Sefer Yehoshua-Chapter 11: The conquering of the remaining cities


Chapter 11: The conquering of the remaining cities


1. The kings set up a coalition army to battle the Jewish people:

  • When Yavin, the king of Chatzor, heard of the conquest of the cities, he became very fearful. He therefore decided to make a coalition of cities and kings to wage war against the Jewish people.
  • A coalition army is made: He sent a message to Yovav the king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron, and to the king of Achshof, and to other kings throughout Israel, including the Canaanite, Amorite, Hittite, Perizzite, Jevusite, and Hivite who lived by Mount Chermon. The coalition army was made up of myriads of soldiers like the sand of the earth and they had many horses and chariots of war. They all gathered together to wage battle against the Jewish people in the area of Meiy Marom [by the land called Mitzpei[1]].
  • Hashem guarantees victory: Hashem told Yehoshua not to fear the massive army, as the next day they will be handed into their hands, and they will all be slain before their eyes. Hashem instructed Yehoshua to chop off the hooves[2] of all their horses and burn their chariots in fire [in order so the Jewish people do not use them in battle and place their trust only in Hashem[3]].
  • The battle: Yehoshua and the entire Jewish army came upon them in surprise and made many of their soldiers fall in battle. They chased after them until no survivor remained. Yehoshua did as he was instructed by G-d and had the hooves of all the horses cut off, and he burnt their chariots.
  • The conquest of Chatzor: Yehoshua returned and smote the city of Chatzor and its king, who was the leader of all these kingdoms. No survivor remained from the city of Chatzor and the city was burnt to the ground [based on a directive from Moshe Rabbeinu who received it from Hashem.[4]].
  • The spoilage of war: Aside for the city of Chatzor, the other captured cities were not burnt [and their walls were not destroyed[5]] and rather they were taken as spoilage of war. The Jewish people took all their cattle and belongings; however, every human being was killed with no survivors.

2. Summary of the conquest of Eretz Yisrael:

  • Yehoshua followed exactly all the instructions he was given by Moshe, who was instructed by Hashem. Yehoshua captured the entire land, the mountains, the north, the south, the land of Goshen. All the kings of these lands were captured and killed. The conquest took many days [as Yehoshua knew he would die after it was completed, and hence delayed the conquest of all the cities in the land[6]]. There were no cities that made a peace treaty with the Jewish people, other than the Hivites who lived in Givon. Hashem hardened the hearts of all the nations, that they should desire to fight in battle [rather than make peace[7]] in order so they would all be eradicated.
  • The giants are killed: Yehoshua at that time annihilated all the giants from the mountain of Chevron, and other Judean mountains that they populated. The entire Israel was eradicated from the giants, with exception to the cities of Aza, Gat, and Ashdod.
  • The land is distributed to the Jewish people: After Yehoshua captured all the land as instructed by Moshe, he distributed it as an inheritance to the Jewish people.
  • The land now rested from war. [In truth there still remained many lands to be conquered, however the Jewish people did not attack them at this point, and they too did not attack the Jewish people.[8]]


[1] Radak 11:2

[2] See Metzudas Tizyon 11:6; Radak 11:9

[3] Radak 11:9

[4] Rashi 11:13; Radak 11:13; see Ralbag 11:13

[5] Rashi 11:13; Radak 11:13

[6] Rashi and Radak 11:18

[7] See Ralbag 11:18 that even the seven Canaanite nations would have been allowed to live if they would agree to the terms of surrender of the Jewish people

[8] Ralbag 11:21

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