Joshua 11

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1 And it came to pass, when Jabin king of Hazor had heard those things, that he sent to Jobab king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron, and to the king Achshaph,

2 And to the kings that were on the north of the mountains, and of the plains south of Cinneroth, and in the valley, and in the borders of Dor on the west,

3 And to the Canaanite on the east and on the west, and to the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Jebusite in the mountains, and to the Hivite under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh.

4 And they went out, they and all their hosts with them, many people, even as the sand that is upon the sea-shore in multitude, with horses and chariots very numerous.

5 And when all these kings were met together, they came and encamped together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel.

6 And the LORD said to Joshua, Be not afraid 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.

7 So Joshua came, and all the people of war with him, against them by the waters of Merom suddenly, and they fell upon them.

8 And the LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel, who smote them, and chased them to great Zidon, and to Misrephoth-maim, and to the valley of Mizpeh eastward; and they smote them, until they left to them none remaining.

9 And Joshua did to them as the LORD bade him: he houghed their horses, and burnt their chariots with fire.

10 And Joshua at that time turned back, and took Hazor, and smote its king with the sword: for Hazor before-time was the head of all those kingdoms.

11 And they smote all the souls that were in it with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them: there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with fire.

12 And all the cities of those kings, and all the kings of them, Joshua took, and smote them with the edge of the sword, and he utterly destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the LORD commanded.

13 But as for the cities that stood still in their strength, Israel burned none of them, save Hazor only; that did Joshua burn.

14 And all the spoil of these cities, and the cattle, the children of Israel took for a prey to themselves: but every man they smote with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them, neither left they any to breathe.

15 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.

16 So Joshua took all that land, the hills, and all the south country, and all the land of Goshen, and the valley, and the plain, and the mountain of Israel, and the valley of the same;

17 Even from the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir, even to Baal-gad, in the valley of Lebanon under mount Hermon: and all their kings he took, and smote them, and slew them.

18 Joshua made war a long time with all those kings.

19 There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save the Hivites the inhabitants of Gibeon: all other they took in battle.

20 For 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.

21 And at that time came Joshua and cut off the Anakims from the mountains, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel: Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities.

22 There was none of the Anakims left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there remained.

23 So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD said to Moses, and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.

  

Exploring the Meaning of Joshua 11      

Joshua 11: Joshua conquers the entire land.

In this chapter, the Canaanite kings of the north, east and west heard that Israel had conquered all of the southern Canaanite territories. Jabin, king of Hazor, called upon the other Canaanite kingdoms to join forces and attack Israel with a great army.

The Lord reassured Joshua, “Be not afraid because of them: for tomorrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel” (verse 6). So Joshua counterattacked, and Israel defeated the Canaanites just as the Lord had said.

The rest of the chapter is an account of Joshua’s victories, now here, now there. Israel destroyed each of the Canaanite cities and territories and not one of them was left undefeated (See Swedenborg’s work, The New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine 161-164). In all of Canaan, only the Gibeonites were spared because they had made a peace treaty with Israel. The chapter closes with these words: “So Joshua took the whole land according to all that the Lord had said to Moses, and Joshua gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Then the land had rest from war” (verse 23).

Now we turn to the spiritual meaning of all this, and its meaning for us. Because of our inherited, human nature, each of us has internal things we have to contend with in our natural life. These Canaanites - the faults we must overcome - are described by the compass points: north, south, east and west. Here are the spiritual meanings of the four cardinal directions (see Swedenborg’s work, Heaven and Hell 141-153):

West = less love

East = greater love

North = less light and wisdom

South = greater light and wisdom

Swedenborg tells us that heaven is organized by this principle. Angels with the clearest perception of love live in the eastern region of heaven, while those with a more hazy understanding live in the west. The same thing applies to the north/south axis; those in a “clear light of wisdom” live in the south, and those in a “dim light of wisdom” live in the north (Heaven and Hell 148). These poles represent angels’ states of love and wisdom, and their use. Just like people on earth, angels experience varying states of love and wisdom - sometimes more, sometimes less - but with angels this leads to them turning again to the Lord to acknowledge that he is their God.

The same pattern exists in hell, but instead of love and wisdom there is self-love (or even hatred) and false thinking from this distorted love. In hell, the degree of intensity in these states is between the rage to dominate and the exhaustion of failing.

In our life on earth, we experience states of both heaven and hell. As we are only partly regenerated, we rapidly switch between these states because of our emotions and the upheavals of life in this world. This chapter about the conflict between Israel and the Canaanites represents our own, personal decisions about what will be the ruling influence in our lives - heaven or hell (See Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 5982).

The end of this chapter offers two important statements describing the conflict between heaven and hell. The first one (in verse 20) says the Lord hardened the hearts of Israel’s enemies so that they came to attack, and consequently were destroyed. This tells us that we have to see our evils for what they are in order to turn away from them (See Swedenborg’s unpublished work, Charity 179-180).

The second statement (verses 21-22) says that Joshua completely destroyed the Anakim, except beyond the borders of the land. The Anakim were giants, and they stand for those enormous tensions and rages which evil spirits from hell bring us at times. This (reassuringly) helps us see that we are not like that ourselves, but we could be if we let those evil spirits make a home in our hearts and minds (Arcana Caelestia 2909[3]).

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