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March 18, 2020 | Josh. 10:1-27

INTRODUCTION. When the king of Jerusalem heard what the Israelites had done to Jericho and Ai, he sent messages to the kings of Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon to join him in an alliance against the Israelites. The five kings with their armies gathered together and went to besiege the city of Gibeon. The people of Gibeon had made a treaty with Joshua-they promised to serve the Israelites if Israel would protect them from their enemies. Therefore, when the Gibeonites informed Joshua they were being attacked, Joshua and his army went to their aid as promised.

The Lord assured Joshua He had delivered the five kings into the hands of the Israelites. Joshua and his army then marched by night to Gibeon, and with a surprise attack defeated the five kings and their armies, killing many of their number. As the remainder fled with the Israelites pursuing, the Lord sent great hailstones from heaven. More died from the hailstones than by the swords of the Israelites.

As the Israelites were succeeding in the defeat of the armies of the five kings, Joshua spoke to the Lord and asked that the sun and moon stand still. This request was in order to allow more daylight time for the Israelites to complete their victory.

The five kings fled to Makkedah, a city in southern Canaan, and hid in a cave. Joshua ordered that a stone be placed at the entrance of the cave so the kings could not escape. When the fleeing enemy had been completely destroyed, the Israelites returned to the cave, and Joshua commanded that the stone be removed. The kings were brought out of their cave prison and killed. The bodies were hung on five trees until evening, then removed and cast into the same cave. The cave was then sealed with great stones laid at the mouth.

Lesson 24: DEFEAT AT Al

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March 11, 2020 | Josh. 7; 8:1-29

INTRODUCTION. The city of Jericho, the first city in the land of Canaan captured by the Israelites, was to be completely devoted to God. The people were not allowed to keep for themselves any of the spoil (plunder, loot, valuables) found in the city. The unusual method used for the capture was designed by God to test the faith, obedience, and patience of the people. Their success upon following God’s instructions would encourage them in the difficulties they faced as they continued their invasion of Canaan, because they would know God fought for them at Jericho.

The next objective for the Israelites was Ai in central Canaan. The site of this ancient city is uncertain but it was east of Bethel (Gen. 12:8; Josh. 7:2), and archaeological digs in the area are attempting to determine its exact location. Joshua sent spies to search the area, and when they returned, they said the city was small and could easily be conquered. Joshua, therefore, sent 3000 soldiers to attack, but they were defeated soundly leaving thirty-six of their number dead.

When Joshua prayed to the Lord in great distress, the Lord informed him there was sin in the camp. Someone had stolen some valuables from the city of Jericho contrary to God’s command. When the sinner was identified and punished, then Joshua sent 30,000 soldiers to Ai who captured the city by an ambush.