Joshua 11

Josh 11:1 When Jabin king of Hazor heard of this, he sent word to Jobab king of Madon, to the kings of Shimron and Acshaph,

Hazor – ‘Hazor (modern Tell Qedah) was a huge, strongly fortified city in Joshua’s time, covering 200 acres (80 hectares) with a population of about 40,000. It was one of the major cities along the trade route between Egypt and Mesopotamia. Archaeology and ancient Near Eastern literatures corroborate the statement that Hazor had been the head of all these kingdoms (10).’ (NBC)

Josh 11:2 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;

Josh 11:3 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.

‘Regarding the remote south, v 3a, should read: “to the Canaanites in the east and in the west to the Amorites: [between them] to the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites in the hill country.”’ (NBC)

Josh 11:4 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.

This coalition was armed with the ultimate fighting machine of the day – the horse-drawn chariot.

Josh 11:5 All these kings joined forces and made camp together at the Waters of Merom, to fight against Israel.

Josh 11:6 The LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel, slain. You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.”

Josh 11:7 So Joshua and his whole army came against them suddenly at the Waters of Merom and attacked them,

Josh 11:8 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.

Josh 11:9 Joshua did to them as the LORD had directed: He hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots.

Josh 11:10 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.)

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

‘Moses’ command, ‘do not leave alive anything that breathes’ (Dt. 20:16), must refer to human life, not flocks and cattle, for with the Lord’s full approval Israel carried off the livestock for themselves (12-15).’ (NBC)

Josh 11:12 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.

Josh 11:13 Yet Israel did not burn any of the cities built on their mounds—except Hazor, which Joshua burned.

Josh 11:14 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.

Josh 11:15 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.

Josh 11:16 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,

Josh 11:17 from Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir, to Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon below Mount Hermon. He captured all their kings and struck them down, putting them to death.

Josh 11:18 Joshua waged war against all these kings for a long time.

A long time means seven years, if the data is to be taken at face value. Caleb was eighty-five at the end of the conquest (see 14:10) and seventy-eight when it began (cf. 14:7 and Dt. 2:14).

Josh 11:19 Except for the Hivites living in Gibeon, not one city made a treaty of peace with the Israelites, who took them all in battle.

Josh 11:20 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.

‘None of the Canaanites repented, except Rahab and her family, and only the Gibeonites sought a peace treaty, because the Lord hardened the hearts of the rest for slaughter (20; see 9:1-2). From the parallel situation of Pharaoh versus Moses one can infer that the hearts of the Canaanites against Joshua were, like all of humanhind, naturally hard (Ex. 7:11-14; 1 Cor. 2:14). When confronted with the Lord’s amazing deeds through his servant, they, like Pharaoh, hardened their hearts (cf. Ex. 8:32; 9:34), whereupon the sovereign Lord hardened them (cf. Ex. 10:1). All people are dead in sin and deserve God’s judgment; it is only through God’s mercy that he gives new life to some (Rom. 9:10-18).’ (NBC)

Josh 11:21 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.

In this verse “Joshua is described as driving the Anakites out of Hebron, but in 14:12 Caleb is credited with that feat. This difference is not a contradiction, for Joshua as head of the army could have been credited with his subordinates achievements. But it may be best explained in terms of varying sources.” (NBC)

Josh 11:22 No Anakites were left in Israelite territory; only in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod did any survive.

Josh 11:23 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 took the entire land – But see see 13:1; 15:63; 16:10, which indicate more precisely how complete (or incomplete) the conquest was.

Then the land had rest from war – and Israel’s wanderings were over.