Joshua 11

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1 And it cometh to pass when Jabin king of Hazor heareth, that he sendeth unto Jobab king of Madon, and unto the king of Shimron, and unto the king of Achshaph,

2 and unto the kings who [are] on the north in the hill-country, and in the plain south of Chinneroth, and in the low country, and in the elevations of Dor, on the west,

3 [to] the Canaanite on the east, and on the west, and the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Jebusite in the hill-country, and the Hivite under Hermon, in the land of Mizpeh --

4 and they go out, they and all their camps with them, a people numerous, as the sand which [is] on the sea-shore for multitude, and horse and charioteer very many;

5 and all these kings are met together, and they come and encamp together at the waters of Merom, to fight with Israel.

6 And Jehovah saith unto Joshua, `Be not afraid of their presence, for to-morrow about this time I am giving all of them wounded before Israel; their horses thou dost hough, and their chariots burn with fire.'

7 And Joshua cometh, and all the people of war with him, against them by the waters of Merom suddenly, and they fall on them;

8 and Jehovah giveth them into the hand of Israel, and they smite them and pursue them unto the great Zidon, and unto Misrephoth-Maim, and unto the valley of Mizpeh eastward, and they smite them, till he hath not left to them a remnant;

9 and Joshua doth to them as Jehovah said to him; their horses he hath houghed, and their chariots burnt with fire.

10 And Joshua turneth back at that time, and captureth Hazor, and its king he hath smitten by the sword; for Hazor formerly [is] head of all these kingdoms;

11 and they smite every person who [is] in it by the mouth of the sword; he hath devoted -- he hath not left any one breathing, and Hazor he hath burnt with fire;

12 and all the cities of these kings, and all their kings, hath Joshua captured, and he smiteth them by the mouth of the sword; he devoted them, as Moses, servant of Jehovah, commanded.

13 Only, all the cities which are standing by their hill, Israel hath not burned them, save Hazor only, [it] hath Joshua burnt;

14 and all the spoil of these cities, and the cattle, have the sons of Israel spoiled for themselves; only, every human being they have smitten by the mouth of the sword, till their destroying them; they have not left any one breathing.

15 As Jehovah commanded Moses His servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so hath Joshua done; he hath not turned aside a thing of all that Jehovah commanded Moses.

16 And Joshua taketh all this land: the hill-country, and all the south, and all the land of Goshen, and the low country, and the plain, even the hill-country of Israel and its low lands,

17 from the mount of Halak, which is going up [to] Seir, and unto Baal-Gad, in the valley of Lebanon, under mount Hermon; and all their kings he hath captured, and he smiteth them, and putteth them to death.

18 Many days hath Joshua made with all these kings war;

19 there hath not been a city which made peace with the sons of Israel save the Hivite, inhabitants of Gibeon; the whole they have taken in battle;

20 for from Jehovah it hath been to strengthen their heart, to meet in battle with Israel, in order to devote them, so that they have no grace, but in order to destroy them, as Jehovah commanded Moses.

21 And Joshua cometh at that time, and cutteth off the Anakim from the hill-country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, even from all the hill-country of Judah, and from all the hill-country of Israel; with their cities hath Joshua devoted them.

22 There hath not been left Anakim in the land of the sons of Israel; only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, were they left.

23 And Joshua taketh the whole of the land, according to all that Jehovah hath spoken unto Moses, and Joshua giveth it for an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions, by their tribes; and the land hath rest 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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