Now all the kings west of the Jordan River heard about what had happened. These were the kings of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, who lived in the hill country, in the western foothills, and along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea as far north as the Lebanon mountains. These kings combined their armies to fight as one against Joshua and the Israelites.
But when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they resorted to deception to save themselves. They sent ambassadors to Joshua, loading their donkeys with weathered saddlebags and old, patched wineskins. They put on worn-out, patched sandals and ragged clothes. And the bread they took with them was dry and moldy. When they arrived at the camp of Israel at Gilgal, they told Joshua and the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant land to ask you to make a peace treaty with us.”
The Israelites replied to these Hivites, “How do we know you don’t live nearby? For if you do, we cannot make a treaty with you.”
They replied, “We are your servants.”
“But who are you?” Joshua demanded. “Where do you come from?”
They answered, “Your servants have come from a very distant country. We have heard of the might of the Lord your God and of all he did in Egypt. We have also heard what he did to the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River—King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan (who lived in Ashtaroth). So our elders and all our people instructed us, ‘Take supplies for a long journey. Go meet with the people of Israel and tell them, “We are your servants; please make a treaty with us.”’
“This bread was hot from the ovens when we left our homes. But now, as you can see, it is dry and moldy. These wineskins were new when we filled them, but now they are old and split open. And our clothing and sandals are worn out from our very long journey.”
So the Israelites examined their food, but they did not consult the Lord. Then Joshua made a peace treaty with them and guaranteed their safety, and the leaders of the community ratified their agreement with a binding oath.
Three days after making the treaty, they learned that these people actually lived nearby! The Israelites set out at once to investigate and reached their towns in three days. The names of these towns were Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim. But the Israelites did not attack the towns, for the Israelite leaders had made a vow to them in the name of the Lord, the God of Israel.
The people of Israel grumbled against their leaders because of the treaty. But the leaders replied, “Since we have sworn an oath in the presence of the Lord, the God of Israel, we cannot touch them. This is what we must do. We must let them live, for divine anger would come upon us if we broke our oath. Let them live.” So they made them woodcutters and water carriers for the entire community, as the Israelite leaders directed.
Joshua called together the Gibeonites and said, “Why did you lie to us? Why did you say that you live in a distant land when you live right here among us? May you be cursed! From now on you will always be servants who cut wood and carry water for the house of my God.”
They replied, “We did it because we—your servants—were clearly told that the Lord your God commanded his servant Moses to give you this entire land and to destroy all the people living in it. So we feared greatly for our lives because of you. That is why we have done this. Now we are at your mercy—do to us whatever you think is right.”
So Joshua did not allow the people of Israel to kill them. But that day he made the Gibeonites the woodcutters and water carriers for the community of Israel and for the altar of the Lord—wherever the Lord would choose to build it. And that is what they do to this day.
Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard that Joshua had captured and completely destroyed Ai and killed its king, just as he had destroyed the town of Jericho and killed its king. He also learned that the Gibeonites had made peace with Israel and were now their allies. He and his people became very afraid when they heard all this because Gibeon was a large town—as large as the royal cities and larger than Ai. And the Gibeonite men were strong warriors.
So King Adoni-zedek of Jerusalem sent messengers to several other kings: Hoham of Hebron, Piram of Jarmuth, Japhia of Lachish, and Debir of Eglon. “Come and help me destroy Gibeon,” he urged them, “for they have made peace with Joshua and the people of Israel.” So these five Amorite kings combined their armies for a united attack. They moved all their troops into place and attacked Gibeon.
The men of Gibeon quickly sent messengers to Joshua at his camp in Gilgal. “Don’t abandon your servants now!” they pleaded. “Come at once! Save us! Help us! For all the Amorite kings who live in the hill country have joined forces to attack us.”
So Joshua and his entire army, including his best warriors, left Gilgal and set out for Gibeon. “Do not be afraid of them,” the Lord said to Joshua, “for I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you.”
Joshua traveled all night from Gilgal and took the Amorite armies by surprise. The Lord threw them into a panic, and the Israelites slaughtered great numbers of them at Gibeon. Then the Israelites chased the enemy along the road to Beth-horon, killing them all along the way to Azekah and Makkedah. As the Amorites retreated down the road from Beth-horon, the Lord destroyed them with a terrible hailstorm from heaven that continued until they reached Azekah. The hail killed more of the enemy than the Israelites killed with the sword.
On the day the Lord gave the Israelites victory over the Amorites, Joshua prayed to the Lord in front of all the people of Israel. He said,
“Let the sun stand still over Gibeon,
and the moon over the valley of Aijalon.”
So the sun stood still and the moon stayed in place until the nation of Israel had defeated its enemies.
Is this event not recorded in The Book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the middle of the sky, and it did not set as on a normal day. There has never been a day like this one before or since, when the Lord answered such a prayer. Surely the Lord fought for Israel that day!
Then Joshua and the Israelite army returned to their camp at Gilgal.
During the battle the five kings escaped and hid in a cave at Makkedah. When Joshua heard that they had been found, he issued this command: “Cover the opening of the cave with large rocks, and place guards at the entrance to keep the kings inside. The rest of you continue chasing the enemy and cut them down from the rear. Don’t give them a chance to get back to their towns, for the Lord your God has given you victory over them.”
So Joshua and the Israelite army continued the slaughter and completely crushed the enemy. They totally wiped out the five armies except for a tiny remnant that managed to reach their fortified towns. Then the Israelites returned safely to Joshua in the camp at Makkedah. After that, no one dared to speak even a word against Israel.
Then Joshua said, “Remove the rocks covering the opening of the cave, and bring the five kings to me.” So they brought the five kings out of the cave—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon. When they brought them out, Joshua told the commanders of his army, “Come and put your feet on the kings’ necks.” And they did as they were told.
“Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged,” Joshua told his men. “Be strong and courageous, for the Lord is going to do this to all of your enemies.” Then Joshua killed each of the five kings and impaled them on five sharpened poles, where they hung until evening.
As the sun was going down, Joshua gave instructions for the bodies of the kings to be taken down from the poles and thrown into the cave where they had been hiding. Then they covered the opening of the cave with a pile of large rocks, which remains to this very day.
That same day Joshua captured and destroyed the town of Makkedah. He killed everyone in it, including the king, leaving no survivors. He destroyed them all, and he killed the king of Makkedah as he had killed the king of Jericho. Then Joshua and the Israelites went to Libnah and attacked it. There, too, the Lord gave them the town and its king. He killed everyone in it, leaving no survivors. Then Joshua killed the king of Libnah as he had killed the king of Jericho.
From Libnah, Joshua and the Israelites went to Lachish and attacked it. Here again, the Lord gave them Lachish. Joshua took it on the second day and killed everyone in it, just as he had done at Libnah. During the attack on Lachish, King Horam of Gezer arrived with his army to help defend the town. But Joshua’s men killed him and his army, leaving no survivors.
Then Joshua and the Israelite army went on to Eglon and attacked it. They captured it that day and killed everyone in it. He completely destroyed everyone, just as he had done at Lachish. From Eglon, Joshua and the Israelite army went up to Hebron and attacked it. They captured the town and killed everyone in it, including its king, leaving no survivors. They did the same thing to all of its surrounding villages. And just as he had done at Eglon, he completely destroyed the entire population.
Then Joshua and the Israelites turned back and attacked Debir. He captured the town, its king, and all of its surrounding villages. He completely destroyed everyone in it, leaving no survivors. He did to Debir and its king just what he had done to Hebron and to Libnah and its king.
So Joshua conquered the whole region—the kings and people of the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills, and the mountain slopes. He completely destroyed everyone in the land, leaving no survivors, just as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded. Joshua slaughtered them from Kadesh-barnea to Gaza and from the region around the town of Goshen up to Gibeon. Joshua conquered all these kings and their land in a single campaign, for the Lord, the God of Israel, was fighting for his people.
Then Joshua and the Israelite army returned to their camp at Gilgal.
When King Jabin of Hazor heard what had happened, he sent messages to the following kings: King Jobab of Madon; the king of Shimron; the king of Acshaph; all the kings of the northern hill country; the kings in the Jordan Valley south of Galilee; the kings in the Galilean foothills; the kings of Naphoth-dor on the west; the kings of Canaan, both east and west; the kings of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites in the hill country, and the Hivites in the towns on the slopes of Mount Hermon in the land of Mizpah.
All these kings came out to fight. Their combined armies formed a vast horde. And with all their horses and chariots, they covered the landscape like the sand on the seashore. The kings joined forces and established their camp around the water near Merom to fight against Israel.
Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them. By this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel as dead men. Then you must cripple their horses and burn their chariots.”
So Joshua and all his fighting men traveled to the water near Merom and attacked suddenly. And the Lord gave them victory over their enemies. The Israelites chased them as far as Greater Sidon and Misrephoth-maim, and eastward into the valley of Mizpah, until not one enemy warrior was left alive. Then Joshua crippled the horses and burned all the chariots, as the Lord had instructed.
Joshua then turned back and captured Hazor and killed its king. (Hazor had at one time been the capital of all these kingdoms.) The Israelites completely destroyed every living thing in the city, leaving no survivors. Not a single person was spared. And then Joshua burned the city.
Joshua slaughtered all the other kings and their people, completely destroying them, just as Moses, the servant of the Lord, had commanded. But the Israelites did not burn any of the towns built on mounds except Hazor, which Joshua burned. And the Israelites took all the plunder and livestock of the ravaged towns for themselves. But they killed all the people, leaving no survivors.As the Lord had commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua. And Joshua did as he was told, carefully obeying all the commands that the Lord had given to Moses.
So Joshua conquered the entire region—the hill country, the entire Negev, the whole area around the town of Goshen, the western foothills, the Jordan Valley, the mountains of Israel, and the Galilean foothills. The Israelite territory now extended all the way from Mount Halak, which leads up to Seir in the south, as far north as Baal-gad at the foot of Mount Hermon in the valley of Lebanon. Joshua killed all the kings of those territories, waging war for a long time to accomplish this. No one in this region made peace with the Israelites except the Hivites of Gibeon. All the others were defeated. For the Lord hardened their hearts and caused them to fight the Israelites. So they were completely destroyed without mercy, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
During this period Joshua destroyed all the descendants of Anak, who lived in the hill country of Hebron, Debir, Anab, and the entire hill country of Judah and Israel. He killed them all and completely destroyed their towns. None of the descendants of Anak were left in all the land of Israel, though some still remained in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod.
So Joshua took control of the entire land, just as the Lord had instructed Moses. He gave it to the people of Israel as their special possession, dividing the land among the tribes. So the land finally had rest from war.
These are the kings east of the Jordan River who had been killed by the Israelites and whose land was taken. Their territory extended from the Arnon Gorge to Mount Hermon and included all the land east of the Jordan Valley.
King Sihon of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, was defeated. His kingdom included Aroer, on the edge of the Arnon Gorge, and extended from the middle of the Arnon Gorge to the Jabbok River, which serves as a border for the Ammonites. This territory included the southern half of the territory of Gilead. Sihon also controlled the Jordan Valley and regions to the east—from as far north as the Sea of Galilee to as far south as the Dead Sea, including the road to Beth-jeshimoth and southward to the slopes of Pisgah.
King Og of Bashan, the last of the Rephaites, lived at Ashtaroth and Edrei. He ruled a territory stretching from Mount Hermon to Salecah in the north and to all of Bashan in the east, and westward to the borders of the kingdoms of Geshur and Maacah. This territory included the northern half of Gilead, as far as the boundary of King Sihon of Heshbon.
Moses, the servant of the Lord, and the Israelites had destroyed the people of King Sihon and King Og. And Moses gave their land as a possession to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh.
The following is a list of the kings that Joshua and the Israelite armies defeated on the west side of the Jordan, from Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak, which leads up to Seir. (Joshua gave this land to the tribes of Israel as their possession, including the hill country, the western foothills, the Jordan Valley, the mountain slopes, the Judean wilderness, and the Negev. The people who lived in this region were the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.) These are the kings Israel defeated:
The king of Jericho
The king of Ai, near Bethel
The king of Jerusalem
The king of Hebron
The king of Jarmuth
The king of Lachish
The king of Eglon
The king of Gezer
The king of Debir
The king of Geder
The king of Hormah
The king of Arad
The king of Libnah
The king of Adullam
The king of Makkedah
The king of Bethel
The king of Tappuah
The king of Hepher
The king of Aphek
The king of Lasharon
The king of Madon
The king of Hazor
The king of Shimron-meron
The king of Acshaph
The king of Taanach
The king of Megiddo
The king of Kedesh
The king of Jokneam in Carmel
The king of Dor in the town of Naphoth-dor
The king of Goyim in Gilgal
The king of Tirzah.
In all, thirty-one kings were defeated.
When Joshua was an old man, the Lord said to him, “You are growing old, and much land remains to be conquered. This is the territory that remains: all the regions of the Philistines and the Geshurites, and the larger territory of the Canaanites, extending from the stream of Shihor on the border of Egypt, northward to the boundary of Ekron. It includes the territory of the five Philistine rulers of Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron. The land of the Avvites in the south also remains to be conquered. In the north, the following area has not yet been conquered: all the land of the Canaanites, including Mearah (which belongs to the Sidonians), stretching northward to Aphek on the border of the Amorites; the land of the Gebalites and all of the Lebanon mountain area to the east, from Baal-gad below Mount Hermon to Lebo-hamath; and all the hill country from Lebanon to Misrephoth-maim, including all the land of the Sidonians.
“I myself will drive these people out of the land ahead of the Israelites. So be sure to give this land to Israel as a special possession, just as I have commanded you. Include all this territory as Israel’s possession when you divide this land among the nine tribes and the half-tribe of Manasseh.”
Half the tribe of Manasseh and the tribes of Reuben and Gad had already received their grants of land on the east side of the Jordan, for Moses, the servant of the Lord, had previously assigned this land to them.
Their territory extended from Aroer on the edge of the Arnon Gorge (including the town in the middle of the gorge) to the plain beyond Medeba, as far as Dibon. It also included all the towns of King Sihon of the Amorites, who had reigned in Heshbon, and extended as far as the borders of Ammon. It included Gilead, the territory of the kingdoms of Geshur and Maacah, all of Mount Hermon, all of Bashan as far as Salecah, and all the territory of King Og of Bashan, who had reigned in Ashtaroth and Edrei. King Og was the last of the Rephaites, for Moses had attacked them and driven them out. But the Israelites failed to drive out the people of Geshur and Maacah, so they continue to live among the Israelites to this day.
Moses did not assign any allotment of land to the tribe of Levi. Instead, as the Lord had promised them, their allotment came from the offerings burned on the altar to the Lord, the God of Israel.
Moses had assigned the following area to the clans of the tribe of Reuben.
Their territory extended from Aroer on the edge of the Arnon Gorge (including the town in the middle of the gorge) to the plain beyond Medeba. It included Heshbon and the other towns on the plain—Dibon, Bamoth-baal, Beth-baal-meon, Jahaz, Kedemoth, Mephaath, Kiriathaim, Sibmah, Zereth-shahar on the hill above the valley, Beth-peor, the slopes of Pisgah, and Beth-jeshimoth.
The land of Reuben also included all the towns of the plain and the entire kingdom of Sihon. Sihon was the Amorite king who had reigned in Heshbon and was killed by Moses along with the leaders of Midian—Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba—princes living in the region who were allied with Sihon. The Israelites had also killed Balaam son of Beor, who used magic to tell the future.The Jordan River marked the western boundary for the tribe of Reuben. The towns and their surrounding villages in this area were given as a homeland to the clans of the tribe of Reuben.
Moses had assigned the following area to the clans of the tribe of Gad.
Their territory included Jazer, all the towns of Gilead, and half of the land of Ammon, as far as the town of Aroer just west of Rabbah. It extended from Heshbon to Ramath-mizpeh and Betonim, and from Mahanaim to the territory of Lo-debar. In the valley were Beth-haram, Beth-nimrah, Succoth, Zaphon, and the rest of the kingdom of King Sihon of Heshbon. The western boundary ran along the Jordan River, extended as far north as the tip of the Sea of Galilee, and then turned eastward. The towns and their surrounding villages in this area were given as a homeland to the clans of the tribe of Gad.
Moses had assigned the following area to the clans of the half-tribe of Manasseh.
Their territory extended from Mahanaim, including all of Bashan, all the former kingdom of King Og, and the sixty towns of Jair in Bashan. It also included half of Gilead and King Og’s royal cities of Ashtaroth and Edrei. All this was given to the clans of the descendants of Makir, who was Manasseh’s son.
These are the allotments Moses had made while he was on the plains of Moab, across the Jordan River, east of Jericho. But Moses gave no allotment of land to the tribe of Levi, for the Lord, the God of Israel, had promised that he himself would be their allotment.