How does history become ‘accepted’? What has been the process of consensus building around event to the point where we call it ‘historical fact’? History is recorded in various ways over time, with the dominant narrative of events undergoing periods of fluidity…until consensus is reached and affirmed, and reaffirmed.

The hebrews Scriptures (Holy Writings) were preserved, copied with supernatural care and circulated throughout the Mediterranean in paleo-Hebrew 1000 B.C. – 500B.C. Around 500 BC. the Aramaic alphabet was adopted for the Hebrew language in the time of Nehemiah and Ezra, returning exiles from Babylon. This enabled literate people in that area of the world to read the Hebrew scriptures. Around 300 B.C. The first five books of the O.T. were translated into Greek and less than 100 years later the Septuagint version of the Hebrew Scriptures began circulating throughout the Greek speaking world. From there they were translated into many languages for the last 2000 yrs. These events in Joshua happened around 1400 B.C. For about 3400 years, the historical information of the Hebrews scriptures was known in agreement with other historical sources to be undisputed, universally accepted as historical fact.

Through out Scripture, the listing of people and places is how God embeds verifiable historical information into HIS Holy Writings. The significance of Chapter 12 is the documenting of God’s work through HIS people as to how God could conquer an entire region.

Joshua Chapter 12

1 These are the kings east of the Jordan River who had been defeated by the Israelites and whose land was taken. Their territory extended from the Arnon Gorge to Mount Hermon and included all ‘The Land’ east of the Jordan Valley.

  • This is the conquest of the portion of the promised land led by Moses
  • These conquests are described at the end of the book of Numbers, chapter 21

2 King Sihon of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, was defeated. His kingdom included Aroer, on the edge of the Arnon Gorge, and extended from the middle of the Arnon Gorge to the Jabbok River, which serves as a border for the Ammonites. This territory included the southern half of the territory of Gilead. 3 Sihon also controlled the Jordan Valley and regions to the east—from as far north as the Sea of Galilee to as far south as the Dead Sea, including the road to Beth-jeshimoth and southward to the slopes of Pisgah.

  • Arnon George is east of the southernmost part of the Dead Sea
  • The Jabbok River meets the Jordan river where the city of Succoth is

4 King Og of Bashan, the last of the Rephaites, lived at Ashtaroth and Edrei. 5 He ruled a territory stretching from Mount Hermon to Salecah in the north and to all of Bashan in the east, and westward to the borders of the kingdoms of Geshur and Maacah. This territory included the northern half of Gilead, as far as the boundary of King Sihon of Heshbon.

  • Raphaites: Giants like Anakites, (11:21-22) & Goliath. Og had 6 fingers & toes
  • Bashan was a region that was called that in 1400 B.C. (Bible & other sources)
  • 732 BC city of Ashtaroth in region known as Bashan conquered by Assyrians
  • Then Assyrians made the Northern kingdom of Israel pay tribute (2nd Kings 15)
  • Then they conquered & deported population (2nd Kings 16 & 1st Chronicles 5)
  • Scripture is grounded in verified history (Accounts were verified for centuries)
  • History was a oral record alongside the written (99% of people illiterate)

6 Moses, the servant of the Lord, and the Israelites had destroyed the people of King Sihon and King Og. And Moses gave their land as a possession to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh.

  • Reuben, Gad and Manasseh ASKED FOR THE LAND
  • Good land for livestock…
  • They would be the 1st of the tribes to be exiled (1 Chronicles Ch. 5)

7 The following is a list of the kings that Joshua and the Israelite armies defeated on the west side of the Jordan, from Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak, which leads up to Seir. Joshua gave this land to the tribes of Israel as their possession, 8 including the hill country, the western foothills, the Jordan Valley, the mountain slopes, the Judean wilderness, and the Negev. The people who lived in this region were the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

  • Geographic look at the territory conquered
  • Listing of people groups that were largely destroyed (remnants on coast & hills)

These are the kings Israel defeated: 9 The king of Jericho. The king of Ai, near Bethel. 10 The king of Jerusalem. The king of Hebron. 11 The king of Jarmuth. The king of Lachish. 12 The king of Eglon. The king of Gezer. 13 The king of Debir. The king of Geder. 14 The king of Hormah. The king of Arad. 15 The king of Libnah. The king of Adullam. 16 The king of Makkedah. The king of Bethel.

  • The listing of the kings is a social / political look at what was conquered
  • Not all the cities conquered were initially occupied
  • Not all of these Kings were previously mentioned

17 The king of Tappuah. The king of Hepher. 18 The king of Aphek. The king of Lasharon. 19 The king of Madon. The king of Hazor. 20 The king of Shimron. The king of Acshaph. 21 The king of Taanach. The king of Megiddo. 22 The king of Kedesh. The king of Jokneam in Carmel. 23 The king of Dor. The king of Goyim in Gilgal 24 The king of Tirzah. In all, thirty-one kings were defeated.

  • Kings not mentioned before may have been defeated in Ch. 11:16-18
  • 33 kings in all…The KING of 33 kings…the KING of all kings: Yahweh!


The land promised to Abram by God had people occupying it. God had HIS people devote these people to destruction in order to fulfill HIS promise. It happened and God wanted us to know it happened. For centuries this information was attested to as historically accurate. (not necessarily complete)

Moses and Joshua were commanded by God to devote these kingdoms according to to HIS plan. The listing of physical territory and each ‘king’ is a display of historical verifiability for generations to come with specific geographic and political information. This victorious God-Given conquest is part of the identity of HIS people, then and now.

At this point God’s people begin to occupy The Promised Land, but it is not a completed conquest of all the territory promised to Abram. Up to this point there has been unified obedience under Joshua (except 1st battle of Ai).

BIG Themes of the Book of Joshua:

  • Obedience fuels the miraculous
  • God’s People can possess what God promises them
  • God’s People are strong & courageous when they trust HIM
  • The value of our faith in God is found in our acting on it
  • Disobedience leads to disaster
  • Leadership matters to all of us
  • God always fulfills His Promises


Why is it important for a follower of Christ to embrace the Historicity of the Hebrew Scriptures?

How does YOUR historical understanding of all Scripture influence your life as a disciple of Christ?

Which ones of the seven themes listed above do you fully resonate with? Which ones do you not fully agree with?


God has embedded history into Scripture and The Scripture contains verifiable history for us to see HIM at work in HIS Story. Might we grow in our practice of applying historical context to our understanding of God’s Word.

Obedience Leads To Maturity

Practice: praying before during and after Biblical preaching; asking God to use what is being said to convict, educate and inspire you. Ask God to keep you from thinking about other people’s need to hear what is being preached, ask HIM to focus you on your need.

There is really no application in this text for those who have not Biblically converted to Christ Following…and the message is a bit redundant…That is odd because God should realize we are smart enough to get it right if we are told once… seriously!

Big Picture: God provided a way for HIS people to quickly and definitively conquer the peoples HE decided to destroy. Joshua leads the united Israel to accept what God provides and do as HE commands. That is what we sign up for when we give our life to Jesus Christ…it is not ours anymore. As God provides whatever our job is to obey.

The conquest of the land promised to Abraham by His descendants has been fully orchestrated and accomplished by God…just like the rest of all human history! As His people we are to use the documented record of these events to learn, to gain insight, to mature spiritually…Why do we mature spiritually? To REPRODUCE! How is spiritual maturity measured? Those who are mature reproduce healthy, maturing disciples.

At the core of spiritual maturity is obedience to what God commands. It is the map, the road, the vehicle, the journey and the destination: Obedience! This passage shows God bringing about the destruction of thousands using the obedience of HIS people. As HIS people there are lesson for us if we yield to God’s Spirit and obey.

Joshua 11

When Jabin king of Hazor heard of this, he sent word to Jobab king of Madon, to the kings of Shimron and Akshaph, 2 and to the northern kings who were in the mountains, in the Arabah south of Chinnereth, in the western foothills and in Naphoth Dor on the west; 3 to the Canaanites in the east and west; to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites and Jebusites in the hill country; and to the Hivites below Mt. Hermon in the region of Mizpah. 4 They came out with all their troops and a large number of horses and chariots—a huge army, as numerous as the sand on the seashore. 5 All these kings joined forces and made camp together at the Waters of Merom to fight against Israel.

  • Jabin is singled out as the initiator, he gathers 8 groups against Israel; 160 sq. mi.
  • God gathers them, they don’t gather themselves
  • One large battle: faster, more efficient, greater display of God’s power

6 The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them, slain, over to Israel. You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.” 7 So Joshua and his whole army came against them suddenly at the Waters of Merom and attacked them, 8 and the Lord gave them into the hand of Israel. They defeated them and pursued them all the way to Greater Sidon, to Misrephoth Maim, and to the Valley of Mizpah on the east, until no survivors were left. 9 Joshua did to them as the Lord had directed: He hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots.

  • The ultimate confidence builder: when God says don’t be afraid we can obey!
  • God says how it is going to happen and that is how it happens
  • Joshua led them and they followed in doing exactly what God commanded

10 At that time Joshua turned back and captured Hazor and put its king to the sword. (Hazor had been the head of all these kingdoms.) 11 Everyone in it they put to the sword. They totally devoted them, not sparing anyone that breathed, and he burned Hazor itself. 12 Joshua took all these royal cities and their kings and put them to the sword. He totally devoted them, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded. 13 Yet Israel did not burn any of the cities built on their mounds—except Hazor, which Joshua burned.

  • Hazor is burned, the other cities are left standing…they will be inhabited
  • We can Assume God told Joshua to burn the city of Hazor but not any others

14 The Israelites carried off for themselves all the plunder and livestock of these cities, but all the people they put to the sword until they completely destroyed them, not sparing anyone that breathed. 15 As the Lord commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses.

  • These cites are taken in an efficient way to enrich the Israelites
  • God wrote Scripture… God must be satisfied with the level of obedience
  • God says the obedience was total

16 So Joshua took this entire land: the hill country, all the Negev, the whole region of Goshen, the western foothills, the Arabah and the mountains of Israel with their foothills, 17 from Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir, to Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon below Mount Hermon. He captured all their kings and put them to death. 18 Joshua waged war against all these kings for a long time.

  • This entire land: The northern & southern parts of the promised land
  • The detail of the conquest seems quick, but it was a longer time then southern

19 Except for the Hivites living in Gibeon, not one city made a treaty of peace with the Israelites, who took them all in battle. 20 For it was the Lord himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that Joshua might devote them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the Lord had commanded Moses.

  • All the other cities were inflamed with the desire to destroy the Israelites
  • God willed it and did it!

21 At that time Joshua went and destroyed the Anakites from the hill country: from Hebron, Debir and Anab, from all the hill country of Judah, and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua totally destroyed them and their towns. 22 No Anakites were left in Israelite territory; only in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod did any survive.

  • When the northern end of the promised land was secured Joshua went south
  • Mop up campaign of ‘Giants’ who were hiding in small groups in the hills
  • They didn’t join the original souther battle

23 So Joshua took the entire land, just as the Lord had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions. Then the land had rest from war.

  • This is the completion of the initial conquest
  • The ‘Land’ had peace
  • Only when God’s will is obeyed is there peace
  • Salvation is ‘Peace with God’


God moves the northern kings to assemble, then gives HIS people the assurance of HIS intention to go before them and destroy their foes. God gives HIS people what they need, our challenge is to move forward with confidence in HIM..

The city that leads the attack on Israel is made an example of. Except the Gibeonites, not one other group tries to make peace. Actively working against God is a place without peace.

Joshua follows the example of Moses: complete obedience, leaving nothing of all that the Lord commanded. Partial obedience is disobedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience.

Every moment is exactly as God wills it to happen and it is recorded specifically as HE desires. God’s control of every aspect of our world is redundantly taught in Scripture for HIS people’s benefit.

In response to God providing, HIS people are careful to do all that HE commands.


Is there an area where you have not obeyed God because you don’t think HE has provided the right situation? What needs to happen for you to obey?

Do you have a lack of peace in your life? Is there way you are working against what God has clearly commanded? (relationships / your role in the church / money) What is your response?

Have you fully embraced a Biblical Theology of God’s control? How is this embrace connected to your spiritual maturity?


As His people we get insight into what God wants us to do, generally and specifically, throught he continued study of scripture. Then we build a lifestyle of obedience; practicing humility and teachability so we can humbly teach others as we mature.

Trusting God’s Justice and Goodness

Today’s passage is easily dismissed and overlooked as just more conquest. But it is just as important as any part of God’s Word. Do we have the humility before the ‘All-Everything God’ to trust HE knows best? Do you believe that whatever your idea of best is, God’s idea of best is better?

Previously on Joshua: The Longest Day:

29 Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Makkedah to Libnah and attacked it. 30 The Lord also gave that city and its king into Israel’s hand. The city and everyone in it Joshua put to the sword. He left no survivors there. And he did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho.

  • The battle had begun as a defense of Gibeon (they made a treaty)
  • The 5 Kings (led by the King of Jerusalem) were surprised and routed
  • The armies in retreat before Israel were killed by massive hailstones
  • Kings hid in a cave while God extended the daylight for and extra day
  • They stood on the necks of the kings, the sun finally set now the 2nd day

31 Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Libnah to Lachish; he took up positions against it and attacked it. 32 The Lord gave Lachish into Israel’s hands, and Joshua took it on the second day. The city and everyone in it he put to the sword, just as he had done to Libnah. 33 Meanwhile, Horam king of Gezer had come up to help Lachish, but Joshua defeated him and his army—until no survivors were left.

  • Approached as the sun set, they surrounded them, and then attacked in the am
  • ‘Took up positions’ can also be translated as ‘laid siege to’
  • The second day of the campaign will be a normal length day so they get busy

34 Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Lachish to Eglon; they took up positions against it and attacked it. 35 They captured it that same day and put it to the sword and totally destroyed everyone in it, just as they had done to Lachish. 36 Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron and attacked it. 37 They took the city and put it to the sword, together with its king, its villages and everyone in it. They left no survivors. Just as at Eglon, they totally destroyed it and everyone in it.

  • Again they took up positions, the armies are not coming out fo the cities
  • Hebron is a bit bigger, a city with villages surrounding it
  • So at this point it seems like an unnecessary amount of carnage
  • We look at this and say, ‘maybe he can just kill soldiers…’
  • This is what obedience can look like sometimes…

38 Then Joshua and all Israel with him turned around and attacked Debir. 39 They took the city, its king and its villages, and put them to the sword. Everyone in it they totally destroyed. They left no survivors. They did to Debir and its king as they had done to Libnah and its king and to Hebron.

  • Repetition is to show the continued obedience
  • Just like you and I they might begin to say, (‘Do we have to kill them all?’)

40 So Joshua subdued the whole region, including the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills and the mountain slopes, together with all their kings. He left no survivors. He totally destroyed all who breathed, just as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded. 41 Joshua subdued them from Kadesh Barnea to Gaza and from the whole region of Goshen to Gibeon.

  • They did as God commanded, no shortcuts, no editing of the command
  • It may not have been made explicit earlier in chapter, this summation does
  • Every life God put before them they devoted to HIM, that was HIS Plan

42 All these kings and their lands Joshua conquered in one campaign, because the Lord, the God of Israel, fought for Israel. 43 Then Joshua returned with all Israel to the camp at Gilgal.

  • One campaign 2 days; a double length day and a single length day
  • How could this all be accomplished in such a short period of time?
  • Why didn’t they attack Jerusalem on their way back to Gilgal?
  • Why did God have the Israelites kill everyone?


City after city is attacked and utterly destroyed as an act of obedience to what God had commanded HIS people to do. (Deut. 20:16-18) Every life was ‘Devoted’ to the Lord.

The army trusted Joshua’s leadership to the point where they trusted God’s plan even if they could not fully understand it.

In God’s Judgement HE used the Israelites to devote to HIM earthly lives, but ultimately God is in charge of the eternal lives of all the humans everywhere. We are born & die according to HIS Plan.

This is an extreme example of the Biblical Principal: God’s people are called to obey without complete information, because HE made us HIS people.


Is there something God has led you to do that you can’t understand why you should do it? Will you do it anyway? What would a Biblical Practice of that process look like?

Why does God allow seemingly innocent people to die? Do you require an answer you agree with? What standards do you use to judge if God is fair or not?

If God Judged these people, can you trust they deserved to be Judged?

If God Saved these people, can you trust God’s decision to give them eternal life?


What we can see of God’s plan is fundamentally limited. Biblically following Christ is about developing a relationship with God where we humbly trust in HIS character; then we can trust HIS Plan!

Absolutely Unlimited!

What is your view of God? Where are you as far as having a solid Biblical Theology? How we view God is the most important thing in this world. We cannot be rightly related to someone who we do not know and understand. Getting to know God is no small deal…there is a lot to learn!

From a informed Biblical Theology flows:

  • How we relate to God
  • How we view Christ
  • How we view His bride
  • How we do relationships
  • How we structure our lifestyle and lifework
  • How we conduct ourselves in public and private
  • How we handle money & resources
  • How we raise children

With a complete grasp of both Testaments, read as God’s people have always read them, we understand a lot about God…one critical thing to understand is that we cannot fully understand HIM in this life. The more we are drawn into the reality of Jesus Christ by God’s sovereign will, we see a better picture of who God is.

A key aspect of the Biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ, is that God loved us humans so much HE encapsulated His divinity into a human body, supernaturally impregnating a woman. He does this so we can see HIM in a relatable way. Why? Because HIS totality is beyond our ability to comprehend…But we can understand enough! Enough to trust Him, enough to walk with Him, enough to let Him Parent you, enough to surrender your life to Christ’s call to be His disciple… I hope today’s passage helps.

Our text today can seem to be a bit basic and repetitive regarding the conquest we are in the midst of. But as we view it from a perspective of the Old Testament Scripture together with the New Testament Scripture, it joins a chorus of God’s Word declaring HIS all encompassing Omni-Everything!

Singular / Self Existent / All Knowing / All Powerful / Unconstrained by time, space, matter or ANYTHING / Essentially Perfect / The Definer of Love / The Author of Grace / The Beginning and The End of EVERYTHING!

Israel pursued them along the road going up to Beth Horon and cut them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah. ~ 10:10b

  • This ends up being about 20 miles of combat, they needed the extra day!

Joshua 10:16-28

16 Now the five kings had fled and hidden in the cave at Makkedah. 17 When Joshua was told that the five kings had been found hiding in the cave at Makkedah, 18 he said, “Roll large rocks up to the mouth of the cave, and post some men there to guard it. 19 But don’t stop; pursue your enemies! Attack them from the rear and don’t let them reach their cities, for the Lord your God has given them into your hand.”

  • The Kings hide in a cave from the hail and to evade the ‘Light’
  • God demonstrates HE controls the Amorite Gods (Sun & Moon)
  • Here Joshua recognizes God’s plan and uses the time wisely

20 So Joshua and the Israelites defeated them completely, but a few survivors managed to reach their fortified cities. 21 The whole army then returned safely to Joshua in the camp at Makkedah, and no one uttered a word against the Israelites.

  • They basically destroyed FIVE armies with Zero casualties on their side
  • There was no remaining unrest, or further resistance
  • The civilians recognized they were under the control of the God of Israel

22 Joshua said, “Open the mouth of the cave and bring those five kings out to me.” 23 So they brought the five kings out of the cave—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon.

  • They bring them out into the extended daylight
  • The repetition of who the Kings are

24 When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, “Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks.

  • This is a visceral experience of the victory, a demonstration of absolute control
  • God’s control is being exercised through the nation of Israel

25 Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.”

  • This is what God says to HIS people when they trust enough to obey
  • The sin of the Amorites must be complete for now God is enacting Judgement
  • In Genesis 15 God told Abram that his offspring would get this land
  • When the ‘Sin of the Amorites has reached it’s full measure’ (Judgement Hour)

26 Then Joshua put the kings to death and exposed their bodies on five poles, and they were left hanging on the poles until evening. 27 At sunset Joshua gave the order and they took them down from the poles and threw them into the cave where they had been hiding. At the mouth of the cave they placed large rocks, which are there to this day.

  • Public show of dominance, as God has told them HE wants it done
  • The practice of taking the punished off the impaling pole carries forward

28 That day Joshua took Makkedah. He put the city and its king to the sword and totally destroyed everyone in it. He left no survivors. And he did to the king of Makkedah as he had done to the king of Jericho.

  • Joshua is finishing exactly as God has commanded and will continue
  • Same goal: God wants the Amorites fully devoted to HIM (HIS Judgement)

The Kings hide in response to God’s power, but they mistakenly believe HE is somehow limited. Scripture teaches that HE is unlimited, our response is belief.
The God of Scripture has absolute control of both the natural and the supernatural. Confidence in The Omni-Everything God allows us to live without fear.
Joshua pays attention to what God is providing and makes the most of it. As God’s people we are given the opportunity to be stewards in meaningful ways.
Joshua keeps doing what he has been commanded by God to do until he is told otherwise. The ultimate example of finishing well is our Lord Jesus Christ

Have you been convinced by a thorough study of scripture as to whether the God of the Bible is limited or not?
If God controls all things at all times, how should we specifically live based on that?
What are some specific things you would consider ‘Good Stewardship’ of the Biblical Gospel message?
Is there something you have not finished well? What did you learn from that experience?

Scripture testifies to God’s Omni-Everything! As HIS people we can make the smallest and biggest decisions in our life based on that reality.