It's written that some cities were left for the individual tribes to conquer, some from the hands of the Canaanites. Wasn't Yehoshua supposed to destroy all of the 7 nations including the Canaanites?


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According to the Midrash, Yehoshua could have been more aggressive in conquest and finish the job, but he was stalling:

במדבר רבה כב ו

אמרו רבותינו כתיב ביהושע (יהושע א, ה): כאשר הייתי עם משה אהיה עמך, והיה צריך יהושע לחיות מאה ועשרים שנה, כמשה רבינו, ולמה נתקצרו שנותיו עשר שנים, בשעה שאמר הקדוש ברוך הוא למשה: נקם נקמת בני ישראל מאת המדינים אחר תאסף אל עמך, ואף על פי שנתבשר בשורת מות לא אחר הדבר אלא נזדרז, וישלח אתם משה. אבל יהושע כיון שבא להלחם עם שלשים ואחד מלכים, אמר אם אני הורגם מיד, מיד אני מת כשם שעשה משה רבינו, מה עשה התחיל מעכב במלחמתם, שנאמר (יהושע יא, יח): ימים רבים עשה יהושע את כל המלכים האלה מלחמה, אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא וכך עשית, הריני מקצר שנותיך עשר שנים. אמר שלמה (משלי יט, כא): רבות מחשבות בלב איש ועצת ה' היא תקום.

Bamidbar Raba 22:6

Our masters said “It is written about Joshua (in Josh. 1:5), ‘as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.’ So Joshua should have lived a hundred and twenty years like Moshe our teacher. And why were they shortened by ten years? Because at the time that the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses (in Numb. 31:2), ‘Exact vengeance for the Children of Israel […],’ even though the announcement of [his] death was [also] announced, he did not delay the thing. Rather, he showed alacrity, [as stated] (in Numb. 31:6), ‘And Moses sent them.’ But Joshua did not do like this. When he came to war against thirty-one kings, he said, ‘If I kill them, I will die immediately, as happened to Moshe our teacher.’ What did he do? He began to stall in the war with them, as stated (in Josh. 11:18), ‘Joshua waged war with all those kings over a long period.’ [So] the Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, ‘This is what you did? See that I will shorten your years by ten years.’ Solomon said (about this in Prov. 19:21), ‘Many thoughts are in the heart of a man, [but it is the counsel of the Lord that will stand].’”

  • The commentators explain that the reason Joshua wanted to live longer was not for a selfish reason. He knew that as long as he was alive, the Jewish people would not be influenced by those of the nations which had not been wiped out and he therefore, for the good of the nation, slowed down the conquest, giving himself thus more time to educate the people.
    – Imanonov
    Jun 9, 2020 at 19:50
  • @Imanonov It's not what the Midrash says. The Midrash is very clear being critic towards Yehoshua, which answers the OP question. Jun 10, 2020 at 7:56
  • You are right that the Medrash is critical of Yehoshua because he shouldn't have made those cheshbonos. He should have done what HaShem wanted to do, or possibly he should have asked HaShem whether that is the right thing to do. However knowing that Yehoshua was an Eved HaShem and a tzaddik, he must have had a more reasonable reason than just "wanting to live longer". One possible reason is the one I quoted.
    – Imanonov
    Jun 11, 2020 at 10:40

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