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Guile of the Gibeonites

Now when all the kings who were beyond the Jordan, in the hill country and in the lowland [at the western edge of the hills of Judea], and all along the coast of the Great [Mediterranean] Sea toward Lebanon, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, heard of this [army and its victories over Jericho and Ai], they gathered together with [a]one purpose to fight with Joshua and with Israel.

But when the people of Gibeon [the Hivites] heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they too acted craftily and cunningly, and set out and took along provisions, but took worn-out sacks on their donkeys, and wineskins (leather bottles) that were worn out and split open and patched together, and worn-out and patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes; and all their supply of food was dry and had turned to crumbs. They went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the men of Israel, “We have come from a far country; so now, make a covenant (treaty) with us.” But the men of Israel said to the Hivites, “Perhaps you are living within our land; how then can we make a covenant (treaty) with you?” They said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” Then Joshua said to them, “Who are you, and where do you come from?” They said to him, “Your servants have come from a country that is very far away because of the fame of the Lord your God; for we have heard the news about Him and all [the remarkable things] that He did in Egypt, 10 and everything that He did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon the king of Heshbon and to Og the king of Bashan who lived in Ashtaroth. 11 So our elders and all the residents of our country said to us, ‘Take provisions for the journey and go to meet the sons of Israel and say to them, “We are your servants; now make a covenant (treaty) with us.”’ 12 This bread of ours was hot (fresh) when we took it along as our provision from our houses on the day we left to come to you; now look, it is dry and has turned to crumbs. 13 These wineskins which we filled were new, and look, they are split; our clothes and our sandals are worn out because of the very long journey [that we had to make].” 14 So the men [of Israel] took some of their own provisions [and offered them in friendship], and [foolishly] did not ask for the counsel of the Lord. 15 Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant (treaty) with them, to let them live; and the leaders of the congregation [of Israel] swore an oath to them.

16 It happened that three days after they had made a covenant (treaty) with them, the Israelites heard that they were [actually] their neighbors and that they were living among them. 17 Then the sons of Israel set out and came to their cities on the third day. Now the cities [of the Hivites] were Gibeon and Chephirah and Beeroth and Kiriath-jearim. 18 But the sons of Israel did not strike them because the leaders of the congregation had sworn to them by the Lord the God of Israel [to spare them]. And all the congregation murmured [expressing great dissatisfaction] against the leaders. 19 But all the leaders said to the whole congregation, “We have sworn to them by the Lord, the God of Israel, so now we cannot touch them. 20 This [is what] we will do to them: we will let them live, so that the wrath [of God] does not come upon us for [violating] the oath which we have sworn to them.” 21 The leaders said to them, “Let them live [as our slaves].” So they became the cutters and gatherers of firewood and water carriers for the entire congregation, just as the leaders had said of them.

22 Joshua called the [Hivite] men and said, “Why did you deceive us, saying, ‘We live very far away from you,’ when [in fact] you live among us? 23 Now therefore, you are cursed, and you shall always be slaves, both cutters and gatherers of firewood and water carriers for the house of my God.” 24 They replied to Joshua and said, “Because your servants were told in no uncertain terms that the Lord your God commanded His servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the land’s inhabitants before you, we feared greatly for our lives because of you, and so we did this [deceptive] thing. 25 Now look, we are in your hands; do to us as it seems good and right in your sight.” 26 So that is what he did to them; he rescued them from the hands of the Israelites and they did not kill them. 27 Now on that day Joshua made them cutters and gatherers of firewood and water carriers for the congregation and for the altar of the Lord, to this day, in the place which He would choose.

Five Kings Attack Gibeon

10 When Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had captured Ai, and had utterly destroyed it—as he had done to Jericho and its king, so he had done to Ai and its king—and that the residents of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were [living] among them, he [and his people] feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty. So Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent word to Hoham king of Hebron, and to Piram king of Jarmuth, to Japhia king of Lachish, and to Debir king of Eglon, saying, “Come up to me and help me, and let us attack Gibeon [with a combined army], because it has made peace with Joshua and with the sons (people) of Israel.” Then the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered together and went up, they with all their armies, and they camped by Gibeon and fought against it.

So the men of Gibeon sent word to Joshua at the camp in Gilgal, saying, “Do not [b]abandon your servants; come up to us quickly and save us and help us, for all [five of] the kings of the Amorites who live in the hill country have assembled against us.” So Joshua [c]went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, and all the men of valor. The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, because I have given them into your hand; not [d]one of them shall stand before you.” So Joshua came upon them suddenly, [surprising them] by marching [uphill] all night from Gilgal. 10 And the Lord caused them to panic and be confused before Israel, and He struck them dead in a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goes up to Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah. 11 As they fled before Israel, while they were at the descent of Beth-horon, the Lord threw down large stones [of hail] from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. More [Amorites] died because of the hailstones than those whom the sons of Israel killed with the sword.

12 Then Joshua spoke to the Lord on the day when the Lord handed over the Amorites to the sons of Israel, and Joshua said in the sight of Israel,

“Sun, stand still at Gibeon,
And moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”
13 
So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped,
Until the nation [of Israel] took vengeance upon their enemies.

Is it not written in the Book of Jashar? So the sun stood still in the middle of the sky and was in no hurry to go down for about a whole day. 14 There has not been a day like that before it or after it, when the Lord listened to (heeded) the voice of a man; for the Lord was fighting for Israel.

15 Then [e]Joshua and all Israel with him returned to the camp at Gilgal.

Victory at Makkedah

16 Now these five [Amorite] kings fled and hid themselves in the cave at Makkedah. 17 And Joshua was told, “The five kings have been found and are hidden in the cave at Makkedah.” 18 Joshua said, “Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave, and assign men by it to guard them, 19 but do not stay there yourselves; pursue your enemies and attack them from the rear. Do not allow them to enter their cities, for the Lord your God has given them into your hand.” 20 Now when Joshua and the sons of Israel had finished striking the Amorites dead in a very great defeat, until they were wiped out, and the surviving remnant among them had entered the fortified cities, 21 all the people returned to the camp to Joshua at Makkedah in peace. No one [f]uttered a [threatening] word against any of the sons of Israel.

22 Then Joshua said, “Open the mouth of the cave and bring out to me those five [Amorite] kings from the cave.” 23 They did so, and brought these five [Amorite] kings out of the cave to him—the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon. 24 When they brought these kings out to Joshua, Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and told the commanders of the men of war who had gone with him, “Come up close, put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they came forward and put their feet on the necks [of the five kings]. 25 Joshua said to them, “Do not fear or be dismayed (intimidated)! Be strong and courageous, for this is what the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you [are about to] fight.” 26 Then afterward Joshua struck them [with his sword] and put them to death, and he hung them on five trees; and they [g]hung on the trees until evening. 27 At sunset Joshua gave a command, and they took the bodies down from the trees and threw them into the cave where the kings had hidden themselves, and placed large stones over the mouth of the cave, [where they remain] to this very day.

28 Now Joshua captured Makkedah on that day, and struck it and its king with the edge of the sword; he utterly destroyed it and [h]everyone who was in it. He left no survivor. So he did to the king of Makkedah just as he had done to the king of Jericho.(A)

Joshua’s Conquest of Southern Canaan

29 Then Joshua and all Israel with him went on from Makkedah to Libnah, and fought against Libnah. 30 The Lord gave it also along with its king into the hands of Israel, and Joshua struck it and every [i]person who was in it with the edge of the sword. He left no survivor in it. So he did to the king of Libnah just as he had done to the king of Jericho.

31 And Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Libnah to Lachish, and they camped by it and fought against it. 32 The Lord gave Lachish into the hands of Israel; and Joshua captured it on the second day, and struck it and every person who was in it with the edge of the sword, just as he had done to Libnah.

33 Then Horam king of Gezer went up to help Lachish, and Joshua struck him and his people down until he had left him no survivor.

34 And Joshua and all Israel with him went on from Lachish to Eglon, and they camped by it and fought against it. 35 They captured it on that day and struck it with the edge of the sword; and on that day he utterly destroyed every person who was in it, just as he had done to Lachish.

36 Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron, and they fought against it 37 and captured it and struck it and its king and all its cities and all the persons who were in it with the edge of the sword. He left no survivor, just as he had done to Eglon. He utterly destroyed it and every person who was in it.

38 Then Joshua and all Israel with him returned to Debir, and fought against it. 39 He captured it with its king and all its cities, and they struck them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed every person who was in it. He left no survivor. Just as he had done to Hebron, so Joshua did to Debir and its king, as he had done also to Libnah and its king.

40 So Joshua struck all the land, the hill country, the Negev (South country) and the lowland and the slopes [that descend to the Dead Sea] and all their kings. He left no survivor, but he utterly destroyed all who breathed, just as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded.(B) 41 Joshua struck them from Kadesh-barnea even as far as Gaza, and all the country of Goshen even as far as Gibeon. 42 Joshua captured all these kings and their land at one time, because the Lord, the God of Israel, fought for Israel. 43 So Joshua and all Israel with him returned to the camp at Gilgal.

Northern Canaan Taken

11 Then when Jabin king of Hazor heard [of Israel’s other victories] he sent word to Jobab king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron, and to the king of Achshaph, and to the kings who were in the north, in the hill country, and in the Arabah [the plain] south of Chinnereth (the Sea of Galilee) and in the lowland and on the hills of Dor on the west; to the Canaanite in the east and in the west, and to the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, and the Jebusite in the hill country, and the Hivite at the foot of [Mount] Hermon in the land of Mizpeh. They went out, they and all their armies with them, as many people as the sand on the seashore, with very many horses and chariots. So all these kings met and they came and encamped together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel.

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow by this time I am going to hand over all of them slain [by the sword] to Israel; you shall hamstring (disable) their horses and set fire to their chariots.” So Joshua and all the people of war with him came against them suddenly by the waters of Merom, and attacked them. The Lord handed them over to Israel, who struck them and pursued them as far as Great Sidon and Misrephoth-maim and eastward as far as the Valley of Mizpeh; they struck them down until no survivor was left. Joshua did to them as the Lord had told him; he hamstrung (disabled) their horses and set fire to their chariots.

10 At that time Joshua turned back and captured Hazor and struck its king dead with the sword; for Hazor previously was the head of all these kingdoms. 11 They struck all the people who were in it with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them; there was no one left who breathed. And he set fire to Hazor. 12 Joshua captured all the cities of these kings, and all their kings, and he struck them with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them, just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded.(C) 13 But Israel did not burn any of the cities that stood [walled and fortified] on their mounds, except Hazor alone, which Joshua burned. 14 The sons of Israel took as their plunder all the spoil of these cities and the cattle; but they struck every man with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them. They left no one [j]alive. 15 Just as the Lord had commanded Moses His servant, so Moses had commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses.

16 So Joshua took all this land: the hill country, all the Negev (South country), all the land of Goshen, the lowland, the Arabah [plain], the hill country of Israel and its lowland 17 from Mount Halak, that rises toward Seir [in the south], even as far as Baal-gad in the Valley of Lebanon at the foot of Mount Hermon [in the north]. He captured all their kings and struck them and put them to death. 18 Joshua waged war with all these kings [k]a long time [at least five years]. 19 There was no city that made peace with the Israelites except the Hivites living in Gibeon; they took all the others in battle. 20 For it was [the purpose] of the Lord to harden their hearts, to meet Israel in battle so that Israel would utterly destroy them, that they would receive no mercy, but that Israel would destroy them, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

21 Then Joshua came at that time and cut off the [l]Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab and from all the hill country of Judah and all the hill country of Israel. Joshua utterly destroyed them with their cities. 22 There were no Anakim left in the land of the children of Israel; only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod [of Philistia] some remained. 23 So Joshua took the whole land [of Canaan], according to all that the Lord had spoken to Moses, and Joshua gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. So the land had rest from war.

Footnotes

  1. Joshua 9:2 Lit one mouth.
  2. Joshua 10:6 Lit release your hand from.
  3. Joshua 10:7 The verb went up is quite literal at this point. The distance between Gilgal and Gibeon is not great, but the distance is all steeply uphill.
  4. Joshua 10:8 Lit a man.
  5. Joshua 10:15 This may be a condensed account of what follows. Joshua encamped at Makkedah (v 21) and did not return to Gilgal until the southern campaign was over (v 43).
  6. Joshua 10:21 Lit pointed his tongue.
  7. Joshua 10:26 See note 8:29.
  8. Joshua 10:28 Lit every soul.
  9. Joshua 10:30 The word person here and throughout the rest of the chapter is the Hebrew word soul or nephesh.
  10. Joshua 11:14 Lit who breathed.
  11. Joshua 11:18 Lit many days.
  12. Joshua 11:21 These were the people of giant stature who had frightened the spies when the Israelites first entered the land (Num 13:33).

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