The Book of Joshua

24. Final Victory.

Joshua 11, 12.

"The kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him." — Rev. 19:19.

The campaign of the south country accomplished, and the combination of the kings under their "Lord of Righteousness" overthrown, the kings of the north arrayed themselves against Israel, under the leadership of Jabin, King of Hazor. They came in vast host, and pitched together at the waters of Merom. There, at their camp, at the bidding of Jehovah, Israel came suddenly upon them, destroyed their horses, burnt their chariots, and smote their hosts, till none remained. The horses and the chariots were precisely that in which the peoples of Canaan trusted; hence these were to be destroyed lest Israel should confide in such power and forsake confidence in Jehovah. It ever has been God's way to work deliverances for His people with weapons of war that seem to say, "It is not of might, nor of power, but My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts," as David's sling and stone, Samson's jawbone of the ass, and Gideon's pitchers and trumpets testify.

The victory at Merom (high place) led to the fall of Hazor, the fortress, for "at that time" Joshua "turned back" and burned it, and slew its king. That city of strength had been the head of those kingdoms. Jabin, the wise or the intelligent — the official title of its kings (see Judges 4:2) — had ruled therefrom, and this centre of government was now utterly destroyed. This turning back and burning of Hazor is a distinct action on the part of Joshua. He laid low the head as well as the rank and file of the opposing foe.

At this time we find the mountain of Israel mastered, and Israel laying hold in all the land, hills, valleys, and plains. A fair grip was gained of all the land, in all its varied characteristics. Yet it is added, and "Joshua made war a long time with all those kings;" for in the victories God gives He usually teaches His people endurance and hardship, and thus works patience in them. For some seven years did these wars last (see Joshua 14:7, 10), a period which has its significance, as has already been mentioned.

The people of the land were judicially hardened and blinded. "It was of the Lord … that they might have no favour, but that He might destroy them, as the Lord commanded Moses," for, as we have already observed, their day of grace was passed by. Thus it will be in the day that is coming, when the Intelligence and the Strength — the Jabin and the Hazor — of modern infidelity will rise up against Christ. For the sure word of prophecy has gone out, as the word went out concerning these Canaanites by Moses: "God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thess. 2:11-12), and they "shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power; when He shall come" (2 Thess. 1:9-10).

A practical word relative to Christian warfare is added here, "At that time came Joshua, and cut off the Anakims from the mountains." It will be remembered how the terror of the giants stood in the way of Israel gaining their possession when at Eshcol. Now these terrible foes were cut off from fastness and from city, and with their strongholds were utterly destroyed. When God's soldiers apprehend His strength, the giants fall before them. It is well always to be in our own eyes as grasshoppers, yes, to be less than the least, to be nothing, for when we are weak then are we strong; but it is well always to measure the enemy's might against the Almighty, and to go to war not only for the Lord, but entirely in His strength, and, when this is so, "at that time" the giants will fall.

With the destruction of Israel's first great object of terror, the giants, the note of final victory is sounded; "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."

With the statement that the whole land had been taken by Joshua, according to all the Lord said unto Moses, the enumeration of the kings smitten and the country conquered by Israel is given. The conquests on both sides of the Jordan are stated; "on the other side Jordan" the land was possessed, on this side it was given "unto the tribes of Israel for a possession."

There was rest from war, since the power of the enemy was broken; but the possession of the inheritance would depend upon future energy. According to the assurance given upon the passage of the Jordan, the living God had driven out the nations, the cities walled to heaven and the dreaded giants, had fallen, the inhabitants of mountains, valleys, and plains, had been vanquished. Henceforth it was for Israel so to act in obedience to Jehovah, that His promise of casting out the shattered nations before them by slow degrees should be accomplished.