Joshua turned back at that time and took Hazor, and struck its king with the sword; for Hazor was formerly the head of all those kingdoms. And they struck all the people who were in it with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them. There was none left breathing. Then he burned Hazor with fire. So all the cities of those kings, and all their kings, Joshua took and struck with the edge of the sword. He utterly destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded. But as for the cities that stood on their mounds, Israel burned none of them, except Hazor only, which Joshua burned. And all the spoil of these cities and the livestock, the children of Israel took as booty for themselves; but they struck every man with the edge of the sword until they had destroyed them, and they left none breathing. As the Lord had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses. (Joshua 11:10-15)
They Left None Breathing
Abraham had been promised the land of Canaan but the promise was delayed because at the time of his dwelling in the land, the sinful nature of the people was not complete to the point of needing the divine wrath of God. The Lord made a covenant with Abraham that would be fulfilled through the nation of Israel that would come from his son of promise, Isaac. By the time Israel had left Egypt, spent forty years in the wilderness and stood before the Jordan River, the wickedness of the people of Canaan had become so full it was time for the Lord to exact His wrath upon them. Israel would be the tool God would use to carry out His judgment against a people that had become so depraved in their lives there remained no hope. The grace and mercy of the Lord are limited to a time when men desire Him and seek His will. When the hearts of men turn so completely away from the word of truth, God will bring judgment and condemnation. Like in the days of Noah, the thoughts and intents of the heart are only evil continually with no hope of repentance. The early world was completely destroyed save the eight souls in the ark because the world was that wicked, that depraved and that hopeless. God’s righteousness demanded judgment and it was meted out with His complete and overwhelming power. Israel enters the land of Canaan with marching orders to annihilate all the inhabitants of the land as a judgment from the Lord God upon their wickedness. The text graphically describes the complete and utter destruction of the ungodly people of the land. Joshua killed the king of Hazor with the sword. Every person in the city of Hazor was killed by the swords of the Israelites sparing no man, woman or child. They utterly destroyed every human being in the city and there was none left breathing. Then Joshua burned the city to the ground. This was repeated time and again as they came to each city, killing all the inhabitants taking the spoils of the city for their own. There was no one that was left alive.
Joshua was not acting like a mad man driven by some desperate desire to conquer land for his own. Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the people to carry out this destruction and complete annihilation of the people of Canaan. The reason Moses instructed Joshua to destroy the people came from the word of the Lord. The Lord commanded Moses and Moses commanded Joshua and the son of Nun carried out the will of the Lord to kill all the people of the land. Ultimately the destruction of Canaan came from the voice of God against the nations that had become so wicked the Lord judged them fit for destruction. Sin is the burden of all men but when sin becomes so desperate in the lives of men, the Lord will bring His wrath upon them. God is full of love and His mercy is expressed in the richness of His grace. The destruction of Canaan was not a random act by an angry God bent on bring misery and pain to His creation. All of the things done by Joshua came from the word of the Lord because the iniquity of the Amorites was full – it was time for God’s judgment to be felt. Many generations had passed since the first promise to Abraham. The destruction of Canaan could not have taken place in the days of Abraham because it would have been an unrighteous act on the part of God. The Lord allowed man to destroy himself before the Lord destroyed him. God was not to blame for their deaths. They had fully rejected the Lord, lived in a world filled with debauchery and ungodliness to the point God had had enough and brought the sword of Israel against them. This was a divine judgment from a loving and compassionate God who brought His wrath upon those who disobeyed Him. There was none left breathing because that was the will of the Lord.
Grace and truth come through Jesus Christ but the wrath of God is still reserved for those who reject Him and fill their lives with the desires of the flesh and eye. Satan has convinced many that God is so loving He could never and would never punish anyone regardless of how they live and what they have done in life. Man is not the judge of men’s souls but there are clearly those who live in complete rejection of the love of God and yet so often are said to be dwelling in the bosom of the Lord because God could never send anyone to a place called Hell. Believing that God will never punish the disobedient is a common mistake for those who have not read the Bible and understood the nature of God’s righteousness, justice, and mercy. The iniquity of the Amorites was not full in the days of Abraham but the day came when the people were filled with so much wickedness the wrath of God destroyed them. Joshua killed all those people because that was the will of the Lord. Every man, woman, and child were killed as a society of evil people filled the land requiring the judgment of God to be placed upon them. They left none breathing according to the will of the Lord. Sadly there will be a day when all men will stand before the judgment bar of the Holy God of Heaven and He will punish the majority of his creation with eternal punishment. Jesus Christ taught the lesson of eternal perdition. There can be no doubt as the scriptures vividly describe the scene of a final judgment as blessing and cursing. For those who are righteous the reward of eternal glory will be enjoyed. To the people who chose to live apart from the will of God, there will be a place of torment unparalleled in the annals of man to consider. The Old Testament shows the character of God – his goodness and his severity.
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31)