Joshua Conquers the Northern Kingdom

Joshua 11:1-23

A climber fell off a cliff, and, as he tumbled down,
he caught hold of a small branch.

“Help! Is there anybody up there?” he shouted.
A majestic voice boomed through the gorge:
“I will help you, my son, but first you must have
faith in me.”

“Yes, yes, I trust you!” cried the man.
“Let go of the branch, ” boomed the voice.

There was a long pause, and the man shouted up
again, “Is there anybody else up there?”

This morning we are returning to our study of Joshua and
we will pick it back up in chapter 11. Since chapter 6 we
have seen Joshua conquering all the land that the Lord
had promised to give them. This chapter is the final
conquest chapter. Chapter 12 is a summary of all the
kings and kingdoms that were conquered by both Moses
and Joshua.

As we work our way through chapter 11 I’m sure you are
going to notice some similarities between this chapter
and chapter 10.

Let’s take a look at the first 5 verses.

Joshua 11:1-5

Deploying a Coalition

Once again we read of one king who rallies the troops
because they have heard of the incredible victories the
Lord has given Israel. They realize it is just a matter of
time until Israel comes for them.

So, what do they do? They mount up another coalition to
defend against Israel.
Unlike chapter 10 we only get the names of two of the
kings, but we get two other cities and several areas.
We also read of 6 “ites” who came together to fight
against Israel.

The Bible describes the number of men as a great horde
and compares their number to the sand on the seashore.
Not only did they have numerous troops, they were also
equipped with horses and chariots to aid them in
A luxury that Israel did NOT have.

This was by far the largest foe Israel had faced thus far.
From a human perspective they must have seen the task
as insurmountable.
But, they weren’t required to fight them alone, they had
God on their side.
And remember, nothing shall be impossible with God.

Joshua 11:6-9

Direction from God

God always knows what we need and when we need it.
The enemy has joined together and camped at the waters
of Merom. At that moment, God speaks to Joshua
reminding him of the familiar words of comfort that were
spoken to him in chapter 1.

Be strong and courageous.
I have given them into your hands.
The people will not be able to stand against you.
I will be with you wherever you go.

God also gives Joshua instructions to conquer his enemy
by hamstringing the enemies’ horses.
If you are not familiar with the term hamstring used as a
verb and not the muscle in the back of your leg, it means
to cut the tendons in the horses’ legs. This would often
kill them because of blood loss, but if the animal
survived, they would be useless for battle because they
wouldn’t have the strength to carry soldiers or pull

God also told them to burn the enemies’ chariots.
Why would God ask them to hamstring the enemies’
horses and burn their chariots?

There are several possible reasons, but the most likely
one is because God wanted Israel to depend on His
strength and guidance and not the resources of their

God wants us to trust completely in Him.
Psalm 20:7 “Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

Let’s take a look at the next few verses.
Joshua 11:10-15

Defeat at Hazor

God gave the people over to the hand of Joshua and he
struck them all down. Then he turned his attention to the
ring leader of this whole coalition, Jabin, king of Hazor.

Hazor was a very important city in the northern region of
Palestine. It was the largest city in the area measuring
some 200 acres. Compare that to Jericho’s 5 acres.
Not only was it large, it was strategically placed as the
main thoroughfare going north to south throughout the

Joshua struck down all the cities in the area, but he
burned Hazor. He did everything Moses had commanded
and he followed all of God’s instructions.

I wanted to take a moment to highlight the faithful
obedience of Joshua here. There are two verses that
stood out to me as I studied the text.
V.9 “And Joshua did to them just as the Lord said to him;
he hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots with
V.15 “Just 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.”
My hope is that one day God will say that about me.
Jay left nothing undone that the Lord had commanded.

Let’s look at the next few verses.
Joshua 11:16-22

Destruction of Israel’s Enemies

These verses give a fairly vague description of the death
and destruction that occurred in all the northern cities.
Here we see God’s Love as well as His Justice.
While all the other cities were fighting against Israel, only
Gibeon was seeking peace with them. And God showed
them mercy and love through the treaty that was made
back in chapter 9.

However, all the other cities refused God’s mercy and
rejected His kindness. In turn, we see in v.20 that God
hardened their hearts that they would come against
Israel in battle and that they be devoted to destruction.
This may sound harsh, but remember God gives us all a
choice and He also knows our heart and if we will
ultimately accept or reject Him.

V.21 describes the defeat of most of the Anakim. I’m sure
you remember them. They are the giants that were
occupying the land that the 12 spies scouted out back in
Numbers. Only Joshua and Caleb had faith in God. The
others allowed their circumstances to sway their report.
Joshua killed most of the Anakim, but a few remained in
three cities. We will read of one of them from Gath later
on in I Samuel.

Joshua 11:23

The first part of the verse sums up the entire first 11
chapters; Joshua taking the land God was giving Israel.
The second part of the verse sums up chapters 13-19;
the distribution of the land to all the tribes.


Live out our Faith

There are many who claim to have faith, but it doesn’t
change their lifestyle. They look, talk, and act like
everyone else.
God doesn’t want people who say one thing and do
something else.
He wants men and women like Moses and Joshua.

Joshua put his faith into action. He followed the Lord’s

How does God want you to live out your faith?
Are you listening for His guidance and direction?
He is always working.