Joshua 12–Just How Big a Victory Was It?

There is no doubt that in the entire history of the biblical times, no leader has seen more sucess and a better illustration of obedience leading to victory than did Joshua.  But, the initial reporting of the victory was relatively vague.  God simply refused to leave it as vague. 

So, chapter 12 gives us a clear picture of the enormity of the victory Israel won in their clearing of Canaan.  The reality was that this group of freed slaves defeated a total of 31 kings in 5 years and not only defeated them but wiped them out.  They laid waste to 31 kingdoms gathering the plunder from all but two.  They lost very few people, they kept no slaves, and they now possessed, without interruption, the land of Canaan. God knew the strategy and minds of each of the 31 kings that were defeated.  He was efficient, thorough, and decisive. He preceded the troops; He protected the troops and He caused chaos and fear to infiltrate the enemy.  The deck was rigged to assure certain victory for God’s chosen. 

Amazingly, the deck is rigged for His chosen today, as well.  We know that upon Christ’s return, He will emerge victorious; and, those that follow him now will be similarly situated to those that followed Him through Canaan.  We do not have to be the best, the brightest, or the strongest–we simply must trust, follow, and allow the omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent Creator and Lord–lead, guide and direct our path.  That will lead to certain victory and eternal life.  In my mind, you cannot ask for much more than that!

God Bless You


These are the kings east of the Jordan River who had been killed by the Israelites and whose land was taken. Their territory extended from the Arnon Gorge to Mount Hermon and included all the land east of the Jordan Valley.[a]

King Sihon of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, was defeated. His kingdom included Aroer, on the edge of the Arnon Gorge, and extended from the middle of the Arnon Gorge to the Jabbok River, which serves as a border for the Ammonites. This territory included the southern half of the territory of Gilead. Sihon also controlled the Jordan Valley and regions to the east—from as far north as the Sea of Galilee to as far south as the Dead Sea,[b] including the road to Beth-jeshimoth and southward to the slopes of Pisgah.

King Og of Bashan, the last of the Rephaites, lived at Ashtaroth and Edrei. He ruled a territory stretching from Mount Hermon to Salecah in the north and to all of Bashan in the east, and westward to the borders of the kingdoms of Geshur and Maacah. This territory included the northern half of Gilead, as far as the boundary of King Sihon of Heshbon.

Moses, the servant of the Lord, and the Israelites had destroyed the people of King Sihon and King Og. And Moses gave their land as a possession to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh.

Kings Defeated West of the Jordan

The following is a list of the kings that Joshua and the Israelite armies defeated on the west side of the Jordan, from Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak, which leads up to Seir. (Joshua gave this land to the tribes of Israel as their possession, including the hill country, the western foothills,[c] the Jordan Valley, the mountain slopes, the Judean wilderness, and the Negev. The people who lived in this region were the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.) These are the kings Israel defeated:

The king of Jericho
The king of Ai, near Bethel
10 The king of Jerusalem
The king of Hebron
11 The king of Jarmuth
The king of Lachish
12 The king of Eglon
The king of Gezer
13 The king of Debir
The king of Geder
14 The king of Hormah
The king of Arad
15 The king of Libnah
The king of Adullam
16 The king of Makkedah
The king of Bethel
17 The king of Tappuah
The king of Hepher
18 The king of Aphek
The king of Lasharon
19 The king of Madon
The king of Hazor
20 The king of Shimron-meron
The king of Acshaph
21 The king of Taanach
The king of Megiddo
22 The king of Kedesh
The king of Jokneam in Carmel
23 The king of Dor in the town of Naphoth-dor[d]
The king of Goyim in Gilgal[e]
24 The king of Tirzah.

Joshua 8 Part 1–Joshua the Shepherd

When all is right with God, it is much easier to lead with confidence.  Joshua had grieved the loss of his men at the first battle of Ai. He grieved the sin of Achan and the punishment and pain it had caused. So, after dealing with the sin and dealing with the loss–God picked up his leader and gave him back the confidence to continue.  And continue Israel did.

This time God told Israel to take all the spoils of the battle. He devised the plan to ambush Ai.  He knew they would be cocky and confident and would not think like soldiers.  He was right.  Ai left themselves unguarded and their city open to attack because they were going to show those Israelites a thing or two. Israel seized on their overconfidence and destroyed them.  As the people finished up the battle and divided the spoils, Joshua was able to breathe. He had again brought the people back in line and in right fellowship with God. 

Joshua was again reminded He was a shepherd–not a general. His job was to lead his people to follow the Lord.  It was God’s job to then clear the land for the people.  

One of the most difficult parts of following the Lord is placing our confidence in Him, and not placing it in our own abilities.  It can lead us to make choices we regret, and or place us in positions where our overconfidence leads to our own destruction.  If we lead like Joshua led, seeking God, and allowing Him to lead us–then, the Lord will do amazing things.  If we try to wrestle control away from the Lord, God will allow us to have control but, He will also us to fall into the traps that come with it.

God Bless You


And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear and do not be dismayed. Take all the fighting men with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, and his people, his city, and his land. And you shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king. Only its spoil and its livestock you shall take as plunder for yourselves. Lay an ambush against the city, behind it.”

So Joshua and all the fighting men arose to go up to Ai. And Joshua chose 30,000 mighty men of valor and sent them out by night. And he commanded them, “Behold, you shall lie in ambush against the city, behind it. Do not go very far from the city, but all of you remain ready. And I and all the people who are with me will approach the city. And when they come out against us just as before, we shall flee before them. And they will come out after us, until we have drawn them away from the city. For they will say, ‘They are fleeing from us, just as before.’ So we will flee before them. Then you shall rise up from the ambush and seize the city, for the Lord your God will give it into your hand. And as soon as you have taken the city, you shall set the city on fire. You shall do according to the word of the Lord. See, I have commanded you.” So Joshua sent them out. And they went to the place of ambush and lay between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai, but Joshua spent that night among the people…. And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had captured the city, and that the smoke of the city went up, then they turned back and struck down the men of Ai. 22 And the others came out from the city against them, so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side. And Israel struck them down, until there was left none that survived or escaped. 23 But the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him near to Joshua.

24 When Israel had finished killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the open wilderness where they pursued them, and all of them to the very last had fallen by the edge of the sword, all Israel returned to Ai and struck it down with the edge of the sword. 25 And all who fell that day, both men and women, were 12,000, all the people of Ai. 26 But Joshua did not draw back his hand with which he stretched out the javelin until he had devoted all the inhabitants of Ai to destruction.[b] 27 Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took as their plunder, according to the word of the Lord that he commanded Joshua. 28 So Joshua burned Ai and made it forever a heap of ruins, as it is to this day. 29 And he hanged the king of Ai on a tree until evening. And at sunset Joshua commanded, and they took his body down from the tree and threw it at the entrance of the gate of the city and raised over it a great heap of stones, which stands there to this day.

Numbers 27–The Dawn of Women’s Rights

The people of Israel were coming to the end of their marching through the desert.  As Moses and the people sat across the Jordan, some daughters of the Israelites came before Moses and asked to receive the property of their father who died.  Up to that point, the inheritance went to the 1st born son and then to each of the sons.  So when the daughters approached Moses; there was no provision in place. 

So Moses took it to the Lord.  The Lord was clear. If a person died without sons, daughters would inherit. if no children then brothers. If no brothers, then closest family in the clan.  Thus, the beginning of estate law was passed from God to Israel.The greatest message here was that God held all people in high regard. He cared that people were treated properly no matter the age, race, gender or family.  He has, and always will act on our behalf, because God loves us unconditionally.

Then and now, God does not play favorites.  The Lord simply asks that we trust and follow Him.  God wants the best for all people.  God saw men’s greed, and knew that He would be somehow blamed for their desire to steal. So God set out a plan for all people to be treated fairly.  

It is critical  even today, that we remember that God is at the center of human rights.  He does not manipulate of politicize them–no, He simply reminds us that we are to live as He has and treat people with respect and dignity no matter their race, age, gender, nationality or financial status. If we would do that, the chaos which is our culture would be stable; and people would see life as God always intended us to live it.  

God Bless You

The daughters of Zelophehad son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Makir, the son of Manasseh, belonged to the clans of Manasseh son of Joseph. The names of the daughters were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milkah and Tirzah. They came forward and stood before Moses,Eleazar the priest, the leaders and the whole assembly at the entrance to the tent of meetingand said, “Our father died in the wilderness. He was not among Korah’s followers, who banded together against the Lord, but he died for his own sin and left no sons. Why should our father’s name disappear from his clan because he had no son? Give us property among our father’s relatives.”

So Moses brought their case before the Lord, and the Lord said to him, “What Zelophehad’s daughters are saying is right. You must certainly give them property as an inheritance among their father’s relatives and give their father’s inheritance to them.

“Say to the Israelites, ‘If a man dies and leaves no son, give his inheritance to his daughter.If he has no daughter, give his inheritance to his brothers. 10 If he has no brothers, give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. 11 If his father had no brothers, give his inheritance to the nearest relative in his clan, that he may possess it. This is to have the force of law for the Israelites, as the Lord commanded Moses.’”