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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Joshua

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Commentary spanning earlier chapters

9.1–11.15 : The southern and northern campaigns.

The conquests of southern and northern Canaan share the same geographic pattern: center to periphery. However, the account of the southern campaign is a much more developed narrative than that of the northern campaign. This augmentation is observable in the basic components of 9.3–10.43 and 11.1–15 . Thus the region that became Judah's tribal allotment receives the greater emphasis (a pattern also found in chs 13–19 and Judg 1 ).

11.1–15 : Northern campaign.

A literary mirror of 10.1–43 both in general structure and vocabulary, though less developed.

11.1–11 : Defeat of the Canaanite coalition.

A large and powerful Canaanite coalition is organized and headed by Jabin, the king of Hazor. The name Jabin occurs here and in Judg 4 and Ps 83.10 . Scholars generally see Judg 4–5 as the source for this story.

1 :

The final occurrence of the “hearing” motif, see 5.1n. The locations of Madon, Shimron, and Achshaph are not certain.

2 :

The Arabah is the Jordan Valley; Chinneroth, the Sea of Galilee.

3–5 :

This enemy is superior to the Israelite army, both numerically and technologically (they have dreaded horses and chariots). This coalition presents the most significant threat to Israel's success in conquering the land. Hermon, the high mountain in the extreme north of Israel. Merom is a city in Galilee known from extrabiblical sources; its precise location is not certain.

6 :

The LORD's oracle of assurance precedes the victory (cf. 8.1; 10.8 ). Hamstring their horses means cutting a tendon of a rear leg to make them useless (see 2 Sam 8.4 ).

10–11 :

Hazor, the most important northern city, is totally destroyed by burning just like Jericho and Ai (cf. 6.24; 8.8,19 ). Jericho and Hazor frame the “conquest” of the land of Canaan.

11.12–15 : Summary of northern campaign.

The Israelite conquest in the north is summarized by noting several times that “all” was conquered by Joshua, the worthy successor to Moses, who fulfilled the requirements of Deut 20.16–17 .

13 :

Mounds, translating the Hebrew word for “tells,” cf. 8.28n.

11.16–23 : Summary of total conquest.

16–19 :

The word all characterizes these verses, emphasizing the totality of the conquest.

18–20 :

The depiction here somewhat conflicts with the earlier accounts, suggesting that a protracted war was necessary.

20 :

Harden their hearts, this phrase is elsewhere used of Pharaoh in Egypt (Ex 4.21; etc.), and suggests that, for the LORD and for the author, the inhabitants of the land were enemies comparable to the Egyptians.

21 :

The Anakim, a term for pre‐Israelite inhabitants of Canaan renowned for their size and strength (Deut 9.2 ).

23 :

And the land had rest from war, a conclusion formula, moving toward a transition from the conquest to the division of land. This declaration recurs in 14.15 , forming a literary link between the defeat of the Anakim by Joshua (ch 11 ) and their defeat by Caleb (ch 14 ).

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