After Israel’s conquest of the south of the land, the northern Canaanites came together to fight against Israel and the campaign to control the land turned to the north.
Joshua 11:1 And it came to pass, when Jabin king of Hazor had heard those things, that he sent to Jobab king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron, and to the king of Achshaph, 11:2 And to the kings that were on the north of the mountains, and of the plains south of Chinneroth, and in the valley, and in the borders of Dor on the west, 11:3 And to the Canaanite on the east and on the west, and to the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Jebusite in the mountains, and to the Hivite under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh.
11:4 And they went out, they and all their hosts with them, much people, even as the sand that is upon the sea shore in multitude, with horses and chariots very many. 11:5 And when all these kings were met together, they came and pitched together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel.
God promises to go before Israel and destroy the massed Canaanites.
11:6 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Be not afraid because of them: for to morrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel: thou shalt hough their horses, and burn their chariots with fire.
Joshua, encouraged by God’s promise of victory, goes to the attack against a vastly superior force.
11:7 So Joshua came, and all the people of war with him, against them by the waters of Merom suddenly; and they fell upon them. 11:8 And the LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel, who smote them, and chased them unto great Zidon, and unto Misrephothmaim, and unto the valley of Mizpeh eastward; and they smote them, until they left them none remaining. 11:9 And Joshua did unto them as the LORD bade him: he houghed their horses, and burnt their chariots with fire.
Joshua then took Hazor which was the chief city of the Canaanites.
11:10 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. 11:11 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.
Using the wicked Canaanites as a symbol of the unrepentant wicked and sin; the destruction of all the Canaanites was commanded by YHVH [who later became flesh as Jesus Christ], and Joshua obeyed in all things.
11:12 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.
The cities that did not threaten war were not attacked or destroyed at that time.
11:13 But as for the cities that stood still in their strength, Israel burned none of them, save Hazor only; that did Joshua burn. 11:14 And all the spoil of these cities [which had come out against them], 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.
Joshua’s zeal to keep the whole Word of YHVH was unquenchable; just like our zeal to live by every Word of God should be.
Our battle is not against flesh and blood but is spiritual and is against Satan and all sin and temptation to depart from our Christ-like zeal to live by every Word of God. Just as Joshua kept the whole Word of God, so we should also live by every Word of God (Mat 4:4).
Deuteronomy 8:3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.
Joshua 11:15 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.
The fight was long, but as long as they followed God the victory was assured.
11:16 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; 11:17 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. 11:18 Joshua made war a long time with all those kings.
It was the God who later became flesh as Jesus Christ, who hardened the hearts of the Canaanites so that they would not make peace!
WHY? To make them an example and an instruction for us so that we can learn that God the Father and Jesus Christ will not tolerate any sin; the unrepentant Canaanites being a type of sin.
11:19 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. 11:20 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.
At that time the men of huge stature were destroyed out of Canaan, except for a few remaining in the Gaza area.
11:21 And at that time came Joshua, and cut off the Anakims [physical giants] 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. 11:22 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. 11:23 So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD said unto Moses;
After conquering the land, Joshua divided the land for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.
The cities which were destroyed by Moses on the east side of Jordan, which were given to Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh.
Joshua 12:1 Now these are the kings of the land, which the children of Israel smote, and possessed their land on the other side Jordan toward the rising of the sun, from the river Arnon unto mount Hermon, and all the plain on the east: 12:2 Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt in Heshbon, and ruled from Aroer, which is upon the bank of the river Arnon, and from the middle of the river, and from half Gilead, even unto the river Jabbok, which is the border of the children of Ammon; 12:3 And from the plain to the sea of Chinneroth on the east, and unto the sea of the plain, even the salt sea on the east, the way to Bethjeshimoth; and from the south, under Ashdothpisgah:
12:4 And the coast [border] of Og king of Bashan, which was of the remnant of the giants, that dwelt at Ashtaroth and at Edrei, 12:5 And reigned in mount Hermon, and in Salcah, and in all Bashan, unto the border of the Geshurites and the Maachathites, and half Gilead, the border of Sihon king of Heshbon.
12:6 Them did Moses the servant of the LORD and the children of Israel smite: and Moses the servant of the LORD gave it for a possession unto the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh.
The list of kings and cities that Joshua dispossessed for Israel on the west side of Jordan
12:7 And these are the kings of the country which Joshua and the children of Israel smote on this side Jordan on the west, from Baalgad in the valley of Lebanon even unto the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir; which Joshua gave unto the tribes of Israel for a possession according to their divisions;
12:8 In the mountains, and in the valleys, and in the plains, and in the springs, and in the wilderness, and in the south country; the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites:
12:9 The king of Jericho, one; the king of Ai, which is beside Bethel, one; 12:10 The king of Jerusalem, one; the king of Hebron, one; 12:11 The king of Jarmuth, one; the king of Lachish, one; 12:12 The king of Eglon, one; the king of Gezer, one;
12:13 The king of Debir, one; the king of Geder, one; 12:14 The king of Hormah, one; the king of Arad, one; 12:15 The king of Libnah, one; the king of Adullam, one; 12:16 The king of Makkedah, one; the king of Bethel, one;
12:17 The king of Tappuah, one; the king of Hepher, one; 12:18 The king of Aphek, one; the king of Lasharon, one; 12:19 The king of Madon, one; the king of Hazor, one; 12:20 The king of Shimronmeron, one; the king of Achshaph, one;
12:21 The king of Taanach, one; the king of Megiddo, one; 12:22 The king of Kedesh, one; the king of Jokneamof Carmel, one; 12:23 The king of Dor in the coast of Dor, one; the king of the nations of Gilgal, one; 12:24 The king of Tirzah, one: all the kings thirty and one.
The campaign lasted seven years and Joshua who had been the servant of Moses was now very old.
The first twelve chapters of Joshua cover the seven year military campaign to seize the land and contain many principles appropriate for our spiritual lives today.
The next twelve chapters cover the dividing of the land which took another seven years. For these fourteen years until the first harvest planted by Israel was reaped, they ate the grain in the land.
The Wave Offering and the Land Sabbath and Jubilee counts did not begin until the first harvest of grain planted by Israel at the beginning of the fifteenth year after they had entered the land; because it was the harvest of Israel and not the harvests of the Canaanites which were commanded to be offered after Israel began to till the land.