Saturday, August 09, 2008

Old Testament Violence (12) - Victory God's Way

A key victory by Joshua is recorded in Joshua 10. On this occasion five Amorite kings attacked the Gibeonites, whom Joshua had agreed to defend.

Then the five kings of the Amorites—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon—joined forces. They moved up with all their troops and took up positions against Gibeon and attacked it (Josh 10:5).
Joshua marched up from Gigal with his entire army. This time he got a clear word from the Lord.
The LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you" (Jos 10:8).
The Lord promised that none of the Amorites would stand and fight. They would all flee from the Israelites.

The Amorites were surprised and the Lord threw into confusion.
Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly, having marched all night from Gilgal. So the LORD routed them before Israel, killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, chased them along the road that goes to Beth Horon, and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah. (Jos 10:9-10).
Some translations imply that Israel chased them, but the original text is clear that the Lord who pursued them.
And it happened, as they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the LORD cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword (Jos 10:11).
The Lord pursued the Amorites and rained down hailstones upon the fleeing army. The victory was achieved by the Lord, while the people watched. This is how he prefers to work.

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