by Henry T. Vriesen
Not far from Ai stood the city of Gibeon. When the people of Gibeon heard that Jericho and Ai had been taken by the Israelites, they were afraid that their city would be taken too. The elders talked the matter over and decided to try to obtain a promise by deceit that their city should be spared. A number of men came to Joshua, pretending to have come from a far country. They pointed to the ragged clothes, to the old shoes they wore, and also to the moldy bread in their bags as evidence of their statements.
Joshua and the elders of Israel made peace with these men, and swore an oath by the Lord God of Israel to spare the people of Gibeon. They forgot one important thing; they forgot to ask God what they should do. After three days they found that Gibeon was very nearby. The people wanted to attack the city, but the elders, on account of their oath, did not permit them to take the city. The Gibeonites were made servants of Israel.
The kings and the people of other cities realized that they could hope to defeat the Israelites only by allying themselves together and joining forces. Five kings of the Amorites did this. But the Lord said to Joshua, “Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee.” God not only gave the Israelites courage to fight, but he also frightened the Amorites with mighty thundering, and caused great hailstones to fall on them, so that many lives were lost. When the sun was about to go down, the battle was still raging, and the Israelites were still pursuing the Amorites. Needing more time for a complete victory, Joshua in faith cried unto the Lord and said in the sight of Israel,
“Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon;
And thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.”
This remarkable thing came to pass: instead of going down and disappearing from view, the sun continued to shine about a whole day, and thus furnished Israel light to finish the battle. By this one victory nearly all the southern part of the land of Canaan was conquered, although there were a few small battles afterwards.
Then Joshua turned to the north, and led his army against the kings, who had allied themselves, there to oppose Israel. As suddenly as he had fallen upon the five kings at Bethhoron, he fell upon these kings and their army, near the small lake in the far north of Canaan, called the waters of Merom. There another great victory was won. After this only minor battles took place, until the land was finally in the hands of Israel. The people of Canaan had turned away from God, and on account of their wickedness God’s judgments came upon them. Not one thing failed of all the good things which the Lord had promised to the house of Israel; all came to pass.For further information on this resource, click here.