(3) Conquest of Northern Canaan
“When Jabin king of Hazor heard of this….” . Word of Joshua’s conquest quickly spread throughout the rest of the land, Jabin king of Hazor joined forces with 10 other kings to attack Israel. “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.” , and once more the Lord gives assurance to Joshua that they should not be afraid “because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel, slain.” , so Joshua attacked them and defeated them with the help of the Lord, “the LORD gave them into the hand of Israel.” , and as he had done before, Joshua left no survivors, We are reminded, however, that the success of Joshua was due to his obedience to God’s command, not in what he had accomplished, for we read “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.” , a lesson for us today that we cannot take the credit for anything that we accomplish for Him: “Forbid it Lord that I should boast save in the cross of Christ, my God…” [Isaac Watts]; we are not able to do anything for Him in our own strength; .
(4) Conquest of Canaan Summarized
“Joshua waged war against all these kings for a long time.” . The conquest of the land took seven years to be completed, this we can determine from a comparison of what is recorded in Jos. 14:7 and Deut. 2:14. Caleb was 40 years old when he went to spy out the land and 38 years had passed until they crossed the Zered Valley (Jordan); he was then 78 years old when the conquest began. He was 85 years old when the land was finally conquered, thus the conquest lasted 7 years.
It is also recorded that “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.” . The hearts of these people were turned against the Lord from the beginning of their history, so God “gave them over” to their ungodly ways and had determined their fate just as Pharaoh had hardened his heart and finally God’ judgment fell so the hearts of these nations were hardened by the Lord and His judgment finally fell on them.
There is one final record of Joshua’s conquest: “At that time Joshua went and destroyed the Anakites….” . Who were the Anakites? These were the people that caused all the spies except Caleb and Joshua to fear the conquest of the land. They were a gigantic race that was descendant of Anak through Arba (a Hivite descendant from Ham) son of Heth . They may have been giants as seen by men but ungodly sinners in God’s sight because of their hardened hearts, and thus were condemned to judgment by God.
“So Joshua took the entire land…” . Joshua left nothing undone he totally carried out the command of the Lord. The question may be asked as to why God’s judgment was so complete upon the inhabitants of the land, a question that is answered in Ex. 34:10-14 and Deut 7:1-6. This section closes with a summary of the conquest and indicates that the territory east of the Jordan was conquered under Moses . The land on the west side of the Jordan was conquered under Joshua as recorded “And so the land had its rest from war.”
(5) Unconquered Parts of Canaan
“When Joshua was old and well advanced in years, the LORD said to him, “You are very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over.” . It is apparent that now Joshua was advanced in age and not able to continue the conquest, and here we have a list of the territory that remained to be conquered. . “As for all the inhabitants of the mountain regions from Lebanon to Misrephoth Maim, that is, all the Sidonians, I myself will drive them out before the Israelites….” The Lord will continue to fight for His people Israel, even though Joshua would not be able to continue to lead the armies in conquest, and reminds Joshua of his mandate; “Be sure to allocate this land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have instructed you, and divide it as an inheritance among the nine tribes and half of the tribe of Manasseh.” . Even though the territory would not be conquered by Joshua, he was to carry out the command of God through Moses to divide it among the tribes.