Natan’s Commentary on Joshua 8–14

Joshua 8

Joshua 8:14, When the king of Ai saw it. Pride as a result of over-selfconfidence is folly and can result in disastrous as the people of Ai discovered. Pride creates blind spots preventing one from viewing circumstances realistically and objectively.

Joshua 9

Joshua 9:14, Did not ask counsel of YHVH. In the wake of his success in defeating and destroying Jericho and Ai, Joshua became over confident in his own abilities and failed to consult YHVH, and thus fell to the deception of the Gibeonites. We must consult with YHVH over every major move that we make in our lives. Even though YHVH commanded the Israelites to kill all the Canaanites, allowances were made to spare those who chose not to fight Israel but to submit to and join themselves with Israel. This was the case with Rahab and Caleb. 

On the other hand, the Gibeonites surreptitiously wormed their way into the nation of Israel through deceit. This teaches us that the saints are to be ever vigilant against ungodly interlopers who, for one reason or another, seek to become a part of their company. When the saints allow this to happen, they risk being pulled down from a high position spiritually to a lower one, which can lead to apostasy. As Paul states, “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits,”(1 Cor 15:33), or as he declares elsewhere, “Do you not know that little leaven [i.e. sin] leavens the whole lump?” (I Cor 5:6). YHVH’s people are not to assimilate with the world, nor to allow the world to assimilate with them. The saints are called to come out of the world and to be separate and to not touch that which is unclean (2 Cor 6:17). To become like the world is a slippery slop downward toward what the Bible refers to as apostasy or the abandonment of divinely revealed Truth. On the other hand, to require the world to come up to the level and biblical standards of righteousness is the biblical definition of evangelism and can result in spiritual conversion of the heathen from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light or Elohim.

It appears that the Gibeonite people gradually assimilated into the nation of Israel and did not contribute to that nation’s moral decline, for we hear nothing more of them as being a distinct people group. 

This story is an example of YHVH’s mercy triumphing over his judgment vis-à-vis both the Gibeonites (who were not killed) and the Israelites (who had failed to obey YHVH).

Joshua 10

Joshua 10:1, Jerusalem. This is the first mention of Jerusalem in the Bible, a city of the Jebusites and also called Jebus (Josh 19:10). There are different opinions as to the meaning of the name Jerusalem. The traditional view is that it means “city of peace, wholeness, well-being” (ayr rHG and shalom OKA). It may also mean “to teach peace, wholeness or well-being” (yareh/ vrH and shalom OKA).

 Jerusalem is mentioned 767 times in the Scriptures and is called by seventy different titles according to Menashe Har-El (Golden Jerusalem, p. 24). Although Jerusalem seems to be an atypical place for a city in that it is located inland away from rivers, coasts and ports, it is strategic in that it was the junction of several ancient regional highways and international trade routes that linked three continents.

Of all the ancient cities lying in the Judean mountains, Jerusalem has the lowest elevation 750 meters above sea level (ASL). By comparison, Gibeon is 780 meters ASL, Beth-El is 900 meters ASL and Hebron is 950 meters ASL (ibid. p. 156).

Judah was not able to take Jerusalem, so the Jews and Jebusites coexisted for a time (Josh 15:63). Later, Judah defeated the Jebusites (Judg 1:8), but weren’t able to hold the city (Josh 1:21). 

One of David’s first acts as king was to capture Jerusalem and make it his capital city thus helping to unite Judah with the rest of Israel (1 Chron 11:4–9), since the city was geographically centrally located between the southern and northern halves of Israel.

Joshua 10:13, The sun stood still…the moon stopped. This is often viewed as one of the greatest miracles in the Bible and is referred to as “Joshua’s long day.” A miracle is the transcendence of natural law. Only the Creator has the ability to do this. A cursory reading of this verse may make it appear that the sun stood still and shone longer thus prolonging the day, so that the Israelites had more daylight in which to defeat their enemies. 

However, the Hebrew words behind the phrasing in this verse reveal a different story. Actually, the phrase stood still is the Hebrew word damm meaning “to be dumb or silent; by implication to be astonished, to stop; also to perish.” At the same time, the moon stopped (the Hebrew word amad meaning “stood in one place”). These words do not indicate that the sun shone longer, but rather that it ceased to shine. Thus, this event seems to be referring to a solar eclipse where it appears that the sun ceased to shine as the moon stood in front of it. 

This eclipse was confirmed by University of Cambridge researchers as reported by the Times of Israel on October 30. 2017. In a paper published in the Royal Astronomical Society journal of Astronomy and Geophysics, the paper’s authors, Colin Humphreys and Graeme Waddington, claim to have pinpointed the earliest known solar eclipse, which occurred on October 30, 1207 BCE and, which, according to the authors, corresponds to Joshua’s so called “long day.” This research confirms that of three Israeli scientists from Ben Gurion University who published an earlier paper (as reported by the Times of Israel on January 16, 2017) stating the same thing. Using NASA data, they also claimed that both the eclipse and Joshua’s battle occurred on October 30, 1207 BCE during a solar eclipse.

Of this event, the Artscroll Rubin Edition Joshua Commentary on this verse notes that an eclipse would have benefited the Israelites and diminished the power of the Amorites, who worshipped the sun and moon thus benefiting from the supposed power derived therefrom.

This solar eclipse along with the giant hailstones mentioned in verse 11 demonstrate that YHVH uses natural phenomenon to accomplish his purposes. In this case, it was to help his people defeat their enemies.

Book of Jasher. This is one of two references in the Bible to this lost book. The other one is 2 Samuel 1:18. The word Jasher is from the Hebrew word yashar meaning “right, straight, upright, correct, upright, righteous, straightforward, uprightness.” The oldest known copy of a book purporting to be the original or the lost book of Jasher is from Venice, Italy and was published in 1625 (from an earlier 1552 edition from Naples) and translated into English in 1840. This book is in contradistinction to another book by the same name that is often referred to as Pseudo-Jasher published in English in 1751 by Jacob Ilive and is recognized as a literary forgery (

Joshua 11

Joshua 11:21, 22, Anakim. This is a reference to the race of giants who lived in Canaan at the time, and who were remnants of the descendents of the nephilim of Genesis 6:2–4.

Joshua 13

Joshua 13:6, 13, I will drive out…Nevertheless. What is the lesson for us to learn from the fact that the Israelites did not drive the Canaanites out of the Promised Land according to YHVH’s instructions? It is this: To the degree that we do not have faith in YHVH and follow his clear instructions to combat the evil in our lives (i.e. the world, the flesh and the devil) is the degree to which we will not have the victory over our enemies (again, the world, the flesh and the devil). And this is to the degree that we will not experience YHVH’s blessings in our lives individually and collectively as a society, and to the degree that our enemies will trouble and afflict us subsequently. As the long, sad history of Israel reveals, the heathen nations that they failed to overcome were the same nations that continually plagued, oppressed and sometimes even conquered the Israelites and turned into vassals and serfs. These nations were continual thorns in their sides, just as YHVH predicted they would be (Num 33:55; Josh 23:13). When we fail to conquer the sin in our lives, it will overcome, rule and oppress us and turn us into its obedient slave and are thorns in our sides.

Joshua 13:14, 32, Tribe of Levi…no inheritance. The tribe of Levi was the only one of the twelve tribes to receive no land inheritance in the Promised Land. This is because YHVH as his servants to do his work and ministry, he promised to take care of them; he was their provision and inheritance (Josh 18:7). It was their divine mission to teach Torah to their brethren, to act as priests and servants ministering in the tabernacle and to act as medical doctors of sorts and judges in disputes. These are the same roles that the saints, who are called to be a royal priesthood (1 Pet 2:9) and a kingdom of priest in Yeshua’s kingdom (Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6; Isa 66:221), play in the world today. As such, the saints have no earthly inheritance, but a heavenly one in the kingdom of Elohim (Heb 11:39).

Joshua 14

Joshua 14:6–13, Caleb. Caleb was an amazing man of faith in many ways. As I show in my commentary notes on Numbers 13:6, Caleb was a native, non-Israelite, Canaanite who defected from his heathen tribal affiliation and joined with Israel and was subsequently grafted into the tribe of Judah. He was only one of two individuals, along with Joshua, of the older Israelite generation that perished in the wilderness and that YHVH allowed into the Promised Land. This is because he had a different heart and spirit than his contemporaries and volitionally chose to follow Elohim fully (Num 14:24). 

Having now arrived in the Promised Land at age 85, Caleb, still the man of faith and the wholehearted follower of the Elohim of Israel, was ready to expeditiously and with great alacrity to now go in and possess his promised inheritance.

Not only that, but unlike the tribes of Gad, Reuben and the half tribe of Manasseh, who preferred to remain on the east side of the Jordan River, where, perhaps, the going was a bit easier, Caleb did not defer to choosing the easy path of conquest, even though he was chosen and favored vessel of YHVH and could have done so due to his prominent position in Israel. No. Rather, in faith, even at his advanced age, Caleb chose to go up against the arch-enemies of the people of Elohim—the Anakim, who were the descendants of the giants or nephilim of Genesis 6:2–4. These are the same giants who some forty years earlier had intimidated all of the Israelite spies (except for Joshua and Caleb) making them feel like grasshoppers and melting their resolve to conquer the land of Canaan, even with YHVH Elohim’s supernatural help. Rather, Caleb, in faith, declared, “Let me at them!” (my words). Moreover, he was no less prepared to lead the charge uphill into the mountains against the fortified cities of the Anakim, while placing his army at a strategic military disadvantage. His faith was completely in YHVH despite the overwhelming physical odds against him. Thusly, he declared, “It may be that YHVH will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as YHVH said,” (Josh 14:12). By the grace of Elohim, Caleb succeeded in his mission to drive out the Anakim and to posses the part of the Promised Land promised to him.(Josh 15:13–15).

Caleb is an inspiring example of faith and obedience for us as we face the challenges to be true and faithful to YHVH Elohim and to believe in his promises, while trekking through the trial-filled wilderness of our physical lives en route to the Promised Land of our spiritual inheritance. 


2 thoughts on “Natan’s Commentary on Joshua 8–14

Share your thoughts...