The Book of Joshua – Part 14, Joshua 12 & 13  “By little and little I will drive them out from before you…”

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The Book of Joshua – Part 14, Joshua 12 and 13, “By little and little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and inherit the land” – Exo 23:30

[Study Aired June 3, 2023]

Chapter 12 and 13 of Joshua is mostly dedicated to the registery of the names of the kings defeated by Israel at the hands of the Lord and their geographical locations. As seen in the preceding studies, it spiritually acknowledged our sins by the meaning of each King and his city’s name. This methodical documentation in subsequent chapters included establishing the Promised Land’s boundaries.

Israel’s geographical tracking confirmed that ‘trouble comes out of the South’ for the evil kings and their cities since Mt. Sinai is far to the south of the Promised Land and Israel’s jubilant push northward.

The conquering of Jericho, immediately north of the Dead Sea, established the Lord’s power and might, mostly Eastward of the Jordan and Jerusalem just a little further West, the heart of the Promised Land. 

From Israel’s position in the south, she moved north, mostly on the west of the Jordan, toward Mt. Hermon in the far north, killing every man, woman, child, and every breathing thing, confirming that our enemies are troubles coming from the South.

Isa 30:6 The burden of the beasts of the South: into the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come the young and old lion, the viper and fiery flying Serpent, they will carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses, and their treasures upon the bunches of camels, to a people that shall not profit them.

That verse denotes the Lord’s people coming with their burdens of sin from the south eventually to Christ, where with much anguish, we rout our Promised Land, the Temple of God, from our self-righteousness. Joshua is the ‘young lion’ and Moses the ‘old lion’, a secondary representation of the two armies (Son 6:13) of the Old and New Covenant. Christ is the viper and the fiery Serpent whom we mirror as we gain our Lord’s riches on the “young asses” depicted as a ‘young Israel’ under Joshua’s rule.

Indeed, all the peoples conquered thus far in the Promised Land had nothing of physical value to profit Israel except where the Lord chose to keep items for Israel’s benefit, even if it were a couple of Gebonites. If it were possible, the Lord’s people likewise have nothing of the physical or spiritual value of this Babylonian system worthy of carrying forward into the Kingdom.

Chapters 12 and 13 document the kings and their lands defeated by Israel. Moses didn’t lead Israel in their campaign, as the heading of chapter 12 suggests, since he wasn’t permitted to go into the Promised Land with the children of Israel.  However, he directed what was to come before his death (Deu 3:13-29).

These conquests are the first of very many for Israel to secure the entire Promised Land. Israel’s shoddiness at precisely following all that the Lord commanded and culminating in not being detailed in the taking of Jericho and the subsequent horrific stoning of Achan and his seemingly innocent family made Israel sit up and take the Lord seriously, at least for a few short years.

Every king of his city and its inhabitants – man, woman, child and beast, everything that had breath – was utterly destroyed, and the city set on fire, except very occasionally where the Lord specified items for Israel’s use. Such are our sinful cities within utterly burnt with the Lord’s fire.

Why did the Lord, through Joshua, curse Jericho that it should never be rebuilt and not the other cities of Canaan? 

Jos 6:26 And Joshua charged them at that time, saying, Cursed before Jehovah is the man who rises up and builds this city of Jericho. He shall lay the foundation of it in his first-born, and in his youngest son he shall set up the gates of it.

A detailed understanding of that curse is in this link:

Jericho, being the first city (“one”) of the Promised Land to be erased, represents the entirety of Canaan’s cities and people. It represents our mind and body before being dragged to Christ. Except where the Lord chose not, everything in this polluted land is cursed from Jericho north to Mt. Hermon and turning south through Jerusalem to the land of the Amalekites bordering Egypt.

Even though the Lord, for the most part, didn’t verbally curse every city in Canaan, Jericho represented the entire land cursed, and so are we while in Babylon. Noah’s son, Ham, represents the entire land. You will remember that Ham, Canaan’s father, ridiculed his father’s nakedness by attempting to entice his brothers to join his ‘party spirit’ to dishonour their father’s headship.Gen 9:25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan. He shall be a servant of servants to his brothers.

Satan is our first father, and we share his curse as his symbolised progeny.

Gen 3:14 And Jehovah God said to the serpent, Because you have done this [Deceived Adam and Eve] you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every animal of the field. You shall go upon your belly, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.

Ham cursed Noah and subsequently and unwittingly cursed all the land of Canaan with its kings and people before Israel’s entry.

Lev 20:9 And any man who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be on him.

As such, the entire land of Canaan was cursed in the duality of Joshua’s curse on Jericho and Ham’s impropriety towards his father.

Shortly we will see the meanings of the names of the kings, the people and the land, and our biblical knowledge will remind us that many hundreds of years later, low and behold, these very same people show up! What spiritually does this tell us?

As seen in Joshua Part 7, the ‘dig’ in the mound called a “tel” of Jericho reveals many attempts to rebuild this city today. Each dig’s project manager probably remained ignorant of the curse on his children; nonetheless, each rebuild failed with no doubt much family sorrow.

These peoples of Canaan, along with their cities, arose from their ashes to trouble Israel until Israel became almost indistinguishable from them!

Isa 1:21 How has the faithful city become a harlot? It was full of judgment;  righteousness lodged in it, but now murderers.

What spiritually does this tell us? God deliberately let Israel be slothful in routing their land to show His Body that we are sin! Sin is like thorny blackberry briars. We dig them out, burn them, even poison them, and still a root of bitterness springs up succulent and full of vigor amid the ashes. While we are flesh and blood, our field’s cities, kings, men, women, children, and beasts will sucker back up  (sprout from roots remaining in the soil) afresh to alarm our inward land; this requires vigilance to watch for that arrogant little weed.

Just as Jericho was rebuilt several times in history, as the ‘tel’ indicates, we mostly unwittingly rebuild on the debris of our past sins and have a ‘blackberry root’ sucker up to curse us.

We are not to be slothful with sin and worse, raise Jericho or any remnants of those yet-to-be-conquered cities back to life. However, lamentably, that is precisely what we tend to do following the bloody death of that city.

Hab 2:12 Woe to him who builds a town with blood, and establishes a city by iniquity!

Soon we will see in detail the meaning of the names of the kings, cities and lands and how they relate to our vigilance against sin. After years of having someone daily say that we need to be rid of all the giants, kings, cities, men, women, children and beasts, we could yawn inwardly for its now rudimentary understanding. If a sluggish spirit resides within, and we rebuild our city upon the daily death (blood) of sin, we shall not prosper and are effectively cursed for its breath. Faith comes from frequently hearing the word of God.

Jos 7:13 Up! Sanctify the people and say, Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow. For thus says Jehovah, the God of Israel, A cursed thing [Achan’s sin] is in the midst of you, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the cursed thing from among you.

Ecc 1:13 (CLV) I applied my heart to inquiring and exploring by wisdom concerning all that is done under the heavens: it is an experience of evil Elohim has given to the sons of humanity to humble them by it.

2Pe 2:9 The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust for a day of judgment, to be punished, 
2Pe 2:10 and especially those who walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness [we are inherently unclean by default], and despise dominion. They are darers, self-pleasing; not trembling at glories, speaking evil. 
2Pe 2:11 Where angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reproaching accusation against them before the Lord. 
2Pe 2:12 But these, as unreasoning natural brute animals having been born for capture and corruption, speak evil of the things that they do not understand. And they will utterly perish in their own corruption, 
2Pe 2:13 being about to receive the wages of unrighteousness, deeming indulgence as pleasure in the daytime, and reveling in spots and blemishes, feasting along with you in their deceits, 
2Pe 2:14 having eyes full of adultery and never ceasing from sin, alluring unstable souls, having a heart exercised with covetousness. They are cursed children 
2Pe 2:15 who have forsaken the right way and have gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness,

Joshua was told to kill the kings and their related cities, which he mostly did, except for the God-given laxity for believing the Gibeonite’s deception (Jos 9:1-27). Killing the kings and their cities is killing the trunk of the tree. However, many trees have live roots that sucker up to grow new and more vigorous trees. If we don’t methodically kill our land’s collective ‘beasts’, any remaining will ‘sucker’ back to life and curse future generations. Achan hid a suckering root in the ground beneath his tent. If the Lord hadn’t dealt swiftly with Achan’s sin, similarly to us, he would have presented a substantially rooted tree of sin to further curse our spiritual development.

Following Israel’s routing of their land of the heathen cities and their peoples, no doubt a sprinkling of countryside dwellers escaped the massacre. Subsequently, when Israel settled the land much later after fully taking Canaan, those ‘roots’ suckered to establish more evil ‘beasts of the field’, and as we know, Israel did take on their ways.

Jericho served as an unstated example not to rebuild any destroyed city and its people. God cursed Jericho to never be rebuilt, but the rest of the totally destroyed cities in the Promised Land, he didn’t curse! Hence, each name of the kings and their cities have significant meaning since root remnants of their peoples retained breath and suckered back their evil nature to curse Israel.

In the exposition following these verses in chapters 12 and 13 are the meanings of every king, people, and city’s names for our spiritual consideration is what’s spiritually important. In that capacity, I won’t belabour the mundanity of re-reading the names or each tribe’s geographical inheritance nor the meaning of those names; the process is just too tedious. However, and only for this occasion, at the very end of the study, I’ve included those meanings for your leisurely consumption. Yet: 

2Th 3:10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this, that if anyone would not work, neither should he eat.

Below I’ve included links to maps for Israel’s path north on the West of the Jordan and back south to below Jerusalem. That pictorial provides a far better ‘mind map’ than visualising geographically the names that don’t mean anything without personal study.

Here is a map of the kings, cities and their people to be conquered by Israel:

Following is a link to a map of Israel’s journey north and back to the south. Notice that Jerusalem is central to the land. Also, the yet-to-be “treacherous Judah” is in the south, next to the Dead (Salt) Sea and indicative of her stubbornness in rightly dividing truth from the oracles of God

Following is a map showing each tribe’s inheritance:

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