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Joshua 9:1-27

Context
The Gibeonites Deceive Israel

9:1 When the news reached all the kings on the west side of the Jordan 1  – in the hill country, the lowlands, 2  and all along the Mediterranean coast 3  as far as 4  Lebanon (including the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites) – 9:2 they formed an alliance to fight against Joshua and Israel. 5 

9:3 When the residents of Gibeon heard what Joshua did to Jericho 6  and Ai, 9:4 they did something clever. They collected some provisions 7  and put worn-out sacks on their donkeys, along with worn-out wineskins that were ripped and patched. 9:5 They had worn-out, patched sandals on their feet and dressed in worn-out clothes. All their bread 8  was dry and hard. 9  9:6 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.” 9:7 The men of Israel said to the Hivites, “Perhaps you live near us. 10  So how can we make a treaty with you?” 9:8 But they said to Joshua, “We are willing to be your subjects.” 11  So Joshua said to them, “Who are you and where do you come from?” 9:9 They told him, “Your subjects 12  have come from a very distant land because of the reputation 13  of the Lord your God, for we have heard the news about all he did in Egypt 14  9:10 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. 9:11 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. 15  Make a treaty with us.”’ 9:12 This bread of ours was warm when we packed it in our homes the day we started out to meet you, 16  but now it is dry and hard. 17  9:13 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.” 9:14 The men examined 18  some of their provisions, but they failed to ask the Lord’s advice. 19  9:15 Joshua made a peace treaty with them and agreed to let them live. The leaders of the community 20  sealed it with an oath. 21 

9:16 Three days after they made the treaty with them, the Israelites found out they were from the local area and lived nearby. 22  9:17 So the Israelites set out and on the third day arrived at their cities – Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath Jearim. 9:18 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. 23  The whole community criticized 24  the leaders, 9:19 but all the leaders told the whole community, “We swore an oath to them in the name of 25  the Lord God of Israel. So now we can’t hurt 26  them! 9:20 We must let them live so we can escape the curse attached to the oath we swore to them.” 27  9:21 The leaders then added, 28  “Let them live.” So they became 29  woodcutters and water carriers for the whole community, as the leaders had decided. 30 

9:22 31 Joshua summoned the Gibeonites 32  and said to them, “Why did you trick 33  us by saying, ‘We live far away from you,’ when you really live nearby? 34  9:23 Now you are condemned to perpetual servitude as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God.” 35  9:24 They said to Joshua, “It was carefully reported to your subjects 36  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 37  we would lose our lives, so we did this thing. 9:25 So now we are in your power. 38  Do to us what you think is good and appropriate. 39  9:26 Joshua did as they said; he kept the Israelites from killing them 40  9:27 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.) 41 

Joshua 17:1-18

Context

17:1 The tribe of Manasseh, Joseph’s firstborn son, was also allotted land. 42  The descendants of Makir, Manasseh’s firstborn and the father of Gilead, received land, for they were warriors. 43  They were assigned Gilead and Bashan. 44  17:2 The rest of Manasseh’s descendants were also assigned land 45  by their clans, including the descendants of Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher, and Shemida. These are the male descendants of Manasseh son of Joseph by their clans.

17:3 Now Zelophehad son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Makir, son of Manasseh, had no sons, only daughters. These are the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 17:4 They went before Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the leaders and said, “The Lord told Moses to assign us land among our relatives.” 46  So Joshua 47  assigned them land among their uncles, as the Lord had commanded. 48  17:5 Manasseh was allotted ten shares of land, 49  in addition to the land of Gilead and Bashan east of the Jordan, 17:6 for the daughters of Manasseh were assigned land among his sons. The land of Gilead belonged to the rest of the descendants of Manasseh.

17:7 The border of Manasseh went 50  from Asher to Micmethath which is near 51  Shechem. It then went south toward those who live in Tappuah. 17:8 (The land of Tappuah belonged to Manasseh, but Tappuah, located on the border of Manasseh, belonged to the tribe of Ephraim.) 17:9 The border then descended southward to the Valley of Kanah. Ephraim was assigned cities there among the cities of Manasseh, 52  but the border of Manasseh was north of the valley and ended at the sea. 17:10 Ephraim’s territory was to the south, and Manasseh’s to the north. The sea was Manasseh’s 53  western border and their territory 54  touched Asher on the north and Issachar on the east. 17:11 Within Issachar’s and Asher’s territory Manasseh was assigned Beth Shean, Ibleam, the residents of Dor, En Dor, the residents of Taanach, the residents of Megiddo, 55  the three of Napheth, 56  and the towns surrounding all these cities. 57  17:12 But the men 58  of Manasseh were unable to conquer these cities; the Canaanites managed 59  to remain in those areas. 17:13 Whenever the Israelites were strong militarily, they forced the Canaanites to do hard labor, but they never totally conquered them. 60 

17:14 The descendants of Joseph said to Joshua, “Why have you assigned us only one tribal allotment? After all, we have many people, for until now the Lord has enabled us to increase in number.” 61  17:15 Joshua replied to them, “Since you have so many people, 62  go up into the forest and clear out a place to live in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites, for the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you.” 17:16 The descendants of Joseph said, “The whole hill country 63  is inadequate for us, and the Canaanites living down in the valley in Beth Shean and its surrounding towns and in the Valley of Jezreel have chariots with iron-rimmed wheels.” 64  17:17 Joshua said to the family 65  of Joseph – to both Ephraim and Manasseh: “You have many people and great military strength. You will not have just one tribal allotment. 17:18 The whole hill country 66  will be yours; though it is a forest, you can clear it and it will be entirely yours. 67  You can conquer the Canaanites, though they have chariots with iron-rimmed wheels and are strong.”

1 tn Heb “When all the kings who were beyond the Jordan heard.”

2 tn Or “foothills”; Heb “the Shephelah.”

3 tn Heb “all the coast of the Great Sea.” The “Great Sea” was the typical designation for the Mediterranean Sea.

4 tn Heb “in front of.”

5 tn Heb “they gathered together to fight against Joshua and Israel [with] one mouth.”

6 map For location see Map5 B2; Map6 E1; Map7 E1; Map8 E3; Map10 A2; Map11 A1.

7 tc Heb “and they went and [?].” The root and meaning of the verb form יִצְטַיָּרוּ (yitstayyaru) are uncertain. The form is most likely a corruption of יִצְטַיָּדוּ (yitstayyadu), read by some Hebrew mss and ancient versions, from the root צוּד (tsud, “take provisions,” BDB 845 s.v. II צוד) which also occurs in v. 11. Note NRSV “they went and prepared provisions”; cf. NEB “They went and disguised themselves”; NIV “they went as a delegation.”

8 tn Heb “all the bread of their provisions.”

9 tn Or “moldy.”

10 tn Heb “in our midst.”

11 tn Heb “we are your servants.”

12 tn Or “servants.”

13 tn Heb “name.”

14 tn Heb “the report about him, all that he did in Egypt.”

15 tn Heb “your servants.”

16 tn Heb “in the day we went out to come to you.”

17 tn Or “moldy.”

18 tn Heb “took.” This probably means they tasted some of the food to make sure it was stale.

19 tn Heb “but they did not ask the mouth of the Lord.” This refers to seeking the Lord’s will and guidance through an oracle.

20 tn Or “assembly.”

21 tn Heb “Joshua made peace with them and made a treaty with them to let them live, and the leaders of the community swore an oath to them.”

22 tn Heb “At the end of three days, after they made the treaty with them, they heard that they were neighbors to them and in their midst they were living.”

23 tn Heb “by the Lord God of Israel.”

24 tn Or “grumbled against.”

25 tn Heb “to them by….”

26 tn Or “touch.”

27 tn Heb “This is what we will do to them, keeping them alive so there will not be upon us anger concerning the oath which we swore to them.”

28 tc Heb “and the leaders said to them.” The LXX omits the words “and the leaders said to them.”

29 tn The vav (ו) consecutive construction in the Hebrew text suggests that the narrative resumes at this point. The LXX reads here, “and they will be,” understanding what follows to be a continuation of the leaders’ words rather than a comment by the narrator.

30 tn Heb “as the leaders said to them.”

31 sn Verses 22-27 appear to elaborate on v. 21b.

32 tn Heb “them.”

33 tn Or “deceive.”

34 tn Heb “live in our midst?”

35 tn Heb “Now you are cursed and a servant will not be cut off from you, woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God.”

36 tn Heb “your servants.”

37 tn Or “we were very afraid.”

38 tn Heb “so now, look, we are in your hand.”

39 tn Heb “according to what is good and according to what is upright in your eyes to do us, do.”

40 tn Heb “And he did to them so and he rescued them from the hand of the sons of Israel and they did not kill them.”

41 tn Heb “and Joshua made them in that day woodcutters and water carriers for the community, and for the altar of the Lord to this day at the place which he chooses.”

42 tn Heb “and the lot belonged to the tribe of Manasseh, for he was the firstborn of Joseph.”

43 tn Heb “to Makir, the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead, for he was a man of war.”

44 tn Heb “Gilead and Bashan belonged to him.”

sn On the assignment of Manasseh’s territory in Gilead and Bashan, see Josh 13:31.

45 tn Heb “and it belonged to the sons of Manasseh who remained.”

46 tn Heb “The Lord commanded Moses to assign to us an inheritance in the midst of our brothers.” Since Zelophehad had no sons, “brothers” must refer to their uncles, as the next sentence makes clear.

47 tn Heb “he.” The referent is probably Joshua, although Eleazar is mentioned first in the preceding list.

48 tn Heb “and he assigned to them in accordance with the mouth [i.e., command] of the Lord an inheritance in the midst of the brothers of their father.”

49 tn Heb “and the allotted portions of Manasseh fell out ten.”

50 tn Heb “was.”

51 tn Heb “in front of”; perhaps “east of.”

52 tn Heb “these cities belonged to Ephraim in the midst of the cities of Manasseh.”

53 tn Heb “his”; the referent (Manasseh) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

54 tn Heb “they”; the referent (their territory) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

55 map For location see Map1 D4; Map2 C1; Map4 C2; Map5 F2; Map7 B1.

56 tn Or “the third [is] Napheth”; or “Napheth-dor.” The meaning of the Hebrew phrase is uncertain.

57 tn Heb “Beth Shean and its surrounding towns, Ibleam and its surrounding towns, the residents of Dor and its surrounding towns, the residents of En Dor and its surrounding towns, the residents of Taanach and its surrounding towns, the residents of Megiddo and its surrounding towns, three of Nepheth.”

58 tn Heb “sons”; “men” has been used in the translation because the context involves the conquest of cities; therefore, warriors (hence males) would be in view here.

59 tn Or “were determined.”

60 sn On the Israelites’ failure to conquer the Canaanites completely, see Judg 1:27-28.

61 tn Heb “Why have you given me as an inheritance one lot and one portion, though I am a great people until [the time] which, until now the Lord has blessed me?” The construction עַד אֲשֶׁר־עַד־כֹּה (’ad-asher-ad-koh, “until [the time] which, until now”) is extremely awkward. An emendation of the first עַד (’ad) to עַל (’al) yields a more likely reading: “for until now” (see HALOT 2:787).

62 tn Heb “If you are a great people.”

63 tn The Hebrew text has simply “the hill country,” which must here include the hill country of Ephraim and the forest regions mentioned in v. 15.

64 tn Heb “and there are iron chariots among all the Canaanites who live in the land of the valley, to those who are in Beth Shean and its daughters and to those who are in the Valley of Jezreel.” Regarding the translation “chariots with iron-rimmed wheels” see Y. Yadin, The Art of Warfare in Biblical Lands, 255 and R. Drews, “The ‘Chariots of Iron’ of Joshua and Judges,” JSOT 45 (1989): 15-23.

65 tn Heb “house.”

66 tn The Hebrew text has simply “the hill country,” which must here include the hill country of Ephraim and the forest regions mentioned in v. 15.

67 tn Heb “and its limits will be yours.”



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