The Five Kings Imprisoned

The kings bound, Israel destroyed their armies.

Joshua 10 (3)

But these five kings had fled and hidden themselves in a cave at Makkedah. And it was told Joshua, saying, “The five kings have been found hidden in the cave at Makkedah.” So Joshua said, “Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave, and set men by it to guard them. And do not stay 
there yourselves, but pursue your enemies, and attack their rear guard. Do not allow them to enter their cities, for the LORD your God has delivered them into your hand.” Then it happened, while Joshua and the children of Israel made an end of slaying them with a very great slaughter, till they had finished, that those who escaped entered fortified cities. And all the people returned to the camp, to Joshua at Makkedah, in peace. No one moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel. Joshua 10.16-21


1.  What did Jesus mean when He said that He had “bound” Satan and was now about the business of plundering his house (Matt. 12.22-29)? 

2.   Since Satan is bound – like these kings were “bound” in that cave – how should the work of “Joshua and the children of Israel” instruct us?

Think about it.
Two reasons suggest themselves for bottling these kings up rather than killing them outright.

First, if the Israelites had killed them outright, they may have been regarded as martyrs, and this might have rejuvenated their fleeing armies. Second, it was important that these kings be left for last, so that they could see the utter destruction of their peoples before being destroyed themselves. Just as these kings had heard of Joshua’s victories at Jericho and Ai, so the remaining Canaanite peoples would hear what had happened to this southern alliance of kings.

The confederated armies destroyed, and their remnants having fled to the fortified cities, Joshua called the people to return to the camp, now moved to Makkedah, and to be at peace. We note that “No one moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel.” This refers, in the first instance, to the people of Israel. No one grumbled or complained or spoke ill of any of their brethren. All enjoyed their hard-won peace. But it also suggests that a terrible silence had fallen upon the Canaanite peoples, huddling in dread in their fortified cities. None spoke ill of Israel. Were they too terrified to speak the name of their enemy? Or did they hope by their silence to secure mercy?

We can hear rejoicing and laughing and rest in the camp of Israel. Meanwhile, all her enemies are hunkered down in dread silence.

And the bound kings are powerless to mount any resistance to God and His people.

Meditate and discuss.
1.  The incarceration of these five kings undoubtedly had an effect on the armies of Israel, sent to destroy their enemies. In what way? How would knowing their enemies generals and kings were in captivity have encouraged the Israelites in their efforts?

2.  Satan is bound (Matt. 12.22-29), and while he still can wield considerable power, he is on a leash, held by the strong hand of King Jesus (1 Pet. 5.8, 9). How should that encourage us in our calling to the Kingdom and glory of God (1 Thess. 2.12)?

3.  In what ways can you see that Israel’s work of conquering the land of Canaan is a type or symbol of the work we’ve been given to do in our Personal Mission Field?

“Whoever fights under the leadership of Jesus [Joshua] against opposing authorities ought to merit that which is written about those former warriors: ‘And the whole people,’ it says, ‘returned safely to Jesus [Joshua] and not one of the sons of Israel muttered with his tongue.’ You see, therefore, that the person who serves as a soldier under Jesus must come back safely from battle and ought not even receive a wound ‘from the fiery darts of the wicked one’; he ought to be neither polluted in heart nor defiled in thought, and [he] ought not allow any place for demonic wounds—not through wrath, lust, or any other occasion.” Origen of Alexandria (185-254 AD)

Lord Jesus, I know that You have bound the strong man, and you have set me to the task of plundering his holdings, beginning in my own life, and then throughout my Personal Mission Field. Today I need to focus on…

Pray Psalm 149.

Praise God for the victories He is achieving in and through you, and ask the Lord to show you specific areas of your life where you need to wield His “two-edged sword” more consistently and more effectively.

Psalm 149 (Toulon: I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art)
Sing to the Lord a glorious song and new!
Praise Him you people, to Whom praise is due!
Let us rejoice, let us be glad in Him
Who has created us and cleansed our sin.

Praise Him with dance, with tambourine and lyre!
To be so praised is God’s one great desire.
Lord, beautify Your holy ones with grace; 
Show us the mercy of Your saving face.

Sing to the Lord, exult with great delight!
Sing on your beds with joy to God by night!
Sing praise and take His Word into your hand;
Publish His grace and wrath in every land!

T. M. Moore

Where does the book of Joshua fit in the ongoing story of God’s covenant? Our workbook, God’s Covenant, can help you discover the place in God’s work of redemption not only of Joshua but of all the books of the Bible. God’s Covenant is a valuable resource to guide you in all your studies in God’s Word. To order your copy, click hereAnd when you order, we’ll send you a free copy of Bricks and Rungs: Poems on Calling.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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