Joshua 9:9
And they said to him, From a very far country your servants are come because of the name of the LORD your God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9, 10) All that he did in Egypt, and . . . to the two kings of the Amorites.—The Gibeonites carefully abstain from referring to more recent exploits, as the passage of Jordan, the taking of Jericho and Ai; they mention only those which might have had time to reach them in the “far country” from which they asserted that they came.

Joshua 9:9. Because of the Lord thy God — Being moved thereunto by the report of his great and glorious nature and works. Thus they gave them hopes that they would embrace their religion. In Egypt — They cunningly mention those things only which were done some time ago, and say nothing of dividing Jordan, or the destruction of Jericho and Ai, as if they lived so far off that the fame of those things had not yet reached them.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.Compare the marginal references. 9. From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the Lord thy God—They pretended to be actuated by religious motives in seeking to be allied with His people. But their studied address is worthy of notice in appealing to instances of God's miraculous doings at a distance, while they pass by those done in Canaan, as if the report of these had not yet reached their ears. Because of the name of the Lord; being moved thereunto by the report of his great and glorious nature and works; so they gave them hopes that they would embrace their religion.

All that he did in Egypt: they cunningly mention those things only which were done some time since, and say nothing of the dividing of Jordan, nor of the destruction of Jericho and Ai, as if they lived so far off that the fame of those things had not yet reached them. And they said unto him, from a very far country thy servants are come,.... Which they magnified and expressed in stronger terms than before, but were careful not to mention any country, lest such questions should be asked about it, their answers to which would betray them, but put it off by saying they were come:

because of the name of the Lord thy God; because of what they had heard of his name, his power and goodness; or "unto the name of the Lord thy God" (o); that is, they were come to profess it, and to embrace the religion of the Israelites, and be proselytes to it; which they knew would be very agreeable to them, and engage them to show them favour; and so the Samaritan Chronicle (p) represents them as promising to do this, saying,"we will believe in thy Lord, nor will we contradict him in what ye shall mark out for us, be it small or great;''which seems to be, confirmed by what follows, unless it be considered as an explanation of the preceding clause:

for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt; the miracles wrought there, the plagues he inflicted on the Egyptians, and the wonderful deliverance of the children of Israel from their slavery.

(o) "ad nomen Domini", Masius; "ad nomen Jehovae": Junius & Tremellius. (p) Apud Hottinger. Smegma Oriental. l. 1. c. 8. p. 507.

And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of {e} the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt,

(e) Even the idolaters for fear of death will pretend to honour the true God, and receive his religion.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. we have heard the fame of him] Comp. Joshua 2:10; Joshua 6:27.Verse 9. - And they said unto him. "I commend their wisdom in seeking peace; I do not commend their falsehood in the manner of seeking it. Who can looke for any better in pagans?" (Bp. Hall.) It is worthy of the craft of the Gibeonites that they evade the first question, and as it is of vital importance to the success of their mission, they throw their whole force upon the second. The course of conduct enjoined on Joshua had reached the ears of the Canaanitish peoples, as we learn from ver. 24. They also take good care to say nothing of the more recent successes of the Israelites. With consummate astuteness they confine themselves to the successes "beyond Jordan." No wonder such mastery of the arts of deceit should have imposed on the Israelites. But inasmuch as the historian lacked the stimulus of that "necessity" which is proverbially "the mother of invention," we must recognise here a sign of the genuineness of the narrative. But the inhabitants of a republic, which included not only Gibeon the capital, but the towns of Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kirjath-jearim also, acted differently from the rest. Gibeon (Γαβάων, Gabaon, lxx Vulg.) was larger than Ai, being one of the royal cities (Joshua 10:2), and was inhabited by Hivites, who were a brave people (Joshua 10:7; Joshua 11:19). It was afterwards allotted to the tribe of Benjamin, and set apart as a Levitical town (Joshua 18:25; Joshua 21:17). After the destruction of Nob by Saul, the tabernacle was removed thither, and there it remained till the building of Solomon's temple (1 Chronicles 16:39; 1 Chronicles 21:29; 1 Kings 3:4-5; 2 Chronicles 1:3.). According to Josephus, it was forty or fifty stadia from Jerusalem, and judging from its name was built upon a hill. It is to be found in the modern Jib, two good hours' journey to the north-west of Jerusalem, a village of moderate size, on a long chalk hill which overlooks a very fertile, well cultivated plain, or rather a basin, consisting of broad valleys and plains, and rises like a vineyard, in the form of separate terraces (Strauss, Sinai, p. 332). The remains of large massive buildings of great antiquity are still to be seen there, also some fountains, and two large subterraneous reservoirs (vid., Rob. Pal. ii. p. 136). When the Gibeonites heard of the fate of Jericho and Ai, they also did (something) with stratagem. In the expression המּה גּם ("they also") there is a reference implied to what Joshua had done at Jericho and Ai; not, however, to the stratagem resorted to in the case of Ai, as such an allusion would not apply to Jericho. They set out as ambassadors: יצטיּרוּ, from צרר, which occurs in every other instance in the form of a noun, signifying a messenger (Proverbs 13:17, etc.). In the Hithpael it means to make themselves ambassadors, to travel as ambassadors. The translators of the ancient versions, however, adopted the reading יצטיּדוּ, they provided themselves with food; but this was nothing more than a conjecture founded upon Joshua 9:12, and without the slightest critical value. They also took "old sacks upon their asses, and old mended wineskins." מצררים, from צרר, lit. bound together, is very characteristic. There are two modes adopted in the East of repairing skins when torn, viz., inserting a patch, or tying up the piece that is torn in the form of a bag. Here the reference is to the latter, which was most in harmony with their statement, that the skins had got injured upon their long journey. Also "old mended sandals upon their feet, and old clothes upon them (upon their bodies); and all the bread of their provisions had become dry and quite mouldy." נקּדים, lit. furnished with points; נקוד, pointed, speckled (Genesis 30:32.). Hence the rendering of the lxx, εὐρωτιῶν; Theod., βεβρωμένοι; Luther, schimmlicht, mouldy; whereas the rendering adopted by Aquila is ἐψαθυρωμένος; by Symmachus, κάπορος, i.e., adustus, torridus; and by the Vulgate, in frusta comminuti, i.e., crumbled.
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