1. Exposition

Why did Joshua hang the kings on five trees?

Joshua 10:26 (ESV)

26 And afterward Joshua struck them and put them to death, and he hanged them on five trees. And they hung on the trees until evening.

The practice of exposure by hanging on a tree was a wartime practice well known in Assyria and Egypt. It was a characteristic treatment of enemy leaders, especially those whom the victor wanted to use as an example.1 In the Bible it is also found in relation to criminal penalties (Deuteronomy 21:22). The biblical symbolism of hanging someone on a tree was to show that the person ought to be considered as cursed by God. Thus, the Amorite kings stand under the LORD’s curse and judgment.2