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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Chapter 9

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Confederacy against Israel. 1When the news reached the kings west of the Jordan, in the mountain regions and in the foothills, and all along the coast of the Great Sea as far as Lebanon: Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, k Jos 3, 10; Ex 3, 8.17; 23, 23; Dt 1, 7 . 2they all formed an alliance to launch a common attack against Joshua and Israel.

The Gibeonite Deception. 3On learning what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, the inhabitants of Gibeon l Jos 6, 21.24; 11, 19 . 4put into effect a device of their own. They chose provisions for a journey, making use of old sacks for their asses, and old wineskins, torn and mended. 5They wore old, patched sandals and shabby garments; and all the bread they took was dry and crumbly. 6Thus they journeyed to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal, where they said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant land to propose that you make an alliance with us.” m Ex 23, 32; Dt 7, 2 . 7But the men of Israel replied to the Hivites,* “You may be living in land that is ours. How, then, can we make an alliance with you?” 8But they answered Joshua, “We are your servants.” Then Joshua asked them, “Who are you? Where do you come from?” 9They answered him, “Your servants have come from a far‐off land, because of the fame of the LORD, your God. For we have heard reports of all that he did in Egypt n Jos 2, 10 . 10and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites beyond the Jordan, o Nm 21, 25. 33 . Sihon, king of Heshbon, and Og, king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth. 11So our elders and all the inhabitants of our country said to us, ‘Take along provisions for the journey and go to meet them. Say to them: We are your servants; we propose that you make an alliance with us.’ 12This bread of ours was still warm when we brought it from home as provisions the day we left to come to you, but now it is dry and crumbled. 13Here are our wineskins, which were new when we filled them, but now they are torn. Look at our garments and sandals, which are worn out from the very long journey.” 14Then the Israelite princes partook of their provisions, without seeking the advice of the LORD. p Nm 27, 21 . 15So Joshua made an alliance with them and entered into an agreement to spare them, q Jos 11, 19; 2 Sm 21, 2 . which the princes of the community sealed with an oath.

Gibeonites Made Vassals. 16Three days after the agreement was entered into, the Israelites learned that these people were from nearby, and would be living in Israel. 17The third day on the road, the Israelites came to their cities of Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath‐jearim, 18but did not attack them, because the princes of the community had sworn to them by the LORD, the God of Israel. When the entire community grumbled against the princes, 19these all remonstrated with the people, “We have sworn to them by the LORD, the God of Israel, and so we cannot harm them. 20Let us therefore spare their lives and so deal with them that we shall not be punished for the oath we have sworn to them.” 21Thus the princes recommended that they be let live, as hewers of wood and drawers of water* for the entire community; and the community did as the princes advised them.

22Joshua summoned the Gibeonites and said to them, “Why did you lie to us and say that you lived at a great distance from us, when you will be living in our very midst? 23For this are you accursed: every one of you shall always be a slave [hewers of wood and drawers of water] for the house of my God.” 24They answered Joshua, “Your servants were fully informed of how the LORD, your God, commanded his servant Moses that you be given the entire land and that all its inhabitants be destroyed before you. Since, therefore, at your advance, we were in great fear for our lives, we acted as we did. r Ex 23, 27f; Dt 7, 1f . 25And now that we are in your power, do with us what you think fit and right.” 26 *Joshua did what he had decided: while he saved them from being killed by the Israelites, 27at the same time he made them, as they still are, hewers of wood and drawers of water for the community and for the altar of the LORD, in the place of the LORD's choice. s Dt 12,5 .

Notes:

k: Jos 3, 10; Ex 3, 8.17; 23, 23; Dt 1, 7 .

l: Jos 6, 21.24; 11, 19 .

m: Ex 23, 32; Dt 7, 2 .

n: Jos 2, 10 .

o: Nm 21, 25. 33 .

p: Nm 27, 21 .

q: Jos 11, 19; 2 Sm 21, 2 .

r: Ex 23, 27f; Dt 7, 1f .

s: Dt 12,5 .

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