We make more haste than good progress in any business when we do not stop to take God along with us and by the Word and prayer to ascertain His will.
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.
Joshua 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Joshua 9:1-15 – Deceived by the Gibeonites
The presence of common peril forced the nations of Canaan to combine for self-preservation. Would that the various sections of the visible Church might see their way to a similar policy in view of the evil in the world!
Gibeon lay five miles north of Jerusalem. The name means “built on a hill.” The Church has suffered more from the wiles of the devil than from his attacks. The deceitfulness of sin is most to be dreaded. Better to meet Caiaphas than Judas, and a black devil than a white one.
How often we act without asking the counsel of God! Yet when once an oath is taken which does not absolutely conflict with morality, God holds us to it, II Samuel 21:1. By this impressive instance we are taught to wait on God before making our decisions, which are apt to become irrevocable, Psalm 127:2. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Joshua 9:14—The men asked not counsel at the mouth at the LORD.
What an ominous sound there is in those words! They portend disaster—and it befell. Up to this moment the initiative had always been taken by the Lord. Now for the first time it is taken by Joshua and the people. It was a bad business! Certainly the Gibeonites did their work with guile, and were more than a match for the chosen race. Probably they would not have dared to attempt such a piece of imposition on men of their own sort; but the Israelites seemed a likely prey. They had so recently come into the land, that they might be supposed to be unfamiliar with the guile of Canaan. Yet how astute they fancied themselves!
So the children of God are imposed upon still! Women get married to unconverted husbands, supposing all the while that they are converted. Ministers of churches admit ravening wolves into their midst, deceived by the device of the sheepskin. Young converts get seduced from the simplicity and purity of the faith by lying spirits, that seem as lovely as God’s angels. This is due to their relying on their own judgment, and not asking counsel of God. We must try the spirits, whether they be of God, for many false spirits are gone out into the world.
Yet God held Israel to the covenant that their leaders had struck, and in after years their breach of this premise was awfully avenged (II Samuel 21:1-2). When we have taken a false step we may be forgiven, but we shall be held to its results. O souls, be sure to call in the Priest, with the Urim and Thummim, that He may give you counsel. Seek the purged eye and the pure heart, to be able to see people and things as they really are. —Our Daily Homily
Joshua 9:16-27 – “Hewers of Wood and Drawers of Water”
The faith of these people was so far rewarded that, while their deception was punished by their reduction to the most menial tasks, yet their lives were spared; and, to a certain degree, they were incorporated with Israel and associated with the service of God’s house. This position made them as unlikely as possible to seduce Israel from loyalty to Jehovah.
The Gibeonites were afterward known as Nethinim—that is, given. See I Chronicles 9:2; Ezra 2:43; 8:20. If in the earlier part of your life you have made some great mistake which threatens to limit your influence for good, do not sit down in despair, but get service out of it. Let it hew your wood and draw your water! —Through the Bible Day by Day