Joshua 9:1
And it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side Jordan, in the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
IX.

PREPARATIONS OF THE CANAANITES FOR WAR.

(1, 2) These verses record the general preparation of the natives of Canaan for the last struggle with Joshua.

Joshua 9:1-2. In all the coasts of the great sea, &c. — Some versions render this, And those along all the coasts of the great sea, and those about Lebanon. Heard thereof — That is, of the taking of Jericho and Ai, for what immediately precedes, namely, about writing the law on stones in mount Ebal, did not concern these nations. They gathered themselves together to fight, &c. — They entered into a league to do this. Though they were many kings of different nations, and doubtless of different interests, often at variance with each other, yet they are all determined to unite against Israel. O that Israel would learn this of Canaanites, to sacrifice private interests to the public good, and to lay aside all animosities among themselves, that they may cordially unite against the common enemy!9:1,2 Hitherto the Canaanites had defended themselves, but here they consult to attack Israel. Their minds were blinded, and their hearts hardened to their destruction. Though often at enmity with each other, yet they united against Israel. Oh that Israel would learn of Canaanites, to sacrifice private interests to the public welfare, and to lay aside all quarrels among themselves, that they may unite against the enemies of God's kingdom!In the hills - See the Numbers 13:17 note.

The valleys - Or "the vale" (the Shephelah, Deuteronomy 1:7), which imports the lowland country between the mountains and the sea coast.

CHAPTER 9

Jos 9:1-27. The Kings Combine against Israel.

1. all the kings which were on this side—that is, the western side of Jordan.

in the hills, and in ther valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea—This threefold distinction marks out very clearly a large portion of Canaan. The first designates the hill country, which belonged afterwards to the tribes of Judah and Ephraim: the second, all the low country from Carmel to Gaza; and the third, the shores of the Mediterranean, from the Isthmus of Tyre to the plain of Joppa. (As for the tribes mentioned, see on [186]Nu 13:29).

heard thereof—that is, of the sacking of Jericho and Ai, as well as the rapid advance of the Israelites into the interior of the country.The kings of Canaan hear of Joshua’s exploits; consult together, and conclude to fight against Israel, Joshua 9:1,2. The Gibeonites, feigning themselves to be of a far country, obtain a league, Joshua 9:3-15. The craft is discovered; the promise which was confirmed with an oath remains firm, Joshua 9:16-20. But for a punishment they are condemned to perpetual slavery, Joshua 9:21-27.

No text from Poole on this verse.

And it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side Jordan,.... On the side Israel now were, and was that in which the land of Canaan lay, and was now governed by many kings, and all that were now remaining, even all but the kings of Jericho and Ai, who were slain: both those

in the hills, and in the valleys; that dwelt in the mountainous part of the country, and in the plains of it:

and in all the coasts of the great sea, over against Lebanon; who inhabited and governed in that part of the country which lay on the coast of the Mediterranean sea, the country of Phoenicia, in which were Tyre, Sidon, and other cities, and were over against Mount Lebanon, which was on the northern part of the country; according to the Latin version, they dwelt near Lebanon; and according to the Septuagint, near Antilibanus. It seems best, with Noldius (g), to render the words, "even unto Lebanon", for it designs all the sea coasts reaching to it; for all the maritime coasts did not lie over against it:

the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof; what they heard is not said, but to be understood; particularly they heard what had been done by Joshua, and the people of Israel, to Jericho and Ai: and their kings, Joshua 9:3. Some think, as Abarbinel, that they had heard of the altar Joshua had made, and of the stones he had set up, and of his reading the law to the people, by which they were to be governed; all which they understood as taking possession of the country, and looking upon it as conquered, and obliging his people to swear fealty to him. All the nations of Canaan are mentioned but the Gergasites; which, according to the Jewish writers, are omitted, because they were but few; the Septuagint version has them in some copies.

(g) Concord. Ebr. Part. p. 80. No. 370.

And it came to pass, when all the kings which {a} were on this side Jordan, in the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the {b} great sea over against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof;

(a) In respect to the plain of Moab.

(b) The main sea called the Mediterranean.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ch. Joshua 9:1-2. The First League of the Canaanite Kings

1. And it came to pass] Thus “that spring morning” did Israel “consecrate Palestine unto the Lord, and take sea and lake, mountain and valley—the most hallowed spots in their history—as witnesses of their covenant.” It was probably on this occasion that the Egyptian coffin, containing the embalmed body of Joseph (Genesis 50:25-26), was laid by the two tribes of the house of Joseph in the parcel of ground near Shechem, which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor (Genesis 33:19). These important preliminaries having been carried out, the further prosecution of the campaign was possible.

the kings] Hitherto single cities had been the objects of Joshua’s contention. Now leagues and confederacies were formed against him.

in the hills] i.e. the hill country of southern and central Canaan. In Numbers 13:17, it is called “the mountain.” Comp. also Deuteronomy 1:7. The whole region of the western portion of Canaan is here described under three divisions: (a) the central hills, (b) the valleys = the shephelah (Deuteronomy 1:7), (c) the seaboard. For the nations here enumerated see above, Joshua 3:10.Verse 1. - And it came to pass, when all the kings. According to the explanation given above (Joshua 6:5, 15) of the particle כ with the infinitive, this must mean immediately. We must therefore suppose that the distance at which they lived from the scene of the events had prevented them from comprehending their astounding character so clearly as those who lived in the immediate neighbourhood (see Joshua 2:11; Joshua 5:1; Joshua 6:1). The kings (see Introduction). In the hills. "The land is classified under three heads: the hills (or mountain district), the plain, and the sea coast over against Lebanon" (Keil). The hills are not the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon range, the operations against which are detailed in ch. 11, but the mountains of Ephraim and Judah. The word translated "valleys" here is neither עֲרָבָה nor כִּכַּר (see above note on Joshua 3:16), but ְשפֵלָה or low country, i.e., the great plain from Joppa, or Carmel, to Gaza. The חופor sea coast probably refers to the coast between Type and Joppa. The Hittite. The Girgashites are the only tribe omitted here from the list in Joshua 3:10. Blessings and Curses upon Gerizim and Ebal. - After the capture of Ai, Israel had gained so firm a footing in Canaan that Joshua was able to carry out the instructions of Moses in Deuteronomy 27, that, after crossing the Jordan, he was to build an altar upon Mount Ebal for the setting up the covenant. The fulfilment of these instructions, according to the meaning of this solemn act, as a symbolical setting up of the law of the Lord to be the invariable rule of life to the people of Israel in the land of Canaan (see at Deuteronomy 27), was not only a practical expression of thanksgiving on the part of the covenant nation for its entrance into this land through the almighty assistance of its God, but also a practical acknowledgement, that in the overthrow of the Canaanites thus far it had received a strong pledge of the conquest of the foes that still remained and the capture of the whole of the promised land, provided only it persevered in covenant faithfulness towards the Lord its God. The account of this transaction is attached, it is true, to the conquest of Ai by the introduction, "Then Joshua built," etc. (Joshua 8:30); but simply as an occurrence which had no logical connection with the conquest of Canaan and the defeat of its kings. The particle אז (sequ. imperf.) is used, for example, in cases where the historian either wishes to introduce contemporaneous facts, that do not carry forward the main course of the history, or loses sight for the time of the strictly historical sequence and simply takes note of the occurrence of some particular event (vid., Ewald, 136, b.). The assertion of modern critics, which Knobel repeats, that this account is out of place in the series of events as contained in Joshua 6-12, is so far correct, that the promulgation of the law and the renewal of the covenant upon Ebal form no integral part of the account of the conquest of Canaan; but it by no means proves that this section has been interpolated by the Jehovist from his first document, or by the last editor of this book from some other source, and that what is related here did not take place at the time referred to. The circumstance that, according to Joshua 6-8:29, Joshua had only effected the conquest of Jericho in the south of the land from Gilgal as a base, and that even in Joshua 9-10 he was still engaged in the south, by no means involves the impossibility or even the improbability of a march to Shechem, which was situated further north, where he had not yet beaten the Canaanites, and had not effected any conquests. The distance from Ai to Shechem between Gerizim and Ebal is about thirty miles in a straight line. Robinson made the journey from Bireh (Beeroth) to Sichem on mules in eleven and a half hours, and that not by the most direct route (Pal. iii. pp. 81-2), and Ai was not more than an hour to the south of Beeroth; so that Joshua could have gone with the people from Ai to Gerizim and Ebal in two days without any excessive exertion. Now, even if the conquests of the Israelites had not extended further north than Ai at that time, there was no reason why Joshua should be deterred from advancing further into the land by any fear of attack from the Canaanites, as the people of war who went with him would be able to repulse any hostile attack; and after the news had spread of the fate of Ai and Jericho, no Canaanitish king would be likely to venture upon a conflict with the Israelites alone. Moreover, Shechem had no king, as we may gather from the list of the thirty-one kings who were defeated by Joshua. To the further remark of Knobel, that "there was no reason for their hurrying with this ceremony, and it might have been carried out at a later period in undisturbed security," we simply reply, that obedience to the command of God was not a matter of such indifference to the servant of the Lord as Knobel imagines. There was no valid reason after the capture of Ai for postponing any longer the solemn ceremony of setting up the law of Jehovah which had been enjoined by Moses; and if we consider the reason for this solemnity, to which we have already referred, there can be no doubt that Joshua would proceed without the least delay to set up the law of the Lord in Canaan as early as possible, even before the subjugation of the whole land, that he might thereby secure the help of God for further conflicts and enterprises.

The account of this religious solemnity is given very briefly. It presupposes an acquaintance with the Mosaic instructions in Deuteronomy 27, and merely gives the leading points, to show that those instructions were carefully carried out by Joshua. Of the three distinct acts of which the ceremony consisted, in the book of Deuteronomy the setting up of the stones with the law written upon them is mentioned first (Deuteronomy 27:2-4), and then (Joshua 8:5-7) the building of the altar and the offering of sacrifice. Here, on the contrary, the building of the altar and offering of sacrifice are mentioned first (Joshua 8:30, Joshua 8:31), and then (Joshua 8:32) the writing of the law upon the stones; which was probably the order actually observed. - In Joshua 8:30 Jehovah is called "the God of Israel," to show that henceforth no other god was to be worshipped in Canaan than the God of Israel. On Mount Ebal, see at Deuteronomy 11:29 and Deuteronomy 27:4.

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