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The Israelite victories over Jericho and Ai became widely known throughout The Land Of Canaan. Some of the Canaanite people chose to leave, rather than fight a battle that they were sure to lose, while others chose to fight to the death.
"When all the kings who were beyond the Jordan in the hill country and in the lowland all along the coast of the Great Sea [i.e. The Mediterranean Sea] toward Lebanon, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, heard of this, they gathered together with one accord to fight Joshua and Israel." (Joshua 9:1-2 RSV)
The Gibeonites did something different; they resorted to a ruse that enabled them to make a peace treaty with the Israelites. Even though the people of Gibeon (located about 10 miles north of Jerusalem) made the treaty by deception, the Israelites were required to honor their own pledge to not make war with them.
"But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, they on their part acted with cunning, and went and made ready provisions, and took worn-out sacks upon their asses, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended, with worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes [see also Clothing In Bible Times]; and all their provisions were dry and moldy. And they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the men of Israel, "We have come from a far country; so now make a covenant with us." (Joshua 9:3-6 RSV)
Joshua was suspicious of them, but he did not seek the truth from The Lord. It was a mistake. Three days later, the Israelites discovered that they had been duped.
"So the men partook of their provisions, and did not ask direction from The Lord. And Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them, to let them live; and the leaders of the congregation swore to them. At the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, they heard that they were their neighbors, and that they dwelt among them." (Joshua 9:14-16 RSV)
While some may suggest that the Israelites should not have considered themselves bound by a treaty made under false pretenses, the Israelite leadership nevertheless honored their word.
"So he did to them, and delivered them out of the hand of the people of Israel; and they did not kill them. But Joshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of The Lord, to continue to this day, in the place which he should choose." (Joshua 9:26-27 RSV)
Joshua Chapter 10
When some of the other Canaanite kings heard that Gibeon had surrendered to the Israelites, they set out to take the city back. The Israelites, bound by their treaty with the Gibeonites, found themselves having to fight for some Canaanites, defending them against other Canaanites. Among them, ironically, was the king of Jerusalem, which at that time had not yet been taken by Israel.
"Then the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered their forces, and went up with all their armies and encamped against Gibeon, and made war against it.
The Lord provided air support for Israel, a bombardment of large hailstones.
"And as they fled before Israel, while they were going down the ascent of Beth-horon, The Lord threw down great stones from heaven upon them as far as Azekah, and they died; there were more who died because of the hailstones than the men of Israel killed with the sword." (Joshua 10:11 RSV)
When daylight was running out, The Lord provided another miracle to enable the Israelites to achieve a total victory - Joshua's "long day."
"Then spoke Joshua to The Lord in the day when The Lord gave the Amorites over to the men of Israel; and he said in the sight of Israel, "Sun, stand thou still at Gibeon, and thou Moon in the valley of Aijalon." And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. There has been no day like it before or since, when The Lord hearkened to the voice of a man; for The Lord fought for Israel." (Joshua 10:12-14 RSV)
Joshua Chapter 11
Canaanite occupation of the land promised to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was now beginning to fragment, although the Canaanites that remained were a very large, powerful allied army with cavalry and chariots.
"When Jabin king of Hazor heard of this, he sent to Jobab king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron, and to the king of Achshaph, and to the kings who were in the northern hill country, and in the Arabah south of Chinneroth, and in the lowland, and in Naphoth-dor on the west, to the Canaanites in the east and the west, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, and the Jebusites in the hill country, and the Hivites under Hermon in the land of Mizpah. And they came out, with all their troops, a great host, in number like the sand that is upon the seashore, with very many horses and chariots. And all these kings joined their forces, and came and encamped together at the waters of Merom, to fight with Israel." (Joshua 11:1-5 RSV)
Nevertheless, The Lord told Joshua to take the victory that awaited him.
"And The Lord said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid of them, for tomorrow at this time I will give over all of them, slain, to Israel; you shall hamstring their horses, and burn their chariots with fire." So Joshua came suddenly upon them with all his people of war, by the waters of Merom, and fell upon them. And The Lord gave them into the hand of Israel, who smote them and chased them as far as Great Sidon and Misrephoth-maim, and eastward as far as the valley of Mizpeh; and they smote them, until they left none remaining. And Joshua did to them as The Lord bade him; he hamstrung their horses, and burned their chariots with fire." (Joshua 11:6-9 RSV)
Joshua Chapter 12
Israel was now in control of most of the territory on both sides of the Jordan River. To the east of the Jordan, as taken while Moses was yet alive:
"Now these are the kings of the land, whom the people of Israel defeated, and took possession of their land beyond the Jordan toward the sunrising, from the valley of the Arnon to Mount Hermon, with all the Arabah eastward:
And to the west of the Jordan:
"And these are the kings of the land whom Joshua and the people of Israel defeated on the west side of the Jordan, from Ba'al-gad in the valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak, that rises toward Se'ir (and Joshua gave their land to the tribes of Israel as a possession according to their allotments, in the hill country, in the lowland, in the Arabah, in the slopes, in the wilderness, and in the Negeb, the land of the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites" (Joshua 12:7-8 RSV)
Joshua Chapter 13
Joshua's time of service, like all before and since, was limited by a mortal human lifetime. He had led Israel to many victories, but there would be more work to be done by others later, in the time of The Judges and then with the establishment of the Israelite monarchy (see the Fact Finder question below).
"Now Joshua was old and advanced in years; and The Lord said to him, "You are old and advanced in years, and there remains yet very much land to be possessed. This is the land that yet remains: all the regions of the Philistines, and all those of the Geshurites from the Shihor, which is east of Egypt, northward to the boundary of Ekron, it is reckoned as Canaanite; there are five rulers of the Philistines, those of Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron, and those of the Avvim, in the south, all the land of the Canaanites, and Mear'ah which belongs to the Sido'nians, to Aphek, to the boundary of the Amorites, and the land of the Gebalites, and all Lebanon, toward the sunrising, from Baal-gad below Mount Hermon to the entrance of Hamath, all the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon to Misrephoth-maim, even all the Sidonians. I will myself drive them out from before the people of Israel; only allot the land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have commanded you." (Joshua 13:1-6 RSV)
Fact Finder: When did the Israelite monarchy begin?