Joshua 9 – “The Gibeonites’ Ruse”

water bucketHebrew-English Text

I. Summary

The Gibeonites dress in costume and trick the Israelites into a peace treaty. The Israelites consequently force the Gibeonites to do degrading labor.

II. Photo

The Gibeonites are punished: “They became hewers of wood and drawers of water for the whole community, as the chieftains had decreed concerning them.” (v. 21)


III. Select Verses

1-2:  When all the kings west of the Jordan — in the hill country, in the Shephelah, and along the entire coast of the Mediterranean Sea up to the vicinity of Lebanon, the [land of the] Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites — learned of this, they gathered with one accord to fight against Joshua and Israel.

3-6:  But when the inhabitants of Gibeon learned how Joshua had treated Jericho and Ai,  they for their part resorted to cunning. They set out in disguise: they took worn-out sacks for their asses, and worn-out waterskins that were cracked and patched;  they had worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and threadbare clothes on their bodies; and all the bread they took as provision was dry and crumbly.  And so they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We come from a distant land; we propose that you make a pact with us.”

14-15: The men took [their word] because of their provisions, and did not inquire of the LORD.  Joshua established friendship with them; he made a pact with them to spare their lives, and the chieftains of the community gave them their oath.

27: That day Joshua made them hewers of wood and drawers of water — as they still are — for the community and for the altar of the LORD, in the place that He would choose.



IV. Outline

1-2. Regional kings unite against the Israelites

3-15. The Gibeonites trick the Israelites into a treaty

16. The Israelites learn that they were tricked

17-21. A decision to make the Gibeonites servants

22-23. Joshua curses the Gibeonites to slavery

24-25. The Gibeonites explain themselves

26. Joshua does not kill them

27. Historical note about the Gibeonites

V. Comment

No comment today. Stay tuned.


VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)

Photo copied from