They make an alliance with Gibeon.
VERSE 1. When all the kings who were beyond the Jordan, in the hill country, and in the lowland, and on all the shore of the great sea in front of Lebanon, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard of it
The people had just returned to camp at Gilgal after Joshua read the Bible to them. It was a time of spiritual victory.
But now they are about to suffer two major setbacks. The first is in this chapter. They will make an alliance with the Gibeonites, despite the LORD God forbidding them from making an alliance.
Their second major setback is in the next chapter. They will defend the Gibeonites.
all the kings. The kings were not able to unite as one. Instead, they aligned themselves into three different groups:
- in the hill country. That is, central Palestine.
- in the lowland. That is, the western foothills.
- on all the shore of the great sea. the coastal plain stretching north to Lebanon.
VERSE 2. they gathered themselves together to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord.
the inhabitants of Gibeon. Gibeon was located in the hill country, only six miles northwest of Jerusalem.
VERSE 4. they also resorted to a ruse, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks on their donkeys, and old, torn-up and bound up wine skins,
they also resorted to a ruse. They adopted a clever plan.
VERSE 5. and old and patched sandals on their feet, and wore old garments. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy.
VERSE 6. They went to Joshua at the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a far country. Now therefore make a covenant with us.”
We have come from a far country. This was not true. However, it suggests the Gibeonites were aware of what was required of Israel.
On the one hand, they were to annihilate the cities of the seven nearby Canaanite nations.
On the other hand, they were permitted to make peace with cities that were at a considerable distance.
VERSE 7. The men of Israel said to the Hivites, “What if you live among us? How could we make a covenant with you?”
What if you live among us? Joshua is unconvinced.
VERSE 8. They said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” Joshua said to them, “Who are you? Where do you come from?”
Joshua is suspect. He continues his questioning.
VERSE 9. They said to him, “Your servants have come from a very far country because of the name of the LORD your God; for we have heard of his fame, all that he did in Egypt,
from a very far country. They are trying to prompt Joshua to spare them.
VERSE 10. and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon and to Og king of Bashan, who was at Ashtaroth.
VERSE 11. Our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spoke to us, saying, ‘Take supplies in your hand for the journey, and go to meet them. Tell them, “We are your servants. Now make a covenant with us.” ’
VERSE 12. This our bread we took hot for our supplies out of our houses on the day we went out to go to you; but now, behold, it is dry, and has become moldy.
VERSE 13. These wine skins, which we filled, were new; and behold, they are torn. These our garments and our sandals have become old because of the very long journey.”
didn’t ask counsel from the LORD. This was a big mistake.
VERSE 15. Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them, to let them live. The princes of the congregation swore to them.
Joshua … made a covenant with them. Joshua did this without seeking the LORD.
It seems as though the LORD God will punish Joshua. But Joshua does not gets in trouble.
VERSE 16. At the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, they heard that they were their neighbors, and that they lived among them.
VERSE 17. The children of Israel traveled and came to their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath Jearim.
VERSE 18. The children of Israel didn’t strike them, because the princes of the congregation had sworn to them by the LORD, the God of Israel. All the congregation murmured against the princes.
All the congregation murmured against the princes. That is, everybody is complaining about Joshua and his leadership team.
VERSE 19. But all the princes said to all the congregation, “We have sworn to them by the LORD, the God of Israel. Now therefore we may not touch them.
the princes said. The leadership team should have realized they were duped. Any covenant made under false pretenses is null and void. They had no obligation to fulfill it.
VERSE 20. We will do this to them, and let them live; lest wrath be on us, because of the oath which we swore to them.”
lest wrath be on us. Actually, they have already made a major tactical mistake. They should correct it as soon as possible. But instead, they defend it. They perpetuate it.
VERSE 21. The princes said to them, “Let them live.” So they became wood cutters and drawers of water for all the congregation, as the princes had spoken to them.
VERSE 22. Joshua called for them, and he spoke to them, saying, “Why have you deceived us, saying, ‘We are very far from you,’ when you live among us?
Why have you deceived us. Joshua calls them out for their dishonesty.
VERSE 23. Now therefore you are cursed, and some of you will never fail to be slaves, both wood cutters and drawers of water for the house of my God.”
Now therefore you are cursed. The LORD God required them to exterminate the people of the land. But Joshua does not exterminate these people.
VERSE 24. They answered Joshua, and said, “Because your servants were certainly told how the LORD your God commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you. Therefore we were very afraid for our lives because of you, and have done this thing.
we were very afraid for our lives. These mighty nations are afraid of the Israelites.
Wherever a disparity in power exists, one side will always live in fear.
VERSE 25. Now, behold, we are in your hand. Do to us as it seems good and right to you to do.”
VERSE 26. He did so to them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, so that they didn’t kill them.
VERSE 27. That day Joshua made them wood cutters and drawers of water for the congregation and for the LORD’s altar to this day, in the place which he should choose.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.