Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XI:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Works of Sulpitius Severus.: Chapter XXIII.
When this became known to the kings of the neighboring nations, they made a warlike alliance to put down the Hebrews by arms. But the Gibeonites, a powerful nation with a wealthy city, spontaneously yielded to the Hebrews, promising to do what they were ordered, and were received under protection, while they were told to bring in wood and water. But their surrender had roused the resentment of the kings of the nearest cities. Accordingly, moving up their troops, they surround with a blockade their town, which was called Gabaoth. The townspeople, therefore, in their distress, send messengers to Joshua, that he would help them in their state of siege. Accordingly, he by a forced march came upon the enemy at unawares, and many thousands of them were completely destroyed. When day failed the victors, and it seemed that night would furnish protection to the vanquished, the Hebrew general, through the power of his faith, kept off the night, and the day continued, so that there was no means of escape for the enemy. Five kings who were taken suffered death. By the same attack, neighboring cities also were brought under the power of Joshua, and their kings were cut off. But as it was not my design, studious as I am of brevity, to follow out all these things in order, I only carefully observe this, that twenty-nine kingdoms were brought under the yoke of the Hebrews, and that their territory was distributed among eleven tribes, to man after man. For to the Levites, who had been set apart for the priesthood, no portion was given, in order that p. 82 they might the more freely serve God. I desire not, in silence, to pass over the example thus set, but I would earnestly bring it forward as well worthy of being read by the ministers of the Church. For these seem to me not only unmindful of this precept, but even utterly ignorant of it—such a lust for possessing has, in this age, seized, like an incurable disease, upon their minds. They gape upon possessions; they cultivate estates; they repose upon gold; they buy and sell; they study gain by every possible means. And even, if any of them seem to have a better aim in life, neither possessing nor trading, still (what is much more disgraceful) remaining inactive, they look for gifts, and have corrupted the whole glory of life by their mercenary dispositions, while they present an appearance of sanctity, as if even that might be made a source of gain. But I have gone farther than I intended in expressing my loathing and disgust over the character of our times; and I hasten to return to the subject in hand. The vanquished territory, then, as I have already said, having been divided among the tribes, the Hebrews enjoyed profound peace; their neighbors, being terrified by war, did not venture to attempt hostilities against those distinguished by so many victories. At the same period died Joshua in the hundred and tenth year of his age. I do not express any definite opinion as to the length of time he ruled: the prevalent view, however, is, that he was at the head of the Hebrew affairs during twenty-seven years. If this were so, then three thousand eight hundred and eighty-four years had elapsed from the beginning of the world to his death.
Next: Chapter XXIV.
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