Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 11:15

Just as the Lord had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Canaanites;   Obedience;   Seir;   War;   Thompson Chain Reference - Joshua;   Obedience;   Obedience-Disobedience;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Jabin;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Joshua the son of nun;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Joshua;   Syria;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Amorites;   Conquest of Canaan;   Hazor;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Barak;   Joshua;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Journeyings of israel from egypt to canaan;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Criticism (the Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis);   Deuteronomy;   Joshua, Book of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Ban;  

The Biblical Illustrator

Joshua 11:15

He left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses.

Things undone

“This year omissions have distressed me more than anything.” So speaks Andrew A. Bonar, concluding one of the years of his life. How many of us are similarly distressed!

I. The things undone are many. We have not left undone a duty here or there merely, but we have the painful consciousness of having missed so much that more seems undone than done. Darwin’s biographer relates that the great scientist “never wasted a few spare minutes from thinking that it was not worth while to set to work.” His golden rule was “taking care of the minutes.” And so he became rich and accurate in knowledge. How much more might we have done in the home! We deal negligently with those about us until change or death takes them away I How much more might we have done in the world! We have loitered in the sheepfold to hear the bleating of the sheep, when we ought to have been in the high places of the field. How much more might we have given and taught and toiled in the Church of God! We are always evading manifest obligations, which are also precious privileges. With what fiery energy the bird, the bee, the butterfly, carry out the special commission with which they are entrusted! In nature everything seems to be done that can be done with the granted measure of time, space, material, and energy. But we are conscious of a very different and far less satisfactory state of things in the human sphere. Here inertia, laziness, slipperiness, procrastination, prevail. There are great gaps in our work.

II. The things undone are often the things of the greatest consequence. Emerson speaks of “the science of omitting.” A very necessary and much-neglected science. “The artist,” says Schiller, “may be known rather by what he omits.” The master of literary style is best recognised by his tact of omission. The orator declares his genius as much by what he leaves out as by what he puts into his discourses. And in life the science of omission must have a large place. Life on its moral side, in its highest sense, becomes complete and successful by exclusion: if we are to make anything of it, we must reject much. When, however, an artist understands the science of omission, he leaves out the trivial, the vulgar, the irrelevant. Pater, speaking of Watteau, the French artist, says, “Sketching the scene to the life, but with a kind of grace, a marvellous tact of omission in dealing with the vulgar reality seen from one’s own window.” Yes, leaving out the vulgar features and commonplace detail. But the defect in our moral life is that in our science of omission we too often leave out the primary, the highest, the essential. The trivial, the fugitive, the inferior, the accidental, are given a place in our life, whilst the large, the noble, the precious, and the supreme are excluded. It is thus with us in questions of character. The weightier matters are more difficult, and we evade them. It is thus with matters of duty. We shirk the calls demanding courage, diligence, sacrifice, and content ourselves by doing abundantly the things which are more immediately connected with our pride, our interest, or our pleasure. Here we are often condemned. Great principles are left out of our character, because they are difficult to acquire and maintain; great duties are ignored, because they mean heroism and suffering; great opportunities are forfeited, because they demand promptitude and resolution; great works are declined, because they involve consecration and sacrifice.

III. The things undone are things for which we must be held responsible. We are often deeply concerned, as, indeed, we ought to be, with the things we have done amiss; but we are less troubled by the things left undone. Yet the negative side is as really sin as is the positive side. In these modern days it is rather fashionable for men of a certain type to stand quite aside from an active career. They are deeply impressed by the seriousness of life, by its difficulties, its mysteries; they decline, as far as may be, its relationships, its obligations, its trials, its honours, its sorrows. They will tell you that they have no gifts, no calling, no opportunity. But, however disguised, these lives are slothful and guilty. But most of us have somewhat of this slothful temper. True, we gloss with mild names this skirking of duty. We call it expediency, standing over, modesty, deliberation, forgetfulness, oversight; but it ought to be called sloth, hypocrisy, cowardice, sin. How much undone for God, for man, for our own perfecting! And as for the future, let us put into life more purpose, passion, and will. Let us be more definite, prompt, unflinching. Let us be at once more enthusiastic and more methodical. (W. L. Watkinson.)

It was of the Lord to harden their hearts.--

Resisted conviction

We must not suppose, of course, that God stepped in to produce, in the case of these Canaanites, a result which would not have accrued to them by the working out of the natural laws which He had instituted. God loved them as He loves the world. They were included in the propitiation of Christ. They might have been saved, as Rahab was. And when it is said that God hardened their hearts, we must understand that their hearts became hardened by sinning against their light, in accordance with that great principle which God has established, that if a man resists his convictions of right he becomes more inveterate in his sinful ways. God is thus said to do what is done by the working out of the laws of that moral universe which He has constituted. It is clear that the Canaanites knew that God was with Israel. Rahab said (Joshua 2:10-11). And the Gibeonites (Joshua 9:10). There is no doubt, then, that throughout the land there had gone forth the fame of God; and when the kings flung their hosts in battle against Israel it was as it has always been (Psalms 2:2). (F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

Hardening the heart

I remember one day, in our natural history class, the professor explained to us how sponges became flints. He had all his specimens arranged along his table. He took the soft sponge, elastic and flaccid, that could bend any way--beautifully soft and fine. Then he took the next one; it was not so flexible: and he went on, each one only a little more flinty than the former, till he had the flint. That had been a sponge; though now its heart was so hard that you could strike fire from it with a steel. The sponge will become flint. There are little silicious particles that gather in the soft sponge; and by and by the silex is deposited in the interstices of the sponge; and on it goes till the silica has the victory, and the sponge becomes flint. A wonderful sermon from science. I have had companions like that--young men with hearts, oh, so soft I at their first revival. Impressions went home to them; they had tears and anxiety; yet, as years have passed, the hardness of heart has increased, as with one whom I met recently, who, since then, has bolted to America with a heart of flint instead of a soft heart. As the days went by, hardness increased; the silicious particles of rejection of Christ multiplied in number, till the man became a reprobate. Perhaps you are in that position. As I am preaching from the presence of God it has no effect. You are hearing it, but it is going in at the one ear and out at the other. See to it that the judicial hardening of your heart does not overtake you, and you learn by experience the despair of a lost soul. (J. Robertson.)

So Joshua took the whole land.--

The people for whom the Lord fights

I. The magnitude of their difficulties should be regarded as only the measure of their victories. “Joshua took the whole land.”

II. Their most signal victories are ever incomplete. The whole land, yet not the whole (Joshua 8:1).

III. The triumphs which they do win are ever the fruit of God’s promises.

1. According to all that the Lord said unto Moses.” This clause serves also to limit and explain the former. God had specially told Moses that the whole land should not be conquered too suddenly (Exodus 23:29-30).

IV. The inheritance thus given by god should be the inheritance of all God’s people. “Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes.”

V. The rest which they obtain here faintly foreshadows the perfect rest hereafter. “And the land rested from war.”

1. Rest after severe strife.

2. Rest only through faith and obedience.

3. Rest, but rest which still requires that they watch and pray.

4. Rest, which though but an imperfect pattern, should stand for a sure prophecy of the rest which is perfect, If we really enter into the rest of faith, it will be by that holy Spirit of promise, “which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession.” (F. G. Marchant.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Joshua 11:15". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/joshua-11.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

As the Lord commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua,.... Which was to destroy the people of the land, Deuteronomy 7:1,

so did Joshua, he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses; both with respect to the destruction of the people, and of all their images, pictures, altars, groves, and high places; see Exodus 34:11.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 11:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-11.html. 1999.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 11:15 As the LORD commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD commanded Moses.

Ver. 15. As the Lord commanded.] This is often repeated, to free Joshua from suspicion of inhumanity and cruelty in all these bloody executions. Julius Caesar, and such like conquerors, had no such warrant for his slaughtering a million of men, after three hundred nations vanquished, and three thousand towns taken by him.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 11:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-11.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 15. Joshua—left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses Spinosa is pleased to say, that this eulogy is too great to have fallen from the pen of Joshua; whence he concludes, that Joshua did not write this book, known by his name. What admirable reasoning is this! So that, in like manner, we are to refuse granting St. Paul to be the author of the epistles, in which he does justice to his own fidelity; and to deny that Caesar wrote those commentaries which are unanimously ascribed to him, because they specify his own great achievements.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 11:15". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/joshua-11.html. 1801-1803.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

As YHWH commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that YHWH had commanded Moses.’

Joshua’s complete obedience is emphasised. He was fulfilling the work of God through Moses. He stood in Moses’ place. And he was faithful in his service. That is why in the end he would be given the honourable title ‘the Servant of YHWH’ (Joshua 24:29; Judges 2:8), a unique title only specifically given by the people to Moses and Joshua.

So Joshua’s northern campaign came to an end. We should, however, note what is not said. There is no suggestion that he captured Megiddo or Taanach, the two great cities on either side of the plain of Esdraelon, (although he would kill their kings - Joshua 12:21 - so that they clearly acted aggressively against Israel) nor does it say that he captured Jerusalem or Bethel or Gezer. Nor is there any mention of capturing the cities of Gath, Ashkelon, Ekron, Ashdod and Gaza (Joshua 10:41 does not say that Gaza was taken). And there were other great cities also unmentioned. The impression of overall victory has within it important silences. The record is honest about the non-capture of the coastal plain and Esdraelon, and other heavily defended cities. And it makes clear that in spite of the great victories that were obtained the cities were not occupied at this stage. His work was only the beginning, with the purpose of establishing Israel in the land. Others would have to follow it up and make the victories permanent. And this they failed to do as we know from Judges 1. But its overall message is that he was successful wherever he went, and that YHWH was with him.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 11:15". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-11.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

15.He left nothing undone — Joshua here evinces two cardinal virtues: (1) diligent study of the recorded precepts; (2) perfect obedience. Here is the model of all righteous living — the intellect exercised in discovering God’s will, and the heart so imbued with love as to sway the will to execute every dictate of the conscience.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 11:15". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-11.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Joshua 11:15. As the Lord commanded Moses, &c. — See Exodus 34:11,

12; Deuteronomy 31:7. So did Joshua: he left nothing undone — This is a demonstration that Moses left in writing what the Lord commanded, as we read in the foregoing books, and that they were not written, as some have pretended, in later times. For it would have been impossible for Joshua to have executed every thing which had been commanded by Moses, unless he had had the book of the law before him for his direction.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 11:15". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-11.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Moses. It is not to be doubted but that the lawgiver would communicate many instructions, by word of mouth, to his successor. He would also tell him, in general, to observe whatever laws had been given to regulate the conduct of the leaders, (Calmet) as they were given not only to Moses, but to all who should afterwards occupy his post. (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 11:15". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-11.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

As = according as. Compare Exodus 34:11.

on. Compare Deuteronomy 7:2.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 11:15". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-11.html. 1909-1922.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

As the LORD commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD commanded Moses.
the Lord
12; Exodus 34:11-13
so did Moses
Deuteronomy 7:2; 31:7
and so did Joshua
1:7; Exodus 39:42,43; Deuteronomy 4:5; 2 Chronicles 30:12
he left nothing
Heb. removed nothing.
Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; 1 Samuel 15:1-3,8,9,11,19-22; Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42; Acts 20:20,27
Reciprocal: Exodus 17:10 - Joshua

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 11:15". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-11.html.

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

"Handfuls of Purpose"

For All Gleaners

"He left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses."Joshua 11:15

A easy sentence, but a most difficult process.—First of all, here is an assumption that Joshua was a student. How did he know what the Lord had commanded Moses, except by diligent inquiry and stud)?—Not only was Joshua a student, he was a minute or critical student.—He did not take a merely general view of divine commandment, but went into particularity; "he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses;" the word "all" is the critical point.—Here is a process of enumeration, weighing, balancing, and allotment: some things are to be done by day and some by night; some things were essentially and others relatively important; Joshua had to study the perspective of the moral outlook, and not to commit folly by the transposition of persons or events.—Not only was Joshua a student, and a critical student, he was a man of active obedience. His life was a process of doing. He found enough to do from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same.—God has left no vacant hours in all the day. God has made benevolent preparation for sleep or rest, but he has also made abundant arrangements for industry and service.—Not only was Joshua a student, a critical student, and a man of active obedience, but he was inspired by the thought that all he did was done under the direction and for the glory of God.—It is something to know that we are working, for what master we are acting, and in view of what reward.—The strength is often found in the motive.—Far behind all outward instrumentality, we find our power in spiritual philosophy, thought, and confidence.—Herein is the supreme value of prayer: it shuts us up in close communion with God; it leads us to the very fountain of power; it clothes us with ineffable dignity.—A blessed thing it is to realise that our whole life-plan is laid down for us.—In the matter of moral purity and action we have nothing to invent; the commandments are all written, and will all be understood by the heart that really wishes to know their meaning.—It is a sign of a false life when a man hesitates on the ground that he really does not know what his duty is. Duty is perfectly and continually plain to the man whose motive is simple. "What doth the Lord thy God require of thee?" "What is written in the law?" "How readest thou?"—There can only be bewilderment in the matter of detail; there can never be any confusion as to the distinction between right and wrong, noble and ignoble, upward and downward.

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Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 11:15". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jpb/joshua-11.html. 1885-95.