Joshua 9:16: The Gibeonite Deception Discovered

Verse 16:[1] 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.

[After three days (thus the Septuagint, similarly the Syriac, Arabic), מִקְצֵה֙ וגו״] At the end (or, after the end [Masius]) of three days (Montanus), that is, on the third day, as it is evident from verse 17. For μετὰ/after[2] sometimes is taken for within; it does not always signify that the last portion of a period of time that it indicates is past. See Deuteronomy 14:28;[3] 31:10[4] (Glassius’ “Grammar” 544). On the third day afterwards (Junius and Tremellius, Piscator).

At the end of three days, that is, at the last of them, or upon the third day, as it is said verse 17; so this phrase is elsewhere used, as Deuteronomy 14:28; 31:10. Or it may be properly understood, that after three days they heard this; and on the day after they heard this, they came to their cities, as is said, verse 17.

[They heard] From what messenger it matters not. It is likely that the Israelites spied out the neighboring regions with regular excursions, both for foraging and seeking provisions, and for becoming acquainted with the region (Masius).

[In the vicinity] It appears that Gibeon was about two hundred and ten stadia from Gilgal, or twenty-six miles (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֗י מִקְצֵה֙ שְׁלֹ֣שֶׁת יָמִ֔ים אַחֲרֵ֕י אֲשֶׁר־כָּרְת֥וּ לָהֶ֖ם בְּרִ֑ית וַֽיִּשְׁמְע֗וּ כִּי־קְרֹבִ֥ים הֵם֙ אֵלָ֔יו וּבְקִרְבּ֖וֹ הֵ֥ם יֹשְׁבִֽים׃

[2] Thus the Septuagint.

[3] Deuteronomy 14:28:  “At the end of three years (מִקְצֵ֣ה׀ שָׁלֹ֣שׁ שָׁנִ֗ים; μετὰ τρία ἔτη, in the Septuagint) thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates…”

[4] Deuteronomy 31:10, 11:  “And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years (מִקֵּ֣ץ׀ שֶׁ֣בַע שָׁנִ֗ים; μετὰ ἑπτὰ ἔτη, in the Septuagint), in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, when all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing.”

1 thought on “Joshua 9:16: The Gibeonite Deception Discovered

  1. Matthew Henry: “The fraud soon discovered, by which this league was procured. A lying tongue is but for a moment, and truth will be the daughter of time. Within three days they found, to their great surprise, that the cities which these ambassadors had treated for were very near them, but one night’s foot-march from the camp at Gilgal, Joshua 10:9. Either their own scouts or the parties that sallied out to acquaint themselves with the country, or perhaps some deserters that came over to them from the enemy, informed them of the truth in this matter. Those that suffer themselves to be deceived by the wiles of Satan will soon be undeceived to their confusion, and will find that near, even at the door, which they imagined was very far off.”

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