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left those of their own nation, which were next the invaders, to themselves, and to their own defences; hoping that the fire kindled somewhat far off, might again have been quenched, ere it could spread itself so far as their own territories and cities. But after such time as Jericho and Ai were entered, and the kings, people, and cities consumed, five of those thirty-one kings (all which at length perished in that war) joined themselves together, first attempting the Gibeonites, who had rendered themselves to Joshua. Only five, (the rest looking on to see the success, namely the king of the Jebusites, in Jebus, or Jerusalem, the kings of Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachis, and Eglon, addressed themselves for resistance; whose army being by Joshua surprised and broken, themselves despairing to scape by flight, and hopeless of mercy by submission, creeping into a cave under ground, were thence by Joshua drawn forth and hanged. In the prosecution of which victory he also took s Makkedah, and Libnah, and Lachis. To the relief whereof Horam king of Gezar hastened, and perished. After which Joshua possessed himself of Eglon, Hebron, and Debir, destroying these cities with their princes.
In the end, and when the south countries were possessed, the cities thereof conquered, and their kings and people made dust; the rest of the Canaanites, guided by the overlate counsels of necessity, united themselves to make one gross strength and body of an army; which Jabin king of Hazor practised and gathered together, being at that time of all the Canaanite kings the most powerful; which army being by Joshua discovered, as the same rested near the lake of Merom, he used such diligence, as he came on them unawares; and obtaining an absolute victory over them, he prosecuted the same to the uttermost effect. And, besides the slaughter of the defendants, he entered their cities, of which he burnt Hazor only, reserving the rest for Israel to inhabit and enjoy.
Secondly, I note, that Joshua shewed himself a skilful man of war, for that in those ancient times he used the stratagem of an ambush in taking of Ai; and in that he broke the armies of the first five kings of the Amorites, which 'attempted Gibeon, by surprise ; for he marched all night from his camp at u Gilgal, and set on them early the next day, when they suspected no enemy at hand; as he did also at Merom, when he overthrew Jabin and his confederates. After which, making the best profit of his victory, he assaulted the great city of Hazor.
• Josh. x.
Thirdly, The miracles which God wrought during this war were exceeding admirable; as, the stay of the river of Jordan at the springs, so as the army of - Israel passed it with a dry foot; the fall of Jericho by the sound of the horns; the showers of y hailstones which fell upon the Amorites in their flight from Gibeon, whereby more of them perished than by the sword of Israel. Again, the arrest of the sun in the firmament, whereby the day was so much the more lengthened, as the Israelites had time to execute all those which fled after the overthrow; a wonder of wonders, and a work only proper to the all-powerful God.
Fourthly, Out of the passage between Joshua and the Gibeonites, the doctrine of keeping faith is so plainly and excellently taught, as it taketh away all evasion, it admitteth no distinction, nor leaveth open any hole or outlet at all to that cunning perfidiousness, and horrible deceit of this latter age, called equivocation. For, notwithstanding that these Gibeonites were a people of the 2 Hevites, expressly and by name, by the commandment of God, to be rooted out, and notwithstanding that they were liars, and deceivers, and counterfeits, and that they did overreach, and, as it were, deride Joshua and the princes of Israel, by feigning to be sent as ambassadors from a far country, in which travel their clothes were worn, their bread mouldy, which they avowed to have been warm for newness when they first set out; their barrels and bottles of wine broken, their shoes patched, and their sacks rent and ragged: yet * Josh. iii. 13.
2 Josh. ix. 7. RALEGH, HIST. WORLD. VOL. II.
u Josh. X.9.
y Josh. X. II.
a Joshua having sworn unto them by the Lord God of Israel, he durst not, though urged by the murmur of the people, to lay violent hands on them ; but he spared both their lives and the cities of their inheritance.
Now if ever man had warrant to break faith, and to retract his promise made, Joshua had it. For first, The commandment which he received from God to root out this nation among the rest, preceded by far the peace which he had granted them. Secondly, He might justly have put these men to the sword, and have sacked their cities; if there be any evasion from a promise made, whereof the living God is called to witness. For it was not to the Gibeonites that he gave peace, because he knew them to be a people hated of God. He told them, that if they were of the b Hevites, it was not in his power to make a league with them. But it was to a strange people that he gave faith, and to a nation which came from far, who hearing of the wonders which the God of Israel had done in Egypt and over Jordan, sought for peace and protection from his people. Thirdly, The accord which Israel made with these crafty Canaanites was without warrant. For it is written in the same place, that the Israelites accepted their tale ; that is, believed what they had said, and counselled not with the mouth of the Lord. Fourthly, These men, who were known idolaters, and served those puppets of the heathen, men of an apish religion, as all worshippers of images are, could not challenge the witness of the true God, in whom they believed
I say therefore, that if ever man might have served himself by any evasion or distinction, Joshua might justly have done it. For he needed not in this case the help of equivocation or mental reservation : for what he sware, he sware in good faith; but he sware nothing, nor made any promise at all, to the Gibeonites. And yet, to the end that the faithless subtilty of man should borrow nothing in the future from his example, who knowing well that the promises he made in the name of God were made to the living a Josh. ix. from ver. 5. to 13.
1) Josh. ix. 7.
Josh. ix. 14.
God, and not to the dying man, he held them firm and inviolable, notwithstanding that they to whom he had sworn it were worshippers of the Devil.
For it is not, as faithless men take it, that he which sweareth to a man, to a society, to a state, or to a king, and sweareth by the name of the living Lord, and in his presence, that this promise (if it be broken) is broken to a man, to a society, to a state, or to a prince; but the promise in the name of God made, is broken to God. It is God that we therein neglect; we therein profess that we fear him not, and that we set him at naught and defy him. If he that without reservation of honour giveth a lie in the presence of the king, or of his superior, doth in point of honour give the lie to the king himself, or to his superior; how much more doth he break faith with God, that giveth faith in the presence of God, promiseth in his name, and makes him a witness of the covenant made!
Out of doubt, it is a fearful thing for a son to break the promise, will, or deed of the father; for a state or kingdom to break those contracts which have been made in former times, and confirmed by public faith. For though it were 400 years after Joshua, that Saul, even out of devotion, slaughtered some of those people descended of the Gibeonites; yet God, who forgat not what the predecessors and forefathers of Saul and the Israelites had sworn in his name, afflicted the whole nation with a consuming famine, and could not be appeased, till seven of Saul's sons were delivered to the Gibeonites grieved, and by them hanged up.
And certainly, if it be permitted by the help of a ridiculous distinction, or by a God-mocking equivocation, to swear one thing by the name of the living God, and to reserve in silence a contrary intent, the life of man, the estates of men, the faith of subjects to kings, of servants to their masters, of vassals to their lords, of wives to their husbands, and of children to their parents, and of all trials of right, will not only be made uncertain, but all the chains whereby free men are tied in the world be torn asunder. It is by oath (when kings and armies cannot pass) that we enter
into the cities of our enemies, and into their armies. It is by oath that wars take end, which weapons cannot end. And what is it, or ought it to be, that makes an oath thus powerful, but this; that he that sweareth by the name of God doth assure others that his words are true, as the Lord of all the world is true, whom he calleth for a witness, and in whose presence he that taketh the oath hath promised ? I am not ignorant of their poor evasions which play with the severity of God's commandments in this kind; but this indeed is the best answer, That he breaks no faith, that hath none to break. For whosoever hath faith and the fear of God, dares not do it.
The Christians in the Holy Land, when they were at the greatest, and had brought the caliph of Egypt to pay them tribute, did not only lose it again, but were soon after beaten out of the Holy Land itself; by reason (saith William of Tyre, a reverend bishop which wrote that story) that Almerick, the fifth king after Godfrey, brake faith with the caliph Elhadech, and his vicegerent, the soldan Sanar, who being suddenly invaded by Almerick, drew in the Turk Syracon to their aid, whose nephew Seladine, after he had made Egypt his own, beat the Christians out of the Holy Land; neither would the wooden cross (the very cross, say they, that Christ died on) give them victory over Seladine, when they brought it into the field as their last refuge, seeing they had forsworn themselves in his name that was crucified thereon. And if it be a direction from the Holy Ghost, d That he that speaketh lies shall be destroyed, and that the mouth which uttereth them slayeth the soul ; how much more perilous is it (if any peril be greater than to destroy the soul) to swear a lie! It was Eugenius the pope that persuaded, or rather commanded the king of Hungary, after his great victory over Amurath the Turk, and when the said king had compelled him to peace, the most advantageous that ever was made for the Christians, to break his faith, and to provoke the Turk to renew the war; and though the said king was far stronger in the field than ever,
Psalm v. 6. Wisdom i. u.