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time, because Jehovah the God of Israel fought for Israel."
Chap. x. 42. It is in obedience to the command of Moses that Joshua endeavours to effect the total annihilation of the Canaanites. Dead to all the feelings of humanity, he suffers women, innocent children, and helpless babes, to pass under the edge of the sword; but, what is far worse, he perpetrates every species of cruelty and atrocity in the name of Jehovah his God.
“ Jehovah said unto Joshua, Be not afraid because of them : for to-morrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel: thou shalt hough their horses, and burn their chariots with fire. So Joshua came, and all the people of war with him, against them by the waters of Merom suddenly ; and they fell upon them. And Jehovah delivered them into the hand of Israel, who smote them, and chased them unto great Zidon, and unto Misrephoth-maim, and unto the valley of Mizpeh eastward; and they smote them, until they left them none remaining. And Joshua did unto them as Jehovah bade him : he houghed their horses, and burnt their chariots with fire. And Joshua at that time turned back, and took Hazor, and smote the king thereof with the sword : for Hazor beforetime was the head of all those kingdoms. And they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them : there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with fire. And all the cities of those kings, and all the kings of them, did Joshua take, and smote them with the edge of the sword, and he utterly destroyed them, as Moses
the servant of Jehovah had commanded.”—Chap. xi. 6-12. Jehovah is represented as requiring, not a single human offering, but the sacrifice of whole nations.
“ Jehovah said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see,
I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land : And thou shalt do to Ai and her king as thou didst unto Jericho and her king : only the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves.
“ And the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him to Joshua. And it came to pass, when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness wherein they chased them, and when they were all fallen on the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned unto Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword. And so it was, that all that fell that day, both of
men and women, were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai.”
Chap. viii. 1, 2; 23-25. Jehovah is revengeful. When he is defrauded by one man of a portion of the spoil he had commanded to be devoted wholly to himself, he punishes all the people by suffering them to be defeated before Ai. Elated with the conquest of Jericho, Joshua imagines that three thousand men will be able to subdue Ai. This force proves insufficient. The Israelites are defeated, and greatly disheartened by this natural consequence of their temerity and imprudence. Joshua at once attributes this overthrow to some disregard of the commands of Jehovah, who therefore would not fight for Israel. He takes lots of all the tribes, and discovers the offender. Achan confesses that he had taken of the gold and silver, for which offence he and his family are stoned; then “ Jehovah turns from the fierceness of his anger.” After this, Ai is again besieged: it is vanquished, and all the inhabitants are smitten with the edge of the sword. Joshua ascribes this victory to the power of Jehovah, who at the second attack fought for Israel.
“ Jehovah said to Joshua, Stretch out the spear that is in thy hand towards Ai; for I will give it into thine hand.”—Chap.
viii. 18. We must not, however, omit to observe that, at the second attack made upon Ai, whose population was twelve thousand, * all the men of war—" thirty thousand mighty men of valour" go up to besiege it.
And the troops are encouraged with the hope of the booty, “ which Israel (this time) takes for a prey unto themselves,” † notwithstanding that Jehovah had so lately been enraged because he had been defrauded of a portion of the spoil.
The representations of Joshua's warrior-God, Jehovah, are not, we think, of a more elevated character than those given by Homer, and other Greek writers, of the heathen wargod, Mars.
Government and Providence of God. The expression “ Jehovah spake with Joshua” frequently occurs; but the mode of communication is not specified. We cannot suppose the author to mean that Jehovah con* See chap. viii. 25 and 3.
+ See chap. viii. 27.
versed with Joshua, as he is said to have done with Adam, Cain, Noah, &c., appearing personally and walking upon the earth. Moses saw Jehovah in visions; he seems also to have considered his own thoughts, as well as the answers of the oracle, as the inspirations of God. The intercourse between Jehovah and Joshua was probably of a similar character. He regarded his dreams, particular impressions and sudden thoughts, also the decisions of Urim and Thummim, as the communications of Jehovah.
The ark or chest, over the golden cover of which the cherubim were placed, and within which the tables of the ten commandments were preserved, was the symbol of the divine presence. According to Moses, the cherubim were the emblems of the divine power and majesty. Though the Israelites were forbidden to make any image or resemblance of Jehovah, they certainly believed that his visible presence resided over the ark, and they regarded the smoke which ascended from the incense as a symbol to remind them of that presence. They held this ark in the highest veneration, and from it they looked for prosperity and adversity. Where it was, there followed good fortune, victory, and great prodigies, proofs of the Divine presence. The sacred relics were prized during the dark ages of Christianity for similar reasons.
Miracles were supposed to be wrought by them, and they were constantly borne from place to place, and at one time were even carried before the Roman Pontiff, in order to secure their blessing and protection. When Joshua heard of the defeat of the Israelites he
“ Rent his clothes and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of Jehovah until the eventide, he and the elders of
Israel.” —Chap. vii. 6. The gold and the silver which Achan had concealed is laid out before Jehovah, that is, before the ark of the covenant. Jehovah dwells among the tents of the Israelites.
“ And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites. Behold, the ark of the covenant of Jehovah of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan."
Chap. iii. 10, 11.
When the priests who bare the ark reach the Jordan, the waters immediately "stand and rise up, upon an heap."
“And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of Jehovah stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people
were passed clean over Jordan.”—Chap. iii. 17. The walls of Jericho fall down before the ark. The ark of the covenant is carried round the city, “ seven priests, with seven trumpets, pass before Jehovah,” that is, before the ark, and the people raise a shout of war, and the wall falls down flat.
“ So the ople shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city."-Chap. vi. 20. However these events may be accounted for, (and we cannot believe them to have been supernatural,) they are here narrated as miracles, wrought by the symbol of the Divine presence, which was carried to the battle in order to secure its protection.
Jehovah is represented as having a general or field-marshal, his leader in the war, “the captain of the host of Jehovah."
“ And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted
his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand : and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of Jehovah am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant ? And the captain of the host of Jehovah said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot, for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so."
Chap. v. 13-15. Joshua builds an altar to Jehovah in Mount Ebal, and, as Moses commanded,
He read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law.”—
Chap. viii. 34. He obliges the Israelites to observe the rite of circumcision-the token of the covenant established between them
and Jehovah. Moses had vainly endeavoured to enforce the observance of this rite during the wandering in the wilderness, though the command was given so long before as the time of Abraham-a striking proof of the inability of this lawgiver to carry his laws into effect among this barbarous people. Now that the Israelites were anxious to secure the especial favour and assistance of Jehovah, in order that they might conquer and drive out all the inhabitants of Canaan and take possession of the Promised Land, they were willing to give this visible token of their allegiance.