Joshua 9:9-11: The Gibeonite Deception, Part 5

Verse 9:[1] And they said unto him, (Deut. 20:15) From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have (Ex. 15:14; Josh. 2:10) heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt…

[Thy servants have come in the name of the Lord[2] (thus the Septuagint, Pagnine, Montanus)] That is, unto the name of the Lord (Jonathan, Arabic, Junius and Tremellius); because of the name, etc. (Munster, Piscator), or, fame of the Lord (Tigurinus), summoned by the fame of His wonderful works (Lapide, Bonfrerius, Menochius, Lyra). To be compelled to surrender by fear of the enemy belongs to the cowardly, etc., but to be led voluntarily by admiration of virtues belongs to the noble, and is worthy of praise. They declare that the souls of their fellow citizens were so completely prepared to surrender that they sent them to meet the Israelites to do what others are wont to delay unto the utmost necessity (Masius). Others refer this to religion, as in the case of Rahab, Joshua 2:11 (certain interpreters in Masius). That is to say, Because of the miracles we acknowledge thy God, and desire to come to His service by entering into covenant (Lyra). We are come to the name of the Lord, that is, to profess the name, to worship Him (Serarius). But it appears simpler to me to refer it to the fame of the miracles (Masius).

Because of the name of the Lord; being moved thereunto by the report of his great and glorious nature and works; so they gave them hopes that they would embrace their religion.

[In Egypt, etc.] This is done with the greatest cunning, for they do not mention the miracles of Jordan dried, nor of Jericho overthrown, as if the inhabitants of a distant region would hear nothing of those events recently conducted even by rumor (Masius, and out of him Serarius, Lapide, Bonfrerius).

All that he did in Egypt: they cunningly mention those things only which were done some time since, and say nothing of the dividing of Jordan, nor of the destruction of Jericho and Ai, as if they lived so far off that the fame of those things had not yet reached them.


Verse 10:[3] And (Num. 21:24, 33) 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.


Verse 11:[4] Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you (Heb. in your hand[5]) for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us.

[The elders and inhabitants] The consent of the people followed the Elders προβούλοις, deliberating beforehand. At that time there were many Democracies mixed with Aristocracy (Grotius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ אֵלָ֗יו מֵאֶ֙רֶץ רְחוֹקָ֤ה מְאֹד֙ בָּ֣אוּ עֲבָדֶ֔יךָ לְשֵׁ֖ם יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ כִּֽי־שָׁמַ֣עְנוּ שָׁמְע֔וֹ וְאֵ֛ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשָׂ֖ה בְּמִצְרָֽיִם׃

[2] Hebrew: בָּ֣אוּ עֲבָדֶ֔יךָ לְשֵׁ֖ם יְהוָ֣ה.

[3] Hebrew: וְאֵ֣ת׀ כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָׂ֗ה לִשְׁנֵי֙ מַלְכֵ֣י הָאֱמֹרִ֔י אֲשֶׁ֖ר בְּעֵ֣בֶר הַיַּרְדֵּ֑ן לְסִיחוֹן֙ מֶ֣לֶךְ חֶשְׁבּ֔וֹן וּלְע֥וֹג מֶֽלֶךְ־הַבָּשָׁ֖ן אֲשֶׁ֥ר בְּעַשְׁתָּרֽוֹת׃

[4] Hebrew: וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ אֵלֵ֡ינוּ זְֽקֵינֵינוּ֩ וְכָל־יֹשְׁבֵ֙י אַרְצֵ֜נוּ לֵאמֹ֗ר קְח֙וּ בְיֶדְכֶ֤ם צֵידָה֙ לַדֶּ֔רֶךְ וּלְכ֖וּ לִקְרָאתָ֑ם וַאֲמַרְתֶּ֤ם אֲלֵיהֶם֙ עַבְדֵיכֶ֣ם אֲנַ֔חְנוּ וְעַתָּ֖ה כִּרְתוּ־לָ֥נוּ בְרִֽית׃

[5] Hebrew: בְיֶדְכֶם.

2 thoughts on “Joshua 9:9-11: The Gibeonite Deception, Part 5

  1. John Brown of Haddington, “Systematic Theology”: “In providence, God’s goodness appears…in so timing his favours, particularly deliverances, that they become doubly valuable.—Delays of them till we be brought to an extremity, afford us opportunities of acting faith, and encouraging ourselves in him alone, John 11:15-44; 2 Chronicles 20:7, 12; Psalm 42-43,—and granting them in the very crisis of extremity, stirs us up to improve our new covenant interest in him, Psalm 123:3; 44:23-26; Exodus 15:1, 2; Psalm 103; 116; 118; 40; 13; 18.—Earthly comforts are cut off, to prepare us for his intended spiritual favours, Psalm 102:23, 24; 142:4, 5.—And remarkable deliverances afforded to prevent future calamities. Thus, the destruction of the Egyptians, and Israel’s deliverance at the Red Sea, made the hearts of the Canaanites to melt, Joshua 9:9, 10; 2:9-11.”

  2. Matthew Henry: “This therefore is the only game they have to play, and observe…[t]hey play it very artfully and successfully….

    They profess a respect for the God of Israel, the more to ingratiate themselves with Joshua, and we charitably believe they were sincere in this profession: ‘We have come because of the name of the Lord thy God (Joshua 9:9), because of what we have heard of that name, which has convinced us that it is above every name, and because we have a desire towards that name and the remembrance of it, and would gladly come under its protection.’

    They fetch their inducements from what had been done some time before in Moses’s reign, the tidings whereof might easily be supposed ere this to have reached distant regions, the plagues of Egypt and the destruction of Sihon and Og (Joshua 9:9, 10), but prudently say nothing of the destruction of Jericho and Ai (though this was the true inducement, Joshua 9:3), because they will have it supposed that they came from home long before those conquests were made. We need not be long to seek for reasons why we should submit to the God of Israel; we may be furnished either with new or old, which we will.

    They make a general submission—We are our servants; and humbly sue for a general agreement—Make a league with us, Joshua 9:11. They insist not upon terms, but will be glad of peace upon any terms; nor will the case admit of delays, lest the fraud be discovered; they would fain have the bargain struck up immediately; if Joshua will but make a league with them, they have all they come for, and they hope their ragged clothes and clouted shoes will be no exception against them. God and Israel reject none for their poverty.”

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