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,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.
And to the kings that were on the north of the mountains, and of the plains south of Chinneroth, and in the valley, and in the borders of Dor on the west,On the north of the mountains - Rather, "northward in the mountains." The reference is to the mountain district of Galilee, called Joshua 20:7 "mount Naphtali."
On the plains south of Chinneroth - literally, "in the Arabah south of Chinneroth." The words describe the northern portion of the "Arabah" (see Deuteronomy 1:1), or depressed tract, which extends along the Jordan from the lake of Gennesaret southward.
In the valley - The northern part of the same flat district mentioned in Joshua 9:1. This "valley" is the level plain adjacent to the sea and extending from Carmel southward.
Borders of Dor - Render "highlands of Dor." Dor was a royal city, and gave its name to the district around it (compare Joshua 12:23; 1 Kings 4:11). Its importance was derived from its having an excellent and well-sheltered haven, and from the abundance among its rocks of the shellfish which furnished the famous Tyrian purple. The site of Dor is identified by travelers as the modern Tantura or Dandora - a name which is itself only a corruption of the ancient Dor. It lies near the foot of Carmel some six miles north of Caesarea.
And to the Canaanite on the east and on the west, and to the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Jebusite in the mountains, and to the Hivite under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh.Hermon - See Deuteronomy 3:9 note.
The land of Mizpeh - or Mizpah," the land of the watch-tower" The locality is probably identified as a plain stretching at the foot of Hermon southwestward, from Hasbeya, toward the Bahr el Huleh. In a land abounding in striking points of view like Palestine, the name Mizpah was naturally, like "Belle Vue" among ourselves, bestowed on many places. The Mizpeh here mentioned must not be confounded with the Mizpeh of Gilead (Joshua 13:26, and Judges 11:29); nor with the Mizpeh of Judah Joshua 15:38; nor yet with that of Moab 1 Samuel 22:3.
And they went out, they and all their hosts with them, much people, even as the sand that is upon the sea shore in multitude, with horses and chariots very many.
And when all these kings were met together, they came and pitched together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel.Waters of Merom - i. e. "the upper waters," the modern Bahr el Huleh, the lake Semechonitis, or Samochonitis of Josephus. This lake occupies the southern half of the Ard el Huleh, a depressed basin some 15 miles long and 3 or 4 miles wide lying between the hills of Galilee on the west and the lower spurs of Hermon on the east. The size of the lake varies with the season, and the northern side of it ends in a large swamp. The shape of the lake is triangular, the point being at the south, where the Jordan, which enters it on the north, again quits it. There is a considerable space of tableland along the southwestern shore, and here probably the troops of Jabin and his confederates were encamped, preparing to move southward when Joshua and his army fell suddenly upon them.
And the LORD said unto Joshua, Be not afraid because of them: for to morrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel: thou shalt hough their horses, and burn their chariots with fire.Hough their horses - i. e. cut the sinews of the hinder hoofs. This sinew once severed cannot be healed, and the horses would thus be irreparably lamed. This is the first appearance of horses in the wars with the Canaanites (Deuteronomy 17:16 and note).
So Joshua came, and all the people of war with him, against them by the waters of Merom suddenly; and they fell upon them.Suddenly - As before, at Gibeon Joshua 10:9, so now Joshua anticipates his enemies. Taken by surprise, and hemmed in between the mountains and the lake, the chariots and horses would have no time to deploy and no room to act effectively; and thus, in all probability, the unwieldy host of the Canaanites fell at once into hopeless confusion.
And the LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel, who smote them, and chased them unto great Zidon, and unto Misrephothmaim, and unto the valley of Mizpeh eastward; and they smote them, until they left them none remaining.One portion of the defeated host fled north-westward toward Zidon; the other northeastward up the Ard el Huleh.
Zidon, as the metropolis of various subject towns and territories, appears Joshua 19:28 to have been afterward assigned to Asher, but was not, in fact, conquered by that tribe Judges 1:31. It is mentioned in Egyptian papyri of great antiquity, and by Homer, and was in the most ancient times the capital of Phoenicia. In later times it was eclipsed by Tyre (compare 2 Samuel 5:11). The prophets frequently couple Tyre and Sidon together, as does also the New Testament (Isaiah 23:2, Isaiah 23:4,Isaiah 23:12; Jeremiah 27:3; Jeremiah 47:4; Matthew 11:22; Matthew 15:21, etc.).
Both the site and signification of Misre-photh-maim are uncertain. Some have thought it identical with "Zarephath which belongeth to Zidon" 1 Kings 17:9, the Sarepta of the New Test. The name is explained by some (see the margin) as meaning hot springs; by others as salt pits; i. e. pits where the sea water was evaporated for the sake of its salt; and again by others as "smelting factories near the waters." Some, tracing the word to quite another root, render it "heights of waters," or copious springs.
And Joshua did unto them as the LORD bade him: he houghed their horses, and burnt their chariots with fire.
And Joshua at that time turned back, and took Hazor, and smote the king thereof with the sword: for Hazor beforetime was the head of all those kingdoms.
And they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them: there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with fire.
And all the cities of those kings, and all the kings of them, did Joshua take, and smote them with the edge of the sword, and he utterly destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the LORD commanded.
But as for the cities that stood still in their strength, Israel burned none of them, save Hazor only; that did Joshua burn.Render: "But the cities standing each on its own hill" (compare Jeremiah 30:18). The meaning is simply that, with the exception of Hazor, Joshua did not burn the cities, but left them standing, each on its former site. This site is spoken of as a hill, because such was the ordinary site chosen for cities in Canaan (compare Matthew 5:14).
And all the spoil of these cities, and the cattle, the children of Israel took for a prey unto themselves; but every man they smote with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them, neither left they any to breathe.
As the LORD commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD commanded Moses.
So Joshua took all that land, the hills, and all the south country, and all the land of Goshen, and the valley, and the plain, and the mountain of Israel, and the valley of the same;
Even from the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir, even unto Baalgad in the valley of Lebanon under mount Hermon: and all their kings he took, and smote them, and slew them.The mount Halak - See the margin and reference. The name serves to mark the southern limit of Joshua's conquests. It suits equally well several of the ranges near the south border of Palestine, and it is uncertain which of them is the one here indicated.
Baal-gad Joshua 12:7; Joshua 13:5 is probably Paneas, the Caesarea Philippi of later times. The name means "troop or city of Baal," or a place where Baal was worshipped as the giver of "good luck." Compare Isaiah 65:11. It was probably the same as Baal-Hermon (Judges 3:3; 1 Chronicles 5:23; and see Deuteronomy 3:9).
Joshua made war a long time with all those kings.A long time - At least five years; according to others, seven years (see Joshua 14:10, and Introduction). This and the preceding chapter contain a very condensed account of the wars of Joshua, giving particulars about leading events only.
There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save the Hivites the inhabitants of Gibeon: all other they took in battle.
For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.See the marginal references.
And at that time came Joshua, and cut off the Anakims from the mountains, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel: Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities.At that time - i. e. in course of the "long time" mentioned in Joshua 11:18.
The Anakims - See Numbers 13:22. As it was the report of the spies respecting the Anakims which, above all, struck terror into the Israelites in the wilderness, and caused their faithless complaining and revolt, so the sacred writer goes back here in his story to record pointedly the overthrow of this gigantic and formidable race. They had their chief settlements in the mountains around Hebron Joshua 10:3 or Debir. See Joshua 15:15.
Anab was a city in the mountain district of Judah, lying some distance south of Hebron. It still bears its ancient name.
There was none of the Anakims left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there remained.Gaza, Gath, Ashdod - See the Joshua 13:3 note.
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.These words import that Joshua had overcome all overt resistance. There were, however, many districts by no means thoroughly and finally subdued Joshua 13:1-6.