Joshua 8:23



The Bible says in Joshua 8:23-29, “And the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him to Joshua.[24] 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.[25] And so it was, that all that fell that day, both of men and women, were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai.[26] For Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.[27] Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took for a prey unto themselves, according unto the word of the LORD which he commanded Joshua.[28] And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it an heap for ever, even a desolation unto this day.[29] And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase down from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city, and raise thereon a great heap of stones, that remaineth unto this day.” Verse twenty-six sums up these verses very well. Talking about Joshua, it says, “he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.” This symbolizes the final destiny of all unbelievers from a spiritual standpoint. Of course, we live in a different era than those of the Old Testament, but we know that all unbelievers are headed for a similar destiny. That is why the Lord wants us to preach the Gospel. Jesus wants everyone to be saved and god to heaven, and thus escape the judgment that is coming.


Another thing that the above verses demonstrate to us is that Joshua and the children of Israel learned from their mistake, and they did it right the second time. God gave them a second chance. The Lord is like that because He is merciful to His children. Jesus gives us a lot of chances. Thank the Lord for daily forgiveness.


The victories of Israel over Jericho and Ai also show us that the children of Israel got off to a good start when they entered the Promised Land. All of their problems later until they were eventually conquered by the Assyrians and the Babylonians were due to the fact that they fell away from the example of Joshua and His initial victories in the Promised Land. Remember your first love for Christ when you were first saved. Do not depart from love, or you will head for trouble too.


The Bible says in Joshua 8:30-35, “Then Joshua built an altar unto the LORD God of Israel in mount Ebal,[31] As Moses the servant of the LORD commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings.[32] And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel.[33] And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel.[34] And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law.[35] There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.” Verse thirty says that Joshua built an altar unto the Lord. Joshua wanted to honor God, and Joshua wanted God to look down from heaven and see that the people were honoring Him. Joshua knew that their victories were only because of what the Lord had done. Not what man had done, but what God had done. And that is why the altar was made of stones “over which no man hath lift up any iron.” Salvation is like that too. Jesus did everything for us on the cross, and we did nothing to save ourselves.


It is important to notice that the Bible says in verse thirty-two, “And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses…” The stones represent permanence. The Word of God will last forever because it is God’s Word. That is why Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” The world is passing away, and the lust thereof. Therefore, we should find ways to be in the Word of God. Being a part of a good Bible-teaching church would be an important part of that.


In describing those who stood around the ark of the covenant, notice the phrase, “as well the stranger.” Non-Jews were always invited to come and become believers in the One True God, and to be part of God’s work and God’s plan. That has always been true and is still true because God loves everyone, and Jesus died for everyone, and anyone can be saved. It says in Romans 10:13, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved


At the beginning of verse thirty-four it says about Joshua, “And afterward he read all the words of the law…” Every Word of God is profitable and important. Every Christian should have as a life’s goal to hear, and read, and know the Word of God. Have you read through the entire Bible at least once? Do you take part in a good Bible teaching church? Do you find ways to stay in God’s Word and make it a part of you daily routine such as with Bible memorization and Bible study?


Notice also that verse thirty-four says, “And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings…” The law has “blessings and cursings.” The blessings are because the law was perfect and came from God, and the law reveals much about God’s character and God’s will for people. But there are cursings as well as blessings because it is the Old Testament law that we are talking about. One great benefit to the New Testament is that all of the curses have been taken away by Christ on the cross. It says in Galatians 3:13, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree


The Bible says in Joshua 9:1-2, “And it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side Jordan, in the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof;[2] That they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord.” The enemies of God became the enemies of Joshua and all the children of Israel. As a matter of fact these enemies banded together because they had this one common condition: they were not believers of the one true God. Why do some atheists and some liberals band together with some Moslems in opposing Judaism and Christianity? One would think that they would have nothing in common. What they have in common is their spiritual condition: unsaved.


The Bible says in Joshua 9:3-15, “And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai,[4] They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up;[5] And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy.[6] And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us.[7] And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you?[8] And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye?[9] And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt,[10] And all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, which was at Ashtaroth.[11] Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us.[12] This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy:[13] And these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey.[14] And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.[15] And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them.” When the people of Gibeon came to Joshua, they said the right things regarding the Lord. They said in verse nine that they had come to the Israelites “because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt.” This is the kind of response that we are hoping to get from people of the world. Just as Joshua did, we should also accept those who have such an attitude. Jesus accepts them, and so should we.


The Bible says in Joshua 9:16-21, “And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a league with them, that they heard that they were their neighbours, and that they dwelt among them.[17] And the children of Israel journeyed, and came unto their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, and Chephirah, and Beeroth, and Kirjath-jearim.[18] And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes.[19] But all the princes said unto all the congregation, We have sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel: now therefore we may not touch them.[20] This we will do to them; we will even let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath which we sware unto them.[21] And the princes said unto them, Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation; as the princes had promised them.” The main emphasis of this passage of scripture is that the Israelites kept their word. They were on a war footing. God told them to destroy all the wicked inhabitants of the land of Canaan, and the children of Israel under Joshua were doing just that. But they kept their word in regards to the Gibeonites even though the Gibeonites lied to them. You are no better than your word. If you make an agreement with someone, make sure you keep your word. God always keeps His Word.      





Copyright; 2019 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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