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Joshua 9

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 

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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.”

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