In Josh 8.1-29 turns his attention again to Ai and defeats them. This is seen as a type of the coming judgment of the world when Messiah comes. Joshua sends out 30,000 warriors at night. The number 3 is the number of resurrection and only those who have passed from death unto life can participate in the defeat of the world’s system with Yeshua, and Yeshua overcame the darkness to bring the victory. Joshua tells some of the men to wait to ambush the city from behind, and this speaks of how we need to wait on the Lord in our spiritual battles, as well. God is going to deliver the city by his word and power and there will be a complete victory.
So Joshua sent the men away and put them between Ai (heap of ruins) on the east and Bethel (house of God) on the west. This is the spiritual position of every believer waiting at “night” with the world (Ai is a heap of ruins) on our east (away from God) and Bethel, the house of God, on the west (approaching God). Joshua spent that night in the valley. Yeshua was sent into the valley of death at night, also.
Now, the King of Ai (type of Satan) saw Israel he went out to meet them at the appointed place. Satan tried to stop Yeshua at the appointed place of Golgotha. Joshua acted like he was defeated (v 15) and it appeared that Yeshua was defeated also. The king sent out all the men to confront Joshua as he was running away, but that was the plan, as soon as they left the city God told Joshua to stretch out his javelin towards the city and God would give it to him, and so Joshua did.
When the army of Ai left, Israel set fire to the city, the rest of the army saw the smoke, turned around and utterly destroyed the army of Ai who were pursuing them. They captured the king alive and brought him to Joshua. Satan will be brought to Yeshua and bound (Rev 20.1-3), and the army of Ai was killed, as will the unbelievers when Yeshua returns. 12,000 men and women fell from Ai that day, and the number 12 is the number of Divine government. Israel took all the cattle and the spoil from the city, just like Israel will inherit the wealth of the nations. They hanged the king on a tree until evening, and then at sunset he was taken down and they threw it at the entrance of the city and raised a heap of stones over it. The gate is a place of government, and this showed his government had ended.
In Josh 8.30-35 we learn something interesting. Joshua has built an altar on Mount Ebal, just as Moses commanded him (Deut 27.1-26), and they offered korbanot on it. Then it says that Joshua “wrote down” a copy of the Torah in the presence of the people. No hint of an Oral Torah here. Then he read “all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not one word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel with the women and the little ones and the stranger who were living among them” (Josh 8.34-35). There is no hint of an Oral Law even in existence in these verses.
As we can see, Joshua is a type of Yeshua the Messiah. Israel has come out of Egypt (sin), drossed the Red Sea (immersion and resurrection into a new life), gone into the wilderness (the world), crossed the Jordan (death) and entered Canaan (the promised land in a hostile world). We are in the midst of the chapters that deal with the conquest of the land (Chapters 6-12). Then we will have the distribution of the land (Chapters 13-21, the separation of the peaceful tribes (Chapter 22) and the parting address of Joshua (Chapter 23-24).
The Canaan side will be a picture of the realm of faith where the flesh still exists. God’s purpose for Israel was not only to bring them out of Egypt, but to bring them into the promises. Canaan does not picture “heaven.” It had giants, enemies and walled cities. The Lord doesn’t just save us from sin, but he will deliver us in our lives as we battle opposing armies and forces.
Josh 9.1-27 tells us the story of the Gibeonites, but lets look at some idioms. In 9.1 the hill country (mountain) symbolize a place of separation and can mean powerful kings or kingdoms. The valley is a symbol of fruitfulness and service. The sea is a type of the unconverted masses (Isa 57.20) and Lebanon means “white” and is a symbol of righteousness. It is in the north which is a type of worldly wisdom. We have already gone over the meaning of the nations mentioned there.
Now, the news of the victorious Israelites has spread, and the inhabitants of Gibeon heard that Joshua was coming, and that Jericho and Ai had fallen. So, they disguised themselves and deceived Joshua into making a covenant with them, allowing them to live. Joshua did not seek the counsel of the Lord. Israel was given the task of destroying the inhabitants of the land and they just made a covenant not to do what God wanted. This is going to cause a lot of trouble in the coming years (Deut 27.10-18).
How often have we as believers hurt ourselves by having relationships that are not consistent with the Torah? We enter into covenants with people who support false religions, worldly people and worldly designs. These relationships will always hinder us. The Gibeonites gave a false profession and human reasoning will hinder our joy and peace. They showed Joshua their crumbled bread, which is a fitting symbol of the spiritual food of an unbeliever (9.12).
Joshua eventually finds out that the Gibeonites deceived him, but because of the covenant, he will not kill them. So, they make them hewers of wood and drawers of water for the whole congregation, the Mishkan and later the Temple. The Gibeonites said they feared Israel and their lives, and they were in Joshua’s hands. But, in a way, this is also a picture of the unbeliever coming to Yeshua. So, let’s look at this event at a different angle.
They appear before Joshua in worn-out rags, which pictures the unbeliever appearing before Yeshua in the filthy rags their self-righteousness. The moldy bread of false religion will not keep them alive or sustain them. They admit they are in need of some help and have a healthy fear of Joshua, and will be servants. Joshua (Yeshua) makes a covenant of peace with them. Even though Joshua curses them in v 23 after he finds out about their ruse, we don’t believe he speaks for God here. The Lord protects them from angry Canaanites in Chapter 10 and they will serve the Mishkan and called the “Temple servants” or Nethanim” in 1 Chr 9.2, Ezra 2.43, 58, 8.20. The Mishkan will eventually be set up in Gibeon (2 Chr 1.13). Now, they are going to be a picture of the believer coming to the Lord and serving. They believed the word of God and they had a healthy fear of God (9.24). They placed themselves into the hands of Joshua and were submitted to him and cut wood and drew water for the congregation and the altar. We have placed our lives into Yeshua’s hands and we “cut wood” (humanity must be cut down by the word) and “draw the water” of the word which cleanses. This is our ministry in the assembly.
We will pick up here in Part 4.