This week I am a little late providing information on our study of Joshua. Mainly because I was not in the class on Sunday morning. Instead, I was preaching up near Yosemite in Groveland. However, I do know what was to be covered in the class, so will not leave you hanging if you were waiting to hear about the Gibeonite Deception.
I am taking part of the information in this post from an earlier post titled: Unfolding History
I got to overlook Gibeon and get pictures while we were visiting Nebi Samwil which is just to the north-west of Jerusalem. Nebi Samwil is the traditional location of the tomb of Samuel, and may also be the location of Mizpah. There are active excavations taking place at the site that are shedding more light on this question. I am still watching for further news about the results of the excavations. There have been many recent discoveries in Israel announced in the past month, so I am hoping to see some soon.
From Nebi Samwil you can look out over the Benjamin plateau, and on a very clear day see all the way to the sea. It was a little too hazy to see the sea while we were there. The site also overlooks the tel of Gibeon.
We should all remember the city of Gibeon for the following story in Joshua.
But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, they on their part acted with cunning and went and made ready provisions and took worn-out sacks for their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended, with worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes. And all their provisions were dry and crumbly. And they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant country, so now make a covenant with us.” But the men of Israel said to the Hivites, “Perhaps you live among us; then how can we make a covenant with you?” They said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” And Joshua said to them, “Who are you? And where do you come from?” They said to him, “From a very distant country your servants have come, because of the name of the Lord your God. For we have heard a report of him, and all that he did in Egypt, and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon the king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth. So our elders and all the inhabitants of our country said to us, ‘Take provisions in your hand for the journey and go to meet them and say to them, “We are your servants. Come now, make a covenant with us.”‘ Here is our bread. It was still warm when we took it from our houses as our food for the journey on the day we set out to come to you, but now, behold, it is dry and crumbly. These wineskins were new when we filled them, and behold, they have burst. And these garments and sandals of ours are worn out from the very long journey.” So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the Lord. And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them. (Joshua 9:3-15 ESV)
Of course the trickery was soon discovered and they were punished.
But Joshua made them that day cutters of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of the Lord, to this day, in the place that he should choose. (Joshua 9:27 ESV)
As you can see the city of Gibeon was quite large. At the time of Joshua, it had a large wall around the crown of the hill and also a secure water supply so could have been well defended. I find it interesting that the Gibeonites were so afraid of the Israelites when they lived in such a secure city. They indeed knew that God was with them and knew they needed to do something to save themselves. I am looking forward to talking to our teacher and finding out how the discussion in class went.
I am not sure where the class left off on Sunday, but will include any additional information in the post for next week’s class. The next thing on the agenda for Joshua is the conquest of the south part of Israel. I have pictures from several of the places where battles took place, so will be sharing them.
If you want to catch up with the class, here are the previous posts:
To view links to the entire class series click on Walls of Jericho.