|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:15-23 Never let the sons of Anak be a terror to the Israel of God, for their day to fall will come. The land rested from war. It ended not in a peace with the Canaanites, that was forbidden, but in a peace from them. There is a rest, a rest from war, remaining for the people of God, into which they shall enter, when their warfare is accomplished. That which was now done, is compared with what had been said to Moses. God's word and his works, if viewed together, will be found mutually to set each other forth. If we make conscience of our duty, we need not question the performance of the promise. But the believer must never put off his armour, or expect lasting peace, till he closes his eyes in death; nay, as his strength and usefulness increase, he may expect more heavy trials; yet the Lord will not permit any enemies to assault the believer till he has prepared him for the battle. Christ Jesus ever lives to plead for his people, and their faith shall not fail, however Satan may be permitted to assault them. And however tedious, sharp, and difficult the believer's warfare, his patience in tribulation may be encouraged by the joyfulness of hope; for he will, ere long, rest from sin and from sorrow in the Canaan above.
Verse 23. - Joshua took the whole land. The word must not be pressed to mean that every Canaanitish stronghold was razed or appropriated. The word כֹל, as has been before remarked, has a very loose signification in Hebrew. What is meant is simply this. Joshua had established an unquestioned military preponderance in Palestine. He had broken down all resistance; but before he completed his conquests to their full extent, he had to provide for the peaceable settlement of the tribes in the territory he had seized. The complete extermination of the Canaanites formed no part of his commission or his plan (Deuteronomy 7:22; cf. Exodus 23:29, 30). To have effected it would have been to throw the land out of cultivation, and to expose its possessors to the usual inconveniences of depopulated districts. Therefore it was Joshua's policy to leave the Canaanites to be extirpated by degrees, and to encourage the Israelites to cultivate the arts both of war and of peace; to nourish a martial spirit by remembering that numerous and active enemies still dwelt in their midst, while yet they were not neglectful of the importance of a settled and civilised, an agricultural and pastoral life. See also Judges 3:1, 2. This purpose was defeated, not only by the usual effects of civilisation upon hardy or savage tribes, but also by the Israelites becoming addicted to the pleasant but enfeebling vices of the races they had supplanted. We see in the Israelitish history the best exemplification of St. Paul's theory that the "law worketh wrath," although it is "holy, just, and good." The excellence of the moral precepts delivered by Moses did but serve to manifest more clearly the inherent depravity of our nature (Romans 3:20; Romans 5:20; Romans 7:7, 8), and its need of a Saviour, who should render obedience possible by the gift of regeneration, and the infusion of His own Spirit. According to their divisions. Literally, their divisions by lot, the word being derived from the same root as the word Halak in ver. 7, because a smooth stone was usually employed in casting lots. Hence it came to mean any authoritative division or distribution, as the courses of the Levites (1 Chronicles 23:6), the classification for purposes of enlistment (1 Chronicles 27:1) and the like. And the land rested from war. That is to say, the Canaanites were so thoroughly cowed and dispirited that they dared offer no further resistance to the Israelites in their task of portioning out the land. They were quite contented to be allowed to live in peace in such of their cities which remained, and had no disposition to court an overthrow such as took place at the battles of Gibeon and Merom, with its inevitable results of the absolute extermination, not only of every one who took up arms, but of every human being in the city to which they belonged. Thus the Israelites were able to give their whole attention to the survey and apportionment of the territory according to the relative size and importance of the tribes.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
So Joshua took the whole land,.... Of Canaan, the far greater and better part of it, all before described; all that he went against, he failed not in any of his attempts; no place stood out against him that he besieged or summoned, all yielded to him:
according to all that the Lord said unto Moses: in Deuteronomy 11:23,
and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel, according to their divisions by their tribes; as is after related in this book:
and the land rested from war; there were no combinations of any of the dispersed Canaanites, or insurrections made by them, nor any annoyance given to Israel by the Philistines, who inhabited five principal cities, with what belonged to them; nor did Joshua attempt anything more in a warlike manner: and so it became a land of rest, as the heavenly Canaan will be to the spiritual Israel and church of God, after their militant state is ended, in which they now are; being engaged with many spiritual enemies, the Canaanites that are in the land, but then their warfare will be ended.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
23. Joshua took the whole land—The battle of the take of Merom was to the north what the battle of Beth-horon was to the south; more briefly told and less complete in its consequences; but still the decisive conflict by which the whole northern region of Canaan fell into the hands of Israel [Stanley].
Joshua 11:23 Parallel Commentaries
Joshua 11:23 NIV
Joshua 11:23 NLT
Joshua 11:23 ESV
Joshua 11:23 NASB
Joshua 11:23 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible