Did Joshua take at one time - That is, he defeated all those kings, and took all their cities, in One campaign; this appears to be the rational construction of the Hebrew. But these conquests were so rapid and stupendous, that they cannot be attributed either to the generalship of Joshua, or the valor of the Israelites; and hence the author himself, disclaiming the merit of them, modestly and piously adds, because the Lord Good of Israel fought for Israel. It was by this aid that Joshua took all these kings and their land at one time - in a single campaign. And when all the circumstances related in this chapter are properly weighed, we shall find that God alone could have performed these works, and that both reason and piety require that to Him alone they should be attributed.
At one time - i. e. in one campaign or expedition, which no doubt lasted some days, or perhaps weeks (compare Joshua 11:18).
The victory at Beth-horon was speedily followed by the conquest of southern Canaan. “Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale.... And all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time, because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel. And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp at Gilgal.” PP 510.1
The tribes of northern Palestine, terrified at the success which had attended the armies of Israel, now entered into a league against them. At the head of this confederacy was Jabin, king of Hazor, a territory to the west of Lake Merom. “And they went out, they and all their hosts with them.” This army was much larger than any that the Israelites had before encountered in Canaan—“much people, even as the sand that is upon the seashore in multitude, with horses and chariots very many. And when all these kings were met together, they came and pitched together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel.” Again a message of encouragement was given to Joshua: “Be not afraid because of them: for tomorrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel.” PP 510.2
Near Lake Merom he fell upon the camp of the allies and utterly routed their forces. “The Lord delivered them into the hand of Israel, who smote them, and chased them ... until they left them none remaining.” The chariots and horses that had been the pride and boast of the Canaanites were not to be appropriated by Israel. At the command of God the chariots were burned, and the horses lamed, and thus rendered unfit for use in battle. The Israelites were not to put their trust in chariots or horses, but “in the name of the Lord their God.” PP 510.3
One by one the cities were taken, and Hazor, the stronghold of the confederacy, was burned. The war was continued for several years, but its close found Joshua master of Canaan. “And the land had rest from war.” PP 510.4Read in context »