Joshua 10:38 MEANING

Joshua 10:38
(38) Debir is not identified.

Verse 38. - And Joshua returned. Rather, Joshua turned. Debir was not on the way back from Hebron to Eglon, but in a different direction. His march was now southward instead of eastward. Debir. A city of importance, since only Hebron and it are mentioned in the history of the campaign as having cities dependent on them. It is also called Kirjath-Sepher (Joshua 15:15; Judges 1:11), and Kirjath-Sannah (Joshua 15:49). The first name signifies "the city of the hook," from whence it has been argued that it was the seat of what we should now call an university. Recent discoveries have rendered this supposition by no means improbable. The Hittite remains have proved that people to have been a more influential and intellectual people in early times than had ever been supposed until lately. Others have suggested that it was the abode of an oracle, which is rendered probable if Debir be connected with דָבָר word. The meaning of Kirjath-Sannah is by no means clear. Some have derived it from the Arabic "sunna," law, or doctrine (whence the Sunnite sect among the Mohammedans), and some from סַנָּה or סֶנֶה, a palm branch, or more probably a thornbush. Ritter thinks that both Kirjath-Sepher and Kirjath-Sannah imply the place where the public records were kept. Perhaps what is meant is that, like Mona or Anglesea to the Druids, Debir was the home of the Canaanitish religious traditions. Debir appears as Dapur in the list of fortified cities in Canaan captured by Seti I. and Rameses II. of Egypt. They are depicted on the monumental records. See Tomkins, 'Studies of the Time of Abraham,' p. 84. Debir has lately been identified by the Palestine Survey. Lieut. Conder ('Quarterly Paper,' Jan., 1875, p. 48) fixes it at El Dho-heriyeh or Dhaheriyeh. The identification depends upon the passages Joshua 15:19, and Judges 1:15. See note on the former. The grounds of the identification are as follows:

1. Debir (see last note) was southward of Hebron.

2. The circumstances require an arid locality, but within a moderate distance two sets of springs, or pools of water.

3. There must be signs of ancient dwellings, and, as Debir was a royal city, it must be the converging point of the various roads. All these conditions are fulfilled by El Dhaheriyeh. The rock excavations, the sign of the most ancient dwellings, are plentiful there; ancient roads are found converging in all directions. And six miles and a half north of the village fourteen springs, or pools, are found, some at the head of the valley, some lower down, and some at a lower level still. The distance of these from Debit is in exact accordance with the narrative. They are too far off to be included as a matter of course within the boundaries of Debit, and would naturally enough become the object of such a petition as Achsah is said to have preferred in the passage above cited. Wilson's 'Lands of the Bible,' 1:351, speaks of the excavations here, but does not appear to have been aware of their antiquity. He describes the inhabitants as living in them. But he remarks - and it is a singular confirmation of Lieut. Conder's subsequent discovery - that the sites of five out of the ten cities mentioned in conjunction with Debir in Joshua 15:48-51, are to be found in the immediate neighbourhood of Dhaheriyeh (ibid. p. 353). From this passage and some others, however, Knobel has anticipated Lieut. Conder's suggestion. He describes Thaharijeh, as he calls it, as on the high road from Gaza, with ruins of great antiquity, situated in the midst of a country which, though barren in appearance and destitute of trees and arable land, is yet rich in pasture. But he says nothing of the springs, the only thing wanting to make the evidence complete. Ritter's description of the place as the "first place of importance" on arriving in Palestine from the south, and as the meeting place of the roads from Beersheba, from Gaza and Egypt, and from Petra and Sinai, confirm Lieut. Conder's view, but Bitter does not seem to have identified it with Debir, though he regards it as "one of a series of fortresses designed to protect the southern frontier of Judaea" (3:193, 288). It became a Levitical city (Joshua 21:15; 1 Chronicles 6:58).

10:28-43 Joshua made speed in taking these cities. See what a great deal of work may be done in a little time, if we will be diligent, and improve our opportunities. God here showed his hatred of the idolatries and other abominations of which the Canaanites had been guilty, and shows us how great the provocation was, by the greatness of the destruction brought upon them. Here also was typified the destruction of all the enemies of the Lord Jesus, who, having slighted the riches of his grace, must for ever feel the weight of his wrath. The Lord fought for Israel. They could not have gotten the victory, if God had not undertaken the battle. We conquer when God fights for us; if he be for us, who can be against us?And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir,.... A city, according to Kimchi, which he passed by when he went to Hebron, and did not fight against it; but, when he had taken Hebron, returned and took it; and which Bunting (h) says was but a mile from it, and twenty two miles from Jerusalem, towards the south; it is the same with Kirjathsepher and Kirjathsannah, Joshua 15:15; the city of a book or books; and the Rabbins say (i), that with the Persians Debir signifies the same, and had its name from a library which was here kept, or from the archives in which the most memorable things since the flood were recorded; or from the making of paper or parchment, or whatsoever was made use of for writing, and of which volumes of books were made:

and fought against it; it refusing to submit to him upon his summons.

(h) Travels of the Patriarchs, &c. p. 96. (i) T. Bab. Avodah Zarah, fol. 24. 2.

Courtesy of Open Bible