Israel Defeats the Southern Armies
1Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard that Joshua had captured and completely destroyed[a] Ai and killed its king, just as he had destroyed the town of Jericho and killed its king. He also learned that the Gibeonites had made peace with Israel and were now their allies. 2 He and his people became very afraid when they heard all this because Gibeon was a large town—as large as the royal cities and larger than Ai. And the Gibeonite men were strong warriors.
3 So King Adoni-zedek of Jerusalem sent messengers to several other kings: Hoham of Hebron, Piram of Jarmuth, Japhia of Lachish, and Debir of Eglon. 4 “Come and help me destroy Gibeon,” he urged them, “for they have made peace with Joshua and the people of Israel.” 5 So these five Amorite kings combined their armies for a united attack. They moved all their troops into place and attacked Gibeon.
6 The men of Gibeon quickly sent messengers to Joshua at his camp in Gilgal. “Don’t abandon your servants now!” they pleaded. “Come at once! Save us! Help us! For all the Amorite kings who live in the hill country have joined forces to attack us.”
7 So Joshua and his entire army, including his best warriors, left Gilgal and set out for Gibeon. 8 “Do not be afraid of them,” the Lord said to Joshua, “for I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you.”
9 Joshua traveled all night from Gilgal and took the Amorite armies by surprise. 10 The Lord threw them into a panic, and the Israelites slaughtered great numbers of them at Gibeon. Then the Israelites chased the enemy along the road to Beth-horon, killing them all along the way to Azekah and Makkedah. 11 As the Amorites retreated down the road from Beth-horon, the Lord destroyed them with a terrible hailstorm from heaven that continued until they reached Azekah. The hail killed more of the enemy than the Israelites killed with the sword.
12 On the day the Lord gave the Israelites victory over the Amorites, Joshua prayed to the Lord in front of all the people of Israel. He said,
“Let the sun stand still over Gibeon,
and the moon over the valley of Aijalon.”
13 So the sun stood still and the moon stayed in place until the nation of Israel had defeated its enemies.
Is this event not recorded in The Book of Jashar[b]? The sun stayed in the middle of the sky, and it did not set as on a normal day.[c] 14 There has never been a day like this one before or since, when the Lord answered such a prayer. Surely the Lord fought for Israel that day!
15 Then Joshua and the Israelite army returned to their camp at Gilgal.
Joshua Kills the Five Southern Kings
16 During the battle the five kings escaped and hid in a cave at Makkedah. 17 When Joshua heard that they had been found, 18 he issued this command: “Cover the opening of the cave with large rocks, and place guards at the entrance to keep the kings inside. 19 The rest of you continue chasing the enemy and cut them down from the rear. Don’t give them a chance to get back to their towns, for the Lord your God has given you victory over them.”
20 So Joshua and the Israelite army continued the slaughter and completely crushed the enemy. They totally wiped out the five armies except for a tiny remnant that managed to reach their fortified towns. 21 Then the Israelites returned safely to Joshua in the camp at Makkedah. After that, no one dared to speak even a word against Israel.
22 Then Joshua said, “Remove the rocks covering the opening of the cave, and bring the five kings to me.” 23 So they brought the five kings out of the cave—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon. 24 When they brought them out, Joshua told the commanders of his army, “Come and put your feet on the kings’ necks.” And they did as they were told.
25 “Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged,” Joshua told his men. “Be strong and courageous, for the Lord is going to do this to all of your enemies.” 26 Then Joshua killed each of the five kings and impaled them on five sharpened poles, where they hung until evening.
27 As the sun was going down, Joshua gave instructions for the bodies of the kings to be taken down from the poles and thrown into the cave where they had been hiding. Then they covered the opening of the cave with a pile of large rocks, which remains to this very day.
Israel Destroys the Southern Towns
28 That same day Joshua captured and destroyed the town of Makkedah. He killed everyone in it, including the king, leaving no survivors. He destroyed them all, and he killed the king of Makkedah as he had killed the king of Jericho. 29 Then Joshua and the Israelites went to Libnah and attacked it. 30 There, too, the Lord gave them the town and its king. He killed everyone in it, leaving no survivors. Then Joshua killed the king of Libnah as he had killed the king of Jericho.
31 From Libnah, Joshua and the Israelites went to Lachish and attacked it. 32 Here again, the Lord gave them Lachish. Joshua took it on the second day and killed everyone in it, just as he had done at Libnah. 33 During the attack on Lachish, King Horam of Gezer arrived with his army to help defend the town. But Joshua’s men killed him and his army, leaving no survivors.
34 Then Joshua and the Israelite army went on to Eglon and attacked it. 35 They captured it that day and killed everyone in it. He completely destroyed everyone, just as he had done at Lachish. 36 From Eglon, Joshua and the Israelite army went up to Hebron and attacked it. 37 They captured the town and killed everyone in it, including its king, leaving no survivors. They did the same thing to all of its surrounding villages. And just as he had done at Eglon, he completely destroyed the entire population.
38 Then Joshua and the Israelites turned back and attacked Debir. 39 He captured the town, its king, and all of its surrounding villages. He completely destroyed everyone in it, leaving no survivors. He did to Debir and its king just what he had done to Hebron and to Libnah and its king.
40 So Joshua conquered the whole region—the kings and people of the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills,[d] and the mountain slopes. He completely destroyed everyone in the land, leaving no survivors, just as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded. 41 Joshua slaughtered them from Kadesh-barnea to Gaza and from the region around the town of Goshen up to Gibeon. 42 Joshua conquered all these kings and their land in a single campaign, for the Lord, the God of Israel, was fighting for his people.
43 Then Joshua and the Israelite army returned to their camp at Gilgal.