Main point summary
Joshua took all the land defeating their kings because Yahweh hardened His enemies' hearts so they would fight Israel in order that all of them would be completely destroyed as the LORD commanded.
Joshua 11:16-20 ESV
16 So Joshua took all that land, x the hill country and all the Negeb and y all the land of Goshen z and the lowland z and the Arabah a and the hill country of Israel and its lowland 17 b from Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir, as far as c Baal-gad in the Valley of Lebanon below d Mount Hermon. And he captured e all their kings and struck them and put them to death. 18 Joshua made war f a long time with all those kings. 19 There was not a city that made peace with the people of Israel except g the Hivites, the inhabitants of Gibeon. They took them all in battle. 20 For it was the Lord ’s doing h to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be devoted to destruction and should receive no mercy but be destroyed, i just as the Lord commanded Moses.
Enemies as Footstools
Joshua took the land by taking out the leaders The manner by which Joshua took the promised land was to capture the kings, strike them, and kill them (Josh. 11.16-17). By taking out the leadership of his enemies, he ensured a final victory over them. Nothing spells defeat like seeing your king underneath a warrior's feet ( Josh 10:24-25 ). The Israelites continued in this pattern for a long time (Josh 11:18), as king after king found himself as a footstool for them (Ps. 110:1 ). From the mountains to the valleys, the country to the city, Israel came to take what God had promised, and therefore no monarch was spared of their boot, except of course the Hivites whom they'd made a covenant to protect (Josh 9:15 cf. Josh 10:6-7). Israel was learning to be faithful to their word, as their God is faithful to His. Because it was the LORD's doing God will ensure the victories He has promised even when it means causing the battle in the first place (Josh. 11:20 cf. Ex 14:17-18). In order for God to demonstrate His power (Rom 9:17-18), He brought about the very disposition in the hearts of Israel's enemies that they would rise up against Israel. How confident ought we be that God is so certainly going to deliver our enemies into our hands, that He stirs them up just to throw them down? As the LORD commanded God promised Moses He would fight for His people and His Word shows His faithfulness, again and again. As the plan of God has unfolded and revelation has progressed (Heb 1:1-2), we can see the heavenly realities behind the earthly shadows (Heb 8:5, 10:1). Similarly, to how Israel's enemies stood in the way of their inheritance, sin stood in the way of our eternal inheritance (Rom 6:23, Gen 2:17, 3:22), so God utterly destroyed sin (Rom 8:3-4), showing no mercy but pouring out the full cup of his wrath (Matt 26:39), down to the dregs (Ps. 75:8), on Christ who became sin for us that we might inherit His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21) by faith (Rom 1:17). Christ will take down every ruler, authority, and power (1 Cor. 15:24) in order for us to have our inheritance! And He must reign until he puts everything under His feet (1 Cor. 15:25, Heb. 10:12-13)! The God of Peace will soon crush Satan under our feet (Rom 16:20), and the last great enemy to be destroyed is death itself (1 Cor 15:26) when the dead will be raised imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality (1 Cor. 15:53), then we will have the victory (1 Cor 15:57) and the inheritance (Eph 1:14), just like Joshua, as the LORD commanded! https://biblearc.com/author/JamesJacksonTaylor/DidacticsAssignment_4/
So Joshua took all that land,
וַיִּקַּח יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֶת־כָּל־הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת
x the hill country and all the Negeb and y all the land of Goshen z and the lowland z and the Arabah a and the hill country of Israel and its lowland b from Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir, as far as c Baal-gad in the Valley of Lebanon below d Mount Hermon.
הָהָר וְאֶת־כָּל־הַנֶּגֶב וְאֵת כָּל־אֶרֶץ הַגֹּשֶׁן וְאֶת־הַשְּׁפֵלָה וְאֶת־הָעֲרָבָה וְאֶת־הַר יִשְׂרָאֵל וּשְׁפֵלָתֹה׃מִן־הָהָר הֶחָלָק הָעוֹלֶה שֵׂעִיר וְעַד־בַּעַל 1 גָּד בְּבִקְעַת הַלְּבָנוֹן תַּחַת הַר־חֶרְמוֹן
And he captured e all their kings
וְאֵת כָּל־מַלְכֵיהֶם לָכַד
and struck them
and put them to death.
Joshua made war f a long time with all those kings.
יָמִים רַבִּים עָשָׂה יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֶת־כָּל־הַמְּלָכִים הָאֵלֶּה מִלְחָמָה׃
There was not a city that made peace with the people of Israel
לֹא־הָיְתָה עִיר אֲשֶׁר הִשְׁלִימָה אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל
except g the Hivites, the inhabitants of Gibeon.
בִּלְתִּי הַחִוִּי יֹשְׁבֵי גִבְעוֹן
They took them all in battle.
אֶת־הַכֹּל לָקְחוּ בַמִּלְחָמָה׃
For it was the Lord ’s doing
כִּי מֵאֵת יְהוָה׀ הָיְתָה
h to harden their hearts
that they should come against Israel in battle,
לִקְרַאת הַמִּלְחָמָה אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל
in order that they should be devoted to destruction
and should receive no mercy
לְבִלְתִּי הֱיוֹת־לָהֶם תְּחִנָּה
but be destroyed,
כִּי לְמַעַן הַשְׁמִידָם
i just as the Lord commanded Moses.
כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה אֶת־מֹשֶׁה׃ס