Joshua 11:12
Joshua captured all these kings and their cities and put them to the sword. He devoted them to destruction, as Moses the LORD's servant had commanded.
Divine Directions for the FightA. B. Mackay.Joshua 11:1-23
Sharing the SpoilW. Seaton.Joshua 11:1-23
Take Heed How Ye HearF. G. Marchant.Joshua 11:1-23
Types of Christian WarfareJ. Parker, D. D.Joshua 11:1-23

Another league is here. One in the south destroyed; another in the north is formed. A formidable one scattered; one more so gathers. Four kings are mentioned, and probably a dozen others of those mentioned in the following chapter are associated with them. They marshal all the fighting power of the northern half of Palestine. As the land was then (as repeatedly afterwards) very populous; as war was the most familiar of all employments; as numbers of the cities - almost impregnable by nature - were fortified as well; as the army gathered was strong in chariots and horses, and had taken up a position on the great plain of Jezreel, where cavalry could operate with ease - it seemed as if the outlook for Israel were very dark indeed. A nation of fugitive slaves assailing a Phoenician people of vast wealth, enterprise, civilisation, and numbers! What chance of success was there? But they unite only for their easier destruction. Cheered by God, falling thereon suddenly, the terrific shock of Israel's charge was irresistible, and this "battle of the league" at once leads to Israel's easy conquest of the whole of this half of the kingdom. Take this story as an example of the way in which God's warriors have always "many adversaries." And observe -

I. THE NATURAL CHANCES ARE ALWAYS AGAINST GOD'S PEOPLE. The sacred history is little more than a list of conflicts of one sort and another, fought invariably against great odds, but followed invariably by victory. The chances were many against Israel getting away from Egypt, taking Jericho, winning at Beth-boron, gaming a victory here. It was not otherwise in the case of Jephthah, of Deborah, of Gideon. Who would have ventured to describe David as having a single chance in his conflict with Goliath? How pathetic is Elijah's estimate of the odds against him in his fight for truth. Baal's prophets and Astarte's prophets are numbered by hundreds, backed by the whole power of the court and the perversity of the people. But "I am left alone, and they seek my life." The odds were heavily against Daniel and his three friends - say 10,000,000 to 1. Neither Ezra nor Nehemiah felt they had anything approaching a level chance. The Babe of Bethlehem had all superstitions, vices, prejudices of the world against His cause. The Apostle of the Gentiles had all the philosophies, religions, and weaknesses of men against him and his simple gospel. The great theologian of the early centuries lamented that he stood "Athanasius against the world." Luther had Church and State throughout all Europe against him. Every missionary to a heathen land, every philanthropist seeking to remove abuses, have had the same experience. The Church today sometimes deems herself "hardly bested" by science, secularism, the preoccupation of men with their necessary cares, the sluggishness of the human heart to adopt a higher principle of life. Each Christian man finds such weaknesses and perversities within him and such obstacles without that it seems often as if it would be impossible to hold his ground, much less to make advance. Be not astonished if, in the part of the field assigned to you, the odds are altogether and absolutely against you. They always are against God's people and God's children. But observe secondly, though the chances are against them -

II. THE WINNING FORCES ARE ON THEIR SIDE. Inward forces are on their side. The heart makes the hero. Nelson's Methodists were his best sailors. God infuses such energy of purpose, confidence, self sacrifice, that these intensify natural force a hundredfold. [See Shakespeare's 'Cymbeline,' for illustration of effect of moral energy in war.] Good is the strongest and sturdiest thing under heaven; evil, cowardly and self ashamed in its presence. Duty, peace, hope, gracious memories, self respect, God's smile - these are forces which the world can never match, and which all operate in the direction of victory. Outward forces are also on their side. Divine guidance is imparted, Providence aids them, concurrently with their efforts the efforts of God are put forth. When God fights His battles of mercy there is no lukewarmness in His conflict. He uses us. The weapons of our warfare are heavenly, while the weapons of His warfare are often earthly. And so, while the world has the appearance, the Church has the reality, of a preponderant weight on her side. Is it a case of a battle of the northern league with you? Fight on, for they that are with you are far more than they flint are with them. - G.

Come up... quickly, and save us, and help us.
The chapter opens with a cry from Jerusalem, the summons of Adoni-zedek — "To arms! To arms!" Here we have another and a very different cry, a cry from Gibeon; a cry to Joshua for help.

I. THE TROUBLE OF THE GIBEONITES. They are in sore straits. What a vivid picture of spiritual truth have we here! "He that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey." Do you make your peace with God? that instant, and by that act, you are at war with Satan. No sooner is the treaty of salvation signed than the infernal hosts are rallied. The ink is scarcely dry before he begins his attack. Old friends become new enemies. A man's foes are often those of his own household. When we come into such trouble let us not think that a strange thing has befallen us. It is the common fate of God's children, from the highest to the meanest, and to the end of time. Though the Captain of salvation is the Prince of Peace, He has come not to send peace on the earth but a sword; and so will it be till every enemy is cast out and all flesh shall own Him Lord. These Gibeonites felt this attack all the more dangerous because it was the onset of men with whom in the past they had been on such intimate terms. All their conditions and resources were as well known to these five kings as to themselves. And the remembrance of these things made this attack all the more formidable. But what was all the knowledge which the five kings had of the Gibeonites compared with the knowledge Satan has of us? Therefore, how terrible must be his attack! If we are not ignorant of his devices, he is not ignorant of our weakness.

II. But if this cry suggests the trouble of the Gibeonites, IT ALSO POINTS OUT THEIR RESOURCES. If they are in great trouble they are not without resource, and at once they avail themselves of it. They dwelt in a fortified city, but they did not depend on its walls and bulwarks. They had no confidence in themselves. Their own resources were insufficient. All their confidence was placed in Joshua. Would that we always showed like wisdom! Sin and Satan are more than a match for the strongest saint. As they looked to Joshua, so must we look to Jesus. As they depended on that covenant of peace which had been ratified, so must we. As they dispatched runners post haste to Gilgal, so must we send out swift-footed messengers of prayer. Our very existence as saints depends on their success.

III. THE EARNESTNESS OF THE GIBEONITES. HOW keen and piercing is their cry! How urgent is their request! The message was no doubt short, they did not waste their words; but it was full of earnestness. It was the message of men thoroughly roused and anxious. Though short it was very full. They sought to stir up Joshua's energy. It is as if they said, "We have no hope apart from you. We are all dead men if you fail us. We know you can save us and trust you will." They also manifested faithfulness to Joshua, by the last two words of their message — "Help us." Why were these words added? "Save" is the word of dependence — "Help" suggests the determination to do what they can. It is as if they said, "While we feel that in our own strength we must be worsted, yet we are determined to make a stand against them. On no account will we come to terms. We will never open our gates to the enemy. We will not even hold parley with him. Till you come, and even if you do not come, we will do the best we can." Accordingly this shows that they were faithful to their new leader. Surely their conduct in this emergency may well be imitated. Oh, for like earnestness in crying, "Awake, awake, O arm of the Lord!" How languid are our prayers! How unconscious are we of danger! It is good for God to open our eyes by trouble, if it leads us to cry like these Gibeonites.

IV. THE SUCCOUR OF THE GIBEONITES. Help was sure. Joshua would have belied his name, would have been unfaithful to his covenant, would have been untrue to his nature, if he had not hastened to their relief. And help came speedily. Joshua lost not a moment. Help also came in time. Joshua was not too late. The Gibeonites did not become a prey; they had cause to rejoice over a great deliverance. Do we in every extremity cry to God? Help must come. God never said to any, "Seek ye My face," in vain. Jesus, like Joshua, is never too late. If He tarries there is good reason for it. It is always for our good. He may come when Lazarus is laid in the grave, but He never comes too late. He is never too late in history. The world had a long time run its course before He came. Why? Because that time was set. "In the fulness of time God set forth His Son." He has promised to come back again, and depend upon it He will not come back too late. What though 1,800 years have passed away? nothing will divert Him from His purpose; nothing will prevent His appearing. "Amen," therefore we say, "Amen, even so, in Thy good time, for that is quickly, come, Lord Jesus." And notice, in conclusion, that it may be said of these Gibeonites that they were twice saved, First they were saved from the wrath of God; then they were saved from the wrath of their enemies. So we are saved from the wrath of God and from the wrath of Satan. The Gibeonites were saved by faith, for they trusted in Joshua and in the God of Israel. They were saved by works, for they determined to oppose Adoni-zedek or die. They were saved by hope, for they looked to Joshua for succour and were not disappointed. So we are saved by faith when we fall at the feet of Jesus and put our trust in Him. We are saved by works, when in the strength of God we wrestle against principalities and powers and spiritual wickednesses in high places. We are saved by hope when we look for the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour. The Gibeonites were saved by coming to Joshua in their fear of judgment. They were saved by Joshua coming to them and extricating them out of all their trouble. So we are saved by coming to Jesus. The instant we fall at His feet we receive the salvation of our souls. And we are saved by Jesus coming to us (Hebrews 9:28).

(A. B. Mackay.)

1. No sooner is the soul brought into the bonds of the covenant with our Joshua or Jesus, but presently the spiritual enemies of the soul muster up all their forces against it, as the five cursed kings did against Gibeon as soon as they had entered into a league with Joshua here (2 Timothy 3:12; Acts 14:22).

2. The soul when thus assaulted must immediately send the messenger of prayer to its Joshua or Jesus.

3. As those new converts the Gibeonites showed their confidence in that God, whose religion they had newly embraced, therefore sent they for Joshua, not at all doubting of salvation by him. So the like confidence should be found in all new converted souls, that their Joshua will relieve them, and turn their spirit of bondage into the spirit of adoption.

(C. Ness.)

The help required was great: "Slack not thy hand from thy servants." It is not little the Christian needs. How often, in seeking Divine aid and security, has the believer to say, "Lord, how are they increased that trouble me"! &c. Ready help was intreated. "Come up to us quickly, and save us." It was well they were not what they once represented themselves to be — the inhabitants of a far remote country; for then help had come too late, had it come with bottles rent and bound up, shoes clouted and worn out, garments old and threadbare. Great is the mercy to be near our mercies, that when life, and all that is dear to us, lies at stake, salvation may be found at hand.

(W. Seaton.)

Let us note not only the nobility of this acknowledgment of the claims of the new allies, but also the promptitude and energy with which their rescue is undertaken. How many good resolves are marred and made of none effect by lack of decision in their execution. We rest in the thought of our noble plans, and meanwhile we hesitate and defer to carry them out in the performance: thus the evils we might have stayed grow beyond control: the opportunity has sped away; the hearts of those who looked for our help are sick with hopes long deferred. Too late! too late! is the disappointed cry with which they greet our tardy steps.

(G. W. Butler, M. A.)

Fear them not
On the eve of a great engagement a wise leader often rouses the enthusiasm of his followers by a few well-chosen words. We know how the message of Nelson, before the battle of Trafalgar, stimulated every man in his fleet to do his utmost; and not only so, but it has also come ringing down the years that intervene with telling effect on every noble heart in great emergencies. God deals with His servants after the same fashion; therefore, here, before Joshua passes forth to the rescue of the Gibeonites, he gives them words of cheer. Notice when God gave this encouragement. It was when Joshua had resolved to set out to the help of the Gibeonites. There is no evidence that Joshua asked for or even expected such encouragement. He felt bound to do his duty, to keep faith with the Gibeonites, and while in the act of responding to their cry, this encouragement came. The very fact that this cheering word was unsolicited made it doubly sweet. We may have similar experiences. When we walk in the path of duty we may always reckon on the Divine encouragement. If we go to God's work with good will, however hard it may be, and whoever may oppose, we may always count on the good will and the good word of God, and surely that ought to suffice. How encouraging, how comforting, how strengthening, is the answer of a good conscience towards God! Notice, also, the terms of this encouragement now given. They were very clear. They had no particle of ambiguity. How the healthy soul rejoices in certainty! How freely does God delight to give it! And the fact that the words Joshua now heard were familiar to his ear, phrases repeated again and again, made this assurance doubly sweet. God is dealing with him now as He has graciously done in all the past; and every repetition and new fulfilment of a promise adds to its value. For the old promise has been tried and tested again and again, and proved to be sufficient. It is good when we have such experience as Joshua; when we have not only a true word, but one which in our own experience we have tried and proved to be sufficient for every emergency. Therefore notice next the effect that this encouragement has upon Joshua. It fills him with new energy. The clearest assurance of success does not do away with the use of means, rather is it a sharp spur to make the most of them. Joshua, though thus assured, yea, because thus assured, acts as if everything depended on his energy and the swiftness and strength of his attack. And so in a very important sense it did. But we may not only trace the effect of this promise in the energy with which it filled Joshua and his soldiers, but also in that marvellous prayer which rose to his lips in the great crisis of the fight that ensued. It is this great promise of God which justifies and explains that great prayer of Joshua. Joshua "spoke to the Lord" on that day, and his words were wonderful. His prayer was very Short, but we are startled by its boldness. The prayer was public, therefore Joshua risked all his reputation on its answer. The prayer was humble. He had no desire to parade his power; he had no need to win the allegiance of Israel. His one thought was the perfect fulfilment of that work which by this promise God had said would be accomplished. God had spoken. His power and glory are pledged to the fulfilment of that word. Can He not perform? God gave Joshua a large promise, and Joshua laid before God a large prayer. Thus both God's power and Joshua's faith were magnified and made honourable. In like manner may we make use of all God's promises; and we only prove our unbelief by leaving them a dead letter. Who can over-estimate the value of prayer, who can put a limit to its power? Did we believe in the promises of God as firmly as Joshua, we would be able more closely to imitate his prayers. Men make difficulties here where the simple soul can find none. As a living father can answer the request of his children, so the Lord can hear and answer the prayer of His people. And He answers every prayer addressed to Him; not always in the same way, but always in the best way. Now notice, lastly, the fulfilment of this promise. No doubt the good generalship of Joshua and the valour of his soldiers had much to do with it. They marched with swiftness, they laid on with might and main, they never paused in the pursuit, yet all that they did was obscured by the wonderful interposition of God. Joshua and Israel did what they could, and yet God did all. It is well to remember that nature may become one great arsenal for the defence of those that fear God, for the destruction of all His enemies. It was no superstition, but true godliness, which enabled our forefathers to see the finger of God in those storms which swept the great Armada to its doom. How often does God in His adorable Providence render the very objects in which men trust the means of filling them with shame and confusion of face! How manifestly was God with Israel! How evident is it that "The Lord reigneth!" Israel needed that assurance, and we need it too. Whatever may come to pass from year to year, from century to century, He and He alone is guiding the world and the Church to that goal which He has foreknown and appointed. This is the sheet-anchor of all our hopes for humanity.

(A. B. Mackay.)

They were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.
We have seen how Gibeon made peace with Joshua. Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, was exceedingly displeased with the men of Gibeon for making peace with the enemy.

1. The Divine cause has enemies.

2. But the enemies of the Divine cause have both earth and heaven against them — the sword of Israel and the hail of God. The living God has two great forces; if you escape one, you fall under the power of the other. All things fight for God. The hailstones are His friends and allies; the stars in their courses beat and throb according to His purpose and express His intent. The bad cause has no friends; it comes to an ignominious end; it is overwhelmed by hailstones. It is so humbling. The bad cause perishes in contempt. The five kings ran away and hid themselves in a cave, and Joshua said, "Bring them out!"

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Amorites, Anakites, Canaanites, Debir, Gad, Gibeon, Hittites, Hivite, Hivites, Israelites, Jabin, Jebusites, Jobab, Joshua, Perizzites, Seir, Shimron, Zidon
Achshaph, Anab, Arabah, Ashdod, Baal-gad, Chinneroth, Debir, Gath, Gaza, Gibeon, Hazor, Hebron, Hermon, Madon, Merom, Misrephoth-maim, Mount Halak, Mount Hermon, Naphoth-dor, Negeb, Seir, Shimron, Sidon, Valley of Lebanon, Valley of Mizpeh
Captured, Cities, Commanded, Curse, Destroyed, Destroying, Devoted, Edge, Joshua, Kings, Mouth, Royal, Servant, Smiteth, Smote, Struck, Sword, Totally, Towns, Utterly
1. Diverse kings overcome at the waters of Merom
10. Hazor is taken and burnt
16. All the country taken by Joshua
21. The Anakims cut off
23. The land rests from war

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Joshua 11:10-12

     5572   sword

Caesarea. Strato's Tower.
The Arabian interpreter thinks the first name of this city was Hazor, Joshua 11:1. The Jews, Ekron, Zephaniah 2:4. "R. Abhu saith," (he was of Caesarea,) "Ekron shall be rooted out"; this is Caesarea, the daughter of Edom, which is situated among things profane. She was a goad, sticking in Israel, in the days of the Grecians. But when the kingdom of the Asmonean family prevailed, it overcame her, &c. R. Josi Bar Chaninah saith, What is that that is written, 'And Ekron shall be as a Jebusite?' (Zech
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

The Lake Samochonitis [Or Semechonitis. ]
In the Holy Scriptures it is the 'Water of Merom,' Joshua 11:5. In the Babylonian Talmudists it is 'The Sibbechean sea.' Hence is that, "Jordan ariseth out of the cave of Paneas, and flows into the Sibbechean sea." In the Jerusalem Talmudists, sometimes it is 'The sea of Cobebo,' as we have noted before; and sometimes 'The sea of Samaco'; whence in other languages it is 'Samachonitis.' "The lake Semechonitis is thirty furlongs in breadth, and sixty in length. The fens of it are stretched out unto
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

The First Chaldaean Empire and the Hyksos in Egypt
Syria: the part played by it in the ancient world--Babylon and the first Chaldaean empire--The dominion of the Hyksos: Ahmosis. Some countries seem destined from their origin to become the battle-fields of the contending nations which environ them. Into such regions, and to their cost, neighbouring peoples come from century to century to settle their quarrels and bring to an issue the questions of supremacy which disturb their little corner of the world. The nations around are eager for the possession
G. Maspero—History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, V 4

The Lake of Gennesaret; Or, the Sea of Galilee and Tiberias.
Jordan is measured at one hundred and twenty furlongs, from the lake of Samochonitis to that of Gennesaret. That lake, in the Old Testament, is 'The sea of Chinnereth,' Numbers 34:11, &c. In the Targumists, 'The sea of Genesar'; sometimes, 'of Genesor'; sometimes, 'of Ginosar': it is the same also in the Talmudists, but most frequently 'The sea of Tiberiah.' Both names are used by the evangelists; 'the lake of Gennesaret,' Luke 5:1; 'the sea of Tiberias,' John 21:1; and 'the sea of Galilee,' John
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

The Hardening in the Sacred Scripture.
"He hath hardened their heart."-- John xii. 40. The Scripture teaches positively that the hardening and "darkening of their foolish heart" is a divine, intentional act. This is plainly evident from God's charge to Moses concerning the king of Egypt: "Thou shalt speak all that I command thee; and I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply My signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not harken unto you, and I will lay My hand upon Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

The book of Joshua is the natural complement of the Pentateuch. Moses is dead, but the people are on the verge of the promised land, and the story of early Israel would be incomplete, did it not record the conquest of that land and her establishment upon it. The divine purpose moves restlessly on, until it is accomplished; so "after the death of Moses, Jehovah spake to Joshua," i. 1. The book falls naturally into three divisions: (a) the conquest of Canaan (i.-xii.), (b) the settlement of the
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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