« הקודםהמשך »
from whom these Gibeonites descended, for they were servants of servants to their brethren * they were obliged to deliver up their cities, and, it is supposed, they were afterwards dispersed among the Levites, and came up with them in their course to serve at the altar, out of the profits of which they had their maintenance.
As the Gibeonites hud obtained the league by fraudulent practices, there was a pretence for the Israelites concealing it, and putting them to death; but we find they would not break their oath. Their conduct in this respect is very exemplary: for every person ought to be extremely cautious how he enters into solemn engagements; but when once made, they should be •trictly observed; nay, even if we give our promise on our own word, without .calling God to witness, nothing should provoke ut to break it, for other people's «n i* Bo excuse for our own,
THE SUN STANDETH STJLL AT JOSHUA^ COMMANB.
From Joshua, Chap, x.
Now it came to pass, when Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem had heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it; as he .had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king; and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them; that they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was a greater than Ai, and all the men thereof were mighty.
* See Section ^i. vol. i.
Wherefore Adonj-zedek king of Jerusalem sent unto Hoham king of Hebron, and unto Piram king of Jarmuth, and unto Japhia king of Lachish, and unto Debtr king of Eglon, saying, Come up unto me, and help me, that we may smite Gibeon; for it hath made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel.
Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered themselves together, and went up, they and all their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon,. and made war against it.
And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua to the camp: to Gilgal, saying, Slack not thy hand from thy servants; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help. us: for all the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the mountains are gathered together against us. So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with, him, and all the mighty men of valour.
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.
Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly, and. .went up from Gilgal all night.
And the Load discomfited them before Israel, ani' 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 Makkedahr.
'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:. they were more which died with hail stones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.
Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thoa still upon Gibeon: and thou Moon in the valley of Ajalon.
And the Sun stood still, and the Moon stayed, until the.people had avenged themselves upon their enemies: is not this written in the book of Jasher? so the sun Stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.
And there was no day like that, before it or after it that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man : for the Loud fought for Israel.
. And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to. GilgaI.
But these five kings fled, and hid themselves in a .cave, at Makkedah. -. ,.
/ And it was told Joshua, saying, The five kings are found hid in a cave at Makkedah.
- And Joshua said, Roll great stones upon the mouth, of the cave, and set men by it for to keep them.
And stay ye 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.. , .
And it came to pass when Joshua and the children cf Israel, had made an end of slaying them with a very great slaughter till they were consumed, that the rest which remained of them entered into the fenced cities.
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.
Then said Joshua, Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings unto me out of the cave.
And they did so, and brought forth those five kings onto him out of the cave, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon..
And it came to pass when they had brought out those five 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 Dear, and put their feet upon the necks of them.
And Joshua said unto them, Fear not,, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage; for thus shall the Lord do to all your enemies against whom ye fight.
And afterwards Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five trees; and they were hanging upon the trees until the ewniiig,
And it came to pass at the time of the going down, of the sun, that Joshua commanded, and they took them down offthe 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.
So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and. all their kings: he left none remaining, but. utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded..
And Joshua smote them, from Kadeshbarnea even unto Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon.
And all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time: because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel.'
And Joshua returned, and all Israel with bam., unto> the camp at Gilgal.
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.
The storm of hail stones whieh destroyed such number's of the enemy, seems to have been like that which killed the multitude of the Egyptians when Pharaoh refused to let Israel depart: but the miracle which followed, was such as had never been known before. y
As Joshua and the Israelites had so many enemies to encounter at once, and the Lord had commanded that they should be put to the sword, the natural day would have been too short for the completion of their work. Animated by Divine assistance, and desirous to save their new proselytes, these valiant men were eager to pursue the victory, and night' would have been an interruption to their success; no wopder therefore, that Joshua should form a wish that the day might be lengthened; or that he should pray to God to work a miracle, for the important purpose of destroying a combined» army of presumptuous idolators; who, favoured by the darkness of the night, might have made their escape, or overcome the Gibeonites. Joshua's words, i• Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou moon in the valley of J jalon," seem to contradict what is now known concerning the motion of the earth: but the knowledge of astronomy can only be acquired by study, and in all ages the common people have been ignorant of it, and feeling no motion of the earth, but observing an apparent one of the sun, they have generally supposed that it actually makes a daily rotation round the w orld, and so produces alternate light and darkness. The Israel, ites, in the midst of war, had but little leisure for the cultivation of the sciences; had Joshua theretore said, " Stand stiH, O earth," the people would have thought him mad, as numbers would now suppose any