Joshua 11:13 MEANING

Joshua 11:13
(13) The cities that stood still in their strength.--Literally, that stood on their mounds ("quaeerant in collibus et in tumulis sitae."--Vulg.). Comp. Joshua 11:20. We may fairly suppose that Jericho and Ai committed themselves to hostile measures against Israel, though they were not able to send forth armies against Joshua before they were attacked. Those who "stood still in their strength" are those who remained absolutely neutral in the war. "The men of Jericho fought against you" (Joshua 24:11).

Verse 13. - The cities that stood still in their strength. This is the rendering of the Chaldee version. The LXX. has κεχωματισμένας, heaped up, i.e., defended with mounds. Rather, on their hill ("in collibus et in tumulis sitae," Vulg.). As many of the towns in Italy, and the castles in Germany in the middle ages, so these Phoenician cities were placed upon hills, that they might be more easily defended. The various tribes of Palestine were no doubt continually at war, and, as regards these northern tribes at least, were not accustomed to subsist by commerce. Therefore each of these cities stood (the Hebrew עמד surely implies situation here) on its own hill, a detail possibly obtained from an eyewitness, who was probably struck by this feature of the district, a feature he had not observed before. The expression is used, however, as Masius observes, by Jeremiah (Joshua 30:18). Knobel observes that all the early versions have no suffix here. What he calls the "free translation," however, of the LXX. (which has αὐτῶν) requires the suffix, though the Vulgate requires none. We must not adopt the very plausible explanation of Knobel and others that Joshua burnt the cities in the valleys, but spared the cities on the hills, because they could be more easily defended (see Joshua 17:16; Judges 1:19, 34), since we read that Hazor alone was burnt. The word here translated hill (Tell, Arabic) is one with which we are familiar in the modern name of places in Palestine (see note on Joshua 8:28).

11:10-14 The Canaanites filled up the measure of their iniquity, and were, as a judgment, left to the pride, obstinacy, and enmity of their hearts, and to the power of Satan; all restraints being withdrawn, while the dispensations of Providence tended to drive them to despair. They brought on themselves the vengeance they justly merited, of which the Israelites were to be executioners, by the command the Lord gave to Moses.But as for the cities that stood still in their strength,.... Whose walls were not demolished when taken, as Kimchi and Jarchi interpret it, or that "stood upon their heaps" (y); upon an eminence, being built on hills and mountains:

Israel burned none of them; but reserved them for their own habitations, being well fortified, and having no need of new walls being built to them, or being in a very agreeable situation:

save Hazor only, that did Joshua burn; because it was the chief city where the scheme was formed, and the combination against Israel was made, and was the rendezvous of the confederate forces against them: the Jews have a tradition (z), that God said to Moses, and Moses said to Joshua, that he should burn it, and that only.

(y) "super tumulum eorum", Montanus; "quae erant in collibus et in tamulis sitae", V. L. (z) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 81. fol. 71. 1.

Courtesy of Open Bible