And they went out, they and all their hosts with them, much people, even as the sand that is on the sea shore in multitude, with horses and chariots very many.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Deuteronomy 3:9 note.
The land of Mizpeh - or Mizpah," the land of the watch-tower" The locality is probably identified as a plain stretching at the foot of Hermon southwestward, from Hasbeya, toward the Bahr el Huleh. In a land abounding in striking points of view like Palestine, the name Mizpah was naturally, like "Belle Vue" among ourselves, bestowed on many places. The Mizpeh here mentioned must not be confounded with the Mizpeh of Gilead (Joshua 13:26, and Judges 11:29); nor with the Mizpeh of Judah Joshua 15:38; nor yet with that of Moab 1 Samuel 22:3.
with horses and chariots very many—The war chariots were probably like those of Egypt, made of wood, but nailed and tipped with iron. These appear for the first time in the Canaanite war, to aid this last determined struggle against the invaders; and "it was the use of these which seems to have fixed the place of rendezvous by the lake Merom (now Huleh), along whose level shores they could have full play for their force." A host so formidable in numbers, as well as in military equipments, was sure to alarm and dispirit the Israelites. Joshua, therefore, was favored with a renewal of the divine promise of victory (Jos 11:6), and thus encouraged, he, in the full confidence of faith, set out to face the enemy.
they and all their hosts with them; the kings of those several places, with their armies:
much people, even as the sand that is upon the seashore in multitude; a proverbial expression, to denote an exceeding great number:
with horses and chariots very many; being supplied with horses from Egypt, and their chariots were chariots of iron; see Judges 4:3; Josephus (z) gives us the number of this great army, and says it consisted of three hundred thousand footmen, ten thousand horse, and thirty thousand chariots; some copies read only twenty thousand; and these chariots were armed with iron hooks or scythes, to cut down men as they drove along, and so were very terrible.And they went out, they and all their hosts with them, much people, even as the sand that is upon the sea shore in multitude, with horses and chariots very many.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)4. And they went out] “As the British chiefs were driven to the Land’s End before the advance of the Saxon, so at this Land’s End of Palestine were gathered for this last struggle, not only the kings of the north in the immediate neighbourhood, but from the desert valley of the Jordan south of the Sea of Galilee, from the maritime plain of Philistia, from the heights above Sharon, and from the still unconquered Jebus.” Stanley, Lectures, 1:259.
as the sand] “as the grauel that is in the brenk of the see,” Wyclif. Comp. the description (a) of the hosts of the Midianites and Amalekites in the time of Gideon (Jdg 7:12); and (b) of the Philistines in the time of Saul (1 Samuel 13:5).
with horses and chariots very many] These now for the first time appear in Canaanite warfare, and “it was the use of these which probably fixed the scene of the encampment by the lake, along whose level shores they could have full play for their force.”Verse 4. And they went out. Dean Stanley (Lectures, 1:259) compares this "last struggle" of the Canaanites with the conflict between the Saxons and the British chiefs "driven to the Land's End." The comparison is more picturesque than accurate. In the first place, it was by no means a "last struggle" (see ver. 21; Joshua 18:3; Joshua 19:47; Judges 4. throughout). In the next, the Britons were never driven to the Land's End, but Dorsetshire, which retained its independence for 200 years, was treated by Ina as Gezer (Joshua 16:10), was treated by the Ephraimites, while Devonshire and Cornwall came very gradually and almost peacefully under the hands of the conquerors. And thirdly, even had it been otherwise, there is a vast difference between a handful of desperate men driven to bay on a tongue of land surrounded nearly on every side by the sea, and a powerful, though defeated, nation with a vast continent in its rear. Yet there are many features common to the history of the Israelites in Canaan, and of the Teutonic tribes in Britain (see Introduction). As the sand that is upon the sea shore. This poetic phrase is common in the Hebrew writings (see Genesis 22:17; Genesis 32:12; Judges 7:12; 1 Samuel 13:5; 1 Kings 4:20, etc.). Solomon's capacious intellect is compared to the sand on the sea shore, in 1 Kings 4:29. The word translated "shore" is "lip" in the original, a word which adds to the poetry of the passage. And horses and chariots very many. Literally, many exceedingly. The Israelites appear to have held cavalry and chariots in great awe (see Exodus 14:18, and the song of triumph in Exodus 15; cf. also Joshua 17:16, 18; Judges 1:19; Judges 4:3). In later times they appear to have become more used to them. See, for instance, 1 Samuel 13:5, where the historian gives their number, large as it was, instead of regarding it as past all computation. This battle must have taken place on level ground, or the chariots would have been useless. Accordingly the historian fixes its scene on the banks of "the waters of Merom," where such ground is to be found - another instance of his historical accuracy (see Vandevelde, Journey 2:413, who places the battle on the great plain southwest of the latter). The use of chariots in battle dates from an early period. Homer's heroes are described as driven to battle in them. But perhaps the scythe chariots are here meant, which are not found on early Egyptian monuments, but which Xenophon in his Cyropaedia says were introduced By Cyrus. We find them, however, in use in Britain, in the days of Julius Caesar, and they could hardly have obtained the idea from the Persians. Potter (Antiquities, bk. 3. ch. 1.) says that they were gradually abandoned when they were found more dangerous to those who used them than to the enemy. That this kind of chariot is here meant seems pretty certain from the alarm they caused. No such alarm would have been caused by chariots simply used to convey the chieftains to the fight (see Gesenius, s.v. Xenophon, Cyr. 6:4; and 2 Macc. 13:2). All their hosts. The LXX. reads מַלְכֵיהֶמ their kings, for מַחֲנֵיהֶם. Joshua 15:48), the Negeb (the south land, Joshua 15:21), the lowlands (Joshua 15:33), and the slopes, i.e., the hill region (Joshua 12:8, and comm. on Numbers 21:15), and all the kings of these different districts, banning every living thing (כּל־נשׁמה equals כּל־נפשׁ, Joshua 10:28, Joshua 10:30, i.e., all the men; vid., Deuteronomy 7:1-2; Deuteronomy 20:16. He smote them from Kadesh-barnea, on the southern boundary of Canaan (Joshua 15:3; see at Numbers 12:16), to Gaza (see at Genesis 10:9), and all the country of Goshen, a different place from the Goshen of Egypt, deriving its name in all probability from the town of Goshen on the southern portion of the mountains (Joshua 15:51). As the line "from Kadesh-barnea to Gaza" defines the extent of the conquered country from south to north on the western side, so the parallel clause, "all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon," defines the extent from south to north on the eastern side. There is no tenable ground for the view expressed by Knobel, which rests upon very uncertain etymological combinations, that the land of Goshen signifies the hill country between the mountains and the plain, and is equivalent to אשׁדות.
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