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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.
2. the kings that were on the north of the mountains--the Anti-libanus
3. the Canaanites on the east and on the west--a particular branch of
the Canaanitish population who occupied the western bank of the Jordan
as far northward as the Sea of Galilee, and also the coasts of the
4, 5. they went out, . . . as the sand that is upon the sea-shore in
multitude--The chiefs of these several tribes were summoned by Jabin,
being all probably tributary to the kingdom of Hazor. Their combined
forces, according to JOSEPHUS,
amounted to three hundred thousand
infantry, ten thousand cavalry, and twenty thousand war chariots.
6-8. to-morrow, about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel--As it was impossible to have marched from Gilgal to Merom in one day, we must suppose Joshua already moving northward and within a day's distance of the Canaanite camp, when the Lord gave him this assurance of success. With characteristic energy he made a sudden advance, probably during the night, and fell upon them like a thunderbolt, when scattered along the rising grounds (Septuagint), before they had time to rally on the plain. In the sudden panic "the Lord delivered them into the hand of Israel, who smote them, and chased them." The rout was complete; some went westward, over the mountains, above the gorge of the Leontes, to Sidon and Misrephothmaim ("glass-smelting houses"), in the neighborhood, and others eastward to the plain of Mizpeh.
8. they left none remaining--of those whom they overtook. All those who fell into their hands alive were slain.
9. Joshua did unto them as the Lord bade him--(See Jos 11:6). Houghing the horses is done by cutting the sinews and arteries of their hinder legs, so that they not only become hopelessly lame, but bleed to death. The reasons for this special command were that the Lord designed to lead the Israelites to trust in Him, not in military resources (Ps 20:7); to show that in the land of promise there was no use of horses; and, finally, to discourage their travelling as they were to be an agricultural, not a trading, people.
16. So Joshua took all that land--Here follows a general view of the conquest. The division of the country there into five parts; namely, the hills, the land of Goshen, that is, a pastoral land near Gibeon (Jos 10:41); the valley, the plains and the mountains of Israel, i. e., Carmel, rests upon a diversity of geographical positions, which is characteristic of the region.
17. from the mount Halak--Hebrew, "the smooth mountain."
23. Joshua took the whole land--The battle of the take of Merom was to the north what the battle of Beth-horon was to the south; more briefly told and less complete in its consequences; but still the decisive conflict by which the whole northern region of Canaan fell into the hands of Israel [STANLEY].