Joshua 9:5
And old shoes and clouted on their feet, and old garments on them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and moldy.
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(5) Cloutedi.e., patched.

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.They did work wilily - literally, "they also," or "they too, did work, etc." The "also" serves, apparently, to connect the stratagem of the Gibeonites with that employed by the Israelites before Ai. It hints that the Gibeonites resolved to meet craft with craft.

Rent and bound up - i. e. the wine skins were torn and roughly repaired by tying up the edges of the tear. The more thorough and careful way, hardly feasible in a hasty journey, would have been to insert a patch.

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.

No text from Poole on this verse. 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.

And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy.
5. old shoes] “and ful olde shoon,” Wyclif, i.e. sandals, made of (1) hide, or (2) palm-leaves and papyrus stalks. Comp. Mark 6:9.

clouted] i.e. patched, “sowid with patchis,” Wyclif; from clout, A. S. cleot, clút, “a patch,” properly a swelling from a blow, connected with Du. klotsen, to strike, as “botch” with Du. botsen. Comp. Jeremiah 38:11-12, “So Ebed-melech took … thence old cast clouts, and old rotten rags … and said unto Jeremiah, Put now these old cast clouts and rotten rags under thine armholes under the cords.” Shakespeare, II. Henry VI., iv:2,

“Spare none, but such as go in clouted shoon;”

and Latimer, Serm. p. 110, “Paul, yea and Peter too, had more skill in mending an old net, and in clouting an old tent, than to teach lawyers what diligence they should use in the expedition of matters.” Sandals were seldom mended, being of so little value, that they could easily be renewed when the worse for wear. “We have seen a man make himself a new pair out of a piece of skin in a few minutes. The mere fact, that articles so easily renewed, were patched in this instance, was well calculated to suggest the idea of a long journey, in which the convenience of purchasing new ones, or materials for making them, had not been found, for which reason they had been obliged to make their old ones serve by patching. It was a singular thing to see sandals clouted at all, and only a journey would explain the fact.” Kitto’s Bible Illustrations, 11. p. 288.

old garments] It behoved ambassadors to appear in clean and decent, if not in splendid, raiment. This was so essential, that the appearance of these Gibeonites with old and travel-stained clothes could only be explained, upon any common principle, by the assigned reason, that they had come direct from a long journey.

dry and mouldy] “Harde and brokun into gobetis,” Wyclif. The Hebrew word translated “mouldy” is the same which is rendered by “cracknels” in 1 Kings 14:3. This word (nikuddim) denotes a kind of crisp cake. The ordinary bread, baked in thin cakes, is not made to keep more than a day or two, a fresh supply being baked daily. If kept longer it dries up, and becomes at last excessively hard. It was this kind of bread that the Gibeonites produced, and they indicated its hardness—hard as biscuits—in evidence of the length of the journey they had taken. Kitto’s Bible Illustrations, 11. p. 289.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. "And afterwards (after the people had taken the place assigned them) he read to them all the words of the law," i.e., he had the law proclaimed aloud by the persons entrusted with the proclamation of the law, viz., the Levitical priests. קרא, lit. to call out of proclaim, then in a derivative sense to read, inasmuch as reading aloud is proclaiming (as, for example, in Exodus 24:7). The words "the blessing and the curse" are in apposition to "all the words of the law," which they serve to define, and are not to be understood as relating to the blessings in Deuteronomy 28:1-14, and the curses in Deuteronomy 27:15-26 and Deuteronomy 28:15-68. The whole law is called "the blessing and the curse" with special reference to its contents, inasmuch as the fulfilment of it brings eo ipso a blessing, and the transgression of it eo ipso a curse. In the same manner, in Deuteronomy 11:26, Moses describes the exposition of the whole law in the steppes of Moab as setting before them blessing and cursing. In Joshua 8:35 it is most distinctly stated that Joshua had the whole law read to the people; whilst the expression "all Israel," in v. 33, is more fully explained as signifying not merely the congregation in its representatives, or even the men of the nation, but "all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were in the midst of it."

Nothing is said about the march of Joshua and all Israel to Gerizim and Ebal. All that we know is, that he not only took with him the people of war and the elders or heads of tribes, but all the people. It follows from this, however, that the whole of the people must have left and completely vacated the camp at Gilgal in the valley of the Jordan. For if all Israel went to the mountains of Gerizim and Ebal, which were situated in the midst of the land, taking even the women and children with them, it is not likely that they left their cattle and other possessions behind them in Gilgal, exposed to the danger of being plundered in the meantime by the Canaanites of the southern mountains. So again we are not informed in what follows (Joshua 9:1) in which direction Joshua and the people went after these solemnities at Ebal and Gerizim were over. It is certainly not stated that he went back to Gilgal in the Jordan valley, and pitched his tent again on the old site. No doubt we find Gilgal still mentioned as the encampment of Israel, not only in Joshua 9:6; Joshua 10:6, Joshua 10:9, Joshua 10:15, Joshua 10:43, but even after the defeat and subjugation of the Canaanites in the south and north, when a commencement was made to distribute the land (Joshua 14:6). But when it is asked whether this Gilgal was the place of encampment on the east of Jericho, which received its name from the circumcision of the whole nation which took place there, or the town of Gilgal by the side of the terebinths of Moreh, which is mentioned in Deuteronomy 11:30, and by which Moses defines the situation of Gerizim and Ebal, this question cannot be answered unhesitatingly according to the traditional view, viz., in favour of the encampment in the Jordan valley. For when not only the army, but all the people with their wives and children, had once proceeded from the Jordan valley to the mountains of Gerizim and Ebal, we cannot imagine any reason why Joshua should go back again to the plain of Jericho, that is to say, to the extreme corner of Canaan on the east, for the purpose of making that the base of his operations for the conquest and extermination of the Canaanites. And there is just as much improbability in the assumption, that after Joshua had not only defeated the kings of southern Canaan, who had allied themselves with Adonizedek of Jerusalem in the battle fought at Gibeon (Joshua 10), but had also overthrown the kings of northern Canaan, who were allied with Jabin of Hazor at the waters of Merom above the Sea of Galilee (Joshua 11), he should return again to Gilgal in the Jordan valley, and there quietly encamp with all the people, and commence the distribution of the land. The only thing that could bring us to assent to such extremely improbable assumptions, would be the fact that there was no other Gilgal in all Canaan than the encampment to the east of Jericho, which received the name of Gilgal for the first time from the Israelites themselves. But as the other Gilgal by the side of the terebinths of Moreh-i.e., the present Jiljilia, which stands upon an eminence on the south-west of Shiloh at about the same distance from Jerusalem as from Sichem-was a well-known place even in Moses' days (Deuteronomy 11:30), and from its situation on a lofty ridge, from which you can see the great lowlands and the sea towards the west, the mountains of Gilead towards the east, and far away in the north-east even Hermon itself (Rob. Pal. iii. p. 81), was peculiarly well adapted for a place of encampment, from which Joshua could carry on the conquest of the land toward both the north and south, we can come to no other conclusion than that this Gilgal or Jiljilia was the Gilgal mentioned in Joshua 9:6; Joshua 10:6, Joshua 10:9,Joshua 10:15, Joshua 10:43, and Joshua 14:6, as the place where the Israelites were encamped. We therefore assume, that after the setting up of the law on Gerizim and Ebal, Joshua did not conduct the people with their wives and children back again to the camp which they had left in the Jordan valley on the other side of Jericho, but chose the Gilgal which was situated upon the mountains, and only seven hours' journey to the south of Sichem, as the future place of encampment, and made this the central point of all his further military operations; and that this was the place to which he returned after his last campaign in the north, to commence the division of the conquered land among the tribes of Israel (Joshua 14:6), and where he remained till the tabernacle was permanently erected at Shiloh, when the further distribution was carried on there (Joshua 18:1.). This view, which even Van de Velde (Memoir, p. 316) has adopted as probable, is favoured still further by the fact that this Gilgal of Jiljilia, which is still a large village, is frequently mentioned in the subsequent history of Israel, not only in 2 Kings 2:1 and 2 Kings 4:38, as the seat of a school of the prophets in the time of Elijah and Elisha, and in Hosea 4:15; Hosea 9:15; Hosea 12:12; Amos 4:4; Amos 5:5, as a place which was much frequented for the purpose of idolatrous worship; but even at an earlier date still, namely, as one of the places where Samuel judged the people (1 Samuel 7:16), and as the place where he offered sacrifice (1 Samuel 10:8; cf. Joshua 13:7-9), and where he gathered the people together to confirm the monarchy of Saul (1 Samuel 11:14-15), at a time when the tabernacle at Shiloh had ceased to be the only national sanctuary of Israel, on account of the ark having been taken away. Gilgal had no doubt acquired this significance along with Bethel, which had been regarded as a holy place ever since the time of Jacob, from the fact that it was there that Joshua had established the camp of Israel with the ark of the covenant, until the land was divided, and Shiloh was appointed as the site for the national sanctuary.

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