A new confederacy had now to be faced and fought. Conscious of their peril, the northern kings now joined in an attempt to break the power of those conquering hosts. Turning north, Joshua led an attack upon these kings and utterly routed them. He then turned back to Hazor with like results.
All this did not happen immediately. Indeed, we are told in the text that it had occupied "a long time." In all probability five years had elapsed from the death of Moses to this period.
Thus ended the unity of the action of the hosts of God. "The land had rest from war." Of course, there was still much to be done in the wav of conquest, but the power of the enemy was broken and the moment had arrived for the settlement of the land by the tribes of Israel. Afterward there was to be much fighting as occasion demanded, but the great preliminary war of conquest was practically over.
Great capital has often been made of this war of destruction and extermination, but it is manifestly unfair to criticize the action of the Hebrews without remembering what the Scriptures distinctly affirm its reason. Israel was the scourge of God on a corrupt people whose hearts God had hardened, that is, had made strong in order that they might be exterminated (verse Joshua 11:20 ) . The reason and method of this hardening process we saw in the case of Pharaoh in the study of Exodus. The hardening of the heart, as then, resulted from long-continued rebellion and was the natural outcome thereof Punishment fell only when in the highest interests of posterity the destruction of a people was necessary.
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25