Notes on Joshua 11 10 thru 23
by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)
10 And Joshua at that time turned back, and took Hazor, and smote the king thereof with the sword: for Hazor beforetime was the head of all those kingdoms. 11 And they smote all the souls that (were) therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying (them): there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with fire.
Exactly as they had done to Jericho. These ruins at Hazor would serve as a memorial to Israel, and a reminder to the Canaanites, how the God of Israel had brought victory to Israel. Hazor was later rebuilt, at least in Solomon’s time (1 Kings 9:15), but was captured by Assyria (2 Kings 15:29)
12 And all the cities of those kings, and all the kings of them, did Joshua take, and smote them with the edge of the sword, (and) he utterly destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the LORD commanded.
This was specified—commanded—in Deut. 7:2, and in Deut. 20:16-18.
13 But (as for) the cities that stood still in their strength, Israel burned none of them, save Hazor only; (that) did Joshua burn. 14 And all the spoil of these cities, and the cattle, the children of Israel took for a prey unto themselves; but every man they smote with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them, neither left they any to breathe.
This was specified or permitted in Deut. 20:13-15.
15 As the LORD commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD commanded Moses. 16 So Joshua took all that land, the hills, and all the south country, and all the land of Goshen, and the valley, and the plain, and the mountain of Israel, and the valley of the same; 17 (Even) from the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir, even unto Baalgad in the valley of Lebanon under mount Hermon: and all their kings he took, and smote them, and slew them.
Here is a summary of Israel’s conquests, from Jericho in the center, to the southern and northern regions of the land God had promised.
18 Joshua made war a long time with all those kings.
Some would estimate as much as five years of combat.
19 There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save the Hivites the inhabitants of Gibeon: all (other) they took in battle.
Details of this transaction are in chapter 9. The four cities of the Gibeonites were close to Jerusalem.
20 For it was of :the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, (and) that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.
Rahab of Jericho, back in chapter 2, confessed to the spies that the hearts of the people of Jericho had melted, and were “faint (2:9)" because of the fear of the Israelites. Rahab, and later the Gibeonites, responded in a way that brought life: Rahab found saving faith and became a believer in the God of Israel; the Gibeonites may or may not have converted to the worship of Jehovah but there is nothing definite in the Scriptures about this. The Canaanites must have experienced fear as they saw and heard of victory after victory but few, if any, surrendered to Israel or the God of Israel.
There is another reason for this, and that is found in Genesis 15:16, namely, that “. . . the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” The Canaanites and others had plenty of time and opportunities to repent, but there is no record that any, except for a few, ever did so. Compare their actions to those of Pharaoh, who promised to let Israel leave Egypt—but kept revoking the promise. Eventually his heart was hardened to the point of no return and God brought judgment upon Egypt. Romans 1 gives a graphic history.
21 And at that time came Joshua, and cut off the Anakims from the mountains, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel: Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities.
The Anakims were a different tribe than the other Canaanites. They were considered giants and apparently lived in the land of Moab (Deut. 2:11). Groups of these seem to have lived in various parts or regions of Canaan, especially the south, near Hebron.
22 There was none of the Anakims left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there remained.
We do not know how the remnant of the Anakims escaped or made it to relative safety in the land of the Philistines. Israel had conquered the cities of Gaza and Ashdod but sometime later lost them to the Philistines. Gath seems never to have been completely under Israelite control until the time of Uzziah/Azariah, many years later (2 Chron. 26:6).
23 So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.
The distribution of the land would be fulfilled in later chapters. Much of the land was now in Israel’s possession, but the conquest was not yet over, as will be seen later.
Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV)