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Scripture reading – Joshua 9-10
Joshua 9 – The Enemy, of My Enemy, Is My Friend
The Deception of the Gibeonites (Joshua 9:1-13)
The defeat and destruction of both Jericho and Ai moved other kings in Canaan to set aside their rivalries and form confederacies to challenge Israel’s invasion of the land (9:1). And so, “they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord” (9:2).
One city-state, Gibeon, believed all they had heard regarding Israel and “what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai” (9:3). Joshua 10 reveals that Gibeon was “one of the royal cities, because it was greater than Ai, and all the men thereof were mighty” (10:2).
Believing it was inevitable that Israel would attack Gibeon in the manner of Jericho and Ai, the Gibeonites determined to pursue peace with Israel (9:4). Sending ambassadors, by craft and deceit, the men of Gibeon made Joshua and the elders believe they had traveled a great distance, and from a far country (9:5-13).
The Discovery of the Gibeonites’ Dishonesty (Joshua 9:14-18)
Assessing the old shoes and clothes worn by the men of Gibeon and the moldy bread and patched wineskins, the leaders of Israel believed the Gibeonites were from a far country. Joshua and Israel then committed a grave error: They failed to seek the “counsel at the mouth of the LORD” (9:14).
“Joshua made peace with [the Gibeonites], and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware [an oath] unto them” (9:15). Three days passed when Joshua received the news that the Gibeonites had deceived him and the leaders of Israel. They learned the cities of Gibeon were no more than a three-day journey from their encampment (9:16-17). The congregation began murmuring against Joshua and their leaders, knowing they had allied with an enemy (9:18).
The Covenant with Gibeon (Joshua 9:19-27)
Although the Gibeonites had come under pretenses, the leaders of Israel reasoned with the people that they could not break their oath (9:19-20). So, a compromise was pursued, and it was determined that the Gibeonites would assume the lowest positions of servitude and become woodcutters and water carriers (9:21-27).
Joshua 10 – The Day the Sun Stood Still
The Confederacy with Gibeon (Joshua 10:1-7)
Because Gibeon was a great city and one whose men were mighty (10:2), the Gibeonites’ treaty with Israel became a cause of great concern for their neighbors (10:1). Adon-zedek, king of Jerusalem, the city closest to Gibeon, allied with five Amorite kings (10:3), and “encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it” (10:4-5). As a result, the men of Gibeon appealed to Joshua and Israel to fulfill their treaty and come to their defense (10:6-7).
The Battle and Defeat of the Amorites (Joshua 10:8-14)
With the LORD’s assurance that He would be with him, Joshua and his army marched through the night (10:8-9) and attacked the kings encamped against Gibeon. Then the LORD sent confusion among the Amorites, and as they fled, He “cast down great [hail] stones from heaven…[and] they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword” (10:10-11).
Joshua, desiring to utterly destroy the Amorites, called upon the LORD, “and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; And thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. 13And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed…And hasted not to go down about a whole day” (10:12-13a).
Joshua and Israel’s Victory over the Amorites (Joshua 10:15-43)
What a great day it was, and one Israel forever remembered. Indeed, “there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel” (10:14). God blessed Joshua, and the five Amorite kings were captured, humiliated, and put to death. Their bodies were hung upon five trees until that evening (10:15-27).
We read a summary of Israel’s victorious southern campaign, and it concludes with this testimony:
“All these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time, because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel” (10:42).
Questions to consider:
1) How did the Gibeonites deceive Joshua? (Joshua 9:4-13)
2) What did Joshua and the leaders of Israel fail to do? (Joshua 9:14)
3) What had the Gibeonites heard concerning Moses and Israel? (Joshua 9:24)
4) What did the LORD promise Joshua concerning the kings of the Amorites? (Joshua 10:8)
5) What was the miracle in Joshua 10:12-13?
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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