March 26, 2023
For Sunday we read from chapters 9, 10, 11, and 12 where we see the deception by the Gibeonites, a miracle where the sun stands still, and a number of kings defeated in fact thirty-one to be exact.
Chapter 9 –
Joshua and his people had made a name for themselves but mostly it was God’s reputation and fame that had become well known. Once the kings heard what happened at Jericho and Ai they formed an alliance to fight against Israel. Not everyone was up to fighting, especially the inhabitants of Gibeon. They wanted to live but knew their chances were poor so they acted deceptively.
They were made to believe they had traveled from a far land by the condition of their clothing, their sandals, and the moldy bread they carried with them. At first Joshua and the people were skeptical of them, thinking maybe they did live close to them. In the midst of their lies they did one honest thing ‘they came to make peace.’ Joshua believed them and made a treaty with them to let them live…and the leaders swore an oath to them.
This is a lesson for all of us to seek God first which in this case Joshua did not do so. Three days later he found out the truth and although the community complained about what had happened an oath had been made. If they broke the oath of peace, judgement would fall on them.
They were allowed to stay and became servants serving as woodcutters and water carriers for the whole community and for the Lord’s altar.
Chapter 10 –
The treaty between the Gibeonites and Israel had a ripple effect. Gibeon was a major city and it was only a matter of time until it was attacked. When that occurred the men of Gibeon called upon Israel to save them which again God encouraged them with these words Do not be afraid of them, I have handed them over to you. Nor Jericho rendition in this case the Lord sent hailstones on them from the sky.
We see some of the most amazing battles in the Bible outlined here. Joshua was committed to completing the work that God had given him but he needed daylight to complete the job. So he prayed that the sun and moon would stand still and the sun stopped in the sky for almost a full day. This took several other miracles to bring this about, and even more amazing was that God listened to a man.
Following the long day the five kings went into hiding but they could not escape. These verses outline the conquest of the promised land by Joshua and Israel. All went as God said it would go. God would deliver it if the people were faithful to do what He commanded.
Chapter 11 –
The southern area had been taken so it was time to look northward. The kings in the north had heard what had taken place so they decided to band together in yet another alliance. So they banded together until their armies were a multitude as numerous as the sands on the seashore. Again God says Do not be afraid a word we should all heed in all matters. In this case Israel was greatly outnumbered but He assures Joshua that by the time tomorrow, all the enemies would be killed.
This battle did not complete over night it waged on for some time. No city made peace with Israel except Gibeon as a result Israel defeats the nations and they take the promised land.
Chapter 12 –
This chapter offers a list of all the kings defeated by Israel in the promised land.