International Standard Version
1Eventually all the kings who reigned in the hill country across the Jordan River and in the low-lying coastlands of the Mediterranean Sea facing Lebanon heard about this. So the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites 2united together as one to fight against both Joshua and Israel.
3But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4they took the initiative by preparing their provisions shrewdly: they took tattered sacks for their donkeys, worn-out, torn, and mended wineskins, 5worn-out, patched sandals for their feet, and worn-out clothes. All of their food was dried out and covered in mold. 6Then they approached Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and addressed him and the Israelis, "We've arrived from a distant country, so please make a treaty with us right now." 7But the Israelis responded to the Hivites, "Perhaps you live in our midst. If this is so, how can we make a treaty with you?" 8So they responded to Joshua, "We are your servants." Joshua asked them, "Who are you? And where did you come from?" 9They answered, "Your servants have arrived from a very distant land, because of the reputation of the LORD your God, because we've heard a report about all that he did in Egypt, 10along with all of what he did to the two Amorite kings who were beyond the Jordan River—that is, to King Sihon of Heshbon and to King Og of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth. 11So our leaders and all of the inhabitants of our country told us, 'Take provisions along with you for your journey, go to meet them, and tell them, "We are your servants. Come now and make a treaty with us."' 12Look at our bread: it was still warm when we took it from our houses as our food for our journey on the very day we set out to come to you. But now, look how it's dry and moldy. 13And these wineskins were new when we filled them, but look—now they're cracked. And our clothes and sandals are worn out from our very long journey." 14So the leaders of Israel sampled their provisions, but did not ask the LORD about it. 15They made a treaty with them, guaranteeing their lives with a covenant, and the leaders of the congregation confirmed it with an oath to them.
16But three days after they had made the treaty with them, they learned that they were their neighbors and were living in their midst. 17So the Israelis set out for their cities and three days later they reached their cities of Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim. 18The Israelis did not attack them, because the leaders of the congregation had made an oath with them in the name of the LORD, the God of Israel. Nevertheless, the entire congregation grumbled against their leaders. 19Then all of the leaders spoke to the entire congregation, "We have sworn to them in the name of the LORD, the God of Israel, and we cannot touch them. 20So this is what we'll do to them: we'll let them live, so that wrath won't come upon us because of the oath that we swore to them." 21The leaders told them, "Let them live." So they became wood cutters and water carriers for the entire congregation, which is what the leaders had decided concerning them.
22Joshua summoned the Gibeonites and asked them, "Why did you deceive us by saying 'We live far away from you,' even though you were, in fact, living in our midst? 23Now therefore you are under a curse. Some of you will always be slaves, wood cutters, and water carriers for the house of my God." 24They replied to Joshua, "Because your servants had been informed that the LORD your God had certainly commanded his servant Moses to give you the entire land and to destroy all of the inhabitants of the land before you. So we were terrified for our lives because of you. That's why we did this. 25Now we're under your control: do to us as it seems good and right in your opinion." 26So this is what Joshua did for them: he saved them from the Israelis, and they did not kill them. 27However, on that very day Joshua made them become wood cutters and water carriers for the congregation and for the LORD's altar in the place that he should choose, and this tradition continues to this day.