Verse 1 – Joshua had been Israel’s obvious successor to Moses, but there was no obvious successor to Joshua. The people had not only relied on Joshua’s military might but Joshua kept their focus on God. Always acknowledge God as your commander-in-chief, and avoid the temptation of relying too heavily on human leaders regardless of their spiritual wisdom. Canaan’s greatest threat to Israel was not its army, but its religion. Canaanite religion idolized evil traits: cruelty in war, sexual immorality, selfish greed, and materialism. It was a “me first, anything goes” society.
Verse 2 – Under Joshua’s leadership they all started out strong, but soon most were sidetracked by fear, weariness, lack of discipline, or pursuit of their own interest. Their faith in God started to fade away. Beware of starting out strong and then getting sidetracked from your real purpose-loving God and living for Him.
Verse 6 – The Israelites cut off the thumbs and big toes to make Adoni-Bezek ineffective in battle, which in turn would humiliate him. But, according to Gods instructions they were supposed to kill him.
Verse 8 – Although Israel conquered Jerusalem, they did not occupy the city until David’s time (1 Samuel 5:6-10).
Verse 17 – Although this command from God seems cruel, the Israelites were under God’s order to execute judgment on those wicked people. Over 700 years earlier God had told Abraham that when the Israelites entered the Promised Land, the gross evil of the native people would be ready for judgment (Genesis 15:16).
Verse 19 – Israel’s foot soldiers were absolutely powerless when a speeding iron chariot bore down upon them. This is why Israel preferred to fight in the hills where chariots couldn’t venture.
Verse 21 – Why didn’t they follow through and completely obey God’s commands? We too, often fail to complete things in our lives that we know God wants us to do. The results are a gradual deterioration of our relationship with God. In our battles and struggles, we grow tired and lose the will to go on, but remember, God loves us and has given us a purpose for life. Victory comes from living according to His purpose.