The Gibeonite Deception

Now when all the kings west of the Jordan heard about these things—the kings in the hill country,(A) in the western foothills, and along the entire coast of the Mediterranean Sea(B) as far as Lebanon(C) (the kings of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites,(D) Hivites(E) and Jebusites)(F) they came together to wage war against Joshua and Israel.

However, when the people of Gibeon(G) heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai,(H) they resorted to a ruse: They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded[a] with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended. They put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy. Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal(I) and said to him and the Israelites, “We have come from a distant country;(J) make a treaty(K) with us.”

The Israelites said to the Hivites,(L) “But perhaps you live near us, so how can we make a treaty(M) with you?”

“We are your servants,(N)” they said to Joshua.

But Joshua asked, “Who are you and where do you come from?”

They answered: “Your servants have come from a very distant country(O) because of the fame of the Lord your God. For we have heard reports(P) of him: all that he did in Egypt,(Q) 10 and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan—Sihon king of Heshbon,(R) and Og king of Bashan,(S) who reigned in Ashtaroth.(T) 11 And our elders and all those living in our country said to us, ‘Take provisions for your journey; go and meet them and say to them, “We are your servants; make a treaty with us.”’ 12 This bread of ours was warm when we packed it at home on the day we left to come to you. But now see how dry and moldy it is. 13 And these wineskins that we filled were new, but see how cracked they are. And our clothes and sandals are worn out by the very long journey.”

14 The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire(U) of the Lord. 15 Then Joshua made a treaty of peace(V) with them to let them live,(W) and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.

16 Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near(X) them. 17 So the Israelites set out and on the third day came to their cities: Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth(Y) and Kiriath Jearim.(Z) 18 But the Israelites did not attack them, because the leaders of the assembly had sworn an oath(AA) to them by the Lord, the God of Israel.

The whole assembly grumbled(AB) against the leaders, 19 but all the leaders answered, “We have given them our oath by the Lord, the God of Israel, and we cannot touch them now. 20 This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, so that God’s wrath will not fall on us for breaking the oath(AC) we swore to them.” 21 They continued, “Let them live,(AD) but let them be woodcutters and water carriers(AE) in the service of the whole assembly.” So the leaders’ promise to them was kept.

22 Then Joshua summoned the Gibeonites and said, “Why did you deceive us by saying, ‘We live a long way(AF) from you,’ while actually you live near(AG) us? 23 You are now under a curse:(AH) You will never be released from service as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God.”

24 They answered Joshua, “Your servants were clearly told(AI) how the Lord your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you the whole land and to wipe out all its inhabitants from before you. So we feared for our lives because of you, and that is why we did this. 25 We are now in your hands.(AJ) Do to us whatever seems good and right(AK) to you.”

26 So Joshua saved them from the Israelites, and they did not kill them. 27 That day he made the Gibeonites(AL) woodcutters and water carriers(AM) for the assembly, to provide for the needs of the altar of the Lord at the place the Lord would choose.(AN) And that is what they are to this day.

The Sun Stands Still

10 Now Adoni-Zedek(AO) king of Jerusalem(AP) heard that Joshua had taken Ai(AQ) and totally destroyed[b](AR) it, doing to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and that the people of Gibeon(AS) had made a treaty of peace(AT) with Israel and had become their allies. He and his people were very much alarmed at this, because Gibeon was an important city, like one of the royal cities; it was larger than Ai, and all its men were good fighters. So Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem appealed to Hoham king of Hebron,(AU) Piram king of Jarmuth,(AV) Japhia king of Lachish(AW) and Debir(AX) king of Eglon.(AY) “Come up and help me attack Gibeon,” he said, “because it has made peace(AZ) with Joshua and the Israelites.”

Then the five kings(BA) of the Amorites(BB)—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon—joined forces. They moved up with all their troops and took up positions against Gibeon and attacked it.

The Gibeonites then sent word to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal:(BC) “Do not abandon your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us! Help us, because all the Amorite kings from the hill country have joined forces against us.”

So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army,(BD) including all the best fighting men. The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid(BE) of them; I have given them into your hand.(BF) Not one of them will be able to withstand you.”(BG)

After an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua took them by surprise. 10 The Lord threw them into confusion(BH) before Israel,(BI) so Joshua and the Israelites defeated them completely at Gibeon.(BJ) Israel pursued them along the road going up to Beth Horon(BK) and cut them down all the way to Azekah(BL) and Makkedah.(BM) 11 As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, the Lord hurled large hailstones(BN) down on them,(BO) and more of them died from the hail than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.

12 On the day the Lord gave the Amorites(BP) over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel:

“Sun, stand still over Gibeon,
    and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.(BQ)
13 So the sun stood still,(BR)
    and the moon stopped,
    till the nation avenged itself on[c] its enemies,

as it is written in the Book of Jashar.(BS)

The sun stopped(BT) in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. 14 There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting(BU) for Israel!

15 Then Joshua returned with all Israel to the camp at Gilgal.(BV)

Five Amorite Kings Killed

16 Now the five kings had fled(BW) and hidden in the cave at Makkedah. 17 When Joshua was told that the five kings had been found hiding in the cave at Makkedah, 18 he said, “Roll large rocks up to the mouth of the cave, and post some men there to guard it. 19 But don’t stop; pursue your enemies! Attack them from the rear and don’t let them reach their cities, for the Lord your God has given them into your hand.”

20 So Joshua and the Israelites defeated them completely,(BX) but a few survivors managed to reach their fortified cities.(BY) 21 The whole army then returned safely to Joshua in the camp at Makkedah, and no one uttered a word against the Israelites.

22 Joshua said, “Open the mouth of the cave and bring those five kings out to me.” 23 So they brought the five kings out of the cave—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon. 24 When they had brought these kings(BZ) to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, “Come here and put your feet(CA) on the necks of these kings.” So they came forward and placed their feet(CB) on their necks.

25 Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous.(CC) This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.” 26 Then Joshua put the kings to death and exposed their bodies on five poles, and they were left hanging on the poles until evening.

27 At sunset(CD) Joshua gave the order and they took them down from the poles and threw them into the cave where they had been hiding. At the mouth of the cave they placed large rocks, which are there to this day.(CE)


  1. Joshua 9:4 Most Hebrew manuscripts; some Hebrew manuscripts, Vulgate and Syriac (see also Septuagint) They prepared provisions and loaded their donkeys
  2. Joshua 10:1 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them; also in verses 28, 35, 37, 39 and 40.
  3. Joshua 10:13 Or nation triumphed over

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