|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:3-13 Other people heard these tidings, and were driven thereby to make war upon Israel; but the Gibeonites were led to make peace with them. Thus the discovery of the glory and the grace of God in the gospel, is to some a savour of life unto life, but to others a savour of death unto death, 2Co 2:16. The same sun softens wax and hardens clay. The falsehood of the Gibeonites cannot be justified. We must not do evil that good may themselves to the God of Israel, we have reason to think Joshua would have been directed by the oracle of God to spare their lives. But when they had once said, We are come from a far country, they were led to say it made of skins, and their clothes: one lie brings on another, and that a third, and so on. The way of that sin is especially down-hill. Yet their faith and prudence are to be commended. In submitting to Israel they submitted to the God of Israel, which implied forsaking their idolatries. And how can we do better than cast ourselves upon the mercy of a God of all goodness? The way to avoid judgment is to meet it by repentance. Let us do like these Gibeonites, seek peace with God in the rags of abasement, and godly sorrow; so our sin shall not be our ruin. Let us be servants to Jesus, our blessed Joshua, and we shall live.
Verse 5. - Shoes. Literally, things tied on; i.e., sandals, attached with straps to the sole of the foot. Clouted, i.e., patched. The intensive Pual suggests that they were very much patched. The participle Kal is translated "spotted" in Genesis 30:32, 33, 35. Mouldy. נִקֻּדִים literally, marked with points, i.e., mildewed, Provision צֵידָם. "Proprie vendtionem" (Vatablus). "Panis enim mucidus punctis respersus est albis viridibus et nigris" (Rabbi David, in libro Radicum). So the LXX., Theodotion, and Luther. This gives a better sense and more according to the derivation than the interpretation crumbs of bread, given by Gesenius and Keil, after Aquila, Symmachus, and the Vulgate, which has "in fustra comminuti." The cracknels (the same word in Hebrew as here) in 1 Kings 14:3 were probably biscuits marked with points by a sharp pointed instrument, in the same way as the Jewish passover cakes are at the present day.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And old shoes and clouted upon their feet,.... Which being worn out, were patched with various pieces of leather:
and old garments upon them; full of holes and rents, ragged and patched:
and the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy; having been kept a long time, and unfit for use; or like cakes over baked and burnt, as the Targum and Jarchi: the word for "mouldy" signifies pricked, pointed, spotted, as mouldy bread has in it spots of different colours, as white, red, green, and black, as Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret it; or it signifies bread so dry, as Ben Gersom notes, that it crumbles into pieces easily, with which the Vulgate Latin version agrees; or rather through being long kept, it was become dry and hard like crusts, so Noldius (i); or very hard, like bread twice baked, as Castell (k).
(i) P. 379. No. 1218. (k) Lex. col. 2395.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. old shoes and clouted—Those who have but one ass or mule for themselves and baggage frequently dismount and walk—a circumstance which may account for the worn shoes of the pretended travellers.
bread … dry and mouldy—This must have been that commonly used by travellers—a sort of biscuit made in the form of large rings, about an inch thick, and four or five inches in diameter. Not being so well baked as our biscuits, it becomes hard and mouldy from the moisture left in the dough. It is usually soaked in water previous to being used.
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