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Joshua 9 Good News Translation (GNT)

The Gibeonites Deceive Joshua

The victories of Israel became known to all the kings west of the Jordan—in the hills, in the foothills, and all along the coastal plain of the Mediterranean Sea as far north as Lebanon; these were the kings of the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. They all came together and joined forces to fight against Joshua and the Israelites.

But the people of Gibeon, who were Hivites, heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, and they decided to deceive him. They went and got some food and loaded their donkeys with worn-out sacks and patched-up wineskins. They put on ragged clothes and worn-out sandals that had been mended. The bread they took with them was dry and moldy. Then they went to the camp at Gilgal and said to Joshua and the Israelites, “We have come from a distant land. We want you to make a treaty with us.”

But the Israelites said, “Why should we make a treaty with you? Maybe you live nearby.”

They said to Joshua, “We are at your service.”

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

Then they told him this story: “We have come from a very distant land, sir, because we have heard of the Lord your God. We have heard about everything that he did in Egypt 10 and what he did to the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan: King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth. 11 Our leaders and all the people that live in our land told us to get some food ready for a trip and to go and meet you. We were told to put ourselves at your service and ask you to make a treaty with us. 12 Look at our bread. When we left home with it and started out to meet you, it was still warm. But look! Now it is dry and moldy. 13 When we filled these wineskins, they were new, but look! They are torn. Our clothes and sandals are worn out from the long trip.”

14 The Israelites accepted some food from them, but did not consult the Lord about it. 15 Joshua made a treaty of friendship with the people of Gibeon and allowed them to live. The leaders of the community of Israel gave their solemn promise to keep the treaty.

16 Three days after the treaty had been made, the Israelites learned that these people did indeed live nearby. 17 So the people of Israel started out and three days later arrived at the cities where these people lived: Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath Jearim. 18 But the Israelites could not kill them, because their leaders had made a solemn promise to them in the name of the Lord, Israel's God. All the people complained to the leaders about this, 19 but they answered, “We have made our solemn promise to them in the name of the Lord God of Israel. Now we cannot harm them. 20 We must let them live because of our promise; if we don't, God will punish us. 21 Let them live, but they will have to cut wood and carry water for us.” This was what the leaders suggested.

22 Joshua ordered the people of Gibeon to be brought to him, and he asked them, “Why did you deceive us and tell us that you were from far away, when you live right here? 23 Because you did this, God has condemned you. Your people will always be slaves, cutting wood and carrying water for the sanctuary of my God.”

24 They answered, “We did it, sir, because we learned that it was really true that the Lord your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you the whole land and to kill the people living in it as you advanced. We did it because we were terrified of you; we were in fear of our lives. 25 Now we are in your power; do with us what you think is right.” 26 So this is what Joshua did: he protected them and did not allow the people of Israel to kill them. 27 But at the same time he made them slaves, to cut wood and carry water for the people of Israel and for the Lord's altar. To this day they have continued to do this work in the place where the Lord has chosen to be worshiped.

Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Joshua 9 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Gibeonites Save Themselves by Trickery

Now when all the kings who were beyond the Jordan in the hill country and in the lowland all along the coast of the Great Sea toward Lebanon—the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites—heard of this, they gathered together with one accord to fight Joshua and Israel.

But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, they on their part acted with cunning: they went and prepared provisions,[a] and took worn-out sacks for their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended, with worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes; and all their provisions were dry and moldy. They went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the Israelites, “We have come from a far country; so now make a treaty with us.” But the Israelites said to the Hivites, “Perhaps you live among us; then how can we make a treaty with you?” They said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” And Joshua said to them, “Who are you? And where do you come from?” They said to him, “Your servants have come from a very far country, because of the name of the Lord your God; for we have heard a report of him, of all that he did in Egypt, 10 and of all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, King Sihon of Heshbon, and King Og of Bashan who lived in Ashtaroth. 11 So our elders and all the inhabitants of our country said to us, ‘Take provisions in your hand for the journey; go to meet them, and say to them, “We are your servants; come now, make a treaty with us.”’ 12 Here is our bread; it was still warm when we took it from our houses as our food for the journey, on the day we set out to come to you, but now, see, it is dry and moldy; 13 these wineskins were new when we filled them, and see, they are burst; and these garments and sandals of ours are worn out from the very long journey.” 14 So the leaders[b] partook of their provisions, and did not ask direction from the Lord. 15 And Joshua made peace with them, guaranteeing their lives by a treaty; and the leaders of the congregation swore an oath to them.

16 But when three days had passed after they had made a treaty with them, they heard that they were their neighbors and were living among them. 17 So the Israelites set out and reached their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim. 18 But the Israelites did not attack them, because the leaders of the congregation had sworn to them by the Lord, the God of Israel. Then all the congregation murmured against the leaders. 19 But all the leaders said to all the congregation, “We have sworn to them by the Lord, the God of Israel, and now we must not touch them. 20 This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, so that wrath may not come upon us, because of the oath that we swore to them.” 21 The leaders said to them, “Let them live.” So they became hewers of wood and drawers of water for all the congregation, as the leaders had decided concerning them.

22 Joshua summoned them, and said to them, “Why did you deceive us, saying, ‘We are very far from you,’ while in fact you are living among us? 23 Now therefore you are cursed, and some of you shall always be slaves, hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.” 24 They answered Joshua, “Because it was told to your servants for a certainty that the Lord your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land before you; so we were in great fear for our lives because of you, and did this thing. 25 And now we are in your hand: do as it seems good and right in your sight to do to us.” 26 This is what he did for them: he saved them from the Israelites; and they did not kill them. 27 But on that day Joshua made them hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of the Lord, to continue to this day, in the place that he should choose.

Footnotes:

  1. Joshua 9:4 Cn: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  2. Joshua 9:14 Gk: Heb men
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Joshua 9 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

When all the kings on the west side of the Yarden in the hills, in the Sh’felah and all along the shore of the Great Sea that fronts the L’vanon — the Hitti, Emori, Kena‘ani, P’rizi, Hivi and Y’vusi — heard what had happened, they joined forces to fight together against Y’hoshua and Isra’el. But when the inhabitants of Giv‘ah heard what Y’hoshua had done to Yericho and ‘Ai, they developed a clever deception: they made themselves look as if they had been on a long journey by putting old sacks on their donkeys and taking used wineskins that had burst and been mended back together. They put old, patched sandals on their feet and dressed in worn-out clothes; and took as provisions nothing but dried-up bread that was crumbling to pieces. Then they went to Y’hoshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the men of Isra’el, “We have come from a country far away. Now, make a covenant with us.” The men of Isra’el said to the Hivi, “How do we know that you don’t live here among us? If you do, we don’t want to make a covenant with you.” But they answered Y’hoshua, “We are your servants.” Y’hoshua asked, “Who are you, and where do you come from?” They answered him, “Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the reputation of Adonai your God. We have heard reports about him — everything he did in Egypt, 10 and everything he did to the two kings of the Emori across the Yarden, Sichon king of Heshbon and ‘Og king of Bashan at ‘Ashtarot. 11 So our leaders and all the people living in our country said to us, “Take provisions with you for the journey, go to meet them, and say to them, ‘We are your servants, and now make a covenant with us.’ 12 Here is the bread which we took for our provisions. It was still warm when we took it out of our homes the day we left to come to you. Now look at it! It’s dry and turned to crumbs! 13 And these wineskins were new when we filled them, but look, now they’re torn. Likewise these clothes of ours and our shoes are worn out because of the very long journey.”

14 The men sampled some of their food but didn’t seek the advice of Adonai, 15 so Y’hoshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them to spare their lives, and the leading officials of the community swore to them. 16 But three days later, after they had made the covenant with them, they heard that they were their neighbors, that they lived there with them.

17 The people of Isra’el traveled and arrived at their cities on the third day. Their cities were Giv‘on, K’firah, Be’erot and Kiryat-Ye‘arim. 18 The people of Isra’el did not attack them, because the leading officials of the community had sworn to them by Adonai, the God of Isra’el; but all the community grumbled against the leaders. 19 However, the leaders replied to the whole community, “We have sworn to them by Adonai, the God of Isra’el; so we can’t touch them. 20 Here is what we will do to them: we will let them live, so that God’s anger will not be on us because of the oath we swore to them. 21 Yes, let them live,” the leaders continued, “but let them chop wood and draw water for the whole community.” This is what the leaders said.

22 Y’hoshua summoned them and said this to them: “Why have you deceived us by saying, ‘We come from a place very far away,’ when in fact you are living right here with us? 23 Now you have a curse on you: you will be slaves forever, supplying people to chop wood and draw water for the house of my God.” 24 They answered Y’hoshua, “It is because we heard the reports that Adonai your God had ordered his servant Moshe to give you all the land and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from ahead of you. So we were terrified for our lives on account of you; that’s why we did this. 25 Now, as you see, we are in your hands; do to us whatever seems good and right to you.” 26 So Y’hoshua did exactly that: he saved them from the power of the people of Isra’el, so that they didn’t kill them. 27 But he did that same day make them choppers of wood and drawers of water for the community and for the altar of Adonai in the place which he would choose; and they remain so to this day.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

Joshua 9 The Message (MSG)

Gibeon

1-2 All the kings west of the Jordan in the hills and foothills and along the Mediterranean seacoast north toward Lebanon—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, Girgashites, and Jebusites—got the news. They came together in a coalition to fight against Joshua and Israel under a single command.

3-6 The people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai and cooked up a ruse. They posed as travelers: their donkeys loaded with patched sacks and mended wineskins, threadbare sandals on their feet, tattered clothes on their bodies, nothing but dry crusts and crumbs for food. They came to Joshua at Gilgal and spoke to the men of Israel, “We’ve come from a far-off country; make a covenant with us.”

The men of Israel said to these Hivites, “How do we know you aren’t local people? How could we then make a covenant with you?”

They said to Joshua, “We’ll be your servants.”

Joshua said, “Who are you now? Where did you come from?”

9-11 They said, “From a far-off country, very far away. Your servants came because we’d heard such great things about God, your God—all those things he did in Egypt! And the two Amorite kings across the Jordan, King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan, who ruled in Ashtaroth! Our leaders and everybody else in our country told us, ‘Pack up some food for the road and go meet them. Tell them, We’re your servants; make a covenant with us.’

12-13 “This bread was warm from the oven when we packed it and left to come and see you. Now look at it—crusts and crumbs. And our cracked and mended wineskins, good as new when we filled them. And our clothes and sandals, in tatters from the long, hard traveling.”

14 The men of Israel looked them over and accepted the evidence. But they didn’t ask God about it.

15 So Joshua made peace with them and formalized it with a covenant to guarantee their lives. The leaders of the congregation swore to it.

16-18 And then, three days after making this covenant, they learned that they were next-door neighbors who had been living there all along! The People of Israel broke camp and set out; three days later they reached their towns—Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath Jearim. But the People of Israel didn’t attack them; the leaders of the congregation had given their word before the God of Israel. But the congregation was up in arms over their leaders.

19-21 The leaders were united in their response to the congregation: “We promised them in the presence of the God of Israel. We can’t lay a hand on them now. But we can do this: We will let them live so we don’t get blamed for breaking our promise.” Then the leaders continued, “We’ll let them live, but they will be woodcutters and water carriers for the entire congregation.”

And that’s what happened; the leaders’ promise was kept.

22-23 But Joshua called the Gibeonites together and said, “Why did you lie to us, telling us, ‘We live far, far away from you,’ when you’re our next-door neighbors? For that you are cursed. From now on it’s menial labor for you—woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God.”

24-25 They answered Joshua, “We got the message loud and clear that God, your God, commanded through his servant Moses: to give you the whole country and destroy everyone living in it. We were terrified because of you; that’s why we did this. That’s it. We’re at your mercy. Whatever you decide is right for us, do it.”

26-27 And that’s what they did. Joshua delivered them from the power of the People of Israel so they didn’t kill them. But he made them woodcutters and water carriers for the congregation and for the Altar of God at the place God chooses. They still are.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

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