When the king of Jerusalem hears of Israel’s defeat of Ai and Jericho and how the great city of Gibeon made peace with Israel, he conspires with four other kings, king of Hebron, king of Jarmuth, king of Lachish, and king of Eglon, to make war against Gibeon. The men of Gibeon ask Joshua for help since all the kings of the Amorites, descendants of Canaan, gathered against them.
The Lord tells Joshua not to fear them because He has delivered them into the hand of Israel. “So the Lord routed them before Israel, killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon… And it happened, as they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the Lord cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword.” Then Joshua asks the Lord to hold the sun and moon still until they have revenge on their enemies. “So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel.” God once again gives the Israelites victory in an unusual way and by His Mighty Hand!
After the victory, the Israelites go on to conquer the other southern cities – “All these kings and their land Joshua took at one time, because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel. Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.” Then the Israelites fought for the Northern Territory – “And all the spoil of these cities and the livestock, the children of Israel took as booty for themselves; but they struck every man with the edge of the sword until they had destroyed them, and they left none breathing. As the Lord had commanded Moses His servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses… So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord had said to Moses; and Joshua gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Then the land rested from war.”
This excerpt from “Encountering the Old Testament” by Bill Arnold and Bryan Beyer provides further explanation for the conquest – “The Israelites had secured effective control of Canaan and the Transjordan. Although it seems these battles practically happened overnight, Canaan’s conquest actually required about six to seven years. Israel’s victory was really God’s victory, for God used Israel as his instrument to judge Canaan’s unbelieving people.”
Tomorrow the children of Israel are allotted their land inheritance, so keep reading. (Joshua 10:1-12:6)