1 Now it came to pass, when Adonizedek king of Jerusalem [Adoni-Tzedek Melech Yerushalayim] had heard how Joshua [Yehoshua] had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it; as he had done to Jericho and her king [Yericho and its melech], so he had done to Ai and her king; and how the inhabitants of Gibeon [Giv'on] had made peace [terms of shalom] with Israel [Yisroel], and were among them;
In considering "Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem" it is curious to compare Josh. 10:1 with Gen. 14:18.
The Genesis account speaks of Melchi-zedek, "king of Salem" coming out to meet the victorious Abraham, who had returned from defeating the confederacy of nations from Babylon. The title "Melchizedek" was almost certainly applied to Shem. Melchi-zedek was "the priest of the most high God". The title means "King of righteousness".
In Joshua's time, the king of Jerusalem had continued to retain, almost in its purity, the earlier title which had been attributed to a priest who had represented God. The title "King of righteousness" had been only slightly altered to mean "Ruler of righteousness".
It is evident, then, that since the days of Shem the kings of Jerusalem had retained virtually the same title, almost unaltered. Yet, the corruption of divine Truth had been complete among the Canaanites. No longer could any godly "righteousness" be associated with the title.
Two remarkable comparisons may be made in regard to the deterioration of the Truth: the days of Melchi-zedek and the times of Joshua; and modern-day "Christianity" in contrast to the purity of first-century apostolic teaching.
Adoni-zedek may be viewed as a type of the Roman Pontiff. He claims to be "Christ's Vicar upon earth" and alleges that he is Head over "Christ's church"; yet the papal system has so utterly corrupted the teaching of Christ and his apostles. Although he claims to uphold the name and title of Christ, the papal assertion is as false as that of Adoni-zedek, who had nothing in common with the faith or beliefs of the original Melchi-zedek.
Joshua, in going to war to destroy Adoni-zedek, is a type of Christ. At his second coming Yahweh will wage ceaseless warfare against the papal system until it is utterly annihilated from the face of the earth (Ps. 2; Ps. 110; Rev. 17, 18).
In addition to seeing the stark reality of this symbology, Christ's true brethren should be warned thereby. In the days of Melchi-zedek there was an "Ecclesia" of faithful brethren and sisters at Salem. What happened? After the death of their spiritually-strong Leader, the truth gradually became corrupted - until, ultimately, it was lost entirely to the people of that city.
Such declension from the Truth does not occur overnight. Initially, a point of sound doctrine will be weakened and perhaps moral values may be permitted to degenerate. Such deviations will become apathetically accepted, because either no one really knows any better, or no one cares enough. No clear stand is made in defence of the purity of the Truth. The result? The Truth will be lost to such people. This illustration contains an acute warning for true Believers in every age. Throughout history, many communities of people have lost the Truth. What of those who are the Light-bearers of divine Truth in the last days? *
*Bro John Ullman - Joshua His Life and Times
2 That they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city [Giv'on was an ir gedolah], as [ like] one of the royal cities, and because it was greater [larger] than Ai, and all the men thereof were mighty [gibborim].
"Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem" took the initiative in endeavouring to unite the Canaanite tribes who dwelt in his region. The people of Jerusalem had ''heard" how Joshua had taken Ai and destroyed Jericho. They also learned with incredulity and dismay that the Gibeonites
had managed to contrive a peace agreement with the Israelites. This last piece of news came as a bitter blow, since it meant that Gibeon - which was a "greater" city than either Jericho or Ai - would provide no support for the beleaguered Canaanites.
Here was a further fulfilment of that which Yahweh had promised:
"This day will I begin to put the dread
of thee and the fear of thee upon the nations that are under the whole
heaven, who shall hear report of thee, and shall tremble, and be in
anguish because of thee. . ." (Deut. 2:25).
3 Wherefore Adonizedek king of Jerusalem [Adoni-Tzedek Melech Yerushalayim] sent unto Hoham king of Hebron [Melech Chevron], and unto Piram king of Jarmuth [Melech Yarmut], and unto Japhia king [Yaphia Melech] of Lachish, and unto Debir king [Devir Melech] of Eglon, saying,
Although, as stated earlier, the Gibeonites were a confederacy of four major cities, they were not ruled by a monarch. They were, however, renowned for their fighting qualities - just the kind of alliance needed, but which was now lost to him.
He was, however, quite determined that action should be taken. He sent first to "Hoham, king of Hebron" who was king of other cities as well as Hebron.
Adoni-zedek's combined forces would have been numerous and powerful. Jarmoth - of which Piram was king - was apparently in the lowlands of Judah (cp. 15:35). Lachish was also in the Shephelah, and its king was Japhia. Lachish was possibly the strongest and most
heavily fortified city in the entire land. Only of Lachish is it stated that Joshua [Yehoshua] "encamped against it" and took it on the "second day".
Lachish, in common with the other cities the Israelites had encountered up to this point, occuped a strategically important site. It was thirty miles south-west of Jerusalem and fifteen miles west of Hebron.
Eglon has been linked with Lachish (15:39) and was therefore almost certainly in the lowlands also, probably not far distant from Lachish. Debir was king of Eglon. These kings undoubtedly typify King Sin. The meanings of their names convey an extraordinarily apt message.
The first (Hoham) means "whom Yahweh impels" - the second means "a wild ass" -
the third: "splendid" - the fourth: "sanctuary". Also, there was Adoni-zedek. Thus, a sentence may be formed: "Whom Yahweh impels, as a wild ass, they are splendid in their sanctuary believing themselves to be rulers according to their own standards of
righteousness. . .". The words are highly descriptive of Flesh, enthroned in splendour in its own stronghold.
But Yahweh - who cannot look upon sin - will "impel" flesh towards inevitable destruction, wherever flesh elevates itself in defiance of the One Eternal Spirit.*
4 Come up unto me, and help me, that we may smite Gibeon [Giv'on]: for it hath made peace [terms of shalom ] with Joshua [Yehoshua] and with the children of Israel [Bnei Yisroel].
5 Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon [HaEmori, the Melech Yerushalayim, the Melech Chevron, the Melech Yarmut, the Melech Lachish, the Melech Eglon, ] gathered themselves together, and went up, they and all their hosts [machanot], and encamped before Gibeon [Giv'on], and made war against it.
The names of the five cities are not without significance. Hebron means "a community or alliance" - Jarmuth signifies "elevation" or "height" - Lachish means "invincible" - Eglon means "calf-like" - and Jebus means "trodden down".
Again, there is a message:
"The combined communities of the Gentiles are allied together, believing that they attain to great heights and that they are invincible; whereas, in reality, they are as weak as calves in their opposition to Yahweh, and will be trodden down by Him".
With God's help, the Israelites were soon to demonstrate the significance of these two sets of names. *
Because its people had betrayed their fellow-Canaanites, and because it guarded the pass of Beth-horon, a key strategic area which the Israelites must control in order to conquer the southern regions.
Adoni-zedek's strategy was to attack their erstwhile friends at Gibeon, rather than make a direct attack upon Joshua's army. If the Canaanites could hold the pass of Beth-horon, they could provide a large measure of protection to those areas which were now under threat.
The four kings journeyed to Jerusalem for a conference with Adoni-zedek - even as the "kings of the earth" have constantly journeyed to Rome, to plan their intrigues (cp. Rev. 18:9).They agreed as to what should be done. Assembling their forces as quickly as possible, they attacked the Gibeonites.
It was a brilliant move, unexpected by both the Gibeonites and the Israelites. And it may well have succeeded. However, three things worked strongly against the Canaanite confederacy: the fighting prowess and courage of the Gibeonites; the wisdom and military tactics of Joshua; and the invisible, Elohistic army which fought on behalf of Israel.
The scales were weighted heavily against the Canaanites. The shocked Gibeonites immediately sent word to Joshua.
"Come up to us quickly"
, they pleaded. The Gibeonites well understood the strategy being employed against them: the Canaanites from the Lachish region would move up through the Shephilah and attack from the south-west. The other group, from the area around Jerusalem, would travel through the hill country of Judah and come against the Gibeonites from the south-east. The Gibeonites would thus be caught in a pincer-movement.
Whilst those advancing from the lowlands may well have seized the pass of Beth-horon, the other army would have joined battle with the Gibeonites from the opposite direction.
The Gibeonites were in deep trouble. Joshua considered the report carefully, noted the manoeuvres of the Canaanite armies, and then acted.
Needless to say, because of their covenant with the Gibeonites the Israelites were duty-bound to go to the aid of their "brethren" at Gibeon. In all this, the Hand of Providence was mightily at work. The whole train of events was being directed by an Unseen Force.
It would have been swiftly apparent to Joshua that the strategy of the confederate armies was to halt the progress of the Israelites.
"So Joshua ascended from Gilgal". He took "all the fighting men and all the bravest of his army with him" (J.B.).
Yahweh encouraged Joshua.
"Fear them not! For I have delivered them into thine hand! There shall not a man of them stand before thee!"
With these words, Joshua was content. He then initiated one of the most famous military manoeuvres in history.
"Having marched from Gilgal throughout the night, Joshua caught them unawares. . ." (J.B.).
The Canaanites would have anticipated that the Gibeonites might receive assistance from Joshua. But seventeen miles separated the Israelites from Gibeon. The terrain was rugged and forbidding. Doubtless the Canaanites planned a fierce, all-out battle, hoping for a quick victory. They hoped to have the area secure, ready to face the advancing Israelites.
But it did not work out that way. Undeterred by the difficulties in their path, Joshua's army marched right through the night.
No one complained that they were too tired. No one suggested they were in need of a rest. As dedicated warriors in the warfare of faith, the men of Israel pressed forward without any thought of self-interest (cp. 2Tim. 2:3; 1:8; 4:5).
Joshua's army came from the east. By the light of the early morning, with the sun behind them, the Israelites were ready to attack. This incident provides a remarkable type of impending activities among the nations by the Greater Joshua. At this present time, the sixth vial of the Apocalypse is being "poured out". One of the major accomplishments to be achieved through the sixth vial is that "the way of the kings who are from a sun's risings might be prepared. . . " (Rev.16:12, John Thomas translation); or:
"in order to clear the way for the kings who are to come from the east. . . " (Wey.).
These kings are the immortalised spiritual Israelites who will go forth with Christ to conquer and rule the world (2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 5:9-10; Ps. 82:8).
The Israelites mounted their attack with deadly speed. Taken unawares, the Canaanites would have looked upward, right into the blinding glare of the early morning sun. Suddenly, without warning, the Israelites were upon them. The Gentiles were thrown into a state of terror and confusion. Providence worked swiftly and smoothly.
"Yahweh discomforted them" or "confused them" (Roth.). He "slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon".
The invisible angelic army "drove them headlong before Israel, defeating them completely at Gibeon" (J.B.). And this was only the commencement of the battle. So it shall be in the day when the Greater Joshua confounds the nations - when he will "break them with a rod of iron" and "dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. . . " (Ps. 2:9; cp. Rev. 2:27). *
12 Then spake Joshua [Yehoshua] to Yahweh in the day when Yahweh delivered up the Amorites [HaEmori] before the children of Israel [Bnei Yisroel], and he said in the sight of Israel [Yisroel], Sun [Shemesh], stand thou still upon Gibeon [Giv'on]; and thou, Moon [Yarei'ach], in the valley of Ajalon [Emek Ayalon].
13 And the sun [shemesh] stood still, and the moon [yarei'ach] stayed [stopped], until the people [Goy] had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher [ Sefer HaYasher]? So the sun [shemesh] stood still in the midst of heaven [Shomayim], and hasted not to go down about a whole day [yom tamim].
THE STANDING STILL OF THE SUN AND MOON, IN THE DAYS OF JOSHUA.
A correspondent (brother C. G. Aspin, People's Park, Halifax,) asks "Do you consider that the words uttered by Joshua [Yehoshua]: 'Sun, stand thou still-and thou, moon,' &c., can be legitimately used to upset the whole Newtonian system of Astronomy?"
This question he himself answers so conclusively, that we cannot do better than use his own words.
"It is assumed by some that Joshua's words are inconsistent with the theory that the earth goes round the sun; but I do not think the reasoning upon which this conclusion is founded, is correct or consistent with general example in other portions of scripture. If you will permit me, I will state my reasoning on Joshua, which is as follows.
I do not see any reason to attach an inspiration of spirit to Joshua's words in the abstract, more than to "old shoes and clouted," or "the cloak which I left at Troas," &c.
A prolongation of daylight was the thing wanted in order to complete the execution of divine vengeance; and so the wish, and the extraordinary faith in the divine interposition to produce the effect desired, were each an inspiration; but the language or form of expression was Joshua's own, and uttered in accordance with his own apprehension, and the apprehension of those in whose hearing he uttered it. I think this in no way derogatory to the dignity and authority of the scriptures.
On the other hand, it would have been highly incongruous had any other form of speech been employed. It would have sounded strangely in the ears of Israel, if Joshua had said 'Earth, cease to move on thine axis!' They heard what was in accordance with their ideas; and at the same time the effect produced (which was the main thing), was precisely that which would have been caused by an interruption of the earth's revolution. And no untruth was told. We speak even now according to appearances. We say 'the sun rises,' or 'the sun has set,' and truly so; though strictly speaking, the expressions are out of harmony with the real philosophy of the thing."
Our correspondent hits the mark as it appears to us. Our forms of speech are invariably derived from the aspect of things, and not from the essence. Analytical phrases would be cumbrous and unpleasant. We are finite and superficial, and our language accommodates itself to the surface. We say "a fine day:" we don't say "a favourable concurrence of the elementary forces during the exposure of this side of the planet to the sun."
So when we wish to express a good condition of health, we do so in words that briefly deal with the surface only; we don't say "the various organs constituting the body are in a sound and active state, and performing their functions with freedom and alacrity, resulting in a liberal flow of the nervous fluid, and the consequent enjoyment of the several functions which derive their energy from that source."
Any approach to this sort of minuteness is pedantic and borish in the highest degree. The mind is quick in its operations, and cannot bear to linger over a simple and common idea in this laborious way. It didn't matter in what language Joshua expressed his wish so that the result desired was understood. Had he said anything else than what he said, it would not have been generally understood. Besides, being ignorant of astronomy, he could not have expressed his wish in any other words.
For all practical purposes, the sun moves from east to west; and in common conversation (say when men are out a-field), it is said to move, despite our knowledge that actually it is a fixture. If a prolongation of the day is wanted, what more common out-of-doors than to say "I wish the sun would stop a bit." If this is the case among ourselves, with a correct knowledge, need we be surprised at Joshua's words, which only reflect the impressions of sense, and the desire for a practical result which required a continuance of light?
To suppose they are intended to express the relation of the heavenly bodies, is to be guilty of an absurdity of which even the fool-hardy sceptic ought to be ashamed. "Then do you suppose," says he, "that the earth was actually arrested in its diurnal motion?" It may have been, but it was not necessary that it should. This was not what Joshua desired. He wanted a continuation of light, which he expressed by the synonym of the sun and moon standing still.
Now this could be done without the disturbance of the vast revolutions of the starry framework, which the suspension of the earth's motion would have caused. Light is refractive. Under divine power, the rays of both sun and moon could be broken at a gradually-increasing angle, in such a way as to give the appearance of motionless sun and moon, while the earth was actually accomplishing its usual revolution.
Is anything too hard for God?
The Ambassador of the Coming Age, Dec 1867. p315