Joshua 9

1All the kings west of the Jordan River heard about these things. These were the kings of the Hittite people, the Amorite people, the Canaanite people, the Perizzite people, the Hivite people, and the Jebusite people. They lived in the hill country and in the plains. They also lived along the sea coast of the Mediterranean Sea as far as Lebanon. 2All these kings came together. They made plans to fight against Joshua and the people of Israel. 3The people from the city of Gibeon heard about the way Joshua had defeated Jericho and Ai. 4So those people decided to try to fool the people of Israel. This was their plan: They gathered together old wineskins that were cracked and broken. They put these old wine skins on the backs of their animals. They put old pieces of cloth on their animals to look like they had traveled from far away. 5The men put old shoes on their feet. The men wore old clothes. The men found some old bread that was dry and moldy. So the men looked like they had traveled from a faraway place. 6Then the men went to the camp of the people of Israel. This camp was near Gilgal. The men went to Joshua and said to him, “We have traveled from a faraway country. We want to make a peace agreement with you.” 7The men of Israel said to these Hivite men, “Maybe you are trying to trick us. Maybe you live near us. We can’t make a peace agreement with you until we know where you are from.” 8The Hivite men said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” But Joshua asked, “Who are you? Where do you come from?” 9The men answered, “We are your servants. We have come from a faraway country. We came because we heard of the great power of the Lord your God. We heard about the things he did. We heard about everything he did in Egypt. 10And we heard that he defeated the two kings of the Amorite people east of the Jordan River. This was Sihon, king of Heshbon, and Og, the king of Bashan, in the land of Ashtaroth. 11So our elders ˻(leaders)˼ and our people said to us, 'Take enough food for your journey. Go and meet with the people of Israel. Tell them, “We are your servants. Make a peace agreement with us.”‘ 12“See our bread! When we left home it was warm and fresh. But now you can see that it is dry and old. 13See our wineskins! When we left home they were new and filled with wine. Now you can see that they are cracked and old. See our clothes and sandals! You can see that the long journey has almost destroyed the things we wear.” 14The men of Israel wanted to know if these men were telling the truth. So they tasted the bread—but they did not ask the Lord what they should do. 15Joshua agreed to make peace with them. He agreed to let them live. The leaders of Israel agreed with this promise of Joshua. 16Three days later, the people of Israel learned that those men lived very near their camp. 17So the people of Israel went to the place where those men lived. On the third day the people of Israel came to the cities of Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath Jearim. 18But the army of Israel did not try to fight against those cities. They had made a peace agreement with those people. They had made a promise to the people before the Lord, the God of Israel. All the people complained against the leaders that made the agreement. 19But the leaders answered, “We have given our promise. We promised before the Lord, the God of Israel. We cannot fight against them now. 20This is what we must do. We must let them live. We cannot hurt them or God will be angry at us because we broke the promise we made to them. 21So let them live. But they will be our servants. They will cut wood for us and carry water for all of our people.” So the leaders did not break their promise of peace to those people. 22Joshua called the Gibeonite people. He said, “Why did you lie to us? Your land was near our camp. But you told us you were from a faraway country. 23Now, your people will have many troubles. All of your people will be slaves—they will have to cut wood and carry water for the house of God.” 24The Gibeonite people answered, “We lied to you because we were afraid you would kill us. We heard that God commanded his servant Moses to give you all of this land. And God told you to kill all the people that lived in this land. That is why we lied to you. 25Now we are your servants. You can do whatever you think is right.” 26So the people of Gibeon became slaves. But Joshua let them live. Joshua did not allow the people of Israel to kill them. 27Joshua made the people of Gibeon become slaves of the people of Israel. They cut wood and carried water for the people of Israel and for the altar of the Lord—wherever the Lord chose it to be. Those people are still slaves today.

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