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battle, and proud of their united strength, waited only for an opportunity to engage with the Israelites. It was soon afforded them.
Joshua had received divine direction with regard to the course which he should pursue, and the pledge, also, of a complete victory. “Be not afraid,” said the Lord unto him, “ because of them: for to-morrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel: thou shalt hough their horses,” and burn their chariots with fire.”
* That is, cut the ham-strings, or sinews of their legs. This not only disables the animal at the time, so that he cannot be used, or annoy those on foot by running among the ranks even if his rider is slain, but frequently results in his bleeding to death. The Israelites seem to have been directed to do this, that they might not trust in chariots, and in horses, but feel their dependence on God; while, by giving them—who fought on foot—the victory over enemies so well equipped for battle, he would more strikingly manifest the interposition of his power in their behalf, and sead them to give him all the glory of their success. Besides, it would be an unwise policy for the Israelites to retain the horses as the spoils of their vanquished enemies. Oxen and asses would much better serve the purposes of agriculture, in the rough and hilly country they were to cultivate. They were to be an agricultural, and not a travelling and commercial people, but to be separated from the world as a peculiar, religious community. The travelling to be performed in their own country, could best be done on foot, or on asses. Should they take the horses alive, in their wars with the Canaanites, they would be rather an incumbrance than a benefit, so they were commanded to destroy them, and this in the most expeditious manner which could be effected in the heat of battle.
The Israelites were immediately on their march to the waters of Merom. They arrived there unexpectedly to the Canaanites, and falling upon them, threw them into such confusion that they fled before their pursuers in great consternation. A part took the direction of Zidon, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea; to which place, and to Misrephoth-maim in its vicinity, the Israelites following hard upon them, cut off with great slaughter all who fell into their hands, very few escaping. A similar doom was the lot of the other portion who fled eastward to the valley of Mizpeh, or of Lebanon, at the foot of Mount Hermon; while, in the general destruction which took place, the divine command was not forgotten with regard to the horses and the chariots.
In the meanwhile, Jabin had contrived to make his escape, and had fled for security back again to his own capital, Hazor. There Joshua pursued him with a detachment of the army, and taking the place, put Jabin and all the inhabitants to death, and then destroyed the city with fire. The same fate befell the other kings of the confederacy, those who dwelt in their cities, and most of the cities themselves. A few were left standing in the strength of their fortifications, and retained for the use of the Israelites. But the spoils of these cities were taken, and the cattle, with the exception of those things which had been employed in idolatrous worship, and were carried off by the victors. In all this fearful work of extermination, in order that we may understand exactly the object which it was intended to accomplish—the just punishment of the Canaanites, and the exhibition of it to the people of God, to deter them from idolatry and the other sins of these nations —and that we may be careful not to attribute it to the spirit of war and of conquest, or to the indulgence of a malicious vengeance, on the part of the Israelites, we are told, “As the Lord commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua: he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses.” These wicked Canaanites had long resisted the dictates of their own consciences, and that degree of knowledge concerning the will of God, and their duty which they had enjoyed from tradition and the light of nature. They had obstinately continued in sin, and God, at length, gave them over to the influence of their corrupt hearts, and the just consequences of their guilt. In this way, “it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favor, but that he might destroy them, as the Lord commanded Moses.” At the time of making the conquests which have just been described, Joshua, also, cut off the Anakims, or race of giants, from all the mountainous regions, destroying utterly all such as he met with, and their cities. Some of them, however, escaped into the country of the Philistines, and continued there; of whom Goliath was one of the descendants. These conquests were continued for the space of six or seven years, until the Israelites had become masters of the greatest and best part of Canaan; when "the land rested from war,” and Joshua, as we shall see, proceeded to the distribution of it among the various tribes. What wonderful fulfillments of the promises of God to his chosen people! How numerous and powerful were the enemies with whom they• had to contend, and the principal part of whom must be destroyed, before they could take undisturbed possession of the promised inheritance 1 Human skill and strength could never accomplish this. God interposed his aid, and the result was made certain. The christian has a far richer inheritance to secure, and is, if possible, still more dependent on the power of divine grace for its attainment. Without this grace the conflict which he has to
carry on with his spiritual enemies would be hopeless. Let him always feel this. Distrusting his own strength, let him look to God for aid in every emergency, with a childlike confidence, through the Saviour of sinners, and it shall be afforded him. The success of Joshua, though in a different kind of warfare, shall be his. He shall pass from victory to victory, till his triumph is complete, and he enters upon the possession of the heavenly Canaan. My young friend, is the God of Joshua your God? Is it in his strength, and relying on his promises, that you are waging a war with your sins, never to be ended till they cease to exist 7 You or they must finally have an entire victory.
CHA PTER XIII.
Joshua is directed to proceed to the division of Canaan among the tribes. It is in part effected. Caleb's portion. The Israelites remove to Shiloh. A survey of the land made, and the division completed.
Joshua was now far advanced in life. He had probably attained the age of one hundred; hav