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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Joshua

(Return to Old Testament Contents)



Part 2: Ch.6-12: Taking the Land

Ch.6 – Taking Jericho

Ch.7 – The Failed Attack on Ai & Achan's Sin

Ch.8 – Taking Ai & the Covenant on Mount Ebal

Ch.9 – The Sneaky Gibeonites

Ch.10 – Southern Kings Defeated

Ch.11 – Northern Kings Defeated

Ch.12 – Summary List of Defeated Kings



FRAMEWORKS: Joshua 11: Northern Kings Defeated


v.1-5 The Northern Kings gather

v.6-9 The Lord reassures Joshua and gives him victory

v.10-15 Destroying Hazor

v.16-23 Summary Conclusion


[Note: Please see our note on place names at the beginning of chapter 10]



v.1-5 The Northern Kings gather


v.1 When Jabin king of Hazor [north of the Sea of Galilee] heard of this, he sent word to Jobab king of Madon [west of Sea of Galilee], to the kings of Shimron [thought to be south-east of Bethlehem] and Akshaph [thought to be somewhere north of Bethlehem],

v.2 and to the northern kings who were in the mountains, in the Arabah south of Kinnereth, [area near the Sea of Galilee] in the western foothills and in Naphoth Dor on the west [the coastal area roughly west of Nazareth];

v.3 to the Canaanites in the east and west; to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites and Jebusites in the hill country; and to the Hivites below Hermon in the region of Mizpah.

v.4 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.

v.5 All these kings joined forces and made camp together at the Waters of Merom [somewhere in central northern Canaan] to fight against Israel.


[Notes: A large gathering of a number of the ‘kings in the northern half of Canaan gather to fight the approaching army of Israel.]



v.6-9 The Lord reassures Joshua and gives him victory


v.6 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.”

v.7 So Joshua and his whole army came against them suddenly at the Waters of Merom and attacked them,

v.8 and the Lord gave them into the hand of Israel. They defeated them and pursued them all the way to Greater Sidon, [in the far north] to Misrephoth Maim, [thought to be further south, south of Tyre] and to the Valley of Mizpah on the east, [north of what we call the Sea of Galilee] until no survivors were left.

v.9 Joshua did to them as the Lord had directed: He hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots.


[Notes: The Lord sees that perhaps their greatest opposition met so far was coming and knew that Joshua and Israel needed His encouragement. Having received this, Joshua fights and wins.]



v.10-15 Destroying Hazor


v.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.)

v.11 Everyone in it they put to the sword. They totally destroyed them, not sparing anyone that breathed, and he burned Hazor itself.

v.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.

v.13 Yet Israel did not burn any of the cities built on their mounds—except Hazor, which Joshua burned.

v.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.

v.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.


[Notes: We saw from v.1 that Hazor was north of the Sea of Galilee and so this northern city was a bastion or stronghold of Canaanites in the north and so burning it down meant that it was removed and could not easily be restored and be an ongoing hindrance to Israel's occupation of the land.]



v.16-23 Summary Conclusion


v.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,

v.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.

v.18 Joshua waged war against all these kings for a long time.

v.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.

v.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.

v.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.

v.22 No Anakites were left in Israelite territory; only in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod did any survive.

v.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.


[Notes: This final summary passage reveals the truth that although, as we will see later there were pockets of resistance left, all of the main towns and cities of Canaan were overrun by Israel with the exception of Gibeon who had made a treaty with Israel. We should note the following:


i) Options: What is often forgotten in the taking of Canaan is that the occupants of the land had the following options:

1. They could have fled the land and settle somewhere else, or

2. They could align themselves with Israel – as the Gibeonites had done, or

3. They could fight – which is what most of them did, suffering the ravages of war which, in those days as is still often true today, losers die (including civilians).


ii) Causes: What v.20 shows us is that the Lord ‘hardened their hearts', as was true of Pharaoh in Exodus which, as we saw then, was a case of opposing God so that their already hard hearts became harder and even more resolved that they would not leave. As with the case of Pharoah and Egypt previously the fact that the inhabitants were saturated in the occult is the most likely reason for their stubborn resistance.

iii) Outcomes: As we have commented elsewhere, God's terminal judgments (i.e. death) only occur where God sees that whatever else He says or does, short of bringing death, repentance will not be forthcoming. Their determination to maintain their occult-fuelled idolatry (involving even sacrificing their children) will mean they continue those terrible practices harming both land and people. Thus the Lord ensures the Land is cleared and the occupants (mostly) destroyed as terminal judgments.]