DECEPTION, DIPLOMACY AND DESTRUCTION 

The world saw the work of God, and the Canaanites sought deliverance any way they could.

And it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side Jordan, in the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof;  That they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord.  And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai,  They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up;  And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy.  And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us.   Joshua 9:1-6

They are pretending to be residents of a distant land, not a nearby territory.  Israel had orders to destroy the Canaanites in their near area.  These are preparing a trick to save their lives.

And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you?  And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye?  And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt,  And 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.  Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us.  This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy:  And these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey.  And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.  And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them.  Joshua 9:7-15 

The Jews were suspicious at first, but did not seek God for wisdom.  They believed the lie and the phony props instead of the Lord.  They made promises to be their allies.

And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a league with them, that they heard that they were their neighbours, and that they dwelt among them.  And the children of Israel journeyed, and came unto their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, and Chephirah, and Beeroth, and Kirjathjearim.  And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes.  But all the princes said unto all the congregation, We have sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel: now therefore we may not touch them.  This we will do to them; we will even let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath which we sware unto them.  And the princes said unto them, Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation; as the princes had promised them.  Joshua 9:16-21 

So Israel decided to make them servants, to keep their promise of protection. 

And Joshua called for them, and he spake unto them, saying, Wherefore have ye beguiled us, saying, We are very far from you; when ye dwell among us?  Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.  And they answered Joshua, and said, Because it was certainly told thy servants, how that the LORD thy God commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you, therefore we were sore afraid of our lives because of you, and have done this thing.  And now, behold, we are in thine hand: as it seemeth good and right unto thee to do unto us, do.  And so did he unto them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, that they slew them not.  And Joshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of the LORD, even unto this day, in the place which he should choose.  Joshua 9:22-27

The deceivers were enslaved, but alive for their scam.

Now it came to pass, when Adonizedec king of Jerusalem had heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it; as he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king; and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them;  That they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all the men thereof were mighty.  Wherefore Adonizedec king of Jerusalem, sent unto Hoham king of Hebron, and unto Piram king of Jarmuth, and unto Japhia king of Lachish, and unto Debir king of Eglon, saying,  Come up unto me, and help me, that we may smite Gibeon: for it hath made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel.  Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon, gathered themselves together, and went up, they and all their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it.  Joshua 10:1-5 

The Gibeonites try to be allies with Israel and earn the wrath of five kings.  Still Israel only needs one king.  Gibeon asks them for help.

And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua to the camp to Gilgal, saying, Slack not thy hand from thy servants; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us: for all the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the mountains are gathered together against us.  So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valour.  And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee.  Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly, and went up from Gilgal all night.  And the LORD discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goeth up to Bethhoron, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah.  Joshua 10:6-10

The destruction of the five kingdoms came by sword and storm, as God sent hailstones against them too.  Then he made an even greater slaughter possible.

And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Bethhoron, that the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.  Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.  And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.  And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.    Joshua 10:11-14

In nature the sun cannot stop moving, as the earth’s rotation causes this to happen.  But this was a supernatural demonstration.  God wants the whole world to see the demonstration of power. 

And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal.  But these five kings fled, and hid themselves in a cave at Makkedah.  And it was told Joshua, saying, The five kings are found hid in a cave at Makkedah.  And Joshua said, Roll great stones upon the mouth of the cave, and set men by it for to keep them:  And stay ye not, but pursue after your enemies, and smite the hindmost of them; suffer them not to enter into their cities: for the LORD your God hath delivered them into your hand.  And it came to pass, when Joshua and the children of Israel had made an end of slaying them with a very great slaughter, till they were consumed, that the rest which remained of them entered into fenced cities.  And all the people returned to the camp to Joshua at Makkedah in peace: none moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel.  Joshua 10:15-21

The victory was complete with the capture of the five kings, trapped in the cave they chose to hide in. 

Then said Joshua, Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings unto me out of the cave.  And they did so, and brought forth those five kings unto him out of the cave, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon.  And it came to pass, when they brought out those kings unto Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said unto the captains of the men of war which went with him, Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings. And they came near, and put their feet upon the necks of them.  And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight.  And afterward Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five trees: and they were hanging upon the trees until the evening.  And it came to pass at the time of the going down of the sun, that Joshua commanded, and they took them down off the trees, and cast them into the cave wherein they had been hid, and laid great stones in the cave’s mouth, which remain until this very day.  Joshua 10:22-27

The ceremony Joshua commanded for his captains was to build their confidence against future opponents.  Five kings could not stand against them, but Joshua knew they would face more trials soon.  Courage was needed.

And that day Joshua took Makkedah, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof he utterly destroyed, them, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain: and he did to the king of Makkedah as he did unto the king of Jericho.  Then Joshua passed from Makkedah, and all Israel with him, unto Libnah, and fought against Libnah:  And the LORD delivered it also, and the king thereof, into the hand of Israel; and he smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain in it; but did unto the king thereof as he did unto the king of Jericho.  And Joshua passed from Libnah, and all Israel with him, unto Lachish, and encamped against it, and fought against it:  And the LORD delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel, which took it on the second day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein, according to all that he had done to Libnah.  Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish; and Joshua smote him and his people, until he had left him none remaining.  Joshua 10:28-3 

Joshua continued the campaign through several more cities.  The destruction of cities and their populations was complete.

And from Lachish Joshua passed unto Eglon, and all Israel with him; and they encamped against it, and fought against it:  And they took it on that day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein he utterly destroyed that day, according to all that he had done to Lachish.  And Joshua went up from Eglon, and all Israel with him, unto Hebron; and they fought against it:  And they took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof, and all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining, according to all that he had done to Eglon; but destroyed it utterly, and all the souls that were therein.  And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir; and fought against it:  And he took it, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof; and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining: as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir, and to the king thereof; as he had done also to Libnah, and to her king.  Joshua 10:34-39

In this age the killing of entire populations would be called genocide, and a war crime.  But God has an opinion that will not always align with the thinking of man.  He had previously destroyed nations in the great flood, and is again eliminating truly evil populations here.  But he is using Israel to do the destruction so they will come to understand the seriousness of his judgment against sin.

So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded.  And Joshua smote them from Kadeshbarnea even unto Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon.  And all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time, because the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel.  And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal.  Joshua 10:40-43

God empowered their victory but put their hands to the sword of slaughter.  In a similar way man had been required to slaughter the animals of atonement in sacrifices.  Killing an animal will make an impression on anyone who has never done it before.  Blood is a shocking sight, and should impress the slayer of the sanctity of life, and the danger of sin.  These deaths are to deter us from our own temptation to sin.  This decision is that important.

 

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