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Verses 26-27

Ver. 26, 27. And afterward Joshua smote them, &c.— He hung these five kings; and at the sun-setting they were taken down from their gibbets by his orders, lest the land which God had chosen to inhabit should be defiled by their dead bodies. Deuteronomy 21:23. Thus the king of Ai had been before executed. Maimonides and the Samaritan Chronicle add, that, together with the bodies of the five kings, Joshua caused the instruments of their punishment, and all that had been used for the purpose, to be shut up in the cave of Makkedah. This cave served as a sepulchre to the five vanquished princes, and was again blocked up by a heap of stones to serve as a monument of their tragical end, and of the triumph of the conquerors. Travellers inform us, that this cavern is still to be seen, and that it is inclosed with walls.

REFLECTIONS.—We have here,

1. News brought to Joshua of the discovery of the five kings, who had fled for concealment into a cave near Makkedah. To secure them there, great stones are rolled to the mouth of it, and, without staying to execute on them the intended judgment, the people are commanded to continue their pursuit. Note; When our spiritual enemies are falling, we must pursue the blow: the more complete the conquest, the more glorious the future triumph. 2. The pursuit is continued, and ended; the few who escaped the sword, only escaped to spread the terror of the defeat into the neighbouring cities, while Israel returned to Joshua at Makkedah, without the loss of a man. So easily can God turn the fury of the greatest persecutors into perfect tranquillity, and, after the severest storm has threatened, say, Peace, be still; and there shall be a great calm. 3. Now the kings are brought from their concealment, undergo the severest humiliation, and afterwards suffer the death which their pride, idolatry, and tyranny had merited. The captains are commanded to tread on their necks, not haughtily to insult their misery, but by way of terror to the kings of Canaan, and as an assurance that thus should all their enemies be laid low before them. They need not fear or be dismayed at the most numerous armies or mightiest kings, when God thus evidently fights for them. Note; (1.) The sinner who flies from God will find his securest retreat but a refuge of lies. (2.) Our triumphant Jesus has thus destroyed the principalities and powers of darkness, and will shortly bruise Satan, and all the other enemies of his people, under their feet.

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