Joshua's Greatest Victory!

Bible's First Battles    -    Wilderness Wars
Moses' Last Conflicts    -    Promised Land Wars
Joshua's Greatest Victory   -   Early Civil Wars
Israel Battles the Jews
This fifth timeline in our series covers Joshua's final wars and greatest military victory that made it possible for Israel to settle in most of the Promised Land. Please note that although this chronological timeline lists the wars fought by God's people, the Bible is unclear as to the exact time they occurred.

1405 - 1398 B.C.
Two kings fall to Israel
Joshua 10:31 - 32

From Libnah the Israelites cross over to Lachish. Israel, on only the second day of the war, is victorious over the city. The king of Libnah is executed and all his subjects are killed.

King Horam of Gezer, upon discovering what happened to Lachish, attempts to aid the city. His efforts, however, completely fail with both him and all his forces decimated in another short war (Joshua 10:33).

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Lachish will eventually become one of the Promised Land cities given to Judah as an inheritance (15:39). Gezer will be given to the tribe of Ephraim (16:9 - 10).

1405 - 1398
Lightening victory over Eglon
Joshua 10:34 - 35

The Israelite army leaves Lachish and journeys to Eglon. They, on the same day they encamp around the city, attack it. They quickly destroy the city and all those living within its walls. Eglon is eventually given to the tribe of Judah as an inheritance in Canaan.

1405 - 1398
Hebron is taken!
Joshua 10:36 - 37

From Eglon Israel's army moves to Hebron, a place designated as one of Israel's six cities of refuge by Moses (Numbers 35). It is also the location where Abraham's wife Sarah died (Genesis 23:2) and where David, in 1010 A.D., will be anointed king over the tribe of Judah (2Samuel 2:1 - 4).

Israel, as was done with Eglon, Lachish and others, quickly takes the city, kills its king, and takes the life of all the inhabitants so that there are no survivors.

Hebron and its immediate suburbs, after the Promised Land wars are completed, are given for use by the Levitical priests as a refuge city. The fields and villages surrounding it, however, are given to Caleb. He is one of only two people who did not die in the wilderness during Israel's forty-year punishment. His faith enabled him to receive his inheritance in the land of milk and honey (Numbers 14:24, Joshua 21:11 - 13).

1405 - 1398
Victory over Debir's king
Joshua 10:38 - 39

From Hebron Israel's military travels to Debir. As done with many other cities, they completely destroy it and kill all its leaders and those living within it. The city will eventually become one of the forty-eight locations assigned to the priestly tribe of Levi (Joshua 21:15). The staggeringly quick succession of military successes, in the southern portion of Canaan up to this point, is strictly credited to the Lord fighting for his people (10:42).

1405 - 1398
The last and greatest victory!
Joshua 11:1 - 15

Joshua's final and greatest war victory will take place in an area that will become the most northern territory controlled by God's people.

Jabin, king of Hazor, ruler over a city located north of the Sea of Galilee, hears about Israel's stunning victories. Hoping to stop Israel's conquests, he cobbles together an alliance of several other kings in the area. He also requests and receives military assistance from scattered Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Hivites and anyone else willing to defend their territory from being taken by God's people (Joshua 11:3).

The total number of Jabin's forces, the largest ever amassed against God's people, are considered as numerous as sand on the seashore. The first century A.D. Jewish historian Josephus speculated that this northern confederacy numbered at least 300,000 soldiers, 20,000 chariots and 10,000 horsemen (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 5, Chapter 1, Section 18)! This mass of military strength journeys to Merom (near Hazor) in preparation for launching an attack.

God informs Joshua that he will deliver this great enemy army into his hands. The Israelites then launch a surprise attack on the huge alliance at Merom and strike down all the fighting men! After this victory they rush to Hazor not only to burn the city to the ground, but also to kill all the inhabitants and take the life of Jabin.

Peace at last

Joshua, after his greatest military victory, ceases carrying out attacks to claim Israel's inheritance. The land, finally, is at peace.

The Bible records ten wars fought by Israel to take the Promised Land. God's people, during their period of almost constant warfare, will amazingly conquer thirty-one kings (Jos. 12:7 - 24) and inhabit territory previously occupied by a host of peoples and regional powers.

At the age of 92, in the seventh year after entering the Promised Land (1398 B.C., see Jos. 14:6, 10), Joshua turns his attention to dividing up the hard fought territory among Israel's tribes (chapters 15 - 21).

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Additional Study Materials
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Map of Ancient Israel

References
Bible Knowledge Commentary
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on Old Testament
Willmington's Complete Guide to Bible Knowledge


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