Joshua 11:7
So Joshua came, and all the people of war with him, against them by the waters of Merom suddenly; and they fell upon them.
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(7) Suddenly.—On this occasion, as in the former campaign which began at Gibeon, Joshua surprised his adversaries by the rapidity of his movements.

Joshua 11:7. Joshua came — against them — When they least expected him, intending there to refresh, and prepare, and order themselves for the offensive war which they designed.

11:1-9 The wonders God wrought for the Israelites were to encourage them to act vigorously themselves. Thus the war against Satan's kingdom, carried on by preaching the gospel, was at first forwarded by miracles; but being fully proved to be of God, we are now left to the Divine grace in the usual course, in the use of the sword of the Spirit. God encouraged Joshua. Fresh dangers and difficulties make it necessary to seek fresh supports from the word of God, which we have nigh unto us for use in every time of need. God proportions our trials to our strength, and our strength to our trials. Joshua's obedience in destroying the horses and chariots, shows his self-denial in compliance with God's command. The possession of things on which the carnal heart is prone to depend, is hurtful to the life of faith, and the walk with God; therefore it is better to be without worldly advantages, than to have the soul endangered by them.Suddenly - As before, at Gibeon Joshua 10:9, so now Joshua anticipates his enemies. Taken by surprise, and hemmed in between the mountains and the lake, the chariots and horses would have no time to deploy and no room to act effectively; and thus, in all probability, the unwieldy host of the Canaanites fell at once into hopeless confusion. 6-8. to-morrow, about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel—As it was impossible to have marched from Gilgal to Merom in one day, we must suppose Joshua already moving northward and within a day's distance of the Canaanite camp, when the Lord gave him this assurance of success. With characteristic energy he made a sudden advance, probably during the night, and fell upon them like a thunderbolt, when scattered along the rising grounds (Septuagint), before they had time to rally on the plain. In the sudden panic "the Lord delivered them into the hand of Israel, who smote them, and chased them." The rout was complete; some went westward, over the mountains, above the gorge of the Leontes, to Sidon and Misrephothmaim ("glass-smelting houses"), in the neighborhood, and others eastward to the plain of Mizpeh. When they least expected them, intending there to refresh, and prepare, and order themselves for the offensive war which they designed.

So Joshua came, and all the people of war with him, against them,.... Being encouraged by the Lord, they set out with Joshua at the head of them, to fight the kings and their forces. It is highly probable that these were not the whole body of armed men in the camp of Israel, but a select company Joshua took of them, and who would be able to make quicker marches on this expedition:

by the waters of Merom suddenly; the Targum is,"they lay by the waters of Merom;''as they were thoughtless and careless, and not on their guard, Joshua and his forces came to them suddenly, unawares, and they not provided for them:

and they fell upon them; at once, which threw them into disorder and confusion.

So Joshua came, and all the people of war with him, against them by the waters of Merom suddenly; and they fell upon them.
7. So Joshua came] With the suddenness and rapidity which characterized all his movements, he did not wait for the northern confederacy to attack him at Gilgal, but marched against them with the intention of coming upon them before their army could be got into order.

against them suddenly] He fell upon them, like a thunderbolt, so the word is to be literally understood as in the corresponding passage in Job 1:15, “the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away.” Without a word of warning he burst upon them in the mountain slopes of the plain, before they had time to rally on the level ground.

Verse 7. - Suddenly (see remarks in Introduction on Joshua's characteristics as a general. Also Joshua 10:9). And they fell upon them. This phrase denotes the rapidity of the onset. While they deemed him to be leagues away, he suddenly appeared at the head of his army, no doubt debouching from one of the mountain passes of Upper Galilee; and before they could set themselves in battle array, his troops, without giving the enemy time to rally, or themselves a moment's breathing-time, commenced the attack. The LXX. adds "in the hill country" here, an obvious blunder. The translator must have carelessly read בהר for בהם. Joshua 11:7With this to inspirit them, the Israelites fell upon the enemy and smote them, chasing them towards the north-west to Sidon, and westwards as far as Misrephothmaim, and into the plain of Mizpah on the east. Sidon is called the great (as in Joshua 19:28), because at that time it was the metropolis of Phoenicia; whereas even by the time of David it had lost its ancient splendour, and was outstripped by its daughter city Tyre. It is still to be seen in the town of Saida, a town of five or six thousand inhabitants, with many large and well-built houses (see Rob. Pal. iii. p. 415, and Movers, Phnizier, ii. 1, pp. 86ff.). Misrephothmaim (mentioned also at Joshua 13:6), which the Greek translators have taken as a proper name, though the Rabbins and some Christian commentators render it in different ways, such as salt-pits, smelting-huts, or glass-huts (see Ges. Thes. p. 1341), is a collection of springs, called Ain Mesherfi, at the foot of the promontory to which with its steep pass the name of Ras el Nakhra is given, the scala Tyriorum or Passepoulain of the Crusaders (see V. de Velde, Mem. p. 335, and Ritter, Erdk. xvi. p. 807). מצפּה בּקעת (Eng. Ver. "the valley of Mizpeh") is probably the basin of the Huleh lake and of Nahr Hasbany, on the western side of which lay the land of Mizpah (Joshua 11:3).
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