Joshua 11 & 12 War and Rest

Joshua 11

Northern Kings Defeated

1 When Jabin king of Hazor heard of this, he sent word to Jobab king of Madon, to the kings of Shimron and Akshaph, and to the northern kings who were in the mountains, in the Arabah south of Kinnereth, in the western foothills and in Naphoth Dor on the west; to the Canaanites in the east and west; to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites and Jebusites in the hill country; and to the Hivitesbelow Hermon in the region of Mizpah. They came out with all their troops and a large number of horses and chariots—a huge army, as numerous as the sand on the seashore. All these kings joined forces and made camp together at the Waters of Merom to fight against Israel.

The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them, slain, over to Israel. You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.”

So Joshua and his whole army came against them suddenly at the Waters of Merom and attacked them, and the Lord gave them into the hand of Israel. They defeated them and pursued them all the way to Greater Sidon, to Misrephoth Maim, and to the Valley of Mizpah on the east, until no survivors were left. Joshua did to them as the Lord had directed: He hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots.

10 At that time Joshua turned back and captured Hazor and put its king to the sword. (Hazor had been the head of all these kingdoms.) 11 Everyone in it they put to the sword. They totally destroyed them, not sparing anyone that breathed, and he burned Hazor itself.

12 Joshua took all these royal cities and their kings and put them to the sword. He totally destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded. 13 Yet Israel did not burn any of the cities built on their mounds—except Hazor, which Joshua burned. 14 The Israelites carried off for themselves all the plunder and livestock of these cities, but all the people they put to the sword until they completely destroyed them, not sparing anyone that breathed. 15 As the Lord commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses.

16 So Joshua took this entire land: the hill country, all the Negev, the whole region of Goshen, the western foothills, the Arabah and the mountains of Israel with their foothills, 17 from Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir, to Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon below Mount Hermon. He captured all their kings and put them to death. 18 Joshua waged war against all these kings for a long time.19 Except for the Hivites living in Gibeon, not one city made a treaty of peace with the Israelites, who took them all in battle. 20 For it was the Lord himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the Lord had commanded Moses.

21 At that time Joshua went and destroyed the Anakites from the hill country: from Hebron, Debir and Anab, from all the hill country of Judah, and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua totally destroyed them and their towns. 22 No Anakites were left in Israelite territory; only in Gaza, Gath and Ashdoddid any survive.

23 So Joshua took the entire land, just as the Lord had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions. Then the land had rest from war.

Joshua 12

List of Defeated Kings

1 These are the kings of the land whom the Israelites had defeated and whose territory they took over east of the Jordan, from the Arnon Gorge to Mount Hermon, including all the eastern side of the Arabah:

Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon.

He ruled from Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Gorge—from the middle of the gorge—to the Jabbok River, which is the border of the Ammonites. This included half of Gilead. He also ruled over the eastern Arabah from the Sea of Galilee to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea), to Beth Jeshimoth, and then southward below the slopes of Pisgah.

And the territory of Og king of Bashan, one of the last of the Rephaites, who reigned in Ashtarothand Edrei.

He ruled over Mount Hermon, Salekah, all of Bashan to the border of the people of Geshur and Maakah, and half of Gilead to the border of Sihon king of Heshbon.

Moses, the servant of the Lord, and the Israelites conquered them. And Moses the servant of the Lord gave their land to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh to be their possession.

Here is a list of the kings of the land that Joshua and the Israelites conquered on the west side of the Jordan, from Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir. Joshua gave their lands as an inheritance to the tribes of Israel according to their tribal divisions. The lands included the hill country, the western foothills, the Arabah, the mountain slopes, the wilderness and the Negev. These were the lands of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. These were the kings:

the king of Jericho one
the king of Ai (near Bethel) one
10 the king of Jerusalem one
the king of Hebron one
11 the king of Jarmuth one
the king of Lachish one
12 the king of Eglon one
the king of Gezer one
13 the king of Debir one
the king of Geder one
14 the king of Hormah one
the king of Arad one
15 the king of Libnah one
the king of Adullam one
16 the king of Makkedah one
the king of Bethel one
17 the king of Tappuah one
the king of Hepher one
18 the king of Aphek one
the king of Lasharon one
19 the king of Madon one
the king of Hazor one
20 the king of Shimron Meron one
the king of Akshaph one
21 the king of Taanach one
the king of Megiddo one
22 the king of Kedesh one
the king of Jokneam in Carmel one
23 the king of Dor (in Naphoth Dor) one
the king of Goyim in Gilgal one
24 the king of Tirzah one
thirty-one kings in all.


Wow!  What an amazing account of a huge battle, armies numbering like the sand on the shore.  It is easy for us to look at this battle, as we read it on a page, and to skip right over the intensity and the fear behind it.  I imagine Joshua as standing on a mountain or something overlooking this sea of opponents.. their hearts hardened, and only out for death.  He must have been worried at the least, thinking this was an impossible task.

Again the Lord, in His loving way, reassures Joshua that He will give over the enemy into Israel’s hand.  “Do not be afraid of them.”  As much as we would like to think that we could easily stand and be brave after God had revealed this… I’m not so sure.  I’m positive that these stories of Joshua, strong and courageous, are written down for us to be made absolutely aware that God is for those He loves.  He, as our Father, will do what it takes to preserve and keep us, as His will allows.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.  Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you.  Plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

This does not mean that we will not face hardship.  On the contrary, Joshua faces immense odds during these battles, but he has something that the world cannot offer; he has God.  “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26

  • Is there a promise or principle to remember?

With God, all things are possible.  How do we know if God is on our side?  We must believe that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.[a]  “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord.”[b]  “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were sinners, Christ died for us.”[c]  “If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”[d]  “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”[e]

  • Is there an example to follow or a command to obey?

Joshua is an excellent example of a man who desired to obey God.  Not only did he obey God, but he obeyed Moses, who had given Joshua direct orders from God.  This tells me that Joshua was a man of integrity, that respected his elders and leaders who had come before, because of their direct influence by God.

  • Are there attitudes that needed changing, or an error to avoid?

The error I see in these passages is on the part of the warring kings and their people.  Although their hearts were hardened, they were not ignorant to what had been going on in the land around them.  Each of these people was given opportunity to turn to God, just by hearing what was happening, and hearing that the Israelites were being led by God.  To hear this and make the decision to ignore it is to turn your back on God, and fully justify the punishment and wrath that is coming.

  • Is there a sin being revealed?

My sin is that daily struggle between releasing myself and my fears over to God, or trying to do it in my own power.

  • Does this make you want to pray for someone or yourself?

Oh Lord, I pray that you would have your hand upon this nation.  I pray that you would work in the hearts of your people to stand up and fight for your glory to be made known by how we live our lives, and how we speak the truth.  I pray that through the lives of your chosen few we might make a difference to the coming generation, and that the hearts of this nation would turn back to you.

a. Romans 3:23, b. Romans 6:23, c. Romans 5:8, d. Romans 10:9-10, e. Romans 10:13

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