We respond to the things we hear. News of spy balloons covertly flying over the US will create a different response than the news that the Chiefs won the Super Bowl. One will require the US Military to deploy weaponized jets, the other will lead to either celebration or consternation in your household depending on what team you were rooting for.
In the Book of Joshua, the Hebrew verbs translated “hear” has special significance. In Joshua 9:3, “the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai…” In Joshua 10:1, “Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard how Joshua had captured Ai […] as he had done to Jericho and its king […].”
Both the Gibeonites and Adoni-zedek heard similar things, but each responded differently. The Gibeonites beg for mercy and ask Israel to make peace with them (Joshua 9:3). Adoni-zedek makes an alliance with other kings and rises up against Israel (Joshua 10:1). The Gibeonites were shown abundant mercy, but the military alliance of Adoni-zedek was destroyed.
We see something similar happening in the gospel accounts of Jesus. When people hear of Jesus healing the sick, casting out demons, forgiving sin, stilling storms, and more, they either come to him looking for favor or they rise up in opposition against him (see Mark 2 for some examples).
What do you do when you “hear” about the great things God has done? What do you do when you hear about the Savior who came into the world? What do you do when you hear about the demons Jesus cast out? What do you do with the resurrection announcement that Christ has risen victoriously from the dead? The Gibeonites went to this nation and their God and bowed down in surrender. What will you do when you hear about Jesus?
Throughout the Old Testament, the Gibeonites are reckoned as true Israelites. When the land was divided among the tribes of Israel, the city of Gibeon was given to the priestly line of Aaron (Joshua 18:25). Hundreds of years after that, when some exiles returned to Jerusalem, the Gibeonites were recorded in the registry of Israel.
Of all the peoples in the land of Canaan, only Gibeon made peace with Israel. All the other nations hardened their hearts (Joshua 11). Spiritually speaking, the Gibeonites were under God’s covenant of grace. When we align ourselves with God through his greater Deliverer, Jesus, we come under his goodness, grace, and mercy.