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,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
XI.

JOSHUA’S NORTHERN CAMPAIGN.

(1) Jabin king of Hazor seems to have been in northern Palestine what Adonizedec, king of Jerusalem, was in the south. For the strength of this monarchy see the story in Judges 4, 5. From its formidable character when it recovered strength in the days of the judges, we may gather some notion of what it was at first.

Hazor is identified as Jebel Hadîrah, near Kedes, in Upper Galilee.

Madon, perhaps Madîn, west of the Sea of Galilee.

Shimron is identified as Simûnieh, west of Nazareth.

Joshua 11:1. King of Hazor — This was the principal city of the northern part of Canaan, Joshua 11:10; and fell to the share of the tribe of Naphtali in the division of the land, Joshua 19:36. Jabin was the name of the king of the Canaanites in this part of the country, in future times, as well as now. Had heard — This was a remarkable instance of the wisdom and goodness of Divine Providence, which so governed the minds of the Canaanites, that they were not all united under one king but divided among many petty kings; and next, that these did not all unanimously join their counsels and forces together to oppose the Israelites at their first entrance, but quietly suffered the destruction of their brethren, thereby preparing the way for their own.11:1-9 The wonders God wrought for the Israelites were to encourage them to act vigorously themselves. Thus the war against Satan's kingdom, carried on by preaching the gospel, was at first forwarded by miracles; but being fully proved to be of God, we are now left to the Divine grace in the usual course, in the use of the sword of the Spirit. God encouraged Joshua. Fresh dangers and difficulties make it necessary to seek fresh supports from the word of God, which we have nigh unto us for use in every time of need. God proportions our trials to our strength, and our strength to our trials. Joshua's obedience in destroying the horses and chariots, shows his self-denial in compliance with God's command. The possession of things on which the carnal heart is prone to depend, is hurtful to the life of faith, and the walk with God; therefore it is better to be without worldly advantages, than to have the soul endangered by them.Jabin - Probably the hereditary and official title of the kings of Hazor (see Judges 4:2). The word means literally "he shall understand," and is equivalent to "the wise" or "intelligent."

Hazor - This name, which means "enclosed or "fortified," belonged also to two other towns in the south of Judah (compare Joshua 15:23, Joshua 15:25). The Hazor here in question, the head of the principalities of Northern Canaan Joshua 11:10 overlooked the lake of Merom, and was afterward assigned to the tribe of Naphtali Joshua 19:36. It doubtless was one of the strongest fortresses in the north, both by nature and art. It is mentioned in Egyptian inscriptions of an early date. Its situation in the midst of a plain, though itself on a hill, rendered it especially suitable as a stronghold for people whose main reliance was on horses and chariots Joshua 11:4; Judges 4:3. Its position on the northern frontier led to its being fortified by Solomon 1 Kings 9:15. Its people were carried away captive, with those of the other cities of Naphtali, by Tiglath-Pileser 2 Kings 15:29. By the "plain of Nasor," where (1 Macc. 11:67) Jonathan gained a victory over the Syrians, is doubtless to be understood "the plain of Asor" (i. e. Hazor). Hazor is conjecturally identified with the modern Tell Kuraibeh.

Had heard those things - i. e. of the defeat of the southern Canaanites at Beth-horon and of the conquest of their country.

The sites of Madon, Shimron, and of Achshaph, are unknown.

CHAPTER 11

Jos 11:1-9. Divers Kings Overcome at the Waters of Merom.

1-9. And it came to pass, when Jabin king of Hazor had heard those things—The scene of the sacred narrative is here shifted to the north of Canaan, where a still more extensive confederacy was formed among the ruling powers to oppose the further progress of the Israelites. Jabin ("the Intelligent"), which seems to have been a hereditary title (Jud 4:2), took the lead, from Hazor being the capital of the northern region (Jos 11:10). It was situated on the borders of lake Merom. The other cities mentioned must have been in the vicinity though their exact position is unknown.The other kings and cities of Canaan gather themselves together to fight against Israel, Joshua 11:1-5. God encourages Joshua, promising him victory, Joshua 11:6. The Canaanites destroyed; their cities taken; Hazor burnt; the Anakims cut off, Joshua 11:7-21; those in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod excepted, Joshua 11:22,23.

Hazor, the chief city of all those parts, Joshua 11:10.

Had heard those things: this was a remarkable instance of the wisdom and goodness of Divine Providence, which so governed the minds and hearts of the Canaanites, that they were not at all united under one king, but divided amongst many petty kings; and next, that these did not all unanimously join their counsels and forces together to oppose the Israelites at their first entrance, which their own wisdom and interest obliged them to do; but quietly suffered the destruction of their brethren, thereby preparing the way for their own.

Shimron, called Shimron-meron, Joshua 12:20.

Achshaph, a place in the tribe of Asher, the furthest part of the land toward the north and west.

And it came to pass, when Jabin king of Hazor had heard these things,.... The taking of Jericho and Ai, the defeat of the five kings, and the conquest of the southern part of the land of Canaan; he was alarmed by them, and sent to all the northern kings to join with him against Israel; and he the rather took this upon him, because as Adonizedek king of Jerusalem was the principal king in the southern part of the land, so was he in the northern part; see Joshua 11:10; Hazor fell to the tribe of Naphtali, Joshua 19:36. It was situated, as Josephus (n) says, on the lake Samachonitis, the same with the waters of Merom, Joshua 11:5. According to Adrichomius (o), it was four miles from the castle Theron to the north, six miles from Caesarea Philippi to the southwest, and nine miles from the great sea to the east; and was, in the times of Christ, one of the ten principal cities of the region of Decapolis, in which he preached, Matthew 4:25; and is now called Antiopia; and in the Arabic version here it is called Caesarea, and, according to Bunting (p), it lay eighty miles from Jerusalem to the north:

that he sent to Jobab king of Madon; of which place we nowhere else read but in Joshua 12:19; though Brocard (q) finds a place near Dan, called Madan by the Turks at this day:

and to the king of Shimron; not Samaria, as many think, for that was built by Omri, king of Israel, and had its name from Shemer, the owner of the hill on which it was built some hundreds of years after this; besides Samaria was in the tribe of Ephraim, this in the tribe of Zebulun, Joshua 19:15; and is called Shimronmeron, Joshua 12:20; and in the Jerusalem Talmud (r) Simoniah, and here in the Septuagint version Symoson:

and to the king of Achshaph: a city which fell to the lot of the tribe of Asher, Joshua 19:25. The Septuagint calls it Aziph, as if it was the same with Achzib, or Ecdippa, now called Zib: but Achshaph and Achzib are manifestly distinguished, Joshua 19:25. Jerom says (s), in his time it was a little village, and went by the name of Chasalus, eight miles from Diocaesarea, at the foot of Mount Tabor. The Arabic version adds a fourth king that Jabin sent to, called "the king of Mausel"; but we read not of any such place in the land of Canaan.

(n) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 5. sect. 1.((o) Theatrum Terrae Sanct. p. 102. (p) Travels of the Patriarchs, &c. p. 101. (q) Apud Fuller's Pisgah Sight, B. 2. c. 4. p. 114. (r) Megillah, fol. 70. 1.((s) De loc. Heb. fol. 88. C. D.

And it came to pass, when Jabin king of Hazor had heard those things, that he {a} sent to Jobab king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron, and to the king of Achshaph,

(a) The more God's power appears, the more the wicked rage against it.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ch. Joshua 11:1-15. Confederacy of the Kings of Northern Canaan

1. And it came to pass] We now enter upon a different scene in the conquests of Joshua. Just as before Adoni-Zedek, the king of Jerusalem, had summoned the five kings of southern Canaan, so now Jabin, the king of Hazor, summons the chiefs of the north against the Israelitish leader.

Jabin] This was an hereditary and official title of the chief of Hazor. It denotes “the wise” or “intelligent” Here we find a king of the same name at a considerably later date (Jdg 4:2).

Hazor]= “enclosed,” “fortified” was an important, and apparently almost impregnable, stronghold of the Canaanites of the north, situated in the mountains, north of the waters of Merom. We find it afterwards fortified by Solomon (1 Kings 9:15), and its inhabitants were carried away captive by Tiglath-pileser (2 Kings 15:29). The most probable site is Tell Khuraibeh. It lay apparently between Ramah and Kedesh, on the high ground overlooking the Lake of Merom.

Jobab king of Madon] The three places here mentioned, Madon, Shimron, and Achshaph, were probably in the neighbourhood of Hazor, but their sites cannot be determined. Schwarz on very slight grounds proposes to identify Madon with Kefr Menda, a village at the western end of the Plain of Buttauf, four or five miles N. of Sepphoris.

the king of Shimron] Its full name appears to have been Shimron-Meron. It was afterwards included in the tribe of Zebulun (Joshua 19:15).

the king of Achshaph] This place was afterwards included within the territory of Asher (Joshua 12:20; Joshua 19:25). It has been identified with Chaifa, a place which, from its situation, must always have been of great importance.Verse 1. - And it came to pass. The political constitution of Palestine was, humanly speaking, the cause of its overthrow. The division of the country into a host of petty states, and the consequent want of cohesion and concert, made its conquest a comparatively easy task. Had the kings of the north rallied round the standard set up in Central Palestine by Adoni-zedek, a far more formidable opposition would have been offered to Joshua at Gibeon. Calvin takes us, however, at once to the fountain head, and remarks how God fitted the burden to those who had to bear it. In spite of the great things God had done to them, they might have been driven to despair (and every one knows how weak their faith was) by the overwhelming numbers of the enemy. But by reason of the slackness of their opponents they were able to meet and overcome them in detail, without any opposition but what their weak faith enabled them courageously to confront. Jabin king of Hazer. Jabin (the Hebrew meaning of this word is intelligent) was, like Pharaoh in Egypt, the usual name for the king that reigned in Hazor (see Judges 4:2, 23, 24). He was a powerful monarch, and if not before, at least after, the Israelitish invasion became the acknowledged head of the league formed among the Canaanites against the Israelites. The first mention we have of Hazor in history is before the Exodus. The temple at Karnak, in Egypt, contains an account of an expedition into Palestine by Thotmes III., in which Kedeshu, Magedi, Damesku, Khatzor or Hazara, and other places are mentioned. We may no doubt identify these with Kedesh-Naphtali, Megiddo, Damascus, and Hazor (see Palest. Expl. Quart. Paper, April, 1876). Hazor, like fort in French and German, caer in Welsh, and the termination cester in English (so also chester), signifies a castle or fortified town. Like the names above mentioned, it was by no means an uncommon name. Beside the present Hazer, which was in northern Palestine, two cities of that name are mentioned in the south (Joshua 15:23, 25). It rose from its ashes during the period of inaction which followed the death of Joshua, and though (ch. 19:36) it was assigned to the tribe of Naphtali, became once more the centre of a strong Canaanitish organisation. It was, perhaps, the city Solomon is stated to have fortified (1 Kings 9:15), though this is not expressly stated. This becomes more probable when we find this Hazer among the cities of northern Israel captured by Tiglath-Pileser (2 Kings 15:29). "Yet still, in spite of the destruction by the Assyrians, the name lived on till the time of the Maccabees, and the great contest between King Demetrius and Jonathan the Maccabean took place upon the plain of Hazer" (Ritter, 2:225). Josephus also mentions the πεδίον Ἀσώρ in this connection. Robinson identifies it with Tel Khuraibeh, on the lake of Huleh, the ancient Merom. Conder regards it as represented by Jebel and Merj Hadireh, on the borders of this lake. Dean Stanley places it above the lake, while Vandevelde finds a place called Hazur, with extensive ruins, some distance westward. The names, however, Hazur and Haziri, are very common. Of Madon and Shimron nothing is known. Knobel would identify Achshaph with Aeco or Ptolemais. Robinson supposes it to be the modern Kesai. But this is not certain, for Aehshaph (ch. 19:25) formed the border of Asher, while Kesaf is in the extreme north. According to Conder, it is the present el Yasif. Joshua then turned southwards with all Israel (i.e., all the army), attacked Debir and took it, and the towns dependent upon it, in the same manner as those mentioned before. Debir, formerly called Kirjath-sepher, i.e., book town, πόλις γραμμάτων (lxx Joshua 15:15; Judges 1:11), and Kirjath-sanna, i.e., in all probability the city of palm branches (Joshua 15:49), was given up by Judah to the priests (Joshua 21:15). It stood upon the mountains of Judah (Joshua 15:49), to the south of Hebron, but has not yet been certainly discovered, though V. de Velde is probably correct in his supposition that it is to be seen in the ruins of Dilbeh, on the peak of a hill to the north of Wady Dilbeh, and on the road from Dhoberiyeh to Hebron, about two hours to the south-west of the latter. For, according to Dr. Stewart, there is a spring at Dilbeh, the water of which is conducted by an aqueduct into the Birket el Dilbeh, at the foot of the said hill, which would answer very well to the upper and lower springs at Debir, if only Debir might be placed, according to Joshua 15:49, so far towards the north.

(Note: Knobel imagines that Debir is to be found in the modern village of Dhoberiyeh (Dhabarije), five hours to the south-west of Hebron, on the south-west border of the mountains of Judah, upon the top of a mountain, because, in addition to the situation of this village, which is perfectly reconcilable with Joshua 15:49, there are remains of a square tower there (according to Krafft, a Roman tower), which point to an ancient fortification (vid., Rob. Pal. i. pp. 308ff.; Ritter, Erdk. xvi. pp. 202ff.), and because the name, which signifies "placed behind the back," agrees with Debir, the hinder part or back (?), and Kirjath-sepher, if interpreted by the Arabic words, which signify "extremitas, margo, ora." But both reasons prove very little. The meanings assigned to Debir and Kirjath-sepher are improbable and arbitrary. Moreover, it has not been shown that there are any springs near Dhoberiyeh, such as there were in the neighbourhood of Debir (Joshua 15:19.). The view held by Rosenmller, and adopted by Bunsen, with regard to the situation of Debir, - namely, that it was the same as the modern Idwirbn or Dewirbn, an hour and a quarter to the west of Hebron, because there is a large spring there with an abundant supply of excellent water, which goes by the name of Ain Nunkr, - is also quite untenable; for it is entirely at variance with Joshua 15:49, according to which Debir was not on the west of Hebron, but upon the mountains to the south, and rests entirely upon the erroneous assumption that, according to Joshua 10:38 (ויּשׁב, he turned round), as Joshua came from Eglon, he conquered Hebron first, and after the conquest of this town turned back to Debir, to take it also. But שׁוּב, does not mean only to turn round or turn back: it signifies turning generally; and it is very evident that this is the sense in which it is used in Joshua 10:38, since, according to Joshua 15:49, Debir was on the south of Hebron.)

Moreover, not very long afterwards, probably during the time when the Israelites were occupied with the subjugation of northern Canaan, Hebron and Debir were taken again by the Canaanites, particularly the Anakites, as Joshua had not entirely destroyed them, although he had thoroughly cleared the mountains of Judah of them, but had left them still in the towns of the Philistines (Joshua 11:21-22). Consequently, when the land was divided, there were Anakites living in both Hebron and Debir; so that Caleb, to whom these towns were given as his inheritance, had first of all to conquer them again, and to exterminate the Anakites (Joshua 14:12; Joshua 15:13-17 : cf. Judges 1:10-13).

(Note: By this simple assumption we get rid of the pretended contradictions, which neological critics have discovered between Joshua 10:36-39 on the one hand, and Joshua 11:21-22, and Joshua 14:12; Joshua 15:13-17 on the other, and on account of which Knobel would assign the passages last named to a different document. On the first conquest of the land by Joshua, Masius observes that "in this expedition Joshua ran through the southern region with an armed band, in too hurried a manner to depopulate it entirely. All that he needed was to strike such terror into the hearts of all through his victories, that no one should henceforth offer any resistance to himself and to the people of God. Those whom he pursued, therefore, he destroyed according to the commands of God, not sparing a single one, but he did not search out every possible hiding-place in which any could be concealed. This was left as a gleaning to the valour of each particular tribe, when it should take possession of its own inheritance.")

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