This is the fourth episode in a the series titled, “We Have Not Followed Cunningly Devised Fables” by Jonathan Bowen. This episode is titled, “Yahweh Hearkened Unto the Voice of a Man.” Tune in again next week for the episode five of this series.
Hi everyone, this is Jonathan Bowen with Episode #55 of the “Magnify Him Together” podcasts. Today we are going to continue our field trip through time, back to the lifetime of Joshua. It is a short trip, travelling roughly 3590 years into the past to BC 1570. Moses has died, and Joshua has been given the charge to lead the children of Israel into the promised land.
Joshua’s friend Caleb tells us in Joshua 14:
Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-barnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart.
Caleb tells us how old he was after the wilderness wanderings when they came to Hebron to take it in verses 10–11
And now, behold, the Lord hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the Lord spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.
Joshua would have been a little bit younger than Caleb. Joshua lived 110 years as we read in Joshua 24:29
And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old.
So if he judged Israel for 40 years, was wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, he would have been about 30 years old when he was a spy, and 70 years old when he took over as leader. Like Caleb, he was as strong as the day that Moses sent him out to be a spy. Imagine your grandfather at 70, leading the armies of Israel to battle!
(We’ve included a link to a genealogy at the end of the podcast transcript for you to have a look at. Feel free to send us any more interesting information you find, and we can add it to it.)
We know the story of Joshua from our Sunday School lessons. We’re not going to tell the whole thing over again, but encourage you to take a read through it.
If you remember, when Israel entered the land, they were instructed to destroy the pagan inhabitants because of their wicked way of life.
After they were victorious at Jericho and Ai, a group of people deceived them called the Gibeonites, as we read in Joshua 9:3–5
And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai, They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up; And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy.
Joshua and the people made a mistake. They didn’t ask God whether they should make a covenant (an agreement) with these people or not.
Once they had made a covenant with the Gibeonites, they had to honour it. The rest of the Canaanite nations around were terrified and angry at the Gibeonites. We read in Joshua 10:1–3
Now it came to pass, when Adonizedek king of Jerusalem had heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it; as he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king; and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them; That they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all the men thereof were mighty.
Adionzedek leads the five kings of the Amorites against Gibeon. We read in verse 5
Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon, gathered themselves together, and went up, they and all their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it.
In verse 6, the Gibeonites send a message to Joshuah, begging for their help. The Israelites travel overnight and attack the Amorite nations. God joins in the battle by sending great hailstones upon the Amorite kings as we read in verse 11:
And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Bethhoron, that Yahweh cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.
As Israel was pursuing the Amorites, it was starting to get dark. Joshua could see the moon coming up and the sun going down. Joshua prays to God for help:
Then spake Joshua to Yahweh in the day when Yahweh delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.
Wow… what an amazing event! Some people have a hard time believing that God could stop the earth from spinning because of all the laws of physics it would break. They forget that God is Lord of all the laws of the universe because he is the one who created them! The verse 14 tells us how amazing the event was:
And there was no day like that before it or after it, that Yahweh hearkened unto the voice of a man: for Yahweh fought for Israel.
So in this difficult time, we have to remember the power of prayer. Jesus tells us in Matthew 21:21
Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
Jesus was talking about the Mountain of the Roman Empire that was ruling over Israel. It would be removed one day. Joshua’s faithful prayer caused the earth to stand still. God will hear our prayers if we believe, just like we read in Hebrews 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Jabin, king of Hazor (pronounced Hatzor), mobilizes all the northern kings when he hears what Joshuah had done to the kings in the south. Joshua 11:1–3
And it came to pass, when Jabin king of Hazor had heard those things, that he sent to Jobab king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron, and to the king of Achshaph, And to the kings that were on the north of the mountains, and of the plains south of Chinneroth, and in the valley, and in the borders of Dor on the west, And to the Canaanite on the east and on the west, and to the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Jebusite in the mountains, and to the Hivite under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh.
Joshua meets the armies and defeats them. He then begins a campaign against all the cities in the north. Joshua 11:12–13
And all the cities of those kings, and all the kings of them, did Joshua take, and smote them with the edge of the sword, and he utterly destroyed them, as Moses the servant of Yahweh commanded. But as for the cities that stood still in their strength, Israel burned none of them, save Hazor only; that did Joshua burn.
What is interesting to note is that none of the cities were burned with fire except for Hazor. This is where the thrilling account of archaeology comes in.
In 1955 an archaeologist named Yigael Yadin started digging in Hazor. He was a general in the Israeli army, but his job when Israel wasn’t at war was digging up ancient cities. Yadin describes his discoveries in a great book called “Hazor: The Rediscovery of a great citadel of the Bible”. (You can buy it used online through Amazon.)
Hazor had been a royal city, “the head of all those kingdoms” in the north. It has been destroyed and burned by Joshua. When Yadin started the dig, they found the palace of Jabin king of Hazor.
We went to Israel and saw this palace for ourselves. Jabin’s palace was preserved under a big canopy. There is an altar outside where they made sacrifices to the pagan gods. Jabin was a king-priest so he had a temple in his palace.
We read that Joshua had burned Hazor. You can still see today the stones that were cracked by the fire, and the soot on the walls – proving that Joshua burnt the city with fire.
When they were digging, they only found a huge stone platform – and there were no artifacts, which was very strange. Yadin thought that this must be the roof, which had collapsed onto the structure, so they smashed through it. They found artifacts of the temple, Baal masks, little vessels used for offerings, and a Baal god.
They also found some stele, which are pillars that were used in worship. If you have ever read Asterix the Gaul, these were like the menhirs that Oblex would carry around. If you have seen photos of Stonehenge, these are like the stones that were stood in a circle, only much smaller.
Next to these was an idol with its head broken off. When they examined it, they found a spear was used to break the head off. The marks of the spear were still visible. Yadin thought this was very strange. Why would the head be broken off the idol with a spear? When reading his Bible, the archaeologist found the answer in Deuteronomy 12:2–3
Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree: And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.
So once again, the Bible proved to be true. The ancient city of Hazor has been found. It was burned to the ground just as we read in the book of Joshua. The Israelite soldiers who destroyed the place followed the instructions of Moses and “hewed down the graven images of their gods.”
Amazing evidence once again that the Bible is true.
Thanks for listening, please join us again next Monday for another episode on the Magnify Him Together podcasts when we will consider more evidence of the truth of the Bible.
Below are the photos referenced in the podcast.
Seeing as you are probably stuck at home… we encourage you to watch an extended version of this class:
We also would like to share a link to a class on the discovery of Sodom which we talked about in our pod cast a few weeks ago: