Joshua 11


The Northern Campaign

‘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 Hivites below 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. Joshua 11:1-9

It seems that every time a nation goes to war, it has someone who it recognises to be the enemy. It may be one who has attacked them, it may be one who has threatened to attack or it may be one who can become just another pawn in the hand of a tyrant ruler.

Israel had her enemies as well, she had the physical enemy of Canaanites and she had the spiritual enemy of sin, pride, self-sufficiency and covetousness. Christians today, face these too and we all have to face our own spiritual warfare.

Here we find another troubled king, Jabin, king of Hazor, who hears of Israel’s victories and so, he sends for other kings to form an alliance against Israel. The army they gathered was as great as the sand on the seashore.

Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian, estimated that there were 300,000 infantry soldiers, 10,000 cavalry troops and 20,000 chariots. and so, the odds against Israel were tremendous but the confederation camped at Merom to fight Israel.

As has occurred already so many times in the book, God assures Joshua of victory, the one condition was that the chariots and horses were to be made inoperable, God was with them and no survivor was left and again, Joshua did all that the Lord told him.

‘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.) Everyone in it they put to the sword. They totally destroyed them, not sparing anyone that breathed, and he burned Hazor itself. 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. Yet Israel did not burn any of the cities built on their mounds—except Hazor, which Joshua burned. 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. 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. 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, 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. Joshua waged war against all these kings for a long time. Except for the Hivites living in Gibeon, not one city made a treaty of peace with the Israelites, who took them all in battle. 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. 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. No Anakites were left in Israelite territory; only in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod did any survive. 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 11:12-23

Hazor was attacked and destroyed and other cities were attacked and destroyed. The spoil was taken for the people and Joshua waged war throughout the northern territory.

No one made peace with them and the Lord had hardened their hearts. They were utterly destroyed, even the Anakim were defeated. These giants had frightened the people the first time, Numbers 13:28 / Numbers 13:33.

This time they were attacked and defeated except for some in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod. This would come back to haunt them though because Goliath from Gath would mock and frighten them years later and then the land rested from war.

Go To Joshua 12