December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Now Adonizedek, king of Jerusalem, heard that, in the capture and destruction of Ai, Joshua had done to that city and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king. He heard also that the inhabitants of Gibeon had made their peace with Israel, remaining among them,
- and that there was great fear abroad, because Gibeon was large enough for a royal city, larger even than the city of Ai, and all its men were brave.
- So Adonizedek, king of Jerusalem, sent for Hoham, king of Hebron, Piram, king of Jarmuth, Japhia, king of Lachish, and Debir, king of Eglon,
- to come to his aid for an attack on Gibeon, since it had concluded peace with Joshua and the Israelites.
- 1 The five Amorite kings, of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon, united all their forces and marched against Gibeon, where they took up siege positions.
- Thereupon, the men of Gibeon 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 forces against us."
- So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his picked troops and the rest of his soldiers.
- Meanwhile 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."
- And when Joshua made his surprise attack upon them after an all-night march from Gilgal,
- the LORD threw them into disorder before him. The Israelites inflicted a great slaughter on them at Gibeon and pursued them down the Beth-horon slope, harrassing them as far as Azekah and Makkedah.
- 2 While they fled before Israel along the descent from Beth-horon, the LORD hurled great stones from the sky above them all the way to Azekah, killing many. More died from these hailstones than the Israelites slew with the sword.
- On this day, when the LORD delivered up the Amorites to the Israelites,
Joshua prayed to the LORD,
and said in the presence of Israel:
Stand still, O sun, at Gibeon,
O moon, in the valley of Aijalon!
- 3 And the sun stood still,
and the moon stayed,
while the nation took vengeance on its foes.
Is this not recorded in the Book of Jashar? The sun halted in the middle of the sky; not for a whole day did it resume its swift course.
- 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.
- (Then Joshua and all Israel returned to the camp at Gilgal.)
- Meanwhile the five kings who had fled, hid in a cave at Makkedah.
- When Joshua was told that the five kings had been discovered hiding in a cave at Makkedah,
- he said, "Roll large stones to the mouth of the cave and post men over it to guard them.
- But do not remain there yourselves. Pursue your enemies, and harry them in the rear. Do not allow them to escape to their cities, for the LORD, your God, has delivered them into your power."
- 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,
- all the army returned safely to Joshua and the camp at Makkedah, no man uttering a sound against the Israelites.
- Then Joshua said, "Open the mouth of the cave and bring out those five kings to me."
- Obediently, they brought out to him from the cave the five kings, of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon.
- When they had done so, Joshua summoned all the men 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.
- 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."
- Thereupon Joshua struck and killed them, and hanged them on five trees, where they remained hanging until evening.
- At sunset they were removed from the trees at the command of Joshua and cast into the cave where they had hidden; over the mouth of the cave large stones were placed, which remain until this very day.
- Makkedah, too, Joshua captured and put to the sword at that time. He fulfilled the doom on the city, on its king, and on every person in it, leaving no survivors. Thus he did to the king of Makkedah what he had done to the king of Jericho.
- Joshua then passed on with all Israel from Makkedah to Libnah, which he attacked.
- Libnah also, with its king, the LORD delivered 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.
- Joshua next passed on with all Israel from Libnah to Lachish, where they set up a camp during the attack.
- 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.
- At that time Horam, king of Gezer, came up to help Lachish, but Joshua defeated him and his people, leaving him no survivors.
- From Lachish, Joshua passed on with all Israel to Eglon; encamping near it, they attacked it
- and captured it the same day, putting it to the sword. He fulfilled the doom that day on every person in it, just as he had done at Lachish.
- From Eglon, Joshua went up with all Israel to Hebron, which they attacked
- and captured. They put it to the sword with its king, all its towns, and every person there, leaving no survivors, just as Joshua had done to Eglon. He fulfilled the doom on it and on every person there.
- Then Joshua and all Israel turned back to Debir and attacked it,
- capturing it with its king and all its towns. They put them to the sword and fulfilled the doom on every person there, leaving no survivors. Thus was done to Debir and its king what had been done to Hebron, as well as to Libnah and its king.
- Joshua conquered the entire country; the mountain regions, the Negeb, the foothills, and the mountain slopes, with all their kings. He left no survivors, but fulfilled the doom on all who lived there, just as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded.
- 4 Joshua conquered from Kadesh-barnea to Gaza, and all the land of Goshen to Gibeon.
- All these kings and their lands Joshua captured in a single campaign, for the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.
- Thereupon Joshua with all Israel returned to the camp at Gilgal.
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1  Hebron . . . Eglon: these four cities were to the south and southwest of Jerusalem.
2  Great stones from the sky: the hailstones mentioned in the next sentence.
3  Is this not recorded: the reference is to the preceding, poetic passage. Evidently the Book of Jashar, like the Book of the Wars of the LORD (Numbers 21:14), recounted in epic style the exploits of Israel's early heroes. The sun halted: though it is widely supposed that this passage describes in popular language and according to external appearances a miraculous lengthening of the day, it is equally probable that Joshua's prayer was rather for an abrupt obscuration of the sun, which would impede his enemies in their flight homeward and also prevent them from rallying their forces; this request would have been answered by the hailstorm (cf Sirach 46:5) and by a darkness relieved only twenty-four hours later, well into the next day.
4  Goshen: a town and its surrounding district at the southern end of the Judean mountains (cf Joshua 11:16; 15:51); not to be confused with the land of Goshen in northeastern Egypt (Genesis 45:10), although in the current Hebrew Bible both names are spelled the same.
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