Book Of Joshua


ABBREVIATIONS: CA: Gower, Confessio Amantis; CM: Cursor mundi; CT: Chau­cer, Canterbury Tales; DBTEL: A Dic­tionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature, ed. Jeffrey; HS: Peter Comes­tor, Historia Scholastica, cited by book and chapter, followed by Patrologia Latina column in paren­theses; K: Kalén-Ohlander edition; MED: Middle English Dictionary; NOAB: New Oxford Annotated Bible; OED: Oxford English Dictionary; OFP: Old French Paraphrase, British Library, MS Egerton 2710, cited by folio and column; Whiting: Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Pro­verbial Phrases; York: York Plays, ed. Beadle. For other abbreviations, see Textual Notes.

2711–12 scho was commyn kend / as hostler evyn and morn. Rahab is called a prostitute in both Joshua 2:1 and HS Jos. 2 (1261). The Paraphrase-poet is somewhat oblique in referencing her trade here, however, describing her status in terms that are what the reader makes of them. She is commyn kend as hostler, which could mean either that she is “commonly known as one who runs a hostel,” or that she is “commonly known,” and that she welcomes men into her hostel (with its various allusions) both morning and evening, as an inn­keeper should do. Note that the modern slang term hustler to refer to a pros­titute is unrelated to these terms, as it derives from the verb hustle, itself a late-seventeenth-century derivation from various possible High and Low German dialects. The OED thus lists an initial instance of hustler meaning “prostitute” as dating from 1924.

2765 Elyazar has ordand then. The order, according to Joshua 4:1, comes not from Eleazar but from God Himself. It is possible that the poet is here trying to make a theological point about the place of the priest as conduit to God in a post-Mosaic world, though elsewhere he seems unshy about allowing God the ability to still speak directly to the people (e.g., lines 3023–24, where God reassures Joshua).

2789–90 thei suld syng solemp song / and make all maner of mynstralsy. The seven trumpets and the shouts of the people and the circling of the city seven times are here omitted in favor of solemnity. And the association between the shout of the people and the breaching of the wall (Joshua 6:20) is similarly left out in lines 2819–20, where the active hand is that of God alone, acting on His own accord. The omission is, perhaps, part of a “historization” of the text, where the poet regards the trumpets and shouts as more “mythic” or “fantastic” than the active intercession of God.

2825 Achor. In Hebrew, “trouble”; his activities befit his name, or the reverse.

2836 Adan. As Ohlander notes, the Paraphrase-poet has taken the name of the town not from the Vulgate but from OFP 24a or an Old French source very similar to it, where the name “Ai” has been altered to “Adan” in order to meet rhyme: “Pur aseger la vile d’Adan / Qui est assise sur le flum Jordan” (“Old French Parallels,” p. 205).

2839 thryty thowssand on a thrum. Joshua 7:4 reports three thousand men, rather than thirty thousand. It is possible that the number of men sent against Ai in the second assault (Joshua 8:3) may have simply been transfered to the first. Also of note, however, is HS Jos. 6 (1265), where Comestor records three thousand before noting that Josephus gives the number as thirty thousand.

2860 he parted hys pepell evyn in two. Joshua 8:12 gives the number in the am­bushing party as five thousand. The Paraphrase-poet has apparently here opted for the exigencies of rhyme over text.

2894 thei had no bodes them to beld. The contrast is clearly with Rahab and her family, who had gained assurances of safety that were granted when Jericho was taken. The people of Ai made no such deals.

2939–40 To bere wode and fuell / ther sacurfyce to begyne. That is, the Gibeonites were tasked with producing wood and water for the sacrifices that took place in the Israelite services. The story thus serves to explain both “the presence of non-Israelites in the service of Israelite sanctuaries” and “the survival of some Canaanites despite the command to exterminate them” (NOAB, p. 281).

2968 lenghed that day two days space. That the lengthened day was of two days in duration is an extrabiblical detail (compare Joshua 10:12–14) derived from HS Jos. 9 (1267), where the additional day gained here is contrasted with the ten hours gained by Isaias as proof for Hezekiah (see 4 Kings [2 Kings] 20:7–11 and Isaias 38:7–8).

2977–3000 The sense of what is happening here may be in need of explanation. Joshua has ordered the five kings brought out from the cave in which they were hi­ding and has bound them (lines 2977–84). He makes them lie down upon the ground, and then the Hebrews walk among them (lines 2985–88). Josh­ua tells his men that they are to have no more fear of other kings than they have of these five bound ones, for God will give them such power over them all, just as He has promised (lines 2989–96). The five kings are then hanged as an example before they move on (lines 2997–3000). Making the sense par­ticularly difficult to construe is line 2990, that fulse them heyr under your fette. The word fulse means to “oppress,” “subdue,” or “trample down” (MED fullen v.2[c]), making this line a further explication of the ye referred to in both the preceding and succeeding lines. Thus Joshua says to his men that they, who are trampling upon these five kings with their feet, will be thus always vic­torious against the enemy. What can only be inferred here, but is plain from Joshua 10:24–25, is that this trampling of the kings is no meta­phor: “he called all them men of Israel, and said to the chiefs of the army that were with him: Go, and set your feet on the necks of these kings. And when they had gone, and put their feet upon the necks of them lying under them, He said again to them: Fear not, neither be ye dismayed, take cour­age, and be strong: for so will the Lord do to all your enemies, against whom you fight.”

3011 Kyng Jabyn of Dasore. The Paraphrase-poet has once again (see note to line 2836) taken the name of a town not from the Vulgate but from a French source. OFP 25c reads “Li reis Jabin dasor” (= “d’Asor”).

3015–17 The description of Jabyn’s army, which the Paraphrase gives as three hun­dred chariots and four hundred thousand armed men, is not based on any clear source. Joshua 11:1–5 gives no specific number of men, while Judges 4:3 gives only nine hundred chariots. HS Jos. 10 (1267) reads: “Egres­sique sunt viginti quatuor reges, cum turmis suis, habentes secum trecenta millia arma­torum, et duo millia curruum” (i.e., two thousand chariots and three hundred thou­sand men). And OFP 25c reduces HS’s chariots by tenfold: “Dous cent cur­res, treis cent millers de gent” (Ohlander, “Old French Parallels,” p. 211).

3035 faur hunderth thowssand. See note to lines 3015–17.

3040 schamly schent. The poet’s comment here, which is unparalleled in his pri­mary sources (Bible, HS, OFP), is striking in its candor. It certainly seems to invert one reading of the preceding lines, which have re­ported the slaughter so factually as to imply approval of the devastation. The comment goes far toward painting a picture of the Paraphrase-poet as a man of peace who, though he recognizes and cannot deny the historicity and efficacy of such destruction, cannot wholly approve of it. He would take a place, then, along with other late-fourteenth-century poets who are es­pousing irenic goals in works as varied as Siege of Jerusalem, Gower’s Con­fessio Amantis, and Lang­land’s Piers Plowman.

3051–52 Thyrty kynges to ded was done / withowtyn dukes and knyghtes kene. Joshua 12 provides a comprehensive listing of the many kings killed by the Israelites.


ABBREVIATIONS: L: MS Longleat 257; H: Heuser edition (partial); K: Kalén-Ohlander edition; O: Ohlander’s corrigenda to K; P: Peck edition (partial); S: MS Selden Supra 52 (base text for this edition).

2677, 79 Lines indented to leave space for an initial capital; first letter of line 2677 writ­ten in the middle of the space.

2683 cuntré. So L, K. S omits.

2704 ways. So L, K. S: be ways.

2709 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 25v): no heading.

2715 wardyns. So L, K. S: wardyn.

2728 govern. So L, K. S: gouerd.

2741 had to. So L, K. S omits.

2744 slayn. S: inserted above the line.

2751 ordan. So K. S: ordans, with s canceled. L: ordand.

2762 full strang. S: inserted below the line.

2763 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 26r): no heading.

2773 when. So L, K. S omits.

2787 Arke. S: inserted above the line in different ink.

2789 song. So K. S, L: sang.

2809 commawnment. So L, K. S: commawment.

2814 and. So L, K. S omits.

2815 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 26v): no heading.

2816 ewyn. So L, K. S: wyn.

2817 can. So L, K. S omits.

2823 Bot. So L, K. S: Bo.

2835 afferrom. So L, K. S: afforrom.

2852 myscheved. S: ved inserted below the line.

2856 this. So L, K. S: þs.

2857 he. So L, K. S omits.

2867 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 27r): no heading.

2873 dowt. S: d dowt.

2875 to. S: inserted above the line.

2881 can. So K. L: gun. S omits.

2884 one. So S, O. L, K: wone.

2918 knew. S: inserted below the line.

2919 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 27v): no heading.

2923 By. So L, K. S: Bot.

2924 When. S: ff when.
new. S: inserted above the line.

2935 Bot. S: t inserted above the line in different ink.

2954 wold. So L, K. S: was.
last. So L, K. S: fast.

2961 them. So L, K. S: hym.

2973 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 28r): no heading.

2978 byd2. So L, O. S, K: abyd.

2980 in. So L, K. S: made.

2981 them. So L, K. S: þen.

2990 fulse. So S, O. L, K: sulse.

2996 your God with gud wyll. So L, K. S: wyll your god with gud.

3000 maystry. So O. S, K: maystur. L: maistres.

3007 myrth. So L, K. S: mrth.

3008 werke. S: r inserted above the line.

3010 noyd. S: inserted above canceled new.

3023 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 28v): no heading.

3032 paynyms. So L, K. S: pynyms.

3054 betwene. S: twene inserted below the line.

3061 arayse. So L, K. S: he rayse.

3064 hyght. So O. S, L, K: myght.

3066 heyght. S: inserted below the line.

3072 fulfylled. S: l1 inserted above the line.
and. S: d inserted above the line.

3075 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 29r): no heading.

3085 fayre. So L, K. S: þei fayre.

3086 mett. So L, K. S: wett.

3114 is2. So L, K. S omits.

3120 kyde. S: dede kyde.

3123 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 29v): no heading.

3125 gud wone. So L, K. S: when þei can wun.

3126 of. So L, K. S omits.

3130 bot. So L, K. S: be.

3135 Cananews. So L, K. S: Canews.

3136 nacion. So L, O. S: nacon, with n inserted above the line, followed by K.
your awn. So L, K. S: yf 3e be ouer drawn.

3137 schrews. So L, K. S: schews.

3138 drawn. So L, K. S omits.

3140 sall. So L, K. S: sad.

3142 thyng. S: thynges.

3155 other. So L, K. S: other ther.

3156 Judicum. S: Iudicium, with last i canceled.
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Book Of Joshua

















Moyr of the storé may men se
   what was done aftur Moyses dede.
A nobyll duke, heyght Josue,
   was ordand to stand in his sted;
Elyazar, byschope was he
   the pepyll forto rewle and rede.
Then neght thei nere that cuntré
   God them heyght of His Godhede,
So that yt myght be sene,
   the land of Canan:
Noyght bot the flome betwen.
   And thus thei ordand than.

Becawse the cyté of Gerico
   was next the flome and fast therby,
Josue had ordand two
   most cunnand of that cumpany
Unto that cyté forto go
   and bad that thei suld spyre and spye
The wardes and the wals also
   and all that passage prevely,
How thei myght tytyst take
   that cyty be on asent.
This message forto make
   two wyght men furth ther went.

To Jerico thei toke the way,
   a cety semly unto syght.
Thei spyrd full ryght all ther aray,
   both ways beneth and wals on heyght.
So dyd thei dewly all that day
   to tyme that neght nere the nyght;
Ther thar loygyng in a place toke thei
   with a woman that Raab hyght.
Scho had fayr rent in hand,
   laft of hyr elders beforn;
Bot scho was commyn kend
   as hostler evyn and morn.

Whyls thei the cyté thus aspyd,
   all yf thei ware wytty and wyse,
To the wardyns thei wer ascryde
   that Raab herberd swylk to spyse.
The bayles went in the evyn tyde
   to foche them furth befor the justyce.
Bot prevely scho can them hyde
   and hold from handes of ther enmyse.
Scho lett them lang or day
   over the wals of that cyté
And teched them the redy way
   from all enmyse to flee.

Bot fyrst scho festend this connand
   or ever scho wan them over the wall:
“When ye sall entur into this land
   and govern this cyté, grett and small,
Me and myn, loke ye warrand
   that no defawt unto us fall.”
Herto thei both held up ther hand
   and sayd, “This cunnand kepe we sall.
Thou and thi meneye both
   sall well be sayved,” thei say.
Thei went withowtyn wothe
   over the flome the evyn way.

Unto Josue thei reckynd ryght
   of Jerico all poyntes playn,
And wher thei suld muster ther myght
   to wyn yt well withowtyn payn;
And how thei had to Raab heygh
   so that scho suld be saved certayn,
Bycawse scho sayved them in the nyght,
   when bayles suld them have slayn.
Thei loved God with gud wyll
   that tho yong men so yemed,
And hetes yt to fulfyll
   and do evyn os thei demed.

More; story; (t-note)
called Joshua
ordained; place
rule and guide
When they came close to; (t-note)
river [Jordan]
gathered then


most cunning [men]

look and spy out
watchmen; walls
way secretly
by one assent
mission to undertake
two fellows went forth there

beautiful to look upon
spied; their array
the ways beneath [the city]; (t-note)
until; the night came near
Rahab was called
a substantial legacy; (t-note)
commonly known; (see note)
innkeeper evening

spied out
although they were careful
watchmen; reported; (t-note)
harbored such two spies
fetch; judge
let them down long before daybreak

taught; best way

she pledged this agreement [between them]
before she got them over

be sure
To this; their hands
your household

river the quickest way


without loss
agreed; (t-note)

officers; (t-note)

those young men so guided
just as they had said




Josue bad the pepyll pray
   and honer God with mayn and mode,
And ordan that on the thryd day
   suld thei passe furth over the flud.
The suns of Levy, befor went thai
   berand the Arke of God full gud.
Thei fand ther wath and redy way,
   wher never folke befortym yode.
Wemen and chylder yyng
   then next them fowled fast.
The flud sessyd of fluyng
   whyls all the pepyll past.

might and spirit
ordered; (t-note)
(i.e., the Levites), in front
there a ford
had before gone
young children
followed closely
river ceased flowing
while; passed




When thei war past, both best and man,
   the stremys wex agayn full strang.
Thei loyge them in Canan,
   that land that thei had coyvet lang.
Elyazar has ordand then
   that certan men sone suld gang
For twelf stones to the Flome Jordan
   and make an auter them amang.
Thei purveyd sone a place
   wher God honerd suld be.
Ther held thei fest of Pasce
   with grett solempnité.

grew; strong; (t-note)
lodged; (t-note)
coveted long
Eleazar; (see note)

provided soon

Pasch (Passover)











And when the solempne day was done
    And all the folke refreyshed were,
Josue semled hys host full sone
    of lysty men, both lesse and mayre;
Pristes and dekyns gart he gone
    and beyr Goddes Arke up them beforne.
To Jerico thei went ylkon
    and hastely, when thei come thore,
A day jornay abowt
    be strengh thei have dystroyde.
Then thei within had dowtt
    full sone forto be noyde.

Then Josue bad the clargy gang
   with all the lynage of Levy
And beyr the Arke up them amang
   abowt the town to ylk party,
And at thei suld syng solemp song
   and make all maner of mynstralsy.
And yf the wals war never so strang,
    so suld God send them the vyctory.
“Bot o thyng I yow of warne:
    when ye entur within,
Sparse no manys wyfe ne barne
   bot Raab and hyr kyn.

“For scho our messyngers con sayve
   when we them sent over the flude.”
And also he commawnd knyt and knave
   and comyns that with hym yode
That thei suld nawder hyde ne have
   to themselfe sylver ne other gud,
Bot stryke them down with sword and stave
   and stroy all that befor them stud.
Gold to that Tabernakyll
   he bad that thei suld beyre,
To God that dyd that merakyll
   to them in all ther were.

That thei suld kepe this commawnment
   he charegd the ost, both old and yong,
And sayd forsothe thei suld be schent
   that to themself toke any thyng.
Abowt the cety then thei went
   full solemply and sanges can syng.
And on the sevynt day hath God sent
   entré ewyn at ther awn lykyng.
Wher the Arke of God can dwell,
   the folke abydyn styll.
The wals fayled and down fell,
   and thei enturd at wyll.



strong men
Priests and deacons he ordered
each one
[And everything for] a day’s journey
those within [the city]


each side
that they; solemn songs; (see note); (t-note)


man’s wife nor child
Rahab; family

did save
common [soldiers]; went
neither hide nor keep


their wars


entry even as they had desired; (t-note)
remained silent




So when thei had this cyté wun,
   thei slow and brent both best and man.
Bot Raab, os thei had begun,
   and hyr kyn thei keped as thei cane.
On Achor, that was Caryn son,
   A full rych mantyll fand he then;
He hyd yt when he had yt fun;
   that boldnes aftur myght he ban.
He brake Goddes commawnment,
   that Josue forbede.
Therfor fele folke war schent,
   and he had dulfull dede.

killed and burned
as they were able
One [man named] Achan; Carmi’s; (see note)
cloak he found

many people were killed
a piteous death

[DEFEAT AT AI (7:2–26)]






Bot how that care began to com,
    the story furth reherses ryght.
Thor stud afferrom, ner the flome,
   A rych cyté that Adan hyght.
Josue semled all and sum
   his knyghtes that ware wyse and wyght,
And thryty thowssand on a thrum
   sent he with tho folke to fyght.
Bot thei that ware within
   so boldly batell bede,
The Ebrews, moyre and myn,
    war sum slayn, and sum fled.

When Josue herd this folke to flayd,
   no mervell yf he war yll meved.
“Sum of ourself has synd,” he sayd.
   “Wherfor our God is to us greved.”
Lottes amang them sone thei layd
   so forto se the soth, thei beleved.
Thei fand how Achor them betrayd,
   and how the mantyll had them myscheved.
To ded sone was he staned,
    as his werke was worthy.
And Josue fast wold fownd
   forto venge this velany.

stood afar, near the river; (t-note)
Ai was called; (see note)
30,000 together; (see note)

who were
carried out

heard that these men were dispersed
surprise; ill at ease

Lots; soon
thus to reveal the truth

had worked against them; (t-note)
death soon; stoned


[VICTORY AT AI (8:1–29)]










To Adan he ys wentt agayn
    with thryty milia and well moe.
And when he come nere on a playn,
   he parted hys pepell evyn in two:
The on half to a mowntan
   prevely bad he them go.
To tyme the saw his syng certan,
   the cety suld thei entur so.
Thei past furth prevely
   In buschement so forto be.
He and hys company
   asawted that cety.

Within thei ware full sterne and stowte,
    for them had falyn so fayr befor.
Thei opynd the gattes and wentt owt,
    all men of armes, lesse and more.
Then Josue feyned to fle for dowt
    to thei fare fro the cyté wore;
Then to the mowntane he made a schowt
   and set his syng to them thore.
To the cety then thei wentt
   and fand full evyn entre.
Full fast thei schott and brentt
    that folke myght farre see.

When Josue agayn can loke
   unto the cyté styfe of stone,
He saw thor fyre and full grett smoke
   and sparkes fleand full gud one.
To his men then he undertoke
   that that cyté to them was tone.
He bad them wett wele ylka noke
   that ther enmys scaped none.
All that behynd oght dwelt
   be lyve ware dongyn down;
That wentt before ware feld
    with them that toke the town.

Ther ware the panyms put to payn;
   thei had no bodes them to beld.
And the Ebrews ware farly fayn
   to se ther enmys feld in feld.
Thrughowt the cyté past thei playn
   and spared none in yowth ne eld.
Thei gatt ther gold that myght them gayn
   and other welth at wyll to weld.
So went thei, old and yong,
   to ther awn cumpany
And mad full grett offeryng
   to God, os was worthy.

30,000; more

evenly; (see note)
he ordered them to go quietly
At the time they saw his sign

strong and stout
they (the Hebrews) had fallen so quickly

pretended to flee out of doubt; (t-note)
until they were far from
sign; there

found very easy entry
Very quickly; shot and burned
see [it] from afar

there fire
flying in great numbers; (t-note)

to check each nook thoroughly
so that none of their enemies escaped
ought to remain
quickly were struck down

assurances to comfort them; (see note)
greatly gladdened
fallen in the field

spared neither young nor old

in their own tribes

as was right









When thei had wonn this grett renown,
   grett word of them began to ryse,
How Jacob suns wold dyng al down
   and in were how thei wan the prise.
So was a cuntré heyght Gabown,
   and the pepyll heygh Gabonyse.
Thei sembled in that same seson
   and toke ther cownsell on this wyse:
To putt them furth in presse
   ther land forto dyffend,
Or elles persew for peyse,
   and thus ther consell kend.

Thei toke twelfe of that same ceté,
   qwylke that thei for most cunnand knew,
And sent them unto Josue
   for sympyll peyse forto persew.
Thei sayd, “We cum fro far cuntré
   with ye, ser, forto take peyse and trew.
By our cloghys that may thou se.
   When we went furth, then ware thei new.
Or we wyn hom agayn
   wyl be full mony a day.”
Thei toke trewse by this trayn,
   and fast thei went ther way.

When Josue thus ther peyse had sworn,
   he trowed them folke of full far land.
Bot hym was told sone on the morn
   that thei ware neghbours nere at hand
Of Canan — this toyght hym scorne —
   not thre days jornay thens dwelland.
Bot for sewrty was fest beforn,
   he sayd the peyse suld stably stand.
So that thei suld not fall
   that land whyls thei wonned in,
To bere wode and fuell
   ther sacurfyce to begyne.

rumor; arise
soon would take down all
war; won the rewards
called Gibeon
at that same time
held their discussions
en masse
else pursue peace
decision was made known

twelve men from
whom; knew to be most cunning; (t-note)

you, sir; truce
cloths; see; (t-note)
journeyed forth; were they; (t-note)
Before we reach home

truce by this trickery

he was soon told

three days’ journey away they lived
because the pact was made before; (t-note)

bear wood; (see note)













Kyng of Jerusalem herd tell
   of bayle that in that land began:
How that the chylder of Israel
   ware comyn fare over Flom Jordan,
And how thei hade wun them omell
   fyrst Jerico and sythyn Adan
And Gabonyse with them to dwell.
   That mad hym a full mornand man.
Hee sayd hys men to ryse
   and prestly to persew
To stroy the Gabonyse,
    for thei had takyn trew.

For faur kynges sone had he send,
   qwylk well he wyst wold with hym last.
To Gabonyse wyghtly thei wend
   them and ther cytes down to cast.
Bot Josue wold them dyffend,
   for thei in fayth war festynd fast.
With his meneye them to amend
   to paynyms planly ys he past.
He tokyd them in that tyme
   so that ther fled bot fone,
Fro on howr aftur prime
    to fowr howrs aftur none.

Hym toyght the day went hastely;
   therfor he prayd God for His grace.
And God of Hys gud curtasay
   lenghed that day two days space:
He made the sone to stand forthi
   and passe not furth his kyndly pase
Tyll Josue had the vyctory
   and overcomyng of all hys foyse.
Sqwylke grace os God dyd thore
   Agayns the cowrse of kynd
Was never seyne before,
   als fere os men may mynd.

The paynyms os in parke war pynd,
   to byd them batell was not to byd.
The fyve kynges held them behynd,
   and in a hole thei have them hyde.
Bot Josue furth can them fynd.
   That he was kyng thore well he kyd.
Thar handes to ther bakkes gart he bynd,
   and on this wyse with them he dyd:
He gart them lyg on lang
   apon the grownd thor grayd
And Ebrews on them gang,
   and thus to them he sayd:

“Als ye fare with kynges fyve
   that fulse them heyr under your fette,
So sall ye be lordes in your lyve
   of paynyms kynges, her I yow hett,
And have maystry of man and wyfe
   that wyll no to yow make them mett.
Ther sall none stand with yow to stryfe,
   whyls ye your God with gud wyll grett.”
Then gart he hang thos kynges,
    als other had bene before,
And sythyn of other thynges
   sone made he maystry more.


far over the River Jordan
won; among
Jericho and then Ai
very mournful man

who; knew would; (t-note)
strongly they went

compact were well allied
against the pagans has he moved
defeated; (t-note)
there fled but few
one hour after prime
four hours after noon

thought; [too] swiftly

lengthened; [to] two days in length; (see note)
sun; therefore
natural pace
Such grae as God; (t-note)
Against the course of nature
as far as men can remember

pagans as if in an enclosure were pinned; (see note)
make; happen; (t-note)

cave; hid themselves; (t-note)
there; made known
backs he had bound
in this way
at length

prostrate themselves here; feet; (t-note)

here I promise you

ordered those kings hung





Sex cytes wan thei that same day
   and on the morn als other mo.
To Galgala then toke thei way
   unto ther frendes that thei wentt fro.
Of all this fayre full fayn ware thei
   and thanked God wherso thei go.
Then made thei myrth and mekyll play;
   thei wyst of non to werke them wo.
Bot sone aftur thei war
   noyd of new maner:
Kyng Jabyn of Dasore
   geydderd full grett power

Six cities they won
as many more
allies; left behind
these happenings very glad

much play; (t-note)
knew; (t-note)
they were
troubled with a new problem; (t-note)
Jabin of Hazor; (see note)











Of kynges and dukes and mony a knyght,
   that wysly cowd the wepyns weld;
Thre hunderth chareottes hath he dyght
   of vetell and tentes with to teld,
Fowr hunderth thowssand folke to fyght
   Full well at hors with spere and scheld.
To see that was a semly syght
   when that thei fared furth on the feld.
When Ebrews con them se,
   thei ware adred sum dele,
Bot God sayd unto Josue
   he suld overcom them well.

Duke Josue and Fynyes
   wold take no tyme to tary lang;
Thei putt them furth full fast in presse
   agayns ther enmys forto gang.
Ther was no poynttyng unto peyse
   bot ylk man his fere to fang.
The Ebrews con ever incresse,
   bot paynyms toyght the stoure full strang:
Thei had no strengh to stand
    agayns Goddes folke to stryfe.
Of faur hunderth thowssand
   ther leved bot few on lyfe.

Ther chareys was fest on fyr ylkon
    with vessell and with mony a tent.
Thei spoled and spylt and spared non,
   tyll all was wast and schamly schent.
Bot tresour to them have thei tone;
   Cytes and burghes have thei brent.
When thei had wonn so welth gud wone,
   to Galgala agayn thei went.
Then was none leved in land,
   kyng ne prince with pryde,
That them durst more gayn stand,
   ne in batell them abyd.

Ne forto fle war leved bot fone;
   thei conquerd all thos cuntreys clene.
Thyrty kynges to ded was done
   withowtyn dukes and knyghtes kene.
Bott all this werke was not wroght sone;
   thei toke full mony tym betwene.
Then forto noye them fand thei none,
   bot all on myrth thei wold mene.
Thei made grett sacurfyce
    unto God Allmighty,
Wyt wrschepe on this wyse,
   als yt was well worthy.

knew how; wield
chariots; (see note)
victuals and tents to pitch

wondrous sight
went out

were frightened somewhat

wait long
en masse
against; to go
signaling of peace
adversary to catch
grew strong

the pagans thought the battle; (t-note)

400,000 [men]; (see note)
remained only a few alive

Every one of their chariots was set on fire

shamefully destroyed; (see note)
Cities and towns; burned
in abundance
no one left
That any more dared stand against them

Nor were any left to flee but a few
death; (see note)
done quickly
a great amount of time; (t-note)
to trouble
in joy

Did worship in this way

[DIVISION OF THE LAND (13:1–19:51)]





Duke Josue then folke arayse
   on Sylo. That was a solempne syght.
And all thus to them he says,
   “Hevys up your hertes to God on hyght
And wrschep Hym with wyll all ways
   that now hath fulfylled that He heyght
In Abraham and in Ysac days:
   that thei suld have this remes be ryght
To them and ther ofspryng
   and weld yt with honowrs.
For now is all that hetyng
   fulfylled in us and ours.

“The grownd therof in them begane
    and past furth to ther progenyté.
Yow menys how Moyses commawnd then
    to us and to all our cumpany,
‘Qwen ye have conqwerde Canan
   and hath yt at your awn maystry,
Depart yt als wele os ye cane
   to the twelf kynradyns communly.’
Thus was his bydyng last,
    and so part yt we sall.
Sythyn sall we lottes cast
   qwylke part to qwylke sall fall.”

gathered; (t-note)
at Shiloh


what He promised; (t-note)

these realms by right

are all those promises

foundation [of this promise]

remember; (t-note)

under your own control
twelve tribes

which; which [tribe]

















Ten of the wysest furth can fayre
   and mett the land in lengh and bred.
When thei had done that charge and charre,
   agayn then hastely can thei sped.
Then Josue and Elezaar
   to ylke a kynradyn toke gud hede
And gafe ylkon aftur thei wayre
   mony or few ther on to fede.
So wentt thei all and sum
   aftur ther cowrse was cast.
And thei beyond the flome
   unto ther partes past.

Qwen twenty yeres war full spend
   fro tyme thei past Flome Jordayn,
Then Josue full clere kend
   that he most passe by kynd of man.
Aftur the Ebrews hath he sent,
   and to them thus sayd he than,
“Syrs, I may no langer lend
    to governe yow, ose I began.
My tyme neghys nere
   that me behovys fownd yow fro.
My consell sall ye heyre
   and takes gud tent therto.

“Honowrs God ever, old and yyng,
    and kyndly kepes Hys commawndment.
And coveyttes now non other kyng,
   bot trows in Hym with trew entent.
Whyls ye do so, all erthly thyng
   that nedfull is is to yow sent.
And what tyme ye breke this bydyng,
   full sodanly ye sall be schent.
Hath mynd, both more and lesse,
   what dedes He for yow dyde
And of seyre grett kyndnese
    He to your kyndradyn kyde.

“He lede them fayr fro Fayran
   and mad ther way thrugh waters clere
And drowned ther enmys ylkon
   that none with noye myght neghe them nere,
And sythyn in wyldernes gud wone
   sent them of foyde full faurty yere.
This land to ther lynag alon
   He heyght, and now ye have yt here.
Therfor forgeyttes Hym noyght
   bot nevyn Hym in your nede.
Whyls ye of Hym hath toyght,
   allway ye sall well spede.

“I warn yow all so and all Ebrews
   that ar of Jacob kynradyn knawn
That ye comyn not with Cananews,
   nor with non nacion bot your awn.
For yf ye mell yow with swylke schrews,
   in donger sone sall ye be drawn.
And whyls ye use all honest thews,
   full savely sall your sede be sawn.”
Thus lerned he lest and most
   to eschew all yll thyng.
And then he gafe his gost
    to Goddes awn goveryng.

Thus qwen this nobyll duke was ded,
   the folke made doyle withowtyn drede.
And whyls thei wroyght aftur his rede,
   thei had lordschep of ylke led.
Elezaar, ther sufferan hed,
   the same way sone aftur yode.
And hys sun Fynyes in his sted
   was ordand furth thos folke to led.
This boke ys of Josue
   sen tyme thei past the flome.
And other new say sall we;
   that is called Judicum.

measured; (t-note)
back again

each of the tribes
each one according to whether they were
feed [themselves]

river [of Jordan]
to their lands went

the River Jordan
very clearly knew
pass by the natural course of man


grows near
I must leave you
counsel shall you hear
pay careful attention to

naturally keep

trust; proper will

that you need; (t-note)
Keep in mind
the many
to your tribes showed; (t-note)

far from Pharaoh

then during their long sojourn; (t-note)
food for; (t-note)
people alone

invoke; (t-note)
While you have Him in mind

Jacob’s kindred
commune; (t-note)
nation; (t-note)
mix yourself with such cursed people; (t-note)
while you; habits
seed be sewn; (t-note)
taught he one and all
bad things; (t-note)
gave over his soul

grief certainly
performed after his advice
each nation
Eleazar, their sovereign chief-priest
soon afterward went
Phinehas; place

since; passed the river
narrate; (t-note)
Judges; (t-note)


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