Day 65: Joshua 11-14; Conquest of Canaan: The Northern Campaign

So continues the saga of the conquest of Canaan.  After defeating the southern kings, Joshua returns to Gilgal and then starts off on the northern front.  This map, from Bible Mapper shows pretty well the conquest of the northern Canaan.


Joshua and the people of Israel, with the Lord fighting for them, are able to defeat the united armies of the North.  All the kings that joined together against the people of Israel are vanquished in one battle.  Joshua takes their cities and destroys them, and they pass into the list we read of the conquests of Moses and Joshua.  This map from show briefly the whole of the conquest of the Promised Land.

Conquest of Canaan

There is a troubling part in today’s reading that I am not entirely sure about.  God comes to Joshua and says that there is still land to be conquered.  Then God goes on to say that He will drive them out.  The next thing we hear is that the land is being divided up.  God’s statement is somewhat ambiguous in that He speaks like He has been speaking when the people of Israel were conquering Canaan, and they the people don’t follow and, what we’ll find out fairly soon, the rest of the Canaanites don’t get removed from the land and continue to live among the people of Israel.  This is something that was expressly forbidden.  God knew that if there were people left, they would draw the people of Israel away from Him… it confuses me as to why they are left and allowed to stay.

However, this is what happens and will be the subject of many narratives to come from Judges through the time of the Kings and beyond.  In the mean time, the land receives rest from war and the people of God receive their inheritance.  God has once again shown Himself to be faithful and true to His word, even if the fulfillment of the promise take over 400 years.  God has grown the people of Israel from 1 man and his wife to a nation easily numbering over a million men, women, and children, and given them a bountiful, plentiful land in which to dwell as His people.

Day 64: Joshua 8-10; Conquest of Canaan: The Southern Campaign

I think that, on occasion, it is helpful to use maps to help gain a perspective on what is going on in this story.  The first map, from Believer’s Magazine shows how Canaan looked prior to the Conquest by Joshua and Israel:

Canaan at the time of Conquest

Though this doesn’t give a us a really good idea of where Israel starts off, it does show fairly accurately where scholars believe the different people groups lived.

We enter back  into the story post-AI defeat.  After a time it seems, God comes to Joshua and gives him a little kick to get going.  The people of Israel have punished the offender and have stayed the wrath of God against them.  And God says “alright, time to go to work.  I’m fighting for you.”  So Joshua devises a plan and goes after AI, which is “devoted to destruction” like Jericho.  Some of the imagery used in these stories is graphic, people being hung on a tree and so on… this makes it difficult to read.  I wonder though if this imagery seems familiar to you?

Way back in Genesis 15, God is promising Abraham the land of Canaan, but is not going to deliver on this promise until now?  This is because, as God says, “for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”  Here, now, we see the punishment they are receiving for their sins.  God is using the nation of Israel as an instrument of His justice toward the people of Canaan because of their sin and idolatry.  (This is foreshadowing as it will happen to Israel later on).  That being, as we learned in Deuteronomy 21, any man that is hanged on a tree is cursed.  Do you remember anyone else in the Bible that was “hung on a tree?”  Indeed these kings were punished for their sinfulness and cursed in their death.  Jesus Christ was guiltless and yet still died a sinner’s death, taking on that curse for us.

Another thing that is notable here today is the deception of the Gibeonites.  Scripture tells us that neither Israel nor Joshua sought the Lord in this time of questioning and, as such, the people enter into a covenant with a people they were meant to destroy.  This stand in direct violation with the task to which God has appointed them.  And, oddly enough, God remains decided silent on this whole subject.  What that means, I’m not entirely sure…

Finally, we precede to the Southern Campaign of the Conquest of Canaan.  It seems to go off without a hitch.  The people are in right standing with God and it is clear by how God blesses them in their efforts, even stopping the sun at some point for them, an act which defies the very laws of nature, yet does not defy the power of God.  The following is a map of the Southern Campaign from a website called Bible Mapper.  After defeating all of the kings of these cities, Joshua goes and takes them, sacks them, and utterly destroys them, according to the will and command of God.

Conquest of Canaan: Southern Campaign