Awesome Hands – part 166: “The deception of the Gibeonites”

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Awesome Hands – part 166

“The deception of the Gibeonites”

February 19, 2020


In chapter 9 of Joshua, we find Israel being deceived by “those that are of the world”, in this case, those that are Gibeonites.

Our verses for consideration today are found through chapter 9 of Joshua, and the verses containing the words “hand” are found at the end of this chapter.

We will start off with the beginning of the chapter as we read.

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

The first thing to note here is that multiple kings decided to band together to defeat Israel because they had heard about the victories that Israel had.

However, there were some inhabitants of Gibeon that that decided to do something a little differently. They didn’t want any part of going to war with Israel.

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

There is a lot that can be said about these few verses, but the first thing that comes to mind is the obvious. The inhabitants of Gibeon put a lot of thought and effort into deceiving Joshua and the Israelites.

Given that we are privy to the whole story since we can read it all together, let us just pretend for a moment to be in the shoes of Joshua and the princes of the congregation.

From the perspective of Joshua, he does have some sort of inclination that something is amiss. He asks these men who they are and where they come from. They answer him, even if it was with a lie, and they make it sound believable.

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

At first, this may seem like a strange thing for Joshua to say, “Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you?”, but it is not strange at all.

The Lord has told the Israelites to not make any covenants with the inhabitants of the land and to kill them all.

Exo 23:32  Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.

Exo 34:10  And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.

Exo 34:11  Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite.
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:
Exo 34:13  But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves:
Exo 34:14  For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

And if that is not clear enough language for us to grasp the seriousness of this situation, let us remember Deuteronomy 7:

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 shew 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.
Deu 7:5  But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.
Deu 7:6  For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
Deu 7:7  The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:
Deu 7:8  But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
Deu 7:9  Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
Deu 7:10  And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.Deu 7:11  Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.

As can be seen, The Lord does not want us making deals, oaths, or covenants with the inhabitants of the land. Therefore, Joshua wanted to confirm who these people were exactly.

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

Wow, these folks are hearkening way back to the times of Egypt. Appealing to the various connections we have to strong memories is a very strong tactic that the adversary uses to get past our mental defenses.

Then, the inhabitants of Gibeon continue to add some familiarity to the situation by bringing in recent events.

Jos 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.
Jos 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.
Jos 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:
Jos 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.

Our physical senses are so easily deceived. What we see is not always what is there. You can’t fault the Israelites for seeing with their eyes, and holding in their hands, the moldy bread, spent bottles, and used up shoes and clothes.

The fault is in the conclusions they drew from what they were SEEING.

Moldy bread does not happen due to a long journey, though that can be one reason. Moldy bread happens from, wait for it……., mold.

If an angel suddenly appeared to you, or you suddenly “heard the voice of God”, what would be your first instinct? Naturally, our instinct would be to instantly worship.  However, our first spiritual instinct, Lord willing, would to be to listen for the voice of the True Shepherd in the voice of the one who suddenly shows themselves or speaks.

Remember, if a prophet is deceived, it is the Lord Himself who has deceived that prophet.

Eze 14:9  And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.
Eze 14:10  And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him;

Likewise, just because a thing comes to pass, doesn’t mean a person is a man or woman of God. In fact, even when things come to pass, if a person is not speaking the Word of God, or using the sum of the Word, then we are NOT to follow that person.

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

Well, there it is. “And asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord”, is where it all went wrong. The Lord tells us that He listens to our prayers. They aren’t always answered in the ways we want, but they are always answered.

“Pray without ceasing”, is living the life and will of God out. Having a constant connection to God the Father is done by continuing to pray about all things. There is nothing too small or too large to pray about. Prayer allows our thoughts to be formulated and to be weighed against what is in our heart.

“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”, (Luke 6:45) tells us that our thoughts in prayer are what the Lord uses to tell us what is REALLY in our hearts.

Therefore, Israel messed up by not going to the Lord to seek His counsel.

Jos 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.
Jos 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.

The sign of good leaders is to do what is right even when they know opposition from the masses will be the result. We are not to return evil for evil, but we are to return good for evil.

Though the inhabitants of Gibeon purposely deceived Israel into a treaty, it would have been a grievous sin for Israel to make and oath with Gibeon, with the NAME OF THE LORD as the guarantor of this oath, to then turn back on their word after the deception was found out.

It was the haste of the Israelites to believe what was before them, instead of consulting with the Lord, that led to this situation. Indeed, the pride of Israel most likely led them to being more receptive of this lie because of how the Gibeonites proposed the “fame” of the actions of the Israelites, and their victories throughout all the lands.

By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” is just as true then as it is now.

Mat 12:36  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
Mat 12:37  For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

The words we speak are being spoken to express our thoughts, not to HIDE our thoughts. Therefore, the princes of the congregation are correct in their reaction and actions in this situation.

Jos 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.
Jos 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.
Jos 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.

Instead of killing them, and so that they could keep their oaths, the Gibeonites were permitted to become slaves in being hewers of wood and drawers of water. This also is one example of how this helped to fulfill the promise made long before that the Canaanites would be “cursed” servants to the Israelites.

Gen 9:24  And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
Gen 9:25  And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.

Joshua must now pass the verdict along to the Gibeonsites who themselves have called themselves the servants of Israel.

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

Some of the biggest lessons to take away from the deception of the Gibeonites have already been mentioned throughout this short study.

Since it is fairly short for one of my studies, I will just recap that we must all be diligent when dealing with the things the Lord places in our lives.

Looks can be very deceiving. Emotions are even more deceiving.

Just because things or situations look a certain way, whether in a positive or negative light, we must always go to the Lord in prayer for how to proceed in a way that glorifies Him.

Secondly, we must always look to return good for evil and not evil for evil. Vengeance is the Lord’s.

Lastly, our word is very important. So, be careful with the words you utter and think. The Lord controls everything so be mindful of how we speak concerning things that are out of our control, which is everything.

The Lord is very serious about these things because He Himself is Light, and we are His children who are the light of the world as ambassadors for Him.

1Jn 1:5  This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
1Jn 1:6  If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
1Jn 1:7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

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