Five Amorite Kings Executed
16 These five kings fled and hid themselves in the cave at Makkedah. 17 And it was told to Joshua, “The five kings have been found, hidden in the cave at Makkedah.” 18 And Joshua said, “Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave and set men by it to guard them, 19 but do not stay there yourselves. Pursue your enemies; attack their rear guard. Do not let them enter their cities, for the Lord your God has given them into your hand.” 20 When Joshua and the sons of Israel had finished striking them with a great blow until they were wiped out, and when the remnant that remained of them had entered into the fortified cities, 21 then all the people returned safe to Joshua in the camp at Makkedah. Not a man moved his tongue against any of the people of Israel.
22 Then Joshua said, “Open the mouth of the cave and bring those five kings out to me from the cave.” 23 And they did so, and brought those five kings out to him from the cave, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon. 24 And when they brought those kings out to Joshua, Joshua summoned all the men of Israel and said to the chiefs of the men of war who had gone with him, “Come near; put your feet on the necks of these kings.” Then they came near and put their feet on their necks. 25 And Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid or dismayed; be strong and courageous. For thus the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.” 26 And afterward Joshua struck them and put them to death, and he hanged them on five trees. And they hung on the trees until evening. 27 But at the time of the going down of the sun, Joshua commanded, and they took them down from the trees and threw them into the cave where they had hidden themselves, and they set large stones against the mouth of the cave, which remain to this very day.
28 As for Makkedah, Joshua captured it on that day and struck it, and its king, with the edge of the sword. He devoted to destruction every person in it; he left none remaining. And he did to the king of Makkedah just as he had done to the king of Jericho.
Conquest of Southern Canaan
29 Then Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Makkedah to Libnah and fought against Libnah. 30 And the Lord gave it also and its king into the hand of Israel. And he struck it with the edge of the sword, and every person in it; he left none remaining in it. And he did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho.
31 Then Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Libnah to Lachish and laid siege to it and fought against it. 32 And the Lord gave Lachish into the hand of Israel, and he captured it on the second day and struck it with the edge of the sword, and every person in it, as he had done to Libnah.
33 Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish. And Joshua struck him and his people, until he left none remaining.
34 Then Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Lachish to Eglon. And they laid siege to it and fought against it. 35 And they captured it on that day, and struck it with the edge of the sword. And he devoted every person in it to destruction that day, as he had done to Lachish.
36 Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron. And they fought against it 37 and captured it and struck it with the edge of the sword, and its king and its towns, and every person in it. He left none remaining, as he had done to Eglon, and devoted it to destruction and every person in it.
38 Then Joshua and all Israel with him turned back to Debir and fought against it 39 and he captured it with its king and all its towns. And they struck them with the edge of the sword and devoted to destruction every person in it; he left none remaining. Just as he had done to Hebron and to Libnah and its king, so he did to Debir and to its king.
40 So Joshua struck the whole land, the hill country and the Negev and the lowland and the slopes, and all their kings. He left none remaining, but devoted to destruction all that breathed, just as theLord God of Israel commanded. 41 And Joshua struck them from Kadesh-barnea as far as Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, as far as Gibeon. 42 And Joshua captured all these kings and their land at one time, because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel. 43 Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.
Joshua and the Israelites had just been given an incredible victory over the 5 kings’ armies, and now it was time to deal with the kings themselves. Before the conquests had begun God told Joshua to be strong and courageous, and now those words are echoed to the people, showing Joshua’s belief in what God had planned for them.
I can’t help but think there is some symbolism behind the way the kings were treated. The kings were considered saviors to their people, and here they are, at the hands of their enemies, being slaughtered and hung on trees. Is this not also like our Savior Christ? He was led as a lamb to slaughter (Isaiah 53), handed over for death on a tree, and then buried in a tomb sealed with large stones. The kings could not save their people from death, but Christ has conquered it.
Principle: What the earthly kings could not do for their people, Christ has done for His.
In the remaining verses we become witness to the awesome power of what man can accomplish through God’s leading. As God had commanded Joshua, he obeyed, and devoted all the lives of the cities they fought against to destruction. I once heard a sermon in which the pastor said, “You might say to me, ‘What about all those innocent people who didn’t get a chance to know Christ? Will they be damned to eternal separation from God in hell?’ The answer is no, the innocent people will not go to hell… but you will be hard pressed to find an innocent person. The truth is that there is no one innocent. God has revealed himself to every man, but man has suppressed that knowledge.”
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[g] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. – Romans 1:18-25
Those idols or images of creation do not have to be statues, or what we imagine ancient peoples to have made for worship. They can be people that we adore or look up to. They can be a government party, or a favorite car. The thing we worship most could be ourselves, or our way of thinking. What do you worship every day? What do you spend most of your time thinking about? Have you traded worshiping our Lord and Savior for something of creation?
- Is there an application to follow or a command to obey?
My application is to really be aware of where my brain wanders off to each day. Am I thinking on the things of God, or what i want to do, or have? Do those things really matter in the end? This life is a means to an end, it just matters what end I would prefer.
- Are there attitudes that needed changing, or an error to avoid?
I need to be aware of my attitude in thinking that God can NOT change me. I KNOW He can, but I must have faith and believe that He will, and in His time, not mine.
- Is there a sin being revealed?
Yes, my attitude toward God is not one of authority, and it should be.
- Does this make you want to pray for someone or yourself?
My savior, my God… only you are powerful enough to bring about change in my life. I am not able to do this by myself, or on my own. I need your hand in my life to direct my every step, especially my words towards others. Lord give me patience, and sincerity.