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 11:1The War in Northern Canaan. - Joshua 11:1-3. On receiving intelligence of what had occurred in the south, the king of Hazor formed an alliance with the kings of Madon, Shimron, and Achshaph, and other kings of the north, to make a common attack upon the Israelites. This league originated with Jabin the king of Hazor, because Hazor was formerly the head of all the kingdoms of northern Canaan (Joshua 11:10). Hazor, which Joshua conquered and burned to the ground (Joshua 11:10, Joshua 11:11), was afterwards restored, and became a capital again (Judges 4:2; 1 Samuel 12:9); it was fortified by Solomon (1 Kings 9:15), and taken by Tiglath-Pileser (2 Kings 15:29). It belonged to the tribe of Naphtali (Joshua 19:36), but has not yet been discovered. According to Josephus (Ant. v. 5, 1), it was above the Lake of Samochonitis, the present Bahr el Huleh. Robinson conjectures that it is to be found in the ruins upon Tell Khuraibeh, opposite to the north-west corner of the lake of Huleh, the situation of which would suit Hazor quite well, as it is placed between Ramah and Kedesh in Joshua 19:35-36 (see Bibl. Res. p. 364). On the other hand, the present ruins of Huzzur or Hazireh, where there are the remains of large buildings of a very remote antiquity (see Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 62), with which Knobel identifies Hazor, cannot be thought of for a moment, as these ruins, which are about an hour and a quarter to the south-west of Yathir, are so close to the Ramah of Asher (Joshua 19:29) that Hazor must also have belonged to Asher, and could not possibly have been included in the territory of Naphtali. There would be more reason for thinking of Tell Hazr or Khirbet Hazr, on the south-west of Szafed (see Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 81); but these ruins are not very ancient, and only belong to an ordinary village, and not to a town at all. Madon is only mentioned again in Joshua 12:19, and its situation is quite unknown. Shimron, called Shimron-meron in Joshua 12:20, was allotted to the tribe of Zebulun (Joshua 19:15), and is also unknown. For Meron cannot be connected, as Knobel supposes, with the village and ruins of Marn, not far from Kedesh, on the south-west (see Rob. Pal. iii. p. 371), or Shimron with the ruins of Khuraibeh, an hour to the south of Kedesh; as the territory of Zebulun, to which Shimron belonged, did not reach so far north, and there is not the slightest ground for assuming that there were two Shimrons, or for making a distinction between the royal seat mentioned here and the Shimron of Zebulun. There is also no probability in Knobel's conjecture, that the Shimron last named is the same as the small village of Semunieh, probably the Simonias of Josephus (Vita, 24), on the west of Nazareth (see Rob. Pal. iii. p. 201). Achshaph, a border town of Ashwer (Joshua 19:25), is also unknown, and is neither to be sought, as Robinson supposes (Bibl. Res. pp. 55), in the ruins of Kesf, which lie even farther north than Abel (Abil), in the tribe of Naphtali, and therefore much too far to the north to have formed the boundary of Asher; nor to be identified with Acco (Ptolemais), as Knobel imagines, since Acco has nothing in common with Achshaph except the letter caph (see also at Joshua 19:25).
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