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Joshua 10:2

2 He and his people were very much alarmed at this, because Gibeon was an important city, like one of the royal cities; it was larger than Ai, and all its men were good fighters.

Read Joshua 10:2 Using Other Translations

That they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all the men thereof were mighty.
he feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were warriors.
He and his people became very afraid when they heard all this because Gibeon was a large town—as large as the royal cities and larger than Ai. And the Gibeonite men were strong warriors.

What does Joshua 10:2 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Joshua 10:2

That they feared greatly
The king of Jerusalem and his people, lest they should fall into the hands of the Israelites, and be used as Jericho and Ai, and the kings and inhabitants of them were, and that they would be the next that should fall a sacrifice to them; for Gibeon was fifty furlongs from Jerusalem, as Josephus says F1; and in another place he says F2 but forty, which were but five miles; and if fifty, but little more than six miles; according to Bunting F3, it was but four miles: and what added to their terror was,

because Gibeon [was] a great city;
being a metropolitan city, and having others subject to it; therefore the surrender of that to the Israelites might intimidate other cities, and lead them by example to do the like, and so of bad consequence:

as one of the royal cities;
the Vulgate Latin version omits the note of similitude, and reads, "and one of the royal cities"; and sometimes "caph" or "as" is not a note of likeness, but of reality; yet as we nowhere read of a king of Gibeon, the sense may be, that though it was not a royal seat, it was equal to those that were, and like one, being a metropolitan city: and

because it [was] greater than Ai:
had more inhabitants in it, and perhaps better fortified:

and all the men thereof [were] mighty;
men of strength, courage, and valour, warlike men, and therefore for such a city to yield so easily, and in such a base, mean, and cowardly way, was setting a very bad example.


FOOTNOTES:

F1 De Bello Jud. l. 2. c. 19. sect. 1.
F2 Antiqu. l. 7. c. 11. sect. 7.
F3 Travels of the Patriarchs p. 98.
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