Joshua 9The Message (MSG)
9 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.”
7 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?”
8 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.
Joshua 10The Message (MSG)
The Five Kings
10 1-2 It wasn’t long before My-Master-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had taken Ai and destroyed it and its king under a holy curse, just as he had done to Jericho and its king. He also learned that the people of Gibeon had come to terms with Israel and were living as neighbors. He and his people were alarmed: Gibeon was a big city—as big as any with a king and bigger than Ai—and all its men were seasoned fighters.
3-4 Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem sent word to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish, and Debir king of Eglon: “Come and help me. Let’s attack Gibeon; they’ve joined up with Joshua and the People of Israel.”
5 So the five Amorite (Western) kings—the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon—combined their armies and set out to attack Gibeon.
6 The men of Gibeon sent word to Joshua camped at Gilgal, “Don’t let us down now! Come up here quickly! Save us! Help us! All the Amorite kings who live up in the hills have ganged up on us.”
7-8 So Joshua set out from Gilgal, his whole army with him—all those tough soldiers! God told him, “Don’t give them a second thought. I’ve put them under your thumb—not one of them will stand up to you.”
9-11 Joshua marched all night from Gilgal and took them by total surprise. God threw them into total confusion before Israel, a major victory at Gibeon. Israel chased them along the ridge to Beth Horon and fought them all the way down to Azekah and Makkedah. As they ran from the People of Israel, down from the Beth Horon ridge and all the way to Azekah, God pitched huge stones on them out of the sky and many died. More died from the hailstones than the People of Israel killed with the sword.
12-13 The day God gave the Amorites up to Israel, Joshua spoke to God, with all Israel listening:
“Stop, Sun, over Gibeon;
13-14 (You can find this written in the Book of Jashar.) The sun stopped in its tracks in mid sky; just sat there all day. There’s never been a day like that before or since—God took orders from a human voice! Truly, God fought for Israel.
15 Then Joshua returned, all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.
16-17 Meanwhile the five kings had hidden in the cave at Makkedah. Joshua was told, “The five kings have been found, hidden in the cave at Makkedah.”
18-19 Joshua said, “Roll big stones against the mouth of the cave and post guards to keep watch. But don’t you hang around—go after your enemies. Cut off their retreat. Don’t let them back into their cities. God has given them to you.”
20-21 Joshua and the People of Israel then finished them off, total devastation. Only a few got away to the fortified towns. The whole army then returned intact to the camp and to Joshua at Makkedah. There was no criticism that day from the People of Israel!
22 Then Joshua said, “Open the mouth of the cave and bring me those five kings.”
23 They did it. They brought him the five kings from the cave: the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon.
24 When they had them all there in front of Joshua, he called up the army and told the field commanders who had been with him, “Come here. Put your feet on the necks of these kings.”
They stepped up and put their feet on their necks.
25 Joshua told them, “Don’t hold back. Don’t be timid. Be strong! Be confident! This is what God will do to all your enemies when you fight them.”
26-27 Then Joshua struck and killed the kings. He hung them on five trees where they remained until evening. At sunset Joshua gave the command. They took them down from the trees and threw them into the cave where they had hidden. They put large stones at the mouth of the cave. The kings are still in there.
28 That same day Joshua captured Makkedah, a massacre that included the king. He carried out the holy curse. No survivors. Makkedah’s king got the same treatment as Jericho’s king.
29-30 Joshua, all Israel with him, moved on from Makkedah to Libnah and fought against Libnah. God gave Libnah to Israel. They captured city and king and massacred the lot. No survivors. Libnah’s king got the same treatment as Jericho’s king.
31-32 Joshua, all Israel with him, moved on from Libnah to Lachish. He set up camp nearby and attacked. God gave Lachish to Israel. Israel took it in two days and killed everyone. He carried out the holy curse, the same as with Libnah.
33 Horam, king of Gezer, arrived to help Lachish. Joshua attacked him and his army until there was nothing left of them. No survivors.
34-35 Joshua, all Israel with him, moved on from Lachish to Eglon. They set up camp and attacked. They captured it and killed everyone, carrying out the holy curse, the same as they had done with Lachish.
36-37 Joshua, all Israel with him, went up from Eglon to Hebron. He attacked and captured it. They killed everyone, including its king, its villages, and their people. No survivors, the same as with Eglon. They carried out the holy curse on city and people.
38-39 Then Joshua, all Israel with him, turned toward Debir and attacked it. He captured it, its king, and its villages. They killed everyone. They put everyone and everything under the holy curse. No survivors. Debir and its king got the same treatment as Hebron and its king, and Libnah and its king.
40-42 Joshua took the whole country: hills, desert, foothills, and mountain slopes, including all kings. He left no survivors. He carried out the holy curse on everything that breathed, just as God, the God of Israel, had commanded. Joshua’s conquest stretched from Kadesh Barnea to Gaza and from the entire region of Goshen to Gibeon. Joshua took all these kings and their lands in a single campaign because God, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.
43 Then Joshua, all Israel with him, went back to the camp at Gilgal.
Joshua 11The Message (MSG)
11 1-3 When Jabin king of Hazor heard of all this, he sent word to Jobab king of Madon; to the king of Shimron; to the king of Acshaph; to all the kings in the northern mountains; to the kings in the valley south of Kinnereth; to the kings in the western foothills and Naphoth Dor; to the Canaanites both east and west; to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, and Jebusites in the hill country; and to the Hivites below Hermon in the region of Mizpah.
4-5 They came out in full force, all their troops massed together—a huge army, in number like sand on an ocean beach—to say nothing of all the horses and chariots. All these kings met and set up camp together at the Waters of Merom, ready to fight against Israel.
6 God said to Joshua: “Don’t worry about them. This time tomorrow I’ll hand them over to Israel, all dead. You’ll hamstring their horses. You’ll set fire to their chariots.”
7-9 Joshua, his entire army with him, took them by surprise, falling on them at the Waters of Merom. God gave them to Israel, who struck and chased them all the way to Greater Sidon, to Misrephoth Maim, and then to the Valley of Mizpah on the east. No survivors. Joshua treated them following God’s instructions: he hamstrung their horses; he burned up their chariots.
10-11 Then Joshua came back and took Hazor, killing its king. Early on Hazor had been head of all these kingdoms. They killed every person there, carrying out the holy curse—not a breath of life left anywhere. Then he burned down Hazor.
12-14 Joshua captured and massacred all the royal towns with their kings, the holy curse commanded by Moses the servant of God. But Israel didn’t burn the cities that were built on mounds, except for Hazor—Joshua did burn down Hazor. The People of Israel plundered all the loot, including the cattle, from these towns for themselves. But they killed the people—total destruction. They left nothing human that breathed.
15 Just as God commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it. He didn’t leave incomplete one thing that God had commanded Moses.
16-20 Joshua took the whole country: the mountains, the southern desert, all of Goshen, the foothills, the valley (the Arabah), and the Israel mountains with their foothills, from Mount Halak, which towers over the region of Seir, all the way to Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon in the shadows of Mount Hermon. He captured their kings and then killed them. Joshua fought against these kings for a long time. Not one town made peace with the People of Israel, with the one exception of the Hivites who lived in Gibeon. Israel fought and took all the rest. It was God’s idea that they all would stubbornly fight the Israelites so he could put them under the holy curse without mercy. That way he could destroy them just as God had commanded Moses.
21-22 Joshua came out at that time also to root out the Anakim from the hills, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, from the mountains of Judah, from the mountains of Israel. Joshua carried out the holy curse on them and their cities. No Anakim were left in the land of the People of Israel, except in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod—there were a few left there.
23 Joshua took the whole region. He did everything that God had told Moses. Then he parceled it out as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribes.
And Israel had rest from war.
1 Corinthians 6The Message (MSG)
6 1-4 And how dare you take each other to court! When you think you have been wronged, does it make any sense to go before a court that knows nothing of God’s ways instead of a family of Christians? The day is coming when the world is going to stand before a jury made up of followers of Jesus. If someday you are going to rule on the world’s fate, wouldn’t it be a good idea to practice on some of these smaller cases? Why, we’re even going to judge angels! So why not these everyday affairs? As these disagreements and wrongs surface, why would you ever entrust them to the judgment of people you don’t trust in any other way?
5-6 I say this as bluntly as I can to wake you up to the stupidity of what you’re doing. Is it possible that there isn’t one levelheaded person among you who can make fair decisions when disagreements and disputes come up? I don’t believe it. And here you are taking each other to court before people who don’t even believe in God! How can they render justice if they don’t believe in the God of justice?
7-8 These court cases are an ugly blot on your community. Wouldn’t it be far better to just take it, to let yourselves be wronged and forget it? All you’re doing is providing fuel for more wrong, more injustice, bringing more hurt to the people of your own spiritual family.
9-11 Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit.
12 Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims.
13 You know the old saying, “First you eat to live, and then you live to eat”? Well, it may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food, or indulging it with sex. Since the Master honors you with a body, honor him with your body!
14-15 God honored the Master’s body by raising it from the grave. He’ll treat yours with the same resurrection power. Until that time, remember that your bodies are created with the same dignity as the Master’s body. You wouldn’t take the Master’s body off to a whorehouse, would you? I should hope not.
16-20 There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never “become one.” There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.