Joshua 9:27
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Joshua 9:27. And for the altar of the Lord — By which it appears, that they were not only to do this service in God’s house, but upon all other occasions, as the congregation needed their help.

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. 27. hewers of wood and drawers of water—The menials who performed the lowest offices and drudgery in the sanctuary; whence they were called Nethinims (1Ch 9:2; Ezr 2:43; 8:20); that is, given, appropriated. Their chastisement thus brought them into the possession of great religious privileges (Ps 84:10). By which it appears that they were not only to do this service in God’s house, but upon all other occasions, as the congregation needed or required their help.

And Joshua made them that day,.... Constituted and appointed them, ordered and settled them, in the post and office after mentioned; or "gave" them (u); hence some think they had the name Nethinim, persons given to the Levites for the service of the sanctuary: namely, to be

hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of the Lord; some think they were employed both for the service of the congregation, when they wanted wood and water, and for the altar, and what belonged to it, that needed both. Abarbinel supposes that they served the congregation while they were engaged in war, and subduing the land, but after the division of the land they only served the sanctuary; See Gill on Joshua 9:21,

even unto this day in the place which he should choose; to have the tabernacle pitched, and the altar set up therein, as it was in various places, before the temple built by Solomon at Jerusalem, which was the place the Lord chose; and this shows that the writer of this book lived before the building of the temple, or otherwise it, is highly probable he would have expressly mentioned it; whereas he uses only the phrase that Moses frequently expressed it by in his time; see Deuteronomy 12:5.

(u) "deditque eos", Montanus. Vatablus, Drusius.

And Joshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the {n} altar of the LORD, even unto this day, in the place which he should choose.

(n) That is, for the service of the temple, as in Jos 9:23.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
27. made them that day] It is deserving of notice that the Gibeonites never appear to have betrayed their trust, or enticed Israel into idolatry.

Verse 27. - And for the altar (see note on ver. 21). In the place which he should choose. This phrase, and especially the use of the imperfect tense, implies that Solomon's temple was not yet built. The ark of God, and the tabernacle which contained it, had several resting places before its final deposition in the temple (see note on Joshua 24:1). And the grammatical construction just referred to also implies that there was more than one place. It is also clear, from the language of 2 Samuel 21:1-6, that this narrative was already in existence when that chapter was penned. It is equally clear that the author of this passage knew nothing of that (see Introduction).



Joshua 9:27"And so did he unto them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, that they slew them not. He made them hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and indeed for the altar of the Lord," (assigning them) "to the place which God would choose," viz., for the altar. אלהמּקום (to the place) is grammatically dependent upon ויּתּנם (he "gave them"). It by no means follows, however, that Joshua sent them there at that very time, but simply that he sentenced them to service at the altar in the place which would be chosen for the sanctuary. From the words "unto this day," it no doubt follows, on the one hand, that the account was written after the fact had taken place; but, on the other hand, it also follows from the future יבחר (should, or shall choose), that it was written before the place was definitely fixed, and therefore before the building of Solomon's temple.
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