Joshua 9:12, 13: The Gibeonite Deception, Part 6

Verse 12:[1] 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…

[The bread we took hot, זֶ֣ה׀ לַחְמֵ֗נוּ חָ֞ם הִצְטַיַּ֤דְנוּ וגו״[2]] This our bread we took hot for our journey’s provisions (Syriac, Arabic). This is our bread; we took it hot for our journey’s provisions (Junius and Tremellius, similarly all interpreters).


Verse 13:[3] 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.

[1] Hebrew: זֶ֣ה׀ לַחְמֵ֗נוּ חָ֞ם הִצְטַיַּ֤דְנוּ אֹתוֹ֙ מִבָּ֣תֵּ֔ינוּ בְּי֥וֹם צֵאתֵ֖נוּ לָלֶ֣כֶת אֲלֵיכֶ֑ם וְעַתָּה֙ הִנֵּ֣ה יָבֵ֔שׁ וְהָיָ֖ה נִקֻּדִֽים׃

[2] צִיד in the Hithpael signifies to supply oneself with provisions.

[3] Hebrew: וְאֵ֙לֶּה נֹאד֤וֹת הַיַּ֙יִן֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר מִלֵּ֣אנוּ חֲדָשִׁ֔ים וְהִנֵּ֖ה הִתְבַּקָּ֑עוּ וְאֵ֤לֶּה שַׂלְמוֹתֵ֙ינוּ֙ וּנְעָלֵ֔ינוּ בָּל֕וּ מֵרֹ֥ב הַדֶּ֖רֶךְ מְאֹֽד׃

2 thoughts on “Joshua 9:12, 13: The Gibeonite Deception, Part 6

  1. Matthew Henry: “This therefore is the only game they have to play, and observe…[t]hey play it very artfully and successfully. Never was any such thing more craftily managed….

    They pretended to have undergone the fatigues of a very long journey, and produced what passed for an ocular demonstration of it. It should seem it was then usual for those that undertook long journeys to take with them, as we do now for long voyages, all manner of provision in kind, the country not being furnished as ours is now with houses of entertainment, for the convenience of which, when we have occasion to make use of them, we have reason to be very thankful. Now they here pretended that their provision, when they brought it from home, was fresh and new, but now it appeared to be old and dry, whereas it might well be presumed they had not loitered, but made the best of their way; so that hence it must be inferred that they came, as they said they did, from a very far country: their sacks or portmanteaus were old; the wine was all drunk, and the bottles in which it had been were broken; their shoes and clothes were worse than those of the Israelites in forty years, and their bread was mouldy, Joshua 9:4, 5, and again, Joshua 9:12, 13. Thus God’s Israel have often been deceived and imposed upon with a show of antiquity. But (as bishop Hall expresses it) errors are never the older for being patched, and so seeming old; but those that will be caught with this Gibeonitish stratagem prove they have not consulted with God. And thus there are those who make themselves poor with the badges of want and distress and yet have great riches (Proverb 13:7), or at least have no need of relief, by which fraud charity is misplaced and diverted from those that are real objects of it.”

  2. Matthew Henry: “There is a mixture of good and evil in their conduct. (1.) Their falsehood cannot be justified, nor ought it to be drawn into a precedent. We must not do evil that good may come. Had they owned their country but renounced the idolatries of it, resigning the possession of it to Israel and themselves to the God of Israel, we have reason to think Joshua would have been directed by the oracle of God to spare their lives, and they needed not to have made these pretensions. It is observable that when they had once said, We have come from a far country (Joshua 9:6), they found themselves necessitated to say it again (Joshua 9:9), and to say what was utterly false concerning their bread, their bottles, and their clothes (Joshua 9:12, 13), for one lie is an inlet to another, and that to a third, and so on. The way of that sin is downhill. But, (2.) Their faith and prudence are to be greatly commended. Our Lord commended even the unjust steward, because he had done wisely and well for himself, Luke 16:8. In submitting to Israel, they submitted to the God of Israel, which implied a renunciation of the god they had served, a resignation to the laws of true religion. They had heard enough to convince them of the infinite power of the God of Israel, and thence might infer his other perfections of wisdom and goodness; and how can we do better for ourselves than surrender at discretion to infinite wisdom, and cast ourselves upon the mercy of a God of infinite goodness. The submission of these Gibeonites was the more laudable because it was, [1.] Singular. Their neighbours took another course, and expected they should join with them. [2.] Speedy. They did not stay till Israel had besieged their cities; then it would have been too late to capitulate; but when they were at some distance they desired conditions of peace. The way to avoid a judgment is to meet it by repentance. Let us imitate these Gibeonites, and make our peace with God in the rags of humiliation, godly sorrow, and mortification, so our iniquity shall not be our ruin. Let us be servants to Jesus, our blessed Joshua, and make a league with him and the Israel of God, and we shall live.”

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