29. Then Joshua passed from Makkedah, and all Israel with him, unto Libnah, and fought against Libnah:
29. Transivit deinde Josue et universus Israel cum eo de Makeda in Libna, et oppugnavit Libna.
30. And the LORD delivered it also, and the king thereof, into the hand of Israel; and he smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain in it; but did unto the king thereof as he did unto the king of Jericho.
30. Tradiditque Jehova illam etiam in manum Israel, et regem ejus, et percussit eam acie gladii, omnemque animam quae erat in ea: non reliquit in ea superstitem, fecitque regi ejus quemadmodum fecerat regi Jericho.
31. And Joshua passed from Libnah, and all Israel with him, unto Lachish, and encamped against it, and fought against it:
31. Postea transivit Josue, et universus Israel cum eo de Libna in Lachis, et castrametatus est juxta eam, et oppugnavit eam.
32. And the LORD delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel, which took it on the second day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein, according to all that he had done to Libnah.
32. Deditque Jehova Lachis in manum Israel, et cepit eam die secunda, et percussit eam acie gladii, omnemque animam quae erat in ea prorsus ut fecerat Libna.
33. Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish; and Joshua smote him and his people, until he had left him none remaining.
33. Ascendit autem Horam rex Geser ad opem ferendam Lachis, et percussit eum Josue ac populum ejus, ut non reliquerit ei superstitem.
34. And from Lachish Joshua passed unto Eglon, and all Israel with him; and they encamped against it, and fought against it:
34. Transivit insuper Josue et universus Israel cum eo de Lachis in Eglon, et castrametati sunt contra eam, et oppugnaverunt eam.
35. And they took it on that day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein he utterly destroyed that day, according to all that he had done to Lachish.
35. Ceperuntque eam die illo, et percusserunt acie gladii, et omnem animam quae illic erat, die illa interfecit prorsus ut fecerat Lachis.
36. And Joshua went up from Eglon, and all Israel with him, unto Hebron; and they fought against it:
36. Ascendit postea Josue et universus Israel cum eo ab Eglon in Hebron, et oppugnaverunt eam.
37. And they took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof, and all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining, according to all that he had done to Eglon; but destroyed it utterly, and all the souls that were therein.
37. Et ceperunt eam, et percusserunt acie gladii, et regem ejus, et omnia oppida ejus, atque omnem animam quae illic erat: non reliquit superstitem prorsus ut fecerat Eglon. Perdidit ergo eam atque omnem animam quae illic erat.
38. And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir; and fought against it:
38. Postea reversus est Josue, et universus Israel cum eo in Debir, et oppugnavit eam.
39. And he took it, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof; and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining: as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir, and to the king thereof; as he had done also to Libnah, and to her king.
39. Et ceperunt eam, et percusserunt acie gladii, et regem ejus, et omnia oppida ejus, percusseruntque eos acie gladii, atque interfecerunt omnem animam quae illic erat. Non reliquit superstitem, quemadmodum fecerat Hebron, sic fecit Debir, et regi ejus: et quemadmodum fecerat Libna, et regi ejus.
40. So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded.
40. Percussit itaque Josue omnem terram montanam, et meridianam, et campestrem, descensus acclives, et omnes reges earum: non reliquit superstitem: et omnem animam interfecit, quemadmodum praeceperat Jehova Deus Israel.
41. And Joshua smote them from Kadeshbarnea even unto Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon.
41. Percussit itaque Josue a Cades Barne usque ad Asa, et universam terram Gosen usque ad Gibeon.
42. And all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time, because the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel.
42. Cunctos vero reges istos, et terram eorum cepit Josue simul: quia Jehova Deus Israelis pugnabat pro Israele.
43. And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal.
43. Inde reversus est Josue et universus Israel cum eo in castra in Gilgal.
29. Then Joshua. passed, etc We have now a description of the taking of the cities, out of which the army of the enemy had been raised; and herein God displayed his power no less wonderfully than in the open field, especially when the rapidity is considered. For although those who had fled hither in trepidation might have produced some degree of panic, still, when the fear was allayed, they might be useful for defense. The garrison had been increased by their numbers. When, therefore, in a short period of time, Joshua takes all the cities, and gains possession of the smaller towns, the presence of God was conspicuously manifested in a success no less incredible than unexpected. For had they, when attacked, only shut their gates, as Joshua had not brought either ladders by which he might scale the walls, or engines by which he might throw them down, each siege might have been attended with considerable fatigue and delay. Therefore, when he takes one the following day, and another the very day after attacking it, these continued, easy, and rapid victories, are evidently beyond human agency.
Not without cause, then, in the end of the chapter, is the goodness of God expressly celebrated, as it had been made manifest that he was fighting for Israel, when Joshua at once took and vanquished so many kings, with their territories. Indeed, he could never, even in a course of inspection, have passed so quickly from city to city, had not a passage been divinely opened by the removal of obstacles. The miracle was increased when the king of Geser, who had come to the help of others, doubtless with full confidence in the result, was suddenly put to rout, almost without an effort, and did not even delay the advance of the Israelites. Those who were slain in the cities represent, as in a mirror, those whose punishment the Almighty holds suspended, while he actually takes vengeance on others. For though they plume themselves on the reprieve thus afforded them, their condition is worse than if they were immediately dragged to death. It looks as if it would have been a dire calamity to fall in the field of battle; and making their escape, they seek safety within their walls. But what awaited them there was much more dreadful. Their wives and their children are butchered in their sight, and their own death is more ignominious than if they had perished sword in hand. Hence there is no reason to envy the reprobate the short time which the Lord sometimes grants them, because when they have begun to promise themselves safety, sudden destruction will come upon them. (1 Thessalonians 5:3.) Meanwhile, let us learn not to abuse the patience of God when he defers to execute his judgment, and, instead of indulging in self-complacency when we seem to have been delivered from any danger, or when means of escape from it present themselves, let us reflect on the words of Jeremiah, (Jeremiah 24:2) that while the basket of early figs had at least some savor, the other was so sour that they could not be eaten.
40. So Joshua smote all the country, etc Here the divine authority is again interposed in order completely to acquit Joshua of any charge of cruelty. Had he proceeded of his own accord to commit an indiscriminate massacre of women and children, no excuse could have exculpated him from the guilt of detestable cruelty, cruelty surpassing anything of which we read as having been perpetrated by savage tribes scarcely raised above the level of the brutes. But that at which all would otherwise be justly horrified, it becomes them to embrace with reverence, as proceeding from God. Clemency is justly praised as one of the principal virtues; but it is the clemency of those who moderate their wrath when they have been injured, and when they would have been justified, as individuals, in shedding blood. But as God had destined the swords of his people for the slaughter of the Amorites, Joshua could do nothing else than obey his command.
By this fact, then, not only are all mouths stopped, but all minds also are restrained from presuming to pass censure. When any one hears it said that Joshua slew all who came in his way without distinction, although they threw down their arms and suppliantly begged for mercy, the calmest minds are aroused by the bare and simple statement, but when it is added, that so God had commanded, there is no more ground for obloquy against him, than there is against those who pronounce sentence on criminals. Though, in our judgment at least, the children and many of the women also were without blame, let us remember that the judgment-seat of heaven is not subject to our laws. Nay, rather when we see how the green plants are thus burned, let us, who are dry wood, fear a heavier judgment for ourselves. And certainly, any man who will thoroughly examine himself, will find that he is deserving of a hundred deaths. Why, then, should not the Lord perceive just ground for one death in any infant which has only passed from its mother's womb? In vain shall we murmur or make noisy complaint, that he has doomed the whole offspring of an accursed race to the same destruction; the potter will nevertheless have absolute power over his own vessels, or rather over his own clay.
The last verse confirms the observation already made, that the fixed station of the whole people was in Gilgal; and that the soldiers who had gone out to war, returned thither, both that they might rest from their fatigues, and place their booty in safety. It would not have been proper to allow them to be more widely scattered till the casting of the lot had shown where each was to have his permanent abode.