Joshua 9:24
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
9:22-27 The Gibeonites do not justify their lie, but plead that they did it to save their lives. And the fear was not merely of the power of man; one might flee from that to the Divine protection; but of the power of God himself, which they saw engaged against them. Joshua sentences them to perpetual bondage. They must be servants, but any work becomes honourable, when it is done for the house of the Lord, and the offices thereof. Let us, in like manner, submit to our Lord Jesus, saying, We are in thy hand, do unto us as seemeth good and right unto thee, only save our souls; and we shall not repent it. If He appoints us to bear his cross, and serve him, that shall be neither shame nor grief to us, while the meanest office in God's service will entitle us to a dwelling in the house of the Lord all the days of our life. And in coming to the Saviour, we do not proceed upon a peradventure. We are invited to draw nigh, and are assured that him that cometh to Him, he will in nowise cast out. Even those things which sound harsh, and are humbling, and form sharp trials of our sincerity, will prove of real advantage.It was mere fear which drove the Gibeonites to act as they did. They sought for union with God's people, not for its own sake, but to save their lives. Rahab's motives were higher (Joshua 2:9 ff). Hence, she was adopted into Israel; the Gibeonites remained forever bondsmen of Israel. 18-27. the children of Israel smote them not—The moral character of the Gibeonites' stratagem was bad. The princes of the congregation did not vindicate either the expediency or the lawfulness of the connection they had formed; but they felt the solemn obligations of their oath; and, although the popular clamor was loud against them, caused either by disappointment at losing the spoils of Gibeon, or by displeasure at the apparent breach of the divine commandment, they determined to adhere to their pledge, "because they had sworn by the Lord God of Israel." The Israelitish princes acted conscientiously; they felt themselves bound by their solemn promise; but to prevent the disastrous consequences of their imprudent haste, they resolved to degrade the Gibeonites to a servile condition as a means of preventing their people from being ensnared into idolatry, and thus acted up, as they thought, to the true spirit and end of the law. No text from Poole on this verse.

And they answered Joshua, and said, because it was certainly told thy servants,.... Or "it was told", told (t); not only certainly, told, but frequently told them, they had often heard of it by one means or another:

how that the Lord thy God commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land; all the land of Canaan, no part excepted; they had heard much of the Lord God of Israel, and of Moses, what character he bore, and of the commands of the Lord to him; they seem to have knowledge of God, and faith in him as to his promises and threatenings, believing they would be fulfilled:

and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you; as the gift of the land of Canaan to Israel was often spoken of by the Lord to Moses, and frequently mentioned by him; so there were instructions given him from the Lord, and which lie delivered to Israel, utterly to destroy the inhabitants of Canaan, so, that these people had accurate intelligence and information of this matter; see Deuteronomy 7:1,

therefore we were sore afraid of our lives because of you, and have done this thing; they answer to Joshua's question, "wherefore have ye beguiled us?" Joshua 9:22, that it was fear of losing their lives, than which nothing is dearer to a man, and the principle of self-preservation that put them upon framing and using this device.

(t) "indicando indicatum est", Pagninus, Montanus.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
24. the Lord thy God commanded] See Deuteronomy 7:1-2.

we were sore afraid] Fear had been their sole motive in seeking an alliance with Israel. Theirs was not the faith, which had prompted Rahab to save the spies.

Verse 24. - The Lord thy God Commanded (see Exodus 23:32; Deuteronomy 7:1, 2). The prophecies of Moses during their sojourn in "the plains of Jordan by Jericho" (see Numbers 22. sqq.). We were sore afraid. Prophesied in Exodus 15:14. Joshua 9:24The Gibeonites offered this excuse for their conduct, that having heard of the command of God which had been issued through Moses, that all the Canaanites were to be destroyed (Deuteronomy 7:1; Deuteronomy 20:16-17), they had feared greatly for their lives, and readily submitted to the resolution which Joshua made known to them.
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