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27 I will have the terror of me precede you, so that I will throw into panic every nation you reach.(A) I will make all your enemies turn from you in flight,

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11 As for you, observe what I am commanding you today.(A)

See, I am about to drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.

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I. Conquest of Canaan

Chapter 1

Divine Promise of Assistance. After Moses, the servant of the Lord, had died, the Lord said to Moses’ aide Joshua, son of Nun: [a]Moses my servant is dead. So now, you and the whole people with you, prepare to cross the Jordan to the land that I will give the Israelites. (A)Every place where you set foot I have given you, as I promised Moses. [b]All the land of the Hittites, from the wilderness and the Lebanon east to the great river Euphrates and west to the Great Sea, will be your territory.(B) No one can withstand you as long as you live. As I was with Moses, I will be with you:(C) I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and steadfast, so that you may give this people possession of the land I swore to their ancestors that I would give them. (D)Only be strong and steadfast, being careful to observe the entire law which Moses my servant enjoined on you. Do not swerve from it either to the right or to the left, that you may succeed wherever you go. Do not let this book of the law depart from your lips. Recite it by day and by night,(E) that you may carefully observe all that is written in it; then you will attain your goal; then you will succeed. I command you: be strong and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go.

10 (F)So Joshua commanded the officers of the people: 11 “Go through the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your provisions, for three days from now you shall cross the Jordan here, to march in and possess the land the Lord, your God, is giving as your possession.’”

The Transjordan Tribes. 12 (G)Joshua addressed the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh: 13 “Remember what Moses, the servant of the Lord, commanded you when he said, ‘The Lord, your God, is about to give you rest; he will give you this land.’ 14 Your wives, your children, and your livestock may remain in the land Moses gave you here beyond the Jordan. But all the warriors among you must cross over armed, ahead of your kindred, and you must help them 15 until the Lord has settled your kindred, and they like you possess the land the Lord, your God, is giving them. Afterward you may return and possess your own land, which Moses, the servant of the Lord, has given you east of the Jordan.”(H) 16 They answered Joshua, “We will do all you have commanded us, and we will go wherever you send us. 17 As completely as we obeyed Moses, we will obey you. Only, may the Lord, your God, be with you as God was with Moses. 18 Anyone who rebels against your orders and does not obey all your commands shall be put to death. Only be strong and steadfast.”

Chapter 2

Spies Saved by Rahab. Then Joshua, son of Nun, secretly sent out two spies from Shittim, saying, “Go, reconnoiter the land and Jericho.” When the two reached Jericho, they went into the house of a prostitute named Rahab,(I) where they lodged. But a report was brought to the king of Jericho: “Some men came here last night, Israelites, to spy out the land.” So the king of Jericho sent Rahab the order, “Bring out the men who have come to you and entered your house, for they have come to spy out the entire land.” The woman(J) had taken the two men and hidden them, so she said, “True, the men you speak of came to me, but I did not know where they came from. At dark, when it was time to close the gate, they left, and I do not know where they went. You will have to pursue them quickly to overtake them.” Now, she had led them to the roof, and hidden them among her stalks of flax spread out[c] there. But the pursuers set out along the way to the fords of the Jordan. As soon as they had left to pursue them, the gate was shut.

Before the spies lay down, Rahab went up to them on the roof and said:[d] “I know that the Lord has given you the land, that a dread of you has come upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land tremble with fear because of you.(K) 10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the waters of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt,(L) and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites beyond the Jordan, whom you destroyed under the ban. 11 We heard, and our hearts melted within us; everyone is utterly dispirited because of you, since the Lord, your God, is God in heaven above and on earth below.(M) 12 (N)Now then, swear to me by the Lord that, since I am showing kindness to you, you in turn will show kindness to my family.(O) Give me a reliable sign 13 that you will allow my father and mother, brothers and sisters, and my whole family to live, and that you will deliver us from death.” 14 “We pledge our lives for yours,” they answered her. “If you do not betray our mission, we will be faithful in showing kindness to you when the Lord gives us the land.”

15 Then she let them down through the window with a rope; for she lived in a house built into the city wall.[e] 16 “Go up into the hill country,” she said, “that your pursuers may not come upon you. Hide there for three days, until they return; then you may go on your way.” 17 They answered her, “We are free of this oath that you made us take, unless, 18 when we come into the land, you tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you are letting us down. Gather your father and mother, your brothers, and all your family into your house. 19 Should any of them pass outside the doors of your house, their blood will be on their own heads, and we will be guiltless. But if anyone in your house is harmed, their blood will be on our heads. 20 If, however, you betray our mission, we will be free of the oath you have made us take.” 21 “Let it be as you say,” she replied, and sent them away. When they were gone, she tied the scarlet cord in the window.

22 They went up into the hill country, where they stayed three days until their pursuers, who had sought them all along the road without finding them, returned. 23 Then the two came back down from the hills, crossed the Jordan to Joshua, son of Nun, and told him all that had happened to them. 24 They assured Joshua, “The Lord has given all this land into our power; indeed, all the inhabitants of the land tremble with fear because of us.”

Chapter 3

Preparations for Crossing the Jordan. Early the next morning, Joshua and all the Israelites moved from Shittim and came to the Jordan, where they stayed before crossing over. (P)Three days later the officers went through the camp (Q)and issued these commands to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord, your God, which the levitical priests will carry, you must break camp and follow it, that you may know the way to take, for you have not gone over this road before. But let there be a space of two thousand cubits between you and the ark: do not come nearer to it.” Joshua also said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will perform wonders among you.” And he told the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and cross ahead of the people”; so they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people.

(R)Then the Lord said to Joshua: Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.(S) Now command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant, “When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, there take your stand.”

So Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord, your God.” 10 He continued: “By this you will know that there is a living God in your midst: he will certainly dispossess before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites.(T) 11 The ark of the covenant of the Lord of the whole earth will cross the Jordan before you. 12 Now choose twelve men,(U) one from each of the tribes of Israel. 13 When the soles of the feet of the priests carrying the ark of the Lord, the Lord of the whole earth, touch the waters of the Jordan, it will cease to flow; the water flowing down from upstream will halt in a single heap.”[f]

The Crossing Begun. 14 The people set out from their tents to cross the Jordan, with the priests carrying the ark of the covenant ahead of them. 15 When those bearing the ark came to the Jordan and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were immersed in the waters of the Jordan—which overflows all its banks during the entire season of the harvest—[g] 16 the waters flowing from upstream halted, standing up in a single heap(V) for a very great distance indeed, from Adam, a city in the direction of Zarethan; those flowing downstream toward the Salt Sea of the Arabah disappeared entirely.[h] Thus the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood on dry ground in the Jordan riverbed(W) while all Israel crossed on dry ground, until the whole nation had completed the crossing of the Jordan.

Chapter 4

Memorial Stones. After the entire nation had completed the crossing of the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua: Choose twelve men(X) from the people, one from each tribe, and command them, “Take up twelve stones from this spot in the Jordan riverbed where the priests have been standing.(Y) Carry them over with you, and place them where you are to stay tonight.”

Summoning the twelve men he had selected from among the Israelites, one from each tribe, Joshua said to them: “Go to the Jordan riverbed in front of the ark of the Lord, your God; lift to your shoulders one stone apiece, so that they will equal in number the tribes of the Israelites. In the future, these are to be a sign among you. When your children ask you,[i] ‘What do these stones mean to you?’(Z) you shall answer them, ‘The waters of the Jordan ceased to flow before the ark of the covenant of the Lord when it crossed the Jordan.’(AA) Thus these stones are to serve as a perpetual memorial to the Israelites.” The twelve Israelites did as Joshua had commanded: they took up twelve stones from the Jordan riverbed as the Lord had said to Joshua, one for each of the tribes of the Israelites. They carried them along to the camp site, and there they placed them. Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the Jordan riverbed on the spot where the priests stood who were carrying the ark of the covenant. They are there to this day.

10 [j]The priests carrying the ark stood in the Jordan riverbed until everything had been done that the Lord had commanded Joshua to tell the people, just as Moses had commanded Joshua. The people crossed over quickly, 11 and when all the people had completed the crossing, the ark of the Lord also crossed; and the priests were now in front of them. 12 The Reubenites, Gadites, and half-tribe of Manasseh, armed, marched in the vanguard of the Israelites, as Moses had ordered. 13 About forty thousand troops, equipped for battle, crossed over before the Lord to the plains of Jericho for war.

14 That day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel,(AB) and so during his whole life they feared him as they had feared Moses.

15 Then the Lord said to Joshua: 16 Command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant to come up from the Jordan. 17 Joshua commanded the priests, “Come up from the Jordan,” 18 and when the priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord had come up from the Jordan riverbed, as the soles of their feet regained the dry ground, the waters of the Jordan resumed their course and as before overflowed all its banks.

19 The people came up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and camped in Gilgal on the eastern limits of Jericho.(AC) 20 At Gilgal Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been taken from the Jordan, 21 saying to the Israelites, “In the future, when your children ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 you shall inform them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan here on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord, your God, dried up the waters of the Jordan in front of you until you crossed over, just as the Lord, your God, had done at the Red Sea, drying it up in front of us until we crossed over,(AD) 24 in order that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, and that you may fear the Lord, your God, forever.”(AE)

Chapter 5

Rites at Gilgal. When all the kings of the Amorites to the west of the Jordan and all the kings of the Canaanites by the sea heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the Israelites until they crossed over, their hearts melted and they were utterly dispirited because of the Israelites.

(AF)On this occasion the Lord said to Joshua: Make flint knives and circumcise Israel for the second time. So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath-haaraloth.[k] This was the reason for the circumcision: Of all the people who had come out of Egypt, every male of military age had died in the wilderness(AG) during the journey after they came out of Egypt. Though all the men who came out were circumcised, none of those born in the wilderness during the journey after the departure from Egypt were circumcised. Now the Israelites wandered forty years in the wilderness, until all the warriors among the people that came forth from Egypt died off because they had not listened to the voice of the Lord. For the Lord swore(AH) that he would not let them see the land he had sworn to their ancestors to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. (AI)It was the children God raised up in their stead whom Joshua circumcised, for these were yet with foreskins, not having been circumcised on the journey. When the circumcision of the entire nation was complete, they remained in camp where they were, until they recovered. Then the Lord said to Joshua: Today I have removed the reproach of Egypt from you.(AJ) Therefore the place is called Gilgal[l] to the present day.

10 (AK)While the Israelites were encamped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, they celebrated the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month.[m] 11 On the day after the Passover they ate of the produce of the land in the form of unleavened cakes and parched grain. On that same day 12 after they ate of the produce of the land, the manna ceased. No longer was there manna for the Israelites, who that year ate of the yield of the land of Canaan.(AL)

Siege at Jericho. 13 [n]While Joshua was near Jericho, he raised his eyes and saw one who stood facing him, drawn sword in hand.(AM) Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you one of us or one of our enemies?” 14 He replied, “Neither. I am the commander[o] of the army of the Lord: now I have come.” Then Joshua fell down to the ground in worship, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” 15 The commander of the army of the Lord replied to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy.”(AN) And Joshua did so.

Chapter 6

Now Jericho was in a state of siege because of the presence of the Israelites. No one left or entered. And to Joshua the Lord said: I have delivered Jericho, its king, and its warriors into your power. (AO)Have all the soldiers circle the city, marching once around it. Do this for six days, with seven priests carrying ram’s horns ahead of the ark. On the seventh day march around the city seven times, and have the priests blow the horns. When they give a long blast on the ram’s horns and you hear the sound of the horn, all the people shall shout aloud. The wall of the city will collapse, and the people shall attack straight ahead.

Summoning the priests, Joshua, son of Nun, said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant with seven of the priests carrying ram’s horns in front of the ark of the Lord.” And he ordered the people, “Proceed and surround the city, with the picked troops marching ahead of the ark of the Lord.” When Joshua spoke to the people, the seven priests who carried the ram’s horns before the Lord marched and blew their horns, and the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed them. In front of the priests with the horns marched the picked troops; the rear guard followed the ark, and the blowing of horns was kept up continually as they marched. 10 But Joshua had commanded the people, “Do not shout or make any noise or outcry until I tell you, ‘Shout!’ Then you must shout.” 11 So he had the ark of the Lord circle the city, going once around it, after which they returned to camp for the night.

12 Early the next morning, Joshua had the priests take up the ark of the Lord. 13 The seven priests bearing the ram’s horns marched in front of the ark of the Lord, blowing their horns. Ahead of these marched the picked troops, while the rear guard followed the ark of the Lord, and the blowing of horns was kept up continually. 14 On this second day they again marched around the city once before returning to camp; and for six days in all they did the same.

15 On the seventh day, beginning at daybreak, they marched around the city seven times in the same manner; on that day only did they march around the city seven times. 16 The seventh time around, the priests blew the horns and Joshua said to the people, “Now shout, for the Lord has given you the city. 17 (AP)The city and everything in it is under the ban. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are in the house with her are to live, because she hid the messengers we sent. 18 (AQ)But be careful not to covet or take anything that is under the ban;[p] otherwise you will bring upon the camp of Israel this ban and the misery of it. 19 All silver and gold, and the articles of bronze or iron, are holy to the Lord. They shall be put in the treasury of the Lord.”

The Fall of Jericho. 20 As the horns blew, the people began to shout. When they heard the sound of the horn, they raised a tremendous shout. The wall collapsed,[q] and the people attacked the city straight ahead and took it.(AR) 21 They observed the ban by putting to the sword all living creatures(AS) in the city: men and women, young and old, as well as oxen, sheep and donkeys.

22 (AT)To the two men who had spied out the land, Joshua said, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring out the woman with all her family, as you swore to her you would do.” 23 The spies entered and brought out Rahab, with her father, mother, brothers, and all her family; her entire family they led forth and placed outside the camp of Israel. 24 The city itself they burned with all that was in it;(AU) but the silver, gold, and articles of bronze and iron they placed in the treasury of the house of the Lord. 25 [r]Because Rahab the prostitute had hidden the messengers whom Joshua had sent to reconnoiter Jericho, Joshua let her live, along with her father’s house and all her family, who dwell in the midst of Israel to this day.

26 (AV)On that occasion Joshua imposed the oath: Cursed before the Lord be the man who attempts to rebuild this city, Jericho. At the cost of his firstborn will he lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest son will he set up its gates.[s]

27 Thus the Lord was with Joshua so that his fame spread throughout the land.(AW)

Chapter 7

Defeat at Ai. But the Israelites acted treacherously with regard to the ban; Achan, son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah of the tribe of Judah, took goods that were under the ban,(AX) and the anger of the Lord flared up against the Israelites.

(AY)Joshua next sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven and east of Bethel, with the order, “Go up and reconnoiter the land.” When they had explored Ai, they returned to Joshua and advised, “Do not send all the people up; if only about two or three thousand go up, they can attack and overcome Ai. You need not tire all the people: the enemy there are few.” About three thousand of the people made the attack, but they fled before the army at Ai, who killed some thirty-six of them. They pursued them from the city gate to the Shebarim, and defeated them on the descent, so that the confidence of the people melted away like water.

Joshua, together with the elders of Israel, tore their garments and fell face down before the ark of the Lord until evening; and they threw dust on their heads. “Alas, Lord God,” Joshua prayed, “why did you ever allow this people to cross over the Jordan, delivering us into the power of the Amorites, that they might destroy us? Would that we had been content to dwell on the other side of the Jordan. Please, Lord, what can I say, now that Israel has turned its back to its enemies? When the Canaanites and the other inhabitants of the land hear of it, they will close in around us and efface our name from the earth. What will you do for your great name?”(AZ)

10 The Lord replied to Joshua: Stand up. Why are you lying there? 11 (BA)Israel has sinned: they have transgressed the covenant[t] which I enjoined on them. They have taken goods subject to the ban. They have stolen and lied, placing the goods in their baggage. 12 If the Israelites cannot stand up to their enemies, but must turn their back to them, it is because they are under the ban. I will not continue to be with you unless you remove that which is banned from among you. 13 Get up, sanctify the people.(BB) Tell them, “Sanctify yourselves before tomorrow, for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: That which is banned is in your midst, Israel. You cannot stand up to your enemies until you remove it from among you. 14 In the morning you must come forward by tribes. The tribe which the Lord designates shall come forward by clans; the clan which the Lord designates shall come forward by families; the family which the Lord designates shall come forward one by one. 15 Whoever is designated as having incurred the ban shall be destroyed by fire, with all that is his, because he has trangressed the covenant of the Lord and has committed a shameful crime in Israel.”(BC)

Achan’s Guilt and Punishment. 16 Early the next morning Joshua had Israel come forward by tribes, and the tribe of Judah was designated.[u] 17 Then he had the clans of Judah come forward, and the clan of Zerah was designated. He had the clan of Zerah(BD) come forward by families, and Zabdi was designated. 18 Finally he had that family come forward one by one, and Achan, son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah of the tribe of Judah, was designated. 19 Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and praise him by telling me what you have done; do not hide it from me.” 20 Achan answered Joshua, “I have indeed sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: 21 Among the spoils, I saw a beautiful Babylonian mantle, two hundred shekels of silver, and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight; I coveted them and I took them. They are now hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.” 22 Joshua sent messengers and they ran to the tent and there they were, hidden in the tent, with the silver underneath. 23 They took them from the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites, and spread them out before the Lord.

24 Then Joshua and all Israel took Achan, son of Zerah, with the silver, the mantle, and the bar of gold, and with his sons and daughters, his ox, his donkey and his sheep, his tent, and all his possessions, and led them off to the Valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, “What misery have you caused us? May the Lord bring misery upon you today!”(BE) And all Israel stoned him to death. They burnt them with fire and they stoned them. 26 Over Achan they piled a great heap of stones, which remains to the present day.(BF) Then the Lord turned from his anger. That is why the place is called the Valley of Achor[v] to this day.

Chapter 8

Capture of Ai. (BG)The Lord then said to Joshua: Do not be afraid or dismayed. Take all the army with you and prepare to attack Ai.(BH) I have delivered the king of Ai into your power, with his people, city, and land. Do to Ai and its king what you did to Jericho and its king—except that you may take its spoil and livestock as plunder.(BI) Set an ambush behind the city. So Joshua and all the soldiers prepared to attack Ai. Picking out thirty thousand warriors,[w] Joshua sent them off by night with these orders: “See that you ambush the city from the rear. Do not be very far from the city. All of you must be ready. The rest of the people and I will come up to the city, and when they make a sortie against us as they did the last time, we will flee from them. They will keep coming out after us until we have drawn them away from the city, for they will think, ‘They are fleeing from us as they did the last time.’ When we flee, then you rise from ambush and take possession of the city, which the Lord, your God, will deliver into your power. When you have taken the city, set it on fire in obedience to the Lord’s command. These are my orders to you.”(BJ) Then Joshua sent them away. They went to the place of ambush, taking up their position to the west of Ai, toward Bethel. Joshua, however, spent that night with the army.

10 Early the next morning Joshua mustered the army and went up to Ai at its head, with the elders of Israel. 11 When all the troops he led were drawn up in position before the city, they pitched camp north of Ai, on the other side of the ravine. 12 He took about five thousand warriors and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, west of the city. 13 Thus the people took up their stations, with the main body north of the city and the ambush west of it, and Joshua waited overnight in the valley. 14 The king of Ai saw this, and he and all his army came out very early in the morning to engage Israel in battle at the place in front of the Arabah, not knowing that there was an ambush behind the city. 15 Joshua and the main body of the Israelites fled toward the wilderness, pretending defeat, 16 until the last of the soldiers in the city had been called out to pursue them. Since they were drawn away from the city, with everyone pursuing Joshua, 17 not a soldier remained in Ai or Bethel. They abandoned the city, leaving it open, as they pursued Israel.

18 Then the Lord directed Joshua: Stretch out the javelin in your hand toward Ai, for I will deliver it into your power. Joshua stretched out the javelin in his hand toward the city, 19 and as soon as he did so, the men in ambush rose from their post, rushed in, captured the city, and immediately set it on fire. 20 By the time the army of Ai looked back, the smoke from the city was going up to the heavens. Escape in any direction was impossible, because the Israelites retreating toward the wilderness now turned on their pursuers; 21 for when Joshua and the main body of Israelites saw that the city had been taken by ambush and was going up in smoke, they struck back at the forces of Ai. 22 Since those in the city came out to intercept them, Ai’s army was hemmed in by Israelites on both sides, who cut them down without any fugitives or survivors(BK) 23 except the king, whom they took alive and brought to Joshua.

24 When Israel finished killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the open, who had pursued them into the wilderness, and all of them to the last man fell by the sword, then all Israel returned and put to the sword those inside the city. 25 There fell that day a total of twelve thousand men and women, the entire population of Ai. 26 (BL)Joshua kept the javelin in his hand stretched out until he had carried out the ban on all the inhabitants of Ai. 27 However, the Israelites took for themselves as plunder the livestock and the spoil of that city, according to the command of the Lord issued to Joshua. 28 Then Joshua destroyed Ai by fire, reducing it to an everlasting mound of ruins, as it remains today.(BM) 29 He had the king of Ai hanged on a tree until evening;(BN) then at sunset Joshua ordered the body removed from the tree and cast at the entrance of the city gate, where a great heap of stones was piled up over it, which remains to the present day.

Altar on Mount Ebal. 30 [x](BO)Later, on Mount Ebal, Joshua built to the Lord, the God of Israel, an altar 31 of unhewn stones on which no iron tool had been used,(BP) just as Moses, the servant of the Lord, had commanded the Israelites, as recorded in the book of the law. On this altar they sacrificed burnt offerings to the Lord and made communion sacrifices. 32 There, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua inscribed upon the stones a copy of the law written by Moses. 33 And all Israel, resident alien and native alike, with their elders, officers, and judges, stood on either side of the ark facing the levitical priests who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord.(BQ) Half of them were facing Mount Gerizim and half Mount Ebal, just as Moses, the servant of the Lord, had first commanded for the blessing of the people of Israel. 34 (BR)Then were read aloud all the words of the law, the blessings and the curses, exactly as written in the book of the law. 35 (BS)Every single word that Moses had commanded, Joshua read aloud to the entire assembly, including the women and children, and the resident aliens among them.

Chapter 9

Confederacy Against Israel. When the news reached all the kings west of the Jordan, in the mountain regions and in the Shephelah, and all along the coast of the Great Sea as far as the Lebanon: Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites,(BT) they gathered together to launch a common attack against Joshua and Israel.

The Gibeonite Deception. On hearing what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, the inhabitants of Gibeon(BU) formed their own scheme. They chose provisions for a journey, making use of old sacks for their donkeys, and old wineskins, torn and mended. They wore old, patched sandals and shabby garments; and all the bread they took was dry and crumbly. Thus they journeyed to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal, where they said to him and to the Israelites, “We have come from a far-off land; now, make a covenant with us.”(BV) But the Israelites replied to the Hivites,[y] “You may be living in land that is ours. How, then, can we make a covenant with you?” But they answered Joshua, “We are your servants.” Then Joshua asked them, “Who are you? Where do you come from?” They answered him, “Your servants have come from a far-off land, because of the fame of the Lord, your God. For we have heard reports of all that he did in Egypt(BW) 10 and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites beyond the Jordan,(BX) Sihon, king of Heshbon, and Og, king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth. 11 So our elders and all the inhabitants of our land said to us, ‘Take along provisions for the journey and go to meet them. Say to them: “We are your servants; now make a covenant with us.”’ 12 This bread of ours was still warm when we brought it from home as provisions the day we left to come to you, but now it is dry and crumbly. 13 Here are our wineskins, which were new when we filled them, but now they are torn. Look at our garments and sandals; they are worn out from the very long journey.” 14 Then the Israelite leaders partook of their provisions, without inquiring of the Lord.(BY) 15 So Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant to let them live,(BZ) which the leaders of the community sealed with an oath.

Gibeonites Made Vassals. 16 Three days after the covenant was made, the Israelites heard that these people were from nearby, and would be living in Israel. 17 The third day on the road, the Israelites came to their cities of Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim, 18 but did not attack them, because the leaders of the community had sworn to them by the Lord, the God of Israel. When the entire community grumbled against the leaders, 19 these all remonstrated with the community, “We have sworn to them by the Lord, the God of Israel, and so we cannot harm them. 20 Let us therefore let them live, and so deal with them that no wrath fall upon us because of the oath we have sworn to them.”(CA) 21 Thus the leaders said to them, “Let them live, and become hewers of wood and drawers of water[z] for the entire community.” So the community did as the leaders advised them.(CB)

22 Joshua summoned the Gibeonites and said to them, “Why did you deceive us and say, ‘We live far off from you’?—You live among us! 23 Now are you accursed: every one of you shall always be a slave, hewers of wood and drawers of water, for the house of my God.” 24 They answered Joshua, “Your servants were fully informed of how the Lord, your God, commanded Moses his servant that you be given the entire land and that all its inhabitants be destroyed before you. Since, therefore, at your advance, we were in great fear for our lives, we acted as we did.(CC) 25 And now that we are in your power, do with us what is good and right in your eyes.” 26 [aa]Joshua did what he had decided: while he saved them from being killed by the Israelites, 27 on that day he made them, as they still are, hewers of wood and drawers of water for the community and for the altar of the Lord, in the place the Lord would choose.

Chapter 10

The Siege of Gibeon. Now when Adonizedek, king of Jerusalem, heard that Joshua had captured Ai and put it under the ban, and had done to that city and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king,(CD) and that the inhabitants of Gibeon had made their peace with Israel, remaining among them, there was great fear abroad, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, greater even than Ai, and all its men were warriors. So Adonizedek, king of Jerusalem, sent to Hoham, king of Hebron, Piram, king of Jarmuth, Japhia, king of Lachish, and Debir, king of Eglon, with this message: “Come and help me attack Gibeon, for it has made peace with Joshua and the Israelites.”(CE) The five Amorite kings, of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon,[ab] gathered with all their forces, and marched against Gibeon to make war on it. Thereupon, the Gibeonites sent an appeal to Joshua in his camp at Gilgal: “Do not abandon your servants. Come up here quickly and save us. Help us, because all the Amorite kings of the mountain country have joined together against us.”(CF)

Joshua’s Victory. So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with all his army and all his warriors. The Lord said to Joshua: Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your power. Not one of them will be able to withstand you. After an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua made a surprise attack upon them, 10 and the Lord threw them into disorder before Israel. The Israelites inflicted a great slaughter on them at Gibeon and pursued them down the Beth-horon slope, attacking them as far as Azekah and Makkedah.

11 While they fled before Israel along the descent of Beth-horon, the Lord hurled great stones from the heavens[ac] above them all the way to Azekah, killing many.(CG) More died from these hailstones than the Israelites killed with the sword. 12 It was then, when the Lord delivered up the Amorites to the Israelites, that Joshua prayed to the Lord, and said in the presence of Israel:

Sun, stand still at Gibeon,
    Moon, in the valley of Aijalon!
13 The sun stood still,
    the moon stayed,
    while the nation took vengeance on its foes.(CH)

This is recorded[ad] in the Book of Jashar. The sun halted halfway across the heavens; not for an entire day did it press on. 14 Never before or since was there a day like this, when the Lord obeyed the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel. 15 Then Joshua and all Israel returned to the camp at Gilgal.

Execution of Amorite Kings. 16 The five kings who had fled hid in the cave at Makkedah. 17 When Joshua was told, “The five kings have been found, hiding in the cave at Makkedah,” 18 he said, “Roll large stones to the mouth of the cave and post guards over it. 19 But do not remain there yourselves. Pursue your enemies, and harry them in the rear. Do not allow them to reach their cities, for the Lord, your God, has delivered them into your power.”

20 Once Joshua and the Israelites had finally inflicted the last blows in this very great slaughter, and the survivors had escaped from them into the fortified cities, 21 all the army returned to Joshua and the camp at Makkedah in victory; no one uttered a sound against the Israelites. 22 Then Joshua said, “Open the mouth of the cave and bring me those five kings from the cave.” 23 They did so; they brought out to him from the cave the five kings, of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon. 24 When they brought the five kings out to Joshua, he summoned all the army of Israel and said to the commanders of the soldiers who had marched with him, “Come forward and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” They came forward and put their feet upon their necks. 25 (CI)Then Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid or dismayed, be firm and steadfast. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies against whom you fight.” 26 (CJ)Thereupon Joshua struck and killed the kings, and hanged them on five trees, where they remained hanging until evening. 27 At sunset Joshua commanded that they be taken down from the trees and be thrown into the cave where they had hidden; over the mouth of the cave large stones were placed, which remain until this very day.

Conquest of Southern Canaan. 28 (CK)Makkedah, too, Joshua captured and put to the sword at that time. He put the city, its king, and every person in it under the ban, leaving no survivors. Thus he did to the king of Makkedah what he had done to the king of Jericho. 29 Joshua then passed on with all Israel from Makkedah to Libnah, and attacked it, 30 and the Lord delivered it, with its king, into the power of Israel. He put it to the sword with every person there, leaving no survivors. Thus he did to its king what he had done to the king of Jericho. 31 Joshua next passed on with all Israel from Libnah to Lachish, where they set up a camp during the attack. 32 The Lord delivered Lachish into the power of Israel, so that on the second day Joshua captured it and put it to the sword with every person in it, just as he had done to Libnah. 33 At that time Horam, king of Gezer, came up to help Lachish, but Joshua defeated him and his people, leaving him no survivors. 34 From Lachish, Joshua passed on with all Israel to Eglon; encamping near it, they attacked it 35 and captured it the same day, putting it to the sword. On that day he put under the ban every person in it, just as he had done at Lachish. 36 From Eglon, Joshua went up with all Israel to Hebron, which they attacked 37 and captured. They put it to the sword with its king, all its cities, and every person there, leaving no survivors, just as Joshua had done to Eglon. He put it under the ban and every person in it. 38 Then Joshua and all Israel turned back to Debir and attacked it, 39 capturing it with its king and all its cities. They put them to the sword and put under the ban every person in it, leaving no survivors. Thus he did to Debir and its king what he had done to Hebron, as well as to Libnah and its king.

40 (CL)Joshua conquered the entire land; the mountain regions, the Negeb, the Shephelah, and the mountain slopes, with all their kings. He left no survivors, but put under the ban every living being, just as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded. 41 Joshua conquered them from Kadesh-barnea to Gaza, and all the land of Goshen[ae] to Gibeon. 42 All these kings and their lands Joshua captured all at once, for the Lord, the God of Israel, fought for Israel. 43 Thereupon Joshua with all Israel returned to the camp at Gilgal.

Chapter 11

Northern Confederacy. When Jabin, king of Hazor,[af] learned of this, he sent a message to Jobab, king of Madon, to the king of Shimron, to the king of Achshaph, and to the northern kings in the mountain regions and in the Arabah near Chinneroth, in the Shephelah, and in Naphath-dor to the west.(CM) These were Canaanites to the east and west, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, and Jebusites in the mountain regions, and Hivites at the foot of Hermon in the land of Mizpah.(CN) They came out with all their troops, an army numerous as the sands on the seashore, and with a multitude of horses and chariots.(CO) All these kings made a pact and together they marched to the waters of Merom,[ag] where they encamped to fight against Israel.

The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for by this time tomorrow I will present them slain to Israel. You must hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.” Joshua with his whole army came upon them suddenly at the waters of Merom and fell upon them. The Lord delivered them into the power of the Israelites, who defeated them and pursued them to Greater Sidon, to Misrephoth-maim,(CP) and eastward to the valley of Mizpeh. They struck them all down, leaving no survivors. Joshua did to them as the Lord had commanded: he hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots.

Conquest of Northern Canaan. 10 At that time Joshua, turning back, captured Hazor and struck down its king with the sword; for Hazor formerly was the chief of all those kingdoms. 11 He also struck down with the sword every person there, carrying out the ban, till none was left alive. Hazor itself he burned. 12 All the cities of those kings, and the kings themselves, Joshua captured and put to the sword, carrying out the ban on them, as Moses, the servant of the Lord, had commanded.(CQ) 13 However, Israel did not destroy by fire any of the cities built on their mounds, except Hazor, which Joshua burned. 14 All the spoil and livestock of these cities the Israelites took as plunder; but the people they put to the sword, until they had destroyed the last of them, leaving none alive. 15 As the Lord had commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua acted accordingly.(CR) He left nothing undone that the Lord had commanded Moses should be done.

Survey of the Conquest. 16 So Joshua took all this land: the mountain regions, the entire Negeb, all the land of Goshen, the Shephelah, the Arabah, as well as the mountain regions and Shephelah of Israel,(CS) 17 from Mount Halak that rises toward Seir(CT) as far as Baal-gad in the Lebanon valley at the foot of Mount Hermon. All their kings he captured and put to death. 18 Joshua waged war against all these kings for a long time. 19 With the exception of the Hivites who lived in Gibeon, no city made peace with the Israelites; all were taken in battle.(CU) 20 For it was the Lord’s doing to make their hearts obstinate to meet Israel in battle, that they might be put under the ban without mercy, and be destroyed as the Lord had commanded Moses.(CV)

21 [ah]At that time Joshua penetrated the mountain regions and exterminated the Anakim in Hebron,(CW) Debir, Anab, the entire mountain region of Judah, and the entire mountain region of Israel. Joshua put them and their cities under the ban, 22 so that no Anakim were left in the land of the Israelites. However, some survived in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod. 23 (CX)Thus Joshua took the whole land, just as the Lord had said to Moses. Joshua gave it to Israel as their heritage, apportioning it among the tribes. And the land had rest from war.[ai]

Chapter 12[aj]

Lists of Conquered Kings. These are the kings of the land whom the Israelites conquered and whose lands they occupied, east of the Jordan, from the River Arnon to Mount Hermon, including all the eastern section of the Arabah: (CY)First, Sihon, king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon. His domain extended from Aroer, which is on the bank of the Wadi Arnon, to include the wadi itself, and the land northward through half of Gilead to the Wadi Jabbok at the border with the Ammonites, as well as the Arabah from the eastern side of the Sea of Chinnereth, as far south as the eastern side of the Salt Sea of the Arabah in the direction of Beth-jeshimoth,(CZ) southward under the slopes of Pisgah. Secondly, the border of Og, king of Bashan, a survivor of the Rephaim, who lived at Ashtaroth and Edrei.(DA) He ruled over Mount Hermon, Salecah, and all Bashan as far as the boundary of the Geshurites and Maacathites, and over half of Gilead as far as the territory of Sihon, king of Heshbon. It was Moses, the servant of the Lord, and the Israelites who conquered them; Moses, the servant of the Lord, gave possession of their land to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh.(DB)

This is a list of the kings of the land whom Joshua and the Israelites conquered west of the Jordan, from Baal-gad in the Lebanon valley to Mount Halak which rises toward Seir; Joshua apportioned their land and gave possession of it to the tribes of Israel; it included the mountain regions and Shephelah, the Arabah, the slopes, the wilderness, and the Negeb, belonging to the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites: The king of Jericho, one;(DC) the king of Ai, which is near Bethel, one; 10 the king of Jerusalem, one; the king of Hebron, one; 11 the king of Jarmuth, one; the king of Lachish, one;(DD) 12 the king of Eglon, one; the king of Gezer, one;(DE) 13 the king of Debir, one; the king of Geder, one;(DF) 14 the king of Hormah, one; the king of Arad, one; 15 the king of Libnah, one; the king of Adullam, one;(DG) 16 the king of Makkedah, one; the king of Bethel, one;(DH) 17 the king of Tappuah, one; the king of Hepher, one;(DI) 18 the king of Aphek, one; the king of Lasharon, one;(DJ) 19 the king of Madon, one; the king of Hazor, one;(DK) 20 the king of Shimron, one; the king of Achshaph, one;(DL) 21 the king of Taanach, one; the king of Megiddo, one;(DM) 22 the king of Kedesh, one; the king of Jokneam, at Carmel, one;(DN) 23 the king of Dor, in Naphath-dor, one; the king of Goyim at Gilgal, one;(DO) 24 and the king of Tirzah, one—thirty-one kings in all.

Footnotes

  1. 1:2–9 The beginning of the Book of Joshua strongly emphasizes the credentials of Joshua as Moses’ worthy successor (vv. 2, 3, 4, 7; cf. v. 17; 3:7; 4:14; 5:15). The movement Joshua leads, whereby the Israelites take possession of the land of Canaan, is thus made continuous with the exodus from Egypt, even though (except for Joshua and Caleb) the generation that left Egypt under Moses’ leadership has died out (5:4, 6), and the people who will make the land of Canaan the land of Israel are a new generation. Thus the book is at pains to establish the continuity between exodus and conquest.
  2. 1:4 The frontiers are as follows: in the south the wilderness of Sinai, in the north the Lebanon range, in the east the Euphrates, and in the west the Great Sea, the Mediterranean. These boundaries are ideal rather than actual.
  3. 2:6 Stalks of flax spread out: to dry in the sun, after they had been soaked in water, according to the ancient process of preparing flax for linen-making. In the Near East the flax harvest occurs near the time of the feast of the Passover (4:19; 5:10); cf. Ex 9:31.
  4. 2:9–11 Rahab’s speech is Deuteronomic in content and style. Through her, the author expresses a theological conviction: the Lord, the God of Israel, is God above all gods; the formation of the people Israel and its success is the Lord’s doing; and all the rulers of the neighboring nations do well to panic at what the Lord is doing (cf. 5:1). Rahab the prostitute is pointedly mentioned in the Matthean genealogy of Jesus (Mt 1:5) and in Jas 2:25.
  5. 2:15 A house built into the city wall: the city wall formed the back wall of the house; remains of such houses have been found at ancient sites. The upper story of Rahab’s house was evidently higher than the city wall. It was through the window of such a house that St. Paul escaped from Damascus; cf. Acts 9:25; 2 Cor 11:33.
  6. 3:13 Heap: Heb. nēd, the same word found in Ex 15:8; the narrative echoes the ancient Song of Miriam (Ex 15:1–18), which celebrates the crossing of the Red Sea. Thus the language provides another parallel between Joshua and Moses, conquest and exodus.
  7. 3:15 Season of the harvest: toward the end of March and the beginning of April, when the barley and other crops that grew during the rainy season of winter were reaped. The crossing took place “on the tenth day of the first month” of the Hebrew year, which began with the first new moon after the spring equinox; cf. 4:19. At this time of the year the Jordan would be swollen as a result of the winter rains and the melting snow of Mount Hermon.
  8. 3:16 Some scholars have suggested that this account may reflect an annual ritual reenactment of the event near the sanctuary of Gilgal.
  9. 4:6 When your children ask you: reminiscent of the question and response at the Passover meal, Ex 12:26–27.
  10. 4:10–18 After the digression about the memorial stones, the author resumes the narrative by briefly repeating the story of the crossing, which had already been told in 3:14–17.
  11. 5:3 Gibeath-haaraloth: “Hill of the Foreskins.”
  12. 5:9 The place is called Gilgal: by popular etymology, because of the similarity of sound with the Hebrew word gallothi, “I have removed.” Gilgal probably means “circle,” i.e., the place of the circle of standing stones. Cf. 4:4–8.
  13. 5:10 The month: the first month of the year, later called Nisan; see note on 3:15. The crossing of the Jordan occurred, therefore, about the same time of the year as did the crossing of the Red Sea; cf. Ex 12–14.
  14. 5:13–6:26 The account of the siege of Jericho embraces: (1) the command of the Lord to Joshua (5:13–6:5); (2) Joshua’s instructions to the Israelites, with a brief summary of how these orders were carried out (6:6–11); (3) a description of the action on each of the first six days (6:12–14); (4) the events on the seventh day (6:15–26).
  15. 5:14 Commander: the leader of the heavenly army of the Lord of hosts is either the Lord or an angelic warrior; if the latter, he is a messenger who speaks in the person of the one who sent him. I have come: the solemn language of theophany; cf., e.g., Ps 50:3; 96:13.
  16. 6:18 Under the ban: doomed to destruction; see notes on Lv 27:28; Nm 18:14; 21:3.
  17. 6:20 The blowing of the horns and the shouting, features of the ritual procession with the ark of the covenant (cf. 1 Chr 15:28; 2 Chr 5:11–14), are the people’s counterpart of the Lord’s theophany; cf. note on Jgs 5:4–5; and Jgs 7:15–22; 2 Chr 13:15. The Lord gives the victory; this is the theological point of the story.
  18. 6:25 The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew (1:2–16) presents Rahab the prostitute as the wife of Salmon (1:5) and so the ancestor of David (Ru 4:18–22) and of Jesus.
  19. 6:26 At the cost of his firstborn…its gates: this curse was fulfilled when Hiel rebuilt Jericho as a fortified city during the reign of Ahab, king of Israel; cf. 1 Kgs 16:34.
  20. 7:11 Transgressed the covenant: the Hebrew word translated “transgressed” appears frequently in the first five chapters where it is used to describe how Israel “crossed” the Jordan River. There is a wordplay here to emphasize Israel’s responsibility to follow God to the promised land and so to obey and not transgress the divine command.
  21. 7:16–18 Was designated: probably by means of the Urim and Thummim; cf. 1 Sm 14:38–42. See note on Ex 28:30.
  22. 7:26 Achor: “misery,” or “disaster.” The reference is to the saying of Joshua in v. 25, with an allusion also to the similar-sounding name of Achan.
  23. 8:3 Thirty thousand warriors: this figure of the Hebrew text, which seems extremely high, may be due to a copyist’s error; some manuscripts of the Septuagint have “three thousand,” which is the number of the whole army in the first, unsuccessful attack (7:4); the variant reading in v. 12 mentions “five thousand.” More likely, the word for “thousand” here and in other military contexts may designate a squad or fighting unit, itself composed of significantly fewer warriors.
  24. 8:30–35 These ceremonies were prescribed in Dt 11:29 and 27:2–26.
  25. 9:7 The Hivites: apparently the Gibeonites belonged to this larger ethnic group (cf. also 11:19), although in 2 Sm 21:2 they are classed as Amorites; both groups are listed among the seven nations of Canaan whom, according to Dt 7:1–2, the Israelites were to dispossess.
  26. 9:21 Hewers of wood and drawers of water: proverbial terms for those who do menial work; cf. Dt 29:10–11.
  27. 9:26–27 Later on, Saul violated the immunity of the Gibeonites, but David vindicated it; cf. 2 Sm 21:1–9.
  28. 10:5 Hebron…Eglon: these four cities were to the south and southwest of Jerusalem.
  29. 10:11 Great stones from the heavens: the hailstones mentioned in the next sentence.
  30. 10:13 This is recorded: the reference is to the preceding poetic passage. Evidently the Book of Jashar, like the Book of the Wars of the Lord (Nm 21:14), recounted in epic style the exploits of Israel’s early heroes. The sun halted: lit., “the sun stood”; this obscure passage may suppose a longer than natural day caused when the sun stopped moving across the sky, or it may refer to the sun stopping its light-giving function, perhaps through an eclipse. In any case it was seen as a sign that God fought Israel’s battle (v. 42; cf. Ex 14:14).
  31. 10:41 Goshen: a town and its surrounding district at the southern end of the Judean mountains (cf. 11:16; 15:51); not to be confused with the land of Goshen in northeastern Egypt (Gn 45:10).
  32. 11:1–3 Hazor, Madon, Shimron, and Chinneroth: cities and their surrounding districts in eastern Galilee. Achshaph and Naphath-dor: southwest of Galilee. The mountain regions: in central and northern Galilee.
  33. 11:5 The waters of Merom: of uncertain identification, perhaps Tel Qarnei Hittin, about seven and a half kilometers west of modern Tiberias.
  34. 11:21–23 Most of the land assigned to the tribe of Judah was not conquered by it until the early period of the Judges. See note on Jgs 1:1–36.
  35. 11:23 The land had rest from war: later passages (15:13–17; 17:12–13) show individual tribes still fighting against the remaining Canaanites. This verse forms the conclusion to the first part of the book.
  36. 12:1–24 This chapter, inserted between the two principal parts of the book (chaps. 1–11 and 13–21), resembles the lists of conquered cities which are inscribed on monuments of Egyptian and Assyrian rulers. Perhaps this list was copied here from some such public Israelite record.

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