Joshua 12 Commentary

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Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission

Paul J Bucknell - Biblical Foundations for Freedom

(Joshua 13-21)
Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission

Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission

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Josh 1:1-5:15 Josh 6:1-12:24 Joshua 13:1-21:45 Josh 22:1-24:33












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See also more detailed Chart by Charles R Swindoll

Joshua 12:1  Now these are the kings of the land whom the sons of Israel defeated, and whose land they possessed beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise, from the valley of the Arnon as far as Mount Hermon, and all the Arabah to the east:

  • beyond the Jordan: Jos 1:15 22:4 
  • from the: Nu 21:13,24 De 2:24 Jdg 11:18 Isa 16:2, unto the mount, Jos 11:3,17 De 3:8,9 4:48 Ps 133:3 
  • Joshua 12 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
Mount Hermon in the North


This chapter is a monument to the great faithfulness of the LORD to keep His covenant promises. On the other hand it is a "royal roster of doom." 

THOUGHT - If He did it for Israel to whom He promised the land, He will do it for believers to whom He has promised an abundant life in Christ (Jn 10:10b, cf Jn 15:11, 17:13) Are you possessing this abundant life in Christ? That is God's desire for all of His children. Joshua gives us the pattern which will guarantee success - OBEY THE LORD. Perhaps you need to rehearse a "Joshua chapter 12" and sing a song of praise and thanksgiving because of God's faithfulness in your life...

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done. 

Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
*Count your many blessings, see what God has done.

(The key word in Joshua 12 is ONE - 33x in 17v!)

Barber comments that "as we push back our chairs and ask ourselves what we have learned from our cursory investigation of this data, we take note of the faithfulness of God. He had promised the land to Abraham and his descendants, and now His people were in possession of it. His power had been evident in giving His people the victory over forces much more powerful than their own. He had not always followed the same strategy, but showed that He could defeat His enemies by any means....Though there are many who decry God’s harsh treatment of those living in Canaan, the fact remains that they had become so hardened in their sinful ways that punishment was inevitable. And we need to take this to heart, for within our society many of the same sins are acceptable and there are many who believe that they can sin with impunity. "

Irving Jensen summarizes this chapter -  Kings Smitten (Joshua 12:1–24)  1. Kings of Transjordan (Joshua 12:1–6) Two kings: Sihon king of the Amorites (12:2) and Og king of Bashan (12:4). These were the kings smitten by Moses, before Israel crossed the Jordan, whose lands were allotted to the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh. The geographical extent of this Transjordan acquisition reached from the Arnon River in the south, which was the southern boundary of Sihon’s kingdom, to the slopes of Hermon in the north, the land of Bashan, which was Og’s kingdom.  2. Kings West of the Jordan (Joshua 12:7–24) Thirty-one kings. Their cities were scattered throughout Canaan (the geography is described in Joshua 12:7–8), which explains why Israel was engaged in battle for such a long time. The kings are listed in the order in which they were engaged in battle with Joshua. (Joshua- Everyman's Bible Commentary: Rest-Land Won)

David Thompson - There are some people who think that the Christian life is a life of peaceful tranquility without any conflict or confrontation. Frankly such a notion is not possible, nor is it Biblical. Certainly we all desire a life that is peaceful; but to reach that desire there are hard fought battles against real enemies. The road to peace is a road filled with conflicts and confrontations and when God’s people purpose to obey God, they will experience the victory and peace they long for. As we have been going through this book of Joshua, we have seen some important things: 1) Getting to the place where God wanted Israel to be was not easy or quick; it was a process and at times it was difficult. 2) Getting to the place where God wanted Israel to be meant she had to fight many different battles against many different kinds of enemies. 3) Getting to the place where God wanted Israel to be meant persistent obedience over a process of time. 4) Getting to the place where God wanted Israel to be meant all enemies were destroyed. As we come to Joshua 12, what we learn is that Israel had tremendous victory over every enemy who stood against her. Specific enemies were targeted and defeated. The victory was very precise according to the leading of God. But no victory was easy. Jericho was probably the easiest, but even Jericho required that when the walls came down they had to go in and take the city. Along the way, Israel was learning a lesson of obedience and she learned the lesson of fighting a good faithful fight. There is a great lesson to be learned from this chapter: REGARDLESS OF WHO THE ENEMY IS AND REGARDLESS OF HOW MANY ENEMIES WE FACE, OUR RESPONSIBILITY IS TO OBEY GOD AND WAGE A GOOD WAR AND ONE BY ONE THOSE ENEMIES WILL BE DEFEATED AND WE WILL EXPERIENCE VICTORY AND PEACE.

Now these are the kings of the land whom the sons of Israel defeated (nāḵāh), and whose land they possessed (yarash)  beyond (on the east side of) the Jordan toward the sunrise ("the east side of the Jordan" - NET), from the valley of the Arnon as far as Mount Hermon, and all the Arabah (see mapto the east - This description begins with the land east of the Jordan and is surely a Spirit inspired way of saying to the children of Israel that all 12 tribes should be unified, even though 2.5 tribes are living east of the Jordan River. 

Cyril Barber adds "There had always been a fear that those tribes that had been given an inheritance in Transjordan would (1) forget their ties to the rest of God’s people and in time drift away from their relational and spiritual obligations, or (2) be looked upon by their brethren in Canaan with disfavor. To safeguard against this happening and preserve the unity of God’s people the historian wisely included the victories won under Moses’ leadership."

This chapter gives a complete list of the 31 kings conquered, which indicates that we have a portion of the record of the battles which Joshua waged against the Canaanites. In Joshua 12:6 Moses is credited with the conquest of Sihon and Og. 

This chapter is in a sense a written memorial to acknowledge the fruit of obedience (Joshua's obedience to God), but also the faithfulness of God to defeat the enemies of Israel. The great hymn To God be the Glory would be an apropos song for Joshua and Israel to sing...

To God be the glory
Great things He has done
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin
And opened the life-gate that all may go in

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord
Let the earth hear His voice
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord
Let the people rejoice
Come to the Father
Through Jesus the Son
Give Him the glory
Great things He has done

Isn't it interesting that a popular store, Baskin-Robbins, also has a list of 31, but their list is flavors of ice cream. Not to carry the analogy too far, but undoubtedly these were 31 "flavors" of kings (varying degrees of wickedness, etc), but all had one thing in common, that they hated God and hated His people. Beloved, don't be naive, for if you are a true disciple of Jesus, you have far more than 31 people who hate you (Jn 15:19-20, cf 2Ti 3:12, Php 1:29-30, Acts 14:22)

Guzik - Why do we have such an exhaustive, and seemingly tedious list? It only seems tedious to us because we do not live in the land. For those who really had their inheritance there, these were essential matters that touched every day life, answering the question: “What land belongs to Israel?”

Campbell points out "It is not claimed that Israel occupied all these cities. Certainly Joshua did not have sufficient manpower to leave a controlling garrison in each place. Joshua no doubt expected the respective tribes to occupy those towns."   (The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament or Here)

Utley - “Arnon” This means “rushing stream”. It runs into the Dead Sea, approximately in the middle. It was the border between Moab and the Amorites and later the southern boundary of Reuben (cf. Deut. 3:12).

Joseph Parker has an interesting comment (applies to both Joshua 11 and Joshua 12) - These two chapters contain a good deal of hard reading. They are studded with unfamiliar and difficult words and names, so that reading them is like reading the writing upon gravestones in a foreign land . Still, there is much for our instruction here . For example, we are called to behold how good a thing it is to keep a detailed record of life. These chapters are in a certain sense diaries or journals. The men of the ancient time wrote down what they did--that is to say, they kept their story freshly before their memories: they lost nothing; they wrote their accounts up to date; and at any given moment they could peruse the record and derive from it the advantage of stimulus which such an exercise could not fail to supply. (Joshua 12 Commentary)

Keil and Delitzsch - In the historical account of the wars of Joshua in the south and north of Canaan, the only kings mentioned by name as having been conquered and slain by the Israelites, were those who had formed a league to make war upon them; whereas it is stated at the close, that Joshua had smitten all the kings in the south and north, and taken possession of their towns (Josh 10:40, Josh 11:17). To complete the account of these conquests, therefore, a detailed list is given in the present chapter of all the kings that were slain, and not merely of those who were defeated by Joshua in the country on this side of the Jordan, but the two kings of the Amorites who had been conquered by Moses are also included, so as to give a complete picture of all the victories which Israel had gained under the omnipotent help of its God . (Joshua Commentary 12)

This is my Father's world,
O let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet.

This is my Father's world,
The battle is not done,
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and heav'n be one

Woudstra - The purpose of this chapter is obvious. Structurally it is closely related to Josh 11:16-17, especially Josh 11:17 . By enumerating the kings conquered by Joshua and Israel , the writer gives eloquent testimony to the fact that Israel's enemies, who had banded together with hostile intent (Josh 11:19-20); cf . Josh 9:1-2; 11:1-5) , had been unable to stand against Israel and its God. Thus seen, this ist is a song of praise to the Lord's honor. If Israel was to carry out its God-given task of being God's people in Canaan, it was necessary that those who could seduce it by their pagan practices should be eliminated from the land. Joshua was the man destined by God to carry out this program. He is not to be blamed for the severity with which he acted. Not only did he show exemplary faithfulness to the divine command, but he also remained true to his given word in the case of Rahab and the Gibeonites, and with partiality applied the curse to Achan, one of Israel's own. (The Book of Joshua The New International Commentary)

J Vernon McGee - It was a long and bitter campaign. Now in chapter 12 we are given the names of the kings which Israel conquered. Frankly, a chapter like this is not very exciting to me. But the thing that impresses me is the detail that the God of this universe has given in items like this. We would think that He would constantly be dealing with great issues in grandiose terms, but God gets right down to the nitty-gritty where you and I live. There is a lesson for us here. You and I sometimes hesitate to take to God in prayer the little details of our lives. We think, I ought not to talk to Him about things like that. Well, friend, talk to Him about those things. He wants to hear them. A professor who was very liberal in his theology, said to me one time, “You take the Bible literally.” “Yes,” I said. “You certainly don’t believe that God has books up there that He is going to open and look at.” I think I shocked him when I said, “I sure do.” He keeps the record, friend. Here is a chapter about these kings. I know nothing about them, but God does. He has the record. He has two books: the Book of Works and the Lamb’s Book of Life. Your name is written in one of them, my friend. It is written in the Book of Life when you trust Jesus Christ as your Savior. Your name will never be written there by your own effort. If your name is in this book, you have eternal life in Christ. There is also a Book of Works. It records the details of everything you have ever done. It is going to be embarrassing for many people when they discover that all they did was give a cup of cold water that cost them nothing.

THOUGHT - Realizing that the Lord has made such a specific record of what has occurred in the battles to possess the inheritance that God had granted to the sons of Israel makes us also recognize the fact that God is keeping records on our lives as well. (Anderson)

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary - Verses 1-6. Fresh mercies must not drown the remembrance of former mercies, nor must the glory of the present instruments of good to the church diminish the just honour of those who went before them, since God is the same who wrought by both. Moses gave to one part of Israel a very rich and fruitful country, but it was on the outside of Jordan. Joshua gave to all Israel the holy land, within Jordan. So the law has given to some few of God's spiritual Israel worldly blessings, earnests of good things to come; but our Lord Jesus, the true Joshua, provided for all the children of promise spiritual blessings, and the heavenly Canaan. 

Defeated (struck)(05221nāḵāh meaning to beat, to strike, to wound.  The meaning of the vb. ranges from hitting to killing. ni. be hit, be struck down; pu. be battered, ruined, destroyed; hi. strike, hit, beat, strike dead, wound, batter, destroy; ho. be struck down (dead), be taken, be hit (#5782); nom. מַכָּה (makkâ), blow, stroke, wound, plague.  Defeat, conquer, i.e., have a military victory over an opponent or enemy (Jos 10:10)

Uses of nakah in Joshua -  Jos. 7:5; Jos. 8:21; Jos. 8:22; Jos. 8:24; Jos. 9:18; Jos. 10:4; Jos. 10:10; Jos. 10:20; Jos. 10:26; Jos. 10:28; Jos. 10:30; Jos. 10:32; Jos. 10:33; Jos. 10:35; Jos. 10:37; Jos. 10:39; Jos. 10:40; Jos. 10:41; Jos. 11:8; Jos. 11:10; Jos. 11:11; Jos. 11:12; Jos. 11:14; Jos. 11:17; Jos. 12:1; Jos. 12:6; Jos. 12:7; Jos. 13:12; Jos. 13:21; Jos. 15:16; Jos. 19:47; Jos. 20:3; Jos. 20:5; Jos. 20:9;

Possessed (03423)(yarash) means to take possession of, inherit, dispossess, to drive out.  Possession of the land was directly connected to a person's relationship with the Lord; breaking the covenantal relationship led to dispossession. But even in exile in Babylon, Israelites awaited the day when they would repossess the land because of God's faithfulness to His covenant promise to Abraham (Jer. 30:3). 

GEORGE BUSH  - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 12

We have in the present chapter a recapitulation of all the victories thus far achieved. As the writer is about to enter upon a particular account of the distribution of the land among the tribes, he here pauses to give previously a general view of the territory to be divided, including the tracts on both sides the Jordan. This he does by specifying the kings, rather than the countries over which they reigned; for the power of a state is concentrated in the person of its sovereign, and such an enumeration presents the subject more vividly to the mind of the reader.—The first six verses contain a list of the kings on the east side of Jordan, conquered by Moses, with their territories, and the remainder of the chapter is occupied with a catalogue of those that were reduced by Joshua. ‘The enjoyment of present blessings under living benefactors, should not be suffered to efface the remembrance of former mercies procured by the instrumentality of God’s honored servants who have entered into their rest. The services and achievements of Joshua should not eclipse those of Moses.’ Henry. The passages referred to in the margin give all the useful information that can now be gleaned respecting those places, but recourse to a good map of ancient Canaan is indispensable to obtaining a clear idea of the subject.

1. From the river Arnon unto Mount Hermon The small river Arnon was the boundary of all the southern coast of the land occupied by the Israelites beyond Jordan (on the eastern side of the Jordan). The mountains of Hermon were the boundaries on the north. The Arnon takes its rise in the mountains of Gilead, and after running a considerable distance from north to south, turns to the north-west and falls into the Dead Sea not very far from the place where the Jordan discharges itself. See Num. 21:13; Deut. 2:24.

And all the plain on the east. Or, even all the plain; all the arable champaign country on the east of the Jordan, and called, Deut. 34:1, ‘The plains of Moab.’ On the physical features of this country, see Note on Num. 3:2.

Norman Geisler -  JOSHUA 12:1–24—Were these kings defeated here or not until later?

PROBLEM: The text declares that “these are the kings of the land whom the children of Israel defeated.” However, many of these cities were not captured until later (cf. Josh. 15:63; 17:12; Jdg. 1:22, 29).

SOLUTION: There is a difference between defeating a king’s army on the field of battle and later destroying his capital city. Once defeated in battle, the king and his remaining troops would retreat to their stronghold where it was much more difficult to root them out. Sudden victory and permanent vanquishing are two different things. So understood, there is absolutely no contradiction between these texts. (When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties)

Moody's TODAY IN THE WORDJoshua 12:1-13:7

Carl Sandburg once wrote, “Valor is a gift. Those having it never know for sure if they have it till the test comes. And those having it in one test never know for sure if they will have it when the next test comes.” We can forget, while reading about Joshua, that courage is not automatic. Joshua was only human, as robotic and fearless as he may have seemed while marching the army of Israel so systematically through the fearsome enemy ranks. Under natural circumstances, any human should have faltered more than Joshua did.

But the campaign against the people of Canaan was supernaturally driven. It began with Moses at the helm, east of the Jordan River, defeating two kings in battle. Two and a half tribes received their inheritance in that land. Then, after the crossing of the Jordan, Joshua led Israel on a dizzying tour of duty, defeating twenty-nine kings. Now, Joshua was faithful with what God asked him to do, but no man or army of men could have accomplished that feat in their own power. The victories described in chapter 12 can hardly be described as “military” achievements; they were miraculous.

Keep in mind, Moses wasn't a young man when he led the first leg of the battle. And at the outset of Chapter 13, the Lord tells Joshua that he, too, is getting on in years—and when God tells you you're old, there's no denying it. The Lord tells him of the additional lands yet to be conquered and promises that He will drive the people out from those cities as well.

Verse 7 identifies exactly the fact that makes this military conquest different than any other. Israel wasn't just taking the land, they were inheriting it. An inheritance cannot be taken by force. It is not a prize won or a salary earned. The land Joshua and Israel occupied was the result of a promise from God to Abraham, the father of the entire nation of Israel. His descendants inherited, not by force but by faith, a peaceful existence in perhaps the most desirable land on the face of the earth. God had set apart the land and prepared it for Israel. All Joshua had to do was help the nation claim it.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY - The battle for our spiritual inheritance has already been fought and won by Jesus Christ. The question we must ask ourselves is, have we claimed it? Have we “apportioned” the spoils of Christ's victory? We have eternal life, intimate communion with God, just waiting for us to enjoy. Whether it is fear of the enemies of life or desire for the false promises of the world, let's cast aside all obstacles today and through prayer, Bible study, and devotion to God, take hold of our inheritance

Joshua 12:2  Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and ruled from Aroer, which is on the edge of the valley of the Arnon, both the middle of the valley and half of Gilead, even as far as the brook Jabbok, the border of the sons of Ammon;

  • Sihon: Nu 21:23-30 De 2:24-37 3:6-17 Ne 9:22 Ps 135:11 136:19,20 
  • Jabbok: Ge 32:22 Jdg 11:13,22 
  • Joshua 12 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Arnon River = Northern Border of Moab. City of Ar just South of river
(Click to Enlarge)


Joshua 23 breaks down into a list of victories by Moses east of the Jordan (Joshua 12:2-6) and Joshua west of the Jordan (Joshua 12:7-24). Moses' leadership that began the process of getting Israel to and into this land. Moses was not forgotten by God and he was not forgotten by Joshua and Israel.

Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and ruled from Aroer, which is on the edge of the valley of the Arnon , both the middle of the valley and half of Gilead, even as far as the brook Jabbok, the border of the sons of Ammon - The list of kings begins with those conquered on the eastern side of the Jordan and gives the boundaries of the territory east of the Jordan. The story of his destruction is found in Numbers 21:21-25; Deut. 2:24-37; Deut. 29:6-7. The name Sihon means "sweeping away", "a leader carrying everything before him. " It is interesting that Heshbon was the pagan king's royal city, but God would ordain it to be a Levitical city! 

Thompson - Sihon was a power-crazed ruler. When Israel wanted to pass through his land, he would not permit it and gather his military force to march out against Israel (Num. 21:21-23). That was his end. Israel took all his land, including Heshbon, his own city. Sihon represents the big and powerful enemy who blatantly tries to prevent God’s people from getting to where God wants them to be. Sihon-types will be defeated, no matter how impressive they may appear to be. When we find we are threatened by some dominant leader who seems to have targeted us, this is a good story to remember. God can destroy them and give us victory.

Alan Redpath - We are informed in this chapter of just the degree to which Joshua and his armies conquered part of the land of Canaan. There follows a list of thirty-one powerful kings who had occupied certain territory in the land, but all of whom are now subdued and submissive to the people of God. Sometimes in the course of human experience it is good to sit down and reflect on what has been conquered by the grace of God. Not boastfully, but with a humble and grateful heart, to survey the years that have gone and to go over the pages of memory carefully to recall where the grace of God has triumphed, so that we will be able to look into His face and say, "But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Ro 5:20). For some people, most of the battles of life are over; they have few left to fight. To many others, however, most of life's battles are yet to be fought. Whether they have been fought or are yet to come, may God grant to us all to be able to say when the journey ends, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith" (2Ti 4:7+). (Victorious Christian Living)

Dale Ralph Davis has an interesting comment on why mention the 2 kings west of the Jordan? - Why not let sleeping kings lie? Guard the Unity of Yahweh’s People (12:1–6) One answer to this question is that the writer wants to guard the unity of Yahweh’s people. (See notes on 1:12–18.) The two-and-a-half eastern tribes feared the day might come when they would be regarded as non-Israel by the western tribes (22:21–29), that the majority settled in Canaan proper would exclude them from the circle of Yahweh’s people. So the writer of Joshua carefully includes in the survey of conquered kings the record of the conquest of Sihon and Og; as if to say, ‘Remember Yahweh gave victories east of the Jordan too; don’t forget Israel lives over there as well.’.....Secondly, this chapter means to vindicate the fidelity of Yahweh’s promise. Such is the function of verses 7–24, the bulk of which is a listing of thirty-one conquered kings. The list only appears monotonous; John Calvin assessed it correctly:

But though each of those now summarily mentioned was previously given more in detail, there is very good reason for here placing before our eyes as it were a living picture of the goodness of God, proving that there had been a complete ratification and performance of the covenant made with Abraham as given in the words, ‘Unto thy seed will I give this land.’ (Gen. 12:7; 13:15; 20:18.) 

Joshua 12:7–24 emphasises that Yahweh’s old promise to Abraham in Genesis 15:18–21 has been fulfilled. ‘God was able to do what he had promised’ (Rom. 4:21). These verses do not drip with tedium; they tingle with excitement. ‘The king of Tappuah, one; the king of Hepher, one’ (v. 17)—those words are not an excerpt from a dull archive; they are the lyrics of a song! Verses 7–24 constitute the stanzas for Israel’s version of ‘Great Is Thy Faithfulness’. Yahweh’s ancient word has proven faithful. Another point is related to our second observation. The detailed listing of conquered kings provides an itemisation of Yahweh’s goodness (see the quote from Calvin). As we have said, this is not tedium but thanksgiving, not just in general but in particular and in detail. Each conquered king is specified; each is a sign of Yahweh’s power and a cause for Israel’s praise....Itemising Yahweh’s goodness—that is always the method of biblical faith (see Pss. 105, 135, 136). It is as faith gives thanks in detail that faith is nurtured, encouraged, and takes on fresh heart to expect more mercies. Hence we should get rid of some of the tripe in our prayers like ‘and thank you for your many, many blessings’. Name one or two of those blessings instead. Why do we use such general ‘lingo-ese’ in our prayers (and, worse yet, teach it to our children)? Foreshadow the Coming of Yahweh’s Victory Since chapter 12 serves as a summary of the conquest to date, we can rightly hold that as such it foreshadows the coming of Yahweh’s victory. The victory of Yahweh achieved over Sihon, Og, and Canaan’s kings is both a preview and a pledge of that time when ‘the kingdom of the world (will) become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever’ (Rev. 11:15). Every one of Yahweh’s victories over his enemies in the process of history is a partial portrayal of his victory over all his enemies at the consummation of history. This is meant to steel and strengthen his suffering people as they long for that grand finale. (Joshua - No Falling Words)

GEORGE BUSH  - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 12

2. Ruled from Aroer. The kingdom of Sihon was bounded by the Arnon on the sou.h, the Jabbok on the north, the Jordan on the west, and the mountains of Arabia on the east.

And from the middle of the river. Heb. ותוך הנחל vethōk hannâhal, and that which lies between the streams. A line passing along the middle of a stream, and that stream by no means a large one, is so remarkable a boundary to be adopted by ancient barbarous clans, that we are quite satisfied the translation is erroneous. The word ‘from,’ introduced by our translators, does not occur in the original, either here or in the ensuing clause, ‘from half Gilead,’ and the meaning undoubtedly is, that Sihon ruled from Aroer over the country lying between the rivers (collect sing. for plur.) even the half of Gilead, as far north as to the river Jabbok. See on ch. 13:9. All the region lying intermediate between the above-mentioned streams, and sometimes called ‘half Gilead,’ was subject to his authority. This interpretation is strikingly confirmed by the words of Josephus relative to the territory of Sihon, which, he says, ‘is a country situate between three rivers, and naturally resembling an island; the river Arnon being its southern limit, the river Jabbok determining its northern side, while Jordan itself runs along by it on its western coast.’ (Antiq. B. 4. ch. 5.) The other half of Gilead, as appears from v. 4, 5, lay beyond the Jabbok, and belonged to the kingdom of Og.

Joshua 12:3  and the Arabah as far as the Sea of Chinneroth toward the east, and as far as the sea of the Arabah, even the Salt Sea, eastward toward Beth-jeshimoth, and on the south, at the foot of the slopes of Pisgah;

Sea of Chinneroth = Sea of Galilee


and the Arabah (see map) as far as the Sea of Chinneroth toward the east, and as far as the sea of the Arabah, even the Salt Sea, eastward toward Beth-jeshimoth, and on the south, at the foot of the slopes of Pisgah - In the map above the Arabah is the valley that extends from southern end of the Sea of Chinneroth (Galilee) to the Dead Sea. 

Beth-jeshimothmeaning, “house of deserts.” A town in Moab where Israel camped just before Moses died and Joshua led them across the Jordan (Numbers 33:49 ). Joshua 12:3 lists it as land Israel took from Sihon, king of the Amorites. Moses gave it to the tribe of Reuben ( Joshua 13:20 ). Ezekiel described it as one of three frontier cities of Moab, these being “the glory of the country” (Ezekiel 25:9 ), but one facing God's judgment. It is usually located at modern tell el-Azeme, twelve miles southeast of Jericho.

on the south - Hebrew word "Teman" which means south.

Pisgah Mountain in the Abarim range across the Jordan River from Jericho. God allowed Moses to view the Promised Land from the heights of Pisgah (Deuteronomy 34:1 ) but would not let him cross into Canaan. Israel had camped near Pisgah (Numbers 21:20 ). Balak took Balaam to its height so the prophet could see Israel and curse them (Numbers 23:14 ). It was a limit of Sihon's kingdom (Joshua 12:23 ); Ashdoth-pisgah in KJV) and also for the tribe of Reuben (Joshua 13:20 ) “Pisgah”  is in the trans-Jordan area east of the mouth of the Jordan. It is also known as “Nebo”. They might be two peaks close together, or Pisgah may refer to the entire mountain range and Nebo the highest peak. 

GEORGE BUSH  - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 12

3. And from the plain, &c. Here again the word ‘from’ is gratuitously, and, as we conceive, erroneously inserted. The design of the writer is merely to give a more distinct view of the position of the tract called ‘the plain,’ which embraced, as we suppose, the plain of the Jordan on its eastern side, extending from the sea of Cinneroth or Gennesaret on the north to the salt or Dead Sea on the south. It is not implied that he reigned to the sea of Cinneroth, but that the plain in question extended that far, the largest part of which fell into his dominions.

Sea of the plain. The Dead Sea is so called from its occupying what was once a fertile, luxuriant, and beautiful plain, in which were situated the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, called also the ‘cities of the plain.’

Beth-jeshimoth. Situated about ten miles east of the Jordan, and about the same distance from its mouth

Under Ashdoth-pisgah. Seated in the plains, or rather the slopes at the foot of mount Pisgah. The original word, אשדות Ashdoth, probably signifies the low places at the foot of a mountain. Comp. Deut. 3:17; 4:49.

Joshua 12:4  and the territory of Og king of Bashan, one of the remnant of Rephaim, who lived at Ashtaroth and at Edrei,

  • and the territory : Nu 21:33-35 De 3:1-7,10 
  • remnant of Rephaim Jos 13:12 De 3:11 
  • lived: De 1:4 
  • Joshua 12 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Israel Defeats Og and Sihon (ESV Study Bible)
(Click to Enlarge) 


and the territory of Og king of Bashan, one of the remnant of Rephaim, who lived at Ashtaroth and at Edrei - These latter two cities were undoubtedly the place of his royal residences. For Ashtaroth see note on Josh 9:10. The name "Og" means "in stature: long-necked or gigantic." •

Thompson - Og was a king who literally had a bed of iron that was 6 feet wide and 13 ½ feet long. This was truly a “king size” bed (Deut. 3:11). Og ruled about 60 miles north of the northern boundary of Sihon, east of the Jordan. His territory featured some Rephaim, who were giants who were mighty warriors. The story of Og and his forces is found in Deuteronomy 3:1-22. As soon as Israel had defeated Sihon, they were moving north and ran into Og with all of his military. God told Moses to take them and they did. The cities of the land of Og were fortified cities, featuring high walls and gates and bars (Deut. 3:5). But one by one they fell through the power of God. Now when Israel came up against these two military leaders, they were not battle-tested soldiers. They were a group of people wandering in the land east of the Jordan. They can come from Egypt, having been slaves. But these two enemies both fell and the land was given to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. When we find ourselves up against scary enemies who appear to be gigantic, it is good to remember that God has no trouble giving us victory over these kinds of enemies

GEORGE BUSH  - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 12

4. And the coast of Og, king of Bashan. Supply here from v. 1, And the children of Israel smote and possessed the coast,’ &c. Varying a little the phraseology with which he commenced, the writer here speaks first of the country of the king of Bashan, instead of enumerating the king himself.
Of the remnant of the giants. See on Deut. 3:11.

That dwell at Ashtaroth and at Edrei, Referring to Og, and not to the giants. Probably both were royal cities, and he resided sometimes in one, and sometimes in the other. The reader will find their position on the map, as also that of the places mentioned in the ensuing verse.

QUESTION - Who were the Rephaim?

ANSWER - There are several passages in the Old Testament that speak of the Rephaim (or Rephaites), and the context describes them as giants. The name of these people literally means “terrible ones.”

The Hebrew word Rephaim has two distinct meanings: first, in poetic literature it refers to departed spirits whose dwelling place was Sheol. It is a figurative description of the dead, similar to our concept of a ghost. The second meaning of Rephaim is “a mighty people with tall stature who lived in Canaan.” The word doesn’t seem to be ethno-centric like “Jew” or “Egyptian” but is more of a descriptive term. This second meaning will be the focus of this article.

The first reference to the Rephaim is Genesis 14:5, when the Rephaim, Zuzim and Emim people were defeated in a battle with Kedorlaomer and his allies. When the Israelites first approached the Promised Land after the Exodus from Egypt, they were afraid to enter the land because it was filled with “giants” (the word used in Numbers 13:33 is Nephilim), the sons of Anak. Giants were widely scattered through Canaan, but were known by different local names, including Rephaim, Zuzim, Emim, and Anakim. Deuteronomy 2:20–21 says the Rephaim were strong and tall, like the Anakites. Og, king of Bashan, was described as the last of the Rephaim in his land (Deuteronomy 3:11), and his bed was thirteen feet long and six feet wide.

Is it possible that the Rephaim were literal giants? The Septuagint uses the Greek words gigas and titanes (the source of the English titan) to translate these and other verses, so the ancient Jews certainly considered them to be giants. They are described generally as being between 7 and 10 feet tall and are called “mighty men.” The Egyptians wrote about giants who lived in the land of Canaan, and the folklore of other nations is full of such references. The people of the ancient world accepted the presence of giants as a fact of history, and the Bible presents them as enemies who were destroyed either by the judgment of God or in battle with men.

So where did these giants come from? One theory, based on Genesis 6:1–4, is that fallen angels (the sons of God) had sexual relations with women, resulting in the birth of giants. This is remarkably similar to Greek and Roman myths about demi-gods, but the theory has some theological and biological obstacles. Another theory, also based on Genesis 6, is that the fallen angels, having knowledge of human genetics, indwelt certain men and women who would have the right traits to produce a race of giants and induced them to cohabit with each other. A third theory is that the giants were simply the result of normal genetic variability within a society. Whatever the origin of the Rephaim, it is certain that a race of “giants”—strong, tall people—did exist at one time, and many cultures had dealings with them. Even today, there are people who grow to extreme sizes, whether through genetic disorders like gigantism or through normal heredity.

Joshua 12:5  and ruled over Mount Hermon and Salecah and all Bashan, as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and half of Gilead, as far as the border of Sihon king of Heshbon.

  • Hermon: Jos 12:1 11:3 De 3:8,9 4:47,48 
  • Salecah: Jos 13:11 De 3:10 
  • as far as: De 3:14 1Sa 27:8 2Sa 3:3 13:37 15:8 23:34 2Ki 25:23 
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Bashan and Gilead - Kingdom of Og


and ruled over Mount Hermon and Salecah and all Bashan, as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and half of Gilead, as far as the border of Sihon king of Heshbon.

Joshua 12:6  Moses the servant of the LORD and the sons of Israel defeated them; and Moses the servant of the LORD gave it to the Reubenites and the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh as a possession.

  • Moses: Nu 21:24-35 
  • gave: Jos 13:8-32 Lu 22:29-42 De 3:11-17 
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Related Passage:

Numbers 32:33+  So Moses gave to them, to the sons of Gad and to the sons of Reuben and to the half-tribe of Joseph’s son Manasseh, the kingdom of Sihon, king of the Amorites and the kingdom of Og, the king of Bashan, the land with its cities with their territories, the cities of the surrounding land.

Joshua 1:14-16+ Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle shall remain in the land which Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but you shall cross before your brothers in battle array, all your valiant warriors, and shall help them, 15 until the LORD gives your brothers rest, as He gives you, and they also possess the land which the LORD your God is giving them. Then you shall return to your own land, and possess that which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.”  16 They answered Joshua, saying, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go.

Land Given to ReubenGadManasseh


Moses the servant of the LORD and the sons of Israel defeated them; and Moses the servant of the LORD gave it to the Reubenites and the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh as a possession (yerushshah) - This passage credits the leadership of Moses for the conquests of the kings of Sihon and Og on the eastern side of the Jordan. 

Moses the servant of the LORD - 18x in 17v - Deut. 34:5; Jos. 1:1; Jos. 1:13; Jos. 1:15; Jos. 8:31; Jos. 8:33; Jos. 11:12; Jos. 12:6; Jos. 13:8; Jos. 14:7; Jos. 18:7; Jos. 22:2; Jos. 22:4; Jos. 22:5; 2 Ki. 18:12; 2 Chr. 1:3; 2 Chr. 24:6

Recall that the 2.5 tribes had obligated themselves to fight with their brothers. This they have faithfully done for about 7 years. They would now be free to return to their possession on the eastern side of the Jordan River. As noted, mentioning their land from the 2 Amorite kings in the same section as the mention of the 31 kings on the western side of the Jordan is surely a way to show that they are to be unified, to be on nation under God, the nation of Israel, composed of 12 tribes. 

F B Meyer - Our Daily Homily - Moses, the servant at the Lord, gave it.

We must not press a type, or analogy, unduly, though we may employ it to illustrate a doctrine well established from other parts of Scripture. Such an illustration is here. It is remarkable that the two tribes and a half which Moses settled beyond the Jordan took little part in the national life, and were soon wiped out of their inheritance. They were apparently absorbed by the nations whom they were supposed to have superseded.

This was partly due to the devotion of the people to their material prosperity. In the words of Deborah, Reuben preferred to sit among the sheepfolds, to hear the piping of the flocks, rather than to take part in the emancipation of Canaan from Midian. But, looked at typically, may we not say that whatever Moses gives will ultimately evade our grasp and slip from our possession? Like the tables of stone, it will fall from our hand and be broken in pieces. and that you try to be or do in the power of your own resolution and energy will inevitably fail and deceive you. The land looks fair and the tenure seems good, but you will not be able to retain it.

The deepest blessings of the spiritual life cannot be won or held in the strength of our own purpose, even though it be a holy and earnest one. These things can be ours only in so far as we abide in Christ, in whom our inheritance is vested, and from whom we receive it as we need, by faith. We can hold nothing apart from abiding fellowship with Jesus. And this is our privilege. Let us lift our hearts to the blessed Spirit, asking that He would reveal to us that which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, but which God hath prepared for those that love Him.

Joshua 12:7  Now these are the kings of the land whom Joshua and the sons of Israel defeated beyond the Jordan toward the west, from Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon even as far as Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir; and Joshua gave it to the tribes of Israel as a possession according to their divisions,

  • beyond the Jordan toward the west: Jos 12:1 3:17 9:1 
  • Baal-Gad: Jos 11:17 13:5 
  • Seir: Ge 14:6 32:3 36:8,20,30 De 2:1,4 
  • Joshua gave: Jos 1:3,4 11:23 13:1-19:51 De 11:23,24 
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Related Passage:

Joshua 11:16-17  Thus Joshua took all that land: the hill country and all the Negev, all that land of Goshen, the lowland, the Arabah, the hill country of Israel and its lowland 17 from Mount Halak, that rises toward Seir;, even as far as Baal-Gad in the valley of Lebanon at the foot of Mount Hermon. And he captured all their kings and struck them down and put them to death.


Beginning in this verse, the remainder of the chapter deals with defeated kings on the west side of the Jordan. As alluded to above, some of the towns mentioned in this list were not described in Joshua 6-11 which describe the military campaigns. Therefore it is clear that much of the military history of Israel's conquering the land is not described in detail. "The kings which have been mentioned previously in the narrative are set out in the order in which they were defeated, with those mentioned for the first time inserted within the chronology." (Grant)

Now these are the kings of the land whom Joshua and the sons of Israel defeated beyond the Jordan toward the west ("the west side of the Jordan" - NET), from Baal-Gad in the valley of Lebanon even as far as Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir; and Joshua gave it to the tribes of Israel as a possession (yerushshah) according to their divisions - Hebrew = "Joshua gave it to the tribes of Israel as a possession according to their allotted portions." NET = Joshua assigned this territory to the Israelite tribes." They had once possessed all the land bounded on the east by Jordan, on the west by the Mediterranean and from Mount Halak in the south to Mount Hermon in the north (a distance of about 175 miles). Israel is now in possession of this territory.

Note also that the list of kings is in the chronological order in which they engaged in battle. It is clear that God keeps records. God keeps books with lists of names in them.

The land has been taken from Mount Halak in the south to Mount Hermon in the north.

F. W. Grant in his Numerical Bible says, "Not a city except Gibeon that yielded itself to God, all were taken in battle. This was the effect of God's retributive justice, making the hearts firm in resistance to Israel's power that had shut themselves up against the God of Israel. Thus they met the judgment rightly decreed upon them. The enumeration follows of the kings dispossessed and slain on both sides of the river by Moses and Joshua."

Davis and Whitcomb make an excellent point that "Many of the same names appear in the Amarna letters, thus confirming the historicity of our text."

Thompson - Most in this listing never thought they would lose against Israel. Most of these enemies thought Israel didn’t have a chance. That is the way some of our enemies may think about us. They may think we can’t win. But what they apparently don’t realize is that you cannot beat the power of God. When Joshua first took Israel across the Jordan into this land, there were 16 hostile kings in the southern part of Canaan (Josh 12:9-16) and 15 hostile kings in the northern part of Canaan (Josh 12:17-24). Now the kings, for the most part, controlled a city. Each city was a war and each war was led by an opposing king. These were real enemies and real battles and in this text 31 of them are named. These were 31 battles that needed to be fought. Some of the kings tried to form a coalition against Joshua and others just went up against him one on one. But in the end, all 31 kings were destroyed. It did not matter if they lived in the mountains, plains, valleys or by the sea; they all fell one by one. God gave victory over every single enemy. As His people faithfully obeyed His Word, He was faithful to give them victory.

Baal-Gad a city 'in the valley of Lebanon under Mount Hermon' (Joshua 11:17; Joshua 12:7). We are also informed that among those parts of Palestine which were unsubdued by the Hebrews at the death of Joshua, was 'all Lebanon towards the sun-rising, from Baal-gad, under Mount Hermon unto the entering into Hamath' (Joshua 13:5). This position of Baal-Gad is not unfavorable to the conclusion which some have reached, that it is no other than the place which, from a temple consecrated to the sun, that stood there, was called by the Greeks Heliopolis, i.e. city of the sun; and which the natives called and still call Baalbek, a word apparently of the same meaning.

Butler points out that "“The description was not complete. Shechem is not mentioned, and the hills of Ephraim are sparsely represented, as is the territory north of Hazor. Completeness is not the object. The writer seeks to compile a list that will impress the readers with the greatness of the feat of God in working for Israel and of the greatness of the leadership of Joshua in following the example of Moses and completing the task first given to Moses. Still, the writer is aware that much remains to be done.” (Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 7, Joshua)

Believer's Study Bible - The list that concludes this chapter is proof of God's faithfulness to His promises (cf. Gen. 12:7; 13:15; 20:18) and amounts to a detailed giving of thanks, naming His blessings "one by one." These victories are also a foreshadowing to us of the final victory that will be Christ's (cf. Judg. 5:31; Rev. 11:15-17).

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary - Verses 7-24. We have here the limits of the country Joshua conquered. A list is given of the kings subdued by Israel: thirty-one in all. This shows how fruitful Canaan then was, in which so many chose to throng together. This was the land God appointed for Israel; yet in our day it is one of the most barren and unprofitable countries in the world. Such is the effect of the curse it lies under, since its possessors rejected Christ and his gospel, as was foretold by Moses, Deuteronomy 29:23. The vengeance of a righteous God, inflicted on all these kings and their subjects, for their wickedness, should make us dread and hate sin. The fruitful land bestowed on his chosen people, should fill our hearts with hope and confidence in his mercy, and with humble gratitude. 

Possession (03425yerushshah from yarash = to posses) means possession, inheritance. It described the right to inherit the land. It could be an inheritance given or to a possession taken by force (or both). Reuben, Gad and half tribe of Manasseh received land east of the Jordan as a "possession" from God (Dt. 3:20; cf. Josh. 1:15; 12:6f). The descendants of Lot settled in Moab (Dt. 2:9), and in Ammon which God had given them as their possession (Dt 2:19), even as He had given did the descendants of Esau the area of Mount Seir (aka Edom - Dt. 2:5). After the civil war involving the tribe of Benjamin, the leaders of Israel were concerned that the depleted tribe not lose an inheritance; they planned "a possession" for Benjamin, according to Judg. 21:17. During the Babylonian siege of Judah, Jeremiah bought at Anathoth a parcel of land to which he retained the right of "possession" (Jer. 32:8). David declares that all those who fear God's name receive "an inheritance" (Ps. 61:5).

GEORGE BUSH  - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 12

7. From Baal-gad. A repetition of what is mentioned,  Joshua 11:17+.

Joshua 12:8  in the hill country, in the lowland, in the Arabah, on the slopes, and in the wilderness, and in the Negev; the Hittite, the Amorite and the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite:

  •  in the hill country,: Jos 10:40 11:16 
  • the Hittite: Jos 9:1 Ge 15:18-21 Ex 3:8 23:23,28-31 De 7:1 9:1 
  • Joshua 12 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

in the hill country, in the lowland, in the Arabah, on the slopes, and in the wilderness, and in the Negev; the Hittite, the Amorite and the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite

S. Grant - The geography of the western conquest is summarised by six areas of land and six groups of people: “In the mountains, and in the valleys, and in the plains, and in the springs, and in the wilderness, and in the south country; the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites”, all of which have been the subject of previous comment. (What the Bible Teaches - Joshua Judges Ruth)

David Thompson - What I think is so interesting is that these political leaders seemed to sail along in life for quite a while. They had their power and they had their prosperity and they thought they were on top of the world. That is until God decided it was time for judgment. God knew each one by name and He destroyed every one of these God-mocking politicians. One by one God tracked them down and destroyed them. Political leaders would be very wise to take a serious look at this chapter. They may sail along for a while; but there will come a day when God will track them all down. So one day the script will read God defeated and destroyed the Presidents of the United States who mocked Him and His Word. God defeated and destroyed the governors who made mockery of Him and His Word. God defeated and destroyed those mayors of cities that promoted things that were not Biblically right. God is not interested in partial victories. God wants complete victory. God is not interested in leading us to half of His blessings; He wants us to have all of His blessings. So we must take enemies on, one by one. Fight them all in obedience to God’s Word. We may fight 31 battles, but if we are faithful we will experience 31 victories. That is the story of Joshua 12.

Campbell - victory is possible along the way. We need only follow the example of Israel's leader, Joshua, who believed in God--taking Him at His Word, trusting His promises, relying on His presence. As a result, he vanquished his enemies. ") For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. " (1Jn 5:4)  (The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament or Here)

GEORGE BUSH  - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 12

8. In the mountains, and in the valleys, &c. The meaning probably is, that he smote the nations dwelling in the mountains, valleys, &c., even the Hittites, the Amorites, &c. The words convey at the same time a striking intimation of the general features of the country, its rich variety of soils, contributing at once to its fruitfulness and its pleasantness.

Joshua 12:9  the king of Jericho, one; the king of Ai, which is beside Bethel, one;

  • Jericho: Jos 6:2-21 
  • Ai: Jos 8:1,17,29-35 
  • Joshua 12 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


The king of Jericho, one; the king of Ai, which is beside Bethel, one - NET = " the king of Jericho (one), the king of Ai– located near Bethel– (one)." These are the first kings attacked and were from the central region of Canaan. 

  1. Jericho
  2. Ai

Joshua 6:2 "The LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and the valiant warriors."

Don Anderson application - "Ai" means " a heap of ruins . " Each of us as Christians will have a heap of ruins, things we have cut out of our lives that we might make haste toward maturity. (cf Heb 12:1, Php 3:7-14)" See Anderson's notes for an interesting study in which he looks at the meaning of each one of the place names associated with the kings and applies the meaning of the place to our Christian life. Interesting even if it is spiritualized somewhat! 

Guzik on specific recounting of the 31 kings conquered by Joshua (Josh 12:9–24) - These descriptions are also important because they make it clear that these things happened in real time, and in real space. These are not fairy tales that begin with “once upon a time,” this is history that begins with specific places and people and rulers. As well, it was a way that Israel could forever remember the great things God had done for them. With all these kings conquered—with every one of these “principalities and powers” over the land defeated—there is no doubt that the land belongs to Israel, but the individual tribes still have much to possess for their own.

Alan Redpath - “Sometimes in the course of human experience it is good to sit down and reflect on what has been conquered by the grace of God.” (Victorious Christian Living)

Joshua 12:10  the king of Jerusalem, one; the king of Hebron, one;

  • Jerusalem: Jos 10:23 
  • Hebron: Jos 10:3,23,36,37 
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the king of Jerusalem, one; the king of Hebron, one - NET = "the king of Jerusalem (one), the king of Hebron (one)." The kings in Joshua 12:10-16a are kings from the southern part of Canaan and includes 4 kings not mentioned in Joshua 10 ( kings of Geder, Hormah, Arad, and Adullam - in bold in the following list). 

  1. Jerusalem
  2. Hebron
  3. Jarmuth
  4. Lachish
  5. Eglon
  6. Gezer
  7. Debir
  8. Geder
  9. Hormah
  10. Arad
  11. Libnah
  12. Adullam
  13. Makkedah.

F B Meyer - It seems strange in the light of subsequent history to find that one of these was the king of Jerusalem (10); and yet it was not till four hundred years had passed that the Jebusites were driven out by David (2 Sam. 5:6), so slack were the people of Israel to avail themselves of God's provision, and enter upon the results of Joshua's victories. In like manner, it is one thing to rejoice in the victory which our Joshua--the Lord Jesus--has won for us (Col. 2:15); it is another to follow it up, and claim its results.

Joshua 12:11  the king of Jarmuth, one; the king of Lachish, one;

  • Jarmuth: Placed by Eusebius and Jerome four miles from Eleutheropolis, near Eshtaol; but, in Jermus, which is probably the same, they state it to be ten miles from Eleutheropolis, towards Jerusalem; which is supposed to be nearer the truth. Jos 10:3-23 
  • Lachish: Eusebius and Jerome say it was a village in their time, seven miles south from Eleutheropolis. Jos 10:3,23,31,32 
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the king of Jarmuth, one; the king of Lachish, one

Lachish is mentioned 8x in Joshua 10 -  Jos. 10:3; Jos. 10:5; Jos. 10:23; Jos. 10:31; Jos. 10:32; Jos. 10:33; Jos. 10:34; Jos. 10:35; Jos. 12:11; Jos. 15:39; 2 Ki. 14:19; 2 Ki. 18:14; 2 Ki. 18:17; 2 Ki. 19:8; 2 Chr. 11:9; 2 Chr. 25:27; 2 Chr. 32:9; Neh. 11:30; Isa. 36:2; Isa. 37:8; Jer. 34:7; Mic. 1:13. Clearly this was an strategic city for Joshua to defeat! It was the only city it took two days to defeat. 

Joshua 12:12  the king of Eglon, one; the king of Gezer, one;

  • Eglon: Jos 10:3,23 15:39 
  • Gezer: Gezer appears to have situated in the tribe of Ephraim, near Beth-horon, between it and the sea.  Eusebius and Jerome place it four miles north of Nicopolis or Emmaus. Jos 10:33 
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the king of Eglon, one; the king of Gezer, one

Joshua 12:13  the king of Debir, one; the king of Geder, one;

  • Debir: Jos 10:3,38 
  • Geder: Jos 15:36 
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the king of Debir, one; the king of Geder, one

Joshua 12:14  the king of Hormah, one; the king of Arad, one;

  • Hormah: Nu 14:45 21:3 
  • Arad: Eusebius places this city in the neighbourhood of Kadesh, four miles from Malathis, and twenty from Hebron. Nu 21:1 
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the king of Hormah, one; the king of Arad, one

Joshua 12:15  the king of Libnah, one; the king of Adullam, one;

  • Libnah: Eusebius and Jerome inform us, that Libnah was a town or village in their time, lying in the district of Eleutheropolis. Jos 10:29,30 
  • Adullam: 1Sa 22:1 
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the king of Libnah, one; the king of Adullam, one

Joshua 12:16  the king of Makkedah, one; the king of Bethel, one;

  • Makkedah: Jos 10:28 
  • Bethel: Jos 8:17 Ge 12:8 28:19 Jdg 1:22 
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the king of Makkedah, one; the king of Bethel, one - Beginning in Joshua 12:16b five more kings and cities are described from the central region of Canaan:

  1. Bethel
  2. Tappuah
  3. Hepher
  4. Aphek
  5. Lasharon.

Joshua 12:17  the king of Tappuah, one; the king of Hepher, one;

  • Tappuah: Jos 15:34 
  • Hepher: Jos 19:13 1Ki 4:10 
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the king of Tappuah, one; the king of Hepher, one

Joshua 12:18  the king of Aphek, one; the king of Lasharon, one;

  • Aphek: Jos 19:30 1Sa 4:1 
  • Lasharon: or, Sharon, Isa 33:9 
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the king of Aphek, one; the king of Lasharon, one

Joshua 12:19  the king of Madon, one; the king of Hazor, one;

  • Madon: Jos 11:1 
  • Hazor: Jos 11:1,10,11 Jdg 4:2 
  • Joshua 12 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

the king of Madon, one; the king of Hazor, one - The last group of kings and cities (Joshua 12:19-24) are from the northern region of Canaan:

  1. Madon
  2. Hazor
  3. Shimron-meron
  4. Achshaph
  5. Taanach
  6. Megiddo
  7. Kedesh
  8. Jokneam of Carmel
  9. Dor in the coast of Dor
  10. The nations of Gilgal
  11. Tirzah.

Joshua 12:20  the king of Shimron-meron, one; the king of Achshaph, one;

  • Shimronmeron: Jos 11:1 19:15 
  • Achshaph: Jos 11:1 19:25 
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the king of Shimron-meron, one; the king of Achshaph, one

Joshua 12:21  the king of Taanach, one; the king of Megiddo, one;

  • Taanach: Jos 17:11 Jdg 5:19 
  • Megiddo: 1Ki 4:12 2Ki 23:29,30 
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the king of Taanach, one; the king of Megiddo, on

Joshua 12:22  the king of Kedesh, one; the king of Jokneam in Carmel, one;

  • Kedesh: Jos 15:23 19:37 21:32 
  • Jokneam: Jos 19:11 
  • Carmel: Jos 15:55 1Sa 25:2 Isa 35:2 
  • Joshua 12 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

the king of Kedesh, one; the king of Jokneam in Carmel, one

Joshua 12:23  the king of Dor in the heights of Dor, one; the king of Goiim in Gilgal, one;

  • Dor: Jos 11:2 17:11 
  • the nations: Ge 14:1,2 Isa 9:1 
  • Gilgal: Jos 4:19 5:9,10 
  • Joshua 12 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

 the king of Dor in the heights of Dor, one; the king of Goiim in Gilgal, one

Joshua 12:24  the king of Tirzah, one: in all, thirty-one kings.

the king of Tirzah, one: in all, thirty-one king

GEORGE BUSH  - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 12

24. All the kings, thirty and one. From the number of these kings, we may learn how numerous and yet how small were the petty principalities into which the land of Canaan was divided. The extent of this country from north to south was not more than 150 miles, and not more than fifty from east to west. In like manner were nearly all the different nations of the world divided. The consequence was that civil wars and border feuds continually prevailed, making them an easy prey to foreign invaders. Thus history informs us that when Cæsar invaded Britain there were no less than four kings in the single county of Kent.