JOSHUA - CHAPTER 11
Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2000 James Melough
chapter records some of the events of the final stages of the initial campaign in
which the northern part of Canaan was subdued, thus completing Israel’s potential
subjugation of the whole land. Little
will be gained from the study of this historical record, however, unless we recognize
that every detail is intended to teach us truth relative to our conflict with the
Satanic forces opposing our efforts to take possession of that spiritual inheritance
procured for us by the Lord’s death.
the general area of this conflict was in the north, the first thing we learn is that
the spiritual foe represented by this Canaanite coalition is worldly wisdom, for as
we have noted in earlier studies, compass directions have spiritual implications: the
south represents the realm of faith; the east, departure from God; the west, approach
to God; and the north, mere intellectual knowledge, or worldly wisdom, in regard to
which Scripture has little good to say, see e.g., 1 Cor 1:17-2:14 and Jas 3:13-18. The reader is urged to examine these two passages before
continuing with this study, for unless we grasp God’s estimate of the world’s
wisdom, the teaching of Joshua 11 will lose much of its significance.
this brief introduction, then, we will begin our verse-by-verse study of the chapter.
“And it came to pass, when Jabin he will understand king of Hazor to
trumpet: enclosure had heard those things, that he sent to Jobab he will cause
crying (shouting) king of Madon strife, and to the king of Shimron a
guardian, and to the king of Achshaph I shall be bewitched,”
“And to the kings that were on the north of the mountains, and of the plains
south of Chinneroth harps, and in the valley, and in the borders of Dor
generation: dwelling on the west”
“And to the Canaanite a trafficker on the east and on the west, and
to the Amorite a sayer, and the Hittite terror, and the Perizzite rustic:
squatter, and the Jebusite he will be trodden down in the mountains, and
to the Hivite showers of life: livers under Hermon devoted: banned in
the land of Mizpeh a watch-tower.”
the kings of the south (the Biblical realm of faith) banded together in a
confederation to oppose Joshua and Israel, so also do the kings of the north (the
Biblical realm of mere natural intelligence or understanding) form a confederation
for the same purpose, and the first lesson God would have us learn from this is that
when Satan fails to keep men from entering the realm of faith, he will then exert
every effort to keep them from acquiring spiritual knowledge, and the extent to which
he has been successful may be guaged from the abysmal spiritual ignorance that marks
not only Christendom, but true believers as well.
Since this confederation represents the activity of Satan in trying to keep
believers from acquiring spiritual understanding, it isn’t surprising that its head
should be Jabin, meaning he will understand.
Nor is it difficult to see in him a figure of Satan, the source of all
opposition to God and His people. F. W.
Grant in The Numerical Bible, p.68, very rightly points out that “Jabin was
the Sihon on this side of Jordan,” for we are to remember that Israel’s
experiences east of Jordan are designed to teach us truth relative to life in the
midst of every-day living, while those on the western side instruct us relative to
what pertains more to purely spiritual experience.
city Hazor, meaning to trumpet: enclosure, reminds us that the realm of the
world’s wisdom is an exclusive enclosure which trumpets the superiority of worldly
wisdom over faith which it despises, and would seek by every means in its power to
parallel with the activity of Adoni-zedek in chapter 10 is readily apparent, and
would teach the lesson that every activity on the part of faith produces a
corresponding measure of opposition from Satan.
means he will cause crying (shouting); and his city, Madon, strife. No
better comment on this can be found than that furnished by James 3:13-17, “Who is a
wise man and endued with knowledge...let him show out of a good conversation (manner
of life) his works with meekness of wisdom. But
if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against
the truth. This wisdom descendeth not
from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For
where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
(There are the crying or shouting, and
strife associated with the meanings of Jobab and Madon).
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and
easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without
next two confederates are the king of Shimron a guardian, and the king of
Achshaph bewitched. The absence
of the names of the kings of these two cities may be to remind us that the earthly
rulers are of little consequence: the real ruler of this world is Satan; kings are
but his pawns. It may be also to focus
attention on the cities themselves, in which case we must determine what they
represent. Others, noting the
Galatians’ preoccupation with law-keeping, which evoked Paul’s question, “Who
hath bewitched you,” (the meaning of Achshaph), have suggested that Shimron (a
guardian) may represent the fact that worldly wisdom is the self-appointed guardian
and champion of legalistic morality. The
world’s wisdom condemns or justifies a man on its estimate of his conformity to the
moral code devised by that same earthly wisdom.
Grant’s comment in connection with this is worth noting, “The rational
spirit is one from which in all time - never, perhaps, more than now - Christians
have suffered, and by which they have been deprived of much of the good land God has
called them to possess,” (Numerical Bible - Joshua, p.68).
also by Jabin were “...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.” The mention of the north
continues to emphasize that the lesson of this section has to do with earthly wisdom
in opposition to faith; and since the mountain represents both a king and/or kingdom,
and also the place where the believer, lifted in spirit above the things of earth,
enjoys communion with God - the warning is that earthly wisdom will seek to intrude into the
sphere of God’s government of His own, as well as into their communion with Him.
Since God governs His own through His Word, the ploy of Satan is to attempt to
use worldly wisdom to discredit Scripture; and since communion is maintained by the
study of Scripture, Satan will make every effort to keep us from such study.
means harps (symbolic of the praise of the redeemed), so the presence of the
enemy in “the plains south (direction of faith) of Chinneroth,” reminds us that
the realm of the believer’s worship is also vulnerable to the attack of human
wisdom. In no sphere of Christian
activity, in fact, is there to be found clearer evidence of the work of mere worldly
wisdom. In most gatherings of professing
Christians it has displaced God’s order to such an extent that what passes for
worship is such a departure from the Scriptural pattern as to be totally
and in the valley.” We have noted
already that the valley represents the sphere of labor or service, so that the
presence of the enemy in the valley warns us that this is another area of the
believer’s life into which mere human wisdom will intrude, and again the state of
Christendom attests the success the enemy has achieved in subverting the Divine
order. Scripture knows nothing of
committees and organizations to direct the service of Christian workers, the Divine
order being that the Holy Spirit alone is the One to assign each man his task, nor
has He delegated that authority to any man, not even elders.
We do not read of His working by any other method than through individuals
whom He has equipped and called. But
human wisdom has usurped His prerogative, and today essentially all Christian service
is directed by committees or organizations. The
enemy has enjoyed virtually total success in controlling “the valley.”
clue to the spiritual significance of Dor generation: dwelling is furnished in
its being “on the west,” for the west speaks of approach to God.
Generation is related to the idea of birth, and believers are they, who having
had a new birth, dwell spiritually “in the west.”
They dwell “in the secret place of the Most High” Ps 91:1.
This present section warns that Satan will use worldly wisdom to try to keep
the believer out of “the west,” out of that “secret place” of security and
peace. He will try to persuade us that
time spent in prayer and study of Scripture would be better employed in the
acquisition of secular knowledge. How
successful the attack has been may be measured not only by the widespread neglect of
Scripture and prayer, but also by ignorance of how to study and pray.
A plea, never more needed, yet seldom heard today, is that recorded in Lk
11:1, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”
If the disciples needed to be taught how to pray, how much more do believers
of this present age need that instruction! But
confidence in mere human wisdom has dispelled both the knowledge of our own
ignorance, and of the power of “effective fervent prayer.”
It is apparent that in many a Christian life the enemy has never been expelled
from “the borders of Dor on the west.” Worldly
wisdom rules where prayer and Bible study should control the life.
summoned also “the Canaanite on the east and on the west.”
As we have learned in other studies, the Canaanite trafficker
represents one who uses spiritual things for his own aggrandizement.
Since the west represents approach to God; and the east, departure from Him,
the presence of the Canaanite in both places tells us that worldly wisdom may make a
“Canaanite” out of the believer who is spiritually “in the west,” (i.e., on
the narrow way that leads to heaven), as well as of the unbeliever who is spiritually
“east” of God (i.e., on the broad way that leads to hell). There are several ways in which the believer may traffick in
spiritual things, e.g., he may study Scripture, not to edify others, but to get glory
for himself by displaying his knowledge. The evangelist may become so obsessed by
numbers that he becomes more concerned about mere professions than genuine
believer, however, has no monoply on spiritual trafficking.
The pulpits of Christendom are filled with “Canaanites” - men (and women
also) who have never been born again, and whose use of the Word is simply to earn a
the spiritual significance of the other Canaanites mentioned here has been discussed
already in our study of chapter 9:1, we won’t repeat it, except to note that the
Jebusite is described as being “in the mountains,” while the Hivites are located
“under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh.” Since
the mountain represents a king an/or kingdom, and also the place of separation from
the world, the presence of the Jebusite in the mountains declares symbolically that
the world’s wisdom will seek to replace the government of God in the believer’s
life, and to influence his thinking in regard to the need to live in separation from
“this present evil world.”
the Hivite, meaning showers of life: livers, represents one who professes to
show others how to live so as to enter heaven, we see in him here a picture of the
man of the world masquerading as a believer, and attempting the seduction of others
by the substitution of man’s wisdom for the Word of God.
His being “under Hermon,” meaning devoted: banned, in the land of
Mizpeh a watch-tower reminds us that such a man is under the ban of the
Almighty, and is devoted to destruction; for the reference to the watch-tower assures
us that God watches over the affairs of believer and unbeliever alike, and in His own
good time will recompense each according to his deeds.
“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
the universal appeal of worldly wisdom is dramatically depicted in this vast army,
the power of that same wisdom is no less dramatically portrayed in “the horses and
chariots very many,” for in Scripture, horses are symbolic of strength, e.g., “He
(God) delighteth not in the strength of the horse” Ps 147:10.
Israel, however, viewed this massed might of the enemy with the complacent
courage that rested on the Divine assurance given through Moses, “When thou goest
out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people
more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the Lord thy God is with thee, which
brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.... For the Lord your God is He that goeth
with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you” Dt. 20:1-4.
The believer today, confronted with the might and power of the world’s
wisdom, has the same assurance. Read
again 1 Co.1:17 - 2:1-16 where the wisdom of God and the wisdom of the world are set
“And when all these kings were met together, they came and pitched together
at the waters of Merom the lifting up, to fight against Israel.”
“And the Lord said unto Joshua, Be not afraid because of them; to tomorrow
about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel: thou shalt hough
their horses and burn their chariots with fire.”
confederation represents the might of the world’s wisdom arrayed against God and
His people, and it is interesting to note that the place where they assembled was
“at the waters of Merom.” Those
waters flowed copiously out of numerous springs in the vicinity of the town of Merom,
uniting to form a stream that flowed into the Sea of Galilee.
But springs and running water are Biblical symbols of the Word of God, so that
the spiritual picture presented by the gathering of the enemy at the waters of Merom,
is of the world’s wisdom united in opposition to that Word, and for the destruction
of God’s people. The meaning of Merom,
however, assures us that obedience to God’s Word always produces the same result:
the lifting up of the man who obeys God.
assurance that the morrow would see the enemy slain, comes as encouragement to the
believer today who finds himself under the attack of the world’s wisdom.
The “tomorrow” that will end all such conflict isn’t far off.
As the waters of Merom witnessed the battle in which the enemy was utterly
destroyed, so will that soon-coming day of the Lord’s return in power and glory see
all of God’s enemies destroyed, and His Word and His people vindicated
the horses and chariots represent mere natural strength (and in this case, the
strength of the world’s wisdom), the command to Joshua to hough (hamstring or
destroy) the horses, and burn the chariots, becomes the spiritual instruction to
believers to place no confidence in that wisdom. The Word of God alone is to direct the lives of His people.
“So Joshua came, and all the people of war with him, against them by the
waters of Merom suddenly; and they fell upon them.”
is a valuable practical lesson to be learnt from Israel’s coming against them
“suddenly.” Joshua didn’t wait for
the enemy to begin the attack: he took the initiative and attacked them. The lesson God would teach in this is that the best way to
overcome the attack of the world’s wisdom is to attack first by presenting truth
before the enemy has an opportunity to present his error.
This is particularly true in regard to the battle for the minds of our
children. Truth implanted in the young
minds first, makes it more difficult for the world to implant its false wisdom.
The same principle applies to the church. New converts should be taught sound doctrine before the enemy has
opportunity to teach lies. There is
probably no greater evil in the church today than the substitution of the schemes of
worldly wisdom for the truth taught in the Scriptures.
Failure to teach sound doctrine has greatly facilitated the enemy’s work,
for it is the untaught believer who falls victim to this ploy of Satan.
“And the Lord delivered them into the hand of Israel, who smote them, and
chased them unto great Zidon, and unto Misrephoth-maim, and unto the valley of Mizpeh
eastward; and they smote them until they left them none remaining.”
“And Joshua did unto them as the Lord bade him: he houghed their horses, and
burnt their chariots with fire.”
rout of the enemy was utter: Israel “left them none remaining.”
There can be no dallying with the enemy.
Saul spared an Amalakite, and it was an Amalakite who eventually slew him.
Acceptance of even a little of the world’s wisdom in the spiritual realm
soon leads to acceptance of more. But
with God there are no shady areas: with Him everything is either black or white.
We are for Him, or against Him. His
truth may not be mixed with the world’s wisdom.
is instructive to note also that God’s delivering the enemy into the hand of Israel
didn’t exempt His people from the necessity of doing the actual fighting.
The lesson being taught is that all the power of God is at our disposal, but
each individual must use that power. This,
like virtually every circumstance of life, is designed to test whether we will be
obedient, for God will not bless disobedience. The
principle of blessing is the same for us as for Israel.
They would possess as much of Canaan as they had faith to take; and we will
possess as much blessing as we have faith to appropriate.
three places mentioned in connection with the rout of the enemy have also something
to teach us. Zidon has two meanings a
hunting: fishery. Significantly, it
was on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, that sea representing the great sea of
unconverted humanity, see Isa 57:20. Zidon
represents the world as the place in which Satan hunts for the souls of men to
destroy them; but where believers, as the Lord’s fishermen (Mk 1:17), are to go out
with the Gospel and fish for men’s souls so that they might be saved.
It is here in the world represented by Zidon that worldly wisdom aids the
cause of Satan, and seeks to frustrate the purposes of God for the salvation of men.
Israel’s chasing the enemy all the way to Zidon tells us that the world’s
wisdom has no place in that great work of spiritual fishing.
Neither the Gospel itself, nor the method of its proclamation, is to be mixed
with the world’s wisdom. It is to be
preached in fellowship with God, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, the results of
that sowing being left with Him.
meaning burnings of waters, in the context of its association with Merom seems
to speak of the judgment that will eventually overtake those who live by the
world’s wisdom, for as we have noted already the waters of Merom represent the Word
of God, and the Lord Himself, speaking of the day of judgment, declared, “And if
any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the
world, but to save the world. He that
rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I
have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” Jn 12:47-48.
That very same Word which is living water to the believer, will be
“burnings” for the unbeliever.
Mizpeh means a watch-tower, and in a good context speaks of the watchfulness
of God over His own, the context here is clearly evil, an interpretation reinforced
by the word “eastward,” the direction invariably associated with sin and
departure from God. He not only watches
over His own, but also over the activity of the unbeliever, and as the work of the
believer will have an eternal recompense to be enjoyed in heaven, so will the work of
the unbeliever also have an eternal recompense to be endured in the lake of fire.
He who lives by the world’s wisdom makes himself an heir of judgment rather
and they smote them until they left them none remaining.”
In this extirpation of the enemy we read the symbolic announcement of the
truth that the world’s wisdom has no place in the spiritual realm.
“And Joshua did unto them as the Lord bade him: he houghed their horses, and
burnt their chariots with fire.”
too will be blessed as we follow Joshua’s example and do all that the Lord
commands. The houghing of the horses and
burning of the chariots declare symbolically that the resources of an unbelieving
world, and the imagined power of its wisdom, are not to be used by faith.
The obedient believer relies on God, not on the world’s wisdom.
And the frequent references to the sword as the implement of destruction
(verses 10-12), tell us that the Word of God (He 4:12) is the instrument by which the
world’s wisdom is nullified.
“And Joshua at that time turned back, and took Hazor to trumpet:
enclosure, and smote the king thereof with the sword:”
“And they smote all the souls that were therein with the ege of the sword,
utterly destroying them: there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with
this points to that day of the Lord’s return when the type will be fulfilled and
this evil world system, of which Hazor is a type, will be destroyed; and Satan, of
whom Jabin is a type, will be cast into the abyss prior to his brief release at the
end of the Millennium, following which he will be cast into the eternal torment of
the lake of fire. The world’s wisdom
will have no place in the millennial kingdom, nor is it to have any place in the
lives of believers today. The fact that “there was not any left to breathe” warns us
that absolutely nothing of the world’s wisdom is to be given a place in our lives,
individually or corporately. The extent
to which God’s command has been rejected is disclosed by the extent to which the
professing church is governed by the world’s wisdom.
“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.”
emphasis is upon the fact that nothing of the enemy was spared: all the cities, all
the kings, were utterly destroyed, and the lesson God would have us learn is that
nothing of the world’s wisdom or ways is to have a place in our lives.
And again it is emphasized that the implement of destruction was the sword -
symbol of the written Word. The Word
obeyed will give us victory over everything that is represented by the Canaanite
cities and kings which Joshua and Israel destroyed.
“But as for the cities that stood still in their strength, Israel burned
none of them, save Hazor only; that did Joshua burn.”
may seem strange that any cities were spared, but the explanation is found in other
Scriptures. In Ex 23:29-30 the Lord had
said, “I will not drive them (the Canaanites) out from before thee in one year;
lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee.
By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be
increased, and inherit the land.” Again
in Dt 7:22 Moses declared, “And the Lord thy God will put out those nations before
thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of
the field increase upon thee.” But in
Judges we read of an additional and very
different reason. Following the passing
of Joshua and his generation, Israel began to rebel against the Lord, so that we read
of Him saying, “Ye have not obeyed my voice.... Wherefore I also said, I will not
drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their
gods shall be a snare unto you” Jg 2:2-3; and in vv 20-23 we read, “And the anger
of the Lord was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath
transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto
my voice; I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations
which Joshua left when he died: that through them I may prove Israel, whether they
will keep the way of the Lord to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.
Therefore the Lord left those nations, without driving them out hastily;
neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.”
Who knows the end from the beginning, and Who knows the wickedness of man’s heart,
foreknew what would follow the passing of that first obedient generation, and He
acted accordingly. In connection with
the verse we are now considering, the implication seems to be that God had forbidden
Israel to destroy any cities other than those whose destruction is recorded.
One of the lessons God would have us learn from this is that every
circumstance of life - the seeming good as well as the seeming bad - is like those
undestroyed cities: it is sent to test our obedience, and if we learned to view each
circumstance as such, it is possible that there might be more in our lives worthy of
commendation at the Bema. How often does
seeming adversity cause us to complain; while seeming blessing - riches, for example
- causes us to forget God!
“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.”
appropriated for their own use only the booty of the captured cities, but nothing of
the uncaptured, and in this God would teach us that there are some things of the
world which we may use for His glory and our own good.
An education, for example, may enable us to better serve God.
It is due to the work of educated men that the Scriptures have been translated
and made available to millions in a multitude of languages.
Doctors, teachers, and many other professionals, have contributed much to the
blessing of mankind. Wealth too may be
used for God’s glory, for it is not money in itself that is evil, but rather, the
misuse made of it.
utter extermination of the inhabitants of the captured cities, however, declares in
unequivocal language that the natural man has nothing to contribute to the glory of
God or the blessing of His people. 1 Cor 7:31, “... and they that use this world, as not abusing
it: for the fashion of this world passeth away,” indicates that some of the things
of the world may be legitimately used by the believer.
The great need is to use them no more than is permitted by God, and to
recognize that they have absolutely no place in the spiritual realm. The
danger comes in when the wisdom of the world is allowed to replace the Word of God.
“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.”
is a type of Christ leading us out of bondage; and Joshua, of Christ in resurrection,
the Captain of our salvation, leading us into the enjoyment of our spiritual
inheritance, so that the emphasis here upon the obedience of both, points to the
perfect obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ. When
He said, “It is finished,” there was nothing left undone of all that His Father
had commanded. By that death at Calvary
all God’s righteous claims were fully met; the price of our redemption fully paid.
we have noted already, Joshua’s conquest of the land, which was completed with his
defeat of the northern confederation, gave Israel potential control of the whole of
Canaan, and is a foreshadowing of Christ’s victory at Calvary, which gives the
believer potential victory over every foe. In Israel’s failure to make full use of Joshua’s victory,
however, we see foreshadowed our own failure to take full advantage of Christ’s
victory at Calvary.
“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;”
each part of the land has a spiritual counterpart, Joshua’s subjugation of them all
is meant to teach us that there is no sphere of life in which we may not live
victoriously through the Lord’s finished work at Calvary.
Every foe has been placed under our power, so that the enemy can have no more
power over us than we permit. Sadly, we
see our failure prewritten in Israel’s later failure to take the remaining cities
a mountain or hill is the Biblical symbol of a king and/or kingdom, and also the
symbol of the place where the believer can draw aside from the ordinary business and
distractions of the day, to enjoy communion with God through prayer and study of the
Word, Joshua’s taking the hills is the symbolic announcement of the fact that the
Lord Jesus Christ has given us control over the things represented by the hills.
The things of earth have no more power over us than we are willing to give
them. That being so, there is no excuse
for a believer’s failing to reserve time each day for at least an hour of
uninterrupted communion with God.
and all the south country.” The south
is the Biblical symbol of the realm of faith, so that Joshua’s taking the south
country translates into the assurance that apart from our permission the things of
the world can’t intrude into the realm of our faith.
We should remember this when we are tempted to doubt the truth of Ro 8:28,
“All things (even the seeming adversities) work together for good to them that love
God.” There is no area of our lives,
no circumstance in which we may ever find ourselves, where we may not live by faith,
as we read in Ga 2:20, “...the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the
faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
all the land of Goshen drawing near.” As
noted already this isn’t the Goshen in Egypt, but rather, a region in southern
Palestine. Through the finished work of
Christ, the believer may draw near to God at any time, for our great High Priest sits
at the Father’s right hand in resurrection glory as our Representative and
Intercessor. Because He abides in the
Father’s presence as our Representative, we too are welcomed there.
Through Him we may draw near to God at any time, and in all circumstances.
and the valley.” The valley represents
the sphere of service and fruitbearing, so that Joshua’s taking the valley becomes
the assurance to us that whereas we were once the servants of sin, it is now our
privilege to serve the living God, and produce fruit for His glory and our own
eternal gain, the fruit being in at least two forms: (1) spiritual children begotten
through the Gospel, and (2) the fruits of the Spirit as listed in Ga 5:22-23.
and the plain.” The word that is
translated “plain” means literally a desert, particularly the (generally) barren
Jordan valley. Since the desert in which
Israel wandered for forty years is a picture of what the world is spiritually to the
believer, Joshua’s taking the plain, or desert, reminds us that the Lord Jesus
Christ has overcome the world, Jn 16:33, “These things have I spoken unto you, that
in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer: I
have overcome the world.”
the mountain of Israel,” is literally the mountainous area of the central
highlands. Having regard to the
typological significance of “mountain,” Joshua’s capture of this region is the
symbolic announcement of the fact that the true Joshua, the Lord Jesus Christ, has
vanquished Satan the prince of this world, so that while believers are to obey
earthly governors (but not where that obedience requires disobedience of God), and to
pray for them, they are not to become involved in the world’s politics, but are to
pass through this scene as pilgrims and strangers whose citizenship is in heaven, not
on earth, see Php 3:20, “For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven, from
whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” to take us to heaven,
and then return with us seven years later to reign, God’s promise being that on
that day when Christ reigns, we shall reign with Him, 2 Tim 2:12, “If we suffer
(endure), we shall also reign with him.”
and the valley of the same.” Since the
valley represents the sphere of service and fruit-bearing, this “valley of
Israel” reminds us that the service which it is our privilege to render here on
earth, is not that of unwilling slaves, but the joyful service of those who are
God’s princes because we are His sons.
“Even from the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir, even unto Baal-gad in the
valley of Lebanon under mount Hermon: and all their kings he took, and smote them,
and slew them."
means smooth; Seir shaggy: hairy: goat-like; Baal-gad, lord of a troop;
Lebanon, whiteness”; and Hermon, devoted: banned.
and Baal-Gad are in the extreme south and north of Palestine respectively, but there
are more southerly and northerly points than these, so it is obvious that God had a
special purpose in selecting these two. Since the south is the Scriptural symbol of faith; and the north,
of reason or intelligence, the first truth being declared is that the whole of the
believer’s life lying between the poles of faith and reason has been placed under
his own control as a result of the Lord’s work at Calvary.
We have not only the responsibility, but also the privilege and power to live
that life for Christ. The enemy, whether
it be the world, the flesh, or the devil, has no longer any control over us, except
what we ourselves may permit. Christ has
overcome the world as Joshua overcame Canaan. We
have the same responsibility as did Israel to make good for ourselves the result of
that victory. We are to live as
overcomers. That we have the power to do
so is assured in Php 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ Who strengtheneth
is, however, a further lesson taught in the meaning of the names of these places.
Since a mountain represents a king and/or kingdom, Halak, the “smooth”
(bare or barren) mountain in the south, represents the world as God sees it, and as
He wants faith to see it. This world in
which a mortally wounded Satan rules only for a little while by God’s permission,
is a spiritually barren place. There is
nothing in it for faith. Connected with
its meaning of being bare or barren, however, is also the thought of deceit or
flattery, reminding us that this spiritullay barren world is also a place where
believers may be deceived and flattered into disobedience of God.
We are never to relax our vigilance towards the world represented by Halak.
its being described as “the mount Halak that goeth up to Seir,” we learn a
further lesson. Everything about Seir
speaks of sin. It was the territory of
the godless Esau, who represents the flesh; and the goat was the animal frequently
used for the sin offering. Every
activity of the evil world represented by this barren mountain in the vicinity of
Seir is contaminated by sin, and believers may very easily also become contaminated
in the course of their journey through it.
spiritual lesson of the northern border point “Baal-Gad in the valley of Lebanon
under mount Hermon,” is also easily read. Satan rules over the multitudes (troops)
who are spiritually in the valley (place of service) of Lebanon (whiteness, symbol of
righteousness), that is, those who have been deluded into believing that their good
works, their righteous deeds, will take them into heaven.
But Baal-Gad is “under mount Hermon” devoted: banned.
All such self-effort is devoted to judgment, it is under the ban of God, for
it is synonymous with rejection of the finished work of Christ.
and all their kings he took, and smote them, and slew them.”
In the death of all these opposing kings we see in symbol the completeness of
Christ’s victory at Calvary. The power
of Satan has been shattered. Having
received his death wound at the cross, the evil prince of this world rules now for a
little while by God’s permission; but he has no more power over us than we
ourselves accord him. He might as well
be dead. We therefore ought to live in
the light of that knowledge, making good in practice what is ours by divine
“And Joshua made war a long time with all those kings.”
Jos 14:7,10 it would appear that this conquest of Canaan under Joshua took seven
years (number of perfection). That
period represents not only the Lord’s earthly life during which He also warred
against the evil forces of darkness, but it represents also the time of the
believer’s earthly experience. The
warfare between the flesh and the Spirit is lifelong, but our encouragement rests in
the fact that at the end of that long conflict, Joshua emerged as the victor, his
victory being itself a type of the Lord’s, revealed in His resurrection, it being
in resurrection that we too will be revealed as the victors.
The Lord’s assurance to His own is recorded in Jn 16:33, “In the world ye
shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” and again
in 1 Jn 4:4, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because
greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world,” and again in 1 Jn
5:4-5, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory
that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who
is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of
“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.”
is an OT foreshadowing of the truth declared by the Lord relative to the number saved
as compared with those who reject salvation. In response to the question, “Lord, are there few that be
saved?” He replied, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto
you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” Lk 13:23-24.
“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 favor, but that he might destroy them, as the Lord commanded Moses.”
is a wrong interpretation of verse 20 that sees the Canaanites as the hapless victims
of God’s having arbitrarily predestinated them to destruction.
With them, as with Pharaoh, the Divine hardening of their hearts was imposed
after they themselves had hardened those hearts.
Verses like this are to be interpreted in the light of 2 Pe 3:9, “The Lord
is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is long
suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to
repentance.” God has predestinated
that unbelievers will be in the lake of fire eternally, and believers in heaven
eternally, but He has not predestinated some to be believers, and others unbelievers.
Man is given a choice as to where he will spend eternity.
The time to make that choice, however, remains within the realm of Divine
sovereignty. The Canaanites had
exhausted that time. They had sinned
away their day of grace. The opportunity
to repent was gone. The hardening
induced by their continued sinning was now irrevocably fixed by the God Whose
patience they had exhausted. So will it
be with all who refuse to be saved in God’s time, as it is written, “My Spirit
shall not always strive with man” Ge 6:3; “He, that being often reproved
hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy” Pr 29:1.
“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.”
means neck-chain: long-necked, meanings which indicate that they are to be
viewed as the representatives of pride, for in Isa 3:16 we read that the daughters of
Zion were, “... haughty, and walk with stretched forth neck.”
A further significance related to their being giants is that pride heads the
list of the seven things which God hates, Pr 6:16-17, and it is to be remembered that
it was pride that brought about the downfall of Lucifer, and that brought death upon
the human race. We tend to view murder as the greatest sin, but in God’s sight pride is an “Anakim,”
a giant - it heads the list of sins.
is instructive also that the cities which appear to have been their strongholds were
in the territory of Judah which means he shall be praised.
One lesson to be learnt from their extermination from Judah’s territory is
that pride and praise (worship) can’t dwell together.
may learn something also from the meanings of the three cities from which they were
cut off. Hebron means communion.
Where there is pride there can be no communion with God.
Debir meaning an oracle, represents the Word of God.
The destruction of the Anakims in Debir therefore would teach the lesson that
pride has no place in the life of the man who would live in obedience to the precepts
means grape-ish: grape-dom, and is related to the idea of fruit-bearing,
particularly grapes and the production of wine. But wine is the Biblical symbol of joy, and it need hardly be
stated that spiritual fruitfulness and joy go hand-in-hand, so the lesson beng taught
in the extermination of the Anakims from Anab is that
pride and the enjoyment of spiritual things cannot coexist.
“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.”
complete extermination of the Anakims from the “land of the children of Israel”
emphasizes the truth that pride is to have no place in the lives of God’s people.
But it is very significant that they remained in the Philistine cities, for
the Philistine represents apostasy, and one has but to look at the apostate Israel of
Christ’s day, to see the extent to which the Anakim dwelt there; and at equally
apostate Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, to see the extent to which the Anakim
dwells there also.
connection with the Philistine as the representative of apostasy, it is instructive
to consider that the land which God had given to Israel has come to be named after
the Philistines, for Palestine is a derivative of Philistine; and as the Philistines
have given their name to the land that belongs to Israel, so has the great false
church, apostate Christendom, come to be viewed by men as the true Church.
The survival therefore of the Anakims in the land of the Philistines is the
symbolic announcement of the truth that pride dwells in the midst of the great
apostate system that has usurped the place of the true Church on the earth today.
meanings of the names of the cities where they survived confirm that they represent
the power and pride of apostate Christendom, for Gaza means she was strong.
No one will deny the power of apostate Christendom as represented by both its
Protestant and Roman Catholic forms. Gath
means wine-press, and since wine is the Biblical symbol of joy, this would
remind us that the apostate church offers her votaries, not the wine of spiritual
joy, but of sensual pleasure. The
meaning of Ashdod I will spoil needs little comment.
The apostate church is the great spoiler, for her influence is such that men
refuse the truth and accept instead her false interpretation of Scripture, thereby
dooming their own souls.
“So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord had said unto
Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions
by their tribes. And the land rested
is a virtual repetition of verse 16 which we have seen to be a foreshadowing of
Christ’s victory at Calvary. God never
tires of dwelling upon that work that glorified Him, and made it possible for Him to
forgive sin on a perfectly just basis.
according to all that the Lord said unto Moses.” As the conquest of the land had been foretold by Moses, Nu 34:2,
so was Christ’s great conquest foretold by Moses and all the prophets.
And as Joshua gave the land to Israel for an inheritance, so has Christ given
to spiritual Israel, the Church, a greater inheritance.
And as the land rested from war so will the whole earth in a soon-coming day
enjoy the rest of Christ’s millennial reign, a rest which is itself a foreshadowing
of the eternal rest to be enjoyed by those redeemed as a result of the Lord’s great
victory at Calvary.