Joshua 10 Bible Study – Online Lessons in the Book of Joshua
1. The sun stands still (1-15)
2. Joshua kills the five kings of the Amorites (16-28)
3. Joshua and the people defeat many cities in the South of Israel (29-43)
I. The sun stands still (1-15)
- How did the people of the land react when they heard about the treaty that the Gibeonites made with the Israelites?
- Why do you think they would assault Gibeon first rather than directly assault the Israelites?
- What may have that king been trying to accomplish?
- What did the Gibeonites do when they were attacked?
- Did Joshua help? Quickly or slowly? What might you have been tempted to do if you were in his position?
- What does this teach us about Joshua’s character?
- What affirmation did Joshua receive from the Lord before beginning the battle?
- In what ways did God help His people in the battle?
- Which of these is most outstanding to you? Why?
- What do we learn from this about God? What do we learn about the power of prayer?
- Can you share how God has helped you overcome a big obstacle? Or can you share how God has answered prayer requests of yours beyond your expectations?
- What have you learned from this passage that can help you face difficulties/challenges/trials/battles?
- What does it mean that the sun stood still? Isn’t the sun’s position relative to the earth always the same? (This is simply terminology from our perspective similar to when people say they saw the “sunrise” or “sunset.”
Proverbs 3:27 – Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.
Job 6:14 – Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
James 5:16 – Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
1 Chronicles 29:11 – Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.
Exodus 14:14 – The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
Psalms 28:7 – The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.Isaiah 45:7 – I form light and create darkness. I make well-being and create calamity.
Ephesians 1:19 – And his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1. The people of the land unite together against Israel – It didn’t take long before the news about the covenant between Gibeon and the Israelites spread. This news caused those kings to quickly band together. They put aside whatever differences they had and made a united front against Israel and Gibeon.
2. The kings attack Gibeon – Quite interestingly, the first target of their alliance is not to attack the Israelites, but to attack Gibeon. Why? It is likely that the Gibeonite’s defection to Israel scared them. They were afraid that other cities and other kings would also defect or refuse to fight. In their minds, they probably thought that their only chance to stand against Israel was a united front. Therefore they wanted to make an example out of Gibeon. They wanted to teach a lesson to that city. If Gibeon was destroyed for making a covenant with Israel, other cities would certainly think twice about defecting.
Application: Here we see an extreme example of peer pressure. The other nations around Gibeon wanted to everyone to conform to their own ways and ideas. It angered them when someone did something differently. We might face similar “aggressive peer pressure” at times too. A teacher may try to make an example of a student who doesn’t follow the liberal theory of the university. A boss may try to make an example of an employee who is not willing to cheat or lie for the company. We have to be ready and alert from any type of opposition.
3. The Gibeonites immediately turned to the Israelites for help – It is need which drove them to do so. They had just finished deceiving and lying to the Israelites. But now they needed help. So they used polite words like calling themselves “servants.”
4. Joshua and the people were quick to help – Joshua had given his word. He was a man of integrity. It would seem to be better for the Israelites if the Gibeonites were destroyed. That would solve the dilemma we discussed in the last chapter. But Joshua had given his word and he intended to honor it.
5. Verse 8 – God promises to give them victory. This should give them confidence, not strategic or tactical superiority.
6. God did many miracles in the battle:
- He confounded them
- He slew them
- He threw large stones from heaven on them
- He made the sun stand still to give the Israelites more time to fight
7. Nothing is too difficult for the Lord, even stopping the sun (if we have faith, we can move mountains.) – Here is on of the most amazing miracles recorded in the Bible. God caused the sun to “stand still.” Of course the language used is to meant to describe this event in human terms from our perspective. It is very possible, that God caused the earth to stop spinning on its axis. There are similar parallels in other cultures including China, Aztects, Incas, Egypt, Babylon, and Persia, which all record a legend of a long day. These or may nor not be evidence or refer to the same event.
Many different theories have sprung up about this passage including (https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_625.cfm):
“A. The passage is poetical and not to be understood literally.
B. The sun “standing still” refers to an eclipse of the sun.
C. The earth actually stopped its rotation around the sun for almost twenty-four hours per Joshuas request.
D. The earths rotation was slowed down, not stopped. This lengthened the day by almost twenty-four hours.
E. The sun and moon appeared to be out of their regular place by a supernaturally given mirage.
F. The sun stopped shining during the latter half of the day.
G. Rather than the day being prolonged, God prolonged the previous night.
The simplest and most obvious answer is normally the best one. And that is, C or D, that God either supernaturally stopped the rotation of the earth or slowed it down in order to lengthen the day and give the Israelite army a longer time to achieve a more full victory. Verse 13 says that the sun “did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.”
No matter what exactly happened, it was a tremendous one-of-a-kind miracle!
8. We should not be afraid to make big requests of God – Joshua’s faith in even thinking of asking such a thing of God is extraordinary. He not only thought of it, but then he proceeded to actually ask that God “stop” the sun!
William Carey once said, “Attempt great things for God. Ask great things of God.”
This philosophy is a good practice for believers. What is the biggest thing you have asked of God? What is the most amazing answer to prayer you have seen?
II. Joshua kills the five kings of the Amorites (16-28)
- What can we learn from verse 19? What battles are we fighting or enemies are we attacking that we should not stop?
- Where did their victory come from? How can we be sure to be victorious?
- What character quality can we learn from Joshua here (perseverance?)
- Why did Joshua do this public exhibition in verse 25? What lesson did he want to teach the people?
Verse by Verse Commentary
1. Joshua and the people persevere – We see this in verse 19. After a victory, they didn’t get complacent and satisfied, but instead wanted to get an even bigger victory. Are we satisfied with a little bit of progress, a little bit of a fruit, a little bit of spiritual success? We should keep pushing forward for more.
2. We should fight against sin just as zealously as Joshua and the people fought against the inhabitants of the land – God wants us to root out and mercilessly destroy sin in our lives like they were to completely destroy the inhabitants of the land.
3. Joshua made an example out of their leaders (24) – So will all of the enemies of the Lord be judged one day, sooner or later.
III. Joshua and the people defeat many cities in the South of Israel (29-43)
- What can we learn about Joshua and the people in these verses?
- What do you think of Joshua’s leadership?
- How seriously did Joshua take God’s command to completely destroy the inhabitants of the land?
Verse by Verse Commentary
1. We should do our best to fully obey all of God’s commands no matter how difficult they are, how much opposition we face, or how tired we are.
Homework: Ask your Bible study group to preview Joshua 11-19 by reading it and writing down their observations ahead of time.
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