10 When Adoni-zedek, the king of Jerusalem, heard that Joshua had totally destroyed the kings and cities of Jericho and Ai, and when he discovered that the Israelites had made a treaty with the people of Gibeon and were living alongside Israel, 2 he was greatly alarmed. The city of Gibeon was large, almost like a royal city, much larger than Ai and with many trained warriors. 3-5 So Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, dispatched messages to King Hoham of Hebron, to King Piram of Jarmuth, to King Japhia of Lachish, and to King Debir of Eglon.
Adoni-zedek (to the Amorite kings): Let us band together and destroy Gibeon, for they have become allies to these invaders, Joshua and the Israelites.
So these five kings of the Amorites gathered their forces and came down upon the city of Gibeon like a mighty wave. 6 The Gibeonites, seeing the camps of these five armies, sent a message to Joshua in the Israelite camp at Gilgal.
Gibeonites (pleading with Joshua): Please don’t abandon your servants. The five kings of the Amorites who live in the hill country have come down to attack us. Come quickly to help us.
7 So Joshua honored the oath they had sworn, and he gathered up all of his fighting forces, all the mighty warriors, and went up from Gilgal toward Gibeon.
Eternal One (to Joshua): 8 Don’t be afraid of the Amorites. Like Jericho and Ai, I am delivering these armies into your hands. None of them will be able to stand against you.
9 Joshua surprised them, having marched his men all night from Gilgal, 10 and the Eternal caused fear and confusion among the Amorite armies at the sudden sight of Israel among them. He slaughtered the Amorites at Gibeon like cattle, chasing and killing them all the way up Beth-horon, and striking them down as far away as Azekah and Makkedah. 11 As they fled for their lives down the far slope of Beth-horon, He hurled huge and deadly hailstones upon them from heaven, as far as Azekah. More Amorites were killed by God’s hailstones than by the people of Israel on that day.
12 On the day of the Eternal’s great slaughter, Joshua consulted with the Eternal One; and then, in front of all the people of Israel, he commanded the sun and the moon.
Joshua: Sun, stand still over Gibeon,
and Moon, remain over the valley of Aijalon.
Gibeon is in the east and Aijalon is in the west, so this is a favorable celestial omen for Israel and an unfavorable omen for the Amorite coalition.
13 The sun stood still in the heavens; and the moon did likewise, so that the battle could continue until the Israelites had destroyed their enemies, just as it was written in the scroll of Jashar. The sun stalled in the sky for almost an entire day before it set. 14 There has never been another day like this before or since, when the Eternal so answered a person’s prayer, for the Eternal fought for the people of Israel.
God proves that He is greater than any of the local gods—that He is above all other gods—by these cosmic miracles. While today, of course, we know that the earth orbits the sun, not vice versa, the story is clear enough: only an all-powerful God can halt the sun and moon in their courses.
15 Joshua and the Israelites later returned to the camp at Gilgal, 16 but the kings slipped away at the height of the battle and hid in a cave at Makkedah. 17 Someone told Joshua they had been found hiding there.
Joshua: 18-19 Seal up the mouth of the cave with large stones, and leave men to guard them while we pursue the other forces and attack them from behind. Don’t let them reach their towns because the Eternal One, your True God, has given you victory over them.
20 When Joshua and the Israelites had killed all those who did not escape back into the fortified cities, 21 they all returned safely to camp with Joshua at Makkedah, and no one dared to speak a negative word about the Israelites.
Joshua: 22 Open up the cave and bring the five kings before me.
23 They brought forth the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon 24 and led them in front of Joshua and the Israelites.
Joshua (to those who had led the warriors): Come here. Place your feet upon the necks of these kings.
So the leaders did.
Joshua: 25 There’s nothing to be afraid of here. Be strong and courageous because the Eternal will do to all our enemies what He has done to these kings.
26 Joshua had the kings executed and hung on five trees; and they hung until sunset 27 when Joshua commanded they be taken down, as God’s law requires. Their bodies were thrown into the cave where they had hidden, and the cave was sealed as a tomb by piling stones across the mouth. Their remains lie there to this very day.
28 Also on that day Joshua defeated Makkedah and its king, destroying it completely, killing everyone in it and the king, as he had done in Jericho.
29 Next Joshua led his forces from Makkedah against Libnah, 30 and the Eternal gave the town and its king into their hands. They took no prisoners. They killed everyone in the town and destroyed it and the king, as they did to the king of Jericho.
31 From there Joshua and the Israelites passed on to Lachish and besieged it, 32 and on the second day the Eternal gave Lachish to them. They destroyed it and killed everyone in it, as they had just done to Libnah. 33 When King Horam of Gezer came up to help Lachish, Joshua turned the army against him and his people and destroyed them, leaving no survivors.
34 Passing from Lachish, Joshua and the people attacked Eglon, 35 and it fell to them on the first day. They killed everyone with the sword and destroyed it completely, as they had Lachish.
36 Then Joshua went up with all the forces of Israel from Eglon against Hebron, 37 and it fell to them—its king, all of its villages, and all of its people. Joshua killed everyone with the sword and destroyed it as he had destroyed Eglon. 38 Lastly Joshua, with all of Israel, attacked Debir 39 and took its king, its villages, and all of its people. The Israelites killed them with the sword and destroyed them all. Joshua left no one alive. He did to Debir and its king just as he had done to Hebron and to Libnah and its king.
40 So this is how Joshua and the Israelites defeated every area they had encountered: the hill country, the wilderness of the Negev, the coastlands, and the foothills with all the people and all their kings, leaving no one alive, as the Eternal God of Israel had commanded. 41 Joshua won victories from Kadesh-barnea to Gaza and through all the country of Goshen as far as Gibeon. 42 Joshua was able to capture and defeat all these people and all their kings for one simple reason: the Eternal God of Israel fought for Israel.
43 Then Joshua returned to Gilgal to camp with all the Israelites.