The conquest of southern Canaan (Josh 10:28-10:39)

“Joshua took Makkedah on that day. He struck it and its king with the edge of the sword. He utterly destroyed every person in it. He left no one remaining. He did to the king of Makkedah as he had done to the king of Jericho.”

First up on the slaughter journey was Makkedah, a Canaanite royal city. As long as they were in the neighborhood, Joshua killed the king of that town and destroyed everyone in it. No one was left.

“Then Joshua passed on from Makkedah and all Israel with him, to Libnah. He fought against Libnah. Yahweh gave it also with its king into the hand of Israel. He struck it with the edge of the sword, every person in it. He left no one remaining in it. He did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho.”

Libnah, which was west of Makkedah, came next with the same results as above.  The king and everyone in the town killed and destroyed.

“Next Joshua crossed on from Libnah and all Israel with him, to Lachish. He laid siege to it and assaulted it. Yahweh gave Lachish into the hand of Israel. He took it on the second day. He struck it with the edge of the sword, every person in it, as he had done to Libnah. Then King Horam of Gezer came up to help Lachish. Joshua struck him and his people, leaving him no survivors.”

Joshua then attacked 1 of the cities of the 5 kings since the King of Lachish was already dead. Who is next?  It took 2 days for this victory even with the outside help of Gezer. Once again, there are no survivors.

“From Lachish, Joshua passed on with all Israel to Eglon. They laid siege to it and assaulted it. They took it that day. They struck it with the edge of the sword. Every person in it he utterly destroyed that day, as he had done to Lachish.”

He seems to be following the path of the towns of the 5 kings. The King of Eglon was also 1 of the 5 kings that was dead already. It only took 1 day to destroy everyone Eglon.

“Then Joshua went up with all Israel from Eglon to Hebron. They assaulted it and took it. He struck it with the edge of the sword, and its king and its towns, and every person in it. He left no one remaining, just as he had done to Eglon. He utterly destroyed it with every person in it.”

This pattern seems familiar. The King of Hebron was also 1 of the 5 kings but he was already dead. How were they able to kill him here, unless there was a new king? Once again, everyone is destroyed.

“Then Joshua, with all Israel, turned back to Debir. He assaulted it. He took it with its king and all its towns. They struck them with the edge of the sword. They utterly destroyed every person in it. He left no one remaining. Just as he had done to Hebron and as he had done to Libnah and its king, so he did to Debir and its king.”

I guess that this takes care of those 5 kings and their territories. Debir was west of Hebron. He actually only destroyed 3 of the cities because Jarmuth and Jerusalem are not mentioned here.

The five kings escape to the cave at Makkedah (Josh 10:16-10:27

“Meanwhile, these five kings fled and hid themselves in the cave at Makkedah. It was told to Joshua. ‘The five kings have been found, hidden in the cave at Makkedah.’ Joshua said. ‘Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave. Set men by it to guard them. But do not stay there yourselves. Pursue your enemies! Attack them from the rear! Do not let them enter their towns! Yahweh your God has given them into your hand.”

After the great heavenly display, the 5 kings took off for the hills and landed up in a cave. However, once the Israelites sealed this cave, they took after all the other fighters.

“When Joshua and the Israelites had finished inflicting a very great slaughter on them, they were wiped out. When the survivors had entered into the fortified towns, all the people returned safe to Joshua in the camp at Makkedah. No one dared to speak against any of the Israelites.”

They slaughtered all except those who retreated to the fortified towns.

“Then Joshua said. ‘Open the mouth of the cave. Bring those five kings out to me from the cave.’ They did so. They 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. When they brought the kings out to Joshua, Joshua summoned all the Israelites. He said to the chiefs of the warriors, 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. Joshua said to them. ‘Do not be afraid or dismayed. Be strong and courageous. Thus Yahweh will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.’ Afterward Joshua struck them down. He put them to death. He hung them on five trees. They hung on the trees until evening. At sunset Joshua commanded that they take them down from the trees. They threw them into the cave where they had hidden themselves. They set large stones against the mouth of the cave, which remains to this very day.”

The final humiliation of the 5 kings takes place. Joshua goes back to the cave at Makkedah where the 5 kings had hidden. Then they rolled back the stone to the cave. The 5 kings came out of the cave. Joshua, in front of all the Israelites killed them by hanging them on 5 trees. The hanging of the captured kings was the common custom in the 7th and 8th century BCE. At sunset, he had them removed and put back in the cave with the stone rolled back to cover it even until the writing of this book.