Joshua made war a long time with all those kings.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)A long time.—See Note on Joshua 14:10. The war seems to have lasted seven years, a long time when compared with the desultory incursions and single campaigns which made up the greater part of ancient warfare, when there were no standing armies.Joshua 11:18. Joshua made war a long time — For divers years together, five or six at least, according to Josephus. And this is here expressed, lest it should be thought that as all these wars are here recorded in a short narration, so they were despatched in a short time. God would have the land to be conquered gradually, for many weighty reasons; 1st, Lest the sudden extirpation of those nations should have made a great part of the land desert, and thereby have increased the number of wild beasts, which is particularly noticed by Moses, Exodus 23:29; Deuteronomy 7:22. 2d, Lest, being done suddenly and easily, it should soon be forgotten and despised. 3d, That by long exercise the Israelites might grow skilful in the art of war. 4th, For the trial and exercise of their patience and courage, and trust in God. 5th, To keep them in awe, and chastise them by these Canaanites when they forsook God; and to oblige them to be more careful to please him, since they saw they still needed his help and protection against their enemies.Joshua 14:10, and Introduction). This and the preceding chapter contain a very condensed account of the wars of Joshua, giving particulars about leading events only.
that goeth up to Seir—an irregular line of white naked hills, about eighty feet high, and seven or eight geographical miles in length that cross the whole Ghor, eight miles south of the Dead Sea, probably "the ascent of Akrabbim" [Robinson].
unto Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon—the city or temple of the god of destiny, in Baalbec.Deu 2:14 with Joshua 14:7, &c. And this is here expressed, lest it should be thought that as all these wars are here recorded in a short narration, so they were despatched in a short time. And God would have the land to be conquered gradually, for many weighty reasons:
1. Lest the sudden extirpation of those nations should have made a great part of the land desert, and thereby have increased the numbers of wild beasts, Deu 7:22.
2. Lest being done suddenly and easily, it should soon be forgotten and despised, as the nature of man is apt to do in those cases.
3. That by long exercise the Israelites might grow skilful in the art of war, which was very useful and needful for them in that land.
4. For the trial and exercise of their patience, and courage, and trust in God.
5. To oblige them to the greater care to please and obey God, whom they yet needed for their help against their enemies. Joshua 10:10; but were the work of some years; Josephus (b) says five years, but the common notion of the Jews is, that Joshua was seven years in subduing the land of Canaan (c); our Bishop Usher (d) thinks it was done in six years; and it may be concluded that it was about six or seven years ere this work was completely finished. Joshua made war a long time with all those kings.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)18. a long time] “Myche time,” Wyclif. Five years at least. Caleb was 40 years old when Moses sent him out of Kadesh-Barnea as a spy, and 80 years old when, on the conquest of the land, he received his portion at the hands of Joshua. Thus 45 years had elapsed since the former date, of which 40, or 38, had been spent in the wanderings of the wilderness. The campaigns of Joshua must therefore have occupied at least five or seven years for their accomplishment.Verse 18. - A long time. Hebrew, many days. The campaign in southern Israel lasted for weeks, perhaps even months. But the campaign in northern Palestine must have lasted longer. The vast host which gathered at the waters of Merom was destroyed, but the task of capturing the innumerable cities which dotted that region must have been a protracted one. We may, with Josephus, infer from Joshua 14:10 that it occupied five years, or perhaps, with other of the ancient Rabbis, seven years, since the wanderings in the wilderness after the rebellion of the Israelites lasted thirty-eight years. Joshua 11:13) neither contains an allusion to any special fortification of the towns, nor implies a contrast to the towns built in the valleys and plains, but simply expresses the thought that these towns were still standing upon their hill, i.e., upon the old site (cf. Jeremiah 30:18 : the participle does not express the preterite, but the present). At the same time, the expression certainly implies that the towns were generally built upon hills. The pointing in תּלּם is not to be altered, as Knobel suggests. The singular "upon their hill" is to be taken as distributive: standing, now as then, each upon its hill. - With Joshua 11:15, "as Jehovah commanded His servant Moses" (cf. Numbers 33:52.; Deuteronomy 7:1., Deuteronomy 20:16), the account of the wars of Joshua is brought to a close, and the way opened for proceeding to the concluding remarks with reference to the conquest of the whole land (Joshua 11:16-23). דּבר הסיר לא, he put not away a word, i.e., left nothing undone.
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