Antiquities of the Jews, Vol 1, The

18. These kings which made war with, and were ready to fight the Gibeonites, being thus overthrown, Joshua returned again to the mountainous parts of Canaan; and when he had made a great slaughter of the people there, and took their prey, he came to the camp at Gilgal. And now there went a great fame abroad among the neighboring people of the courage of the Hebrews; and those that heard what a number of men were destroyed, were greatly aftrighted at it: so the kings that lived about Mount Libanus, who were Canaanites, and those Canaanites that dwelt in the plain country, with auxiliaries out of the land of the Philistines, pitched their camp at Beroth, a city of the Upper Galilee, not far from Cadesh, which is itself also a place in Galilee. Now the number of the whole army was three hundred thousand armed footmen, and ten thousand horsemen, and twenty thousand chariots; so that the multitude of the enemies aftrighted both Joshua himself and the Israelites; and they, instead of being full of hopes of good success, were superstitiously timorous, with the great terror with which they were stricken. Whereupon God upbraided them with the fear they were in, and asked them whether they desired a greater help than he could afford them; and promised them that they should overcome their enemies; and withal charged them to make their enemies' horses useless, and to burn their chariots. So Joshua became full of courage upon these promises of God, and went out suddenly against the enemies; and after five days' march he came upon them, and joined battle with them, and there was a terrible fight, and such a number were slain as could not be believed by those that heard it. He also went on in the pursuit a great way, and destroyed the entire army of the enemies, few only excepted, and all the kings fell in the battle; insomuch, that when there wanted men to be killed, Joshua slew their horses, and burnt their chariots and passed all over their country without opposition, no one daring to meet him in battle; but he still went on, taking their cities by siege, and again killing whatever he took.

19. The fifth year was now past, and there was not one of the Canaanites remained any longer, excepting some that had retired to places of great strength. So Joshua removed his camp to the mountainous country, and placed the tabernacle in the city of Shiloh, for that seemed a fit place for it, because of the beauty of its situation, until such thee as their affairs would permit them to build a temple; and from thence he went to Shechem, together with all the people, and raised an altar where Moses had beforehand directed; then did he divide the army, and placed one half of them on Mount Gerizzim, and the other half on Mount Ebal, on which mountain the altar was; he also placed there the tribe of Levi, and the priests. And when they had sacrificed, and denounced the [blessings and the] curses, and had left them engraven upon the altar, they returned to Shiloh.

20. And now Joshua was old, and saw that the cities of the Canaanites were not easily to be taken, not only because they were situate in such strong places, but because of the strength of the walls themselves, which being built round about, the natural strength of the places on which the cities stood, seemed capable of repelling their enemies from besieging them, and of making those enemies despair of taking them; for when the Canaanites had learned that the Israelites came out of Egypt in order to destroy them, they were busy all that time in making their cities strong. So he gathered the people together to a congregation at Shiloh; and when they, with great zeal and haste, were come thither, he observed to them what prosperous successes they had already had, and what glorious things had been done, and those such as were worthy of that God who enabled them to do those things, and worthy of the virtue of those laws which they followed. He took notice also, that thirty-one of those kings that ventured to give them battle were overcome, and every army, how great soever it were, that confided in their own power, and fought with them, was utterly destroyed; so that not so much as any of their posterity remained. And as for the cities, since some of them were taken, but the others must be taken in length of thee, by long sieges, both on account of the strength of their walls, and of the confidence the inhabitants had in them thereby, he thought it reasonable that those tribes that came along with them from beyond Jordan, and had partaken of the dangers they had undergone, being their own kindred, should now be dismissed and sent home, and should have thanks for the pains they had taken together with them. As also, he thought it reasonable that they should send one man out of every tribe, and he such as had the testimony of extraordinary virtue, who should measure the land faithfully, and without any fallacy or deceit should inform them of its real magnitude.

21. Now Joshua, when he had thus spoken to them, found that the multitude approved of his proposal. So he sent men to measure their country, and sent with them some geometricians, who could not easily fail of knowing the truth, on account of their skill in that art. He also gave them a charge to estimate the measure of that part of the land that was most fruitful, and what was not so good: for such is the nature of the land of Canaan, that one may see large plains, and such as are exceeding fit to produce fruit, which yet, if they were compared to other parts of the country, might be reckoned exceedingly fruitful; yet, if it be compared with the fields about Jericho, and to those that belong to Jerusalem, will appear to be of no account at all; and although it so falls out that these people have but a very little of this sort of land, and that it is, for the main, mountainous also, yet does it not come behind other parts, on account of its exceeding goodness and beauty; for which reason Joshua thought the land for the tribes should be divided by estimation of its goodness, rather than the largeness of its measure, it often happening that one acre of some sort of land was equivalent to a thousand other acres. Now the men that were sent, which were in number ten, traveled all about, and made an estimation of the land, and in the seventh month came to him to the city of Shiloh, where they had set up the tabernacle.

22. So Joshua took both Eleazar and the senate, and with them the heads of the tribes, and distributed the land to the nine tribes, and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, appointing the dimensions to be according to the largeness of each tribe. So when he had cast lots, Judah had assigned him by lot the upper part of Judea, reaching as far as Jerusalem, and its breadth extended to the Lake of Sodom. Now in the lot of this tribe there were the cities of Askelon and Gaza. The lot of Simeon, which was the second, included that part of Idumea which bordered upon Egypt and Arabia. As to the Benjamites, their lot fell so, that its length reached from the river Jordan to the sea, but in breadth it was bounded by Jerusalem and Bethel; and this lot was the narrowest of all, by reason of the goodness of the land, for it included Jericho and the city of Jerusalem. The tribe of Ephraim had by lot the land that extended in length from the river Jordan to Gezer; but in breadth as far as from Bethel, till it ended at the Great Plain. The half-tribe of Manasseh had the land from Jordan to the city of Dora; but its breadth was at Bethsham, which is now called Scythopolis. And after these was Issachar, which had its limits in length, Mount Carmel and the river, but its limit in breadth was Mount Tabor. The tribe of Zebulon's lot included the land which lay as far as the Lake of Genesareth, and that which belonged to Carmel and the sea. The tribe of Aser had that part which was called the Valley, for such it was, and all that part which lay over-against Sidon. The city Arce belonged to their share, which is also named Actipus. The Naphthalites received the eastern parts, as far as the city of Damascus and the Upper Galilee, unto Mount Libanus, and the Fountains of Jordan, which rise out of that mountain; that is, out of that part of it whose limits belong to the neighboring city of Arce. The Danites' lot included all that part of the valley which respects the sun-setting, and were bounded by Azotus and Dora; as also they had all Jamnia and Gath, from Ekron to that mountain where the tribe of Judah begins.

23. After this manner did Joshua divide the six nations that bear the name of the sons of Canaan, with their land, to be possessed by the nine tribes and a half; for Moses had prevented him, and had already distributed the land of the Amorites, which itself was so called also from one of the sons of Canaan, to the two tribes and a half, as we have shown already. But the parts about Sidon, as also those that belonged to the Arkites, and the Amathites, and the Aradians, were not yet regularly disposed of.

24. But now was Joshua hindered by his age from executing what he intended to do [as did those that succeeded him in the government, take little care of what was for the advantage of the public]; so he gave it in charge to every tribe to leave no remainder of the race of the Canaanites in the land that had been divided to them by lot; that Moses had assured them beforehand, and they might rest fully satisfied about it, that their own security and their observation of their own laws depended wholly upon it. Moreover, he enjoined them to give thirty-eight cities to the Levites, for they had already received ten in the country of the Amorites; and three of these he assigned to those that fled from the man-slayers, who were to inhabit there; for he was very solicitous that nothing should be neglected which Moses had ordained. These cities were, of the tribe of Judah, Hebron; of that of Ephraim, Shechem; and of that of Naphthali, Cadesh, which is a place of the Upper Galilee. He also distributed among them the rest of the prey not yet distributed, which was very great; whereby they had an affluence of great riches, both all in general, and every one in particular; and this of gold and of vestments, and of other furniture, besides a multitude of cattle, whose number could not be told.

25. After this was over, he gathered the army together to a congregation, and spake thus to those tribes that had their settlement in the land of the Amorites beyond Jordan,—for fifty thousand of them had armed themselves, and had gone to the war along with them:—"Since that God, who is the Father and Lord of the Hebrew nation, has now given us this land for a possession, and promised to preserve us in the enjoyment of it as our own for ever; and since you have with alacrity offered yourselves to assist us when we wanted that assistance on all occasions, according to his command; it is but just, now all our difficulties are over, that you should be permitted to enjoy rest, and that we should trespass on your alacrity to help us no longer; that so, if we should again stand in need of it, we may readily have it on any future emergency, and not tire you out so much now as may make you slower in assisting us another thee. We, therefore, return you our thanks for the dangers you have undergone with us, and we do it not at this thee only, but we shall always be thus disposed; and be so good as to remember our friends, and to preserve in mind what advantages we have had from them; and how you have put off the enjoyments of your own happiness for our sakes, and have labored for what we have now, by the goodwill of God, obtained, and resolved not to enjoy your own prosperity till you had afforded us that assistance. However, you have, by joining your labor with ours, gotten great plenty of riches, and will carry home with you much prey, with gold and silver, and, what is more than all these, our good-will towards you, and a mind willingly disposed to make a requital of your kindness to us, in what case soever you shall desire it, for you have not omitted any thing which Moses beforehand required of you, nor have you despised him because he was dead and gone from you, so that there is nothing to diminish that gratitude which we owe to you. We therefore dismiss you joyful to your own inheritances; and we entreat you to suppose, that there is no limit to be set to the intimate relation that is between us; and that you will not imagine, because this river is interposed between us, that you are of a different race from us, and not Hebrews; for we are all the posterity of Abraham, both we that inhabit here, and you that inhabit there; and it is the same God that brought our forefathers and yours into the world, whose worship and form of government we are to take care of, which he has ordained, and are most carefully to observe; because while you continue in those laws, God will also show himself merciful and assisting to you; but if you imitate the other nations, and forsake those laws, he will reject your nation." When Joshua had spoken thus, and saluted them all, both those in authority one by one, and the whole multitude in common, he himself staid where he was; but the people conducted those tribes on their journey, and that not without tears in their eyes; and indeed they hardly knew how to part one from the other.

26. Now when the tribe of Reuben, and that of Gad, and as many of the Manassites as followed them, were passed over the river, they built an altar on the banks of Jordan, as a monument to posterity, and a sign of their relation to those that should inhabit on the other side. But when those on the other side heard that those who had been dismissed had built an altar, but did not hear with what intention they built it, but supposed it to be by way of innovation, and for the introduction of strange gods, they did not incline to disbelieve it; but thinking this defamatory report, as if it were built for divine worship, was credible, they appeared in arms, as though they would avenge themselves on those that built the altar; and they were about to pass over the river, and to punish them for their subversion of the laws of their country; for they did not think it fit to regard them on account of their kindred or the dignity of those that had given the occasion, but to regard the will of God, and the manner wherein he desired to be worshipped; so these men put themselves in array for war. But Joshua, and Eleazar the high priest, and the senate, restrained them; and persuaded them first to make trial by words of their intention, and afterwards, if they found that their intention was evil, then only to proceed to make war upon them. Accordingly, they sent as ambassadors to them Phineas the son of Eleazar, and ten more persons that were in esteem among the Hebrews, to learn of them what was in their mind, when, upon passing over the river, they had built an altar upon its banks. And as soon as these ambassadors were passed over, and were come to them, and a congregation was assembled, Phineas stood up and said, That the offense they had been guilty of was of too heinous a nature to be punished by words alone, or by them only to be amended for the future; yet that they did not so look at the heinousness of their transgression as to have recourse to arms, and to a battle for their punishment immediately, but that, on account of their kindred, and the probability there was that they might be reclaimed, they took this method of sending an ambassage to them: "That when we have learned the true reasons by which you have been moved to build this altar, we may neither seem to have been too rash in assaulting you by our weapons of war, if it prove that you made the altar for justifiable reasons, and may then justly punish you if the accusation prove true; for we can hardly hardly suppose that you, have been acquainted with the will of God and have been hearers of those laws which he himself hath given us, now you are separated from us, and gone to that patrimony of yours, which you, through the grace of God, and that providence which he exercises over you, have obtained by lot, can forget him, and can leave that ark and that altar which is peculiar to us, and can introduce strange gods, and imitate the wicked practices of the Canaanites. Now this will appear to have been a small crime if you repent now, and proceed no further in your madness, but pay a due reverence to, and keep in mind the laws of your country; but if you persist in your sins, we will not grudge our pains to preserve our laws; but we will pass over Jordan and defend them, and defend God also, and shall esteem of you as of men no way differing from the Canaanites, but shall destroy you in the like manner as we destroyed them; for do not you imagine that, because you are got over the river, you are got out of the reach of God's power; you are every where in places that belong to him, and impossible it is to overrun his power, and the punishment he will bring on men thereby: but if you think that your settlement here will be any obstruction to your conversion to what is good, nothing need hinder us from dividing the land anew, and leaving this old land to be for the feeding of sheep; but you will do well to return to your duty, and to leave off these new crimes; and we beseech you, by your children and wives, not to force us to punish you. Take therefore such measures in this assembly, as supposing that your own safety, and the safety of those that are dearest to you, is therein concerned, and believe that it is better for you to be conquered by words, than to continue in your purpose, and to experience deeds and war therefore."

27. When Phineas had discoursed thus, the governors of the assembly, and the whole multitude, began to make an apology for themselves, concerning what they were accused of; and they said, That they neither would depart from the relation they bare to them, nor had they built the altar by way of innovation; that they owned one and the same common God with all the Hebrews, and that brazen altar which was before the tabernacle, on which they would offer their sacrifices; that as to the altar they had raised, on account of which they were thus suspected, it was not built for worship, "but that it might be a sign and a monument of our relation to you for ever, and a necessary caution to us to act wisely, and to continue in the laws of our country, but not a handle for transgressing them, as you suspect: and let God be our authentic witness, that this was the occasion of our building this altar: whence we beg you will have a better opinion of us, and do not impute such a thing to us as would render any of the posterity of Abraham well worthy of perdition, in case they attempt to bring in new rites, and such as are different from our usual practices."

28. When they had made this answer, and Phineas had commended them for it, he came to Joshua, and explained before the people what answer they had received. Now Joshua was glad that he was under no necessity of setting them in array, or of leading them to shed blood, and make war against men of their own kindred; and accordingly he offered sacrifices of thanksgiving to God for the same. So Joshua after that dissolved this great assembly of the people, and sent them to their own inheritances, while he himself lived in Shechem. But in the twentieth year after this, when he was very old, he sent for those of the greatest dignity in the several cities, with those in authority, and the senate, and as many of the common people as could be present; and when they were come, he put them in mind of all the benefits God had bestowed on them, which could not but be a great many, since from a low estate they were advanced to so great a degree of glory and plenty; and exhorted them to take notice of the intentions of God, which had been so gracious towards them; and told them that the Deity would continue their friend by nothing else but their piety; and that it was proper for him, now that he was about to depart out of this life, to leave such an admonition to them; and he desired that they would keep in memory this his exhortation to them.

29. So Joshua, when he had thus discoursed to them, died, having lived a hundred and ten years; forty of which he lived with Moses, in order to learn what might be for his advantage afterwards. He also became their commander after his death for twenty-five years. He was a man that wanted not wisdom nor eloquence to declare his intentions to the people, but very eminent on both accounts. He was of great courage and magnanimity in action and in dangers, and very sagacious in procuring the peace of the people, and of great virtue at all proper seasons. He was buried in the city of Timnab, of the tribe of Ephraim 9 About the same time died Eleazar the high priest, leaving the high priesthood to his son Phineas. His monument also, and sepulcher, are in the city of Gabatha.

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