Joshua – Lesson 10

Joshua Chapter 9


Last week we saw the God's chosen people, the nation of Israel, by the leadership of Joshua, go up and take the city of Ai. We had seen them earlier fail in their attempts to take it, first due to not seeking God in how to take it, and secondly, due to the sin in the camp of Achan. But when they humbled themselves, sought God's design on how to take the city, God gave Joshua a plan. They used a group led by Joshua to trick the King into chasing the small group, while the larger groups lay in wait to storm and takethe city by ambush. As always, when the people did things God's way, it was a perfect plan that turned out successful.

I. The Kings of Canaan

Josh 9:1 And it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side Jordan, in the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof;

Josh 9:2 That they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord.

In the first two verses we see the kings of the countries there in Canaan coming together and forming a federation to fight against Joshua and Israel. When we set out to do God's Work, particularly when we do it God's way, we are normally confronted by many a foe. The world is against God's people, and we need to understand that. As Jesus warned the disciples, to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Eph 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Mat 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Mat 10:17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;

Mat 10:18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.

Mat 10:19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.

Mat 10:20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.


The five kings bind together to destroy Joshua after he built an altar unto the Lord and made a sacrifice thereon. To acknowledge the rights and authorities of the Most High is something the world simply will not do. They do not want to submit themselves to God's will. The resent and oppose it big time.

Luke 19:14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.

Exo 5:2 And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.

Psalms Chapter 2 shows that the people turned from the one Joshua typified.

Psa 2:1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

Psa 2:2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

Psa 2:3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

Was this the first time that the nations of Canaan came together as a federation? No it was not.

Gen 14:1 And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations;

Gen 14:2 That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar.

Gen 14:3 All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea.

Since they were federated together, these Kings did not surrender nor did they fell themselves out numbered. They believed that they could overcome the Israelites and keep their land.


II. Israel is Deceived by the Inhabitants of Gibeon

Josh 9:3 And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai,

Josh 9:4 They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up;

Josh 9:5 And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy.

Josh 9:6 And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us.

Josh 9:7 And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you?

We find in chapter 10 of Joshua that Gibeon was a great royal city.

Josh 10:2 That they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all the men thereof were mighty.

They were greater than Ai, and all the men that lived there were mighty men. But, they were afraid of Israel. They knew about Israel's victories, how they had been led by Joshua to conquer both Jericho and Ai. In verse ten, we can tell that they knew about what had been done in Egypt and in the wilderness. You know, today, many of the world know the truth about Jesus Christ, yet they still deny him. We know that the whole world does not stay ignorant of the might works of God.

We see that Satan came to the Gibeonites and had them change their character and pose to be some people that they were not. This was done to deceive Joshua in order that they would make a league with them. We can see from this, that Satan is very deceitful and full of craftiness. He will find a way to mix in leaven with the meal to turn us from the one, true God. Most of the time, Satan is ineffectual attacking the church from the outside. But if he can get some lost people, some of his children, as members of the church, then they will teach false doctrine in the classes. And false doctrine, perversion of the scriptures, all of these things are works of Satan. And they are very effective in the modern day church. Just compromise with the world, and pretty soon the whole lump is leaven.

1 Cor 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

1 Cor 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

Over in II Samuel, we find that in the days of David, Israel suffered because King Saul had broken the covenant that Joshua had made with the descendents of the Gibeonites. God expects covenants and oaths to be fullfilled. The bible warns us to not vow a vow and then fail to perform it.

2 Sam 21:1 Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David inquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.

2 Sam 21:2 And the king called the Gibeonites, and said unto them; (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn unto them: and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.)

Josh 9:6 And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us.

We see in verse 6 that the reference to Gilgal makes it clear that Israel stayed on Mt. Ebal only a short time, and then returned to their original camp.

Josh 9:7 And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you?

Note three things about verse 7.

1. First, they were well instructed in the law of Moses. They knew that they could not make a league with these men if they were the inhabitants of Canaan.

Exo 34:12 Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee:

2. They were at this time living by faith. The words dwell among us was as though the whole land of Canaan was already in their possession.

3. They did not immediately grant their request, but indicated that they did not trust them.

Josh 9:8 And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye?

In verse eight, we see the men from Gibeon saying tha "We are thy servants." This was the bait they used to trap Israel. Not everyone who claims to want to be a servant really means it. These words signified inferiority and expressed their willingness to perform any task assigned to them. That should be the Christian's attitude about serving the Lord.

Mark 10:44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.

Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Phil 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Phil 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Paul knew what it meant to be a servant.

1 Cor 9:19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

1 Cor 9:20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;

1 Cor 9:21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

1 Cor 9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

1 Cor 9:23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

We see that they failed in the first question. They asked "Who are you and where did you come from?" The first thing they should have done is come to God and asked the Lord what to do. We are many times this way. When we get sick, do we turn to God first. Normally, we go to the human doctor, and then, with no relief, we turn to the Great Physician. God is truly the only one who can heal us. These men should have went to God, particularly before making a covenant.

Joshua really doubted, because it was he who asked the pointed question.

Note that even those Joshua doubted them and asked the pointed question, they really did not answer him.

Josh 9:9 And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt,

Is this really an answer. A far country could be almost anywhere. They had their story well planned out, and they stuck to the same thing over and over. I recently heard that to be a liar, you have to have a really good memory. But if you always tell the truth, you can just rest easy. No worry about what you might have said, it was all true.

Note they talked of all the fame that they had heard over on the other side of Jordan. This was carefully thought out, because if they truly had come from a far away country, most likely the recent victories in conquering Jericho and Ai would not have travelled that far.

Josh 9:10 And all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, which was at Ashtaroth.

Josh 9:11 Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us.

Josh 9:12 This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy:

Josh 9:13 And these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey.

We see that they had done their best to come disguised as travelling from a far away country. Even the food they brought was mouldy… but you know, it does not take long for bread to get mouldy. They apologized for their appearance. This teaches us to not always believe every thing we hear, and not even all that we see. J. Vernon McGee in his commentary on Joshua commented that the conquest of Jericho represented the world to the Christian today, whereas AI represented the flesh. These Gibeonites represented the Devil himself. Is that not so true… does he not come and try to trick us into believing a lie.

Josh 9:14 And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.

Of all the verses in Chapter 9, verse 14 is the one that stands out to me as the shining reason they failed… they asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord. When we decide to do things our way, and forget God, we will fail also.

III. Discovery of the Gibeonites true Identity

Josh 9:15 And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them.

Josh 9:16 And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a league with them, that they heard that they were their neighbours, and that they dwelt among them.

Josh 9:17 And the children of Israel journeyed, and came unto their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, and Chephirah, and Beeroth, and Kirjathjearim.

It only took three days for Israel to find out they had been decieved. Don't you hate it when you get took, and the reality of it sets in and you are so aggravated. We have to be on guard every second to not be tricked by Satan. He wants to defeat us and deceive us. As Israel soon found out, it does not take long for God to let us know when we have sinned against Him, particularly when we fail to seek counsel from Him. God loves us and wants the best for us… We should always seek His face.

God had given clear directions on what the Israelites were to do with the people of Canaan, and it certainly was not to make covenants with them.

Deu 7:1 When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;

Deu 7:2 And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them:

Deu 7:3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.

Deu 7:4 For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.

We see in verse 17 that it is possible that Israel journeyed this far to investigate the report that they had heard. They had received word that the Gibeonites were of the land of Canaan.

III. Disagreement with the People of God


Josh 9:18 And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes.

Josh 9:19 But all the princes said unto all the congregation, We have sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel: now therefore we may not touch them.


We see that Israel did not smite them, due to having made the pact with them. We see the congregation murmured against the princes. These princes were leaders of Israel who should have sought out the Gibeonites more closely earlier. Like us, these were men who could make mistakes and there was no way of undoing what they had done. A man should stand by his word, and they were doing that. While God was displeased in them

Making the covenant with them, I'm sure He was glad they honored their word.

James 5:12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.


IV. The Decision as to What to be done with the Gibeonites

Josh 9:20 This we will do to them; we will even let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath which we sware unto them.

Josh 9:21 And the princes said unto them, Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation; as the princes had promised them.

The Gibeonites are to be bondmen.

Josh 9:22 And Joshua called for them, and he spake unto them, saying, Wherefore have ye beguiled us, saying, We are very far from you; when ye dwell among us?

Josh 9:23 Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.

Josh 9:24 And they answered Joshua, and said, Because it was certainly told thy servants, how that the LORD thy God commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you, therefore we were sore afraid of our lives because of you, and have done this thing.

Josh 9:25 And now, behold, we are in thine hand: as it seemeth good and right unto thee to do unto us, do.

Josh 9:26 And so did he unto them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, that they slew them not.

Josh 9:27 And Joshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of the LORD, even unto this day, in the place which he should choose.

The Gibeonites were to become what they had offered, and that was to be slaves. Joshua called them out and told them their punishment for lying about who they were and where they had came from. The accepted this willingly, because most likely they would have faced certain death. We as Christians should always thank God for the freedom he gives us, and gladly be a servant to Him so that we might truly live.

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