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Israel’s Covenant with the Gibeonites Joshua 9:1-27 records the story of Israel’s covenant with the Gibeonites. In Deuteronomy 20:10-20 Moses delivered the laws on how Israel was to make treaties with foreign cities and nations. However, in the initial conquest of Canaan, led by Joshua, it was understood that there would be no treaties. God had commanded these Canaanite cities and people to be destroyed. During the following periods of Israel’s expansion such treaties would be allowed. It was only through deceit and craftiness that Gibeonites managed to form a treaty with Israel. This story shows a great example of how a culture of cleverness engages with a culture of integrity. If a person does not use wisdom, or obtain the Lord’s counsel as Israel failed to do, then he is easily taken advantage of. This is why Jesus told His disciples, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)
Joshua 9:1-2 Comments Introduction - Joshua 9:1-2 serves as an introduction to Israel’s southern and northern campaigns against the Canaanite kings, which is recorded in Joshua 9:3 to Joshua 11:15. Israel’s conquest of Canaan will be summarized in Joshua 11:16-23, with a subsequent list of defeated kings given in Joshua 12:1-24.
Joshua 9:1 And it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side Jordan, in the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof;
Joshua 9:2 That they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord.
Joshua 9:8 And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye?
Joshua 9:8 Comments - One of the characteristics of cleverness and deceit is for that person to flatter his victim. In the case of the Gibeonites, they professed themselves be servants of Israel. Living in the mission field of Africa, people of cleverness will approach me by first calling me names of honor, such as pastor, or names of endearment such as uncle.
Joshua 9:9 And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt,
Joshua 9:9 Comments - One of the characteristics of cleverness and deceit is for that person to find a common view that bonds them together. In the case of the Gibeonites, they professed to have faith in the God of Israel. Living in the mission field of Africa, people of cleverness will approach me by first telling me that they are Christians like me.
Joshua 9:15 And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them.
Joshua 9:15 Comments - Note that Joshua ignored the warnings of Moses on this issue (Exodus 23:32; Exodus 34:12). When King Saul slew the Gibeonites centuries later, God judged the land of Israel (see 2 Samuel 21:1-14).
Exodus 23:32, “Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.”
Exodus 34:12, “Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee.”
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Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Joshua 9". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany