The Treaty with the Gibeonites
1And it came to pass when #Num. 13:29; Josh. 3:10all the kings who were on this side of the Jordan, in the hills and in the lowland and in all the coasts of #Num. 34:6the Great Sea toward Lebanon—#Ex. 3:17; 23:23the Hittite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite—heard about it, 2that they #Josh. 10:5; Ps. 83:3, 5gathered together to fight with Joshua and Israel with one accord.
3But when the inhabitants of #Josh. 9:17, 22; 10:2; 21:17; 2 Sam. 21:1, 2Gibeon #Josh. 6:27heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4they worked craftily, and went and pretended to be ambassadors. And they took old sacks on their donkeys, old wineskins torn and mended, 5old and patched sandals on their feet, and old garments on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry and moldy. 6And they went to Joshua, #Josh. 5:10to 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.”
7Then the men of Israel said to the #Josh. 9:1; 11:19Hivites, “Perhaps you dwell among us; so #Ex. 23:32; Deut. 7:2how can we make a covenant with you?”
8But they said to Joshua, #Deut. 20:11; 2 Kin. 10:5“We are your servants.”
And Joshua said to them, “Who are you, and where do you come from?”
9So they said to him: #Deut. 20:15“From a very far country your servants have come, because of the name of the Lord your God; for we have #Ex. 15:14; Josh. 2:9, 10; 5:1heard of His fame, and all that He did in Egypt, 10and #Num. 21:24, 33all that He did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan—to Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who was at Ashtaroth. 11Therefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spoke to us, saying, ‘Take provisions with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say to them, “We are your servants; now therefore, make a covenant with us.” ’ 12This bread of ours we took hot for our provision from our houses on the day we departed to come to you. But now look, it is dry and moldy. 13And these wineskins which we filled were new, and see, they are torn; and these our garments and our sandals have become old because of the very long journey.”
14Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; #Num. 27:21; Is. 30:1but they did not ask counsel of the Lord. 15So Joshua #2 Sam. 21:2made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore to them.
16And it happened at the end of three days, after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were their neighbors who dwelt near them. 17Then the children of Israel journeyed and came to their cities on the third day. Now their cities were #Josh. 18:25Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kirjath Jearim. 18But the children of Israel did not attack them, #Ps. 15:4because the rulers of the congregation had sworn to them by the Lord God of Israel. And all the congregation complained against the rulers.
19Then all the rulers said to all the congregation, “We have sworn to them by the Lord God of Israel; now therefore, we may not touch them. 20This we will do to them: We will let them live, lest #2 Sam. 21:1, 2, 6; Ezek. 17:13, 15wrath be upon us because of the oath which we swore to them.” 21And the rulers said to them, “Let them live, but let them be #Deut. 29:11woodcutters and water carriers for all the congregation, as the rulers had #Josh. 9:15promised them.”
22Then Joshua called for them, and he spoke to them, saying, “Why have you deceived us, saying, #Josh. 9:6, 9‘We are very far from you,’ when #Josh. 9:16you dwell near us? 23Now therefore, you are #Gen. 9:25cursed, and none of you shall be freed from being slaves—woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God.”
24So they answered Joshua and said, “Because your servants were clearly told that the Lord your God #Ex. 23:31–33; Deut. 7:1, 2commanded His servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you; therefore #Ex. 15:14we were very much afraid for our lives because of you, and have done this thing. 25And now, here we are, #Gen. 16:6in your hands; do with us as it seems good and right to do to us.” 26So he did to them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, so that they did not kill them. 27And that day Joshua made them #Josh. 9:21, 23woodcutters and water carriers for the congregation and for the altar of the Lord, #Deut. 12:5in the place which He would choose, even to this day.