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The Battle of Bethhoron.

The Battle of Bethhoron.

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Joshua x.

Joshua x.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Sep 05, 2013
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THE BATTLE OF BETHHORO.BY WILLIAM GARDE BLAIKIE, D.D, LL.D.Joshua x.OUT of the larger confederacy of the wholeCanaanite chiefs against Joshua and his peoplerecorded in the beginning of chap, ix., a smallernumber, headed by Adonizedec, undertook the specialtask of chastising the Gibeonites, who had not onlyrefused to join the confederacy, but, as it was thought,basely and treacherously surrendered to Joshua. It isinteresting to find the King of Jerusalem, Adonizedec,bearing a name so similar to that of Melchizedek, Kingof Salem, in the days of Abraham. o doubt, since thedays of Jerome, there have been some who have deniedthat the Salem of Melchizedek was Jerusalem. Butthe great mass of opinion is in favour of the identity of the two places. Melchizedek means King of Righteous-ness ; Adonizedec, Lord of Righteousness ; in substancethe same. It was a striking name for a ruler, and itwas remarkable that it should have been kept up solong, although in the time of Adonizedec its signifi-cance had probably been forgotten. Jerusalem wasbut five miles south of Gibeon ; the other four capitals,whose chiefs joined in the expedition, were farther off.Hebron, eighteen miles south of Jerusalem, was memor-able in patriarchal history as the dwelling-place of 223224 THE BOOK OF JOSHUA.Abraham and the burial-place of his family ; Jarmuth,hardly mentioned in the subsequent history, is now
represented by Yarmuk, six miles from Jerusalem ;Lachish, of which we have frequent mention in Scrip-ture, is probably represented by Um Lakis, about fifteenmiles south-west of Jerusalem ; and Eglon by Ajlan,a little farther west. The five little kingdoms embracedmost of the territory afterwards known as the tribe of Judah, and they must have been far more than amatch for Gibeon. Their chiefs are called "the fiveAmorite kings," but this does not imply that they wereexclusively of the Amorite race, for " Amorite," like"Canaanite," is often used generically to denote thewhole inhabitants (as in Gen. xv. 16). The five chiefswere so near Gibeon that it was quite natural for themto undertake this expedition. o doubt they reckonedthat, by making a treaty with Joshua, the Gibeoniteshad strengthened his hands and weakened those of hisopponents ; they had made resistance to Joshua moredifficult for the confederacy, and therefore they deservedto be chastised. To turn their arms against Gibeon,when they had Joshua to deal with, was probably anunwise proceeding ; but to their resources it would seema very easy task. Gibeon enjoyed nothing of that aidfrom a great unseen Power that made Joshua so formid-able ; little could they have dreamt that Joshua wouldcome to the assistance of his new allies, and with God'shelp inflict on them a crushing defeat. " The Lordbringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought, Hemaketh the devices of the people of none effect. Thecounsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations."The case was very serious for the Gibeonites. AsGibeon lay so near Jerusalem and the cities of the otherx.] THE BATTLE OF BETHHORO. 225confederates, it is likely that the appearance of theenemy before its walls was the first, or nearly the first,
intimation of the coming attack. In their extremity theysent to Joshua imploring help, and the terms in whichthey besought him not to lose a moment, but come tothem at his utmost speed, show the urgency of theirdanger. To appeal to Joshua at all after their shamefulfraud was a piece of presumption, unless — and this isvery unlikely — the treaty between them had promisedprotection from enemies. Had Joshua been of a meannature he would have chuckled over their distress, andcongratulated himself that now he would get rid of these Gibeonites without trouble on his part. But thesame generosity that had refused to take advantage of their fraud when it was detected showed itself in thistheir time of need. Joshua was encamped at Gilgalon the banks of. the Jordan ; for the arguments thatsuppose him to have been at another Gilgal are notconsistent with the terms used in the narrative (e.g.,ver. 9, " went up from Gilgal all night "). From Gilgalto Gibeon the distance is upwards of twenty miles, anda great part of the way is steep and difficult.Encouraged by the assurance of Divine protectionand favoured by the moonlight, Joshua, by a marvellousact of pluck and energy, went up by night, reachedGibeon in the morning, fell upon the army of theassembled kings, possibly while it was yet dark, andutterly discomfited them. It would have been naturalfor the routed armies to make for Jerusalem, only fivemiles off, by the south road, but either Joshua hadoccupied that road, or it was too difficult for a retreat.The way by which they did retreat, running west fromGibeon, is carefully described. First they took the way" that goeth up to Bethhoron." As soon as they had15226 THE BOOK OF JOSHUA.

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