Joshua 11:3 MEANING

Joshua 11:3
(3) The land of Mizpeh is thought to be the plain El-Bukei'a, west of Hermon.

Verse 3. - To the Canaanite (see note on Joshua 3:10). This confederacy was yet more formidable than the other (ver. 5), but was as signally defeated by Joshua's promptitude (see ver. 7). We are reminded of the swift march of our own Harold, and its results at Stamford Bridge; with this difference, however, that the enemy, instead of being engaged in triumphant festivity, was preparing for an expedition against a much dreaded enemy, who was believed to be far off. Napoleon had nearly achieved a similar surprise at Quatre Bras and Ligny. The Jebusite in the mountains. Jerusalem was not yet taken. From the neighbourhood of that as yet unconquered city, and probably from itself, Jabin drew his auxiliaries, while Joshua was as yet fully occupied in the south. Hermon in the land of Mizpeh. Mizpeh, or Ham-mizpah, as it is usually called (save in ver. 8; Judges 11:29; 1 Samuel 22:3; Hosea 5:1), i.e., the watch-tower, was a common name among the Israelites. There was one in Judah (Joshua 15:38), in Benjamin (Joshua 18:26), in Gilead (Judges 11:29; cf. Genesis 31:49; Joshua 13:26), and in Moab (1 Samuel 22:3). Ritter (ii. 353) mentions the large number of watch towers, of which the ruins may still he traced, along the line of the great watershed of Judea. This one was probably far to the north, on the northwestern side of Hermon, commading a view of the plain of Coele Syria, which extended from southwest to northeast between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon. This vast plain is still known as the Bukei'a (see note on Joshua 5:8), though Robinson denies that this Bukei'a is meant, because the Bukei'a properly so called was not under Hermon. This makes it possible that Mizpeh might have been on the south. eastern side of Hermon, where also an extensive view might be had. Ritter, however, says it can be no other than "the great plain which extends north of Lake Huleh, from its narrow western margin to Banias, that is, the plain south and southwest of Hermon. Some have supposed the meaning of Mizpeh to be equivalent to Belle Vue in modern days. But the meaning "watchtower" suggests ideas more in keeping with those rude times, in which our modern appreciation of scenery was a rare quality. It was not the beauty of the view which was valued, but its extent, as giving timely notice of the approach of an enemy. Mount Hermon has already been mentioned in the note on Joshua 1:4. Some further particulars may here be added. We find in Deuteronomy 3:9 that the Amorites call the mountain Shenir, and the Sidonians Sirion. It is very remarkable, and bears on the authorship of the Song of Solomon, that the Amorite name Shenir is given to Hermon in Song of Solomon 4:8. Was the song addressed to a Hittite wife, or had Solomon an Amorite one? In Deuteronomy 4:48 Hermon is called Sion. With the former of these passages we may compare Psalm 29:6. But we must not confound (as even a writer so well informed as Bitter does) the Zion, or Tzion (sunny mount), of Psalm 133, where Hermon is mentioned, with the Sion, or "lofty mountain" (spelt with Sin, not Tzade), in Deuteronomy 4:48. Vandevelde asks why the mountain is called by so many names, and replies that it is because "it is a cluster of mountains many days' journey in circumference." A much better reason is suggested by the fact mentioned in our former note - that, as the highest ground in Palestine, it was visible from every part of it. The name Sirion, or the coat of mail, was no doubt given from its glittering, surface. It is to be feared that the reason given above for the Sidonian name diminishes the probability of the remarkable argument in Blunt's 'Coincidences,' part 2:2, derived from the Sidonian settlement (Judges 18.) at the foot of Hermon.

11:1-9 The wonders God wrought for the Israelites were to encourage them to act vigorously themselves. Thus the war against Satan's kingdom, carried on by preaching the gospel, was at first forwarded by miracles; but being fully proved to be of God, we are now left to the Divine grace in the usual course, in the use of the sword of the Spirit. God encouraged Joshua. Fresh dangers and difficulties make it necessary to seek fresh supports from the word of God, which we have nigh unto us for use in every time of need. God proportions our trials to our strength, and our strength to our trials. Joshua's obedience in destroying the horses and chariots, shows his self-denial in compliance with God's command. The possession of things on which the carnal heart is prone to depend, is hurtful to the life of faith, and the walk with God; therefore it is better to be without worldly advantages, than to have the soul endangered by them.And to the Canaanites on the east and on the west,.... That is, that particular nation of the seven so called, part of which dwelt in the eastern part of the land, by the dead sea, and by the coast of Jordan, Numbers 13:29; and others dwelt on the coast of the Mediterranean sea, which was to the west of the land:

and to the Amorite, and to the Hittite, and to the Perizzite: which were scattered about in several parts of the country:

and the Jebusite in the mountains; in the mountainous part of Judea, in the mountains about Jerusalem, and which they still inhabited, and did to the times of David:

and to the Hivite under Hermon, in the land of Mizpeh, so described to distinguish them from the Gibeonites, who were also Hivites. Mizpeh is the place, as Kimchi thinks, where the people of Israel are often said to meet together; which he supposes they did, on account of the great salvation wrought here in Joshua's time. Hermon was a mountain that adjoined to Lebanon, where it is certain some of the Hivites dwelt, Judges 3:3.

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