Joshua 11-13
(Victory in the North)
March 7th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

At that time Joshua, turning back, captured Hazor and struck down its king with the sword; for Hazor formerly was the chief of all those kingdoms.

- Joshua 11:10 (NAB)

Summary of Chapters

This set of chapters bridges two sections of the book of Joshua. On the one side, chapters 11-12 describe the completion of the seven-year campaign to acquire land in Canaan. On the other side, chapter 13 begins a section that provides an account of the division of land according to the instructions given by Moses before he died.

In chapter 11, Joshua turns to the north to take on a powerful alliance of kings. The Israelites were outnumbered, but the LORD told him " 'Don't worry about them. This time tomorrow I'll hand them over to Israel, all dead. You'll hamstring their horses. You'll set fire to their chariots' (11:6 - MSG).” Joshua and the Israelites had success, as promised by the LORD, and conquered the cities and lands of these kings. Chapter 12 summarizes the list of the 31 kings that were defeated.

Chapter 13 describes the division of the land to the east of the Jordan River. The Jordan was the geographical backbone of the division of land. Except for Manasseh, each tribe was given land on either the east or west side of it, no other tribe had land that transversed the river. Three tribes had lands to the east:

    Land Granted East of the Jordan River
    Manasseh: The northern-most portion along the river, beginning just south of the sea of Galilee
    Gad: The land just below Manasseh, going south almost to the Dead Sea
    Reuben: The land south of Gad, extending about half-way down the Dead Sea

The division of land for the nine other tribes is described in the following chapter, which we will read tomorrow. There is no land given to the Levites because they were to be dedicated to serve God and would live in the land of the other tribes.

Reflection and Application

The end of chapter 11 notes that “Then the land had rest from war (11:23 - NIV).” The story had been told in a few chapters, but the effort required seven years. The respite after seven years was consistent with the sabbatical cycles that the LORD had decreed in Leviticus chapter 25. On the seventh year, the land and the people were supposed to rest. This gave the opportunity for the land to become re-nourished and for the people to put their trust in God and become refreshed physically and spiritually.

In Numbers 32, the leaders of the tribes of Manasseh (half-tribe of Joseph), Gad, and Reuben had asked Moses for the land east of the Jordan. Moses agreed, as long as the men helped conquer lands for the other tribes. The tribes agreed, fulfilled their pledge, and returned to their new land. The detailed descriptions in chapter 13 aid archeologists and others who are interested in finding the modern boundaries associated with these allotments.

Friends who visited Israel in February 2011 told us that on their trip they had the opportunity to visit the ruins of the King of Hazor's palace, and noted that it brought to life the account recorded in Joshua 11: "Yet Israel did not burn any of the cities built on their mounds—except Hazor, which Joshua burned (v13 - NIV)."

From the experiences described in this set of chapters we can learn that if we patiently and obediently follow God’s instructions, as Joshua did, then we will eventually succeed. Joshua was between 85 and 100 years old when these battles ended. He had waited thirty-nine years to begin this campaign and the entire conquest took seven years, but he persisted and succeeded. How long do we have to wait for our battles to be won? It may be an equal or longer amount, but if we have faith, we can believe that God is with us during our wait, and we can listen for the instructions he gives us as we prepare for our victory. Then, we will receive what has been promised to us.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What inheritances have you received?
    2. What is the big battle in your life right now?
    3. What instructions is God giving you as you await the outcome?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, please help us to remember to consult with you before we face our big battles and then follow your advice diligently.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    People working tirelessly without any time to rest

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Joshua 14-17 (Allotment West of the Jordan)

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