And the Lord said unto Joshua, be not afraid because of them,
&c.] Of their number, of their horsemen, and of their scythed chariots; which might at first hearing occasion some fear and dread. And according to Josephus F6, the multitude of them terrified both Joshua and the Israelites; and therefore the Lord appeared and spoke to him for his encouragement: though what was said was for the sake of the Israelites, and to animate them who might be disheartened, rather than for the sake of Joshua, who was of a bold and courageous spirit. Whether this was said to him at Gilgal, and out of the tabernacle there, quickly after the tidings of the combination of the kings were brought to him, or whether when upon his march towards them, is uncertain:
for tomorrow about this time will I deliver them up slain before
as many were, and others wounded and put to flight, as the word signifies, so as to be as good as dead. If Gilgal was twenty two miles from the waters of Merom, as Bunting says F7, and supposing this to be said to him before he set out, he must travel all night to reach thither the next day; and if it was sixty miles, as some say, this must be said to him when on his march, and within a day's march of the enemy; for Josephus says F8 it was on the fifth day that he came up with them, and fell upon them:
thou shalt hough their horses;
cut their nerves under their hams, or hamstring them, so that they might be useless hereafter; for the kings of Israel were not to multiply horses; and Joshua, as their chief ruler, was to have no advantage of them by their falling into his hands:
and burn their chariots with fire;
that so they might not be used by the Israelites afterwards, who might be tempted to put their trust and confidence in them, as many did.
F6 Antiqu. l. 5. c. 1. sect. 18.
F7 Travels, p. 96.
F8 Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 5. c. 1. sect. 18.)