|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 7. - And the men of Israel said. The Keri here has the singular number instead of the Chethibh plural, in consequence of Israel speaking of itself collectively in the word בְּקִרְבִּי and of the singular אִישׁ. But this last with a plural verb, as a noun of multitude, occurs in the historical books in places too numerous to mention. See, for instance, 1 Samuel 14:22, just as עַם in many passages, e.g., 2 Samuel 18:7, is the nominative to a plural verb. The Hivites (see note on ver. 3). Peradventure ye dwell among us, and how can we make a league with you? This was strictly forbidden in Exodus 23:32; Exodus 34:12; Deuteronomy 7:2, in reference to neighbouring nations, on account of the polluting influence their example had exercised (Numbers 25:1-3), and was sure to exercise, as the subsequent history of the Israelites from Judges 2 onwards, proves.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites,.... Though they did not know them to be such, but as they afterwards appeared to be the Hivites, as the Gibeonites were, they are here so called, see Joshua 11:19. The name signifies "serpents"; according to a Derash, or mystical exposition, mentioned by Kimchi, the Gibeonites are so called, because they did the work of the serpent; that is to say, they deceived the Israelites, as the serpent deceived Eve:
peradventure ye dwell among us; of which they had some suspicion:
and how shall we make a league with you? which they were forbid to do with any of the seven nations, Deuteronomy 7:2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us—The answer of the Israelites implied that they had no discretion, that their orders were imperative, and that if the strangers belonged to any of the native tribes, the idea of an alliance with them was unlawful since God had forbidden it (Ex 23:32; 34:12; De 7:2).
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