The People of Gibeon Trick the Leaders of Israel
- 1 The kings west of the Jordan River
heard about Joshuas victories, and 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
7 The Israelites replied, But maybe
you really live near us. We cant 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?
- 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. Israels
leaders swore that Israel would keep this promise.
16 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 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. Well
let them live, but well 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 Now you are under a curse, and
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 Lords 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
The Contemporary English Version, c1995 by the American Bible
Selected texts provided for use with the Hypertext Bible Commentary