Bible Commentaries

Joshua 9

Verses 1-27

The fame and the dread of the people by this time were spreading far and wide. The kings of Canaan, conscious of their danger, formed a league against the oncoming hosts.

However, before they had time to take action, a new peril threatened Israel through the strategy of the Gibeonites. The first mistake made by the princes of Israel in this matter was that they acted alone in receiving the messengers instead of remitting what was a new set of circumstances to God for counsel and guidance.

Moreover, they had been straitly charged to make no covenant with the people of the land. Although it may be urged that they thought in making the covenant with these people they were doing so with those from a great distance, it is yet clear that they approached perilously near direct disobedience.

The deceit being discovered, the action of Joshua was immediate and decisive. He was bound by the letter of his covenant with the Gibeonites, but he condemned them to perpetual servitude, making them hewers of wood and drawers of water. It is interesting to observe that in subsequent history the binding nature of this treaty was recognized and the Gibeonites do not appear anywhere to have made any attempt to corrupt the children of Israel with idolatry.