For the Lord will rise up as at Mount Perazim, He will be angry as in the Valley of Gibeon—that He may do His work, His awesome [STRANGE – KJV] work, and bring to pass His act, His unusual [STRANGE – KJV] act (Isaiah 28:21, emphasis added).
We have studied the words, terms, and events surrounding the words “rise up” “anger” and “Perazim.” Now we must find out what happened at Gibeon, because the Lord also rose up at Gibeon, according to Isaiah 28: 21. This episode of biblical history is found in the Book of Joshua, chapter ten, verses one to fourteen. But before we read the pertinent passages, we will provide a little background on the protagonists involved in this drama.
Adonizedec was an Amorite king (Amorite is the same as Canaanite). The word Amorite means “sayer” (Brown-Driver-Briggs, BDB), “in the sense of publicity, that is, prominence; thus a mountaineer” (Strong’s Concordance). The Amorites dwelled in the mountainous regions of Judah, beyond the Jordan.
Adonizedec was the king of Jerusalem before Joshua led Israel to conquer that city. Joshua and his men had been winning the neighboring lands step by step. They had taken the cities of Jericho and Ai, which were mighty cities. And the men of Gibeon—also a great and mighty city—out of fear, had made peace with Israel, although by using deception and cunning. Adonizedec, king of Jerusalem, watched all this. Fearing they would be the next in line to be destroyed, and refusing to make peace as Gibeon had done, he summoned his neighbors—four Amorite kings—to join forces and create an alliance against the city of Gibeon, which was Joshua’s ally. This is where we pick up the thread of the story:
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. And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua to the camp to Gilgal, saying, Slack not thy hand from thy servants; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us: for all the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the mountains are gathered together against us. So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valour. And the Lord said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee. Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly, and went up from Gilgal all night. And the Lord discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goeth up to Bethhoron, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah. And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Bethhoron, that the LORD 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 (Joshua 10:5-14, emphasis added).
There are two words we need to look at in this passage: they are “delivered” and “discomfit.” “Delivered,” which in Hebrew is nâthan, means “to be given, to be delivered, to be given forth” (Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon). Notice how this word is also used elsewhere:
Blessed is he who considers the poor; The LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. The LORD will preserve him and keep him alive, and he will be blessed on the earth; You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies (Psalm 41:1-2, emphasis added).
Those who “consider the poor” will not be “delivered,” that is nâthan, given over “to the will of his enemies.” God will “deliver” him—this is another word, mâlaṭ, meaning to escape, slip away, release or rescue—in time of trouble.
God “delivered” (nâthan) the Amorite kings to the will of their enemies. Who were their enemies? We will soon see who it was that really destroyed them.
Note another passage where the same word “delivered” (nâthan) is used:
Yet they tested and provoked the Most High God,
And did not keep His testimonies,
But turned back and acted unfaithfully like their fathers;
They were turned aside like a deceitful bow.
For they provoked Him to anger with their high places,
And moved Him to jealousy with their carved images.
When God heard this, He was furious,
And greatly abhorred Israel,
So that He forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh,
The tent He had placed among men,
And delivered His strength into captivity,
And His glory into the enemy’s hand.
He also gave His people over to the sword,
And was furious with His inheritance.
The fire consumed their young men,
And their maidens were not given in marriage.
Their priests fell by the sword,
And their widows made no lamentation
(Psalm 78:56-74, emphasis added).
God “delivered His strength into captivity, and His glory into the enemy’s hand.” Who were God’s “strength” and His “glory?” They were “His people,” whom He also gave “over to the sword.”
In the next example He gives “them into the hand of the Gentiles”:
Therefore the wrath of the Lord was kindled against His people,
So that He abhorred His own inheritance.
And He gave them into the hand of the Gentiles,
And those who hated them ruled over them.
Their enemies also oppressed them,
And they were brought into subjection under their hand.
Many times He delivered them;
But they rebelled in their counsel,
And were brought low for their iniquity
(Psalm 106:40-43, emphasis added).
God gave His people into the hand of the Gentiles, “those who hated them and ruled over them.” Under them, God’s people were “oppressed,” and “brought into subjection.” Why did God “deliver” them into the hands of their enemies? Earlier in Psalm 106 we read why:
They did not destroy the peoples [SEE CHAPTER EIGHTEEN],
Concerning whom the Lord had commanded them,
But they mingled with the Gentiles
And learned their works;
They served their idols,
Which became a snare to them.
They even sacrificed their sons
And their daughters to demons,
And shed innocent blood,
The blood of their sons and daughters,
Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan;
And the land was polluted with blood.
Thus they were defiled by their own works,
And played the harlot by their own deeds
(Psalm 106:34-39, emphasis added).
Isaiah also used this word nâthan in the same context:
Come near, you nations, to hear;
And heed, you people!
Let the earth hear, and all that is in it,
The world and all things that come forth from it.
For the indignation of the Lord is against all nations,
And His fury against all their armies;
He has utterly destroyed them,
He has given them over to the slaughter
In the following passage, Rabshakeh, the Assyrian, is taunting the Israelites, and he uses the word nâthan in the same way:
(Isaiah 34:1-2, emphasis added). Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out with a loud voice in Hebrew, and said, “Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you; nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord, saying, “The Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.”(Isaiah 36:13-15, emphasis added).
Jeremiah too, used nâthan in the same way:
The wise men are ashamed,
They are dismayed and taken.
Behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord;
So what wisdom do they have?
Therefore I will give their wives to others,
And their fields to those who will inherit them;
Because from the least even to the greatest
Everyone is given to covetousness;
From the prophet even to the priest
Everyone deals falsely (Jeremiah 8:9-10, emphasis added)
Is it logical to think that God would literally give someone’s wife to another man? Of course not, that is absolutely not how God acts! What this is saying is that because the people had rejected “the word of the Lord,” they would be given over to what they had chosen, they would lack wisdom and be violent to such an extent that men would be taking other men’s wives.
In the next passage, God shows how hard it is for Him to give up on someone whom He loves dearly:
I have forsaken My house, I have left My heritage;
I have given the dearly beloved of My soul into the hand of her enemies (Jeremiah 12:7, emphasis added).
The last example we will give is taken from Micah, where God was telling His people that He was going to give them up until the Messiah would come. This is what this verse is stating:
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
Therefore He shall give them up,
Until the time that she who is in labor has given birth;
Then the remnant of His brethren
Shall return to the children of Israel
(Micah 5:2-3, emphasis added).
What this verse foretold is in fact what took place. Not because God wanted it to be that way, but because the people had gone so far away from Him that they would not listen to anything He tried to tell them anymore. Thus, from Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, to the first Book of the New Testament, Matthew, when Mary gives birth to Jesus, there is a gap of roughly four hundred years in which there were no prophets in Israel.
The next word we want to study is the word “discomfit.” In Hebrew this word is hāmam, which means to “put in motion… to impel, to drive…to disturb, to put in commotion, to put to flight… to destroy utterly, to make extinct” (Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon).
The word hāmam appears thirteen times in the Old Testament.
Now it came to pass, in the morning watch, that the LORD looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and He troubled the army of the Egyptians (Exodus 14:24, emphasis added).
“I will send My fear before you, I will cause confusion [KJV SAYS “DESTROY ALL THE PEOPLE”] among all the people to whom you come, and will make all your enemies turn their backs to you (Exodus: 23:27, emphasis added).
For indeed the hand of the LORD was against them, to destroy them from the midst of the camp until they were consumed (Deuteronomy 2:15, emphasis added).
So the LORD routed (DISCOMFITTED, KJV) them before Israel, killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, chased them along the road that goes to Beth Horon, and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah (Joshua 10:10, emphasis added).
And the LORD routed (DISCOMFITTED, KJV) Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera alighted from his chariot and fled away on foot (Judges 4:15, emphasis added).
Now as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the Lord thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were overcome before Israel (1 Samuel 7:10, emphasis added).
Now the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded. And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him: “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law; but when in their trouble they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found by them. And in those times there was no peace to the one who went out, nor to the one who came in, but great turmoil was on all the inhabitants of the lands. So nation was destroyed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every adversity (2 Chronicles 15:1-6, emphasis added).
So the Jews accepted the custom which they had begun, as Mordecai had written to them, because Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to annihilate them, and had cast Pur (that is, the lot), to consume them and destroy them (Esther 9:23-24, emphasis added).
The Lord thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered His voice, hailstones and coals of fire. He sent out His arrows and scattered [DISCOMFITED, KJV]the foe (Psalm 18:13-14, emphasis added).
Bow down Your heavens, O Lord, and come down;
Touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.
Flash forth lightning and scatter them;
Shoot out Your arrows and destroy them.
Stretch out Your hand from above;
Rescue me and deliver me out of great waters,
From the hand of foreigners,
Whose mouth speaks lying words,
And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood
(Psalm 144:5-8, emphasis added).
With a new understanding of what these two words mean, the picture we begin to see is that the sudden arrival of Joshua and his army took Adonizec’s five-king alliance by complete surprise. They became utterly confused. But it was not only Joshua’s unexpected appearance that caused such a turmoil in the enemy camp. God had delivered them, He had given them up, handed them over to their true leader, Satan. The moment that happened, they were “discomfited.” They were filled with such fear, terror, and horror that they lost their reason. They no longer acted in unison as an army, but everyone’s thoughts became focused only on saving themselves, rather than fighting together as a unit. What happened next is that they found the only route of escape, and they ran the way that goes up, toward Bethhoron.
Here we must ask the question again: who caused such terror in them? Was it God? Or was it Satan? Can fear come from God? Notice again the passage from 2 Timothy:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
God is the same, always; He does not change. God does use fear as a weapon. Again, we urge the reader to take a look at that extended study on fear in our second book, God on Trial: Have We Been Lied To? Is God a Killer?
What happened next is that as Adonizec and his allies were coming down the mountain toward Bethhoron, “that the LORD 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.”
Hailstorms, great stones from heaven, lightning bolts. At this point these words should begin to ring a bell, especially in those who are knowledgeable of Greek mythology. Take for instance the mythological god Zeus: he was the god of the sky, the lord of the rain. He was the Greek counterpart of Baal, who was the god of the Amorites. The following is a typical depiction of Zeus:
…his weapon was a thunderbolt which he hurled at those who displeased or defied him, especially liars and oath breakers…ruler of the sky and earth, the god of all natural phenomena on the sky, the ruler of the state, the father of gods and men, and he could create all natural phenomena related to the air and the sky, such as storms, tempests, and intense darkness…As the father of men, he took a paternal interest in the actions and well-being of mortals. He watched over them with tender solicitude, rewarding truth, charity, and fairness, while severely punishing perjury and cruelty. Even the poorest and most forlorn wanderer could find a powerful advocate in this god, for he, as a wise and merciful paternal figure, demanded that the wealthy inhabitants of the earth be attentive to the needs of their less fortunate fellow citizens (http://www.greekmythology.com/Olympians/Zeus/zeus.html)
Zeus has a confusing character. He appears to be concerned with human beings, especially the less fortunate. He seems to be paternal. He seems to reward “truth, charity, and fairness.” But he also severely punishes “perjury and cruelty.” “His weapon was a thunderbolt which he hurled at those who displease or defied him, especially liars and oath breakers.” Zeus is a god of reward and punishment, a god of Good and Evil. He will reward some and punish others as he sees fit.
Those who worship the gods give themselves over to the cruel justice of this capricious ruler. This is why God warned the people to not bow down to the gods around them. Because if they chose to follow this god, then God, the true God of agape love, would have to honor their choice and according to the righteousness revealed from heaven, He would have to give them up to their Destroyer. God would have to remove His restraint from this vicious demon, and the people would be left wide open to the demon’s destructive whims.
The International Bible Encyclopedia connects Baal with Zeus. There is no difference between them; they are just different names, in different times and places, for the same demon:
The Phoenician writer Sanchuniathon (Philo Byblius, Fragmenta II) accordingly says that the children of the first generation of mankind “in time of drought stretched forth their hands to heaven toward the sun; for they regarded him as the sole Lord of heaven, and called him Beel-samen, which means `Lord of Heaven’ in the Phoenician language and is equivalent to Zeus in Greek.” Baal-Shemaim had a temple at Umm el-Awamid between Acre and Tyre, and his name is found in inscriptions from the Phoenician colonies of Sardinia and Carthage. http://biblehub.com/topical/b/baal.htm (emphasis added).
In the book of Job, we can see this god at work very clearly. He can send fire from heaven, can send great winds, instill in people his destructive ways and so they end up destroying each other, and bring disease and distress upon human beings. Job’s wounds are a testimony to how Satan is able to afflict the human body.
The International Bible Encyclopedia confirms Baal’s duality of Good and Evil:
As the Sun-god, Baal was worshipped under two aspects, beneficent and destructive. On the one hand he gave light and warmth to his worshippers; on the other hand the fierce heats of summer destroyed the vegetation he had himself brought into being. Hence, human victims were sacrificed to him in order to appease his anger in time of plague or other trouble, the victim being usually the first-born of the sacrificer and being burnt alive. http://biblehub.com/topical/b/baal.htm
Once God let go of them, the Amorites suffered the wrath of Satan. God had held back the Destroyer from the Amorites for four hundred years. Abram had seen their fate in a dream:
Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” (Genesis 15:12-16, emphasis added).
“The iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” Here is that metaphor of the cup full of iniquity—and iniquity is that reward and punishment principle that filled Lucifer’s heart in the beginning of his rebellion against God’s unconditional love. Once this cup was full, those in question would be completely imbued with Satan’s principle of iniquity–the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They were “filled with unrighteousness” (Romans 1:29), and just like the antediluvians, “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5).
The Amorites had rejected the light God had shone on them for four hundred years. But it was only when they organized themselves to oppose and destroy the people of God that their cup of iniquity was really full; that is when God finally gave them up.
We see here the same mechanism we saw earlier. Like the Philistines, the Amorites persecuted or went to war against God’s people. By doing so they filled their cup of iniquity and sealed their rejection of the gospel. Then the Lord knew that they had gone beyond the point of return, and Satan claimed jurisdiction over them. Then God arose to sustain His people while Satan came in like a flood into the enemy camp to utterly discomfit, terrorize, and destroy. In fact, Satan had been waiting for this moment for four hundred years! When God’s restraint was finally removed, Satan sent great pieces of hail from heaven, and the biblical record says that more died by the hail than by the sword of Joshua’s army.