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The Gibeonite Trickery

All the kings ·west of [L beyond] the Jordan River heard about these things: the kings of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. They lived in the ·mountains [hill country] and ·on the western foothills [or in the lowlands/L Shephelah] and along the whole ·Mediterranean [L Great] Sea coast. So all these kings gathered to fight Joshua and the Israelites.

When the ·people [inhabitants] of Gibeon heard ·how Joshua had defeated [L what Joshua had done to] Jericho and Ai, they decided to trick the Israelites. They gathered old sacks and old ·leather wine bags [wineskins] that were cracked and mended, and they put them on the backs of their donkeys. They put ·old [L worn and patched] sandals on their feet and wore ·old [ragged] clothes, and they took some dry, ·moldy [or crumbling] bread. Then they went to Joshua in the camp near Gilgal [4:19].

The men said to Joshua and the ·Israelites [L men of Israel], “We have traveled from a faraway country. Make a peace ·agreement [covenant; treaty] with us.”

The ·Israelites [men of Israel] said to these Hivites, “Maybe you live near us. How can we make a peace ·agreement [covenant; treaty] with you [Deut. 20:10–18]?”

The Hivites said to Joshua, “We are your servants.”

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

The men answered, “We are your servants who have come from a far country, because we heard of the ·fame [reputation; L name] of the Lord your God. We heard about what he has done and everything he did in Egypt. 10 We heard that he defeated the two kings of the Amorites ·from the east side of [L who were beyond] the Jordan River—Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan who ·ruled [L was] in Ashtaroth. 11 So our elders and ·our people [L all the inhabitants of our country] said to us, ‘Take ·food [provisions] for your journey and go and meet ·the Israelites [L them]. Tell them, “We are your servants. Make a peace ·agreement [covenant; treaty] with us.” ’

12 “Look at our bread. On the day we left home to come to you it was warm and fresh, but now [L look; T behold] it is dry and ·moldy [or crumbling]. 13 Look at our ·leather wine bags [wineskins]. They were new and filled with wine, but now they ·are cracked and old [are ripped; or have burst]. Our clothes and sandals are worn out from the long journey.”

14 The men of Israel ·tasted [or examined; L took some of] the bread, but they did not ·ask the Lord what to do [seek the Lord’s guidance]. 15 So Joshua agreed to make peace with the Gibeonites and to let them live. And the leaders of the Israelites ·swore an oath to keep the agreement [L swore to them].

16 Three days after they had made the ·agreement [covenant; treaty], the Israelites learned that the Gibeonites ·lived nearby [L were neighbors and lived in their midst]. 17 So the ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel] went to where they lived and on the third day came to their cities: Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath Jearim. 18 But the ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel] did not attack those cities, because they had ·made a promise [L sworn] to them before the Lord, the God of Israel.

·All the Israelites [The whole assembly/congregation] grumbled against the leaders. 19 But [L all] the leaders answered, “We ·have given our promise [L swore (an oath)] before the Lord, the God of Israel, so we cannot ·attack [L touch] them now. 20 This is what we must do. We must let them live. Otherwise, ·God’s anger [L wrath] will ·be against [come upon] us for breaking the oath we swore to them. 21 So let them live, but they will cut wood and carry water for ·our people [the whole congregation].” ·So the leaders kept their promise to them [or…as the leaders had decided].

22 Joshua called for the Gibeonites and asked, “Why did you ·lie to [deceive; trick] us? ·Your land was near our camp [L You live among us], but you told us you were from a far country. 23 Now, you will be placed under a curse to ·be our slaves [never cease being slaves/servants]. You will have to cut wood and carry water for the house of my God.”

24 The Gibeonites answered Joshua, “We lied to you because we were afraid you would kill us. ·We heard [L It was clearly/with certainty reported to your servants] that the Lord your God commanded his servant Moses to give you all of this land and to ·kill [destroy] all the people who lived in it [Deut. 20:15–18]. That is why we did this. 25 Now [L look; T behold] ·you can decide what [L we are in your hands] to do with us, whatever you think is right.”

26 So Joshua saved their lives by not allowing the ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel] to kill them, 27 but he made the Gibeonites slaves. They cut wood and carried water for the Israelites, and they did it for the altar of the Lord—·wherever he chose it to be [L at the place that he would choose; 1 Sam. 4:3; 1 Kin. 9:3]. They are still doing this today [2 Sam. 21:1–14].