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Gibeon's Con Artists

Joshua 9:1-27
Joshua 9:1-27
Joshua 9:1-27
Joshua 9:1-27

Joshua 9

9:1 As soon as all the kings who were beyond the Jordan in the hill country and in the lowland all along the coast of the Great Sea toward Lebanon, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, heard of this, they gathered together as one to fight against Joshua and Israel.

But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, they on their part acted with cunning and went and made ready provisions and took worn-out sacks for their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended, with worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes. And all their provisions were dry and crumbly. And they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant country, so now make a covenant with us.” But the men of Israel said to the Hivites, “Perhaps you live among us; then how can we make a covenant with you?” They said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” And Joshua said to them, “Who are you? And where do you come from?” They said to him, “From a very distant country your servants have come, because of the name of the Lord your God. For we have heard a report of him, and all that he did in Egypt, 10 and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon the king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth. 11 So our elders and all the inhabitants of our country said to us, ‘Take provisions in your hand for the journey and go to meet them and say to them, “We are your servants. Come now, make a covenant with us.”’ 12 Here is our bread. It was still warm when we took it from our houses as our food for the journey on the day we set out to come to you, but now, behold, it is dry and crumbly. 13 These wineskins were new when we filled them, and behold, they have burst. And these garments and sandals of ours are worn out from the very long journey.” 14 So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the Lord. 15 And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them.

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. 17 And the people of Israel set out and reached their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim. 18 But the people of Israel did not attack them, because the leaders of the congregation had sworn to them by the Lord, the God of Israel. Then all the congregation murmured against the leaders. 19 But all the leaders said to all the congregation, “We have sworn to them by the Lord, the God of Israel, and now we may not touch them. 20 This we will do to them: let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath that we swore to them.” 21 And the leaders said to them, “Let them live.” So they became cutters of wood and drawers of water for all the congregation, just as the leaders had said of them.

22 Joshua summoned them, and he said to them, “Why did you deceive us, saying, ‘We are very far from you,’ when you dwell among us? 23 Now therefore you are cursed, and some of you shall never be anything but servants, cutters of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.” 24 They answered Joshua, “Because it was told to your servants for a certainty that the Lord your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you—so we feared greatly for our lives because of you and did this thing. 25 And now, behold, we are in your hand. Whatever seems good and right in your sight to do to us, do it.” 26 So he did this to them and delivered them out of the hand of the people of Israel, and they did not kill them. 27 But Joshua made them that day cutters of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of the Lord, to this day, in the place that he should choose.

The People of Gibeon Trick the Leaders of Israel

1-2 The kings west of the Jordan River heard about Joshua's victories, so they got together and decided to attack Joshua and Israel. These kings were from the hill country and from the foothills to the west, as well as from the Mediterranean seacoast as far north as the Lebanon Mountains. Some of them were Hittites, others were Amorites or Canaanites, and still others were Perizzites, Hivites, or Jebusites.

3 The people of Gibeon had also heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai. 4 So they decided that some of their men should pretend to be messengers to Israel from a faraway country. The men put worn-out bags on their donkeys and found some old wineskins that had cracked and had been sewn back together. 5 Their sandals were old and patched, and their clothes were worn out. They even took along some dry and crumbly bread. 6 Then they went to the Israelite camp at Gilgal, where they said to Joshua and the men of Israel, “We have come from a country that is far from here. Please make a peace treaty with us.”

7-8 The Israelites replied, “But maybe you really live near us. We can't make a peace treaty with you if you live nearby.”

The Gibeonites said, “If you make a peace treaty with us, we will be your servants.”

“Who are you?” Joshua asked. “Where do you come from?”

They answered:

9 We are your servants, and we live far from here. We came because the Lord your God is so famous. We heard what the Lord did in Egypt 10 and what he did to those two Amorite kings on the other side of the Jordan: King Og of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth, and King Sihon of Heshbon.

11 Our leaders and everyone who lives in our country told us to meet with you and tell you that all of us are your servants. They said to ask you to make a peace treaty with our people. They told us to be sure and take along enough food for our journey. 12 See this dry, crumbly bread of ours? It was hot out of the oven when we packed the food on the day we left our homes. 13 These cracked wineskins were new when we filled them, and our clothes and sandals are worn out because we have traveled so far.

14 The Israelites tried some of the food, but they did not ask the Lord if he wanted them to make a treaty. 15 So Joshua made a peace treaty with the messengers and promised that Israel would not kill their people. Israel's leaders swore that Israel would keep this promise.

16-17 A couple of days later, the Israelites found out that these people actually lived in the nearby towns of Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-Jearim. So the Israelites left the place where they had camped and arrived at the four towns two days later. 18 But they did not attack the towns, because the Israelite leaders had sworn in the name of the Lord that they would let these people live.

The Israelites complained about their leaders' decision not to attack, 19-21 but the leaders reminded them, “We promised these people in the name of the Lord God of Israel that we would let them live, so we must not harm them. If we break our promise, God will punish us. We'll let them live, but we'll make them cut wood and carry water for our people.”

22 Joshua told some of his soldiers, “I want to meet with the Gibeonite leaders. Bring them here.”

When the Gibeonites came, Joshua said, “You live close to us. Why did you lie by claiming you lived far away? 23 So now you are under a curse, and from now on your people will have to send workers to cut wood and carry water for the place of worship.”

24 The Gibeonites answered, “The Lord your God told his servant Moses that you were to kill everyone who lives here and take their land for yourselves. We were afraid you would kill us, and so we tricked you into making a peace treaty. But we agreed to be your servants, 25 and you are strong enough to do anything to us that you want. We just ask you to do what seems right.”

26 Joshua did not let the Israelites kill the Gibeonites, 27 but he did tell the Gibeonites that they would have to be servants of the nation of Israel. They would have to cut firewood and bring it for the priests to use for burning sacrifices on the Lord's altar, wherever the Lord decided the altar would be. The Gibeonites would also have to carry water for the priests. And that is still the work of the Gibeonites.

The Gibeonites Deceive Joshua

1 The victories of Israel became known to all the kings west of the Jordan—in the hills, in the foothills, and all along the coastal plain of the Mediterranean Sea as far north as Lebanon; these were the kings of the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 2 They all came together and joined forces to fight against Joshua and the Israelites.

3 But the people of Gibeon, who were Hivites, heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 and they decided to deceive him. They went and got some food and loaded their donkeys with worn-out sacks and patched-up wineskins. 5 They put on ragged clothes and worn-out sandals that had been mended. The bread they took with them was dry and moldy. 6 Then they went to the camp at Gilgal and said to Joshua and the Israelites, “We have come from a distant land. We want you to make a treaty with us.”

7 But the Israelites said, “Why should we make a treaty with you? Maybe you live nearby.”

8 They said to Joshua, “We are at your service.”

Joshua asked them, “Who are you? Where do you come from?”

9 Then they told him this story: “We have come from a very distant land, sir, because we have heard of the Lord your God. We have heard about everything that he did in Egypt 10 and what he did to the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan: King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth. 11 Our leaders and all the people that live in our land told us to get some food ready for a trip and to go and meet you. We were told to put ourselves at your service and ask you to make a treaty with us. 12 Look at our bread. When we left home with it and started out to meet you, it was still warm. But look! Now it is dry and moldy. 13 When we filled these wineskins, they were new, but look! They are torn. Our clothes and sandals are worn out from the long trip.”

14 The Israelites accepted some food from them, but did not consult the Lord about it. 15 Joshua made a treaty of friendship with the people of Gibeon and allowed them to live. The leaders of the community of Israel gave their solemn promise to keep the treaty.

16 Three days after the treaty had been made, the Israelites learned that these people did indeed live nearby. 17 So the people of Israel started out and three days later arrived at the cities where these people lived: Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath Jearim. 18 But the Israelites could not kill them, because their leaders had made a solemn promise to them in the name of the Lord, Israel's God. All the people complained to the leaders about this, 19 but they answered, “We have made our solemn promise to them in the name of the Lord God of Israel. Now we cannot harm them. 20 We must let them live because of our promise; if we don't, God will punish us. 21 Let them live, but they will have to cut wood and carry water for us.” This was what the leaders suggested.

22 Joshua ordered the people of Gibeon to be brought to him, and he asked them, “Why did you deceive us and tell us that you were from far away, when you live right here? 23 Because you did this, God has condemned you. Your people will always be slaves, cutting wood and carrying water for the sanctuary of my God.”

24 They answered, “We did it, sir, because we learned that it was really true that the Lord your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you the whole land and to kill the people living in it as you advanced. We did it because we were terrified of you; we were in fear of our lives. 25 Now we are in your power; do with us what you think is right.” 26 So this is what Joshua did: he protected them and did not allow the people of Israel to kill them. 27 But at the same time he made them slaves, to cut wood and carry water for the people of Israel and for the Lord's altar. To this day they have continued to do this work in the place where the Lord has chosen to be worshiped.

The Gibeonites Deceive Israel

9:1 When the news reached all the kings on the west side of the Jordan – in the hill country, the lowlands, and all along the Mediterranean coast as far as Lebanon (including the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites) – 2 they formed an alliance to fight against Joshua and Israel.

3 When the residents of Gibeon heard what Joshua did to Jericho and Ai, 4 they did something clever. They collected some provisions and put worn-out sacks on their donkeys, along with worn-out wineskins that were ripped and patched. 5 They had worn-out, patched sandals on their feet and dressed in worn-out clothes. All their bread was dry and hard. 6 They came to Joshua at the camp in Gilgal and said to him and the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant land. Make a treaty with us.” 7 The men of Israel said to the Hivites, “Perhaps you live near us. So how can we make a treaty with you?” 8 But they said to Joshua, “We are willing to be your subjects.” So Joshua said to them, “Who are you and where do you come from?” 9 They told him, “Your subjects have come from a very distant land because of the reputation of the Lord your God, for we have heard the news about all he did in Egypt 10 and all he did to the two Amorite kings on the other side of the Jordan – King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan in Ashtaroth. 11 Our leaders and all who live in our land told us, ‘Take provisions for your journey and go meet them. Tell them, “We are willing to be your subjects. Make a treaty with us.”’ 12 This bread of ours was warm when we packed it in our homes the day we started out to meet you, but now it is dry and hard. 13 These wineskins we filled were brand new, but look how they have ripped. Our clothes and sandals have worn out because it has been a very long journey.” 14 The men examined some of their provisions, but they failed to ask the Lord’s advice. 15 Joshua made a peace treaty with them and agreed to let them live. The leaders of the community sealed it with an oath.

16 Three days after they made the treaty with them, the Israelites found out they were from the local area and lived nearby. 17 So the Israelites set out and on the third day arrived at their cities – Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath Jearim. 18 The Israelites did not attack them because the leaders of the community had sworn an oath to them in the name of the Lord God of Israel. The whole community criticized the leaders, 19 but all the leaders told the whole community, “We swore an oath to them in the name of the Lord God of Israel. So now we can’t hurt them! 20 We must let them live so we can escape the curse attached to the oath we swore to them.” 21 The leaders then added, “Let them live.” So they became woodcutters and water carriers for the whole community, as the leaders had decided.

22

Joshua summoned the Gibeonites and said to them, “Why did you trick us by saying, ‘We live far away from you,’ when you really live nearby? 23 Now you are condemned to perpetual servitude as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God.” 24 They said to Joshua, “It was carefully reported to your subjects how the Lord your God commanded Moses his servant to assign you the whole land and to destroy all who live in the land from before you. Because of you we were terrified we would lose our lives, so we did this thing. 25 So now we are in your power. Do to us what you think is good and appropriate. 26 Joshua did as they said; he kept the Israelites from killing them 27 and that day made them woodcutters and water carriers for the community and for the altar of the Lord at the divinely chosen site. (They continue in that capacity to this very day.)

The Creation
Adam and Eve
Cain and Abel
The Great Flood
The Tower of Babel
God Calls Abraham
Sodom and Gomorrah
Abraham's Obedience
Isaac Marries Rebekah
Esau's Birthright
Isaac Blesses Jacob
Jacob and Laban
Jacob Wrestles
Revenge against Shechem
Joseph in Prison
Joseph as a Ruler
Family Reunion
Moses' Birth
The Burning Bush
The Ten Plagues
The Exodus
The Red Sea
The Gold Calf
Exploring the Land
Rebellion in the Ranks
Balak and Balaam
Rahab and the Spies
Jericho Falls
Gibeon's Con Artists
Deborah and Barak
Gideon as Judge
Abimelech's Ambition
Samson as Judge
Ruth, Naomi and Boaz
Samuel is Born
Samuel the Prophet
Saul Becomes King
Jonathan's Bravery
Saul's Disobedience
David Kills Goliath
David and Jonathan
Nabal and Abigail
Saul's Death
David's Success
David and Bathsheba
Amnon and Tamar
Absalom
Solomon's Wisdom
Jeroboam and Rehoboam
Elijah's Challenge
God Speaks to Elijah
Micaiah the Prophet
Chariot of Fire
Elisha Heals Naaman
Famine and Unbelief
Joash and Jehoiada
Hezekiah Trusts God
Josiah's Reign
Fall of Jerusalem
David's Power
David's Census
Jehoshaphat and Ahab
Ezra Rebuilds the Altar
Nehemiah Builds the Wall
Enemy Opposition
Nehemiah's Justice
Esther Saves the Jews
Job is Tested
Ezekiel's Vision
The Fiery Furnace
The Lions' Den
Jonah
Jesus is Born
Wise Men and King Herod
Jesus is Tempted
Jesus Feeds 5,000
The Bread of Life
Jesus Walks on Water
The Good Samaritan
The Lost Son
Jesus Raises Lazarus
Jesus and Zacchaeus
The Triumphal Entry
The Last Supper
Jesus' Trial
Jesus' Crucifixion
Jesus' Resurrection
Jesus' Ascension
The Holy Spirit Comes
The Apostles' Courage
Ananias and Sapphira
Philip and the Eunuch
Saul Encounters Jesus
Peter and Cornelius
Paul in Corinth
Paul in Ephesus
Paul Goes to Rome