Bible Commentary: Joshua 12

You are here

Bible Commentary

Joshua 12

Login or Create an Account

With a account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up


Summary of Defeated Kings 

Chapter 12 is a summary of all of the kings defeated by Moses and Joshua in the conquering of the Promised Land. Most of the cities mentioned were described in the original accounts in Numbers 21:21-35 (Joshua 12:1-6), Joshua 6-8 (Joshua 12:9), Joshua 10 (Joshua 12:10-16) and Joshua 11 (Joshua 12:17-24).

The latter portion, on Joshua's conquests, appears to be an itemized list of what we previously read in Joshua 11:16-20. Baal Gad (Joshua 12:7) is in the northern extremity of the land, north of the city that eventually became known as Dan. Mount Halak is in the southern extremity, south of Beersheba. Hormah and Arad (verse 14) are not described in Joshua 10. They are south of the other cities in that chapter. These names do appear in Numbers 21:1-3 as people defeated by the Israelites under Moses. The area is again described in Judges 1:16-17. Geder (Joshua 12:13) and Adullam (verse 15) were not mentioned in Joshua 10 either, but are in the same general area as the others in chapter 10.

Bethel (Joshua 12:16) was a town adjacent to Ai. Its inhabitants unsuccessfully aided Ai against the Israelites (Joshua 8:17), and some defeat of the city may have occurred at that time. But a later destruction is recorded in Judges 1:22-26, complete with spies and a secret entrance into the city.

Tappuah (verse 17) is not mentioned elsewhere as being conquered, but in Joshua 16:8 and Joshua 17:7-8 it is described as a border city between Ephraim and Manasseh. The northern towns listed in Joshua 12:17-24 were probably part Jabin's alliance described in chapter 11, the kings and cities of which were merely summarized in Joshua 11:2-3.