And the LORD said unto Joshua, be not afraid because of them: for to morrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel: thou shalt hough their horses, and burn their chariots with fire. (Joshua 11:6)
The word translated hough in this passage, âqar (aw – kar´) means to pluck up by the roots. Aqar also means to hamstring or figuratively, to exterminate, so the idea here is to render something useless. When I was a child, my dad taught me that in order to ensure that a weed would not grow back, you had to pull up the root along with the rest of the plant or you would be continually weeding your garden. Even though it took a little extra time, it would be better to get all of it the first time, then to have to month after month come back and weed the garden.
One of the reasons the inhabitants of the Promised Land had to be destroyed utterly or exterminated “was to be a security against idolatry and demoralization on the part of Israel” (2763). The Canaanites were a corrupt people, beyond redemption in regards to their immoral behavior Their decision to come against Israel in battle was really their undoing, it led them to judgment and punishment for their sins.
I don’t necessarily like being the instrument God uses to root out sin in other people’s lives, but I understand that God’s divine protection and assurance of victory makes the battle worthwhile. Like Joshua, I do not have to be afraid because the outcome has already been determined and will be in my favor.