Joshua 11:20
(20) It was of the Lord to harden their hearts . . . that he might destroy them.--Or rather to strengthen their heart--i.e., render them obstinate. These words go to prove what has been said elsewhere, that the conquest of Canaan was not intended to be a massacre of the unresisting inhabitants.

Verse 20. - To harden their hearts (cf. Exodus 4:21; Exodus 7:23). Muller, 'Christian Doctrine of Sin,' 2:412, says that "Scripture never speaks of God's hardening men's hearts, save in connection with His revelations through Moses or Christ." This passage evidently had not occurred to him when writing. His explanation of the difficulty is hardly satisfactory. We are not to suppose that the free will of the Canaanites was in any way interfered with. God no doubt left them to themselves as the due punishment of their iniquities. Sin in general, by God's own appointment, and especially the sensual sins in which the Canaanites were steeped, has a tendency to produce insensibility to moral or even prudential considerations, and to beget a recklessness which urges on the sinner to his ruin. Some have argued that had they all come, like the Gibeonites, as suppliants, they must all have been massacred in cold blood. But this is not likely. Rather we must imagine that God foresaw that they would not believe the signs He would give in favour of the Israelites, and that by meeting them in battle they brought a swift and speedy destruction on themselves.

11:15-23 Never let the sons of Anak be a terror to the Israel of God, for their day to fall will come. The land rested from war. It ended not in a peace with the Canaanites, that was forbidden, but in a peace from them. There is a rest, a rest from war, remaining for the people of God, into which they shall enter, when their warfare is accomplished. That which was now done, is compared with what had been said to Moses. God's word and his works, if viewed together, will be found mutually to set each other forth. If we make conscience of our duty, we need not question the performance of the promise. But the believer must never put off his armour, or expect lasting peace, till he closes his eyes in death; nay, as his strength and usefulness increase, he may expect more heavy trials; yet the Lord will not permit any enemies to assault the believer till he has prepared him for the battle. Christ Jesus ever lives to plead for his people, and their faith shall not fail, however Satan may be permitted to assault them. And however tedious, sharp, and difficult the believer's warfare, his patience in tribulation may be encouraged by the joyfulness of hope; for he will, ere long, rest from sin and from sorrow in the Canaan above.For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts,.... As he hardened the hearts of Pharaoh and the Egyptians, that his power might be displayed in their destruction:

that they should come against Israel battle; and so fall in it:

that he might destroy them utterly; for their abominable wickedness, idolatry, incest, &c. they had been guilty of:

and that they might have no favour; which they would have had, had they made peace as the Gibeonites did; or that they might not pray and make supplication, the Lord not giving them a spirit of supplication, but an hard heart, as Gussetius (f) observes the words may be interpreted, though he seems to prefer the former, sense:

but that he might destroy them, as the Lord commanded Moses; Deuteronomy 7:1.

(f) Comment. Ebr. p. 272.

Joshua 11:19
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