And it came to pass, as they fled before Israel, [and] were
in the going down to Bethhoron
The descent of it on that side towards Azekah, and which was also a very narrow passage, of which Josephus F19 makes mention. The Jews say F20, that the going down of Bethhoron was the place where the army of Sennacherib fell:
that the Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto
Azekah, and they died;
the Septuagint version calls them hailstones; and so they are called in the next clause; and that such sometimes have fallen as to kill men and cattle, is certain from the plague of hail in Egypt, ( Exodus 9:19 Exodus 9:25 ) ; and some in very late times F21 have been known to fall, which were from eight, nine, and twelve inches about, some bigger than the eggs of turkeys, and some half a pound weight, (See Gill on Revelation 16:21); but these seem to be proper stones, such as did not melt away as hailstones do; though so called, because they fell from heaven, as they do, but remained, and still remain, according to the notion the Jews have of them; for they say F23 whoever sees these great stones, in the going down to Bethhoron, is bound to bless; and frequent mention is made by historians of showers of stones being rained. Livy F24 speaks of such a shower when King Tullus conquered the Sabines; and of another F25, when Scipio succeeded at Carthage; and Pomponius Mela F26 relates, that when Hercules fought with the sons of Neptune, and darts failed him, he obtained of Jupiter to rains shower of stones, which lay spread in great abundance; and some F1 think it refers to this fact in Joshua's time, who is supposed to be the same with the Tyrian Hercules F2, from hence also called Saxanus F3; and in memory of this there are stony camps in various places, called by his name F4:
[they were] more which died with hailstones than [they] whom the
children of Israel slew with the sword;
but what was the number of each of them is not said; it was doubtless very great, since there was an utter destruction and consumption of them, ( Joshua 10:20 ) .
F19 De Bello Jud. l. 2. c. 19. sect. 7, 8.
F20 Gloss. in T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 54. 2.
F21 Vid. Louthorp. Abridg. Philosoph. vol. 2. p. 144, 146.
F23 T. Bab. Betacot, fol. 54. 1.
F24 L. 1. p. 17.
F25 L. 30. c. 30.
F26 De Orbis Situ, l. 2. c. 5.
F1 Vossius de Origin. Idol. c. 1. sect. 16.
F2 See Gale's Court of the Gentiles, l. 2. c. 5.
F3 Dickins. Delph. Phoenic. c. 4. p. 42.
F4 Sanford de Descens. Christi, l. 1. sect. 20. p. 35.