Picking the Book of Joshua back up in chapter 9, the next few chapters are filled with more conquest, and a deception that will have lasting consequences.
- The Gibeonite Deception (Joshua 9:1-27). Upon hearing of what had happened at Jericho and Ai, the various Canaanite kings gathered together and joined forces to do battle against the approaching Israelites. But the people of Gibeon came up with a plan of their own. Altering their appearance to make themselves look like they had traveled a long distance, they went straight to the Israelite camp and to Joshua, claiming they had come from a distant country, and asking to make a covenant with them.
- The deception worked, and they extracted an oath of cooperation and protection from the leaders and elders of the congregation. When the deception was discovered, the anger of the people was kindled, but the oath had been made and would be honored. But because of their trickery, many of them would serve the congregation forever, just like servants, as woodcutters and drawers of water.
- So just as the Lord (and Moses) had specifically warned them many times not to do (as in Deuteronomy 7:2), the Israelites had made a covenant with people in Canaan before the battles were even half over. And the blame for this horrible mistake lays in their failure to seek counsel from the Lord (Joshua 9:14-15).
- The defense of Gibeon and the conquest of the south (Joshua 10:1–43)
Gibeon was no small city, and its men were known warriors. So when the king of Jerusalem, Adoni-zedek, heard of the peace between them and Israel, he was afraid. Summoning the kings of Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon, he gathered all of their forces to make war against Gibeon. The men of Gibeon then went to Joshua at Gigal seeking their help.
Bound by the oath they had made, Joshua prepared his mighty men to do battle, and the Lord told him in Joshua 10:8 “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands. Not a man of them shall stand before you.” It was during this battle that the famous “long day” occurred, upon which Joshua commanded the sun to “stand still.” For our comments on this event, see this previous post.
After the victory, Joshua and the men hunted down and executed the five kings. Then, with God fighting on their side, they won victory after victory in the south, capturing their kings and taking the land “from Kadesh-barnea as far as Gaza.”
- Joshua 11-12 details the victories of the Israelites in the northern part of the land, with Joshua 12:1-6 recounting the kings that had been defeated under the leadership of Moses (some of which was told in Numbers 21).
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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