-The enthralling narrative continues as Jerusalem comes into the picture for the first time. This city, where God would eventually set up His Temple and dwell, had a king by the name of Adoni-zedek. He had heard the news of Ai’s demise under the direction of Joshua by his valiant warriors with the LORD’s authority. He had also heard of the destruction of Jericho, and that the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel being their servants in the land. Adoni-zedek feared Gibeon greatly the Bible says because they were a great city, “like one of the royal cities (in other words, a city of security),” with mighty men in it (Joshua 10:1-2). Since this conceding of Gibeon opened up access to the coastal plains and lowlands for Israel, the king of Jerusalem knew that with the loss of this strategic center, he was in deep trouble. Therefore, Adoni-zedek sent word to four other kings of the region asking them to come up and help in an attack of Gibeon, who as we have said had made peace with the sons of Israel. These kings were: 1) Hoham, king of Hebron to the south of Jerusalem, 2) Piram, king of Jarmuth to the southwest of Jerusalem, 3) Japhia, king of Lachish further southwest of Jarmuth, and 4) Debir, king of Eglon, which was just south of Lachish (Joshua 10:3-5). They all camped by Gibeon and fought, which necessitated a call by the Gibeonites to Joshua for rapid help to save them. Joshua went up to the hill country in the west with all his men of war from Gilgal in the Jordan Valley. At that time the LORD said to His leader, “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you (Joshua 10:6-8).” With this definitive word, Joshua came up suddenly by marching his men all night. “And the LORD confounded them before Israel, and He slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and pursued them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah (to the south).” At the descent of Beth-horon God sent a hail storm upon the enemies of Israel all the way to Azekah killing more than the sons of Israel had killed with the sword. Joshua asked the LORD for more time in this decisive battle, and the LORD complied miraculously. He asked that the sun stand still at Gibeon and the moon in in the valley of Aijalon. So God stopped the sun and the moon until the nation had avenged themselves of all their enemies. This was written in another book of antiquity, which has been lost, called the “Book of Jashar (for more info see: https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1026-what-was-the-book-of-jashar).” For about a whole day, close to a twenty four hour period, the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and did not go down. “There was no day before or after, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel (Joshua 10:9-14).” After this incredible victory, Joshua took his men back to their base camp at Gilgal (Joshua 10:15).
-Now it was found out that these five kings had fled and hidden themselves together in a cave at Makkedah. Joshua had his men roll large stones against the mouth of the cave, and assigned men to guard it so as to not let them out. The rest pursued the enemy to attack them from the rear so that they could not re-enter their respective cities. God had brought them out to deliver them into the hands of the Israeli army. Joshua and the sons of Israel finished slaying them with a very great slaughter to the point of total destruction with only a few survivors remaining that entered the fortified cities. Now that there was peace with no one speaking a word against any of the sons of Israel, Joshua had the cave opened up and the five kings brought out before him. Joshua, the commander, had his chiefs of the men of war put their feet on the necks of the vanquished reiterating to them, “Do not fear or be dismayed! Be strong and courageous, for thus the LORD will do to all your enemies with whom you fight.” Soon afterward Joshua struck them and put them to death. Then, he hanged them on five trees until the evening of the day. At sunset Joshua commanded that they be taken down and thrown into the cave where they had hidden themselves with large stones over the mouth of the cave to seal it up. It stayed that way up until the writing of the text and probably much longer than that (Joshua 10:16-27). In many ways this is a foreshadowing to the curse that Jesus became for us on the cross to pay the debt of sin.
-The rest of the chapter describes the exploits city by city in the south and western part of the land. Starting at Makkedah on to Libnah, then Lachish where Horam king of Gezer came fruitlessly to help, then Eglon, then Hebron, and then to Debir, Israel slaughtered their enemies taking no prisoners and leaving no survivors. “Thus Joshua struck all the land, the hill country and the Negev (South country) and the lowland and the slopes and all their kings. He left no survivor, but he utterly destroyed all who breathed, just as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded.” As far as from Kadesh-barnea even as far south as Gaza, down to Goshen even as far north as Gibeon, Joshua capture all these kings and their lands at one decisive time, “because the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.” At the end they returned once again to their base camp in Gilgal back in the eastern part of the Promised Land (Joshua 10:28-43).
-*Application* When God fights for us, nothing can stand in our way. Isn’t it awesome when He does? Notice that obedience and consulting Him alone brought the victory and blessing.
Verses to Memorize: Joshua 10:14, 42