Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
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,Further Conquests
1. Jabin and his confederacy (Joshua 11:1-5)
2. The divine encouragement (Joshua 11:6)
3. The victory (Joshua 11:7-14)
4. The obedience of Joshua (Joshua 11:15)
5. The continued conflict with the kings (Joshua 11:16-23)
The Kings of the north formed the second confederacy, headed by Jabin, King of Hazor. Jabin means “understanding” and Hazor, “an enclosure.” He with other kings, and with them “much people even as the sand that is upon the seashore in multitude, with horses and chariots very many,” came to fight against Israel. These different confederacies opposing the rightful owners of the land may be taken as types of the opposition from confederate nations which Israel will have to face during the great tribulation.
Did Joshua fear in the presence of such a powerful enemy? If he feared, his fear must have vanished completely when Jehovah said, “Be not afraid of them, for tomorrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel; thou shalt hough their horses, and burn their chariots with fire.” The Lord assured Joshua, and with such an assurance he rushed at once against the enemy by the waters of Merom. It does not matter how strong the enemy is, how cunningly his plans are laid, how he may come upon us with an host to terrify; if we are right with the Lord and on the Lord’s side, we shall be more than conquerors. The victory is complete; their chariots are burned and the horses were disabled by cutting the sinews of their legs. The latter no doubt had for its purpose to make it impossible for His people to trust in human resources. If they had used these horses, they might have put their confidence in them. “Some trust in chariots and some in horses; but we will remember the LORD our God” (Psalm 20:7).
At Hazor, as in other cities and places, the divine command of utter extermination of all human beings was literally carried out. “There was not any left to breathe.” An awful picture indeed it is! Infidels have made the best of it by denouncing these records and blaspheming the righteous and holy God. Others again have tried to excuse the Israelites by saying that it was the customary thing 1,500 years before Christ to treat conquered nations in this way. But it was God Himself who commanded their extermination. Joshua and Israel had no choice whatever in the matter. They acted in obedience to the divine will. God’s time for the execution of His righteous judgments had come and He used Israel as His instrument. To Abraham the word was spoken concerning his seed, “in the fourth generation they will come hither again; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” The iniquity of these nations had reached such a degree, that God’s wrath and holy vengeance had to fall upon them. They were given to the most awful abominations and practised unspeakable immoralities. The hour of judgment had come. The whole race was to be swept away. And who dares to question God’s sovereign right to do so. Should not the judge of all the earth do right?
Nor must we forget that the judgment of Canaan, as well as the judgment of Egypt, is prophetic. Judgment and wrath are in store for this earth. The divine sword will some day be unsheathed again. The conditions of the earth are such that God must judge. Thousands are hardening their hearts; ere long, as it was with the Canaanites (Joshua 11:20), the Lord will harden their hearts. These judgments are written in language which cannot be misunderstood.
Notice Joshua’s obedience. He left nothing undone. He obeyed the Word; he followed closely the divine instructions. That led to success and blessing.