Saturday, August 28, 2004

Joshua 9

At this point, the wheels come off the plan to drive all non-Israelite tribes from Canaan, and all because Joshua fails to consult with the Lord. The Gibeonites (Hivites; given as descendants of the sixth son of Canaan in Gen 10:15), dressed in worn out clothes and carrying moldy bread pretend to have traveled from afar. The Israelite leaders swear an oath of peace, so when they later discover the Hivite cities of Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath Jearim, they are prevented from killing the Gibeonites. So, they turn them into forced labor, making the Gibeonites' introduction of themselves as "your servants" prophetic.

The split of the Gibeonites from the rest of Canaan is, however, fortunate for the Israelites, since the the rest of the Canaanites are united in the desire to eradicate the invaders. Commentator Matthew Henry points out that no king of Gibeon is mentioned (, suggesting perhaps that the Gibeonites were not subject to one.


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