So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded. Joshua 10:40
suggested further reading: Job 40:1–14
Divine authority is again interposed in the text to acquit Joshua of any charge of cruelty. Since God had destined the swords of his people for the slaughter of the Amorites, Joshua could do nothing but obey his command. By such a decree all mouths are stopped and all minds restrained from passing censure.
When reading that Joshua slew all who came his way, even though they threw down their arms and begged for mercy, we may be disturbed, but when we read further that God had commanded Joshua to do so, we have no ground for pronouncing sentence on Joshua anymore than we do against those who pronounce sentence on criminals.
We might also think the children and the women that Joshua slew were without blame. If so, let us remember that the judgment seat of heaven is not subject to our laws. Rather, when we see how green plants are burned in the judgment, let us who are dry wood fear a heavier judgment for ourselves. Certainly, any person who thoroughly examines himself will find that he deserves a hundred deaths. Why then should not the Lord find grounds for the death of an infant that has only passed from its mother’s womb? In vain should we murmur or complain that God has doomed all the offspring of an accursed race to the same destruction, for the potter has absolute power over his own vessels and over his own clay.
for meditation: Passages like this selection from Joshua often incite rebellion in our hearts. Like Job, we must learn to put our hands over our mouths and humble ourselves before Almighty God, knowing that he who created all creatures also will determine, sovereignly and justly, what is right for them.