Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Joshua 10, 11, 12 Not Modern Warfare

Joshua commanding the sun to stand stillImage via Wikipedia
After suffering a humiliating defeat in the first battle against Ai and then making a foolish treaty with their neighbors, the Gibeonites, Israel understood just how important it was to look to God for direction.  Chapter 10 opens with five kings of large regions in Canaan attacking Gibeon so as to draw Israel into war.  As Joshua and his army marched toward Gibeon, to honor their treaty with them, God encouraged Joshua not to be afraid of the attacking kings because He would fight against them. 

Marching all night, the army of Israelites made a resounding statement about how much they trusted God to fight on their behalf.  I think that it took an enormous step of faith for Joshua to exhaust his troops before getting to the battle scene.  At that point, Israel’s faith in God had to be the only strength they had. 

In the King James translation, Joshua 10:10 reads:

And the Lord discomfited them before Israel and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goeth to Beth-horon, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah.

The archaic sounding word discomfited, in Hebrew הָמַם (hamam), implies to put into commotion with noise.  Imagine, hundreds of thousands of exhausted men of Israel entering the region to defend Gibeon against five large armies.  When they arrive, God generated a terrifying sound which threw the hostile armies into a state of confusion.  And then, God Himself pursued and slaughtered the five armies. As these armies fled, God hurled so many large hailstones onto them that more of them perished from hail than by the sword.

During this battle, Joshua prayed in the presence of all Israel, that the sun would remain in a fixed position in the sky until Israel avenged itself on its enemies.  And, the sun was parked at noon for a full day.  While the men of Israel were probably sleep deprived, God pulled all the stops and showed His strength and empowered the Israelite army with God-given strength.

When God fought for Israel, He brought in a supernatural arsenal of which men knew nothing.  It seems that Joshua understood that he just had to set the rudder of his boat in God’s direction so that God Himself would provide the wind.  

Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for hamam (Strong's 2000)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2010. 13 Oct 2010. < http://
Strongs=H2000&t=KJV >
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