Page images
PDF
EPUB

10 | And the children of Israel encamp- and looked, and, behold, there stood 'a man ed in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the over against him with his sword drawn in fourteenth day of the month at even in the his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and plains of Jericho.

said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our 11 And they did eat of the old corn of adversaries ? the land on the morrow after the passover, 14 And he said, Nay; but as 'captain of unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the the host of the Lord am I now come. And selfsame day.

Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did 12 And the manna ceased on the morrow worship, and said unto him, What saith my after they had eaten of the old corn of the lord unto his servant ? land; neither had the children of Israel 15 And the captain of the Lord's host manna any more; but they did eat of the said unto Joshua, 'Loose thy shoe from off fruit of the land of Canaan that year. thy foot; for the place whereon thou stand

13 | And it came to pass, when Joshua est is holy. And Joshua did so. was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes

8 Or, prince.

7 Exod. 23. 23.

Exod. 3. 5. Acts 7.33.

Verse 3. Hill of the foreskins." —Better as a proper name, “ Gibeah-haaraloth.”

9. “ The reproach of Egypt.It is not agreed what this means ; but it is usually thought to refer to circumcision ;-either because, circumcision being a sign of the patriarchal covenant with God, it was a matter of reproach to them that they should have remained uncircumcised like the Egyptians ; or else, on the supposition that the Egyptians themselves were a circumcised people (see the note on Gen. xiv. 10), that they had, by neglecting the rite, exposed themselves to a participation in the contempt and dislike with which the people of Egypt regarded uncircumcised nations. Some, however, interpret it to mean, that they had at last been brought to a condition in which to begin their career as an independent nation-in which they might regard themselves as completely freed from the bondage of Egypt and the miseries of Arabia—and in which they could no longer be reproached as the fugitive slaves of the Egyptians, wandering in the desert without home or country.

" The place is called Gilgal.—This word, as explained here, means a rolling away, or removal; but Josephus, followed by some others, understands it to mean liberty, in allusion to the third of the interpretations given to the preceding clause. We do not know that there exists any local indication of the precise site of Gilyal. It must have been at some point between the Jordan and Jericho, and seemingly, nearer to the latter than the former. Josephus says that the first encampment in Canaan was fifty furlongs from the river and ten from Jericho. Jerome also states that in his time the place was shown at the distance of about two miles east of Jericho, and was held in much veneration by the inhabitants of the country. In later portions of the sacred history, we find here a town, also called Gilgal, which seems to have been of considerable importance. It was one of those comprehended in the annual circuit which Samuel was accustomed to make in his character of chief ruler or judge (1 Sam. vii. 16). It was also a place where sacrifices were offered (1 Sam. x. 8); and Saul, the first king of Israel, was there crowned (1 Sam. xi. 15). It is mentioned on several other occasions. After the division of the kingdom, Gilgal, as belonging to Benjamin, was in the kingdom of Judah ; but, being close on the frontier towards Israel, it seems to have been infected by the prevailing idolatry of that kingdom, and, as a notorious seat of idolatrous iniquities, its name is, in Amos v. 4, coupled with that of Bethel in crime and condemnation. (See also Hos. xii. II.) Mr. Buckingham, who, with much probability, inclines to place the site of Jericho more westward than other travellers, thinks that Gilgal was probably near Rihhah, a village about three or four miles from the Jordan, which is commonly considered to occupy the site of Jericho itself. On this, see further in the note to 1 Kings xvi. 34.

10. The plains of Jericho.”—The plains or plain of Jericho, are a portion of that great plain or valley through which the Jordan Aows, and which is called the plain of the Jordan. (See Gen. xiii.) The plain of Jericho lies between the Jordan and the high mountains which enclose its valley on the west. Justin thus describes the valley :-" It is a valley like a garden which is environed with continual hills, and, as it were, enclosed with a wall. The space of the valley containeth 200,000 acres ; and it is called Jericho. In that valley there is a wood, as admirable for its fruitfulness as for delight, for it is intermingled with palm trees and opobalsamum. The trees of the opobalsamum have a resemblance like to fir-trees, but they are lower, and are planted and husbanded after the manner of vines. On a set seasoa of the year they do sweat balsam. The darkness of this place is besi !es as wonderful as the fruitfulness of it; for although the sun shines nowhere hotter in the world, there is naturally a moderate and perpetual gloominess of the air." Buckingham, who cites this account from Justin, says that the situation, boundaries, and local features are accurately given in these details ; and adds, “ Both the heat and gloominess were observed by us; though darkness, in the sense in which we generally use it, would be an improper term to apply to this gloom.” The palm-trees of the district are mentioned in Scripture, Jericho being in several places called the city of palm-trees ;” which shows that it was a palm-growing district, as in such districts palms are always planted in and around the towns. By this also it was distinguished from other parts of Canaan which are less favourable than this low and hot district to the culture of the palm. Jericho was therefore the city of palm-trees” on account of the peculiarity of this circumstance. At present there are no palm-trees or balsam trees, or few trees of any kind, in the plain ; the parched, barren, and desolate appearance of which fully entitles it to be called " a desert.” And this is the condition of a region which Josephus, equally with Justin, describes as the most fertile of Judæa But districts circumstanced like this, always suffer much more than others, when forsaken or neglected by man. 11. “Old corn...

...parched corn.”—This verse seems intended to show the abundant supply of bread, naturally produced, which the Israelites now obtained, as accounting for the cessation of the manna, which was no longer neces. sary. The want which gave occasion to the miraculous supply of food was particularly mentioned ; and now the abundance, which occasions it to be discontinued, is mentioned with equal precision. The Hebrews had now old corn, which the people of the plain, who, we may be sure, had dled into the city, left behind them in their houses and barus. And they had also new corn; for it was now the time of barley harvest, and the people must either have recently reaped their corn, or they had left it standing, and the Hebrews cut it down. The former seems more probable. As the parched corn seems to be used in opposition to old corn; it probably means the new ears of corn, roasted and eaten. This very simple and primitive preparation is very well relished in the East: and many a poor traveller manages to derive his principal subsistence from the ears of corn which he gathers from the fields through which he passes, and prepares in this fashion. The Hebrews may have thus employed not only the ripe ears of barley, but the unripe ears of wheat ; indeed, that they did the latter exclusively, is perhaps the preferable supposition: for the unripe ear, with its grain soft and juicy, is more relished than that which is ripe and hard. Another principal preparation, much and constantly in use in Western Asia, is burgoul; that is, corn first boiled, then bruised in the mill to take the husk off, and afterwards dried or parched in the sun. It is thus preserved for use, and employed for the same purposes as rice-chiefly boiled, to form a pillau, the standard dish of the East. It is thus used as a substitute for rice in places where that favourite grain is not grown, or, when imported, is too dear for common use. It forms a very good dish: which we have eaten with pleasure, after having had the appetite cloyed with the continual recurrence of the rice-pillau. The meal of parched corn is also much used, particularly by travellers, who mix it with honey, butter, and spices, and so eat it ; or else mix it with water only, and drink it as a draught—the refrigerating and satisfying qualities of which they justly extol.

15. Loose thy shoe from off thy foot.”—See the note on Exod. iii. 5.

once.

CHAPTER VI.

with the trumpets: and the ark of the cove1 Jericho is shut up.

nant of the Lord followed them. 2 God instructeth Joshua how to besiege it. 12 The city is compassed. 17

9 4 And the armed men went before the It must be accursed. 20 The walls fall down. priests that blew with the trumpets, and 22 Rahab is suved. 26 The builder of Jericho is the 3rereward came after the ark, the priests cursed.

going on, and blowing with the trumpets. Now Jericho 'was straitly shut up because 10 And Joshua had commanded the of the children of Israel: none went out, people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor and none came in.

*make any noise with your voice, neither 2 And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, shall any word proceed out of your mouth, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and until the day I bid you shout; then shall the king thereof, and the mighty men of ye shout. valour.

11 So the ark of the LORD compassed the 3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye city, going about it once: and they came men of war, and go round about the city into the camp, and lodged in the camp.

. Thus shalt thou do six days.

12 | And Joshua rose early in the morn4 And seven priests shall bear before the ing, and the priests took up the ark of the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the Lord. seventh day ye shall compass the city 13 And seven priests bearing seven trumseven times, and the priests shall blow with pets of rams' horns before the ark of the the trumpets.

LORD went on continually, and blew with 5 And it shall come to pass, that when the trumpets: and the armed men went they make a long blast with the ram's horn, before them; but the rereward came after and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, the ark of the Lord, the priests going on, all the people shall shout with a great and blowing with the trumpets. shout; and the wall of the city shall fall 14 And the second day they compassed down ?flat, and the people shall ascend up the city once, and returned into the camp: every man straight before him.

so they did six days. 6 And Joshua the son of Nun called 15 And it came to pass on the seventh the priests, and said unto them, Take up day, that they rose early about the dawning the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests of the day, and compassed the city after the bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before same manner seven times: only on that day the ark of the Lord.

they compassed the city seven times. 7 And he said unto the people, Pass on, 16 And it came to pass at the seventh and compass the city, and let him that is time, when the priests blew with the trumarmed pass on before the ark of the LORD. pets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout;

8 | And it came to pass, when Joshua for the LORD hath given you the city. had spoken unto the people, that the seven 17 [ And the city shall be 'accursed, even priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams' it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: horns passed on before the LORD, and blew only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and

" Heb, did shut up, and was shut up.

? Heb, under it.

3 Heb. gathering host.

• Heb, make your voice to be heard.

5 Or, devoted.

camp of Israel.

all that are with her in the house, because woman, and all that she hath, ''as ye sware ‘she hid the messengers that we sent. unto her.

18 And ye, in any wise keep yourselves 23 And the young men that were spies from the accursed thing, lest ye make your went in, and brought out Rahab, and her selves accursed, when ye take of the accursed father, and her mother, and her brethren, thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and all that she had; and they brought out and trouble it.

all her "kindred, and left them without the 19 But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto 24 And they burnt the city with fire, and the LORD: they shall come into the treasury all that was therein : only the silver, and of the LORD.

the gold, and the vessels of brass and of 20 So the people shouted when the priests iron, they put into the treasury of the house blew with the trumpets: and it came to of the LORD. pass, when the people heard the sound of 25 And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot the trumpet, and the people shouted with alive, and her father's houshold, and all that a great shout, that the wall fell down 'flat, she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto so that the people went up into the city, this day; because she hid the messengers, every man straight before him, and they which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. took the city.

26 And Joshua adjured them at that 21 And they utterly destroyed all that time, saying, "Cursed be the man before the was in the city, both man and woman, young LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof the edge of the sword.

in his firstborn, and in his youngest son 22 But Joshua had said unto the two shall he set up the gates of it. men that had spied out the country, Go into 27 So the LORD was with Joshua; and his the harlot's house, and bring out thence the fame was noised throughout all the country. Chap. 3. 4. 7 Heb. holiness.

11 Heb. fumilies. 12 1 Kings 16.31.

Heb. 11. 30.

9 Heb, under it.

10

Chap. 2. 14. Heb. 11. 31.

Verse 1. Nuw Jericho,&c.—The chapter would much better have begun at the end of verse 5. The present verse reads as a parenthesis, and the next verse continues the address from “the captain of the Lord's host” to Joshua, which was commencel in the last yerse of the preceding chapter.

[graphic][graphic][subsumed]

Rau's Horn BLOWBR.

Ox's HORN BLOWER.

4. “ Trumpets of rans' horns" (6297 102, keren ha-jobel, jobel-horn.) - That keren here means “horn,” or an instrument in the shape of a horn, there is no question; but it is doubted whether jobel ineans a ram. The word is used, in Exod. xix. 13, to denote the instrument with which the jubilee was proclaimed ; and it is agreed that the same instruments were employed on the present occasion. The Rabbins generally are quite certain that jobel denotes a ram, and that rams' horns were employed on both occasions. It is true that there is no other example in which jobel means a ram in the Hebrew of the Bible, nor do the Rabbins profess that there is. They say that the word is of Arabian origin, on the authority of Akiba, who said, that when he was in Arabia, he heard the people call a ram gobel. The present Arabic language, however, does not acknowledge this use of the word ; and the matter is altogether very uncertain. We certainly believe that a horn of some animal was intended, and think that it was either the horn of an ox or a ram. The horn of an ox is certainly a very ancient instrument of sound. A portion being cut off at the smaller extremity presented an opening which extended through its length, so that it could be adapted with great facility to the purposes of a trumpet. Rams' horns were applied to this use later. Indeed, Bochart and others contend that there never were any trumpets of rams' horns, the inside being solid, and not hollow, and therefore wholly unsuitable for the purpose. But this objection falls to the ground when it is observed that the inside of these horns is not hard, and may be extracted without great difficulty, excepting, however, a portion of about four or five inches at the point. But a part of this being cut off, and a hole bored through the remainder, the solidity of this portion becomes rather an advantage than otherwise, furnishing a smooth, solid, and durable mouth-piece, which supersedes the necessity of supplying that necessary part with some foreign substance.

17. " The city shall be accursed.—That is, devoted by solemn bann, or cherem (see Levit. xxvii. 28), to destruction. This is the most striking and complete instance of the cherem as operating against a city, and we see its effect fully developed. When it was intended to proceed against a hostile city with extreme severity, it was previously devoted to God: and, in such cases, not only were all the inhabitants put to death, but also, according as the terms of the vow declared, no booty was made by any Israelite ; the beasts were slain ; what would not burn, as gold, silver, and other metals, was added to the treasure of the sanctuary; and every thing else, with the whole city, burnt, and an imprecation pronounced upon any attempt that should ever be made to rebuild it. We see from Deut. xiii. 16–18, that if an Israelitish city introduced the worship of false gods, it was, in like manner, to be utterly destroyed, and to remain unbuilt for ever. (See Michaelis, ' Commentaries, Art. 145.) There were two transgressors against this cherem on Jericho. The first, Achan, whose transgression was two-fold ; first, by taking articles that ought to have been destroyed, and, secondly, the robbery and sacrilege of taking other articles that belonged to the sanctuary. The other transgressor was Hiel, by whom Jericho was rebuilt.

20. “ The wall fell down flat.—There have been some reflections upon the alleged unnecessary character of this miracle, on the supposition that such a vast army as that of Israel ought to have been able to take Jericho, without a miracle to throw down the walls for them; particularly when the generally miserable character of Oriental fortifications is considered. But the reader has only to turn to Num. xiii. 28, and Deut. i. 28, to perceive that the Hebrews themselves considered the walled towns of Palestine a great and insurmountable obstacle to the conquest of the country; whence Moses had expressly assured them that the “cities great, and fenced up to heaven, of the Canaanites would avail nothing before the power of their Almighty Leader, who went before them: “ As a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face.” (Deut. ix. 1—3.) In the note to the last cited chapter, we explained the general inefficiency of Oriental forces in the siege of walled or fortified places, however insignificant such fortifications might seem to European engineers. And if this is the case even now, when the use of gunpowder and cannon is known, and some military engines are in use,-how much more su must it have been in those early times, when not even the present limited use of such assistance could be obtained in the most difficult of military operations. And this applies with peculiar force to the Israelites, who, from their long bondage in Egypt, and long wandering in the desert, where most of them were born, were all but wholly ignorant of military affairs, and were now, perhaps for the first time, to assault a fortified town-a town which, from its importance, was probably one of the most strongly fortified in all the country. We may therefore readily believe that they were of themselves wholly unequal to the undertaking, and that the exhibition of the Divine power, which was promised to them, and which they received, was, in their circumstances, absolutely necessary. Moreover, as Dr. Hales remarks, “ This stupendous miracle, at the beginning of the war, was well calculated to terrify the devoted nations, and to encourage the Israelites, by showing that the loftiest walls and strongest barriers afforded no protection against the Almighty God of Israel."

26. “ Cursed be the man,” &c.—Dr. Boothroy:l's clearer version of this is : "Accursed be the man before Jehovah, who attempteth to rebuild this city Jericho: with the loss of his firstborn son shall he lay its foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son shall he set up its gates.” This implies that the man should lose all his sons in the course of this forbidden undertaking ; the eldest when he began, the rest in the progress of the work, and the last at its completion. Fur the completion of this prediction, between five and six centuries afterwards, see 1 Kings xvi. 34, where, also, an account of Jericho will be given. It was probably intended, as Maimonides intimates, that the town should have remained a ruined heap, as an enduring memorial of the miracle which God had wrought. In the ancient history of other nations, we meet with many instances of prohibitions to rebuild a city destroyed in war, with imprecations against those who should attempt it. Strabo states, that it was believed that Troy had not been rebuilt on its former site from the dread of a curse which Agamemnon was supposed to have pronounced against him that should do so. This, he adds, was an ancient custom ; and, as a further instance, mentions that Cræsus, after he had destroyed Sidene, uttered a curse against him who should rebuild its walls. The Romans also, after the destruction of Carthage by Scipio Africanus, pronounced a curse upon him who should presume to rebuild that city.

CHAPTER VII.

pass in the accursed thing: for 'Achan, the

son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of 1 The Israelites are smitten at Ai. 6 Joshua's com- Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the

plaint. 10 God instructeth him what to do. 16 Achan is taken by the lot. 19 His confession. 22 He

accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD and all he had are destroyed in the valley of Achor.

was kindled against the children of Israel.

2 And Joshua sent men from Jericho to But the children of Israel committed a tres- Ai, which is beside Beth-aven, on the cast

I Chap. 22. 20. 1 Chron. 2.7.

side of Beth-el, and spake unto them, say- until ye take away the accursed thing from
ing, Go up and view the country. And the among you.
men went

up
and viewed Ai.

14 In the morning therefore ye shall be 3 And they returned to Joshua, and said brought according to your tribes: and it unto him, Let not all the people go up; but shall be, that the tribe which the LORD let ’about two or three thousand men go up taketh shall come according to the families and smite Ai; and make not all the people thereof; and the family which the LORD to labour thither; for they are but few. shall take shall come by housholds; and the

4 So there went up thither of the people houshold which the LORD shall take shall about three thousand men: and they fled come man by man. before the men of Ai.

15 And it shall be, that he that is taken 5 And the men of Ai smote of them about with the accursed thing shall be burnt with thirty and six men: for they chased them fire, he and all that he hath: because he from before the gate even unto Shebarim, hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and smote them in the going down : where and because he hath wrought ®folly in fore the hearts of the people melted, and Israel. became as water.

16 | So Joshua rose up early in the 6 And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell morning, and brought Israel by their tribes; to the earth upon his face before the ark of and the tribe of Judah was taken: the LORD until the eventide, he and the 17 And he brought the family of Judah ; elders of Israel, and put dust upon their and he took the family of the Zarhites: and heads.

he brought the family of the Zarhites man 7 And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord God, by man; and Zabdi was taken: wherefore hast thou at all brought this

people

18 And he brought his houshold man by over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of man; and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of we had been content, and dwelt on the other Judah, was taken. side Jordan!

19 And Joshua said unto Achan, My 8 O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD turneth their backs before their enemies ! God of Israel, and make confession unto

9 For the Canaanites and all the inha- him; and tell me now what thou hast done; bitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall hide it not from me. environ us round, and cut off our name from

20 And Achan answered Joshua, and the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD great name?

God of Israel, and thus and thus have I 10 And the LORD said unto Joshua, done: Get thee

up;
wherefore 'liest thou thus

upon

21 When I saw among the spoils a goodly thy face?

Babylonish garment, and two hundred she 11 Israel hath sinned, and they have also kels of silver, and a ’wedge of gold of fifty transgressed my covenant which I com- shekels weight, then I coveted them, and manded them: for they have even taken of took them; and, behold, they are hid in the the accursed thing, and have also stolen, earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver and dissembled also, and they have put it under it. even among their own stuff.

22 9 So Joshua sent messengers, and 12 Therefore the children of Israel could they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was not stand before their enemies, but turned hid in his tent, and the silver under it. their backs before their enemies, because 23 And they took them out of the midst they were accursed: neither will I be with of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, you any more, except ye destroy the accursed and unto all the children of Israel, and Raid from among you.

them out before the LORD. 13 Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanc- 24 And Joshua, and all Israel with him, tify yourselves against to morrow: for thus took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an and the garment, and the wedge of gold, accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: and his sons, and his daughters, and his thou canst not stand before thine enemies, oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his

2 Heb, about 9000 mon, or about 3000 men,

3 Or, in Morad. 4 Heb. necks.

5 Heb. fallest.

6 Or, wickedness,

7 Heb. tongue

« PreviousContinue »