was very excusable, for 
it must be confessed, X.\\q rhm^ firima facie — atjiriit 
sight, looked ill, and seemed to shadow forth a de- 
sign to set up and maintain a competitor with the 
altar at Shiloh. It was no strained inuendo, from 
the building an altar, to infer an intention to offer 
sacrifice upon it, and that might introduce idolatry , 
and end in a total apostasy from the faith and wor- 
ship of the God of Israel. So great a matter might 
this fire kindle. God is jealous for his own institu- 
tions, and therefore we should be so too, and afraid 
of every thing that looks like, or leads to, idolatry. 



2. Their zeal, upon this suspicion, was very com- 
mendable, V. 12. When they apprehended that 
these tribes, which by the river Jordan were sepa- 
r.ited from them, were separating themselves from 
God, they took it as the greatest injury that could 
be done to themselves, and showed a readiness, if it 
were necessary, to put their lives in their hands, in 
defence of the altar of God, and to take up arms for 
the chastising and reducing of these rebels, and to 
prevent the spreading of tlie infection, if no gentle 
methods would serve, by cutting off from their body 
the gangrened member. They all gathered toge- 
ther, and Shiloh was the place of their rendezvous, 
bec.iuse it was in defence of the divine charter lately 
granted to that place, that they now appeared; 
their resolution was as became a kingdom of priests, 
who, being devoted to God and his service, did not 
acknowledge their brethren, nor knoiv their onvn 
children, Deut. 33. 9. They would immediately 
go iifi to war agaiiiHt them, if it ap])cared they were 
revolted from God, and in rebellion against him: 
though they were bo7ie of their bone, had been com- 
fianions with them in tribulation in tiie wilderness, 
and serviceable to them in the wars of Canaan; yet 
if they turn to serve other gods, they will treat 
them as enemies, not as sons of Israel, but as chil- 
dren of whoredoms, for so God had appointed, 
Deut. 13. 12, &c. Tliey had but lately sheathed 
their swords, and retired from the perils and fa- 
tigues of war to the rest God had given them, and 
yet they are willing to begin a new war, rather than 
be any way wanting in their duty to restrain, re- 
press, and revenge idolatry, and every step towards 
It. A brave resolution, and Avhich shows them 
hearty for their religion, and, we hope careful and 
diligent in tlie practice of it themselves. Corrup- 
tions in religion are best dealt witli at first, before 
they get a head, and plead prescription. 

3. Their prudence in prosecution of this zealous 
resolution, is no less commendable. God had ap- 
pointed tlicm in cases of this nature, to in(juire and 
make search, Deut. 13. 14. that they might not 
wrong their Ijrethren under pretence of righting 
tlieir religion; accordingly, they resolve here not 
to send forth their armies to wage war, till they 
had first sent their ambassadors to inquire into the 
merits of the cause, and these men of the first rank, 
one out of each tribe, and Phinehas at the head of 
them to be their spokesman, v. 13, 14. Thus was 
their zccd for Godtempccd, guided, and governed 
by the meekness of tvisdom. He that knows all 
tilings, and hates al! evil things, would not punish 
tlie worst of criminals, but he would first go down 
and see. Gen. 18. 21. Many an unhappy strife 
would be prevented, or soon taken up, by an im- 
p.irtial and fivourable inquiry into that which is the 
matter of the offence. The I'ectifying of mistakes 
and misunderstandings, and the setting of miscon- 
strued words and actions in a true light, would be 
the most effectual way to accommodate both pri- 
vate and public quarrels, and bring them to a happy 

4. The ambassadors' management of this matter 
came fully up to the sense and spirit of the congre- 
gation concerning it, and bespeaks much both of 
zeal and prudence. 

(1.) The charge they draw up against their bre- 
thren, is indeed very liigli, and admits no other ex- 
cuse than that it was in their zeal foi- the honour of 
God, and was now intended to justify the resent- 
ments of the congregation at Shiloh, and to awaken 
the supposed delinquents to clear themselves, 
otherwise they might have suspected their judg- 
ment, or mollified it at least, and not have taken it 
for granted, as they do here, v. 16. that the build- 
ing of this altar was a trespass against the God of 
Israel, and a trespass, no less heinous than the re- 

volt of soldiers from their captain, fto turn from 
following the Lord,) and the rebi'llion of suljjects 
against their sovereign (that ye might rebel this day 
against the Lord. ) Hard words! It is well they 
were not able to make good their chaige. Let not 
innocency think it strange to be thus misrepresent- 
ed and accused; they laid to my charge things that 
I knew not. 

(2.) The aggravation of the crime charged upon 
their brethren, is somewhcit fir-fe/ched, v. 17. Is 
the iniquity of Peor too Utile for us? Probably, that 
is mentioned, because Phinehas, the first commis- 
sioner in this treaty, had signalized himself in that 
matter. Numb. 25. 7. and because we may suppose 
they were now about the very place in which that 
iniquity was committed on the other side Jordan. 
It is good to rec< llect and improve those instances 
of the wrath of God, revealed from heaven against 
the ungodliness and uririghteousness of men, which 
have fallen out in our own time, and which we our- 
selves have been eye-witnesses of. He reminds 
them of the iniquity of Peor, [1.] As a very great 
sin, and very provoking to God. The building of 
this altar seemed but a Small matter, but it might 
lead to iniquity as bad as that of Peor, and there- 
fore must be crushed in its first rise. Note, The re- 
membrance of great sinscommittedformerly, should 
engage us to stand upon our guard against the least 
occasions and beginnings of sin: for tlie way of sin is 
down hill. [2.] As a sin that the whole congregation 
had smarted for; There was a plague in the congre- 
gation of the Lord, of which, in one day, there died no 
less than twenty-four thousand; was not that enough 
for ever to warn you against idolatry } What, will ycu 
bring upon yourselves another plague.'' Are you so 
mad upon an idolatrous altar, that you will run your- 
selves thus upon the sword's point of God's judg- 
ments!* Does not our camp still feel from that sin, 
and the punishment of it.'' We are not cleansed 
from it unto this day; there are remaining sparks," 
First, "Of the infection of that sin; some among 
us so inclined to idolatry, that if yoti set up another 
altar, they will soon take occasion from that, whe- 
ther you intend it or no, to worship ariother god." 
Seco7idly, "Of the wrath of God against us for 
that sin: we have reason to fear, that if we provoke 
God by another sin to visit, he will remember 
against us the iniquity of Peor, as he threatened to 
do that of the golden calf, Exod. 32. 34. And dare 
you wake the sleeping lion of divine vengeance?" 
Note, It is a foolish and dangerous thing for people 
to think their former sins Httle, too little for them, 
as those do who add sin to sin, and so treasure ufi 
wrath against the day of wrath. Let therefore the 
time past suffice, 1 Pet. 4. 3. 

(3.) The reason they give for their concerning 
themselves so warmly in this matter, is \ ery suffi- 
cient; they were obliged to it, in their own neces- 
sary defence, by the law cf self-preservation; "for 
if you revolt from God to-day, who knows, but to- 
morrow, his judgments may break in upon the 
whole congregation, v. 18. as in the case of Achan, 
V. 20. He sinned, and we all smarted fin- it, by 
which we should receive insti-uction, and from what 
God did then, infer what we may do, and fear what 
he will do, if we do not witness against your sin, 
who are so many, and ])unish it.-"' Note, The con- 
servators of the public peace are obliged, in justice 
to the common safety, to use their ]).nver for the 
restraining and so suppressing of vice and ])rofane- 
ness, lest, if it be connived at, the sin thereby be- 
come national, and bring God's judgments upon the 
community. Nay, We are all concerned therefore 
to reprove our neighbour wlien he does amiss, lest 
we bear sin for him. Lev. 19. 17. 

(4.) The offer they make is v ery fair and kind, 
V. 19. that if they thought the land of their pos- 



session unclean for want of an altar, and therefore 
could not be easy without one, rather than they 
should set up another in competition with that of 
Shiloh, they should be welcome to come back to 
the land where the Lord^s tabernacle ivas, and set- 
tle there, and they would very willingly straiten 
themselves to make room for them. By this they 
showed a sincere and truly pious zeal against 
schism, that rather than their brethren should have 
any occasion to set up a separate altar, though their 
pretence for it, as here supposed, was very weak, 
and grounded upon a great mistake, jet they were 
willing to part with a considerable share of the land 
which God himself had by the lot assigned them, 
to comprehend them and take them in among them. 
This was the spirit of Isi'aelites indeed. 

21. Then the children of Reuben, and 
tlie children of Gad, and the half tribe of 
Manasseb, answered and said unto the 
heads of the thousands of Israel, 22. The 
Lord God of gods, the Lord God of gods, 
he knoweth, and Israel he shall know ; if it 
be in rebellion, or if in transgression against 
the Lord, (save us not this day,) 23. That 
we have built us an altar to turn from fol- 
lowing the Lord, or if to offer thereon 
burnt-offering or meat-offering, or if to offer 
peace-offerings thereon, let the Lord him- 
self require it; 21. And if we have not 
rather done it for fear of this thing, sa}'ing, 
In time to come your children might speak 
unto our children, saying. What have you 
to do with the Lord God of Israel ? 25. 
For the Lord hath made Jordan a border 
between us and you ; ye children of Reu- 
ben, and children of Gad, ye have no part 
in the Lord : so shall your children make 
our children cease from fearing the Lord. 
26. Therefore we said. Let us now prepare 
to build us an altar, not for burnt-offering, 
nor for sacrifice : 27. But that it mai/ he a 
witness between us and you, and our gene- 
rations after us, that we might do the ser- 
vice of the Lord before him with our 
burnt-offerings, and with our sacrifices, and 
with our peace-offerings ; that your children 
may not say to our children in time to come, 
Ye have no part in tiie Lord. 28. There- 
fore said we, that it shall be, when they 
should so say to us, or to our generations in 
time to come, that we may say again, Be- 
hold the pattern of the altar of the Lord, 
which our fathers made, not for burnt-offer- 
ings, nor for sacrifices ; but it is a witness 
between us and you. 29. God forbid that 
we should rebel against the Lord, and turn 
this day from following the Lord, to build 
an altar for burnt-offerings, for meat-offer- 
ings, or for sacrifices, besides the altar of the 
Lord our God that is before his tabernacle. 

We may suppose there was a general convention 
called cf the princes and great men of the separate 
tribes, to give audience to these ambassadors; or 

perhaps, the army, as it came home, were still en- 
camped together in a body, and not yet dispersed; 
however it was, there were enough to represent the 
two tribes and a half, and to give their sense. 

Their reply to the warm remonstrance of the 
ten tribes is very fair and ingenuous. Tliey do not 
retort their charge, upbraid them with the injus- 
tice and unkindness of their threatenings, or re- 
proacli them for tUeir rash and hasty t cnsui'es; but 
give them th-.t soft answer which turns away 
wrath, avoiding all those grievoim words which atir 
up anger; they demur not to vheir jurisdiction, nor 
plead that they were not accnuntab'e to them for 
what tliey had done, nc r bid them m nd their own 
business; but, by a free and ojien declaration of 
their sincete intention in wliat they did, free them- 
selves from the imputation they were under, and 
set tl\emselvcs right in the opinion of tlieir bre- 
thren; to do which they only needed to state the 
case, and put the matter in a true light. 

I. They solemnly protest against any design to 
use this altar for sacrifice or offering, and therefore 
were far from setting it up in competition with the 
altar at Shiloh, or from entertaining the least 
thought of deserting that. They had indeed set 
up that which had the shape and tashion of an altar, 
but they had not dedicated it to a religious use, had 
had no solemnity of its consecration, and therefore 
ought not to be charged with a design to put it to 
any such use. To gain credit to this protestation, 
here is, 

1. A solemn appeal to God concerning it, with 
which they begin their defence, intending thereby 
to give glory to God first, and then to give satisfac- 
tion to their brethren, v. 22. 

(1. ) A profound awe and reverence of God are ex- 
pressed in theybrm of their appeal; 77;e Lord God 
of gods, the I^ord God of gods, lie kriows. Or, as it 
might be read somewhat closer to tlie original, 7 he 
(^od of gods, Jehovah, the God of gods, Jehovah, he 
kjtows; which bespeaks his self-existence and self- 
sufficiency, he is Jehovah, and has sovereignty and 
supremacy over all beings and powers v. hatsoever, 
even those that ai'e called gods, or that are wor- 
shipped. This Ijrief confession of their faith would 
help to obviate and remove their brethren's suspi- 
cion of them, as if tliey intended to desert the God 
of Israel, and worship other gods: how could they 
entertain such a thought, who believed him to be 
God over all? Let us learn hence always to speak 
of God with reverence and seriousness, and to men- 
tion his name with a solemn j^ause. Those who 
make their appeals to heaven with a slight, care- 
less, " God knows!" have reason to fear lest they 
take his name in vain, for it is very unlike this 

(2. ) It is a great confidence of their own integrity, 
which they express in the matter of their appeaL 
They refer the controversy to the Grd of gods, 
whose judgment, we are sure, is according to truth, 
such as the guilty have reason to dread, and the up- 
right to rejoice in. " -//'it be in rebellion or trans- 
gression that we have built this altar, to confront 
the altar of the Lord at Shiloh, to make a party, or 
to set up any new gods or worships;" [1.] "He 
knows it, V. 22. for he is perfectly acquainted with 
the thoughts and intents of the heart, and ])articu- 
larly with all inclinations to idolatry, Ps. 44. 20, 21. 
that is in a particular manner before him, we be- 
lieve he knows it, and we cannot by any arts con- 
ceal it from him." [2.] " Let him require it, as we 
know he will, for he is a jealous God." Nothing 
but a clear conscience would have thus imprecated 
divine justice to avenge the rebellion, if there had 
been any. Note, First, In every thing we do in re- 
I ligion, it highly concerns us to appr. ve ourselves to 
1 God in our integrity therein, remembering that he 



knows the heart. Secondly, When we fall under 
the censures of men, it is very comfortable to be 
able with a humble confidence to appeal to God 
concerning our sincerity. See 1 Cor. 4. 3, 4. 

2. A sober apology presented to their brethren. 
Israel, he shall know. Though the record on high, 
and the witness in our bosoms, are principally to be 
made sure for us, yet there is a satisfaction besides, 
which we owe to our brethren, who doubt concern- 
ing our integrity, and which we should be ready to 
give with meekness and fear. . If our sincerity be 
known to God, we should study likewise to let 
others know it by its fruits, especially those, who, 
though they mistake us, yet show a zeal for the 
glory of God, as the ten tribes here did. 

3. A serious abjuration or renunciation of the de- 
sign which they were suspected to be guilty of. 
With this they conclude their defence, v. 29. "God 
forbid that we should rebel against the Lord, as we 
own we should, if we had set up this altar for bumt- 
ofFerings; no, we abhor the thought of it We have 
as great a value and veneration for the altar of the 
Lord at Shiloh, as any of the tribes of Israel have, 
and are as firmly resolved to adhere to it, and con- 
stantly to attend it; we have the same concern that 
you have for the purity of God's worship, and the 
unity of his church; far be it, far be it from us, to 
think of turning away from following God." 

II. They fully explain their true intent and 
meaning in building this altar; and we have all the 
reason in the world to believe that it is a true re- 
presentation of their design, and not advanced now 
to palliate it afterwai-d; as we have reason to think 
that these same persons meant very honestly, when 
they petitioned to have their lot on that side Jordan, 
though then also it was their unhappiness to be mis- 
understood even by Moses himself. 

In their vindication they make it out, that the 
building of this altar was so far from being a step 
toward a separation from their brethren, and from 
the altar of the Lord at Shiloh, that, on the contra- 
ry, it was really designed for a pledge and preser- 
vitive of their communion with their brethren, and 
with the altar of God, and a token of their resolu- 
tion to do the service of the Lord before him, v. 27. 
and to continue to do so. 

1. They ga\ e an account of the fears they had, 
lest in process of time, their posterity, being seated 
at S!ich a distance from the tabernacle, should be 
looked upon and treated as strangers to the com- 
monwealth of Israel, V. 24. it was for fear of this 
thing, and the word signifies a great perplexity and 
solicitude of mind which they were in, until they 
eased themseh es by this expedient. As they were 
returning home, (and we may suppose it was not 
thought of before, else they would have made 
Joshua acquainted with their purpose,) some of 
them in dicourse started this matter, and the rest 
took the hint, and represented to themsehes and 
one another, a very melancholy prospect of what , 
might, probably, happen in after-ages, that their j 
children would be looked upon by the other tribes ; 
as having no interest in the altar of God, and the 
sacrifices there offered. Now indeed they were 
owned as brethren, and were as welcome at the ta- 
bernacle as any other of the tribes; but what if their 
cliildren after them should be disowned? They by 
reason of their distance, and the interposition of 
Jordan, which it was not easy at all times to pass 
and repass, could not be so numerous and constant 
in their attendance on the three yearly feasts as the 
other tribes to make a continual claim to the privi- 
leges of Israelites, and would therefore be looked 
upon as inconsiderable members of their church, 
and by degrees would be rejected as not members 
of it at all, so shall your children, (who in their 
pride will be apt to monopolize the privileges of the 

altar,) make our children (who perhaps will not be 
so careful as they ought to be to keep hold of those 
privileges) cease from fearing- the Lord. Note, (1.) 
They that are cut off from public ordinances, are 
likely to lose all religion, and will by degrees ^ase 
fi-om fearing the Lord. Though the form and pro- 
fession of godliness are kept up by many without 
the life and power of it, yet the life and power of it 
will not long be kept up without the form and pro- 
fession of it. You take away grace, if you take away 
the means of grace. (2.) They who have them- 
selves found the comfort and benefit of God's ordi- 
nances, cannot but desire to preserve and perpetuate 
the entail of them upon their seed, and use all pos- 
sible precautions that their children after them 
may not be made to cease from following the Lord, 
or be looked upon as havmg no part in him. 

2. The project they had to prevent this, v. 26- • 
28. "Therefore to secure an interest in the altar 
of God to those who shall come after us, and to 
prove their title to it, ive said, Let us build an altar, 
to be a witness between us and you." That having 
this copy of the altar in their custody, it might be 
produced as an evidence of their right to the privi- 
leges of the original. Every one that saw this altar, 
and observed it was never used for sacrifice and of- 
fering, would inquire what was the meaning of it, 
and this answer would be given to that inquiry, that 
it was built by those separate tribes, in token of 
their communion with their brethren, and their 
joint-interest with them in the altar of the Lord. 
Christ is the great Altar that sanctifies every gift; 
the best evidence of our interest in him will be the 
pattern of his Spirit in our hearts, and our confor- 
mity to him : if we can produce that, it will be testi- 
mony for us, that we have a part in the Lord, and 
an earnest for our perse\ erance in following him. 

30. And when Phinehas the priest, and 
the princes of the congregation, and heads 
of the thousands of Israel which were with 
him, heard the words that the children of 
Reuben and the children of Gad, and the 
children of Manasseh, spake, it pleased 
them. 31. And Phinehas the son of Elea- 
zar the priest said unto the children of Reu- 
ben, and to the children of Gad, and to the 
children of Manasseh, This day we perceive 
that the Lord is among us, because ye have 
not committed this trespass against the 
Lord : now ye have delivered the children 
of Israel out of the hand of the Lord. 32. 
And Phinehas the son of Elea zar the priest, 
and the princes, returned from the children 
of Reuben, and from the children of Gad, 
out of the land of Gilead, unto the land of 
Canaan, to the children of Israel, and 
brought them word again. 33. And the 
thing pleased the children of Israel ; and 
the children of Israel blessed God, and did 
not intend to go up against them in battle, 
to destroy the land wherein the children of 
Reuben and Gad dwelt. 34. And the 
children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, 
called the altar Ed : for it shall be a witness 
between us that the Lord is God. 

We have here the good issue of this controversy, 
which, if there had not been on both sides a dispo- 
sition to peace, as there was on both sides a zeal for 



(Jod, might have been of ill consequence; for quar- 
rels about religion, for want of wisdom and love, 
often prove the most fiei'ce and most difficult to be 
tiiken up. But these contending parties, when the 
matter was fairly stated and argued, were so happy 
as to undei'stand one another very well, and so the 
difference was presently compromised. 

1. The ambassadors' were exceedingly pleased, 
when the separate tribes had given in a protesta- 
tion of the innocency of their intentions in building 
this altar. (1.) The ambassadors did not call in 
question their sincerity in that protestation, did not 
s ly, " You tell us you design it not for sacrifice and 
offering, but who can believe you? What security 
will you give us that it shall never be so used? ' 
No, charity believes all things, ho/ies all things, be- 
lieves and hopes the best, and is very loath to give 
the lie to any. 

(2. ) They did not upbraid them with the rashness 
and unadvisedness of this action; did not tell them, 
" If you would do such a thing, and with this good 
intention, yet you might have had that respect for 
Joshua and Eleazar, as to have advised with them, 
or at least have made them acquainted with it, and 
so have saved the trouble and expense of this em- 
bassy." But a little want of consideration and good 
manners should be excused and overlooked in those 
who, we have reason to think, mean honestly. (3. ) 
Much less did they go about to fish for evidence to 
make out their charge, because they had once exhi- 
bited it, but were glad to have their mistake recti- 
fied, and were not at all ashamed to own it. Proud 
and peevish spirits, when they have past an unjust 
censure upon their brethren, though ne\er so much 
convincing evidence be brought of the injustice of it, 
will stand to it, and can by no means be persuaded 
to retract it. These ambassadors were not so pre- 
judiced; their brethren's vindication pleased them, 
V. 30. They looked upon their innocency as a token 
of God's presence, v. 31. especially when they 
found what was done, was so far from being an in- 
dication of their growing cool to the altar of God, 
that, on the conti-ary, it was a fruit of their zealous 
affection to it; Ye have delivered the children of Is- 
rael out of the hand of the Lord, that is, "You 
have not, as we feared, delivered them into the hand 
of the Lord, or exposed them to his judgments, by 
the trespass we were jealous of." 

2. The congregation was abundantly satisfied, 
when their ambassadors reported to them their 
Iirethren's apology for what they had done. It 
should seem, they staid together, at least by their 
representatives, until they heard the issue, v. 32. 
And when they understood the truth of the matter, 
it pleased them, v. 33. and they blessed God. 
Note, Our brethren's constancy in religion, their 
7,eal for the power of godliness, and their keeping 
the unity of the S/iirit in faith and love, notwith- 
standing the jealousies conceived of them as break- 
ing the unity of the church, are things which we 
should be very glad to be satisfied of, and should 
make the matter both of our rejoicing and of our 
thanksgiving; let God have the glory of it, and let 
us take the comfort of it. Being thus' satisfied, they 
laid down their arms immediately, and were so far 
from any thoughts of prosecuting the war they had 
been meditating against their brethren, that we may 
suppose them wishing for the next feast, when they 
should meet them at Shiloh. 

3. The separate tribes were gratified, and since 
they had a mind to preserve among them this pat- 
tern of the altar of ( lod, though there was not likely 
to be that occasion for it which they fancied, yet 
Joshua and the princes let them have their humour, 
and did not give orders for the demolishing of it, 
though there was as much reason to fear that it 
might in process of time be an occasion of idolatry. 

as there was to hope that ever it might be a preser- 
vation from idolatry. Thus did the strong bear the 
infirmities of the weak. Oniy,care was taken that they 
having explained the meaning of their altar, that 
it was intended for no more than a testimony of theit 
communion with the altar at Shiloh, this explana 
tion should be recorded, which was done according 
to the usage of those times, by giving a name to it, 
signifying so much, v. 34. they called it Ed, a -wit- 
ness, to that and no more. A witness of the relation 
they stood in to God and Israel, and of their concur- 
rence with the rest of the tribes in the same common 
faith, that Jehovah he is God, he and no other. It 
was a witness to posterity of their care to transmit 
their religion pure and entire to them, and would 
be a witness against them if e\ er they should forsake 
God, and turn from following after him. 


In this and the following- chapter we have two farewell ser- 
mons, which Joshua preached to the people of Israel a 
little before his death. Had he designed to gratify the 
curiosity of succeeding ages, he would rather have re- 
corded the method of Israel's settlement in their new 
conquests, their husbandry, manufactures, trade, cus- 
toms, courts of justice, and the constitutions of their 
infant commonwealth, which one would wish to be 
informed of; but that which he intended in the registers 
of this book, was, to entail on posterity a sense of reli- 
gion and their duty to God; and therefore, overlooking 
these things which are the usual subjects of a common 
history, he here transmits to his reader the methods he 
took to persuade Israel to be faithful to their covenant 
with their God, which might have a good influence on the 
generations to come who should read those reasonings, 
as we may hope the^ had on that p-eneration which then 
hem-d them. In this chapter we have, I. A convention 
of the states called, v. 1, 2. probably to consult about 
the common concerns of their land, and to set in order 
that which, after some years' trial, being left to their 
prudence, was found wanting. II. Joshua's speech to 
them at the opening, or perhaps, at the concluding, of 
the sessions, to hear which was the principal design of 
their coming together. In it, 1. Joshua reminds them 
of what God had done for them, v. 3, 4, 9, 14. and what 
he was ready to do yet further, v. 5, 10. 2. He exhorts 
them carefully and resolutely to persevere in their auty 
to God, v. 6, 8, 11. III. He cautions them against all 
familiarity with their idolatrous inmates, v. 7. IV. He 
g-ives them fair warning of the fatal consequences of it, 
if they should revolt from God and turn to idols, v. 12, 
13, 13, 16. In all which he showed himself zealous for 
his God, and jealous over Israel with a godly jealousy. 

1. A ND it came to pass, a long time af- 
-IM. ter that tfie Lord had given rest 
unto Israel from all their enemies round 
about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken 
in age. 2. And Joshua called for all Israel, 
and for their elders, and for their heads, and 
for their judges, and for their officers, and 
said unto them, I am old and stricken in 
age: 3. And ye have seen all that the 
Lord your God hath done unto all these 
nations because of you : for the Lord your 
God is he that hath fought for you. 4. Be- 
hold, I have divided unto you by lot these 
nations that remain, to be an inheritance for 
your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations 
that I have cut off, even unto the great sea 
westward. 5. And the Lord your God, 
he shall expel them from before you, and 
drive them from out of your sight; and ye 
shall possess their land, as the I^ord your 
God hath promised unto you 6. Be ye 


JOSHUA, xxin. 

therefore verv courageous, to keep and to do 
all that is written in the book of the law of 
Moses, tiiat ye turn not aside therefrom to 
the right hand or to the left ; 7. That ye 
come not among these nations, these that 
remain among you ; neither make mention 
of the name of their gods, nor cause to 
swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow 
yourselves unto them : 8. But cleave unto 
the Lord your God, as ye have done unto 
this day. 9. For the Lord hath driven out 
from before you great nations and strong : 
but as for you, no man hath been able to 
stand before you unto this day. 10. One 
man of you shall chase a thousand : for the 
Lord your God, he it is that fighteth for 
you, as he hath promised you. 

As to the date of this edict of Joshua's, 

I. No mentirn at all is made of the place where 
this {general assembly was held; some think it was 
at Timnath-serah, Joshua's own city, where he 
lived, and whence, being old, Jie could not well re- 
move: but ;t does not appear that he took so much 
state upon him, therefore it is more probable this 
meeting was at Shiloh, where the tabernacle of 
meeting was, and to which place, perhaps, all the 
males that could, were now come up to worship be- 
fore the Lord, at one of the three great feasts, 
which Joshua took the opportunity of, for the deli- 
vering of this charge to them. 

II. There is only a general mention of the time 
when this was done. It was lonsf after the Lord 
had given them rest, but it is not said how long, v. 
1. It was, 1. So long as that Israel had time to feel 
the comforts ot their rest and possessions in Canaan, 
and to enj ly the advantages of that good land. 2. 
So long as that Joshua had time to observe which 
way their danger lav of being corrupted, namely, by 
their intimicy with the Canaanites, that remained, 
aganist which he is therefore careful to arm them. 

III. The i)ersons to whom Joshua made this 
speech, to all Israel, e-uen their elders, &c. So it 
might be read, i'. 2. tliev could not all come within 
hearmg, but he called for all the elders, that is, the 
privy-counsellors, which in latter times constituted 
the great Sanhedrim, the heads of the tribes, that 
is, the noblemen and gentlemen of their respective 
countries, the judges learned in the laws, that tried 
criminals and causes, and gave judgment upon 
them — and, lastlu, tlie officers or sheriffs, who were 
intrusted with the execution of those judgments. 
These Joshua called together, and to them he ad- 
dressed himself, 1. That they might communicate 
what he said, or at least the sense and substance of 
it, to those under them in their respective countries, 
and so this charge might be dispersed through the 
whole nation. 2. Because if they would be prevail- 
ed with to serve God and cleave to him, they, by 
their influence on the common people, would keep 
them right. If great men be good men, they will 
help to make many good men. 

IV. Joshua's circumstances when he gave them 
this charge; he was old and stricken in age, t. 1. 
probably, it was in the last year of his life, and he 
lived to' be one hundred and ten years old, ch. 24. 29. 
And he himself takes notice of it, in the first words 
of his discourse, v. 2. when he began to be old, some 
years ago, God reminded him of it, ch. 13. 1, 
Tho7i art old. But now that he did himself feel so 
much of the decavs of age that he needed not to be 
told of it, he readily speaks of it himself, lam old 

and stricken m age. He uses it, 1. As an argument 
with himself to give them this charge, because be- 
ing old he could expect to be but a little while with 
them to advise and instruct them, and therefore 
(as St. Peter speaks, 2 Pet. 1. 13. ) as long as he is 
in this tabernacle, he will take all opportunities to 
fiut than in remembrance of their duty, knowing 
by the increasing infirmities of age, that he must 
shortly put off this tabernacle, and desirfng that af- 
ter his decease they might continue as good as they 
were now. When we see death hastening towards 
us, that should quicken us to do the work of dfe 
with all our might. 2. As an argument with them 
to give heed to what he said. He was old and ex- 
perienced, and therefore to be the more regarded, 
for days should speak; he was grown old m their 
service, and had spent himself for their good, and 
therefore was to be the more regarded by them. 
He was old and dying, they would not have him 
long to preach to them, therefore let them observe 
what he said now, and lay it up in store for the 
time to come. 

V. The discourse itself, the scope of which is to 
engage them, if possible, them, and their seed after 
them, to persevere in the true faith and worship of 
the God of Israel. 

1. He puts them in mind of the great things God 
had done for them, now in his days, and under his 
administration, for here he goes no further back. 
And for the proof of this, he appeals to their own 
eves, V. 3, " Ye have seen all that the Lord your 
Ciod hath done, not what I ha\ e done, or what you 
have done, we were only instruments in God's hand, 
but what God himself has done by me, and for you." 
(1.) "Many great and mighty nations (as the rate of 
nations then went) were driven out from as fine a 
country as any was <at that time upon the face of the 
earth, to make room for Israel. " "You see what 
he has done to these nations who were his creatures, 
the work of his hands, and whom he could have 
made new creatures, and fit for his service; yet see 
what destruction he has made of them because of 
you, V. 3. how he has driven them out from before 
you, V. 9. as if they were of no account with him, 
though great and strong in comparison with you. " 
(2.) They were not only driven out, (that they 
might have been, and yet sent to some other coun- 
try less rich, to begin a new plantation there, sup- 
pose to that wilderness in wl-./ch Israel had wander- 
ed so long, and so they had only exchanged seats 
with them,) but they were trodden down before 
them; though they held out against them with the 
greatest obstinacy that could be, yet they were 
subdued before them, which made the possessing 
of their land so much the more glorious to Israel, 
and so much the more illustrious an instance of the 
power and goodness of the God of Israel, v. 3. 
" The Lord your God has not only led you, and fed 
you, and kept you, but he has fought for you as a 
man of war, by which title he was known among 
them when he first brought them out of Egypt, 
Exod. 15. 3. So clear and cheap were all their 
victories during the course of th*s long war, that no 
man had been able to stand before them, v. 9. that is, 
to make head against them, so as either to put 
them in fear, create them any difficulty, or give 
any check to the progress of their victorious arms. 
In every battle they carried the day, and in every 
siege they carried the city; their loss before Ai was 
upon a particular occasion, was inconsiderable, and 
only served to show them on what terms thev stood 
with God; but otherwise, niever was army crowned 
with such a constant vminterrupted series of succes- 
ses, as the armies of Israel were in the wars of Ca- 
naan. (3.) They had not only conquered the Ca 
naanites, but were put in full possessi'm of their 
land, V. 4, " / haz'e divided to you by lot these na 

JOSHUA, XX 1 11. 


tions, both tliose -*-hich are cut off, and those which 
remain, not only that you may spoil and plunder 
them, and live at discretion in them for a time, but 
to be a sure and lasting inheritance for your tribes. 
You have it not only under your feet, but in your 

2. He assures them of God's readiness to carry 
on, and complete, this glorious work in due time. It 
is true, some of the Canaanites did yet remain, and 
in some places were strong and daring, but that 
should be no disappointment to their expectations; 
when Israel was so multiplied as to be able to re- 
plenish this land, God would expel the Canaanites 
to the last man, provided Israel would pursue their 
advantages, and carry on the war against them with 
vigour, T'. 5, " The Lord your God ivill drive 
them from out of your sight, so that there shall not 
be a Canaanite to be seen in the land; and even that 
part of the country which is yet in their hands, ye 
shall possess. " If it were objected, that, the men 
of war of the several tribes being dispersed to their 
respective countries, and the army disbanded, it 
would be difficult to get them together when there 
was occasion to renew the war upon the remainder 
of the Canaanites; in answer to that, he tells them 
what little need they had to be in care about the 
numbers of their forces, v. 10, One man of you 
shall chase a thousand, as Jonathan did, 1 Sam. 
14. 13. '* Each tribe may venture for itself, and 
for the recovery of its own lot, without fearing dis- 
advantage by the disproportion of numbers; for 
the Lord your God, whose all power is, both to di- 
spirit and to (/wpirit, and who has all creatures at 
his beck, he it is, that Jii^hteth for you; and how 
many do you reckon him for?" 

3. He hereupon most earnestly charges them to 
adhere to their duty, to go on and persevere in the 
good ways of the Lord wherein they were so well set 
out. He exhorts them, 

(1. ) To be very courageous, v. 6. " God fighteth 
for you against your enemies, do you therefore be- 
have yourselves valiantly for him. Keep and do 
with a firm resolution all that is written in the book 
of the law." He presses upon them no more than 
what they were already bound to. "Keep with 
care, do with diligence, and eye what is written 
with sincerity." 

(2. ) To be very cautious. " Take heed of missing 
it, either on the right hand, or on the left, for there 
are errors and extremes on both hands. Take heed 
of running either into a profane neglect of any of 
God's institutions, or into a superstitious addition of 
any of your own inventions." They must especially 
take heed of all approaches toward idolatry, the sin 
to which they were first inclined, and would be 
most tempted, v. 7. [1.] They must not acquaint 
themselves with idolaters, nor come among them to 
visit them, or be present at any of their feasts or 
entertainments, for they could not contract any inti- 
macy, or keep up any conversation with them, 
without danger of infection. [2.] They must not 
show the least respect to any idol, nor make men- 
tion of the name of their Gods, but endeavour to 
buiy the remembrance of them in perpetual obli- 
vion, that the worship of them may never be re- 
vived; let the very name of them be forgotten. 
" Look upon idols as filthy detestable things, not to 
be named without the utmost loathing and detesta- 
tion." The Jews would not suffer their children to 
name swine's flesh, because it was forbidden, lest 
the naming of it should occasion their desiring of it; 
but if they had occasion to speak of it, they must 
call it, that strange thing. It is. pity, that among 
christians the names of the heathen gods are so 
commonly used, and made so familiar as they are, 
especially in plays and poems: Let these names 
which have been set up in rivalship with God, be 

for ever loathed and lost. [3.] They must not 
countenance others in showing respect to them. 
They nmst not only not swear by them themselves, 
but they must not cause others' to swear by them, 
which supposes that they must not make any co\ e- 
nants with idolaters, beci.use they, in the confirming 
of their covenants, would swear by their idols; ne\ er 
let Israelites admit such an oath. [4.] They must 
take heed of these occasions of idolatry, lest by de- 
grees they should arrive at the highest step of it, 
which was serving false gods, and bowing down to 
them, against the letter of the second command- 

(3.) To be very constant, v. 8. Cleave unto the 
Lord your God, that is, " dehght in him, depend 
upon him, de\ ote yourseh es to his glory, and con- 
tinue to do so to the end, as you have done unio 
this day, ever since you came to Canaan;" for, being 
willing to make the best of them, he looks not so 
far back as the iniquity c f Pec r. There might be 
many things aniiss among them, but they had not 
forsaken the Lord their God, and it is iri order to 
insinuate his exhortation to perseverance with the 
more pleasing power, that he praises them. " Go 
on and prosper, for the Lord is with you while you 
are with him." Those that command, should com- 
mend; the way to make people better, is, to make 
the best of them. " You have cleaved to the Lord 
unto this day, therefore go on to do so, else you lose 
the praise and recompense of what you ha\ e 
wrought. Your righteousness will not be mentioned 
unto you, if you turn from it. " 

11. Take good heed therefore unto your- 
selves, that ye love the Lord your God. 12. 
Else if ye do in any wise go back, and 
cleave unto the remnant of these nations, 
even these that remain among you, and 
shall make marriages with them, and go in 
unto them, and they to you : 1 3. Know for 
a certainty that the Lord your God will 
no more dri\e out any o/" these nations from 
before you ; but they shall be snares and 
traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, 
and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from 
off this good land, which the Lord your God 
hath given you. 14. And, behold, this day 
I am going the way of all the earth : and ye 
know in all your hearts, and in all your 
souls, tliat not one thing hath failed of all 
the good things which the Lord your God 
spake concerning you ; all are come to pass 
unto you, and not one thing hath failed 
thereof. 15. Therefore it shall come to 
pass, that as all good things are come upon 
you, which the Lord your God promised 
you ; so shall the Lord bring upon you all 
evil things, until he have destroyed you from 
off this good land which the Lord your 
God hath given you. 16. When ye have 
transgressed the covenant of the Lord 
your God, which he commanded you, and 
have gone and served other gods, and bow- 
ed yourselves to them ; then shall the anger 
of the Lord be kindled against you, and ye 
shall perish quickly from off the good land 
which he hath given unto you. 




I. Joshua directs them what to do, that they 
might persevere in rehgion, v. 11. Would we 
cleave to the Lord, and not forsake him, 1. We 
must always stand upon our guard, for many a pre- 
cious soul is lost and ruined through carelessness; 
"Take heed therefoi-e, (aJce good heed to your- 
selves, to your souls, (so the word is,) that the in- 
ward man be kept clean from the pollutions of sin, 
and closely employed in the service of God. God 
has given us precious souls, with this charge, 
" Take good heed to them, keep them with all di- 
ligence, above all keepings." 2. What we do in re- 
ligion, we must do from a principal of love, not by 
r.onstraint or from a slavish fear of God, but of 
choice and with delight. " Love the Lord your 
God, and you will not leave him." 

II. He urges God's fidelity to them as an argu- 
ment why they should be faithful to him, v. 14, "7 
am going the way of all the earth, I am old and dy- 
ing: to die, is to go a journey, a journey to our 
long home; it is the way of all the earth, the way 
that all mankind must go, sooner or later. Joshua 
himself, though so great and good a man, and one 
that could so ill be spared, cannot be exempted 
from this common lot. He takes notice of it here, 
that they might look upon these as his dying words, 
and regard them accordingly. Or thus, "I am dy- 
ing, and leaving you, me ye have not alivays, but if 
you cleave to the Lord, he will never leave you." 
Or thus, '* Now that I am near my end, it is proper 
to look back upon the years that are past; and in 
the review, I find, and ye yourselves know it in all 
iiour hearts, and in all your souls, by a full convic- 
tion on the clearest evidence, and the thing has 
made an impression upon you," (that knowledge 
does us good, which is seated, not in the head only, 
but in the heart and soul, and with which we are 
duly affected,) "ye know that not one thing hath 
failed, of all the good things which the Lord sfiake 
concerning you;" (and he speaks a great many;) 
see ch. 21. 45. God had promised them victory, 
rest, plenty, his tabernacle among them, isfc. and 
not one thing had failed of all he had promised. 
"Now," said he, " has God been thus true to you? 
Be not you false to him." It is the apostle's argu- 
ment for perseverance, Heb. 10. 23, He isfait/iful 
that has firomised. 

III. He gives them fair warning, what would be 
the fatal consequences of apostasy, v. 12, 13, 15, 16. 
" If you go back, know for a certainty it will be 
vourruin." Observe, 

1. How he describes the apostasy which he 
warns them against. The steps of it would be, x'. 
12. growing intimate with idolaters, who would 
craftily wheedle them, and insinuate themselves 
mto their acquaintance, now that they were be- 
come lords of the country, to serve their own ends. 
The next step would be intermarrying with them, 
drawn to it by their artifices, who would be glad to 
bestow their children upon these wealthy Israelites. 
And the consequence of that would be, v. 16. serv- 
ing their gods, (which were pretended to be the 
ancient deities of the country,) and bowing down to 
them. Thus the way of sin is down-hill, and those 
who have fellowship with sinners, cannot avoid 
having fellowship with sin. This he represents, (1.) 
As a base and shameful desertion; "it is going back 
from what you have so well begun," t^. 12. (2.) 
As a most perfidious breach of promise, v. 16. " It 
\s a transgi'ession of the covenant of the Lord your 
God, which he commanded you, and which you 
yourselves set your hand to." Other sins were 
transgressions of the law God commanded them, 
but this was a transgression of the covenant that he 
commanded them, and amounted to a breach of the 
relation between God and them, and a forfeiture of 
all the benefits of the covenant. 

2. How he describes the destruction which he 
warns them of. He tells them, (1.) That these 
remainders of the Canuanites, if they should har- 
bour them, and indulge them, and join in affinity 
with them, would be snares and traps to them, both 
to draw them to sin, (not only to idolatry, but to all 
immoralities, which would be the ruin, not only of 
their virtue, but of their wisdom and sense, tVieir 
spirit and honour,) and also to draw them into fool- 
ish bargains, unprofitable projects, and all manner 
of inconveniences; and having thus by underhand 
practices decoyed them into one mischief or other, 
so as to gain advantages against them, they would 
then act more openly, and be scourges in their 
sides, and thorns in their eyes, would perhaps kill 
or drive away their cattle, burn or steal their com, 
alarm or plunder their houses, and would by all 
ways possible be vexatious to them : for, whatever 
pretences of friendship they might make, a Ca- 
naanite, unless proselyted to the faith and worship 
of the true God, would in every age hate the very 
name and sight of an Israelite. See how the punish- 
ment would be made to answer the sin, nay, how 
the sin itself would be the punishment. (2.) That 
the anger of the Lord would be kindled against 
them. Their making leagues with the Canaanites, 
would not only give them the opportunity of doing 
them a mischief, and be the fostering of snakes in 
their bosoms, it would likewise provoke God to be- 
come their enemy, and would kindle the fire of his 
displeasure against them. (3.) That all the threat- 
enings of the word would be fulfilled, as the pro- 
mises had, for the God of eternal truth is faithful to 
both, V. 15. " As all good things have come zifion 
you according to the promise, so long as you have 
kept close to God, so all evil things will come upon 
you according to the threatening, if you forsake 
him." Moses had set before them good and evil; 
they had experienced the good, and were now in 
the enjoyment of it, and the e\ il would as certainly 
come, if they were disobedient. As God's promises 
are not a fool's paradise, so his threatenings are not 
bugbears. (4. ) That it would end in the utter ruin 
of their church and nation, as Moses had foretold. 
This is three times mentioned here. Your enemies 
will vex you until ye fierishfrom off this good land, 
V. 13. Again, " God will plague you until he have 
destroyedyoufromoffthis good land, V. 15. Heaven 
and earth will concur to root you out. So that, v. 
16, ye shall perish from off the good land. " It will 
aggravate their perdition, that tlie land from which 
they shall perish, is a good land, and a land which 
God himself had given them, and which therefore 
he would have secured to them, if they by their 
wickedness had not thrown themselves out of it 
Thus the goodness of the heavenly Canaan, and 
the free and future grant God has made of it, will 
aggra\'ate the misery of those that shall for ever be 
shut out and perish from it. Nothing will make 
them see how wretched they are, so much as to see 
how happy they might have been. Joshua thus 
sets before them the fatal consequences of their 
apostasy, that, knowing the terror of the Lord, 
they might be persuaded with fmrfiose of heart to 
cleave to him. 


This chapter concludes the life and reign of Joshua, in 
which we have, 1. The great care and pains he took to 
confirm the people of Israel in the true faith and worship 
of God, that they might, after his death, persevere there- 
in. In order to this, he called another general assembly 
of the heads of the congregation of Israel, v. Land dealt 
with them, 1. By way of narrative, recounting the 
great things God had done for them and their fathers^ v. 
2.. 13. 2. Bv way of charge to them, in consideration 
thereof, to serve God, v. 14. 3. By way of treaty wittr 
them, wherein he aims to bring them, (1.) To makercli 



gion their deliberate choice; and they did so, with rea- 
sons for tht'ir choice, v. 15.. 18. (2.) To make it their 
delerminate clioice, and to resolve to adhere to it, v. 19 
. .24. 4. By way oC covenant upon that treaty, v. 25. . 
28. II. The conclusion of this history, witfi, 1. The 
death and burial of Joshua, v. 29, 30. and Eleazar, v. 
33. and the mention of the burial of Joseph's bones upon 
that occasion, v. 32. 2. A general account of the state 
of Israel at that time, v. 31. 

1. k ND Josiiua gathered all the tribes of 
j\. Isiael to Shechem, and called for the 
elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for 
their judges, and for their olificers ; and they 
presented themselves before God. 2. And 
Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith 
the Lord God of Israel, Your fathers 
dwelt on the other side of the flood in old 
time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, 
and the father of Nachor : and they served 
other gods. 3. And I took your father 
Abraham from the other side of the flood, 
and led him throughout all the land of Ca- 
naan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him 
Isaac. 4, And I gave unto Isaac, Jacob 
and Esau ; and 1 gave unto Esau mount 
Seir, to possess it : but Jacob and his chil- 
dren went down into Egypt. 5. I sent Mo- 
ses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, 
according to that which I did among them : 
and afterward I brought you out. 6. And 
1 brought your fathers out of Egypt : and 
you came unto the sea ; and the Egyptians 
pursued after your fathers with chariots and 
horsemen unto the Red Sea. 7. And when 
(hey cried unto the Lord, he put darkness 
between you and the Egyptians, and 
brought the sea upon them, and covered 
them : and your eyes have seen wjiat 
I have done in Egypt : and ye duelt 
in the wilderness a long season. 8. And 
I brought you into the land of the Am- 
orites, which dwelt on the other side 
Jordan ; and they fought with you : and I 
gave them into your hand, that ye might 
possess their land ; and I destroyed them 
from before you. 9. Tlien Balak the son 
of Zippor, king of jMoab, arose and warred 
against Israel, and sent and called Balaam 
the son of Beor to curse you : 10. But I 
>vou-ld not hearken unto Balaam ; therefore 
he blessed you still: so I delivered you out 
of his hand. 1 1 . And ye went over Jordan, 
and came unto Jericho : and the men of 
Jericho fought against you, the Amorites, 
and tlie Perizzites, and the Canaanites, 
and thf^ Hittites, and the Girgashites, the 
Hivites, and the Jebusites ; and I delivered 
them into your hand. 12. And I sent the 
hornet before you, which drave them out 
from before you, even the two kings of the 
.Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with 
thy bow. 1 3. And I have given you a land 
Vol. II.— N 

for whi( h ye did not labour, and cities winch 
ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the 
vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted 
not, do ye eat. 14. Now therefore fear the 
Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in 
truth : and put away the Gods which yoni 
fathers served on the other side of the flood, 
and in Egypt ; and serve ye the Lord. 

Joshua thought he had taken his last farewell cf 
Israel, in the solemn charge he gave them in the 
foregoing chapter, when he said, / go the way of 
all the earth; but God graciously continuing hislif#- 
longer than he expected, and renewing his strength, 
he was desirous to improve it for the good of Israel: 
he did not say, " I have taken my leave of them 
once, and let that serve;" but, having yet a longer 
space given him, he summons them together again, 
that he might try what more he could do to engage 
them for God. Note, We must never think our 
work for God done, till our life is done; and if he 
lengthen out our days beyond what we thought, we 
rnust conclude it is because he has some further ser- 
vice for us to do. 

The assembly is the same with that in the fore- 
going rliapter, the elders, head/t, judges and officers 
of hratl, V. 1. But it is here made something 
m(n-e solemn than it was there. 

I. The place appointed for their meeting is She- 
chem, \v\. onl\ because that lay nearer to Joshua 
thm Shiloh, and tl;erefore more convenient now 
thit he was infirm and unfit for travelling, but be- 
cause it was the place where Abraham, the first 
ti'ustce of Ciod's cox enant with this people, settled 
at his coming to Canaan, and where God appeared 
to him. Gen. 12. 6, 7. and near which stood mount 
Ger'zim and Ebal, where the people had renewed 
their co\ enant with God at their first coming int» 
Canaan, Josh. 8. 30. Of the promises God had 
made to their fathers, and of the promsies they 
themselves had made to God, this place might serve 
to puttliem in mind. 

II. They presented themselves, not only before 
Jcishua, but before God, in this assembly; that is, 
they came t'^gether in a solemn religious manner, 
as into the special presence of God, and with an eye 
to him speaking to them by Joshua; and, it is pro- 
bable, the service began with prayer. It is the 
conjecture of interpreters, that upon this great oc- 
casion, Joshua ordered the ark ( f God to be brought 
by the priests to Shechem, which, they say, was 
but _ about ten miles from Shiloh, and to be set down 
in the place of their meeting, which is therefore 
called, V. 26, the sanctuary of the Lord, the pre- 
sence (f the ark making it so at that time; and this 
was done to grace the solemnity, and to strike an 
awe upon the people that attended. We have not 
now any such sensible tokens of the divine pre- 
sence, but are to believe that ivhere two or three 
are gathered together in Christ's name, he is as 
really in the midst of them, as God was where the 
ark was, and they are indeed presenting them- 
selves before him. 

III. Joshua spake to them in God's name, and as 
from hirfi, in the language of a prophet, t. 2. 
" Thus saith the Lord, Jehovah, the great God, 
and the God of Israel, your God in covenant, whom 
therefore you are bound to hear and give heed to." 
Note, The word of God is to be received by us as 
his, whoever is the messenger that brings it, whose 
greatness cannot add to it, nor his meanness dimin- 
ish from it. 

His sermon consists of doctrine and application. 

1. The doctrinal part is a history of the "re it 

things God had done for his people, and for th?ir 



fathei-s I)efore them. God by Joshua recounts the 
marvels of old, "I did so and so." They must 
know and consider, not only that such and, such 
things were done, but that God did them. It is a 
series of wonders that is here recoi'ded, and perhaps 
many more were mentioned by Joshua, which for 
brevity's sake are here omitted. See what God 
had wrought; (1.) He brought Abraham out of Ur 
of the Chaldees, v. 2, 3. He and his ancestors had 
terved other gods there, for it was the country in 
which, thou-gh celebrated for learning, idolatry, as 
some think, had its rise; there the world bynvisdom 
knew not God. Abraham, who afterward was the 
friend of God, and the great favourite of hea\ en, 
was bred up in idolatry and lived long in it, till God 
by his grace snatched him as a brand out of that 
burning-. Let them remember that rock out of 
which they were hewn, and not relapse into that 
sin from which their fathers by a miracle of free 
grace were delivered. '* I took him," says God, 
"else he had never come out of that sinful state." 
Hence Abraham's justification is made by the apos- 
tle an instance of God's justifying the ungodly, 
Rom. 4. 5. (2.) He brought him to Canaan, and 
built up his family, led him through the lund to 
Shechem, where they now were, multiplied his 
seed by Ishmael, who begat twelve princes, but at 
last gave him Isaac the prom'sed son, and in him 
multiplied his seed. When Isaac had two sons, Jacob 
and Es lu, God provided an inheritance for Esau 
elsewhere in Mount Seir, tlvit the land of Canaan 
might be reserved entire for the seed of Jacob, and 
the posterity of Esau might not pretend to a share in 
it (3. ) He delivered the seed of Jacob out of Egypt 
with a high hand, v. 5, 6. and rescued them out of the 
hands of Pharaoh and his tiost at the Red-sea, v. 
6, 7. The same waters were the Israelites' guard, 
and the Egyptians' grave; and this in answer to 
y)rayer; for though we find in the story, that 
they in that distress murmured against Crod, 
Exod. 14. 11, 12. notice is here taken of their cry- 
ing to God; he graciously accepted those that pray- 
ed to him, and overlooked the fully of those that 
quarrelled with him. (4. ) He protected them in 
the wilderness, where they are here said, not to 
wander, but to dwell for a long season, v. 7. So 
wisely were all their motions directed, and so safely 
vv^ere they kept, that even there they had as certain 
a dwelling place as if they had been in a walled 
city. (5. ) He gave them the land of the Amorites, 
on'the other side Jordan, v. 8. and there defeated 
the plot of Balak and Balaam at^ainst them, so that 
Balaam could not curse them, as he desired, and 
therefore Balak durst not fight them, as he de- 
signed, and, because he designed it, is here said to 
do it. The turning of Balaam's tongue to bless Is- 
rael, when he intended to curse them, is often men- 
tioned as an instance of the divine power put forth 
in Israel's favour, as remarkable as any other, be- 
cause in it God proved (and does still, more than 
we are aware of) his dominion over the powers of 
darkness, and over the spirits of men. (6.) He 
brought them safely and triumphantly into Canaan, 
delivered the Canaanites into their hand, t'. 11, sent 
hornets before them, when they were actually enga- 
ged in battle with the enemy, which with their 
stings tormented them, and with their noise terri- 
fied them, so that thev became a very easy prey to 
Israel. These dreadful swarms first appeared in 
their war with Sihon and Og, the two kings of 
the Amorites, and afterwards in their other bat- 
tles, V. 12. God had promised to do this for them, 
Exod. 23. 27, 28. Deut. 7. 20. These hornets, it 
shotild seem, annoyed the enemy more than all the 
artillery of Israel, therefore he adds, not with thy 
"•vo-'-d nor bow. It was purely the Lord's doings. 
iMsthjt They were now in the peaceable possess- 

ion of a good land, and lived comfortably upon the 
fruit of other people's labour, i;. 13. 

2. The application of this history of God's mer- 
cies to them, is by way of exhortation, to fear and 
serve God, in gratitude for his favour, and that it 
might be continued to them, v. 14. Now therefore, 
in consideration of all this, (1.) ^^ Fear the Lord, 
the Lord and his goodness, Hos, 3. 5. Reverence 
a God of such infinite power, fear to offend him, and 
to forfeit his goodness. Keep up an awe of his ma- 
jesty, a deference to his authority, a dread of his 
displeasure, and a continual regard to his all-sceinp' 
eye upon you." (2.) "Let your practice be conso 
nant to th's principle, and serve him, both by the 
outward acts of religious worship, and every in- 
stance of obedience in your whole conversation, and 
this, in sincerity and truth, with a single eye and 
an upright heart, and inward imfiressions, answer- 
able to outward escfiressions." That is the truth in 
the inward part, which God requires, Ps. 51. 6. 
For what good will it do us to dissemble with a God 
that searches the heart? (3. ) Put away the strange 
gods, both Chaldean and Egyptian idols, for those 
they were most in danger of revolting to. It should 
seem by this chai'ge, which is repeated, v. 23. that 
there were some among them that privately kept 
in their closets the images or pictures of these 
dunghill-deities, which came to their hands from 
their ancestors, as heir-looms of their families, 
though it may be, they did not worship them ; these 
Joshua earnestly urges them to throw away. " De- 
face them, destroy them, lest you be tempted to 
serve them. " Jac<ib pressed his houseliold to do 
this, and at this very place; for when they gave him 
up the little images they h:id, he buried them un- 
der the oak that grows by Shechem, Gen. 35. 2, 4. 
Perhaps the oak mentioned here, v. 26. wa« the 
same oak, or :.nother in the same place, which 
might be well called the oak of reformation, ;i?» 
there were idolatrous oaks. 

15. And if it seem evil unto you to serve 
the LiORD, choose yoii this day whom you 
will serve ; whether the gods which your 
fathers served, that were on the other side 
of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in 
whose land ye dwell : but as for me and 
my house, we will serve the Lord. 16. 
And the people answered and said, God 
forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to 
[serve other gods; 17. For the I.iORD our 
God, he it isthat brought us up, and our frt- 
thers, out of the land of Egypt, from the 
house of bondage, and which did those 
great signs in our sight, and preserved us in 
all the way wherein we went, and among 
all the people through whom we passed : 
1 8. And the Lord drave out from before 
us all the people, even the Amorites which 
dwelt in the land : therefore will we also 
serve the Lord ; for he is our God. 19. 
And Joshua said unto the people. Ye can- 
not serve the Lord: for he is a holy God: 
he is a jealous God ; he will not forgive 
your transgressions nor your sins. 20. Tf 
ye forsake tlie IjORD, and serve strange 
gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, ann 
consume you, after that he hath done you 
good. 21. And the people said untoJoab- 



!ia, Nay, but we will serve the Lord. 22. 
.And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are 
witnesses against yourselves that ye have 
chosen you the Lord, to serve him. And 
they said, We are witnesses. 23. Now 
therefore put away, said //e, the strange 
gods which are among you, and incline your 
heart unto the Lord God of Israel. 24. 
And the people said unto Joshua, the Lord 
our God will we serve, and his voice will 
we obey. 25. So Joshua made a covenant 
with the ])eople that day, and set them a 
statute and an ordinance in Shechem. 26. 
And Joshua wrote these words in the book 
of the law of God, and took a great stone, 
and set it up there under an. oak, that was 
by the sanctuary of the Lord. 27. And 
Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, 
this stone shall be a witness unto us ; for 
it hath heard all the words of the Lord 
which he spake unto us : it shall be there- 
fore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your 
God. 28. So Joshua let the people depart, 
every man unto his inheritance. 

Never was any treaty carried on with better 
management, nor bnught to a better issue, than i 
this of Joshua's with the people, to engage them to [ 
serve God; the manner of his deaHng with them | 
shows him to be in earnest, and that his heart was 
much upon it, to leave them under all possible obli- 
rations to cleave to Him, particularly the obligation ! 
of a-choice, and of a covenant. \ 

I. Would it be any obligation upon them, if they \ 
made the service of God their choice — he here puts 
them to their choice; net as if it were antecedently 
indifferent whether they served God or no, or as if 
they were at their liberty to refuse his service, but 
because it would have a great influence upon their 
perseverance in religion, if they embraced it with 
the reason of men, and with the resolution of men. | 
These two things he here brings them to. j 

1. He brings them to embrace their religion ra- ; 
tionally and intelligently, for it is a re isonable ser- ' 
vice. The will of man is apt to glory in its native '■ 
liberty, and, in a jealousy for the honour of that, i 
adheres with most pleasure to that which is its own 
choice, and is not imposed upon it; therefoi-e it is | 
God's will that this ser\ ice should be, not our i 
chance, or a force upon us, but our choice. Accord- i 
ingly, I 

(1.) Joshua fairly puts the matter to their choice, | 
V. 15. Where, [1.] He proposes the candidates | 
that stand for the election. The \ iORD, Jehovah, i 
on one side, and on the other side, either the gods 
of their ancestors, which would pretend to recom- 
mend themselves to these that were fond of antiqui- 
ty, and that which was received by tradition from 
their fathers, or the gods of their neighbours, the 
Amorites, in whose land they dnv,'lt, which would 
insinuate themselves into the affections of those that 
were complaisant and fond of good fellowship. [2. ] 
He supposes there were those to whom, upon some 
account or other, it would seem ei>il to serx'e the 
Lord. There are prejudices and objections which 
some people raise against religion, which, with 
those that are inclined to the world and the flesh, 
have great force. It seems evil to them, hard and 
jnreasonable, to be obliged to deny themselves, 
Tnortify the flesh, take up their cross, &c. But be- 

ing in a state of .probation, it is fit there should be 
some difficulties in the way, else there were no 
trial. [3.] He refers it to themselves, ** Choote 
you whom ye will serve, choose this day, now th'.t 
the matter is laid thus plainly before ycu, speedily 
bring it to a head, and do not stand hesitating.'' 
Elijah, long after this, referred the decision cf the 
controversy between Jehovah and Baal to the con- 
sciences of those with whom he was treating, 1 
Kings 18. 21. Joshua's putting off the matter here to 
this issue, plainly intimates two things, First, Thi.t 
it is the will of God we should every one of us mak.c 
religion our serious and deliberate choice. Let us 
state the matter impaitially to ourselves, we-gh 
things in an e\ en bal nee, and then determine ft r 
that which we find to be really true and good. I^tt 
us resolve on a life of serious godliness, not merely 
because we know no other way, but because really, 
upon search, we find no better. Secondly, That 
religion has so much self-evident reason and right- 
eousness on its side, that it may safely be refei red 
to every man that allows himself a free thought, 
either to choose or refuse it; for the merits of the 
cause are so plain, that no considerate man can do 
otherwise but choose it. The case is so clear that 
it determines itself. Perhaps Joshua designed, by 
putting them to their choice, thus to try if there 
were any among them, who, upon so fair an occa- 
sion given, would show a coolness an-d indifference 
toward the service of God; whether they would de- 
sire time to consider and consult their friends, 
before they gave in an answer; that if any such 
should appear, they might set a mark upon them, 
and warn the rest to a\oid them. [4.] He directs 
their choice in this matter, by an open declaration 
of his own resolutions. *'Biit as for me and my 
house, whatever you do, wewillseri'ethe Lord, and 
I hcpe you will all be of the same mind." Here he 
resolves. First, For himself; Jsforme, I will serve 
the Lord. Note, The service of God is nothing 
below the greatest of men; it is so far from being a 
diminution and disparagement to princes and those 
of the first rank to be religious, that it is their great- 
est honour, and adds the brightest crown of glory 
to them. Observe how positive he is, "I will serve 
God. " It is no abridgment of our liberty to bind 
ourselves with a bond to God." Secondly, For his 
house, that is, his family, his children, and servants, 
such as were immediately under his eye and care, 
his inspectirn and influence. Joshua was a ruler, a 
judge in Israel, yet he will not make his necessary 
application to public affairs an excuse for the neg- 
lect of family-religion. Those that have the charge 
of many families, as magistrates and ministers, must 
take special care of their own, 1 Tim. 3. 4, 5. 7 
and my house will serve God. 

1. "Not ?ny house, without me." He would net 
engage them to that work, which he would not set 
his own hand to. As some who would have their chil- 
dren and servants good, but will not be so them- 
selves; that is, they would have them go to heaven, 
but intend to go to hell themselves. 2. "Not 7, 
without niy house." He supposes he might be for- 
saken by his people, but in his house, where his 
authority was greater, and more immediate, there 
he would overrule. Note, When we cannot bring 
as many as we would to the service of God, we must 
bring as many as we can, and extend our endea- 
vours to the utmost sphere of our activity; if we 
cannot reform the land, let us put away iniquity far 
from our own tabernacle. 3. " First, I, and then 
my house." Note, Those that lead and rule in 
other things, should be first in the service of Gcd, 
and go before in the best things. Lastly, He resolves 
to do this, whatever others did. Though all the- 
families of Israel should revolt from God, and serve 
ido'.s, yet Joshua and his family will steadfastly ad 



Kcre to the God of Israel. "Note, Those that resolve 
to serve God, must not mind beifig singular m it, 
nor be drawn by the crowd to forsake his service. 
Those that are bound for heaven, must be willing 
to 8101771 against the stream, and must not do as the 
most do, but as the best do. 

(2. ) The matter being thus put to their choice, 
they immediately determine it by a free, ra- 
tional, and intelligent, declaration, for the God of 
Israel, against all competitors whatsoever, v. 16.. 
18. Here, [1.] They concur with Joshui in this 
resolution, being influenced by the example of so 
great a man, who had been so great a blessing to 
them, V. 18, IVe also ivill sen<e the Lord. See 
haw mach good great men mightdo, if they were but 
zealous in religion, by their influence on their infe- 
riors. [2.] They startle at the thought of aposta- 
tising from God, v. 16. God forbid! the word 
intimates the greatest dread and detestation ima- 
ginable; " Far be it, far be it from us, that we or 
our's should ever forsa/ce the Lord to sei-ve other 
gods. We must be lost to all sense of justice, grati- 
tude, and honour, ere we can harbour the least 
thought of such a thing." Thus must rur hearts 
rise against all temptations to desert the service of 
God.: Get thee behind me, Satan. [3.] They give 
very substantial reasons for their choice, to show 
that they did not make it purely in compliance to 
Joshua, but from a full con\ iction of the reasonable- 
ness and equity of it. They make this choice for, 
and in consideration, First, Of the many great and 
very kind things God had done for them, bringing 
t'lem out of Egyfit through the wilderness into Ca- 
naan, V. 17, 18. Thus they repeat to themselves 
Joshua's sermon, and then express their sincere com- 
pliance with the intentions of it. Secondly, Of the 
relation they stood in to God, and his covenant with 
them, " JVe nvill serve the Lord, v. 18, for he is our 
God, who has gi-aciously engaged himself by pro- 
mise to us, and to whom we have by solemn vow 
engaged ourselves." 

2. He brings them to embrace their religion reso- 
lutely, and to express a full purpose of heart to 
cleave to the Lord. Now that he has them in a 
good mind, he follows his blow, and drives the nail 
to the head, that it might, if possible, be a nail in a 
sure place. Fast bind, fast find. 

(1. ) In order to this he sets before them the diffi- 
culties of religion, and that in it, which might be 
thought discouraging, v. 19, 20. Ye cannot serve 
(he Lord, for he is a holy God, or as it is in the He- 
brew, he IS (he holy Gods, intimating the mystery 
of the Trinity, three in one; holy, holy, holy, holy 
Father, holy Son, holy Spirit. He will not forgive. 
And if ye forsake him, he nvill do you hurt. Cer- 
t-anly Joshua does not intend hereby to deter them 
from the service of God as impracticable and dan- 
gerous. But, [1.] He perhaps intends to represent 
here the suggestions of seducers, who tempted 
Israel from their God, and from theser\ice of him, 
with such insinuations as these; that he was a hard 
master, his work impossible to be done, and he 
not to be pleased, and if displeased, implacable 
and revengeful; that he would confine their respects 
to himself only, and would not suffer them to show 
tlie least kindness for any other, and that herein he 
x^as \'ery unlike the gods of the nations, which 
v.ere easy, and neither holy nor jealous. It is pro- 
bable that this was then commonly objected against 
the Jewish religion, as it has all along been the arti- 
fice of Satan ever since he tempted our first parents, 
thus to misrepresent God and his laws, as harsh 
and severe; and Joshua by his tone and manner of 
speaking might m ike them perceive he intended it 
as an objection, and would put it to them how they 
would keep theii- ground against the force of it. Or, 
[2.] He thus expresses his godly jealousy over 

them, and his fear concerning them, that, notwith- 
standing the professions they now made of zeal for 
God and his service, they would afterward draw 
back, and if they did, they vvould find him just and 
jealous to a\enge it. Or, [3.] He resol\es to let 
them know the worst of it, and what strict terms 
they must expect to stand upon with God, that 
they might sit down and co\mt the cost.- " 1 <? can- 
not se7i'e the Lord, except you put away all other 
gods, for he is holy and jealous, and will by nn uieans 
admit a rival, and therefore you must be very 
watc hful and careful, for it is at your peril, if you 
desire hjs sei-vice; better you had never known it." 
Thus though our Master has assured us that his 
yoke is easy, yet lest, upon the presumption of that, 
we should grow remiss and careless, he has also t Id 
us that the gate is straight, and tlie way narrow, 
that leads to life, that we may therefore strive to 
enter, and not seek only. " You cannot *rnr God 
a?id mammon; therefoi e if you resbh e to serve Gc d, 
you must renounce all com'petitoi s with him. You 
cannot serve God in your own strength, nor will he 
forgive your transgressions for any righteousness of 
your own; but all the seed of Israel must bejiis i/ied 
and must glory in the Lord alone, as (hrir righte- 
ousness and strength, Isa. 45. 24, 25. They must 
therefore come off from all confidence in their own 
sufficiency, else their purposes would be to no pur- 
pose. Or, [4.] Joshua thus urges on them the 
seeming discouragements which lay in their way, 
that he might sharpen their resolutic ns, and draw 
from them a promise yet more expiessand solemn, 
that they would continue faithful to Ciod and their 
religion. He draws it from them that they might 
catch at it the more earnestly, and hold it the 

(2. ) Notwithstanding this statement of the diffi- 
culties of religion, they declared a firm and fixed 
resolution to continue and persevere therein, v. 21. 
" Acz/, but ive will se7^>e the Lord, we will think 
never the worse of him for his being a holy and 
jealous God, nor for his confining his servants to 
worship himself only. Justly will he consume them 
that forsake him, but we never will forsake him; 
not only we have a good mind to serve him, and we 
hope we shall, but we are at a point, we cannot 
bear to hear any entreaties to leave him, or to (urn 
from following after him, Ruth 1. 16. in the 
strength of divine grace we are resolved that we 
will serve the Lord. " This resolution they repeat 
with an explication, v. 24. " The Lord our God 
will we serve, not only be called his servants, and 
wear his livery, but our religion shall rule us in 
every thing, and his voice will we obey." And in 
vain do we call him Master and Lord, if we do not 
the things which he saith, Luke 6. 46. This last 
pvomise'thev make, in answer to the charge Joshua 
gave them, T'. 23. that, in order to their perseve- 
rance, they should, [1.] Put away the images and 
relics of the strange gods, and not keep any of the 
tokens of those other lo\ ers in their custody, if they 
rcsohed their Maker should be their Husband; they 
])ron>ise in this to obey his voice. [2.] That they 
should incline their hearts to the God of Israel, use 
their authority over their own hearts to engage 
them for Ciod, not only to set their affections upon 
him, but to settle them so. These terms they 
agreed to, and thus, as Joshua explains the 
bargain, thev strike it, The Lord our God will we 

II. The service of God being thus made their de- 
liberate choice, Joshua binds them to it by a solemn 
covenant, v. 25. Moses had twice publicly ratified 
this covenant between God and Israel, at mount 
Sinai, Exod. 24. and in the plains of Moab, Deut. 
29. 1. Joshua had likewise done it once, ch. 8. 31, 
8cc. and now the second time. It is here called a 



itatute and an ordinance, because of the strength 
and perpetuity of its obligation; and because even 
this co\enant bound them to no more than what 
tliey were antecedently bound to by the divine com- 

Now, to give it the foi-mulities of a covenant, 1. 
He calls witnesses, no other than themselves, v. 22, 
Ye are ivitnesses that ye have chosen the Lord; he 
jM'omises himself that they would ne\ er forget the 
solemnities of this day, but if hereafter they should 
brc ik this covenant, he assures them that the pro- 
fessions and promises they had now made, would 
certainly rise up in judgment against them, and 
condemn them; and they agreed to it, " We are 
iviinesses; let us be judged out of our own mouths, 
if ever we be false to our God." 2. He put it in 
writing, and inserted it, as we find it here, in the 
sacred canon; lie nvrote it in the book of the law, v. 
26. in that original which was laid up m the side of 
the ark, and from thence, probably, it was trans- 
cribed into the several copies which the princes had 
for the use of each tribe. There it was written, 
that their obligation to religion by the divine pre- 
cept, and that by their own promise, might remain 
on record together. 3. He erected a memorandum 
of it, for the benefit of those who perhaps were not 
conversant with writing, v. 26, 27. He set ufi a 
great stone under an oak, as a monument of this co- 
venant, and perhaps wrote an inscription upon it, 
(by which stones are made to speak,) signifying the 
intention of it. When he says, It had heard what 
• was past, he tacitly upbraids the people with the 
hardness of their hearts, as if this stone had heard 
to as good purpose as some of them; and if they 
should forget what was now done, this stone would 
so far preserve the remembrance of it, as to re- 
proach them for their stupidity and carelessness, 
and be a witness against them. 

The matter being thus settled, Joshua dismissed 
this assembly of the grandees of Israel', v. 28. and 
took his last leave of them, well satisfied in having 
done his part, by which he had delivered his soul; 
if they perished, their blood would be upon their 
own heads. 

29. And it came to pass after these things, 
that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of 
the Lord, died, being a hundred and ten 
years old. 30. And they buried him in the 
border of his inheritance in Timnath-serah, 
which IS in mount Ephraim, on the north 
side of the hill of Gaash. 31. And Israel 
served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and 
all the days of the elders that overlived 
.Toshua, and which had known all the 
works of the Lord, that he had done for 
Israel. 3'2. And the bones of Joseph, which 
flic children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, 
buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of 
pround which Jacob bought of the sons of 
I Tamor, the father of Shechem, for a hun- 
dred pieces of silver: and it became the 
inheritance of the children of Joseph. 33. 
A nrl Eleazar, .the son of Aaron, died ; and 
ihpv buried him in a hill that pertained to 
Phinehas his son, which was given him in 
mount Ephraim. 

This book, which began with triumphs, here ends 
with funerals, by which all the glory of man is 

1. Here is Joseph buried, v. 32. He died about 
two hundred years before in Eg}'pt, but gave com- 
mandment concerning his hones, that they should 
not rest in their grave until Israel had rest in the land 
of jjromise; now therefrre, the children of Israel, 
who had brought this coffin full of bones with them 
out of Egypt, carried it alcng with them in all their 
niai'ches through the wilderness, (the two tribes of 
Ephraim and Manasseh, it is probable, taking jiar- 
ticular of it,) and kept it in their camp till 
Canaan was perfectly reduced, now at last they de- 
posited it in that piece of ground which his father 
gave him near Shechem, Gen. 48. 22. Prcbablv 
it was upon th's occasion that Joshua called cut ff r 
all Israel to meet him at Shechem, {v. 1.) to attend 
Joseph's coffin to the grave there; so that the ser- 
mon in this cha])ter served both for Joseph's fune- 
ral sermon, and his own farewell sermon; and if it 
was, as is supp< sed, in the last year of his life, the 
occasion might \ ery well remind him of his own 
death being at hand, for he was new just at the 
same age tliat his illustrious ancestor Joseph was ai*- 
rived at when he died, one hundred and ten years 
old; compare v. 29. with Gen. 50. 26. 

Here is the death and burial of Joshua, v. 29. 30. 
We are not told how long he lived after the com- 
ing of Israel into Canaan. Dr. Lightfoot thinks it 
ATas about seventeen years; but the Jewish chro- 
nologers generally say it was about twenty-seven or 
twenty-eight years. He is here called the servant 
of the Lord, the same title that was given to Mo- 
ses, (ch. 1. 1.) when mention was made cf his 
death; for though Joshua was in many respects in- 
ferior to Moses, yet in this he was equal to him, 
that, according as his work was, he approAed him- 
self a diligent and faithful servant of God. And he 
he that traded with his two talents, had the same 
approbation that he had who traded witli five; 
li'^ell done, good and faithful scn'ant. .Tosluia's 
burying place is here said to be on the nortl* side 
of the hill of Gaash, or the quaking hill; the Jews 
say it was so called, because it trembled at the 
burial of Joshua, to upbraid the people of Israel 
with their stupidity, in that they did not lament the 
death of that great and good man so as thcv ought 
to \\K\G. done. Thus, at the death of Christ, our 
Joshua, the earth quaked. The learned Bishop 
Patrick observes, that there is no mention of any 
days of mourning for Joshua, as there were for Mo- 
ses and Aaron, in which, he says, St. Hierom and 
other of the fathers think there is a mystery, 
namely, that under the law, when life and immor- 
tality were not brought to so clear alight as they are 
now, they had reason to moum and weep for the 
death of their friends; but now that Jesus, our Josh- 
ua, has opened the kingdom of heaven, we may 
rather rejoice. 

3. Here is the death and burial of Eleazar the 
ciiief priest, who, it is probable, died about the same 
time that Joshua did, as Aaron in the same year 
with Moses, v. 33. The Jews sav that Eleazar, a 
little before he died, called the elders together, and 
gave them a charge as Joshua had done. He was 
buried in a hill that pertained to Phinehns his son, 
which came to him, not by descent, for then it 
would have pertained to his father first, nor had 
the priests any cities in mount Ephraim ; but eithei- 
it fell to him by marriage, as the Jews coniecture, 
or it was freely bestowed upon him, to build a 
countiT-seat on, by some pious Israelite, that was 
well-affected to the priesthood, for it is here snid 
to be given him; and there he buried his dear ffi- 
ther. ' 

Lasthi, We have a general idea given us of rlic 
state of Israel at this time, v. 51. While Joshua 
lived, relip;ion was kept up among them under his 
ciire and influence; but soon after he and his com- 

!02 JUDGES, 1. 

A^niporaries died, it went to decay, so much often- 
;iriies does one head hold up: how well is it for the 
gospel church, that Christ, our Joshua, is still with 

temporaries died, it went to decay, so much often- j; it, by his Spirit, and nvill be always, even unto thf 

times does one head hold up: how well is it for the j end of the nvorld! 







This is called in the Hebrew Shepher Shophtim, the Book of Judges, which the Syriacand Arabic ver- 
sions enlarge upon, and call it, The Book of the Judges of the children of Israel; the judgments of that 
nation being peculiar, so were their judges, whose office differed vastly from that of the Judges of our 
nations. The LXX entitle it only K/i/Ta), Judges. It is the history of the commonvjealth of Israel, 
during tlie government of the Judges from Othniel to Eli; so much of it as God saw fit to transmit to 
u!^ it contains the history (according to Dr. Lightfoot's computation) of two hundred and ninety-nine 
years; reckoning to Othniel of Judah, forty years; to Ehud of Benjamin, eighty years; to Barak of 
Naphtali, forty years; to Gideon of Manasseh, forty years; to Abimelech his son, three years; to Tola 
of Issachar, twenty-three; to Jair of Manasseh, twenty-two; to Jephthah of Manasseh, six; to Ibzan of 
Judah, seven; toElon of Zebulon, ten; to Abdon of Ephraim, eight; to Samson of Dan, twenty; in all 
two hundred and ninety-nine. As for the years of their servitude, as where Eglon is said to oppress 
them eighteen years, and Jabin twenty years, and so some others, those must be reckoned to fall in 
with some or other of the years of the Judges. The judges here appear to have been of eight several 
tribes; that honour was thus diffused, until at last it centered in Judah. Eli and Samuel, the two Judges 
that fell not witliin this book, were of Levi. It seems, there was no Judge of Reuben or Simeon, Gad or 
Asher. The history of these Judges in their order we have in this book, to the end of ch. 16. And then 
in the fi\e last chapters we have an account of some particular memorable events which happened, as 
the story of Ruth did, (Ruth 1. 1.) in the days when the Judges ruled, but it is not certain in which 
Judge's days; but they are put together at the end of the book, that the thread of the general history 
might not be interrupted. Now as to the state of the commonwealth of Israel during this period. 

I. They do not appear here either so great or so good as one might have expected the character of such 
a peculiar people should have been; that were governed by such laws, and enriched by such promises. 
Wc find them wretchedly con-upted and wretchedly oppressed, by their neighbours about them, and 
no where in all the book, either in war or council, do they make any figure proportionable to their 
glorious entry into Canaan. What shall we say to it? God would hereby show us the lamentable im- 
perfection of all persons and things under the sun, that we may look for complete holiness and happi- 
ness in the other world, and not in this. Yet, 

[I. We may hope that though the historian in this book enlarges most upon their provocations and griev- 
ances, yet there was a face of religion upon the land; and however there were those among them, that 
were drawn aside to idolatry, yet the tabernacle-service, according to the law of Moses, was kept up, 
and there were many that attended it. Historians record not the common course of justice and com- 
merce in a nation, taking thtit for granted, but only the wars and disturbances that happen; but the 
reader must consider the other, to b dance the blackness of them. 

III. It should seem that in these times each tribe had very much its government in ordinary withui it- 
self, and acted separately, without one common head, or council, which occasioned many differences 
among themselves, and kept them from being or doing any thing considerable. 

IV. The government of the Judges was not constant, but occasional, when it is said that after Ehud's 
victory the land rested cightij years, and after Barak's /bm/, it is not certain that thev lived, much less 
that they governed, so long; l)nt they and the rest were raised up and animated by the spirit of God to 
do particular service to the public when there was occasion, to avenge Israel of (heir enrmjes, and t ■ 
purge Israel of their idolatries, which are the two things principally meant by their judging Israel. Ye 
Deborah, as a prophetess, was attended for judgment by all Israel, bef ire there was occasion for her 
agency in war, c/i. 4. 4. 



V. During tlie go\emment of the Judges, God was in a more especial manner Israel's king, so Samuel 
tells them when they were resolved to throw tft'this form of g(:\ eir.ment, 1 Sam. 12. 12. Gcd would 
try what iiis own law and the constitutions of that would do to kn ep them in order, and it proved that 
when there ivas no king- in Israel, every man did t/taC which wan right in his oun eyes; lie therefore, 
toward the latter end of this time, made the government cf the judges more constant and universal 
than it was at first, and at length gave them IJavid, a king after his own heart; then, and not till then, 
Israel began to flourish; which should make us very thankful for magistrates both supreme atid subor- 
dinate, for they are ministers of God unto us for good. Four of the Judges of Israel are here canon- 
ized, Heb. 11. 32. Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthah. The learned Bishop Patrick thinks tht? 
prophet Samuel was the penman of this Book. 


CHAP. 1. 

This chapter gives us a particular account of what sort of 
proo;ress ihe several tribes of Israel made in the reducino- 
of Canaan after the death of Joshua. He did (as we say ) 
break the neck of that preat work, and put it into such a 
posture, that they migfht easily have perfected it in due 
time, if they had not been wanting to themselves; what 
they did in order hereunto, and wherein they come short, 
we are here told. I. The united tribes of Judah and 
Simeon did bravely. 1. God appointed Judah to begin, 
T. 1, 2. 2, Judah took Simeon to act in conjunction 
with him, v. 3. 3. They succeeded in their enterprises 
against Bezek, (v. 4. 7.) Jerusalem, (v. 8.) Hebron and 
Debir, (v. 9. . 15.) Hormah, Gaza, and other places, v. 
17, 19. 4. Yet where there were chariots of iron, their 
hearts failed them, v. 19. . Mention is made of the Ken- 
ites settline: among them, v. 16. H. The other tribes, 
in comparison with these, acted a cowardly part. 1. Ben- 
jamin failed, v. 21. 2. The house of Joseph did well 
against Beth-el, (v. 22. 26.) but in other places did not 
improve their advantages, nor Manasseh, (v. 27. 28. ) nor 
Ephraim, v. 29. 3. Zehulun spared the Canaanites, v. 30. 
4, Ashur truckled worse than any of them to the Canaan- 
ites, V. 31, 32. 5. Naphtali was kept out of the full pos- 
session of several of his cities, v. 33. 6. Dan was straitened 
by the Amorites, v. 34. No account is given of Issachar, 
nor of the two tribes and a half on the other side Jordan. 

I. I^TOW? after the death of Joshua, it 
-L^ came to pass, that the children of 
Israel asked the Lord, saying, Who shall 
go up for us against the Canaanites first, to 
fight against them ? 2. And the Lord said, 
Judah shall go up : behold, 1 have delivered 
tlie land into his hand. 3. And Judah said 
unto Simeon his brother, Come up with me 
into my lot, that we may fight against the 
Canaanites ; and I likewise will go up with 
thee into thy lot. So Simeon went with 
him. 4. And Judah went up ; and the 
Lord delivered the Canaanites and the 
Perizzites into their hand: and they slew of 
them in Bezek ten thousand men. 5. And 
they found Adoni-bezek in Bezek ; and they 
fought against him, and they slew the Ca- 
naanites and the Perizzites. 6. But Adoni- 
bezek fled: and they pursued after him, and 
caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his 
great toes. 7. And Adoni-bezek said, three- 
score and ten kings, having their thumljs and 
their great toes cut off, gathered their meat 
under my table : as 1 have done, so God 
hath requited me. And they brought him to 
Jerusalem, and there he died. 8. Now the 
children of Judah had fought against Jeru- 
salem, and had taken it,'and smitten it with 

the edge of the sword, and set the city 
on fire. 


I. The children of Israel consult the oracle of 
God for direction, which of all the tribes should 
first attempt to clear their country of the Canaan- 
ites, and to animate and encourage the rest. It was 
after the death of Joshua: while he lived, he direct- 
ed them, and all the tribes were obedient to him; 
but when he died, he left no successor in the same 
authority that he had had: but tlie people must con- 
sult the breast-plate of judgment, and thence re- 
ceive the word of command; for God himself, as he 
was their King, so he was the Lord of their h( s!s. 
The question they ask is, IVho shall go ti/ijirstj^ x.'. 
1. By this time, we may suppose, they were so 
nuiltiplied, that the places they were in possession 
of, began to be too strait for them, and they 
thrust out the eneiTiy to make room: now they in- 
quire, who should first take up arms. Whether 
each tribe was ambitious of being first, and so strove 
for the honour of ;t, or whether each -was afraid of 
being first, and so strove to decline it, does not ap- 
pear; but by common consent the matter was refer- 
red to Ciod himself, who is the fittest both tc 
dispose of honours, and to cut out work. 

II. God appointed th;it Judah should go up first, 
and promised him success; {v. 2.) " I have deliver- 
ed the la?id into his hand to be possessed, and there- 
fore will deliver the enemy into his hand, that 
keeps him out of possession, to be destroyed. " And 
why must Judah be first in this undertaking.'' 1. 
Judah was the most numerous and powerful tribe, 
and therefore let Judah venture first. Note, God 
appoints service according to the strength he has 
given. Those that are most able, from them most 
work is expected. 2. Judah was first in dignity, 
and therefore must be first in duty. He it is, whom 
his brethren must firaise, and therefore he it is, who 
must lead in perilous services. Let the burthen of 
honour and the burthen of work go together. 3. 
Judah was first served; the lot came up for Judah 
first, and therefore Judah must first fight. 4. Judah 
was the tribe oxtt of which our Lord was to sfiring: 
so that in Judah, Christ, the Lion of the tribe of 
Judah, went before tliem. Christ engaged the 
powers of darkness first, and foiled thfem, which 
animates us for our conflicts; and it is in him that 
we are more than conquerors. Observe, The service 
and the success are put together: "Judah shall go 
up, let him do his part, and then he shall find, 1 
have delivered the land into his hand." His service 
will not avail unless God gi\"e the success: but God 
will not give the success, unless he vigorously ap 
ply himself to the service. 

III. Judah hereupon prepares to go up, but courts 
his brother and neighbour the tribe <-i Simeon (the 
lot of which tribe fell within that of Judah, and was 
assigned out of it) to join forces with him, x<. 3. Ob 


JUDGfc:S, 1. 

serve here, 1. That the str ngest should not de- 
spise, but desire the assistance even of those that 
are weaker. Judas was the most considerable of all 
the tribes, and Simeon tlie least c jnsiderable, and 
yet Judah begs Simeon's' friendship, and prays an 
aid from him; the head cannot say to the foot, / 
/lux'e no need of thee, for we are members one ofan- 
o'her. 2. Those that crave assistance, must be 
i-eady to give assistance; Come with m<? into my lot, 
and then I will go with thee into thine. It becomes 
Israelites to help one another against Canaanites; 
and all christians, e\ en those of different tribes, to 
strengthen one another's hands against the common 
intei'ests of Satan's kingdom. Those who thus help 
one another in love, have reason to hope that God 
will graciously help them both. 

IV. The confederate forces of Judah and Simeon 
take the field. Judah went up, {v. 4.) and Simeon 
with him, x'. 3. Caleb, it is probable, was com- 
mander in chief of this expedition; for who so fit as 
he who had both an old man's head and a young 
man's hand; the experience of age and the vigour 
01 youth! Josh. 14. 10, 11. It should seem too, by 
what follows, that he {v. 10, 11.) was not yet in 
possession of his own allotment. It was happy for 
them that they had such a general, as, according to 
nis name, was all heart. Some think that the Ca- 
naanites were got together into a body, a formidable 
body, when Israel consulted who should go fight 
against them; and that they then began to stir when 
they heard of the death of Joshua, whose name had 
been so dreadful to them ; but, if so, it proved they 
did but meddle to their own hurt. 

V. God gave them great success. Wliether they 
invaded the enemy, or the enemy first gave them 
the alarm. The Lord delivered them into their hand, 

. 4. Though the army of Judah was strong and 
Ijo'd, yet the victory is attributed to God! he dc-li- 
vered the Canaanites into their ha?id; having given 
them authority, he here gives them ability to de- 
stroy them — put it in their power, and so tried their 
r.bedience to his command, which was utterly to cut 
them off. Bishop Patrick obser es upon tliis, that 
we meet not with such religious expressions in the 
he then writers, concerning the success of their 
arms, as we have here and elsewhere in this sacreci 
history. I wish such pious acknowledgments of the 
Divine Providence were not grown into disuse at 
this time, with many that are called christians. 
Now, 1. We are told how the army of the Canaan- 
ites was routed in the field, in or near Bezek, the 
place where they drew up, which afterward Saul 
made tlie place of a general rendezvous; (1 Sam. 
11. 8.) they s^ew ten thousand men, which blow, if 
followed, could not but be a very great weakening to 
those that were brought already so very low. 2. 
How their king was taken and mortified His name 
was Adoni-bezek, which signifies, lord of Bezek. 
There have been those that called their lands by 
their own names, (Ps. 49. 11.) but here was one 
(and there has been many another) that called him- 
self by his land's name. He was taken prisoner 
after the battle, and we are here told how they 
used him : they cut off his thumbs, to disfit him for 
fi2;hting, and his great toes, that he might not be able 
to run away, v. 6. It had been barbarous thus to 
triumph over a man in miseiy, and that lay at their 
merrv, but that he was a devoted Canaanite, and 
one that had in like manner abused others, which, 
prnbibly, they had heard of. Josephus says, "They 
rut off his hands and his feet," probably supposing 
those more likely to be mortal wounds, than only 
the cutting off his thumbs and his great toes. But 
this indignity which they did him, extorted f oni 
h'm an acknowledgment of the righteousness of 
Crod, X'. 7. Where observe, (1.) What a great this Adoni-bezek had been, how great in the 

field, where armies fled before him, how great at 
hfimt, where kings were set with the dogs of hia 
fiock; and yet now himself a prisoner, and reduced 
to the extremity of meanness and disgi-ace. See 
h(jw changeable this world is, and how slippery its 
high places are. Let not the highest be proud, nor 
the strongest secure, for they know not how low 
they may be brought before they die. (2.) What 
desolation he had made among his neighbours, he 
had wholly subdued seventy kings, to that degree 
as to have them his prisoners; he that WdS the chief 
i person in a city, was then called a king, and the 
j greatness of their title did but aggravate their dis- 
I grace, and fired the pride of him that insulted over 
i them. We cannot suppose that Adoni-bezek had 
I seventy of these petty princes at once his slaves, 
I but first and last, in the course of his reign, he had 
th';s deposed and abused so many, who perhaps 
were many of them kings of the same cities that 
successively opposed him, and whom he thus treat- 
ed to please his own imperious barbarous fancy, and 
for a terror to others. It seems, the Canaanites 
had been wasted by civil wars, and those bloody 
ones, among themselves, which would very much 
facilitate the conquest of them by Israel. " Judah," 
says Dr. Lightfoot, "in conquering Adoni-bezek, 
did, in effect, conquer seventy kings." (3.) How 
justly he was treated as he had treated ctliers. Thus 
the righteous God sometimes, in his ])rovidence, 
makes the punishment to answer the sin, and ob- 
serves an equality in his judgments; the spoiler 
should be spoiled, and the' treacherous dealer dealt 
treacherously with, Isa. 33. 1. And they that 
showed no mercy, shall ha\ e no mercy showi d them. 
Jam. 2. 13. See Rev. 13. 10.— 18. 6. (4.) How 
honestly he owned the righteousness of Gcd herein. 
..4s I have done, so God has requited me. See the 
power of conscience, when Gcd by his judgments 
aw.ikens it, how it brings sin to remembrance, and 
subscribes to the justice of God. He that in his 
pride had set God at defiance, now yields to him, 
and reflects with as much regret upon the kings un- 
der his table, as ever he had looked upon them with 
pleasure when he had them tliei e. He seems to 
own that he was better dealt with tlum he had 
dealt with his prisoners; for though the Israelites 
maimed him, (according to the law of retaliation, 
an eye for an eye, so a thumb for a thumb,) yet 
they did not put him under the table to be fed with 
the crumbs there; because, though the other might 
well be looked upon as an act of justice, that would 
have savoured more of pride and haughtiness thai 
did become an Israelite 

VI. Particular notice is taken rf the conquest of 
Jerusalem, -u. 8. Our translators judge it spoken 
of here, as done formerly in Joshua's time, and only 
re])eated on occasion of Adoni-bezek's dying there, 
and therefore read it, "they had fought against Je- 
rusalem," and put this verse in a parenthesis; but 
the original speaks of it as a thing now dune; and 
that seems most probable, because it is said to be 
done by the children of Judah in particular, not by 
all Israel in general, whom Joshua commanded. 
Joshua indeed conquered and slew Adoni-zedek, 
king of Jerusalem, Josh. 10. but we read not there 
of his taking the city; probably, while he was pur 
suing his conquests elsewhere, this Adoni-bezek, a 
neighbouring prince, got possession lif it, whom, 
ha\ing conquered in the field, the city fell into their 
hands, and they slew the inhabit;ints, cxce])t those 
who retreated into the castle, and held rut there till 
David's time, and they set the city on fire, in token 
of their detestation of the idolatry wherewith it had \ 
been deeply infected, yet, prob ibly, not so as utterly 
to consume it, hut to leave convenient habitations 
for as many : s thev had to put into the possession 
of it. ' 



9. And afterward the children of Ju- 
dah went down to tight against the Canaan- 
ites, that dwelt in the mountain, and in the 
south, and in the valley. 10. And Judah 
went against the Canaanites that dwelt in 
Hebron, (now the name of Hebron before 
was Kirjath-arba,) and they slew Sheshai, 
and Ahiman, and Talmai. 11. And from 
thence he went against the inhabitants of 
Debir ; (and the name of Debir before ivas 
Kirjath-sepher :) 12. And Caleb said, He 
that smiteth Kirjath-sepher, and taketh it, 
to him will I give Achsah my daughter to 
wife. 13. And Othniel the son of Kenaz, 
Caleb's younger brother, took it : and he 
gave him Achsah his daughter to wife. 1 4. 
And it came to pass, when she came to him, 
that she moved him to ask of her father a 
field : and she lighted from off Aer ass ; and 
Caleb said unto her. What wilt thou ? 15. 
And she said unto him. Give me a blessing: 
for thou hast given me a south land, give me 
also springs of water. And Caleb gave her 
the upper springs and the nether springs. 
16. And the children of the Kenite, Mo- 
ses' father-in-law, went up out of the city of 
palm-trees with the children of Judah into 
the wilderness of Judah, which lieth in the 
south of Arad : and they went and dwelt 
among the people. 17. And Judah went 
with Simeon his brother, and they slew the 
Canaanites that inhabited Zephath, and 
utterly destroyed it : (And the name of the 
city was called Hormah.) 1 8. Also Judah 
took Gaza with the coast thereof, and 
Ashkelon with the coast thereof, and 
Ekron with the coast thereof. 19. And the 
Lord was with Judah, and he drave out 
(he inhahitants of the mountain, but could 
not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, 
because they had chariots of iron. 20. 
And they gave Hebron unto Caleb, as Mo- 
ses said : and he expelled thence the three 
sons of Anak. 

We have here a further account of that glorious and 
successful campkign wl;ich Judah and Simeon made. 
1. The lot of Judah was pretty well cleared of 
the Canaanites, yet not thoroughly. Those that 
dwelt in the mountam (the mountains that were 
r lund about Jerus ilem) were driven out, {v. 9. 19.) 
but those in the valley kept their ground against 
them, having chariots of iron, such as we read of. 
Josh. 17. 16. Here the men of Judah failed, and 
thereby spoiled the influence, which otherwise their 
example hitherto might have had on the rest of the 
tribes, who followed them in this instance of their 
cowardice, rather than in all the other instances of 
their courage. They had iron chariots, and there- 
f >re it was thought not safe to attack them ; but had 
imt Israel God on their side, whose chariots are 
(houmnds of angels, (Ps. 68. 17.) before whom 
these iron chariots would be but as stubble to the 
fire? Had not God expressl)' promised by the ora- 
cle, (v. 2. ) to give them success against the Canaan- 

Vol. II.— O 

ites in this very expedition, without excepting those 
that had iron chariots'* Yet they suffered their fears 
to prevail against their faith, they could not trust 
God under any disadvantages, and therefore durst 
not face the iron chariots, but meanly withdrew their 
forces, then when with one bold stroke they might 
have completed their victories; and it proved of 
pernicious consequence. They did run well, what 
hindered them; Gal. 5. 7. 

2. Caleb was put in possession of Hebron, which, 
though given him by Joshua ten or twelve years 
ago, (as Dr. Lightfoot computes,) yet being em- 
ployed in public service, tor the settling of the 
tribes, which he preferred before his own private 
interests, it seems he did not till now make himself 
master of; so well content was that good man to 
serve others, while he left himself to be served last; 
few men are like-minded, for all seek- their oivn, 
Phil. 2. 23, 21. Yet now the men of Judah all came 
in to his assistance for the reducing of Hebron, 
iy. 10.) slew the sons of Anak, and put him in pos- 
session of it, V. 20. They gave Hebron unto Caleb. 
And now Caleb, that he might return the kindness 
of his countrymen, is impatient to see Debir re- 
duced, and put into the hands of the men of Judah, 
to expedite which, he proffers his daughter to the 
person that will undertake to command in the siege 
of that important place, v. 11, 12. Othniel bravely 
undertakes it, and wins the town and the lady; 
{v. 13.) and by his wife's interest and management 
with her father, gains a very good inheritance for 
himself and familv, v. 14, 15. We had this passage 
before, Josh. 15. 16«'19, where it was largely ex- 
plained and impro\ ed. 

3. Simeon got ground of the Canaanites in his 
border, v. 17, 18. In the e.istern part of Simeon's 
lot, they destroyed the Canaanites in Zephath, and 
called it Hormah, destruction; adding this to some 
other de\oted cities not far off, which they had 
some time ago, with that reason, called by that 
name. Numb. 21. 2, 3. And this perhaps was the 
complete performance of the vow they then made, 
that they would utterly destroy these cities of the 
Canaanites in the south. In the western part they 
took Gaza, Askelon, and Ekron, cities of the Phi- 
listines; they gained present possession of the cities, 
but not destroying the inhabitants, the Philistines 
in process of time recovered the cities, and proved 
inveterate enemies to the Israel of God, and no 
better could come of doing their work by the 

4. The Kenites gained a settlement in the tribe 
of Judah, choosing it there, rather than in any other 
tribe, because it was the strongest, and there they 
hoped to be safe and quiet, -v. 16. These were the 
posterity of Jethro, who either went with Israel 
when Moses invited them, (Numb. 10. 29.) or met 
them about the same place, when they came up 
from their wanderings in the wilderness thirty- 
eight years after, and went with them then to Ca- 
naan, Moses having promised them that they should 
fare as Israel fared. Numb. 10. 32, They had ::t 
first seated themselves in the city of palm trees, that 
is, Jericho, a city which never was to be rebuilt, 
and therefore the fitter for them who dwelt in tents, 
and did not mind building. But afterward they re- 
moved into the wilderness of Judah, eithei- out of 
their affection to that tribe, which perhaps had 
been in a particular manner kind to them. Yet we 
find the tent of Jael, who was of that family, far 
north, in the lot of Naphtali, when Sisera tnok shel- 
ter there, ch. 4. 17. This respect Israel showed 
them to let them fix where they pleased, being a 
quiet people, who, wherever they were, were con- 
tent with a little. They that molested none, were 
molested by none. Blessed are the meek, for thus 
they shall inherit the earth. 



21. And the children of Benjamin did not 
drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jeru- 
salem; hut the Jebusites dwell with the 
cliildren of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto 
this day. 22. And the house of Joseph, 
they also went up against Beth-el: and the 
Loud was with them. 23. And the house 
of Joseph sent to descry Beth-el : (Now the 
name of the city before was Luz.) 24. And 
the spies saw a man come forth out of the 
city ; and they said unto him, Show us, we 
pray thee, the entrance into the city, and 
we will show thee mercy. 25. And when 
he showed them the entiance into the city, 
they smote the city with tiie edge of the 
sword ; but they let go the man and all his 
family. 26. And the man went into the 
land of the Hittites, and built a city, and 
called the name thereof Luz : which is the 
name thereof unto this day. 27. Neither 
did Manasseh drive out the inhabitants of 
Beth-shean and her towns, nor Taanach 
and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Dor 
and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Ibleam 
and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Me- 
giddo and her towns: but the Canaanites 
would dwell in that land. 28. And it came 
to pass, when Israel was strong, that they 
put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not 
utterly drive them out. 29. Neither did 
hiphraiin drive out the Canaanites that 
dwelt in Gezer ; but the Canaanites dwelt 
in Gezcr among them. 30. Neither did 
Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, 
nor the inhabitants of Nahalol ; but the Ca- 
naanites dwelt among them, and became 
tributaries. 31. Neither did Asher drive 
out the inhabitants of Accho, nor the inhabi- 
tants of Zidon, nor of Ahlab, nor of Achzib, 
nor of Helbah, nor of Aphik, nor of Rehob : 
32. But the Asherites dwelt among the Ca- 
naanites, the inhabitants of the land ; for 
they did not drive them out. 33. Neither 
did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of 
Beth-shemesh, nor the inhabitants of Beth- 
anath ; but he dwelt among the Canaanites, 
the inhabitants of the land: nevertheless 
the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and of 
fieth-anath became tributaries unto them. 
34. And the Amorites forced the children 
of Dan into the mountain : for they would 
not suffer them to come down to the valley : 
3.5. But the Amorites would dwell in mount 
Heres in Ajalon, and in Shaalbim; yet the 
hand of the house of Joseph prevailed, so 
that they became tributaries. 3G. And the 
rjoast of the Amorites was from the going 
up to Akrabbim, from the rock, and up- 
We are here told upon what terms the rest of 

1 the tribes stood with the Canaanites that remained 

I. Benjamin neglected to drive the Jebusites ou> 
of that part of the city of Jerusalem which fell to 
their lot, v. 21. Judah had set them a good exam- 
ple, and gained them great advantages by what 
they did, {y. 9. ) but they did not follow the blow 
for want of resolution. 

II. The house of Joseph bestirred themselves a 
little to get possession of Beth-el, v. 22. That this 
city is mentioned in the tribe of Benjamin, Josh. 
18. 22. Yet it is spoken of there, {v. 13.) as a city 
in the borders of that tribe, and it should seem, the 
line went through it, so that one half of it only be- 
longed to Benjamin, the other half to Ephraim; and 
perhaps the activity of the Ephraimites at this time, 
to recover it from the Canaanites, secured it entirely 
to them from henceforward, or at least the greatest 
part of it, for afterward we find it so much under the 
power of the ten tribes, (and Benjamin was none ol 
them, ) that Jeroboam set up one of his calves in it. 
In this account of the expedition of the Ephraimites 
against Beth-el, observe, 1. Their interest in the 
divine favour. The Lord wan ivith them, and would 
have been with the tribes, if they would have ex- 
erted their strength. The Chaldee reads it here, 
as in many other places. The word of the Lord was 
their Helfier, namely, Christ himself, the Captain 
of the Lord's host, now that they acted separately, 
as well as when they were all in one body. 2. The 
prudent measures they took to gain the city. They 
sent spies to observe what part of the city was 
weakest, or which way they might make their at- 
tack with most advantage, v. 23. These spies got 
very good information from a man they providen- 
tially met with, who showed them a private way 
into the town, which was therefore left unguarded, 
because, being not genei'ally known, no danger was 
suspected on that side. And here, (1.) He is not 
to be blamed for giving them this intelligence, if he 
did it from a conviction that the Lord was with 
them, and that by his donation the land was theirs 
of right, any more than Rahab was for entertaining 
those whom she knew to be enemies of her country, 
but friends of God. Nor, (2.) Are they to be 
blamed who showed him mercy, gave him and 
his family not only their lives, but liberty to go 
wherever they pleased: for one good turn requires 
another. But, it seems, he would not join himself 
to the people of Israel, he feared them rather than 
loved them, and therefore he removed after a colo- 
ny of the Hittites, which, it should seem, was gone 
into Arabia, and settled thei-e upon Joshua's inva- 
sion of the country; with them this man chose to 
dwell, and among them he built a city, a small one, 
we may suppose, such as planters used to build, and 
in the name of it preserved the ancient name of his 
nati\'e city, Luz, an almoiid tree, preferring that 
before its new name which carried religion in it, 
Beth-el, the house of God. 3. Their success; the 
spies brought or sent notice of the intelligence they 
had gained to the army, which impro\ed their rd- 
vantages, surprised the city, and put them all to the 
sword, V. 25. But beside this achievement, it seems, 
the children of Joseph did nothing remarkable. 
(1.) Manasseh failed to drive out the Canaanites 
from several very consider. ible cities in their lot, 
and did not make any attempt upon them, v. 27. 
But the Canaanitfs lieing in possession, were re- 
solved not to qui*- it, they would dwcH in thtt land, 
and Manasseh had not resolution enough t^ offer t(\ 
dispossess them; as if there were no meddling with 
them, luiless they were willing to resign, which it 
was not to be expected they ever would be. Onlv 
as Israel got strength, they got grovmd, and served 
themselves, both I)y their contributions, and by 
their personal services, v. 28, 35. (2.) Ephraim 
likewise, though a powerful trilje neglected Gezer, 



a considerable city, and suffered the Canaanites to 
dweii among them, (v. 29.) which some think, inti- 
mates their allowing them a quiet settlement, and 
indulging them the privileges of an unconquered 
people, not so much as making them their tributa- 

III. Zeljulun, perhaps inclining to the sea-trade, 
for it was foretold that it should be a haven for ships, 
neglected to reduce Kitron and Nahalol, (v. 30.) 
and only made the inhabitants of those places tribu- 
taries to them. 

IV. Asher quitted itself worse than any of the 
tribes, {v. 31, 32.) not only in lea\ing more towns 
than any of them in the hands of the Canaanites, 
but in submitting to the Canaanites, instead of 
making them tributaries; for so the manner of ex- 
pression intimates, that the Asherites dwelt among 
the Canaanites, as if the Canaanites were the more 
numerous, and the more powerful, would still be 
lords of the country, and the Israelites must be only 
upon sufferance among them. 

V. Naphtali also permitted the Canaanites to live 
among them, (v. 33.) only by degrees they got 
them so far under as to exact contributions from 

VI. Dan was so far from extending his conquests 
there where his lot lay, that, wanting spirit to make 
head against the Amorites, he was iforced by them 
to retire into the mountains and inhabit the cities 
there, but durst not venture into the valley, where, 
it is probable, the chariots of iron were, v. 34. Nav, 
and some of the cities in the mountains were kejjt 
against them, v. 35. Thus were they straitened in 
their possessions, and forced to seek for more room 
at Laish, a great way off, ch. 18. 1, tfc. In Jacob's 
blessing, Judah is compared to a lion, Dan to a ser- 
pent; now observe how Judah with his lion-like 
courage pi-ospered and prevailed, but Dan with all 
his serpentine subtlety could get no ground; craft 
and artful management do not always effect the 
wonders they pretend to. What Dan came short 
of doing, it seems his neighbours the Ephraimites 
in part did for him; they put the Amorites under 
tiibute, V. 35. 

Upon the whole matter, it appears that the peo- 
ple of Israel were generally very careless both of 
their duty and interest in this thing; they did net 
what they might have done to expel the Canaanites 
and make room for themsehes. And, 1. It was 
owing to their slothfulness and cowardice; they 
would not be at the pains to complete their con- 
quests; like the sluggard, that dreamed of a lion in 
the way, a lion in the streets, they fancied insuper- 
able difficulties, and frightened themselves with 
winds and clouds from sowing and reaping. 2. It 
was owing to their covetousness; the Canaanites' 
labour and money would do tliem more good (they 
thought) than their blood, and therefore they were 
willing to let them live among them, that they 
might make a hand of them. 3. They had not that 
dread and detestation of idolatry, which they ought 
to have had; they thought it pity to put these Ca- 
naanites to the sword, though the measure of their 
iniquity was full; thought it would be no harm to 
let them live among them, and that they should be 
in no danger from them. 4. The same thing that 
kept their fathers forty years out of Canaan, kept 
them now out of the full possession of it, and that 
was, unbelief. Distrust of the power and promise 
of God lost them their advantages, and run them 
into a thousand mischiefs. 


III inis chapter, we have, I. A particular message which 
God sent to Israel by an anpel, and the impression it 
made upon them, v. J . . 3. II. A general idea of the 
state of Israel during the goYernment of the Judges. In 

which observe, 1. Their adherence to God while Joshua 
and tlie elders lived, v. 6 . . 10. 2. Their revolt afterward 
to idolatry, v. 11 . . 13. 3. God's displeasure a^aiiist them, 
and his judgments upon them for it, 14. . 15. 4. His 
pity toward them, showed in raising them up deliverers, 
V. 16, 18. 5. Their relapse into idolatry after the judg- 
ment was over, v. 17, 19. 6. The full stop God ni anger 
put to their success, v. 20. . 23. These are thecontenls, 
not only of this chapter, but of the whole book. 

1. 4 ND an angel of the Lord came up 
l\. from Gilgal to Bochiin, and said, i 
made you to go up out of Egypt, and have 
brought you unto the land which 1 svvare 
unto your fothers ; and 1 said, I w ill never 
break mv covenant with you. 2. And yt; 
shall make no league with the inhabitants 
of this land; ye shall throw down their al 
tars : but ye have not obeyed my voice : 
why have ye done this ? 3. Wherefore 1 
also said, I will not drive them out from be- 
fore you ; but they shall be as thorns in your 
sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto 
you. 4. And it came to pass, when the an- 
gel of the Lord spake these words unto all 
the children of Israel, tiiat.the people lifted 
up their voice, and wept. 5. And they 
called the name of that place Bochim : anrl 
they sacrificed there unto the Lord. 

It was the privilege of Israel, that they had not 
only a law in general sent them from heaven, once 
for all, to direct them into, and keep them in, the 
way to happiness, but that they had particular mes- 
sages sent them from hea\ en, as there was occa- 
sion, f r reproof, for correction, and for instruction 
in righteousness, when at any time they turned aside 
out of that way. Beside the written word which 
tliey had before them to read, they often Iwj d a 
ii'ord behind them, saying. This is ihe ivait, Isa. 30. 
21. Here begins that way of God's dealing with 
them. When they would not hear Moses, let it be 
tried whether they will hear the prophets. In 
these verses we have a very awakening sermon 
that was preached to them when they began to cool 
in their religion. 

I. The preacher was snangelof the Lord, {y. 1.) 
not a prophet, not Phinehas, as the Jews conceit; 
gospel mmisters are indeed called angels of the 
churches, but the Old Testament prophets are ne- 
ver called angels of the Lord; no doubt, this was 
a messenger from heaven. Such extraordinary 
messengers we sometimes find in this book, em- 
ployed in the raised up of the Judges that delivered 
Israel, as Gideon and Samson, and now, to show 
how various the good offices are they do for God's 
Israel, here is one sent to preach to them, to pre- 
vent their falling into sin and trouble. This extra- 
ordinary messenger was sent to command, if possi- 
ble, their great regard to the message, and to affect 
the minds of a people, whom nothing seemed to af- 
fect but what was sensible. The learned Bishop 
Patrick is clearly of opinion, that this was not a 
created angel, but the angel of the covenant; the 
same that appeared to Joshua as Cafitain of the 
hosts of the Lord, who was God himself. Christ 
himself, says Dr. Lightfoot: who but God and 
Christ could say, I made yon to go vfi out of Egypt? 
Joshua had lately admonished them to take heed 
of entangling themselves with the Canaanites, but 
they regarded not the words of a dying man; the 
same warning therefore is here brought them by 
the living God himself, the Son of God appearing 
as an angel. If they slight his servants, surely they 



will reverence his Son. This angel of the Lord is 
said to come up from Gilgal, perhaps not walking 
on the earth, but flying swiftly, as the angel Ga- 
bi'iel did to Daniel, in the open firmament of hea- 
ven; but whether walking or flying, he seemed to 
come from Gilgal, for a particular reason; Gilgal 
was long their head quarters after they came into 
Canaan, many signal favours they had there re- 
ceived from God, and there the covenant of cir- 
cumcision was renewed, (Mic. 6. 5.) of all which it 
was designed they should be reminded by his coming 
from Ciilgal. The remembrance of what ive have 
recerved and heard, will prepare us for a warning 
to hold fast. Rev. 3. 2, 3. 

II. The persons to whom this sermon was 
preached, were all the children of Israel, v. 4. A 
great congregation for a great preacher ! 'rhey were 
assembled either for war, each tribe sending in its 
forces for some great expedition, or rather for wor- 
ship, and then the place of their meeting must be 
Shiloh, where the tabernacle was, at which they 
were all to come together, three times a year. 
When we attend upon God in instituted ordinances, 
we may expect to hear from him, and to receive 
his gifts at his own gates. The place is called Bo- 
chim, iy. 1.) because it gained that name upon this 
occasion. All Israel need the reproof and warning 
here given, and therefore it is spoken to them all. 

III. The sermon .itself is short, but very close. 
God here tells them plainly, 1. What had he done 
for them, v. 1. He had brought them out of Egypt, 
a land of sla\ ery and toil, into Canaaii, a land of 
rest, liberty, and plenty. The miseries of the one 
served as a fni. to the felicities of the other. God 
had herein been kind to them, true to the oath 
sworn to their fathers, had given such proofs of his 
power as left them inexcusable if they distrusted it, 
and su.h engagement to his service, as left them, 
inexcusable if they deserted it. 2. What he had 
promised them; I said, I ivill never break my cove- 
nanl tvith you. When he took them to be his pe- 
culiar people, it was i^t with any design to cast 
them off again, or to change them for another peo- 
ple at his pleasure; let them but be faithful to him, 
and they should find him unchangeably constant to 
tliem. He tdd tliem plainly that the covenant he 
entered into with them should never break, unless 
it broke on their side. 3. Wh:tt were his just and 
reasonable expectations from them, v. 2. 1 liat be- 
ing taken into covenant with God, they should 
make no league with the Canaanites, who were 
both his enemies and theirs. That having set up 
his altar, they should throw down their altars, lest 
they should be a temptation to them to serve their 
gods. Could any thing be demanded more easy? 

4. How they had in this \ ery thing, which he had 
most insisted on, disobeyed him. " But ye have not 
in so small a matter obeyed my voice." In con- 
tempt of tlieir covenant with God, and their con- 
federacy with each other in that covenant, they 
made leagues of fi-iendship with the idolatrous de- 
voted Canaanites, and connived at their altars, 
though they stood in comi^etition with CJod's: 
" VVIiy have ye done this? What account can you 
give of this perverseness of your's at the bar of right 
reason? What apology can yovi make for your- 
selves, or what excuse can you offer?" They that 
throw off their communion with Ciod, and have fel- 
lowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, 
know not what they do now, and will ha\ e nothing 
to say for themselves in the day of account shortly. 

5. How thev rrtust expect to smart by and by for 
this their f'Aly, v. 3. Their tolerating of the Ca- 
naanites among them would, (1.) Put a period to 
their victories; " You will not drive them out," 
savs God, "and therefore /will not;" thus their 
sm was made their punishment. Thus they who 

indulge their lusts and corruptions, which they 
should mortify, forfeit the grace of God, and it is 
justly withdrawn from them. If we will not resist 
the Devil, we cannot expect that God should tread 
him under our feet. (2. ) It would involve them in 
continual troubles. " They shall be thorns in your 
sides to gore you, which way soever you turn, al- 
ways doing you one mischief or other. Those de- 
ceive themselves, who expect advantage by friend- 
ship with those that are enemies to God. (3. ) It 
would (which was worst of all) expose them to con- 
stant temptation, and draw them to sin. " Their 
gods" (their abominations, so the Chaldee) " will 
be a snare to you, you will find yourselves wretch- 
edly entangled in an affection to them, and it will 
be your ruin;" so some read it. Those that ap- 
proach sin, are justly left to themselves to fall into 
sin, and to perish in it. God often makes men's sin 
their punishment; and thorns and snares are in the 
way of the froward, who will walk contrary to 

IV. The good success of this sermon is very re- 
markable — the people lifted ufi their voice and 
wefit, V. 4. 1. The angel had told them of their 
sins, which they thus expressed their sorrow for; 
they lifted up their voice in confession of sin, crying 
out against their own folly and ingratitude, and 
wept, as those that were both ashamed of them- 
selves, and angry at themselves, as having acted so 
directly contrary both to their reason and to their 
interest. 2. The angel had threatened them with 
the judgment of God, which they thus expressed 
their dread of; they lifted up their voice in prayer 
to God to turn away his wrath from them, and wept 
for fear of that wrath. They relented upon this 
alarm, and their hearts melted within them, and 
trembled at the word, and not without cause. This 
was good, and a sign that the word they heard, 
made an impression upon them; it is a wonder sin- 
ners can CA'er read their Bibles with dry eyes: but 
this was not enough; they wept, but we do not find 
that they reformed, that they went home and de- 
stroyed all the remains of idolatry and idolaters 
among them. Many are melted under the word, 
that harden again, before they are cast into a new 
mould. However, this general weeping, (1.) Gave 
a new name to the place, {y. 5. ) they called it Bo- 
chim, Weefiers, a good name for our religious assem- 
blies to answer. Had they kept close to God and 
their duty, no voice but that of singing had been 
heard in their congregation; but by their sin and 
folly they had made other work for themselves, 
and now nothing is to be heard but the voice of 
weeping. (2.) It gave occasion for a solemn sacri- 
fice; they sacrificed there unto the Lord, being (as 
is supposed) met at Shiloh, where God's altar was. 
They offered sacrifice to turn away God's wrath, 
and to obtain his favour, and in token of their dedi- 
cation of themselves to him, and to him only, 
making a covenant by this sacrifice. The disease 
being thus taken in time, and the physic adminis- 
tered working so well, one would have hoped a 
cure might have been effected. But by the sequel 
of the story, it appears to have been too deeply root- 
ed to be wept out. 

6. And when Joshua had let the people 
go, the children of Israel went every man 
unto his inheritance to possess the land. 
7. And the people served the Lord all the 
days of Joshua, and all the davs ot^ the 
elders that outlived Joshua, who liad seen 
all the great works of the Lord, that he 
did for Israel. 8. And Joshua the son of 
Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being 



a hundred and ten year.; old. 9. And they 
oiiried him in the border of his inheritance 
HI Timnath-heres, in the mount of Ephraim, 
on the north side of the hill Gaash. 10. 
\nd also all that generation were gathered 
unto their fathers : and there arose another 
generation after them, which knew not the 
LiORD, nor yet the works which he had 
done for Israel 1 1 . And the children of 
Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, 
and served Baalim : 1 2. And they forsook 
the Lord God of their fathers, which 
brought them out of the land of Egypt, and 
followed other gods, of the gods of the peo- 
ple that were lound about them, and bowed 
themselves unto them, and provoked the 
Lord to anger. 13. And they forsook the 
Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. 
1 4. And the anger of the Lord was hot 
against Israel, and he delivered them into 
the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and 
he sold them into the hands of their enemies 
round about, so that they could not any long- 
er stand before their enemies. 1 5. Whither- 
soever they went out, the hand of the Lord 
was against them for evil, as the Lord had 
said, and as the Lord had sworn unto 
them : and they were greatly distressed. 
16. Nevertheless the Lord raised up 
judges, which delivered them out of the 
liand of those that spoiled them. 1 7. And 
yet they would not hearken unto their 
judges, but they went a whoring after other 
gods, and bowed themselves unto them : 
they turned quickly out of the way which 
their fathers walked in, obeying the com- 
mandments of the Lord ; but they did not 
so. 18. And when the Lord raised them 
up judges, then the Lord was with the 
judge, and delivered them out of the hand 
of their enemies all the days of the judge: 
for it repented the Lord because of their 
groanings, by reason of them that oppressed 
them and vexed them. 1 9. And it came to 
pass, when the judge was dead, that they 
returned and corrupted themselves more than 
their fathers, in following other gods to 
serve them, and to bow down unto them : 
they ceased not from their own doings, nor 
from their stubborn way. 20. And the an- 
ger of the Lord was hot against Israel ; 
and he said. Because that this people hath 
transgressed my covenant which I com- 
manded their fathers, and have not hearken- 
ed unto my voire, 21. I also will not 
henceforth drive out any from before them 
of the nations which Joshua left when he 
died ; 22. That through them I may prove 
Israel, whether they will keep the way of 
the Lord, to walk therein, as their fathers 

did keep it, or not. 23. Therefore the Lord 
left those nations, without driving them out 
hastily ; neither delivered he them into the 
hand of Joshua. 

The beginning of this paragraph is only a repe- 
tition of what account we had before of the people's 
good ch&racter, during the government of Joshua, 
and of his death and burial, Josh. 24. 29, 30. Which 
comes in here again, only to make way for the fol- 
lowing account, which this chapter gives, of their 
degeneracy and apostasy. The angel had foretold 
that the Canaanites and their idols would be a snare 
to Israel; now the historian undertakes to show 
that they were so, and that they may i.ppear the 
more clear, he looks back a little, and takes notice, 
1. Of their happy settlement in the land of Canaan. 
Joshua, having distributed this land ami ng them, 
dismissed them to the qu'ct and comfortable pos- 
session of it, V. 6. He sent them away, not cnlv 
every tribe, but evrrij ?na?i to his inheritance, no 
doubt, giving them his blessing. 2. Of their con- 
tinuance in the faith and fear of God's holy name as 
long as Joshua lived, v. 7. As they went to their 
possessions with good resolutions to cleave to God, 
so they persisted for some time in these good reso- 
lutions, as long as they had good rulers that set them 
good examples, gave them good instructirns, and 
reproved and restrained the corruptions that crept 
in among them; and as long as they had in remem- 
brance the great things God did for them when he 
brought them into Canaan: they that had seen 
these wonders, had so much sense as to believe 
their own eyes, and so much reason as to serve that 
God who had appeared so gloriously on their be- 
half; but they that followed, because they had not 
seen, believed not. 3. Of the death and burial of 
Joshua, which gave a fatal stroke to the interests 
of religion among the people, v. 8, 9. Yet so much 
sense they had of their obligations to him, that they 
did him honour at his death, and buried him in Tim- 
nath-heres; so it is called here, not, as in Joshua, 
Timnath-serah. Heres signifies the sun; a repre- 
sentation of which, some think, was set upon his se- 
pulchre, and ga\e name to it, in remembrance of 
the sun's standing still at his word. So di\ ers of the 
Jewish writers say; but I much question whether 
an image of the sun would be allowed to the honour 
of Joshua, at that time, when, by reason of men's 
general proneness to worship the sun, it would be 
in danger of being abused to the dishonour of God. 
4. Of the rising of a new generation, v. 10. All 
that generation in a few years wore off, their good 
instructions and examples died and were buried 
with them, and there arose another generation of 
Israelites who had so little sense of religion, and 
were in so little care about it, that notwithstanding 
all the advantages of their education, one might 
truly say, that they knew not the Lord, knew him 
not aright, knew him not as he had revealed him- 
self, else they would not have forsaken him. They 
were so entirely devoted to the world, sq intent 
upon the business of it, and so indulgent of the flesh 
in ease and luxury, that they never minded the 
true God and his holy religion, and so were easily 
drawn aside to false gods and their abominable su- 

And so he comes to give us a general idea of the 
series of things in Israel, during the time of thr 
Judges; the same repeated in the same order. 

I. The people of Israel forsook the God of Israel, 
and gave that worship and honour, to the dunghill- 
deities of the Canaanites, which was due to him 
alone, Be astonished, heauens, at this, and won- 
der, earth! Hath a nation, such a nation, so well 
fed, so well taught, changed its God, such a God, a 



God of infinite power, unspotted purity, inexhausti- 
ble goodness, and so very jealous of a competitor, 
for stocks and stones that could do neither good nor 
,evil.'' Jer. 2. 11, 12. Never was there such an 
instance of folly, ingratitude, and perfidiousness. 
Observe how it is described here, !». 11, 13. In 
general, they did evil, nothing could be more evil, 
that is, more provoking to God, nor more prejudi- 
cial to themselves; and it was in the sight of the 
Lord; all evil is before him, but he takes special 
notice of the sin of having any other god. In par- 
ticular, 1. They forsook tMe Lord; {v. 12. and again, 
V. 13.) this was one of the great evils they were 
guilty of, Jer. 2. 13. They had been joined to the 
L >rd in covenant, but now they forsook him, as a 
wife treacherously defiarteth from her husband, 
" They firsook the worship of the Lord," so the 
Ch ddee: for they thit forsake the worship of God, 
do in efFejt forsake God liimself. It aggravated this, 
th:it lie was the God of their fathers, so that they 
were born in his house, and therefore bound to serve 
him; and that he brought them out of the land of 
Kgy/it, he loosed their bonds, and upon that account 
also they were obliged to serve him. 2. When they 
forsook the only true God they did not turn athe- 
ists, nor were they such fools as to say. There is no 
God; but they followed other gods: so much re- 
mained of pure nature as to own a God, yet so much 
appeared cf corrupt nature as to multiply gods, and 
to take up with any, and to follow the fashion, not 
the rule, in religious worship. Israel had the ho- 
nour of being a peculiar people, and dignified above 
all others, and yet so false were they to their own 
privileges, that they were fond of the gods of the 
jieofilr that were round about them. Baal and Ash- 
taroth, he-gods and she-gods; they made their court 
to sun, and moon, Jupiter and Juno. Baalim signifies 
lords, and Ashtaroth, blessed o.nes, both plural, for 
when they forsook Jehovah, who is one, they had gods 
many, and lords manv, as a luxuriant fancy pleased 
to multiply them. Whatever they took for their 
gods, they served them, and bowed down to them, 
gave honour to them, and begged favours from 

II. The God of Israel was hereby provoked to 
anger, and delivered them up. into the hand of their 
enemies, v. 14, 15. He was wrath with them, for 
he is a jealous God, and true to the honour of his 
own name; and the way he took to punish them for 
their apostasy, was, to make those their tormentors 
whom they yielded to as their tempters. They 
made themselves as mean and miserable by forsak- 
ing (iod, as they would have been great and happy 
if they had continued faithful to him. 1. The scale 
of victory turned against them. After they forsook 
God, whenever they took the sword in hand, they 
were as sure to be beaten as before they had been 
sure to conquer. Formerly, their enemies could 
not stand before them, but wherever they went, the 
hand of the Lord was for them; when they began 
to cool in their religion, God suspended his favour, 
stopped the progress of their successors, and would 
not drive out their enemies any more, {v. 3.) only 
suffered them to keep their ground: but now, when 
they were quite revolted to idolatry, the war turn- 
ed directly against them, and they could not any 
longer stand before their enemies. God would rather 
give the success to those that had never known nor 
owned him. Wherever they went, they might per- 
ceive that God himself was turned to be their ene- 
my, and fought against them, Isa. 63. 10. 2. The 
balance of power then turned against them of 
course. Whoever would, might spoil them; who- 
ever would, might oppress them; God sold them 
into the hands of their enemies; not only he deliver- 
ed them up freely, as we do that which we have 
sold, but he did it upon a valuable consideration. 

that he might get himself honour as a jealous God, 
who would not spare even his own peculiar people 
when they provoked him. He sold them as insol- 
vent debtors are sold, (Matth. 18. 25.) by their suf- 
ferings to make some sort of reparation to his glory 
for the injury it sustained by their apostasy. Ob- 
serve how their punishment, (1.) Answered what 
they had done; they served the gods of the nations 
that were round about them, even the meanest, and 
God made them ser\ e the princes of the nations 
that were round about them, even the meanest. 
He that is company for every fool, is justly made a 
fool of by every company. (2. ) How it answered 
what God had s/ioken. The hand of heaven was 
thus turned against them, as the Lord had said, and 
as the Lord had sworn; (v. 15. ) i eferring to the 
curse and death set before them in the covenant, 
with the blessing and life. Those that have found 
God true to his promises, may from thence infer that 
he will be as true to his threatenings. 

III. The God of infinite mercy took pity on them, 
in their distresses, though they had brought them- 
selves into them by their own sin and folly, and 
wrought deliverance for them. Nevertheless, 
though their trouble was the punishment of their 
sin, and the accomplishment of God's word, yet 
they were in process of time saved out of their 
troubles, v. 16* -IS. Where observe, 1. The in- 
ducement of their deliverance. It came purely from 
God's pity and tender compassion, the reason was 
fetched from within himself. It is not said. It re- 
pented them because of their iniquities, (for it 
appears, v. 17. that many of them continued unre- 
formed,) but, // refiented the Lord because of their 
groanings; though it is not so much the burthen of 
sin, as the burthen of aflHiction, that they are said to 
groan under. It was true, they deserved to perish 
for ever under his curse, yet this being the day of 
his patience and our probation, he does not stir up 
all his wrath. He might in justice have abandoned 
them, but he could not for pity do it. 2. The in- 
struments of their deliverance; God did not send 
angels from heaven to do it, or bring in any foreign 
power for their rescue, but raised up judges from 
among themselves, as there was occasion, men to 
whom God gave extraordinary qualifications for, 
and calls to, that special service for which they 
were designed, which was to reform and deliver Is- 
rael, and whose great attempts he crowned with 
wonderful success; the Lord was with the judges 
when he raised them up, and so they became 
saviours. Obser^-e, (1. ) In the days of the greatest 
degeneracy and distress of the church, there shall 
be some whom God will either find or make fit tc 
redress its grievances, and set things to rights, 
(2. ) God must be acknowledged in the seasonable 
rising up of useful men for public service. He en- 
dues men with wisdom and courage, gives them 
hearts to act and venture. All that are in any way 
the blessings of their country, must be looked upon 
as the gifts of God. (3.) Whom God calls, he will 
own, and give them his presence; whom he raises 
up, he will be with. (4. ) The judges of a land are 
its saviours. 

IV. The degenerate Israelites were not effectu- 
ally and thoroughly reformed, no not by their 
judges, x>. 17-«19. 1. Even while their judges Avere 
with them, and active in the work of reformation, 
there were those that would 7iot hearken to their 
judges, but at that \'ery time went a whoring after 
other gods; so mad were they ujJbn their idols, and 
so obstinately bent to backslide. They had been es- 
poused to God, but broke the marriage-covenant, 
and went a whoring after false gods. Idolatry is 
spiritual adultery; so vile and base and perfidious a 
thing is it, and so hardly are those reclaimed, that 
are addicted to it. 2. Those that in the times of refor- 



mation began to amend, yet turned quickly out of 
the way again, and became as bad as ever. The 
way they turned out of, was tiiat which their godly 
ancestors walked in, and set them out in; but they 
soon started from under the influence both of their 
fathers' good example, and of their own good edu- 
cation. The wicked children of godly parents do 
so, and will therefore have a great deal to answer 
for. 3. However, tvhen the judge was dead, they 
looked upon the dam which checked the stream of 
their idolatry as removed, and then it flowed down 
again. with so much the more fury, and the next 
age seemed to be rather the worse for the attempts 
that were made toward reformation; {v. 19.) They 
corrufited themselves more than their fathers; strove 
to outdo them in multiplying strange gods, and in- 
\ enting profane and impious rites of worship, as it 
were in contradiction to their reformers. They 
ceased not from, or, as the word is, they would not 
let fall, any of their own doings; grew not ashamed 
of those idolatrous services that were most odious, 
nor weary of those that were most barbarous; would 
not so much as diminish one step of their hard and 
stubborn way. Thus they that have forsaken the 
good ways of God, which they have once known 
and professed, commonly grow most daring and 
desperate in sin, and have their hearts most har- 

V. God's just resolution hereupon was, still to 
continae the rod over them. 1. Their sin was, 
sparing the Canaanites; and this, in contempt and 
violation of the covenant God had made with them, 
and the commands he had gi\ en them, v. 20. 2. 
Their punishment was, that the Canaanites were 
spared, and so they were beaten with their own rod. 
They were not all delivered into the hand of Joshua 
while he lived, -v. 23. Our Lord Jesus, though he 
sfioiled princifialities and fiowere, yet did not com- 
plete his victory at first; we see not yet all things 
/lut under him; here are remains of Satan's interest 
in the church, as thej-e were of the Canaanites in 
the land; but yet Joshua lives for ever, and will in 
the great day perfect his conquests. After Joshua's 
death, little was done for a long time against the 
Canaanites: Israel indulged them, and grew familiar 
with them, and therefore God would not drive them 
out any more, v. 21. If they will have such inmates 
as these among them, let them take them, and see 
what will come of it. God chose their delusions, 
Isa. 66. 4. Thus men cherish and indulge their 
own corrupt appetites and passions, and, instead of 
m'^rtifying them, make provision for them, and j 
therefore God justly leaves them to themselves un- 
der the power of their sins, which will be their 
ruin: So shall their doom be, themselves have decid- 
ed it. These remnants of the Canaanites were left 
to prove Israel, {v. 22. ) whether they will keep, the 
way of the Lord or not; not that God might know 
them, but that they might know themselves. It ! 
was to try, (1.) Whether they could resist the 
temptations to idolatiy which the Canaanites would 
lay before them. God had told them they could 
not, (Deut. 7. 4.) but they thought they could; 
"Well," said God, "I will try you;" and, upon 
trial, it was found that the tempter's charms were 
quite too strong for them. God has told us how 
deceitful and desperately wicked our hearts are, 
but we are not willing to believe it, until, by making 
bold with temptation, we find it too true by sad ex- 
perience. (2.) Whether they would make a good 
jse of the vexations which the remaining natives 
would give them, and the many troubles they would 
occasion them, and would thereby be convinced of 
sin and humbled for it, reformed, and driven to God 
and their duty; whether by continual alarms from 
them they would be kept in awe, and made afraid 
of provoking God. 


In this chapter, I. A g^eneral account of Israel's enemief 
is premised, and of the mischief they did them, v. 1 . .7 
II. A particular account of the brave exploits done b> 
the three first of the judges. 1. Othniel, whom God 
raised up to fight Israel's battles, and plead their cause 
against the king of Mesopotamia, v. 8. . 11- 2. Ehud, 
who was employed in rescuing Israel out of the hands of 
the Moabites, and did it by stabbing the king of Moab, 
V. 12. 30. 3. Shamgar, who signalized himself in an 
encounter with the Philistines, v. 31. 

1. 'IVTOW these are the nations which the 
JL^ Lord left, to prove Israel by them , 
{even as many of Israel as had not known 
all the wars of Canaan ; 2. Only that the 
generations of the children of Israel might 
know to teach them war, at the least such 
as before knew nothing thereof;) 3. Namely, 
five lords of the Philistines, and all the Ca- 
naanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites 
that dwelt in mount Lebanon, from mount 
Baal-hermon unto the entering in of Ha- 
math. 4. And they were to prove Israel by 
them, to know whether they would hearken 
unto the commandments of the Lord, which 
he commanded their fathers by the hand of 
Moses. 5. And the children of Israel dwelt 
among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amo- 
rites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebu- 
sites : 6. And they took their daughters to 
be their wives,, and gave their daughters to 
their sons, and served their gods. 7. And 
the children of Israel did evil in the sight of 
the Lord, and forgat the Lord their God, 
and served Baalim and the groves. 

We are here told what remained of the old inha- 
bitants of Canaan. 1. Tliere were some of them 
that kept together in united bodies, unbroken; {v. 
3.) The five lords of the Philistines, namely, Ash- 
dod, Gaza, Askelon, Gath, and Ekron, 1 Sam. 6. 
17. Three of these cities had been in part reduced, 
{ch. 1. 18.) but, it seems, the Philistines (probably 
with the help of the other two, which strengthened 
their confederacy with each other from thencefor- 
ward) recovered the possession of them. These 
gave the greatest disturbance to Israel of any of the 
natives, especially in the latter times of the Judges, 
and they Avere never quite reduced until David did 
it. There was a particular nation called Canaan- 
ites, that kept their ground with the Sidonians, upon 
the coast of the great sea. And in the north the 
Hivites held much of mount Lebanon, it being a re- 
mote comer, in which perhaps they were supported 
by some of the neighbouring states. But beside 
these, 2. There were every where in all parts of 
the country some scatterings of the nations; (i;. 5.) 
Hittites, Amorites, 8cc. which, by Israel's foolish 
connivance and indulgence, were so many, so easy, 
and so insolent, that the children of Israel are said 
to dwell among them, as if the right had still re- 
mained in the Canaanites, and the Israelites had 
been taken in by their permission, and only as te- 
nants at will. 

Now concerning these remnants of the natives, 

I. How wisely God permitted them to remain. 
It had been mentioned in the close of the foregoing 
chapter, as an art of Gcd's Justice, that he let them 
remain for Israel's correction. But here anothei 



construction is put upon it, and it appears to have 
been an act of God's wisdom, that he let them re- 
main for Israel's real advantage, that those who 
had not known the wars of Canaan, might learn 
war, V. 1, 2. It was the will of God that the peo- 
ple of Israel should be inured to war, 1. Because 
their country was exceeding rich and fruitful, and 
abounded with dainties of all sorts, which, if they 
were not sometimes made to know hardship, would 
be in danger of sinking them into the utmost degree 
of luxury and effeminacy. They must sometimes 
wade in blood, and not always in milk and honey, 
lest even their men of war, by the long disuse of 
arms, should become as soft and nice as the tender 
and delicate woman, that would not set so much as 
(he sole of her foot to the ground for tenderness and 
delicacy; a temper as destructive to every thing 
that is good, as it is to every thing that is great, and 
therefore to be carefully watched against by all 
God's Israel. 2. Because their country lay very 
much in the midst of enemies, by whom they must 
expect to be insulted; for God's heritage was as a 
sfieckled bird, the birds round about were against 
her, Jer. 12. 9. It was therefore necessary they 
should be well disciplined, that they might defend 
their coasts when mvaded, and rnight hereafter 
enlarge their coast as God had promised them. 
The art of war is best learned by experience, 
which not only acquaints men with martial disci- 
pline, but (which is no less necessary) inspires 
them with a martial disposition. It was for the in- 
terest of Israel to breed soldiers, as it is the interest 
of an island to breed seamen, and therefore God left 
Canaanites among them, that, by the lesser difficul- 
ties and hardships they met with in encountering 
them, they might be prepared for greater; and, by 
running with the foot men, vcn^tXesivn to contend with 
horses, Jer. 12. 5. Israel was a figure of the church 
militant, that must fight its way to a triumphant 
state. The soldiers of Christ must endure hardness, 
2. Tim. 2, 3. Corruption is therefore left remain- 
ing in the hearts even of good christians, that they 
may learn war, may keep on the whole armour of 
God, and stand continually upon their guard. The 
learned Bishop Patrick offers another sense of v. 
2, that they might know to teach them war, that is, 
they shall know what it is to be left to themselves. 
Their fathers fought by a divine power, God 
taught their hands to war and their fingers to fight; 
but now that they have forfeited his favour, let 
them learn what it is to fight like other men. 

II. How wickedly Israel mingled themselves 
with those that did remain. One thing God intend- 
ed in leaving them among them, was to prove Is- 
rael, {y. 4.) that those who were faithful to the God 
of Israel, might have the honour of resisting the 
Canaanites' allurements to idolatry, and that those 
who were false and insincere, might be discovered, 
and might fall under the shame of yielding to those 
allurements. Thus in the christian churches there 
must needs be heresies, that they which are perfect 
may be made manifest, 1 Cor. 11. 19. Israel, up- 
on trial, proved bad. 1. They joined in marriage 
with the Canaanites, {v. 6.') .though they could not 
advance either their honour or estate by marrying 
with them. They would mar their blood instead 
< f mending it, and sink their estates instead of rais- 
ing them, by such marriages. 2. Thus they were 
brought to join in worship with them ; they served 
their ^ocfs, fv. 6. J Baalim and the groves; {v. 7.) 
that is, the images that were worshipped in groves 
of thick trees, which were a sort of natural temples. 
In such unequal matches there is more reason to 
fear that the bad will corrupt the good, than to 
hope that the good will reform the bad; as it is 
m laying two pears together, the one rotten, and 
the other sound. When they inclined to worship 

other gods, they forgat the Lord their God. In 
complaisance to their new relations, they talked of 
nothing but Baalim and the groves; so that by de- 
grees they lost the remembrance of the true God, 
and forgot there was such a Being, and what obli- 
gations they lay under to him. In nothing is the 
corrupt memory of man more treacherous than in 
this, that it is apt to forget God; because out of 
sight, he is out of mind; and here begins all the 
wickedness that is in the world; they have per- 
verted their way, for thev have forgotten the Lore 
their God. 

8. Therefore the anger of the Lord was 
hot against Israel, and he sold them into 
the hand of Chushan-rishathaim king of 
Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel 
served Chushan-rishathaim eight years. 9. 
And when the children of Israel cried unto 
the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverei 
to the children of Israel, who delivered 
them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Ca- 
leb's younger brother. 10. And the Spirit 
of the Lord came upon him, and he judg- 
ed Israel, and went out to war : and the 
Lord delivered Chushan-iishathaim king of 
Mesopotamia into his hand ; and his hand 
prevailed against Chushan-rishathaim. 1 1. 
And the land had rest forty years : and 
Othniel the son of Kenaz died. 

We now come to the records of the government 
of the particular judges, the first of which was Oth- 
niel, in whom the story of this book is knit to that 
of Joshua, for even in Joshua's time, Othniel began 
to be famous; by which it appears that it was not 
long after Israel's settlement in Canaan, before . 
their purity began to be corrupted, and their peace 
(by consequence) disturbed. And those who have 
taken pains to inquire into the sacred chronology, 
are generally agreed, that the Danites' idolatry, and 
the war with the Benjamites for abusing the Le- 
vite's concubine, though related in the latter end of 
this book, happened about this time, under or be- 
fore Othniel's government, Avho, though a judge, 
was not such a king in Israel, as would keep men 
from doing what was right in their oim eyes. 

In this short narrative of Othniel's government, 
we have, 

I. The distress that Israel was brought into for 
their sin, v. 8. God, being justly displeased with 
them for plucking up the hedge of their peculiari- 
ty, and laying themselves in common with the na- 
tions, plucked up the hedge of their protection, and 
laid them open to the nations; set them to sale as 
goods he would part with, and the first that laid 
hands on them was Chushan-rishathaim, king of 
that Syria which lay between the two great rivers 
of Tigris and Euphrates, thence called Mesopota- 
mia; which signifies the midst of rivers. It is prob- 
able that this was a warlike prince, and, aiming to 
enlarge his dominions, invaded the two tribes first 
on the other side Jordan that lay next him, and af- 
terward, perhaps by degrees, penetrated in the 
heart of the country, and, as far as he went, put 
them under contribution, exacting it with rigour, 
and perhaps quartering soldiers upon them. Laban 
was of this country, who oppressed Jacob with a 
hard service; but it lay at such a distance, that one 
could not have thought Israel's trouble should have 
come from such a far conntty, -which shows so much 
the more of the hand of God m it. 



IT. Their return to God in this distress. When he 
slew them, then they sougiit him whom before they 
had slighted, lihe children of Israel, even the ge- 
neraUty of thern, ciied unto the Lord, v. 9. At 
first, they made hght of their trouble, and thought 
they could easily shake off the yoke of a prince at 
such a distance; but when it continued eight years, 
they began to feel the smart of it, and then they 
cried under it, who before had laughed at it. They 
who in the day of their mirth had cried to Baalim 
and Ashtaroth, now that they are in trouble, cry to 
the Lord from whom they had revolted, whose 
justice brought them into this trouble, and whose 
power and favour alone could help them out of it. 
Affliction makes those cry to God with importu- 
nity, who before would scarcely speak to him. 

III. God's return in mercy to them for their deliv- 
erance. Though need drove them to him, he did not 
the efore reject their prayers, but graciously raised 
up a deliverer, or saviour, as the word is. Observe, 
1. Who the deliverer was; it was Othniel, who mar- 
ried Caleb's daughter; one of the old stock that 
had seen the works of the Lord, and had himself, no 
question, kept his integrity, and secretly lamented 
the apostasy of his people, but waited for a divine 
call to appear publicly for the redress of their 
grievances. He was now, we may suppose, far ad- 
vanced in years, when God raised him up to this 
honour; but the decays of age were no hinderance 
to his usefulness, when God had work for him to 
do. 2. Whence he had his commission, not of 
man, or by man; but the Spirit of the Lord came 
upon him, v. 10. The spirit of wisdom and cou- 
rage to qualify him for the service, and a spirit of 
power to excite him to it, so as to gi\ e him and 
others full satisfaction that it was the will of God he 
should engage in it, the Chaldee says, The sfiirit 
of firofihecy remained on him. 3. What method 
he took; he first judged Israel, reproved them, 
called them to an account for their sins, and reform- 
ed them, and then Avent out to war; that was the 
light method. Let sin at home be conquered, that 
worst of enemies, and then enemies abroad will be 
more easily dealt with. Thus let Christ be our 
Judge and Law-giver, and then he will save us, and 
on no other terms, Isa. 33. 22. 4. What good suc- 
cess he had. He prevailed to break the yoke of 
the oppression, and, as it should seem, to break the 
neck of the oppressor; for it is said. The Lord de- 
livered Chushan-rishathaim into his hand. Now was 
Judah, of which tribe Othniel was, as a lion's tvhelfi 
t^one ufi from the prey. 5. The happy conse- 
quence of Othniel's good ser\ ices. The land, though 
not getting ground, yet had rest, and some fruits of 
the reformation, forty years; and it had been per- 
jjetual, if they had kept close to God and tlieir duty. 

1 2. And the children of Israel did evil 
again in the si2;ht of the LiORD : and the 
Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab 
against Israel, because they had done evil in 
the sight of the Lord. 1 3. z\nd he gather- 
ed unto him the children of Ammon and 
Amalek, and went and smote Israel, and 
possessed the city of palm-trees. 14. So 
the children of Israel served Eglon the king 
of Moab eighteen years. 15. But when 
the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, 
the Lord raised them up a deliverer, Ehud 
the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man left- 
nanded : and by him the children of Israel 
sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab. 
1 6. But Ehud made hhn a dagger, which 

Vol. II. -P 

had two edges, of a cubit length ; and he 
did gird it under his raiment upon iiis righi 
thigh. 17. And he brought the present 
unto Eglon king of Moab ; and Eglon tvas 
a very fat man. 18. And when he had 
made an end to ofler the present, he sent 
away the people that bare the present. 1 9 
But he himself turned again from the 
quarries that ivere by Gilgal, and said, 1 
have a secret errand"^ unto thee, O king: 
who said, Keep silence. And all that stood 
by him went out from him. 20. And Ehud 
came unto him ; and he was sitting in a 
summer parlour, which he had for himself, 
alone : and Ehud said, I have a message 
from God unto thee. And he arose out of 
his seat. 21. And Ehud put forth his left 
hand, and took the dagger from his right 
thigh, and thrust it into his belly. 22. And 
the haft also went in after the blade ; and 
the fat closed upon the blade, so that 
he could not draw the dagger out of his 
belly; and the dirt came out. 23. Then 
Ehud went forth through the porch, and 
j shut the doors of the parlour upon him, and 
locked them. 24. When he was gone out, 
his servants came; and when they saw 
that, behold, the doors of the parlour 2veie 
locked, they said. Surely he covereth his 
feet in his summer chamber. 25. And they 
tarried till they were ashamed ; and, be- 
hold, he opened not the doors of the par- 
lour : therefore they took a key and opened 
tke7ii: and, behold, their lord was fallen 
down dead on the earth. 26. And Ehud 
escaped while they tarried, and passed be- 
yond the quarries, and escaped unto Sei- 
rath. 27. And it came to pass, when he 
was come, that he blew a trumpet in the 
mountain of Ephraim, and the children of 
Israel went down with him from the mount, 
and he before them. 28. And he said unto 
them, Follow after me ; for the Lord hath 
delivered your enemies the Moabites into 
your hand. And they went down after 
him, and took the fords of Jordan toward 
Moab, and suffered not a man to pass over. 
29. And they slew of Moab at that time 
about ten thousand men, all lusty, and all 
men of valour; and there escaped not a 
man. 30. So Moab was subdued that day 
under the hand of Israel. And the land 
had rest fourscore years. 

Ehud is the next of the judges whose achieve- 
ments are related in this history, and here is an ac- 
count of his actions. 

I. When Israel sins again, God raises up a new 
oppressor, v. 12 . . 14. It was an aggravation of 
their wickedness, that they did evil again, after 
they had smarted so long tor their former iniqui- 
ties, promised so fair when Othniel judged them, 



and received so much mercy from God in their de- 
liverance. What, and after all this, again to break 
his commandments! Was the disease obstinate to 
all the methods of cure, both corrosives and leni- 
tives? It seems it was. Perhaps they thought 
Ihey might make the more bold with their own 
sins, because they saw themselves in no danger 
'"rom their old oppressor, the powers of that king- 
dom were weakened and brought low; but God 
made them know that he had a variety of rods 
wherewith to chastise them, he strengthened Eglon 
king of Moab against them. This oppressor la»y 
nearer them than the former, and therefore would be 
the move mischievous to them; God's judgments 
thus approached them graduallv, to bring them to 
repentance. When Isr lel dwelt in tents, but kept 
their integrity, B ilak, kmg of Moab, that would 
have strengthened h'mself against them, was baf- 
fled; but now that thev had forsaken CJod, and 
worshipped the gods of the nations round about 
them, (and perhaps those of the Moab'tes among 
the rest,) here was another king of Moab whom 
God strengthened against them, put power into his 
hands, though a wicked nnn, that he might be a 
scourge of Israel; the staff" in Ms hand, with which 
he beat Israel, was, God^ indignaiion; hoivbeit he 
meant not so, neither did his heart think so, Isa. 10. 
6. 7. Israelites did ill, and, we m'ly suppose, 
Moab=tes did worse; yet because God punishes the 
sins of his own people in this world, that, the flesh 
being destroyed, the spirit mav be saved, Israel is 
weakened, and Moab strengthened against them. 
God would not suffer the Israelites, when they were 
the stronger, to distress the Moabites, nor give 
them any disturbance though they were idolaters; 
(Deut. 2. 9. ) yet now he suffered the Moabites to dis- 
tress Israel, and strengthened them on purpose that 
thev might: Thy jndt^mevts, God, aj-e a great 
deefi. The king of Mo-ili took to his assistance the 
Ammonites and Amalekites, {v. 13.) and that 
strengthened him; and we are here told how they 

1. They beat them in the field, they went and 
smote Israel, (v. 13.) not nnlv thr'se tribes that lay 
next them on the other side of .Jordan, who, though 
first settled, being frontier-tribes, were most dis- 
turbed; but those also within .Jordan, for they made 
themselves masters of the citii nffmlm-trees, which, 
it is probable, was a strnng-liold erected near the 
place where Jericho had stood, for th 't was so call- 
ed. (Deut. 34. 3.) into which the Moabites put a 
garrison, to be a bridle upon Israel, and to secure 
the passes of Jordan, for the preservation of the 
communication with their own countrv. It was 
well for the Ivenites that thev had left this city, 
{ch. 1. 16.) before it fell into the hands of the ene- 
mv. See how quickly the Israelites lost that by 
their own sin, which they had gained by miracles 
of divine mercy. 

2. Thev made them to serve, {v. 14.") that is, ex- 
a.cted tribute from them, either the fruits of the 
earth in kind, or monev in lieu of them. They ne- 
glected the service of God, and did not pay him his 
tribute; thus therefirc did God recover from them 
that nuine and oil, that silver and gold, which they 
prepared for Baal, Hos. 2. 8. What should have 
been paid to the divine ((race, and was not, was 
distrained for, and p'>id to the divine justice. The 
former ser'itude {v. 8.) lasted but eight years, this 
eighteen; for if lesser troubles do not do the work, 
(iod will send greater. 

II. When Israel prays again, God raises up a 
new deliverer, {y. 15.) his name Ehud. We are 
here tnld, 1. It was a Benjamite. The city of palm- 
trees lav within the lot of this tribe, by which, it 
is probable, thev suffered the most, and therefore 
stirred first to shake off the yoke. It is supposed by 

the chronologer, that the Israelites' war with Ben 
jamin tor the wickedness of Gibeah, by which that 
whole tribe was reduced to six hundred men, hap- 
pened before this, so that we may well think that 
tribe to be now the weakest of all the tribes; yet out 
of it God raised up this deliverer, in token of his 
being perfectly reconciled to them, to manifest his 
own power in ordaining strength out of weakness, 
and that he might bestow more abundant honotn 
upon that part which lacked, 1 Cor. 12. 24. 2. 
That he was left-handed, as it seems, many of that 
tribe were, ch. 20. 16. Benjamin signifies the son of 
the right hand, and yet multitudes of them were 
left-handed: for men's natures do not always answer 
their names. The IjXX. s'ly, he was an ambidex- 
ter, one that could use both hands alike, supposing 
that that was an advantage to him in the action he 
was called to; but the Hebrew phrase, that he was 
shut of his right hand, intimates that either thnnigh 
disease or disuse, he made little or no use of that, 
but of his left hand only; and so was the less fit for 
war, because he must needs handle his sword but 
awkwardly; yet God chose this left-handed man to 
be the man of his right hand, whom he wouM make 
strong for himself, Ps. 80. 17. It was God's right 
hand that gained Israel the victory, (Ps. 44. 3.) not 
the right of the instruments he emploved. 

We are here told what Ehud did for the deli- 
verance of Israel out of the hands of the Moabites. 
He saved the oppressed bv destroying tlie oppres- 
sors, when the measure of their iniquity was full, 
and the set time to favour Israel was come. 

(1.) He put to death Eglon the king of Moab; I 
say, fiut him to death; not he murdered or assassi- 
nated him, but, as a judge, or minister of divine jus- 
tice, executed the judgments of God upon him, as 
an implacable enemy to God and Israel. This story 
is particularly related. 

[1.] He had a fair occasion of access to him; be- 
ing an ingenious active man, and fit to stand befoi-c 
kings, his people chose him to carry a present in 
the name of all Israel, over and above then- tribute, 
to their great lord the king of Moab, that they 
might find favour in his eyes, ^ . 15. The present is 
called mincha in the original, which is the wtrd 
used in the law for the offerings that were present- 
ed to God, to obta'n his favrur; these the children 
of Israel had not offered in their season, to the God 
that lo\ ed them ; and now, to punish them for their 
neglect, they are laid under a necessity of bringing 
their offerings to a heathen prince that hated them. 
Ehud went on his errand to Eglon, offeied his pre- 
sent with the usu tl ceremony, and expressions of 
dutiful respect, the better to colour what he intend- 
ed, and to prevent suspicion. 

[2.] It should seem, from the first, he designed 
to be the death of him, God putting it into his heart, 
and letting him know also that the motion was from 
himself, bv the Spirit that came upon him, the im- 
pulses of which carried with them their own evi- 
dence, and so gave him full satisfaction both as to 
the lawfulness and the success of this daring at- 
tempt, of both which he would have had reason 
enough to doubt. If he be sure that God bids him 
do it, he is sure both that he may do it, and that he 
shall do It; for a command from God is sufficient to 
bear us out, and bring us off, both against our con- 
science, and against all the world. That he com- 
passed and imagined the death of this tyrant, ap- 
pears by the preparation he made of a weapon for 
the purpose; a short dagyer, but half a yard long, 
like a bayonet, which might easily be concealed 
under his clothes, {y. 10.) perhaps, because none 
were suffered to come near the king with their 
swords by their sides. This he wore on his right 
thigh, that it might be the more ready to his left 
hand, and might be the less suspected. 

JUDGES, 111. 


[".] He contrived how to be alone with him; 
which he might the more easily be, now that he 
h^td not only made himself known to him, but in- 
gratiated himself by the present, and the compli- 
ments, which, perhaps, on that occasion, he had 
passed upon him. Observe how he laid his plot. 
Firnt, He concealed his design even from his own 
attendants; brought tliem part of the way, and then 
ordered them to go forward towards home, while 
he himself, as if he had forgot something behind 
hi in, went back, to the king of Moab's court, x'. 18. 
Tliere needed but one hand to do the execution; 
h id more been engaged tliey could not so safely 
hive kept counsel, nor so easily have made an es- 
cape. Secondly, He returned from the quarries by 
Gilg il, {x>. 16.) from tlie graven images (so it is in 
the mirgin) which were with Gilgal; set up perhaps 
by the IVloabites with the twelve stones which Joshua 
had set up there. Some suggest that the sight of 
tiiese idols stirred up in him such an indignation 
ag linst the king of Moab, as put him upon the exe- 
cution of that design, which otherwise he had 
thought to have let fall for the present Or, per- 
haps, he came so far as to these images, that telling 
from what place he returned, the king of Moab 
might be the more apt to believ e he had a message 
from God. Thirdly, He begged a private audience, 
and obtained it in a withdrawing room, here called 
a summer fiarlour. He told the king he had a se- 
cret errand to him, who, thereupon, ordered all his 
attendants to withdraw, w 19. Whether he ex- 
pected to receive some private instructions from an 
oracle, or some private infornmtion concerning the 
present state of Israel, as if Ehud would betray his 
country, it was a very unwise thing for him to be all 
alone with a stranger, and whom he had reason to 
look upon as an enemy; but those that are marked 
f)r ruin, are infatuated, and their Aea/Ys A/r/yrom 
understanding; God deprives them of discretion. 

[4.] When he had him alone, he soon despatched 
him. His summer parlour, where he used to in- 
dulge himself in ease and luxury, was the place of 
liis execution. First, Ehud demands his attention 
t ■) a message from God, {v. 20. ) and that message 
WHS a dagger: God sends to us by the judgment 
of his hand, as well as by the judgment of his 
mouth. Secondly, Eglon pays respect to a mes- 
sage from God. Though a king; though a heathen 
king; though rich and powerful; though now tyran- 
nizing over the people of God; though a fat un- 
wieldy man, thai could not easily rise, nor stand 
long; though in private, and what he did not under 
observation; yet, when he expected to receive or- 
ders from heaven, he rose out of his seat; whether 
it was low and easy, or whether, it w is high and 
stately, he quitted it, afid stood up when God was 
about to speak to him, thereby owning God his Su- 
perior. This shames the irreverence of many who 
are called christians, and yet when a message from 
God is delivered to them, studv to show, l)y all the 
marks of carefulness, liow little they regard it. 
Ehud, in calling what he had to do, a message from 
God, plainly avouches a divine commission for it; 
and God's inclining Eglon to stand up to it, did both 
confirm the commission, and facilitate the execu- 
tion. Thirdly, The message was delivered, not to 
his ear, but immediately, and literally, to his heart, 
into which the fatal knife was thrust, and was left 
there, x». 21, 22. His extreme fatness, made him 
unable to resist, or to help himself; probablv, it was 
the effect of his luxury and excess; and when the 
fat closed up. the blade, God would by that circum- 
stance show how those that pamper the body, do 
but prepare for their own misery. However, it 
was an emblem of his carnal security and senseless- 
ness. His heaii; was as fat as grease, and in that 
he thought himself enrlospd. See Ps. 119. 70. — 17. 

10. Eglon signifies a calf, and he fell like a fatted 
calf, by the knife, an acceptable sacrifice to d.vine 
justice. Notice is taken of the coming out of the 
dirt or dung, that the death of this proud tyrant 
may appear the more ignominious and shameful. 
He that had been so verv nice and curious about his 
own body, to keep it easv and clean, shall now be 
found wallowing in his own blood and excrements. 
Thus does God pour contempt upon princes. Nov\' 
this act of Ehud's, 1. May justifv itself, because he 
had special direction fi-crn God to do it, and it was 
agreeable to the usual method, which, under that 
dispensation, God took to avenge his people cf 
their enemies, and to manifest to the world his own 
justice. But, 2. It will by no means justify any now 
in doing the like. No such commissions are now 
given, and to pretend to them is to blaspheme God, 
and make him patronise the worst of villanies. 
Christ bid Peter sheathe the sword, and we find not 
that he bid him draw it again. 

[5. ] Providence wonderfully favoured his escape, 
when he had done the execution. First, The ty- 
rant fell silently, without any shriek or outcry, 
which might have been overheard by his servants 
at a distance. How silently does he go down to the 
pit, choked up, it may be, with his own fat, which 
stifled his dving groans, though he had made so 
great a noise in the world, and had been the terror 
of the mighty in the land of the living. Secoridly, 
The heroic executioner of this vengeance, with 
such a presence of mind, as discovered not onl}' no 
consciousness of guilt, but a strong confidence in the 
divine protection, shut the doors after him, took the 
key with him, and passed through the guards with 
such an air of innocence, and boldness, and uncon- 
cernedness, as made them not at all to suspect his 
having done any thing amiss. Thirdly, The ser- 
vants that j^ttended in the antechamber, coming to 
the door of the inner parlour, when Ehud was 
gone, to know their master's pleasure, and finding it 
locked, and all quiet, they concluded he was lain 
down to sleep, and covered his feet upon his couch, 
and was gone to consult his pillow about the mes- 
sage he had received, and to dream upon it, (y. 24. ) 
and therefore would not offer to open the door. 
Thus by their care not to disturb his sleep, they 
lost the opportunity of revenging his death. See 
what comes of men's taking state too much, and 
obliging those about them to keep their distance; 
some time or other, it may come against them more 
than they think of. Fourthly, The servants at 
length opened the door, and found their master had 
slefit indeed his long sleep, v. 25. The horror of 
this tragical spectacle, and the confusion it must 
needs put them into, to reflect upon their own in- 
consideration in not opening the door sooner, quite 
put bv tlic tlioughts of sending pursuers after him 
that had done it, whom now they despaired of over- 
takincr. Lastly, Ehud by this means made his 
escape to Sierath, a thick wood; so some. v. 26. It 
is not said anv where in this story, what was the 
place in which Eglon lived now; but there being nf) 
mention of Ehud's passing and i-epassing Jordan, I 
am inclined to think that Eglon had left his own 
co'.mtry of Moab, on the other side Jordan, and 
made his principal residence at this time in the city 
of palm-trees, within the land of Canaan, a richer 
country than his own, and that there he was slain, 
and then the quarries by Gilgal were not far off 
him. There where he had settled himself, and 
thought he had sufficiently fortified himself to lord 
it over the people of God,' there he was cut off, and 
proved to be fed for the slaughter like a lamb in a 
larger place. 

(2. ) Ehud having slain the king of Moab, gave a 
total rout to the forces of the Moabites that were 
amone- them, and so effectually shook off the yoke 



of their oppression. [1.] He raised an army imme- 
diately in mount Ephraim, at some distance from 
the head-quarters of the Moahites, and headed 
them himself, v. 27. The trumpet he blew was 
indeed a jubilee-trumpet, proclaiming liberty, and 
a joyful sound it was to the oppressed Israelites, 
who for a long time had heard no other trumpets 
than those of their enemies. [2.] Like a pious 
man, and as one that did all this in faith, he took 
encouragement liimself, and gave encouragement to 
his soldiers, fn-m the power of God engaged for 
them; {v. 28.) "Follow me, for the Lord liath de- 
livered xfour cnemicft into your hands; we are sure 
to have" God with us, and therefore may go on 
boldly, and shall go on triumphantly." [3.] Like 
a politic general, he first secured the fords (if Jor- 
dan, set strong guards upon all those passes, to cut 
off communications between the Moabites that were 
in the land of Israel, (for upon them only his design 
was,) and their own country on the other side Jor- 
dan; that if, upon the alarm given them, they re- 
solved to fly, they might not escape thither, and if 
they resolved to fight, they might not have assist- 
ance thence. Thus he shut them up in that land as 
their prison, in wliich they were pleasing them- 
selves as their palace and paradise. [4.] He then 
fell upon them, and put them all to the sword, ten 
thousand of them, which, it seems, was the number 
appointed to keep Israel in subjection; {v. 29.) 
There escaped not a man of them. And they were 
the best and choicest of all the king of Moab's 
forces; all lusty men of bulk and stature, and not 
only able bodieii, but high spirited too, and men of 
valour, T'. 20. But neither their strength nor their- 
courage stood them in any stead, when the set time 
was come for God to deliver them into the hand of 
Israel. [5.] The consequence of this victory was, 
that the power of the Moabites was wholly broken 
in the land of Israel; the country was cleared of 
these oppressors, and the land had rest eighty years, 
V. 30. We may hope that there was likewise a re- 
formation among them, and a check given to idola- 
try, by the influence of Ehud, which continued a 
good part of this time. It was a great while for the 
land to rest, fourscore years; yet what is that to the 
saints' everlasting rest in the heavenly Canaan? 

31. And after him was Shamgar, the son 
of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six 
hundred men with an ox-goad : and he also 
delivered Israel. 

When it was said the land had rest eighty years, 
some think it is meant chiefly of that part of the 
land which lay eastward on the banks of Jordan, 
which had been oppressed by the Moabites; but it 
seems, by this passage here, that the other side of 
the country which lay south-west, was in that time 
infested by the Philistines, against whom Shamgar 
made head. 

1. It seems Israel needed deliverance, for he deli- 
vered Israel; how great the distress was, Deborah 
afterwnrd related in her song, (c/;. 5, 6.) that in the 
days of Shamgar the highways were unoccupied, 
&c. That part of the country which lay next to 
the Philistines was so infested with plunderers, 
that the people could not travel the roads in safety, 
l»ut were in danger of being set upon and robbed; 
nor durst they dwell in the unguarded villages, but 
were forced to take shelter in the fortified cities. 

2. God raised him up to deliver them, as it 
should seem, while Ehud was yet living, but super- 
annuated. So inconsiderable were the enemies for 
number, that it seems the killing of six hundred of 
them amounted to a deliverance of Israel, and so 
many he slew with an ox-goad, or, as some read it, 
'i plough -share. It is probable that he was himself 

following the plough, when the Philistines made an 
inroad upon the country to ravage it, and (iod put 
it into his heart to oppose them: the impulse bemg 
sudden and strong, and having neither sword nor 
spear to do execution with, he took the instrument 
that was next at hand, some of the tods of his 
plough, and with that killed so many hundred men, 
and came off unhurt. See here (1.) That God can 
make those eminently serviceable to his Rlr.ry ;ind 
his church's good, whose extraction, educatii n, and 
employment, are very mean and obs^ ure. He that 
has the residue of the Spirit, could, wlien he 
pleased, make ploughmen judges ;.nd generals, and 
fishermen apostles. (2.) It is no matter liow weak 
the weapon is, if God direct and strengthen the 
arm. An ox-goad, when God pleases, shall do 
more than Goliath's sword. And sometimes he 
chooses to work by such unlikely means, that t!ie 
excellency of the power may appear to be of Gcd. 


The method of the history of Deborah and Barak, (the he- 
roes in this chapter,) is the same with that before. Here 
is, I. Israel revolted from God, v. 1. II. Israel oppress- 
ed by Jabin, v. 2, 3. III. Israel judged by Deborah, v. 
4, 5. IV. Israel rescued out of the hands of Jabin. 1. 
Their deliverance is concerted between Deborah and Ba- 
rak, V. 6. . 9. 2. It is accomplished by their joint agen- 
cy. Barak takes the field; (v. 10.) Sisera, Jabin's gene- 
ral, meets him; (v. 12, 13.) Deborah encourages him, (v. 
14.) and God gives him a complete victory. The army 
routed, V. 15, 16. The general forced to flee; (v. H.) 
and there where he expected shelter, had his life stolen 
from him by Jael while he was asleep, (v. 18. .21.) which 
completes Barak's triumph, (v. 22.) and Israel's deliver* 
ance, v. 23, 24. 

1. A ND the children of Israel again did 
l\. evil in the sight of the Lord, when 
Ehud was dead. 2. And the Lord sold 
them into the hand of Jabin king of Ca- 
naan, that reigned in Hazor ; the captain 
of whose host ivos Sisera, which dwelt in 
Harosheth of the Gentiles. 3. And the chil- 
dren of Israel cried unto the Lord; for he 
had nine hundred chariots of iron : and 
twenty years he mightily oppressed the chil- 
dren of Israel. 

Here is, 

I. Israel backsliding from God; They again did 
e-i>ilin.his sight, forsook his service, and worship- 
ped idols; ifnr that was the sin which now most 
easily beset them, v. 1. See in this, 1. The strange 
strength of corruption, which hurries men into sin, 
notwithstanding the most frequent instances of its 
fatal consequences. The bent to backslide is very 
hardly restrained. 2. The common ill eifects of a 
long peace. The land had rest eighty years, which 
should have confirmed them in their religion; but, 
on the contrary, it made them secure and wanton, 
and indulgent of those lusts which the worship of 
the false gods was calculated for the gratification of. 
Thus the prosperity of fools destroys them. Jeshu- 
run waxeth fal and kicketh. 3. The great loss 
which the people sustain by the death of good go- 
vernors. They did evil, because £,hud was dead. 
So it may be read. He kept a strict eye upon them, 
restrained and punished every thing that looked 
towards idolatr)', and keptHhem close to God's ser- 
vice. But when he was gone, they revolted, fear- 
ing him more than God. 

II. Israel oppressed by their enemies. When 
they forsook God, he forsook them; and then they 
became an easy prey to every spoiler. They alien- 
ated themselves from God, as if he were none of 
their's; and then God alienated them as none of his. 



They that threw themselves out of God's service, 
tlirew themselves out of his protection. What has 
my beloved to do in my house, when she has thus 
played the harlot? Jer. 11. 15. He sold them into 
the hands ofJabin, v. 2. This Jabin reigned in Ra- 
zor, as another of the same name, and perhaps his 
ancestor, had done before him, whom Joshua rout- 
ed, slew, and burnt his city, Josh. 11. 1, 10. But 
it seems, in process of time, the city was rebuilt, 
the power regained, the loss retrieved, and by de- 
grees, the king of Hazor becomes able t:< tyrannize 
over Israel, who by sin had lost all their advan- 
tage against the Canaanites. This servitude was 
longer than either of the former, and mucli more 
grievous. Jabin, and his general Sisera, did mighti- 
ly oppress Israel. That which aggravated the op- 
pression was, 1. That this enemy was nearer them 
than any of the former, in their borders, in their 
bowels; and by that means, had the more opportu- 
nity to do them a mischief. 2. That they were 
the natives of the country, who bore an implacable 
enmity to them, for invading and dispossessing 
them ; and when they had them in their power, 
would be so much the more cruel and mischievous 
toward them in revenge of the old quarrel. 3. That 
these Canaanites had, when time was, been con- 
quered and subdued by Israel, were of old sen- 
tenced to be their servants, (Gen. 9. 25. ) and might 
now have been under their feet, and utterly inca- 
pable of giving them any disturbance, if their own 
slothfulness, cowardice, and unbelief, had not suf- 
fered them thus to get head. To be oppressed by 
those whom their fathers had conquered, and whom 
they themselves had foolishly spared, could not but 
be very grievous. 

III. Israel returning to their God; They cried 
unto the Lord, when distress drove them to him; 
and they saw no other way of relief. Those that 
slight God in their prosperity, will find themselves 
under a necessity of seeking him when they are in 

4. And Deborah a prophetess, the wife 
of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. 
5. And she dwelt under the palm-tree of 
Deborah, between Ramah and Beth-el in 
mount Ephraim ; and the children of Israel 
came up to her for judgment. 6. And she 
sent and called Barak, the son of Abinoam, 
out of Kedesh-naphtali, and said unto him, 
Hath not the Lord God of Israel com- 
manded, saying. Go, and draw toward 
mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thou- 
sand men of the children of Naphtali and 
of the children of Zebulun ? 7. And I will 
draw unto thee, to the river Kishon, Sisera, 
the captain of Jabin's army, with his cha- 
riots and his multitude ; and I will deliver 
him into thine hand. 8. And Barak said unto 
lier, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go ; 
but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will 
not go. 9. And she said, I will surely go 
with thee : notwithstanding the journey that 
ihou takest shall not be for thine honour; 
for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand 
of a woman. And Deborah arose, and 
went with Barak to Kedesh. 

The year of the redeemed is at length come, 
*hen Israel was to be delivered out of the hands of 

Jabin, and restored again to their liberty; which, 
we may suppose, the northern tribes, that lay near- 
est the oppressor, and felt most the effects of his 
fury, did in a particular manner cry to God for. 
i'br the ofi/iression of the poor, and the sighing of 
the needy, now will God arise. Now here we lia\ e, 

I. The preparation of the people for their deli- 
verance, by the prophetic conduct and government 
of Deboiah, v. 4, 5. Her name signifies a bee; and 
she answered her name by her industry, sagacity, 
and great usefulness to the public, her sweetness to 
her friends, and sharpness to her enemies. She 
is said to be the wife of l^a/iidoth: the termina- 
tion is not commonly found ivi the name of a man; 
therefore some make it the name of a place, she 
was a woman of La/iiuoth. Others take it appel- 
latively; Lapidoth signifies lam/is. The rabbins 
say, she had cmpk yed herself in making wicks f i r 
the lami)s of the tabernacle; and having stooped to 
that mean office for God, she was afterwards thus 
preferred. Or, she was a woman of illuminations, 
or of sfilendors: one that was extraordinary know- 
ing and wise, and so came to be very eminent and 
illustrious. Concerning her we are here told, 1. 
That she was intimately acquainted with God: she 
was a prophetess; one that was instructed in divine 
knowledge by the inmicdiate inspiration of the 
Spii'it of God, and had gifts of wisdom, which she 
attained to not in an ordinary way; she heard the 
words of God, and probably saw the visions of the 
Almighty. 2. That she was entirely devoted to 
the sers'ices of Israel. She judged Israel at the 
time that Jabin oppressed them; and perhaps, for 
being a woman, she was the more easily permitted 
by the oppressor to do it. She judged, not as a 
princess, by any civil authority conferred upon her, 
but as a prophetess, and as God's mouth to them, 
correcting abuses, and redressing grievances, espe- 
cially those which related to the worship of God. 
The children of Israel came up to her from all 
parts for judgment, not so much tor the deciding of 
controversies between man and man, as for advice 
in the reformation of what was amiss in things per- 
taining to God. Those among them, who before 
had secretly lamented the impieties and idolatries 
of their neighbours, but knew not where to apply 
themselves for the restraining of them, now made 
their complaints to Deborah; who, by the sword 
of the Spirit, showing them the judgment of Gid, 
reduced and reclaimed many, and excited and ani- 
mated the magistrates in their respective districts to 
put the laws in execution. It is said she dwelt, or, 
as some read it, sat under a palm-tree, called ever 
after, from her, the palm-tree of Deborah. Either 
she had her house under a tree, a mean habitation 
which would couch under a tree; or she had her 
judgment-seat in the open air, under the shadow of 
that tree; which was an emblem of the justice she 
sat there to administer, which will thrive and grow 
against opposition, as palms under pressuie. Jo- 
sephus says, that the children of Israel came to 
Deboi-ah to desire her to pray to God for them, 
that they might be delivered out of the hand ofJa- 
bin; and Samuel is said at one particular time to 
judge Israel in Mizpeh, that is, bring them back 
again to God, when they made the same address to 
him upon a like occasion, 1 Sam. 7. 6, 8. 

II. The project laid for their deliverance. When 
the children of Israel cam f to her for judgment, 
with her they found salvation. So they that seek 
to God for grace, shall have grace and peace; grace 
and comfort, grace and glor}\ She was not herself 
fit to command an army in person, being a woman; 
but she nominates one that wns fit, Barak of Naph- 
tali, who, it is probable, had already signalized him- 
self in some rencontres with tlie forces of the op- 
pressor, living near him, (for Hazor and Harosheth 



liiy w'thin t'le lot of that tribe,) and thereby had 
8:,i'ned ;i reputation emd interest among his people. 
Some st'iiggles, we may suppose, that brave man 
had used toward the shaking off of the yoke, but 
could not effect it til! he had his commission and in 
structions from Deborali. He could do nothing 
without her head, nor she without his hands; but 
both together made a complete deliverer, and ef- 
fected a complete deliverance. The greatest and 
best are not self-sufficient, but need one another. 

1. By God's direction, she orders Barak to raise 
an army, and engage Jabin's forces, that were un- 
der Sisera's command, v. 6, 7. Barak, it may be, 
had been meditating some great attempt against 
the common enemy; a spaik of generous fire was 
glowing in h's breast, and fain he would do some- 
thing to the purpose for his people, and for the 
cities of his God. But two things discouraged him : 
(I.) He wanted a commission to levy forces; that 
therefore Deborah here gives him under the broad 
seal of heaven; which, as a prophetess, she had a 
warrant to affix to it. " Hath not the Lord God of 
Israel commanded it? Yes, cert inly he has, take 
my word for it." Some think she intends this as an 
appeal to Barak's own heart: " Has not God, by a 
secret whisper to thyself, given thee some intima- 
tion of his purpose, to make use of thee as an instru- 
ment in his hand to save Israel? Hast not thou felt 
some impulse of this kind upon thine own spirit?" 
If so, the spirit of prophecy in Deborah confirms 
the spirit of a soldier in Barak; Go and draxv to- 
ward mount Tabor. [l.'J She directs him what 
number of men to raise, ten thousand; and let him 
not fear that those will be too few, when God hath 
said, he will by them save Israel. [2.] Whence 
he shoidd raise them ; only out of his own tril)e, and 
that of Zebulun, next adjoining; those two counties 
should furnish him with an army sufficient, he need 
not stav to go further. And, lastly, She orders him 
where to make his rendez\'ous; at mount Tabor, in 
his own neighbourhood. (2.) When he had an ar- 
my raised, he knew not how he should have an op- 
portunity of engaging the enemy, who, perhaps, de- 
clined fighting, having heard that Israel, if they 
had but courage enough to make liead against the 
enemy, seldom failed of success. " Well," says De- 
borah, " in the name of God, Twill draw unto thee 
Sisera and Im army." She assures him that the 
matter should be determined hy one pitched battle, 
and should not be long in the doing. [1.] In men- 
tioning the power of the enemy, Sisera, a cele- 
brated General, bold and experienced, his chariots, 
liis ir-in chariots, and his multitude of soldiers, 
she obliges B irak to fortify himself with the utmost 
degree of resolution; for the enemy he was to en- 
gage was a very formidable one. It is good to 
know the worst, that we may pro\ ide accordingly. 
But, [2.] In fixing the. very place to which Sisera 
would draw his army, she i(ave him a sign, which 
might help to confirm his f lith when he came to en- 
gage. It was a contingent thing, and depended 
upon Sisera's own will: but when afterward he 
should see that filling out just as Deborah had fore- 
told, he might from thence infer, that certainly in 
the rest she said she sp;ike under a divine direction, 
which would he a greit encourairement to him ; 
especially bee uise with this, [.".] She gave him an 
express promise of success ; / will (that is, (iod 
will, in whose n;ime I speak) deliver them into thy 
hand. So when he saw them draw up ;igainst him, 
according to Deborah's wnrd, he might be confi- 
dent, that, according to her word, he should soon 
see them fallen before him. Obser\'c, God draws 
them to him onlv that hemisxht deliver them ijito his 
hand. When Sisera drew his forces together, he 
designed the dcstrui-tion of Isr icl; but God gathered 
them as sheaves into the Jloor, for their own de- 

struction, Mic. 4. 11, 12. ^Issembleyourselves, andyt 
shall be bi-oken to /lieces, Isa. 8. 9. SeeRev. 19. 17, 18, 
2. At Barak's request, she promises to go along 
with him to the field of battle. (1.) Barak insists 
much upon the necessity of her presence, which 
would be better ti him than a concej-t of war; (v. 
8.) "If thou wilt go with me to direct and ad\ise 
me, and in every difficult case to let me know God's 
mind, then I will go with all my heart, and not fear 
the chariots of iron;" otherwise not. Some make 
this to be the language of a weak faith; he could 
not take her word, unless he had her with him in 
pawn, as it were, for performance. It seems rather 
to arise from a conviction of the necessity of God's 
presence and continual crnduct, a pledge and ear- 
nest of which he would reckon Deborah's presence 
to be; and therefore begged thus earnestly for it. 
" If thou go not ufi with me, in token of God's go- 
ing with me, can-y me not up. hence." Nothing 
would be a greater satisfaction to him, than to 
have the prophetess with him to animate the sol- 
diers, and to be consulted as an oracle upon all oc- 
casions. (2.) Deborah piomised to go with him, 
V. 9. No toil nor peril shall discourage her from 
doing the utmost that becomes her to do for the 
ser\ ice of her country. She would not send him 
where she would not go herself. Those that in 
God's name call others to their duty, should be 
very ready to assist them in it. Deborah was the 
weaker vessel, yet had the stronger faith. But 
though she agrees to go with Barak, if he insist 
upon it, she gi\ es him a hint proper enough to mo\ e 
a soldier not to insist upon it. I he journey thou 
underta/cest (so confident was she of the success, 
that she calls his engaging in war but the under- 
taking of a journey) sAo// not be for thine honour; 
not so much for thine honour as if thou hadst gone 
thyself; for the Lord shall sell Sisera (now his turn 
comes to be sold as Israel was, v. 2. by way of re- 
j)r\sa.\) into the hands of a woman; that is, [1.] The 
world would ascrilje the victory to the hand of De- 
borah; this he might himself foresee. [2.] God 
(to correct his weakness) would complete the vic- 
tory by the hand of Jael; which would be some 
eclipse to his glory. But Barak values the satisfac- 
tion of his mind, and the good success of his enter- 
prise, more than his honour; and therefore will by 
no means drop his request. He dares not fight un- 
less he have Deborah with him to direct him, and 
pray for him. She therefore stood to her word with 
a masculine courage; this noble heroine arose and 
went with Barak. 

10. And Barak called Zebulun and 
Naphtali to Kedesh ; and he went up with 
ten thousand men at his feet : and Deborah 
went up with him. 11. Now Heber the 
Kenite, ivhich was of the children of Hobab, 
the father-in-law of Moses, had severed 
himself from the Kenites, and pitched his 
tent unto the plain of Zanaim, which is by 
Kedesh. 1 2. And they showed Sisera that 
Barak, the son of Abinoam, was gone up 
to mount Tabor. 13. And Sisera gathered 
together all his chariots, even nine hun- 
dred chariots of iron, and all the people 
that 7vere with him, from Harosheth of 
the Gentiles unto the river of Kishon. 14. 
And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for 
this is the day in whicli the TiORD hath de- 
livered Sisera into thine hand : is not the 
Lord gone out before thee? So Barak 



went clown horn mount Tabor, and ten 
thousand men after him. 15, And the 
Lord discomfited Sisera, and all his cha- 
riots, and all his host, with the edge of the 
sword, before Barak ; so that Sisera lighted 
down off his chariot, and fled away on his 
feet. 1 6. But Barak pursued after the cha- 
riots, and after the host, unto Haroshedi of 
die Gentiles : and all the host of Sisera fell 
upon the edge of the sword ; and there was 
not a man left. 


I. Barak, beats up for volunteers, and soon has 
his quota of men ready, v. 10. Deborah had ap- 
pointed him to raise an army of ten thousand men, 
\v. 6, ) and so many he has presently at his feet, fol- 
lowing him, and subject to his command. God is 
said to call us to his feet, (Isa. 41. 2.) that is into 
obedience to him. Some think it intimates that they 
were all footmen, and so the armies of the Jews ge- 
nerally were; which made the disproportion of 
strength between them and the enemy (who had 
horses and chariots) very great, and the victory the 
moi-e illustrious; but the presence of God and his 
prophetess was abundantly sufficient to balance that 
disproportion. Barak had his men at his feet, which 
intimates their cheerfulness, and readiness to attend 
him, nvhithersoe-uer he went. Rev. 14. 4. Though 
the tri jes of Zebulun and Naphtali were chiefly de- 
pended on, yet it appears, by Deborah's song, that 
there were some come in to him from other tribes, 
Manasseh and Issachar; and more expected that 
came not, from Reuben, Dan, and Asher, ch. 5. 14. 
17. But these are overlooked here: and we are 
only told, that to make his ten thousand effective 
men indeed, Deborah went ufi with hi}n. The 11th 
verse, concerning the remove of Heber, one of the 
families of the Kenites, out of the wilderness of Ju- 
dah, in the south, where those families had fixed 
themselves, {ch. 1. 16.) into the northern country, 
comes in for the sake of what was to follow con- 
cerning the exploit of Jael, a wife of that family. 

II. Sisera, upon the notice of Barak's motions, 
takes the field with a very numerous and powerful 
army, v. 12, 13. They showed Sisera, that is, it 
was showed him. Yet some think it refers to the 
Kenites, mentioned immediately before, v. 11. 
They gave Sisera notice of Barak's rendezvous, 
there being peace at this time between Jabin and 
that family, -v. 17. Whether they intended it as a 
kindness to him or no, it served to accomplish what 
God had said by Deborah, (v. 7.) J will draw unto 
thee Sisera. Sisera's confidence was chiefly in his 
chariots; therefore particular notice is taken of them, 
nine hundred chariots of iron, which, with the 
scythes fastened to their axle-trees, when they were 
driven into an army of footmen, did terrible execu- 
tion. So ingenious have men been in inventing me- 
thods of destroying one another, to gratify those 
lusts from which come wars and fightings. 

III. Deborah gives orders to engage the enemy, 
V. 1 4. Josephus says, that when Barak saw Sise- 
ra's army drawn up, and attempting to surround the 
mountain, on the top of which he and his forces lay 
encamped, his heart quite failed him, and he deter- 
mined to retire to a place of greater safety ; but De- 
borah animated him to make a descent upon Sisera, 
assuring him that this was the day marked out in 
the divine counsels for his defeat. Now they ap- 
pear most threatening, they are ripe for ruin. The 
thing is as sure to be done, as if it were done alrea- 
dy: The Lord hath delivered Sisera into thy hand. 
See how the \v. rk and honrur of this great action 

are divided between Deborah and Barak; she, as 
the head.^roes the word, he, as the hand, doeth the 
work. Thus doth God dispense his gifts variously, 
1 Cor. 12. 4, &;c. But though ordinarily the head 
of the woman is the man, (iCor. 11. 2.) he that has 
the residue of the Si)irit was pleased to cross hands, 
and to put the head upon the woman's shoulders, 
choosing the weak things of the world to shame the 
mighty, that no flesh might glory in his presence. 
It was well for Barak that he had Deborah with 
him; for she made up what was defective, 1. In his 
conduct, by telling him, This is the day. 2. In his 
courage, by assuring him of God's presence; "Is 
not the Lord gone out before thee'/ Darest not thou 
follow, when thou hast God himself for thy 
Leader?" Note, (1.) In every undertaking it is 
good to be satisfied that God goes before us, th..t 
Ave are in the way of cur duty, and under his direc- 
tion. (2. ) If we ha\'e ground to hope that Gcd goes 
before us, we ought to go on with courage and 
cheerfulness. " Be not dismayed at the difficulties 
thou meetest with in resisting Satan, in serving God, 
or suffering for him; for is not the Lord gone out 
before theef Follow him fully then." 

IV. God himself routs the enemy's army, v. 15. 
Barak, in obedience to Deborah's orders, went 
down into the valley, though there ui)on the plain 
the iron chariots would ha\ e so nmch the more ad- ■ 
vantage against him, quitting his fastness ui)on the 
mountain m dependence upon the divine pou'er: lor 
in vain is salvation hofied fur frorn hills and moun- 
tains; in the Lord alone is the salvation of his fieopie, 
Jer. 3. 23. And he was not decei\ ed in his confi- 
dence; The Lord discomfited Sisera. It was not so 
much the bold and surprising alarm which Barak 
gave their camp, that dispii-ited and dispersed 
them, but God's terror seized their spirits, and put 
them hito an unaccountable confusion. The stars, 

it seems, fought against them, ch. 5. 20. Josephus 
says, that a \ iolent storm of hail, which beat in 
their faces, gave them this rout, disabled them and 
drove them back; so that they became a \ery easy 
prey to the army of Israel: and Delwrah's words 
were made good; " The Lord. has delivered them 
into thy hand; it is now in thy power to do what thou 
wilt with them." 

V. Barak bravely improves his ad\ antage, fol- 
lows the blow with an undaunted resolution and an 
unwearied diligence, prosecutes the victory, and 
pursues the scattered forces, even to their general's 
head quarters at Harosheth, {v. 16.) and spares 
none whom God had delivered into his hand to be 
destroyed; There was not a man left. When God 
goes before us in our spiritual conflicts we must be- 
stir ourselves; and when by his grace he gives us 
some success against the enemies of our souls, we 
must improve it by watchfulness and resolution, and 
carry on the holy war with vigoui 

17. Howbeit, Sisera fled away on his 
feet to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber 
the Kenite : for there loas peace between 
Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of 
Heber the Kenite. 1 8. And Jael went out 
to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in 
my lord, turn in to me; fear not: and when 
he had turned in unto her into the tent, she 
covered him with a mantle. 19. And he 
said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little 
water to drink ; for I am thirsty : and she 
opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, 
and covered him. 20. Again he- said unto 
her, Stand in the door of the tent ; and it 



shall be, when any man iloth coine and in- 
quire of thee, and say, Is there any man 
here ? that thou shalt say. No. 21. Then 
Jael, Heber's wife, took a nail of the tent, 
and took a hammer in her hand, and went 
sofdy unto him, and smote the nail into his 
temples, and fastened it into the ground : (for 
he was fast asleep, and weary :) so he died. 
22. And, behold, as Barak puisued Sisera, 
Jael came out to meet him, and said unto 
him. Come, and 1 will show diee the man 
whom thou seekest. And when he came 
into her tent^ behold, Sisera lay dead, and the 
nail was in his temples. 23. So God sub- 
dued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan 
before the children of Israel. 24. And the 
liand of the children of Israel prospered, and 
prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, 
until they had destroyed Jabin king of Ca- 

We have seen the army of the Canaanites totally 
routed. It is said, Ps. 83. 9, 10. (where the defeat of 
this army is pleaded as a precedent for God's doing 
the like in aftertimes,) that they became as dung 
for the earth. Now here we have, 

1. The fall of their general, Sisera, captain of the 
hnst, in whom it is likely, Jabin their king put an 
entire confidence, and therefore was not himself 
present in the action. Let us trace the steps of this 
niightv man's fall. 

i. He quitted his chariot, and took to his feet, v. 
n, 17. His chariots had been his pride and his 
confidence; and we may suppose he had therefore 
despised and defied the armies of the living God, 
because they were all on foot, and had neither cha- 
riot nor horse, as he had: justly therefore is he thus 
made ashamed of Jiis confidence, and forced to quit 
it, and thinks himself then most safe and easy, when 
he is got clear of his chariot, though we may well 
suppose it the best made, and best drawn, of any of 
them. Thus are they disappointed who rest on the 
creature; like a broken reed, it not only breaks un- 
der them, but runs into their hand, and pierces 
them with many sorrows. The idol may quickly 
become a burthen ; (Isa. 46. 1. ) and what we were 
sick for, God can make us sick of. How sneakingly 
doth Sisera look, now he is dismounted. It is hard to 
say whether he blushes or trembles more. Put not 
your trust in princes, if they may so soon be brought 
to this; if he who but lately trusted to his arms with 
so much ass'irance, nmst now trust to his heels only 
with so litt'e. 

2. He fled for shelter in the tents of the Kenites, 
having no strong hold, nor any place of his own in 
reach to retire to. The mean and solitary way of 
the Kenites' living perhaps, he h id formerly de- 
snised and rid'culed, and the more, because religion 
was kept up among them; yet now he is glad to put 
h'msclf under the protection of one of these tents: 
ri'rl he chooses the wife's tent or apartment, either 
liecause less suspected, or because it happened to be 
itext to him, and the first he came to, v. 17. And 
th It which encouraged him to go thither, was, that 
at this time there was peace between his master and 
the house of Heber: not that there was any league 
offensive and defensive between them, only at pre- 
sent there was no indications of hostility. Jabin did 
ihem no harm, did not oppress them as he did the 
Israelites; their plain, quiet harmless way of living, 
making them not suspected or feared: and perhaps 
God so ordering it, as a recompense for their con- 

stant adherence t the true religion. Sisera thought 
he might therefore be safe among them; not consi- 
dering, that though they themselves suffered not by 
Jabin's power, they heartily sympathized with the 
Israel of God that did. 

3. Jael invited him in, and bid him veiy welcome. 
Probably she stood at the tent door, to inquire what 
news from the army, and what the success of the 
battle was, which was fought not far off. (_1.) She 
invited him in. Perhaps she stood waiting for an 
opportunity to show kindness to any distressed Is- 
raelites, if there should have been occasion for it; 
but seeing Sisera come in great haste, panting and 
out of breath, she in\ ited him to come and repose 
himself in her tent; in which, while she seemed to 
design the relie\ing of his fatigue, perhaps she 
Ideally intended the retard. ng of his flight that he 
might fall into the hands ( f Barak, who w;;s now in 
a hot chase of him; {v. 18.) and it may well be ques- 
tioned, whether she had at first any thought of 
taking away his life, but rather God afterwards put 
it into her heart. (2.) She made very much of him, 
and seemed mighty careful to have him easy, as her 
invited guest Was he wdtry? she finds him a very 
convenient place to repose himself in, and recruit 
his strength. Was he thirsty.'' well he might. Did 
he want a little water to cool his tongue? the best li- 
quor the tent afforded was ;.t his service, and th. t 
was milk, (x". 19.) which we may suppose, he dntnk 
heartily of; and being lefreshed with it, was the 
better disposed to sleep. Was lie cold or afraid ol 
catching cold: or did he desire to be hid from th<: 
pursuers, if they should search that tent? she cos er 
ed him with a mantle, xi. 18.' AH expressions of 
caie for his safety. Only, when he desired her to 
tell a lie for him, and to say he was not there, she 
declined making any such promise, v. 20. We 
must not sin against God, no not to oblige those we 
would show ourselves most observant of. Lastly, 
We must suppose she kept her tent as quiet as she 
could, and free from noise, that he miglit sleep the 
sooner and the faster. And how was Sisera least 
safe, when he was most secure. How uncertain and 
precarious is liuman life! and what assurance can 
we ha\'e of it, when it may so easily be betrayed by 
those with whom it is trusted; and they may prove 
its destroyers, who we hoped would ha\ e been its 
protectors! It is best making God our Friend, for he 
will not deceive us. 

4. Wlien he lay fast asleep, she drove a long nail 
through his temple; so fastened his head to the 
ground, and killed him, v. 21. And though this 
was enough to do his business, yet to make sure 
work, (if we translate it right, ch. 5. 26.) she cut 
off his head, and left it nailed there. Whether she 
designed this or no when she invited him into her 
tent, does not appear; probably the th<aiglit was 
darted into her mind when she s iw him lie so fair to 
receive such afatal blow; and, doubtless, the thought 
brought with it evidence sufficient that it came not 
from Satan, as a murderer and destroyer, but from 
God, as righteous Judge and Avenger; so much of 
brightness and heavenly light did she perceive in 
the inducements to it that offered themselves, the 
honour of God, and the deliverance of Israel, and 
nothing of the blackness of malice, hatred, or per- 
sonal revenge. (1.) It was a divine power that ena- 
bled her to do it, and inspired her with a more than 
manly courage. What if her hand should shake, 
and she should miss her blow? What if he shoula 
awake when she was attempting it? Or suppose some 
of his own attendants should follow him, and sur- 
prise her in the fact, how dearly would she and all 
her's be made to pay for it? Yet, obtaining help of 
God, she does it effectually. [2.] It was a divine 
warrant that justified her in the doing cf it; and 
therefore, since no such extraordinary connnif,sion.« 


can now be pretended, it ought not in any case to be 
imitated. The laws of friendship and hospitality 
must be religiously observed, and we must abhor 
the thought of betraying any whom we have invited 
and encouraged to put a confidence in us. And as 
to this act of Jael's, (like that of Ehud's in the 
chapter before,) we have reason to think she was 
conscious of such a divine impulse upon her spirit 
to do it, as did abundantly satisfy herself (and it 
ought therefore to satisfy us) that it was well done. 
God's judgments are a gre;it deep. The instrument 
of this execution was a nail of the tent, that is, one 
of the great pins with which the tent, or the stakes 
of it, were fastened. They often removed their 
tents; she had been used to drive these nails, and 
therefore knew how to do it the more dexterously 
on this great occasion. He that had thought to have 
destroyed Israel with his many iron chariots, is 
himself destroyed with one iron nail. Thus do the 
weak things of the world confound the mighty. See 
here Jael's glory, and Sisera's shame. The great 
commander dies, p.) In his sleep, fast asleep, and 
weaiy. It comes in as a reason why he stirred not 
to make any resistance. So fettered was he in the 
chains of sleep, that he could not find his hands. 
Thus the stout-hearted are sfioiled at thy rebuke, O 
God of Jacob; they are cast into a deep, sleep., and so 
are made to sleep their last, Ps. 76. 5, 6. Let not 
the strong man then glory in his strength; for when 
he sleeps, where is it? It is weak, and he can do 
nothing; a child may insult him then, and steal his 
life from him; and yet if he sleep not, he is soon 
spent and weary, and can do nothing neither. 
These woids which we here put in a parenthesis, 
(for he ivas vjeary,) all the ancient versions read 
otherwise: he struggled, (or started as we say,) 
and died; so the Syriac and Arabic Jixagitans sese 
mor'uus est. He fainted and died; so the Chaldee. 
He was darkened and died; so the LXX. Conso- 
cians niorte soporem, so the \ulgar Latin, joining 
sleep and death together, seeing they are so near 
akin. He fainted and died. He dies, [2.] With 
his head nailed to the ground, an emblem of his 
earthly-niindedness. O curve in terram anim3e\ 
His ear (says Bishop Hall) was fastened so close to 
the earth, as if his body had been listening what was 
become of his soul. He dies, [3.] By the hand of 
a woman. This added to the shame of his death 
before men; and had he but known it as Abimelech 
did, {ch. 9. 54.) we may well imagine how much it 
would have added to the vexation of his own heart. 
II. Here is the glory and joy of Israel hereupon. 

1. Barak their leader finds his enemy dead; (y. 
22.) and very well pleased, no doubt, he was to 
find his work done so well to his hand, and so much 
to the glory of God, and the confusion of his ene- 
mies. Had he stood too nice upon a point of ho- 
nour, he would have resented it as an affront to 
have the general slain by any hand but his; but now 
he remembered, that this diminution of his honour 
he was sentenced to undergo, for insisting on Debo- 
rah's going with them; The Lord shall sell Sisera 
into the hand of a woman; though then it was little 
thought the prediction would have been fulfilled in 
such a way as this. 

2. Israel is completely delivered out of the hands 
of Jabin king of Canaan, v. 23, 24. They not only 
shook off his yoke by this day's victory, but they 
afterward prosecuted the war against him, till thev 
had destroyed him, he and his nation being bv 
divine appointment devoted to ruin, and not to be 
snared. The Israelites having soundly smarted for 
'heir foolish pity in not doing it before, resolve, now 
it is in their power, to indulge them no longer, but 
to make a thorough riddance of them, as a people 
•io whom to show mercy was as contrary to their 
own interest as it was to God's command; and pro- 

Vol. II.— Q 

bably it was with an eye to the sentence they were 
under, that this enemy ..s named three times here 
in the two last verses, and called king of Canaan; 
for as such he was to be destroyed; and so thorough- 
ly was he destroyed, that I do not remember to 
read of the kings of Canaan any more after this. 
The children of Israel had prevented a great deal 
of mischief, if they had sooner destroyed these Ca- 
naanites, as God had both commanded and enabled 
them; but better be wise late, and by experience, 
than never wise. 


This chapter is the triuinphant son^ which was composed 
and sung- upon occasion of that glorious victory which 
Israel obtained over the forces of Jabin Idng of Canaan, 
and the happy consequences of that victory. Probably it 
was usual then to publish poems upon such occasions, as 
now; but this only is preserved of all the poems of that 
ag-e of the Judges because dictated by Deborah a pro- 
phetess designed for a psalm of praise then, and a pat- 
tern of praise to after ages; and it gives a great deal of 
light to the history of these times. I. It begins with 
praise to God, v. 2, 3. II. The substance of this song 
transmits the memory of this great achievement. 1. Com- 
parin"- God's appearances for them on this occasion, 
with his appearances to them on mount Sinai, v. 4, 5. 
2. Magnifying their deliverance, from the consideration 
of the calamitous condition they had been in, v. 6- .8. 3. 
Calling those to join in praise, who shared in the benefits 
of the success, v. 9.. 13. 4. Reflecting honour upon 
those tribes that were forward and active in that war, 
and disgrace on those that declined the service, v. 
14.. 19, 23. 5. Taking notice how God himself fought 
for them, v. 20. .22. 6. Celebrating particularly the ho- 
nour of Jael, that slew Sisera; on which head the song is 
very large, v. 24. .30. It concludes with a prayer to 
God, V. 31. 

1. 'THHEN sang Deborah, and Barak the 
X. son of Abinoam, on that day, say- 
ing, 2. Praise ye the Lo rd for the aveng- 
ing of Israel, when the people willingly of- 
fered themselves. 3. Hear, O ye kings; 
give ear, O ye princes: I, even I, will sing 
unto the Lord; I will sing praise to the 
Lord God of Israel. 4. Lord, when thou 
went est out of Seir, when thou marchedst 
out of the field of Edoni, the earth trem- 
bled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds 
also dropped water. 5. The mountains 
melted from before the Lord, even that Si- 
nai from before the Lord God of Israel. 

The former chapter let us know what great 
things God had done for Israel: in this we have 
the thankful returns they made to God, that all ages 
of the church might leani (that work of heaven) to 
praise God. 

I. Grd is praised by a song. Which is, 1. A very 
natural expression of rejoicing: Is any merry? Let 
him sing; and holy joy is the very soul and root of 
praise and thanksgiving. God is pleased to reckon 
himself glorified by our joy in him, and in his won- 
drous works. His servants' joy is his delight, and 
their songs melody to him. 2. A very proper ex- 
pedient for spreading the knowledge and perpetu- 
ating the remembrance, of great events. Neigh- 
bours would learn this song one of another, and 
children of their parents; and by thut means thcv 
who had not books, or could not read, yet would be 
made acquainted with these works cf God; and one 
generation would thus praise God's works to an- 
other, and declare his mighty acts, Ps. 145. 4, &c. 

II. Deborah herself penned this song, as appears 
by V. 7, Till I Deborah arose And the fir^t 
words should be rendeied, llien she sang, ever. 
Deborah. She used her gifts as a prophetess ii 



composing the song; and the strain throughout is j 
very fine and lofty, the images lively, the expres- | 
sions elegant, and an admirable mixture there is in 
It of sweetness and majesty. No poetry is compa- 
rable to the sacred poetry. And we may suppose 
she used her power as a princess, in obliging the 
conquering army of Israel to learn and sing this 
song. She expects not that they should, by their 
poems, celebrate her praises, and magnify her; but 
requires, that in this poem they should join with 
her in celebrating God's praises, and magnifying 
him. She had been the first wheel in the action, 
and now is so in the thanksgiving. 

III. It was sung on that d ly, not the very day 
that the fight was, but on that occasion, and soon 
after, as soon as a thanksgiving day could conve- 
niently be appointed. When we have recei\ed 
mercy from God, we ought to be speedy in our re- 
turns of praise, while the impressions of the mercy 
arc fresh. It is rent to be paid at the day. 

1. She begins with a general Hallelujah: Praise 
(or bless, for that is the word) ye the Lord, v. 2. 
The design of the song is to give glory to God; that 
therefore is put first, to explain and direct all that 
follows, like the first petition of the Lord's prayer. 
Hallowed be thy name. Two things God is here 
praised for; (1.) The vengeance he took on Israel's 
enemies, for the avenging of Israel upon their 
proud and cruel oppressors, recompensing into 
tlieir bosoms all the injuries they had done to his 
people. The Lord is known as a righteous God, 
and the God to whom vengeance belongs, by the 
judgments which he executeth. (2.) The grace 
he gave to Israel's friends; when the fieofile nvil- 
li'igly offered themselves to serve in this war. God 
is to have tlie glory of all the good offices that are 
at any time done us; and the more willingly they 
are done, the more is to be observed of that grace, 
which gi\ es both to will and to do. For these two 
things she resolves to leave this song upon record, 
to the honour of the everlasting God; {x<. 3.) /, 
even I will sing unto the Lord, Jehovah, that God 
of incontestable sovereignty and irresistible power, 
even to the Lord God of Israel, who governs all for 
the good of the church. 

2. She calls to the great ones of the world, that sit 
at the upper end of its table, to attend to her song, 
and take notice of the subject of it: Hear, O ye 
kings, give ear, ye /irinces. (1.) She would have 
them know, that as great and as high as they were, 
there is One above them with whom it is folly to 
contend, and to whom it is their interest to submit; 
that horses and chariots nre vain things for safety. 
(2.) She would h^ive them to join with her in prais- 
ing the God of Israel, and no longer to praise their 
co.nnterfeit deities, ms Belshazzar did; (Dan. 5. 4.) 
He firaiied the gods of gold and silver. She be- 
speaks them as the psalmist, (Ps. 2. 10, 11.) Be 
wise now therefore, ye kini^s, serve the Lord with 

fear. (3.) She would have tliem take warning bv 
Sisera's fate, and not dare to offer any injury to 
the people of God, whose cause, sooner or l.ter, 
God will plead with jealousy. 

3. She looks back upon God's former appear- 
ances, and compares this with them, the more to 
magnify the glorious Author of this great salvation. 
What God is doing, should bring to our mind what 
he has done; for he is the same yesterday, to-day, 
and for ever; (x^. 4.) Lord when thou wentest out 
of Seir. This may be understood, either, (1.) Of 
the appearances of God's power and justice against 
the enemies of Israel to subdue and conquer them; 
and so Hab. 3. 3, 4, &c. is parallel to it, where the 
destruction of the church's enemies is thus de- 
scribed. When God had led his people Israel from 
the country of Edom, he brought down under their 
feet Sihon and Og, striking them and their armies 

\Mth such terror and amazement, that they seemeJ 
apprehensive that heaven and earth were coming 
together. Their hearts melted, as if all the wc'r.d 
had been meltmg round about them. Or it demAes 
the glorious displays of the Di\ ine M.Jest)', and the 
surprising efforts of the divine power, enough to 
make the earth tremble, the heavens drop like 
snow before the sun, and the mountains to melt. 
Compare Ps. 18. 7. God's counsels are so fur from 
being Ijmdered by any creature, that when the 
time of vheir accomplishment comes, that which 
seemed to stand in their way will not only yield be- 
fore them, but be made to serve them. See Is . 
64. 1, 2. Or, (2.) It is meant of the appearances 
of God's glory and majesty in Lsrael, when he gave 
them his 1 iw at mount Sinai. It was then literally 
true, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, ' 
&c. Compare Deut. 33. 2. Ps. 68. 7, 8. Let all 
the kings and princes know that this is the God 
whom Deborah praises, and net such mean and ini- 
potent deities as they paid their homage to. The 
Chaldee paraphrase applies it to the giving of the 
law, but has a strange descant on those words. The 
Tnountains melted. Tabor, Herman, and Carmel, 
contended among themselves: one said. Let the di- 
vine majesty dwell upon me; the other said. Let it 
dwell upon me; but God made it to dwell upon 
mount Sinai, the meanest and least of all the moun- 
tains. I suppose it means the least valuable, be- 
cause barren and rocky. 

6. In the days of Shamgar the son of 
Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways 
were unoccupied, and the travellers walk- 
ed through by-ways. 7. The inhahiiants of 
the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, 
until that I Deborali arose, that I arose a 
mother in Israel. 8. They chose new 
gods ; then ivas war in the gates : was there 
a shield or spear seen among forty thousand 
in Israel 1 9. My heart is toward the gov- 
ernors of Israel, that offered themselves wil- 
lingly among the people. Bless ye the 
Lord. 10. Speak, ye that ride on white 
asses, ye that sit in judgment, and walk by 
the way. 1 1 . They that are delivered from 
the noise of archers in the plac^es of draw- 
ing water, there shall they rehearse the 
righteous acts of the Lord, even the righ- 
teous acts toward the ivhahitants of his vil- 
lages in Israel : then shall the people of the 
Lord go down to the gates. 


I. Deborah describes the distressed state of Israel 
under the tyranny of Jabin, that the greatness of 
their trouble might make their salvation appear 
the more illustrious, and the more gracious, v. 6. 
"From the days of Shamgar, who did something 
toward the deliverance of Israel from the Philis- 
tines, to the days of Jael, the present day, in whi' h 
Jael has so signalized herself, the cruntry has been 
in a manner desolate." 1. No trade. For want of 
soldiers to protect mer^ of business in their business 
from the incursions of the enemy, and for want of 
magistrates to restrain and punish thieves and rob- 
bers among them, (men of broken fortunes and des- 
perate spirits, that, having no employment, took to 
rob on the high-road,) all commerce ceased, and 
the highways were \moccupied; no caravans of 
merchants, as formerly. 2. No travelling. Where 
as in times when there was some order and govern 



inent, the travellers might be safe in the open 
roads, and the robbers were forced to lurk in the 
by-ways; now, on the contrary, the robbers insult- 
ed on the open road without check, and the honest 
travellers were obliged to sculk, and walk through 
by-ways, in continual frights. 3. No tillage. The 
fields must needs be laid waste and unoccupied, 
when the inhabitants of the \ illages, the country- 
farmers, ceased from their employment, quitted 
their houses which were continually alarmed and 
plundered, and were obliged to take shelter for 
themselves ;ind their families in walled and fenced 
cities. 4. No administration of justice. Tlieie 
was war in the gates where their courts were 
kept, V. 8. So that it was not till this salvation 
was wrought, that l/ie /leo/ile of the Lord durst 
go doivn t:j the gates, v. 11. The continual incur- 
sions of the enemy deprived the magistrates of the 
dignity, and the people of the benefit, of their 
government. 5. No peace to him that went out, or 
to him that came in. The gates through which 
they passed and repassed, were infested by the 
enemy; nay, the places of drawing water were 
alarmed by the archers — a mighty achievement for 
terrifying the drawers of water. 6. Neither arms 
nor spirit to help themselves with, not a shield nor 
s/iear among forty thousand, v. 8. Either they 
were disarmed by their oppressors, or they them- 
selves neglected the art of war; so that thougli they 
had spears and shields, they were not to be seen, but 
were thrown by and suffered to rust, they,^ 
neither skill nor will to use them. 

II. She shows in one word what it was that 
brought all this misery upon them; They chose nevj 
gods, V. 8. It was their idolatry tliat proiokcd 
God to give them up thus into the hands of tlieir 
enemies. The Lord their God was one Lord, but 
that would not content them, they must ha^e 
more, many more, still more. Their Ciod was the 
.\ncient of days, still the same, and therefore they 
giew weary of him, and must needs have new gods, 
which they were fond of as children of new clothes; 
names newly invented, heroes newly canonized. 
Their fathers, when put to their choice, chose the 
Lord for their God, (Josh. 24. 21.) but they would 
not abide by that choice, they must have gods of 
t!\eir own choosing. 

III. She takes notice of God's great goodness to 
Israel, in raising up such as should redress their 
grievances. Herself first; (f. 7.) Till thai I Debo- 
rah arose, to restrain and punish those who dis- 
turbed the public peace, and protect men in their 
business; and tlien the face ot things was changed 
for the better quickly ; those beasts of prey retired 
upon the breaking forth of this joyful light, and 
man luent forth again to his work and labour, Ps. 
104. 22, 23. Thus she became a mother in Israel, 
a nursing mother, such was the affection she bore 
to her people, and such the care and pains she took 
for the public welfare. Under her there were 
other govei-nors of Israel, (x>. 9.) who, like her, 
had done their part as governors to reform the 
people, and then, like her, offered themselves 
willingly to serve in the war, not insisting upon the 
exemption which their dignity and office entitled 
them to, when they had so fair an opportunity of 
appearing in their country's cause; and, no doubt, 
the example of the go, ernors influenced the people 
in like manner, luilling to offer themselves, -v. 2. 
Of these go\ ernors she says. My heart is toward 
them; that is, " I truly love and honour them, they 
have won my heart for ever, I shall never forget 
thi;m." Note, Those are worthy of double honour, 
that recede voluntarily from the demands of their 
honour to serve God and his church. 

IV. She calls upon those who had a particular 
;<hare in the advantages of this great salvation, to 

offer up particular thanks to God for it, -v. 10, 11. 
Let every man speak as he found of the goodness 
of God in this happy change of the posture of pub- 
lic affairs. 1. \e that ride on luhite asses, that is, 
the nobility and gentry. Horses were little used 
in that country, they had, it is probable, a much 
better breed of asses than we have; but persons of 
quality, it seems, were distinguished by the colour 
of the asses they rode on, the wh.te being more 
rare, were therefore moie valued. Notice is taken 
of Abdon's sons and grandsons liding en ass-coits, 
as indicating them to be men of d.stiiiLtion, ch. 12. 
14. Let such as are by this salvation restored, not 
only to their liberty as oiher Israe.ites, but, to their 
dignity, speak Ciod's praises. 2. Let them that sit 
in judgment be sensible of it, and thankful for it as 
a very great mercy, that they may sit safely there; 
that the sword of justice is not struck out of their 
hand by the sword of war. 3. Let them that ivalJc 
by the way, and meet with none there to make 
them afraid, speak to themselves in pious medita- 
tions, and to their fellow-ti'avellers in I'eligious dis- 
courses of the goodness of God in ridding the roads 
of those banditti that had so long infested them. 
4. Let them that diaw water in peace and have not 
their well taken from them, or stopped up, nor are 
in danger of being caught by the enemy when they 
go forth to draw there where they find themselves 
so much more safe and easy than they have been, 
there let them rehearse the acts of the Lord; not 
Del)orah's acts, or Bar^ik's, but the Lord's, taking 
notice of his hand making peace in our borders, 
and ci-eating a defence upon all the glory. This is 
the Lord's doing. Obser\ e in these acts of his, 
(1. ) Justice executed on his daring enemies. They 
are tlie righteous acts of the Lord. See him plead- 
ing a righteous cause, and sitting in the thione 
judging aright, and gi\ e him glory as the Judge of 
all the earth. (2. ) Kindness showed to his trem- 
bling people; the inhabitants of the villages, who lay 
most open to the enemy, had suffered mo«t, and 
were in most danger, Ezek. 38, 11. It is the glory 
of God to protect those that are most exp; sed, and 
to help the weakest. Let us all take. notice of the 
share we in particular have in the public peace ar.d 
tranquillity, the inhabitants of the villages espe- 
cially, and give God the praise of it. 

12. Awake, awake, Deborah; awake, 
awake ; utter a song : arise, Barak, and lead 
thy captivity captive, tliou son of Abinoani. 
13. Then he made him that remaineth have 
dominion over the nobles among the peo- 
ple : the Lord made me have dominion 
over the mighty. 14. Out of Ephraim was 
there a root of them against Amalek ; after 
thee, Benjamin, among thy people : out of 
Machir came down governors, and out of 
Zebulun they that handled the pen of the 
writer. 15. And the princes of Issachar 
were with Deborah ; even Issachar, and also 
Barak : he was sent on foot into the valley. 
For the divisions of Reuben there were great 
thoughts of heart. 16. Why abodest thou 
among the sheep-folds, to hear the bleatings 
of the flocks? For the divisions of Reuben 
there were great searchings of heart. 17. 
Gilead abode beyond Jordan : and why did 
Dan remain in ships ? Asher continued on 
the sea-shore, and abode in his breathes. 
18. Zebulun and Naphtali iccre a people 



that jeoparded their lives unto the death in 
the high places of the field. 19. The kings 
came and fought ; then fought the kings of 
Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Me- 
giddo : they took no gain of money. 20. 
They fought from heaven ; the stars in their 
courses fought against Sisera. 21. The river 
of Jvishon swept them away, that ancient 
ii\(u-, the river Kishon. O my soul, thou 
hast trodden down strength. 22. Then were 
the horse-hoofs broken by the means of the 
prancings, the prancings of their mighty 
ones. 23. Curse ye Meroz, said the angel 
of the Lord ; curse ye bitterly the inhabit- 
ants thereof; because they came not to the 
help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord 
against the mighty. 


I. Deborah stirs up herself and Barak to cele- 
brate this victory in the most solemn manner, to the 
glory of God and the honour of Israel, for the en- 
couragement of their friends and the greater con- 
fusion of their enemies, v. 12. 1. Deborah, as a 
prophetess, must do it by a song, to compose and 
sing which, she excites herself Awake, awake; 
and again. Awake, awake. Which intimates the 
sense she had of the excellency and difficulty of the 
work: it needed and well deserved the utmost 
liveliness and vigour of soul in the performance of 
it; all the powers and faculties of the soul in their 
closest attention and application ought to be em- 
ployed in it. Thus too she expresses the sense she 
had of her own infirmity, and aptness to flag, and 
remit in her zeal in this work. Note, Praising 
God is work that we should awake to, and awake 
ourselves to, Ps. 108. 2. 2. Barak, as a general, 
must do it by a triumph; Lead thy cafitivity cafi- 
tive. Though the army of Sisera was cut oflF in the 
field, and no quarter given, yet we may suppose in 
the prosecution of the victory, when the war was 
carried into the enemy's country, many not found 
in arms were seized and made prisoners of war; 
these she would have led in chains after Barak, 
when he made his public entry into his own city to 
grace his triumphs; not as if it should be any plea- 
sure to him to trample upon his fellow-creatures, 
but thus he must give glory to God, and serve that 
good purpose of his government, which is to look 
ufiun thofie that are firoud, and to abase them. 

II. She gives good reason for this praise and 
triumph, v. 13. This glorious victory had made 
the remnant of Israel, and Deborah in particular, 
look very great; a circumstance which they owed 
entirely to God. 1. The Israelites were become 
few and inconsiderable, and yet to them God gave 
dominion over nobles. Many of them were cut off 
by the enemy, many died of grief, and perhaps 
some had removed their families and effects into 
foreign parts; yet those few that remained, by 
divine assistance, with one brave and generous 
effort, not only shook off the yoke of oppression 
from their own neck, but got power over their op- 
pressors. As long as any of God's Israel remain, 
(and a remnant God will have in the worst of 
times,) there is hope, be it ever so small a remnant, 
for God can make him that remains, though it 
should he but one single person, triumph over the 
most proud and potent. 2. Deborah was herself 
of the weaker sex, and the sex that from the fall 
had been sentenced to subjection, and yet the Lord 
that is himself higher than the highest, authorized 
her to rule over the mighty men of Israel, who wil- 

lingly submitted to her conduct: and enabled her to 
triumph over the mighty men of Canaan, who fell 
before the army she commanded; so wonderfully 
did he advance the low estate of his handmaid, 
"The Lord made me, a woman, have dominion 
over mighty men." A despised stone is made head 
of the corner. This is indeed the Lord's doing, 
and marvellotis in our eyes. 

III. She makes particular remarks on the several 
parties concerned in this great action, taking notice 
who fought against them, who fought for them, and 
who stood neuter. 

1. Who fought against them. The power of the 
enemy must be taken notice of, that the victory 
may appear the more glorious. Jabin and Sisera 
had been mentioned in the history, but here it ap- 
pears further, (1.) That Amalek was in league 
with Jabin, and sent him in assistance, or en- 
deavoured to do it. Ephraim is here said to act 
against Amalek, {v. 14. ) probably intercepting and 
cutting off some forces of the Amalekites that were 
upon their march to join Sisera. Amalek had 
helped Moab to oppress Israel, {ch. 3. 13. ) and now 
had helped Jabin; they were inveterate enemies to 
God's people, whose hand had always been against 
the throne of the Lord, (Exod. 17. 16.) and there- 
fore the more dangerous. (2. ) That others of the 
kings of Canaan, who had somewhat recovered 
themselves since their defeat by Joshua, joined with 
Jabin and strengthened his army with their forces, 
having the same implacable enmity to Israel that 
he had, and those kingdoms, when they were in 
their strength, having been subject to that of Ha- 
zor. Josh. 11. 10. These kings came and fought, 
V. 19. Israel had no king, their enemies had many, 
whose power and influence, especially acting in con- 
federacy, made them very formidable; and yet 
Israel, having the Lord for their Kings, was too 
hard for them all. It is said of these Kings, They 
took no gain of money; they were not necessary 
troops hired into the service of Jabin, (such often 
fail in an extremity,) but they were all volunteers, 
and hearty in the cause against Israel : they desired 
not the riches of silver, so the Chaldee, but only the 
satisfaction of helping to iniin Isi-ael. Acting upon 
this principle, they were the more formidable, and 
would be the more cruel. 

2. Who fought /or them. The several tribes 
that assisted in this great exploit, here are spoken 
of with honour; for though God is chiefly to be glo- 
rified, instruments must have their due praise, for 
the encouragement of others: but, after all, it was 
heaven that turned the scale. 

(1.) Ephraim and Benjamin, those tribes among 
whom Deborah herself lived, bestirred themselves, 
and did bravely, by her influence upon them ; for 
her palm-tree was in the tribe of Ephraim, and 
very near to that of Benjamin, v. 14, Out of 
Efihraim, was there a root, and life in the root, 
against Amalek. There was in Ephraim a moun- 
tain called the mount of Amalek, (mentioned, ch, 
12. 13.) wh'ch some think is here meant, and some 
read it. There was a root in Amalek; that is, in that 
mountain; a strong resolution in the minds of that 
people to make head against the oppressors, which 
was the root of the matter. Herein Benjamin had 
set them a good example among his people; 
Ephraim moved after thee, Benjamin. Tlioiigh 
Benjamin was the juniot tribe, and much inferior, 
especially at this time, to Ephraim, both in number 
and wealth, yet when they led, Ephraim followed 
in appearing for the common cause. If we be not 
so bold as to lead, yet we must not be so proud and 
sullen as not to follow even our inferiors in a good 
work. Ephraim was at a distance from the place 
of action, and therefore could not send forth many 
of its boughs to the service; but Deborah, who was 



one of them, knew there was a root of them, that 
thev were hearty well-wishers to the cause. Dr. 
Liu,htfoot gives quite another sense of this; Joshua 
of F^phraim, had been a root of such victories against 
Anialek, (Exod. 17.) and Ehud of Benjamin lately 
against Amalek and Moab. 

(2. ) The ice being broken by Ephraim and Ben- 
jamin, Machir (the half tribe of Manusseh beyond 
Jordan) and Zebulun sent in men that were \ ery 
serviceable to this great design. When an army is 
to be raised, especially under such disad\ antages as 
were occasioned by the long disuse of arms, and the 
dispiritedness of the people, it is of great conse- 
quence to be furnished, [1.] With men of courage 
for officers, and such the family of Machir furnish- 
ed them with; for thence came down governors. 
The children of Machir were particularly famous 
for their valour in Moses's time, (Numb. 32. 89.) 
and, it seems, it continued in their family, the more 
because they were seated in the f'ontiers. [2.] 
With men of learning and ingenuity, for secretaries 
of war, and with such they were supplied out of 
Zebulun; thence came men that handle the pen of 
the ivriter, clerks that issued out orders, wrote cir- 
cular letters, drew commissions, mustered their 
nen, and kept their accounts. Thus must every 
man, according as he has received the gift, minister 
the same, for the public good, 1 Pet. 4. 10. The 
eyes see, and the ears hear, for the whole body. 
I know it is generally understood of the forwardness 
even of the scholars of this tribe, who studied the 
law and expounded it, to take up arms in this cause, 
though they were better skilled in books than in the 
art of war. So Sir Richard Blackmore para- 
phrases it. 

The scribps of Zebulun and learned men, 
To wield the sword, laid down the pen. 

(3.) Issachar did good service too; though he saw 
that rest was good, and therefore bowed his shoul- 
der to bear, which is the character of that tribe, 
(Gen. 49. 15. ) yet they disdained to bear the yoke 
of Jabin's tribute, and now preferred the generous 
toils of war to a servile rest. Though it should 
seem there were not many common soldiers listed 
out of that tribe, yet the firinces of Issachar were 
with Deborah and Barak, (t'. 15.) probably, as a 
great council of war to advise upon emergencies. 
A.nd it should seem, these princes of Issachar did 
in person accompany Barak into the field of battle. 
Did he go on foot? They footed it with him, not 
consulting their hono\ir or ease. Did he go into the 
valley, the place of most danger? They exposed 
themselves with him, and were still at his right 
hand to advise him; for the men of Issachar were 
men that had understanding of the times, 1 Chron. 
12. 32. 

(4.) Zebulun and Naphtali were the most bold and 
active of all the tribes, not only out of a particular 
affection to Barak, their countryman, but because 
they lying nearest to Jabin, the yoke of oppression 
1 IV heavier on their necks than on any other tribe. 
Better die in honour than live in bondage; and 
therefore in a pious zeal for God and their country, 
they jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high 
places of the field, v. 18. With what heroic 
bravery did they charge and push on, even upon 
the chariots of iron, despising danger, and setting 
death itself at defiance in so good a cause. 

(5.) The stars from heaven appeared, or acted 
at least, on Israel's side; {y. 20.) The stars in 
their courses, according to the order and direction 
of him who is the great Lord of their hosts, fought 
against Sisera, by their malignant influences; or by 
causing the storms of hail and thunder, which con- 
tributed so p^uch to the rout of Sisera's army. The 

Chaldee reads it. From heaven, from the fdace 
where the stars go forth, war was waged against 
Sisera; that is, the power of the God of heaven was 
engaged against him, making use of the ministration 
of the angels of heaven. Some way or other, the 
heavenly "bodies (not arrested, as when tlie sun 
stood sti'll at Joshua's word, but going on in their 
courses) fought against Sisera. Those whom God 
is an enemy to, the whole creation is at war with. 
Perhaps the flashes of lightning by which the stars 
fought, was that which frightened the horj^es, s(i as 
that they pranced till their \ ery horfs were bn ken; 
{v. 22.) and, probably, overturned the chariots of 
iron which they drew, or turned them back upon 
their owners. 

(6.) The river of Kishon f ught against their 
enemies. It swept them away, and abundance of 
them that hoped to make their escape through it, 
V. 21. Ordinarily, it was but a shallow river, and, 
being in their own country, we may suppose they 
Avell knew its fords and safest passages, and yet, 
now, probably by the great rain that fell, it was so 
swelled, and the stream so deep and strong, that 
those who attempted to pass it, were drowned, 
being feeble and faint, and unable to make their 
way through it. And then were the horse hoofs 
broken by means of the plungings. So it is in the 
margin, v. 22. The river of Kishon is called that 
ancient river, because described or celebrated by 
ancient historians or poets; or rather, because it 
was designed of old, in the council of God, to serve 
his purposes against Sisera at this time, and did so, 
as if it had been made on pui-pose; thus the water 
of the old pool, God is said to have fashioned long 
ago, for that use to which it was put, Isa. 22. 11. 

(7.) Deborah's own soul fought against them; she 
speaks of it with a holy exultation; {v. 21.) O my 
soul, thou hast trodden down strength. She did it 
by exciting others to do it, and assisting them, 
which she did with all her heart; also by her pray- 
ers. As Moses conquered Amalek by lifting up his 
hand, so Deborah vanquished Sisera by lifting up 
her heart. And when the soul is employed in holy 
exercises, and heart-work is made of them, through 
the grace of God, the strength of our spiritual ene- 
mies will be trodden down, and will fall before us. 
3. In this great engagement, she observes who 
stood neuter, and did not side with Israel, as might 
have been expected. It is strange to find how 
many, even of those who were called Israelites, 
basely deserted this glorious cause, and declined to 
appear. No mention is made of Judah or Simeon 
among the tribes concerned, because they lying so 
very remote from the scene of action, h;id not an 
opportunity to appear, and therefore it was not ex- 
pected from them ; luit for those that lay near, and 
yet would not venture, indelible marks of disgrace 
are here put upon them, and they deserved it. 

(1.) Reuben basely declined the service, v. 15, 
16. Justly had he long ago been depri\ ed of the 
privileges of the birth-right, and still does his dying 
father's doom stick by him, unstable as water, he 
shall not excel. Two things hindered them from en- 
gaging; [1.] Their divisions. This jai-ring-string 
she twice strikes upon to their shame. For the di- 
visions of Reuben (or in these divisions) there were 
great thoughts, impressions, and searchings of 
heart. Not only for their division from Canaan by 
the river Jordan, that needed not have hindered 
them, had they been hearty in the cause; for Gilead 
abode beyond Jordan, and yet from Machir of Gil- 
ead came down governors : but it means either 
that they were divided among themselves, could 
not agree who should go, or who should lead; each 
striving to gain the post of honour, and shun that of 
danger; some unhappy contests in their tribe kept 
them from uniting together, and with their breth 



ren, for the common good; or, that they were di- 
vided in their opinion of this war from the rest of 
the tribes; thought the attempt either not justifia- 
ble, or not practicable, and therefore blamed those 
that engaged in it, and did themselves decline 
It; this occasioned great searchings of heart among 
the rest; especially when they had reason to sus- 
pect that whatever Reuben pretended, his sitting 
still now, proceeded from a cooling of his affections 
to his brethren, and an alienation of mind from 
them, which occasioned them many sad thoughts. 
It grieves us to see our mother's children angry 
with us for doing our duty, and looking strange 
upon us when we most need their friendship and 
assistince. [2.] Their business in the world. Reu- 
ben abode among the sheefifolds, a warmer and 
safer place th m the camp, pretending they could 
not conveniently leave the sheep they tended; he 
loved to hear the bleatirnrs of the fiocks, or, as some 
read it, the whisf lings of the flocks, the music 
which the shepherds made with their oaten reeds 
or pipes, and the pastorals which they sung, these 
Reuben preferred before the martial drum and 
trumpet. Thus many are kept from doing their 
duty by the fear of trouble, the love of ease, and an in- 
ordinate affection to their worldly business and advan- 
tage. Narrow selfish spirits care not what becomes 
of the interests of God's church, so they can but get, 
keep, and save money ; ,411 seek their own, Philip 2. 2 1. 

(2.) Dan and Asher did the same, v. 17. These 
two lav on the sea-coast, and, [1.] Dan pretended 
he could not leave his ships, but they would be ex- 
P'^sed, and therefore I firaii thee have me excused. 
Those of that tribe perhaps pleaded that their sea- 
trade disfitted them for land service, and diverted 
them from it; but Zebulun also was a haven for 
ships, a sea-f iring tribe, and yet was forward and 
active in this expedition. There is no excuse we 
make to shift off duty, but what some or otlier 
liave broken through and set aside, whose courage 
and resolution will rise up against us and shame us. 
[2.] Asher pretended he must stay at home and 
repair the breaches which the sea had in some 
places made upon his land, and to fortify his works 
against the encroachments of it; or he abode in his 
creeks, o',- sm ill hivens, where his trading vessels 
lay to attend them. A little thing will serve those 
for a pretence t^ stav at home, who have no mind 
to engage in the most necessary services, because 
there are difficulty and danger in them. 

(3.) But above all, ^leroz is condemned, and a 
curse pronounced upon the inhabitants of it, because 
then came not to the helfi of the Lord, v. 23. Prob- 
ably this was some city that lay near the scene 
of action, and therefore the inhabitants had a 
fair opportunity of showing their obedience to 
God, and their concern for Israel, and of doing 
good service to the common cause; but they 
baseh" declined it, for fear of Jabin's iron cha- 
riots, being willing to sleep in a whole skin. The 
Lord needed not their help; he m&de it appear he 
could do his work without them : but no thanks to 
them; for aught they knew, the attempt might 
have miscarried for want of their hand; and there- 
fore they are cursed for not coming to the help, of 
the Lord, when it wis in effect proclaimed. Who is 
on the Lord's side? I'he cause between God and 
the mighty, (the principalities and powers of the 
kingdom of darkness, will not admit of neutrality, 
God looks upon those as against him, that are not 
with him. This curse is pronounced by the ylngel 
of the Lord, our Lord Jesus, the captain of the 
Lord's host, (and those whom he curses are cursed 
indeed;) and further than we have warrant and au- 
thority from him, we mav not curse. He that will 
richly reward all his good soldiers, will certainly 
;md severely punish all cowards and deserters. 

This city of Meroz seems to have been at this time 
a considerable place, since something great was ex- 
pected from it; but, probably, after the Angel of 
the Lord had pronounced this curse upon it, it 
dwindled, and like the fig-tree which Christ curs 
ed, withered away, so that we never read of it af 
ter this in the scripture. 

24. Blessed above women shall Jael the 
wife of Heber the Kenite be ; blessed shall 
she be above women in the tent. 25. He 
asked water, and she gave him milk ; she 
brought forth butter in a lordly dish. 26. 
She put her hand to the nail, and her right 
hand to the workman's hammer ; and with 
the hammer she smote Sisera ; she smote 
off his head, when she had pierced and 
stricken through his temples. 27. At her 
feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down : at 
her feet he bowed, he fell ; where he bow- 
ed, there he fell down dead. 28. The mo- 
ther of Sisera looked out at a window, and 
cried through the lattice. Why is his chariot 
so long in coming .? why tarry the wheels of 
his chariots ? 29. Her wise ladies answer- 
ed her, yea, she returned answer to herself, 

30. Have they not sped ? have they not di 
vided the prey ; to every man a damsel m 
two? to Sisera a prey of divers colours, a 
prey of divers colours of needle-work, of 
divers colours of needle-\\'ork on both sides, 
meet for the necks of them that take the spoil? 

31. So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord: 
but let them that love him be as the sun 
when he goeth forth in his might. And the 
land had rest forty years. 

Deborah here concludes this triumphant song, 
I. With the praise of Jael, her sister-heroine, 
whose valiant act had completed and crowned the 
victory. She had mentioned her before, {v. 6.) as 
one that would have served her country if it had 
been in her pov/er; now she applauds her as one 
that did sei"\-e it admirably well when it was in her 
power. Her poetry is finest and most florid herein 
the latter end of the song. How hon urably does 
she speak of Jael, {v. 24.) who preferred her peace 
with the God of Israel, before her peace with the 
king of Canaan; and though not a native of Israel, 
(for aught that appears,) yet heartily espoused the 
cause of Israel in this critical juncture, jeoparded 
her life as truly as if she had been in the high pL 
ces of the field, and bravely fought for those whom 
she saw God fought for! Blessed shall she be above 
women in the tent. Note, Those whose lot is cast 
in the tent, in a very low and narrow sphere of 
activity, if they serve God in that according to 
their capacity, shall in no wise lose their reward. 
Jael in the tent wins as rich a blessing as Barak in 
the field. 

Nothing is more confounding, grievous, and 
shameful, than disappointment; and Deborah here 
does most elegantly desmbe two great disappoint- 
ments, the shame of which was typical of sinners' 
everlasting shame. 

1. Sisera found a fatal enemy, where he expected 
a fast and faithful friend. (1. ) Jael showed him the 
kindness of a friend, and perhaps at that time intend- 
ed no other than kindness, until (iod, by an imme- 
diate impulse upon her mind, (^which impulses then 



were to be regarded, and carried so much of their 
own evidence with them, that they might have 
been relied upon, but cannot now be pretended to,) 
directed her to do otherwise, v. 25. He asked only 
tor fair water to quench his thirst, but she, not only 
to snow her housewifery and good housekeeping, but 
to express her respect to him, ^ave him milk, and 
brought forth butter, that is, (say some interpre- 
ters,) milk which had the butter taken from it; we 
call it butter-milk. No, (say others,) it was milk 
that had the butter still in it; we call i^ cream: 
whichsoever it was, it was, probably, the best her 
house afforded; and, to set it off, she brought it in 
a lordly dish, such as she calletl so, the finest she 
had, and better than she ordinarily used at her 
own table. This confirmed Sisera's opinion of her 
friendship, and made him sleep the faster and the 
more secure, But (2. ) She proved his mortal ene- 
my ; gave him his death's stroke; it is curiously de- 
scribed, V. 26, 27. [1.] How great does Jael look 
hammering Sisera, as it is in the margin, mauling 
that proud man, that had been so long the terror of 
the mighty, and sending him down slain to the pit 
with his iniquities ufion his bones! Ezek. 32. 27. 
She seems to have gone about it Avith no more terror 
or concern, than if she had been going to nail one 
of the boards or bars of her tent, so confident was 
she of divine aid and protection. We read it, she 
amote off his head, probably with his own sword, 
which, now that his head was nailed through, she 
durst take from his side, but not before, for fear of 
waking him. But because there was no occasion 
for cutting off his head, nor was it mentioned in the 
history, many think it should be read, She struck 
through his head. That head which had been 
proudly lifted up against God and Israel, and in 
which had been forged bloody designs for the de- 
struction of God's people, Jael finds a soft place in, 
and into that with a good will strikes her nail. [2. ] 
How mean does Sisera look, fallen at Jael's feet! 
V. 27. At the feet of this female executioner, he 
bowed, he fell; all his struggles for life availed not; 
she followed her blow until he fell down dead. 
There lies extended the deserted carcass of that 
proud man , not in the bed of honour, not in the high 
places of the field, not having any glorious wound 
to show from a glittering sword, or a bow of steel, 
but in a corner of a tent, at the feet of a woman 
with a disgraceful wound by a sorry nail stuck 
through his head. Thus is shame the fate of proud 
men. And it is a very lively representation of the 
i-uin of those sinners whose prosperity slays them ; 
it flatters and caresses them with milk and butter in 
a lordly dish, as if it would make them easy and 
happy, but it nails their heads and hearts to the 
ground in earthly-mindedness, and pierces them 
through with maiiy sorronvs; its flatteries are fatal, 
and sinks them at last into destruction and perdi- 
tion, 1 Tim. 6. 9, 10. 

2. Sisera's mother had the tidings brought her of 
her son's fall and ruin, then when she was big with 
expectation of his glorious and triumphant return, 
n. 28 . . 30. where we have, (1.) Her fond desire to 
see her son come back in triumph. IVhy is his cha- 
ri.ot so long in coining? She speaks this, not so 
much out of a concern for his safety, or any jealousy 
of his having miscari'ied, (she had no fear of that, 
so confident was she of his success,) but out of a 
longingfor his glory, which with a feminine weakness 
she was passionately impatient to see, chiding the 
lingering chariot, and expostulating concerning the 
delays of it, little thinking that her unhappy son 
had been, before this, forced to quit that chariot 
which they were so proud of, and which she thought 
came so slowlj'. The chariots of his glorv were 
no7!i become the shame of his house, Isa. 22. 18. Let 

us take heed of indulging such desires as these to- 
ward any temporal good thing, particularly toward 
that which cherishes vain glory, for that was it she 
here doted on. Eagerness and impatience in our 
desires do us a great deal of prejudice, and make it 
intolerable to us to be crossed. But toward the se- 
cond coming of Jesus Christ, and the glories of that 
day, we should thus stand affected: Come, Lor<I 
Jesus, come quickly; for here we cannot be disap- 
pointed. (2.) Her foolish hope and confidence that 
he would come at last in so much the gi'eater pomp. 
Her wise ladies answei-ed her, and thought they 
gave a \ery good account of the dekiy; yea, she {in 
her wisdom, says the Chaklee) tauntingly made an- 
swer to herself, " Have they not s/ied? No doubt 
they have, and that which delays tliem is, that 
they are dividing the firey; which is so much, that 
it is a work of time to make a distribution of it." 
In the spoil they please themselves with the thought 
of, observe, [1.] How impudently, and to the re- 
proach and scandal of their sex, these ladies boast 
of the multitude of damsels which the soldiers 
would have the abusing of. [2.] How childishly 
they please themselves with the hope of seeing Si- 
sera himself in a gaudy mantle of divers colours; 
how charmingly would it look! of divers colours of 
needle-work, plundered out of the wardrobe of some 
Israelitish lady: it is repeated again, as that which 
pleased their fancy above any thing, of divers co- 
lours of needle-work on both sides, and tlierefore 
very rich; such pieces of embroidery they hoped 
Sisera would have to present his mother and the la- 
dies with. Thus apt are we to deceive ourselves with 
great expectations, and confident hopes of honour 
and pleasure, and Avealth in this world, by which 
we prepare for ourselves the shame and grief of a 
disappointment. And thus does God often bring 
nain on his enemies when they are most elevated. 

II. She concludes all with a prayer to God, 1. For 
the destruction of all hisfoes: " So, so shamefully, so 
miserably, let all thine enemies perish, Lord; let 
all that hope to triumph in Israel's ruin, be thus dis- 
appointed and triumphed over; Do to them all as 
unto Sinera," Ps. 83. 9. Though our enemies are to 
be prayedybr, God's enemies, as such, are to be pray- 
ed against: and when we see some of God's ene- 
mies remarkably humbled and brought down, that 
is an encouragement to us to pray for the downfall 
of all the rest. Deborah was a prophetess, and this 
prayer was a prediction that in due time all God's 
enemies shall perish, Ps. 92. 9. None ever hard- 
ened his heart and prospered. 2. For the exalta- 
tion and comfoit of all his friends. " But let them 
that l(;vehim, and, heartily wish well to his king- 
dom among men, be as the sun when he goeth forth 
in his strength; let them shine so bright, appear so 
glorious in the eye of the world, cast such benign 
influences, be as much out of the reach of their en- 
emies, who curse the rising sun because it scorches 
them; let them rejoice as a strong man to run a 
race, Ps. 19. 5. Let them, as burning and shining 
lights in their places, dispel the mists of darkness, 
and shine with more and more lustre and power 
imto the perfect day," Prov. 4. 18. Such shall be 
the honour, and such the joy, of all that love God in 
sincerity, and for ever they shall shine as the sun in 
the firmament of our Father. 

The victory here celebrated with this song, was 
of such happy consequence to Israel, that for the 
best part of one age they enjoved the peace which 
it opened the way to; The land had rest forty years; 
that is, so long it was from this victory to the rais- 
ing up of Gideon. And well had it been, if, when 
the churches and the tribes had rest, they had been 
edified, and had walked in the fear of the Lord. 




Nothing that occurred in the quiet and peaceable times of 
Israel is recorded: the forty years' rest after the conquest 
of Jabin is passed over in silence, and here begins the 
st^iy of another distress, and another deliverance by 
Giileon, the fourth of the judges. Here is, I. The ca- 
lamitous condition of Israel, by the inroads of the Mid- 
ianites, v. 1 . . 6. II. The message God sent them by a 
prophet, b}' convincing tliem of sin, to prepare them for 
deliverance, v. 7 . . 10. III. The raising up of Gideon 
to be their deliverer. 1. A commission which God sent 
him by the hand of an angel, and confirmed by a sign, 
T. 11 . . 24. 'i. The first-fruits of his government in the 
reform of his father's house, v. 25 . . 32. 3. The prepa- 
rations he made for a war with the Midianites and the 
encouragement given him by a sign, v. 33 . . 40. 

1. A ND the children of Israel did evil 
J^ in the sight of the Lord; and the 
Lord delivered them into the hand of Mid- 
ian seven years. 2. And the handofJVlid- 
ian prevailed against Israel : and because 
of the Midianites the children of Israel 
made them the dens which are in the moun- 
tains, and caves, and strong holds. 3. And 
so it was, when Israel had sown, that the 
Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, 
and the children of the east, even they came 
up against them ; 4. And they encamped 
against them, and destroyed the increase of 
the earth, till thou come unto Gaza ; and 
left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, 
nor ox, nor ass. .5. For they came up with 
their cattle, and their tents, and they came 
as grasshoppers for multitude : for both they 
and their camels were without number : 
and they entered into the land to destroy it. 
6. And Israel was greatly impoverished be- 
cause of the Midianites ; and the children 
of Israel cried unto the Lord. 

We have here, 

I. Israel's sin renewed; They did evil in (he sight 
of the Lord, v. 1. The burnt child dreads the hre; 
yet this perverse unthinking people, that had so 
often smarted solely for their idolatry, upon a little 
respite of God's judgments, return to it again. This 
fieofile hath a revolting, rebellious heart, not kept 
in awe by the terror of God's judgments, nor en- 
gaged in honour and gratitude by the great things 
he had done for them, to keep themselves in his 
love. The providence of God will not change the 
hearts and lives of sinners. 

II. Israel's troubles repeated. This would follow 
of course; let all that sin expect to suffer; ivith the 
froivard God will show himself froward, (Ps. 18. 
26. ) and will walk contrary to those that walk con- 
trary to him, Lev. 26. 21, 24. Now as to this 

1. It arose from a \ery despicable enemy. God 
delivered them into the nand of Midian; {y. 1.) not 
Midian in the south where Jethro lived, but Midi- 
an in the east that joined to Moab, Numb. 22. 4. A 
people that all men despised as uncultivated, and 
unheaded; hence we read not here of any king, 
lord, general, that they had but the force with 
which they destroyed Israel, was an undisciplined 
mob; and, which made it the more grievous, they 
were a people that Israel had formerly subdued, 
and in a manner destroyed; (see Numb. 31. 7.) and 
yet by thi^ time, (near two hundred years after,) 

the poor remains of them were so multiplied, and so 
magnified, that they were capable of being made a 
very severe scourge to Israel. Thus God moved 
them to jealousy with those which were not a fieo- 
file, even a foolish nation, Deut. 32. 21. The mean- 
est creature will serve to chastise those that have 
made the great Creator their enemy. And when 
those we are authorised to rule prove rebellious 
suid disobedient to us, it concerns us to inquire whe- 
ther we have not been so to our sovereign Ruler. 

2. It arose to a very formidable height, {v. 2.) 
The hand of Midian prevailed, purely by their 
multitude. God liad promised to increase Israel 
as the sand on the sea-shore; but their sin stopped 
their growth and diminished them, and then theii 
enemies, though otherwise every way inferior to 
them, overpowered them with numbers. They 
came upon them as grasshofificrs for multitude: 
(v. 5. ) not in a regular army to engage them in the 
field, but in a contused swarm, to plunder the coun- 
try, quarter themselves upon it, and enrich them- 
selves with its spoils. Bands of robbers, and no bet- 
ter. And sinful Israel, being separated by sin from 
God, had not spirit to make head against them. 
Observe the wretched havoc that these Midianites 
made with their bands of plunderers in Israel. 
Here is, 

(1.) The Israelites imfirisoned, or rather im- 
prisoning themselves, in dens and caves, v. 2. This 
was owing purely to their own timorousness and 
faint-heartedness, that they would rathei- fly than 
fight; it was the effect of a guilty conscience which 
made them tremble at the shaking of a leaf, and 
the just punishment of their apostasy from the God 
who thus fought against them with those very ter- 
rors with which he would otherwise have fought 
for them ; had it not been for this, we cannot but 
think Israel a match for the Midianites, and able 
enough to make head against them : but the heart 
that departs from God is lost, not only to that which 
is good but to that which is great. Sin dispirits 
men, and makes them sneak into dens and caves. 
The day will come when chief captains and mighty 
men will call in vain to rocks and mountains to hide 

(2.) The Israelites fw/zoz'msArf/, greatly impover- 
ished, (v. 6.) The Midianites and the other chil- 
dren of the east, that joined with them to live by 
spoil and rapine, as long before the Sabeans and 
Chaldeans did that plundered Job, free-booters, 
these made frequent incursions into the land of Ca- 
naan; that fruitful land was a great temptation to 
them; and that sloth and luxury into which the Is- 
raelites were sunk by forty years' rest, made them 
and their substance an easy prey to them. They 
came up against them, (v. 3.) pitched their camps 
among them, (x*. 4.) and brought their cattle with 
them, particularly camels innumerable; {v. 5.) not 
a flying party, to make a sally upon them, and be 
gone presently, but they resolved to force their way, 
and penetrated through the heart of the country as 
far as Gaza, on the western side: (t'. 4.) they let 
the Israelites alone to sow their ground, but toward 
harvest they came and seized all, and ate up and 
destroyed it, both grass and corn ; and when they 
went away, took with them the sheep and oxen; so 
that, in short, they left no sustenance for Israel, 
except what was privately taken by the rightful 
owners into the dens and caves. Now here wc may 
see, [1.] The justice of God in the punishment of 
their sin. They had neglected to honour God with 
their substance in tithes, and offerings, and had pre 

Eared that for Baal with which God should have 
een served, and now God justly sends an enemy 
to take it away in the season thereof, Hos. 2. 8, 9. 
[2.] The consequence of God's departure from the 
people; when he goes, all good goes, and all mis- 



chiefs break in. When Israel kept in with God, 
they reaped what others sowed; (Josh. 24. 13. Ps. 
105. 44.) but now that God had forsaken them, 
others reaped what they sowed. Let us take occa- 
sion from this, to bless God for our national peace 
and tranquillity, that we eat the labour of our hands. 
III. Israel's sense of God's hand revived at last. 
Seven years, year after year, did the Midianites 
make these inroads upon them, each, we may sup- 
pose, worse than the other, (t*. 1.) until, at last, all 
other succours failing, Israel cried unto the Lord; 
{y. 6.) for crying to Baal ruined them, and would 
not help them. When God judges he will over- 
come; and sinners shall be made either to bend or 
break before him. 

7. And it came to pass, when the chil- 
dren of Israel cried unto the Lord because 
of the Midianites, 8. That the Lord sent 
a prophet unto the children of Israel, which 
said unto them. Thus saith the Lord God 
of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and 
brought you forth out of the house of bon- 
dage ; 9. And I delivered you out of the 
hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand 
of all that oppressed you, and drave them 
out from before you, and gave you their land : 
10. And I said unto you, I am the Lord 
your God ; fear not the gods of the Amo- 
rites, in whose land ye dwell : but ye have 
not obeyed my voice. 

Observe here, 

I. The cognizance God took of the cries of Is- 
rael, when at length they were directed toward 
him. Though in their prosperity they had neg- 
lected him, and made court to his rivals, and though 
they never looked toward him till they were driven 
to it by extremity, yet, upon their complaint and 

Erayer, he intended relief for them. Thus would 
e show how ready he is to forgive, how swift he is 
to show mercy, and how inclinable to hear prayer, 
that sinners may be encouraged to return and re- 
pent, Ps. 130. 4. 

II. The method God took of woiking deliverance 
for them. Before he sent an angel to raise them 
up a saviour, he sent a prophet to reprove them for 
sin, and to bring them to repentance, v. 8. This 
prophet is not named, but he was a man, a prophet, 
not an angel, as cA. 2 1. Whether this prophet 
took an opportimity of delivering his message to the 
children of Israel, when they were met together in 
a general assembly, at some solemn feast, or other 
great occasion, or whether he went from city to 
city, and from tribe to tribe, preaching to this pur- 
port, is not certain; but his errand was to convince 
them of sin, that in their crying to the Lord they 
might confess that with sorrow and shame, and not 
spend their breath only in complaining of their 
trouble. They cried to God for a deliverer, and 
God sent them a prophet to instruct them, and to 
make them ready for deliverance. Nota, 1. We 
have reason to hope God is designing mercy for us, 
if we find he is by his grace preparing us for it. If 
to those that are sick he sends a messenger, an in- 
terpreter, by whom he shows unto man his up- 
rightness, then is he gracious, and grants a recovery. 
Job 33. 23, 24. 2. The sending of prophets to a 
people, and the furnishing a land with faithful mi- 
nisters, is a token for good, and an evidence that 
God has mercy in store for them. He thus turns 
to us him, and then causes his face to shine, Ps. 
80. 19. 

Vol. II.— R 

We have here the heads of the message which 
this prophet delivered in to Israel, in the name ot 
the Lord. 

(1. ) He set before them the great things God had 
done for them; {v. 8, 9.) 7'hus saith the Lord God 
of Israel. They had worshipped the foci's of the 
nations, as if they had no God of their own to wor- 
ship, and therefore might choose whom they 
pleased; but they are here reminded of one whorii 
they had forgotten, who was known by the title ot 
the God of Israel, and to him they must return. 
They had turned to other gods, as if their own had 
been either incapable or unwilling to protect them, 
and therefore they are told what he did for their 
fathers, in whose loins they were, the benefit of 
which descended and still remained to this their un- 
grateful seed. [1.] He brought them out of Egypt, 
where otherwise they had continued in perpetual 
poverty and slavery. [2.] He delivered them out 
of the hands of all that opfiressed them; this is men- 
tioned to intimate that the reason why they were not 
now delivered out of the hands of the oppressing 
Midianites, was, not for want of any power or good 
will in God, but because by their iniquity they had 
sold themselves, and (i( d would not redeem them 
until they by repentance revoked the bargain. [3.] 
He put them in quiet possession of this good land; 
this not only aggravated their sin, and affixed the 
brand of base ingratitude to it, but it justified (iod, 
and cleared him from the blame upon the account 
of the trouble they were now in: they could not say 
he was unkind, for he had given all possible proofs 
of his designing well for them ; if ill befell them not- 
withstanding, they must thank themselves. 

(2.) He shows the easiness and equity of God's 
demands and expectations from them; (x;. 10.) "7 
am the Lord your God, to whom you lie under the 
highest obligations; fear not the gods of the jimo- 
rites;" that is, " do not worship them, nor show 
any respect to them; do not worship them for fear 
of their doing you any hurt, for what hurt can they 
do you while I am your God? Fear God, and you 
need not them." 

(3. ) He charges them with rebellion agaiitst God, 
who had laid this injunction upon them; But ye 
have not obeyed my voice. The charge is short, 
but very comprehensive; this was the malignity of 
all their sin, it was disob^ience to God; and there- 
fore it was it that brought these calamities upon 
them, under which they were now groaning, pursu- 
ant to the threatenings annexed to those commands. 
He intends hereby to bring them to repentance; 
and our repentance is then right and genume, when 
the sinfulness of sin, as disobedience to God, is that 
in it, which we chiefly lament. 

II. And there came an angel of the 
Lord, and sat under an oak which icas in 
Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abi- 
ezrite : and his son Gideon threshed wheat 
by the wine-press, to hide it from the Midi- 
anites. 12. And the angel of the Lord 
appeared unto him, and said unto him, The 
Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of 
valour. 13. And Gideon said unto him. Oh, 
my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then 
is all this befallen us ? and where he all his 
miracles which oiu' fathers told us of, say- 
ing. Did not the Lord bring us up from 
Egypt ? but now the Lord hath forsaken 
us, and delivered us into the hands of the 
Midianites. 14. And the Lord looked 
upon him, and said, Go in this thy might. 

J iO 


and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of 
the Midianites : liave not I sent thee ? 1 5. 
And he said unto him, Oh, my Lord, where- 
with shall I save Israel ? behold, my family 
is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in 
my father's house. 16. And the Lord said 
unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and 
thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man. 
1 7. And he said unto him, If now I have 
found grace in thy sight, then show me a 
sign that thou talkest with me. 1 8. Depart 
not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto 
thee, and bring forth my present, and set it 
before thee. And he said, I will tarry until 
thou come again. 19. And Gideon went 
in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened 
cakes of an ephah of flour : the flesh he 
put in a basket, and he put the broth in a 
pot, and brought it out unto him under the 
oak, and presented it. 20. And the angel 
of God said unto him, Take the flesh and 
the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon 
this rock, and pour out the broth. And he 
did so. 21. Then the angel of the Lord 
put forth the end of the staff that was in his 
hand, and touched the flesh and the unlea- 
vened cakes ; and there rose up fire out of 
the rock, and consumed the flesh and the 
unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the 
Lord departed out of his sight. 22. And 
v.'hen Gideon perceived that he ivas an an- 
gel of the Lord, Gideon said, Alas, O 
Lord God! for because I have seen an 
angel of the Lord face to face. 23. And 
the Lord said unto him. Peace be unto 
thee; fear not: thou shalt not die. 24. 
Then Gideon built an altar there unto the 
Lord, and called it J^hovah-shalom : unto 
this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abi- 

It is not said what effect the prophet's sermon 
had upon the people; but we may hope it had a 
good effect, and that some of them' at least repent- 
ed and reformed upon it; in- here, immediately 
after, we have the dawning of the day of their de- 
liverance, by the effectual calling of Gideon to take 
upon him the command of their forces against the 

I. The person to be commissioned for this ser- 
vice, was Gideon, the son of Joash, v. 11. The 
father was now living, but he was passed by, and 
this honour put upon the son; for the father kept 
up in his own family the worship of Baal, {v. 25.) 
which Ave may suppose this son, as far as was in his 
power, witnessed against. He was of the half 
tribe of Manasseh that lay in Canaan, of the family 
of Abiezer; the eldest house of that tribe. Josh. 
17. 2. Hitherto the judges were raised up out of 
that tribe which suffered most by the oppression, 
'.nd, ])robal3ly, it was so here. 

II. The person that gave him the commission, 
was a?i avgel of (he Lord: it should seem not a cre- 
ated angel, but the Son of God himself, the eternal 
Word, the Lord of the angels, who then appeared 
upon some great occasion in human shape, as a 

I prelude (says the teamed Bishop Patrick) to what 
he intended in the fulness of time, when he would 
take our nature upon him, as we say, f .r good and 
all. This angel is here called Jehovah, the inconi- 
municable name of God, {y. 14, 16.) and he said ] 
will be with thee. This divine ])erson appeared 
here to Gideon, and it is observable how he found 
him, 1. Retired; all alone. God ofien manifests 
himself to his people, when they are out of the 
noise and hurry of this world. Silence and solitude 
befriend our communion with God. 2. Employed 
in threshing wheat, with a staff or rod, (so the 
word signifies,) such as they used in beating (ut 
fitches and cummin, (Isa. 28. 27.) but now used for 
wheat; probably, because lie had but a little to 
thresh, he needed not the oxen to tread it out. It 
was not then looked upon as any diminution to him, 
though he was a person of s'me account, and a 
mighty man of valour, to lay his hand to the busi- 
ness of the husbandman. He had many servants, 
{v. 27.) and yet would not himself live in idleness. 
We put ourseh es in the way o'f divine visits, when 
we employ ourselves in honest business. Tidings 
of Christ's birth were brought to the shepherds, 
when they were keeping their flocks. The work 
he was about, was an emblem of that greater work 
to which he was now to be called, as the disciples' 
fishing was. From threshing corn he is fetched to 
thresh the Midianites, Isa. 41. 15. 3. Distressed; 
he was threshing his wheat, not in the threshing- 
Jioor, the proper place, but by the wine-press, 
in some private unsuspected corner, for fear of the 
Midianites. He himself shared in the common ca- 
lamity, and now the angel came to animate him 
against Midian, when he himself could speak so 
feelingly of the heaviness of their yoke. 1 he day 
of the greatest distress is God's time to appear for 
his people's relief 

Let us now see what passed between the angel 
and Gideon, who knew not for certain, till after he 
was gone, that he was an angel, but supposed he 
was a prophet. 

(1.) The angel accosted him with respect, and 
assured him of the presence of God with him, t. 
12. He calls him a mighty man of valour, per- 
haps because he observed how he threshed his com 
with all his might: and seest thou a man diligent in 
his business? — whatever his business is, he shall 
stand before kings. He that is faithful in a few 
things, shall be rulrr over many. Gideon was a 
man of brave active spirit, and yet buried alive in 
obscurity, through the iniquity of the times; but he 
is here animated to undertake something great, like 
himself, with that word. The Lord is with thee; or, 
as the Chaldee reads it, The Word of the Lord « 
thy helfi. It was very sure the Lord Avas with him, 
when this angel was with him. By this word, [1.] 
He gives him his comnnssion. If^ we have God's 
presence with us, that will justify us, and bear us 
out, in our undertakings. [2.] He inspires him 
with all necessary qualifications for the execution 
of his commission. "The Lord is with thee to 
guide and strengthen thee, to animate and support 
thee. " [3. ] He assures him of success; for if God 
be for us, who can prevail against us? If he be 
with us, nothing can be wanting to us. The pre- 
sence of God with us is all in all to our prosperity, 
whatever we do. Gideon was a mighty man of 
valour, and yet he could bring nothing to pass 
without the presence of 'God, and that presence is 
enough to make any man mighty in valour, and to 
give a man courage at any time. 

(2.) Gideon gave a very melancholy answer to 
this joyful salutation; {v. 13.) " O my Lord, if (he 
Lord be with us," (which the Chaldee reads, Js the 
Shechinah of the Lord our help? making that the 
same with t)ie Word of the Lord,) " why then is all 



thi<i befallen us? All this trouble and distress 
from tae Midlanites' incursions, which forces me to 
thresh wheat here by the wine-press; all this loss, 
and grief, and fright; and where are all the miracles 
%vhicn our fathers told us of?" Observe, In his re- 
ply he regards not the praise of his own valour, nor 
does th:it in the least elevate him, or give him any 
encouragement; though it is probable the angel 
adapted what he said to that which Gideon was at. 
the same time thinking of; while his laborious 
hands were employed about his wheat, his working 
head and daring heart were meditating Israel's res- 
cue and Midian's ruin, with whicli thought, he that 
kn .ws the heart, seasonably sets in, calls him a 
man of valcjur for his brave projects, and opens 
hi. a a way to put them in execution; yet Gideon, as 
if not conscious to himself <jf any thing great or en- 
CDuraging in his own spi;it, fastens only on the 
assurance the angel had given him of God's pre- 
sence, as that by which they lield all their comfort. 
Observe, The angel spake in particular to him, 
yVif Lord is with thee, but he expostulates for all. 
If the Lord be with us; herding himself with the 
thousands of Israel, and admitting no comfort but 
what they might be sharers in; so far is he from the 
thoughts of monopolizing it, though he had so fair 
an occasion given him. Note, Public spirits reckon 
that only honour and joy to themselves, which puts 
them in a capacity of serving the common interests 
( f (iod's church. 

(jideon was a mighty man of valour, but as yet 
weak in faith, which makes it hard to him to recon- 
cile to the assurances now given him of the presence 
of God, [1.] The distress to which Israel was re- 
duced; Why is all this, (and all this was no little) 
befallen us? Note, It is sometimes hard, but never 
impossible, to reconcile cross providences with the 
presence of God and his favour. [2.] The delay 
of their deliverance; " IVhere are all the miracles 
which our fathers told us of? Why does not the 
s ime power which deli\ ered our fathers from the 
yoke of the Egyptians, deliver us out of the hands 
of the Midianites?" As if because God did not im- 
mediately work miracles for their deliverance, 
though they had by their sins forfeited his favour 
and lielp, it must be questioned whether ever he 
had wrouglit the miracles which their fathers told 
them of, or if he had, whether he had now the 
same wisdom and power, and good-will to his 
people, that he had had formerly. This was his 
vveakness. We must not expect that the miracles 
which were wrought when a cliurch was in the 
forming, and som:- great truth in the settling, 
should be continued and repeated when the forma- 
ti'^n and settlement are completed: no, nor that the 
mercies of God showed to our fathers that served 
him, and kept close to him, should be renewed to 
us, if we degenerate and revolt from him. Gideon 
ought not to have said, either. First, That God had 
delivered them into the hands of the Jllidianites, for 
by their iniquities they had sold themselves: oi-, 
Secondly, That they were now in their hands, that 
he had forsaken them, for he had lately sent them a 
prophet, {v. 8.) which was a certain indication that 
he had not forsaken them. 

(3.) The angel gave him a very effectual answer 
to his objections, by giving him a commission to de- 
li\ er Israel out of the hands of the Midianites, and 
assuring him of success therein, v. 14. Now the 
angel is called Jehovah, for he speaks as one hav- 
ing authority, and not as a messenger. [1.] There 
was something extraoi dinary in the look he now 
gave to Gideon; it was a gracious fa\ourable look, 
which revived his spirits that drooped, and silenced 
his fears, such a look as that with which God's 
countenance beholds the tifiright, Ps. 11. 7. He 
looked upon him and smiled at the objections he 

made, which he ga\ e him no direct answei to, but 
girded and clothed him with such power as would 
shortly enable him to answer them himself, and 
make him ashamed that ever he had made them. 
It was a speaking look, like Christ's upon Peter; 
(Luke 22. 61.) a powerful look, that strangely dart- 
ed new light and life into Gideon's breast, and in- 
spired him with a generous heat, far above what he 
felt before. [2.] But there was much more in 
what he said to him. Mrst, He commissioned him 
to appear and act as Israel's deli\ erer. Such a one 
the few thinking people in the nation, and Gideon 
among the rest, were now expecting to be raised 
up, according to God's former method, in answer 
to the cries of oppressed Israel; and now Gideon is 
told, "Thou art the man: Go in this thy might, 
this might, wherewith thou art now threshing 
wheat; go and employ it to a nobler pui-pose, I will 
make thee a thresher of men." Or rather, "this 
might wherewith thou art now endued by this 
look." God gave him his commission, by giving 
him all the qualifications that were necessary for 
the execution of it, which is more than the 
mightiest prince and potentate on earth can do for 
those to whom he gives commissions. God's fitting 
men for work, is a sure and constant evidence of 
his calling them to it. " Go, not in thy might, that 
which is natural, and of thyself; depend not on 
thine own valour: but go in this thy might, this 
which thou hast now received; go in the strength of 
the Lord God, that is the strength with which 
thou must strengthen thyself." Secondly, He as- 
sured him of success; this was enough to put 
courage into him, he might be confident he should 
not miscarry in the attempt; it should not turn 
either to his own disgrace, or the damage of his 
people, (as baffled enterprises do,) but to his 
honour and their happiness; " Thou shall save Ja- 
rael from the hand of the Midianites, and so shalt 
not only be an eye-witness, but a glorious instru- 
ment, of such wonders as thy fathers told thee of." 
Gideon, we may suppose, looked as one astonished 
at this strange and surprising power conferred upon 
him, and questions whether he may depend upon 
what he hears: the angel ratifies his commission 
with a teste mei/iso — an apfieal to his own authority, 
there needed no more. " Have not I commanded 
thee! I that have all power in heaven and earth, 
and particular authority here as Israel's King, 
gix'ing commissions immediately. / who am that 
I am, the same that sent Moses," Exod. 3. 14. 

(4.) Gideon made a very modest objection against 
this commission; {v. 15.) O my Lord, wherewith 
shall 1 save Israel? This question bespeaks him 
either, [1. ] Distrustful of God and his power. As 
if tliougli God should be with him, yet it were im- 
possible for him to save Israel. True faith is often 
weak, yet it shall not be rejected, but encouraged 
and strengthened. Or, [2.] Inquisitive concerning 
the methods he must take; "Lord, I labour under 
all imaginable disadvantages for it; if I must do it, 
thou must put me in the way." Note, Those who 
receive commissions from God, must expect and 
seek for instructions from him. Or rather, [3.] 
Humble, self-diffident, and self-denying. The an- 
gel had honoured him, but see How meanly he 
speaks of himself; "My family is comparatively 
poor in Manasseh," (impoverished, it may be, mere 
than other families, by the Midianites,) " and I am 
the least, that have the least honour and interest, in 
my father's house: what can I pretend to do.' I am 
utterly unfit for the service, and unworthy of the 
honour." Note, God often cliooses to do great 
things by those that are little, especially that are 
so in their own eyes. God delights to advance the 

(5.) This objection was soon answered by repe- 

1 31 


necessary he should give proofs of before he took 
the field, to give proofs of liis valour there. [2.] 
That some seeps might hereby be taken towards 
Israel's refoi-mation, which must prepare the way 
for their deli\erance. Sin, the cause, must be 
taken away, else how should the trouble come to an 
end, which was but the effect? And it might be 
hoped that this example of Gideon's, who was now 
shortly to appear so great a man, would fce followed 
by the rest of the cities and tribes, and the destruc- 
tion of this one altar of Baal, would be the destruc- 
tion of many. 

II. (lideon was obedient to the heavenly cjsion, v. 
27. He that was to command the Israel of God, 
must be subject to the God of Israel, without dis- 
puting; and, as a type of Christ, must first save his 
fieofile from their sins, and then sa\ e them from 
their enemies. 1. He had sei'vants of his own, 
whom he could confide in, who, we may suppose, 
like him, had kept their integrity, and /lad 7iot 
bowed the knee to Baal, and therefore were forward 
to assist him in destroying the altar of Baal. 2. He 
did not scruple taking his father's bullock, and 
offering it to God without his father's consent, be- 
cause God, who expressly commanded him to do 
so, had a better title to it than his father had, and 
it was the greatest real kindness he could do his 
father, to prevent his sin. 3. He expected to incur 
tlie displeasure of his father's household by it, and 
the ill-will of his neighbours; yet he did it, re- 
membering how much it was Levi's praise, that, in 
the cause of God, he said unto his jather and mo- 
ther, I have not seen him, Deut. 33. 9. And while 
he was sure of the favour of God, he feared not the 
anger of men; he that bade him do it would bear 
him rut. Yet, 4. Though he feared not their re- 
sentments when it was done, to prevent their re- 
sist ince in the doing of it, he prudently chose to do 
it by night, that he might not be disturbed in these 
sacred actions. And some think it was the same 
night in which God spake to him to do it; and that 
as soon as ever he had received the orders, he im- 
mediately applied himself to the execution of them, 
and finished before morning. 

III. He was brought into peril of his life for 
doing of it, t'. 28, 31. 1. It was soon discovered 
what was done. Gideon, when he had gone 
thi'ough with the business, did not desire the con- 
cealment of it, nor could it be hid, for the men of 
the city rose early in the morning, as it should 
seem, to say their matins at Baal's altar, and so to 
begin the day with their God, such a one as he was; 
a shame to those, who say the true God is their 
(iod, and yet, in the morning, direct no prayer to 
him, nor look up. 2. It was soon discovered who 
had done it. Strict inquiry was made; Gideon was 
known to be disaffected to the worship of Baal, 
which brought him into suspicion, and positive 
proof immediately came against him; "Gideon, no 
doubt, has done this thing." 3. Being found guilty 
of the fact, to such a pitch of impiety were these 
degenerate Israelites arrived, that they take it for 
law he must die for the same; and require his own 
father (who, by patronizing their idolatry, had 
given them too much cause to expect he would 
comply with them herein) to deliver him up. 
Bring out thy son, that he may die. Be astonished, 
O heavens, at this, and tremble, O earth ! By the 
law of God, the worshippers of Baal were to die, 
but these wicked men impiously turn the penalty 
upon the worshippers of the God of Israel. How 
prodigiously mad were they u])on their idols! Was 
it not enough to offer the choicest of their bullocks 
to Baal, but must the bravest vouth of their city 
fall as a sacrifice to that dunghill deity, when they 
pretended he was provoked? How soon will idola- 
ters become persecutors! 

IV. He was rescued out of the hands of his perse 
cutors by his own father, v. 31. 1. There were 
those that stood against Gideon, that not only 
appeared at the first to make a demand, but insist- 
ed on it,. and would have put him to death. Not- 
withstanding the heavy judgments they were at 
this time under for their idolatry, yet they hated to 
be reformed, and walked contrary to God then 
when he was walking contrary to them. 2. Yet 
then Joash stood for him; he was one of the chief 
men of the city. Those that have power, may do 
a great deal for the protection of an honest man and 
an honest cause, and when they so use their power, 
they are ministers c f God for good. This Joash 
had patronised Baal's altar, yet now protects him 
that had destroyed it; either, (1.) Out of natural af- 
fection to his son, and perhaps a particular esteem 
for him, as a virtuous, valiant, valuable young man, 
and never the worse for not joming with him in the 
worship of Baal. Many that have not courage 
enough to keep their integrity themselves, yet ha\e 
so much conscience left, as makes them lo\ e and 
esteem those that do. If Joash had a kindness for 
Baal, yet he had a greater kindness for his son. Or, 
(2.) Out of a care for the public peace. The 
mob grew riotous, and, he feared, would grow 
more so, and therefore, as some think, he bestirred 
himself to repress the tumult; " Let it be left to the 
judges, it is not for you to pass sentence upon any 
man; he that offers it, let him be put to death;" he 
means, not as an idolater, but as a disturber of the 
peace, and a mover of sedition. Under this same 
colour, Paul was rescued at Ephesus, from those 
that were as zealous for Diana as these here for 
Baal, Acts 19. 40. Or, (3.) Out of a conviction 
that Gideon had done well. His son, perhaps, had 
reasoned with him, or God, who has all hearts in 
his hands, had secretly and effectually influenced 
him to appear thus against the advocates of Basd, 
though he had complied with them formerly in the 
worship of Baal. Note, It is good to appear foi- 
God when we are called to it, though there be few 
or none to second us, because God can incline the 
hearts of those to stand by us, from whom we little 
expect it. Let us do our duty, and then trust God 
with our safety. 

Two things Joash urges; [1.] That it was aosurd 
for them to plead for Baal. " Will you that are 
Israelites, the worshippers of the one only living and 
true God, plead for Baal, a false god? Will you be 
so sottish, so senseless? They whose father's god 
Baal was, and that never knew any other, are more 
excusable in pleading for him than you are, that are 
in covenant with Jehovah, and have been trained up 
in the knowledge of him. You that have smarted 
so much for worshipping Baal, and have brought all 
this mischief and calamity upon yourselves by it, 
will you yet plead for Baal?" Note, It is bad to 
commit sin, but it is a 'great wickedness indeed to 
plead for it, especially to plead for Baal, that idol, 
whatever it is, which possesses that room in the 
heart which God should have. [2. ] That it was 
needless for them to plead for Baal ; if he were not 
a god, as was pretended, they could have nothing to 
say for him; if he were, he was able to plead for 
himself, as the God of Israel had often done, by fire 
from heaven, or some other judgment against those 
who put contempt upon him. Here is a fair chal- 
lenge to Baal, to do either good or evil, and the 
result convinced his worshippers of their folly, in 
]5raying to one to help them, that could not avenge 
himself; after this, Gideon remarkably prospered, 
and thereby it appeared how unable Baal was to 
maintain his own cause. Lastly, Gideon's father 
hereupon gave him a new name, {v. 32. ) he called 
him jerubhaal; "Let Baal plead, let him plead 
against him if he can; if he have any thing to say for 



himself against his destroyer, let him say it. " This 
name was a standing defiance to Baal; now that Gi- 
deon was taking up arms against the Midianites 
that worshipped Baal, let him defend his worship- 
pers if he can; it likewise ga\ e honom" to Gideon, (a 
sworn enemy to that great usurper, and that had 
carried the day against him,) and encouragement 
to his soldiers, that they fought under one that 
fought for God, against that great competitor with 
him for the throne. It is the probable conjecture 
of the learned, that that Jerombalus, whom Sancho- 
niathon (one of the most ancient of all the heathen 
writers) speaks of as a firiest of the god Jao, (a 
corruption of the name Jehovah,) and one to whom 
he was indebted for a great deal of knowledge, was 
this Jerubbaal. He is called Jerubbesheth, 2 Sam. 
11. 21. Baal, a lord, being fitly turned into JBe- 
sheth, shame, 

33. Then all the Midianites, and the 
Amalekites, and the children of the east, 
were gathered together, and went over, and 
pitched in the valley of Jezreel. 34. But the 
Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, and 
he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was 
gathered after him. 35. And he sent mes- 
sengers throughout all Manasseh ; who also 
was gathered after him : and he sent mes- 
sengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and 
unto Naphtali ; and they came up to meet 
them. 36. And Gideon said unto God, If 
thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou 
hast said, 37. Behold, I will put a fleece of 
wool in the floor ; and if the dew be on the 
fleece only, and it he dry upon all the earth 
besides, then shall I know that thou wilt 
-save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast 
said. 38. And it was so: for he rose up 
early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece 
together, and wringed the dew out of the 
fleece, a bowl-full of water. 39. And 
Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger 
be hot against me, and I will speak but this 
once : Let me prove, I pray thee, but this 
once with the fleece ; let it now be dry 
only upon the* fleece, and upon all the 
ground let there be dew. 40. And God did 
so that night : for it was dry upon the fleece 
only, and there was dew on all the ground. 

Here we have, 

I. The descent which the enemies of Israel made 
upon them, v. 33. A vast number of Midianites, 
Amalekites, and Arabians, got together, and came 
over Jordan, none either caring, or daring to guard 
that important and advantageous pass, against 
them; and they made their head-quarters in the 
valley of Jezreel, in the heart of Manasseh's tribe, 
not far from Gideon's city. Some think that the no- 
tice they had of Gideon's destroying Baal's altar, 
brought them over, and that they came to plead for 
Baal, and to make that a pretence for quarrelling 
with Israel; but it is more likely that it was now 
harvest-times when they had been wont each year 
to make them such a visit as this, {v. 3.) and were 
expected when Gideon was threshing, v. 11. God 
raised up Gideon to be ready against this terrible 
blow came. Their success si Tnany years in these 
incursions, the little opposition they had met with, 
and the gre :t booty they had carried off, made 

them now both \ ery eager and very confident; bu' 
it proved the measure of their iniquity ivasfull; the 
year of recompense was come; they must now make 
an end to sfioil, and must be spoiled, and they are 
gathered as sheaves to the Jloor, (Mic. 4. 12, 13.) 
for Gideon to thresh. 

II. The preparation which Gideon makes to at- 
tack them in their camp, v. 34, 43. 1. God by his 
Spirit put life into Gideon; The Spirit of the Lord 
clothed Gideon, so the word is; clothed him as a 
robe to put honour upon him, clothed liim as a coat 
of mail, to put defence upon him. Those are well 
clad, that are thus clothed, ,/l s/iiiit of fortitude 
from before the Lord clothed Gideon; so the Chal- 
dee. He was of himself a mighty man of valour; 
yet personal strength and courage, though vigor- 
ously exerted, would not suffice for this great 
action; he must have the armour of God upon him, 
and that is it that he must depend upon; the Spirit 
of the Lord clothed him in an extraordinaiy manner; 
whom God calls to his work, he will qualify and 
animate for it. Gideon with his trumpet put life into 
his neighbours, God working with him; he blew a 
truinpet to call in volunteers, and more came in than 
perhaps he expected. (1.) The men of Abiezer, 
though lately enraged against him for throwing 
down the altar of Baal, and though they had con- 
demned him to death as a criminal, were now con- 
vinced of their error, bravely came in to his assist- 
ance, and submitted to him as their general; Abiezer 
was gathered after him, v. 34. So suddenly can 
God turn the hearts, even of idolaters and persecu- 
tors. (2. ) Distant tribes, even Asher and Naphtali, 
which lay most remote, though strangers to him, 
obeyed his summons, and sent him in the best of 
their forces, v. 35. Though they lay the furthest 
from the danger, yet, considering that if their 
neighbours were overrun by the Midianites, their 
own turn would be next, they were forward to join 
against a common enemy. 

III. The signs which God gratified him with, for 
the confirming both of his own faith and that of his 
followers; and perhaps it was more for their sakes 
than for his own that he desired them. Or, perhaps 
he desired by these to be satisfied, whether this was 
the time of his conquering the Midianites, or 
whether he was to wait for some other opportunity. 
Observe, 1. His request for a sign; (i'. 36, 37.) 
" Let me by this know that thou wilt save Lsrael by 
my hand; let a fleece of wool, spread in the open 
air, be wet with the dew, and let the ground about 
it be dry. " The purport of this is, Lord, I believe, 
help thou my unbelief He found his own faith 
weak and wavering, and therefore begged of God 
by this sign \q perfect what was lacking in it. We 
may suppose God, who intended to give these 
signs, for the glorifying of his own power and good- 
ness, put it into his heart to ask them. Yet, when 
he repeated his request for a second sign, the re- 
verse of the former, he did it with a very humble 
apology, deprecating God's displeasure, because it 
looked so like a peevish humoursome distrust of 
God, and dissatisfaction with the many assurances 
he had already given him; (f. 39.) Let n<jt thine 
anger be hot against me. Though he took the bold- 
ness to ask another sign, yet he did it with such 
fear and trembling, as showed that the familiarity 
God had graciously admitted him to, did not breed 
any contempt of God's glory, or presumption on 
God's goodness. Abraham had given him an exam- 
ple of this, when God gave him leave to be very 
free with him; (Gen. 18. 30, 32.) let not the Lor'a 
be angry, and I will speak. God's favour must be 
sought with great reverence, due sense of cur dis- 
tance, and a religious fear of his wrath. 2. God's 
gracious grant of his request. See how tender God 
is of true believers though they be weak, and how 



ready to condescend to their infirmities, that the 
bj uised reed may not be broken, nor the smoaking 
flax quenched. Gideon would have the Jleece ivel, 
nnd X.\\Q ground dry; but then, lest any should ob- 
ject, "It is natural for wool, if ever so little mois- 
ture fall, to di-ink it in, and retain it, and therefore 
there was nothing extraordinary in that," though 
the quantity wrung out was sufficient to obviate that 
objection, yet he desires that next night the ground 
might be wet and the fleece dry; and so willing is 
God io give to the hdrs of promiae strong consola- 
tion, (Heb. 6. 17, 18.) even by two immutable 
things. He suffers himself, not only to be prevailed 
with by their importunities, but e\ en to be prescrib- 
ed to by their doubts and dissatisfactions. 

These signs were, (1.) Truly miraculous, and 
therefore abundantly serving to confirm his com- 
mission. It is said of the dew, that it is from the 
Lord, and tarrieth not for man, nor ivaiteth for the 
sons of men, Mic. 5. 7. And yet God here in this 
matter hearkened to the voice of a man; as to Josh- 
ua, in the directing the course of the sun, so to Gid- 
eon, in directing that of the dew, by which it 
appears, that it falls not by chance, but by provi- 
dence. The latter sign inverted the former, and, 
to please Gideon, it was wrought backward and 
forward; whence Dr. Fuller observes, that Afai'en's 
real miracles will endure turning, being inside and 
outside both alike. (2.) Very significant. He and 
his men were going to engage the Midianites; could 
God distinguish between a small fleece of Israel, 
and the vast floor of Midian.'' Yes, by this, he is 
made to know that he can. Is Gideon desirous that 
the dew of Divine grace might descend u])on him- 
self in particular? He sees the fleece wet with dew 
to assure him of it. Does he desire that God will 
be as the dew of all Israel? Behold, all the ground 
is wet. Some make this fleece an emblem of the 
Jewish nation, which, when time was, was wet 
with the dew of God's word and ordinances, while 
the rest of the world was dry. But since the re- 
jection of Christ and his gospel, they are dry as the 
heath in the wilderness, while the nations about are 
as a watered garden. 


This chapter presents us with Gideon in the field, command- 
incT the army of Israel, and routing- the army of the 
Midianites, for which great exploit we found in the 
former chapter how he was prepared with his converse 
with God, and his conquest of Baal. We are here told, I. 
What direction God gave to Gideon for the modelling of 
his army, by which it was reduced to three hundred men, 
V. 1..8. II. What encouragement God gave to Gideon 
to attack the enemy, by sending him unknown into 
their camp to hear a Midianite tell his dream, v. 9 . . 15. 
III. How he formed his attack upon the enemy's camp 
with his three hundred men, not to fight them, but to 
frighten them, v. 16. .20. IV. The success of this at- 
tack : it put them to flight, and gave them a total rout, the 
disbanded forces, and their other neighbours, then com- 
ing in to his assistance, v. 21.. 26. It is a story that 
shines very bright in the book of the wars of the Lord.^HEN Jerubbaal, (who is Gideon,) 
JL and all tlie people that were with 
him, rose up early, and pitched beside the 
well of Harod : so that the host of the 
Midianites were on the north side of them, 
by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. 2. And 
the Lord said unto Gideon, The people 
that nre with thee are too many for me to 
G;ive the Midianites into their hands, lest 
Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying. 
Mine own hand hath saved me. 3. Now, 
Jhereforc, go to, proclaim in the ears of the 

people, saying. Whosoever is fearful and 
afraid, let him return, and depart early from 
mount Gilead : and there returned of the 
people twenty and two thousand, and there 
remained ten thousand. 4. And the Lord 
said unto Gideon, I'he people are yet too 
many ; bring them down unto the water, 
and I will try them for thee there: audit 
shall be, that q{ whom I say unto lliee. This 
shall go with thee, the same shall go with 
thee ; and of whomsoever I say unio thee. 
This shall not go with thee, the same shall 
not go. 5. So he brought down the people 
unto the water : and the Lord said unto 
Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the watei 
with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shall 
thou set by himself; likev\'ise every one that 
boweth down upon his knees to drink. 6. 
And the ntunber of them that lapped, put- 
ting their hand to their mouth, were tiiree 
hundred men: but all the rest of the people 
bowed down upon their knees to drink wa- 
ter. 7. And the Lord said unto Gideon 
by the three hundred men that lapped will I 
save you, and deliver the Midianites into 
thine hand : and let all the other people go 
every man unto his place. 8. So the people 
took victuals in their hand, and their trum- 
pets: and he sent all the rest of Israel, evei-y 
man unto his tent, and retained those three 
hundred men. And the host of Midian was 
beneath him in the valley. ^ 


I. Gideon applies himself with all possible care 
and industry to do the part of a good general, in 
leading on the hosts of Israel against the Midianites. 
He rose up. early, {xk 1.) as one whose heart was 
upon his business, and who* was afraid of losing 
time. Now that he is sure God is with him, he is 
impatient of delay. He pitched near a famous well, 
that his army might not be distressed for want of 
water, and gained the higher ground, which, possi- 
bly, might be some ad\ antage tcrliim, for the Midi- 
anites vjere beneath him in the valley. Note, Faith 
in God's promises must not slacken, but rather 
quicken our endeavours. When we are sure God 
goes before us, then we must bestir ourselves, 2 
Sam. 5. 24. 

II. God provides that the praise of the intended 
victory may be reserved whollv to himself, by ap- 
pointing three hundred men only to be employed in 
this service. The army consisted of thirty-two 
thousand men; a small army, in comparison with 
what Israel might have raised upon so great an oc 
casion, and a very small one in comparison with 
which the Midianites had now brought into the field; 
Gideon was ready to think them too few, but God 
comes to him, and tells him they were too many, 
V. 2. Not but that they did well, who off'ered them- 
selves willingly to this expedition, but God saw fit 
not to make use of all that came. We often find 
God bringing great things to pass by a few hands, 
but this was the only time that he purposely made 
them fewer. Had Deborah lately blamed those 
who came not to the*hel/i of the Lord, and yet in the 
next great action must they be turned off that do 
come.' Yes; 1. God would hereby show, that when 

^ JUDGES, Vll. 


he employed likely instruments in his service, he 
did not need them, but could do his work without 
them; so that he was not indebted to them for their 
service, but they to him for employing them. 2. 
He would hereby put them to shame for their 
cowardice, who had tamely submitted to. the Midi- 
anites, and durst not make head against them, 
because of the disproportion of their numbers. 
They now saw, if they had but made sure of the 
favour of God, one of them might have chased a 
thousand. 3. He would hereby silence and ex- 
clude boasting: that is the reason here given by him 
who knows the pride that is in men's hearts, lest 
Israel vaunt themselves against me. Justly were 
(hey denied the honour of the service who would not 
give God the honour of the success. Mine own hand 
hath saved me, is a word that must ne\ er come out 
of the mouth of such as shall be saved. He that 

C lories must glory in the Lord, and all flesh must 
e silent before him. 

Two ways God took to lessen their numbers. 

(1.) He ordered all that would own them- 
selves timorous and faint-hearted to be dismissed, 
V. 3. He was now encamped on a mountain close 
to the enemy, called mount Gilead, from Gilead, 
the common ancestors of these families of Manas- 
seh, which were seated on this side Jordan, Numb. 
26. 30. And from thence then' might see perhaps 
the vast numbers of the enemy; those therefore 
who were disheartened at the sight, were left 
to their liberty to go back if they pleased. There 
was a law for making such a proclamation as this, 
Deut. 20. 8. But Gideon perhaps thought that 
concerned only those wars which were undertaken 
for the enlarging of their coast, not, as this, for their 
necessary defence against an invader; therefore 
Gideon had not proclaimed this, if God had not 
commanded him, who knew how his forces would 
hereby be diminished. Cowards would be as like- 
ly as any, after the victory, to take the honour of it 
from God, and therefore God would not do them 
the honour to employ them in it. One would have 
thought there had been scarcely one Israelite to be 
found, that against such an enemy as the Midian- 
ites, and under such a leader as Gideon, would have 
owned himself fearful; yet above two parts of 
three took advantage of this proclamation, and 
filed off when they saw the strength of the enemy 
and their own weakness, not considering the assu- 
rances of the divine presence which their ge ler il 
had received of the Lord, and, it is likely, deliver- 
ed unto them. Some think the oppression they 
had been under so long, had broken their spirits, 
others, more probably, that consciousness of their 
own guilt had deprived them of their courage. 
Sin stared them in the face, and therefore they 
durst not look death in the face. Note, Fearful,] 
faint-hearted people, are not fit to be employed for 
God; and among those that are listed under thel 
banner of Christ, there are more such than wa 
think there are. 

(2.) He directed the cashiering of all that re- 
mained, but three hundred men; and he did it by a 
sign. '* The fieo/ile are yet too many for me to 
make use of," xk 4. See how much God's thoughts 
and ways are above our's: Gideon himself, it is 
likely, thought they were too few, though they 
were as many as Barak encountered Sisera with; 
{ch. 4. 14. ) and had he not forced his way through 
the discouragement by dint of faith, he himself 
would have started back from so hazardous an en- 
terprise, and have made the best of his own way 
b-'.ck: but God saith, There are too many; anii 
when diminished to a third part, they are yet too 
many; which may help us to understand those 
providences which sometimes seem to weaken the 
church and its interests; its friends are too many, 

Vol. II. — S 

too mighty, too wise, for God to work deliverance 
by; God is taking a course to lessen them, that he 
may be earalted in his own strength. 

Gideon is ordered to bring his soldiers to the wa- 
tering, probably, to the well of Harod, (x'. 1. ) and 
the stream that ran from it; he, or some iippointed 
by him, must observe how they drank. We must 
suppose they were all thirsty, and were inclined to 
drink; it is likely he told them they must prepare 
to enter upon action immediately, and therefore 
must refresh themselves accordingly, not expecting, 
after this, to drink any thing else but the blood of 
their enemies. Now, [1.] Some, and no doubt the 
most, would kneel down on their knees to drink, 
and put their mouths to the water as horses do, 
and so they might get their full draught. [2.] 
Others, it may be, would not make such a formal 
business of it, but as a dog laps with his tongue, so 
they would hastily take up a little water in their 
hands, and cool their mouths with that, and be 
gone. Three hundred and no more there were of 
this latter sort, that drank in haste, and by those 
God tells Gideon he would rout the Midianites, v. 
7. By the former distinction, none were retained 
but hearty men, that were resolved to do their ut- 
most for retrieving the liberties of Israel; but bythis 
further distinction it was pro\ ided that none should 
be made use of, but. First, Men that were hardy; i 
that could endure long fatigue, without complaining/ 
of thirst or weariness; that had not in them any 
dregs either of sloth or luxury. Secondly, Men 
that were hasty; that thought it long until they 
were engaged with the enemy, preferring the ser- 
vice of God and their country before their necessa- 
ry refreshments: such as these God chooses to em- 
ploy, that are not only well affected, but zealously 
affected in a good thing: and also because these 
were the smaller number, and therefore the least 
likely to effect what they were designed for, God 
would by them save Israel. It was a great trial to 
the faith and courage of Gideon, when God bid 
him let all the rest of the people but these three 
hundred go every man to his filace; that is, go 
where they pleased out of his call, and from under 
his command: yet we may suppose those that were 
hearty in the cause, though now set aside, did not 
go far out of hearing, but that they were ready to 
follow the blow, when the three hundred men 
had made the assault; though that does not appear. 

Thus strangely was Gideon's army purged and 
modelled, ancl reduced, instead of be ng recruited, 
as one would think in so great an action it both 
needed and deserved to be. Now let us see how 
this little despicable regiment, on which the stress 
of the action must I'e, was accoutred and fitted out. 
Had these three hundred been double-manned 
with servants and attendants, and double-armed 
with swords and spears, we should ha\e thought 
them the more likely to bring something to pass. 
But instead of making them more serviceable by- 
their equipment, they are made less so; for, 1. 
Every soldier turns sutler; they took victuals in 
their hands, {y. 8.) left their baggage behind, and 
every man burthened himself with his own pro- 
vision; which was a trial of their faith, whether 
they could trust God when they had no more pro- 
visions with them than they could carry, and a 
trial of their diligence, whether they would carry 
as much as they had occasion for. This was indeed 
living from hand to mouth. 2. E\ ery soldier turns 
trumpeter. The regiments that were cashiered 
left their trumpets behind them for the use of those 
three hundred men, who were furnished with those 
instead of weapons of war, as if they had been going 
rather to a game than to a battle. 

9. And it came to pass the same night, 



that the Lord said unto him, Arise, get 
thee down unto the host; for 1 have deliver- 
ed it into thine hand. 10. But if thou fear 
to go down, go thou with Phurah tliy 
servant down to the host: 11. And thou 
shalt hear what they say; and afterward 
shall thine hands be strengthened to go 
down unto the host. Then went he down 
u ith Phurah his servant unto the outside of 
the armed men that ivere in the host. 12. 
And the Midianites, and the Amalekites, 
and all the children of the east, lay along in 
the valley like grasshoppers for multitude ; 
and their camels icere without number, as 
the sand by the sea-side for multitude. 13. 
And when Gideon was come, behold, there 
was a man that told a dream unto his fel- 
low, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, 
and, lo, a cake of barley-bread tumbled into 
the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, 
and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, 
that the tent lay along. 14. And his fel- 
low answered and said, This is nothing 
else save the sword of Gideon the son of 
Joash, a man of Israel : for into his hand 
hath God delivered Midian, and all the 
host. 15. And it was so, when Gideon 
heard the telling of the dream, and the 
interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, 
and returned into the host of Israel, and! 
said, Arise ; for the Lord hath delivered! 
into your hand the host of Midian. 

Gideon's army being diminished, as we ha\'e 
found it was, he must either fight by faitli or not at 
all; God therefore here provides lecruits for liis 
faith, instead of recruits for his forces. 

I. He furnishes him with a good foundation to 
build his faith upon; nothing but a word from God 
will be footing for faith. He has that as full and 
express as he can desire, v. 9. A word of com- 
mand to warrant the action, wliich otherwise seem- 
ed r;ish and indiscreet, and unbecoming a wise 
general; ^' Arise, get thee down with tliis handful 
of men unto the host;" and a word of promise to as- 
sure him of the success, which otherwise seemed 
very improbable; " / have delivered it into thine 
hand, it is all thine own." This ivord of the Lord 
cime to him the same night, when he was (we may 
suppose) full of care how lie should come off; in the 
multitude of hvi thoughts within him these comforts 
did delight his soul. Divine consolations are given 
in to believers, not only strongly, but seasonably. 

II. He furnishes him with a good prop to support 
his faith with. 1. He ordets him to be his own 
spy, and now in the dead of the night to go down 
privately into the host of Midian and see what 
intelligence he could gain. " //' thou fear to go 
down to fight, go first only with thine own servant, 
{v. 10.) and hear what they say, {v. 11.) and it is 
intimated to him he should hear that which would 
greatly strengthen his faith. God knows the in- 
firmities of his people, and what gix^at encourage- 
ment they may sometimes take from a small mat- 
ter: and therefore knowing beforehand what would 
occur to Gideon, in that very part of the camp to 
which he would go down, he orders him to go down 
and hearken to whs* they said that he miirht the 

more firmly believe what God said. He must tp.ijc 
with him Phurah his servant, one that he could 
confide in; probably, one of the ten that had helped 
him to break down the altar of Baa' ; he must take 
him and no one else with him, must take him v h 
him to be a witness of what he should hear the 
Midianites say, that out of the mouth of these two 
witnesses, when the matter came to be reported to 
Israel, the word might be established. He must 
take his servant with him, because two are belter 
than one, and a little help better than none. 2. 
Being so, he orders him the sight of something 
that was discouraging. (1.) It was enough to 
frighten him, to discern, perhaps by nioon-light, 
the vast numbers of the enemy; {v. 12.) the men 
like grasshoppers for multitude, and they pro\ ed 
no better than grasshoppers for strength and 
courage; the camels one could not count, any more 
than the sand. But, (2.) He heard that which 
was to him a very good omen; and which when he 
had heard, he went back again immediately, sup- 
posing he now had what he was sent thither for. 
He overheard two soldiers of the enemy, that were, 
comrades, talking; probably, they were in bed tc - 
gether, waking in the night. [1.] One of them 
tells his dream, and (as our dreams generally aie 
bad, and therefore not worthy telling again) it is a 
very foolish qfie. ^Jde dreamed that he saw a bar- 
ley-cake come rolhng down the hill into the camp 
of the Midianites, and '* methought," says he, (fcr 
so we used to tell our dreams,) " this cake struck 
one of our tents," (perhaps one of the chief of their 
tents,) "and with such violence, that (would ycu 
think it?) it overturned the tent, f( reed down the 
stakes, and broke the cords at one blow, so that the 
tent lay along, and buried its inhabitants," v. 13. 
In multitudes of dreams there are divers vaniti s, 
says Solomon, Eccl. 5. 7. One would wonder 
what odd incoherent things are often put together 
by a ludicrous fancy in our dreams. [2.] The 
other, it may be, between sleeping and waicing, un- 
dertakes to interpret this dream, and the intei'pre- 
tation is very far fetched: 7'his is nothing else save 
the sword of Gideon, v. 14. Our expositors now 
can tell us how apt the resemblance was; that 
Gideon, who had threshed corn for his fam'.ly, and 
made cakes for his friend, {ch. 6. 11 — 19.) was fitly 
represented by a cake; that he and his army were 
inconsiderable as a cake made of a little flour, as 
contemptible as a barley-cake, hastily got together, 
as a cake suddenly baked upon the coals, and as 
unlikely to conquer the great army, as a cake to 
overthrow a tent. But, after all, do 720^ interpreta- 
tions belong (0 God? He put it into the head of the 
one to dream, and into the mouth of the other to 
give the sense of it. If Gideon had heard the 
dream only, and he and his servant had been to in- 
terpret it themselves, it had so little significancy in 
it, that it would have done him little service; but 
having the interpretation from the mouth of an 
enemy, it not only appeared to come from God, 
who has all men's hearts and tongues in his hand, 
but it was likewise an evidence that the enemy was 
quite dispirited, and that the name of Gideon was 
become so formidable to them, that it disturbed 
their sleep. The victory would easily be won, 
which was already so tamely yielded; into his hand 
hath God delivered Midian. Those were nr t likc" 
ly to fight, who saw God fighting against them. 

Gideon, observing the finger of God pointing Viim 
to that very place, at that very time, to hear this 
dream and the interpretation of it, was exceedingly 
encouraged by it against the melancholy apprehen- 
sions he had upon the reducing of his army. He 
was very well pleased to hear himself compared to 
a barley-cake, when it proved to effect such great 
things. Being hereby animated, we are told. (v. 



15.) First, How he gave God the glory of it; he 
worshipped immediately, bowed his head, or, it 
may be, lifted up his eyes and hands, and in a short 
ejaculation thanked God for the victory he was 
now sure of, and for this encouragement to expect 
it. Wherever we are, we may speak to God, and 
worship him, and find a way open heavenward. 
God must have the praise of that wliich is encou- 
raging in our faith. And his providence must be ac- 
knowledged in those events, which, though minute 
and seemingly accidental, prove serviceable to us. 
Secondly, How he gave his friends a share in the 
encouragements he had received; " Arise, prepare 
to march presently; the Lord has delivered Midian 
into your hand." 

16. And he divided the three hundred 
men into three companies, and he put a 
trumpet in every man's hand, with empty 
pitchers, and lamps within tlie pitchers. 
1 7. And he said unto them, Look on me, 
and do likewise : and, behold, when 1 come 
to the outside of the camp, it shall he, t/iatRS 
I do, so shall ye do. 18. When I blow with 
a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then 
blow ye the trumpets also on every side of 
all the camp, and say, T/te sword of the 
Lord, and of Gideon. 19. So Gideon, and 
the hundred men that ivere with him, came 
unto the outside of the camp, in the begin- 
ning of the middle watch ; and they had but 
newly set the watch : and they blew the 
trumpets, and brake the pitchers, that were 
in their hands. 20. And the three com- 
panies blew the trumpets, and brake the 
pitchers, and held the lamps in their left 
hands, and the trumpets in their right 
hands to blow zvithnl ; and they cried. The 
3word of the Lord, and of Gideon. 21. 
And they stood every man in his place 
round about the camp : and all the host 
ran, and cried, and fled. 22. And the 
three hundred blew the trumpets, and the 
Lord set every man's sword against his 
fellow, even throughout all the host : and 
the host fled to Beth-shittah in Zererath, 
and to the border of Abel-meholah, unto 

Here is, 

I. The alarm which Gideon gave to the hos*.s of 
Midian in the dead time of the night; for it was in- 
tended that they who had so long been a terror to 
Israel, and had so often frightened them, should 
themselves be routed and ruined purely by terror. 
The attack here made was, in many circumstan- 
ces, like that which Abraham made upon the army 
that had taken Lot captive; the number of men 
much the same, Abraham had three hundred and 
eighteen, Gideon three hundred; they both divided 
their forces, both made their attack by night, and 
were hnth victorious under great disadvantages, 
(Gen. 14. 14, 15.) and Gideon is not only a son of 
Abraham, (so were the Midianites by Keturah,) 
but an heir of his faith. Gideon, 1. Divided his ar- 
mv, small as it was, into three battalions (v, 16.) 
one of which he himself commanded, {y. 19.) be- 
cause great armies (and such a one he would 

make a show of) were usually divided into the right 
Aving, and left wing, and the body of the army. 2. 
He ordered them all to do as he did, v. 17. He told 
them now, it is very likely, what they must do, else 
the thing was so strange, they would scarcely have 
done it of a sudden, but he would, by doing it first, 
give notice to them when to do it, as officers exer- 
cise their soldiers with the word of command, or 
beat of drum, Look on me, and do likenvise; such is 
the word of comn>and our Lord Jesus, tlie Captain 


of our salvatii n, gives his soldiers, f-n- he lu.s left us 
an exG/w/j/f, with a charg 

shall ye do. 3. He mude his descent in the night _ 
when they were secure, and least expected it, which" 
would put them into great consternation; and when 
the smallncss i f his army would not be discovered. 
In the night, all frights are most fiightful; espe 
ci;dly in the dead of the night, as this w;is, a little 
after midnight, when the middle watch began, and 
the alarni would wake them out of their sleep. We 
read of terror by night, .i\s \ ery terrible, (Ps. 91. 5. ) 
and far in the night, Cant. 3. 8. 4. That which 
Gideon aimed at, was, to frighten this huge hcst; 
to give them not only a fatal rout, but a very 
shameful one. He accoutred his ai'my with every 
man a tnimpet in his right hand, and an earthen 
pitcher, with a torch in it, in his left; and he him- 
se f thduglit it no disparagement to him, to march 
before them thus armed. He would make but jest 
of ccnquering this army, and goes out against them 
rather as against a crmpany of children than of sol- 
diers, 77(e virgin, the daughter of Zion, hath des- 
/li.sed thee, and laughed thee to scorn, Isa. 37. 22. 
The fewness of his men favoured his design, for 
be.ngso few, they marched to the camp with the 
greater secrecy and expedition; so that they were 
not discovered till they were close. by the camp; 
and he contrived to give the alarm when they had 
just mounted the guards, (v. 19.) that the sentinels, 
being then wakeful, might the sooner disperse the 
alarm through the camp, which was the best ser- 
vice they could do him. 

Three ways Gideon contri\ed to strike a terror 
upon this army, and put them into confusion. (l.)» 
With a great noise; every man must blow his 
tnimpet in the most terrible manner he could, and 
clatter an earthen pitcher to pieces at the same 
time, probably, each dashed his pitcher to his next 
man's, and so they were broken both together, 
which would not only make a great crash, but was 
a figure of what would be the effects of the fight, 
even the Midianites' killing one another. (2.) 
With a great blaze; the lighted torches were hid in 
the pitchers, like a candle under a bushel, until 
they came to the camp, and then being taken out 
all together of a sudden, would make a glaring 
show, and i-un through the camp like a flash of 
lightning. Perhaps with these they set some oF the 
tents on the outside of the camp on fire, which 
would very much increase the confusion. (3.) 
With a great shout; every man must cry. For the 
Lord and for Gideon; so some think it should be 
read, v. 18. for there the sword is not in the origin- 
al, but it is, V. 20, The sword of the Lord, and of 
Gideon. It should seem, he borrowed the word 
from the Midianite's dream, (v. 14.) it is the sivo7-d 
of Gideon: finding his name was a terror to them, 
he thus improves it against them ; but prefixes the 
name of Jehovah, as the figure, without which his 
own was but an insignificant cipher. This would 
put life into his own men, who might well take cou- 
rage, when they had such a God as Jehovah, and 
such a man as Gideon, both to fight, and to fight 
for them: well might they follow, who had such 
leaders. It would likewise put their enemies into 
a fright, who had of old heard of Jehovah's great 
name, and of late of Gideon's. The sword of the 



Lord is all in all to the success of the sword of 
Gideon, yet tlie sword of Gideon must be employ- 
ed. Men the instruments, and God the principal 
.Vgent, must both be considered in their places; but 
men, the greatest and best, always in subserviency 
and subordination to God. This army was to be de- 
feated purely by terrors, and those are especially the 
sivord of the Lord. These soldiers, if they had 
swords by their sides, that was all, they had none in 
their hands: but fhey gained the victory by shouting 

i •' The Sword. " So the church's enemies are rout- 
: ed by a sword out of the mouth, Rev. 19. 21. 
I Now this method here taken of defeating the 
Midianites, may be alluded to, [1.] As typifying 
the destruction of the Devil's kingdom in the world, 
by the preaching of the everlasting gospel, the 
sounding of that tnuTipet, and the holding forth of 
that light out of earthen vessels, for such the minis- 
ters of the gospel a'c, in whom the treasure of that 

, ti^ht is deposited, 2 Cor. 4. 6, 7. Thus God chose 

\ the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, 
a barley-cake to overthrow the tents of Midian, that 
the excellency of the fiower might be of God only; 
the gospel is a sword, not in the hand, but in the 
mouth, the sword of the Lord and of Gideon; of 
God and Jesus Christ, him that sits on the throne, 
and the Lamb. [2. ] As representing the terroi's 
of the greit day. So the excellent Bishop Hall 
applies it; if these pitchers, trumpets, and fire- 
brands, did so daunt and dismay the proud troops 
of Midian and Amalek, who shall be able to stand 
before the last terror, when the trumpet of the 
archangel shall sound, the elements shall be on a 
flame, the heavens pass away with a great noise, 
and the Lord himself shall descend with a shout! 

II. The wonderful success of this alarm. The 
M dianites were shouted out of their lives, as the 
walls of .Tericho were shouted down, that Gideon 
might see what he lately despaired of ever seeing, 
the wonders that their fathers told them of. Gide- 
on's soldiers oliserved their orders, and stood every 
man in his fi lace round about the camp, {y. 21.) 
sounding his trumpet to excite them to fight one 

■Another, and holding out his torch to light them to 
their ruin. They did not rush into the host of Mi- 
dian, as greedy either of blood or spoil, but patiently 
stood still to see the salvation of the Lord, a sah a- 
tion purely of his own working. Obser\ e how tlie 
design took effect. 

1. Thev feared the Israelites; all the host imme- 
diately took the alarm; it flew like lightning through 
all the lines, and then ran, and cried, andjled, v. 
21. There was something natural in this fright; 
we may suppose thev had not had intelligence of the 
great diminution of Gideon's armv, but rather con- 
cluded th'it since their last advices, it had been 
growing greater and greater; and therefore had 
reason to suspect, knowing how odious and grievous 
thev had made themselves, and what bold steps 
had been taken toward the throwing off of their 
vokc, that it was a ^■ery great army which was to 
be ushered in witl\ all those trumpeters and torch- 
bearers: but there was more of a supernatural 
power impressing this terror upon them; God him- 
self gave it the setting on, to show how that promise 
should have been fulfilled if they had not forfeited 
it, One of you shall chase a thousand. See the 
power of imagination, and how much it may become a 
terror at some times, as at other times it is a pleasure. 

2. They fell foul upon one another; (v. 22.) The 
Lord set every man's hand against his fellow. In 
this confusion, observing the trumpeters and torch- 
bearers to stand still without their camp, they con- 
cluded the body of the army had already entered, 
and therefore every one ran at the next he met, 
though a friend, suj)posing him an enemy; and one 
such mistake as that, would occasion many, f r 

then he that slew him would certainly be taken for 
an enemy, and would be despatched immediately. 
It is our interest to preserve such a command of our 
own spirits, as never to be afraid of any amaze- 
ment, for we cannot conceive what mischiefs we 
thereby plunge ourselves in. See also how God 
often makes the enemies of his church instruments 
to destroy one another; it is pity the church's friend 
should ever be thus infatuated. 

3. They fled for their lives. Perhaps when day- 
light came, they were sensible of their mistake in 
fighting with one another, and concluded tliat by 
this fatal error they had so weakened themselves, 
that now it was impossible to make any head against 
Israel, and therefore made the best of their way 
toward their own country, though, for aught that 
appears, the three hundred men kept their ground. 
The wicked flees when none pursues, Prov. 28. 1. 
Terrors make him afraid on every side, and drive 
him to his feet. Job. 18. 11. 

23. And the men of Israel gathered 
themselves together out of Naphtah, and 
out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and 
pursued after the Midianites. 24. And Gid- 
eon sent messengers throughout all mount 
Ephraim, saying, Come down against the 
Midianites, and take before them the wa- 
ters unto Beth-barah and Jordan. Then all 
the men of Ephraim gathered themselves to- 
gether, and took the waters unlo Beth-barah 
and Jordan. 25. And they took two princes 
of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb; and they 
slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they 
slew at the wine-press of Zeeb, and pursued 
Midian, and brought the heads of Oreb and 
Zeeb to Gideon on the other side Jordan. 

We have here the prosecution of this glorious 

1. Gideon's soldiers that had been dismissed, and 
perhaps had begun to disperse themselves, upon 
notice of the enemies' flight, got together again, 
and vigorously pursued them whom they had 
not courage to face. The men of Israel out of 
Naphtali and Asher who did this, {v. 23.) were 
not such as now came from those distant countries, 
but the same that had enlisted themselves, (^ch. 6. 
35.) but had been cashiered. They who were fear- 
ful and afraid to fight, {v. 3.) now took heart, 
when the worst was over, and were ready enough 
to divide the spoil, though backward to make the 
onset. They also that might not fight, though they 
had a mind to it, and were disbanded by order 
from God, did not (as those, 2 Chron. 2.5. 10. 13.) 
return in great anger, but waited for an opportunity 
of doing service in pursuing the victory, though they 
were denied the honour of helping to force the lines'. 

2. The Ephraimites, upon a summons from Gid- 
eon, came in unanimously, and secured the passes 
over Jordan, by the several fords, to cut off the ene- 
mies' retreat into tlieir own country, that thev 
might be entirely destroyed, to prevent the like 
mischief to Israel another time. Now that they 
had begim to fall, they resolved utterly to destroy 
them, Esth. 6. 13. They took the waters; {v. 24.) 
that is, posted themselves along the river side, so 
that the Midianites, who fled from those who pur- 
sued them, fell into the hand of those that waited 
to intercept them. Here was /par, and the fiit, and 
the snare, Isa. 24. 7. 

3. Two of the chief commanders of the host of 
Midian were taken and slain by the Ephraimites on 



this side Jordan, v. 25. Their names perhaps sig- 
nified their nature, Oreb signifies a raven, and Zeeb 
a woif {Corvinus and Lu/ius.) These in their 
flight had taken shelter, one in a rock, (Isa. 2. 21. 
Rev. 6. 15.) the other by a wine-firess, as Gideon 
for fear of them had lately hid his corn by a wine- 
press, ch. 6. 11. But the places of their shelter 
were made the places of their slaughter, and the 
memory of it preserved to posterity in the names 
of the places, to their perpetual infamy; Here fell 
the firmces of Midian. 


This chapter gives us a further account of Gideon's victory 
over the Midianites, with the residue of the story of his 
life and government. I. Gideon prudently pacifies the 
offended Ephraimites, V. 1..3. II. He bravely pursues 
the flying Midianites, v. 4, 10. .12. III. He justly chas- 
tises the insolence of the men of Succoth and Penuel, 
who basely abused him, (t. 5 . . 9.) and were reckoned 
with for it, v. 13 . . 17. IV. He honourably slays the two 
kings of Midian, v. 18. .21. V. After all this, he mo- 
destly declines the government of Israel, v. '22, 23. VI. 
He foolishly gratified the superstitious humour of his 
people, by setting up an ephod in his own city, which 
proves a great snare, t. 24 . . 27. VII. He kept the 
country quiet forty years, v. 28. VIII. He died in ho- 
nour, and left a numerous family behind him, v. 29. . 32. 
IX. Both he and his God were soon forgotten by un- 
grateful Israel, v. 33 . . 35. 

1. A ND the men of Epliraim said unto 
J\. him, Why hast thou served us thus, 
that thou calledst us not when thou went- 
est to fight with the Midianites? And 
they did chide with him sharply. 2. And 
he said unto them, V^hat have I done now 
in comparison of you ? Is not the gleaning 
of the grapes of Ephraim better than the 
vintage of Abiezer ? 3. God hath deliver- 
ed into your hands the princes of Midian, 
Oreb and Zeeb : and what was I able to do 
in comparison of you ? Then their anger was 
abated toward him, when he had said that. 

No sooner were the Midianites, the common ene- 
my, subdued, than through the violence of some hot 
spirits, the children of Israel are ready to quarrel 
among themselves; an unhappy spark was sti-uck, 
which if Gideon had not with a great deal of wis- 
dom and grace extinguished immediately, might 
have broken out into a flame of fatal consequence. 
The Ephraimites, when they brought the heads of 
Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon as general, instead of 
congratulating his successes, and addressing him 
with thanks for his great services, as they ought to 
have done, picked a quarrel with him, and grew 
very hot upon it. 

I. Their accusation was very peevish and unrea- 
sonable; IVhy didst thou not call us when thou nvent- 
est to fight ivith the Midianites? v. 1. Ephraim was 
brother to Manasseh, Gideon's tribe, and had had 
the pre-eminence in Jacob's blessing, and in Mo- 
ses's, and therefore was very jealous of Manasseh, 
lest that tribe should at any time eclipse the honour 
of their's. Hence we find Manasseh against 
Ephraim, and Ephraim against Manasseh, Isa. 9. 21. 
A brother offended is harder to be vjon than a strong 
city; and their co?itentions are as the bars of a castle, 
Prov. 18. 19. But how unju6t was their qucirrel 
with Gideon ! They were angry he did not send 
for them to begin the attack upon Midian, as well 
as to follow the blow. Why were they not called to 
lead the van? The post of honour, they thought, 
belonged to them. But, 1. Gideon was called of 
God. and must act as he directed; he neither took 

the honour to himself, nor did he dispose of honours 
himself, but left it to God to do all. So that the 
Ephraimites in this quarrel reflected upon the di- 
vine conduct; and what was Gideon that they mur 
m ured against him? 2. Why did not the Ephraim- 
ites offer themselves willingly to the service? They 
knew the enemy was in their'countrv, and had heard 
of the forces that were raising to oppose them, to 
which they ought to have joined themselves, in 
zeal for the common cause, though they had net a . 
formal invitation. Those seek themselves more 
than God, that stand upon a point of honour to ex- 
cuse themselves from doing real service to God and 
their generation. In Deborah's time there was a 
root of Ephraim, ch. 5. 14. Why did not that ap- 
pear now? The case itself called them; they need- 
ed not wait for a call from Gideon. 3. Gideon had 
saved their credit in not calling them ; if he had 
sent for them, no doubt, many of them would have 
gone back with the faint-hearted, or been dismissed 
with the lazy, slothful, and intemperate; so that by 
not calling them, he prevented the putting of those 
slurs upon them. Cowards will seem valiant when 
the danger is over, but those consult their reputa- 
tion, who try their courage when danger is near. 

II. Gideon's answer was very calm and peacea- 
ble, and was intended not so much to justify him- 
self, as to please and pacify them, i>. 2, 3. He an- 
swers them, 1. With a great deal of meekness and 
temper: he did not resent the affront, nor answer 
anger with anger, but mildly reasons the case with 
them; and he won as true honour by this command 
which he had over his own passion, as by his victo- 
ry over the Midianites; He that is slow to anger, is 
better than the mighty. 2. With a great deal of 
modestv and humility, magnifying their perform- 
ances above his own. Is not the gleanings of the 
grafies of Ephraim, who picked up the stragglers 
of the enemv, and cut off those of them that es- 
caped, better than the vintage of Abiezer, — a great- 
er honour to them, and better service to the country, 
than the first attack Gideon made upon them^ 
The destruction of the church's enemies is com- 
pared to a vintage. Rev. 14. 18. In this he owns 
their gleanings better than his gatherings. The im- 
proving of a victory is often more honourable, and 
of greater consequence, than the winning of it; in 
this they had signalized themseh es, and their own 
courage and conduct, or rather, God had dignified 
them ; for though, to magnify their achievements, 
he is willing to diminish his own performances, yet 
he will not take any flowers from God's crown to 
adorn their's with; God has delivered into your 
hands the princes of Midian, and a great slaughter 
has been made of the enemy by your numerous 
hosts, and what was I able to do with three hun- 
dred men, in comparison of you and your brave ex- 
ploits?" Gideon stands here a ven^ great example 
of self-denial, and this instance shows us, (1.) That 
envy is best removed by humility. It is true, even 
right works are often envied, Eccl. 4. 4. Yet they 
are not so apt to be so, when those who do them, 
appear not to be proud of them. They are malig- 
nant indeed, who seek to cast those down from 
their excellency, that humble and abase them- 
selves. (2.) It is likewise the surest method of 
ending strife, for only by pride comes contention, 
Prov. 13. 10. (3.) Humility is most amiable and 
admirable in the midst of great attainments and ad- 
vancements. Gideon's conquests did greatly set off 
his condescensions. (4. ) It is the proper act of hu- 
mility to esteem others better than ourselves, and in 
honour to prefer one another. 

Now what was the issue of the controversy? The 

Ephraimites had chidden with him sharply, (v. 1.) 

forgetting the respect owing to their general, and 

j one whom God had honoured, and giving vert to 



their passion in a very indecent liberty of speech, a 
certain sign of a weak and indefensible cause: rea- 
son runs low when the chiding tlies high, but Gid- 
eon's sofl answer turned away their wrat/i, Prov. 
15. 1. 'I'/ieir anger was abated toward him, {v. 3.) 
It is intimated, that they retained him some resent- 
rnent, but he prudently overlooked it, and let it 
cool by degrees. V^ery great and good men must 
expect to have their patience tried, by the unkind- 
nesses and follies even of those they serve, and must 
not think it strange. 

4. And Gideon came to Jordan, and pass- 
ed over, he and the three hundred men that 
were with him, faint, yet pursuing them. 5. 
And he said unto the men of Succoth, Give, 
1 pray you, loaves of bread unto the people 
that follow me ; for they be faint, and I am 
pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, kings 
of Midian. 6. And the princes of Succoth 
said, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmun- 
na now in thine hands, that we should give 
bread unto thine army? 7. And Gideon 
said, Therefore, when the Lord hath de- 
livered Zebah and Zalmunna into mine 
hand, then I will tear your Mesh with the 
thorns of the wilderness and with briers. 
8. And he went up thence to Penuel, and 
spake unto them likewise : and the men of 
Penuel answered him as the men of Suc- 
coth had answered him. 9. And he spake 
also unto the men of Penuel, saying. When 
1 come again in peace, I will break down 
this tower. 10. Now Zebah and Zalmun- 
na ivere in Karkor, and their hosts with 
them, about fifteen thousand men, all that 
were left of all the hosts of the children of 
the east : for tliere fell a hundred and twenty 
thousand men that drew sword. 11. And 
Gideon went up by the way of them that 
dwelt in tents, on the east of Nobah and 
Jogbehah, and smote the host : for the ho^t 
was secure. 12. And when Zeb^h ' a'Qcl;^ 
Zalmunna fled, he pursued after them, and 
took the two kings of Midian, Zeba!h and 
Zalmunna, and discomfited air th^ hbst. 
13. And Gideon, the son of Joash, ,returned 
from battle before the sun was np^ : 1 4; And 
caught a young man of the rti^n of Siiccoith, 
and inquired of him: and he,.d,es,cril),ed,ui)to 
him the princes of Succoth, and the aiders 
thereof, even threescore and Seventeen' men. 
1 5. And he came unto the nli^n'ofj^iipboth, 
and said. Behold Zeb.ah. and /^a^niunna, 
with whovn ye did upbraid me, saying. Are 
the hands of Zebah ancj Zalmiinna r(o\v in 
thine hand, that wesl^oul^'glKQ.brp^d unto 
thy men that are weary ? < 16. And he took 
the elders of the city, andtho^rnB ofthe wil- 
derness and briers- and[[Xvith.the^Xi he!taught 
the men of Succoth. > 17i Aai,a,be b^tdown 
the tower of Pehuel, and slew the men of 
the city. '' ■''"■ ''■■ -' •"'"' 

In these verses, we have, 

I. Gideon, as a \ aliant general, pursuing the re- 
maining Midianites, and bravely following liis blow. 
A very great slaughtei- was made of the enemy at 
first, one hundred and twenttj thousand men that 
drew the sword, v. 10. Such a terrible execution 
did they make among themseh es, and so easy a 
prey were they to Israel: but, it seems, the two 
kings of Midian, being better provided than tlie rest 
for an escape, with fifteen thousand men, got over 
Jordan before the passes could be secured by the 
Ephraimites, and made toward their own countiy: 
Gideon thinks he does not fully execute his com- 
mission to save Israel, if he let them escape. He 
is not content to chase them out of the country, but 
he will chase them out of the world, Job l'8. 18. 
This resolution is here pushed on with great firm- 
ness, and crowned with great success. 

1. His firmness was very exemplary; he effect- 
ed his purpose under the greatest disadvantages and 
discouragements that could be. (1.) He took none 
with him, but his three hundred men, who now laid 
aside their trumpets and torches, and betook them- 
selves to their swords and spears. God had said, 
By these three hundred men will I save you; (jch. 
7. 7. ) and confiding in that promise, Gideon kept 
to them only, -v. 4. He expected more from three 
hundred men, supported by a particular promise, 
than from so many thousands, supported only by 
their OAvn valour. (2.) They were faint and yet 
pursuing; much fatigued with what they had done, 
and yet eager to do more against the enemies of 
their country. Our spiritual warfare must thus be 
prosecuted with what strength we have, though we 
have but little; it is many a time the true chris- 
tian's case, fainting, and yet pursuing. (3. ) Though 
he met with discouragement from those of his own 
people, was jeered for what he was doing, as going 
about what he could never accomplish, yet he went 
on with it. If those that should be our helpers in 
the way of our duty, prove hinderances to us, let 
not that drive us off from it. Those know not how 
to value God's acceptance, that know not how to 
despise the reproaches, and contempts of men. (4.) 
He made a very long march b}' the way of them 
that dwelt in tents, v. 11. Either because he hoped 
to find them kinder to him than the men of Suc- 
coth, and Penuel, that dwelt in walled towns; 
(sometimes there is more generosity and charity 
found in country tents than in city \- laces;) or, be- 
cause that was a road in which he would be least 
expected, and therefore that way it would be the 
greater surprise to them. It is evident, he spared 
no pains to complete his victory. Now he found it 
an advantage to have his three hundred men, such 
as could bear hunger, and thirst, and toil. It should 
seem, he set up'on them by night, as he had done 
before, for the host was secure. The security of 
sinners often proves their ruin, and dangers art 
most fatal when least feared. 

2. His success was very encouraging to resolution 
and industry in a good cause. He routed the army, 
{v. 11.) and took the two kings prisontrs, v. 12. 
Note, The fear of the wicked shall come upon him. 
They that think to run from the sword of the Lord 
and of Gideon, do but run ii/ion it. If \\e flee from 
the iron weafion, yet the bow of steel shall strike him 
through; for evil fiursueth sinners. 

II. Here is Gideon, as a righteous judge, chas 
tising the insolence of the disaffected Israelites, the 
men of Succoth, and the men of Penuel, both in the 
time of God, on the other side Jordan. 

1. The crime was great. Gideon, with a handful 
of feeble folk, was pursuing the common enemy, to 
complete the deliverance of Israel; his way leads 
him through the city of Succoth first, and after- 
ward of Penuel; he expects not that the magistrates 



should meet him in their formalities, congratulate 
liis victorv, present him with the keys of their city, 
give him a treat, much less that they should send 
forces in to his assistance, though he was entitled 
to it all ; but he only begs some necessary food for 
his soldiers that were ready to faint for want, and 
he does it very humbly and importunately, Gine, I 
firay you, loaves of bread unto the fieofile that fol- 
low me, V. 5. The request had been reasonable if 
thev had been but poor travellers in distress; but 
considering that they were soldiers, called and 
chosen, and faithful, (Rev. 17. 14.) men whom God 
had greatly lionoured, and whom Israel was highly 
obliged to, who had done great service to their 
countiy, and were now doing more; that they were 
conquerors, and had power to put them under con- 
tribution; that they were fighting God's battles and 
Israel's; nothing could be more just than that they 
should furnish them with the best provisions their 
city afforded. But the princes of Succoth neither 
feared God, nor regarded man! For, (1.) In con- 
tempt of God, they refused to answer the just de- 
mands of him whom God had raised up to save 
them, affronted him, bantered him, despised the 
success he had already been honoured with, des- 
paired of success of his present undertaking, did 
what they could to discourage him in prosecuting 
the war, and were very willing to belie\ e that the 
remaining forces of Midian, whicli they had now 
seen march through tlieir countrv, would be too 
hard for him. ./ire the hands of Zebah and ^Zal- 
munna now in thine hand? *' No, nor never will 
be;" so they conclude, judging by the disproportion 
of numbers. (2.) The bowels of their comfiassion 
were shut up. against their brethren; they were as 
destitute of love as tliey were of faith; would not 
give morsels of bread (as some read it) to them that 
were ready to perish. Were these princes? Were 
these Israelites? Unworthy either title; base and 
degenerate men! Surely they were worshippers 
of Baal, or in the interests of Midian. The men of 
Fenuel gave the same answer to the same request, 
defying the sword of the Lord and of Gideon, v. 8. 

2. The warning he gave them of the punishment 
of their crime, was very fair. (1.) He did not pun- 
ish it immediately, because he would not lose so 
much time from the pursuit of the enemy that 
were flying from him, because he would not seem 
to do it in a heat of passion, and because he should 
do it more to their shame and confusion, when he 
had completed his undertaking which they thought 
impracticable. But, (2.) He told them how he 
would punish it, {v. 7, 9.) to show the confidence 
he had of" success in the strength of God, and that 
if they had the least grain of grace and considera- 
tion left, they might, upon second thoughts, repent 
of their folly, humble themselves, and contrive how 
to atone for it, by sending after him succours and 
supplies, which if they had done, no doubt, Gideon 
would have pardoned them. God gives notice of 
danger, and space to repent, that sinners may Jlee 
from the wrath to come. 

3. The warning being slighted, the punishment, 
though very severe, was really very just. (1.) The 
princes of Succoth were first made examples; Gid- 
eon got intelligence of their number, seventy-seven 
men, their names and places of abode, which were 
described in writing to him,!*. 14. And to their great 
surprise, when they thought he had scarce over- 
taken the Midianites, he was returned a conqueror; 
his three hundred men were now the ministers of 
his' justice; they secured all these princes, and 
brought them before Gideon, who showed them his 
royal captives in chains, " These arfe the men you 
thought me an unequal match for, and would give 
me no assistance in the pursuit of," t». 15. And he 
punished them with thorns and briers, but it should 

seem, not unto death. With these, [1.] He tor- 
mented their bodies, either by scourging, or rolling 
them in the thorns and briers; some way or other 
he tore their flesh, v. 7. Those shall have judg- 
ment without mercy, that have showed no mercy. 
Perhaps he observed them to be soft and delicate 
men, who despised him and his company for their 
roughness and hardiness, and therefore Gideon 
thus mortified them for their effeminacy. [2. ] He 
instructed their minds; with these he taught the 
men of Succoth, v. 16. The correction he gave 
them, was intended, not for destruction, but whole- 
some discipline, to make them wiser and better for 
the future. He made them know, (so the word is,) 
made them know themselves and their folly, (ird 
and their duty; made them know who Gideon was, 
since they would not know by the success where- 
with God had crowned him. Note, Many are 
taught with the briers and thorns of affliction, that 
would not learn otherwise. God gives wisdom by 
the rod and re/iroof chastens and teaches, and by 
correction opens the ear of discipline. Our blessed 
Saviour, though he were a Son, yet learned obe- 
dience by the things which he suffered, Heb. 5. 8. 
Let every pricking brier, and grieving thorn, es- 
pecially when it become a Morn in thejiesh,he:\\m% 
interpreted, thus improved, " By this God designs 
to teach me; what good lessons shall I learn?" (2.) 
Penuel's doom comes next, and it shou'd seem he 
used them more severely than the other, for good 
reason, no doubt, v. 17. [1.] He heat down their 
tower, of which they gloried, in which they trusted, 
perhaps scornfully advising Gideon and his men 
rather to secure themselves in that, than to pursue 
the Midianites. What men make their pride, the 
ruin of it is justly made their shame. [2. ] He slew 
the men of the city, not at all, perhaps not the elders 
or princes, but those that had affronted him, and 
those only. He slew some of the men of the city 
that were most insolent and abusive, for terror to 
the rest, and so he taught the men of Penuel. 

18. Then said he unto Zebah and Zal- 
munna, What manner of men were they 
whom ye slew at Tabor ? And they an- 
swered, As thou art, so loere they; each 
one resembled the children of a king. 19. 
And he said, They ivere my brethren, even 
the sons of my mother : as the Lord liveth, 
if ye had saved them alive, I would not 
slay you. 20. And he said unto Jether his 
first-born. Up, and slay them: but the 
youth drew not his sword ; for he feared, 
because he was yet a youth. 21. Then Ze- 
bah and Zalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall 
upon us : for as the man «, so is his strength. 
And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and 
Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments 
that were on their camels' necks. 

Judgment began at the house of God, in the just 
correction of the men of Succoth and Penuel, who 
were Israelites, but it did not end there. The 
kings of Midian, when they had served to demon- 
strate Gideon's victories, and grace his triumphs, 
must now be reckoned with. 

1. They are indicted for the murder of Gideon's 
brethren some time ago at mount Tabor. When 
the children of Israel, for fear of the Midianites, 
made them dens in the mountains, (ch. 6. 2. ) those 
young men, it is likely, took shelter in that moun- 
tain, where they we're found by these two kings, 
and most baselv and barbarously slain in cold 



blood. When he asks them nvhat manner of men 
ihey ivere, {v. 18. ) it is not because he was uncer- 
tain of the thing, or wanted proof of it; he was not 
30 little concerned for his brethren's blood, as not 
to inquire it out before now, nor were these proud 
tyrants solicitous to conceal it; but he puts that 
question to them, that by their acknowledgment 
of the more than ordinary comeliness of the persons 
they slew, their crimes might appear the more 
heinous, and consequently their punishment the 
more righteous. They could not but own, that 
though they were found in a mean and abject con- 
ditioi*. y--;t they had an unusual greatness and ma- 
jesty M their countenances not unlike Gideon him- 
self at this time; they resembled the children of a 
king, born for something great. 

2. Being found guilty cf this murder by their own 
confession, Gideon, though he might have put 
them to death as Israel's judge, for the injuries 
done to that people in general, as Oreb and Zeeb, 
{ch. 7. 25.) yet he chooses rather to put on the 
character of an avenger of blood, as next of kin to 
the persons slain. 7 hey were my brethren, v. 19, 
The other crimes might have been forgiven, at 
least Gideon would not have slain them himself, let 
them have answered it to the people; but the voice 
of his brethren's blood cries, cries to him, now it is 
in the power of his hand to avenge it, and therefore 
there is no remedy, by him must their blood be 
shed, though they were kings. Little did they 
think to have heard of this so long after; but mur- 
der seldom goes unpunished in this life. 

3. The execution is done by Gideon himself with 
his own hand, because he was the avenger of 
blood; he bade his son slay them, for he was a near 
relation to the persons murdered, and fittest to be 
his father's substitute and representative; and he 
would thus train him up to the acts of justice and 
boldness, v. 20. But, (1.) The young man himself 
desired to be excused; he feared, though they were 
bound and could make no resistance, because he 
was yet a youth, and not used to such work: 
courage does not always run in the blood. (2.) 
The prisoners themselves desired that Gideon 
would excuse it; {v. 21.) begged, if they must die 
they might die by his own hand, which would be 
somewhat more honourable to them, and more 
easy, for by his great strength they would sooner 
be despatched and rid out of their pain, ^s the 
man, so is his strength. Either they mean it of 
themselves, they were men of such strength as 
called for a better hand than that young man's to 
overpower quickly; or of Gideon. "Thou art at 
thy full strength, he is not yet come to it, therefore 
be thou the executioner." From those that are 
grown up to maturity, it is expected, that what 
they do in any service, be done with so much the 
more strength. Gideon despatched them quickly, 
and seized the ornaments that were on their camel's 
necks, ornaments like the moon, so it is in the mar- 
gin, either badges of their royalty, or perhaps of 
their idolatry, for Ashtaroth was represented by 
the moon, as Baal by the sun. With these he took 
all their other ornaments, as appears, t;. 26. where 
we find he did not put them to so good a use as one 
would have wished. The destruction of these two 
kings, and that of the two princes, (cA. 7. 25.) is 
long after pleaded as a precedent in prayer for the 
ruin of others of the church's enemies; (Ps. 83. 11. ) 
Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb, and all their 
*irince» as Zebah and Zalmunna; let them all be 
cut off in like manner. 

22. Then the men of Israel said unto 
Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou and 
thy son, and thy son's son also; for thou 

hast delivered us from the hand of Midiaii 
23. And Gideon said unto them, I will not 
rule over you, neither shall my son rule over 
you : the Lord shall rule over you. 24. 
And Gideon said unto them, 1 would de- 
sire a request of you, that ye would give 
me every man the ear-rings of his prey : (for 
they had golden ear-rings, because they were 
Ishmaelites.) 25. And they answered. We 
will willingly give them. And they spread 
a garment, and did cast therein every man 
the ear-lings of his prey. 26. And the 
weight of the golden ear-rings that he re- 
quested was a thousand and seven hun- 
dred shekels of gold, besides ornaments, and 
collars, and purple raiment thi»t was on the 
kings of Midian, and besides the chains 
that tvere about their camels' necks. 27. 
And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and 
put it in his city, even in Ophrah : and all 
Israel went thither a whoring after it ; 
which thing became a snare unto Gideon, 
and to his house. 28. Thus was Midian 
subdued before the children of Israel, so 
that' they lifted up their heads no more : and 
the country was in quietness forty years in 
the days of Gideon. 

Here is, 

I. Gideon's laudable modesty after his great vic- 
tory, in refusing the government which the people 
offered him. 1. It was honest in them to offer it; 
{v. 22.) Rule thou over us, for thou hast delivered 
us. They thought it very reasonable that he who 
had gone through the toils and perils of their de- 
liverance, should enjoy the honour and power of 
commanding them e\er after; and very desirable 
that he who in this great and critical juncture had 
had such manifest tokens of God's presence with 
him, should ever after preside in their affairs. Let 
us apply it to the Lord Jesus, he hath delivered us 
out of the hands of our enemies, our spiritual ene- 
mies, the worst and most dangerous, and therefore 
it is fit he should rule over us; for how can we be 
better ruled than by one that appears to have so 
great an interest in heaven, and so great a kindness 
for this earth? We are delivered, thnt'we may 
serve him without fear, Luke 1. 74, 75. 2. It was 
honourable in him to refuse it; {v. 23.) / will not 
rule over you. What he did, was his design to 
serve them, not to rule them; to make them safe, 
easy, and happy, not to make himself great or 
honourable. And as he was not ambitious of gran- 
deur himself, so he did not covet to entail it upon 
his family, " My son shall not rule over you, either 
while I live, or when I am gone, but the Lord shall 
still rule over you, and constitute your judges by 
the special designation of his own Spirit, as he has 
done." This intimates, (1.) His modesty, and the 
mean opinion he had of himself and his own merits. 
He thought the honour of doing good was recom- 
pense enough for all his services, which needed 
not to be rewarded with honour of bearing sway; 
He that is greatest, let him be your minister. (2.) 
His piety, and the great opinion he had of God's 
government. Perhaps he discerned in the people a 
dislike of the theocracy, or divine government, a 
desire of a king like the nations; and his merits 
might have supplied a colourable pretence to move 
for this change of government. But Gideon would 

JUDGES, vm. 


by no means admit it. No good man can be pleas- 
ed wita anv iionour done to himself, which ought to 
be peculiar to (iod. Were i/f bafitized in the name 
of Paul? 1 Cor. 1. 13. 

II. Gideon's irregular zeal to perpetuate the re- 
membrance of this victory, by an ephod, made of 
the choicest of the spoils. 1. He asked the men of 
Israel to give him the ear-rings of their prey; for 
such ornameutsthey stripped the slain of in abun- 
dance. These he demanded, either because they 
were the finest gold, and therefore fittest for a 
religious use, or because they had had as ear-rings 
some superstitious signification, which he thought 
too well of. Aaion culled for the ear-rings to make 
the golden calf of, Exod. 32. 2. These Gideon 
begged, v. 24. And he had reason enough to think 
that they who offered him a crown, when he de- 
clined it, would not deny him their ear-rings, when 
he begged them, nor did they, v. 25. 2. He him- 
self added the spoil he took from the kings of 
Midian, which, it should seem, had fallen to his 
share, v. 26. The generals had that part of the 
prey which was most sjjlendid, the firey of divers 
colours, c/i. 5. 30. 3. Of this he made an ephod, v. 
27. It was plausible enough, and might be well in- 
tended to preser\'e a memorial of so divine a victory 
in the judge's own city. But it was a very unad- 
vised thing to make that memorial to be an ephod, 
a sacred garment. I would gladly put the best 
construction that can be upon the actions of good 
men, and such a one we are sure Gideon was. But 
we have reason to suspect that this ephod had, as 
usual, a teraphim annexed to it, (Hos. 3. 4.) and 
that, having an altar already l>uilt by divine ap- 
pointment, {ch. 6. 26. ) which he erroneously ima- 
gined he might still use for sacrifice, he intended 
this for an oracle, to be consulted in doubtful cases. 
So the learned Dr. Spencer supposes. Each tribe 
having now very much its government within itself, 
they were too apt to covet their religion among 
themselves. We read very little of Shiloh and the 
ark there, in all the story of the Judges. Some- 
times by divine dispensation, and much oftener by 
the transgression of men, that law which obliged 
them to worship only at that one altar, seems not 
to have been so religifmsly observed as one would 
have expected, no more than afterward, when, in 
the reigns even of very good kings, the high places 
were not taken anvaij; from which we may infer, 
that that law had a furtiier reach as a type of 
Christ, by whose mediation alone all our services 
are accepted. Ciidenn .therefore, through igno- 
rance or inconsidcration, sinned in making this 
ephrd, though he had a good intention in it. Slii- 
loh, it is true, was not far off, but it wasin Ephraim, 
and that tribe had lately disoliliged him, (x^. 1.) 
which made him i)erhaps not care to go so often 
among them, as his occasions would lead him, to 
consult the oracle, and therefore he would have one 
nearer home. However this might be honestly in- 
tended, and at first did little hurt, yet in process of 
time, (1.) Israel went a whoring- after it; that is, 
they deserted God's altar and priesthood, being 
fond of ch \nge, and prone to idolatry, and having 
some excuse for paying respect to this ephod, be- 
cause so good a man as Gideon had set it up, and 
by degrees their respects to it grew more and more 
superstitious. Note, Many are led into false ways, by 
one false step of a good man. The beginning of sin, 
particularly of idolatry and will-worship, is as the 
tuning forth of water, so it has been found in the fa- 
tal corruptions of the church of Rome, therefore 
leave it off before it be meddled with, (2. ) It be- 
' ;i e a snare to Gideon himself, abating his zeal 
for the house of God in his old age, and much more 
to his house, who were drawn by it into sin, and it 
proved the ruin of the family. 

Vol. II.— T 

III. Gideon's happy agency for the repose of Is- 
rael, V. 28. The Midianites that had been s i \ ex- 
atious, gave them no more disturbance; Gidec n, 
though he would not assume the honour and power 
of a king, governed as a judge, and did all the good 
offices he could for his people; so that the country 
was in quietness forty years. Hitherto the times 
of Israel had been reckoned by forties; Othniel 
judged forty years, Ehud eighty — just two forties, 
Barak forty, and now Gideon forty. Providence 
so ordering it, to bi-ing in mind the forty years 
of their wandering in the wilderness; Forty years 
long was I grieved with this generation. And see 
Ezek. 4. 6. After these Eli i-uled forty years, (1 
Sam. 4. 18.) Samuel and Saul forty, (Acts' 13. 21.) 
Da\id forty, and Solomon forty. Forty years is 
about an age. 

29. And Jerubbaal the son of Joash, went 
and dwelt in his own house. 30. And 
Gideon had threescore and ten sons of" his 
body begotten : for he had many wives,. 
31. And his concubine, that 7vas in She- 
chem, she also bare him a son, whose name 
he called Abimelech. 32. And Gideon, the 
son of Joash, died in a good old age, and 
was buried in the sepulchre of Jcash his 
father, in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites. 33. 
And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon 
was dead, that the children of Israel turned 
again, and went a whoring after Baalim, 
and made Baal-berith their god. 34. And 
the children of Israel • lemembered not the 
LoRij their God, who had delivered them, 
out of the hands of all their enemies oife 
every side : 35. Neither showed they kiuod^ 
ness to the house of Jerubbaal, namely Gid- 
eon, according to all the goodness whkhi he- 
had showed unto Israel. 

We have here the conclusion of the- story of 

1. He lived privately; (t-. 29.) he was not puffed 
up with his great honours, did not cm et a palace 
or castle to dwell in, but retired to khe house he 
had li\ ed in before his elevation. T&us that brave 
Roman who was called from the plough upon a sud- 
den occasion to command the armjr, when the ac- 
tion was over, returned to his plough again. 

2. His family was multiplied. He had many 
wives; (therein he transgressed the law;) by them 
he had seventy sons, {v. 30.) but one by a concu- 
bine, whom he named Abimelech, which signifies 
my father a king, that proved the niin of his fami- 
ly, v., 31. 

3. He died in honour, in a good old age, when he 
had lived as long as he -was capable of serving God 
and his country; and who would desire to live any 
longer? And he was buried in the sepulchre of his 

4. After his death, the people corrupted them- 
selves, and went all to naught. As soon as ever 
Gideon was dead, who had kept them close to the 
worship of the God of Israel, they found them- 
selves under no restraint, and tlien they went a 
whoring after Baalim, v. 33. They went a whor- 
ing, first after another ephod, (x^. 27.) for which 
irregularity Gideon had himself given them too 
much occasion, and now they went a whoring aftei 
another god. False worships made way for false 
deities. They now chose a neAv god, {ch. 5. 8.) a 



god of a new name, Baal-berith ; a goddess, say 
some. Berith, some think, was Berytus, the i)lac"e 
where the Phoenicians worshipped this idol. The 
Lord of a covenant, so it sign, ties, perhaps because 
his worshippers joined themselves by co\ enant to 
him, in imitation of Israel's covenanting with God, 
for the Devil is God's ape. In this revolt of Israel 
to idolatry, they showed, (1.) Great ingiMtitude to 
God; {v. 34.) They remeinbered not the Lord, not 
only who had delivered them into the hands of 
their enemies, to punish them for their idolatry, 
but who had also delivered them out of the hands of 
their enemies, to invite them back, again into his 
service: both the judgments and the mercies were 
forgotten, and the impression of them lost. (2.) 
Great ingratitude to Gideon, v. 35. A great deal 
oi goodness he had showed unto Israel, as a father 
to his country, for which they ought to ha\e been 
kind to his family when he was gone, for that is one 
way by which we ought to show oursehes grateful 
to our friends and benefactors, and may be return- 
ing their kindness when they are in their graves. 
But Israel showed not this kindness to Gideon's 
family, as we shall find in the next chapter. No 
wonder if those who forget their God, forget their 


The apostasy of Israel after the death of Gidcorij is pun- 
ished, not as the former apostasies, by a foreign invasion, 
or the oppressions of any neishbouringr power, but by 
intestine broils among themsehcs, which in this chapter 
we have the story of; and it is hard to say whether their 
sin or their misery appears most in it. It is an account of 
the usurpation and tyranny of Abimelech, who was base 
son to Gideon; so we must call him, and not more mo- 
dishly, his natural son, he was so unlike him. We are 
here told, I. How he thrust himself into the government 
at Shechem, his own city, by subtlety, and particularly 
by the murder of all his brethren, v. 1 .6, II. How his 
doom was read in a parable of Jotham, Gideon's young- 
est son, v. 7. .21. III. What strifes there were between 
Abimelech and his friends the Shechemites. v 22.. 41. 
IV. How this ended in the ruin of the Shecnemites, (v. 
42..49.) and of Abimelech himself, v. 30.. 57. Of this 
meteor, this ignusfatuus of a prince, that was not pro- 
• tector, but a plague to his country, we may say, as once 
was said of a great tyrant, that he came in like a fox, 
ruled like a lion, and died like a dog. For the trans- 
gression of a land such are the princes thereof. 

1. i ND Abimelech the son ofJerubbaal, 
j\. went to Shechem unto his mother's 
brethren, and communed with them, and 
with all the family of the house of his 
mother's father, saying, 2, Speak, I pray 
you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, 
Whether is better for you either that all the 
sons of Jerubbaal, which are threescore and 
ten persons, reign over you, or that one 
reign over you ? remember also that I am 
your bone and your flesh. 3. And his 
.mother's brethren spake of him in the ears 
of all the men of Shechem all these words : 
and their hearts inclined to follow Abime- 
lech ; for they said. He is our brother. 4. 
And tiiey gave hirn threescore and ten pieces 
of silver out of the house of Baal-berith ; 
wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light 
persons, which followed him. 5. And he went 
•unto his father's house at Opiirah, and slew 
liis brethren, the sons of Jerubbaal, beins; 
threescore and ten persons, upon one stone : 
notwithstanding, yet Jotham, the youngest 

son ofJerubbaal, was left : for he hid himself. 
6. And all the men of Shechem gathered 
together, and all the house of Millo, and 
uent and made Abimelech king, by the 
plain of the pillar that icas in Shechem. 

We are here told by what arts Abimelech got 
into authority, and made himself gre.:.t. His mother 
perhaps had instilled into his mind some towering 
ambitious thoughts, and the niime his father gave 
him, carrying royalty in it, might help to blow up 
these sparks; and now that he lias buried his father, 
nothing will serve his proud spirit but he will suc- 
ceed him in the government of Israel, directly con- 
trary to his father's will, for he had declared ?io son 
of his should rule over them. He had no call from 
God to this honour as his father had, nor was there 
any present occasion for a judge to deliver Israel, as 
there was when his father was advanced, but his own 
ambition must be gratified, and that is all he aims 
at. Now observe here, 

I. How craftily he got his mother's relations into 
his interests. Shechem was a city in the tribe of 
Ephraim, of great note, Joshua had held his last as- 
sembly there; if that city would appear for him, 
and set him up, he thought it would go far in his 
favour. There he had an interest in the family of 
which his mother was, and by them he made an 
interest in the leading men of the city. It does not 
appear that any of them had an eye to him as a man 
of merit, who had any thing to recomniend him to 
such a choice, but the motion came first from him- 
self. None would have dreamed of making such a 
one king, if he had not dreamed of it himself. And 
see here, 1. How he wheedled them into the choice, 
V. 2, 3. He basely suggested that Gideon having 
left seventy sons that made a good figure and had a 
good interest, they were designing to keep the 
power which their father had, in their hands, and 
by a joint influence to reign over Israel; "Now," 
says he, "you had better have one king than more, 
than many, than so many. Affairs of state are best 
managed by a single person," v. 2. We have no 
reason to think that all or any of Gideon's sons had 
the least intention to reign over Israel, (they were 
of their father's mind, that the Lord should reign 
over them, and they were not called of him,) yet 
this he insinuates, to pave the way to his own pre- 
tensions. Note, Those who design ill themselves, 
are commonly most apt to suspect that others de- 
sign ill. As for himself, l)e only puts them in mind 
of his relation to them. Verbum safiienti — A word 
to the ivi^e is sufficient; remember that I am your 
bone and your flesh. The plot took wondermlly. 
The magistrates of Shechem were pleased to think 
of their city being a royal city, and the metropolis 
of Israel, and therefore they tiiclined to follow him, 
for they said, " He is our brother, and advance- 
ment will be our advantage. " 2. How he got 
money ircm them to bear the charges of his preten- 
sions, t. 4. They gave him seventy pieces of silx>er; 
it is not said what the value of these pieces was; so 
many shekels was less, and so many talents more, 
than we can well imagine; therefore it is supposed 
thev were each a pound weight: but they gave it out 
of the house of Baal-berith, that is, out of the pub- 
lic treasury, which, out of respect to their idol, they 
deposited in his temple to be protected by him ; or, 
out of the ofTerings that had been made to that idol, 
which they hoped would prosper the better in his 
hands for its having been consecrated to their god. 
How unfit was he to reign over Israel, because un- 
likely to defend them, who, instead of restraining 
and punishing idolatry, thus early made himself a 
pensioner to an idol! 3. What soldiers he enlisted; 
he hired into his service vain and light persons, the 



icum -and scoundrels of the country, men of broken 
tbruines, giddy he^ds, and profligate lives; none but 
s icU would own him, and they were fittest to serve 
his purpose. Like leader, like followers. 

II. How cruelly he got his father's sons out of the 
way. The first thing he did with the rabble he 
headed, was, to kill all his brethren at once, pub- 
licly, and in cold blood, threescore and ten men, 
one only esc ipiug, all slain upon one stone. See in 
this bljody tragedy, 1. The power of ambition, 
wh It beasts it will turn men into, how it will break 
through all the ties of natural affection and natuial 
conscience, and sacrifice that which is most sacred, 
dear, and va uable, to its designs. Strange that 
ever it should enter into the heart of a man to be 
so barbarous! 2. The pei'il of honour and high 
birth. Their being the sons of so great a man as 
Gideon, exposed them thus, and made Abimelech 
jealous of them. We find just the same number of 
Ahab's s ns sLiin together at Samaria, 2 Kings 10. 
1, 7. ■ The Grand Seigniors have seldom thought 
themselves safe while any of their brethren have 
been unstrangled. Let envy those of high 
extraction, or complain of their own meanness and 
obscurity. The lower, the safer. 

Way being thus made for Abimelech's election, 
the men of Shechem proceeded to choose him king, 
V. 6. God was not consulted whether they should 
have any king at all, much less who it should be; 
here is no advising with the priest, or with their 
brethren of any other city or tribe, though it was 
designed he bhould reign o\er Israel, v. 22. But, 
(1.) Shechemites, as If they were the people, 
and wisd:im mast die with them, do a'!; they aided 
and abetted him in the murder of his brethren, {v. 
24.) and then they made him Icmg. ■ The men of 
Shechem, that is, the great men, the chief magis- 
trates of the city, and the house of Millo, that is, 
the common council, the full-house, or house of ful- 
ness, as the word signifies, those that met in the 
Guild-hall ; (we read often of the house of Millo, 
or state-house in Jerusalem, or the city of David, 2 
Sam. 5. 9. 2 Kings 12. 20. ) these gathered together, 
not to prosecute and punish Abimelech for this bar- 
barous murder, as they ouglit to have done, he be- 
ing one of their citizens, but to make him king. 
Pretium sceleris lulit hie diadema — His wickedness 
was revjarded with a diadem. What could they 
promise themselves from a king that laid the 
foundation of his kingdom in blood? (2.) The rest 
of the Israelites were so \ery sottish as to sit by un- 
concerned; they took no care to give check to this 
usurpation, to protect the sons of Gideon, or to 
avenge their death, but tamely submitted to the 
bloody tyrant, as men, who with their rel'gion had 
lost their reason, and all sense of honour and liberty, 
justice and gratitude. How vigorously had their 
fathers appeared to avenge the death of the Le- 
vite's concubine, and yet so wretchedly degenerate 
are they now, as not to attempt the avenging of the 
death of Gideon's sons; it is for this that they are 
charged with ingratitude; (cA. 8. 35. ) .Yeither show- 
ed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal. 

7. And when they told it to Jotham, he 
went and stood in the top of mount Geri- 
zim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and 
said unto them. Hearken unto me, ye men 
of Shechem, that God may hearken unto 
you. 8. The trees went forth on a lime to 
anoint a king over them : and they said 
unto the olive-tree. Reign thou over us. 9. 
But the olive-tree said unto them, Should I 
leave my fatness, wherewith by me they 

honoiu- God and man, and go to be pro- 
moted over the trees? 10. And the trees 
said to the fig-tree, Come thou, and reign 
over us. 11. But the fig-tree said unto 
them. Should I forsake my sweetness, and 
my good fruit, and go to be promoted over 
the trees? 12. Then said the trees unto 
the vine. Come thou, and reign over us. 
I 3. And the vine said unto them, Should 1 
leave my wine, which cheereth God and 
man, and go to be promoted over the trees ? 
14. Then said all the trees unto the bram- 
ble. Come thou, and reign over us. 15 
And the bramble said unto the trees, If in 
truth ye anoint me king over you, then 
come and put your trust in my shadow ; 
and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, 
and devour the cedars of Lebanon. 16. 
Now therefore, if ye have done truly and 
sincerely in that ye have made Abimelech 
king, and if ye have dealt well with Jerub- 
baal and his house, and have done unto 
him according to the deserving of his hands ; 
1 7. (For my father fought for you, and ad- 
ventured his life far, and delivered you out 
of the hand of Midian ; 1 8. And ye are 
risen up against my father's house this day, 
and have slain his sons, threescore and ten 
persons, upon one stone, and have made 
AbimelcH'h, the son of his maid-servant, king 
over the men of Shechem, because he is 
your brother :) 19. If ye have then dealt 
truly and sincerely with Jerubbaal and 
with his house this day, then rejoice ye in 
Abimelecl],and let him also rejoice in you ; 
20. But if not, let fire come out from Abim- 
elech, and devour the men of Shechem, 
and the house of Millo ; and let fire come 
out from the men of Shechem, and from the 
house of Millo, and devour Abimelech. 21. 
And Jotham ran away, and fled,