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)
Leaving Nothing Undone
The northern conquest of Canaan was a hard-fought and bloody campaign. Israel faced insurmountable odds with their enemies numbering as the sand that is on the seashore in multitude, with very many horses and chariots. The Lord told Joshua not to be afraid when he saw the vast armies standing before him as victory would be brought by the hand of God for Israel. All of the kings camped against Israel, and their armies were decimated as the people of God attacked their enemies until they left none of them remaining. Joshua hamstrung all the horses and burned the chariots with fire. 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.
When Moses wrote the final chapter of the history of Israel and the law of the Lord for the nation, he reminded the people that whatever God had commanded them to do when they entered the land must be obeyed. He warned them not to add to or take away from the word of the Lord. Part of those commands included the will of the Lord to destroy the idolatrous people of the land and let nothing that breathes remain alive. God commanded His people to utterly destroy the Hittite and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. Joshua fulfilled the word of the Lord to the letter of the law.
It is hard to see God’s people slaughtering every human being, leaving no survivors. Not a single person was spared. Why did Israel do this? The word of the Lord demanded it. It was the fulfillment of the word to Abraham concerning the iniquity of the Amorites, and judgment was passed upon an ungodly, idolatrous, and rebellious people. Joshua left nothing undone. He did not go outside the bounds of God’s law, presume to know more than God by refusing to destroy all the people or change the word of the will of the Lord. Joshua followed the word of the Lord from a heart believing God’s righteous judgment was the right thing to do. Many years later, Saul would refuse to do what God said, and he lost his kingdom.
The Bible contains the mind of God, and on every page are the instructions of the Divine to the human heart. All scripture is inspired through the Spirit and must be applied in its proper place. The Law of Moses have been stricken from the pages of authority for salvation. Jesus Christ is Lord, and His will is the authority for salvation. Nothing can be left undone when it comes to what a man must do to be saved. When men refuse to obey the word of the Lord, they find themselves like King Saul, without the blessing of God. The heart must have the courage of Joshua to do all that the Lord commands. Obedience is necessary without exceptions, changes, or revisions to the word of the Lord. Joshua did as he was told, carefully obeying all the commands that the Lord had given to Moses. Can we do any less today?