The Gibeonites were lying tricksters. When they heard that the army of Israel had conquered the lands of Jericho and Ai, they feared the same fate would befall them. So, they put worn out sacks on their donkeys. They took old wineskins with holes mended with patches. They put patched sandals on and worn-out clothing. They left their food out till their bread was hard and crumbly. They set out like vagabonds and came to Israel, saying, “Please make peace with us. We have heard about how you conquered other nations. Please, we are coming to you as servants, please spare us and make with us a covenant of peace.” (See Joshua 9)
Joshua knew, technically speaking, Moses told them not to make a covenant with the people in the land the Lord was giving them. However, they were permitted to make a covenant with people outside that land. So, Joshua asked them, “Where did you come from?” They answered, “a very distant country.” They even took their old, hard bread and put it in the hands of Israel’s leaders, saying, “This was fresh out of the oven when we left; now it crumbles in your hand.” So, Israel made a covenant with them.
It did not take long before Israel came to Gibeon and found out they were not from so “very distant a country.” What would you have done, if you found out that the people you made an agreement with only days earlier made it under false pretenses? Would you rip up the contract?Continue reading