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HOW JOSHUA CONQUERED THE LAND OF CANAAN
Joshua ix: 1, to xi: 23.
HE news of all that Joshua and the men of Israel had done
at Jericho and at Ai, how they had destroyed those
cities and slain their people, went through all the
land. Everywhere the tribes of Canaan prepared to fight
these strangers who had so suddenly and so boldly
entered their country.
Near the middle of the mountain region, between
Jerusalem and Shechem, were four cities of a race
called either the Hivites, or the Gibeonites, from
their chief city, Gibeon. These people felt that they
could not resist the Israelites; so they undertook to
make peace with them. Their cities were less than a
day's journey from the camp at Gilgal, and quite near
to Ai; but they came to Joshua at the camp, looking as
if they had made a long journey.
They were wearing old and ragged garments, and shoes
worn out; and they brought dry and mouldy bread, and
old bags of food, and wine-skins torn and mended. They
met Joshua and the elders of Israel in the camp, and
said to them:
"We live in a country far away; but we have heard of
the great things that you have done; the journey you
have made, and the cities you have taken on the other
side of the river Jordan; and now we have come to offer
you our friendship and to make peace with you." And
Joshua said to them, "Who are you? And from what land
do you come?"
THE GIBEONITES COME TO JOSHUA
"We have come," they said, "from a country far away.
See this bread. We took it hot from the oven, and now
it is mouldy. These wine-skins were new when we filled
them, and you see they are old. Look at our garments
and our shoes, all worn out and patched."
 Joshua and the elders did not ask the Lord what to do,
but made an agreement with these men to have peace with
them, not to destroy their cities, and to spare the
lives of their people. And a very few days after making
peace with them they found that the four cities where
they lived were very near.
At first the Israelite rulers were very angry, and were
inclined to break their agreement, but afterward they
"We will keep our promise to these people, though they
have deceived us. We will let them live, but they shall
be made our servants, and shall do the hard work for
the camp and for the Tabernacle."
Even this was better than to be killed, and to have
their cities destroyed; and the Gibeonite people were
glad to save their lives. So from that time the people
of the four Gibeonite cities carried burdens, and drew
water, and cut wood, and served the camp of Israel.
The largest city near to the camp at Gilgal was
Jerusalem, among the mountains, where its king,
Melchizedek, in the days of
 Abraham, five hundred years before, had been a priest
of the Lord, and had blessed Abraham, as we read in
Story 6. But now, in the days of
Joshua, the people of that city worshipped idols and
were very wicked.
When the king of Jerusalem heard that the Gibeonites,
who lived near him, had made peace with Israel, he sent
to the kings of Hebron and Lachish and several other
cities, and said to them:
"Come, let us unite our armies into one great army and
fight the Gibeonites and destroy them; for they have
made peace with our enemies, the people of Israel."
As soon as the people of Gibeon heard this they sent to
"Come quickly and help us; for we are your servants;
and the king of Jerusalem is coming with a great army
to kill us all, and destroy our cities. The whole
country is in arms against us; come at once, before it
is too late!"
Joshua was a very prompt man, swift in all his acts. At
once he called out his army, and marched all night up
the mountains. He came suddenly upon the five kings and
their army at a place called Beth-horon. There a great
battle was fought, Joshua leading his men against the
Canaanites. He did not give his enemies time to form in
line, but fell upon them so suddenly that they were
driven into confusion, and fled before the men of
And the Lord helped his people by a storm which drove
great hailstones down on the Canaanites; so that more
were killed by the hailstones than by the sword. It is
written in an old song that on that day Joshua said
before all his men:
"Sun, stand thou still over Gibeon.
And thou, moon, in the valley of Ajalon,
And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed,
Until the people had taken vengeance upon their enemies."
If ever in all the history of the world there was a
battle when the sun might well stand still, and the day
be made longer, to make the victory complete, it was
that day more than any other. For on that day the land
was won by the people of the Lord. If Israel had been
defeated and destroyed, instead of Canaan, then the
Bible would never have been written, the worship of the
true God would have been blotted out, and the whole
world would have worshipped
 idols. The battle that day was for the salvation of the
world as well as of Israel. So this was the greatest
battle in its results that the world has ever seen.
There have been many battles where more men fought, and
more soldiers were slain, than at the battle of
Beth-horon. But no battle in all the world had such an
effect in the years and the ages after, as this battle.
After the victory Joshua followed his enemies as they
fled, and killed many of them, until their armies were
broken up and destroyed. The five kings who had led
against Joshua were found hidden in a cave, were
brought out and were slain, so that they might no more
trouble the Israelites. By this one victory all the
part of the land of Canaan on the south was won, though
there were a few small fights afterward.
Then Joshua turned to the north, and led his army by a
swift march against the kings who had united there to
fight the Israelites. As suddenly as before he had
fallen on the five kings at Beth-horon, he fell upon
these kings and their army, near the little lake in the
far north of Canaan, called "the waters of Merom."
There another great victory was won; and after this it
was easy to conquer the land. Everywhere the tribes of
Canaan were made to submit to the Israelites, until all
the mountain country was under Joshua's rule.
In the conquest of Canaan, there were six great marches
and six battles; three in the lands on the east of the
Jordan, while Moses was still living, the victories
over the Amorites, the Midianites, and the people of
Bashan, on the northeast, and there on the west of the
Jordan, the victories at Jericho, at Beth-horon, and
Lake Merom, under Joshua.
But even after these marchings and victories, it was a
long time before all the land was taken by the