Joshua 24:12
And I sent the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow.
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(12) The hornet.—There appears no reason for taking this word in any other than a literal sense. The possibility of what is recorded here has been abundantly illustrated by events reported in our own times.

The two kings of the Amorites.—Apparently, but not necessarily, Sihon and Og are intended. There were kings of the Amorites on both sides of Jordan.

24:1-14 We must never think our work for God done, till our life is done. If he lengthen out our days beyond what we expected, like those of Joshua, it is because he has some further service for us to do. He who aims at the same mind which was in Christ Jesus, will glory in bearing the last testimony to his Saviour's goodness, and in telling to all around, the obligations with which the unmerited goodness of God has bound him. The assembly came together in a solemn religious manner. Joshua spake to them in God's name, and as from him. His sermon consists of doctrine and application. The doctrinal part is a history of the great things God had done for his people, and for their fathers before them. The application of this history of God's mercies to them, is an exhortation to fear and serve God, in gratitude for his favour, and that it might be continued.The other side of the flood - Better "On the other side of the river," i. e. the Euphrates. See the marginal reference.

They served other gods - Possibly the "images," or teraphim, which we find their ancestor Laban calling "his gods" (see the marginal reference); and of which it would seem that there were, as Joshua spoke, some secret devotees among the people Joshua 24:14, Joshua 24:25. It is not stated that Abraham himself was an idolater, though his fathers were. Jewish tradition asserts that Abraham while in Ur of the Chaldees was persecuted for his abhorrence of idolatry, and hence, was called away by God from his native land. The reference in the text to the original state of those who were the forefathers of the nation, is made to show that they were no better than others: God chose them not for their excellences but of His own mere motion.

12. I sent the hornet before you—a particular species of wasp which swarms in warm countries and sometimes assumes the scourging character of a plague; or, as many think, it is a figurative expression for uncontrollable terror (see on [207]Ex 23:28). The hornet; either,

1. Figuratively, i.e. terrors and plagues, or other destroying judgments. Or,

2. Properly so called. See Poole "Exodus 23:28". And this being done before Joshua’s entrance into Canaan, it is not strange if it be not mentioned in this book or record of Joshua’s actions.

Not with thy sword, nor with thy bow; for though thou didst fight with them, and prevail against them in battle, yet this was not because thou hadst more force or courage than they; but because by my hornet, which I sent like a harbinger before thee, I had both broken their spirits, and greatly diminished their numbers, and particularly cut off those giants or others who were like to give time most trouble and difficulty; whence it comes to pass that we read of so few giants in that land,

which was called the land of giants, Deu 3:3.

And I sent the hornet before you,.... Of which See Gill on Exodus 23:28,

which drave them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; who were Sihon and Og, and not only them, and the Amorites under them, but the other nations, Hivites, Hittites, &c.

but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow; but by insects of the Lord's sending to them, which, as Kimchi says, so blinded their eyes, that they could not see to fight, and so Israel came upon them, and slew them; in which the hand of the Lord was manifestly seen, and to whose power, and not, their own, the destruction of their enemies was to be ascribed.

And I sent the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow.
12. And I sent the hornet before you] “Misique ante vos crabrones” Vulg.: “And I sent before зou hors fleeзis,” Wyclif, or “flies with venemouse tongis.” In Exodus 23:28, we find it predicted “And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee;” and in Deuteronomy 7:20, “Moreover the Lord thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed.” Elsewhere the bees appear as an image of terrible foes. Comp. Deuteronomy 1:44, “And the Amorites, which dwelt in that mountain, came out against you, and chased you, as bees do, and destroyed you in Seir, even unto Hormah.” Psalm 118:12, “They compassed me about like bees” Not only were bees exceedingly numerous in Palestine, but hornets in particular infested some parts of the country. Some would understand the word here in its literal sense, but it more probably expresses under a vivid image the consternation, with which Jehovah would inspire the enemies of the Israelites. Comp. Deuteronomy 2:25; Joshua 2:11.

not with thy sword] Compare the same thought in Psalm 44:3.

Verse 12. - The hornet. Commentators are divided as to whether this statement is to be taken literally or figuratively. The mention of hornets in the prophecies in Exodus 23:28, Deuteronomy 7:20 is not conclusive. In the former passage the hornet seems to be connected with the fear that was to be felt at their advance. The latter passage is not conclusive on either side. The probability is - since we have no mention of hornets in the history - that what is meant is that kind of unreasonable and panic fear which seems, to persons too far off to discern the assailants, to be displayed by persons attacked by these apparently insignificant insects. The image is a lively and natural one, and it well expresses the dismay which, as we read, seized the inhabitants of the land when their foes, formidable rather from Divine protection then from their number or warlike equipments, had crossed the Jordan (see Joshua 2:9-11; Joshua 5:1; Joshua 6:1). Where the figure came from is not far to seek. Joshua was quoting the prophecies of Moses mentioned above. The two kings of the Amorites. Sihon and Og, who were driven out, beside the tribes on the other side Jordan who have just been mentioned. Joshua 24:12The last and greatest benefit which the Lord conferred upon the Israelites, was His leading them by miracles of His omnipotence across the Jordan into Canaan, delivering the Lords (or possessors) of Jericho," not "the rulers, i.e., the king and his heroes," as Knobel maintains (see 2 Samuel 21:12; 1 Samuel 23:11-12; and the commentary on Judges 9:6), "and all the tribes of Canaan into their hand," and sending hornets before them, so that they were able to drive out the Canaanites, particularly the two kings of the Amorites, Sihon and Og, though "not with their sword and their bow" (vid., Psalm 44:4); i.e., it was not with the weapons at their command that they were able to take the lands of these two kings. On the sending of hornets, as a figure used to represent peculiarly effective terrors, see at Exodus 23:28; Deuteronomy 7:20. In this way the Lord gave the land to the Israelites, with its towns and its rich productions (vineyards and olive trees), without any trouble on their part of wearisome cultivation or planting, as Moses himself had promised them (Deuteronomy 6:10-11).
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