Word of the Israelites’ conquest of Jericho and Ai spread rapidly. A group of kings formed an alliance to fight Joshua and Israel. However, the people of Gibeon had other ideas. By claiming to be from a far country, they deceived Joshua and his men into swearing an oath that they would let them live in peace. When the truth became known three days later, they were made slaves to the house of God. The Gibeonites considered that to be a small price to pay for having saved their lives.
A group of five Amorite kings became disturbed because of the size and strength of the Gibeonites. They combined forces to attack Gibeon. Again, God was with the Israelites as they destroyed all the inhabitants of those cities. In an unusual request from a man, Joshua, God stopped the sun and moon from moving for about a whole day while the people engaged in that battle.
Joshua and his army continued in their conquest until they had conquered the entire southern portion of Canaan. “So Joshua conquered all the land: the mountain country and the South…because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel.” They then returned to the camp at Gilgal.
It seems that the kings of the cities in Canaan “just didn’t get it.” They saw how the Israelites, with the help of God had conquered everything before them. Alliances had not worked before, but Jabin, king of Hazor sent to the kings of the remaining cities. They came together in camp to fight against Israel. Their armies included more men than could be counted because of their multitude and “very many horses and chariots.”
No problem. The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid because of them…” Joshua led the surprise attack against the armies and when the war was finally over, all of the kings and their cities had been destroyed. That concluded the initial quest for the Promised Land. More battles would be fought later after the tribes had settled. “Then the land rested from war.”
There had been two kings, Sihon and Og defeated by Moses as the children of Israel prepared to enter the Promised Land. Those lands on the eastern side of the Jordan River had been delivered to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh. God leading Joshua and his armies had defeated thirty-one additional kings on the west side of the Jordan.