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THE BOOK

JOSHU A.

CHAPTER I.

1 The Lord appointeth Joshua to succeed Moses. 3 The borders of the promised land. 5, 9 God promiseth to assist Joshua. 8 He giveth him instructions. 10 He prepareth the people to pass over Jordan. 12 Joshua putteth the two tribes and half in mind of their promise to Moses. 16 They promise him fealty.

OF

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Deut. 11. 24. Chap. 14. 9.

1 Deut. 1. 38. 3 Heb. 13. 5. 6 Deut, 5. 32, and 28. 14. 7 Or, do wisely.

commanded thee: "turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.

8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

10 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying,

11 Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God giveth you to possess it.

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12 And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua, saying,

13 Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, The LORD your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.

14 Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren "armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them;

15 Until the LORD have given your brethren rest, as he hath given you, and they also have possessed the land which the LORD your God giveth them: then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses the LORD's servant gave you on this side Jordan toward the sunrising.

16¶ And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go. 17 According as we hearkened unto Moses

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in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: thy commandment, and will not hearken unto only the LORD thy God be with thee, as he thy words in all that thou commandest him, was with Moses.

he shall be put to death: only be strong 18 Whosoever he be that doth rebel against and of a good courage.

Joshua.—This is the first book called after the name of an individual. Of the books thus distinguished, some bear the names of their authors—as all the books of Prophecy; and others, those of persons who act a conspicuous part in the transactions which the books record—as Ruth, Job, and others. The present book might well be called “The Book of Joshua,” on the latter ground, as it exclusively relates to the proceedings of that great leader, in fulfilment of the high commission which was entrusted to him; and it terminates with his death. But Joshua is also very generally thought to have been the author of the book; and that it had thus a two-fold claim to his name. But the date and authorship of the book of Joshua have been by no means satisfactorily ascertained ; and it would be to little profit to investigate the different opinions which have been entertained. The sum of the matter seems to be, that the book was either written by Joshua, towards the close of his life-the last five verses being, after his death, added by a properly authorised person-or else, that it was wholly written, after his demise, frum documents written by him or under his direction. These are the substantial alternatives; and the only further question is, at what period, and by what priest or prophet the book was, under the latter hypothesis, compiled from such ancient and contemporary documents. Different authorities assign this service to Eleazer, Phineas, Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, or Ezra. But if it was not written by Joshua himself, a comparison of ch. xv. 63 (see the note) with 2 Sam. v. 6—8 will make it quite evident that it must have been written before the seventh year of David's reign. Besides the five last verses, there are some others interspersed in the book, which Joshua could not have written ; and which, so far, favour the conclusion that it was compiled by a later hand. But these passages are few and brief, and are regarded as subsequent additions and interpolations, by those who consider that the balance of evidence assigns its authorship to the hero whose name it bears.

The book relates the history of Israel while under the command and government of Joshua ; the entrance of the Hebrews into Canaan; their conquest of the greater part of the country; the division of the territory by lot among the several tribes ; and the provision made for the settlement and establishment of the Jewish church in that country. The period it embraces is variously stated by different chronologists as seventeen, twenty-seven, or thirty years. Between twenty-six and twenty-seven years is the usually received period.

Professor Heeren designates the period of Jewish history, through which we have now passed, as the “ Perid of the Nomade State," extending from Abrahama to the conquest of Palestine; and that period on which we now enter, from the occupation of Palestine to the estavusnient of monarchy, he denominates the “ Period of the Federative Republic.” This period he characterises as the heroic age of the nation, during which, after the gradual adoption of fixed dwellings and agriculture, it was engaged in constant feuds with its neighbours, the vagrant Arabs, the Philistines, and the Edomites. In consequence of the division of the land, according to the tribes, and their separation from one another, the government long remained patriarchal; each tribe preserving its patriarch or elder, as in the nomade state. But at the same time, all the tribes had, in the worship of the true God, one common bond, uniting them in one federative state.

CHAPTER II.

wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye

shall overtake them. i Rahab receiveth and concealeth the two spies sent

6 But she had brought them up to the from Shittim. 8 The covenant between her and them. 23 Their return and relation.

roof of the house, and hid them with the

stalks of flax, which she had laid in order AND Joshua the son of Nun sent out of upon the roof. Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go 7 And the men pursued after them the view the land, even Jericho. And they went, way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon and 'came into an harlot's house, named as they which pursued after them were gone Rahab, and 'lodged there.

out, they shut the gate. 2 And it was told the king of Jeri- 8 | And before they were laid down, she cho, saying, Behold, there came men in came up unto them

upon

the roof; hither to night of the children of Israel, to 9 And she said unto the men, I know that search out the country.

the Lord hath given you the land, and that 3 And the king of Jericho sent unto Ra- your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the hab, saying, Bring forth the men that are inhabitants of the land ofaint because of come to thee, which are entered into thine you. house : for they be come to search out all the 10 For we have heard how the LORD country.

*dried

up
the water of the Red sea for

you, 4 And the woman took the two men, and when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye hid them, and said thus, There came men did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that unto me, but I wist not whence they were: were on the other side Jordan, 'Sihon and

5. And it came to pass about the time of Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that 11 And as soon as we had heard these the inen went out: whither the men went I things, our hearts did melt, neither did there

* Heb.lay.

3 Heb. melt.

* Exod. 14. 21. Chap. 4. 23.

5 Num. 21. 24.

1 Heb. 11. 31. James 2. 25.

6 Heb. rose up.

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7 Heb. taste ad of you to die.

16 And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way.

17 And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear.

18 Behold, when we come into the land,

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Verse 1. "Jericho."-See the note to ch. vi. 26, and 1 Kings xvi. 34.

"They went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab.”—As this woman is honourably mentioned in the New Testament for her faith; and as, moreover, it appears from Matt. i. 5, that she was ultimately married to Salmon, by which marriage she became an ancestress of our Saviour, there has been considerable anxiety to rescue her name from the imputation which rests upon her character. Her vindication is made to rest, chiefly, upon the derivation of the word rendered "harlot." This is, zonah; and it is contended that this word ought not to be here derived from zanah," to commit fornication;" but from 1, zun, "to nourish," and, consequently, that it should be rendered not "harlot," but "hostess." The Chaldee paraphrase of Onkelos, Josephus, and several rabbins, agree in the same view; but the balance of cpinion is against it. We feel obliged to express our entire concurrence in the common translation. The word zonah does not occur any where else in a sense which the context will allow to be rendered "hostess" (see Lev. xxi. 7. 14; Deut. xxi. 18); and there is no sufficient reason for giving it here a different derivation from that which it elsewhere bears. Moreover, the Septuagint, and the apostles Paul (Heb. xi. 31) and James (ii. 25) have given it the common interpretation. It will also be observed that, while Rahab so anxiously provides for the safety of her relations, she does not say a word about her husband or children: which is a more remarkable circumstance than it would be in England, as, in the East, scarcely any women but those of low character remain single. Another reason, which has escaped the notice of expositors, but which seems to us of considerable weight, is, that in the East there are no such persons as hostesses. The places of public entertainment (caravanserais) in towns only furnish empty lodging, and cannot be said to have even a host, much less a hostess; and if a stranger be accommodated in a private house, he never sees the lady of the house, or hears or asks any thing about her. The only woman in general who has a house to herself, and certainly the only woman to whose house a stranger can have access, is one who bears the stigma which attaches to the name of Rahab. To the house of such a woman, therefore, the spies went. Probably also they did not overlook the advantageous situation of the house, which was built against the town wall and had a window towards the open country, thus affording facilities for escape, of which they afterwards actually had occasion to avail themselves. The story of the Jews concerning Rahab is, that she was ten years of age when the Hebrews left Egypt, that she had followed evil courses all the time that they were in the wilderness, and that after the destruction of Jericho she was married to Joshua himself, and had daughters by him, to whom eight prophets traced their origin, namely Jeremiah, Hilkiah, Maasia, Hanameel, Shallum, Baruch, Ezekiel, and Huldab the prophetess. This, although wrong, is valuable; because it shows that the Jews themselves thought that the faith and repentance of this woman rendered her worthy to be the wife of Joshua and the mother of prophets; and they would not therefore have deemed her unworthy to have been the wife of Salmon, and the ancestress of David, Solomon, Hezekiah, Josiah, and Christ. (See Matt. i.)

6. "Stalks of flax," (JY♫ ♫ɔ, pishtai ha-aitz.)—Gesenius and others say this was cotton; but this could not be, for the time is early spring, and cotton is not gathered till autumn;-not to mention the improbability that cotton was at this early period cultivated in Palestine. Understood, then, as flax, the text reads literally, "flax of the wood," that is, undressed flax, or flax with its ligneous parts. Rahab had doubtless placed it on the roof of her house to dry; the flat roofs of the Oriental houses (see Deut. xxii. 8) being, from their full exposure to the air and secure situation, admirably suited to, and much employed for, laying out such vegetable products, of whatever kind, as require to be dried in the sun.

18. "This line of scarlet thread."--Boothroyd renders: "This scarlet coloured rope." It was probably the same cord or rope by which they were let down from the window. As it was to be a sign by which her house should be recognized when the city was sacked, it must have been something too conspicuous to be easily overlooked by those who were acquainted with its purport.

every tribe

a man.

CHAPTER III.

10 And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall

know that the living God is among you, and 1 Joshua cometh to Jordan. 2 The officers instruct that he will without fail drive out from be

the people for the passage. 7 The Lord encourageth Joshua. 9 Joshuu encourageth the people.

fore

you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, 14 The waters of Jordan are divided.

and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the

Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the JeAnd Joshua rose early in the morning; and busites. they removed from Shittim, and came to 11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and Lord of all the earth passeth over before lodged there before they passed over.

you into Jordan. 2 And it came to pass after three days, 12 Now therefore take you twelve men that the officers went through the host; out of the tribes of Israel, out of

3 And they commanded the people, saying, When

ye

see the ark of the covenant of 13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the Lord your God, and the priests the Le- the soles of the feet of the priests that bear vites bearing it, then ye shall remove from the of the LORD, the Lord of all the your place, and go after it.

earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, 4 Yet there shall be a space between you

that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off and it, about two thousand cubits by mea- from the waters that come down from above; sure: come not near unto it, that ye may and they shall stand upon an heap. know the way by which ye must go: for ye 14 | And it came to pass, when the people have not passed this way 'heretofore. removed from their tents, to pass over Jor

5 And Joshua said unto the people, 'Sanc- dan, and the priests bearing the 'ark of the tify yourselves : for to morrow the LORD will covenant before the people; do wonders among you.

15 And as they that bare the ark were 6 And Joshua spake unto the priests come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests saying, Take up the ark of the covenant that bare the ark were dipped in the brim and pass over before the people. And they of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his took up the ark of the covenant, and went banks all the time of harvest,) before the people.

16 That the waters which came down from 7 And the LORD said unto Joshua, above stood and rose up upon an heap very This day will I begin to magnify thee in the far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaresight of all Israel, that they may know that, tan: and those that came down toward the 8as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee. sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and

8 And thou shalt command the priests were cut off: and the people passed over that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, right against Jericho. When ye are come to the brink of the water 17 And the priests that bare the ark of of Jordan,

ye

shall stand still in Jordan. the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry 9 And Joshua said unto the children of ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of Israelites passed over on dry ground, until the LORD your God.

all the people were passed clean over Jordan. · Heb, since yesterday, and the third day. 2 Levit. 20.7. Num. 11. 18. Chap 7. 13. 1 Sam. 16. 5. * Chap. 1.5.

* Psal. 114. 3.

5 Acts 7. 45.

61 Chron. 12. 15. Ecclus. 24, 26.

Verse 14. When the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan."— The great event described in this chapter took place on the tenth day of the first month (iv. 19), wanting therefore only five days to complete the forty years from the day (the 15th of the first month) when the Israelites left Egypt. The manner in which the passage took place seems to be this. The priests, bearing the ark at the distance of two thousand cubits from the host, marched onward, and, in full confidence in the Divine promise, proceeded, as if to enter the river ; but no sooner did their feet touch its waters, which then overflowed the banks from the melting of the snows in Lebanon (see Gen. xiv.), than the waters divided from shore to shore. The stream that was then coining from above, stood still at that point : while that which had passed the point of separation, continued to flow to the Dead Sea, and, arriving there, left all the channel open between the sea and the point of separation.

As we cannot determine the site of the cities of Adam and Zaretan, mentioned in v. 16, we do not know the extent to which the channel was laid open; but from a reference to the direction of the journey, and the situation of Gilgal, where they formed their first encampment in Canaan (ch. iv. 19), we may suppose it to have been about seven miles. The river, in this part, has a firm pebbly bottom, on which the host might pass without inconvenience, when the waters had been cleared before them. The priests entered first, and stood still in the mid-channel, until the entire host had passed over. They seem to have been placed not so that the people passed on each side of them as they stood there, but only below them, that is, between them and the sea-the ark of God being thus interposed between the people and the suspended waters, that the faint-hearted might feel the more assured. It must have taken a considerable time for 50 vast a multitude, with women, children, and baggage, to pass over; and the constancy which the priests exhibited

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