And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp to Gilgal.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Unto the camp to Gilgal.—This verse relates by anticipation, in the words of the Book of Jasher (Heb., Yâshar, upright), what we find in the narrative of Joshua at Joshua 10:43, viz., the return to Gilgal at the close of this campaign. The immediate return, at the end of the miraculous day’s operations, was to Makkedah, not to Gilgal (see Joshua 10:21).Joshua 10:15. And Joshua returned — Not immediately, but after he had performed what is related in the following part of this chapter, as appears by Joshua 10:43, where the very same words are repeated.Joshua 10:43) to Gilgal was not until after he had, by the storm and capture of the principal cities of south Canaan, completed the conquest of which the victory at Gibeon was only the beginning.
This verse is evidently the close of the extract from an older work, which connected the rescue of Gibeon immediately with the return to Gilgal, and omitted the encampment at Makkedah Joshua 10:21, and also the details given in Joshua 10:28-42.
12-15. Then spake Joshua to the Lord … and … he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still … and thou, Moon—The inspired author here breaks off the thread of his history of this miraculous victory to introduce a quotation from an ancient poem, in which the mighty acts of that day were commemorated. The passage, which is parenthetical, contains a poetical description of the victory which was miraculously gained by the help of God, and forms an extract from "the book of Jasher," that is, "the upright"—an anthology, or collection of national songs, in honor of renowned and eminently pious heroes. The language of a poem is not to be literally interpreted; and therefore, when the sun and moon are personified, addressed as intelligent beings, and represented as standing still, the explanation is that the light of the sun and moon was supernaturally prolonged by the same laws of refraction and reflection that ordinarily cause the sun to appear above the horizon, when it is in reality below it [Keil, Bush]. Gibeon ("a hill") was now at the back of the Israelites, and the height would soon have intercepted the rays of the setting sun. The valley of Ajalon ("stags") was before them, and so near that it was sometimes called "the valley of Gibeon" (Isa 28:21). It would seem, from Jos 10:14, that the command of Joshua was in reality a prayer to God for the performance of this miracle; and that, although the prayers of eminently good men like Moses often prevailed with God, never was there on any other occasion so astonishing a display of divine power made in behalf of His people, as in answer to the prayer of Joshua. Jos 10:15 is the end of the quotation from Jasher; and it is necessary to notice this, as the fact described in it is recorded in due course, and the same words, by the sacred historian (Jos 10:43).Joshua 10:43, where the very same words are repeated, to show that that was the meaning of them. And they are put here to close the general discourse of the fight, which begun Joshua 10:10, and ends here; which being done, he particularly describes some remarkable passages, and closeth them with the same words. Joshua 10:43; after all the above mentioned was done; the Septuagint version leaves it out. And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15. And Joshua returned] This is still apparently part of the quotation from the “Book of Jasher,” for it is evident that Joshua did not return to Gilgal immediately after the battle of Gibeon. In the historical narrative this finds place in Joshua 10:43.Verse 15. - And Joshua returned. The historian had at first intended to complete his narrative of these transactions here. But he seems to have altered his intention, and added the execution of the five kings and the subjugation of the remaining cities of southern Palestine which had adhered to the league, as well as their immediate neighbours. He then (ver. 43) repeats what he had subjoined here. It is not contended (see Introduction) that the Book of Joshua could not have been compiled from accounts previously existing, though a different view has been taken in this commentary. But what is denied is
(1) that this was an unintelligent or perfunctory compilation, and
(2) that we can at this distance of time, by the simple evidence of style, disintegrate and separate into contradictory fragments the various portions of earlier histories, which we find here digested into a whole. Some copies of the LXX. leave the verse out altogether.
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