Conquest of Canaan

Conquest of Canaan

  1. A New Leader. When the days of mourning for Moses had passed ( Deuteronomy 34:8-12 ), Joshua assumed active command of the host, and the Lord spoke unto him and told him to conduct the people over Jordan. He also commanded him to be courageous and adhere to the Law of Moses, and assured him that as He had been with Moses He would be with him ( Joshua 1:1-9 ). Joshua at once have command to his subordinates, reminded the Reubenites, Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh of their covenant with Moses and received from them a unanimous promise of obedience ( Joshua 1:10-18 ).

  2. Spies Sent to Canaan. Joshua sent two spies from the encampment at Shittim across the Jordan to Jericho. They were entertained by Rahab the harlot, and by her strategy protected from the emissaries of the king. Rahab had heard of the mighty miracles of the Lord and the triumphs of Israel, and she acknowledged without reserve her confidence in the future victories of the people of God, and humbly prayed that when the city should be besieged, she and her father;s house might be saved ( Joshua 2:8-14 ). The spies solemnly promised to do as she requested, and told her to bind a scarlet thread in the window of her house in order to distinguish it from others. Immediately after this they escaped and returned to the camp ( Joshua 2:14-22 ). Upon their arrival they rehearsed their experiences to Joshua, and he expressed his firm conviction that the Lord had delivered their enemies into their hands ( Joshua 2:23 Joshua 2:24 ).

  3. A New Start. On the following morning the encampment was broken up, and they moved from Shittim to the banks of the Jordan ( Joshua 3:1 ). After the expiration of three days, the officers went through the camp and commanded the people that they should, upon seeing the ark removed by the priests, arise and follow it, but not to come nearer to it than two thousand cubits ( Joshua 2:2-4 ). Joshua then commanded the people to sanctify themselves and predicted that they should see wonders on the morrow ( Joshua 3:5 ).

  4. Crossing the Jordan. Joshua commanded the priests to take up the ark and move forward, and the Lord again assured him of his recognition ( Joshua 3:6 Joshua 3:7 ). He then commanded the priests to stand still in the water, and assured the people that the Lord would drive out the inhabitants of the land before them ( Joshua 3:9-11 ). As soon as the feet of the priests touched the waters they were, notwithstanding the fact that they were overflowing their banks, immediately divided. The priests stood still in the river bed while the people were passing over ( Joshua 3:12-17 ). As soon as the people passed over, the Lord commanded Joshua to select a representative of each tribe, and require him to take a stone from the place where the priests stood and carry it to the encampment as a memorial of the cutting off of the waters in their behalf ( Joshua 4:1-8 ). Joshua also piled up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan ( Joshua 4:9 ). After the host had passed over, the Lord told Joshua to command the priests who bore the ark to come up out of the water, and when they did so, the waters flowed on as before ( Joshua 4:10-18 ). Forty thousand men of war representing Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh passed over with their brethren to assist in the invasion ( Joshua 4:12 Joshua 4:13 ). On that day the Lord magnified Joshua in the eyes of all the people, and they feared him from that time forward as they had Moses ( Joshua 4:14 ). They entered Canaan on the tenth day of the first months of the forty-first year, lacking only five days of being forty years after their departure from Rameses ( Exodus 12:1-37 ; Numbers 14:29-35 ; Deuteronomy 1:3 ; Deuteronomy 2:14 ; Joshua 4:19 ). The stones take from the bed of the river were piled up at the first encampment, and the people were commanded to remind their children of the design of the monument thus erected ( Joshua 4:20-24 ).

  5. Discouraged Foes. When the rulers of the land heard of the triumphant passage of the Jordan, they were greatly frightened, and their spirit of warfare fled ( Joshua 5:1 ).

  6. Renewal of the Covenant. During the wanderings in the wilderness the people neglected to observe the covenant of circumcision ( Genesis 17:1-14 ), and at Gilgal the Lord commanded Joshua to renew the covenant. After the work was done, He told him that on that day He had rolled away from them the reproach of Egypt ( Joshua 5:2-9 ).

  7. First Passover in Canaan. Subsequently the children of Israel kept the passover in obedience to the command given to their fathers. This occurred exactly forty years after the destroying angel smote the firstborn of Egypt and passed over the dwellings of the children of God ( Exodus 12:1-51 ; Deuteronomy 1:3 ; Joshua 5:10 ). On the day following, the manna ceased ( Exodus 16:35 ), and the people subsisted upon the products of the land that year ( Joshua 5:11 Joshua 5:12 ).

  8. Captain of the Lords Host'. The captain of the Lord's host appeared to Joshua near Jericho, and Joshua treated him with the reverence due his exalted station ( Joshua 5:13-15 ).

  9. Destruction of Jericho. The presence of Israel caused the closing of the gates of Jericho, but the Lord assured Joshua that He had given the city, its mighty men and its king into his hands ( Joshua 6:1 Joshua 6:2 ). He gave plain directions by which the city was to be taken. They were to encompass the city seven days in succession, and on the seventh day they were to encompass it seven times. The order of the march was,
    1. the armed men,
    2. seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams' horns blowing on them,
    3. the ark of the Lord,
    4. the gathering host.

    At the end of strict obedience, Joshua commanded the people to shout for the Lord had given them the city ( Joshua 6:1-20 ). The city was utterly destroyed save Rahab and her house ( Joshua 6:21-25 ; Hebrews 11:31 ). Joshua predicted that a curse should rest upon the ruined city, declaring that the man who attempted to rebuild it should lay the foundation in his firstborn, and in his youngest son he should set up the gates of it ( Joshua 6:26 ). The destruction of Jericho made Joshua famous ( Joshua 6:27 ).

  10. Sin the Camp. The Lord passed the sentence of utter destruction upon Jericho with the exception of the precious metals which were to be deposited in His treasury ( Joshua 6:21-24 ). Achan, the son of Carmi, of the tribe of Judah, appropriated a Babylonish garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels' weight ( Joshua 7:1-21 ). The laws violated by Achan were:
    1. law against theft,
    2. and the law against covetousness ( Exodus 20:15-17 ; Joshua 7:21 ).

    On the account of this one sin Israel was defeated and disgraced by the Canaanites ( Joshua 7:2-5 ). The guilty individual and all his family were destroyed in the valley of Achor ( Joshua 7:22-26 ).

  11. Victory. After the destruction of the house of Achan, the Lord assured Joshua that he would give him a great victory over Ai, and also granted the people the privilege of appropriating the spoils of the city to themselves ( Joshua 8:1 Joshua 8:2 ). Joshua immediately equipped an army of thirty thousand men and proceeded against the doomed city. By a magnificent stratagem, he enticed the inhabitants from the city and utterly destroyed it ( Joshua 8:3-28 ). They hanged the king, took him down at eventide in obedience to the law of the Lord ( Deuteronomy 21:22 Deuteronomy 21:23 ), and buried him at the entrance of the city ( Joshua 8:29 ).

  12. A New Altar. Joshua built an altar unto the Lord God of Israel in Mount Ebal according to the specifications recorded by Moses ( Exodus 20:24-26 ), and presented peace offerings upon it ( Joshua 8:30 Joshua 8:31 ). Upon the stones Joshua wrote a copy of the law of Moses ( Joshua 8:32 ).

  13. Reading the Law. In obedience to the commandment of the Lord through Moses, Joshua placed one-half of the tribes on Mount Gerizim and the other half on Mount Ebal, and afterward he read the law of Moses without addition or subtraction ( Deuteronomy 11:26-32 ; Joshua 8:30-35 ).

  14. United Opposition. The triumphs of Israel caused the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites to unite against them ( Joshua 9:1 Joshua 9:2 ).

  15. Deceived by an Enemy. The Gibeonites, upon hearing of the victories of Israel, deceived them into making a covenant with them. On the third day it was discovered that the Gibeonites were their near neighbors. On account of their oath, notwithstanding the murmuring of the congregation, the princes refused to break the covenant. Joshua doomed the Gibeonites to perpetual servitude ( Joshua 9:1-27 ).

  16. Conspiracy Against Gibeon. Adonizedek formed a confederation with Hoham, king of Hebron; Piram, king of Jarmuth; Japhia, king of Lachish; and Debir, king of Eglon; and proceeded against Gibeon ( Joshua 10:1-5 ). The men of Gibeon sent to Joshua and urgently requested him to come to their relief. Joshua arose by night and proceeded against the enemy. The Lord helped Israel and cast down great hailstones on the enemy ( Joshua 10:6-11 ). In order to have time to gain a greater victory, Joshua commanded the sun to stand still upon Gibeon and the moon in the valley of Ajalon. God hearkened unto him and the sun stood in the midst of the heaven for a whole day, and that day stands alone in the annals of time ( Joshua 10:12-14 ). Joshua captured the five kings and executed them ( Joshua 10:15-30 ). Victory followed victory ( Joshua 10:31-42 ), until thirty-one kings were overcome and a great part of the land brought into subjection ( Joshua 11:1-23 Joshua 12:1-24 ).

  17. Tribal Boundaries. Joshua described and set the boundaries of the possessions of the different tribes ( Joshua 14:1-15 ; Joshua 15:1-63 Joshua 16:1-10 ; Joshua 17:1-18 ).

  18. Setting Up the Tabernacle. Joshua, by Divine authority, set up the tabernacle at Shiloh ( Deuteronomy 12:4-15 ; Joshua 18:1 ; Jeremiah 7:12 ). At this time there were seven tribes that had not received their inheritances, and three men from each tribe were sent out to survey the land ( Joshua 18:2-8 ).

  19. Cities of Refuge. Joshua, in obedience to the command of Moses ( Numbers 35:1-15 ), set apart six cities of refuge for manslayers. These cities were Kedesh, Shechem, and Hebron west of the Jordan; and Bezer, Ramoth and Golan east of the Jordan ( Joshua 20:1-9 ).

  20. Cities Assigned to the Levites. The Levites came to Joshua and reminded him of the promise of the Lord to them through Moses, and the children of Israel gave to them according to the commandment of the Lord ( Joshua 21:1-3 ). The possessions distributed to the Levites were,
      (a) the sons of Aaron, thirteen cities ( Joshua 21:4 ); (b) the remainder of the Kohathites received ten cities ( Joshua 21:5 ); (c) the Gershonites received thirteen cities ( Joshua 21:6 ); (d) and the Merarites received twelve cities ( Joshua 21:7 ).

    The Levites also received suburbs for their cattle which were to extend two thousand cubits in every direction from the city ( Numbers 35:1-5 Joshua 21:8 ). The number of cities given by each tribe was,

    1. Simeon and Judah, nine ( Joshua 21:9-16 );
    2. Benjamin, four ( Joshua 21:17 Joshua 21:18 );
    3. Ephraim, four ( Joshua 21:20-22 );
    4. Dan, four ( Joshua 21:23 Joshua 21:24 );
    5. Manasseh, four ( Joshua 21:25-27 );
    6. Issachar, four ( Joshua 21:28 Joshua 21:29 );
    7. Asher, four ( Joshua 21:30 Joshua 21:31 );
    8. Naphtali, three ( Joshua 21:32 );
    9. Zebulun, four ( Joshua 21:34 Joshua 21:35 );
    10. Reuben, four ( Joshua 21:36 Joshua 21:37 );
    11. and Gad, four ( Joshua 21:38 Joshua 21:39 ).

  21. Dismissal of the Two and a Half Tribes. The conquest of the land was substantially completed. Joshua therefore called the Reubenites, Gadites and the children of Manasseh, gave them his blessing, commended to them the law of Moses, and exhorted them to divide the spoil of their enemies with their brethren ( Joshua 22:1-8 ). He then dismissed them, and they departed for their possessions east of the river. When they came to the banks of the Jordan, they erected a great altar. When the other tribes heard of this they sent a deputation to them consisting of Phinehas the high priest and ten princes. The representatives of Joshua and Israel reprimanded them with great severity, but upon receiving assurance that the altar was erected as a witness and not for a sacrifice, they returned in peace to their homes ( Joshua 22:8-34 ).

  22. Joshuas Exhortation'. Toward the close of Joshua's life, he called the chief men of the nation together, and rehearsed to them some of the leading incidents in their history. He gave glory and honor to God for all their victories, exhorted them to keep aloof from their idolatrous surroundings and cleave faithfully to the Lord. He assured them if they would do this, one man would be able to chase a thousand. He exhorted them, in view of his speedy departure and the unfailing goodness of God, to continue in the right way. He also predicted that if they should abandon the Lord, His anger would be kindled and they would be quickly destroyed from off the land which He had given them ( Joshua 23:1-16 ).

  23. Joshuas Farewell Address'. Joshua gathered all Israel together at Shechem, and called for their representative men. He again rehearsed some of the important events in their history and, with deep fervency, exhorted them to serve the Lord in sincerity and truth, and to make their choice that day, declaring that he and his family would serve the Lord. The people answered that they would not forsake the Lord, because He had done great things for them in delivering them from their enemies, and fighting their battles for them ( Joshua 24:1-24 ). Joshua entered into a covenant with the people, made a record of it in the book of the law, and set up a stone as a witness to what they had promised to do ( Joshua 24:25-27 ). After this he dismissed the people and they returned to their homes ( Joshua 24:28 ).

  24. Death of Joshua. Joshua died at the age of one hundred and ten years, and was buried in the border of his inheritance in Mount Ephraim. So great was Joshua's character that the people served the Lord during all his days and during the lives of his contemporaries who outlived him ( Joshua 24:29-31 ).

  25. Josephs Bones'. The remains of Joseph, which had been brought from Egypt at his request ( Genesis 50:25 ), were finally buried in Shechem ( Joshua 24:32 ).

  26. Eleazars Successor'. Eleazar died and was buried in Mount Ephraim, and was succeeded by his son Phinehas ( Numbers 25:10-13 ; Joshua 24:33 Judges 20:28 ).