The Gibeonites then sent word to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal: “Do not abandon your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us! Help us, because all the Amorite kings from the hill country have joined forces against us.” So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army, including all the best fighting men. The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.” After an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua took them by surprise. The Lord threw them into confusion before Israel, so Joshua and the Israelites defeated them completely at Gibeon. Israel pursued them along the road going up to Beth Horon and cut them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah. As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, the Lord hurled large hailstones down on them, and more of them died from the hail than were killed by the swords of the Israelites. – Joshua 10:6-11
This is the first time I remember water taking a solid form in the bible. God uses hailstones to take care of a “coalition” of kingdoms that had banded to together to take out the Gibeonites because they had the gaul to form a treaty with the Israelites. God had the Israelite’s back and, by association and treaty, the Gibeonites back too. This reminds me of the way God had Moses’ and Israelites back when he came between the Israelites and the Egyptians in the Red Sea parting.
Solid water falling from the sky in the form of hailstones is a scary and painful thing. It ranks right up there with getting struck by lighting on the scale of weather hazards to avoid. These must have been very large hailstones to kill more of the enemy than the swords of the Israelites. This is a reminder that ultimately the battle belongs to God not the Israelites. Their swords may seem like the most lethal weapon at their disposal, when in reality it is God watching their back. The Israelites seem to be more comfortable with the role of warrior than water carrier.
The Israelites, and God, certainly came through for the Gibeonites. They were protected from a superior force that they could not hope to defeat because Joshua, and the God of Israel, intervened. The Israelites played the Role of heroes for the Gibeonites. OK actually it was God who was the hero, but He seldom gets the credit.
What is the deeper spiritual meaning here? It seems like the main point God is trying to reinforce with the Israelites…again…is that they need to follow God unconditionally and trust that He will be their protector and guide. The hailstones were a tangible picture of the way that God wants to care for and carry the Israelites, and us. He may not smite our enemies with chunks of ice, but we can be confident that He has our backs.
Prayer: Thank You God that You have our backs, You care deeply about us, and You want to protect us from harm.SDG