We already looked in some detail at the southern campaign. The northern one is given in even less detail than the southern one, although it is similar in many respects. Like the southern campaign, the one in the north is also waged against a coalition of kings who gathered together to try and repulse the Israelite conquest of Canaan. We’re told at the very beginning of chapter 11 that there was a king in the north, the king of Hazor, whose name was Jabin. He saw what was happening and decided to respond by getting together all of the forces at his disposal. So he sent out a call to all of these cities, saying that they had to get together and fight against Israel, or else they were going to suffer the same fate as the cities in the south. They amassed a great army, and they gathered together at the waters of Merom, which is a small lake just north of the Sea of Galilee. And there this great host of the kings of the north gathered together to fight against Joshua.

This leads to the fifth characteristic, which is that Joshua obeyed the Lord completely. This was the most striking of his characteristics. If you go back to the very beginning of the book, you’ll recognize that in the first words of God to him, this is what he was encouraged to do: “Be careful to obey all the law my servant gave you. Do not turn from it to the right or to the left so that you may be successful wherever you go. Be careful to do everything.” Later on we are told, in 11:15, "As the Lord commanded His servant, Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua. And Joshua did it. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses. He obeyed the Lord completely." 

The third principle of Joshua’s leadership is that he took no short-cuts. Instead he pursued his campaign with logical step-by-step progression. He was a brilliant commander, and when he saw an opportunity he seized it. That was certainly true when he marched to Gibeon and fell upon the armies early in the morning and scattered them.

I think this is a good point to look back over this campaign and its details and see what it teaches us about the characteristics of strong leadership, which Joshua showed. There probably are other things that can be said about Joshua on the basis of other texts. But just looking at this one campaign, I see at least six things that are worth mentioning and trying to apply to ourselves. 

Now our story picks up at that point. The routed armies were led by five kings. These five kings were apparently together directing the military operations. And when they saw the battle go against them and recognized that they were in great personal danger themselves, they hid in the cave near the town of Makkedah. And they went in to hide, thinking that in the battle the rush of the troops would pass by. Then after they had passed, the kings could emerge and make their way back to the city. They could regroup their fortresses and prepare to fight another day.