Verses 1-6: These first kings and lands mentioned are those that were conquered by Moses. These lands were fruitful and abundant in blessings for the Israelites, but did not represent the totality of God’s ability to bless.
Verses 7-24: These are the lands that Joshua defeated. As we read through this list, we should see some familiar names from the past few weeks. Joshua handily defeated all, only having trouble when one of His own disobeyed God without Joshua’s knowledge (Achan that buried the spoils and was later punished).
Although this chapter is short and reads like a list, there are two important lessons we can learn from it:
1. Moses represents the old law in his conquering of the land outside the Jordan: Just as the old law was only able to do so much for mankind in terms of salvation and bringing Israel close to God, Moses could only bring the Israelites so far. But Joshua brought them into the promised land, vanquishing enemies and preparing the land for their habitation. In this way, Jesus brought us along closer to God than the old law ever could have.
2. The defeat of the kings and kingdoms that occurred just as God directed communicates how deeply God abhors sin. Utter destruction for the sinners. Lack of mercy. The death of every living thing in some cases.
Is my attitude towards sin in line with God’s? Do I understand how much he hates it? Why would I dabble or continue in something that God, who created me, despises?
[Matthew Henry’s commentary was referenced for this post]