Posted by: Pastor Terry Hagedorn | May 27, 2009

Conquering Cave Kings

Pastor Terry K. Hagedorn
Calvary Baptist Church
Reedsville, WV 26547

Joshua 10:5 …The five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon, gathered themselves together, and went up, they and all their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it…15 And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal. 16 But these five kings fled, and hid themselves in a cave at Makkedah…22 Then said Joshua, Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings unto me out of the cave…24 And it came to pass, when they brought out those kings unto Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said unto the captains of the men of war which went with him, Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings. And they came near, and put their feet upon the necks of them. 25 And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight. 26 And afterward Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five trees: and they were hanging upon the trees until the evening. 27 And it came to pass at the time of the going down of the sun, that Joshua commanded, and they took them down off the trees, and cast them into the cave wherein they had been hid, and laid great stones in the cave’s mouth, which remain until this very day.

This historical account of Joshua’s defeat of the five kings has many spiritual lessons for Christians: 1) we have enemies that oppose our spiritual progress, 2) we have responsibility to assist the weak, 3) we face impossible battles; however, we have God’s grace and infinite power to accomplish all His perfect will, 4) we must not just cover up our weaknesses and sins; rather, 5) we must conquer these cave kings; or, they will escape to dominate or destroy us!

In order to conquer the spiritual counterparts of these kings one must first absolutely know and understand two things: 1) where the kings hide ; and, 2) what each cave king’s name means.

First, where were these wicked kings? Hiding in a cave. That is significant. A cave is a place of darkness–which pictures the shadow world devoid of the light of God’s Word. It is also a place of dirt and dust–the stuff of which we are made and to which we are bent. These foul and filthy kings hide in the deepest labyrinths of the flesh–our old nature. Furthermore, a cave is dank–a cold and miserable place like the recesses of a carnal heart. A cave is a place of natural deception with its confusing twists and turns.. A cave is an easy place to hide–or to get lost in. Lastly and tragically, a cave can be a place of despair and death. Many, including the most skilled at spelunking, have become hopelessly lost in a cave–and die.

Secondly, who are these kings? Well, one commenatator suggests that the five kings represent the five senses–carnal avenues into our spirit: Sight, what we see, can try to overpower us. The lust of the eyes defeats many Christians. Pornography: pictures and printed words, possessions, places, pastimes (TV and movies)–things involving sight–can and do sometime conquer and control us. Smell: food, drink, cologne, places–in and of themselves not necessarily evil–can entice us to sin. Touch: the sensuous passions feed on the sense of touch. The philosophy of “If it feels good, do it” has corrupted an entire generation–inside and outside the church. Hearing: words and music can make us say, do and think things contrary to what is right. If there is no power in words and music, then why do companies spend millions advertising on radio with words and music? Why do you remember what it is “that made Milwaukee famous?” Taste: there are people who would sell their soul for the taste of liquor, tobacco or dope–or even for a bowl of pottage!

Without a doubt, these five senses can be avenues of temptation to sin that would conquer and control us. However, they are not the cave kings. There is something more here. It is not quite so obvious. Yet, anyone with a Strong’s Concordance can discover the real meaning.

Our text gives us the answer: the five kings are five sins. They are revealed in the meaning of the names and places associated with the five Cave Kings: Adonizedek of Jerusalem ( “peace” “righteousness”), Hebron (“joining” or “association”), Jarmuth (“heights” or “lifted up”), “Lachish (“hardened” or “invincible”), and Eglon (“of or like a calf”). The five evil kings are:  1) Self-righteousness, 2) Sinful associations, 3) Self, 4) Stiffneckedness and 5) Serving Idols.


Adonizedek, the ungodly king of Jerusalem, had a name that he was religious. His name meant, “The Lord is Righteousness.” Sounds good, doesn’t it? However, this was a wicked king who sought to destroy the people of God. Since it is a personal name, the name could be interpreted, “My Lord is My Righteousness.” However, a slight self-righteous twist could be, “MY righteousness is MY lord.” Whether this is good translation, or not. It is exactly what this King did–and what many people do. They do that which is right in their own eyes.  When self-righteousness is practiced by a lost person, it puts them out of the reach of salvation.  It gives them a false sense of peace (Cf. Shalom from Jerusalem). Self-righteousness appeals to the natural mind. They say, “Well, I am as good as the next guy–better than most!” That might be true; BUT, to go to Heaven one must be as good as Christ! The only way to have that righteousness is by faith–not works. It is imputed to us–when we believe on Christ. Romans 10:2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

This is positional righteousness–imputed righteousness–the results of justification by faith. Practical righteousness is the evidence of positional righteousness: we are not saved because we do good works; rather, we do good works because we are saved. One who tries to be saved by his or her good works is under the curse. And works a greater debt. (Romans 4:4,5, Ephesians 2:8,9)

Sadly, many Christians live by their own interpretation of practical righteousness. They say, “Well, I know that’s wrong; but, God has not convicted me about that yet.” Listen to that statement again. If you “know it’s wrong”, then God HAS convicted you. The problem is not with God–the problem is with you, your own self-righteousness and your stubborn will.

Our Savior said to the Father, “Thy will be done…” Many say, “My will be done!” Why are there so many Christians who say “Lord, Lord!”; but, do not do what He says? It is because the evil King “My Righteousness is MY god” has conquered them! Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness–not the righteousness of the cave king of Salem.

Sinful associations.

Hebron means “joining” or “association”–it implies “fellowship.” Again, just as in the case of Adonizedek, the name of this wicked king is ambiguously deceitful. Fellowship is an important aspect of spiritual life. “Iron sharpeneth iron” is a great truth. The encouragement, exhortation, and edification that we gain from spiritual fellowship is an invaluable asset to spiritual growth.

However, evil association–fellowship with darkness–is a source of discouragement, deception and defeat in the spiritual life. Birds of a feather do flock together. It is impossible to soar with eagles or to sing with doves–if you fellowship with vultures!

It is essential that the Christian have the right kind of spiritual fellowship. In order to do that, he or she must be separate from sin, sinners, sinning brethren and Satan’s ecumenical church! I Corinthians 15:33 “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” The West Virginia version of that verse sums up this matter pretty well, “If you lie down with dogs–you’re gonna git up with fleas!” Watch your associations! Fellowship with the good and the Godly; and, you will be blessed. Shun the King of Hebron.


Jarmuth means “heights” or “lifted up.” It speaks of the evil lord, pride. Pride has a little “i” at the center. However, when I is in the center, it is never a little I. Is it?  The first sin committed in the universe was the sin of pride. .The first sin was not committed on earth; rather, it was in heaven that the iniquity of pride was found to be in Lucifer when he said–five times, “I will…”

It was to the woman’s pride that the Serpent appealed when he tempted her with, “Ye shall be as gods…knowing good and evil.” In her naiveté she asked herself, “I shall be a god? I shall know good and evil?” In her pride, she declared, “I shall be as a god! I shall know good and evil!” “I” was at the center of her pride.

The greatest among us is not the proud; but, the humble. “He must increase; I must decrease!,” must be our heart’s desire. Otherwise, we will fall into shame–because God resists the proud.  Dethrone the King of Jarmuth. Come down from that lofty throne–before God knocks you down! If we would judge ourselves–we would not be judged!

A young preacher proudly ascended the platform to the pulpit in an arrogant and haughty spirit. However–true to His Word–the Lord resisted the proud; and, the young man fumbled and stumbled through his message. It was a disaster. He humbly descended from the platform.   After the service and after everyone else had left, an old saint approached the young preacher and wisely said, “Son, if you had gone up like you came down, you could have come down like you went up!”


Lachish means “hardened” or “invincible”. It speaks of our stubborn will.   The will can be brought into conformity with God’s will–or it can rebel. The difference is not with God or His will; rather, the same sunlight that melts the ice hardens the clay. The problem or the difference is not with the sun; rather, it is with the substance: ice or clay. Some people melt in submission to God’s Will. Others harden against His Will.

We all suffer with this other “I” problem–a problem which cannot be fixed by glasses. Our will must be in submission to His perfect will. Yet, the things that we should do–we do not do. The things which we should not do–we do all the time. The flesh, our old nature, is at enmity with God. It refuses to obey. It must, by God’s grace be brought into submission to Him by His Spirit working in us; and, we must reckon ourselves dead and yield ourselves to Him.

The story is told that a missionary was approached by a Native American Christian, a young convert. The young Christian was distraught. He explained to the missionary in broken English, “In me two dogs live. One white. One black. Fight all time.” The missionary asked, “Well, which dog wins the fight?” The Indian thought for a minute, “Whichever one me say, ‘Sic’em to!”

Victory over the wicked King of Lachish can only be guaranteed by reckoning ourselves dead and yielding ourselves to the Lord. (Romans 6) It is an act of the will. It is a life marked by the motto, “not I, but Christ” in all that we say, think or do. (Galatians 2:20) Are we ever more like the Savior than when we say, “Not my will…thy will be done?”

Serving idols.

Eglon means “calf”–an idol. This cave king is anything or anyone that takes the place of the Lord. The term brings up images of Israel’s idolatry with a golden calf. We condemn Israel’s idolatry. We are repulsed by pagan idol worship. We are disgusted by the fact that people bow down to idols made of wood and metal.

Although we, as most Christians, would vehemently deny any involvement in idolatry. Yet, haven’t we made idols of glass, brick, metal and plastic more important than God? Don’t we .live in what is probably the most idolatrous age of the church? Isn’t this evil king killing the church?  We have left our first love–the King of Kings–and followed after a cave king. Revelation 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of  thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

”Rich, increased with goods, and have need of nothing”–not even God. That is this church age in a nutshell. May the Lord help us to see that we, this church age, are really poor–destitute of gold (His Word), white raiment (His Righteousness) and eyesalve (His Salvation).   Reject the idol king!  Serve the Lord.


Are there any kings–would-be lords and masters–in the dark, dirty and dank recesses of your soul? Do you despair–unto death–that you will never defeat, disarm and destroy those dark lords?  Dear soul, there is victory! These kings–and the sin they represent–have been killed and hanged on a tree by a greater than Joshua: our Joshua–the Lord Jesus Christ. Though Him, we are more than conquerors. Through him–and faith in Him–we can conquer the cave kings.


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