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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Joshua

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9.1–11.15 : The southern and northern campaigns.

The conquests of southern and northern Canaan share the same geographic pattern: center to periphery. However, the account of the southern campaign is a much more developed narrative than that of the northern campaign. This augmentation is observable in the basic components of 9.3–10.43 and 11.1–15 . Thus the region that became Judah's tribal allotment receives the greater emphasis (a pattern also found in chs 13–19 and Judg 1 ).

9.1–2 : Introductory statement.

The section recalls the motif of the inhabitants hearing and fearing ( 2.10 and 5.1; see also 10.1, 11.1 ), but in this case the reaction is not fear, but aggressive hostility. The exception is Gibeon, narrated first for contrastive reasons.

9.3–10.43 : Southern campaign.

9.3–27 : Gibeon.

Ironically, Israel has just defeated Ai by means of a ruse; now Israel is the victim of a ruse. The Israelites do not turn to God to discern the Gibeonite strategy. As in the case of the first battle of Ai, the Israelites' overconfidence in their ability to discern the situation leads to a lack of dependence on the LORD.

3–15 :

The Gibeonites are apparently Hivites. Fearing Israel, they pretend to be from a far country so as to take advantage of the more lenient treatment afforded to such people (Deut 20.15 ).

3 :

Gibeon is the modern el‐Jib, about 4 km (7 mi) southwest of Ai.

6 :

Treaty, Heb “berit,” also translated “covenant.”

10 :

See 2.10n .

14 :

Although the leaders (lit. “the men”) of Israel are specifically blamed for not consulting the LORD, Joshua is apparently included. None of Israel's leadership was exempt from blame.

16–27 :

Discovery of the ruse and reaction. The Israelites discover the ruse of the Gibeonites, who readily admit their deception (vv. 24–25 ) because they know that Israel has to honor the pact between them (v. 20 ). The subservience of the Gibeonites is narrated twice in parallel: The leaders of the people save them and conclude their slave status, and so does Joshua (vv. 18–21 and vv. 22–27 ).

21 :

Hewers of wood and drawers of water, according to Deut 29.10–13 , the covenant was to erase distinctions between such lower class occupations and others. This designation thus suggests that the Gibeonites are outside the covenantal community.

24 :

See Deut 20.16–18 . Tensions with the Gibeonites persist into the monarchy (2 Sam 21.1–14 ).

27 :

The place that he should choose is Deuteronomy's term for the central place of worship, later identified as Jerusalem (e.g., Deut 12.5–18 ).

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