Joshua Captures Towns in the North
1King Jabin of Hazor heard about Joshua's victories, so he sent messages to many nearby kings and asked them to join him in fighting Israel. He sent these messages to King Jobab of Madon, the kings of Shimron and Achshaph, 2the kings in the northern hill country and in the Jordan River valley south of Lake Galilee,#11.2 Lake Galilee: The Hebrew text has “Lake Chinnereth,” an earlier name. and the kings in the foothills and in Naphath-Dor to the west. 3He sent messages to the Canaanite kings in the east and the west, to the Amorite, Hittite, Perizzite, and Jebusite kings in the hill country, and to the Hivite kings in the region of Mizpah, near the foot of Mount Hermon.#11.3 Mizpah, near the foot of Mount Hermon: Probably the same region as Mizpeh Valley in verses 8,9, but different from the two other places named Mizpeh in 15.37-41; 18.25-28, and also different from the Mizpah mentioned in Genesis 31.49 and Judges 10.17.
4-5The kings and their armies went to Merom Pond,#11.4,5 Pond: Or “Gorge.” where they set up camp, and got ready to fight Israel. It seemed as though there were more soldiers and horses and chariots than there are grains of sand on a beach.
6The Lord told Joshua:
Don't let them frighten you! I'll help you defeat them, and by this time tomorrow they will be dead.
When you attack, the first thing you have to do is to cripple their horses. Then after the battle is over,#11.6 When … over: Or “After the battle is over, cripple their horses and burn their chariots.” burn their chariots.
7Joshua and his army made a surprise attack against the enemy camp at Merom Pond#11.7 Pond: See the note at 11.4,5. 8-9and crippled the enemies' horses.#11.8,9 and crippled the enemies' horses: It is also possible that the Israelites crippled the enemies' horses after the battle at the same time they burned the enemies' chariots; see the note at 11.6. Joshua followed the Lord's instructions, and the Lord helped Israel defeat the enemy. The Israelite army even chased enemy soldiers as far as Misrephoth-Maim to the northwest,#11.8,9 Misrephoth-Maim … northwest: Or “the town of Misrephoth to the northwest” or “the Misrephoth River.” the city of Sidon to the north, and Mizpeh Valley to the northeast.#11.8,9 northeast: These three areas were 30 to 55 kilometers north of Merom. None of the enemy soldiers escaped alive. The Israelites came back after the battle and burned the enemy's chariots.
10Up to this time, the king of Hazor had controlled the kingdoms that had joined together to attack Israel, so Joshua led his army back and captured Hazor. They killed its king 11and everyone else, then they set the town on fire.
12-15Joshua captured all the towns where the enemy kings had ruled. These towns were built on small hills,#11.12-15 small hills: Towns were often built on top of the ruins of a previous town that had been destroyed. When this happened many times at one place, a hill was formed. and Joshua did not set fire to any of these towns, except Hazor. The Israelites kept the animals and everything of value from these towns, but they killed everyone who lived in them, including their kings. That's what the Lord had told his servant Moses to do, that's what Moses had told Joshua to do, and that's exactly what Joshua did.
16Joshua and his army took control of the northern and southern hill country, the foothills to the west, the Southern Desert, the whole region of Goshen,#11.16 Goshen: See the note at 10.41. and the Jordan River valley. 17-18They took control of the land from Mount Halak near the country of Edom in the south to Baal-Gad in Lebanon Valley at the foot of Mount Hermon in the north. Joshua and his army were at war with the kings in this region for a long time, but finally they captured and put to death the last king.
Dt 7.16. The Lord had told Moses that he wanted the towns in this region destroyed and their people killed without mercy. That's why the Lord made the people in the towns stubborn and determined to fight Israel. The only town that signed a peace treaty with Israel was the Hivite town of Gibeon. The Israelite army captured the rest of the towns in battle.
21During this same time, Joshua and his army killed the Anakim#11.21 Anakim: Perhaps a group of very large people that lived in Palestine before the Israelites (see Numbers 13.33 and Deuteronomy 2.10,11, 20,21). from the northern and southern hill country. They also destroyed the towns where the Anakim had lived, including Hebron, Debir, and Anab. 22There were not any Anakim left in the regions where the Israelites lived, although there were still some in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod.#11.22 Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod: Towns in Philistia.
23That's how Joshua captured the land, just as the Lord had commanded Moses, and Joshua divided it up among the tribes.
Finally, there was peace in the land.