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Joshua 11:16-23

16. So Joshua took all that land, the hills, and all the south country, and all the land of Goshen, and the valley, and the plain, and the mountain of Israel, and the valley of the same;

16. Et cepit Josue omnem terram istam montanam, et omnem australem, omnemque Gosen et planitiem atque campestria, montem quoque Israel et planitiem ejus.

17. Even from the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir, even unto Baalgad in the valley of Lebanon under mount Hermon: and all their kings he took, and smote them, and slew them.

17. A monte Laevi qui assurgit versus Seir usque ad Baalgad in campo Libani sub monte Hermon: omnes quoque reges eorum cepit, et percussit eos et interfecit.

18. Joshua made war a long time with all those kings.

18. Diebus multis gessit Josue cum omnibus regibus istis bellum.

19. There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save the Hivites the inhabitants of Gibeon: all other they took in battle.

19. Non fuit urbs quae pacem fecerit cum filiis Israel praeter Hivaeos habitatores Gibeon: omnes coeperunt praelio.

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 favor, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.

20. Quia a Jehova fuit, ut induraretcor eorum in occursum belli cum Israel: ut deleret eos, nec restaret illis misericordia: sed ut disperderet eos, sicut praeceperat Jehova Mosi.

21. And at that time came Joshua, 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: Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities.

21. Venit autem Josue tempore illo, et excidit Anakim e montanis: ex Hebron, ex Debir, ex Anab, et ex omni monte Jehuda, et ex omni monte Israel: una cum urbibus eorum delevit eos Josue.

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 remained.

22. Non remansit ex Anakim in terra filiorum Israel: tantum in Gad et in Asdod residui fuerunt.

23. So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.

23. Accepit itaque Josue totam terram prorsus ut dixerat Jehova Mosi, et tradidit eam in haereditatem Israeli secundum divisiones eorum per tribus suas: et terra quievit a bello.


16. So Joshua took all that land, etc In the uninterrupted series of victories, when the land, of its own accord, spewed out its old inhabitants, to give free possession to the Israelites, it was visibly manifest, as is said in the Psalm, (Psalm 44:3)

“They got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them; but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou had a favor unto them.”

The design of enumerating the places and districts is to let us know that the work which God had begun he continued to carry on without interruption. But it is a mistake to suppose: as some do, that by the name Israel a certain mountain is meant. For it will be plain, from the end of the chapter, (Joshua 11:21) that the term is applied indiscriminately to the mountainous part of Israel and Judah. There is therefore an enlarge in the enumeration, because the mountains of the ten tribes are tacitly compared with the mountains of Judah. Accordingly, an antithesis is to be understood. In the other mountain (Joshua 11:17) the surname is ambiguous. Some understand it to mean division, as if it had been cut in two; 115115     Latin, “Dissectus.” French, “Couppee ou fendue;” “Cut, or cleft.” — Ed. others to mean smooth, as it was destitute of trees, just as a head is rendered smooth by baldness. As the point is uncertain, and of little importance, the reader is at liberty to make his choice.

18. Joshua made war a long time, etc Before, he had, in a short time, and, as it were, with the swiftness of running, seized possession of five kingdoms; in the others the case was different, not from hesitation, or weariness, or sloth, but because the Lord exercised his people variously, that he might give a brighter display of his manifold grace, which usually loses its value in our eyes, if it is exhibited only in one and the same way. Therefore, as the divine power had formerly been signally manifested by incredible facility of accomplishment, when the enemy were routed in an instant, so a lingering warfare now furnished numerous proofs of heavenly aid. 116116     According to Josephus, (Antiquit., 5:2,) the time which Joshua spent in his wars was five years; others make it seven, and justify their estimate by the following calculation: — In Joshua 14:7-10, Caleb says that he was forty years old when he was sent from Kadesh-Barnea to spy out the land, and that since then to the present time (apparently that when the wars had just terminated) forty-five years had elapsed. Of these forty-five years, thirty-eight were spent in the desert, and consequently the remaining seven constitute the whole period which had elapsed from the passage of the Jordan up to the time when Caleb made his statement. — Ed. Nor did this happen suddenly and unexpectedly; for God had foretold by Moses that so it would be, lest, if the land were at once converted into a desert, the wild beasts might gain the ascendancy. (Deuteronomy 7:22) In short, we here perceive, as in a mirror, that whatever the Lord had promised by Moses was accomplished in reality, and by no dubious event. But while we recognize the certainty of the promises of God, we ought also to meditate on the favor confirmed towards his chosen people, in that he acted as the provident head of a family, not neglecting or omitting anything which tended to their advantage.

19. There was not a city that made peace, etc This sentence appears, at first sight, contradictory to what is everywhere said in the books of Moses, that the Israelites were not to enter into any league with those nations, or make any terms of peace with them, but, on the contrary, to destroy them utterly, and wipe out their race and name. (Exodus 23:32; Deuteronomy 7:2) 117117     The Septuagint, as if influenced by considerations similar to those here mentioned, has evaded the apparent inconsistency, by rendering the 19th verse (Joshua 11:19) as follows, “And there was not a city which Israel did not take: they took all in war.” There is a various reading, however, which correspond almost verbatim with the common rendering. — Ed. Seeing the nations were thus excluded from the means of making any paction, and would in vain have made any proposals for peace, it seems absurd to ascribe the destruction, which they had not even the means of deprecating, to their obstinacy.

For, let us suppose that they had sent ambassadors before them with olive branches in their hands, and had been intent on pacific measures, Joshua would at once have answered that he could not lawfully enter into any negotiation, as the Lord had forbidden it. Wherefore, had they made a hundred attempts to avoid war, they must, nevertheless, have perished. Why, then, are they blamed for not having sought peace, as if they had not been driven by necessity to right, after they saw they had to do with an implacable people? But if it was not free to them to act otherwise, it is unjust to lay any blame upon them when they acted under compulsion in opposing the fury of their enemy.

To this objection, I answer, that the Israelites, though they were forbidden to show them any mercy, were met in a hostile manner, in order that the war might be just. And it was wonderfully arranged by the secret providence of God, that, being doomed to destruction, they should voluntarily offer themselves to it, and by provoking the Israelites be the cause of their own ruin. The Lord, therefore, besides ordering that pardon should be denied them, also incited them to blind fury, that no room might be left for mercy. And it behooved the people not to be too wise or prying in this matter. For while the Lord, on the one hand, interdicted them from entering into any covenant, and, on the other, was unwilling that they should take hostile measures without being provoked, a too anxious discussion of the procedure might have greatly unsettled their minds. Hence the only way of freeing themselves from perplexity was to lay their care on the bosom of God. And he in his incomprehensible wisdom provided that when the time for action arrived, his people should not be impeded in their course by any obstacle. Thus the kings beyond the Jordan, as they had been the first to take up arms, justly suffered the punishment of their temerity. For the Israelites did not assail them with hostile arms until they had been provoked. In the same way, also, the citizens of Jericho, by having shut their gates, were the first to declare war. The case is the same with the others, who, by their obstinacy, furnished the Israelites with a ground for prosecuting the war.

It now appears how perfectly consistent the two things are. The Lord commanded Moses to destroy the nations whom he had doomed to destruction; and he accordingly opened a way for his own decree when he hardened the reprobate. In the first place, then, stands the will of God, which must be regarded as the principal cause. For seeing their iniquity had reached its height, he determined to destroy them. This was the origin of the command given to Moses, a command, however, which would have failed of its effect had not the chosen people been armed to execute the divine judgment, by the perverseness and obstinacy of those who were to be destroyed. God hardens them for this very end, that they may shut themselves out from mercy. 118118     French, “Dieu les endurcit, afin qu’ils se monstrent indigne de toute pitie et compassion qu’on eust peu avoir d’eux;” “God hardens them in order that they may show themselves unworthy of all pity and compassion which might have been felt for them.” — Ed. Hence that hardness is called his work, because it secures the accomplishment of his design. Should any attempt be made to darken so clear a matter by those who imagine that God only looks down from heaven to see what men will be pleased to do, and who cannot bear to think that the hearts of men are curbed by his secret agency, what else do they display than their own presumption? They only allow God a permissive power, and in this way make his counsel dependent on the pleasure of men. But what says the Spirit? That the hardening is from God, who thus precipitates those whom he means to destroy.

21. And at that time came Joshua, etc Of the sons of Anak we have spoken elsewhere. They were a race of giants, with the account of whose mighty stature the spies so terrified the people, that they refused to proceed into the land of Canaan. Therefore, seeing they were objects of so much dread, it was of importance that they should be put out of the way, and the people made more alert by their good hopes of success. It would have been exceedingly injurious 119119     Latin, “Perquam noxium.” French, “Fort dangereuse;” “Very dangerous.” — Ed. to keep objects which filled them with alarm and anxiety always present before their minds, inasmuch as fear obscured the glory ascribed to God for former victories, and overthrew their faith, while they reflected that the most difficult of all their contests still awaited them. Therefore, not without cause is it mentioned among the other instances of divine aid, that by purging the land of such monsters, it was rendered a fit habitation for the people. The less credible it seemed that they could be warred against with success, the more illustriously was the divine power displayed.

23. So Joshua took the whole land, 120120     The Latin text of the 23rd verse, (Joshua 11:23), beginning thus, “Accepit itaque Josue totam terram prorsus ut dixerat Jehova Mosi;” “Joshua, therefore received the whole land entirely, as the Lord had said to Moses,” removes the apparent inaccuracy, but it is only by a sacrifice of the literal meaning, which is perfectly rendered by the English version. “So (And) Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord said unto Moses.” This is certainly superior to the Latin, which endeavors to obtain by a gloss that which the English equally well obtains by a literal rendering. In the commentary, the words of the 23rd verse, (Joshua 11:23), as quoted, are, Et cepit Josue. This makes it not improbable that the Accepit of the text is only a misprint of Et cepitEd. etc Although it was far from being true that Joshua had actually acquired the whole land, yet he is truly said to have obtained it as God had declared to Moses, the latter clause restricting the meaning of the general sentence. For it had been expressly added that the conquest which God had promised would be made gradually, lest it should afterwards become necessary to war with the ferocious wild beasts of the woods, if they pressed forward into a desert waste. Therefore, we are at liberty to say, that though the Lord had not yet placed his people in possession of the promised land, yet he had virtually performed what he had agreed to do, inasmuch as he gave a commodious habitation, and one which was sufficient for the present time. And the words used imply that other district, which had not yet come into their full and actual possession, are included; for it is said that that which they had acquired was distributed according to families. And, in short, we afterwards see in the division that the lands were divided into lots which were not actually subdued by the people till Joshua was dead, nay, till many ages after. 121121     French, “Or en la division nous verrons puis apres, que les regions qui furent assujetties a l’empire de peuple apres la mort de Josue, voire plusieurs siecles depuis, furent mises en sort pour voir a qui elles escherroyent;” “Now, in the division, we shall afterwards see that the countries which are subjected to the dominion of the people after the death of Joshua, nay, several ages after, were put into the lot, in order to see to whom they should fall.” The meaning of the words, which is now plain, is simply this, that while Joshua was still alive, a certain specimen of the promise was exhibited, making him feel perfectly secure in dividing the land by lot. 122122     Latin, “Exhibitum fuisse certum specimen promissionis ut secure licuerit terram sorte dividere.” French, “La promesse fut tellement ratifice, et si bien eprouvee par effect, qu’il leur fut loisible de diviser la terre par sort;” “The promise was so far ratified and proved by fact, that they were able to leisure to divide the land by lot.” — Ed.

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