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The Wise Gibeonites

The Wise Gibeonites

MANY of the cities in Caʹnaan now get ready to fight against Israel. They think that they can win. But the people in the nearby city of Gibʹe·on do not think so. They believe that God is helping the Israelites, and they do not want to fight against God. So do you know what the Gibʹe·on·ites do?

They decide to make it look as if they live somewhere very far away. So some of the men put on ragged clothes and worn-out sandals. They load their donkeys with worn-out sacks, and take some old dry bread. Then they go to Joshua and say: ‘We have come from a very distant land, because we heard about your great God, Jehovah. We heard all the things that he did for you in Egypt. So our leaders told us to get some food ready for a trip and to go and say to you: “We are your servants. Promise that you will not make war with us.” You can see that our clothes are worn out from the long trip and that our bread has become old and dry.’

Joshua and the other leaders believe the Gibʹe·on·ites. So they make a promise not to fight against them. But three days later they learn that the Gibʹe·on·ites really live nearby.

‘Why did you tell us that you came from a distant land?’ Joshua asks them.

The Gibʹe·on·ites answer: ‘We did so because we were told that your God Jehovah had promised to give all this land of Caʹnaan to you. So we were afraid that you would kill us.’ But the Israelites keep their promise, and they do not kill the Gibʹe·on·ites. Instead they make them their servants.

The king of Jerusalem is angry because the Gibʹe·on·ites have made peace with Israel. So he says to four other kings: ‘Come and help me to fight Gibʹe·on.’ And that is what these five kings do. Were the Gibʹe·on·ites wise to make peace with Israel, which now causes these kings to come to fight against them? We will see.