The Conquest of Canaan: The Northern Campaign

Joshua 11

After the Israelites captured several cities in southern Canaan, King Jabin of Hazor called on several kings in northern Canaan to fight against the Israelites. The Israelites advanced from southern Canaan and defeated the Canaanites in battle at the waters of Merom. After pursuing the Canaanites to the Valley of Mizpeh, the Israelites turned back to Hazor and burned the city to the ground.

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The Kingdoms of Israel and Judah

1 Kings 12; 2 Chronicles 10

After Solomon died, his son Rehoboam succeeded him as king, and he traveled to Shechem for the coronation ceremony before all the tribes. Jeroboam, who had been an enemy of Solomon and fled to Egypt, came to Shechem as well. Before the ceremony, Jeroboam and many other Israelites demanded that Rehoboam lighten the heavy taxation burdern Solomon had placed on them, but Rehoboam rejected their request and threatened to inflict even heavier burdens on them. So the ten northern tribes rejected Rehoboam’s rule and set up Jeroboam as king. Only the tribes of Benjamin and Judah remained loyal to Rehoboam and the Davidic dynasty. Tirzah served as the first capital of the northern kingdom of Israel, while Jerusalem remained the capital of the southern kingdom of Judah. To keep Israelites from traveling to Jerusalem to worship the Lord, Jeroboam set up calf idols in the towns of Dan and Bethel and encouraged the people to worship them. The nation of Moab remained subject to the northern kingdom for many years, and the nation of Edom remained subject to the southern kingdom, but eventually both nations reasserted their independence from them (2 Kings 3; 8:20-22).

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The Battle at Mount Gilboa

1 Samuel 28-31; 1 Chronicles 10

After the Philistines mustered their forces at Aphek and advanced to Shunem in the Jezreel Valley, the Israelites assembled their forces nearby at Jezreel. During the battle, the Israelites began to retreat up the slopes of Mount Gilboa. There Saul and his sons were killed, and the Philistines took their bodies to Beth-shan and hung them on the wall of the city. When the people of Jabesh-gilead heard about this, they marched through the night to recover the bodies and Saul and his sons, perhaps as repayment for Saul’s rescue of the town from the Ammonites many years earlier (1 Samuel 11).

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Absalom Rebels against David

2 Samuel 13-18

Two years after Absalom’s half-brother Amnon assaulted his sister, Absalom took revenge. He invited Amnon to attend the shearing of his sheep, and there he directed all his men to kill Amnon. Absalom fled to Geshur, where his mother’s father was king (2 Samuel 3:3). After three years David’s commander Joab arranged for a woman from Tekoa to persuade David to allow Absalom to return to Jerusalem with the assurance that he would not be harmed for killing Amnon. David agreed, but after Absalom returned he began a conspiracy against David in which he ingratiated himself to the people and orchestrated a coup. He arranged to travel to Hebron, where his followers declared him king, and he headed for Jerusalem to overthrow David. When David was informed of Absalom’s actions in Hebron, David and those loyal to him fled across the Jordan River to Mahanaim. Absalom mustered an army and traveled to Mahanaim to attack David, and they engaged David’s forces in the forest of Ephraim. David’s men thoroughly defeated Absalom’s army, and Absalom himself was killed after his mule rode under and oak tree and left him dangling in mid-air by his long hair.

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Josiah Battles Neco

2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chronicles 34-35

As the Assyrian Empire was collapsing and losing territory to the advancing Medes and Babylonians, King Josiah of Judah seized the opportunity to expand his domain to include much of Israel’s former territory. Then in 609 B.C., Pharaoh Neco of Egypt advanced to Carchemish to assist the Assyrians, and Josiah tried to stop him at Megiddo. Neco killed Josiah and continued on to Carchemish, but apparently the delay caused by Josiah’s forces prevented Neco from arriving in time to save Carchemish (Jeremiah 46:2). Not long after this the rest of Assyria fell to the Medes and the Babylonians.

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