Joshua 10:40 MEANING

Joshua 10:40
(40) Of the hills--i.e., the mountains of Judah and Ephraim.

The south--i.e., the Negeb.

The vale--i.e., Shephelah, the plain of the coast, but not apparently including the Philistine territory, which was not conquered by Joshua.

The springs--or ?shdoth. Some render it the slopes or declivities, the country between the high hills and the low plain of the coast.

Verse 40. - So Joshua smote. We have now before us the defined locale of Joshua's operations. He smote "the hills," or rather the "hill country," a tract of country extending from Jerusalem southward. This limestone range formed the watershed between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. The south, now often spoken of by travellers by its Hebrew name of Negeb, was, as the name signifies, an almost waste district of limestone hills (cf. the Mount Halak, or smooth mountain, of Joshua 11:19). It was once more fertile than it is at present, but could never have been a very fruitful region. As Knobel says, it is midway between waste and fertile land. It possesses grass and herbs and flowers, especially in the rainy season, and is thus suitable for pasture. But there are many tracts of sand and heath, and it is not watered by brooks, characteristics it has in common with the wilderness. It was also hilly, though not so precipitous as the mountain district. Tristram ('Land of Israel,' pp. 365, 366) describes some of the mountains as rising gradually to a height of 3,200 feet. Bartlett, however, who devoted more time to the south country, describes it as treeless, but fertile as a corn producing country, and as very distinct in its physical features from the desert, or what is known as the "Wilderness of Judaea" ('From Egypt to Palestine,' ch. 17, 18.). The best description of this region is found, however, in 'Scripture Lands,' by the late Rev. G. S. Drew. He says (p. 6), "For a few weeks late in spring time a smiling aspect is thrown over the broad downs, when the ground is reddened by the anemone in contrast with the soft white of the daisy and the deep yellow of the tulip and marigold. But this flush of beauty soon passes, and the permanent aspect of the country is not wild indeed, or hideous, or frightfully desolate, but, as we may say, austerely plain; a tame, unpleasing aspect, not causing absolute discomfort while one is in it, but left without one lingering reminiscence of anything lovely, awful, or sublime." The rocks are occasionally rendered fertile by the system of terrace cultivation, more common, as almost every traveller since Maundrell has remarked, in former times than now. That keen observer remarks, that if any one were to object that Palestine could not have maintained the vast population stated in Scripture to have inhabited it, he would be confuted by the fact that the most cursory observation shows that "the very rocks were made fruitful," perhaps even to a greater extent than plains could be, "by this method." The "vale," or Shephelah (see note on Joshua 9:1), was a low strip of coast extending from the foot of Carmel to near Gaza. The אֲשֵׁדות, or "springs, as it is translated in our version (better, "watercourses," or "slopes," as Knobel),was a fertile country, intersected by ravines and brooks, situated between the mountains and the sea. The word only occurs in the Pentateuch and Joshua (a fact to be noted in forming an opinion on the genuineness of these books). See Numbers 21:15 (where it is translated stream in our version; Deuteronomy 3:17; Deuteronomy 4:49. The root, signifying pouring forth, is found in Chaldee and Syriac. The LXX. renders this, as well as "the south," strange to say, as a proper name. See note on Joshua 15:19. The Vulgate follows its example in the former case, but not in the latter. The Syriac also renders as a proper name. Utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded. See for the word translated "utterly destroyed," Joshua 6:17. These words are a quotation from Deuteronomy 20:16, 17. It seems impossible to evade one of the alternatives, either that Deuteronomy was written before the events recorded in the book of Joshua, or that we have no historical evidence that Joshua did "utterly destroy all that breathed." The hypothesis that the Divine sanction for such a war of extermination was invented centuries after the Israelites had come to terms with the inhabitants and were daily utterly violating its spirit, and that they then readily allowed themselves to believe it to be of Divine origin, will scarcely bear examination. The attitude of the people toward Gentiles after their captivity is only to be explained by the hypothesis that it was the result of a belief that their misfortunes were due to a law which they had previously received and neglected to obey. Calvin observes how thoroughly these passages bear witness to the fact that the Israelites felt themselves to be the ministers of a Divine purpose in this slaughter. Origen (Hom. 15 on Joshua) says that the Apostles gave order that the Scriptures of the Old Testament were to be read in church, which, he adds, "they would not have done had not these carnal wars prefigured the spiritual warfare which we have to carry on against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.'" Gaza. Hebrew Azzah (or strong), as in 1 Kings 4:24. Joshua's conquests extended to, but did not comprise, Gaza (Joshua 11:22; Joshua 13:2, 3). It was to have been the uttermost limit of the Israelitish territory (see Genesis 10:19). It actually was so in the days of Solomon (1 Kings 4:24). But until then the Israelites had not been able to subdue it, though (Joshua 15:45-47) the whole land of the Philistines was assigned to Judah. What results this failure produced upon the after history of Israel we read in the Books of Judges and Samuel. Not till the reign of David was the Philistine power entirely broken. And Gaza played a very important part in the Philistine confederation. See Judges 16:1-4, 21 -23; 1 Samuel 6:16, 17. Gaza has retained its importance even to the present day. Its situation near the sea, and, still more, its position upon the high road from Palestine to Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to Arabia Petraea, have secured it this permanence. When Robinson visited it its population was between fifteen and sixteen thousand - larger even than that of Jerusalem. And it seems to have largely increased in population since the beginning of the century. Goshen. Γοσομ LXX. Not, of course, identical with the land of Goshen in Egypt, but inasmuch as it lay to the southeast of Palestine, in the direction of their former habitation, it may possibly have been so named in memory of that sojourn. A city of that name is mentioned in the mountains of Judah, together with Debir (Joshua 15:51). It clearly (Joshua 11:16) refers to a large district in the southeast, but its precise locality is not known. Even unto Gibeon. The conquests of Israel did not extend further in the northwest than Gibeon, from whence Joshua had set out on his triumphant campaign.

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?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,.... That part of the land of Canaan which lay southward, and consisted of hills and vales; which abounded with springs, and was a well watered country, and agrees with the description Moses gives of it, though he never saw it, Deuteronomy 8:7,

he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed; that is, all human creatures; for as for the cattle, they were spared as a prey:

as the Lord God of Israel commanded; this law is extant, Deuteronomy 20:16; and which is here observed to clear the Israelites from the charge of cruelty and inhumanity; since what they did was not of themselves, nor from a private spirit of revenge, nor a greedy desire after the substance of the inhabitants; but in obedience to the command of God, and who ordered this as a righteous punishment of those people for their gross abominations of idolatry, incest, &c. see Leviticus 18:1.

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