The Gibeonites trick Joshua
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; 2: That they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord. 3: And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai, 4: They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up; 5: And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy. 6: And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us. 7: And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you? 8: And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye? 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, 10: And all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, which was at Ashtaroth. 11: Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us. 12: This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy: 13: And these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey. 14: And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD. 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. 16: And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a league with them, that they heard that they were their neighbours, and that they dwelt among them. 17: And the children of Israel journeyed, and came unto their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, and Chephirah, and Beeroth, and Kirjath-jearim. 18: And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes. 19: But all the princes said unto all the congregation, We have sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel: now therefore we may not touch them. 20: This we will do to them; we will even let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath which we sware unto them. 21: And the princes said unto them, Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation; as the princes had promised them. 22: And Joshua called for them, and he spake unto them, saying, Wherefore have ye beguiled us, saying, We are very far from you; when ye dwell among us? 23: Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God. 24: And they answered Joshua, and said, Because it was certainly told thy servants, how that the LORD thy 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 sore afraid of our lives because of you, and have done this thing. 25: And now, behold, we are in thine hand: as it seemeth good and right unto thee to do unto us, do. 26: And so did he unto them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, that they slew them not. 27: And Joshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of the LORD, even unto this day, in the place which he should choose.
1: Now it came to pass, when Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem had heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it; as he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king; and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them; 2: That they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all the men thereof were mighty. 3: Wherefore Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent unto Hoham king of Hebron, and unto Piram king of Jarmuth, and unto Japhia king of Lachish, and unto Debir king of Eglon, saying, 4: Come up unto me, and help me, that we may smite Gibeon: for it hath made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel. 5: Therefore 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. 6: And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua to the camp to Gilgal, saying, Slack not thy hand from thy servants; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us: for all the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the mountains are gathered together against us. 7: So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valour. 8: And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee. 9: Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly, and went up from Gilgal all night. 10: And the LORD discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goeth up to Beth-horon, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah. 11: And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Beth-horon, that the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword. 12: Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. 13: And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. 14: And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel. 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. 17: And it was told Joshua, saying, The five kings are found hid in a cave at Makkedah. 18: And Joshua said, Roll great stones upon the mouth of the cave, and set men by it for to keep them: 19: And stay ye not, but pursue after your enemies, and smite the hindmost of them; suffer them not to enter into their cities: for the LORD your God hath delivered them into your hand. 20: And it came to pass, when Joshua and the children of Israel had made an end of slaying them with a very great slaughter, till they were consumed, that the rest which remained of them entered into fenced cities. 21: And all the people returned to the camp to Joshua at Makkedah in peace: none moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel. 22: Then said Joshua, Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings unto me out of the cave. 23: And they did so, and brought forth those five kings unto him out of the cave, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon. 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.
The Southern Cites are taken
28: And that day Joshua took Makkedah, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof he utterly destroyed, them, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain: and he did to the king of Makkedah as he did unto the king of Jericho. 29: Then Joshua passed from Makkedah, and all Israel with him, unto Libnah, and fought against Libnah: 30: And the LORD delivered it also, and the king thereof, into the hand of Israel; and he smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain in it; but did unto the king thereof as he did unto the king of Jericho. 31: And Joshua passed from Libnah, and all Israel with him, unto Lachish, and encamped against it, and fought against it: 32: And the LORD delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel, which took it on the second day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein, according to all that he had done to Libnah. 33: Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish; and Joshua smote him and his people, until he had left him none remaining. 34: And from Lachish Joshua passed unto Eglon, and all Israel with him; and they encamped against it, and fought against it: 35: And they took it on that day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein he utterly destroyed that day, according to all that he had done to Lachish. 36: And Joshua went up from Eglon, and all Israel with him, unto Hebron; and they fought against it: 37: And they took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof, and all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining, according to all that he had done to Eglon; but destroyed it utterly, and all the souls that were therein. 38: And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir; and fought against it: 39: And he took it, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof; and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining: as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir, and to the king thereof; as he had done also to Libnah, and to her king. 40: So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded. 41: And Joshua smote them from Kadesh-barnea even unto Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon. 42: And all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time, because the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel. 43: And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal.
In today's reading we see something of the difficulty of the task that faces Joshua. The Gibeonites trick them into entering a non-aggression pact, which Israel is then bound by oath to uphold. However this is a salutary lesson and Joshua becomes more cautious in future. The he read of the victory of Israel over the Amorities. And then we have the record of key southern cities taken by Israel. But first the Gibeonities approach Israel with guile and cunning. The people of God need to always be very careful that they do not get drawn into situations that compromise themselves later on. They came saying we are your servants and they made a great pretense of having come a long way to meet them. The man of God must be skeptical of easy victories and especially must remember that the enemy will think nothing of outright lies to gain an advantage. Those simple hearted believers who don’t think that unbelievers would ever tell lies or seek to deceive are especially vulnerable to wicked men. However there was one great mistake that Joshua and Israel did not do. They did not consult the LORD regarding the issue. Only after three days did they find out that this was a great mistake and that they actually lived very nearby. However in spite of this deception Israel honoured their word. The Gibeonities became the servants of Israel and came under their protection. They chopped wood and carried water. The lowest of occupations. They remained slaves of Israel forever. The Gibeonities replied saying we were afraid of you that is why we wanted to be placed under your protection. The next incident is the battle with the Amorities. Five kings came together in a confederacy to attack the city of Gibeon. This was not an all out attack on Israel but on Israel’s servants. Joshua heard of the battle and assembled the mighty men of war and went to the cities defense very quickly. Israel totally routed the Amorities by this surprise attack and they fled, so Israel chased them. During the battle the Lord killed more with what we call meteorites. Then to complete the battle the Lord commanded the sun to stand still and the moon to be still in the valley. So the sun (from a human point of view) stood still and the moon and Israel was able to complete a total victory. (It is suggested that this was due to the appearance and influence of Mars which flew very near to the earth at this time causing huge meteorites showers [whose remnants are seen on our moon.] and also could cause a temporary change to the earth axis thus giving a long day. The Chinese in their records speak of a long night! Whatever was the cause it is something which now is more easily understood from astronomy) The five war-lords hid in a cave but Joshua rolled great stones on the entrance and kept them there. Then when the battle was completely over the five kings were brought out and the captains of Israel put their feet on their necks and Joshua said to Israel be strong and fear none but the Lord. Then Joshua killed them and hung them on five trees. Then at evening they were thrown into the cave were they hid and the great stones were put on the caves entrance. They are still there today. Could there be any doubt of the Lords power when even the sun and moon appear to stand still? In the next section we have the description of further victories. It is victory after victory. All the southern cities were conquered and the inhabitants who had been steadily getting worse and worse came under the judgment of the Lord at the sword of Israel.